2y5tu Okay, so there isn’t an official event called “The Running of the Nerds” in Japan, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, but what else would you call this biannual spectacle of Japanese otaku frantically clamoring off a crowded train, sprinting up the platform stairs, rocketing past the turnstiles, and…patiently waiting in line for five hours? What has these nerds all in a frenzy is Comic Market, Comiket for short, the world’s largest dojinshi (self-published manga, anime, and novel) convention. Every year before the opening day of the summer and winter Comiket, the first train of the day bound for Kokusai-tenjijo Station is packed with otaku hoping to be one of the first in line at the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition center. The GIF above is from a YouTube video that was taken on August 10, the first day of the summer 2013 Comiket. It looks more like a track meet than the opening day of a comic convention.

So why are these guys (and some gals) sprinting to the exhibition center five hours before the event opens? Well, since Comic Market is the place to find self-published titles, quantities are limited and you have to be quick if you want to snatch up your favorite indie manga or anime. Once they’re sold out, you’ll have to try your luck online and purchase these ultra rare works on auctions sites like Yahoo! Japan. People who aren’t even interested in comics wake up early and wait at Kokusai-tenjijo Station.

Notice the crowd of people on either side of the turnstiles, cameras held high in the air? Much like the annual Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, these people are here to watch the crowds of nerds galloping towards their beloved Comic Market! After all that running in the early morning summer heat and hours of waiting in line, let’s hope these otaku take a bath. But with all the excitement, who has time?
[ Read in Japanese ]