FIRST LOOK: Get Otak-Cool at Universal Studios Japan (ft. Final Fantasy & More)

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Anime lovers listen up: Universal Studios Japan is back with its fourth year of Universal Cool Japan 2018! This year, joining Detective Conan and Monster Hunter is Final Fantasy and for the first time ever, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon.

The Universal Cool Japan event first started in 2015, celebrating what Japan is so iconic for, anime! Incorporating the quirky casts and elaborate plots of these franchises into the park’s attractions, Universal Studios Japan gets a fresh new look just in time for cherry blossom season! Four popular franchises, four distinct zones: We head there for the first look, read our reviews on the new rides and food below!

Final Fantasy

One of Square Enix’s most celebrated productions, Final Fantasy turns 30 this year, and is perhaps the most iconic game series ever. In fact, it’s even in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the “most prolific RPG series” in history. If you’re a fan of the franchise, you’ll love the Final Fantasy XR Ride: Immerse yourself in the fantastical realm with this action-packed, virtual reality (VR) roller coaster ride! Get seated, put on your VR goggles, and watch as your surroundings immediately morph into a hyper realistic, anime pixel reality.

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THE RIDE:
This was our favourite attraction in the Universal Cool Japan 2018 series, if not the entire park! The VR action is nothing like we’ve experienced, and features characters Cloud and Sephiroth in an epic showdown to save the world. Complementing the action-packed VR story line is the roller coaster, which swishes and swooshes you at all the right moments, giving the entire experience that added oomph.

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THE FOOD:
For each Universal Cool Japan anime, there is a limited edition food menu! Saving the world is exhausting, so we took a break and munched on the Sabotender Churritos. The sweet snack is a classic churro stick, covered in kiwi-flavoured sprinkles.

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Plus, make sure you pick up the limited edition Chocobo Popcorn bucket

Monster Hunter

Launched in 2004, Monster Hunter is a wildly popular game series about facing off with majestic monsters in a fantastical world. This collaboration with Universal Studios Japan comes at just the right time to hype fans up, as the newest installment of the RPG, Monster Hunter: World, is slated to be released early 2018.

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THE RIDE:
Despite its name, Monster Hunter: The Real attraction is less about hunting monsters and more about posing with cool weapons like long swords and bowguns! The fantastic monsters come in all shapes and sizesbig and small, winged and web-footed. The attraction uses augmented reality technology, projecting the massive monsters on a big screen. With a sensor-tagged device in hand, you will appear alongside the beasts, except instead of a box-shaped prop, you’ll be wielding your epic weapon of choice.

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This prop has a sensor, and will show up on the big screen as your weapon of choice.

Make sure you get your game face on! During the “hunting”, you’ll have your photo taken, and if you like it (we’re sure you will), you can purchase it upon ending your turn.

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THE FOOD:
We love the warm matcha Great Recovery Drink. Aside from the super cute themed cup sleeve, the drink comes with a serving of popping candy (“blue mushrooms” from the game!) that you’re supposed to pour into your drink for some fizzy fun!

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Detective Conan

One of the most popular and longest-running anime series, Detective Conan is about a detective who is kidnapped and fed a mysterious pill that transforms him into a squeaky little kiddo. He continues his profession, helping his friend’s father (a not-so-stellar detective) to solve crimes and nab criminals.

In this collaboration, Universal Studios Japan opens the Detective Conan: The EscapeZero Preludeattraction, a 4-story escape adventure game to test your inner Sherlock Holmes.

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THE RIDE:
Just as you’d expect from the people who popularized Soduku, the Japanese take their puzzle games very seriously. Instead of trying to escape just a few rooms, Detective Conan: The EscapeZero Preludechallenges park goers explore a four-storey complex to solve Conan’s latest mystery. We won’t spoil the story for you, but be prepared to work those brains!

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This entire escape experience is further enhanced by the live storytelling, as the talented cast dress up in cosplay outfits and take on the roles of Tooru Amuro, Ran Mouri, and Kogoro Mouri, to not just set up the story and introduce you to your tasks, but to conclude the experience as well! (Note: The show is in Japanese, but you may choose to receive the quest instructions in English, Korean, and/or Chinese.)

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You’ll be given tablet devices that’ll give you instructions throughout your quest.

THE FOOD:
Our favourite themed food of the day was the Detective Conan dessert crepes! We particularly enjoyed the Amuro one, which features a sweet apple and caramel filling wrapped in a charcoal-flavoured crepe. The fresh cream under the fruit puree balanced the sweetness, and the black wrap made it the perfect dessert to selfie with.

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We also loved the hot chocolate and the cute Conan cup it was served in!

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon (Coming Soon!)

The above three attractions are already fully up and running (19 Jan to 24 Jun 2018), and you can visit them anytime until the mid-year. For the highly anticipated Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: The Miracle 4-D, it will begin in Spring, launching on 16 Mar 2018.

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The iconic Moon Stick, as used by Sailor Moon.

Visiting Universal Studios Japan before then? Don’t sweat it. Some of the attractions are already ready, like the Sailor Moon photo opportunity. Choose from your favourite heroines’ magical power sticks, and pose with them for a photo (or two).

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We brought the Tree Potatoes team with us to visit the Universal Cool Japan 2018 event. Check out Le En & Elliot and their best Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon poses!

THE FOOD:
The theme food menu is also already up, and you can swing by the cafe for some pretty pink desserts! We liked the Moon Prism Power Cake the best: The sponge cake was light and fluffy, and sat between rainbow-coloured layers of fruits and fresh cream. The corn soup was another delight, especially with cute Luna cat cookie!

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Ready to go? Get your Universal Studios Japan tickets from Changi Recommends now!

  • Universal Studios Japan®: BUY NOW
    General admission
    Includes entry into the entire park, including Universal Cool Japan 2018 and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Universal Express® Pass: BUY NOW
    Optional skip-the-queue pass for express entry into rides and attractions
    To be used together with a general admission ticket (not valid on its own)

Images provided by Universal Studios Japan

Want more?

Check out 5 Osaka Brunch Cafes That’ll Make Your Tummy Rumble, 6 Osaka Attractions That You Can Enjoy For FREE, and Going to Japan? Make Sure You Don’t Miss These Limited Edition Goodies!

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