Ticktank’s English Guide to Comiket (コミケット) Part 2A: The Catalog

Guide Section Links: [Part 1] [Part 2A] [Part 2B] [Part 3] [Part 4]

As if there would be so little people...

So I’m back with the second part of my amateur guide to the Comiket. As you may have guessed from the first and third part of this guide, planning for a Comiket can be quite tedious and time consuming, if your goal is to obtain the goods you like. Blue Submarine No. 6 fan works = yum.

But take heart in the fact that the experience (and hopefully the loot) you will be getting is definitely worth the effort. Why else would half a million people each spend an average total of US$300 in the 3 days they are there? 😛

 

Obtaining the Comiket Catalog

I’ll get to the point – You MUST buy a copy of the catalog if you’re serious about getting particular works at the Comiket, and if you’re aiming to maximize your productivity and time spent there.

The Comiket Catalog comes in 2 formats – print (book) and CDROM. The print version (such as the one in the picture above left) is as thick as a typical phone book and has a different art cover for each Comiket. It is usually sold 3 weeks before the event, and one week earlier than the CD version. For me, I usually order both from one of the popular online doujinshi stores like www.melonbooks.com or www.doujinshop.com (Messe Sanoh), through a deputy service since they don’t ship overseas. Cost is usually 2000YEN, give or take abit. Not sure if J-list sells it though.

There is no English version of the catalog as of yet, so us non-Japanese speaking invaders will just have to suck it up ‘coz we’re heading into their turf. And I speculate the reason for a lack of an English version is because they don’t want to encourage more foreigners to attend (and swell up the numbers). Oh well.

To increase the odds of the CDROM catalog actually installing and working properly, its best if you are running a Japanese version of the Windows OS (Vista or XP it doesn’t matter). Even so, the CD catalogs can be faulty at times. In fact, the CDROM of the most recent Comiket 74 Catalog was so glitchy and all round fucked up, patches had to be downloaded online just to get the program to work. And in my case, I still could not execute the catalog on both my English Windows XP & Vista PCs even after patching. But its not a lost cause however, because all the information you need can be found inside several large .txt and .PNG image files in the CD. The CD launcher program (that failed spectacularly) simple organizes the information into a more user friendly interface. So if you’re ever caught in a similar situation, turn to your file browser.

Pros and Cons of the CDROM and book versions
The CDROM version has several advantages over its book counterpart. It is (obviously) much lighter, and alot easier to browse, search and organize information. You can even create customized listings and floor maps with the bundled software. The biggest advantage however is the inclusion of many, many more weblinks (to the circles) that would not be found in the book version because of a lack of space in the circle cut.

On the other hand, the book version is sold 1 week earlier than the CDROM version, is less expensive, and has some value as a collector’s item, because of the unique cover art for each Comiket edition.

Catalog Genres (Translations)

Once you’ve gotten your hands on the catalog, its time to figure out what the text inside is referring to. I’ll go straight to what I feel is the most important section of the catalog that which you must understand.

(Click to Enlarge)

Above is a page taken from the catalog (CD version), showing how the hundreds of circle tables in East halls 4, 5 and 6 are grouped for day 2, according to their genres (the vertical text lines). Below is a translation of the genres seen in the Comiket 74 catalog, for your goddamn convenience.

Legend and Color Codes
MCSAW = Might Contain Some male-Adult oriented Works (what an acronym!).
Genres in Orange text indicate an absolute presence of male-adult oriented material i.e. hentai woot!

マンガ = Manga; Fan work that is either about existing Manga/Comics (FC, see below), or original manga/comic characters presented in such a format.
FC = Fan Club;
Fan material for Manga/Comic series, including anime shows that originated from Manga.

  • FC (少年) = Fan Club (Boys); Fan works of Manga aimed at boys e.g. Shonen Sunday(?). Despite its targeted gender, most work here is Yaoi.
  • FC (少女) = Fan Club (Girls); Fan works of Manga aimed at girls e.g. CLAMP, Angelic Layer & Chobits.  A little less Yaoi, but still the majority.
  • FC (青年) = Fan Club (Youth/Young Adults); Fan works of Manga aimed at youths of both genders e.g. Rozen Maiden & Initial D. Yaoi heavy unfortunately. (MCSAW, but rare)
  • FC (ジャンプその他) = Fan Club (Other Jump Titles); Fan works of other Jump-type Manga e.g. Death Note, Yu-Gi-go etc. Big section! Decent mix of Yaoi and normal works. (MCSAW)
  • FC (ジャンプ球技) = Fan Club (Jump Sports); Fan works of Manga aimed at youths and with a sports theme e.g. Slam Dunk. Yaoi heavy usually.
  • テニスの王子様 = Prince of Tennis; Yaoi mania. Tons and tons of disgusting Yaoi.
  • 鋼の錬金術師 = Full Metal Alchemist; Fan Works on FMA. Fair amount of Yaoi (the horror). (MCSAW, but rare)
  • NARUTO = Rubbish that shouldn’t exist, but does. Lots of Yaoi. Pictures of that emo-looking ladyboy with the hairband are everywhere. (MCSAW, but rare)
  • REBORN! = Fan works on some Manga series (not sure). I am annoyed by the exclamation mark.
  • 銀魂 = Gintama; Fan Works on the Gintama Series. Yaoi heavy (MCSAW, but rare)
  • ワンピース = One-piece; Fan works on the One-Piece series. A fair amount of Yaoi. (MCSAW, but rare)
  • FC (小説) – ‘小説’ means novel; this category simply refers to fan fiction. An absolute goldmine…unless you can’t read Japanese 😦
  • 創作(少年) = Original Works (Boys); Original works aimed at boys – Not really sure what goes here to be honest; but its a very small category. Probably comics about original superheros and the like.
  • 創作(少女) = Original Works (Girls); Original works aimed at girls – Fashion, animal, dolls, costumes and the occasional sex-toy etc. The booths of these circles look like fabric shops at times.
  • 創作(JUNE) = Original Works (“JUNE”); no idea what this is…

アニメ = Anime; Fan works on Anime shows. Does NOT include anime series that originated as Manga e.g. One-Piece

  • アニメ(その他) = Anime (Other); As the name suggests, this refers to fan works on all other (Sailor Moon, Slayers etc.) and very old anime series (like Macross). A HUGE genre. Highest chance of getting none-hentai BS6 works here by the way. I predict Macross: Frontier having its own genre classification in the coming months. (MCSAW)
  • アニメ(サンライズ) = Anime (Sunrise); Fan works on anime works (TV series, OVAs and movies) produced by the Sunrise anime Company e.g. Cowboy Bebop, Mobile Suit Gundam & Inuyasha.  (MCSAW)
  • ガンダム= Gundam; Fan works purely devoted to the Gundam universe. Probably an extension of the sunrise category (not sure), but circles under these two genres are always grouped side by side. (MCSAW)
  • アニメ(男性向) = Anime (For Male Adults); Hentai Fan works on all anime series. Ding Ding! BS6 hentai (if any) are often found here. 

ゲーム= Game; Refers to fan works/parodies of games.

  • スクウェア・エニックス (RPG) = Square-Enix (RPG); Fan works on Square-Enix RPG game titles, like Final Fantasy, Xeno-whatever. (MCSAW)
  • ゲーム(RPG) = Game (RPG); Fan works on RPGs not produced by Square-Enix e.g. Dragon Quest, Zelda, Shining Force etc. (MCSAW)
  • ゲーム(その他) = Game (Others); Everything else, like Resident Evil, DMC and works of other not so popular games. Very important section to search if the genre you want is rare. (MCSAW)
  • ゲーム(格闘) = Game (Fighting); Fan works for fighting games. KOF, Streetfighter, Guilty Gear etc. Very cool section! (MCSAW)
  • ゲーム(電源不要) = Game (Non-Electronic); Fan works for card games and others.
  • ゲーム(歴史) = Game (Historical Setting); Fan works for games set at historical periods e.g. Romance of the 3 Kingdoms. Dynasty Warriors may be mixed here with the fighting genre. (MCSAW)
  • ゲーム(恋愛) = Game (Love/Romance); Fan works for games with a Love/Dating/Romance theme. Mostly for girls; Yaoi and Slash heavy.
  • ゲーム(男性向) = Game (For Male Adult); Solely adult fan-works for all kinds of games. i.e. hentai doujinshi and erotic parodies. FF, KOF and Dragon Quest hentai etc. They’re all in this category.
  • オンラインゲーム = Massive Multiplayer (MMO) Games; Fan works for MMO type games like FF11, Diablo, Lineage etc. MCSAW
  • ギャルゲー = “Girl Games”; Fan works for games about young, cute women e.g. Strawberry Panic & IdolM@aster. Disturbing IMO.
  • 同人ソフト = Doujin Software; A high-variety category. Self-produced games, music remixes (cool), CGs, and even films in software formats.
  • TYPE-MOON = Fan works on visual novel games produced by the TYPE-MOON company e.g. Fate Stay/Night & Tsukihime.
  • Leaf-Key= Fan works on visual novel games produced by the Key company e.g. To-Heart, Kanon.

その他 = Other i.e. Genres; Odd and small-scale genres that don’t fall into any of the above. These are often assigned to the twin West halls, but not always.

  • TV・映画・芸能 = (TV shows, Movies, Drama series); Fan works on popular TV shows and movies, including Hollywood stuff. Popular Asian soap opera characters, Johnny Depp and Orlando ‘not a male’ Bloom yaoi found here. A traumatizing section if you’re a straight guy.
  • 歴史 = Historical; Fan-works on historical/period worlds and characters (“Kabuki”?). NOT including Romance of the 3 Kingdoms.
  • 創作(男性向) = Original Works (For Male Adults); Original works (art and fiction) that are solely male adults oriented i.e. hentai. Worth a look as some productions are quite nice!
  • 創作(文芸・小説) = Original Works (Literature & Fiction); Basically original fiction and poems. MCSAW (if you understand Japanese).
  • 音楽(洋楽・邦楽) = Music (Western & Japanese); Independently-produced music and songs. Crazy (and hardworking) folks!
  • 音楽(男性アイドル) = Music (Male Celebrity); Fan works on real life male celebrities and/or singers. Yaoi-heavy. No Jonas sisters thankfully.
  • 鉄道・旅行・メカミリ = Mecha, Transportation, Weaponry; Works related to machinery. An interesting section that is very appealing to straight males. Check out some of the self-made miniature models and mechas.
  • スポーツ = Sports; Fan works on sports like F1 Racing, Soccer etc. Most of such works deal with the sports themselves, and not so much about the athletes. Sorry fat ladies.
  • アクセサリー = Accessories. Circles selling dolls, trinkets, stationary and other interesting collectables. These items are usually fan-works, but not always. Not really into such stuff, but you can find some crazy spenders here.
  • 評論・情報 = Information & Reviews. Critiques, essays and opinions on medicine, childcare and scientific stuff. For intellectual folks I guess.
  • その他 = Everything else that cannot be classified.

Now that you know what genres the Japanese characters on the catalog’s front page are referring to, you can narrow down your search query more easily, and hopefully come closer to finding a circle that would be producing works that you’re keen on getting. Searching through the THOUSANDS of circles would otherwise be an impossible feat.

What genre does Blue Submarine No. 6 fall under? Anime or Manga?
Though BS6 originally started as a Manga, the version that most of us non-Japanese audiences are familiar with and in which this site is based on is the 1998 (latest) OVA version – a complete ‘reboot’ of the original Manga series with totally new characters and a new storyline. Based on my Comiket experience, works on Kino and the gang were always found in the anime genre, which kinda makes sense. I never saw any fan works on the original 1960’s BS6 Manga in either section. Probably too old.

Which genres on which day?
There’s no absolute answer to the question, quite simply because the groupings tend to change with each Comiket, sometimes slightly, and other times quite a bit. *In general*, the trend seems to be as follows:

  • Day 1 – Manga and Novels. Tons of yaoi, and lots of female visitors.
  • Day 2 – Games and Anime. A decent mix of hentai and yaoi
  • Day 3 – Hentai.

Best to check the catalog and plan accordingly (one more reason to get it). Based on the info on the Comiket website, Comiket 75 will have Manga and Novels works being showcased on day 2 instead of 1 (a switch with Games & Anime).

Reading the Catalog’s main contents

(Click to Enlarge)

The bulk of the Catalog’s 1000+ pages are like the above – a series of “circle cuts” (or mini-banners/advertisements) arranged in a grid format. Reading such a page is easy after awhile, but for completeness’s sake, I’ll go through it here.

The example above is taken from the Comiket 74 Catalog, page 465.

1. Page information

Like a phonebook directory, the top left/right sides of each circle cut page contains essential information to help you. How to read:

  • 16日 = 16th day of the month (August in this case, and day 2 of the Comiket)
  • 東(1.2.3) = East Hall Clusters (1, 2 & 3)
  • B18 ~ B35 – indicates that this page shows circles assigned to tables at column B, from table 18 to 35.

2. The Circle Cut
I’m using Pigeon Wharf’s circle cut as an example, mostly because this circle was selling BS6 works during the Comiket. 😛 . Sorry for the extra publicity Miss Wharf! Reading a circle cut is easy. The number at the upper left corner denotes the circle’s table location. Adding in the info found in (1), we can thus deduce here that Pigeon Wharf’s circle would be located at East Hall 1, Column B, Table 33A on 16th August (Day 2). Tables are usually shared by 2 circles “A” and “B”. Circles assigned to “B” do not have numbers in the top left corner of their cut. Its no big issue if you don’t note this down as they’re too near to miss. Game172 in the example above is assigned to 33B.

It is important to remember that the art shown on circle cut should not be regarded as an absolute representation of: (1) the artist(s)’s drawing abilities, nor (2) the genre and type of works that it would be selling. Though it would be an advantage to the circle to leave a good first impression, some artists may choose to submit:

  • ugly/sketchy illustrations as their circle cut, for reasons unknown
  • circle cuts depicting characters of a genre they are NOT doing works on. Happens sometimes, and is highly annoying, especially if they don’t have a website for you to verify.
  • circle cuts depiciting characters of just one of several genres they are doing works on. This is very very common, owing to lack of space. Best way to find out is to check their website.

Of course, if you’re some highly talented/famous artist like Tony (T2), you could submit a blank circle cut, and people will still swarm your booth 😛 

3. Title/Series grouping
Notice how the most of the circle cut images look similar and seem to be pertaining to two specific characters. Thats because the organizers of the Comiket would, as far as possible, try to group circles doing works on the same series* near each other, for the visitors’ convenience. Of course, in order to do this, the series in question has to have the numbers (popularity dependent therefore). For the above, this series in question is “Darker Than Black”. Yes I know the character resembles Hayami. If only 😛

* Circles are required to describe/list the series they are planning to do works on, during their application process.

4. Hall Cluster indicator
This is only found in the book version; basically to help readers pinpoint the circles cuts by which hall cluster they would be situated at, and on which day. Information on the circles are organized by Day, then by Hall cluster (East 123, East 456 and then finally West 1&2).

In the next part (2B), I’ll talk about how to find the circles you are interested in, and how to prioritize.

Guide Section Links: [Part 1] [Part 2A] [Part 2B] [Part 3] [Part 4]

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~ by ticktank on September 2, 2008.

3 Responses to “Ticktank’s English Guide to Comiket (コミケット) Part 2A: The Catalog”

  1. [Edited for spelling]

    hey, since im american i dont speak Japanese (so obviously im not intrested in the comics, books, and novels…. cus if i spoke japanese it would stil be hard to read…) bu can you please clarify to me on which day are they gonna sell all the accessories, posters, and models (action figures or dolls, however you call those things you display…) cus im kinda into that kind of merchandise (since i buy it all dubbed)
    so please respond to me
    ok, bye

    p.s give me your e-mail so i can asck you sum extra details

    p.s.s i know i have bad spelling or grammar whatever you call it

  2. Hi Chily,

    This link here will give you details on the type of items/comics being sold during the upcoming C75. Its in Japanese, so you’ll need to Babelfish translate it to get an idea. Accessories (アクセサリー) seem to be sold on day 3 (30th Dec).

    http://www.comiket.co.jp/info-c/C75/C75genre.html

    Based on experience however, these things are often sold during all 3 days by selected circles, and there’s no way of knowing for sure without the checking the catalog or heading there to see for yourself.

    My email address can be found at the “About me” page (link on upper left), if you wish to discuss this further.

    Goodluck 😛

  3. Hello there. Just dropping a line to say that “original works JUNE” which you have listed as “I have no idea what this is” is yaoi with original characters. Nothing you’d be interested in, of course, but at least now you know to warn fellow straight men away from it.

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