Hey gang, Valkor here. So last year I was shown a trailer for an attraction based on the "Attack on Titan" anime series; while very brief, it left enough of an impact on me that I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. If you've never seen the trailer, check it out below because if you're a fan of the series, then you'll see why it's sixteen seconds of awesome:
At first I thought it might have been an elaborate prank or something fan-made, but after further investigation into this attraction, I discovered that it was legit - huge statues, a walk-thru exhibit and a ton of merch all related to one of the most popular anime series to date? Yea I needed to experience that. Sure it meant I’ll have to take a trip to Osaka, Japan but it’ll totally be worth it just to witness first hand such awesomeness. So I set a date, booked a hotel, packed a bag and set off to face a couple of giant titans as a part of Universal Studios Japan “Cool Japan” showcase, which not only includes Attack on Titan, but also Monster Hunter, Biohazard (Resident Evil) and Neon Genesis Evangelion.
To be honest, as excited as I was about seeing the "Cool Japan" attraction, I was just as excited about visiting the Universal Studios park itself, because it would be my first time - I've never been to one here in the states. But this would appear to be a much smaller version than the one in Florida or California. But I guess it would still be considered "new" and it has a lot of catching up to do. Still, the rides that made the park famous are there such as Back to the Future, Terminator 2, Amazing Spider-Man (which was awesome), and even Jurassic Park - all perfectly dubbed in Japanese. No fake, Doc Brown sounds awesome dubbed, even if you don't understand a word he says, it's still pretty funny. While I enjoyed my overall park experience, this entire trip was all about checking out those titans up close. And that's exactly what I set out to do!
Once you enter the park, you don’t have far to go to reach the “Cool Japan” area as it’s just to the left of the main entrance; you'll know when you're there because you'll be met by an arch with the names of the attractions on it and it's broken down into four areas – Attack on Titan: The Real, Evangelion: The Real 4D, Monster Hunter: The Real and Resident Evil (Biohazard): The Escape, and each attraction isn't far from one another. Once you pass through the arch, You’re met by a giant, winged beast "Seregios" statue from Monster Hunter, which is a beautiful and nicely detailed statue that you can help but to stop and stare at it's awesomeness. But immediately to your left is where you’ll want to be, especially if you’re a fan of Attack on Titan, because as soon as you walk into the area you’re met with these two statues of Titan Eren and Titan Annie:
Talk about impressive. And the attention to detail is amazing. I’ve seen images before I took this trip, but actually standing before Titan Eren and Titan Annie... you’ll be in total awe at the sheer size and attention to detail that went into their creations - they look like they were ripped straight from the series. Even their feet breaking the ground shows how much work went into the setup.
Val meets Titans
Not far from the two statues is another setup and if you’re familiar with the series you’ll be both horrified and yet excited. In the very first episode of AoT Eren’s house is wrecked and his mom is trapped under the rubble. A titan comes along, plucks her from the mess and then eats her. It's a gruesome scene, one that still resonates with me to this day; and it's been somewhat recreated for our amusement, though not as detailed with the giant head of the titan and a fist open just enough to fit a person or a few people to pose for a shot as though it’s about to eat you. The line was long, but the attendents kept it moving at a brisk pace, so you didn't have to wait too long to get your moment with the titan head. And what’s most entertaining about the wait is that you can see how others treat the experience as they enter the titan fist. A bunch of schoolgirls tried to pull a trapped friend from the beast’s grasp. And two little boys posed dead once they entered the hand.
And then there was Val:
And once you’ve taken in the sites of the statues, you can take in the walk-thru exhibit. Unfortunately, I chose the “perfect” week to pay a visit to the park where it seemed like the entire country was on vacation and top that off with Chinese new year that week and you have a park jam-packed with super long lines were almost everywhere. Getting in to see the other attractions such as Resident Evil and Evangelion meant you were in for a serious wait, which I didn’t have time - Evangelion was a 4 hour wait time when I got there. It dropped later in the day, but by that time it was pretty much a wrap for me. If hunger sets in, then each area has meals based on the represented attraction; for instance with AoT, you can grab a Survey Corp meal – standard and Captain. Of course I chose “Captain”, which consists of tea bread, a piece of bacon, potato and soup (also scored a cup of coffee, which all together was pretty damn tasty). Monster Hunter featured a beast leg (not sure if chicken or turkey but it was sold out by the time I coud get one to find out) and a churro that is supposed to represent Zinogre’s tail. The churro is lightly coated with pop rocks that give it something of a fizzy taste.
Speaking of Monster Hunter, there’s a huge hall where you can check out statues that represent characters and weapons from the game. This hallway leads to an open room, where at the center is a life-sized resting Zinogre. But then after a few minutes the room comes to life - even the floor shake - and Zinogre awakens, stretching it’s head up towards the sky into an epic roar, complete with an animated background.
Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to take in the other two attractions but I’m already planning a second trip. So I’ll either update this page or create a part two featuring the other attractions. But I have a few more pics related of the event for you guys to peruse. But I can honestly, if the opportunity presents itself for you to visit Osaka and check out the “Cool Japan” attraction before it’s gone in May, the definitely do so without hesitation. Anime fans and gamers alike will truly enjoy the experience.