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Holy crap, that’s a lot of people!

If you’re a long time listener of Otaku no Podcast, I’m sure you’ve heard certain of our panelists complaining about the large crowds at certain of the more high-profile anime/comic conventions.  Indeed, when you look at the attendance figures for two recent events, Anime Expo (reportedly 44,000) and San Diego Comic-Con (reported by Wikipedia as “[n]early 140,000, at least 125,000” but suspected to be much higher, perhaps as high as 250,000), you can’t help but be impressed by those numbers.  Comic-Con attendance, in particular, has eclipsed the population figures of most small to mid-sized towns here in the USA.

But even that pales in comparison with the news I received today that, according to early estimates, Japan’s Comic Market (“Comiket”) welcomed a record 560,000 attendees at its Summer Comiket event this past weekend (August 14-16, 2009).  Comiket’s organizing body reports that the high attendance figures also indicate a spike in new attendees, which should come as good news to the manga industry.

Think about that, people.  FIVE HUNDRED SIXTY THOUSAND.  Holy crap, that’s a lot of people!  Sure makes our grousing and complaining sound petty and immature, doesn’t it?  😉

Comiket, as it’s called by the cool kids, isn’t the same as your typical western Anime convention.  For one thing, it’s frakkin’ HUGE.  It dominates the entire Tokyo Big Sight, a massively huge (one might even say “Xbox huge”) convention center with a total floor space of 230,873 m².  It’s almost exclusively devoted to manga, specifically doujinshi, essentially self-published manga.  Most doujinshi “circles” (the groups who sell their doujinshi at Comiket) are unknown fans, though many well-known manga artists choose to publish doujinshi in order to publish outside of their usual publisher relationships.  And they sell a TON of this stuff at Comiket – perhaps as many 20 acres (81,000 m2 according to one source).  It’s also known for its epic and legendary cosplay.  There is plenty of photographic evidence to back this claim.  Search for yourself.  (I would post links, but there are really too many to post here, and I don’t want to make this article over 9,000 pages long!)

On our last episode I expressed my doubts as to whether my stamina would hold me through a Comic-Con.  Well, after reading this, I don’t think I’ll be attempting Comiket anytime soon… perhaps ever.  sweatdrop

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