Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Spending the Day as a Strawhat Pirate at the ONE PIECE Tokyo Tower Theme Park

A part of the Mugiwara Crew Banquet at the Landing Port, Tokyo Tower One Piece. Image from this link.

Imagine living in a world where the ultimate dream for most people is to be able to sail under the vast blue sky with bits of swashbuckling adventure on the side. Think of the proposition that there exists a world where the ocean so greatly divides the lands that much of the world is left unexplored. Imagine a world not run by any technological advances but is instead driven by the people's magnanimous love for the need to satisfy their natural curiosity about the world and its unsolved mysteries. Wouldn't it be nice to set sail in an alternate universe where the romantic call of the ocean is all the fad? While this kind of dream is far from becoming reality, the experience is within reach via boob tube.

Set in the Golden Age of Piracy, the well-received anime One Piece tells the story of a young pirate named Monkey D. Luffy who, together with his crew, is in hot pursuit of the legendary treasure named "One Piece" that will make him the King of all Pirates. As of the time of writing, the episode count of Eiichiro Oda's manga-turned-anime is 790 and counting. Clearly, the ethereal setting, the storyline, the quirky characters and the amazing drawing style make the show endearing to viewers of all ages-- including my entire family and, of course, yours truly.

It can therefore be deduced that it would be totally uncharacteristic of us to skip the One Piece Theme Park while we were in Japan. 


The Tokyo Tower.

The One Piece theme park is on the 3rd-5th floors of the Tokyo Tower, and the nearest train stations are Akabanebashi (Toei Oedo Line), Kamiyacho (Hibiya Line), and Onarimon (Toei Mita Line). As for us, we had to stop at Hamamatsucho which was around 1.7 kilometers away from the tower. 

Ticket prices.

Tip: If you can, book your tickets online via the official One Piece Tokyo Tower website.

THE THIRD FLOOR
The third floor area map, from the official One Piece Tokyo Tower website.

If you booked your tickets in advance, you may go directly to the third floor where the entrance to the theme park is and have the ladies behind the ticket counter give you physical tickets with a bar code. Tip: Don't forget to bring the ID that you used to book your tickets online. Also, don't lose your tickets-- you'll need them for certain activities and to watch One Piece Live.

Luffy and Chopper of the Mugiwara Crew will greet you near the ticket counters at the 3rd floor entrance.

Once admitted into the park, you will be directed to the 360-Degree Log Theater where a video montage about the world of One Piece will be projected 360 degrees all around you. This one's rather amazing!

The 360-degree Log Theater. Image from this link.

After the show, the back doors will open and guests will get their first taste of Tongari Island-- the setting of the One Piece theme park.

Welcome to Tongari Island!


The Thousand Sunny.

One of the highlights of the park is the Mugiwara Banquet, which is a tableau of all nine Mugiwara Pirates enjoying a feast at the Tongari Port Landing. Upon entry, guests are treated to this unique sight while "We Are", One Piece's first theme song, plays on loop in the background.

Join Luffy and the crew in celebrating!

I can literally hear Franky bellowing his famous line, "Suuuuuupeeer!"

Soul King Brook is all rock and roll.

Nico Robin looks amused.

Usopp looks all gay and merry!

Cute little Chopper is being all silly.

My pretty little princess thought the Yangchow was real!

These two are at it as always!


Every once in a while, the entire banquet scene is illuminated with flashing lights while speakers blare out the pop version of "We Are".

Bounty posters! The higher the bounty, the more notorious a pirate is. This is why, in the One Piece universe, Bellamy was noted to have said that some pirates fake their own bounty posters to instill fear upon their names. Pictured above is the Straw Hat Pirates' Captain Luffy with his exceptional half-a-million Beri bounty.

"Cat Burglar" Nami has a rather high bounty.

Known for being the only person with a 5-star bounty during the Dressrosa Arc, Usopp's 30-million Beri bounty rose to 200-million for playing a big part in the toys' vindication. "Black Leg" Sanji's poster shows not only a raise in bounty but also a change in photo.

Tony Tony Chopper's bounty is the lowest in the whole One Piece universe.

Impressive.

"Pirate Hunter" Zoro's bounty exceeds that of a regular Supernova's.

Brook's poster is as cool as he is.


Right beside the banquet display is the theme park's (canon and non-canon) merchandise section, Tongari Store.




THE FOURTH FLOOR
The fourth floor of the theme park houses most of the site's hands-on attractions that are named after each and every character belonging to the Straw Hat Crew.

The fourth floor area map, from the official One Piece Tokyo Tower website.

1. FRANKY'S COLA BAR, TODDLER PLAY AREA, AND PINBALL GAME
AVERAGE WAITING TIME (PINBALL MACHINE): 5 Minutes
These three attractions are based off the lovable half-cyborg shipwright of the Straw Hat Pirates. For a quick breather and a light snack, drop by Franky's Cola Bar and order the famous melon soda to wash off those yummy Soldier Dogs and that delicious Franky Brownie while the little ones can play in a padded area right next to it. Make sure you have spare 500-yen change to be able to play Franky's Pinball and win cute prizes and memorabilia (My sister was able to get Law and Zoro rubber key chains from two games!) There's also a gachapon (mystery capsule) machine nearby for other kinds of prizes!

Franky's Pinball Machine.

Mystery capsules!

Franky's Play Area. My sweetheart is starting to learn the ways of piracy!

Franky's Cola Bar!


The menu!



Soldier Dogs-- bite-sized sausages covered in batter and deep-fried.

Franky's Colorful Petit Cakes-- in strawberry, green tea, and custard flavors!

Franky's Brownie IS. THE. BOMB. I love how it's so fudgy and creamy!

Seasonal items available in Franky's Cola Bar as of the time of writing: Franky's Donut Tower and Franky's Crunchy Ketchup Pasta. Image from the One Piece Tokyo Tower official website.



2. CHOPPER'S THOUSAND SUNNY TOURS
AVERAGE WAITING TIME: 5 Minutes
Possibly the cutest attraction in the entire park, "Cotton Candy Lover" Chopper, the crew's resident doctor, gives visitors a tour of the Thousand Sunny ship. While conducting the tour, he's been wondering where all his nakama have gone. Little does he know, he's in for a little treat!


Sanji showing off his kitch-- IS THAT A SHARK ON THE TABLE?!

Yep! This is the shark that Luffy caught off the ocean and kept as a pet inside the ship's fish tank where it ate all of the other fish.

And what is this thing doing in the microwave?!

Nami and Robin gave us a sneak peek of their room.




Inside Nami's closet.

Inside Robin's closet.

A running gag in the anime series is how Nami would use her Clima Tact whenever she finds herself the target of some of her crew mates' (usually Brook's and Sanji's) perversions. Visitors are treated to this humor in the large bathroom.


Take a peek-- and experience Nami's thunderbolt!

Cutie Doctor Chopper in his office.

3. BROOK'S HORROR HOUSE
AVERAGE WAITING TIME: 5 Minutes
Cameras are not allowed inside, but describing Brook's Horror House to the best of my ability, the dark attraction is basically a rather humorous take on traditional haunted houses much like the cool and fun-loving personality of the Straw Hat Crew's Musician despite his terrifying appearance. The goal of the visitors is to dispense a salt ball into the mouth of a specific zombie. There are a lot of jump scares within the attraction, but nothing too extreme-- all in good fun!


4. ZORO'S SOUL OF EDGE
AVERAGE WAITING TIME: 5-10 Minutes
Would you dare to fight like the Mugiwara Crew's dashing debonair swordsman Zoro? In this attraction, you are given a plastic katana which you are to use to ward off the cannon balls being fired off by Marine ships in an attempt to sink the Thousand Sunny. At the end of the game, you'll face off with One Piece's most formidable former shichibukai.


The interior of Zoro's Soul of Edge is so COOL!


Mihawk. 'Nuff said.


5. NAMI'S CASINO HOUSE
AVERAGE WAITING TIME: 15 Minutes
Avid fans of One Piece wholeheartedly know how the crew's Navigator, Nami, is in love with treasure and all things related to luxury. What led her to such behavior had everything to do with her past. When pirates held her island under tyranny, she took it upon herself to save enough money to buy it back. Her habit of hoarding gold and money stayed with her until present.

Nami's Casino can only accommodate up to 20 people, with each round of games lasting up to 10-15 minutes. Inside the games room, guests will partake in games that involve placing bets by pressing a corresponding button. Take note that no actual money is involved. The guest with the highest number of correctly-placed bets will win either a Gold or Silver VIP Casino Card (depending on the number of points). 


I won the Silver VIP Card to Nami's Casino on my first try! I asked the attendant what it meant for me (I was hoping it meant we could exchange it for more freebies, or it had some sort of cash equivalent) but they said it was just that-- a plastic memorabilia.

6. USOPP'S ROAD TO SOGEKING
AVERAGE WAITING TIME: 5-10 Minutes
I absolutely LOVED this attraction. Since this game is inspired by the crew's sniper Usopp, players get to handle a slingshot like him. The mission: take down five Marines and shoot an extra ball into the Gates of Justice. Once a player is successful, the whole round automatically shuts down and a prize-- a carton Sogeking Mask-- is awarded.



There's a face and body painting booth (for a fee) beside Road to Sogeking.

7. ROBIN'S FINDING PONEGLIFF
AVERAGE WAITING TIME: 40 Minutes
The last attraction that we tried was a bit more complicated than the rest. Robin's Finding Ponegliff, a tribute to the Mugiwaras' beautiful archaeologist, involves renting a Den Den Mushi that can register ponegliffs-- slightly-visible codes on a flat surface (like a wooden panel or a wall) with embedded microchips hidden around the entire theme park from 3rd to 5th floor. Although the long waiting time can be a turn-off, the game is actually quite fun.

Before lining up to rent a Den Den Mushi, you need to take photos of you or your group at the booths first. Remember that the game has a time limit-- the snail will stop responding after 30 minutes. Points are allotted to contestants depending on the amount of ponegliffs they find within a shorter time period.



Please don't throw the snail transponder out of frustration-- not that the game's frustrating.

My very own Den Den Mushi! *heart*

Aside from the games and attractions, there's also a Paper Fortune booth near the Sogeking area. You just need to insert a 100-yen coin.

A Buggy the Clown photo booth reminiscent of the time Luffy was almost decapitated at Loguetown.

3D Floor Art.

Wall art.

A bounty poster of a random undead.

THF FIFTH FLOOR
The fifth floor area map, from the Tokyo Tower One Piece official website.

1. VARIOUS SPOTS FOR PHOTO-OPS
There are numerous spots for photo opportunities in the fifth floor, like the Marine Admirals' Seats, Law, and Kuma.

A charapot-- a Japanese photo booth.

Photo opportunity with the ever-so-handsome Trafalgar D. Water Law (and Bepo in the background).

Gol D. Roger, Portgas D. Rouge, and their son Ace.


You can sit on Batholomew Kuma's paw-- just be careful not to be transported somewhere else!

Impel Down.

2. LUFFY'S ENDLESS ADVENTURE
As a One Piece fan, I sincerely think that Luffy's Endless Adventure is the most heartwarming attraction within the park. It's a walkthrough featuring One Piece's most iconic scenes where fans are reminded of the pirates' perilous journey that began as early as 1997!


"Just shut up and come with us!"-- Luffy to Chopper



Shanks bequeaths Luffy with his straw hat-- a gesture that convinced Luffy to be a pirate when he grows up. Photo from JapanTravel.com.

The classic scene when Nami begs Luffy to rescue her village from Arlong.

The classic scene where Robin screams "I WANT TO LIVE!" and was thereby rescued by the Straw Hats from CP-9.

Impel Down.

This room induces vertigo; there's an alternative exit for those who suffer from said sickness.

Rest in Peace, Fire-fist Ace.

Newspaper clippings from the Battle of the Best and the A(S)CE (3D)2Y Arc.


3. ONE PIECE LIVE ATTRACTION
Tip: Here's where you should first go! Using your barcoded ticket, secure a numbered entrance pass for the show. You can enjoy other attractions while waiting for your scheduled viewing time. Wait in line an hour or 30 minutes before your viewing schedule or else you may run out of Tongari Crystals and/or seats! A second viewing of the show costs extra bucks.

The best and most anticipated attraction in the theme park, One Piece Live Attraction features a live stage performance of the Strawhat Crew. As an obsessive-compulsive fan, I was glad that the original voice actors of the characters in the anime also lent their voices for the stage show so I easily identified with the characters. While the show is in Japanese only, I found that it's easy to follow the storyline.

When we visited, the show was already on its second season. I was thrilled to learn that they change the shows so there's always something new to look forward to on the next visit.

The second season of One Piece Live depicts the Mugiwara Pirates settling in on their secret hideaway in Tongari Cove when Law appears. As Luffy and Law start to battle, Admiral Kizaru manages to track them down, determined to place all the pirates behind (sea salt prism) bars!

Before the show, I kept wondering how they were going to make use of special effects to portray each and every pirate's unique ability. I wasn't disappointed! The audience were able to see Luffy do a Gomu-gomu-no-fuusen, Sanji kick up some fire, Zoro create a hurricane from his swords and slash Marine after Marine, Nami whip up her Clima Tact, Robin display her Ten Fleurs, Law demonstrate his Room and Shambles, and Kizaru blast light rays from his fingers! Even Franky's cyborg arm had a cameo appearance as he used it to smash part of the wall! The show made genius use of projection mapping, smoke, lights, and sound effects to bring the audience as close as possible into the ingenious world of One Piece!

What made the show even more fun and unique is the part where there's audience participation.  At one point, the kids up front were tasked to roll Chopper to safety when he was stuck in Guard Point form. Near the end of the performance, guests need to do a special dance while waving their Tongari Crystal in the air to help Luffy and Law defeat Admiral Kizaru! I thought the show was a lot of fun, and that's coming from a grown woman! Plus, the actor who played Zoro was so easy on the eyes. *rawr*





Character Introductions.


Classic Zoro and Sanji.

The whole cast shows up-- except for Franky (voiceover only) and Brook (shows up at one time only in ghost form).


Kizaru places the Straw Hats behind kairoseki-infused bars.

Admiral Kizaru. I hated him in the anime, too.

Law strikes back.

Usopp, Law, Robin and Luffy.

The Ton-gari-gari-gari-ton dance with Usopp and a (very reluctant) Zoro. I love how they're both in character throughout the show!

From L-R: Robin, Zoro, Luffy, Nami, Sanji and Usopp.



One Piece Live Attraction is the best!

FIRST FLOOR
You've played all the games and bought all the merchandise, but your exit from the theme park does not necessarily mean the end of your One Piece experience.

The first floor of Tokyo Tower houses three more official One Piece establishments: Cafe Mugiwara, Sanji's Oresama Restaurant (which explains why Sanji doesn't have his own attraction inside the park), and the Mugiwara Store.

Area map of the first floor from the One Piece Tokyo Tower official website.

1. ONE PIECE MUGIWARA STORE
The official store for canon and collaborative merchandise, The Mugiwara Store is a lot larger than the Tongari Store and has a lot more stuff for sale to offer than the latter. Bring home a batch of Mugiwara sugar cookies-- find out the right flavor for you by helping yourself to the free samples!



One Piece/Tokyo Tower merch.

2. CAFE MUGIWARA
Cafe Mugiwara prides itself in being the world's first and only One Piece library. Imagine the hours you'll spend at this quaint little cafe reading volumes upon volumes of One Piece (reminder: they're all in Japanese, though).


That ambiance! I can imagine the place smells of freshly-baked bread and brewed coffee. Image from the One Piece Tokyo Tower official website.

Luffy's Meaty Pizza and Luffy's Extra-meaty Sandwich Feast look too good to eat! Image from the One Piece Tokyo Tower official website.

3. SANJI'S ORESAMA RESTAURANT
Named after the Strawhat Crew's cook "Black Legs" Sanji, this restaurant serves lunch in an eat-all-you-can fashion and dinner ala carte. As with Japanese buffet, Sanji's Oresama's lunch buffet has a time limit of 70 minutes for a fee of 2, 500 JPY (discounts apply for children).


Some of the food available during the lunch buffet. Image from the One Piece Tokyo Tower official website.

Some of the food that are available ala carte (Left: Hamburg Steak, Right: Straw Kids Plate). Image from the One Piece Tokyo Tower official website.

As I've previously mentioned, I'm not very young anymore; I'm actually in my late twenties. But I possess a passion for all things and hobbies that make me at least temporarily forget all my grown-up problems and laugh at the face of adulthood. Watching and patronizing anime is one such hobby. The world is fast-paced and cruel that I think everyone needs a break from the harshness of reality and escape into a place where dreams and fantasy await.



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