I just got back from the first day of Comiket 82, the bi-yearly comic market held in the Tokyo Big Sight convention hall. For reference, here is a picture of the iconic Big Sight:

This is a side view, and no, the convention is not held on the second floor of this building. In fact, the actual buildings sprawl out underneath and behind this one (there are six East Halls and four West Halls).

The Comic Market (shortened to Comiket by lazy Japanese people and lazier otaku [anime fans]) is a magical place filled with wonder and amazement. And, of course, beautiful, beautiful art. The thing that makes Comiket so unique is that the entirety of the East Halls and half of the West Halls are devoted to lesser-known artists and smaller companies. While many of them have professional quality work, Comiket is one of the few times where they can both communicate with their fans and make a lot of money selling their products wholesale. The reason many of them cannot be published ‘officially’ is due to copyright laws–many Comiket artists create doujinshi, or fan-created comics.

Doujinshi take fanfiction to a whole new level. They take the universes, characters, or storylines of a ‘mainstream’ original work and provide a different perspective on it. Perhaps in this one, your two favorite characters get into a relationship that was never canon. Or, say, some little plot thread that the original author never followed through on is now embellished and given voice through fan work. Comiket also gives artists a chance to play with the art styles of popular works. See below:

This is the official style of the animation known as Prince of Tennis.

And now, see one of the gorgeous remakes of these characters I found and purchased at Comiket:

Can these possibly be the same characters?! I much prefer this art style to the official one.

So as you can probably tell, a lot of the works available for sale at Comiket are meant as fan-service. That is to say, they make a series more appealing to a broader fan base by providing higher variety. Be warned that you will run into ‘questionable’ subject matter at Comiket and that it’s really not a place to bring small children (I know, I know, comic books for adults? What’s the deal, Japan? We thought that was kid stuff!) Unfortunately, pictures are not allowed inside of the Big Sight (unless if you specifically ask permission from the staff, and even then, they mostly say no), so I could not get as many as I’d hoped.

One thing you also see a lot of at Comiket are cosplayers. Simply put, cosplayers are people dressed as characters from fictional mediums. And Comiket is world-famous for its amazing cosplayers. Just today I saw creatures from Silent Hill, Sora and Riku from Kingdom Hearts, Vincent from Final Fantasy VI, and countless other detailed and stunning costumes. Here are some pictures, not taken by me, of cosplayers at Comiket 82:

After Comiket closed at 4 (it will open again tomorrow at 10), we wandered on down the train line to the largest shopping mall in Tokyo to get ‘linner’ (you can buy food at Comiket too, but who would when there is so much ELSE to see?) and ran into a life-sized Gundam model:

Just to show you HOW TALL 18 meters are, that guy by the foot is only about 10 feet away.

Even if you’ve never seen Gundam, even if you wonder what the POINT is of a non-working life-size battle robot, you have to admit that this is pretty cool. And the attention to detail… I mean, there’s even serial numbers on each part! Truly a work of art, here.
I will definitely be returning to Odaiba in the future. I haven’t yet explored it as much as I would like–Comiket takes a lot out of a person–and there is still so much more to see. For now, I leave you with some pictures I managed to take on the run between stations and destinations.