Universal Studios had built three installation of the large screen/simulator ride, based on the popular Michael J. Fox time-travel franchise. The other two - at Universal Studios Florida and Universal Studios Hollywood - closed in 2007 to make way for The Simpsons Ride.
Since The Simpsons isn't a thing in Japan, Osaka's version of the ride was spared. However, the passage of time doesn't treat time-travel stories well. The ride's trip into the future - of 2015 - now is a trip to the past. That makes Back to the Future: The Ride an easy target for removal as Universal looks to bring a variety of new intellectual properties into the Osaka park, led by Nintendo but also possibly including the Dreamworks Animation franchises that Universal's corporate parent recently bought.
Still, for Back to the Future fans in the United States who mourned the loss of the rides here, today's closure means that they've lost their last opportunity to ride Back to the Future... someplace else, at least. So, for now, there's just bootlegs on YouTube.
"Remember, the future is what we make it!"
Update: Our friend Dave Cobb was in Osaka for the final day and posted this lovely tribute to the ride on Facebook, which includes links to a photo galleries of cosplaying fans who turned out, too:
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