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Monday, April 26, 2010

Maguro Festival 2010

Sign during the festival featuring All-Stars Makoto Nagano 長野誠, Kazuhiko Akiyama 秋山 和彦 and Shingo Yamamoto 山本進悟 ©shimojikonashi

I mentioned this before but the Maguro Festival took place just this past weekend. And just like last year (2 blogs on it - one with pictures and one with video) the 19th Annual Maguro Festival (第19回串木 野まぐろフェスティバル) took place Kagoshima Prefecture - April 24-25, 2010 in the city of Kushikino.

Maguro Festival Poster ©Kagoshima Food Blog

There were only 3 All-Stars this time (All-Stars Makoto Nagano 長野誠, Kazuhiko Akiyama 秋山 和彦 and Shingo Yamamoto 山本進悟). They had 2 presentations (11 am and 2 pm on Saturday / 11:30 am and 2 pm on Sunday). Thanks to those who found the videos and pictures from SMF and of course thanks to the bloggers and videographers who posted pictures and videos so quickly this year!

Kazuhiko Akiyama 秋山 和彦 being interviewed ©shimojikonashi

According to the poster they had the following obstacles:
  • そり立つ壁 - Soritatsu Kabe (Warped Wall)
  • クリフハンガー - Cliffhanger
  • ロープうんてい - Rope Untei
  • ランプグラスパー - Lamp Grasper
  • サーモンラダー - Salmon Ladder
  • パイプスライダー - Pipe Slider
  • ジャンピングバー - Jumping Bar
  • ターザン - Tarzan (a variation of a rope glider)

Makoto Nagano 長野誠 and Kazuhiko Akiyama 秋山 和彦 (in the red) ©shimojikonashi

This year's event was actually a lot smaller from what it looked like via pictures and video. I can only imagine with the economy and all but I'm happy it at least took place. Seems they also had a pretty good crowd for the demonstrations! So that's very good news.

Makoto Nagano 長野誠 climbing the frame on the left ©shimojikonashi

I was very happy to see a lot of pictures up on blogs so quickly this year! Usually it's so hard to find these. This one was cute because it took me a couple seconds to realize Nagano was climbing on the frame.


Makoto Nagano 長野誠 getting the attention of everyone below him ©shimojikonashi

This particular picture is just so cute. The guys down the bottom in a circle (Shingo with a gray shirt showing his back to us and Akiyama in red) seem to be chillin' while Nagano who's up on the frame again seems to be trying to get their attention.


This by far is my favorite picture.. mostly because it shows a constant state that Nagano is in.. slightly annoyed.. LOL I'm sure some logistics crap as usual since it is hard putting these events together in such a short amount of time. Still.. it's a cute picture :) Nagano seems to be getting a Farmer's tan just like Shingo.. Though Shingo's is more extreme (see video below).

Makoto Nagano 長野誠 being interviewed ©shimojikonashi

Btw the location of the Sasuke course is a lot further up as well.. seems to be right up against the entrance of the festival! Prime location this year!

All-Stars during a demonstration ©shimojikonashi

I'm told that Akiyama was unable to do the demonstrations this year. Not sure if he was injured but he at least wasn't feeling well. I hope he gets better soon! Nice for him to show up for fans though. His trip to the south of Japan is epically long..

A fan posing with Makoto Nagano 長野誠 ©Personal Blog

Thanks to all the blogs that posted pictures! It's a lot of fun to see the event. Seems they also had a gorgeous day as well! Which is good because the area had a lot of rain recently..

Makoto Nagano 長野誠 ©Personal Blog

Just like last year we got some awesome videos from the same person. Their blog follows all things from Kushikino so that's perfect :)


Makoto Yahagi video ©syuichidc2

The first video was quite the surprise! Makoto Yahagi 矢作誠 - I call him "Moody".. and if everyone who has been following my blog knows.. he's been trying to get on Sasuke for a looooong time now. It's nice he was invited to be part of the demonstrations this year given that Nagano couldn't get the rest of the All-Stars to fill the line up. Unfortunately Moody still has issues with the Salmon Ladder.


Itou video ©syuichidc2

Next one is also a surprise.. sorta.. Yoshiki Itou 伊藤圭槻 He is from the Miyazaki prefecture (Nagano's home prefecture) and we all know him as the kid that won the MRT Beach Sports Competition back in late July, 2009. We saw his run in Sasuke 23 but he was cut from Sasuke 24 and Sasuke 25.



Sporting the total Farmer's tan (lol) Shingo Yamamoto 山本進悟 did very well on his run! I wish the video was a little longer (especially at the beginning to know what the crowd was laughing about) but then again.. this is Shingo so it could have been anything!


Nagano video ©syuichidc2

Makoto Nagano 長野誠 was showing off again. Doing the obstacles correctly and very fast. He built the thing dangit.. he better be better than everyone :) LOL j/k. Very happy to get the videos though and in such high quality!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The State of Sasuke in Japan

The 5th incarnation of the Cliffhanger. This one is called the Ultimate Cliffhanger アルティメットクリフハンガー

PREFACE:
This post is to analyze what happened in Sasuke 25 in terms of airing and marketing. First part of the post is to dissect the circumstances of what happened and the second part of the post is to give some ideas as to how to correct the situation so that it doesn't happen again. I hope for many years of Sasuke to come so it's a good time to rethink the problems of Sasuke 25, correct course, and move on. (Posts italicized are contribution from other posters from Sasuke Maniac Forums)

Commercial break during Sasuke 25 - Mao Asada 浅田 真央 from Japan

SASUKE 25 RATINGS:
As many of you know by now Sasuke 25 has aired on TBS (Japan) in late March, 2010. Since then have found out what the ratings were for that show. Ube was kind enough to find us details on how bad it was. It was a catastrophically low 7.5% (*7.5% 19:00-22:48 TBS SASUKE2010春). Not only did they not win for that night.. they didn't win at all for the week! When you look at it logically we shouldn't have expected for Sasuke to win against a ratings juggernaut called the Ladies Figure Skating World Championships Freeskate (especially since Japan's Mao Asada 浅田 真央 had a hefty lead going into the Freeskate against Korea's Yu-Nah Kim キム・ヨナ). Worlds easily won the night with a whopping 22.6% (22.6% 19:58-21:48 CX* 世界フィギュアスケート選手権2010女子フリー).


INCONCEIVABLE LOSSES TO OTHER SHOWS:
The disturbing part was that Sasuke wasn't even close to 2nd .. or 3rd.. or even 4th.. Sasuke even got slaughtered in double digits by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (they had a 15.4% rating for that night (15.4% 21:00-23:39 EX__ 日曜洋画劇場・44周年記念・パイレーツオブ・カリビアン/デッドマンズ・チェスト). When taking into account what else was on television that night during the 4 hours broadcast.. Sasuke lost to 15 other shows... yes.. 15.. ranging from News, movies, sports, comedy shows and a dog show.. It was last in every time slot it was in.. 5th-6th depending on how many shows were on that during that hour time slot. As one poster on SMF reminded me.. "The fact that a celeb-free Sasuke was running against Shou Quiz Time Shock 8 超タイムショック!!最強クイズ王決定戦8 which is nothing but celebs. There also looks to have been another game show running against it on NTV."

Yahoo Japan article on the Ratings wins for the weekend of March 27-March 28, 2010
(Koki Kameda on the left and Mao Asada on the right)

WEEKEND RATINGS WINNERS:
When stepping back a bit there were a few things going on for TBS that weekend. (as the Yahoo Article suggests). On Sunday (same day as Sasuke) The Ladies Figure Skating World Championships Freeskate was on Fuji TV フジテレビ. The article also suggests that towards the end of skating the ratings even topped 29%! Meanwhile on Saturday, March 27, 2010, Pongsaklek Wonjongkam of Thailand defeated Koki Kameda 亀田 興毅 (who's younger brother was actually a Sasuke competitor in Sasuke 16 while Koki and his middle brother Daiki were in Monster 9/TBS's What can you do in 3 minutes? last year) by a 12 round majority decision to become the WBC and Ring Flyweight champion. The boxing match was on TBS and it gained a 22.1 rating. So overall .. TBS did very well during the weekend by scoring a huge victory with a 22.1% with the Kameda fight. One could argue that TBS knew it was a hard weekend to beat Fuji television and they scored with the Kameda fight. Ladies Short Program was on Saturday (competing with the Kameda fight) and the Fuji show got close with a 19.9% coming in third in sports for that weekend.

SASUKE RATINGS HISTORY:
Comparing Sasuke events in the past - All the ratings can be found in the Japanese wiki.
Kane Kosugi ケイン・コスギ during Sportsman #1

GOLDEN AGE OF SASUKE RATINGS:
It doesn't require too much in the way of math skills to realize where Sasuke 25 rates among all-time shows.. even after the departure of Sportsman #1's hero Kane Kosugi ケイン・コスギ (the original Mr. Monster 9 as I dub him). For those who didn't realize the magnitude of Kane's departure.. the numbers alone help tell the story. His departure marked the end of the Golden Age of Sasuke in terms of ratings. He also left any show that was attached to Monster 9 which included the Sportsman #1 series (both Pro and Geinojen (or Celebrity/Entertainer) Sportsman #1 shows) and of course Kinnikun Banzuke where he made his debut. The Sasuke All-Stars were created to fill the void after the departure of Kane and since have held this show together in the midst of an ever revolving door of competitors that changed from one tournament to the next. (whether they were cut from TBS broadcast (like Kenji Takahashi 高橋賢次) or inexplicably were not invited back by TBS (like Shunsuke Nagasaki 長崎 峻侑)). The irony in all of the ratings numbers is actually LOWER than Kunoichi 8 had (the horrible re-imagining of that great show and even that show got a 9.5%).

Rambling Rican Banner created for the Sasuke DVD Petition

RATINGS AFTERMATH:
Since then (it has been a few weeks since the news of the ratings) we have found out a few things. First.. our fears of Sasuke being canceled due to the horrible ratings are eased with the news I received by email from Monster 9 recently when asking (again) about the DVD Petition status. That at least gets the whole "omg it's canceled" fear quelled that a lot of us had. Phew! So all of our efforts in our community has been to come up with reasons and solutions for TBS to avoid another ratings disaster. This will be the focus of the rest of this post. Thank you in advance to those who gave ideas and expressed opinions on how to save Sasuke from a similar fate. I am also adding information and concerns collected from the Japanese blogs written right after Sasuke 25.

All-Star Kazuhiko Akiyama 秋山 和彦 - First winner of Sasuke (Sasuke 4)

FOCUS OF THE CONCERN:
First and foremost, before anyone starts talking about the content of the show.. the actual content (results, obstacles) was irrelevant to this argument. The audience was not there to begin with. They were not interested in turning on the television to TBS from 19:00-23:48 that night. I will not spend time in analyzing the show in detail since that is not the topic of conversation when it involves ratings. I happen to enjoy the prefecture addition, the look and feel of the first 2 stages personally. The flow to the tournament was done quite well. It was just a shame that not many people turned on the television to watch.

All-Star Makoto Nagano 長野誠 - Sasuke's 2nd winner (Sasuke 17)

OVER SATURATION OF SASUKE TOURNAMENTS:
One of the main reasons a few of the posters noticed (Japan and overseas) was the over-saturation of the actual Sasuke tournament in terms of the schedule. Sasuke 23, Sasuke 24 and Sasuke 25 all happened within 6 months. Even some competitors were extremely surprised how fast the tournaments were being scheduled. Given that between Sasuke 24 and Sasuke 25 was supposed to be a big "renewal" the anticipation was lost because the show was created in so little time. Returning to the 6 months format between Sasuke competitions is an easy solution for this problem... which leads me to my next point..

New Star Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 - Sasuke's 3rd winner (Sasuke 24)

NO PROMOTION OF CURRENT CHAMPION:
There was almost no "hype" around the Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 victory. As another poster noted on SMF "I think part of the ratings tank is due to M9 not taking advantage of the momentum created by Sasuke 23. For whatever reason, new guys really got pushed in the old Maniac shows, but M9 never followed through when it came to Sasuke. The result is that the new guys, even Yuuji, aren't seen by the general viewership to be as charismatic as the AllStars." Right after Sasuke 17 there was a whole 1 hour show (Called the Kanzenseiha Special) dedicated to Sasuke and the win for Makoto Nagano. Even something simple as taking time and showing Sasuke's Champion to those who might have not watched Sasuke 24 would have helped in explaining to people the necessity to even have a renewal and why it was "important". NONE of the early Sasuke 25 commercials even have Yuuji's win it!! "They could have spoiled the obstacles a little earlier (just this once, in honor of the 25th tournament), and made a big deal out of the return of classic obstacles. That might have gotten folks a little more excited. "

Sasuke's 3rd Champion Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 posing for friends and showing off a gift shirt created for him during a friends gathering in April, 2010 ©Ryo Matachi 又地諒

LACK OF RELEVANT UPDATES IN JAPAN:
What is the point of having a renewal if TBS didn't even acknowledge the champion? Even the official Sasukemania website didn't even have Yuuji's win in it. Here we are in April, 2010 and Monster 9 has not updated the website to showcase their brand new champion. It's been FOUR months since Yuuji's win and even G4 has caught up and it still isn't updated on the official site. So anyone in Japan going to the website to see the "updated results" so they know what is going on in Sasuke 25 had no clue anyone won or that there was a renewal. The results and even "current champions" is not updated. Monster 9 should concentrate on updating the Japanese audience (their target audience) of their own shows. "The official websites don't actually tell you anything (the web site especially so, the mobile site has at least some interesting things). All the web site is is a shrine to the show. More people probably found out about the show from the Muscle Park blog than the SASUKE website." It is the Japanese audience who creates the ratings for Sasuke. It is also shameful that everyone has to look to foreign blogs (such as Lost in Ube and here in Rambling Rican) to get current information.

2010 Sportsman No. 1 Monster Box Special
栄光のスポーツマン№1決定戦スペシャル

CROSS-PROMOTION OF SHOW NEEDED:
They should have taken time to showcase their new champion in other venues and even doing cross promotion for the show. Something that used to happen in the past no longer happens - Cross-promotion in other shows and other forms of media. For Sasuke fans we we remember things like Viking, Banzuke, Sportsman #1. There were magazine articles tied to the series itself (as opposed to one particular show) and even projects like Power of Sasuke. Sasuke competitors like Sato Hiromichi and Katsumi Yamada were in other talk shows and even specials that didn't have to do with Sasuke. There were commercials! For Yuuji's sake, even inviting the current champion to participate in Sportsman #1 Monster box special would have been good. Considering that this special was not a Pro event and even featured 3 All-Stars (Nagano, Takeda and Shingo) and other Sasuke competitors, it would have been a great opportunity to bring Yuuji into the limelight and further celebrate his win in Sasuke. Both the taping and the airtime for Sportsman #1 was after Sasuke 24's taping and airtime so there wasn't any real reason to not include him.


MORE CROSS PROMOTION:
This also leads me to one of the best solutions that I've heard. They need a standalone TV show like Kinniku Banzuke - and not some late-night show that only people in Tokyo will see like SASUKE Mania - that people will see week in and week out and pound into people's heads that SASUKE is coming. This show was like going back in time promotion wise. While I agree that it would be great if Monster 9 went back to the Banzuke, Viking, Sportsman #1, Kunoichi, Sasuke in all one year days.. the likelihood of things like that happening again is very small. I'd settle if they did cross promotion between Sasuke and something like Sportsman #1 (Geinojin). It was fun seeing the All-Stars in the Monster Box special but I would love to see Sasuke-famous competitors try the Geinojin course. Who knows what could happen!? I also agree that doing a show that's national rather than a Kanto Region only show would help raise the level of awareness to Sasuke in general. While I enjoyed Sasuke Maniac but it was clear almost no one watched it. It was also in a very limited market in the middle of the night. For me in the USA it was great but for those who live in Japan it wasn't watched since everyone was already sleeping in preparation for school and work that very morning.

Makoto Nagano 長野 誠 during the Monster Box Special

ALLOW OTHERS TO HELP MARKET THE SHOW:
Almost no information on the actual show existed for Sasuke 25. TBS/Monster 9 - Please allow others to help promote the show. I can't stress enough how difficult it has been for us to find half of this stuff. Even simple things like names of who will be a part of the show were being muted or deleted online. Even when I tried to update my own site I would notice that blogs would disappear overnight or worse.. the ones who did were cut from the main show. I understand that TBS/Monster 9 were trying to hard to keep people from breaking the NDA and of course secure any results from being leaked to the internet before the official showing on TBS. There were a lot of people just saying "please see Sasuke on March 28th" and those people were cut from the TBS broadcast. Since then, less and less people posted any information including the date of Sasuke's official airing. Some were terrified to say anything at all and chose not to even discuss who was going to be a part of it. No results were ever given but it was almost certain that anyone who posted something online (a competitor who wasn't 'famous') was immediately disciplined by being cut from the show. That deterred ANY information coming out on the show so trying to spread the information of "Sasuke 25" by word of mouth was immediately squashed by Monster 9 and TBS.

Akira Omori 大森晃 - Comedian Monkikki or Monkickey (モンキッキー)

THE LACK OF ENTERTAINERS:
Yes.. this is painful for us in the United States to hear but this is CRITICAL in the success of Sasuke. As another poster mentioned "It seems like Sasuke needed celebrities to bring the ratings up, but got crushed by other shows which had celebs and skaters. So no big names." and "Hopefully IF Sasuke 26 airs, they'll get some stars out there. I think, maybe, M9 or TBS thought that the show was a guaranteed success due to it being a "Renewal" and all. Regardless, they need to "Sell out" a bit imo. More hot girls, celebs, and joke competitors. I didn't laugh very much during Sasuke 25. That's key to the ratings. It has to be just as funny as it is exciting, that's what makes Sasuke so great. They need to take a lesson from G4's book. Not the "How to Kill your Fanbase" chapter, but the "How to gain ratings" chapter." Granted.. not the over-saturation of comedians like it was for Sasuke 24.. but a good amount of people the Japanese viewing audience would recognize (Sports heroes, important comedians, recent Pop Stars). Sasuke 25 was devoid of a lot of non-Sasuke famous celebrities that the casual viewer can turn on TBS that day to watch.

Kazuhiro Fujiwara 藤原一裕 of comedy duo License ライセンス In Sasuke 23

LACK OF ADVERTISING ONLINE WITH STARS:
One of the many things missing from Sasuke 25 was the amount of posts online within Japan promoting the upcoming show featuring their favorite "stars". That of course coincided with the lack of celebrities to begin with. Celebs will have it on their schedules as either posts or information that is updated from time to time. That gets the information out there. Celebs are the most reliable group in terms of keeping things secret yet still getting the message out. Once it is "official" fans spread the word or blog about it themselves. An appearance from a mid-level comedy duo (License) had tons of blogs repeating the same information over and over. That's good for the show. That was definitely the case as when I started to do my search on the competitors I kept running into the fans of the show excited about the show based on who was going. I lost track at 100 posts just for people to watch Sasuke because Fujihara from License was going to be on the show.

Comedy duo Audrey オードリー - (Masayasu Wakabayashi 若林 正恭 and Toshiaki Kasuga 春日 俊彰) (Sasuke 22 and Sasuke 24)

BRING BACK THE HUMOR:
More posts from SMF:
"To the hardcore Sasuke fan, this was a fairly well tournament. To a casual Sasuke fan (the ones who watch for their favorite comedian then end up watching the entire broadcast) this sucked. I only recognized Dandy and Rien (the two from that boy band) as joke competitors. If there were any more that participated in the past, I didn't recognize them. MM (Muscle Musical) not being there HURT them imo. Hell, I was shocked when I didn't see Wakky or Monkiki. Bottom line, you can't be too uptight on keeping things spoiled which causes you to advertise days before the event, nor can you expect a big turnout for a 2 months difference by word-of-mouth alone. Now that Sasuke is back to normal in terms of scheduling, maybe they'll think about what they did wrong and change their advertising habits and the course. IMO I wouldn't touch the course if it means you'll make a key mistake in the advertising."

.. because there hasn't been another one since.. current reigning Sportsman No. 1 Geinojin (Entertainer) Champion is Wakky ワッキー

LACK OF ADVERTISING:
Another point that was well worth mentioning was the lack of advertising outside of the fanbase. As many of you know I follow every possible website and mention to get a jump on what is going to happen in Sasuke. We knew 5 weeks ahead of time but even when I discussed the show with others in Japan who don't follow Sasuke as closely as I do.. most people just didn't know Sasuke 25 was happening and let alone that soon! "The thing is, we seemed to be the only group that had such advanced warning. Besides the TV guide and the couple of commercials, was there ANY advertisement for Sasuke 25 in Japan? I know the TBS page had it, but honestly, who looks at a tv station's website. No special previews or anything (the Navi doesn't count- they do that for every Sasuke). " Even I had a hard time finding anything substantive about Sasuke 25. You know how bad it is when someone from Japan sends ME a message through Rambling Rican just to find out when Sasuke was airing in their own country.. that was my experience during Sasuke 25.

CONCLUSION:
Bottom line "Everybody dropped the ball here. From the network to the producers to casting to everyone else down the line." I am hoping with the scare of these ratings that by the time Sasuke 26 rolls around there is more work done by TBS and Monster 9 to raise the ratings. For those of us who LOVE Sasuke, we would like to see it succeed for a very, very long time.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Update on the Sasuke DVD Petition


As many of you know that for quite some time (I think almost 2 years now in total) I've been working on an project to try to get Monster 9 to talk to TBS to release Sasuke into a DVD collection and/or box set. I sent a proposal with details and options they can use including a Region Free DVD so it's not just limited to North American (region 1) or Japan (region 2). In June, 2009 I created the page on my blog about the project and of course the online DVD Petition.

Months went by without any kind of acknowledgment let alone an answer until today. I had sent a reminder a couple days ago and even asked if the show was canceled since the ratings for Sasuke 25 were catastrophically low in Japan. I assume that is what prompted the response. Either way we have an answer I can share with you.

あなたから送っていただいたメールは読みました。
今のところSASUKEが終わるという予定はございません。
そのためDVDの発売も予定しておりません。
また、日本で放送した後に海外で放送されているので、タイムラグがあり、DVD化は当分ないと思われます。
弊社としてはこのような状況ですので、ご理解いただければと思います。
宜しくお願いいたします。

We have read your email.
At this point in time, there are no plans to end SASUKE.
Because of this, there are no plans to sell DVDs. Moreover, since there is a time lag between Japanese broadcasts and broadcasts overseas, for now DVD releases are not realistic.
This is our company's current situation, and we hope for your understanding.
Thank you.
(Thanks David K. for the translation)

So the long and short of it is this.

a) Sasuke is NOT Canceled. So that alone is great news! Sasuke 26 will be produced. We hope the ratings will rebound (I'll blog about that later) and we have many more years of enjoyment.

b) They DO want to create DVD's for Sasuke BUT because overseas is so far behind the TBS official broadcast they do not believe it will be in the foreseeable future.

USA still is 2 tournaments behind.. granted they will show 24 this weekend but everyone else (except Taiwan) is almost 5 tournaments behind. It means also that if they do make DVD's it will be at the end of Sasuke's run and when everyone else catches up. It seems they are taking into account that releasing them now will jeopardize the airings in the different countries. So although we do not get DVD's now, we can get DVD's in the future after Sasuke has run it's course. As an example - Takeshi's Castle was finally released in it's entirely AFTER the show went off the air. Given that information.. I hope it will be a loooooong time from now!

Thanks to everyone especially on the Sasuke Maniacs' site for help with the project and the more than 700 signatures from around the world with nothing but word of mouth to continue the project. It was wonderful to see so many signatures from various countries were Sasuke/Ninja Warrior doesn't even air!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sasuke 25 aftermath

Mori Wataru 森 渉, Keita Tomino (Cliffer #4) 富野恵太, Keitaro Yamamoto 山本桂太朗 (Cliffer #5) , Hiroki Nomura 野村 宏樹, Ryo Matachi (Cliffer #2) 又地諒 and Hitoshi Kanno 菅野仁志, Yuuji Urushihara (Cliffer #3) 漆原裕治 (and other friends I can't identify easily) - April, 2010 ©Ryo Matachi 又地諒

Now that I am done blogging about Sasuke 25 let me take the time to update everyone on what's happened so far. Just to let you know. I will do a whole post on the state of Sasuke due to the last ratings of Sasuke 25. There was a great discussion about it on SMF and I wanted to dedicate a whole post to this to address possible ideas to save the show from cancellation. Everyone here knows I loved the broadcast. It was just a shame not a lot of Japanese viewers even turned on to TBS to see it.

Koji Hashimoto 橋本亘司, Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治, Ryo Matachi 又地諒 and Hitoshi Kanno 菅野仁志 - 4 participants from Sasuke 25 ©Ryo Matachi 又地諒

Recently former STQ'ers/UNCLI got together to further celebrate Yuuji Urushihara's Kanzenseiha from Sasuke 24. There were 2 blog posts with their own pictures on it so far (will update with more if I see any) the first one I saw was Mori Wataru 森渉 and the other was Ryo Matachi 又地諒. Apparently it was a karaoke party with friends.


All-Star Makoto Nagano 長野誠 during his interview on April 5, 2010 ©yodaraji

In the middle of blogging Sasuke 25 I ran into the radio interview of All-Star Makoto Nagano 長野誠 with Yodaraji Radio . I've since gotten a longer translation for it so please feel free to read more on the interview here on my blog. There he discusses his Sasuke 25 run among other things. This marked the 5th time he was interviewed by the radio station and the 1st in over a year.

All-Star Toshihiro Takeda 竹田敏浩 jumping on the wall while All-Star Makoto Nagano 長野誠 watches - Maguro Festival 2009 ©personal blog

As the same as last year (2 blogs on it - one with pictures and one with video) the 19th Annual Maguro Festival (第19回串木 野まぐろフェスティバル) will take place later this month in Kagoshima - April 24-25, 2010 in the city of Kushikino. Nagano will be there as usual (no word on which additional All-Stars/guests will appear). They will have 2 presentations - at 11 am and another at 2 pm on Saturday and on Sunday the times are 11:30 am and 2 pm. I hope to get more videos and pictures of the event.

Monster 9 President and CEO - Ushio Higuchi 樋口 潮 during a press conference for Muscle Park - Chitose

As I wrote back in early March there is an expansion to the Muscle Park family. Monster 9 is opening Muscle Park - Chitose (which is in Hokkado prefecture) in July. On March 25th in Sapporo, Japan there was an official press conference where President and CEO of Monster 9, Ushio Higuchi was present. Monster 9 had their coverage here and there were 2 additional articles. One was written by Walker Plus and the other by Tomamin. Seems Hokkaido (Chitose)'s park will be bigger than it's Tokyo(Odaiba)'s Counterpart and it will be housed in it's own building just outside of a major mall outlet. It is approximately 4000 square meters (over 13,000 square feet) (which they mention is 1 1/2 times larger than Muscle Park in Odaiba) in size and will house 20 attractions. No details as to how large the Sasuke Park will be or what obstacles will be available. When there is an official opening date I will post about it.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sasuke 25 - Spoilerific Review - Part 17

SASUKE 25!!

PART SEVENTEEN

(PART ONE) (PART TWO) (PART THREE) (PART FOUR) (PART FIVE) (PART SIX) (PART SEVEN) (PART EIGHT) (PART NINE) (PART TEN) (PART ELEVEN) (PART TWELVE) (PART THIRTEEN) (PART FOURTEEN) (PART FIFTEEN) (PART SIXTEEN)

Sasuke spoilerific review ;) Warning.. incoming blog of Sasuke 25.. if you don’t want to know.. you have been warned :D For a preview of this event.. Please see SASUKE 25 NAVI 1 hour review of Sasuke 25 with fluff pieces of all the major players in the upcoming Sasuke!). Oh.. and as Ube says: If you are from the G4 Forums, DON'T POST THIS THERE. They expect everyone to stick their head in the sand and pretend it doesn't exist..

UBE'S Sorta-LIVE-BLOG FOR SASUKE 25 IS HERE!

Massive thanks to Ube for his help on the names in English and Japanese of all the competitors!! Thanks to scnoi and Sasukepedia and the SASUKE データサイト (Data site) for the kanji.

Levi: So how you feel buddy?

Brian: "I feel excited" "I'm ready to go"

Levi: "You going to beat it?"
Brian: "I'm going to beat it"
Levi: "Awesome"

TBS reliving the G4/American Failures in the 3rd stage.. of course that being only one person and that's Levi. This from Sasuke 20 on the Shin-Cliffhanger

And a worse miss in Sasuke 23 to the same obstacle.

LOL They redubbed Brian as #1...
Edit: Thanks chaki for the translation: They referred to Brian as "trying to get the title of America's No.1" rather than automatically relabelling him.

TBS Suckitude Chart™ update.. Sucking winning by a landslide so far..

Now time for the 2 foreigners left in contention! First up the new America #1.

Brian Orosco ブライアン・オロスコ Representing Amerika アメリカ

Levi and Rich cheering on their fellow Tempest Free-running teammate

Starting off with the Roulette Cylinder

Brian having a little bit of trouble with the grip

Not sure if he's slipping or his paws are too big..

Either way he's on his way each time stopping to readjust his grip

Doh he's slipping...

And he's down...

Replay of his hand just coming off the doorknob

Levi reaction

Brian hauling butt out of the water and doing what I call the "pee pee dance".. I hear him going "Ooooooohoohoohoo".. he's.. ccccold...

aahahahahha as the crowd starts to crack up into laughter

Clearly evident he's freezing his nuts off...

Pointing and laughing

He's not moving.. dangit.. LOL

Someone mercifully hands him a towel

Replay of the Roulette Cylinder

And he just couldn't get a comfortable grip on the Doorknob Grasper

When he swung over on the inside he just ripped off of the doorknob

Aww his mad dash to get the hell out of the water

Brian Orosco ブライアン・オロスコ - Death by Doorknob Grasper

Brian: "It was a little bit cold.." (you hear laughter)

Brian: My career so far has been getting better each time.."

Brian: "and I'm very happy to have made it to the 3rd stage."

Brian: "I hope the next time when I come back it will be warmer and I can go a lot further".

Last up is the last of the Foreigners!

He's not too happy either stripping in this freezing weather. You can see the steam coming off of him!

Lee is also one of the Finalists from Sasuke 24

His career as a pro rock climber has been well documented in Taiwan

and is readily recognized in Taiwan

Lee showing the thin cliffhanger set up at his home (bottom ledge)

.. and the top ledge

TBS Suckitude Chart™ update.. Sucking wins big time.. can Lee save the day from a shutout?

Lee En Chi リー・エンチ - Representing Taiwan 台湾
Btw.. I can't get this song out of my head.. Barefootin' by Robert Parker

Rocking the pink wifebeater™ shirt

Doing well on the Roulette Cylinder

Transition onto the Doorknob Grasper

Not a problem at all with the Doorknob Grasper

Brian without his glasses is cheering on

LOL Koji is high.. he's sticking out his tongue and giggling at everything.. either that or Hypothermia affects him differently...

Quality time with Sasuke Spray.. btw.. everyone's barefoot.. must be the new fad with the bitching going on about Yuuji's shoes? LOL Nah I think they just thought they would benefit more with this particular obstacle.

and he mounts the Floating Boards

Nice smooth transitions

Wow he was fast on this obstacle! He went nicely from board to board without slowing down!

Koji is verklempt

Nagano shoving his way forward LOL

even Takeda is wondering wtf.. LOL

Kenji back under 17 layers of clothes and a hat.. LOL

Reaaaally taking his time before the UCH

Ah! That's where he went. He bent over so he can shout encouragement "GAMBATTE"

Lee kinda giggling that he's got Nagano's full attention (actually everyone is staring at him LOL)

LOL the look of terror on the UCH.. He's also punching lightly on his forearms

Wow he's.. moving fast!

He's doing VERY well getting up here!

Almost to the end but he stops.. please don't do the Koji mistake...

Dangit...

He does...

Nagano watching and yelling...

And the crash reaction..

"Aaaaaaaaah.."

Brian looks away in disappointment

Yuuji and Kanno reaction (not a whole lot LOL)

Koji saying something I don't understand again.

Lee En Chi リー・エンチ - Death by Ultimate Cliffhanger

Still.. by a fingernail he went the furthest of everyone!

Not bad for first attempts on the thing. From everyone who got there.

Roulette Cylinder reverse angle

His friggin' pterodactyl wingspan

And the near perfect pass on the Floating Boards

And just.. a little more to the left..

He aaaaaaaaalmost got it..

and down he went

Ooooh cool... we actualy get the see the angle of the wall on it..

He barely has room to move there...

ROFL.. Nagano is shoving his hands so far in his pockets I'm shocked he hasn't blown a hole in that jacket pocket!

LOL Geez.. how many things does Takeda have on that he looks fat?

Nagano of course analyzing the UCH (or AruKuri)

and another picture because I can.. I mean c'mon Takeda AND Nagano in the same shot?.. yeah.. exactly :D

TBS doing nostalgia clip of the history of the Shin-Cliffhanger. Here were the fails - Kenji in Sasuke 18

Levi in Sasuke 20

Lee in Sasuke 22

Okuyama in Sasuke 22

Finally in Sasuke 21 Takeda was the first to defeat the Shin-Cliffhanger

Sasuke 23 had Okuyama

Sasuke 22 had Yuuji beating it

Yuuji and Kanno having way too much fun

LOL what is Kanno saying to produce a face like that out of Yuuji? LOL

And of course I have no hope in knowing since Yuuji speaks rapid Fire Japanese..

Hmm we still have time.. what does TBS have up it's sleeve?

Crane shots ftw. MILK that rental fee!

Ah we see TBS making a point that the UCH is perfectly beatable.. so they put a fresh young tester to prove the point.. sorta..

And see? Just get aaaaall the way to the left side to allow yourself leverage to get to the top ledge

And they stop shortly after that.. he probably fell off.. LOL

This cares the heck out of me because SO much can go wrong..

I'm sure Tajima is cringing like hell at these..

Geez how many rings are here???

4? 5? oh hell I don't know..

Hmm they have the Rope Junction again

(waiting for the has no function jokes..)

Wow that connects to the green bar of safety?

This one also scares me.. wtf..

The Pipe Slider bar + Jumping bars..

Well at least this one won't swing backwards..

Tribute to the guys who TBS thinks has a chance. Yuuji

Kenji

Takeda

Lee

Koji

Okuyama

And of course Nagano

This has been a M9/TBS production - Final Stage has gone laser show!

So I didn't get my SASUKE sign (think Viking) but it was a good tournament! Very different feel with the Prefectures thing going. I liked it! We had a good mix of passes from the first stage and a lot of surprises on the 2nd stage and a 3rd stage that with time will be defeated. M9 took a huge risk here. I'll do a separate blog altogether on the state of Sasuke now. The show itself for those of us that watched it was enjoyable!

Anyway... really really really want to thank a few people. Lost in Ube for oh geez.. the list is so long. Outside of my inspiration for even blogging in the first place back when I found Sasuke and found his blogs back in 2007 he's been a great online friend whom I can watch Sasuke and use candor and humor when watching without people hawking my every word :p And then of course his Live blog which I abuse constantly when creating my own. His time-consuming diligence in trying to update the wiki with scnoi by using his own sources and painstakingly going through each person to get the right kanji. I honestly believe a lot of people really don't realize how hard it is to do these things (especially his live blog). I was surprised that TBS helped us out with the kanji this time! I was also very happy and appreciative to the SASUKE データサイト (Data site) for the kanji of all 100 competitors that scrolled during the Stage 2 preview. VxJasonxV for the Sasuke Navi and Sasuke 25 feed he provided from his paid subscription of WIST. Without that I don't think half the community would have even SEEN the tournament! I was happy he was able to watch it on a TV! Thanks Chris for helping him out and enjoying the tourney together! Thanks to the streamers that helped our community see the event! Scnoi from the Sasuke Maniac Boards for doing a great job in herding cats! Between looking for information, creating the updated wiki, and helping keeping everyone provided with their Sasuke wants and needs.. it's been nice to see the community band together and watch and share our Sasuke passion. Thanks for chaki, Ube and DavidK for their help with Japanese translations and general knowledge for us folks that just don't know Japanese! It's far more helpful to get the jokes, comments and whatnot when we can understand what is going on! Thanks to our friends in Taiwan - specifically from the wretch board who have been helping us in getting things like the HQ live viewing and even download! It's great to see cross country participation in watching this show! Thanks to the community for being patient when I got the blogs up and for READING them! Without anyone to share it with.. this would be kinda boring. I'm happy people find enjoyment in them as much as I enjoy creating them. I'm ecstatic more people have used my blog as an introduction to such a wonderful show and it makes it even more worthwhile when I know my fangirling is actually to good use! I'm excited to see our small group grow to literally thousands around the world banding together to watch this show through tiny computer screens that often crash.

Keep fingers crossed for Sasuke 26!!!

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