Hoping for a limited edition Iron Man figure, cosplay and comic fans sleep on streets for early bird tickets to Hong Kong’s Ani-Com

Those with early bird ticket will get priority entry to annual extravaganza of cosplay, comics and video games at Exhibition Centre when it opens on Friday

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 July, 2018, 3:06pm
UPDATED : Monday, 06 August, 2018, 1:54pm

A tent, a yoga mat and two portable power banks to charge a phone – that is the essential kit for enthusiasts queuing for up to two days for tickets to Hong Kong’s annual extravaganza of cosplay, comics and video games.

“I am planning to spend around HK$3,000 to HK$4,000 (US$510). I want the limited edition Iron Man figure,” said Ben Ho, a student, who had been in the line outside MacPherson Stadium in Mong Kok since 6am on Saturday.

Ho and his friends were among those at the front of a queue that by Monday morning numbered more than 300. All were hoping for one of the 500 early tickets to the Animation, Comics, and Games Expo, known as Ani-Com, that opens on Friday at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai.

To tackle a scalping problem, Ani-Com organisers had rolled out a new queuing system. Those hoping to get an early ticket must provide their full name, the first four digits of their HKID or passport number and their mobile phone number, as well as enter a facial recognition process.

There’s no guarantee scalpers won’t be there
Ian Woo

Edward Chan, 21, another enthusiast hoping to take the limited edition Iron Man figure home, said he was satisfied with the new arrangement.

“It can prevent scalpers and provide [more] chance for the true fans to get their hands on their dream collectibles,” Chan said.

Ian Woo, 17, was not convinced the system would eradicate the problem of scalpers, but hoped the organiser would continue with the new system.

“There’s no guarantee scalpers won’t be there,” said Woo, who had waited 14 hours for an advance ticket. “Scalpers will still try and find a way to stock up limited edition items in order to sell them on at exorbitant prices to true fans.”

Ani-Com spokesman, Felix Poon Kam-chuen, said the new queuing process had been smooth with no complaints from those in line.

“More than 10 security personnel helped last night to make sure no one jumped the queue,” Poon said, adding the organiser needed to discuss with different parties to review whether the system would be implemented again in the future.

Along with the annual cosplay competition, this year’s Ani-Com will feature an e-sports carnival with some exhibitors upgrading their offerings and giveaways.

Those lucky enough to get an early bird ticket will get priority entry into the venue when it opens at 10am on Friday, enabling them the best chance of snapping up the most coveted items.

But for those who had been there the longest, things got a bit more uncomfortable at 1am on Monday, when the police arrived and told them to roll up their tents.

“Someone probably called them because we were blocking the pavement,” Ho said. “We planned to roll them up at 6am anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.”