After lining up around 8am, here's my section of the crowd when Comiket opened at 10am. That far distant end of the straightaway intersects with the vast plaza leading to Big Sight's grand stairway.
It was the second day for both Comic Market 74 and the 10th annual Anime Japan Fes series of concerts (I'd attended the first day of Comiket, but had been out of luck for that afternoon's long-sold-out AJF Joushibu special, featuring anison's finest female performers presenting a slew of songs, musical theater-style). AJF's tokusatsucentric Super Hero Spirits concert would be in late afternoon--a carrot at the end of the lengthy stick of Comiket.
At 11:10am, we at last ascended to the goal of more than a hundred thousand folks that day: the mystical inverted pyramids of Big Sight!
Different genres are featured each day--yep, a day's circles all move out at closing time, and new ones move in the next morning--and for the first time in memory, the various genres I was after this day all managed to land in the same hall: the expanse of East Hall 1-2-3, today mapped into quadrants for Gundam, Sunrise, Novel F.C. ("fan circle"--folks doing doujinshi for properties that began as novels, such as "Lord of the Rings" and "Harry Potter"), and Other Anime (-That-Didn't-Begin-As-Manga; doujinshi for manga and manga-based anime had the spotlight on Comiket's first day). No need to head over to the mirror world of East Hall 4-5-6 or make the treacherous trek to West Hall 1-2 this time (a small mercy, sure--but after the snail-pace slog to get in, and with four hours of standing ahead at the AJF concert, you bet I'll take it!).
After my traditional first stop for aisatsu with Kurata-san of circle Azzurri, whose "Gundam Wing" books got me hooked on doujinshi a decade ago (and she had her first new one in a couple of years, woo-hoo!), it was on to the Other Anime area--an old-skooler's dream with its time-capsule data books, and BGM arrangement CDs and sheet music, and further adventures of your decades-old favorites!
Photographed with permission, here's the Kyoutou Sanseisha side of the "Baldios" endcap.
The circles that had me especially fired up were the "Baldios" duo of Kyoutou Sanseisha and Nekotei. This time they'd earned an endcap (in doujinshi space hierachy, the most popular circles are assigned spaces along the walls to accommodate lines that may stretch outside the building; then come the interior rows' endcaps, which can accommodate lines a dozen deep; the rest of the circles then fill the interior rows), and they teamed to make the most of it with a display of vintage Baldios toys and kits in addition to their three new books: Kyoutou Sanseisha's manga version of "Baldios" episode 38 (planned to be one of the TV series' final five episodes, which were left unmade when the show was cancelled; they've now comicalized four of those five) and "Baldios Historica" text analysis of the TV series, and the conclusion of Nekotei's Aphrodia-centric take on episode 35.
Yikes, this is getting long...There was way too much other fun, in way too many other genres, to detail here (although lemme note that Yamato Party 2009 was announced for May 3 in Saitama; also, the who'da-thunk-it "Technoboyger" space turned out to be empty...betcha somebody was enjoying their circle passes, though. Didja know Comiket circle passes turn up on YJ!Auctions prior to the event, and typically go for 20,000 yen or more for each day? Obscure genre = great chance to win in the Comiket lottery for spaces...sayyyy...at the Winter Comiket, watch for the great book I'm going to "do" on, uhhh, Dai Apollon! [Kidding, kidding!]).
With book-stuffed backpack in tow, made the 15-minute hike to Zepp Tokyo, which thankfully has lockers for the stashing of loot. The gathered faithful milled around and chatted, and at last the time came! I landed in the fourth row on the far left side, with a great angle view and surrounded by fellow hardcore fans. Once in, the near-hour of standing and waiting for the start is the most grueling part after Comiket--but it was forgotten in a flash when Shocker OH!NO! came out to greet us, and the Super Rescue Band members took their places, flanked by The Kinds (two for a while last year, but now again three strong) and Apple Pie...and with a roar of "Super Hero...SPIRITS!", we were off!
ANIME JAPAN FES 2008 SUPER HERO SPIRITS "NATSU NO JIN"
August 16, 2008 at Zepp Tokyo, Aomi, Tokyo
Featuring Ichirou Mizuki, Akira Kushida, MoJo, Takayuki Miyauchi, Psychic Lover, Takayoshi Tanimoto, Sister MAYO, Shin'ichi Ishihara, Masaaki Endou, Hideyuki Takahashi, Tatsuya Maeda, and Ken'ichirou Ooishi, with The Kinds, Apple Pie, Super Rescue Band, and emcee Shocker OH!NO!
1. Uchuu Keiji Gavan (Gavan op): Akira Kushida
[Later in the show, Shocker reminisced that the first Super Hero Spirits, back in August 1999, had also opened with "Uchuu Keiji Gavan"...and that the crowd actually sang its first few lines, when Qu-cy's microphone didn't work! This year's show would be tech-problem-free.]
2. Uchuu Keiji Sharivan (Sharivan op): Akira Kushida
3. Tokkei Winspector (Winspector op): Takayuki Miyauchi
4. Dai Sentai Goggle V Alternate Version (Goggle V op): MoJo
5. Jigoku No Zubat (Zubat op): Ichirou Mizuki
6. Kagayaku Taiyou Kagestar (Kagestar op): Ichirou Mizuki
7. Ultraman Powered (Ultraman Powered op): Tatsuya Maeda
8. Ultraman Dyna (Ultraman Dyna op): Tatsuya Maeda
[This was the AJF debut for Maeda-san, and he got a huge welcome! These days the ultra-laid-back Okinawan is lead guitarist for the band ROPS.]
9. Engine Sentai Go-onger (Go-onger op): Hideyuki Takahashi
[For a few bars, he did the Mashed Potato...and it wasn't out of place at all in this surf-guitar-esque song!]
10. Engine First Lap -Type Normal- (Go-onger end): Project.R (Takayoshi Tanimoto, Sister MAYO, Ken'ichirou Ooishi)
[Tanimoto's name has become a running gag--is it Taniyama? Tanimura? Taniguchi? He and Sister MAYO schooled the crowd on the arm movements in the song's chorus, and then got rolling! (The rapping part must be mighty monster on them; each had unusual hoarse patches in their following songs.)]
11. Jumon Kourin -Magical Force- (Magiranger end): Sister MAYO
12. Juuken Sentai Gekiranger (Gekiranger op): Takayoshi Tanimoto
13. Tao (Gekiranger end): Ichirou Mizuki
14. Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger (Dekaranger op): Psychic Lover
15. Boukensha ON THE ROAD (Boukenger end): Psychic Lover
16. Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger (Abaranger op): Masaaki Endou
[This was Etchi's only performance, other than the encore; he still had Hironobu Kageyama's all-night concert ahead, it was explained. (Of course, so did Psychic Lover. ;^) ) ]
17. We are the ONE -Bokura Wa Hitotsu- (Abaranger end): Akira Kushida
18. Accoustic Guitar Corner: Go Go Kikaider (Kikaider op): Odaiba Fundari Kettari Anison Rakudan (Ichirou Mizuki, Akira Kushida, MoJo, Takayuki Miyauchi, Psychic Lover, Takayoshi Tanimoto, Sister MAYO, Hideyuki Takahashi)
19. Accoustic Guitar Corner: Hakaider No Uta (Kikaider ins): Odaiba Fundari Kettari Anison Rakudan
[Yoffy of Psychic Lover plays a mean horse-jaw rattle! But poor Hakaider, he don't get no respect--on the "Ore no na wa, ore no na wa" line, first MoJo, then Qu-cy, and then Miya'nii couldn't resist inserting their own names, hee!]
20. Kyuukyuu Sentai Go Go Five (Go Go Five op): Shin'ichi Ishihara
21. Choudenshi Bioman (Bioman op): Takayuki Miyauchi
22. Seiun Kamen Machineman (Machineman op): MoJo
23. Kagaku Sentai Dynaman (Dynaman op): MoJo
24. Uchuu Keiji Shaider (Shaider op): Akira Kushida
25. Kidou Keiji Jiban (Jiban op): Akira Kushida
26. Tokkyuu Shirei Solbrain (Solbrain op): Takayuki Miyauchi
27. True Dream (Blue Swat op): Tatsuya Maeda
[Biggest surprise of the concert for me! Absolutely beautiful.]
28. Juukou B-Fighter (B-Fighter op): Shin'ichi Ishihara
29. Time Limit (Metalder end): Ichirou Mizuki
30. Bokura No Barom-1 (Barom-1 op): Ichirou Mizuki
31. Encore: Taiyou Sentai Sunvulcan (Sunvulcan op): All Cast
High-energy from start to finish, and full of fine performances, Super Hero Spirits 2008 was one to do AJF proud. Afterwards, many were staying for that night's Kageyama-and-company all-nighter, but I headed on back to Gunma to take care of the pets, ogle the day's loot, and prepare for another early-morning departure--for the day that would culminate in the high point of the wild weekend, Super Anison Spirits!