Kohei Uchimura, Olympic gymnast or anime action hero?

One of the best Olympians so far in the 2012 Olympics is the really cool 23-year-old gymnast from Japan, Kohei Uchimura.  Every time I see him on TV I think “anime man” because of that haircut and his incredible action hero-type strength, speed and flexibility.  And that haircut–if you look at his teammates or fans, none of them look like this guy.  No, Uchimura has his own image going.  He looks like he should be starring in a live action anime movie.  He’s just got this anime action hero look down.  And he comes with the requisite superhero badass attitude and physical prowess.

Uchimura also carries a bit of cool background information with him.  Putting aside his resume of wins and medals and the fact that he won the men’s all-around gold medal this round, he has a coach named Kato.  Kato!  As in Green Hornet.  As in Pink Panther.  How can anyone have a better trainer than Kato?  Uchimura’s favorite hobby?  Sleeping.  So far so good.  Favorite food?  Chocolate.  And he won’t eat vegetables no matter what anyone tells him about diet.  His motto:  “Doing things at my own pace.”  This guy sounds like an ambassador for his generation.

So over lunch today I enlisted my co-writer pal Art Schmidt to help me figure out which anime character the Japan film industry needs to develop for the new movie starring Uchimura.  Art, with his knowledge of anime films, of course knew some right off the bat.

So here’s where we ended up.

Kaga Tetsuo is a character from Hikaru no Go.  Here he is:

Hmm… pretty close.  There’s another anime character named Tetsuo.  Tetsuo, the borg we have talked about before at borg.com, and member of the Borg Hall of Fame, from Akira:

“Just watch me attack the parallel bars with my borg arm.” (Though he might be disqualified.)

Or how about Vegeta, from Dragon Ball Z:

Hmm… we might have to adjust his part a little.

Dye the hair and you have Orochimaru-Sama from Naruto.

Or how about Goku from Dragon Ball?

That’s a lot closer to what I was thinking.  In the top photo above, Uchimura even has that forward head lean spot-on.

Maybe with a funky hat and some make-up, Ulquiorra Schiffer from Bleach?

Or Gin from the same show:

Then we come to Ash from Pokemon.

Even with the hat, Ash looks like he might be a doppleganger for our man Uchimura.  And look at “L” from Death Note:

Any other suggestions?  C’mon, Japan film industry!  We want to see this guy as an action movie star.

C.J. Bunce


  1. It’s even more interesting to note that Uchimura credits the manga series ‘Ganba! Fly High’ with inspiring him to become a gymnast in the first place, and as one of his boyhood idols.

    In addition, the creator of ‘Ganba! Fly High’, Shinji Morisue, was himself an Olympic gynmast, and in fact won Gold in the 1984 Olympic games in Los Angeles, CA (Horizontal Bar). Morisue says he created the series to encourage young children to gain an interest in gymnastics.

    Manga karma ex machina. 🙂

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