Universal Studios Japan heats up with revamped, new 'Cool Japan' attractions

Universal Studios Japan heats up with revamped, new 'Cool Japan' attractions The entrance to Universal Studios Japan's "Universal Cool Japan" attractions. Photo by Alexandra Homma

OSAKA —

It’s a world of physical and virtual twirls, sudden drops, aggressive giants, roaring monsters and persistent zombies. It’s a world of “kawaii” and pop, bubbling colors. It’s a story of fighting spirits and game, anime and manga-inspired stories, wrapped up in a cutting-edge technology and J-pop fashion. Welcome to Universal Studios Japan (USJ)’s “Universal Cool Japan 2016.” 

The long-anticipated 164-day limited event, which brings together the best of Japanese manga, anime, games, and pop culture, launched officially on Friday as a revamped extension of last year’s hugely popular attraction lineup. Adding a new cutting-edge technology and a brand new pop ride into virtual reality, the 2016 installment features five attractions: a renewed Evangelion, Monster Hunter, Attack on Titan and Resident Evil, and a brand new thrilling ride inspired by popular singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s kawaii pop world.

The Evangelion section of the event, titled “Evangelion The Real 4D: 2.0,” features the franchise’s first 4D movie with an exclusive story that allows guests to see the world through Evangelion’s own eyes as he battles a powerful Angel. The story is fascinating, especially if you’re a fan of the series, but what stands out the most are the chilling effects coming from every corner of the attraction’s spare room. It’s a multisensory experience, complete by splashing blood (read, water), bomb blasts, vibrations, shocks and other effects –– coming from under your seat.

The “Attack on Titan: The Real 2” also features a heated-up original movie and a unique storytelling experience, by making use of three-dimensional maneuvering that lets you fly the skies and hit the ground in between fighting a female Titan. The mysterious Wall Titan also makes a significance appearance near the attraction’s entrance; watching over from a giant broken wall with a creepy, realistically exposed skin. Probably the currently best photo spot at the park. 

“Monster Hunter: The Real” attraction, based on the new “Monster Hunter X” video game, pits guests against two giant roaring monsters in a surreal set of high-tech powerful effects on a par with Godzilla, Jurassic Park and the rest of the beast entourage. Also new this year is the chance to climb on a blade wyvern Dinovaldo for a great outdoor photo shoot (which may require some lining up). 

The hugely popular real-life “Resident Evil” escape game, which celebrated a 98% satisfaction rate last year, also returns to the adventure scene. Titled “Biohazard: The Escape 2,” this Scrap-produced game is set at a huge pharmaceutical research facility, which falls to the attack of a special security organization, which is on a hunt of eliminating a top secret data. What follows is a one hour limit of brain-teasing escape, in which players must find various clues leading to their survival before the lab’s zombies and biohazard weapons take over. A hugely entertaining event, this is by all means one of the highlights of Universal Cool Japan and a yet another skillfully developed team-bonding experience.

Saving the best for the last, this year’s climax at USJ is the brand new thrilling “Kyary Pamyu Pamyu XR Ride” –– a wonderful journey inspired by the popular Japanese singer and kawaii icon, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. Once you put on the special 360-degrees virtual world goggles, one thing is for sure –– this gravity-defying ride will completely mess up with all your physical senses. What starts as a cute ride turns into a twist of high speeds, sudden elevations and drops in an amazing tour of Kyary’s pop world of music, fashion and monster creatures who appear in front of you in various shapes and kinds along the ride. A breathtaking experience that feels like an instant –– another trick into your senses, making everything feel literally incredible.

The singer, who was also appointed a special PR ambassador to promote Universal Cool Japan 2016, told park visitors and media representatives present at the pre-opening of the event at USJ on Jan 14, that she herself was surprised at the twist of the ride, as it was “much scarier than she anticipated.” Indeed.

“Universal Cool Japan 2016” runs through June 26.

For more information of ticket prices and access, visit USJ’s website here.

Japan Today

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