Virtual Market is basically a sort of Comiket but for 3D Modelers presented as a series of worlds in VRChat. Saying “Comiket” might be blowing things out of proportion but the fact is this is a pretty legitimate thing, with sponsors ranging from the main company that owns pretty much every virtual youtuber (i.e. Kizuna Ai, Kaguya Luna, etc) and Pixiv to straight up 7/11’s parent company and the giant conglomerate Avex, and like a couple hundred booths all run by mostly amateur and semi-pro creators. I made sure to remember to link images to the full versions of themselves so feel free to enlarge and take a closer look at all of them.
There was even live stream coverage done all within VRChat with people including some legitimate appearances by people like the gorilla man from that vtuber ‘anime’ airing right now and the creator of Made in Abyss. While this brought in a fraction of a fraction (no that’s not a typo) of what Comiket does, the concept is very similar and for what it is it is the biggest of it’s kind. I’ve also never seen any world as populated as this one was – hitting over 1000 people in it only about 2 minutes after it released (obviously in many, many different instances).
Luckily this is not a timed event so you can always go, but going during the opening and after the big intro stream definitely made it a lot more special and fun and full of Japanese people. I had to wake up at 6AM for that aspect, so I figured I’d write about the overall thing. I got video too, so expect a lot of image and some videos.
VM2 is made up of 6 semi-connected worlds all reachable from a special door within all of them and a main hub area built into the first one. Each world has it’s own theme and the booths by the people selling stuff are all made to be themed (by those people themselves) as well to fit the world, resulting in a lot of creativity and fun stuff to look at. Most of the worlds feature a second or even third version to support more booths that could not fit into the same one (which honestly are the main draw – they’re so fun to look at and have so many different designs), so it’s worth looking through all of them to see everything.
The majority of things you see that you think “I wonder if you can interact with that” you can, including random props to actual avatars themselves (which usually just lets you become that avatar with an advertisement – typically with a giant ad plastered above it because Japanese people want their money, but not always).
The first world is where you first are placed after entering the world of Virtual Market through a bedroom – which then teleports you to a bunch of stuff on top of a sky whale.
This place is the main hub and also home to a lot of bigger booths because it’s primarily where the the sponsors were given space – which is also why it’s where you start – you’ve got everything from a giant Kizuna Ai laying atop a cool little area that plays vtuber videos and has ‘main items’ of each vtuber you can play around with, to the 7&i cafe, along with a few other shops like one with licensed characters from Geass, Re:Zero, and so on.
The second floor of the whale has some more stuff too from more of the sponsors mostly. Avex was the laziest – it’s literally just a 3D modern art piece of their logo.
After that it’s up to you, but I’ll just go in the order me and my friend went through them – which means up next is the sci-fi world.
The Sci-Fi world is pretty cool but a fairly typical design of the world itself – it’s just a couple circular floors with shops lining the outer rim of both levels.
The booths were good too, but, I dunno, “sci fi” from Japan’s point of view feels like it hasn’t changed at all and everything is just “it has glowy bits, is a mech, or looks like it came out of Xenosaga/Phantasy Star Online 2”. Still cool though.
Though I have to admit all the booths there that were just made up of plamo retail boxes were pretty fun.
After that, the VR Museum – I’m not sure why it’s called that, but it’s just a very creative overly-taxing-on-older-PCs-even-more-than-the-other-worlds nice sort-of-what-you’d-expect-from-VR visually world.
It has maybe the most diverse booths because of the overall lack of a clear theme leaving people open to kinda do whatever they wanted as long as it was sort of clean and sleek like the world (though, I say clean, but it was kind of messy to look at sometimes, like in the above screenshot).
I think my favorite booths in all the worlds were any that had little workers at the front tables, it just added something cute and more ‘market’ feeling. One booth I didn’t get a picture of was literally straight out of Comiket or any Artist’s Alley at an anime convention – just a girl asleep in a folding chair on a shitty little table with a little paper sign.
Next up is the castle town world which is probably the least interesting theme-wise and is by a guy who pulled one of the most popular worlds in the entirety of VRChat down because someone in Japan for a shitty phone completely free VN used a screenshot in his world for a background and he had a shitfit about it because he is a whiny fat otaku.
Regardless, it had some pretty unique booths too, like the train above and a high number of mini buildings – so about the same size as the regular booths but built where you go inside a door like a little boutique which had a nice feel to it especially for the theme.
The world of totally-not-Nanachi is after that, the place made (well designed by) by both the creator/mangaka of Made in the Abyss as well as one of the art directors from the anime itself.
You know my feelings on the show, but it’s still cool someone of such prominence currently took part in this and the world is nice with a good aesthetic and a very Atelier franchise feel to it – especially the music.
The biggest problem with this world was, well, much like Made in Abyss once Nanachi showed up it turns out it’s a paradise for furries. A lot of the displays here were just godawful giant fat animal girls (and I don’t mean girls with tails and ears, I mean ANIMAL girls) and huge mostly nude furred beast men with dog faces. The world itself is nice though and aside the furry shit there were some actually pretty damn cool ‘booths’ like this one with the avatar coming out of the manga and one that had like a whole little scene being played out by NPCs (albeit it was also furry characters).
Last up the – and I quote from the creator directly – “Steampunk and Oriental” world, which is a pretty good explanation but I’m not really sure if these two things mesh together all that well.
However, thanks to being by mostly Japanese people a lot of the booths here were really great and had a nice shrine and classic Japan back street look to them.
All-in-all, Virtual Market 2 was pretty fun to look around and definitely a set of worlds I’ll be showing my friends who haven’t seen it while also getting some closer looks at the details and designs of each world and booth that I missed because it was 6am. Doing it when it first was released (the literal minute it was up) was really cool though. To be honest though, don’t expect more than just that – looking at stuff – the majority of the avatars themselves are pretty sub-par but the fun of it is hard to explain beyond window shopping (which is a regular thing everyone does in VRChat via avatar worlds, going around trying a new ‘you’ – more fun than you’d think) and enjoying all the creative and unique designs of the shops and worlds themselves. That’s not to say there were no good models, I even found one I added to my favorites, but sadly the majority have giant ads built on to them because this is, after all, an event to sell these creations or show off booth and character designs.
If you play at all it’s definitely worth checking out – and be sure to check the extra menu above your regular one which has a portable mirror and a selfie-stick for desktop players like myself – otherwise, I hope this was a fun little look into an event you wouldn’t experience on your own.