Okay, before anyone gets offended, I also met Suriko, Raide, Hir and Lawls, but out of that group, Weee was the only one that I hadn’t met before, and was also Hanako’s artist, so that was kind of cool.
This was close to one of the few times we had so many devs in one physical place, and that we kind of fun. We had two days together; one playing around in Tokyo and one doing our thing at the Komiket booth.
Meeting the other KS devs is kind of interesting for me, and I’ve decided to try and seek more of them out. To meet someone that you have toiled together with (as well as, in some cases, fought against) is somewhat satisfying. I also find it somehow easy to be around the other devs – you don’t have to do that whole “meeting of the minds” that you have to do when you meet new people.
So, how did this meeting come together? Well, as per the official Blog, Weee was selling her new artbook, Dangerous, at Komiket 88. Since Hir and I live in Tokyo and Suriko and Raide were planning on going to Komiket anyway, we decided to meet up. Long-term IRC follower Lawls was already planning on being in Japan on holidays anyway, so he was able to join as well.
I won’t go into the embarrassing details of the day before our Komiket experience, however I will say that it was a pretty freaking busy day, starting with this message from Weee:
“Man I’m such a stalker – I can see Crud outside the window”.
This was at about 0530 in the morning, after a night flight for me and a looong night for the others. In hindsight, I should have gone home, got changed, and regrouped later in the day. But, to be honest, we squeezed a lot in; Sky Tree, a little bit of Komiket (the Boy Love day), a Maid Cafe, a little bit of Akihabara, a quick look at at lantern floating, and yes, Karaoke.
I know that the threads of sanity were all but frayed by the end of that, but I had a good time. I think the others may have had a good time, but you never know really…
Komiket – The Battle
Komiket really surprised me. I had to prepare for another business trip in the morning, so I was unable to join the others until a little later, however Suriko and Weee made their way to Big Sight at about 0600 in the morning (for a 1000 opening!).
On the most popular day somewhere between 300,000 and 500,000 people visit the convention centre, which feels like it can only really fit about 50,000 at best.
The lines start at 0500 and then build up. Somehow, the masses of people wait their turn in an orderly fashion, however once you enter the halls, all hell breaks loose.
Thankfully, even though I arrived about 2 hours later (about 0830-0900), Suriko was kind enough to let me sit with them (after delivering some supplies). No-one seemed to want to murder me for “cutting in” either, so thank you Japanese people.
At about 1030 our block was lead into the hall, past what felt like a million people. Everyone proceeded in an orderly fashion until the front doors were in sight. Then, all hell broke loose. In Japanese fashion, people politely and considerately turned into monsters, surging towards the popular stands to wait in line – again usually for an hour plus – to get their desired Doujin (fan-made magazines).
I didn’t see much of Raide and Suriko; they were swallowed by the crowds in the quest to find their doujin. Knowing that I had to fly out that night and with no particular plan, I stayed at our booth.
Manning the booth was good fun. One Hir let me try selling, we were selling like hotcakes. I know that I like to tell people that I didn’t really want to be a salesman, but the reality is that I love it.
It was really cool to meet the people that were dropping by the booth. We has an Australian, a few British people, someone from Portugal and a pair from America.
And lots, and lots, of Japanese visitors.
There was a typical otaku-looking guy with some kind of head-towel-cape thing that was super excited to meet Weee; until he asked who I was, after which he turned into some rabid superfan (he’s a Hanabro) and asked if he could shake my hand.
It’s not much, but I did two “Handshakes” and signed about 4 autographs. Feels good, man.
Interestingly though, Weee is super popular. Most of the visitors to the booth were in total battle mode; making their purchase, handing over the cash and then bolting to the next store. But practically anyone that hung around for longer asked “I hear Weee was here…”.
I will admit that I’m not that connected to the VN/Art scene much at all (if I ever was, that is), but there are so many people that were looking for Weee. It surprised me a little, and she spent a lot of time chatting with other artists of similar ilk; including a lot of time with Nakamura from Leaf (one of the big artistic inspirations for the 4LS style). We also, as a group, went to meet Raita; who penned the infamous page that started off the whole Katawa Shoujo project. He actually left his hour-long line to spend 5 minutes with us, giving us a bunch of free merch as well.
If you ever read this, thanks!
Meeting with the 4LS crew (or part thereof) reminded me of why I stuck around the project so long. It is great to work with some really talented people. They inspire you to do better, and I think we all grew together quite a lot.
I would really love to do a project with them again, however I also know that my schedule now is even more punishing than it was when I made the decision to leave. I don’t want to cause the delays and fights that I did towards the end. Still, it would be really nice to work in a team again.
Raide is working with Christine Love to make some great VNs, like Hate Plus; Weee is pumping out more art than I can imagine and Suriko is working with a few members of the 4LS team on a super-secret project (I think they have the script done).
Anyway, for those of you that have made it this far, click the “Read More” link for a special surprise.