Cosplaying at Comiket
11:40:02 <@Ayu> furinkan: i need cosplay advice for c79 11:40:09 <@Ayu> i'm starting on it now 11:40:17 <@Ayu> i think am going to do the 'love is war' version of len 11:40:35 <@Ayu> hopefully it's not too cold, but i remember last time in the afternoons it felt warm enough 11:41:04 <@Ayu> but anyways, they have changing areas right 11:41:10 <@Ayu> and how complicated in the cosplayer check in 11:41:32 <@Ayu> and there was a lot of cosplayers out there late on day 1 last time, doesn't the changing area close 11:41:53 <@Ayu> what did you do 11:41:56 <@Ayu> etc. 11:41:56 <@Ayu> w
Hi Ayu, glad you asked! Comiket was a heady experience, this is what I learnt from C75. I also made a bunch of observations about how things work at comiket, and how that differs from western conventions.
Things might change from year to year, so don't take this as gospel!
This guide is for winter comiket (冬コミ). It's just before new years eve, and is about the coldest time of the year.
The official catalogue has a small section (about one page) in EN for attendees to set out the ground rules so that everyone has a good time, with a small part given to cosplayers to give you a rough idea of how it works. Unlike western conventions, you don't turn up in costume. Whether this is out of consideration for fellow commuters I'm not sure, but it's just not done. Comiket sees several hundred thousand attendees (probably quoting figures over three days), so transporting people in and out comes at a premium.
comiket_rules.jpg - self-explanatory
http://www.comiket.co.jp/index_e.html - The official Comiket site has a very small EN section. Follow the link to To Attendees from Overseas to find the most recent advisories. This gives you key information like rego times and dressing room locations
Locations and layout
There are two separate areas for cosplayers, split between boys/girls.
- At C75, the girls' area was down the escalators (1F) below the main entrance area (2F).
- The boys' area was all the way up the top (6F), up the hueg escalator.
P.S. please don't walk on the escalators, just let it take you there - I had an attendant wave at me frantically when I did, it's for your own safety
Tokyo Big Sight is a very large venue. It's conceptually pretty simple, but getting around is much easier if you have a firm mental model in your head. Learn that shit, bro.
If you've ever seen any photos of comiket, you'll be familiar with the balcony/deck area, and the carpark. Both should be readily visible in this google maps satellite view.
The balcony and carpark are connected by a big set of exterior stairs, also visible in the satellite photo.
- Cosplay on the balcony area uses all of the open white-tiled area
- From memory, about half of the carkpark is used, up to the edge of the coloured circles on the ground.
Cosplay areas will be clearly demarcated with barricades and caution tape, or similar.
The area being used depends on whatever else is happening at comiket that day. Example: heavy queues on day 1 and/or 2 for uber-popular stuff in the west halls mean doujin-buyers are forced outside. This makes the balcony unusable, so cosplay will be happening down in the carpark. This will be easy to figure out, just follow the other cosplayers and you'll be fine.
What to bring
I was also there to buy doujin, so I had a lot of stuff to carry. Camping out from 4am is very cold, meaning you need to bring a lot of extra clothing. When you get changed, you need somewhere to stash all that clothing. You also need to bring enough bag-space to carry all your shameful moe-goods.
Doujin-buying is very incompatible with cosplay, I would avoid doing both if at all possible
If you camp-out you'll probably be tired and sweaty by the time you get inside, it's just not much fun. If you're lucky you can get a locker to stash your bags, but it only helps so much.
Thankfully comiket operates a cloakroom (I assume a similar arrangement was in place adjacent to the girls' changerooms). I recall it had some nominal fee like 500yen, which is well worth it. It's no panacea, but it reduces the amount of stuff you have to carry with you, or stash in a locker (good luck getting one).
All your junk
Plenty of cosplayers take their stuff with them to the show-off area, which may or may not be workable for you. As mentioned in my observations, lots of cosplayers have big suitcases. If you choose to go that route, you can keep all your stuff with you and not bother cloaking it.
Minimising the load
If you're camping, take every saving you can get. Get the most thermally-dense clothing you can find, so that when you change out of it later, your burden is smaller. Merino-wool undergarments are excellent for this.
If you're just there for the cosplay, you can get there after the mad rush. Catch a train after 11:00, chill out, and make your way there at your own pace. There's no competition, everyone's there to have fun.
Cosplay opens at 10:00 and winds up at 16:00 or so (subject to change, day 3 finished at 15:00 instead). You're meant to be back at the changerooms and have collected your stuff from cloakroom by 16:30.
Registration/checking is where it got a little bit hairy. A smile and an honest attempt at communicating went a long way, they happened to find someone on staff nearby who spoke... well, it was more English than the rest of them.
With my minimal knowledge of Japanese I managed to fill out my rego form, cloak some stuff, and get in and out of the whole mess in one piece without losing anything. That's a successful mission in my book.
Now it's your turn to squint at the various pieces of paper I acquired:
ankeeto.jpg - A survey that I'm too illiterate to fill-out (actually it's pretty easy, I reckon I could manage the first half of it)
rego_form_01front.jpg - I cosplayed on day 3 as indicated by the sticker. I guess you're meant to use this over all three days. I dunno how to fill out anything else, it's clearly not too important
rego_form_02back.jpg - Basic rules and opening times
- Some cosplayers seem to have names badges/tags, what's that about?
- I'm pretty sure there's no cosplay competition like at western conventions, but I really can't be sure. The barricades on day 2 in the balcony area gave me the impression there might be something going on, but I simply couldn't tell