Whatever the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Opening Ceremony turns out to be, it would be hard to imagine the proceedings not highlighting the many aspects of Japan's rich traditional culture. In preparation for the event, however, it seems that Japan is also embracing the appeal of its modern pop-culture, making popular anime characters official ambassadors for the 2020 Olympics, as well as letting fans design a cutesy mascot to headline the games for a cash prize. The latest promotional tactic to embrace anime as an Olympic attraction come via the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, which capitalized off of comparisons being made to the upcoming games with those held in one of Japan's most famous animated films, Akira.

Fans of the influential 1988 anime will see a natural affinity between the upcoming 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in the film's 2020 Neo-Tokyo Olympics, which obviously take place in a less pleasant version of the host city Tokyo. Still, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government took a chance to celebrate the beloved anime (and manga) with a projection mapping event and a "three years to go!" countdown promotion. Some in attendance but not in the know thought this might have been a special screening of Akira, but they made the connection pretty quickly.

With official promotional campaigns acknowledging the somewhat dark connection to Akira, don't be surprised to see future promotional events embrace more and more anime and manga series.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.