Comiket (the abbreviation for Comic Market) is the go to event of every manga enthusiast. Every doujinshi (self-published and unofficial works) collector will be heading out to this event to replenish and add items to their growing manga, magazine or novel collection. Comiket is held twice each year every August (NatsuComi) and December (FuyuComi). It is the biggest comic convention in the world where you can socialize with creators and fans and also display and distribute doujinshis.
For those who have read A Japanophile Guide: 2 Amazing Events that Every Otaku Can Enjoy, this will be a continuation for Comiket’s helpful information. As I have previously mentioned, this guide was inspired by the television series Lucky Star aired on Chiba TV by Kyoto Animation. I have watched this anime a few years ago and have never forgotten the information (and laughs) I was able to get from their Comiket episode. The anime also provided insight on the things that are needed to be done in order to have a successful and great experience at Comiket.
If you are interested in going to Comiket, it’s not yet too late to prepare since it’s just September. This year’s FuyuComi (also known as Comic Market 87) will be held on December 28 (Sunday) to 30 (Tuesday) at Tokyo Big Sight convention center. So if you are set to go, here are nine things to do to have a great experience at Comiket.
1. Bring your money
This is a given. Unless you are only there to sightsee, it is a must to bring money with you. If you already have a predetermined amount of items that you want to buy, then you can just bring an exact amount. Make sure to plan well which authors or circles you want to concentrate on buying. Have a shopping list if possible. And take note that you will have to pay in cash. It is no surprise that given Comiket’s growing authors and circles, there will be a lot of things that you would want to buy. So better save up for it now.
2. Secure your Comic Market Catalog
You can visit the online site of Comiket to check if the catalog for the event that you will be attending is already available. Comiket.co.jp can provide you with the catalog and other important information that you may need. They have an English version that you can download as a PDF file. The catalog is divided into five major parts: basic information regarding Comiket, listings of all doujinshi circles attending, a list if the vendors in the corporate area, procedures on costuming, and other various articles. It also has a map of the convention with the booth arrangements and other facilities. Even if you download an English version of the catalog, it will just be the bare bone guide since most of the catalog is written in Japanese. If you have questions regarding the catalog, I suggest going to the Information Desk located in the convention center or you can ask a Japanese friend if you are going with one.
3. Go to the Big Sight convention center very, very, very early
This is no exaggeration. You definitely need to go to the Tokyo Big Sight convention center several hours earlier. Some of the die hard Comiket goers who have many years of experience even go there in the wee hours of the morning when the sky is still dark just to line up. You may be surprised by the number of people already waiting in line and how long the line is if you come in even just three hours before. That goes to show how enthusiastic the people that go to Comiket are.
4. Bring a suit case or a big bag
When you are going around the convention center buying stuff, you will need something to put them in. It is advisable to bring a big bag or a suit case with rollers so you can easily store them.
5. Bring food and drinks
There will be convenience stores that offer food and drinks. But given the large crowd and the long lines in the convention center, it will be very convenient if you have food and drinks in your bag. You can have water, coffee or Pocari to keep your energy up. And try to drink once every thirty minutes if possible. That is also one other reason why you need a big bag. Aside from food, you will be storing the items you will buy there.
6. Don’t just buy one copy
This is the ultimate rule of every otaku. Any collector will readily buy more than one copy. There are those who buy three or four copies of one item. Any otaku or collector will agree that one is for reading purposes, one for display and one for backup or storage (same goes for the fourth one). Konata Koizumi in the Lucky Star anime has demonstrated this as well.
7. Buy the items on top of your shopping list first
If you want to make sure that you will get all of the items that you want, you need to buy all of them in the morning. The premium goods usually sell out before noon so you need to watch out.
8. Expect long lines
Comiket is a massive event. Starting from the customer lines outside just before Big Sight convention center opens to the lines at the booths, food stalls and toilets, you can expect them to be long ones. You would really need to wait for your turn. So patience is definitely a must.
9. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes
You will be on your feet most of the time during Comiket. Wear comfortable clothes. Wear light clothes in the summer and wear thick clothes in the winter. I recommend wearing sneakers or any good pair of shoes you will be comfortable walking in for an entire day. There are those that choose to cosplay while attending Comiket. It’s considered as a manga festival after all. You can also cosplay depending on your preference. But still make sure that what you wear will be comfortable.
So now we have the basics of the guide to Comiket. If you follow these simple instructions, it is guaranteed that you will have a great experience in this festival! See you at Comiket! Bye-bee!