Comiket isn’t just about anime—it caters to hardcore otaku of all varieties, as we quickly discovered during our most recent visit.

The 89th Comic Market event was held from December 29 to 31, and welcomed over half a million attendees. The event is famous as the world’s biggest otaku convention, dominated by big, sparkly anime eyes and even bigger anime boobs.

However, while many circles are there to share their doujinshi—derivative works based on existing creations—Comiket is for all amateur creators, and as well as manga comics you can find photo collections, novels, fanzines, crafts, and more. If you’re willing to search hard enough through the thousands of booths, there really is something for everyone. Our reporter picked out the five most unexpected things that caught his eye.

▼ Fish sausage guide


This book shows the appeal of fish-meat sausage (industrially processed fish-meat fashioned into a sausage shape, mmm yummy) through illustrations and sexy gravure photos. Get a peek into the world of fish-sausage with info on how they’re made and the companies that produce them. Perhaps it’ll change your point of view, whether that means becoming an ardent fan or being put off the substance for life.

▼ Electromagnetic telephones photobook


As the no-nonsense cover describes, this is a photo book of old electromagnetic telephones, which I assume are the creator’s personal collection. Otaku come in all shapes and sizes, and if someone can be a densha (train) otaku, then why not a phone otaku? Kids today probably wouldn’t even recognize these as phones, so it’s an interesting reminder of how quickly changes in technology happen in the modern era.

▼ Mapo tofu fanbook


Mapo tofu is a Chinese dish that’s popular in Japan, and this fanbook gives thorough explanations of all 28 versions of boil-in-the-bag mapo tofu dishes you can find in Japanese supermarkets with easy-to-understand charts showing spiciness, quality of ingredients, and compatibility with white rice. Even the cover imitates the design of a packet of supermarket curry. Probably the ultimate (and only?) book for mapo tofu lovers!

▼ Pilgrimage to Sacred Places: Europe Edition


A travel guide for people wanting to visit “sacred spots”, although you won’t find Lourdes or the Vatican in here. These are spots that are “sacred” to otaku because they’ve appeared in anime. This guide will show you where to find them and how to take photos from the same angles as they appear in the anime. The circle (creators) also produces versions for specific regions within Japan such as Hokkaido and Kyoto.

▼ Science Ninja Team Gatchaman radio transcript


Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman is a superhero team composed of characters from various anime created by Tatsuo Yoshida, and they’ve appeared in various forms of media from anime to comics to games since the team’s formation in 1972. Think an anime equivalent of Marvel’s Avengers. Apparently they have also starred in a radio show, which is what this fanzine focuses on. It contains a transcript painstakingly copied down from listening to the broadcast, as well as trivia columns about it.

These fanbooks all show great dedication to extremely niche interests, and as such we think they completely capture the original spirit of Comiket.

Photos © RocketNews24
[ Read in Japanese ]