My favourite manga is the epic pirate fantasy, One Piece, and it so happened that the One Piece “theme park” at Tokyo Tower opened on the Friday of my visit. Friend S was keen to check it out too so we hurried there after the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Museum.
Entry tickets come with various One Piece characters printed on them. I didn’t get my favourite character. Darn. But I could have gotten one with characters I dislike so getting one with a character I’m ok with is fine. haha S got a ticket featuring all the characters of the main pirate crew (including the one on my ticket) – that was pretty cool.
It’s… a rather small theme park. It occupies about 3 floors of the base of Tokyo Tower and is divided into different sections, mostly based around the main characters.
First section is a brief intro to the One Piece story and world. This is the ship, the Thousand Sunny.
Statues of two characters known for quarreling all the time. On the left, the character on my ticket and Cy’s favourite, Roronoa Zoro. On the right, my favourite character, Sanji. haha Not a good photo, though – the lighting wasn’t very accommodating.
There wasn’t much on the first floor beyond statues and such for photo opportunities. On the next floor there were several different sections for games that had really long queues – queues that lasted up to an hour? Like Disneyland, but not nearly as fun because most Disney queues are outdoors or are structured such that you can amuse yourself by watching videos or watching animatronic robots in the meantime. This one was just like a fun fair – queues with nothing else to amuse you while you wait. S and I decided to skip all those sections as they didn’t look impressive and we didn’t feel inclined to stand in queues for such a long time.
On the third floor, there was the live stage show, and Luffy’s Grand Adventure. We chose to try the latter because it had a 15-minute wait time, which was infinitely better than the other stuff which had wait times of 45-60 minutes. This turned out to be a sort of walk-through attraction where you “experience” significant events in the story, culminating in a short film summing up the latest arc in the manga (the story is ongoing; 784 chapters to date and counting) that’s accompanied by blasts of cold air and dry ice to punctuate action. A sort of cheap version of a 4D ride. Sorry, One Piece. Disney’s Star Tours and DisneySea’s StormRider will beat Luffy’s Grand Adventure flat.
Some other character statues. Left to right: Main protagonist, Luffy; Luffy when he was a little boy and his mentor, Shanks; Luffy’s adopted elder brother, Firefist Ace (also one of my favourite characters)
There was a hall of mirrors section within the Grand Adventure, which was rather fun, although it was tricky to get through. It was so dimly lit! (I guess that was the point…) We ended up having to feel our way out. *reaches out with hand and feels for mirror*
I snapped this photo in the hall of mirrors and it was certainly not that bright. I had to really turn up the brightness and contrast in Photoshop to get it to look like that. Otherwise it was just a dark brown blur that was slightly lighter at the bottom. haha
This short tunnel was quite cool. The “flames” spin around it and produce quite a disconcerting effect. I thought that was interesting – so simple but so effective!
Well, the Grand Adventure wasn’t too bad on the whole.
We checked out the stage show too and that was mildly amusing, but waaay too child-centric. Ironically, two-thirds of the audience were teenagers or adults. They should probably rethink the show and make it more interesting to an older audience.
What S and I really wanted to do was have a meal at Sanji’s Restaurant but we found out that you’d need to make a reservation and that – at about 3 or 4pm – the waiting list was so full we would have to wait until 8pm. That was not going to happen as I intended to catch the shuttle bus from Tokyo Station to the airport (and then get the free airport transfer bus to my last hotel) at 7-ish. I was sure there would be at least a few other buses after 8pm but I didn’t want to risk missing them and had figured that getting a bus at 7-something would be good. So we were not about to wait around at Tokyo Tower to eat at 8pm. This was terribly disappointing and it quite put us off the rest of the theme park. But we made do with the Grand Adventure and the stage show…
It was dark when we left (at about 6.15), which meant Tokyo Tower was illuminated and so I got a few pictures of it.
Like this one. And they all reminded me of the Eiffel Tower. haha
Not much else to report after that. Retrieved my luggage from the Hotel Ryumeikan, boarded the bus to Narita Airport, got on the Hilton Hotel transfer bus, checked in at the Hilton. Oh, I ordered room service for dinner because I hadn’t eaten dinner and I was really hungry by then. A nice lady brought my food and saw my Byodo-in pamphlet on the table and commented on it – in Japanese. I didn’t really say anything much – just plain old stuff like “hai” (“yes”) and “sou desu” (“that’s right”) while she did most of the complicated talking. She asked if I’d been to Kyoto, and said that Kyoto is nice (I said that Kyoto was cold!)… I think that’s about it. (I pat myself on the back every time I survive any sort of exchange in Japanese. hahaha)
Ate dinner (pasta and mashed potatoes – they were quite tasty) and then soaked in the bathtub. Went to bed. Woke up. Went to the airport. Went home. The end.