Meet characters from some of the hottest anime, games, manga and virtual units in Japan right now.

This past weekend was a big one for doujinshi (self-published manga) creators and fans, as it marked the return of Comiket, the world’s largest doujinshi convention, in its first restriction-free iteration since the start of the pandemic.

▼ As in past years, the event was held at the Tokyo Big Sight convention centre.

Summer Comiket 2023, also known as Comic Market 102 or C102, proved to be even bigger than last summer, with 130,000 attendees compared to 85,000. One of the many thousands who attended this year was our reporter Egawa Tasuku, who braved the heat to check out the manga…and the cosplayers who had gathered on the first day of the two-day convention.

Egawa’s journey began at the nearest station, Kokusai-tenjijo, where the ticket gates had been adorned with characters from the role-playing game Blue Archive.

Upon exiting the station, the large banner beneath the ticket gate sign read “いってらっしゃい!” (“itterasshai” or “see you when you get back!”), which was a nice way of making attendees feel as if the cast would be waiting for them when they returned to the station for their home trip.

On the other side of the banner, presumably for when the attendees returned after the convention, were the words “お疲れ様でした!” (“otsukaresama deshita!” or “thank you for your hard work!”).

When Egawa arrived, at around 10:15 a.m., ahead of the morning entry time of 11: 00 a.m., he was pleased to find that staff were handing out free instant cooling packs in front of the station, with Blue Archive characters adorning the packaging as well.

Cooling packs like these provided some welcome relief in the blazing heat, with temperatures reaching highs of 36 degrees Celsius (96.8 degrees Fahrenheit). Many people brought parasols to shelter under while waiting in line, which was a very good idea, given that there was no shade in the queuing area.

Egawa felt there were a lot of people at the event, but once he was inside, there was hardly any congestion in the massive convention hall.

▼ He wandered around the cosplay area on the east side until 11:30 a.m., but no one was there.

So he decided to switch tactics, making his way to the official cosplayers at company booths first. On the way, he spotted crowds of people outside waiting to get in soon after the opening time.

▼ The crowds were massive so Egawa was glad he got there early enough to get ahead of them.

Before seeking out the cosplayers, Egawa remembered to purchase one of the limited-edition Comiket drinks for the summer event. These drinks, which are sold at vending machines at the venue, are highly sought after by visitors, so it’s best to get them early to avoid missing out.

▼ Priced at 250 yen (US$1.72) each, the packaging on these limited-edition drinks change with every iteration.

With his drinks in hand, Egawa was now ready to meet some of the cosplayers, and the first one he came across brought a big smile to his face.

Gundam Aerial

▼ It’s like Gundam, but with Aerial, a popular brand of Japanese corn snacks.

Egawa was off to a good start, and he could sense that this was going to be a great year for cosplayers. So let’s get to it and take a look at some of the best from Day One below!

 Hoshimachi Suisei from Hololive | Cosplayer: @suyasuya_yuki

 Nekozuka Hibiki from Blue Archive | Cosplayer: @kwskring

Juri from Street Fighter 6 | Cosplayer: @kokoro777pp

 Kana Arima from Oshi no Ko | Cosplayer: @KRaR007 

Phrenapates from Blue Archive | Cosplayer: @george_brark

▼ Complete with the Adult Card.

Amamiya Kokoro from Nijisanji | Cosplayer: @noncos_11

Kamisato Ayaka from Genshin Impact | Cosplayer: @ringring0617

Kirara from Genshin Impact | Cosplayer: @rena_hashi

Tokai Teio from Uma Musume Pretty Derby | Cosplayer: @kitaro_cos

Shizuku Kuroe from My Dress-Up Darling | Cosplayer: @_urusan_

▼  Over at the company booths, there were characters from Elemental Story

▼ …Wuthering Waves

▼ …Lovebrush Chronicles

▼ …Atelier Resleriana….

▼ … and finally, BLACK STELLA PTOLOMEA.

So there you have it — the best cosplayers from Day One of Summer Comiket! It was a sweltering hot day so Egawa takes his hat off to the cosplayers who braved the heat in their costumes and kept a smile on their faces the whole time. To everyone who participated, otsukaresama deshita!

Photos © SoraNews24
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