Yesterday, the committee organizing the 2020 Toyko Summer Olympics announced the finalists for the official mascots of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. As you can expect in a mascot-mad country like Japan, the process was complicated. Seriously, there were eight meetings of the Mascot Selection Process Panel, then seven more meetings of the Mascot Selection Panel.
Those 15 meetings winnowed down an original list of 1,753 possible mascots to the six you see above: Three for the Olympics and three for the Paralympics. Who will join such luminaries as Sam the Olympic Eagle and Izzy?
I decided to look into the mascot backstories to see which ones should win.
I thought the Olympic mascot was stupid at first. Oh, so it’s into tradition and high-tech? This sounded like a corporate shill. But then I learned it can move anywhere instantaneously. That would give you the power to win pretty much any Olympic event.
Meanwhile, the Paralympic Mascot here is cool as heck. Calm but powerful, lover of nature ... oh yeah, and the ability to move things by sight and talk with stones and the wind. Stones are probably pretty boring, but I bet the wind is fun to talk to.
Look, I know this mascot is lucky and all but we just had one who can move anywhere instantly—being able to run so fast you can create valleys and rivers isn’t going to cut it next to that. I do like that it makes people happy, which is an important skill. But how rare is it, really? I get happy when I touch my cat’s tail! (She usually doesn’t.)
Meanwhile, the Paralympic mascot here can create not only wind but also cherry blossom petals, snow, and lightning. It can also revive dead trees! Pretty impressive.
These were my favorite mascots just based on looks—raccoons and foxes are cute—but come on. We’ve got a mascot that can teleport and this fox is just kinda fast. Plus, is this fox a powerful trickster character like in fairy tales? I guess not. Instead this one just cheers. Lame.
The tanuki is a lot cooler. It can shapeshift. But for some reason it seems to spend most of its shapeshifting abilities to cheer on athletes and spectators? Look, these are easily the two cutest mascots but their powers are pretty weak.
So which mascots are the best? The one that can move anywhere in the universe instantly is the strongest power I suppose, but is that entrusting too much power into a mascot? Might want to just pick the fox and raccoon that cheer on people, to be safe.
Japanese schoolchildren will make the decision; they vote from Dec. 11 to Feb. 22.