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Universal Studios Japan Just Got a New Jujutsu Kaisen Attraction. And I Got To Ride It.

Though "ride" is kind of a strong word

Promotional image for Jujutsu Kaisen: The Real 4D at Universal Studios Japan

For a theme park that advertises itself as a dive into Hollywood glitz ‘n’ glamor, Universal Studios Japan’s most distinguishing attractions revolve around Japanese IPs. Super Nintendo World is the obvious example, but USJ also manages to regularly incorporate various anime. The park has seasonal attractions related to whatever anime is Of The Moment. In fact, they just retired a VR Attack on Titan roller coaster. And to make up for it, they swapped in a new attraction based on an even hotter series: Jujutsu Kaisen.

Jujutsu Kaisen’s popularity in Japan is well-documented, thanks to how well its prequel film, Jujutsu Kaisen 0, did at the Japanese box office. Saying Jujutsu Kaisen is more popular than Attack on Titan might be controversial (or perhaps flat-out incorrect) in the States, but it’s definitely the case in Japan. You can usually tell what the hottest anime is by going around to various tourist shops and seeing what characters are randomly depicted on a keychain under the words “Kyoto,” or wherever. The first time I came to Japan, in 2016, this was all One Piece. But now, shops are very clearly phasing out Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba merchandise for Jujutsu Kaisen. I bought a keychain of Satoru in a towel lounging outside the entrance to an onsen and eating manju. Pretty excited about it, honestly.

Anyway, that sets the stage for why a Jujutsu Kaisen attraction was an obvious pick for Universal Studios Japan. The attraction is called Jujutsu Kaisen: The Real 4D. As that title would suggest, it’s a 4D film, which means you both put on 3D classes and can expect to feel some water when a giant curse spits on you. The chairs of the theater also move—though perhaps “jerk around” would be a more appropriate way to describe that motion. Definitely my least favorite aspect, the jerking—and I love me a roller coaster, but a few of those movements were quick, sudden, and unpleasant.

As that gripe would suggest, I did indeed get the opportunity to ride Jujutsu Kaisen: The Real 4D. Within the first week of its opening, too, which make me feel very cool and hip. The basic plot is that Itadori, Kugisaki, and Fushigoro go to fight the corrupt leader of an Osaka academy for curse users. Naturally, Satoru and Todo also make appearances. It all ends up in a meta-narrative in which everyone except Todo (sorry, Todo) has a nice day at “Univa” together. (I thought this was an abbreviation of “Universal Studios Japan” that I was simply not familiar with, but the group next to me in the theater had never heard of it, either. Love it, though. Gonna use it all the time.)

Honestly, I thought the attraction was fine. Not great, not bad. Just fine. I had a good time, but I never felt sucked in and forgot that I was sitting in a theater with glasses on. I did really enjoy the “pre-show” as you waited outside the theater, which was an ad for the Osaka school. Eventually, Itadori, Kugisaki, and Fushigoro step in front of the projector, and you see their silhouettes as they bicker among themselves.

Of course, it wouldn’t be either theme parks or Japan if there wasn’t accompanying merchandise. The attraction empties out into a giant shop. There’s very keychains of Itadori, Kugisaki, Fushigoro, and Satoru sporting other Universal Studios merch, big fluffy hats in the shape of Fushigoro’s wolves, and even detailed replications of the Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical College uniform.

There’s also a restaurant, and a drink holder that replicates the scene in which Itadori is tied up and bargaining for his life at the very beginning of the series. I’m not kidding. Why that scene, of all scenes? No idea. I did not buy that popcorn holder. Also, it’s sold at a Mel’s Drive-In, which will elicit a giggle from anyone who’s ever been to Los Angeles.

All in all, if you can get to Universal Studios Japan between now and July 2, 2023, it’s a fun little romp. But if you can’t, or you’d rather prioritize Super Nintendo World, don’t worry about missing it too much. There are plenty of other ways to enjoy Univa.

(featured image: Universal)

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Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.