Oh gawd it is SO. GOOD. TO. BE. BACK. Japan opened its borders (properly) to tourists on 11th October 2022, and that meant that foreigners (living overseas) can participate in Comiket again! The Comiket Preparation Committee even made arrangements to allow foreigners to buy tickets to attend! That’s really a big thing because the pandemic still isn’t over (not in the eyes of the officials at least), and hence there are still quite a number of restrictions for events, including needing to limit the number of participants and perform contact tracing. This is why Comiket is currently ticketed, and just limited to just 90,000 participants a day (though up from 55k for C99 and 85k for C100). These easily sell out at that kind of numbers! Remember, before the pandemic, we’re looking at 160,000 – 210,000 per day! So a big kudos to the Comiket Preparation Committee for setting aside some numbers and making payment arrangements to allow purchases from abroad!

I really missed this opening scene so much!

Comiket has not been an exception to being affected by the pandemic though, and so we had only 2 days of Winter Comiket again this time. That meant only 20,000 circles again (this was the same for C99 & C100). But let’s go over the rankings as usual! It’s interestingly seen quite a bit of changes since it’s been some time since the last one I covered which was C97 back in 2019. Lots of series have aired, and thanks to the pandemic, Vtubers (which were already on a heated uptrend since C95) have had another explosion! It’s thus no surprise that in top spot, it’s Vtubers by quite a large margin, with the ever strong iDOLM@STER successfully defending its second spot once again. TYPE-MOON (Fate basically) has fallen to third place and is just only managing to keep ahead of ウマ娘 (Umamusume) in fourth who has entered the race very strongly fueled by Japan’s strong horse racing (and betting!) culture. Fifth and Sixth spots go to 艦これ (Kancolle) and 東方 (Touhou) who are also very close to each other.

Now before even the start of Comiket, we had something pretty funny happening. You all are likely familiar with Bocchi the Rock! right? It gained an incredible amount of popularity over the year. はまじあき (Hamajiaki), her author (who actually modelled Goto’s character after herself), had a booth at Comiket selling doujins as any normal author would, and it was not even Bocchi the Rock! related! However… fans being fans would very likely naturally swarm her booth, not to mention that her being at Comiket was already attracting alot of buzz online.

The booth layout for Comiket is decided quite ahead of time, and so they had already allocated はまじあき (Hamajiaki) sensei an island booth since her works typically don’t attract that much attention. So now what? Well… they decided, at the last minute, to shift her out of the hall to beside the big famous shutter booths so that her queue would have more space. It was a great call I’d say, but it led to this joke…

Tweeted by none other than our NTP author Haruta!

Basically, by moving out to its own spot far from the others, はまじあき (Hamajiaki) sensei’s circle has now really become a bocchi (loner) circle in reality! Big KUSA. That tweet attracted a storm of retweets and likes immediately and in such large numbers that Haruta had to mute it, otherwise it was disturbing our raid squad activities ww.

UPDATE: It turns out that はまじあき (Hamajiaki) sensei wasn’t fond of that joke despite it being well received by the community. Her manager contacted Haruta to complain that sensei was “facing distress” over that particular tweet because she was shown in it (though she isn’t as you can see from the pictures), and asked for it to be removed, so unfortunately, that tweet is no longer available, and I’ve replaced it with the screenshot above.

But on the commercial booth side, Vtubers have also seen a surge! We have the usual ones like Hololive (though this time they had a nice fancy screen at the back screening stuff), but also those I haven’t seen before.

Footage of 星街すいせい (Hoshimachi Suisei) performance in Midnight Grand Orchestra
Footage of 星街すいせい (Hoshimachi Suisei) performance in Midnight Grand Orchestra. (The guy raising his hand wasn’t waving at me. He’s part of a line passing through, as this is the practice at Comiket.)
ぶいすぽっ!(VSPO!) A Virtual eSports project that brings together members who are very serious about gaming, aiming to promote eSports through vtubing activities.
ハコネクト (Haconect) is a vtuber management agency set up in 2021, and have had a number of auditions for people to join as vtubers.
You can play じゃんけん (janken) (i.e. scissors-paper-stone) with iChica from Vvland Production! iChica is actually live (you can see the webcam attached to the top of the TV), and is slated to debut in early spring 2023!

But although I say there was a surge in vtuber booths, not to worry, Comiket isn’t being overrun by them lol. We also had other popular booths for popular stuff like Aniplex featuring Bocchi the Rock!, Nikke, and the upcoming anime おにまい (onimai)!

Bocchi the Rock! キターン (kitaaaaan!) Sometimes it really do feel like that
A gorgeous live sized figure of ラピ (Rapi) at the Nikke booth
おにまい (onimai), which is short for おにいちゃんはおしまい!(Onii-chan wa Oshimai!) meaning, “Big brother is no more!” has a very cute plot premise of an older brother being turned into a girl by his younger prodigy scientist sister in one of her experiments. No, there’s no reversal, and now he has to live as a girl.

おにまい (onimai) is by author ねことうふ (nekotoufu) who runs the circle GRINP whom I used to frequent at Comiket, and he used to do a number of doujins on iM@S Cinderella Girls until this series took off! Now he no longer booths unfortunately, but hey, it’s a nice growth journey! I still remember when おにまい was only being sold at とらのあな (toranoana).

Kyoani did a pretty big booth this year putting up that big screen to feature their works such as 響け!ユーフォニアム (Hibike! Euphonium), Free!, etc. They also had a gallery on the side featuring Violet Evergarden!

This small gallery attracted a significant queue at one point of the day!

But let’s go back to the doujin side of the house! Anything unusual this year? Certainly! (as always!) Just need to look around a bit and…

Such an interesting intricate mechanical piece!
And there’s a whole load of them!

These intricate mechanical pieces certainly caught my attention immediately! They are designed by an artist by the name of Takorasu. He graduated from design school and wanted put forth the idea of a analogue type of mechanical fantasy world which he calls “Takorasu Steam World”. All the designs and concepts of these artworks and crafts are done by him.

The artist himself! Here’s his Twitter!

Takorasu is actually not new to Comiket, having been a regular since Comiket 82 (2012), and he has been exhibiting his works at other conventions for many years (since 2004). Comiket’s really big though, so I hope he’ll excuse me for not noticing his booth even though I’ve been here many times!

I’ve covered Camelia and Confetto‘s booths before (in C91) but I didn’t take a photo of the artists Camelia himself, and ななひら (Nanahira) the vocalist, so I thought I’d do it this time, since both were present at the booths. Camelia does awesome electronic music on his own, but together with ななひら (Nanahira), they put out 電波系 (denpa) / 萌えソング (moe-song) genre type music.

Camelia is an awesome composer in the electronic music genre. My most favourites though are the ones he does for ななひら (nanahira) who does the vocals.

ななひら (Nanahira) prefers not to have photographs taken of her though, so even though she was there, I didn’t take a photo of her.

Now, let’s have a look at some cosplays! Remember I was saying that ウマ娘 (Umamusume) was a new genre entry into the circles and already came in 4th? So there were also a number of cosplayers!

@satuki_mei_nyan came all the way from the Aichi prefecture as the very bright and cheerful Copano Rickey!
Vodka and Daiwa Scarlet from ウマ娘 (Umamusume). Yes, these two must always be a pair, and yes, the cosplayers are friends too! Here’s @zoku_v‘s (Daiwa Scarlet) Twitter.

In spring last year, a pretty popular anime with a very catchy (remixed) song of its OP aired… That’s パリピ孔明 (Paripi Koumei) ! If you haven’t watched it, I’d strongly recommend. Quite an unusual anime, but one that is very entertaining in its use of historical tactics and strategy as you know 孔明 (Kongming) was well known for.

英子 (Eiko) @_pure_milky_ and 孔明 (Koumei / Kongming) from パリピ孔明 (Paripi Koumei).

Spy x Family is also very popular both in and out of Japan. Having just finished airing, there were of course also a number of cosplayers. I’m sure you’ve probably seen pictures of a horde of Anyas before (草). So, I give you… Yor!

Yor Forger by @Ponpon_zhang / zhangponpon(insta) who came all the way from China! Her sharp features make her very suited for a menacing Yor in assassin mode!

And speaking of Spy x Family, while I was looking around, I came across the Comiket volunteers section:

“Anya wants family(staff)! That’s why become one!” We are recuriting staff. Details in East Hall 6.

As you know, Comiket is powered by volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure that things run smoothly. An event which attracts 150,000 people per day (pre-pandemic) is certainly not easy to manage and run. Yet, like a well-oiled machine it is, Comiket every year progresses without a hitch. Really, take a leaf from these guys on how to manage crowds and flows in a large convention. And the volunteers, as the designation suggests, don’t get paid (except for a free catalogue, armband, hat, and meals). You can always apply if you’re living there!

Comiket is made by its people, and it’s very heartening to see that it’s recovering, since C100. I certainly hope to see that the next one will be even better, and it should eventually get back to pre-pandemic crowd levels.

Looks like I won’t ever get to see the 現実 (reality) sign at the end of the last day. It appears that it doesn’t come regularly ww. Oh well, hopefully it’ll appear at the end of this year!


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