The new year brought hope of a pandemic-free world in 2021, and few hoped as much would come true than those overseeing the Summer Olympic Games. As COVID-19 continues to cause infections across the globe, vaccination efforts have yet to placate the situation in Japan where access and hesitancy remain high. As you can imagine, this has complicated matters for the Tokyo Opening Ceremony as it plans to get underway at this week's end. But if a report is correct, then the subdued ceremony will respect the pandemic's global impact while making nods to some of Japan's greatest anime and video games.
The information went live in the Shukan Bunshun, a paper in Japan that is in the headlines these days for breaking news about Tokyo Olympics drama behind the scenes. After all, it was not long ago that the chief creative director of the Tokyo games had to step down after a few horribly embarrassing scandals. Now, the game's committees are scrambling to prepare for the Olympics this year sans international guests, and Shukan Bunshun says the opening originally crafted by choreographer Mikiko would have been a sight to see.
According to Sora News 24, the opening was first shown to the International Olympic Committee last spring once it was decided to postpone the summer games. The reception was wonderful, but ongoing staff shake-ups will prevent it from moving forward. However, this opening did have a genius nod to the pandemic era we're living in, and it came through Akira.
The opening ceremony was meant to begin with Shotaro Kaneda from Akira riding into the arena on his iconic red motorbike. The dome would be filled with projections turning it into Neo Tokyo 2020, and the artwork would have been done by Katsuhiro Otomo who created Akira. "Welcome to Neo Tokyo" would have continued as the theme whilst various dances went on before a special guest arrived at the end.
And who might that have been? Well, Mario was expected to show up on stage to end the ceremony as he popped up from a warp pipe. He would have gone on to platform between screens in the stadium, but alas, these plans are nothing but a wish these days. There is no word on how Japan's pop culture contributions will be featured in the Tokyo Games at this point, but we hope Akira and Nintendo get a nod somewhere along the way!
The ceremony's original plan might have been scrapped a while back, but viewers can expect Japanese pop culture and traditional lore to weave throughout the opening ceremony this week. But if you expected the event to be cyberpunk all the way, well - that will not be the case. A recent report from Reuters does suggest the Tokyo Opening Ceremony will be less flashy given the ongoing pandemic. Marco Balich, a veteran producer for opening ceremonies at the Olympics, said the affair will be "sobering" but still beautifully rich in Japan's various aesthetics.
What do you think about these leaked plans? Do you think any series is missing from this opening...? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB.