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Neko Nyan Liberation

Serving up both kinds of moe

Straight from the near future

Chronicles of the Comiket Knight

Posted Jan 2, 04:44 PM by chiisai_nezumi to Conventions (コンベンション), Doujinshi (同人誌), Goodies (グッズ), Japan (日本), WTF (にゃんでやねん)

For some people, it takes over half a dozen tries to master Comiket. Others get it their second try. This is the tale of a mouse, a cold strategic mind, and an unholy mission that could only end badly.

Industry goods from C73

The Plan

Shingo over at Heisei Democracy has a very detailed writeup on how to plan for Comiket, so I won’t repeat that here. There are several hard-to-grok takeaways from the planning phase that I should emphasize though. First of all, Comiket is a battlefield of information. Sure there’s the whole physical running around and battling the crowds, but the winner is the person who has the most information – what exists, where it is, how to get it – all these things are things that have to be heavily researched and known by heart before Comiket. Any less and you won’t get most of what you’re going for. In fact, you won’t get ALL of what you’re looking for unless you’re only going for a handful of items – make your peace with this or you will spend valuable time trying to get something that you could not have gotten in the first place given the priority that you gave it on the list. That is a real killer at Comiket, where every second counts – wasting time on a circle that you want very badly but did not prioritize high enough (priorities have a cost – to get one thing you must give up another) means that not only do you fail to get that circle, but you must also lose another circle as well.

Easy to understand? Probably. Easy to grok? Hell no. Most people have an incredibly hard time discerning between what they WANT to be true and what IS true. They want to be able to have their cake and eat it too – but the reality is that you have to make calculated sacrifices at Comiket to walk away with most of what you want. So every time Comiket rolls around, people go off on suicide missions and return empty handed – only to have the next line they join dissolve while they are standing in it b/c they spent time going on a wild goose chase.

So here’s a quick list of things you be careful of:

First, you should NEVER spend time on things that can be gotten after Comiket. That’s right – no matter how badly you want it, if an item is available in stores for a reasonable price after Comiket, you should never waste your precious time on it.

Second, you should NEVER spend time on low-print run items, unless you’re willing to chase them at the very beginning, sacrificing other items. To give a real example, if you start out in East Hall, a 1000 print run of books in West Hall from a popular circle is a lost cause. Don’t make the mistake of lying to yourself and trying to get it. Just let it go, unless you’re willing to start in West Hall instead (and thus give up priority on the goodies in East Hall).

Third, as a soft guideline (circles all have their own individual quirks, and different circumstances will arise for each depending on the situation that it is in on Comiket), goods sets tend to run out around 11am – 1pm. Books from popular circles start running out at 1-3pm. Prioritize accordingly (and don’t be afraid to change your estimate based on more detailed information about a group).

Fourth, be sure to memorize legs of your path beforehand. All your time out of a line should be spent moving – consult your maps and make adjustments to your plans while standing in line for a booth.

Fifth, be sure to have contingency plans. Nothing will play out quite as you expect it to. You may end up entering the hall at a different location than you expected (that happened this year – the Comiket staff funneled East Hall through the central entrance straight down the middle and outside – meaning that most people started on the opposite side of the hall that they were expecting). Dozens of otaku were left bewildered and consulting their maps, as smarter otaku raced past them and snatched up goodies.

My plan this Comiket was very simple. I prioritized goods sets from smaller circles, figuring that goods sets from larger circles could be easily bought after Comiket (for a high price, yes … but still available, as opposed to some sets which are simple not available after Comiket for any price). This meant that I had to write off all of the shutter booths (the booths under the big doorways, which face outside and have 1-3 hour long lines), leaving them for last in case they had remaining stock. This meant also that I had to make a loop around the wall booths (the most popular booths after the shutters) and then row C, where the remaining popular booths were located. There was one booth out in the middle of all the rows that had a good set that I also wanted. I marked all these as first to visit, remembering that goods sets run out around noon, and then left the remaining circles (which were only selling books) for later. I also wrote off West Hall entirely – the time spent crossing plus the time spent in East Hall would mean that I would not be able to get anything I wanted in West Hall at all.


All in all, the plans I had only half worked, due to unpredictable events that occurred in the field and poor intelligence about circles. For one, the first and fourth goods-set circles I visited had very slow lines – the circle staff were not very well prepared or the people in line ahead of me took their sweet time browsing – and I ended up spending a lot more time than intended. As a rule, the first 40 minutes to an hour are critical – by 11am most everyone has gotten into Comiket (meaning that you will have to compete with a growing crowd). At around noon, people start to cross from East Hall to West Hall, and vice versa – making the passage impassable but also bringing in a fresh population of ravenous otaku. Because of this, some circles with sets that I had been planning to visit had huge lines – as soon as I saw them I wrote them off and left in search of things I could actually get at a reasonable opportunity cost. That’s right – don’t be afraid to give up something as lost – it will cost you more in the long run to not admit it than to just accept it and move on.

All in all I was well-rewarded for my efforts and my willingness to sacrifice items from one circle to get items from another. Chachingz!

The doujin that I bought for myself at Comiket 73 …

The doujin that I bought for friends – the stuff that was in pic 1 is not included this pic – note that I scored over 7 different goods sets

Comiket Day 4

Even after the battle royale at Big Sight, Comiket is not over. Day 4, a.k.a. the Raid on Akiba, is only just beginning. By the day after Comiket (and even during Comiket), a tremendous amount of Comiket books have made their way into doujin shops in Akiba. Count on spending all day in Akiba, battling crowds in Toranoana and Melonbooks to get everything you couldn’t get at Comiket (ideally, the list of books you chased in Comiket should be mutually exclusive from the list of books you find in the doujin shops on day 4 – you don’t want to waste time on items you can buy at your leisure afterwards).

Here’s the aftermath of day 4 – new doujin from C73 and old doujin included. Note the shutter sets mentioned earlier – these are often available at moderate price after Comiket from people who buy the sets at Comiket and then sell them back to doujin shops.

Comiket Day 4 – the raid on Akiba. This is everything I got (new and old) in the madhouse rush on Toranoana, Melonbooks, K-Books, and the various smaller doujin shops.

In my opinion, success depends on being ready, willing, and able to recognize the hard truth that conditions are just not right to get stuff from certain circles. That, along with intense research and planning, is the key to walking away from Comiket with a large amount of goods.

Good luck, and welcome to Comiket.


  1. Jan 2, 09:08 PM

    Adun Says:

    Information is definitely the key to success at Comiket. The first time I went, I simply just went around what I had marked, but at time I ended up walking back through there. I had no idea on what the popular circles were like so I skipped them, but as well I didn’t have enough information on them. So here’s hoping for a better run this year!

  2. Jan 2, 09:24 PM

    anonymous Says:

    So thats what half of a Japanese apartment looks like.

  3. Jan 3, 10:40 PM

    j-ro Says:

    Oh man, we’re gonna have to run info demos this summer. Get our stuff planned OUT :)

  4. Jan 6, 03:50 AM

    Scampi Says:

    Lucky!, you managed to get WNB Mark (Mako Tatekawa) complete set (especially 2 of them o_O), probably the only set I will never get my hands on. Anyways that’s a REALLY nice collection there.

  5. May 10, 04:45 PM

    nick Says:

    man can you sent me an e-mail i really want to talk with you!!
    my e-mail is
    i have to ask you somethinks!!!
    i am a biginer otaku and i really need you to contract me!!!

  6. Jul 30, 04:30 PM

    dan Says:

    Thanks for this – this is a great primer for me – we are going for the first time – and want to get the cool stuff. I really appreciate your view on this, helps us try to work it out, not only our first comiket, but only my second time in tokyo.

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