Things to Watch Out for When Braving The “Line”

Large lines often form outside of doujin markets and popular circles, that’s just a fact. 


If you’ve ever gone to a doujin market, you’ve most likely been in one. 


But make no mistake, they aren’t to be  underestimated as “just lines”. Lines in doujin markets have rules, and I am here to explain to you the rules to follow and how to successfully line up in one of these lines.



Follow the Instructions of the Doujin Circle and Event Staff

When there is a doujin that we want more than anything, we tend to get tunnel vision and it’s easy to get overexcited, but I want to remind you to be calm, and really take in your surroundings and the flow of the line. 


Usually with major circles, clear rules are posted and most fans are already used to them and abide by them, so it shouldn’t be too bad if you follow the basic flow. 


However, if it’s a doujin circle that you aren’t familiar with or if there are more people than expected lining up, the event staff may move the lines or redirect the flow. In these cases, it’s best to listen to the staff and respectfully follow their instructions.  



Pay Attention to the Groups Around You

In addition, there are many cases in which there is an “island” circle that you will be lining up for. Even if your doujin circle is in this privileged spot in the market, no worries; there will still be plenty of space around you and even if a line forms at the table, it’s easy to navigate.


However, it’s possible that you’re in line for a circle where a line has formed for the first time and it may be difficult to manage. In those cases, it’s important that you are careful not to disturb or interrupt the distributions of other tables around you. Also in the interest of safety, be careful not to go out of the boundaries of the line. Along with that, follow the instructions of the staff to make sure that the line moves smoothly and efficiently. 


* For the space layout of the above circles, refer to the circles called “walls”


Moreover, doujin circles always try to distribute their products quickly in order to avoid creating long lines for extended periods of time. 


It’s also polite to the artists for fans to wait until after the line has cleared to do things like starting conversations, requesting sketchbooks, etc. Also, it’s good practice to get your wallet and change ready while you’re in line, before you get up to the front.    



Hold the Sign (“The Tag”)

When the person is at the end of the line at the doujin market, they will receive a sign or a “tag” which they show to the surrounding people. The  tag is a board or a paper with the word “end” written on it. It is prepared in advance by the doujin circle with the name of the circle the line is for and the space number.


When there are multiple lines, it is easy to get confused as to which is which and it’s hard to find the line you’re looking for. In times like these the tag is a marker that helps fans identify their lines. 


On this topic when you line up, you should find the person with the tag and retrieve it from them, then get into line. Once in line, make sure to hold the tag so it’s visible to the people around you until the next person lines up behind you.


Also, there are times when the staff may cut the line in the middle if it becomes too long in order to manage it. When this happens,  they give the person at the end of the first section a tag that reads “the middle of the line”.


If you line up behind a person who has the “middle of this line” tag by mistake you will end up cutting in line, so it is important that you check what’s written on the tag carefully before you take your place.


And there you have it! All of the rules to lining up.


If you aren’t used to the rules you may be resistant at first. However, these lines and their rules are so important because at the end of the line is where you receive your long-awaited doujin.


Be assured going forward and remember that all the people in line are in it together; they’re just like you and are working toward the same goal. 


I hope you remember the information you learned today, so that you too can line up together with the fans around you successfully and with a sense of unity.






Rhiannon Charles

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