“Big” is looking to be the operative word for next year’s Japanese pop culture themed attractions.
As we already know, Universal Studios Japan in Osaka is busy preparing their Nintendo themed section of the park which is sure to be a hit. However, in order to continue the wave of success the amusement park has been riding recently, they certainly aren’t going to rest on Super Mario alone.
Recently USJ unveiled their line-up of “Cool Japan” attractions for the upcoming year. These are all based on iconic anime, video game, music, and manga titles produced in Japan over the years such as Resident Evil and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. And it looks as if, aside from a few exceptions, 2017 is going to be the year of the giant monster.
Sengoku The Real at Osaka Castle
To kick things off, USJ is going to be taking their show on the road. Sengoku The Real is one of those extravagant stage shows USJ has been know to put on, only this time its set against the backdrop of Osaka Castle for an even more authentic feel.
Along with the show that features projection mapping of the castle, the surrounding area will be converted to a warring states period town with working food vendors serving sengoku themed Japanese dishes such as steamed meat or anko buns, takoyaki, and oden.
There are also several items featuring the six-coin family crest of Sanada Yukimura, a legendary general who defended Osaka against various sieges during the warring states period.
The event runs from 16 December, 2016 to 12 March, 2017 and admission varies from 2,297 yen to 3,223 yen (US$20 to $28) depending on the type of seat you want for the show. Check the official website (Japanese only) for times and dates.
Then, from 13 January until 25 June, the updated Cool Japan section of USJ opens featuring attractions based on Monster Hunter, Detective Conan, Attack on Titan, Godzilla, and Evangelion.
Monster Hunter The Real
At Monster Hunter The Real you will be a part of an airship crew transporting a monster hunter in search of the giant 30-meter (98-foot) elder dragon Amatsugatsuchi. Little does everyone know that an oxymoronically new elder drgaon, Barufaruku, is also lying in wait.
To give these massive monsters a realistic appearance, a huge 43-meter (141-foot) screen will be used at this attraction. This means that all the monsters, including 30-meter tall dragons, will actually appear at their true heights in front of you.
Surely all that monster hunting will work up an appetite, so the chef of Bherna village has prepared a special risotto with a spicy cheese and tomato sauce. There is also a huge chunk of Monster Hunter meat served with a Zinogre tail Churrito and also a hot Energy Drink which in true Monster Hunter fashion is made by mixing items together.
While you won’t be able to carry out any monster hides from your quest, there are some souvenir charms for sale.
Detective Conan The Escape
After that, you can head over to the Detective Conan escape game. Here you must solve puzzles to help Conan rescue hostages with bombs attached to their wrists held at an Osaka Prefectural Police seminar. Along with several actors playing characters from the manga series, you must solve this mystery within the 60-minute time limit, or else…
If you survive you can always replace your explosive wristband for a snazzy Conan watch and light-up pen. Don’t forget to wind down with some delicious chicken chowder soup bread too!
Attack on Titan The Real
From there it’s on to the Attack on Titan The Real 4D movie. Here you can watch an original Attack on Titan story exclusive to USJ and fully immerse all of your senses in the 3D titan mayhem.
You can preserve your visit to this attraction by getting a commemorative photo taken in the grasp of a life-sized 15-meter (49-foot) armored titan statue.
Then take a break with an authentic Trost District lunch made up of a bacon sandwich, potato, tea dessert, and water flask. And if your Wallet Maria can withstand the blow, you can pick up a Survey Corps jacket, cape, and Vertical Maneuvering Equipment.
Godzilla The Real 4D
Titans aren’t big enough for you? Well head over to Godzilla The Real 4D for some truly gigantic action. In this 4D theater experience you watch from the perspective of a fighter jet battling the iconic monster over Osaka City.
After saving the day, you can reward yourself with a USJ exclusive Godzilla figure with light-up scutes, or a souvenir Godzilla tin of snacks. If you’re hungry after your battle you can also grab a Godzilla footprint steamed bun with black sesame and miso filling.
Evangelion XR Ride
Last but certainly not least, we have the Evangelion XR Ride. This attraction combines virtual reality technology with the motion simulators that USJ is famous for, to provide an even more immersive experience. You’ll feel like you are completely inside the world of Evangelion (except with considerably less existentialism) as angels attack the city.
Then top off your brush with extinction by eating popcorn out of an eva’s head and drinking soda from an entry capsule.
And remember your time in Tokyo-3 by grabbing a NERV phone case and box of cookies with 3D art. Or why not get a commemorative picture of you running for your life?
That wraps up the Cool Japan line-up for the first half of 2017. Remember, all of these attractions are open until 25 June only (except Conan which closes on 28 May), so don’t dilly dally. After that, USJ will go back to the well of Japanese pop culture for future attractions.
I hoping for a Sazae-san The Real Egg-Peeling XR experience. Just imagine how trippy that would be….