Listen to my story…
The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 have been making headlines for a slew of wild stories — from history-making turn of events like The Philippines’ first Olympic gold medal to Simone Biles taking time off for her mental well-being to more niche news like those so-called “anti-sex beds” being able to withstand the weight of nine sturdy athletes. In the gaming sphere, spectators were elated to hear the athletes of the world walk out to video game music during the opening ceremony.
Four new events also grace the Olympics this year — skateboarding, karate, sport climbing, and surfing. One athlete competing in the surfing events in particular drew heads from the gaming crowd yet again, this time for looking like a very specific water-loving Final Fantasy protagonist.
Fans were quick to comment about the similarities:
“How do I apply for the Olympics Blitzball team?” asked one Facebook user, while another cleverly quipped back “fill out the form and wait for Olympics Tidus to show up,” referring to the Final Fantasy X mini-game where players scout for Blitzball team members.
“If he disappears, we know why,” remarked one commenter. “FFX Live action movie announced?” hopefully asked one fan.
All of this, by the way, interspersed with the laughing Tidus gif. Obviously.
Surprisingly, Igarashi and Tidus have quite a bit in common — certainly in their looks, but in their backgrounds as well. Both Igarashi and Tidus were coached at a very young age by their sports-minded fathers; Tidus’ father preferred Blitzball, while Igarashi’s father is passionate about surfing.
Both athletes also followed in their fathers’ footsteps during their career, as Tidus became the star player of the Zanarkand Abes (just like Jecht) while Igarashi’s Olympic events are being held at Tsurigasaki beach in the town of Ichinomiya, Chiba prefecture — where his father used to surf before he was born.
Where they seem to differ? Tidus didn’t seem to be a Blitzball prodigy in his youth, but Igarashi was surfing by the age of three and won his first championship by the age of seven.
As they entered their late teens, however, both athletes wowed audiences in a professional capacity — Tidus at age 16 and Igarashi who became a top-ranked amateur by age 17, qualifying him for the Championship Tour at age 18. Igarashi won the U.S. Open of Surfing back-to-back years in 2017 and 2018 in his hometown of Huntington Beach, California; now, at age 23, he takes home the Silver for Japan.
And where Tidus was a dream of the Fayth, Igarashi is honestly a dreamboat.
Also, I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that Igarashi doesn’t have to save all of Spira and resolve that conflict with his whale/father. But I’ve been wrong before.
Images via Facebook / Kanoa Igarashi