Just recently Mario starred alongside iconic parts of Japanese culture (including Pac-Man, Doraemon and more) in a flashy presentation video at the Rio 2016 Olympics closing ceremony. It was part of the handover to Tokyo, which is hosting the 2020 games, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe emerged from a pipe dressed as Nintendo's famous plumber.
If you haven't seen it, below is a reminder.
In any case, some have wondered quite why Pokémon didn't feature in the showcase, a valid question with Pokémon GO being a powerful force while Pokémon Sun and Moon aren't far away. Basically, it was all about timing.
Multiple outlets in Japan - summarised by Anime News Network - drilled down into the detail of the choices made in the video, and it seems Mario was the star courtesy of his undeniable brand power (and franchise sales of over 300 million units) and the hard-to-ignore Rio / Ma-Rio word play. Yet surely Pokémon could have also featured?
It seems timing went against it, as work on the video began back in January this year, long before GO took off. Pokémon is a huge franchise beyond GO, of course, but it's understandable that tough choices were made to represent a broad range of characters, not just video game mascots.
In any case, we think most will agree that Mario's appearance was a great choice, along with the many other iconic characters that help to define Japanese popular culture.
With thanks to Ed for the heads up.
Because the spirit of the handover portion of the closing ceremony is to highlight the global significance of the next host nation through its major globally understood exports and culture, and not to be an advertising platform for the present and upcoming products of a particular corporation?
I also doubt that the Prime Minister would have enjoyed to be in a Pikachu costume...
I still think the UK prime minister looks like Weavile
@Raylax I have to say that a portly Italian plumber being the representative of Japan on the world stage is a rather amusing coincidence.
There's also how he'd probably win the high jump with ease if he existed in our plane, too.
godzilla too was absent even if very recognizable. i suspect it's because of the destructive nature of the king of monsters. anyways...
@TheWPCTraveler he would be banned due to use of performance enhancing mushrooms.
Still disappointed the ceremonial speech wasn't made by Link.
Sugoi da na !
Can't wait for Mario appear during Olympic 2020 in Tokyo.
This doesn't really explain why Pokemon wasn't featured at all... only why it wasn't chosen as the star.
Regardless of Pokemon Go, the franchise is still well known, with a huge following all around the world, and with both anime and video games being featured, Pokemon would have been a great example of both.
As much as I like Pokemon more nowadays, Mario is still number 1 in gaming in my book.
@DragonEleven They didn't pick more than one from each company.
I like Pokemon much more, but let's be honest Mario still bigger than Pokemon.
What other pun could have been used for Rio De Janeiro?
Rio De Charmeleon?
Rio De Jolteiro?
Ralts De Janeiro?
Riolu De Janeiro?
Lucario De Janeiro?
I'm surprised that DBZ's Goku wasn't featured. He's pretty much the face of japanese animation.
@MadAdam81 The Pokemon Company is a separate company from Nintendo... Nintendo is one of the joint owners of it, but they operate independently... just like Game Freak and Creatures.
And if that was the reason, then Captain Tsubasa and Doraemon shouldn't have both been included, as Captain Tsubasa is published by Shueisha, which is an off-shoot of Shogakukan, which published Doraemon.
This made me think, the opening ceremony will be AWESOME in the next games. I expect:
@DragonEleven Still Pokémon are heavily associated with Nintendo, and this wasn't a Nintendo commercial, but an official video from the Japanese government.
Captain Tsubasa is an exceprion because he is the face of sports manga/anime, which is, guess what, what the Olympics are about: sports, not video game characters/Nintendo.
We should really just enjoy that Nintendo got that kind of exposition just some weeks before they reveal the NX.
@GeminiSaint In the west, but in Japan Doraemon is way more popular as the "animation mascotte". Japanese players even suggested Sakurai to add the blue space cat to Smash Bros when he was developing Melee!
@Nonno_Umby I've got no problem with the other characters being selected, or that Pokemon wasn't... I was just pointing out that the explanation for why Pokemon wasn't featured doesn't hold up.
And as you pointed out, it was an official video from the Japanese government... so wouldn't it make more sense for them to have used the synonymously Japanese Pokemon whose roots that tie into traditional Japanese culture, rather than a portly Italian plumber?
...someone say puns!?..lol
...guess WaRio was out.. stealing Gold..
I think they favored Mario over Pokemon due to Mario being one of the best (if not the best) known characters of Nintendo, plus he Actually has some relation to sports, due to Mario Golf, Tenis and the olympics while Pokemon has nothing related to sport.
@GeminiSaint nope doreamon is more popular
@DragonEleven Actually it holds up perfectly. They didn't wanted to have too many video game characters (note that there was also Pac-Man in it). Now why Mario over Pikachu (because if they went woth Pokémon they would have used the yellow mouse)? He actually has a lot going for him:
-Because of its importance (Super Mario is THE biggest franchise in video game history, beating Pokèmon, and is the mascotte of one of the most well-known Japanese company in the world);
-Of course the saucy Mario/Rio pun;
-Mario is also more associated with the Olympics, thanks to the Mario and Sonic series (which are OFFICIAL licensed games, btw), so he was the natural choice for it.
Also Mario of italian has only the name, and there are almost no games that specifically call him "italian". So yeah, he kind of became an international being (or maybe they used him as a way to unite the world? An italian (Europe) who lived on America who was created by Japan. It's actually really clever, though it is unlikely that they thought about it :/ ) bit even so they changed to hat from the classical "M" to a Tokyo label, emphasising on his japanese origin.
(And also they already used Pikachu in their national soccer team for the 2014 World Cup. Maybe they wanted to change rappresentative (: )
Not on a global level, though. Goku is far more recognizable than Doraemon in the western world.
I knew it was because of the Ma-Rio pun.
About Goku, I doubt they'd want to use a hyper violent anime to represent their country. Doraemon was all about imagination and inventive, good traits of Japanese culture.
@GeminiSaint i know, doreamon more popular in japan and other asian countries , and that's why there's doreamon instead of goku
@Meowpheel agreed, doreamon has tons of japanese culture involved plus theres sooooo many inventions the blue cat made lol
@hieveryone @GeminiSaint @Nonno_Umby I'd imagine the pipe had a lot of importance on the decision too. There's no better way for "Mario" making his entry and there's no iconic anime character who would fill in better to create a pipe from Japan to Brazil than Doraemon.
The pipe could have been created any number of ways. For example, it could have been activated by a P-switch. Or maybe it was already there. But that's besides the point. Goku didn't need to replace Doraemon. Both could have coexisted just fine. I mean, Pac Man had no problem being there along with Mario, right?
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