Short of carrying a hose to wash down smelly attendees, this tip may be your best defense.
If you’re a fan of Japanese animation, the sights and sounds of an anime convention can be pure joy, as you find yourself surrounded by imagery of the characters you love and the music of the series they appear in. But as any con veteran will tell you, that sensory euphoria rarely extends to the way anime conventions smell.
Packing thousands of fans into confined areas for multiple days, often during the summer, produces a palpable miasma. The exact bouquet is often a mix of excited sweat, dusty rare merchandise that was pulled out of a storeroom’s back corner, and the nourishing grease of cheap fast food.
The phenomenon is particularly pronounced at Summer Comiket, the gathering of independent manga creators and fan artists held in Tokyo each August, when the capital is at its most swelteringly humid. With the show going on right now, Japanese Twitter user @dokurogunsou shared the following insider tip.
コミケの匂い対策 前日風呂に入れ、という啓蒙活動が行われていますが無駄です… 臭うやつはそんなもの見ません… 啓蒙でなく自衛策を講じるのです… 鼻の下にメンソレータムを塗りなさい… これは検視官が腐乱死体を検死するときにも使われます… 臭うやつは腐乱死体と同じ扱いです…—
ドクロ軍曹 1日目 西g37a (@dokurogunsou) August 11, 2016
“How to deal with the smell at Comiket:
These days, there’s an effort to encourage attendees to take a bath the night before they come, but it isn’t really helping, since a lot of the people who cause the smell don’t pay attention to the messages.
So rather than trying to educate others, you’ve got to take measures to make things easier on yourself. So take some [menthol lip balm], and spread it under your nose.
This is what medical examiners do when they’re performing autopsies on decomposing corpses. If people are too smelly, your best bet is to handle them the same way.”
Specifically, @dokurogunsou recommends Mentholatum, a popular brand of ChapStick-like balm commonly available at drug stores and rail station kiosks in Japan, but the tactic sounds like it should work with any scented variety of lip balm. A single stick won’t cost you more than a few bucks, and while that’ll give you slightly less cash to spend in the dealer’s room, it still sounds like it’ll be money well-spent.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where, if he’s being perfectly honest, he could use a shower right about now.