What films are playing in Tokyo Japan
Tokyo fears about the Summer Olympics - a cartoon from 1988 anticipates reality
While Japan is preparing for a national state of emergency and worries about the Olympic Games, a legendary cartoon suddenly seems prophetic. He had predicted problems. The numerous fans of the film now feel somehow confirmed.
"Just cancel the Olympics!" So it is sprayed with graffiti on a poster on which the organizers of the Olympic Games call on the population to support. There are still just under five months until Tokyo is supposed to host the world's largest sporting event, and the Japanese should please do their utmost to ensure that the games are a positive one.
But the population is in an uproar. The unrest in the country makes the major event, which would primarily support the government and its sponsors, look like a cynical gimmick. The Olympic Games have to be canceled.
A country in a state of emergency
This is not the real Tokyo these days, but that of history. Tokyo from "Akira", a cartoon from 1988. But in the last few days this legendary anime, which is one of the most popular in Japan, has returned to public awareness.
Because the scene from the film, even if it is about civil war-like conditions instead of an epidemic, is amazingly close to the current situation in real Japan. The country has more than 900 coronavirus cases, making it one of the most severely affected countries in the world after China.
The north island of Hokkaido has imposed a de facto curfew. On Monday, the government in Tokyo also said it had to be prepared for a state of emergency.
Even if the Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto thought out loud on Tuesday about postponing the Games within 2020, according to the official interpretation everything will take place as planned - canceled sporting events or not. The organizing committee recently presented the official motto of Tokyo 2020: “United in emotion”.
In Tokyo, one wonders more and more: is it about the emotion of nervousness? Because of hamster purchases, toilet paper, face masks and disinfectant spray have already become in short supply. Astonishment haunts Japan's social networks.
The thirty-year-old film “Akira” seems like a prophecy. What else could the fabric of the story have correctly predicted? “The day has come,” tweeted user Jin0001 last Thursday, pointing out that a crisis broke out in both “Akira” and real Tokyo just under five months before the start of the games.
The news including the recording from the film was shared around 10,000 times. Shortly afterwards, other fans of the film posted an installation of the film scene with the Olympic poster and graffiti that they had set up and photographed in miniature. More than 17,000 people shared this.
Another user posted a video in which the organizers of Tokyo 2020 communicate the cancellation of the Olympic Games, once again close to the subject of "Akira". Mainstream media are now also discussing the ironic parallels.
"Didn't we say it?"
It is rather rare that cartoon and manga lovers in Japan can make a name for themselves as forecasters. Most of the time, the otaku, as the millions of followers of this often shrill pop culture are called, have the reputation of being foreign to the world.
Although the well-versed and traditional comics and cartoons are located in the middle of society, the often over-the-top stories tend to be looked down on. Even in Japan, those who call manga or anime their hobby often do not trust more conservative minds to be able to concentrate on the important things in life.
「東京 オ リ ン ピ ッ ク 開 催 迄 あ と 147 日…」- び び ま る (@ Bibimaru333) February 27, 2020
劇場版 ア ニ メ AKIRA よ り 、 例 の 看板 の ジ オ ラ マ を 作 り ま し た ！！ 中止 だ 中止！
（バ イ ク 、 人 以外 ほ ぼ フ ル ス ク ラ ッ チ で す。 ス ケ ー ル は 約 1/35 で す） # AKIRA # ア キ ラ # オ リ ン ピ ッ ク # Olympics2020 オ だ # # t 中止 pic. Pic
This also explains the current triumph of the right-wing and know-it-all. You can finally say: "Didn't we say it?" Or: "Our culture is probably not that stupid, is it?" After all, «Akira» is not about any film. Shortly after the animation of the 1982 manga of the same name hit cinemas in 1988, it made big waves in Japan.
No anime before had such detailed and therefore realistic drawings. Never before had you felt so deeply drawn into history, for example when the protagonist Shotaro Kaneda moves through Tokyo on a motorcycle. Next to him the skyscrapers pile up, blur, disappear again before the next pile up.
The hyperrealism in “Akira” also inspired international cinema, from “Matrix” to “Stranger Things”. It's animated fiction, but it's more realistic than ever. This assessment has now also established itself in Japan's web community beyond the stylistic. Especially since it wouldn't be the first time that an anime or manga has forecast the real course of events.
The cartoon “Psycho Pass”, for example, predicted the use of holograms - they are part of everyday life in Japan's pop music today. The manga “Ghost in the Shell”, which was last produced as a feature film in Hollywood, was already about a data and information war in 1989. Today nobody would declare that to be unworldly.
Civil war and atomic bomb
When Tokyo won the bid to host the Olympic Games in autumn 2013, millions of anime and manga lovers in the country, the otaku, were patting themselves on the shoulders. And even then you could hear angry tongues whispering that now the only thing left to do was to break out into the crisis that would shake the Olympic Games.
The most opinionated otaku now get into a conflict of interest. Would you rather be right and predict the world based on stories or would you prefer to live in a reasonably safe world? In any case, in the film “Akira” Tokyo falls into a kind of civil war, an atom bomb explodes. People hardly worry about the health consequences of a virus.
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