Thursday, March 5, 2020


The status of the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus or COVID-19 has become something of a “one step forward, two steps back” trend when it comes to the scheduling of big events around the world. Many concert tour stops by prominent artists have been postponed or outright cancelled where said performances might be in a country with confirmed COVID-19 cases; Senegal was forced to call off its launch of the NBA-supported Basketball Africa League (BAL) games after it announced their first confirmed case. Not even the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo looks to be a sure go, as organizers wait until May to commit to schedule or cancel entirely.

It is in this atmosphere of uncertainty, according to CNN Philippines, that an anime fan shared what appears to be a fearless forecast of a dire fate for the Tokyo Olympics of 2020, from an anime movie that premiere way back in 1988. A Japanese Twitter user with the handle @cintosh2 had a tweet dated February 28 suddenly gaining increased circulation on social media due to his screenshot of a scene from “Akira,” an anime film from Tokyo Movie Shinsha directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, depicting a signage for a “Tokyo Olympics 2020,” counting down with 147 days left, but with Japanese graffiti calling for cancellation.
The image makes for a chilling idea, seeing as the setting of “Akira” is the city of Neo-Tokyo in the year 2019, after a purported atomic explosion (actually a psychic backlash) destroys old Tokyo in 1988 (the same year the film was released). The Tweet date of February 28 was also exactly 147 days before the real-life Olympics would start July 24 (causing a date discrepancy from the “Akira” timeline of 2019, but that is irrelevant). This has caused the post to start going viral.

“Akira” is a post-apocalyptic anime film classic, detailing the story of two (then-) futuristic biker gang members, Kaneda and Tetsuo, whose lives are changed forever when Tetsuo is experimented on by the military and awakens powerful psychic abilities that slowly drive him insane and less human. Kaneda joins an anti-government resistance to eliminate the unstable Tetsuo, even as he is forced to confront the truth that his aggressive emotional abuse of his ex-friend may have contributed to his dangerous breakdown. The film is held as an anime classic with fandoms in the US and Europe. 

Only time will tell if the background scene of a Tokyo Olympics promo, defaced with graffiti saying “Chushinda/Cancel it,” might frighteningly come true as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to force events to be put off or be ended before they would actually take place. An Olympics cancellation could spell economic woes to Tokyo and Japan.

Image courtesy of Mashable SEA


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