Or as one of the circle cuts put it, “doesn’t it feel like we were just here?” 85. Comitia opened its doors this time around just one week after C74, on the upper level of Big Sight, so basically it was just a big ol’ PTSD-inducing funfest for me. I decided I’d only get there an hour early and brave out the line, and pick out whatever circles I wanted to hit up on the trip to the event. Actually, I had already decided on one circle to visit. In fact, the main reason I was making the trek out to Odaiba yet again was primarily to pick up huke’s Black Rock Shooter Visual Works, which apparently sold out in a matter of minutes at c74.
Some people (especially those who have read about the event elsewhere) may realize that this is a really rotten reason to go to Comitia, since the point of the event is that it’s all original (as opposed to parody/derivative) comics, and you’d have a very tough time convincing me that the girl in the BRS video is not Hatsune Miku. Anyway, I got to Big Sight a little less than an hour before doors and was greeted by big signs for… the JAPAN HAM FAIR 2008. I was actually more excited at the prospect of an all-you-can-ham lunch than buying some comic books, but quickly realized that the event was not about the delicious kind of ham, but rather about the “60 year old nerds fiddling with radios walking around aimlessly” kind of ham. This was a fairly disappointing turn of events, but I did not let that deter me.
I got up to the top floor where all the folks with dollies of boxes of comics were going, and suddenly realized that the line that I had planned on sitting in didn’t actually exist in any form beyond “a small handful of folks playing ds on the benches outside the halls.” Turns out that the trend of original works tending towards higher quality but lower sales continues in this case as well! A modest line formed without me noticing, a whopping 100 people or so, and I made my way in and realized that there were already multiple thousand people inside buying things. (circle tickets!! :argh:) Compared to basically any other doujin event I have been to, the feeling of the place was incredibly laid-back. No shoving, no running, no screams of pain. I spent a good hour or so just browsing, especially around the area that huke was located, since that was more illustration gallery-style doujins, since I don’t trust doujin narratives.
Ended up with a very modest haul, especially since I skipped out on Range Murata’s offerings. BRS Visual Works is every bit as excellent as I hoped it would be, and moe zombie/amputee gag manga is always an added bonus. Interestingly enough, Pop Japan Travel had a presence there in the form of an industry booth, and I believe they had also unleashed one of their very well-mannered tours onto the convention. I have to say that they are definitely doing the smart thing taking a tour to Comitia over Comiket, since doing otherwise would seem akin to dropping a group of tourists interested in Korea into Pyongyang. I tried to make small talk to them while frantically looking for the best oel manga but unfortunately I did not see it for sale at the table.
All in all, Comitia was a very enjoyable event, and I’m definitely going back if I’m in the area, though I can’t say I’ll be making any comiket-style pilgrimages there. It’s probably also a great event to show to friends what a doujin convention is like, since that way they won’t think that you’re insane.