No Spectators? No Problem. Play Anime at the Olympics.

It’s the obvious choice

TOKYO, JAPAN - 2021/06/25: Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games branding inside a subway station ...
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Soft Power

The stands will be empty at the Tokyo Olympics this summer, following Japan’s declaration of a state of emergency due to rising COVID-19 cases in the country. But with no spectators, you might ask, who will cheer for the athletes, alternately galvanizing and crushing their spirits while providing some texture for viewers at home?

Here’s my proposal: Play clips from anime, one of Japan’s primary cultural exports and a superlative example of soft power. I’ll list some examples to give you an idea of just how much anime can liven up a dead venue while also spreading the gospel of “Cool Japan” that shapes so much of how outsiders consume and engage with the country, its culture, and its people.

This iconic Dragon Ball clip for the high jump:

Haikyuu volleyball (for real volleyball, duh):

I think this Attack on Titan moment would play well accompanying a very tense moment, maybe during water polo or taekwondo:

Did someone fall? Injure themself? Have to forfeit? That’s really sad, so please play this clip from Naruto depicting what happens after Haku dies to save Zabuza the Demon of the Hidden Mist:

The Fruits Basket opening song would be a great choice for when competitors are getting a little too heated and need to calm down. Or maybe for rugby:

For most other occasions, a peppy song from Kaguya-sama: Love Is War that has already become a viral hit due to its universal appeal and somewhat infatalizingly cute schoolgirl would suffice:

Hope this helps solve the problem. Happy sporting to you all!