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!