Attack on Titan USJ

Guide to Universal Cool Japan 2020 at Universal Studios Japan ~Kinda Anti-climactic~

6:16 PM

I was one click away from using an old pic, but these have the years written on them.

Universal Studios Japan looks like it has a lot going for it this year with the debut of its new Nintendo World area and the guaranteed influx of pack goers that comes with the Olympic year. AND YET. This has to be their least exciting Universal Cool campaign...since the whole venture started? Honestly, I'm not surprised, and probably not disappointed since my interest in the event faded years ago, but I do kind of wished they put forth a bit more effort this time round.

Or at least have a more detailed breakdown of the events for English speakers.

...

They do!! (I was genuinely surprised, but also less work for me, yay!)


So for now, I'll briefly mention each of the attractions. For more details, please check the link above (they've actually translated story info this time too), but please remember, inside of the park, the attractions themselves are conducted in Japanese. There is no language option.

The IPs used for this year's event are Detective Conan, Attack on Titan, Lupin the Third, and Monster Hunter. All of these IPs are repeats from previous years, but most of the attractions themselves are new. I'll have a simple breakdown of the attractions by IP below.

This event runs from January until the end of June, with some attractions starting half-way through the event.

Detective Conan

The Detection Conan series has FOUR different attraction to participate in, by far the most out of the group, but this isn't surprising considering how much Japan loves Detective Conan (there is a new movie every year and this has been going on since 1997. that's 24 films for those counting). And the reason for giving this series the most attraction is obvious; it has very wide appeal between men and women and through many age groups, so that means families, couples, and teenagers going to the park will all have something to look forward to. That's not to say that other series don't have a similar appeal, it's just that Conan's is that much wider than the others.

Anyway, the four attractions are a Mystery Challenge, a Mystery Restaurant, an Escape Game, and a collab with one of the roller coasters in the park. Half of these attractions do require a separate fee so if you're on a budget, you might be out of a luck.¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Detective Conan Mystery Challenge

Reusing old pics since the event hasn't really changed.

The official website describes the event as "the ultimate puzzle solving experience", though I liken these types of events to treasure hunts. I joined a similar event for the Naruto park in Awaji Island, and even though Shota and I know next to nothing about the series, we were able to fill out our ninja scrolls and "beat" the game (you get nothing from completing the challenge except for self-satisfaction?).

This event requires no extra fees, but there are only a limited number of notebooks available per day, so it's a first-come, first-served type thing. Additionally, I'm fairly certain the books only come in Japanese, but since I was surprised to find an updated English site, they may have translated some of the attractions too. I'll update this post later if I ever find out the answer.

Detective Conan Mystery Restaurant

Another pic from a previous year. My google data is limited.

This attraction is an interactive dining experience, much like the One Piece attraction Sanji's Restaurant (that I attend every year, no shame here). Actors dress up as the characters and a sound system in the restaurant plays the voice-actor's lines for the staff to lip-sync to. I think. Like I said, I've never been to this attraction, and I'm not really interested in wasting money on the experience, so if any of you readers out there have been, let me know! I would love to add some reviews of the experience!

This attraction does require the purchase of a separate ticket that can only be purchased through USJ's web store which is, you guessed it, only in Japanese. It's not terribly difficult to navigate and I've written articles on how to use it before, so check those our if you're interested in getting a ticket. Tickets for this event are a.) not written on event page WOW and b.) 5,000 yen for adults and 2,600 yen for children (4-11 years of age).

Detective Conan The Escape: The Scarlet Bullet Project

Even USJ is using old pics. The effort.

The setup for this attraction is as the prologue for the Conan movie that was released this year (or will be released, I don't follow Conan closely) 緋色の弾丸 which has been translated as The Scarlet Bullet. The story is an original created for the park attraction only and seems to pertain to a terrorist attack taking place during a sporting event that only occurs once every four years?? UMM, okay. I guess that's okay??

So anyway, this event requires a separate ticket as the event is technically run by a different company (this company specializes in escape games all throughout Japan). I've heard that the escape games in Japan are quite good, so if that's a thing you're into, you might want to check it out! You probably have to know Japanese too so...take that into consideration? It will run you 2,980 yen or you can get a pair ticket for 7,980 yen. Which costs more than buying two regular tickets??? I...don't know why, but it might have to do with not being able to choose your teammates? Also, the price may vary depending on the day (weekends tend to be more expensive in general).

Detective Conan x Hollywood Dream The Ride

Much excitement.

For those unfamiliar with the roller coasters at USJ, Hollywood Dream is one of them. It's a pretty simple ride, no significant drops if you're a fan of coasters, but it's fun enough, and it features speakers in the seats so that you can choose one of four or five songs to listen to while you ride (from Jpop to Apop). According to the website, this collaboration will feature....sound effects while Akai screams stuff about being in a car chase.

I mean...I guess so???

This seems like a reaaaaally lame collaboration, and I much prefer choosing a song to scream along to while riding, but uh... Cool Japan, I guess.

Thank god you don't have to pay anything extra for this, though I don't think the time you'd waste standing in line for this will be worth it either...

Attack On Titan

This series has been a part of several different Universal Cool Japan events over the years, though I think the series hit its peak back in 2016-2017. The park was basically overrun by cosplayers and regular fans of the series, and they had giant life-sized titans decorating the park; it was pretty cool.

Attack on Titan XR Ride


This year, it looks like we just got the XR ride and the mess hall, but XR rides are usually pretty good (see the XR ride from 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019) so if you have time, and if the line isn't 4+ hours long, definitely give it a ride!

In the Attack on Titan ride, you're being rescued from the gaping jaws of a titan by Levi and his team. The visuals for the FFVII ride were spot on, so I don't expect anything less for AoT. Add to that the vocal talents of Kamiya Hiroshi that are sure to dominate the ride, and I can imagine that it's going to be a big hit. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to ride this year.

Attack on Titan Survey Corps Mess Hall

A truly....uncanny resemblance.

This isn't so much an attraction as it is a themed restaurant. And it's on the opposite end of the park from the XR ride (in the Jurassic Park area, which is convenient if that's where you're headed next). I've actually not used this restaurant before, so I can't comment on the space itself or the food, but if it's anything similar to the One Piece themed restaurant from a few years back, it will be CROWDED. Like you-got-food-in-your-hands-but-no-seats type crowded #hangry (I am so sorry #notsorry ARGH).

And this is why specialty themed restaurants like the Mystery Restaurant or Sanji's Restaurant use the reservation method. Because if they didn't, you still wouldn't be able to get a seat and at least with the reservation system, people are limited in the number of seats they can purchase.

Anyway, it looks like there's only meat up for offer so sorry non-meat eaters. Though, you may be delighted to know that there is a dessert set and a commemorative mug you can purchase. So there's that. The average cost of a meal at one of these themed restaurants is 2,500 yen for the meat set, 1,200 yen for the dessert set.

A small bonus for those looking for a pic for the gram, there are some (seriously disturbing) models of Levi and Hange that you can take photos with. HOWEVER, visitors should note that you need a ticket to enter this photo area and tickets can only be acquired by purchasing a meal set (they don't specify whether it has to be a meat one or if dessert meals count). Also, you cannot take video while in this area and uploading video of this area is prohibited (which is also probably why you can't find video on the Universal Cool events after 2018 or so).

Lupin the Third

This will be the second year that Lupin has joined the line-up for Universal Cool. Last year, I think they were only featured in the winter events, so there was only the XR ride and restaurant. For 2020, they've lost access to Space Fantasy, so no XR this time, but they do have some kind of live street performance, the restaurant and a small collaboration with Hollywood Dream: Backdrop (the backwards version of the Hollywood coaster).

Lupin the Third: The Live


Terrible naming choice aside, the twitter reactions to the performance that I've seen have been pretty positive. The actors seem really into playing their characters (something USJ is rather well-known for) and since videos of the street performance have already been uploaded to twitter, I suppose it's safe to say that photos are okay (I doubled check the site, and there were no restrictions written down).

The story of this performance revolves around the theft of an expensive necklace from a museum in New York (the performance takes place in Universal replica of a NY city block). The actors run through the crowd as they try to escape from the police dude, and there may even be some crowd participation. Unfortunately, this event is only going to be available in Japanese, but I think it should be pretty fun to watch even if you can't understand what it being said.

Lupin the Third: Ristorante Amore

Finally, another old pic I can use.

A repeat from last year, but I am glad they brought it back as I never got to go! This themed restaurant, like the Sanji and Conan one's, features actors dressed as the characters from the show and a performance, but on a smaller scale. Additionally, reservations are not required, which is great for guests who don't have the universal account needed to make web purchases.

The only difference from last year I can see is that the actors will come to each table in the restaurant for a greeting, which could also include a photo!

Lupin the Third x Hollywood Dream the Ride ~Backdrop~ 


In this collab with the Hollywood Dream ride, you can choose the theme song for Lupin from the list of songs on the ride. Which is cool. The Lupin theme is pretty cool.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne

Monster Hunter (more affectionately referred to as MonHan in Japan) has been a mainstay of the Universal Cool Japan event since its inception I think, but this is the first time that it's actually been an "attraction" in the sense you ride/do something. Previous years only featured a walk-thru space with replicas of items and monsters from the games.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne XR Walk


Rawr
This time, however, you're walking in virtual reality! Or something? Apparently you will walk around in groups of four with a weapon that you can swing at monsters. How they prevent you from swinging and hitting your teammates is a mystery so far, but lets hope they've at least covered this safety issue.

The attraction requires a separate fee of 2,500 yen and does have a few other restrictions related to clothing (no long skirts, no big heels or sandals, and no accessories of any kind), but other than that, there is little information about the attraction. Can't say whether I'll be able to give a first-hand review or not because I'm always hesitant to buy extra tickets to a theme park I've already paid over 200 USD for, but we'll see!

This event opens March 20th, so if you'll be at USJ before that, sorry!

Tickets

If you'll only be in Japan for a short period of time, it will be somewhat difficult to try everything in 1 day. While there are 2 day passes, I think the more reasonable option is to buy an Express Pass booklet.
This graphic is used for the Express Pass 7 booklet.
This booklet will have tickets to a select number of rides and will allow you to skip the (ridiculously long) queue. There is only one Universal Cool attraction in the booklet this year, but the other park attractions included in the booklet are popular attractions that would be worth skipping the lines for if you're short on time. If you're a resident of the area with a season pass, my suggestion is to just plan several trips and aim for certain attractions each trip.

The availability and event times in the web store.

When buying tickets for the restaurant attraction, you'll have to chose the time you want to participate in advance, but I recommend checking the availability calendar (在庫カレンダー) before choosing the date as most of March has sold out (though these tickets don't seem to be as popular as Sanji's Restaurant).

You do need a Universal Club account to purchase these tickets, but I have heard of non-residents making accounts, so it's definitely doable. Sadly, you'll have to make use of your J-skills when it comes to actually using the web store. In previous posts, I have mentioned the services of Voyagin as a viable option for purchasing these kinds of tickets, but as I've never used the service for this purpose, I can't comment on how well this process works.

Please let me know if you have any questions! I'm on Instagram and Twitter, but comments on the blog are always welcome!

★Peaces★

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