This year’s Comiket Opening Dash otaku herds seem abnormally sluggish, sparse, and disoriented…and there’s a matador now.

Earlier this year, Greenland experienced a large-scale ice melt, providing a dramatic illustration of the overall effects of global warming on arctic regions. World leaders responded by… I don’t know. Maybe some of them typed “thoughts and prayers,” but I haven’t checked my Twitter feed in a while so I’m not sure.

But perhaps they’ll wake up when they see that the gradually rising temperatures are also adversely affecting a natural resource more precious than water: otaku.

This summer’s edition of Japan’s biggest biannual indie manga, anime, game, and cosplay convention, Comiket 96, opened on 9 August. As they do every six months, nature photographers camped out at the gates of Kokusai-Tenjijo Station in order to witness and document the regular mass migration of otaku.

During this majestic phenomenon, known as the Comiket Opening Dash, waves of otaku rush past like a river of sweaty T-shirts in order to feed on the huge watering hole of obscure content and perform in mating rituals such as dressing up as a sexy battleship. However, this year, something wasn’t quite right…

“First Comiket of Reiwa! Summer Comiket! Opening Dash! Not a lot of people!”

While there were still several energetic otaku running past the gates, most seemed to be doing more of a Comiket Opening Brisk Walk than a “Dash.” And though it’s difficult to be precise in such a chaotic scene, the overall number of otaku certainly does seem to be down.

Of course, summer Comiket Opening Dashes have always been more subdued than their winter counterparts because of the scorching August heat, but this is a decrease of an unprecedented scale.

Perhaps the shift in weather patterns is affecting their sense of direction and sending them to other crowded venues like summer music festivals or – god help them – Tokyo Disneyland.

This possibility is evidenced by other species finding their way into the otaku migration route such as the endangered matador.

In this video the confused torero attempts to engage in battle with the power-walking crowd. Passing otaku also seem mildly confused and some momentarily stunned by the matador’s anime girl cape, thinking it might be some sort of free give-away he’s handing out.

Luckily, the collision of species didn’t result in any problems, but this in addition to the overall decline in numbers and activity should be a warning sign to all that climate change is rapidly causing irrevocable damage to the ecosystem.

Leading otaku conservationist groups such as Lawson and FamilyMart will continue to help migrating enthusiasts with limited edition goods and posters along their route but it will take some serious steps to combat the overall problem of global warming.

Otherwise, this beautiful miracle of nature may disappear forever…

Source: Twitter/@nabe_garupasine, @MagicGirlMaple, @monju238
Featured image: Twitter/@monju238
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