Theme park gives fans chance to step into world of anime Theme park gives fans chance to step into world of anime
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Theme park gives fans chance to step into world of anime

    NHK World
    Correspondent
    A theme park is set to open in Tokyo next spring featuring miniature cityscapes of well-known places in Japan and throughout the world. It gives visitors unique perspectives of some familiar sites.

    But the park will not be limited to real-life places. It will also include settings from Japanese anime shows, and will give fans the chance to step inside these beloved worlds.

    The 8,000-square kilometer SMALL WORLDS is filled with townscapes from Japan and around the world. It even features well-known transportation hubs, including the Kansai International Airport.

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    Alongside the real world exhibits are the settings of popular anime shows. The models are crafted at 1 to 80 scale by leading miniature makers using state-of-the-art Japanese technology.

    One section is dedicated to Neon Genesis Evangelion, a 90s anime set in post-apocalyptic Tokyo. The popular show tells the story of teenagers who balance the struggles of growing up with an ongoing battle against "Angels", mysterious beings waging war on mankind. Though it originally started airing in 1995, the series was added to Netflix this year and has gained a worldwide following.

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    The exhibit has recreated the Evangelion world in astonishing detail. It is faithful to the anime in every aspect, portraying characters in class, or watching a movie in a theater.

    But what sets the park apart is that visitors are allowed to not only look at the replica worlds but also step inside of them. For 20,000 yen, or about 190 dollars, a visitor can have a personal figurine made using a 3D scanner. It is then placed wherever they want, in any exhibit throughout the park.

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    The Japanese government has set a target of welcoming 40 million tourists in 2020. Developing a range of unique experiences, like SMALL WORLDS, is crucial to achieving this goal.

    "We believe our park is an effective way to show the world Japanese charm, and it's all made possible using the country's own state-of-the-art technology," says Taichi Fukuda, COO of SMALL WORLDS. "We want to open similar parks in Okinawa and other parts of Asia."

    Conveniently located near Haneda Airport, SMALL WORLDS is also close to a number of venues for next summer's Olympics and Paralympics. With its miniature charm, the park could become another must-see attraction for visitors coming to the country for the Tokyo Games.