Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sports Danshi Grand Prix! A not really live at all liveblog! 究極の男は誰だ!?最強スポーツ男子頂上決戦

Well, it's been a while so let's just get to it without getting too bogged down in the details as to whether or not this is related to SASUKE Rising (doesn't look like it) or if this is a TBS reboot of Sportsman No. 1 without all that icky Monster 9 stuff getting in the way (probably).

Anyway, this is a Geinojin Sportsman-like competition featuring members of EXILE, DA PUMP and probably other people in music groups that use all caps. Not familiar with most of the names so bear with me...

A new history! Screw you Higuchi!

Hey, remember how Sportsman used to give you the giant finger erupting out of the ground? This is the opposite of that.

Men in tight shirts. Arms crossed. This looks like som...OK. I'll stop.

That giant head thing in the background better do something interesting sometime during the night.

You get a Toyota Auris! You get...wait, only the winner gets a Toyota Auris.

So the host Alisa Mizuki is there to do what? They've also populated the audience with your typical Japanese variety show audience - young women who know how to cheer and coo and whatnot on cue.

Just to help you, here is a video that will do a better job of explaining the events than I will:

1st Event! Mountain Flag! You use a rope to go up a 10 meter long incline and try to be the first to grab the flag at the top.

1st Race: KENCHI (EXILE), Kwang Soo (K-pop guy), KENTA (Yu Darvish's younger brother), Seiya (acrobat actor).

Damn, everyone gets some background theme but I can't make out the songs clearly.

Set...GO! Kwang Soo in the lead...he gets it easily!  The guys sitting are impressed.

OK, there are two parts to the incline. The first part is just running up and then you need the rope for the rest.

2nd Race: KEIJI (EXILE), Shintaro Yamada (former soccer player), Tomoya Warabino (actor) (who has the Eye of the Tiger, BTW), Gaku Sano (another former soccer player)

OK. Set...GO! Everyone up fast. KEJI..Sano! Sano gets it. Yamada got out of the blocks slow. Warabino didn't do well during the climbing portion.

3rd Race: TETSUYA (EXILE) (0 for 2 so far), KENZO (DA PUMP), Shinya Taniuchi (Lead) (band name not capitalized), Wataru Mori (HEY, I KNOW HIM FROM SASUKE)

GO! But first, a commercial.


Set...GO! All fast up...Mori..Mori MORI! Just gets it from KENZO! Ah, I see. You can grab the rope whenever you want.

Slow mo shows that Mori was just an arms length ahead.

4th Race: Akiyoshi Nakao (He was in SASUKE too), JUNO (guy), Taishi Nakagawa (14), Yukihiro Takiguchi (actor)

Set...drama building...GO! JUNO in the lead. But no! He falters at the top and EVERYONE gets to the top at the same time. But it's Takiguchi who comes up with the flag. Nakao faltered near the top too. Nakagawa at the bottom. Takiguchi won basically by running the most consistent race.

EXILE guys are 0 - 3. The narrative of the night!

Now on to the final. Can Mori's triathlon background help him (I don't know why - I'm just biased towards him).

Final Race: Kwang Soo, Gaku Sano, Wataru Mori, Yukihiro Takiguchi

I wish they timed the races. Get all sabremetricky.

Here we go...START! GO! Sano RACES up. In the lead...all the way! And your first event winner is Gaku Sano.

Sano gets a 100 points for winning. The other finalists 60. The others get 30 for showing up.

2nd Event. Hammer Crush. Some 007 music explains that a carnival game is now a part of a Japanese variety show. Hit the board hard enough with the hammer to make the ball reach the required height.

1st height: 5 meters. KENCHI of EXILE up first. No problem! You have to make it go through the paper I guess. That must be very time consuming to change and boring for the live studio audience. Sano gets it.

KENZO, KENTA and Nakao all clear.

14 year old Nakagawa next. He doesn't break the paper! Ooohh..there is a accuracy part to it, too. Kwang Soo...Misses too!

And they are the only two out.

2nd height: 6 meters 50 centimeters. Yamada blows it! And so do five others. Figure it out later folks.

3rd height: 7 meters. KENCHI up. AND THE SHIRT IS OFF. THOR! And he does it!

KEIJI up next. NO! Bad hit man, bad hit.


KENZO next. With authority! It actually shot past the structure

Akiyoshi Nakao is neither single-named nor capitalized. The paper doesn't break..Or does it? It wasn't a clean hit. He's done.

Our final is Seiya and he cleared. Good for him!

4th height: 7 meters 40 centimeters. Four contestants left. The ladies are there to ogle the guys. Good for them!


He blows it.

Bad hit as the ball doesn't go straight.

TETSUYA is next.Set. NO! Just goes to the side at the end! Not a clean enough hit. The ball JUST missed.

KENZO next.He means business. Set. THOR! NO! Perhaps they should consider giving them more than one chance.

Seiya is our only hope. If he makes it, is he the WORLD HAMMER CRUSH CHAMPION? Is h..CALL THE GUINNESS BOYS! He does it!

Seiya is now second because he sucked at Mountain Flag. Sano is still at the top. Mori is third. Various capitalized names are after.

3rd event: Monster Box!

1st (shown) height: 1m86cm 11 boxes. KENCHI clears and then some commercials because sure, why not?

Back. KEIJI next. No problem. Who will be our first show-off, by the way? TETSUYA. Barely clears. Bad form. Oh wait. He didn't clear.

AND Wataru Mori is our first flipper! Cool beans. Our lady host is impressed.

Shintaro Yamada is through. As far as I know, no one tonight has ever been on Sportsman. Sano also flips the flip of youth. No one has shown truly good form yet, i.e. no former gymnasts yet.

12 boxes now (1m96cm). KEIJI mounts the box in a bad way and he is out. Now, who will be our first run right into the box guy?

JUNO's first show jump. No problem. I'm wondering if Kwang Soo (WHO GOES SHIRTLESS) has the right form to go far? Not really. It's only 12 boxes man, chill out. Naoki Iketani can do this while eating a bowl of cereal.

Akiyoshi Nakao next. Slow run up...but it is just enough! Nakagawa up again. And he's our run into the box guy! He hit the trampoline too late.

13 boxes (2m6cm or a small truck). KENCHI first. Yes! KENZO next. Barely! Oh wait. No! Hes out.

Kwang Soo next. He has chalky handprints on his nippular area. And he hits the box. Nakao next. Will he do it? YES!

14 boxes (2m16cm). Wataru Mori up first. He has the best form so far. And he clears! We see Takiguchi for the first time here. Yes! Not pretty but it worked. JUNO barely! Warabino...Yes!  Taniuchi...JUST clears!

Nakao again. NO! He's done. As is Yamada. Here is KENTA. Who looks older than his brother. Yes! His butt just gets through.

Sano is still in the lead but if he falters here someone could overtake him. Yes! With room to spare.

15 boxes (2m26cm or a phone booth). KENCHI will try to make a call. Here he goes. YES! They might as well just call the show EXILE Presents Sports Danshi Grand Prix.

Mori passes. Juno..sorry, JUNO up next. That awkward run somehow gets it done. His groin just cleared! Warabino does the Monster Box shuffle and fails. KENTA'S butt doesn't clear this time.

Sano is going for it. Here he goes. YES!

Seiya is in second. And he keeps pace with Sano!

16 boxes (2m36cm). Seven are left. KENCHI up. Yes! He had to angle himself at the end but he did it!

Wataru Mori up next. He passed last time. More than enough! Someone watched Sportsman growing up.

Sano to keep his lead. Yes! Can Seiya keep up? If not, Mori will pass him. Slo-mo says yes!

Takiguchi and JUNO both clear! And Taniuchi! That's everyone!

17 boxes (2m46cm). And let's hit a commercial as KENCHI hits the trampoline. They are really relying on the old M9 style music cues by the way.

Back. And KENCHI hits the box!  He has another chance though.

Wataru Mori up next. He's in third. He gets it!

Takiguchi and JUNO AND Sano fail their first try.

17 boxes second try. Do or die time. KENCHI...the last hope of EXILE...IS OUT! Couldn't get the height.

Takiguchi...doesn't have it either. done. Taniuchi..NO!

Sano needs to keep going to keep his lead. SO THE SHIRT IS OFF. Eh, I'll wait until someone rips off their pants.

Here he goes...NO! He is in tears. You're not done yet though!

Seiya...if he doesn't do it here Wataru is the wi...He does it! Just barely but he does it!

18 boxes (2m56cm). Only two are left! Mori! Seiya!

Wataru up first. AND THE SHIRT IS OFF. Here he goes..YES! NO! And he knows it. Ah..the old butt grazes the platform.

Seiya next. NO! I'd think an acrobat wouldn't be doing the old shuffle step but he did.

18 boxes second try.

Mori was the closer of the two on the first try. YES!

The pressure is on Seiya now. Whoever is the winner will be in the driver's seat. CMs first though.

Seiya's shirt is off too. Here he goes...NO!

Wataru Mori is your Monster Box number 1 with 18 boxes!

The bottom six are out so say good night to Nakagawa, Kwang Soo, Yamada, KENTA, Warabino and KEIJI.

Sano did well enough to hold his lead but now Mori and Seiya are only twenty points behind him.

4th event - Power Wall. This will be in tournament form. Sano and Mori get byes to the 2nd round.

1st match: Nakao versus TETSUYA. FIGHT! 90 seconds to see who moved the wall the most. Nakao in control. 30 seconds left. TETSUAY is still fighting though. Back at a stand-still with 10 seconds. Back and forth. And TETSUYA takes it! Nakao lost his balance and that gave TETSUYA his chance.

2nd match: JUNO versus Taniuchi. FIGHT! No one in control yet. JUNO has the look of someone who has to exercise or else his body will just balloon up. He's in control now. Thirty seconds. Last ten. JUNO in the lead. And he's the winner!

3rd match: KENCHI versus Takiguchi. Takiguchi (who was losing anyway) slips and loses.

4th match: Seiya verus KENZO. Seiya took the Hammer Crush so he has power. But was KENZO just unlucky then? Or is he really the stronger of the two? Um...Yeah. He is. A walkover.

1st Quarterfinal: Sano versus TETSUYA. FIGHT! CMs!

Back. Sano in early control. At a standstill but Sano has the lead. And back to the middle! TETSUYA in control now. But Sano hasn't given up yet. Fifteen seconds but it looks impossible for Sano. And TETSUYA takes it.

2nd Quarterfinal: JUNO versus Wataru Mori. JUNO takes it, setting up an all caps semifinals. It's just not an event for the smaller guys. Can't be helped.

1st Semifinal - KENCHI versus TETSUYA. EXILE collides! And the shirts are off! CMs.

Back and KENCHI is in the lead early. TETSUYA looks like he is in trouble. But he fights back bit by bit. Halfway point. KENCHI has a slight weight advantage. Under thirty seconds. Ten seconds. Too late for TETSUYA! KENCHI is into the finals!

2nd Semifinal - JUNO versus KENZO. FIGHT! Whoa. KENZO takes a big early lead. JUNO is losing it. KENZO just can't put him away yet. JUNO coming back bit by bit. Ten seconds. KENZO just holds on for the win!

Final - KENCHI versus KENZO. FIGHT! Standstill but now KENZO takes a slight lead. KENCHI is struggling. KENZO is almost there. Halfway over. Last thirty seconds and unless KENZO loses his balance KENCHI is done. AND KENZO GETS HIM OVER THE LINE!

Winner - KENZO

After four events the bottom four are dropped so say goodbye to Nakao, Taniuchi, Takiguchi and TETSUYA.

KENCHI is in the lead with 280, KENZO and Sano are next with 240 apiece and Mori, JUNO and Seiya at third with 220.

Final Event: Shotgun Touch.

JUNO is out because he got hurt. So we are down to five.

You have three tries and well, since I'm not doing this live, I'll break down the scores they show on the screen:

10m50cm is the minimum. You get 5 points for that. It increases by intervals of three for every extra 10 centimeters so at the other end of the scale, you get 80 points for making a 13 meter attempt.

1st Try

Remember, timing is important at the beginning and at the end. Not hitting the button is the cardinal sin of the Shotgun Touch.

Seiya up first. He goes for 11m70cm for 41 points. He gets it! He's now in second.

Wataru Mori next. He goes for 11m10cm for 23 points. But he misses!

Gaku Sano goes for 12m for 50 points It would give him the lead. Did he do it? YES! He's in the lead now.

KENZO goes for 11m20cm. He's playing it safe for 26 points. Yes! And he did it easily. He's in third now.

KENCHI is still in 2nd but it's his first try. He is going for 11m50cm for 35 points to put this away early. Not sure if that is a good idea. Here he goes. NO! He just misses it. Now the pressure is on Sano to maintain his lead.

Aw yeah, Shotgun Touch math.

Wataru Mori goes for a safe 11m and picks up 20 points.

Seiya tries to hit a home run with 12m40cm, the longest attempt of the night, and comes up a hand short.

KENZO still has a chance for the win. He is going for 11m30cm for 29 points. That would give him a five point lead.

Set. Yes! He is now in first.

Sano should go for a mid 11 or so. No sense going deep just yet.

KENCHI is going for 11m50cm. Same as before. I still don't know about that. Here he goes. Set.

And he misses the button! Not the prettiest way to lose.

Sano up next. He's going for 12m again. I think he should go just a bit shorter since he knows he can do this and doesn't NEED 50 points since KENZO hasn't shown that he is going to go super deep.

Here he goes. He has the speed...but no! Just misses.

KENZO in the lead going into the last attempt.

ARE YOU STUPID SANO? He wants to go 12 again. KENZO is thinking 11m50cm. Sano wants to put pressure on KENZO.

Wataru Mori gets 11m10cm for 23 more points which points him ahead of Seiya by two points.

Seiya is going for 12m30cm for 59 points to put himself into the lead. A big gamble. But no! That means Wataru Mori finishes 4th and Seiya 5th.

KENCHI up next. He's going for 11m50c for 35 points. Shotgun Touch has always been a matter of pride - you don't want to go too small even if you are in the lead because it looks unseemly.

This would give him the lead.


It's down to Sano and KENZO now.

Sano first. He's going for 12m. If he makes it will put major pressure on KENZO.


Here he goes...after a word from our sponsors.

Doesn't look like he's going to make it though.


Whoa! Did he do it? YES! Whoa.

KENZO has to go for 11m90cm to win it. And he will. Oh he will.

Sano in the awkward position of having to wish for someone else to fail in order to win.


Here he goes.

Set. NO! Not even close. It just wasn't in his range.

And Gaku Sano is your inaugural Sports Danshi Champion!

And he gets a Toyota Auris!

Well, it was pretty much Sportsman No. 1 with a few tweaks (the live audience, the host who didn't really add anything to the live event). Time will tell if the re-branding will help keep it around.