Yu-Gi-Oh to Animate Gold-Winning Gymnast Kōhei Uchimura
posted on by Egan Loo
The Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal series will transform Olympic gold-medal-winning gymnast Kōhei Uchimura into an anime character for a television special this month. The one-hour "Mezase Sekaichi! Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal Uchimura Kōhei Senshu mo Deru yo Special" (Aim for #1 in the World! Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal Special with Guest Star Kōhei Uchimura) will air on September 17 at noon.
The special will have a brand-new anime episode in which an animated Uchimura appears, although Daisuke Endou will lend his voice to the character. In the episode, we see a boy training in a gym after a loss in a tournament, and he reveals his face as Yūma, the main character of Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal. The story turns when Uchimura appears at the gym, and the special will emphasize Yu-Gi-Oh and Uchimura's common theme of never giving up when facing a challenge.
In a live-action segment of the special, Uchimura himself will answer questions from elementary students dealing with issues. Hiroki Kawata of the comedy duo "Garage Sale" and former SDN48 idol Serina will also file a video report from the Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship 2012 tournament. Another comedy duo, COWCOW, will join some children and attempt a few gymnastic moves of their own in a separate segment.
The Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal series normally airs at 7:30 p.m. on Mondays, but September 17 is Respect for the Aged Day, a holiday in Japan.
Last month, Uchimura became the first Japanese to win the Olympic gold medal in gymnastics' individual all-around competition in 28 years, with a little help from manga. Shinji Morisue, a 1984 Olympic gold medalist himself, co-created the 1994 Ganba! Fly High gymnastics manga to inspire kids, and Uchimura said he learned the secret to "sticking a landing" from the manga.
Uchimura already starred in a commercial with Japan's iconic manga cat, Doraemon:
Images © Kazuki Takahashi Studio Dice/Shueisha, TV Tokyo, NAS