August 11 marked the second time I participated in the holiest ritual of the otaku, the Comic Market. Having been granted permission to take Friday off, I went to the largest doujinshi convention in the world three days straight, fought the most ginormous crowd I’ve seen in my life, and threw away 1/3 of my salary like it was nothing. And, here, my fellow otaku, is a part of my life I want to share with you guys.
A sight not a morning person would normally see.
I woke up 4AM after 4 hours of half-sleep. Quickly dressing myself up, I departed my dormitory to catch the first train at 5:16AM at the local station. My destination for that day was Yurikamome line’s Shimbashi station, at which I would meet two of my friends, Rindi-chan and Louie, at 7AM. I arrived there at 6:22, but they, I guess, were less psyched than me about the event, so it was half past seven-ish before everyone got there. While waiting, I started playing with the prepaid cellphone I just got last Wednesday, and discovered that I can compose ringtones with it. Figuring out the interface and trying to compose Mighty Heart, the opening for Tsuyokiss the game, kept me occupied, so I had no complaints to tell my friends whatsoever.
We took the Yurikamome line to Kokusai Tenjijou-mae station, located right in front of Tokyo Big Sight, and reached there at about 8AM. The line was already long as we secured ourselves three spots at the end of it, sat down, and started to chat. During that the two hour’s waiting, I told Louie, who has not been there before, about what kinds of material he could find on Sunday, and about the fact that circles along the walls of higher quality. I also continued with composing Mighty Heart until I finished it. We started moving againt at 10AM., reached the entrance to the convention center at 10:37AM, and then went our separate ways to find doujinshis of our interests.
I started with the East Hall, trying to get the doujinshis I listed in the shopping list. To my delight, most circles on my shopping list do not have long lines, so I could buy their works without waiting. Some circles’ doujins do not match my expectation, and I ended up buying works of nearby circles that look better. After getting all the planned stuffs in East 1-3, I lined up for SWEET ROSE, aka Barasui of Ichigo Mashimaro‘s fame. After 30 minutes of waiting in a horrendously long line outside East 2, the line just started to move forward quickly back into the building and disintegrated, leaving a big question mark and a bigger WTF on my face. That must have meant that SWEET ROSE sold out their stuffs, and I missed one of the titles I wanted the most. T_T
I skimmed through East 4-6 in a short period of time, and was done with the East Hall at about noon. After that, I migrated to the West Hall in order to check the industry section and search for the alluring Fate Testarossa pillowcase. (I codenamed it “naishou-item” when talking about it with Rindi-chan: I just didn’t want her to know how much of a sukebe I am. In retrospective, I think I didn’t need to do that because she DID see some of my NSFW doujin collection anyways.) Since the item is exorbitantly priced, I thought that not many people would be crazy enough to buy it. But I was totally wrong: all items beside the new Nanoha music CDs were sold out. I couldn’t believe I underestimated the power of Japanese otakudom. Well, better luck tomorrow, or so I thought.
I went down from the industry section to West 1-2 to look for Tales of the Abyss and Suikoden V doujinshis. To my pleasant surprise, the sections for those two series are pretty large. I browsed the area carefully, skimmed doujins with pretty covers one by one, and weeded out those with shounen-ai/yaoi elements. In particular, I was looking for comics featuring Anise x Ion, Miakis, Lyon, Lymsleia, or Viki, but only one satisfactory Anise x Ion doujin was all I was able to find besides random all-character doujins. The question that came to my mind was that why there were no Suikoden doujins focused on girls even though there are gazillion hot chicks in the series. The lack of such works saddens a fanboy like me a lot.
After I was done with West Hall, I went back to East to check out random circles, and got myself some random books. By 3PM, I stopped shopping and waited for my friend at the International Desk. All of us gathered at around 3:45PM, and waited there not much longer before everything gave an applause signifying the end of the first day.
Before Comiket, Louie suggested that we go to a maid cafe somewhere in Akihabara after we’re done with it. Having not been to one despite proclaiming myself a full-fledge otaku, I immediately signed up for the trip. The place he chose is Hiyokoya, a maid cafe quite far removed from the Electric Town, and we were lost for about 30 minutes before getting there. Man, I was expecting an “Okaerinasai, gosyuujin-sama” from the attendant, but “Irrasyaimase” was all I heard. Actually, Hiyokoya seemed more like a restaurant with waitresses in maid costume rather than a maid cafe: it was very peaceful, quiet, and the customers are left alone to enjoy their meals in peace. Moreover, although I never have the guts and enough money to call a maid waitress to play games with me like what I saw in Densha Otoko, I would like to see the deed in action, but there was none to witness whatsoever. Maybe such a maid cafe is just an urban legend? Or did we go to a wrong place?
After we finished our dinner at Hiyokoya, I took Louie to Tora no Ana‘s used doujinshi section in order to show him some works of circles I was planning to buy from on Sunday in hope that I would interest him in those works, and he would be willing to help me wait in line. My evil scheme actually went pretty well as I got him interested in T2 Artwork, HEART WORK and JOKER TYPE, and Ryusuke Works. We agreed that I would like up for T2 Artwork on Sunday, and get stuffs from HEART WORK for him on Saturday, which he would be absent, and he would get doujins form JOKER TYPE and Ryusuke Works for me on Sunday. Next, we followed Rindi-chan, who seemed to be unable to stand our fanboyism to a nearby arcade for some rounds of Pop n’ Music, and said good bye for the day. I arrived home at around 11PM, allowed myself to enjoy the treasure I just got for an hour, and went to sleep, getting ready for more adventure the next day.
Total damage: 25,000 Yen.