How to Navigate Comiket

Step 1: Coincidentally walk through Akihabara two weeks before Comiket

Not only will this remind you that Comiket exists, it’ll give you an opportunity to buy the Comiket catalog, which is essential if your goal isn’t to wander around cluelessly.

Step 2: Book the cheapest hostel/capsule hotel still available

Nothing remotely close to Tokyo Big Sight will be available two weeks before Comiket, but you should be able to find a place in the ballpark of 3000 yen/night within an hour’s travel. For instance, you may find a cozy hostel out in the Sumo district.

These guys aren’t thrilled about the 50 minute train ride either

Step 3: Get your bearings during Gay Day

Of the three days at Comiket, one has about 90% yaoi, whereas the other two days only have about 80% yaoi. If Gay Day is the first day, it’s a great chance to just walk around and get a feel for the event without having to worry about rushing/buying/planning. (Note: This doesn’t apply if you’re into yaoi, in which case you won’t have a moment’s rest.)

Step 4: Don’t go up the inverted pyramid tower

Anime lied to you. Nothing happens up that tower. All the booths are in the two gigantic warehouses on the East and West sides of the tower.

Step 5: Go back to your hostel and search the catalog

After realizing it’s physically impossible to check out every booth in person, you’ll want to load up your DVD catalog, desperately plug the Japanese title of every anime you’ve seen into the search feature, and scribble down whatever results pop up.

Step 6: Arrive late

Aside from a handful of super hyped and likely pedophilic doujins, next to nothing will be sold out by midday. You may as well wake up late and grab some lunch instead of waiting on line like a sucker.

Step 7: Buy a bag

Sure, you can bring your own backpack, if you want everyone to think you’re a loser. If you want street cred, you need a flashy bag with some anime chick on the cover. You can be ultra cool and get one in advance, or you can buy a fairly big one at the con for only 300 yen.

Step 8: Prioritize doujins over cosplay

Unless you’re a cosplayer or a pervert with a huge, expensive camera, you’ll want to spend relatively little time in the designated cosplay zone. Don’t get met wrong; it’s definitely worth 15 minutes when you arrive, when you leave, and when you’re making your way between the East and West halls, but that’s pretty much it.

First of all, the cosplay zone is disproportionately small and unorganized. It’s a pain in the ass to push your way through the mob to get to any particular spot, let alone hold your ground for more than a few seconds without being pushed elsewhere. You also have no idea when the cosplayers are going to come and go, so waiting around is a complete waste of time.

Second of all, despite what you may have heard on the internet, there’s plenty of great cosplay to be seen outside the designated cosplay zone. The cosplay zone is just the only place you can take pictures. If you’re willing to let the pros fight through the crowd so they can take higher quality pictures and photoshop them to perfection, there’s no need to take any yourself.

Third of all, the top tier of Japanese cosplay really isn’t any better than the top tier in America. The major difference between Japan and America is everything below the top tier. If the median American cosplay is a 5, the median Japanese cosplay is an 8. Once you get to the 10’s however, I’d call it a draw, with America having the advantage in models (due to physical diversity) and Japan having the advantage in makeup (to compensate for their lack of physical diversity).

Step 9: Find and buy stuff you didn’t see in the catalog

Didn’t see all that Aria, couldn’t have been only one Esdeath

Upon checking out the booths with your shopping list in hand, you’ll quickly realize that:

  • The search feature in the DVD catalog sucks
  • You’re better off going through the whole catalog page by page
  • There’s little advantage to the DVD catalog over the paper one

Step 10: Find and don’t buy stuff you saw in the catalog

You’ll also come across stuff you found in the catalog but didn’t live up to your expectations, like that Wizard Barristers booth selling 2500 yen official artbooks instead of 500 yen doujins about Moyo’s ass.

Step 11: Go back to your hostel and scour each page of the catalog

After realizing the DVD catalog search feature is full of lies, you’ll want to spend approximately two hours looking through literally ever page of the final day’s section of the catalog.

Step 12: Spend all day searching for a Mexican restaurant

On the final day of Comiket, it’s imperative that you spend two hours trying to find a Mexican restaurant no matter how much Google Maps and Tripadvisor try to screw you over. Instead of arriving at Comiket at 12PM, you’ll get there are 2PM. It won’t make a difference.

Step 13: Get molested on a train

If you leave Comiket around closing time on a mode of public transportation, you will get molested, intentionally or otherwise.

Step 14: Learn to read Japanese

Knowing Japanese, the official language of Japan, would be pretty handy if you intend to read any of the shit you bought.

11 Replies to “How to Navigate Comiket”

  1. That looks like some exceedingly poorly drawn Esdeath. Is that a deviantArt printout?

    (Also, what the fuck is wrong with you, giving Terror a try but not Ping Pong)

    • Sadly, the only better Esdeath I found at Comiket wasn’t available for purchase. Also, as a fellow crappy sketch artist, I see this guy as an inspiration. I plan to make this one the first I read. Then I’ll decide once and for all whether it’s truly bad or so bad it’s good.

      I’ve heard enough good things about Ping Pong that I’ll surely watch it in 3-5 months. Terror was a friend’s idea. He kept pestering me to watch an anime marathon with him, and I finally caved in. Terror had high enough ratings and a low enough episode count that I assented. Wasn’t as good as the ratings but was good enough. I’ll get into the specifics later. Final Grade: +

    • I don’t know what you’re talking about. This post has nothing to do with me personally. It’s simply an objective, all-purpose, informative guide written solely for the benefit and education of future Comiket-goers.

  2. Was Wizard Barristers any good? I always check the first two episodes of every single anime airing, but I don’t remember anything about it. First episode is the episode where they introduce the story, setting and characters so you can’t really drop anything after watching the first episode. At least thats what I think.

    And japanese cosplayers are always better than americans. Don’t show me pictures. Let me dream!

      • Didn’t it kinda bother you how completely un-law-like the ‘law’ was in wizard barristers? I mean I’m no lawyer (my wife is and she watched the first few eps with me purely for the cute things, before we both decided the show sucked) but I’ve seen enough lawyer j-drama to say that this fell fairly low even by that standard!

    • Wizard Barristers was a mess of an anime. I’ve gone on more than enough rants about the show to my friends and on a previous posting about that anime, so I will leave it at that. It goes way, way down hill. Despite what Baka may tell you, Moyo’s ass isn’t anywhere NEAR fabulous enough to make up the series. I would however purchase a doujin on that topic. I guess the inverted pyramid building looks more aesthetically pleasing to hold an event than ‘Warehouse Building A’, so I assume that’why anime shows place it there. What happens in that building anyway? Maybe the true comiket happens there. I don’t follow cosplay too much so I’ll take your word on it. I had a brief fascination with Jessica Nigri for about a week a few years back, but I don’t pay much attention to it outside of a few pictures that people happen to post on their blogs.

      • Through the pyramid windows, I sorta made out a few shady figures observing comiket-goers from on high. All that doujin circle lottery bribe money must’ve paid for their wine and cigars.

        I’ve never followed any specific cosplayers myself, but thank you for exposing me to Jessica Nigri’s contributions to the cause of nonpedophilia.

    • Didn’t know about the online features until the DVD catalog forced me to create an online account in addition to typing in an activation key. Didn’t see the map feature until just now, but I gotta agree, it’s pretty nifty.

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