Comiket 74 (コミケット); BS6 Doujinshi hunting: Field Preparations
So tommorow I’ll be flying off to Tokyo for the 74th edition of the Comic Market (Comiket) – the largest Comic Convention in the world, held twice a year. This would be my 4th Comiket visit, the last one being Comiket 73 in December.
For those not familiar, the event is held for 3 days, for 6 hours each (10AM to 4PM), attended by about 170,000 people each day, and is a massive test of one’s fitness, patience and ability to tolerate heat. Make no mistake, Comiket in the Summer (33 Degrees C. average) is HELL. Though the event is 6 hours, the reality is that you’ll spend about 1.5-2 hours of that time just to get inside, unless you camp overnight along with 5000-6000 other earlybird loons. This leaves you with 4 hours to queue for the items you want, assuming they haven’t been bought up by the abovementioned loons already.
For the popular circles like Tony (aka T2 Works, fantastic hentai by the way), TYPE MOON and the great Mr. Range Murata himself, queues can take up to 2 hours. Yes, TWO hours of queuing to get that one (yes there ARE sales limits for each person) signed exclusive book/item that will either earn you a killing at ebay, or be sold in bulk at Akihabara the following week. Insanity. Subtract that from your remaining time, and you’ll understand why preparation and having a realistic set of objectives is essential, and why most attendees would be unwilling to ‘queue and buy a copy from XXX artist for someone else’. They’re not being selfish. Its fucking tiring. Heading inside without a clear plan of which circles you are planning to visit is almost as good as not going at all.
Blue Submarine No. 6 Fan Material – Slipping away…
In short, finding BS6-related material is largely a matter of luck, patience and time management.
Obviously, the amount of fan material produced for a particular genre is proportionate to its popularity. Over time, this will generally decrease as interest for the genre wanes, replaced by newer and more popular subjects that emerge. Exceptions to this are of course ‘timeless’ genres like Gundam, Prince of Tennis, Final Fantasy etc that will always be popular. Poor Tifa will always be having sex with someone, or something, with every passing Comiket.
Blue Submarine No. 6 however, is a dying genre. Not a lot of fan material was produced for it even during its heydays in the 1999-2001 period, and with each passing convention, the number of BS6-related works have been shrinking. Locating a circle that would be doing material for the genre you are interested in is actually quite straightforward, thanks to the Comiket Catalog. This is often made easier by the wonderful organizers of the event, who try as far as possible to group common-genre circles together, cutting down travel time. If you’re into Naruto, you’ll have about half an entire hall of circles (or about 400 tables ala ‘booths’) selling Naruto material for you to gobble up. But smaller, not so popular genres like BS6 are not given the same lovely treatment, obviously. They’re instead lumped together arbitrarily under a miscellaneous section, which is HUGE. So this rules out the ‘find by geographical location’ method.
For Comiket 74, I’ve located only 3 circles who have made some mention of BS6. This does not always guarantee that they would be selling BS6 material. Many former artists & circles who did BS6 doujins would rarely do it again. Not very encouraging yes? But thats the best there is so far.
Kino, where are you hiding?
To make matters worse, if you’ve read your fair share of doujinshi’s, you should know that very few of them actually devote their entire contents to one genre. More often, multiple genres would be present in one doujin, however small e.g. a doujin with a FF10 cover will have 80% of its contents devoted to that, with the 20% being a second, short comic, or just a page or two on a FF8 or maybe even a Zelda picture. So if you’re hunting for Zelda, you’ll almost definitely miss this comic, because it (and usually the circle that drew the comic) would be classified in the catalog under FF10. The advertising space for circles in the catalog is tiny, and they almost never list the details of the works they are planning to sell. Worse, not many circles have their own website!
As such, I’m 300% certain that hidden within the 15000+ doujins produced by the other 4997 circles, there is definitely BS6 material embedded inside. Literally a needle in a planet made of haystacks. And I haven’t even considered the circles that would be producing fan FICTION i.e. pure text stories.
7 subs, 2 of them badly damaged, 1 moderately damaged…
I’ll post a list of the circles I’ve identified to be doing BS6 material (at Comiket 74) soon. Should I survive this year’s comiket and actually get a haul of BS6 material, I’ll scan the covers and put them here.