So I was in Asia for a month over the summer.
I talked about Jubeat in my real travel blogging, but I was pretty surprised by the song choice. There’s a good number of anison that I’m kind of surprised aren’t already in jubeat plus packs. The one that I don’t understand why they’re not already selling is the Railgun stuff, that’s a money printer right there. There’s also some Mizuki Nana stuff that I really liked and I’d love to see the Mouretsu Pirates OP hit a DLC pack (probably in a Momoclo pack (why doesn’t this exist yet too)). The Utapri OPs get a shoutout for having a hilarious chart.
I also hit up the Kinokuniya while I was wandering around Orchard St. and gat dang, I wish we had a Kinokuniya in Canada. I mean, it’s essentially a Japanese bookstore with Japanese bookstore selection. Obviously, there’s a wide selection of manga, but there’s also a very large selection of light novels and regular novels and artbooks. I didn’t buy anything because I expected to pick up weeaboo goods in Japan.
I met up with local twitter
deviants pals @riajuunibyou, @ncem, and @kimmouto. We had a cool time in their city doing cool things like not getting murdered by vehicular traffic eating. Obviously, we had to watch an anime so we went to see Pacific Rim. This was pretty cool, since I don’t really watch movies in theatres anymore. But it turned out the Malaysian (?) version had some slight changes which made a scene or two incredibly confusing.
The first time I went to Times Square, much to my surprise, there was an RX-78 set up faced towards Char’s Zaku II. For some reason, there was some kind of Gundam exhibit there. There were a bunch of smaller scale Zakus set up around so people could take pictures and there was a booth set up with a ton of gunpla in display cases. When I went back a few days later, there was also a model White Base hanging from the ceiling.
I also got to meet up with @cokematic (and @fnzna, who happened to be in HK too, but we know each other irl). It was fun since it was my first time in Central and we went to a really nice pub with a really good selection of beers and ciders. After meeting up, we (minus coke, because he has a real job) decided to check out the last day of the local anime convention, Ani-Com. It turned out that Shokotan was there a few days earlier and there was even a live, but I wouldn’t have been able to make it anyway, so it couldn’t be helped. I was surprised to see so many Inu x Boku cosplayers and it was also my first time seeing actual Kurobas fangirl swarms.
Nope, no anime here.
The first place I went was actually the Shinjuku Animate, which I’d stumbled upon by being lost after dropping my stuff off at my hotel and wandering around. I would come back here a few more times for some very good buys: the Fire Sisters Yokoku-hen Quiz mug that I’d totally forgotten about and came across completely by chance and the Free! TV Animation Guidebook which I thought was only sold at the KyoAni store, but there were a bunch here.
The first real stop was Akihabara and I had the pleasure of having @aliveinthewired show me around. This resulted in me snapping up an Akemi Homura nendoroid at Sofmap. I was really tempted to get the Chibimoth plush at Cospa, but I managed to control myself.
Later, we met up with @landroverattack and his friend and went off to check out a maid cafe. Schatzkiste is a place that I would never have discovered or thought of going on my own. It’s a really nice and classy place with a fantastic concept. I think it’s really the best that they have their own cute doujin about the daily lives of the maids.
After getting real food, we went to Nakano Broadway, which was a really cool place. It’s not an Akiba-like place where it’s just blatant nerd crap everywhere. Instead, it felt more like a bunch of otaku shops had been slowly taking over the mall over the decades. I picked up the Penguindrum Triple H CD at one of the Mandarakes here.
And so we get to the main event, Comiket. Comiket is an amazing experience but everyone was not kidding when they said that it’s incredibly physically challenging. I don’t think I’ve ever sweated as much as I did standing in those lines. I’d planned on going all three days, but the first day almost destroyed me and I’d gotten everything I wanted on the first day, so I didn’t return.
I was actually pretty well prepared. I didn’t die of dehydration because I brought a litre of water from 7-11 with me before getting on the train. It turned out there’s a train from Shinjuku that goes directly to the Big Sight (the Shonan-Shinjuku line turns into the Rinkai line). When I got on at Shinjuku, it was already pretty full. No one got off until the Big Sight.
Comiket really is the final boss of lines. The line kind of begins once you get off at Kokusai-Tenjijou and you climb the stairs that are lined with anime ads. It was a few minutes’ walk to get from the station to the Big Sight. The line really begins once you hit the part where you have to wait for people in front of you, which was about when I could get a pretty nice shot of the Big Sight and the massive line in front of it. At the top of the stairs, there was a giant screen playing various PVs and CMs and this was where I saw the Kyoukai no Kanata PV for the first time.
It only took about an hour of being in line to get down to the West Hall. Luckily, I overestimated what’s considered popular and all the booths I were after were fairly well stocked. Rito didn’t have any of her Houtarou/Eru stuff, so I just bought a calendar from her. The other Hyouka thing I picked up was this. I also made sure to get something from Yadokugaeru which ended up being this Senjougahara doujin and this Monogatari doujin they did with 10-Colors. While wandering around, I noticed As109′s booth and picked up their Monogatari stuff too. The last C84 thing I bought was this Tokikake doujin.
After I was done, I decided to check out the industry booths, which were also supposedly at the West Hall. It turned out that you had to go outside and make a huge round around the cosplay area and go up to the upper levels. It was ascending the stairs out in the sun that started to take its toll on me, but I figured it’d be okay once I got inside again. When I got to the top, though, what I had before me was a bunch of snaking lines for the booths. At this point I internally screamed oh hell no and walked right past the lines and went down to the East Hall.
So on my way to the East Hall, I started to feel like I’d faint, which was BAD NEWS since I still had a while to get to the hall. I’d already seen four or five people having to get carried away from collapsing so I was extra conscious of not becoming one of those. I pushed on until I ran across the Family Mart right by the escalators down to the hall. I have to say that I’m super impressed that it was fairly well stocked and running smoothly. I bought a bunch of food and rested before heading down, where I managed not to buy anything.
I met up with @aliveinthewired and we joined up with the reverse linecon to the monorail, which was stuffed, as you’d expect. The ride had a really nice view of Odaiba. When we pulled into Shimbashi station, I noticed there was a huge crowd of people and felt dread. Luckily, the crowd was for the riajuu linecon to Odaiba (there were fireworks there that night), so we were spared more lines.
The next day, instead of going back to Comiket, I decided to take a trip to Ikebukuro to check out Otome Road. It turns out the Ikebukuro Animate had actually moved relatively recently. This made it a bit harder to find the actual “Otome Road” since all the directions on the internet in English basically said to go to the Animate and you’re there.
I really liked the Ikebukuro Animate because it’s easier to move around than the Akiba Animate. Of course, there was also the giant Free! banner hanging from it. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much in the way of Free! merch at that point in time; everything was getting released in September and October. Also, the women to men ratio was the opposite of the typical nerd ratio. This was the case for pretty much all the otaku shops on Otome Road.
Going to both of the Ikebukuro Toranoanas was really amusing. Both are in otherwise nondescript buildings a few floors up. When I was going to Tora A, I got in an elevator with these dudes in suits. Everyone got off at the Toranoana floor. When I went to Tora B, in a different building, I got in an elevator with a bunch of girls. Again, everyone got off at the Toranoana floor.
I’d actually stumbled onto actual Otome Road by wandering around looking for Mandarake. I took a quick look around, but I didn’t really feel like poring through shelves of BL doujin and I didn’t have anything I was looking for. I also took a look around the K-Books and Lashinbang and ended up buying the Free! ED single.
And the rest
At this point, I had a few days of doing non-weeb stuff, which may be surprising. I got to meet up with @Ayu, who took us to this future sushi place where very little human interaction is required. The ordering touchscreens apparently randomly challenge you to minigames and I used my Cure Peace janken skills to win 10% off my bill and a tako nigiri phone charm. I also got introduced to the wonderful concept of nomihoudai.
I went back to Akiba and Nakano Broadway one last time to look for Hyouka merch and acceptable Hitagi figures. This time around, I checked out the Gamers first. This was a very good choice because it turns out they had a summer of Key event going on and had an entire floor dedicated to Key goods. You obviously had your Little Busters since it actually got an anime recently and there’s the Angel Beats and Rewrite and Clannad, but there was some Air and Kanon too. But the most important thing was they had a pile of Clannad 10th Anniversary artbooks that I had given up on because I skipped the C84 pixiv booth.
Other than that, I ran across a really cute C84 Kurobas doujin at Toranoana. I also found the Araragi pen at Robot x Robot, but it was really expensive and I couldn’t figure out if it was refillable with standard inks. Instead, I picked up a small plush Penguin #2. The only Hyouka merch that I found was the Kamiyama tracksuit and Chitanda eyecover thing at Cospa.
There was one last surprise when I got to the airport. There’s a temporary Cospa store at Narita that’s there until some time next year (I think it’s March or May). Unlike the main Cospa store, they had smaller Wooser plushes in stock, so I picked up one along with a large Ume-sensei phone charm.