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Let the Games begin! Tokyo 2020 kicks off with manga-inspired opening ceremony
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 23 - 07 - 2021

After a one-year delay, several scandals, and with the specter of the COVID-19 pandemic hanging over it, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games finally kicked off on Friday.
Athletes from around the world not only stepped foot in the Olympic stadium during the opening ceremony but also into the world of Japanese comics and graphic novels.
An orchestral medley of songs from iconic Japanese video games served as the soundtrack for the parade of countries at the ceremony.
The first song played on Friday was "Roto's Theme" from the Dragon Quest series. Dragon Quest was enormously influential as the first console role-playing game, launching a genre. The parade also included the main Final Fantasy theme and "Victory Fanfare," the song that plays when a player wins an encounter.
Another well-known song that was featured was "Star Light Zone," from the original Sonic the Hedgehog. In addition to appearing in the original game, a remixed version appeared in the DS version of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games.
Additionally, the placards for the country names for the parade of athletes used manga speech bubbles, and the costumes for the placard bearers and assistants had manga touches in their design.
No spectators for the 11,090 athletes
This kick-off marks more than just the beginning of two weeks of sporting feats, it is also the end of a long and tiring marathon for the Japanese organizers who have been waiting for this moment since 8 September 2013 and the designation of Tokyo as the host city of the 2020 Olympic Games.
But the 11,090 athletes making up the 206 delegations — which for the first time include as many women as men — ventured out to parade in front of a near-empty stadium.
In the grandstand of the venue, which can normally accommodate 68,000 spectators, stood Japanese emperor Naruhito, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, French President Emmanuel Macron and US First Lady Jill Biden. — Euronews


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