It’s that time of the year again – the start of anime, game, and cosplay conventions in Singapore. Doujin Market (abbreviated as “Doujima”) is usually the first “major” convention in the year. Of course, as an avid convention-goer, I was excited!
Given that Doujima was held at Suntec’s Convention Centre, the convention itself is in a pretty central location. It’s easy to find, too! If you arrived via the taxi stand, there was a giant display advertising for the event.
Even if you didn’t know where exactly the hall number was, it was easy to locate. After all, all you had to do was follow the clusters of people heading in the general direction of the convention centre – especially if they were wearing anime-related merchandise, or if they were cosplaying.
Inside Doujima itself.
As someone who’s been attending Doujima since about 2016, it exceeded my expectations! Compared to past years, this year’s Doujima had far more booths, with a lot more variety. I attribute that to the event’s space spanning two halls this year.
There were so many booths that I constantly felt like I hadn’t seen everything, even after walking around the entire Doujima a couple of times. Fans of more popular series (Marvel, My Hero Academia or hit Japanese game Grandblue Fantasy, just to name a few) were spoiled for choice too! With multiple booths offering different merchandises of these popular series, Doujima pretty much doubles up as a test of self-restraint for fans.
That, and the crowd was a lot more well-managed this year. The booths were organised in such a way that there was enough space for artists to get comfortable in their booths, while having enough space for the visiting crowd to keep moving as well.
It does get a bit squeezy at the more popular booths, seeing as how you just have to go up to the booth to make a purchase, without any real way of queuing. Other than that, it’s nice to not have to be pressed up against other convention-goers while attempting to move from booth to booth.
How bad were the queues?
I reached the venue at 12pm on the dot. There was a long queue that was already there, that was already closed off, but they were let in very quickly. The rest of us in the area (but outside the queue) could soon follow after, and the entire process took about 5 minutes at most.
That was the first time I entered the venue. I left a couple of hours later to grab lunch, then came back. At that point in time, the crowd was so bad in the convention hall itself, that the staff couldn’t allow more people to go in.
It was apparently so crowded inside the venue, that the waiting time to re-enter the venue was almost an hour long! Though it was a long time, I personally felt that it was understandable. They were trying to keep traffic moving in the hall, while slowly accommodating a large number of people that wanted to enter the hall.
That, and there were clear benefits for Fast Pass holders. Fast Pass holders were unaffected by this long wait because they could skip the queue. The fact that they could enter the venue earlier to purchase merchandise turned out to be more beneficial than expected, too.
The longest queue for one of the booths in the event (that I, unfortunately, was part of) had an hour-long wait. Entering the event earlier meant that they could get the merchandise they wanted without having to worry about queues, or the merchandise in question being sold out.
Kudos to the event organisers for managing the crowd so well! That, and for somehow keeping the event’s general admission as free, while still setting aside clear benefits for Fast Pass holders. It’s admirable, considering the huge number of people that dropped by the event.
It’s great that Doujima gives these young artists a chance to gain exposure and booth as well! While most local conventions do give artists opportunities to host a booth, there aren’t as many booth spaces for artists in other events. It gives artists from other countries in South-East Asia opportunities to fly in and have booths here as well, which is a great experience for both the artist and their fans here in Singapore.
Doujima is honestly one of my favourite local conventions to attend, and this year once again, I see why. Can’t wait for the next one!