OPINION: Japan’s Prime Minister Is Mario, and It Is Awesome!

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not represent oprainfall as a whole.

Author’s Note: Yes, I am aware not everyone is a fan of Prime Minister Abe, but this article really is just a fun lighthearted piece I wanted to write based on the fact that something this crazy happened at the Olympics of all places.

Japan's Prime Minister | Shinzō Abe

By day, he runs our favorite country, by night he protects the Mushroom Kingdom

Yes, you read the title this article correctly Shinzō Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, is Mario, and it is freaking awesome. Okay, okay. I should provide some context here as some of you may not have seen the closing ceremony of the Olympics last night.

Now I realize the Olympics are not exactly the most popular of topics to discuss on a niche gaming website but bear with me for a bit so I can explain what exactly occurred. As I mentioned, last night was the closing ceremony of the current Olympics (The XXXI Olympiad to be exact). As part of the closing ceremonies, the Olympic Flag is handed off to the leader of the next city to host the games. In this case, the handoff was to Yuriko Koike who is the current governor of Tokyo. As part of this ceremony, Tokyo would show a short presentation to get us excited for when they host.

Japan's Prime Minister | Olympic Flag Handoff

Yuriko Koike, the Governor of Japan, accepting and waving the Olympic Flag.

Now I love Japan and I am excited as you can be that they will be hosting the 2020 Summer Games. The Olympics are the one sporting event I actually make time for. There’s just something magical about them to me and I’ve always been captivated by them since I was a kid. But I had to wonder if Japan would actually embrace the creative powerhouse that it is and even show us a bit of its Otaku side. Or if they’d play it safe and leave this as a very traditional presentation. I was not disappointed.

As the National Anthem of Japan played, we had what looked like robotic dolls (I don’t know what else to really call them) rolling out as the red circle that is symbolic of Japan shrank into view on the floor. At this point, I was already kinda getting my hope up that the Japan might do something unexpected… then the video started.

Japan's Prime Minister | Japan's Flag

Said dolls as they surround the iconic red circle that adorns Japan’s flag.

The presentation called Warming Up! Tokyo 2020, of course, showed plenty of athletics, but the crazy started with Tsubasa Oozora of Captain Tsubasa showing up to kick a soccer ball. Things only got better as we saw Kitty White (aka Hello Kitty) become a cheerleader and Pac-man not only racing on a track with the ghosts but also later on punching alongside a boxer. The crowning moment of Awesome was yet to come, though.

Japan's Prime Minister | Pac-Man

Yes, this is really happening. Pac-Man is racing the ghosts on the track.

Towards the end of the presentation, Prime Minister Abe is trying to get to Rio with the previously mentioned red ball. Fearing he won’t make it, he dons Mario’s cap and transforms into the iconic plumber. No, we have no lost our collective minds. This is happening! From there with some help with Doraemon they set up a Warp Pipe that drills to Rio, and we cut to the stadium to indeed see a Green Warp Pipe in the center of the floor. Cue Mario leaping down the pipe and appearing in Rio moments later before Abe strips the costume. So yes Abe is Mario. This is cannon now. No, I don’t care that this just a performance. It’s just too awesome not to love.

Japan's Prime Minister | Abe Arrives

The Prime Minister arrives in Rio via Warp Pipe.

In all seriousness, though, I’m thrilled Japan has decided to embrace and showcase its Otaku culture to the world. Yes, Mario may be mainstream, but for example, Captain Tsubasa isn’t as well known. My hope is that we’ll see more and more of references to the awesome, the classical, the obscure, and just fun that Japan is while working in much of its rich heritage and culture. I’m personally hoping for something Kamen Rider or Sailormoon (Or even just Mahou Shoujo related), but that’s just me. All I can tell you right now is that I’m super excited for Tokyo 2020 and hope I can find some way to go in four years.

How fast do I need to run a marathon in order to compete again?

 

You can watch the video here. Additional images were sourced from here.

About Benny Carrillo

A gamer since the days of the NES, this professional otaku adores Mega Man, Super Robot Wars, Yuri, Visual Novels, the Slice of Life anime genre, and of course Hyperdimension Neptunia. His mission on oprainfall is to help deliver the news straight to you.