Comic Party (COMIC PARTY (こみっくパーティー) Komikku Pātī?), sometimes abbreviated to ComiPa, is a romantic adventure and dating sim video game by the Japanese game studio Leaf. It was first released on May 28, 1999 for the PC with adult content, but re-released with it removed for the Dreamcast, PC, and PSP. The main focus of the game is the creation of various dōjinshi by the player's character, during which there are varied opportunities to interact with a cast of girls.
Comic Party is inspired from the real world event of Comiket (Comic Market) held in Tokyo each summer and winter. This is a convention where various artists gather together to share both parody, homage, and original work. Since the series was inspired by Comiket, it comes as no surprise that the "Comic Party" convention also takes place in the same building as Comiket, the Tokyo Big Sight convention center near Ariake, Tokyo.
Comic Party has spawned both a manga (illustrated by Sekihiko Inui) and an anime series since its inception, as well as a Dreamcast version of the original PC game which added a new character (Subaru) and removed the pornographic elements (reverse-ported to Windows, that version is called "Comic Party DCE"). Many artbooks, figures, and fan-made homages have been produced for it.
The anime series is licensed in North America by The Right Stuf International and the Sekihiko Inui's manga is licensed by Tokyopop. Comic Party Anthology Comic, a related manga originally published by Ohzora Publishing, is published by CPM under the title "Comic Party: Party Time", which is a series of doujinshi anthologies featuring stories by independent manga artists set in the Comic Party universe. This Comic Party offshoot manga series dabbles heavily into yaoi both implicitly and explicitly and should not be regarded in any relevance to the main Comic Party universe.
A more recent anime series, Comic Party Revolution, came out in 2003.
The game was ported to the PlayStation Portable (PSP) as Comic Party Portable on December 29, 2005. Promotional videos show that the Comic Party Revolution character designs are used, rather than the original designs from the PC and Dreamcast games and the first anime series.
Comic Party is a point-and-click first person perspective dating sim game. It is the player's task to decide the schedule of the main protagonist, Kazuki Sendō, as he prepares for the Comic Party convention that takes place once a month. How fast Kazuki can complete his dōjinshi, how many copies he can sell at each convention, and what girl he is able to date depends on the player's choices. Only one action can be chosen on each weekday because Kazuki must attend college during the day, and two actions can be chosen on Saturday and Sunday. It is only on the weekend where the player is given the choice to leave the house and contact the girl the player wishes to pursue.
During the course of game, the protagonist will come in contact with other characters. These meetings composes mostly of text of the dialogue and actions that happen during the interactions. At certain points of the conversation, the player will be asked to choose between two or more actions that can affect the feelings of that person you are interacting with and can lead to other events.
The game begins on April 1 and ends on March 31 the next year. The ending depends on whether the player succeeds in winning a girl's heart. Although the player does not have to win a girl's heart to reach the end of the game, if the player fails at completing their monthly dōjinshi before the deadline, the game will end early.
Early April, Kazuki Sendō is invited by his friend, Taishi Kuhonbutsu, to come with him to Tokyo Big Sight. He is surprised to see thousands of people waiting in line to get in. Apparently they are at Comic Party, a giant dōjinshi convention. Once inside, Kazuki meets some of the dōjinshi artists and is surprised to find himself enjoying their work. Taishi convinces Kazuki to draw dōjinshi after their visit because he recognizes Kazuki's skill as an artist, but Kazuki's childhood friend Mizuki tries to talk him out of it because she believes otakus are smelly, dirty, and disgusting. Her reasoning does not help because Kazuki already made up his mind and begins to draw his first dōjinshi.
- Kazuki Sendō (千堂 和樹 Sendō Kazuki?)
The protagonist of this title. An indifferent student (in high school in the anime and in college in the game and manga), he has some talent as an artist and is persuaded to form the "Brother 2" dōjinshi partnership with Taishi.
- Mizuki Takase (高瀬 瑞希 Takase Mizuki?)
- Riko Sayama (Japanese), Rachael Lillis (CP English), Luci Christian (CPR English)
- Age: 18 / Birthday: May 12 / Height: 160 cm / Measurements: B91/W60/H88 (cm) / Blood type: A
Mizuki Takase is the protagonist's friend since junior high and eventually end up in the same college together. She is energetic and athletic with long red hair in a side ponytail. She's hostile and skeptical towards otaku and dōjinshi, and is initially opposed to Kazuki's new activity. However, she's also torn by Kazuki's expressions of satisfaction with the dōjinshi process, and worries that it leaves less time for them together.
- Yū Inagawa (猪名川 由宇 Inagawa Yū?)
- Kaoru Morota (Japanese), Georgette Reilly (CP English), Tiffany Grant (CPR English)
- Age: 19 / Birthday: December 7 / Height: 155 cm / Measurements: B79/W55/H80 (cm) / Blood type: B
Yū Inagawa is a Kansai-speaking, passionate dōjinshi enthusiast. She is from Kobe, but comes to Tokyo often for Comic Party. Her parents own a Japanese inn and hot-springs resort that she will inherit when she is older. Yū is the sole member of the circle "Karamitei". She teaches Kazuki about dōjinshi publishing and comics exhibition. She is nicknamed "Hot springs Panda" (Panda Onseniko) by Eimi because she owns a hot springs and she has large circle glasses that is similar to the dark patches around the panda's eyes.
- Eimi Ohba (大庭 詠美 Ōba Eimi?)
- Shizuka Ishikawa (Japanese), Jessica Calvello (CP English), Larissa Wolcott (CPR English)
- Age: 17 / Birthday: March 20 / Height: 158 cm / Measurements: B82/W56/H84 (cm) / Blood type: B
Eimi Ohba is an egoistic dōjin artist who self-proclaims the title of "Queen of ComiPa". She is the head of a popular dōjin circle called: "CAT OR FISH?!". She is fiercely competitive and believes the value of the dōjinshi is based on how many its sold.
- Aya Hasebe (長谷部 彩 Hasebe Aya?)
- Mie Sonozaki (Japanese), Carol Jacobanis (CP English), Kim Prause (CPR English)
- Age: 17 / Birthday: June 12 / Height: 162 cm / Measurements: B88/W58/H87 (cm) / Blood type: AB
Aya Hasebe is a timid girl who draws original dōjinshi. She usually gets Kazuki's attention by pulling on his shirt rather than calling out to him. Aya's circle is called "Jamming Book Store". Her dōjinshi does not sell well because she has a hard time attracting customers even though it has good artwork and costs only 200 yen. Kazuki admires her artwork and creative story so he tries to help her sell whenever he can.
- Minami Makimura (牧村 南 Makimura Minami?)
- Miho Yamada (Japanese), Lisa Ortiz (CP English), Allison Sumrall (CPR English)
- Age: 23 / Birthday: May 7 / Height: 161 cm / Measurements: B86/W58/H86 (cm) / Blood type: O
Minami Makimura is the head staff of the Comic Party conventions. During the conventions, she is seen patrolling the grounds. She always checks Kazuki's dōjinshi to see if it's acceptable to be sold there.
- Chisa Tsukamoto (塚本 千紗 Tsukamoto Chisa?)
- Sumie Baba (Japanese), Lisa Ortiz (CP English), Kim-Ly Nguyen (CPR English)
- Age: 16 / Birthday: February 22 / Height: 152 cm / Measurements: B76/W54/H78 (cm) / Blood type - A
Chisa Tsukamoto is the daughter of the printing shop where Kazuki gets his dōjinshi printed. She is hardworking and looks after the business when her parents go out of town, but she is clumsy and scatterbrained and sometimes makes mistakes with the printing process. She is often seen chasing a runaway cart. In the anime, she's a junior student at Kazuki's school.
- Reiko Haga (芳賀 玲子 Haga Reiko?)
- Akiko Muta (Japanese), Sara Van Buskirk (CP English), Laurie Gallardo (CPR English)
- Age: 18 / Birthday: October 31 / Height: 165 cm / Measurements: B82/W58/H82 (cm) / Blood type: A
Cosplay enthusiast and promoter. In the manga, she teaches Mizuki about the nuances of cosplay.
- Asahi Sakurai (桜井 あさひ Sakurai Asahi?)
- Satomi Koorogi (Japanese), Jessica Boone (CPR English)
- Age: 17 / Birthday: June 19 / Height: 158 cm / Measurements: B81/W57/H83 (cm) / Blood type: A
Asahi Sakurai is anime and manga fan by day and a famous idol by night. She is the voice actress of Card Master Peach, the main character of the popular anime in the Comic Party world (and a double parody, of Wedding Peach and Cardcaptor Sakura). Even though she is an idol, she is nervous around people so she often stutters and forgets what she was going to say. Asahi disguises herself with eyeglasses and a hat when she wants to enjoy the public without a crowd around her which quickly forms when her identity is revealed. Asahi's role in the first Comic Party anime adaption is limited since she does not interact with the main protagonist. Instead, she is only heard on the radio and briefly seen singing at a concert.
- Subaru Mikage (御影 すばる Mikage Subaru?)
- Masayo Kurata (Japanese), Jenny Larson (CPR English)
- Age: 17 / Birthday: November 11 / Height: 154 cm / Measurements: B80/W56/H80 (cm) / Blood type: O
Miko fighter obsessed with hero stories, but terrible at creating dōjinshi. Her group is "Sin-jyusyokakutei." She is not featured in the original game and anime series.
- Ikumi Tachikawa (立川 郁美 Ichikawa Ikumi?)
- Kimiko Koyama (Japanese), Kerry Grant (CP English), Cynthia Martinez (CPR English)
- Age: 14 (game) 10 (anime) / Birthday: July 23 / Height: 146 cm / Measurements: B72/W54/H76 (cm) / Blood type: O
A sickly girl, Kazuki's fan and first customer. Ikumi has spent most of her life in the hospital. She has an older, very muscular, brother named Yuuzo in Comic Party Revolution.
- Taishi Kuhonbutsu (九品仏 大志 Kuhonbutsu Taishi?)
The other half of "Brother 2", he is a typical otaku who sees the dōjinshi concept as the leading pop-culture format of the 21st century. Grandiose in the expressions of his dreams, he takes charge of the logistical aspects of the partnership (paying registration fees, arranging printers, etc.), leaving the actual artwork to Kazuki.
Miho, Mayu, and Yuka - Three members of Reiko's cosplay fanclub.
The Comic Party anime adaptation first aired in Japan on April 1, 2001 on UHF stations. Thirteen episodes and four ten minute specials were produced by Oriental Light and Magic and KSS and directed by Norihiko Sudo. The anime focuses on the dōjinshi creation part of the game rather than the dating aspect and the specials are an original story involving the cast of Comic Party taking a vacation to a hot spring resort.
Comic Party was licensed in North America by The Right Stuf International and first announced at the Illinois anime convention, Anime Central, on April 20, 2002. It was released on four DVD volumes between March 30, 2004 and July 27, 2004. A number of re-writes and cultural changes was made to the English dub as it was Americanized. Some examples include converting the Japanese yen to dollars (although the coins of the value is clearly seen), kimono to Versace summer dress, and replacing the "Panda Onseniko" or "Hot Springs Panda" that Eimi calls Yuu with "Stupid Panda". The changes were not made to the subtitles as they are correct translations of the original Japanese script.
Comic Party Revolution is a thirteen episode sequel. The first four episodes is directed by Jun'ichi Sakata and animated by produced by Chaos Project. The first episode was released on DVD on December 22, 2003 as the first part of a two episode OVA which was later extended to four episodes. These episodes were used as the first four episodes of the TV series that first aired on April 4, 2005 and ended on June 27, 2005. The OVAs were edited and cut in length to make the episodes fit in a normal television timeslot. Episodes five to thirteen was directed by Mitsuhiro Tōgō and produced by Radix. In Comic Party Revolution, Kazuki and Mizuki are now attending college and many of the events that take place in the game are hinted to have happened. Characters that were absent from the original series like Subaru Mikage and Asahi Sakurai make their debut. Kazuki is no longer the main focus in Revolution. Instead, the female cast roles are more equally distributed and some of them are given the spotlight in certain episodes.
Comic Party Revolution is licensed in North America by ADV Films which they announced at Metrocon 2006. ADV used their own voice talent for the English dub so the cast is different from the original series. Cultural changes were not made to the dub like the dub from Right Stuf.
Opening theme: "Kimi no Mama de" (君のままで)
Ending theme: "Katachi no Nai Machi wo Mezashite" (形のない街を目指して)
Opening theme: "Fly"
Ending theme: "Issho ni Kurasou" (一緒に暮らそう)
Manga and anthologies
A manga adaption of Comic Party was written and illustrated by Sekihiko Inui, who is also a dōjinshi artist and continues to draw dōjinshi under the dōjin circle called Mix-ism. It made its debut in the January 2001 issue of the Japanese monthly manga magazine Dengeki Daioh and continued until the March 2005 issue. The chapters was compiled into five tankōbon volumes and published by Dengeki Comics. Comic Party manga is licensed in North America by Tokyopop. All five volumes was released between June 4, 2004 and January 31, 2006. In the first episode of the original series, Kazuki has a dream set in the world of To Heart, arguably AQUAPLUS' most famous franchise. Kazuki is cast in the role of Hiroyuki, and a number of other familiar characters appear, including Akari Kamigishi and LEAF mascot Multi.
Anthologies of short pieces by independent artists was published by various parties including Ichijinsha, Ohzora Publishing, Square Enix, Rapport, Enterbrain and Sony Magazines. One anthology series called Comic Party Anthology Comic that is published by Ohzora Publishing is licensed in North America by Central Park Media. It was renamed to Comic Party and the first volume was released on April 14, 2004. Out of the nine volumes of the series, only three was published by CPM.
- "Anime Network Scores Comic Party". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2007-12-25.
- "Comic Party Revolution Now on Anime Network". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2007-12-25.
- Gifford, Kevin. "The Official Art of Comic Party Revolution". (March 2007) Newtype USA. pp. 103-109.
- "ACEN - TRSI Licences Comic Party". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2007-12-15.
- "Comic Party DVD 1: A New World" (PDF). The Right Stuf International. Retrieved 2007-12-15.
- "Comic Party DVD 4: The Final Page" (PDF). The Right Stuf International. Retrieved 2007-12-15.
- "Comic Party DVD 2 review". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2007-12-15.
- "New Anime". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2007-12-15.
- "Being a Brief Discussion of Anime Dubs: Comic Party Revolution, Volume One". Anime on DVD. Retrieved 2007-12-24.
- "ADV Licenses Comic Party Revolution". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2007-12-15.
- "Comic Party: Creator Profile". Tokyopop. Retrieved 2007-12-19.
- "Tokyopop Announces New Manga Releases". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2007-12-15.
- "Comic Party 5". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2007-12-15.
- "CPM April Manga". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2007-12-16.
- (Japanese) Aquaplus's Comic Party site
- Right Stuf's Comic Party site
- ADV's Comic Party Revolution site
- Tokyopop's Comic Party manga page
- CPM's Comic Party manga page
- Comic Party (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia