The legendary Orochi: Part 8 of our Inverted Coaster Series

In 1996, B&M introduced two more Inverted Coasters at Busch Gardens Tampa and Expoland in Osaka, Japan.

Expoland selected a new version of the Raptor layout and B&M adapted it to the terrain and existing rides at the park.  The bottom of the first drop now goes to the ground and a trench was dug up there.  The rest of the ride supports were rearranged as a children’s train ride, Go Karts and paths go right under the ride.  The lift forgoes the mobile platform of Raptor and went with the familiar lift with double staircase and metal platform.  One major improvement was after the helix; on Raptor, riders are treated to a rough transition from the final turn into the straight brake track.  On the ride at Expoland, the transition was made a little longer and better engineered and is now perfectly smooth.

The ride chosen name was Orochi, a Japanese legendary creature.  The creature’s full name is Yamata No Orochi and it could be translated to “Eight-Forked Serpent” and it was pretty accurate:  the typical representation depicts a large Dragon with 8 heads and 8 tails, but unlike the Greek Hydra from the Hercules story, heads that are removed do not grow back as two.

YamataNoOrochi

We found on Wikipedia this great piece art of Yamata No Orochi.  Toyohara Chikanobu is the author the picture is credited to.

Western fans of the Dragon Quest game series got their first exposure to Orochi in what was then Dragon Warrior III, released in 1992 in North America.  The game was first released to Japan on the Nintendo Famicom in 1988 and has quite a legendary reputation:  there is a legend where the Japanese government forced Enix at the time to stop releasing games during the week.  When Dragon Quest III (the series name in Japan.  It was changed in North America due to copyright, but the matter was resolved later) was released, over 300 students were arrested as they skipped school to buy the game and there was huge absenteeism from work as many workers did not show up and instead went to buy the game.  So in Dragon Quest III, Enix used the myth where a Japanese village is terrorised by Orochi and it demanded young virgin women as sacrifice in order to spare the village.  Our heroes arrive just before the next sacrifice and brave a nearby cave where the terrifying Orochi is said to make its lair.  The heroes defeat it and like in the legend, it drops a sword.  Where it differs is that Orochi make its escape wounded back to the village and we realize that Himiko, the village queen is really the Orochi in disguise.  She is finally killed for good by the Heroes.

So with such a remarkable name, the park approach to the ride appearance was baffling.  The ride supports were painted white like the rest of the rides in the park and the track spine painted a light pink.   A large plaza was constructed and a beautiful sign saying “Inverted Coaster Orochi” was installed along with a large fearsome Dragon.

expo_oro

Richard Bannister provided us with this picture of the ride station building and appearance.  www.bannister.org

In 2007, Expoland suffered a tragic accident on one of its roller coaster and after trying to reopen, closed its gates at the end of 2007.  The Le Douarin brothers who ran the stores at Walibi Lorraine (Metz, France) bought the park from Star Parks (the group who had purchased the European division of Six Flags) and in 2007 renamed it Walygator.  In early 2009, the brothers were spotted in Japan and after trying a few rides at Expoland, ended up purchasing Orochi and a Mack Wild Mouse.  Both were dismantled and loaded up in containers for a voyage to Europe.  It was though that the Wild Mouse would be installed in a theater as an indoor coaster, but the ride was never set up and sold to a Luna Park in southern France.

Orochi was installed at the park in 2010 and construction was very slow and difficult.  The owners did not have the financial resources to install it properly and it is only after grants and loans from the local authorities that the ride was set-up.   The worst thing was that a station building was not constructed and both the loading platform and transfer tracks are exposed to the elements.  A planned repaint was not done and the ride still has its Expoland colors.  The lift supports had started to be repainted yellow, but it was never completed.  The Orochi name was abandoned in favor of a new name:  The Monster.

Monster Walygator Flex

The ride appearance over a year after opening.  Those are temporary construction fences.

Monster Walygator Flex 2

As you can see, there is litterally no station and the lift is the only thing that had started to be painted.  Flex provided us with all the Monster pictures.

Monster Walygator Flex 3

The train about to enter the pre-course pusher tires.

Monster Walygator Flex 4

The vertical loop.

The ride came with its 3 trains, but in its last days, Expoland had removed the mid-course brakes from the ride and those were never reinstalled at Walygator.  The ride control system was only certified to run two trains due to the absence of the mid-course block brake.  The TUV (German regulator who certified the ride) asked the park to reinstall the brakes to run two trains for safety and except for a single period in 2015, the ride only runs one train.

Monster Walygator Flex 6

The Cobra Roll.

Monster Walygator Flex 5

The train going through the first Flat Spin.

 

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