The BBC’s animated Tokyo Olympics trailer is packed with hidden easter eggs

Directorial trio Factory Fifteen worked with Nexus Studios and creative director Fantasista Utamaro to weave an abundance of sporting references into a reimagined Tokyo.

30 June 2021


The highly-anticipated Tokyo Olympics 2020 are finally set to start on 23 July. In the run up to the opening, the BBC has released a new trailer to promote its forthcoming coverage of the sporting events. The lively and vibrant trailer, made by BBC Creative in collaboration with Nexus Studios and Factory Fifteen, couples the city’s rich culture with a plethora of references to Olympic sports and athletes. Street signs, shops, arcades, a Gashapon parlour, a sports fan’s bedroom, and a J-Pop music video are all given a uniquely Olympic twist that aims to celebrate Tokyo’s diversity as well as “the world’s most eclectic sporting event”.

The trailer boasts an aesthetic inspired by Japanese anime and video games and we watch as the camera moves seamlessly from a music video where real life singers transform into anime versions of themselves to an arcade screen displaying Olympic athletes in the style of Street Fighter characters. As it weaves through various scenes in an immersive single shot move, we pick up on a whole host of cleverly embedded details, including Olympics signage, posters, stickers, toys, and more. “Creating something with this much detail was incredibly intricate but also lots of fun,” says BBC Creative Director Tim Jones. “Every frame of the film is rich with detail, fully immersing our audiences in a Tokyo where the Olympics has already taken over.”

These impressive details were designed with the help of Japanese artist and Nexus Studios director Fantasista Utamaro, who assisted in weaving over 50 “easter egg” moments into the trailer using original and authentic artwork and animation. Each subtle feature has been included to make for a unique experience with every viewing, allowing the audience to pick up on new details in the trailer over the course of the coverage. “As this is something going out on several channels multiple times per day, we worked with the BBC to reward repeat viewings, with as much hidden narrative as possible,” says a statement from the Factory Fifteen directors Kibwe Tavares, Jonathan Gales and Paul Nichols. “Watching it for the 20th time you will likely see a sports star or reference you hadn’t noticed before, even the BBC pundits feature.”

The attention to detail is matched only by the brilliant music which was created by renowned anime composer Kenji Kawai, famed for his soundtracking of seminal anime films such as Ghost in the Shell and Patlabor. “It was a great honour to write the music for the BBC’s coverage of the Olympic Games. I wanted to bring the excitement of Tokyo to the music using both traditional Japanese instruments and Minyo [singers], and modern ones like the virtual J-Pop singer Hatsune Miku,” he explains. “I hope everyone enjoys the music and feels the excitement of the Olympics in Tokyo!”

The BBC’s coverage of the 2020 Olympic Games starts on the 23 July across TV, radio and online.

GalleryBBC Creative: Tokyo Olympics trailer (Copyright © BBC, 2021)

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BBC Creative: Tokyo Olympics trailer (Copyright © BBC, 2021)

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About the Author

Daniel Milroy Maher

Daniel joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in February 2019 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. He graduated from Kingston University with a degree in Journalism in 2015. He is also co-founder and editor of SWIM, an annual art and photography publication.

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