So it was a clusterfuck of people, lines, doujin, and just all around amazing.
as always, all the pictures can be found at my Photobucket
Exiting the train station in front of Tokyo Big Sight. You can sort of see the lines of people. Which stretched on /forever/.
To give you a sense of just how many people we were in line with, here are a few videos.
Once we finally got inside, pictures were sort of very much prohibited, because taking pictures of cosplayers outside of the designated "Camera OK" areas, and even then, without asking first, is very much a no-no. Melissa told us a story of her friend who was taking a picture of the building, and a cosplayer thought it was of her, so started pitching a fit, and dragged him all the way to security, all the while he was protesting that it was just a picture of a building. (They let him go, as when he showed it to them, it was, in fact, a picture of a building. But still.) But it was a huge mass of people like nothing I'd ever experienced. The A tables, along the perimeter of the hall, had lines stretching either through the halls, and in most cases, extending outside to reduce clutter inside the halls. We hit up quite a few A tables, so we got a lot of those lines, which were amazingly well organized, without needing much staff intervention beyond turning people around corners or moving them across aisles (which happened frequently). The inside tables often didn't have lines beyond 2 or 3 people, so we decided to go and visit them later, once we'd eaten lunch and changed into cosplay.
I hit up quite a few tables (manna, Receipt, Omega-2D, Inugata Summit, Hakka Pink, 8Go!, and hoshitamago), and ending up with a large stack of doujin, two bags, a pair of chopsticks , and bunch of flyers for events going on later in 2010. My bag much heavier, Aubrey and I met up with Hosh and Melissa and we headed for the cosplay dressing rooms.
The only picture I got inside, and that's because it's of a vending machine, which was tucked in a corridor with coin lockers, not a cosplayer in sight. Comiket has their own peach tea. It was actually quite delicious!
Cosplaying at Comiket is like nothing I've ever done before. For one, as cosplaying really isn't accepted outside of the anime culture (not that is really is in America, but people tend to not give a shit whether or not people will glare at them), you CANNOT come to or leave the building in cosplay. Trying to find our way to one of the cosplay areas, we accidentally went out the exit, and this poor staffer chased us down, apologized profusely, and told us we couldn't be there in cosplay. We apologized, asked directions, and made a note never to make a move towards the door. We also then made it a note to look around for other cosplayers whenever we were headed in a certain direction.
Since you can't come in cosplay, and changing in the bathroom is greatly frowned upon, there are dressing rooms for cosplayers. The dressing rooms are basically a large room with carpeting, split up into sections with aisles down them. You pay your 800 yen, get a booklet with the rules and a map, and find a space of carpet in which to dress. Thank god for swim team and years of dance destroying any sense of modesty I had towards changing in front of people. (I forgot my sports bra, so had to bind from skin up, so ended up flashing a ton of people orz;;) At every point where you either enter or exit a cosplayer-related area, you have to show your booklet to prove that you paid your registration fee. According to Hosh, we had a ton of people staring at us while we changed, which if I'd known, probably would've made me duck more than i already was, trying to flash a few people as possible.
So we pay our fee, get dressed with minimal incident (next to a Gauche and Lag pair that I'm sure I thought was a creeper because I kept staring at them [this is what I mean by seeing lovely cosplayers and not being able to take pictures *sob*], as well as an adorable Finland and Sweden), head out, get lost, and find the second cosplay area, which was a parking lot transformed into a pen of cosplayers. Some cosplayers set up camp around the perimeter, and others set up in the center. Photographers and less-stopped cosplayers wandered around where they could find space. We stopped in a blank spot, scarfed down lunch, and before I could finish, were asked for a picture. (there exist at least three people with pictures of me with my mouth full because no one would let me finish chewing, orz;;)
I only got a few pictures of cosplayers, even though I saw so many excellent ones that I wish I could've, due to the way cosplay and cosplay photography is in Japan. Aka there are specified areas where taking photos is okay, and that is all you do in that area, is take pictures and have pictures taken. Sadly, it means that any cosplayers you see out in the halls, but don't see in the cosplay areas (there were at least three), you couldn't take a picture of.
We wandered a bit, until we found more of a place to camp after being stopped a lot. It seemed to be that once one person stopped and talked to us in Japanese and other people realized it was okay to ask and talk to us in Japanese, we got a ton of people crowding around us, omg. We have a few pictures with Japanese cosplayers, who /flipped/ when we asked if it was okay, and were all "i-is it really alright?!?"
SO MANY HETALIA COSPLAYERS. Also, relating to the last photo, I ran over because I was all "FRILLY BADFRIENDS OMG", got there, we screamed, they screamed, they flailed wildly for us to join them. Then we all screamed. Much jumping up and down was involved after the final picture was taken.
Shortly after this, we ended up wanting to go visit the inside tables, only to realize people were starting to pack up. We rush frantically around the Tales of and SMT sections as people close up, and rush back to the cosplay dressing room before heading back to the halls on the other side of Big Sight. Sadly, by the time we got there, about 80% of the sellers were gone. So we decide to head home.
It is no secret that I /love/ signs in Japan.
Hosh woke up not feeling well, so stayed behind, so Aubrey, Melissa, and I went on our own, much later, so we only caught the tail end of the line (aka 10 minutes of standing around instead of over an hour), which was still a never-ending stream of people. See videos.
We headed up to the merchant's booths, which reminded me so much more of cons in the US. One thing I didn't mention before was that it was amazing how quiet Comiket is. With the amount of people, you'd expect a much higher noise level. But if we'd gotten separated, one of us could've shouted across the hall at the others, and we would've heard them, no problem. The merchant's room was much more familiar, with a much higher noise level, loud music, people pushing and shoving, and men's B.O. We stopped by the Frontier Works booth, admired the GIGANTIC Prussia poster for the movie, and picked up phone straps that contained tickets to the Hetalia movie. We also found a wig stall that had gorgeous wigs on sale. alkseralskdfulkj. We stood there for a good ten minutes, just petting wigs. mmmmm delicious thick Japanese wigs without the shipping.
Then we headed downstairs, I found naked ape's booth, bounced up and down while I was in line GOT THEM TO SIGN THE DOUJIN I BOUGHT, and generally just floated off with everyone to the cosplay dressing room. Day 2 was the Shounen Jump series, Vocaloid, Umineko, and Tohou day, along with people's original wares, which led to a very different dynamic to the dressing room.
However, out in the cosplay pen, it was no different. We were still stared at in amazement, approached nervously, and there was still much jumping up and down. We actually did make it over to the grassy cosplay area, but it was even more packed than the cosplay pen in the back, and was much more people trying to walk through than cosplayers we could take pictures of. We did, however find WASHINGTON-SAMA. (Melissa has the picture, which I will retrieve for here later) As well as Prussian soldiers.
I did manage to get pictures of some cosplayers while we were in the grassy area, though! (It was /incredibly/ crowded; we got yelled at at least twice by staffers [one girl (Seiju cosplayer) and I formed a sort of lookout system for them, where we pretended not to be taking pictures when they were coming by] to clear the path, which was short of impossible)
Then we hit up some of the tables in the middle, as we realized from yesterday that the cosplay dressing rooms and areas were open later than the sellers would be there. Yay priorities! :D Then we headed out to the pen. No less crowded than yesterday, but definitely a different dynamic.
The different dynamic didn't meant we didn't get noticed, however.
holy shit, remind me to never take a picture next to a Japanese cosplayer. at least, not before losing about 50 pounds and two inches of height.
oh man, this guy was so funny. He asked to take a picture with us, and then his friend was all "ME TOO, ONEGAI!"
OH. MY. GOD. the /cutest/ Latvia. She reminded me a lot of chiretto; adorable as anything, but with a lot of personality and so much fun to talk to.
I LOVED THESE TWO. The Kinose cosplayer was one of the only S*S cosplayers I saw outside of the hall or dressing room, and I thought I wouldn't be able to ask her for a picture, because we were posing at the time when she walked past. Thankfully, she asked for a picture of us, so I was able to blurt out that I wanted a picture of her, and then whirled around on the Souji cosplayer who walked past too. After she got my picture, I got their pictures, and we got into a conversation about different things, once I mentioned that I loved Persona 4 and Starry*Sky (they were really surprised, which surprised me, especially for P4. Thankfully, I didn't mention that I also cosplayed P4 and planned to cosplay S*S). We talked about video games, our majors, where I was going to be studying, and different cosplay and doujin events that were coming up. It was so much fun to talk to them, and I was surprised at how much I understood and was able to say back (my biggest weakness with Japanese is forming sentences, even worse than my kanji skills, orz;;)
We ended up staying a lot longer in the pen, mostly due to finding the clump of Hetalia cosplayers and then not being able to move for an exceedingly long time (thank got it was Japan, otherwise our stuff would've been long gone, since Tama, Melissa's boyfriend, and our semi-translator, was taking pictures for us).
All in all, a fantastic time, an experience like nothing I'd ever done before, and FFFFFF I WANNA GO BACK. This time with business cards, better binding, and more confidence.
Bye-bye, Comiket 77! ♥♥