Tokyo: Tokyo Olympic organisers unveiled a shortlist of three official 2020 Games mascots Thursday -- from bug-eyed cartoon heroes to cuddly raccoons.
The Olympic and Paralympic designs, which celebrate the themes of harmony, diversity and resilience, were unveiled by pupils at a Tokyo elementary school.
After a bungled rollout of the official Olympic logo that led to it being scrapped following accusations of plagiarism, local organisers have left the selection of the Tokyo 2020 mascots in the hands of schoolchildren.
From December 11 to February 22, pupils at every elementary school across Japan -- and Japanese schools overseas -- will choose their favourite design, with each class casting a single vote. The winner will be announced on February 28.
The competing mascots are instantly recognisable as "Made in Japan", ranging in appearance from sci-fi cool to a glum-looking fox closer in spirit to the country's beloved "yuru-kyara" (soft characters).
Design A's futuristic blue-checked design with pointy ears and oversized eyes evokes Japanese manga, while Olympic organisers revealed it has a "strong sense of justice" and can apparently move faster than light.
Its Paralympic cousin, meanwhile, sports red checks derived from cherry blossoms and possesses the ability, helpfully, to "talk with stones and the wind."