I already blogged a bit about Comiket but today I went to another big doujinshi event; Super Comic City in Osaka, Kansai. Comic City has different editions every year at different places and some of them also seem geared towards specific fandoms such as a Tiger and Bunny edition. I was interested to see whether there would be differences between Comiket and this smaller convention. I noticed a few differences which I shall chart below.
Upon arrival, Index turned out to be a venue similar to Tokyo’s Big Sight. Both are located near a harbour, have several halls downstairs and upstairs, and an interesting architecture. The event is pretty big. It spans 6 halls that are filled to the brim with doujins and it’s held from 10:30-15:00, so you really won’t be able to cover everything. I walked around and also cherrypicked from the fandoms that I’m active in.
This time, I got a catalogue, and I quickly noticed that there was quite some overlap with Comiket. Many of the circles that I saw there were also attending Comic City. The big difference is that Comic City is a one-day event and only focuses on fan comics rather than diverse fan works (e.g., cosplay booklets, games). I saw some music CD’s being sold, but not many. Overall, the event focussed on printed works and though some of these were novels or artbooks, it was rare to see other forms of creativity. Importantly, no one cosplayed in the halls or outside of them. This struck me since Dutch cosplayers and German ones are also often inclined to dress up at regular comic fairs (e.g., at the book fair in Frankfurt or the comic fair in Haarlem). Here, however, there seemed to be a tight etiquette. The opening comic in the catalogue – which I cannot read because my Japanese is too bad – however does show cosplayers, perhaps as a pun. (If anyone is interested I can provide scans.)
When I walked through the halls, the first thing I noticed was that most of the visitors and artists were women. Women of all ages, mind you, including mothers and daughters and packs of friends, but all women. Sometimes, I found myself counting the men when I was in a line or sipping some coffee, and noticed that about 1 out of every 12 people was a guy. The comics also reflected this, most of them were invested in particular fictional couples and romantic. Many of them were yaoi or boys’ love or slash, whatever term you may favour, and had a clear queer interest. Some of them were explicit but many of them not.
In terms of Western material, popular series were NCIS, Pirates of the Carribean, the two Sherlock Holmes installments (BBC and Guy Ritchie’s franchise) as well as X-Men: First Class. There seemed to be more Western content than I spotted at Comiket. In Western countries, these fandoms are also popular but certainly not all there is to it. As someone who researches transmediality of Sherlock Holmes, however, this was a sight to behold. I was glad to see our detective being picked up like this and many of the doujinshi were similar to our fan fiction. There were a few Moran/Moriarty works too that caught my attention. Moran is a popular figure in much older pastiche and fan works, but I haven’t seen him picked up in the Western Guy Ritchie fandom this much. (Out of the 30 or so Guy Ritchie doujins, about 5 were M/M).
Overall, I enjoyed the event and went about the same way as Comiket. I walked through all of the halls and tried to get a taste of what was popular. I was struck again by the amount of Tiger and Bunny doujins, Fate Zero, Tales-games and whatnot. What I also find interesting is that there are many Pokémon doujinshi of the ‘Subway Masters’, two gym leaders that are apparently very popular here and that I also saw cosplayed a few times, but that I never heard of before I came to Japan.
I highly recommend Super Comic City to anyone, even male fans, depending on your interests. It is a good trip if you have missed out on some things on Comiket. Personally, I think you should be the type of fan who can appreciate boys’ love a bit, otherwise a different edition of Comic City or a trip to Comiket might be worth your while more. However, it was less crowded and I found many good things. Also, as far as I noticed, I was the only gaijin and people were very happy when I bought a book from them. Even more so than at Comiket, I felt like I didn’t really belong, but when I shared my joy for Sherlock in my worst Japanese with some doujin-authors, we were all squeeing. And squeeing is a super-international language, apparently.