As Rio says goodbye to the 2016 Summer Olympics, Mario lends a hand in getting Japan’s Prime Minister to Rio to accept the honor of holding the 2020 games in Tokyo.
The 2016 Summer Olympics have officially come to a close, but not before Rio signed off with its closing ceremony. During the traditional hand-off to the next city to hold the Summer Olympic games, Tokyo, Mario made a surprise appearance in a big way.
During the closing ceremony, officials from Rio and Tokyo met together to ceremonially transfer the charge of hosting the next Summer Olympics. Typically, the next city to hold the games prepares a short performance to show viewers what their city is all about. Tokyo’s performance included a pre-recorded video, highlighting athletics in Tokyo and some familiar virtual faces, as well. Footage of the classic Pac-Man game was shown, and Pac-Man’s Super Smash Bros incarnation appeared alongside athletes, but the real show-stopper was Mario from Super Mario Bros.
The video shows Prime Minister Abe stuck in traffic while attempting to make his way to Rio for the ceremony, lamenting that he won’t make it in time. Prime Minister Abe then transforms into Mario himself, racing into Tokyo on-foot. Prime Minister Mario there meets Doraemon, who plants a green pipe for Mario, drilling a path directly from Tokyo to Rio. Mario hops in, falls down the chute, and then the camera cuts back to the Rio colliseum, revealing Prime Minister Abe emerging from the other side of the pipe, complete with Mario’s trademark hat and outfit.
Japan has been a massive part of the video game industry since its infancy, producing consoles and classic games alike. It comes as no surprise that Japan is extremely proud of its accomplishments in video games, and Super Mario Bros is perhaps the most recognizable video game to come out of the country. In addition, Mario was a perfect choice to appear in the promo considering that he’s part of the long-running Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games series, where characters of both games take part in the Olympic Games’ competitions.
Clearly, a lot of work went into developing Japan’s welcome to the rest of the world for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Although integrating anime and video game characters into the 2020 promotion isn’t too much of a surprise, it’s great to see that someone as high-ranking as Prime Minister Abe was willing to let loose and appear as Mario. It will be quite some time before the Olympics come to Japan, but it seems highly likely that Super Mario Bros. and other Japanese video games will appear during the Opening Ceremony and perhaps beyond in 2020.