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Tokyo 2020 Opening Ceremony Verdicts and Reviews


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Opening this for anyone interested.

Still have to go through the hangover of that catastrophe, I need a couple of days and some drinks to get out of my head the depression of thinking what could had been, before I write a neutral opinion about it.

Anyway, leave your opinions and reviews here.

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Not much to say here but I like the pictogram segment and the flame being that tall, also someone should ban 'Imagine' from all future ceremonies, it's peak cringe, I hate it, Also @Ikarus360 keep your hopes lit ma mate, Japan still has Aichi-Nagoya Asiad in 2026, let's hope they'll redeem themselves there

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I too, am depressed of "what could have been". Just two years ago, I was so excited about Tokyo 2020. It was Tokyo! It was JAPAN. And if the Rio 2016 handover was anything to go by, surely it was gonna be one heck of a show!! Then Wuhan/Corona happened & the rest is depressing history. :rolleyes:

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The ceremony may have been scaled down but overall, I think Japan did their very best to try and put on a COVID-safe show with all the controversies and sackings looming over these Games which is pretty sad to see considering Japan was so hyped for these Games before the nightmare that was 2020.

The cauldron design was so beautiful and I'm hoping to see something similar with the outdoor cauldron if we get pics of it. Hopefully the closing ceremony will bring something fun for some people maybe. Looking forward to seeing what Paris 2024 offers.

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Would it have been different if there was no Covid? Who knows. But it was indeed a somewhat lackluster effort, even without the audience.

Why not have a zoom like presentation and have "spectators" projected on the seats? More homages to the tireless frontline workers?

Yes, using Imagine by John Lennon was cringe again. I would have loved to have seen the kids from Nagano 1998 all grown up with their own children parading around the stadium to the tune of Children Rule the World. But that might have been a pre Covid idea.

Bolero, but no Ode to Joy eh?

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4 minutes ago, Shiruba98 said:

considering Japan was so hyped for these Games before the nightmare that was 2020.

Safe to say that most of us were hyped for Tokyo 2020 pre-pandemic. It's a sad state of affairs when that Olympic Stadium was bare bones this morning, other than the athletes (& not all of them were even there anyway) & officials.

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4 minutes ago, FYI said:

Safe to say that most of us were hyped for Tokyo 2020 pre-pandemic. It's a sad state of affairs when that Olympic Stadium was bare bones this morning, other than the athletes (& not all of them were even there anyway) & officials.

No crowds meant no audience participation.

Aside from the obvious Ceremonies book and maybe a torch, what else would a Tokyo 2020 audience kit have?

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22 minutes ago, FYI said:

Safe to say that most of us were hyped for Tokyo 2020 pre-pandemic. It's a sad state of affairs when that Olympic Stadium was bare bones this morning, other than the athletes (& not all of them were even there anyway) & officials.

Anyways, is there any pics of the outdoor cauldron in Tokyo Bay? Uncovered and alight with the sacred flame?

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26 minutes ago, Lord David said:

Would it have been different if there was no Covid? Who knows. But it was indeed a somewhat lackluster effort, even without the audience.

Why not have a zoom like presentation and have "spectators" projected on the seats? More homages to the tireless frontline workers?

But that would've added even more cost to the already extra cost of postponing for a year. Putting screens up on all the seats just to have a virtual audience? I know a lot of TV talk shows are doing that with their studio audiences these days. But that's nothing compared to trying to cover a huge Olympic stadium like that. The manpower alone to do that would've been too much for an already overburdened & very exhausted Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee.

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1 hour ago, zigzag said:

Not much to say here but I like the pictogram segment and the flame being that tall, also someone should ban 'Imagine' from all future ceremonies, it's peak cringe, I hate it, Also @Ikarus360 keep your hopes lit ma mate, Japan still has Aichi-Nagoya Asiad in 2026, let's hope they'll redeem themselves there

Nagoya is the birthplace of Akira Toriyama....I hope they consider him to make the mascot or something. 

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On 8/23/2016 at 7:45 AM, Faiyez said:

Oh, don't mind him.

He probably expects something along the lines of sushi roll costumes, ninja, karaoke, game show references and honorable Ken Watanabe. The only acceptable music should be shamisen.

 

I said this 5 years ago and really hate the fact that some of it came true.

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The organisers should have cut off a lot meaningless stuff. They could have used more drones flying around Tokyo or at least cut off everything, but the parade and protocol (a Tokyo'64-like ceremony). But it lasted even more than latest ceremonies, 4 hours of boredom and frustration. I hope records can be broken here more than ever, to forget this bitter taste. 

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Overall, it felt weird. 

Some parts definitely gave me COVID PTSD and overall it was a somber ceremony. 

It was really an impossible task for them and IOC to combine the fact that this is meant to be a celebration of the world and the young athletes with the fact that so many deaths and lives have been changed for ever the last two years. 

Overall the balance was significantly skewed towards the memorial than to a celebration but I feel that the victories over the next days may change the atmosphere and the closing ceremony should be more optimistic and celebratory. 

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Took a nap. Woke up and thought: These games should've been cancelled. The coverage is still COVID COVID COVID. It's better to cancel something this large than do it half-assed. The athletes deserve better, the city deserves better, and the Japanese people deserve better. The conversation should have refocused to awarding them 2032 a long time ago.

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It was a nice ceremony, more cut back than I was expecting and . a little bit like London at the start (choreography wise)
but the globe made out of drones was amazing and the cauldron was very nicely done.

I did think they could have made more out of the empty seats though with LCD screens like london.

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Easier said than done, though. Many athletes still wanted to compete & didn't want the Games cancelled. Also, who's to say if Tokyo even wanted 2032 if offered by the IOC anyway. The Japanese would've had to put even more money into it than they already have on 2020ne. They just probably wanted to get it over & done with at this point. Plus, Coates woulda had a huge COW had Tokyo been offered 2032 as "compensation" over his darling Brisbane lol.

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The overarching feeling I have is a sense of sadness and wasted opportunity. It seems to me the will and spirit is there, but let down with lack of resources and support. The only saving grace is hoping that the next two weeks will offer a sporting spectacle that gives the world something to latch on. 

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I haven't seen it yet, won't judge until then. But if it's as negative as all that, I don't think this can be totally blamed on COVID.

"However, on May 11, MIKIKO was informed by Dentsu’s CEO that she was being replaced by the now disgraced Sasaki Hiroshi. On March 18, he resigned by from his post after planning to include Naomi Watanabe in the Opening Ceremony as the “Olympig.”

Given that Sasaki is gone, it was up to Hashimoto Seiko, president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing body, to decide what to do about the ceremonies. Given that there are only four months until the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, it was decided to go ahead with Sasaki’s plan for the ceremonies.

“It is virtually impossible for MIKIKO’s team’s proposal to see the light of day. Many Olympic officials regret this because of how well loved her plan was,” said Tokyo Olympic organizing committee official. “Naomi Watanabe said on YouTube that the proposal gave her goosebumps due to how cool it was.”"

https://aramajapan.com/news/plans-for-the-original-tokyo-2020-opening-ceremony-leak/112714/

It sounds (correct me if I'm wrong), that there was something of a coup-de-tat that happened behind the scenes after COVID forced a re-evaluation of plans. Given Sasaki's horrible comments, it does not give one a feeling of confidence that the decision-makers knew what they were doing. It feels very old fashioned "good-ol'-boy" culture reading the chain of events. I hope I'm wrong.

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Hello there, long time no see. ;) And I'm amazed how many familiar names I still see around here.

But getting straight to the point: I think that Rob Livingstone summed it up very well when he called this ceremony "unfocussed". There were nice and even beautiful elements, but there were others who were not well-executed or even puzzling. I think the ceremony didn't flow extremely well, it sometimes lacked pace and shifted focus too often.  And I find that regrettable after that brilliant handover segment in Rio in 2016 which ws so cool, clever, modern and even sexy. I won't forget how I watched that handover segment back then with my then-boyfriend and told him "Wouldn't it be nice to travel to Tokyo 2020 together in four years?" Well, 2020 changed everything - my boyfriend and I split up, the pandemic hit the world and the Tokyo Games had to be postponed. And that change, that disruption was also noticeable in the execution of today's opening ceremony. It couldn't quite deliver what the handover had promised.

Let me give my thoughts in a pro and con list. Here are the elements I truly liked:


+ The video at the the start of the ceremony that showed the euphoria building up since Tokyo got awarded the Games in 2013 - and then, in 2020, everything went black and back to zero. I couldn't help but tearing up at that moment, also bearing in mind the changes I experienced in my private life in 2020 (see above).

+ I also liked the idea of showing those athletes exercising at home alone, which gave the ceremony a truly contemporary and authentic touch right at the start.

+ It was a big surprise for me that they finally mentioned the killed Israeli athletes of the Munich 1972 Games in the moment of silence. It took far too long to give them recognition in such a manner, but I hope that it gave some comfort to the relatives and friends of those murdered for whom the IOC's stubbornness in the past 49 years must have been nerve-wrecking.

+ The manga optics and the video game music during the parade of nations were a clever idea. It was sad, though, that after 90 minutes or so the music kept repeating itself and no new pieces were added. Where was the Super Mario music, for example? And why no special music for the entrance of the Japanese athletes?

+ I had to laugh out loud when the Irish athletes took a bow when entering the stadium. Nice and funny touch!

+ The drones forming the logo and especially the globe above the stadium. Even if I fear that we will see many more drone segments in Beijing, Paris, Milan/Cortina, Los Angeles etc., the idea is still fairly fresh and the globe was truly impressive.

+ I must admit that I liked the "Imagine" segment even if I agree that this should be the last time for a looong time where we hear that song during an Olympic ceremony. But I found the video with the international singers emotional, especially their sad looks as if they wanted to say "We should actually be all together with you in Tokyo."

+ The lighting of the cauldron. While Naomi Osaka looked a little bit too much "Yeah, okay, whatever..." when she received and presented the torch, I liked the music and the cauldron itself, it's an imaginative and beautiful design. I only ask myself what has become of Rio's idea to have a smaller flame with a lower carbon imprint. Especially after Germany experienced a horrific flooding after heavy (climate change-related) rainfalls last week, I think that a stronger environmentalist message at this opening ceremony would have been more urgent than ever.

+ Most of the time the ceremony managed to overcome its biggest flaw: The lack of an audience. I didn't miss a large cheering audience as much as I originally expected - so I think the organisers did their best in order to overcome the (mostly) silence from the stands. I think that will be different during the sports events, where the cheers and applause will certainly be sorely missed.

 

And here are the elements I disliked:

- The segment with the carpenters as only real reference to Japanese culture and history before the parade of athletes was too little in order to introduce the host country and giving the ceremony a truly Japanese flavour. I like the idea, though, of using the wood of the trees planted by athletes after the Tokyo 1964 Games. I just hope they didn't chop all those trees down. ;)

- The Olympic Laurel segment should be discarded at an Olympic opening ceremony. Why can't one award it during the IOC Session or in a special event during the Games? It disrupts the flow of the ceremony. Even if I'm happy for Mohammad Yunus receiving it.

- In general, there were too many and too long speeches. The OCOG boss, Thomas Bach, Kirsty Coventry, Mohammad Yunus - come on, it's still an opening ceremony, not a sports convention. Thomas Bach's speech was particularly contrived and long-winding. It's obvious that he sees himself as a world politician and tried too hard to regain the sympathies and the understanding of the Japanese people. But I guess that that is a lost cause. And I can't blame the Japanese for that.

- The parade of nations took surprisingly long for the low number of athletes entering. I thought that Rio organised that in a better way, speeding up the parade with the help of the drummers marching behind the delegations. Tokyo, on the other hand, seemed to have a single volunteer marching behind the delegations. I don't want to imagine how long the parade would have taken if there had been more participating athletes.

- The Japanese comedy group acting like a TV team. If you think that you really need to add comedy to a ceremony, it should be funny. But it wasn't - and it was another reason why the ceremony lacked a clear storyline and felt quite jagged and contrived.

- The pictogram segment. After the first 5 pictograms, you got the idea - so it wasn't really necessary to display all 50 of them. Another segment that could have been cut shorter or simply done without. I don't find the invention of the Olympic pictograms in 1964 that sensational anyway.

- The mix of the Kabuki theater performance with the jazz piano performance. I mean, what the heck? What was that supposed to mean? It also felt as if the artistic team suddenly got the idea, "Dammit, we haven't shown much Japanese culture in this ceremony yet, so let's add another segment before the ceremony is over." It felt disconnected.

- Playing Ravel's Bolero during the final legs of the torch relay. Very strange choice for an opening ceremony in Japan, and it didn't raise the excitement for the cauldron lighting either. Furthermore, while I liked the inclusion of the Paralymic wheelchair athlete in the relay, I found it difficult to watch the old baseball player struggling to walk. That segment took far too long and I feared all the time that he might fall with the world watching like the one athlete during the final legs of the torch relay at Rio's Paralympic opening. The cauldron lighting should be the climax of any opening ceremony, and Tokyo was on the verge of botching that important segment, hadn't they chosen such a stirring music and beautiful cauldron design for the lighting itself.

Thanks for bearing with me, I guess that after a pause of three years in these forums, I had too much to talk about. ;)

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