Japan was not playing around at the Rio closing ceremony.
It is tradition for the following host nation of every Olympic game to introduce itself to the world at the ceremony with artistic performances.
It's not traditional to blow everyone's minds with a pop-culture explosion, but Japan did so anyway. Their showcase was rife with cultural icons and popular media references.
— Fr. Darryl Millette (@frdarryl) August 22, 2016
There were appearances from cartoon characters Hello Kitty, Doraemon, and soccer players from the anime "Captain Tsubasa," as well as video game character Pac-Man.
But one plumber stole the show...
In a playful segment, prime minister Shinzo Abe turns into Mario, who then drills his way from Tokyo to Rio.
Lo and behold, Japan's prime minister emerges out of a green pipe and enters the stadium in glorious Mario cosplay.
Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe during the Tokyo showcase at the Rio closing ceremony. (Photo: Getty)
Wait, what just happened?
THE PRIME MINISTER OF JAPAN JUST COSPLAYED AS SUPER MARIO IN FRONT OF THE WHOLE WORLD THATS THE BEST THING IVE EVER SEEN— georgia (@jonnybuckIand) August 22, 2016
That was the prime minister of Japan, dressed as Mario, emerging from a pipe. What a world we live in— ビリビリ (@Raittgun) August 22, 2016
The Prime Minister of Japan just came out of a pipe like Super Mario AND IM NOT EVEN HIGH— Matt Henderson (@Archaeologuy) August 22, 2016
With everyone collectively impressed, the rest of the showcase went off without a hitch.
Flags waved, dancers vogued, and robots pranced.
Dancers perform at the 'Love Sport Tokyo 2020' segment during the closing ceremony. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Performers pose during the closing ceremony. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Performers wave Japan flags at the closing ceremony. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike accepted the Olympic flag, officially handing the games over to Japan.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach passes the Olympic flag to Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike during the closing ceremony. (Photo: Getty)
All that aside, everyone was still freaking out over Mario.
The anime and video game references in the showcase led to memes galore.
Colour everyone impressed.
Yo Japan just did the greatest 2020 preview ever at the closing ceremony. I'm about to book a flight 4 years in advance.— Adam Stites (@AdamBCC) August 22, 2016
Of course, there were hopes Japan would make Mario Kart at the Olympics a reality.
Real talk: How do we get Mario Kart into the Tokyo Olympics in 2020? Not the video game. Like, real-life Mario Kart.— Johny Barnett (@JohnyBarnett) August 22, 2016
Mario Kart for confirmed for Tokyo 2020.— Mike CS Mullane (@MMully52) August 22, 2016
The video game idea is not too outlandish; Tokyo 2020 will feature several new "extreme" Olympic sports, including skateboarding and surfing.
Tokyo's no stranger to Olympic Games. It last hosted the event 52 years ago.
Tokyo will be hosting the 2020 Olympics. Japan last hosted the Games in 1964. And had some AMAZING DESIGN. pic.twitter.com/uQcSn0abE8— HuffPost Canada (@HuffPostCanada) August 22, 2016
Good luck Tokyo!
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