Saturday, August 19

Anime draws a crowd, flocking to a land of make believe

Deborah Cameron, Tokyo
August 17, 2006

BY THE tens of thousands they queued, ascended to an Everest in lifts, and arrived, panting, at a pinnacle of popular culture.

It is Comiket, the world's largest market and expo for comics and cartoons, held on the roof of a Tokyo convention centre. Here a grand passion of the Japanese male stands bared.

Comiket goes beyond comics, or anime, as cartoons are called in Japan. It is the most important pilgrimage of the year to the men who descend on the event to buy limited-edition DVDs, collect new games, buy plastic miniature figures, or collect an autograph from a voice actor.


Tens of thousands flock to Comiket

Manga lovers flocked in their tens of thousands over the weekend to Tokyo's Big Sight arena in Minato-ku's Odaiba for Comic Market 70.

While the upper hall at "Comiket" played host to the professional artists, merchandising and game companies' booths, the larger market was held in the two giant exhibition halls. Here, hundreds of amateur manga artists displayed their works to the public.

"I was shocked at how huge it is," said Jamal Rorie, a first-time visitor to Comiket from the United States. "I've been to a few conventions at home, but it easily dwarfs anything we have in the U.S."

Many also braved the sweltering heat to visit the Cosplay Plaza on the upper terraces, where photographers queued up to shout requests for poses at the mostly-female cosplayers.

The event finished with an unexpected bang on Sunday as fireworks lit up Tokyo Bay. They had been previously scheduled for Saturday night, but were postponed due to thunderstorms. (By Roger Hutchings)

August 15, 2006