What is the most famous occasion in Japan for overseas Japan enthusiast? Comic Market.
Komike, the biggest otaku Japanese Pop Culture gathering in the world. The pinnacle of otaku fan pilgrim. This winter, komike celebrates its 89th iteration (c89). To be honest, I wasn’t exactly intent to visit C89. I mean, I was an otaku enthusiast, but not anymore. And for all its notorious reputation as human melting pot, I must admit I was a bit reluctant to go. But coincidentally, I have a live event to attend to, and it happened to took place at Differ Ariake, which is only like 700 metres from Tokyo Big Sight, home of Komike. Also, a friend of mine invited me to come to Komike, and he’s a veteran Komike warrior, so heck, why not?
According to google maps, from Yokohama I should took JR Keihintohoku Line and got off at Ooimachi Station, then transfer to Rinkai Line and got off at Kokusai Tenjijou. So I did. It was bizarre. When I got to Ooimachi and lined up in the platform for Kokusai Tenjijou, I couldn’t help but sensed a certain… “aura”, if you will. I mean, the (would be) passengers were actually pretty normal-looking people, but… uhh… I couldn’t help feeling that….
And no, it wasn’t just a hunch. All those people really were getting off at Kokusai Tenjijo. And the station itself was… uhh… just look at the wall below and you’d get my point.
Now I knew that Komike isn’t your average event. I’ve tried to prepare myself, reading the “Komike Guide for N00bs”. You know, basic stuffs like:
- If ye’r n00bs, come after 12 o’clock, so as to not be involved in the veterans’ “war”.
- Don’t take other people’s picture without permission.
- Don’t cosplay from home.
- Don’t run/push people, stand still in the elevator.
- Don’t ever think you can visit all.
- Authorities has even made arrangement to add the frequency of the mass transportation vehicles bound to/for Komike (buses, trains), so follow instruction from officers/staffs.
This is by far the largest crowd control that I have ever witnessed. People were lining up from the moment I set foot on the station. Oh BTW, the above picture was taken just outside Kokusai Tenjijou Station. See all those people? Well, Tokyo Big Sight is still 500 meters away. I had to walk quite a distance before I could finally see…
Well, look at that. The most famous building in Japan according to overseas Japan enthusiast. Well yes, I’m no longer an otaku Japanese culture enthusiast, but I just couldn’t help having this… spiritual feeling. You know, like “ah, I’m finally here” kind of feeling.
The closer I got, the more people there were. I mean, it was Day-One. It was supposed to be the least crowded out of three days schedule.
Finally I got to the main building. It was so crowded. Pictured above, on the left side is the special area for professional cosplayers. And it was absolutely crowded. Cosplayers queued for their turn to exhibit their *ahem* cosplaying skills, and visitors queued in a very long, long line just to take pictures of/with them. It was crazy.
So my friend showed me around the area. He had already done his… uh… businesses early. Mostly doujin areas. And was it just me, or were there too many Y401 doujins for my liking?
My favorite area was the corporate booth area. ZOMG all the brands grew up with. I’ve Sounds, Aquaplus, Key, P.A. Works, you name it. But I didn’t buy anything, not because I’m a cheapskate, but the lines were crazy. I wanted to buy Circus 2016 Calendar, but upon knowing that the lines reached outside of the building, I gave up. What a shame. I uh… really could use a Japanese calendar you know… Also, I got a freebie paper bag from Circus onee-san. How kind she was.
Comiket is awesome. Even with so many people attending, the crowd control made it much, much, more comfortable than, say… AFAiD. It was enjoyable. Even when I basically didn’t have any purpose for being there. I’d definitely come again on the next iteration.
Now for my real reason of coming to Odaiba. Sprite Live 2015 -Beyond The Sky-. I noticed that some visitors from Komike are leaving for Sprite, and vice versa. And when I got to Differ Ariake, there were already a sea of crowd.
You can see on the left side of the picture above, that was merchandise tents. And people. Lots of people. Okay, so maybe I should briefly explain what this event is. Sprite is an eroge maker software company. They’re famous for their games, Koi Senkyou to Chocolate and Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm.
Basically, I’m not an eroge fapper game player. Well yes, I did watched Koi to Senkyou to Chocolate when adapted to anime, and I liked it. But my reason for being there was the artists. Ceui, Kawada Mami, and Kotoko. Also, I was quite interested in how a software company hold a live concert event.
- The live was opened by two 2D MC, Edagawa Nozomi (CV: Gibu Yuko) and Shinonome Satsuki (CV: Asakawa Yuu). They mostly talk about their character on Koichoco. And as always, those heart-melting seiyuu routine….
- Kawada Mami sung “Initiative”.
- Asakawa Yuu sung “Starting Line” and “Real Me”.
- Gibu Yuko sung “Katachi Nai Omoi”.
- Piano session.
- Kawada Mami sung “Piece of My Heart”.
- Ceui sung “Kaze no Naka no Primrose”.
- MC Switch, Ichinose Rika (CV: Yonezawa Madoka) and Aoyagi Madoka (CV: Wakabayashi Naomi). Gibu and Asakawa jokingly said “we’re not hired for AoKana”.
- Surprise appearance by Nakazawa Tomoyuki, I’ve Sound composer. He DJ’ed Kawada Mami’s next two songs.
- Kawada Mami sung “Wings of Courage”
- Kawada Mami sung “Rays of the Sun”.
- Kawada Mami sung “Crossing Way”.
- Ceui sung “Beside Heart”.
- Kotoko sung “Way to Fly”.
- Kawada Mami sung “Sky is the Limit.”
- Kotoko sung “To the Sky”.
- Kawada Mami sung “Wings of Courage” Piano Version.
- Kawada Mami sung for the first time LIVE, “Contrail ~Kiseki~”, the new OP Theme for AoKana anime.
— Rita@星ノ雨Ⅲ発売中！ (@Ritaco25) 8 Januari 2016
Rita is a legendary singer in the world of eroge ADV PC Game. Now weaboos casual anime fans may only know her for singing the theme song for anime Little Busters! and Little Busters! EX, but actually, she’s had a very long career outside of mainstream anime. She sung Little Busters originally for the original Key/VA PC Game.
In the world of erogePC Games songs, Rita is everywhere. Try looking at a GWAVE Compilation album (an album published twice a year, compiling the best eroge PC Game songs) and Rita is never absent. And people sometimes forgetting that there were a period when fripSide didn’t have a vocalist. Nao left the band and Nanjou has yet to be auditioned. The result was this song:
Rita, as a singer, has been so productive, not only doing PC Game songs, she also sings for several doujin music circles for their Komike or M3 releases. She even has her own doujin music circle.
That’s why when I red on twitter that she’s holding a live concert, I didn’t hesitate to come. The event was especially appealing because it’s a collaboration with composer Orikura Toshinori. Or for those of you familiar with Touhou Music, he’s known for Tamiyasu★ROCK.
It was my first time to Kichijoji. I was a little bit worried when going from Shibuya, because from the train it looked like a remote Tokyo suburb. Glad to see that it is a lively place.
The event was held at Kichijoji Pine Star Cafe. I found the place easily.
It’s a much better place from the outside looks of it, compared to I Love Tokyo. Of course, it is also located in the basement, but…
… lovely place! It has two floors in the basement. So audience can also watch from the balcony. I love this place.
As far as I could tell, the place is more like a live house with a cafe feel to it, rather than the other way around. But the food and drink is -surprisingly- relatively cheap.
One thing that amazed me during the show, was that Rita’s voice was amazing. Listening to her records, you’d know she has a distinguishable voice. But hearing her live was actually much better. Her singing voice was as if she could create the voice of two person. It was breathtaking. After the show, Rita and Ori-P themselves took the time to greet the fans in the hallway. Also, even though it was not planned, a sign event was held.