Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's sudden appearance was short but sensational. He appeared on the Rio Olympics closing ceremony as the Nintendo game character Super Mario and gave an intriguing glimpse at Tokyo's plans for the 2020 games.
The organizers for the Tokyo games crammed the works into a brief two-minute film before Abe's appearance. Video of athletes participating in more than a many of Japan’s major sports, showing well known icons of Japan like Tokyo Tower, cherry blossoms, a bullet train, Tokyo Bay Bridge and the famous "scramble" intersection in Shibuya was shown in a brief time.
Anime and video game characters including Pac Man and Hello Kitty featured, along with the beloved Doraemon, who pulls out magical gadget, a green warp pipe, to transport Abe who transformed into Super Mario, from his limousine in Tokyo straight to Rio.
Abe emerges from the "pipe" in a big red Super Mario cap and costume, holding a glowing red ball kicked to him by famed manga soccer star Captain Tsubasa.
Tokyo 2020 organizers said in a statement that the Super Mario idea came up during a brainstorming session. Staff at Nintendo would say only that the government asked to borrow the character for the show.
This short but magnificent finale was greatly praised and mentioned in SNS.
As they gear up for the 2020 games, the organizers appear to have achieved what they were striving for: "Cool!" ''OMG" and "I want to go to Tokyo!" were among various comments on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.