At the Olympics #OpeningCeremony, athletes stepped into the world of Japanese comics and graphic novels as the country name placards and assistants’ costumes referenced manga in their design. (Resends to correct spelling of "manga.") https://t.co/rHtsJlwSpF
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 24, 2021
The Olympics, we are told, are all about unlimited vision and global interconnections and seemingly impossible feats of physicality, so what better media for the current Pandemic Games than anime & gaming, the Japanese-based, globally-celebrated formats that allow us aspiring hikikomori to celebrate with each other from the safety of our own internet pods?
Japanese artists reimagine countries as anime samuraihttps://t.co/7SBBbKaFHb
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) July 23, 2021
You absolutely want to click on the link here, for the illustrations. (I would donate to a kickstarter for a booklet with all 84-and-counting designs!):
A group of Japanese artists are hoping to help people embrace both the Olympic spirit and Japanese culture by reimagining flags of competing countries as samurai characters.
Nations large and small are represented in the World Flags project, including India, South Africa, Great Britain, Sri Lanka, El Salvador and Turkey…[Artist Kamaya Yamamoto] starts by researching the meaning and history of a country’s flag as well as the colours and design, and then researches their culture.
For example, because the Mexican flag features an eagle perched on a cactus, eating a snake, Mr Yamamoto blended these elements together to create a samurai with a snake insignia and an eagle companion…
Even though the online initiative seems like a fitting promotional campaign for the Tokyo Olympics, the 15 people behind the project don’t make any money from it and do it in their free time…
Some embassies in Japan – like Honduras and Venezuela – have separately contacted the artists because they want to display pictures of the samurais…
“People will only be able to enjoy the Olympics online,” says Mr Yamada. “So hopefully our designs will provide a bit of entertainment and relief for all those tired of Covid-19.”
— The Verge (@verge) July 23, 2021
… Google is debuting a new interactive Doodle on Thursday with art from Japanese animation house Studio 4°C. The new Doodle, called Doodle Champion Island Games, is actually a series of Olympic event-themed 16-bit mini-games that you can play, contributing to the scores of four teams Google will track on a global leaderboard.
Playing as Lucky the Calico Ninja Cat, you can join either the Blue, Red, Yellow, or Green teams, represented by Ushi (a cow), Karasu (a crow), Inari (a fox), or Kappa (a Japanese turtle-like water spirit), respectively. The seven mini-games break down across a several new and returning summer Olympic events, like skateboarding, table tennis, and climbing, each with its own “Legendary Champion” to challenge from Japanese folklore and history…
The whole package seems like a sports RPG in miniature, filtered through the kind of Flash games that would consume my afternoons as a kid. You’ll be able to navigate Lucky through a festival over-world populated with the games and champions, complete side quests, and experience the art and cutscenes Studio 4°C created for the Doodle. Google calls it an homage to classic Japanese 16-bit games — and while limited in some ways by living inside web browsers, it definitely seems to capture some of that spirit…
Anime and manga will take center stage at the Olympics. It could fuel a boom in interest. https://t.co/aTyneyx9fK
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) July 22, 2021
… While these platforms have seen their followings grow significantly over the past two decades, many in the anime and manga industry are preparing for another spike in interest in the United States and worldwide because of the exposure the series and characters are expected to receive during the Olympics…
Many anime — an umbrella term for animation produced in Japan — are adapted from manga, similar to how American comics are shaped into movies. The Olympics ambassadors, who are featured on official Olympics merchandise, are Son Goku (from the Dragon Ball series), Usagi Tsukino (“Sailor Moon”), Naruto Uzumaki (“Naruto”), Monkey D. Luffy (“One Piece”), Astro Boy (“Astro Boy”), Cure Miracle and Cure Magical (“Pretty Cure”), Shin-chan (“Crayon Shin-chan”) and Jibanyan (“Yo-kai Watch”).
Goku is perhaps the most well-known of the group. He’s a naive but determined warrior who is the main character of “Dragon Ball Z,” which was one of the first popular anime in the United States in the 1990s and introduced many fans to the genre. Usagi Tsukino, whose alter ego is Sailor Moon, is the star of another popular 1990s anime, and she welcomed many women into what had previously been a predominantly male fan base.
Naruto, the main character of one of the world’s most popular series, which ran between 1999 and 2014, is a quirky teenager determined to become his village’s strongest ninja. Astro Boy is a compassionate kid robot from the first popular televised anime series in the 1960s that inspired the genre. Luffy is the main character of “One Piece,” the best-selling manga of all time with about 490 million copies sold…
… Anime series have become popular conversation topics in locker rooms at every level of sports, and some of the Olympics’ top competitors count themselves as fans.
U.S. sprinter Noah Lyles, who will compete in the 200-meter dash, has pondered performing one of Goku’s signature moves, the spirit bomb, before a race in Tokyo. U.S. middle-distance runner Isaiah Jewett credited “Naruto” for helping him qualify for the Olympics. And Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka is known to be an anime fan…
(Confession: While I recognized all but one of the nine mascots, I’ve only ever watched Astro Boy — and that was when it was first aired in NYC, back in 1964. Spousal Unit & I didn’t start watching anime together until the early 1990s, so we missed out on much of the ‘pivotal’ series that aired in America in the 1980s.)
— The Verge (@verge) July 23, 2021
Full list at the link, if you know the difference between Final Fantasy‘s “Victory Fanfare” and Soulcalibur‘s “The Brave New Stage of History”.