With the closing ceremony wrapping up this evening in Japan, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have drawn to a close. Like at previous Olympics, there were winners, losers, and upsets. But unlike other ones, the Tokyo Games had more anime references than ever.
Previously, Kotaku featured Miltiadis Tentoglou, who did a pose from One Piece before winning gold in the Men’s Long Jump. He was hardly alone. Other athletes also got in on the act, making nods to beloved franchises before, during, and after competitions.
Let’s take a look at more Olympians showing their love for manga and anime.
American shot putter Payton Otterdahl, for example, made another One Piece homage, doing Franky’s “Super” pose (and even said “Super” as he did it!).
The official One Piece staff Twitter sent the finalist a nice congratulatory note, writing, “We sincerely celebrate the activities of our ‘NAKAMA’ around the world with the utmost respect for your efforts and achievements.”
After winning bronze in the Men’s 200m, Team USA’s Noah Lyles celebrated with a Kamehameha. On Instagram, Lyles confirmed that it is, in fact, a Kamehameha and not a Street Fighter Hadouken. (China’s 400m Men’s Relay Team likewise did what was either a Kamehameha or Hadouken pose before their competition.)
Team Italy, meanwhile, also seems like big Dragon Ball fans.
Mexican gymnast Alexa Moreno did her floor routine to the Demon Slayer soundtrack.
It’s not uncommon for anime music (or video game music, for that matter) to be used in routines or sporting events, but since this is Moreno’s last Olympics, the choice makes it extra special.
Figure skater Evgenia Medvedeva already proved that Sailor Moon works well with ice skating, and this year Team Uzbekistan showed how well it goes with rhythmic gymnastics.
These weren’t the only references (more here and here), with Attack on Titan and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure also getting the inevitable shoutouts. This was inevitable! Besides the fact the Olympics were held in Japan, manga and anime characters appeared on official merchandise. Plus, liking anime and manga has gone mainstream internationally.
Considering how anime and manga are especially popular in France, don’t be surprised if poses like these become a standard at the Paris Olympics in 2024.
While anime nods were in no shortage, video games certainly weren’t forgotten. The Tokyo Games inspired an Olympic-themed JRPG Google Doodle, and the opening ceremony was packed with video game music.