Crowd control at comic conventions can be generally, if not creatively, described as “organized chaos” — emphasis more often that not on the latter — as thousands of fans determined to lay their hands on that special sketch, autograph or issue are poured into narrow entry points like so many grains of sand in an hourglass.
If you’ve attended Comic-Con International or New York Comic Con, or even read the tweets, blog entries and forum posts from those who have, what a delicate, frustrating and, yes, frequently sweaty and smelly dance that crowd flow can be, with one untied shoe, inconsiderate mid-aisle conversation or loud protest over access botching the choreography and sending everything into a horrible, grumbling snarl.
But at Tokyo’s Comiket, the world’s largest self-published comics fair, organizers have transformed crowd control into an artform.
The twice-yearly event, held in August and December, drew more than 500,000 people over three days last week to the Tokyo Big Sight; that breaks down to somewhere around 166,000 people per day. Now witness the time-lapse video below, filmed over the course of 13 hours, showing convention staff masterfully conducting the mass of attendees as it waits for the doors to open.
You can’t see much of anything until the 1:25 mark, but everything after that is pretty incredible. It should be set to music.