Otaku USA Magazine
Three Anime Series That Would Make Great Escape Rooms

Escape rooms like JoJo's Bizarre Escape let you solve mysteries in the world of your favorite anime

For puzzle solvers and fans of live entertainment, escape rooms are a fantastic night out. Not only are they immersive, they also let you test your puzzle-solving skills and work with your friends as a team. In Japan (and a few other locations worldwide), fans can even delve into anime-themed escape rooms —like JoJo’s Bizarre Escape, or the recent Evangelion-themed adventure.

While fans have been able to experience games covering everything from Hello Kitty to Gundam, there are a few that have slipped between the cracks… and that we personally think would make for fantastic puzzle-solving adventures. While they may never come to be, these are a few anime series that are totally deserving of interactive escape rooms:

Revolutionary Girl Utena

Whether in manga or anime format, television, or film, the self-contained world of Ohtori Academy is full of bizarre twists and turns. Its dream logic and symbolic movement lend itself to not only an immersive experience, but one devoted heavily to unearthing and puzzling through mysteries.

Revolutionary Girl Utena also has the added bonus of being either very elaborate or very sparse. Players could uncover information about the Black Rose Duelists in a sparse classroom, or the secrets of the Rose Bride in a sunlit garden. Or, given how fluid the story is from telling to telling, an entirely new mystery could pop up and still feel right at home.



Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

A double-barreled suggestion, as there are two ways (at least!) you could run an escape room based on this modern Gainax classic. A pre-timeskip adventure could set participants the task of mapping a route to the surface of the world, or solving clues to figure out how to operate one of the series’s iconic Gunmen. Alternatively, a post-timeskip story could have the urgency of a countdown, as players try to find an artifact or send a message to a favorite character fighting in the field.

Even though Gurren Lagann is known for its larger-than-life settings and robots, an entertaining escape room could still take place in either of these circumstances — all you need is a story, and a connection to the unseen “outside world” in which the characters exist!



Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-

This might be equal parts escape room and horror house, but imagine it.

Time loop stories require their protagonists to try different things on different loops, learn what they can from experience and then go back to the beginning to take action based on what they know. There are possibilities for a looping puzzle set in Roswaal Manor, where going through the same motions several times will yield new information leading to the escape room’s solution. Whether because the puzzle-solver is on the wrong track, or because they need to know something will happen in order to prevent it, it would be an interesting twist on the escape room format.

Are any of these possible? There are certainly no specific plans at the time of this writing; but considering what’s been made so far, anything is possible. What anime would you like to experience as an escape room?

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. Beyond the world of anime, she's a writer for Doctor Who expanded universe series including Iris Wildthyme and the City of the Saved, as well as an editor for the critically-acclaimed Black Archive series.