Unbridled Cynicism

less bullshit, more often?

On Comiket

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’m so over waking up early and camping out for six hours to buy stuff at Comiket. We keep saying this to ourselves, but it’s been what, three times now? By all means do it once, so you know what it’s like. Then stop killing yourself, you’ve got better things to be doing.

Have you ever tried explaining this to someone? Most riajuu, normal people, will understand if you say you camped out overnight to get a good spot in a queue for tickets to a concert. For Comiket you have to explain that you line up in blocks of a couple hundred people, because the word “queue” implies a single-file line. And that you do this with tens of thousands of other people who are willing to brave the cold.

alt-text placeholder for 20121229-20121229_071652.jpg

Caption: Waiting in line for a bathroom, I spotted this guy in front of me with a Material Brave bag. Kanae Ougi is the well-endowed blonde loli whose–HNNNG TOO MUCH FETISH-BAIT!

Ultimately, as the line progresses, you get closer to your goal, step by step. Which is to then get a decent spot in another queue so you can buy the thing that you want. You do this last step a few times, until the queues get too depressing to even bother. This, dear reader, is the folly of Comiket.

alt-text placeholder for 20121229-DSCF3598.jpg

Caption: Speaking of folly, just look at this guy’s hat! Just who do you think you are, Davy Crockett on the untamed frontier of doujin porn?

alt-text placeholder for 20121229_074858.jpg

Caption: The three girls in front of us were holding hands as they walked to the queueing area. And those are some interesting pajama pants…

Still, just observing other people is interesting, though it doesn’t make up for the pain of getting there at 04:30am. We somehow managed to while away the hours until 08:00 with zalas playing around on his iPad mixer app, it’s pretty cool! It’d still ideally need multiple lineouts to properly cue up tracks while the current one plays, but it’s a competent piece of software and sounds really good.

alt-text placeholder for 20121229_094843.jpg

Caption: This is the first time we’ve ever been so far ahead in the queue, we’re actually inside the building and very close to the doors before the 10:00 opening chime sounds!

I’m not aiming for anything much, I just can’t really care so I’m gonna hit up Kantoku’s booth and then stumble around and pick up whatever looks good.

It’s a remarkably easy run through the east halls. We make it through the doors and get marshalled straight out the opposite side, to queue up for our wall circles. Kantoku has a long but well organised line that moves at a cracking pace, so his books are done and dusted in no time.

alt-text placeholder for 20121229-20121229_113652.jpg

Caption: Under Ground Organisation always has a strong lineup, and this time around is no exception. The merging of Eva and Peanuts is uncannily brilliant.

This is too good! UGO’s book this time around is a MariMite/Eva:Q crossover. I put out the call, and Akira wants it. Done.

alt-text placeholder for 20121229-20121229_113723.jpg

Caption: It wouldn’t be UGO without some MariMite though. Chuunibyou demo Gokigenyou!

alt-text placeholder for 20121229-DSCF3610.jpg

Caption: Eyepatch and bandage, everything you need to be properly chuu2.

Well that was easy, UGO’s line is basically non-existent. I might’ve missed the super-special limited goods but it’s not worth worrying about. There’s nothing else worth killing myself and queueing for, so it’s time for some impulse lucky-dip buying!

alt-text placeholder for 20121229_111543.jpg

Caption: Last Order/Accelerator doujin table! This might be the fujoshi section though, hrmm. :/

Key is running some little puzzle competition, zalas has just picked up an entry card from their booth. It’s a bit like a cryptic crossword, and if you can get all the correct answers then correctly unjumble the remaining characters, you can win yourself a Little Busters! poster.

zalas, being zalas, is all over the wordplay like white on rice. We’re sitting around having a breather so Ast and Akira jump in, and they manage to hammer out an answer in pretty short order. It’s nearly the end of the day, but if the booth is still open then zalas can run back and claim the prize.

alt-text placeholder for 20121229-DSCF3611-Edit.jpg

Caption: Great success (and zalas is shy).

That’s an affirmative! The prize is this cute Kudo stick-poster, score one for teamwork.

alt-text placeholder for 20121229-DSCF3612.jpg

Caption: Meanwhile, I think this was one of dovac’s acquisitions? Very nice Miku. :3

Some time later, we’ve all stumbled back to the dorm at Shin-Kiba. The weather is cold and miserable, but the fact is that we’d still like some proper dinner, and the instant ramen here isn’t going to cut it. We’re not too fussed, but a few of us are thinking of going back to Akiba because… there’s nothing else to do.

Blitz suggests getting dinner at one of the places under the station, and those who want to roll out to Akiba can go from there. This satisfies everyone, so we’re off.

For reference: this wasn’t the best plan in the world - there’s about ten of us in the group and not many more seats than that at Matsuya. We’re managing somehow, I think a few people went off to try another place next door.

Noone else is terribly eager so zalas and I finish dinner and head upstairs to the train. He’s after some eroge so we go hunting through the second-hand stores. There’s some… interesting things there alongside the eroge in Mulan.

alt-text placeholder for 20121229_212404.jpg

Caption: Like these cute Madoka onaholes. They’re way too jolly for joffing and I can’t help but chuckle.

Dear Stage is one of the places we’ve walked past many times in Akiba, but they’re actually open now at 21:30. Dear Stage is somewhere between a maid cafe and an idol bar, it’s got a little bit of both. I’m curious, but noone else in the posse has ever been game to go in. Today’s my lucky day, zalas is more than qualified for this and he’s been before.

The first thing that hits me is the sound, it’s really loud. Behind the sound-absorbing curtains and glass of the shopfront is a modest elevated stage and a “mosh pit” for lack of a better name. There’s a decent enough crowd to make it cosy and the girl on stage is seriously singing rather well.

The maid at the door collects our cover charge, with some shouting and gesticulating, and stamps our hands before we settle in to watch the rest of the show. Tonight’s a special night; the girl on stage, Risa, is celebrating her fifth anniversary at Dear Stage and there’s a lot of joyful emotions from everyone. It’s heady stuff when you think about it - she maybe started when she was 16 or so, and here she is at 21. That’s not a part-time job, that’s gotta be serious commitment and a passion for what you do. I can’t imagine that being an easy decision to make, particularly in Japan.

The dining area upstairs is compact, as I’ve come to expect for these sorts of establishments, but there’s room enough for about 20 people. We take a table near the impromptu bar and soak up the atmosphere, there’s a really good buzz at Dear Stage. That’s really important for a themed cafe otherwise things tend to spiral downwards really quickly.

It seems we picked a really good spot, as all the staff have to walk past the bar to get to and from the kitchen, so it’s easy to catch their eye and talk to them. One slight downside is that the maids keep tripping over zalas’ shopping bag of shady eroge. They’re very apologetic about it, but there’s nowhere else to put it on the floor.

alt-text placeholder for 20121229_223443.jpg

Caption: I don’t really understand how the table fee is calculated, but it seems like pretty decent value for two people in my opinion. zalas did you even order anything? I swear it’s all mine and it’s the girliest stuff on the menu: caramel au lait, milk, and pudding.

Something I hadn’t expected to hear was that the the girls work in the kitchen sometimes. In addition to being her anniversary, tonight is “Risa-gohan”, and she done that a few times now. I can totally see how this adds to the appeal if you’re a regular patron at Dear Stage, that’s pretty cool.

Damage for the day: 11,506 yen plus maybe 1,000 on untracked doujins with 3,476 of that on food.