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World’s first Dragon Ball theme park to be built in Saudi Arabia

TOKYO – A theme park based on Japan’s Dragon Ball manga franchise will be built in Saudi Arabia’s new high-end tourist attraction of Qiddiya just outside Riyadh, the authorities announced on March 22.

The park – centred around the world of magical martial artist Goku and his friends – will allow fans to “live the adventures at the heart of the action, experiencing the journey from the first Dragon Ball series to the latest Dragon Ball Super”, according to a press release by the Qiddiya Investment Company.

The 500,000 sq m attraction will be split into seven themed zones based on the magical dragon-containing balls that are central to the series.

The park will have at least 30 rides and include a 70m dragon at the centre of the site.

Dragon Ball was first serialised in Japan’s Weekly Shonen Jump comic magazine in 1984 before being adapted into movies, video games and TV shows distributed in more than 80 countries.

Its creator – Japanese manga comic creator Akira Toriyama – died from a blood clot on the brain in March at age 68. His death sparked an outpouring of grief from around the world, including tributes from French President Emmanuel Macron and Brazilian Vice-President Geraldo Alckmin.

The authorities in Qiddiya did not give an opening date for the park, and also did not say how much construction would cost.

Saudi Arabia is trying to diversify its hydrocarbon-based economy with a number of entertainment-related mega projects.

Qiddiya is being built on a site more than double the size of Florida’s Disney World and is planned to include a Six Flags roller coaster theme park as well. – AFP, REUTERS

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