I got back last week after participating in both late November events, that are all about comics. This week was Tokyo Comicon, which is ironically, not about comics at all. It's about cosplay, celebrity signing, and Steve Wozniak was the featured guest, so I wasn't going to go out of my way for that, but whatever floats your boat.
Kaigai Manga Festa is held annually in conjunction with Comitia, Japan's massive national manga event. Comitia is held in most cities in Japan, often a few times a year, and focuses on independent manga, that is, not connected to major publications. Stylistically, it is very similar though, big eyes and small noses. The Kaigai branch is a fair bit more diverse. There are Japanese artists working in the foreign market, foreign artists living in Japan, and a number of artists from abroad. The art ranges from mainstream (I.e. Transformers) to indie. They also have showcases, running some tutorials on graphic tablets, live drawing sessions, and representatives from different schools that specialize in popular arts. They had reps from Copic and other specialty brands.
Personally, I mainly enjoy the after party, where you can socialize with lots of people with similar interests, often scattered across the country. This year had reps from Kita-Kyushu, which was promoting itself as a comic city, with extensive libraries and museums for manga, and advertised themselves by ten minutes of footage of giant high school girls running through the city's landmarks.
Some pics are blurry because I was just shooting on my iPhone.
The Comic Art Tokyo event is smaller, and only in its second year. The location moved to a more spacious location, but was a little harder to access. There was traffic throughout the day, but was definitely slower. There was some overlap, but the artists there were on the artsier side of things. There were seminars with Japanese and foreign artists about process and working, and a really positive, friendly environment. Another difficulty was that the event was broken up into three rooms, so each felt a little smaller, but on the whole it was a fair sized event.
I'm looking forward to attending both again next year.
Toronto comics room