Time Lapse Video: A Queueing Lesson from Comiket

Comic Market, or “Comiket,” is the world’s largest self-published comic book fair that takes place semiannually at the Tokyo Big Sight Convention Center in Japan.

There are over 500,000 people in attendance each year, and attendees usually line up days in advance in order to enter first and grab the highly coveted comic books. In recent years, however, authorities have banned guests from lining up this early, so eager crowds now show up hours before dawn on the day of the event.

In order to manage such a massive group of people, mobile phone companies set up temporary antennas to improve cell service. Nearby transit centers also change their operating schedules to accommodate the influx of people.

Other than these few indirect measures, little is known about the crowd control practices deployed by authorities running Comiket. All we know is that they’re doing something right.

See the video below to watch the almost choreographic manner in which some half million people filter in and out of the comic convention. It’s pretty amazing.