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Scrapped Tokyo Olympics proposal included ‘Akira’ and ‘Super Mario’ in opening ceremony – report

By Kara Santos Published Aug 09, 2021 7:37 pm

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics just wrapped up its relatively subdued closing ceremony.

With the ongoing pandemic, it's inevitable that both the opening and closing ceremonies would be more scaled back compared to previous celebrations.

While the opening ceremonies paid tribute to pop culture by including video game music, and sporting events used iconic anime soundtracks, it seems that a previous proposal for the original ceremonies was even more grand.

Earlier this year, Kotaku reported that Japanese investigative magazine Shukan Bunshun acquired a 280-page scrapped proposal for the event, which included an Akira-themed plan and featured Nintendo’s Mario.

The leaked proposal was reportedly created by award-winning choreographer Mikiko, who previously worked as a production consultant for Japan’s event during the 2016 Summer Olympics closing ceremony. 

In one of the images posted by Shukan Bunshun, Kaneda’s bike from the Akira anime is seen circling what looks like dome-covered Neo-Tokyo. The homage would have been very fitting, as the apocalyptic science fiction version of Tokyo is set against the backdrop of the impending 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Originally created by Katsuhiro Otomo, Akira, which takes place in 2019, debuted as a manga in 1982 and was adapted into an anime feature film in 1988.

Akira famously predicted that Neo-Tokyo would host the 2020 Olympics and even seemed to foreshadow COVID-19's impact on the games, including the empty stadiums, according to Kotaku.

The scrapped plan reportedly also included an 8-bit Mario in a bathing suit that appears on a giant screen made of lanterns with dancers doing a routine inspired by synchronized swimming. 

However, Mikiko’s idea was shelved, when a new creative team was brought in following the postponement of the games. In December 2020, Hiroshi Sasaki took over as creative director, restructured the creative team, and instituted his own ideas. 

The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games announced that the ceremonies would "take a simpler and more restrained approach designed to reflect the overall simplification of the Games and the potential need to still consider COVID-19 countermeasures."

(Banner photo from Akira)