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Online event will run from May 1 to 5 to replace canceled physical event
The Comic Market (Comiket) Committee is teaming up with Nico Nico Net Cho Kaigi for a virtual “Air Comiket” event which will run from May 1 to 5. The virtual event replaces the physical Comic Market 98 dojinshi convention, which was originally scheduled to take place at Tokyo Big Sight from May 2 to May 5 until it was canceled to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19). It is part of a broader initiative called “Ganbarō Dōjin!” (Do Your Best, Dōjin!) which signal boosts dojin creators.
The committee is running a preliminary campaign from April 12 to 19. During this period, people are encouraged to submit images of their creations on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Nico Nico Doga, and Nico Nico Livestreaming with the hashtags #エアコミケ準備室 (Air Comiket preparation room), #ネット超会議2020 (Net Cho Kaigi), and #参加 (Participation). The committee then plans to signal boost creators during the Air Comiket period.
The committee is exploring the possibility of compiling all the dojinshi and circles listed in the event’s catalog and providing links to e-commerce sites that handle them. There are also plans to hold an online presentation on the video streaming website Nico Nico Doga.
In addition, dojinshi shop chains Comic Toranoana and Melon Books will distribute the bags originally created for Comiket 98 to those who purchase over 3,000 yen worth of items from the stores during the Air Comiket period. The chains previously announced that they will give all proceeds from the Comic Market 98 Catalog sales to Comiket‘s organizing committee. The catalog went on sale on April 11.
In a Nico Nico livestream on April 12, Comic Market Committee representative Kōichi Ichikawa explained some of the circumstances behind Comiket 98’s cancellation. He said that the committee had discussions about cancelling the event from late February. On February 26, the Japanese government asked event organizers to “exercise self-restraint” and cancel events for two weeks. However, social distancing measures continued even after this period. Furthermore, the committee deemed that they were unable to comply with the government’s suggested guidelines for avoiding large gatherings in closed and poorly-ventilated spaces. The final straw was the consecutive spike in coronavirus cases in Tokyo since March 20.
Ichikawa said that he hopes fans will be able to muster some of the same enthusiasm for this first-time online Comiket as they would for a regular Comiket. “I want to get up at 4am every day of Comiket like I do every year, and put all my energy into it,” he said.
He also continued to stress that buying the catalog will support the event in the future, and that Comiket 99 will be directly affected by the sales.
The catalog briefly became the bestselling book on Amazon Japan following the announcement of the event’s cancellation on March 27. Toranoana and Melon Books are both offering bonus illustrations drawn by dojinshi artists and other goods for those who purchase or pre-order the catalog through their stores.
The committee noted that it cannot confirm if the Tokyo Big Sight venue will be available this December, or in July and August of 2021, since the Tokyo Olympics has been postponed from this summer. “Plans for Comic Market 99 (Winter 2020) will be announced separately, once the schedule and venue have been confirmed.”
Source: Kai-You (Yūta Onda)