After a relaxing day of cosplay photography came the main event of the trip: Comiket 86 Day 3: doujinshis, doujinshis, doujinshis!
Unlike in day 1 and 2 where we only got a small glimpse of the fight, day 3 was going to be a battlefield. A true test of strategy and preparation. The real deal. Prior to the trip, we (well, mostly me) had spent countless hours at night drawing up the battle plan and mapping out all the routes. Day 1’s shopping list consisted of 9 circles (all in East Hall 123 and 456) and 5 industry booths, while Day 2’s shopping list consisted of only 8 circles (all in East Hall 456). Day 3’s shopping list, however, consisted of a whooping total of 91 circles, spanning both halves of East Hall as well as West Hall. Of those 91 circles, 23 of them were outer circles (circles on the perimeter of the convention rooms), meaning there’d be a 90% chance that they require lining up for and often run out of exclusives early. With the help of the official Comiket Web Catalog website (and a premium account which costed only 500 yen), we printed out copies of the layout map with marked circles and divided up the shopping lists. It was also pretty fun learning about other people’s tastes, or at least explaining mine, but that’s a different story ;3
The actual circle rush was just as intense as Lucky Star made it out to be. Tsukikira, sorrowmoon and I would quickly raid the West Hall (since that’s where all the TYPE-MOON circles were), then loop back to East Hall and start lining up in the outer circles. Of the other three, two would immediately start in the predicted longest lines (i.e. T2 Artworks, ReDrop, Hisasi, DaHootch, etc.) while one dedicated person (who was also a 3rd timer and most experienced) would scour all the inner circles and try to cover as much as possible. On each of our printed out maps were also short notes of what to get from each circle (e.g. stuff like “A/B/C: Everything”, “A: Everything, B/C: Latest only”, “B: Railgun doujinshi only”, “A: Check”, etc.) so we’d be able to keep track. There was also one central coordinator who kept track of which outer circles were covered and which was next to line up for (we used Facebook Messenger for this since we had data plans, but no texting plans). This turned out to work really well, as by the end of the day, we had covered roughly ~80% of the circles marked (including all the outer circles) and probably managed to complete ~60% of the shopping list (most of which were mine since I was the only one that did thorough C86 research). There were quite a few panic times (e.g. when my phone died and I had to pair up to avoid getting lost, and also when one of us ran out of money and we had to do a cross-hall transfer), but we managed, somehow. We only had roughly an hour of free browsing time when we finished all our routes before the convention closed, so I didn’t end up being able to visit most of my “If have time” or “Check” circles.
At CCC’s row of tables were a few other popular TYPE-MOON circles. Wasn’t planning on picking up UNIZO or SKUG’s works til later, but there was surprisingly no line at that time, so grabbed copies of their latest works. This, by the way turned out to be a pretty recurring trend and an important trick I learned for Comiket: If you see a circle with no line but it’s on your “to check out” list, go for it right there and then, because you might not end up getting the chance later to backtrack (or they might be sold out).
Taking a few area shots of the West Hall while I waited in line. You’ll notice that it isn’t all that jammed pack at the moment. This is because almost everyone is currently flooding the circles in East Hall (West Hall gets flooded too afterwards once the East Hall rush has died down). That and C86 was in an awkward time between the Fate/Zero anime having finished 2 Comikets ago and the Fate/stay night anime having not yet aired, so TYPE-MOON wasn’t exactly in the spotlight at that time.
After a quick sweep of West Hall (in which I impulse bought from a lot more TYPE-MOON circles than I even knew existed), we headed over to East Hall to start with lining up on the outer circles. Between this time all the way to the end of the con was a complete blur in my memory. So much lining up, so much running back-forth. No time to think, no time to rest, and no time to take pictures. All my camera had to show for the rest of the day were these two pictures of the end-of-line/works-for-sale sign for the TwinBox line (one of the many outer circle lines that I waited out).
And it’s loot pics time! Being my first Comiket, I bought tons more than I would have ever thought I’d get half a year ago, easily double/tripling my collection in one go. I didn’t get everything that I wanted of course, but I also picked up a lot of impulse buys. Pretty much half TYPE-MOON and half random other stuff. 18+ material in spoilers of course.
TYPE-MOON doujinshis from Crazy Clover Club, NEKOTAWAWA, Cross Clover. Of note was also the “上弦之月” doujin novel + sketches from first-time circle 玻璃之月 (月姫れんげ) featuring beautiful artwork of Arcueid and probably an equally beautiful story if I could read Japanese. Also of significance was the one-off collaboration doujinshi “月姫これくしょん (Tsukihime Collection)”, put together by circle Dis-Code and featuring new Tsukihime artwork from various different contributing artists. Was beautiful seeing Tsukihime still holding its ground at a convention full of doujin works of KanColle, Idolmaster, Touhou, and latest-animes-of-the-previous-season.
Some 18+ TYPE-MOON doujinshis. Dat PLANT doujinshi featuring Arcueid, I wish I could have bought like 1000 copies just to thank the artist :3 Apparently they’ve released two more Tsukihime doujinshis since, so definitely have to get copies of those.
Special loot from the outer circles. The special thing that makes buying doujinshis from Comiket directly instead of through commercial retailers is the chance of getting exclusive extras, such as autograph boards, artworked folder files, artworked fans, artworked loot bags, etc. You can sometimes get them after Comiket through second hand channels, but often at a drastic markup (e.g. a full T2 Artworks Comiket set easily fetches 10k+ yen on Mandarake). Not to mention, by buying at Comiket, you are putting money directly in the circles’ pockets as well as have the chance of picking up works from smaller circles that don’t have the fanbase/capital to strike deals with Comic Toranoana/Melonbooks/etc.
Here’s the full set of Tony Taka (T2 Artworks) loot for C86. Loot bag, autograph board, fan, folder file, post card, and of course the artbook (which contained absolutely nothing new from what I could tell). Think they also had some dakimakuras for sale but I passed on that.
Almost full set from TwinBox. They sold out of one older SAO doujinshi as well as the omake.
Bunch of stuff from little known doujin circle Dead Angle, the circle known to draw in almost-perfect Tony Taka style, but does doujin works. There was a really nice dakimakura of Bismarck, but I resisted.
Bunch of random stuff from Digital Lover. They weren’t too high on my list so by the time I got around to them in the end, the main SAO doujinshi was gone, but somehow there were still copies of the omake and folder file left.
And the final mix-match of random stuff, half of which was planned, other half of which was “oh, look there’s no line and it’s only a few hundred yen, why not” (for example, the random “THE KURONEKO MANIACS!!!!!!!” artbook that was literally only 150 yen). The “白狐の杜総集編其の弐” Omnibus Vol 2 from BadHanD was a pleasant surprise as I didn’t know at all what he was planning on selling (like most lazy circles, he didn’t list their Comiket goods online til the night before).
And that was it for the three days of Comiket! It was a totally exhausting experience (both physically and mentally), but I found it quite unique and definitely something I’d like to try again in the future (but not alone, definitely not alone with huge crowds like those!) Unfortunately there was still quite a lot on my shopping list that I missed out – was especially sad to not have found that WhiteWing sake magazine circle, as well as discover that not only was the little known Touhou circle Little Hamlet at C86, but all their doujinshis are Comiket exclusive so I’d have to wait on and hunt Mandarake/Suruga-ya later. For the larger circles that I missed out on, the majority ended up getting covered by the subsequent visits to Comic Toranoana/Melonbooks/Comic Zin all over Tokyo in the following rest of the week. Starting of course with the obligatory trip(s) to Akihabara, the next in my series of (much delayed) Japan trip 2014 blog posts.