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Anime Aunties Visit Japan
Day 10: Universal Studios Japan Guide for Anime Rides

by Jacki Jing,

Jacki: Do you want to see the Jujutsu Kaisen crew defeat a demon in 4D? How about flying around in a virtual reality rollercoaster with Doraemon? Or would you rather see Loid and Yor Forger IRL? Well, my dream became a reality at Universal Studios Japan, and I was able to do all of this — and more!

Listen, if you're an anime fan, you must visit USJ once. I would turn a corner, and my heart would skip a beat. There was always some fun anime-related ride/event/restaurant/store to entertain me; we didn't even get to see it all in one day. So how would I advise approaching USJ if you're an anime fan? Well, surprisingly, we stumbled into the perfect day, and I am going to share it with you.

Walking in, you almost trip over the Jujutsu Kaisen 4D Experience. It's a movie theater with a JJK bun and churro stand outside, JJK posters and billboards everywhere, it's very obvious. And what a way to kick off this journey, starting things off with a bang! The 4D short was just super fun. You get the glasses; you got wild stuff popping off the screen at you; they squirt water, blow wind, rumble your seat. Of course, you can see all your favorites — Itadori, Nobara, Megumi, and Aoi. It's an original stand-alone story, where the crew takes on this King Pin look-alike villain (fat, bald, white suit — it's almost too obvious) — and of course, there are Cursed Spirits and a stellar surprise appearance at the end. Sadly, I do not understand Japanese, but I could tell what was going on, and the 4D visuals were so incredible the lack of language comprehension didn't bother me terribly.

Then you go to the JJK merch store, and there are plushies, shirts, and hoodies — I bought a headband that had chibi Itadori and Gojo on top, and it's a special JJK 4D Experience Edition, showing them with the special glasses and a demon they face in the short flick. The gear is awesome, and any JJK fan is going to go wild in this shop — and I got dozens of compliments on my headband to my partner's chagrin (he thought 2800 yen was too much), but nothing was stopping me from getting it! Also, there's a Mission to Defeat Cursed Spirits pamphlet at the store that can entertain you while you're walking around, but they ran out already when we got there o_O!

The JJK Hollywood Dream roller coaster is not too far away. Honestly, this is the same rollercoaster; you can change the music, and it has JJK audio. It's in Japanese, I couldn't understand it, but the roller coaster is WILD. I almost lost consciousness at one point because I was screaming too much and not breathing. So that's fun— and even more fun when you hear JJK voices the whole time!

Now, I am sure you're getting hungry. Well, you better stay on the JJK train and go to the Tokyo Jujutsu High Dining Hall. The decorations are sparse here, but there's a lot of beautiful art, and it's simple like a school cafeteria would be. So why go? BECAUSE THERE'S A LIFE-SIZE GOJO INSIDE, AND YOU GET TO TAKE A PHOTO WITH HIM, AND I NEARLY CRIED. Seriously, he's dreamy and so life-like, and you get to sit right next to him. My boyfriend may have gotten a little jealous because I wouldn't stop talking about it.

Swoon-worthy Gojo
Photo by Jacki Jing

As for the food…. Meh. Gojo was just too perfect; I couldn't have it all. So they have four special dishes. Gojo's Hollow Purple Meal, Megumi's Sushi, Itadori's Big Tempura Rice Bowl Meal, and the Kids Meal. Then there's Nobara's Tapioca Lemonade Tea and Maki Zenin's Violet Soda (which comes with a mystery character coaster). You have Panda's Parfait and Toge Inumaki's Salmon for dessert! Tuna Mayo! Kelp! (Green Tea Dessert with Kumquat). We got Gojo's and Itadori's dishes, a Violet Soda and Panda's dessert, plus the drink in Itadori's cool figurine water bottle. They were all very mid, and the whole experience (including a professional photo with Gojo) cost us $110. Sheesh. But meeting Gojo made it worth it to me. I wish the food were better, though, considering that price tag.

Everything we ate at the JJK Eatery
Photo by Jacki Jing

Now you've got some rides out of the way and eaten — TIME FOR THE NO LIMIT PARADE, always at 2 PM. It was better than I imagined. Life-size Yoshi, Princess Peach, and Luigi, plus a float with Mario being chased by Bowser, confetti, dancing, and singing. OMG. I just can't — it was too good to be true!! Then Pokémon has to go and 1-Up them (get it). Life-Size Pikachu comes through on a float, flying legendary Pokémon are all around him, he's got Gengar and Mew on his float, and confetti's flying again all over the place. I literally thought I died and went to heaven for a second. Then Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel show up. I had to do a reality check at that point. This is all real. Awesome. Do NOT miss the parade. It's beyond worth attending.

Let's pivot to SPYxFAMILY! There's an adorable merch store at the park entrance with Detective Conan, Super Mario World, etc. Whenever you need to fill time, go there and window shop. The SPYxFAMILY store has a display with Anya cosplay, and then there's a cubby paying homage to Yor and one for Loid too — and it's packed with show items that will fill you with glee, like Loid's jacket, shoes and umbrella — Yor's boxes when they move in — the iconic old TV. Lots of great stuff honoring the show. There's merch, too, mystery boxes, plushies, shirts, and jewelry!

But y'all want some SPYxFAMILY action!!! Okay, so we tried to do the SPYxFAMILY Mission. You show up, Sylvia Sherwood comes up on the TV, and she has a special mission just for you! It's all in Japanese, so we REALLY struggled with this. My boyfriend figured out one clue with the steps of a nearby building — I still don't get it. When the live show was about to start, we just showed up to the line and asked someone to help us figure out the mission so they'd let us into the show, and thankfully someone showed us the key to get approved. Yeah. We cheated. I don't really care because then we were ushered to the secret show for clearing the mission, and then we saw a live performance with Loid and Yor IRL beating up some baddies, and an animated Anya jumped around the stage on nearby screens. Again, this was all in Japanese, but you got the gist — baddies are doing bad things, and the Forgers F 'em up! I was cool with just that show, but when you exit, you get to take photos and videos of the IRL Loid and Yor, and they're extremely attractive and do all these baddie poses for you. So happy we cheated and got to see it, the live show, and then seeing them up close and interacting with them — TOOxCOOL.

We got hungry again and got a SPYxFAMILY dark chocolate raspberry-filled churro and curry bun. It was delicious and cute. I felt bad eating it and destroying such a magnificent creation. Then we got hungry again and ate a custard-filled churro and pork bun outside the Doraemon ride, and I really need to find out which churro and bun combo was cuter. So maybe you skip the JJK restaurant and eat the buns…, but then GOJO…*drool*… okay, anyway!

If we got Doraemon buns, we were going on the Doraemon XR Ride: Nobita's Sky Utopia. I will be honest; I thought this would be kiddie and lame. I was so wrong; this VR roller coaster was scary! The guy next to me wouldn't stop screaming — and I didn't blame him! It starts with the adorable characters and you flying around the clouds, and then I don't even know what happens, everything goes wrong, and you're fleeing for your life. It's happening so fast and frightening, even though adorable anime characters and bright colors surround you. Just a warning, though, my boyfriend is 7 foot, and I am 6'2” — they almost didn't let either of us on the ride for being too tall, but they told us just to cross our legs in a certain way, and we made the cut, but yeah it's a tight fit. Also, take the Single Rider line. You wear VR goggles, so you can't even see whoever you're with, and it's WAY WAY faster.

For some reason, all the Detective Conan entertainment was out of service the day we were there. Super bummed, I was like, well, let's at least go to the Detective Conan Mystery Restaurant, described as “a dining experience that will stimulate your mind and taste buds,” — but the restaurant was completely booked for a few days out. HUGE BUMMER. So make that reservation in advance for sure.

Besides that hiccup, I am thrilled with the day. We got a ton of anime fun in; I got anime goodies, and I got to see live shows and 4D experiences. My otaku heart is full! And the SERVICE! Everyone is soooo nice and friendly. We felt so warmly welcomed; even the people picking up the trash were grinning the whole time! What a wonderful day!

Dotonbori billboards
Photo by Jacki Jing

We wrapped up the evening by going to Dotonbori, the coolest thing I've seen in Japan. Not a joke. Shibuya Shuffle and Harajuku might beat it, but I don't know; it's a tie for all three for me. Dotonbori is this bustling market/business/food area. Some billboards are stories tall, and then there are animatronic giant signs of crabs, dragons, and cows —it was just enjoyable to explore there. Today was just perfection. I am on cloud 9. Okay, I am going to dream about Gojo and Loid Forger now. Tomorrow is The Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum, and then we head to Kyoto!

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