Monday, March 31, 2008

SASUKE MANIAC March 31, 2008 Sort of liveblog! サスケマニア

SASUKE MANIAC March 31, 2008 Sort of livblog! サスケマニア

SASUKE Maniac usually has clips of qualifiers and whatnot. After each SASUKE they milk the broadcast by showing people who got cut out of the main show.

More info here.

Well, I'm up and I found a way to watch it so...

I believe this is the weightlifting guy (Torisawa?) who smashes the apple (there he -- he just did it again!). He just failed the Log Grip.

1911. Kuroda something something. Action haiyuu! He has a brother. Steps. Log Grip. Action haiyuu! Oh well.

1912. Kuroda something something's brother! Kuroda something else! He's an action hayuu too! Are they twins? Steps. Log Grip..otouto! Onaji tokoro!

Replay to show that they learn nothing from each other! Nothing!

Shibuya something something Taiko drummer! He's showing us what he's got! Steps. Log Grip. Pole Maze. I think he got the digest treatment and will fail the Jumping Spid...oh, OK, there it is. His group was playing while he was doing the course to pump him up!

Takahashi Satoshi! He's a former Orix player! Steps! He's 41. Log Grip..No free rentals for you!

Yomiuri training coach! Saeki somebody! Steps! No problem. Log Grip..he was Matsui's training coach? Not that it helps him or Matsui as he fails to hold on to the Log Grip.

Karateka Maeda! One of the few women to compete this time. Steps...oy. She couldn't get past the first two steps. Hazuakashii yappari!

Charisma model Yuumi Seimiya! By the way, for the person who was doing a google search for "Yuumi Seimiya nude" Um. This might not be the place you're looking for. I'm sorry?

Talento. Inui? She doffs her top to show her bikini top MUCH to the pleasure of the announcer. Inui Mayu? Well, at least she was properly dressed for the dip into the water after the Log Grip.

Ryo Shirai! He's a model. He's participated in the Geinojin Sportsman No. 1 shows but I believe this is his first SASUKE. Nugimashita! He doffs his shirt but doesn't get as much applause for it as the talento above. Steps. Log Grip. Pole Maze. No problems. Jumping Spider. No problem! Half-Pipe Attack coming up. Shi-ra-i! Shi-ra-i! Ye..a! Zannen! He landed at the very end of the platform and couldn't get his balance.

K-1 fighter Andy Olugon! This is his 2nd time I think. Steps. Log Grip. Zannen! Bobby would be disappointed and then attack someone to get himself temporarily suspended from TV. Or not.

Rera Kamuy Hokkaido basketball player Makoto Kato! Steps. OK. Log Grip..douda? No! He can't hold on to the rock! I mean Log! Turnover!

American football player (meaning the style of football not the place he plays). He plays for NFL Europe.


Shirokiya? Whoa, that was way off. Kohei Satomi. Steps. No problem. Log Grip. Oh, hora hora. No problem! Pole Maze. A little bit of trouble here. But he's through! Jumping Spider! Satomi!!! He didn't get his legs up in time. He doesn't make the cut!

Yoshioka Masanori! He's a hurdler!


Steps are no problem. He's got yellow shoes. Log Grip. Pole Maze. Jumping Spider coming up. Whoa! He whiffed and didn't get his hands or his feet up in time. How will his sponsors feel?

Well, that's it for tonight!

Friday, March 28, 2008

SASUKE 2008 3rd Stage Obstacles and possible Final Stage

SASUKE 2008 3rd Stage, no time limit.

1. Arm Rings アームリング

2. Descending Lamp Grasper 下りランプグラスパー くだりランプグラスパー

3. Devil Steps デビルステップス

4. New Cliff Hanger 新クリフハンガー しんクリフハンガー

5. Jumping Bars ジャンピングバー

6. Sending Climber センディングクライマー

7. Spider Flip スパイダーフリップ

8. Final Ring ファイナルリング

No one has reached the new Final Stage yet so details such as the time limit and even how to complete it are unknown.
Tower in the day

Tower at night

Thursday, March 27, 2008

SASUKE 2008 2nd Stage Obstacles

SASUKE 2008 2nd Stage, 90 seconds to clear.

1. Downhill Jump ダウンヒルジャンプ

2. Salmon Ladder サーモンラダー

3. Stick Slider スティックスライダー

4. Swing Ladder スイングラダー

5. Metal Spin メタルスピン

6. Wall Lift ウォールリフティング

SASUKE 2008 1st Stage Obstacles

SASUKE 2008 1st Stage, 120 seconds to clear

1. Sextuple Steps 六段跳び ろくだんとび

2. Log Grip ロッググリップ

3. Pole Maze ポールメイズ

4. Jumping Spider ジャンピングスパイダー

5. Half-Pipe Attack ハーフパイプアタック

6. Warped Wall そり立つ壁 そりたつかべ

7. Flying Chute フライングシュート

8. Tarzan Rope ターザンロープ

9. Rope Laddder ロープラダー

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

SASUKE 2008 第20回記念スペシャル SASUKE 2008 20th Competition Special! The Sort of Live Blog!

It's the 20th SASUKE Special sort of live blog!
Fishermen! Olympians! Firemen! Gas Station Workers! Free runners! Others! Can any of them conquer a show named after an assassin?

PS: G4 readers, please don't post this in their forums until after the May 18th airing. Thanks.

For a different take on the competition (with pictures!), go here.

Questions to ponder:
Can the All-Stars get revenge? Can more than 2 people make it to the 2nd Stage? Can SASUKE newcomers Wakky and Daisuke Miyazaki show up the regulars? Will I be able to tear up Mr. SASUKE's IALAC into small, unrecognizable pieces? Let's get going!

We start with clips from the past SASUKEs including the two completions. Everyone is there! Standing in front of the final stage! I think it's telling that Mr. WHOA..Bret Simms is there! Er..I think it's telling that the first time they show Mr. SASUKE, his head is down, like he knows the shame to come.

Oy vey TBS, don't give stuff away so early!

Here we go! Or not. We get clips of people signing in and the dates (airdates) of all the past SASUKEs. Wakky! Handball players! Iketani brothers! Morohoshi! OH. That's Kenji Tamura. He's irritating. White boys! Ninja Warriors! Mr. SASUKE walks alone! Takeda's growing his hair out.

1st Stage. 120 seconds, a five second increase over before. Will it make a difference?

1901. Kazuhiko Akiyama! He's back! Cool little floating montage of the All-Stars. Ganbare! Sextuple steps, OK. Log Grip! Whoa...OK! Pole Maze! He's stuck! He'll try again. The others shout encouragement. He tries again! He's still stuck! C'mon! Yes! Uh-oh. Jumping Spider...YES! Wait..YES! He's through! Half-pipe Attack! Ikeru! No! I think he got a bad run up. Darn.

1902. Hokuto no Ken theme song! It's a salary man pretending to be Ken. OK then. Steps. Log Grip. Okino? I think that's his name. Pole Maze! Jumping Spider. NO! Not enough air under his jump. The shot of the All-Stars just sitting there so casually is great.

1904. player Nakagawa! Steps. OK. Log Grip. YES! Pole Maze. Hrm. Everyone early always has problems here. And we've already got our first edit for time as we get to his second attempt. Does he have enough time? Jumping Spider! Up! No!

Comedian Nabeatsu. He has no number. That's weird. Steps. Log Grip. NO! Heh. He looked a bit scared.

1905. Nakagawa Makoto! He's 14! Steps. Log Grip. The log is bigger than him. Pole Maze. Good jump on it! Jumping Spider. Ikeruka? NO! His legs didn't get there in time. DON'T SMILE UNLESS YOU CAN DO IT YOURSELF MR. SASUKE.

Seimiya Yuumi! Charisma model. Steps. And done! She's the first woman by the way.

No number. It's the guy who couldn't get his pants off last time. Yes! The pants are off! Steps! Log Grip! NO! At least he got the pants off.

1907. Yoshinori Yakasomething. Oy. His kids are there. That's not good. Steps. Papa ita! Log Grip! Do it for your daughters man! Pole Maze. His kids look...unconcerned. Finally! Does he have enough time? Whiff on the Jumping Spider! Are the kids crying? NO! of them is getting ready. DON'T DENY ME MY TEARS TBS!

Dancho of Yasuda Dai Circus! For those of you who don't know him, what he's wearing is very important to their act. Steps. Log Grip coming up. Dancho is..argh. I was about to say he was the best non-Wakky comedian but he falls on the Log Grip.

Kuro-chan of Yasuda Dai Circus also falls at the Log Grip.

Capoeira instructor, the old weightlifting guy and some female talent all fall to the Log Grip. Three guys fall to the Jumping Spider.

Hey, you can see the Glider guy's glider.

1909. Shunsuke Something. He's 14! Steps! Log Grip coming up. He's from Oita. Pole Maze. Second attempt and he's through. Jumping Spider. Ikeru ka? Kita kita! Half-Pipe Attack! Yes! Potential! Soritatsu Kabe! CMs.

We're back! Soritatsu Kabe! First try! No! Second! No! Third! No! Time is running out! Our first Time-Up. Let's give the kid a hand!

1910. Michael Millner! He's a former SWAT! Steps. Hrm. I think time is not on his side. Still..Log Grip is fine! Pole Maze. USA! Yes! Jumping Spider...NO! He couldn't get his legs up in time. Darn. Ah. He didn't hit the trampoline. A classic mistake. Trampoline jya nai! That was weird.

1918. Gyudai? He's a K-1 fighter! At 17! He'll kick your butt! Steps. AH! Is that Bobby's brother laughing at him?

Next is comedian Kenji Tamura. Steps. He's there for the crowd's entertainment I guess. Log Grip! Face first!

Masahiro Masuno. Flying disk? Do they tackle? We've gone back in time as his number is 1908. Steps. Log Grip. Cut to the Flying Spider! Cut to the Half-Pipe Attack! No! I think he didn't realize there was some pull on the rope.

What's with the turtle? 1919. Fujinami Koji! I guess he does something with animals. Steps! OK! Log Grip...YES! Pole Maze. Stuck! Yes! Jumping Spider. Clapping. YES! His shoes are slipping! His shoes are slipping! YES! Half-Pipe Attack! Yes! Soritatsu Kabe. CMs.


I guess it's good the Tarako girls can get another job.

Ooh. SMAP vs. The Old Men. I love this commercial. I can even overlook KimuTaku.

We're back! First attempt! NO! Second! Third! Fourth! The turtle is sad! The turtle is sad!

The turtle is sad.

More peple don't make it. A guy, a training coach, crazy jietai guy, a sports trainer and model Ryo Shirai. Shirai couldn't land on the Half-Pipe Attack right.

1924. Yoshiyuki Okuyama! His brother was an Olympian. Steps! OK! Log Grip! Pole Maze! OK! Subarashii speed! Jumping Spider! Suitta! Half-Pipe Attack! YES! Kita kita! Soritatsu Kabe! First! NO! Second! NO! YES on the third! Flying Chute! Does he have enough time? Yes! Can he do it? Tarzan Rope! Rope Ladder! Yes! 7.3 left! Our first! His son is happy! His daughter is confused! SASUKE IS HIS OLYMPICS!

Update: I have no idea where I got the "his brother was an Olympian" thing. Let me get the record straight so that there's no confusion -- SASUKE IS HIS OLYMPICS. And also, Yoshiyuki Okuyama ran the 200 metres in the 1991 IAAF World Championships. He placed 5th in Heat 4 of the Quarterfinals and did not qualify for the Semis.

Replays. He hit the button emphatically! Mainly because it didn't work the first time.

1926. A Muscle Musical member! Head Spin Guy! Go Head Spin Guy! Steps. Log Grip. Head Spin! Pole Maze! Head..........Spin! Jumping Spider! Head Spin no..oh no! Haha. The announcer kicks ass.

James August Eddy! Steps! Log Grip! What's his backstory? Pole Maze! Jumping Spider! YES! NO! YES! He holds on! He's having a hard time getting his grip. NO! His brothers in white express their disappointment.

He was so close.

Nakao Akiyoshi! He's an actor! ROOKIES! ON TBS THIS SPRING! FEEL THE SYNERGY! CMs.

Oh god. Did someone just try to do a remix of Deep Purple's Black Night? Ritchie couldn't have approved!

Just to drive the point home, a ROOKIES CM before we get back.

Steps! Log Grip! ROOKIES NAKAO! Pole Maze. I think there is going to be a show on TBS called ROOKIES! Jumping Spider! Dame ka! His underwear is red!


Korikki Choshu! ST...NO! Korikki Korikki!

1931. Actor Masaki Nomura! He's a buff old feller. Steps! OK! Log Grip! NO! He couldn't hold on.

TBS announcer Ryusuke Ito! Steps. Log Grip! Jumping Spider. Kamoshirenai toooo!

His feet completely missed.

Octopus Guy! Glider Guy! Together they fight crime! Was Octopus Guy spraying his lil Octopus parts just now?

Before them! Their brother in futility! Freaky Aoki model making guy! Here he goes! NO! Two steps and done!


I'm serious. He just did.

Oh good. A number. Octopus Guy is 1938. NO! He..did he slam his head into the step? Yeah, he did.

Glider Guy! Is 1939! Here he goes! He should just fly over the damn course. Steps! Log Grip. NO!

A ninja (oh the irony), the basketball player from Rera Kamuy Hokkaido Makoto Kato, and some other guy fall to the Log Grip. Two others fail the Jumping Spider.

Muscle Musical member! More SYNERGY. Steps, his name is Setoda, Log Grip, Pole Maze! All OK. Jumping Spider. He's up! CMs.

Shintaiso! Shintaiso Setoda! Half-Pipe Attack! NO! He just fell short. Well, he couldn't hold on to the rope.

Katsutoshi Yasui! Another Muscle Musical member! Steps. Log Grip! Jumping Spider! It was struggle but he got through. Half-Pipe Attackuuuuuuuu! Another member falls to the Half-Pipe Attack.

70 tried for the qualifiers! Will we find a new star?

1941. Sato fitness trainer guy! Steps. Log Grip coming up. Yup. Pole Maze! Did he touch the water? Yes he did. His foot just caught it.

1942. Yamamoto Keitaro! He's 16. He looks up to Mr. SASUKE. You're going to FAIL, kiddo. Steps. Log Grip. Pole Maze. All OK! That is one buff 16 year old. AH! He over jumped. Wow, his voice is a lot lower than I would have thought.

1944. Nomura! He's the last of the qualifiers. Sha! Steps! I love the hey hey hey chant. Log Grip! OK! Pole Maze. No! Try again! He looks a bit unhinged. Jumping Spider! NO!

American Ninjas! Micahel Dudikoff! Snake-Eyes! Wait. Sorry.

1945. Brian Orosco! Steps! Log Grip! OK! Ninja Warrior! Pole Maze! Jumping Spider! Yes! He's having a hard time getting his grip but he's through. Half-Pipe Attack! Yes! No problem! Soritatsu Kabe. Yes! No problem! Potential! Flying Chute! CMs.


Flying Chute! Ye..NO! He missed the rope ladder! OH NO! Doushita Brian! Damn. He had a good chance.

It was almost exactly what I expected!

50 have tried! 1 has cleared!

1951. Takahashi Hiromitsu! It's been four years since he last tried! They had to fill the numbers somehow! Steps! Log Grip! He's come a long way since he was on TV wearing a thong I guess. Pole Maze! Jumping Spider! Clear. Half-Pipe Attack coming up. NO! He didn't get a good run-up. He was yet another Muscle Musical member.

1952. Kawashima Takayuki! He was one of the original finalists! Steps. Log Grip. Pole Maze. Jumping Spider coming up. Deep breath. Yes! Half-Pipe Attack. Yes! NO! He couldn't hold on. He was another Muscle Musical member.

A former J-leaguer, Bobby Olegun's brother Andy, a footballer, beachvolleyball player and yet another Muscle Musical member don't make it.

Brett Simms! He's going to get another chance! He's from South Carolina! Go Brett! Come on Brett! Oh. Steps. Log Grip. Pole Maze. He failed here last time...Jumping Spider! He's not really sure with the walk but he's through! Half-Pipe Attack! Yes! CMs.

Back. Brett. Soritatsu Kabe! Go Brett! NO! Maybe one more chance. NO! Time is going to run out. At least he could get farther than last time so good on him.

Brett was 1957. It's fantastic!

1960. Honma Kouta! He juggles! I have to gt his number so that I can borrow his old SASUKE tapes. We can trade! Steps. Log Grip. YES! Pole Maze. Uh oh. OK! OH NO! He tried to reach for the platform but lost his grip. Doushita!

There's always juggling!

1961. Takahashi Mitsuomi! Bokenja Red! Steps. Log Grip. He's in keeping with a long association of Monster 9 and Super Sentai actors. Jumping Spider! Yes! Half-Pipe Attack! Minna no hiro Bokenja! Bokenja! The hero lets the world down! Evil reigns!

1968. Morikami Daisuke! He's an ikeman rider! Of course he's part of the Muscle Musical. Maybe he can ride his bike across the course. Steps. Log Grip. Pole Maze. Jumping Spider. NO! Nanto Morikami! The legs and arms must act as one to be successful on the Jumping Spider!

See, even he says he should have used the bike.

Night is falling.

1978. Hagato Muscle Musical member! Who needs commercials? Steps. Log Grip. Pole Maze is easy. Jumping Spider..Yes! Half-Pipe Attack! Yes. Soritatsu Kabe! Yes! Can he do it? Flying Chute! Can he be the second! Here he goes! Lots of time. Gingerly goes down. No! He lost his grip reaching for the ladder! So close.

The remaining competitors discuss strategy!

1980. Handball player Izuma Masakatsu! Steps. Log Grip coming up. Yes! Pole Maze. You really need a good running start. Jumping Spider. Yes! NO! YES! Spider Walking. Half-Pipe Attack...Wait! He swings back and forth! He lands. And loses his balance. Darn. It seems like this group is a lot more athletic and there are more people with potential.

1981. Shingo Yamamoto! The last two times he hasn't gotten past the 1st stage. But he's back for more! The ever present uniform and hat! 80 have tried! 1 has passed. Can Shingo do it? Steps. Log Grip coming up. Yes! Pole Maze. Yes! Jumping Spider. Whoa! OK! He's through! Half-Pipe Attack. This has been the killer today. CMs.

Back. Half-Pipe Attack coming up. Yes! NO! He lost his balance! His elimination freaks out the other All-Stars.

Damn. Miyazaki is warming up!


1982. Olympic medalist Yukio Iketani. The voice is genetic! He hasn't been in a SASUKE since the 1st one. Steps. Log Grip. NO! Iketani-san! His brother is oddly unconcerned. Sibling rivalry! Well, Yukio has the Olympic Medal but in the world of Monster 9 Naoki is a champion (Sportsman No. 1, Monster Box World Record Holder). So I guess it's a draw.

1983. Naoki Iketani! Steps. CMs.

Back! Iketani! Steps. Log Grip. Pole Maze. Some trouble but he's through. Jumping Spider. Abunai! He can't hold on! He's slipping! Abunai! Ochiteshimatta! I'm sure Yukio is pleased. Maybe he didn't powder his pits enough.

Itsuka 21 kai!

A few more people wipe out. One guy with an impressive Log Grip wipe out and one on the Half-Pipe Attack.

Hey! Shinji Kobayashi! Gambare papa! Heh. He's 1985. He's really changed his look over the years. Steps. Log Grip. Pole Maze. No problems so far. Jumping Spider. NO! Not a clean jump. His children are sad. Daisuke Miyazaki is worried.

His jump looked a bit wild and out of control.

He promised his kids that he'd clear. YOU'RE A LIAR!

86 have tried! Only 1 has passed.

Kawahara! Takahashi! They don't warrant their own segments!

1987. Takuya Kawahara! Steps. Log Grip. He's come so close in the past! Pole Maze. OK! Jumping Spider. Nice height! Half-Pipe Attack. Overshot! He landed at the very end of the platform.

Takahashi just sprayed his little delivery man bits too! What the heck is going on tonight?

1988. Kongu Takahashi! Steps! Log Grip. Pole Maze. No problems. Speed mo shiteimasu! Jumping Spier. Kon-gu! Kon-gu! Half-Pipe Attack. Kongu Express! No problem! Soritatsu Kabe! Yes! Can he do it? Kon-gu! Flying Chute. Oy. That was fairly comedic. He has this weird look on his face, tries to slow himself down and then gets up too early.

Edit: I forgot his actual name during the liveblog, Kongu is his nickname. His full name is Kenji Takahashi.

Wow. They've only skipped a couple of people for this last group of 20.

88 have tried! Only 1 has passed!

1989. Levi Meeuwenberg! He's a pro free runner. Damn those videos are cool. Here he goes! He's the last chance for the American Ninjas! Steps! Log Grip clear! Pole Maze is no problem! Jumping Spider! Clear! Levi! Levi ga iku! Half-Pipe Attack coming up. Here he goes! Levi! Levi! You did it! Soritatsu kabe! First time! Flying Chute! Levi! LEVI! The announcer is going nuts! He's getting to the Tarzan Rope! Can he do it! Levi! LEVI LEVI LEVI! Yes! With 16.0 seconds left! He does Michael Dudikoff proud! That's two!

The announcer was REALLY excited. SASUGA AMERICA!

The first stage was no problem for him at all. He blitzed the course and not in a Paul ANTHONY Terek way where he overpowers everything. He did it very smoothly.

I feel great! Levi was there in the moment!

We're down to the last ten!

Hey! No wonder the show as so long. There's the freaking news in the middle.

Highlights from the first part of the program! Only two have passed so far. Two All-Stars have gone down. The Iketani brothers have gone down. Kongu Express hit a wall. We're getting towards the end!

1990. Takamasa Nagasaki. His brother is not there but he will carry on by himself! Steps. Log Grip. I guess Shunsuke is training. Or competing I forget. Pole Maze is no problem. Jumping Spider! Sasuga trampoline! Half-Pipe Attack coming up. Yes! Soritatsu Kabe. No! He still has time! NO! Uh oh. NO! Don't give up! Yes! Finally! Flying Chute! He's gotten past it but...Time Up! The Wall took too much time. Dad is disappointed!

Morohoshi expresses his sadness then gets down to business.

1991. Yuji Washimi! He was one of the only people to clear the 1st Stage last time! Can he do it again? Here he goes! Steps! Log Grip. Pole Maze. Ii pace. Jumpig Spider. Yes! Half-Pipe Attack. NO! He missed the platform! I wonder if there's more play in the rope making it harder to control.

Next up! Morohoshi! Oh. He's in the Muscle Musical too.

91 have tried! Only 2 have passed!

1992. Kazumi Morohoshi and his gigantic forehead are up next! He's pumped up! Steps. CMs.

Back. Steps. Starlight! Log Grip. NO! He couldn't hold on! And here I was waiting to see how many Hikaru Genji song names the announcer could fit in.

It's OK kids! You can see him in the Muscle Musical! Along with what seems like 300 of tonight's competitors!

1993. Jordan Jovtchev! He reached the final stage in his first SASUKE! He's a short stocky guy. Steps. Log Grip. No problems. Pole Maze. OK. Jumping Spider. Are his legs long enough? No problem! Half-Pipe Attack! Wait is he going to compete in Beijing? Wow. CMs.

We're back! Half-Pipe Attack! No problem. Soritatsu Kabe. NO! NO! I will not make fun of his height! NO! I will not make midget jokes! NO! Time up! For the record, I believe the Soritatsu Kabe was there when he last competed.

Just sometimes we don't have luck! Well, I didn't.

1994. Kenji Toyoda! He's another handball player. Steps! OK! Log Grip! NO! Toyoda!

1995. Toshihiro Takeda! Orange pants! Steps! OK! Log Grip! OK! Pole Maze! No problem! Jumping Spider! No problem! Half-Pipe Attack. Here he goes! Daijobu da! Soritatsu Kabe! Second try! Flying Chute! Ii pace! Uh oh. He's too far! Yes! But does he have time? Mada ikeru! It took almost twenty seconds for him to finish the Flying Chute. Tarzan Rope. Rope Ladder. Time is going red! NO! Just as he reached the top! So close...he was so worried about falling during the Flying Chute that it cost him.

Even if he makes the Soritatsu kabe the first time he still lost a lot of time during the Flying Chute. Wow.

Five are left!

1996. Hiromichi Sato. He is 0 for 2 so far in the 1st Stage. Steps. His kids are there and I mustnote that TBS has so far denied me any tears. Log Grip and Pole Maze are fine. Jumping Spider! OK! Half-Pipe Attack! Yes! Whoa. OK. Soritatsu Kabe. NO! NO! He has one more try before it gets into...YES! CMs.

Back. He's up! Flying Chute! Slowly. Yes! He needs to reach back! Jikan ga nai! Jikan ga nai! I guess it was too late.

Wakky is getting ready!

Well, at least he didn't get wet.

1997. Wakky! He is your Geinojin No. 1 Sportsman. Can he do it? Here he goes! Steps. Log Grip coming up. Taking a bit of time here. OK! Pole Maze. NO! Don't try that! OK! He moved up the pole. Jumping Spider! Yes! Takai takai! Spider walking through. Half-Pipe Attack wa dou da? Half-Pipe Attackuuuuuuuuuuuu! No! He hits the water. It has to be something with the rope that they're not ready for.

1998. Daisuke Miyazaki. He's your reigning Pro Sportsman No. 1 and the face of handball in Japan. Here he goes! He has the potential! Only two have cleared! Mr. Handball! Steps. Log Grip. Taking some time. OK! Pole Maze. First time no. Second time is better and he's through. Jumping Spider. No problem! Half-Pipe Attack coming up. Here he goes! He lands! Yes! NO! He can't get his balance!

1999. MR. SASUKE! What the heck happened to his face? Sextuple steps is fine unfortunately. Log Grip. Darn. Pole Maze...this is where he got stuck last time. BUT HE'S THROUGH. NO! Jumping Spider! He's UP! NO! Yamada Katsumi! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Check out everyone's reaction as he first makes then doesn't make the Jumping Spider. Mr. Schadenfreude Mr. SASUKE asks "Nande?" I'll tell you why. Because you're Mr. SASUKE.

2000. IS. MAKOTO. NAGANO. Clips of Nagano's life. Here he goes! Sextuple steps and log grip are no problem! Pole Maze..OK! Jumping Spider...Huh! No problem! Half-Pipe Attack! YES! Daijobu da! Soritatsu kabe...first attempt...YES! Flying Chute..this is where he failed last time.........CMs.

Brad Pitt wants you to buy Softbank.

We're back! Flying Chute...YES! Wait...some trouble with the net. No problem. Tarzan Rope! Lots of time left! He poses for the crowd first! Yes! He's the third to reach the 2nd stage! The crowd goes wild!

Let's see some replays of his run. Nagano keeps the All-Stars alive! Can he do it again?

I don't want to be a spoilsport but there is about forty minutes left in the broadcast.

100 have tried! 3 have passed!

Yoshiyuki Okuyama. Levi Meeuwenberg. Makoto Nagano. Can one of these three do it?

CMs. Hello Jero!

2nd Stage

Last time, only two made it to the 2nd Stage but both were knocked out by the Salmon Ladder. Koji Yamada made his family sad! Washimi Yuji! He never really had a chance to do it, did he? Minor change! The Swing Ladder! 90 seconds to complete. Looks like we'll never know what the Sky Walk was/is.

Levi wishes there were more people there. Okuyama's family is there. That's never good.

Gee TBS, try to kill more time, why don't you?

Okuyama up! Salmon Ladder. Good rhythm. He's up to the top! Argh. CMs.

Let's start from the beginning again! Okuyama. First obstacle no problem. Salmon Lader. Good rhythm. He's UP. NO! The pole slid off.

Levi: Oooh. Dude, you need to up the reaction to hang with the locals.

One down. Wakaranai desu ne.

Ninnnja Warrior. Wow. That opening is enough to make me not want to watch the American version. Clips of Levi. Makoto Nagano thinks he has potential!

USA! USA! Here he goes!

Levi Meeuwenberg. First obstacle no problem. Salmon Ladder. He's up to the top! CMs.

DHC! Perfect yasai!

Levi! Replay of the first two obstacles. Salmon Ladder. He's up. Stick Slider! Yes! Swing Ladder! No problem! Metal Spin! Wall Lifting! Ow. He dropped the last wall on his foot. Is he OK? Either way, no problem!

Yarimashita ne? Yeah. Yeah. Don't get too emotional there Levi.

Well, now we know why G4 is slapping people down for posting spoilers.

Pressure is on Nagano!

OOOOOOH. That's why Hideo Higashikokubaru was in that SASUKE Maniac clip.

Makoto Nagano! He is now the pride of Japan! CMs.

Makoto Nagano! Here he goes!


On March 16th, 2008, Makoto Nagano lost his balance during the first obstacle of the 2nd stage.

He was nervous.

3rd Stage.

Can Levi be the third gaijin to reach the Final Stage?

Closer look at the new 3rd stage obstacles.

There's over ten minutes left. Is there enough time?

OK. They show them showing Levi how to tackle the obstacles. The new Cliff Hanger is possible! Hrm. Foreshadowing? They show how the last three people who tried it all failed.

More clips of Levi. Man, he can do some unreal stuff.

A showcase for Levi or TBS killing time? YOU DECIDE!

The longer this part goes on, the less faith I have in him reaching the Final Stage. Just being realistic.

Levi Meeuwenberg! Arm Ring. No time limit here. No problem! Nagano is watching him all the way! The All-Stars are giving him hints on how to do it! Or they're tricking him! Grasp the bulbs between the fingers! Takeda gives a yay! Devil Steps. Levi will be the first to tackle it. Here he goes. No problem! Oh boy. Here comes the big one. Levi sprays his hands. I predict commercials soon. Shin-Cliff Hanger! No one has passed this yet. Here he goes. He's up at the slant. Here he..CMs. I knew it.

Come on come on come on come on come on.

I dunno. I have a bad feeling about this.

Here he goes. Slant...YES! NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

His left hand couldn't get it.

This course is about the human potential! I congratulate Levi. He kicked some ass out there and justified G4's American Ninja Warrior Challenge.

Well, the results were almost the same this time but with the wild card of Levi Meeuwenberg thrown in there to get us farther than the last time. Still, it's nice to see so many people who seemed to have the potential to get farther than they did and you have to hope that lots of them come back.

G4 should push for more spots, or at least automatic spots for their past competitors. Levi definitely showed he has the right stuff and Brett and Brian acquitted themselves quite well.

All in all, not what I was expecting out of the 20th SASUKE but a good time nonetheless.

Extra: Thanks to Japan Probe for the link plus a video of Levi Meeuwenberg doing some free running:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Six Things: SASUKE version March 24, 2008

Tomorrow is the 20th SASUKE! So a special All-SASUKE Six Things to get us ready for tomorrow:

1. For a quick preview, check out these videos from youtube user x198333 for サスケマニア (SASUKE Maniac):

Thanks Arsenette for the heads up on these!

2. From the second clip and the TBS schedule we know of some of the people competing:
The All-Stars minus Bunpei Shiratori who is/was injured.
Handball star and two-time Pro Sportsman No. 1 winner Daisuke Miyazaki (宮崎大輔) plus three of his teammates. Edit: The teammates competing are: Kenji Toyoda (豊田賢治), Yoshio Nakagawa (中川善雄) and Masakatsu Izuma (猪妻正活). They all play for handball team Osaki OSOL
Geinojin Sportsman winner Wakky (ワッキー)
Comedians Tetsuruo Degawa (出川哲朗), Kenji Tamura (たむらけんじ), Atsuma Watanabe (渡辺鐘), Korikki Choshu (長州小力) and the group Yasuda Dai Circus (安田大サーカス) . Degawa will be lucky to pass the first obstacle. The others I don't know but Dancho (団長)of Yasuda Dai Circus has shown he is a fairly good athlete.
Old people Akira Nakao (中尾彬) and Masaki Nomura (野村将希)
Hiromichi Sato (佐藤弘道) and his smile will be there.
Hikaru Genji member Kazumi Morohoshi (諸星和己) and his ego will be there. No word on if he brings his skates.
The Iketani brothers, Naoki and Yukio (池谷直樹, 池谷幸雄).
Former finalist Jordan Jovtchev
Actor Mitsuomi Takahashi (高橋光臣)
G4's Ninja Warrior contest winners Levi and Brian
Edited to add:
Model Ryo Shirai (白井涼)
Rera Kamuy Hokkaido basketball player Makoto Kato 加藤真 (from here)
Choshu Korikki's comedy wrestling buddies.
Sheesh, that's over twenty people already (I don't know if all three members of Yasuda Dai Circus will compete or not) plus there are probably some regulars who will be coming back too.
Yet another update: According to this post by model Yuumi Seimiya (清宮佑美) not only was she there, but that there were 4 women total (out of the 100) competing.

3. Masaki Nomura's blog has some behind the scenes SASUKE photos. Check out that shirt! Also, like in the 10th SASUKE, the competitors will be numbered in the thousands (it's in the clips and on the shirt). UPDATE: Numbers will start from 1900. Nagano is 2000 I believe. From the picture of his shirt, Nomura will be 1931. Muscle Park has SASUKE shirts for sale..I think. I haven't had time to read through the post yet. (Thanks to Arsenette once again)

4. No real close looks at the course itself but the very first obstacle looks the same. Usually the commercials tend to give things away but since I haven't SEEN any commercials for the show I guess I can consider myself sort of unspoiled. Tip to TBS -- people won't watch a show if they don't know when it is on. By the way, TBS LOVES to build suspense by throwing very broad hints as to what will happen later in the show.

5. I'm expecting this to be a clip heavy show since it's the 20th. SASUKE Maniac was asking for viewers to write in with their favorite moments from SASUKE over the years. I believe the top three were Nagano's finish, Akiyama's finish and something about Mr. SASUKE -- I believe something about him failing but I can't see them being able to fit his entire life into a thirty minute show. Perhaps a montage of his various SASUKE failures. That'd be some good viewing!

6. What will happen? Well, I don't expect massive failure like the last time. However, I really don't think anyone will be able to complete the course simply because no one was gotten past the new third stage yet. It's possible someone will reach the final though. I can see the All-Stars (except Mr. SASUKE) making deep runs. Daisuke Miyazaki has the goods to go far. Think of a Shunsuke Nagasaki but bulkier. I can't imagine that Monster 9 wouldn't love to be able to showcase Nagasaki (if he's there - I have no idea) and Miyazaki if they both make it to the Olympics. Of the non-Wakky comedians, maybe Dancho gets the farthest. Wakky himself? He's a competitive guy and it's possible he can get far. He's more in the Naoki Iketani mold so the third stage (if he gets there) would be a challenge since it relies on lots of arm strength.

Anyway, the time for speculation is over! Tomorrow is SASUKE! Click on the SASUKE and SASUKE-related tags to see the past liveblogs and other stuff I've posted about the show.

Note: As I've said before, I won't be able to liveblog it live but will try to get it up as soon as possible.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Six Things March 20, 2008

Yikes! Been a while.

1. March Madness is upon us once more. As I said last year, you can use CBS Sports March Madness On Demand to watch games on-line, helpful if you're in Japan.
It's hard to explain to people (especially people who don't live in the US) why March Madness is such an exciting time for sports fans. While the group round of the World Cup is exciting and there are lots of games going on, the first three rounds of the NCAA Tournament are held in the span of about a week (actually 8 days). That's 57 games (including the play-in). The first two days is jam-packed with games all day. If you're a fan, it's almost a total information overload (only almost though).
Plus: One Shining Moment. C'mon, you have to love it.

2. March Madness related but still funny: A.J. Graves Facts My favorite two are "If A.J. Graves can't find a basketball he just dribbles a cow until it turns into a leather ball." and "If at first you don't succeed, you are not A.J. Graves."

3. This is really weird. (via Japundit)

4. For you Japanese learners: Kanji-A-Day

5. Everywhere and their mother has probably already linked to Stuff White People Like but here's a two part interview with blogger the Assimilated Negro.

6. This is a sad story that I admit I forgot about until this was in the Honolulu Advertiser.