For the nerdy among us, Japan is practically synonymous with video games. And if you play video games and happened to watch the opening ceremony for the biggest sporting event of the year, you probably went, “wait a minute, is that...?” Oh, it was. Actually, there was a slew of musical references that will likely only be legible to gamers, particularly those with a penchant for classic Japanese role-playing games.
As spotted by a variety of folks on social media, athletes and flag bearers walked out into the 68,000-seat stadium this morning to the tunes of Final Fantasy, the long-running RPG series known for pretty boys with enviable hair. According to the official playlist, it was the iconic fanfare track, which you can hear anytime you complete a battle or level up your characters. For gamers, the sound is tied to feelings of accomplishment—it’s the sort of thing you’d want to hear after doing anything cool or demanding.
Really, it was an entire medley that mixed in a variety of different sources, from Sonic the Hedgehog to Dragon Quest, and even some more comparatively niche picks, like Nier So while JRPGs make the biggest appearance, whoever put the music together for this made sure to include many of the biggest video game franchises hailing out of Japan. Neat.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which was initially postponed due to the pandemic, will continue until August 8. During those weeks, the event will showcase over 30 sports and hundreds of events. But beyond the difficulties of throwing a giant get-together during covid-19, and the usual iffy politics that follow any Olympic event, the whole thing has been troubled from the start. Just a couple weeks ago, the creative director for the event, Kentaro Kobayashi, was fired after making a Holocaust joke. His predecessor was also fired for making sexist comments. The composer for the event, meanwhile, left the proceedings after admitting that he used to bully disabled classmates.
Don’t worry, his music reportedly isn’t in there anymore. But still: Woof! In more pleasant news, though, it’s a big day for fans of ‘number go up’ as Google is also celebrating the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by releasing an entire fully-featured JRPG.