After missing multiple iterations due to the coronavirus, organizers feel confident about holding otaku gathering once again.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that, in terms of the excitement it generates, Comiket is like Christmas for the otaku community. If anything, that’s an understatement, because while Christmas comes but once a year, the celebration of self-published doujinshi manga, related merchandise, and cosplay traditionally happens twice a year in Tokyo.

However, it’s now been more than 18 months since the last Comiket was held. Comiket 97 took place in December of 2019, at a time when the coronavirus was still considered by many to be primarily a domestic Chinese health issue. The situation changed quickly, though, and by spring Japan too was in the middle of a full-fledged pandemic, leading organizers of Comiket 98 to scrap plans for an in-person gathering in May 2020, shifting the event to an online-only “air Comiket.”

Comiket 99 would ordinarily have taken place in December of 2020, but with the pandemic continuing the event was postponed to May of 2021. This proved to be overly optimistic, though, as rising infection numbers, and pressure to bring them down before the start of the Tokyo Olympics, made holding Comiket in spring of this year impossible, and the event was delayed again, this time indefinitely.

But after months of waiting, the Comic Market Committee, which oversees Comiket, has announced that Comiket 99 is scheduled to take place this December, on the 30th and 31st, at its regular home of the Tokyo Big Sight convention center in Tokyo’s Ariake district.

▼ The news is sure to be especially happy for fans of Uma Musume, since it’s exploded in popularity since the start of the pandemic and there hasn’t been a proper Comiket for fans to show their creative passion for the the multimedia horse-girl franchise.

The timing of the announcement might seem strange, though, as Tokyo is currently experiencing its highest rates of new coronavirus infections ever in the pandemic. The capital remains under a government-declared state of emergency, and businesses and public facilities across the country continue to have their operating procedures impacted by social distancing and other preventive guidelines.

But the Comic Market Committee thinks that happier times are on the way. While Tokyo has been seeing a surge in new infections, vaccination shots are finally starting to become available to the general population in the capital, and that availability is expected to begin spreading to other prefectures in the near future. “We are announcing the date for Comiket 99 based on our recognition that societal conditions are expected to improve in the coming months,” says the statement.

However, the committee is not ruling out the possibility of Comiket 99 being delayed for a third time. “If societal conditions do not improve as expected as a result of vaccinations and other measures, we cannot say that we will not further postpone the event.” The organizers have also yet to specify what sort of regulations, such as reduced attendance caps, or proof of vaccination and/or wearing a mask required for entry, will be in effect, only saying “We thank all participants for their understanding that we will be holding Comiket while asking for their cooperation in a number of new ways.”

Source: Comiket via Oricon News via Livedoor News via Otakomu
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