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.
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?
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.
Of course, there were hopes Japan would make Mario Kart at the Olympics a reality.
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.
Good luck Tokyo!
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