Japan’s biggest “doujin” (fan/amateur/hobbyist-made content) event, Comic Market, had been plagued by cancellations and postponements due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Comic Market 99, which was held at Tokyo Big Sight on 30-31 December 2021, was thus the first time the event was held since Comic Market 97 in December 2019 (C98 was cancelled), making a return after two years.
Official website (ENG): https://www.comiket.co.jp/index_e.html
Comic Market is typically an enormous event: Comic Market 97 saw a grand total of 750,000 attendees over four days, making for an average of 187,500 people showing up each day.
Comic Market 99, however, as part of anti-COVID measures, limited the number of attendees to a mere 55,000 by requiring ticket purchases, and further splitting up how many people would be around at a time by staggering entries and limiting access between different parts of the event to manage the number of people in each area.
Requiring tickets also had the fortunate side-effect of eliminating two problems that had been a thorn in the event’s side, namely people running for and then from the first train, and people camping outside the venue overnight.
Other preventive measures were also taken:
- All attendees were require to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test.
- All attendees were required to wear masks at all times, and DLSite also distributed free disinfecting wet wipes and masks.
- Care was taken to make more space between attendees by placing tables further apart than usual in addition to staggering entry and requesting attendees to distance themselves.
- Regular attendees were requested to not eat at the venue, while circle attendees were requested to remain silent while eating.
- All attendees were requested to not participate in social gatherings during or around the event and to not stop by anywhere on the way to and from the event.
- Hand disinfectant was made available all over the event, and many booths also had staff assigned to disinfect attendees as well.
While Comic Market is known primarily for its doujin (fan-made content) side, consisting primarily of doujinshi (fan-made comics, books, and magazines) but also including doujin games (both digital and analog) and other things like keychains, stickers, and various accessories, the event also has a significant corporate presence with numerous game companies promoting their latest games and selling merchandise, and we compiled an assortment of photographs of the corporate area above. Muv-Luv also notably officially announced Muv-Luv Alternative sequel Muv-Luv Integrate and Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After sequel Muv-Luv Resonative at the event.
Another interesting thing done at Comic Market is blood drives by the Japanese Red Cross Society. People who donate 400ml of blood can get exclusive posters of things like anime, games, and Vtubers.
The effect of Comic Market on blood donations is quite significant: In late 2020 the NHK reported on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on blood drives, and noted that the Red Cross typically brought around 30 blood donation buses to Comic Market yielding 1,500 donors each time.
While Comic Market might seem confusing to the point of being impenetrable to foreign visitors, the event does in fact have an international desk that can provide aid in English, Chinese, and Korean.
Comic Market is something truly special, and if the event piques your interest at all, it is worth checking out if you can.