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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sasuke related updates - August Part 2

All-star - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 (lookin' awesome) after his run on ANW2 - Preliminary Round ©Eric Baugh

As I posted earlier, American Ninja Warrior 2 (ANW2) took place this past weekend. The preliminaries were Saturday and Sunday, August 7-8, 2010. The semifinals took place on Monday, August 9, 2010. The final isn't until next week (some reality show they are filming /facepalm) but I doubt we will hear anything until the premiere on December 13., 2010. yes.. I said December.. FOUR MONTHS FROM NOW.. /sigh.. I don't know why I bother.. They really need to hire new editors because obviously they are not skilled enough to actually get things in at a reasonable time.. Oh well it's not like I didn't see this coming.. we'll know who the final 10 are in about a month when Sasuke 26 is supposed to be taped/aired) The problem is that I have a fear that they will push airing Ninja Warrior 26 until NEXT YEAR 2011.. and editing out the Americans from it just like they did Sasuke 23 where they faked as if Monster 9 gave them Midoriyama just to tape ANW1.. which also means worldwide no one will see Sasuke 26 until most likely 2012... (no joke.. a lot of countries are at least 5 tournaments behind..) anyway.. since this is a Sasuke blog I'm only interested in what I wrote about earlier... the Sasuke stars visiting the United States. Oh one last thing.. it's not "Mount Midoriyama" since Midoriyama already means Green Mountain.. the extra Mount is totally redundant... (And if you want to know why I'm still crabby about it.. read Ube's great blog entry on it)

ANW2 Competitor Jason Paul and All-star - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 ©Jason Paul

The major positive to ANW2 this year was the fact that it was actually an open set so people were allowed if not encouraged to take pictures, post blogs and share videos about their experiences in ANW2. There was no fee to watch either so it encouraged even the passerby to stop and see wtf was going on. What's fantastic about the Sasuke fans in this country is that many came from all over the country JUST to see the Sasuke Stars even though they themselves were not participating in the open tryouts. While there they all cheered everyone equally for those who were desperately trying to pass the course to get to the next round. I was happy to see such a large crowd welcoming the 3 Sasuke stars that came all the way from Japan - Current Sasuke Champion Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 (Sasuke 24), former world class sprinter and perennial favorite Yoshiyuki Okuyama 奥山義行 and Allstar - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 (Sasuke 17 champion).

All-star - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 ©Jason Paul

The Sasuke Stars (Yuuji, Okuyama and Nagano) arrived on Friday, August 6, 2010 to the Venice Beach ANW2 set in Los Angeles, California. To the surprise and delight of fans who stalked arrived a day earlier all 3 stars were on the ANW2 set testing out the obstacles individually and even helping the grounds crew set the obstacles. I was excited to see pictures of that occasion. Thanks to ANW2 Competitor Jason Paul for sharing not only pictures but videos of the occasion.

All-star - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 and Yoshiyuki Okuyama 奥山義行 test out the course a day before ANW2 ©Jason Paul

What's absolutely adorable is the fact that they are really open with their emotions here in the USA. I know Nagano always is.. but it was the first time you see ALL of them totally at ease just goofing around and cheering each other on while trying to defeat this obstacle. I can't stop laughing at Nagano freaking out when he missed the first jump and his desperate flail in the air trying to get back to the starting platform.

Yoshiyuki Okuyama 奥山義行 ©Jason Paul

Okuyama was cool as well quietly trying to defeat it as well. It's rare that he gets the spotlight so I was happy that he was included in the group here. Later in the video (below) Yuuji comes out to play as well.

Compilation video of Current Sasuke Champion Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治, All-star - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 and Yoshiyuki Okuyama 奥山義行 test out the course a day before ANW2 ©Jason Paul

In this compilation video, all 3 stars are trying to get to the other side of the platform. Jason wrote on the G4boards - (Here you go. I just made a compilation of all the videos I took. They made an adjustment midway since nobody could get it except for Okuyama. Once they did they were having a lot more success.) Again.. massive thanks to Jason for posting these. This is exactly the stuff I look for! Sasuke fans unite!

Current Sasuke Champion Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治, All-star - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 and Yoshiyuki Okuyama 奥山義行 posing with Amy Robinson and Seen ©Amy Robinson for Fierce and Nerdy

Over the past couple of days I spent time searching the internet for great photos and memories of those who enjoyed the ANW2 experience - as a fan and as a competitor. I found a great blog entry written by Amy Robinson for the blog called Fierce and Nerdy. The blog called Tall drink of Nerd: Warriors , Come out and Play! endorses the Sasuke geek in all of us! Lord knows I've fangirled a lot during this past weekend.. er.. forever.. nevermind.. moving on!

Amy Robinson posing in front of the Autograph area featuring the 3 Sasuke Stars ©Amy Robinson for Fierce and Nerdy

Figuring that G4 is never actually correct with details.. It's practically their calling card.. I cracked up that they mentioned that all 3 that came to the USA were all All-Stars. Sorry.. only Nagano is while Yuuji is listed as a "New" Star and Okuyama is in the Veteran Stars category.. still.. even with the glaring mistakes.. I was happy they showed them equal amount of respect and posting them all in the same place so fans had equal access to all of them. I just get technical with things like this since after all the titles were bestowed by another television network in another country... TBS Japan ;) I do however crack up at people who say they are fans and thought since the first 2 were champions that Okuyama by default was.. poor Kazuhiko Akiyama.. he never gets respect among the casual Ninja Warrior fans..

All-star - Makoto Nagano 長野誠, Current Sasuke Champion Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治, and Yoshiyuki Okuyama 奥山義行 taking a break in the autograph "hut" ©Ninja Warrior

The Sasuke Stars were put in a little hut where they had video and pictures showing who they were for the idiots who didn't know who they were in the first place.. Naturally Nagano was by far the most recognized since even casual Ninja Warrior fans know he was the winner from all the way back in Sasuke 17. Yuuji is still "new" to casual fans here in the USA.. Heck, in Japan even Monster 9 hasn't even crowned him on their own page.. /sigh.. anyway.. only Sasuke fans who know every competitor and actually pay attention know who Okuyama is. So needless to say.. I was happy when anyone actually recognized Okuyama!

Yoshiyuki Okuyama 奥山義行 and Current Sasuke Champion Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 posing with ANW2 competitor Ruselis "Blackie Chan" Perry ©Ruselis Perry

Outside of testing the course earlier in the weekend, the stars actually went out to compete during ANW2. They each had a run in the preliminary round much to the delight of the fans. Each took their time and actually hammed it up for the crowd. Given that the course is not timed they didn't have the pressure of having to beat a clock. They took the opportunity to entertain the crowd and show their skills on the course. This really made me happy that they did that.

Yoshiyuki Okuyama 奥山義行 , Current Sasuke Champion Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 and All-star - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 official ANW2 runs - Preliminary Round ©Westfourtwenty

What I found utterly amazing was Okuyama being as comedic and flashy as he was! I thought he'd do a straight run but he stopped a lot to entertain the crowd! Yuuji kept thinking he was going to go off the course or something since he kept holding his heart after every obstacle! Poor thing.. he had a hard time testing the rope the Friday before and he also saw a lot .. and I mean a LOT of bad falls and wipeouts on the bridge (I officially dub the F-bridge (Thanks Juice for your "Fail bridge" comment.. LOL) since you can then substitute your favorite F word.. mine currently is Fuster cluck.. (reverse the letters... yeah.. you get what I mean ;).. anyway.. the biggest surprise was of course Nagano.

All-star - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 at the end of his ANW2 run - Preliminary Round ©Eric Baugh

Eric Baugh had gorgeous photos of Nagano being soaked after his run :) I'm passing popcorn ya'll... I was surprised that Nagano fell.. then again.. it was Sasuke 25 all over again. I'm sure he's going to be training hard on both trampolines and springboards to some sort of ring or bar for the next month.. LOL I wonder if the poor guy dreams of this just like Tajima does..

All-star - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 ©MadManTyro

Anyway for a full run (different angle of Nagano) there are several videos but I'll pick the HD one to share. This way you get a good look at what the preliminary round looked like (Semi Final Round didn't end at the warped wall). Finals isn't until next week and that's a closed set and to my knowledge not using this course at all (I'm sure it's dismantled by now).

Current Sasuke Champion Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治, All-star - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 and Yoshiyuki Okuyama 奥山義行 posing with fans during an autograph signing session ©Ninja Warrior

All-star - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 and ANW2 competitor Ruselis "Blackie Chan" Perry ©Ruselis Perry

Current Sasuke Champion Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 and ANW2 competitor Jason Huewe ©Jason Huewe used with permission from Convex Photography

Current Sasuke Champion Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 likes the new shirts ©Ninja Warrior

G4 finally got the with program (3 years late but I digress...) and put official merchandise for sale featuring Ninja Warrior. Personally I like my Sasuke one best.. but I'm digressing again. You now can get your ninja on by ordering yours via their new cafe press website. Should they have done this a long time ago? That's a major.. Duh.. But at least now you don't have to get pirated ones from eBay or pray someone you know went to Japan and got the official Sasuke ones (stupid thing that they don't ship overseas.. they can make a FORTUNE if they did).

All-star - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 and Current Sasuke Champion Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 checking out the new G4 merchandise ©Ninja Warrior

I'm sure Nagano is looking for the smallest size possible.. dude likes his shirts spray painted to his body.. as we found out the hard way 2 years ago.. LOL Anyway.. I'm sure he and the others got quite a few freebies ;) Maybe there's a kid section.. okay okay.. I'm done :p

Current Sasuke Champion Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治, Yoshiyuki Okuyama 奥山義行 and All-star - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 ©Ninja Warrior

Current Sasuke Champion Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 and ANW2 competitor Christopher Christensen ©Chris Christensen

LMFAO Chris.. you are a GIANT (6'4" right? That's about 196 cm for those using metric).. poor Yuuji looks like he's totally self conscious.. I'm sure they were going wtf with all the giants in this country ;) Still they looked like they were having a ball interacting with all the fans here in this country. I'm sure everyone here was shocked at how short the Sasuke stars are in real life ;)

All-star - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 and ANW2 competitor Ryoga Vee ©Ryoga Vee

Current Sasuke Champion Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 and Yoshiyuki Okuyama 奥山義行 having fun at the mini course set up for the attendees ©westfourtwenty

Finally to finish off the fan experience G4 had set up a small "mini course" for the attendees watching ANW2. What's funny is that Yuuji and Okuyama apparently spent the time there as well during their breaks from their autograph sessions and of course watching the show being taped. This is definitely one of my favorite videos. What's also funny is that a lot of the ANW2 competitors used this course to test their shoes on the Spider walk Plexiglas ;)


ArtemisFowljr said...

Well, TBH I liked a lot this ANW. The course was nice (besides the F-Bridge...), the combo obstacle for the semis was well done, but obviously I loved ANW mostly because of Yuuji, Nagano and Okuyama being there :)
I still laugh at the picture of Chris&friends dwarfing Nagano&co...just priceless.
LoL. Seriously, for once I've actually seen him smiling...that and all the comedy he did while running the course. I ROFL'ed when right after he cleared the steps (which are ginormous!!Wtf?Seriously, both Nagano and Yuuji had to two-foot them!), there was some chick screaming "YYEAH!" He was grabbing the rope and did the "Wtf?" face, then IMO he thought "Oh well...let's milk it for what it's worth".
Loved what he did before the F-bridge and the showing off on the last bar was awesome :)
Yuuji was so nice as well. His terrified face every time he risked to wipeout was spectacular :D
Oh and I loved the video of him and Okuyama on the mini-course. "Screw it...I'm trying this again, I'm a friggin Cliffer!" LOL.

ArtemisFowljr said...

(sorry had to split in two parts, it was too long :P)
Nagano's run was great as well...besides the gigantic steps, the rest of the course was a piece of cake, I remember the gal filming from another video: when he ran through the rope swing, the F- bridge and the Spiderwalk he was so fast she just went "What happened???"
And then the dive!! Crap, I wasn't expecting that, I agree with all those who think he had flashbacks of 25 in the moment he hit the trampoline and realized he'd have whiffed.
I hope he busts his...legs out there practicing trampoline AND springboard. Even his miss here was painful to watch O_o
Though the way he reacted and went like "Sorry, my show ends here!" made me smile a lot. What I really want when they air ANW is footage of him collapsing on the side of the pool :P
And yes...the pictures of him soaked wet...
... What were we talkin about? Oh yeah.ANW.Right.
Pics of the three of them signing autographs are so nice :)
Also like those of them goofying around or taking a break in the tent.
Oh and there's an hilarious video of Nagano poking Okuyama "Oh...guys...we're on camera", I love that kind of moments.

It still sucks not being there, but we got some fan experience as well with all the guys taking pictures and videos and blogging. Thank you so much!!
Wondering what TBS guys will show us about this in the Navi and in the 26 broadcast.

Arsenette said...

Arty you did nothing wrong with the length. I have comment moderation up now so I have to approve everything before it will post. That way I can sift through the 3+ daily spam bots that post on my site :p

Chaki said...

Wow. Thanks for doing such a fabulous job. And I haven't even seen the videos yet... Save them for later. Thanks to everyone who sent photos, videos, blogs, etc. Seemed like such a great time for all.

I am though a little curious about the politics of having Okuyama there... but still interesting for him. Too bad he couldn't bring his family... and it's even summer holidays.

Nagano should serious consult Koji Hashimoto and get some springboard/ trampoline lessons. Ryo Matachi raved about Koji's expert instruction and can't wait to show them off on the circle slider next time!

Arsenette said...

I wouldn't be surprised if G4 asked M9 "who's available" and went down the list of the finalists the past couple of years. Makes sense to do that considering that the last 2 champions were also on the trip. I doubt they asked Akiyama though.. they hardly ever ask him to do anything which is why I was surprised he was in Muscle Park's opening. Maybe they gave Takeda and Akiyama Muscle Park and let Nagano go overseas again bringing Yuuji and whoever else was available to split the appearances since I'm sure all of those trips were sponsored by M9 in some way.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Arsenette, for putting all of this up. My life allows me less time to follow Sasuke now, but this was a pick-me-up to see the three of them here in the U.S. enjoying the time here (and receiving appreciation from the fans here).