The Olympics kicked off celebrating the nerd culture of Japan as best they could given the state of the country which is still dealing with Covid-19. While athletes entered music from some classic Japanese franchises played, ranging from Final Fantasy to Soul Caliber. However, a new report from Japanese news site Bunshun (via resetera) says that Nintendo was supposed to have a far bigger presence during this show.
The article chronicles the ‘Collapse’ of the Olympic Opening Ceremony, which forced a lot of ideas to get cut, and painfully, the opening is the reference I think we all thought we might see. According to the website, originally the ceremony was supposed to open on a red motorcycle speeding into the stadium, accompanied by lead character Kaneda’s Theme from the classic anime Akira. A major plot point of the original manga, and a lesser plot in the anime, was the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, with the titular Akira taking up refuge at the stadium while waging his wage.
This was supposed to be followed by a song written by Yasutaka Nakata which was supposed to be “sunny” and “Cheerful,” setting the tone for the rest of the show. Ultimately that plan was ultimately scrapped only days before the show. According to the Site:
On July 19, four days before the performance, Keigo Oyamada, who was in charge of composition, was forced to resign because he had made statements in the past that boasted of ‘bullying for people with disabilities.’ Kentaro Kobayashi, who was in charge of the production as a show director, was also dismissed after discovering that he had been ridiculing the Holocaust in the past.
With the dismissal of these two people, many of the intended plans had to change. One of these plans was Nintendo’s participation, which at one point included songs from The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Suite, Kirby Super Star Medley, and the opening of Pokemon. Nintendo has not offered any specific answer for why their music was scrapped from the showcase outside of “We are not in a position to answer.” What we do know is these songs were scrapped “just before the show.”
This was not the limitation of involvement from Nintendo at that point either. At one point there were plans to have both Lady Gaga and Naomi Watanabe appear from warp pipes, similar to how Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at Rio. It would have been awesome if the two had a duet of Jump Up Super Star! planned.