Never underestimate the physical prowess of a nerd on the hunt.
Twice a year the first train of the day bound for Kokusai-tenjijo Station is packed to capacity with Japanese otaku (nerds) eager to be the first ones in line for the opening day of Comic Market, or “Comiket”, Japan’s largest comic convention held at the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition center every summer and winter.
You would think that just managing to get on the first train would be enough, but the moment the doors open the peaceful morning silence is broken as everyone makes a mad dash to get out of the station and up to the front of the line. It happens every time, and this year’s winter Comiket, being held December 29-31, is no exception.
While most attendees can think of little other than beating the crowd, a few derive greater enjoyment from watching the mad scramble rather than participating in it. And now, thanks to YouTube, you can to!
Here’s the scene from this morning, the opening day of Comiket 83. Keep your eye on the first guy out the door.
And here’s a different view, this time taken during the opening day of Comiket 82 in August 2012.
Luckily they’ll have plenty of time to rest after all that running since it’s still another 5 hours until they start letting people in.
So why do they do it?
All items sold at Comiket are self-published by independent artists or groups and are made specifically for sale at the convention. Comics and other published works are very seldom reprinted, which means if they sell out before you get there, you’re out of luck.
Even if you’re not in the market for rare Japanese indie comics or the embarrassing and graphically detailed bags in which they are carried, Comiket can be a fun just to walk around and look at the cosplayers or see what everyone is selling.
If you want to avoid the lines, your best bet is to arrive sometime after 12 PM, when everyone else is either already in the venue or on their way out.
And if you do get there a little early, don’t worry: once they’re actually in line, Comiket attendees are as orderly as any other Japanese person.