The J-Pop star joins the ranks of such musicians as Michael Jackson with new limited-edition USJ theme park ride. Now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.
Okay, to be fair, we’ve known the Kyari Pamyu Pamyu XR Ride was coming for a while, but it doesn’t detract from how absolutely bizarre (in a good way) the whole thing is. Kyari Pamyu Pamyu is one of the few Asian artists who has seen sustained success both domestically and overseas, thanks in large part to her seemingly tenuous grasp on reality. A statement which, again, is intended in a good way—her cute-and-bizarre aesthetic might be highly manufactured and designed to sell, but even if that’s the case, I have to admit it works, because I really enjoy a lot of her music and videos.
And though I’m still not sure I ever wanted a Kyari Pamyu Pamyu-branded virtual reality theme park ride, that ride exists right now in Osaka!
▼ We’d love to see the marketing research they did to decide this was viable…
There’s one really interesting aspect to this ride, but it basically has nothing to do with Kyari herself. This is hardly the first VR theme park ride (though USJ has claimed it’s the first roller coaster to use it), so it’s not really breaking any new ground here. But it does present a really interesting use case!
Virtual reality has generally been presented as an incredibly isolating technology—the Oculus Rift, when it’s released later this year, for example, will be bundled with headphones, and the general expectation is that using the headset will be not dissimilar to jumping in a sensory deprivation tank with better graphics. This ride (and all rides like it) is turning that unreality experience into something very visceral and communal. I don’t know if that really actually means anything (I’ll leave that to the academics to discuss and debate), but it’s still pretty cool!
▼ Also, it looks like maybe you’ll be accosted by Titan Kyari Pamyu Pamyu?
Of course, the ride also adds in the “rush of gravity,” so it’s obviously an experience you probably won’t get at home—unless you fall out of your chair, I suppose. Another advantage the XR ride seems to have is over traditional rides as it should give everyone a 360-degree view of the entire “world,” which I imagine means you’ll get to see the floor drop out from underneath your feet at least once.
きゃりーぱみゅぱみゅ (@pamyurin) January 14, 2016
The ride is part of USJ’s Cool Japan 2016 event, and while Cool Japan may or may not be so great, it does mean you’ll only be able to experience Kyari Pamyu Pamyu’s bizarre reality until June 26, so if crawling inside the J-Pop star’s mind is on your bucket list, it’s time to get planning! Other rides in the USJ’s Cool Japan 2016 line-up include tie-ins with Attack on Titan, Evangelion, Monster Hunter, and Resident Evil, though none of them are XR rides like Kyari Pamyu Pamyu’s.
▼ Which is perhaps best experienced sober…
But if something a bit less virtual and a lot more horrifying is what you’re after, we suppose you could skip the theme park and take a walk through some of Japan’s farm land.