Event: Girls Love Festival Report

September 14th, 2011

First of all, my apologies for having no pictures of the event, as there were signs everywhere forbidding picture-taking. I had lost my camera early in the trip and my wife’s is too large to use surreptitiously.

Girls Love Festival (website is in Japanese) is one of two Yuri-only doujinshi events being held in Japan. Girls Love Fest is in the Tokyo area and Maiden’s Garden (website in Japanese) is held in Kyoto.

I had never had a chance to attend either of these, so I was both excited and a little apprehensive about this one. ^_^ But it turns out I need not have been worried at all.

Girls Love Fest has a list of participating circles on their website, so I knew going into it that there were a few people I wanted to meet or see again.

Bruce, my wife and I took the train to Kamata station, where we found the PIO building without difficulty. Outside was our dear friend Komatsu-san and we waited for the last our party, a lovely, talented and funny young lady, Ransui-san, who draws doujinshi herself. We were treated to a preview of her upcoming PreCure works, which are incredibly cute!

We watched the line of attendees go in when the event opened and were not terribly encouraged by the female/male attendee ratio. It appeared that very few women were attending, but when we finally got in, there were more than it appeared on the line. Circles seemed split 40/60 female/male and attendees were more like 30/70. So, not as many women this time as Komatsu-san said there were last year, but it wasn’t a bad split.

You have to purchase a copy of the event catalog to get in to the event – the catalog acts as your “ticket” into the event space. It wasn’t that expensive, and very nicely printed.

The room was a convention center hall, half was one show, half the other show. GLF was on the window side. Because the show was small, the aisles weren’t crowded, so it had a nice, airy, open feeling.

Everyone we talked to was so nice! Lots and lots of smiles. We gave away Yuricon “I Love Yuri” pins to the show Boss, and a few circles we knew and some folks who had come to the Yuricon 2005 event in Tokyo. (I had ordered more, but thanks CafePress for taking more than two weeks to ship a bag of pins, so they arrived too late.)

We were able to say hello to Circle Sakuraike (Kimochi no Katachi Volume 1 and Volume 2) and of course buy their books! and slowly, relaxedly wander the aisles. There wasn’t as much 18+ material as I feared. In my heart, I sort of expected the event to be mostly loli-porn, so I anticipated being disappointed with the doujinshi for sale. But, I was pretty much wrong. I was glad to be wrong. ^_^

The event theme was “magical girl,” so there was a lot of Madoka work, no surprise, and a fair dollop of PreCure. A little Nanoha, much less than I expected and surprisingly a pretty decent showing for Maria-sama ga Miteru (thus proving that Yumi is pretty much magical. ^_^) There was one lonesome guy selling Strawberry Panic doujinshi and only one Vocaloid seller – all of us commented on how strange that was. We all expected way more of that.

I got fangirly squee-y when I came across Amano Shuninta’s (Sweet Guilty Love Bites) booth. I saw the doujinshi first, and recognized the art style, then blurted out, “OMG, is this Amano Shuninta?” at which the adorable woman standing there raised her hand. I asked her to sign a doujinshi, and bought everything, pretty much, then gave her a “I Love Yuri” pin. ^_^ I also found Momono Moto (Kimi Koi Limit) gave her a pin, tried to buy a book, but she gave it to me. Thank you! I really wanted it for the CD it came with, I think it’s a game, that looked kinda fun. Girl Prince and Princess on the cover. I’ll see if I can make heads or tails of it. ^_^

I also asked some random artist to sign her work, because it was so cute. She looked shocked, then embarrassed, but she did it. That was also very cute. (^_^)

Kogado, the company that created Yuri game Soulfege was the only corporate presence there, they were advertising their new Yuri game, White Robe Lovers, which takes place in a nursing school. If there is a faster way to turn me right off, I can’t think of it. That whole nurse fetish thing just leaves me cold. But, what was notable, was that Kogado had an itasha there to advertise the series. In the front window of the car was a URL which struck as all as amusing, but none of us knew whether it was unintentional or not: http://blog.kogado.co.jp/patheticar/. Either way, we agreed that the URL was truth in advertising.

Before we left, we all agreed that next year we’ll go to the Maiden’s Garden event together. Komatsu-san and Ransui-san left us to go to take in a PreCure musical show, so we said our goodbyes to them and left GLFes, with piles of doujinshi, fan novels and memories of many smiles.

I would encourage any of you to attend this event – it was friendly, relaxing and fun, just as one would hope it would be. ^_^ Thanks to everyone who made it possible and to everyone who sold there. And many, many thanks to Komatsu-san and to Ransui-san for joining us on our adventure!

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10 Responses

  1. redfish says:

    It occurred me after I’d left that the other gaijin there besides me might’ve been your entourage. Looks like it was, oh well.

    The lack of Vocaloid material is probably related to Vocaloid Festa taking place at Big Sight at the same time (not that it was particularly crowded there either when I peeked in on my way out from Reitaisai in the neighboring hall).

  2. @redfish – Were you the tall guy with dreads? Wish I had known it was you!

  3. Cryssoberyl says:

    Sounds like a wonderful experience. For someone who tends to be irrationally anxious over the health of the genre, an event like this is very heartening to read about. Thank you.

  4. Felix says:

    Add another thing to the list why I wish I could go to Japan…

    I really liked the school girl poster used for Girls Love, but I kind of wished for the magical girl themed one they used adult Nanoha and Fate.

  5. Buu says:

    Oh jeez I was actually planning a trip to Japan next year for Comiket (In hopes to buy some cute Yuri things). How would you say this event compares to that when it comes to Yuri manga? It’s going to be my first time handling all of this and I want to make it run as smoothly as possible.

  6. @Buu – Nothing compares with Comiket. This was about 50 tables for one day, Comiket is 10,000 tables a day for 3 days.

  7. redfish says:

    @Erica Most likely yes.

    @Buu Original Yuri is pretty well clustered together at Comiket on a single day (Sunday? The day tends to vary a bit though.) in one of the west halls. Many GLF sellers were previously familiar from Comiket.

    This cluster excludes big names (like Atelier Miyabi, which has usually had an outside-facing table with a 200-meter line on an unrelated day) and many, though not all non-originals (which are usually spread out among the relevant subjects’ tables or have wall-side tables; but “obviously Yuri” series like Marimite will often be nearby).

    Having a catalog beforehand and at least a few names to look for is pretty essential. Similar circles tend to be clustered together, so finding one and then looking around is often useful. (Touhou is kind of an exception; the relevant area is huge and usually extremely crowded.)

  8. marti says:

    I’m in Japan for a while now, and have had my eyes on this event for quite some time. How can I purchase the catalog to get into the event? Is it possible to purchase it ahead of time or at the event?

    • With smaller events like this, you purchase the catalog at the event as a form of admission. Events usually have circle listings with sites on their website and circles sites usually tell you what they are are planning on selling before the event.

      GLF is held twice a year. The last event was just a week or two ago, so check out their website for their next event, which will probably be held in Autumn.

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