My apologies to the contestants tonight as I really really did not prepare for this.
Here's tonight's contestant list for you to follow along!
Former finalists Hikari Izumi and Kana Watanabe have prior commitments so they will not be here tonight!
The commercials have teased a Final Stage run. Who will it be? Trainer to the stars AYA? SASUKE-adjacent Ayano Oshima or Mika Watanabe? Or will a new star emerge?
Let's see Hikari's run and then let's get into it!
1. Mizuho Nagai! Is a gymnast. Rolling Hill. Slowly down the other side. And through! Pipe Hold. Does the slide. Shaking Bridge is no problem! Fishbone next. NO! Timed it wrong! Retire!
3. Yuko Ogura is a gravure idol! But is a former kid cheerleader! Will that help? I know my past as a child cheerleader has helped me in many walks of life that I've never gone down because of course I was never a child cheerleader. Through the Pipehold. And she...whoops, crotches herself on the Shaking Bridge. It happens. And then she's out quickly on the Fishbone!
4. Kurumi Miseki! Is a firefighter! SDF firefighter? Rolling Hill. Slowly but is through! Pipehold! And done. Shaking Bridge next. Yes! Fishbone. She stumbles at the end but she's through! Dragon Glider is new! And from SASUKE! So let's actually cut to the opening credits now before we know what happens to her.
Oh my god, the Tommy Lee Jones Boss coffee commercials are still going on?
Dragon Glider. Oh! She got backdropped like Steve Williams would to some poor scrub.
6. Natsumi Taoka has been here a couple times, I think. Through the Rolling Hill. Pipehold next. She goes low. Shaking Bridge. Fishbone next. And through! Dragon Glider coming up. And she doesn't get the bar! She's dressed for the water though.
7. Karen of the CyberJapan Dancers! I don't know if this is the same girl from before or not. Rolling Hill. Her fellow Dancers cheer her on. The internet cheers her on as she goes low on the Pipehold. Not quite there. But she's through! Shaking Bridge. That wasn't pretty but she's though. Fishbone. And got it! Dragon Glider next. NO! Right at the end. Time was going red anyway but ya gotta try.
9. Maya Miyagawa! Is a model! Rolling Hill. Down slowly and is through. Pipehold. She stays up. Shaking Bridge. Haha. That was unsafe. But she got it. Fishbone. NO!
11. Toshihiro Takeda! Oh wait, no. Moeka Matsuzaki is an aesthetician at his gym. She's up next. But not until after these commercials.
Was that Yusuke Morimoto giving someone advice?
Oh, she's his niece, I believe. Already up to the Shaking Bridge while I was looking at something totally unrelated on Wikipedia because I happened to think about it.
Wow! Dangerous-esque fall as she gets thrown into the corner of the Fishbone. Lots of padding there though. That was more Shingo than Toshihiro.
13. Rena of Vanilla Beans! She was on SASUKE last year. Rolling Hill. Down slowly. Pipehold. She stays up. Shaking Bridge! No! She falls at the very end! OK, OK. I saw Solo last night (it opened in Japan this week) so I was looking at character bios.
16. Yu Takahashi! Is model! And she failed the Rolling Hill last time so this is her revenge! She stays up. And is through. Shaking Bridge. And through! Fishbone next. And through! Dragon Glider. SASUKE Spray. And she Dragon Glides her face into the water!
17. Honami Tsuboi is a former rhythmic gymnast. And she's through the Rolling Hill. She stays up. Shaking Bridge. She falls but doesn't panic and is through! Fishbone. Yes! Dragon Glider. And she's first to get it! Soritatsu Kabe. No. And she gets it on the second try. Has enough time I think. Cannon Ball. Is maybe heavier than it looks! Time is going red! And the ball slips!
21. Yuko Mizuno! Is a KUNOICHI legend! But the reboot has not been kind to her! Here she goes! Rolling Hill. Down slowly. Pipehold. Shaking Bridge. Through! Fishbone next. Gets it! Dragon Glider. NO! She whiffs on the jump! Way too vertical!
22. Angela Mei is model too! Rolling Hill. Slowly. And through. Pipehold. She stays up. She's kind of skipping her body rather than sliding. Shaking Bridge. Fishbone next. And through! Dragon Glider. She gets the bar! But she can't hold on!
25. Kanon Miyahara is next! She's an actress in the Kamen Rider series. Pipehold coming up. Clear! Shaking Bridge. And through! Fishbone next. Gets it! Dragon Glider next. But CMs first!
Back. 24 have tried! None have cleared! She gets the Dragon Glider! Could she be the first? Soritatsu Kabe on the first try! Cannon Ball is the last thing. She has a lot of time. And that's it! She's our first tonight!
Oops. Darn twitter.
26. Ayako Rokkako is a baseball player! Already through to the Shaking Bridge because I am no professional. And through the Fishbone! Dragon Glider. NO! She either couldn't hold on or slipped.
27. Karan Matsuda! Her dad is Daisuke Matsuda, he of the A-Team theme and the backyard full of SASUKE obstacles. First CMs.
Back. Rolling Hill. Down slowly. Tonda! And through. Pipehold. I don't think her dad has one of these. She stays up. Shaking Bridge. Slowly but surely! Fishbone. And gets it! Always watch your right! Dragon Glider. NO! She missed the bar with one hand!
29. Harahuna Yamamoto is through! She does the dreaded parkour!
30. Ayaka Sakai is a pole dancer! A former pole dance champion! Rolling Hill. Pipehold. She stays up. Shaking Bridge. Fishbone. And through! Dragon Glider next. And gets it! Soritatsu Kabe And she's through! Cannon Ball. Lots of time! And she's through!
31. Ayumi Kataoka! Is a baseball player. Rolling Hill. And through! Pipehold. She goes low. Shaking Bridge is shaky but through! Fishbone. NO!
32. Sakiko Okabe! She's a former gymnast! Rolling Hill. And through! Pipehold. She stays up. Shaking Bridge is no problem! And through the Fishbone! And through the Dragon Glider! Gets the Soritatsu Kabe in one! Cannon Ball last. She's got it! That's four!
And one more as 33. Airi Tsubuki gets digested but presses the button!
And we get a couple ffs and are now on...
40. Mio Sudo is a champion slackliner! And I'm slacking since she's already on the Fishbone! Dragon Glider coming up. She gets it! Soritatsu Kabe coming up. Gets it in one! Does she have enough time? Going red soon. Needs to hurry. Almost there! Gets it!
42. Miyu Ikeda fails the Rolling Hill and you can hear someone laughing in the background. Oh wait, that was her. She was the first person shown failing the Hill.
43. Aya Asahina! IS a model! She gets to go to Daisuke Matsuda's place and meets...Yusuke Morimoto! Oops. Matsuda did have a Pipehold. Haha.
Rolling Hill. Down slowly. And through. There's Morimoto. She stays up on the Pipehold. Shaking Bridge. Fishbone. And is through thanks to coaching by Morimoto! Dragon Glider next. And gets it! As she throws herself onto the platform like she's throwing a dropkick. Soritatsu Kabe next. And gets it in one! Lots of time for the Cannon Ball. Her height has helped her all along the way. She's got it!
No hug for Yusuke.
44. Yu Kato is a baseball player! Rolling Hill as her fellow baseball players cheer her on. She goes low on the Pipehold! And it flips! And she can't hold on!
45. Yayoi Matsumoto is a swimmer who gets ffed to her failing the Dragon Glider!
46. Kanna Asakura! Beat Rena and so now she takes her place at KUNOICHI! Well, that's just way it looks. Rolling Hill. She tries to go up on the Pipehold and slips! But she's through! Shaking Bridge is done. Fishbone. Through! Dragon Glider! Gets paused mid-air!
And we're back. To see her whiff on the bar!
47. Ayano Oshima! Has a history with the SASUKE franchise! She's already through the Rolling Hill. Goes up on the Pipehold. Already to the Fishbone. And through! Dragon Glider. Nice jump! She's through! Soritatsu Kabe in one! Cannon Ball. Lots of time! And she's through!
48. Reika Saiki is next! Rolling Hill. Slowly down. Pipehold. She sort of stays up. Shaking Bridge. How many times can the announcer say kinniku idol before she'S done? Confidently through the Dragon Glider! Soritatsu Kabe in one! Cannon Ball. And through!
And also 49. Mika Watanabe is also through!
50. Trainer Aya! She's obviously the focus of this year's show. She's just that right blend of famous and regular person they can get behind although at this point she's more celeb than reg.
Rolling Hill. Pipehold and she goes high. Shaking Bridge is no problem. Fishbone. OH! And she gets clipped at the very end!
Miyahara up first. Taking a long time on the Slide Walk. Spider Walk next. Needs to hurry, I think. Not exactly the fastest pace. Inexperience coming into play. Time already going...well, not red. And that's it! Too much time on the Slide Walk will kill you.
Oh. The dreaded parkour specialist Jun Sato is there to give Yamamoto some advice. And she gets it pretty quickly! Spider Walk next. Shouldn't have much of a problem here. Hanaho, by the way. Goren Hammer is no problem. Reverse Conveyer as we go to CMs.
A struggle but she's through! Wall Lifting. One more. Clear!
That's one! The show will go on!
Sakai next. Through the Slider Walk quickly. Spider Walk. Slowly but surely. Falling gives you no chance whereas slowly keeps you alive. Goren Hammer. Reverse Conveyer but less than ten seconds. Wall Lifting. One. Two. NO!
Okabe up next. Like Sakai, she failed the last wall at the last show. Can she do better this time around? Quickly through the Slider Walk. Through the Spider Walk AND the Goren Hammer. Reverse Conveyer. Lots of time left. Wall Lifting. And she's got it!
Septathlon athlete Tsubuki is up next! A little bit of time on the Slider Walk but through. On to the Spider Walk. Goren Hammer. Reverse Conveyer. Is there enough time? Needs to hurry. Ten seconds. Wall Lifting. Gets it!
Slackliner Sudo is up next. Through the Slider Walk. Not the greatest Spider Walk technique. Taking a lot of time. Makoto Nagano is there? Needs to hurry. She's stuck between hammers! But through! Needs to hurry! Reverse Conveyer. Time is up!
Asahina is getting ready to go. She's getting advice from Morimoto. I ship it. Stuck on the Slider Walk. But through! Needs to hurry a little. Spider Walk. She's tall it's a little awkward. She's slipping! Almost there. Save her Yusuke! Slipping. Can't hold on. NO!
Wait, when did Nagano start adding color?
Oshima next as we see Tomohiro Kawaguchi bouldering with her. But is she wearing his shoes?
Kawaguchi cheers her on as she clears the Slider Walk then blasts through the Spider Walk. Goren Hammer. Gets it! Reverse Conveyer. Wall Lifting. A lot of time left. And she's through! Nagano compliments her Spider Walk.
Saiki next. She doesn't get stuck on the Slider this time. Spider Walk but suddenly she loses her footing! Majika!
Watanabe is last up! Let's get a look at her life. Slider Walk. Losing a little time but she's through. Can probably make it up on the Spider Walk. Or not. Needs to pick up the pace. She slips right at the pad and is through! Goren Hammer. And gets it! Reverse Conveyer. Needs to hurry. Is losing strength. Time is going. And no!
Four are left at Makuhari Messe.
Hanaho Yamamoto is up first. Propeller Untei. Gets it! Arm Bike. No timer so no problem. Through! Sponge Bridge. At the halfway point. She almost loses it so...she goes faster! And she's through!
Next is the Planet Bridge imported over from SASUKE. It doesn't shake nearly as much. Anyway, she's through! Pipe Slider! This could be it! Ahahahaha. They fit in Yamada's failing the Pipe Slider. Last time, both Watanabe and Izumi failed the Pipe Slider. At the end. Swing time. No! Needs to keep the bar forward. She can't hang there forever. She goes for it! The slo-mo makes it look more like she was falling towards the mat than jumping.
Sakiko Okabe is next. Propeller Untei. And she gets it! Arm Bike was not pretty but whatever works! Sponge Bridge up. Halfway point. Through! Planet Bridge. Gets it! Ayano has her game face on. Pipe Slider. CMs first.
Pipe Slider. She can reach the platform with her feet! She gets it easily!
Tsubuki uses her hand on the Sponge Bridge when she loses her balance which is a DQ! She's done!
There is one person left! She gets advice from the man himself, Makoto Nagano!
Can Ayano Oshima join Okabe?
Propeller Untei. In the middle. Gets it and doesn't use too much energy. Arm Bike. No problem! If anything, the Sponge Bridge is more outside of her wheelhouse than the other obstacles which are more SASUKE than KUNOICHI.
Almost there. Gets it! Two more to go. Planet Bridge next. She's a bit shorter than Okabe so it might be more of a struggle for her. Same thing with the Pipe Slider. Can't just hang there forever. Almost there. Through! Pipe Slider coming up.
Expending a lot of energy getting the bar to the end. Time for the swing. NO! She was on and then she was off!
Only one person left standing! Sakiko Okabe will try to defeat the KUNOICHI reboot! Several had defeated the previous version of KUNOICHI. Only Hikari Izumi has had a chance at this version.
It's a Spider Climb so not that awkward ladder thing from before.
Here we go but first some CMs.
Time is going red! Not much time! Needs to...NO!
Her Spider Climb was awkward but she also wasn't able to use her legs on the rope climb because part of the rope was up by her neck. Still, she was close!
Congratulations to Sakiko Okabe for being the last woman standing at KUNOICHI 2018!