Amid a somewhat anticlimactic Closing Ceremony to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, there was one bright spot that had nothing to do with the 2016 Games.
Tokyo, host city of the 2020 Olympics (the 32nd, or XXXII), stole the show with its introduction reel that played before receiving the Olympic flag, a video that leaned heavily on Japan’s tradition of creating some of the most classic video games in of all time.
This is also the first use of anime in an Olympic host city introduction video, as far as we can tell. But the best part, obviously, is Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe emerging from a warp pipe in the real world, live from Rio’s Maracanã Stadium, dressed (however briefly) as Mario from “Super Mario Bros.”
Tokyo won the rights to host the 2020 Games in Sept. 2013, beating out candidates Istanbul and Madrid at the 125th meeting of the International Olympic Committee. Despite some Olympics fatigue, it feels almost cruel to have to wait another 1,431 days to see whether Tokyo’s Opening Ceremony will feature other video game luminaries like Cloud (“Final Fantasy”), Samus Aran (“Metroid”) and Ash (“Pokémon”), or if it’ll merely be a live-action version “Super Smash Bros. Melee,” with costumed athletes lobbing fireballs at each other.