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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Death of Sasuke in Taiwan and Sasuke related updates


Do you remember the phrase when I said When it rains it pours.. Yeah.. it's still raining. Today I found out of Taiwan's grim news. Sasuke in Taiwan is no more. Originally when JET TV decided to change their channel format back in December, 2009, I was panicking as to what was going to happen to Sasuke in Taiwan. Sasuke 23 was JET's last broadcast. In February of this year a new player emerged in Gold Sun 國興衛視 or others call it State TV. I became excited because they seemed to embrace the same enthusiasm that the old JET TV had and even did it in the same format (original TBS version with Chinese subtitles). Golden Sun aired Sasuke 24 very quickly while in the USA G4 took forever to finally air even Sasuke 23...

Taiwan's one and only Sasuke Trials (before Sasuke 17 back in 2006) of which Lee En Chi リー・エンチ won.

In May, 2010 Gold Sun announced that they were having a Trials in Taiwan. We expected them to be around July but even then we didn't hear anything other than the deadline. Sasuke 25 was aired in the USA (for the first time ever G4 actually aired Sasuke BEFORE Taiwan). Since then it's been really quiet. I was afraid that Golden Sun ran out of money.. and it seems my fear was not unfounded. Today a post appeared in Sasuke Maniacs Forums.

Golden Sun TV decided not to pick up SASUKE 25 because it was too expensive to purchase the rights from TBS. As well, the channel decided not to have any trials in Taiwan. Sigh..

Basically, this means that Golden Sun is no longer going to air any SASUKE programming (not that they aired much anyways) and we currently have ZERO SASUKE coverage in Taiwan as JET TV no longer airs any SASUKE programming. With the trials not even happening, this pretty much ends all speculation about the state of SASUKE here IMO. It's done!

I doubt very much that any other TV station will purchase the rights for SASUKE 25 due to the ridiculous price to purchase the rights to air it. I don't really blame Golden Sun - what other TV station would pay such an exorbitant amount to show a specialty program like SASUKE? I totally put the blame on TBS and M9 for basically killing off the show here and ultimately in Japan as well.

I had a feeling that this was going to happen, but was still hoping for some good news. We haven't had much lately, and with Yuuji saying that there was no date for SASUKE 26, I think that this may be the end of SASUKE for good.

Thanks to Li again for sharing this information. I feel bad for Li and other Taiwanese who were hoping for a chance to get on SASUKE 26. I also feel bad for all the fans here that have enjoyed SASUKE over the years. Sad day...


Brian Orosco ブライアン・オロスコ, Levi Meeuwenberg リーヴァイ・ミューエンバーグ (with original number) and Lee En Chi リー・エンチ during Sasuke 25

I've been watching the decline of the TV market for a while. Shows in Japan now are being hit hard now that advertisers are being very careful where to put their money. Considering that it's what pays the bills.. (advertising) it's no wonder that in Taiwan the same thing is happening. For perspective's sake here's an interesting article based on how money is being handled these days really puts this all into perspective. The article comes from the financial loss from the recent World Cup television revenue in Japan.

Michisada Hirose, president of the National Association of Commercial Broadcasters in Japan, blamed the red ink on soaring fees for broadcasting rights paid to FIFA, the soccer tournament's organizer. In addition, corporate advertising has been declining since the financial crisis.

This is a huge argument going on right now in television. Broadcast rights have been soaring in the previous years. Sasuke is no exception. The rumor for Sasuke 24 in Taiwan was a cool $1 million US Dollars.. that's a lot of money for a niche show in a small channel. I'm sure they didn't get as much advertising revenue to cover the loss. I think they showed it twice in Taiwan since.. Seeing that they didn't have the money to pay for Sasuke 25.. it seems they were quoted again the same amount of money for that one tournament... That's outrageous. So far the only network in the world willing to fork out that kind of cash is G4.. but not without a price. Did you wonder how they got 10 people in Sasuke 23 and again Sasuke 26 (if there is one?).. That's money folks.. Each ANW is tied to those 10 slots TBS has to give them in return. G4 also has ANW as their way of making money in spades with advertising to that one series. How else do you think G4 had the $250,000 prize money for Sasuke 26 to Americans?

But right now.. G4 is literally the only station worldwide with that kind of money. Most affiliates have a hard enough time affording the Sasuke license as it is. Right now most countries can only afford the earlier episodes of Sasuke. They usually pay for the earlier episodes, see how they fare on their networks and then usually either just keep those and re-air them constantly (and not buy new stuff) or worse.. they take it off the air entirely (ask anyone in Singapore...). I'm wondering if the inclusion of G4 in Sasuke 19 is the start of the over-priced Sasuke's. I think only some European countries have up to Sasuke 20.. Sasuke 21 marks when G4 started to dominate their NW airings to feature ANC members almost exclusively. M9 and TBS have to be careful to not jump in the high priced licensing fees bandwagon. This economy worldwide is not getting better and if they keep asking for exorbitant amount of money for the broadcasting rights around the world.. we will continue to lose markets for the already taped shows.

All-star - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 posing in front of the start line in ANW2 ©Makoto Nagano

I'll try to keep the doom and gloom to a minimum but it's hard to keep positive over what's happening right now. To get you updated here's what we have. First we don't hear anything for Sasuke 26, then Ube finds out that M9 pulling the plug on it's mobile ap from Sasuke Mania, then Ube finds out that one of the Monster 9 theme parks... is closing. Muscle Park in Odaiba (Tokyo) is shutting it's doors on October 31st. Then we hear from the Apple Store event that there is no official date for Sasuke 26.. and now Taiwan doesn't renew their license.. The only thing that's saving me right now is what Nagano said to me recently. He expects a decision to be made in October about the fate of Sasuke in Japan. Only time will tell what that decision is. Keep your fingers crossed..

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sasuke Stars appear in Apple Store in Ginza

Sasuke Champion Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 in Front of a jumbo-screen announcing the event at the Apple Store in Ginza
(Left to Right on the Poster- Naoki Iketani 池谷直樹 - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 - Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 - Daisuke Nakata 中田大輔)

As I mentioned in my previous blog, there was an event on Tuesday, September 21, 2010 in downtown Tokyo in the area called Ginza 銀座. It's actually an Apple Store. If everyone remembers that in the Spring Monster 9 actually got an ap for the Iphone called Sasuke Challenger that was available for purchase worldwide! Please read Ube's review of the initial release. The four Sasuke Stars that were in the event were Allstar - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 and our current Sasuke Champion Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 (both who visited the United States recently), Monster box World Record Holder Naoki Iketani 池谷直樹 and Olympic Trampolinist Daisuke Nakata 中田大輔. A friend of mine was able to get to the event and sent her pictures, videos and written impressions to share with us! Thanks!


From this point on this is the email I received about the Ginza trip:

At 5:10 pm, we walked into the third floor auditorium of the Apple Store in Ginza. It seats about 300 people but there were less than 20 sprinkled throughout. The creator of the game talks a bit about how he incorporated high level graphics but kept the game simple because he had to make it a light program that can be easily uploaded. Then the special guests started to play the games. Originally, I think they had wanted to project the game onto the large screen so the audience could watch how they were progressing. But they weren’t able to zoom the camera up that close or the iPhone screen was so small and their hands so big that you can’t see much. Maybe if they had used an iPad, it would have been more visible….

View from the Jumbo Tron (note Nakata's head on the far right of the pic) you see Daisuke and Yuuji playing the game while Nagano watches

Naoki Iketani went first. He didn’t clear. Moaned about it. Then it was Daisuke Nakata’s turn. I didn’t know much about him. I have heard from people who have met him that this guy is a complete sweetheart. By the end of the night, I had to agree. This guy is hilarious. He kept a running monologue the entire time he was playing. Since people couldn’t see the game being played, he entertained the audience with his talk. And animated too. When he has to jump, he hops from his chair.

Nakata: “When do the bad guys come out? Oh, I see one. It’s Yamada-san. (referring to Mr. Sasuke Katsumi Yamada 山田勝己) How do I shoot him down?”
Iketani: “Press the repeat attack button.” (There is no such button.)
Nakata: Okay. Got rid of him. Uh, that was nasty. Hey, if I complete the first stage, does my character evolve into Makoto Nagano?


Allstar - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 and our current Sasuke Champion Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 playing Sasuke Challenger together

Next it was Yuji Urushihara’s turn. But Nagano got bored with how the event was being run and suggested that they play at the same time to create more excitement. They don’t race against each other like Wii games and we still can’t see their screens… but at least there would be some interaction.

Nagano is not a games type of guy, not a high tech guy. But apparently, before the event, he did manage to clear the First Stage. But not under pressure… His game ended the same way as Iketani and Nakata, running out of stamina and missing the rope wall at the end. The highlight of his turn was when he pressed the menu button by mistake (something he must have done during the practice as well because Nakata would refer to it as the "Nagano button") and paused his game. Nakata is just cracking up.


Sasuke Champion Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 defeats the first stage of Sasuke Challenger

Yuji Urushihara is the only guest who completes the game. He confessed to having bought the game before the event and cleared the whole thing.

The funniest moments of the night really came from the goofus emcee who knew very little about Sasuke. He gets into this thing: “So people are curious about what you do when you are not doing Sasuke. Urushihara-san, can you tell us a little about what you do.”

Yuji is like: “Well, as you know, I am a shoes salesman, so when I’m not doing Sasuke, I’m…. selling shoes.” (We all know he's a shoe salesman for Haruta Shoes in Tokyo) He started laughing and everyone just laughs with him. It was just too obvious. Then he adds “I haven’t gotten any word about when the next Sasuke will be, but I am training with my buddies to prepare.”

Then the emcee has a better one. “So what kind of fish do you catch in Nagano Prefecture?” The room is still. No one knows what he is talking about. Then Makoto Nagano slowly says, “Um, Nagano is my name. It’s not where I live…” (referring to Nagano Prefecture, home of the Japan Alps and former winter Olympic site). Then everyone laughs. Iketani quips, “There ain’t no ocean in Nagano Prefecture!” Nagano is laughing and says, “What is this? Am I the punchline of every joke tonight?” Laugh track.


Audience participation video

Then it’s audience participation time and a man with glasses and a little girl volunteers. Since they are given no instructions on how to play the game, Nakata decides he would teach the girl how to play. He remarks how she is doing awesome. "I've got to go over and make sure she doesn't press the Nagano button." Then Iketani quips back "Nakata-kun is going over to help so that'll mean she'll never clear it." The man with glasses is plowing through the course too. Nakata says, “Hey, you two must have been training for this game at Inba Mura.” (which btw is where Bunpei Shiratori 白鳥文平 is from) Nagano walks over and he also comments on how well she is doing. Nakata was teasing Nagano but it was all in fun.

Then Iketani says, “Yeah, yeah. It’s easy to do well on the first part. But then she’ll run out of stamina at the end.” NAOKI, ARE YOU FOR REAL??? ARE YOU ACTUALLY JEALOUS A LITTLE GIRL WILL KICK YOUR BUTT AT THIS GAME???

Naoki sporting his brand new Ipad that he bought the day of the event.. you know.. the one he swears he need to win the game.. ©Naoki Iketani

The bespectacled gentleman clears the first in record time. The little girl is getting close. Nagano and Nakata are completely absorbed. Yuji walks over and smiles. Nagano whispers encouragement the whole time, “You’re doing great. Keep it up. Oh, good job.” And they count down the last seconds as she climbs to the top. She clears it – when Nagano, Nakata and Iketani failed. Her coaches, Nagano and Nakata look exhausted. Yuji has big smile. Little girl beams, gives a peace sign. Iketani says, “If I got to do it on my iPad, I could have completed it too.” OMG, YOU ARE SERIOUSLY JEALOUS. Little girl and man with glasses get Sasuke towels.

Yuji mostly looked nervous. Nagano looked preoccupied. It wasn’t a well-organized or well-publicized event. But Nakata made it entertaining for all. And the game, it wasn’t bad. Because it’s so easy, it’s more for the non-gamer. But for five bucks, it’s worth getting and trying with a group of friends.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sasuke Related News - Ginza Apple Store Version

All-star - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 with Olympic Trampolinist Daisuke Nakata 中田大輔 ©Daisuke Nakata

As I posted recently, there was an event on Tuesday, September 21, 2010 in downtown Tokyo in the area called Ginza 銀座. It's actually an Apple Store. If everyone remembers that in the Spring Monster 9 actually got an ap for the Iphone called Sasuke Challenger that was available for purchase worldwide! Please read Ube's review of the initial release. The four Sasuke Stars that were in the event were Allstar - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 and our current Sasuke Champion Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 (both who visited the United States recently), Monster box World Record Holder Naoki Iketani 池谷直樹 and Olympic Trampolinist Daisuke Nakata 中田大輔. Nakata posted a blog about the event a couple hours after it happened.

Event Room in the Apple Store in Ginza ©newibusigin

The big news out of the event was that Yuuji made it very clear that there is no Sasuke (26) date set and none of the M9 staff disputed him so that was made clear. A previous Nagano message I received last week stated that a decision about the fate of Sasuke will be made sometime in October. Coupled together with the Yuuji news that makes it unlikely to be a Sasuke in October (unless it's late in the month) but hopefully by October we will find out the fate of the show. If I find out more news, pictures, etc., I'll post it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sasuke stars to appear in Ginza

Today has been on HELL of a roller coaster. Okay let me get you updated. M9 pulling the plug on it's mobile ap is definitely gone for good. Muscle Park Odaiba (Tokyo) is closing in October, 2010. The better news from that depression is that Sasuke website is BACK (with the following announcement). As you recall I wrote the blog yesterday that the website was gone. I swear someone paid the bill or something because not only is it back.. then added new news (which is the point of this particular blog entry).

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

I got an email from one of the STQ'ers who was lamenting the passing of the Odaiba Muscle Park was but was happy to report that in Japan he could see the SasukeMania website today! I went to check and sure enough it came back during the overnight hours (USA) and mid afternoon in Japan. What's more.. there was additional news about an upcoming Sasuke related event.

_MG_1334 as Smart Object-1
Current Sasuke Champion Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 Triumphant during ANW 2 ©Convex Photography

SASUKE Challengerイベント開催決定!

来る、9月21日(火) 17:00~ AppleStore,Ginzaにて、iPhone/iPad/iPod touch用ゲームアプリ「SASUKE Challenger」の紹介イベントが開催されます。

ゲストに長野誠さん、漆原裕治さん、池谷直樹さん、中田大輔さんがやってきます!

くわしくはAppleStore,Ginzaのサイトにてご確認ください。

*******
SASUKE Challenger events to be held!

(16 September 2010 18:45)
Coming September 21 (Tue) ~ 17 o'clock AppleStore, Ginza by, iPhone / iPad / iPod touch for gaming "SASUKE Challenger" events will be held in an introduction.

Guest Makoto Nagano, Mr. Urushibara Yuuzi, Mr. Iketani Naoki, Daisuke Nakata's coming!

For details, AppleStore, Ginza Please check the website.

The news was added to the front page of Sasukemania and linked information about an event going on on Tuesday, September 21, 2010 in downtown Tokyo in the area called Ginza 銀座. It's actually an Apple Store. If everyone remembers that in the Spring Monster 9 actually got an ap for the Iphone called Sasuke Challenger that was available for purchase worldwide! Please read Ube's review of the intial release. It seems Monster 9 is going to have a launch party for an updated version? Or not.. either way.. they are doing SOMETHING with Sasuke people so right now I'll take that as good news.. It's not Sasuke 26.. but I'll take it.

Naoki Iketani 池谷直樹 ©Naoki Iketani

The four Sasuke Stars that are coming are 2 Champions and 2 Muscle Musical Members. Sasuke Champion and Allstar - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 and our current Sasuke Champion Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 (both who visited the United States recently), Monster box World Record Holder Naoki Iketani 池谷直樹 and Olympic Trampolinist Daisuke Nakata 中田大輔 will all be in the Apple Store in Ginza on Tuesday to help promote the Iphone/IPad.. Iwhateverthehelltheycameupwith.

Daisuke Nakata 中田大輔 ©Daisuke Nakata

My hope is to see Nagano in pics attempting to play this game.. I just don't see him as a technogeek.. but what do I know :p I want pics dammit! I for one am happy even if the event is small in scope and promoting a game that's a few months old. It brings Sasuke back into the forefront. I'm now thinking how Ube has been thinking all along that they are just pruning dead weight in closing things that are not helping them and sticking with what they know is working. Hope that's good news for Sasuke 26.. one could hope!



Final Stage Replay in Sasuke Challenger©Lost in Ube

Muscle Park Odaiba (Tokyo) to Close on Halloween

There is a saying among English speakers. When it rains it pours.. And good grief is it pouring. First we don't hear anything for Sasuke 26, then Ube finds out that M9 pulling the plug on it's mobile ap from Sasuke Mania, then Sasuke Mania Site disappeared and appeared to be closed (but website is back up!) and now Ube finds out that one of the Monster 9 theme parks... is closing.

Allstars - Makoto Nagano 長野誠, TV Host Sato Hiromichi 佐藤弘道, Monster 9 President and CEO - Ushio Higuchi 樋口 潮 (center) and 2 unidentified businessmen (I'm sure tied to M9 in some way) during the Grand Opening of Odaiba's Muscle Park in December, 2006 ©Muscle Park

The Amusement park that is closing is the original Muscle Park in Odaiba (Odaiba is a small man-made island that has other amusement parks and recreation type businesses) in the heart of Tokyo Bay. As you guys remember from my December, 2009 blog, Muscle Park had celebrated their 3 year anniversary and Nagano and Takeda had visited the park.


The end is slated to be on Halloween, Sunday, October 31, 2010. I saw the Odaiba blog earlier but didn't understand what it was that they meant. I thought they were just announcing another event and since the actual page it linked to was a picture and not something I could readily translate.. I couldn't tell what it was they were saying.


They seem to be doing one last event to commemorate the almost 4 years of the park being open. They will close just 2 months shy of their 4th anniversary. They also seem to be having my version of a fire sale. I know a lot of people will be sad to see it go but honestly.. it hasn't been well maintained and it was expensive given their location in prime real estate. Everyone remembers David Campbell's experience there as well.. I'm sure there are a few people that are not sad to see it go. Besides.. there's a better place to go now.

Official ribbon cutting ceremony. All-Star Toshihiro Takeda 竹田敏浩, TV Host Sato Hiromichi 佐藤弘道, Monster 9 President and CEO - Ushio Higuchi 樋口 潮 (center) unidentified businessman (He might be the manager) and All-Star Kazuhiko Akiyama 秋山和彦 during the Grand Opening of Chitose's Muscle Park on July 18, 2010 ©Muscle Park Chitose

One point of good news I guess is that they are keeping Chitose's Muscle Park 千歳マッスルパーク OPEN.. which is good because they just opened it. This one I hope stays for a while. It's better built and is more affordable by comparison to Odaiba's outrageous pricing structure.

All-Star Toshihiro Takeda 竹田敏浩 on the Ultimate Cliffhanger アルティメットクリフハンガー in the new Chitose Muscle Park ©PureBlog

I'm hoping for good news soon.. Right now I'm worried that Monster 9 is liquidating assets.. Let's to hoping that it's not the case and they are just streamlining in this economy. I can use some good news right now. I just wish Monster 9 would break it's silence.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sasuke Mania Website is BACK!

Loading Screen to Sasuke Mania

Update 9/15/10: Ube tells me this message was the goodbye message for the mobile site shutting down (the same one he blogged about last month).

Update 9/16/10: Website returned with new news! Thank.. GOD!

Update 9/17/10: Ube finds out why the page went down in the first place.

********

SASUKEサイト終了のお知らせ

平素よりSASUKEをご愛顧いただき、誠にありがとうございます。
全てのサービスは、2010年8月31日をもちまして、終了させていただくことになりました。
会員の皆様におかれましては、これまで長らくご愛顧いただき、誠にありがとうございました。

2010年8月31日
株式会社デジタルナイン

*******

(Google Translation)

Termination of Site SASUKE

SASUKE than usual to you for your patronage, Thank you.
All services, 31 August 2010 gentlemen, now that you will be terminated.
Members are urged to everyone, the patronage long before you, Thank you very much.

August 31, 2010

####################################

お問い合わせ

■サイト終了に関するお問い合わせ
受付時間
平日(11:00~18:00)

メールでのお問い合わせ
info@sasukemania.jp

電話でのお問い合わせ
03-5469-5646

****

(Google Translation)

Contact Us

■ Site Inquiry ends
Hours
Weekdays (11:00 to 18:00)

Contact by email
info@sasukemania.jp

Contact by Phone
03-5469-5646

http://www.sasukemania.jp/

I went to check the official website that for a year had all of the information on Sasuke and Sasuke related pictures, results and updates. As you can remember it was one year ago, September 7, 2009 when Monster 9 unveiled their new Sasuke website. It has been evident the past several months that very little has gone on in terms of updates on this site. In late August, 2010 there was one update to update the results with pictures for Sasuke 24 and added Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 's picture as the 3rd Champion of Sasuke.


So far it doesn't look good.. As I mentioned in my previous blog - There's a lot more questions though as to the state of Sasuke NOW than it has been even back in April, 2010 when I first wrote an extensive blog about my concerns. Even with M9 pulling the plug on it's mobile ap it's been pretty much downhill with Sasuke in Japan since even before I wrote the blog. With not a single word from TBS or Monster 9 about the state of Sasuke, the indefinite delay of Sasuke, the cancellation of the mobile ap and now the cancellation of the official Sasuke website.. things are not looking good for another Sasuke in Japan.

Friday, September 10, 2010

No update on Sasuke 26

Daytime shot of Sasuke's Final tower in Sasuke 25 ©Lee En Chi リー・エンチ

I've been getting a LOT of mail about the state of Sasuke 26. I've been trying to get information on the state of Sasuke 26 now for about.. hmm.. 3 months? I'm afraid it's like pulling teeth. Fact of the matter is that Sasuke is not taping September, 2010 as was originally planned. Outside of that one email I got way back in April, 2010 from Monster 9 assuring me that the show has not been canceled there has been no more word from Monster 9 as to the state of Sasuke 26. Trust me.. I email a lot but no response has come back.

The final shot of Sasuke 25 on TBS

What we know now is very little. The original date was projected to be around September, 2010. Everything from competitors being told this back at the end of Sasuke 25 to even as recently as June/July when G4 was propagating that rumor with their ANW2 application. As the months wore on another rumor pushed the tournament to October, 2010 but with no update directly from either Monster 9 (the creators of the show) or TBS (Tokyo Broadcast System which is the Distributor) it's impossible to know for sure if there even will be a Sasuke 26 let alone this year. If it is October, 2010 Monster 9 has done nothing to promote that date on either of their websites. TBS will only post on their website when a final airdate is being promoted. Fans and competitors alike around the world are just as confused as to the no news given that by now we figured we'd at least hear SOME news out of M9. Japan especially has been on edge given that unlike the Americans, they have not had a Sasuke Trials yet for Sasuke 26. USA is the only place there has been a trials and there still is no word on whether the scheduled Trials in Taiwan ever came to fruition.

Brian Orosco ブライアン・オロスコ, Levi Meeuwenberg リーヴァイ・ミューエンバーグ (with original number) and Lee En Chi リー・エンチ during Sasuke 25

With the heavy promotion of ANW2 (even in Japan) it was thought that it would possibly be followed by a Sasuke 26 quickly in it's heels. G4TV even had on their application a possible date revolving around a week in the middle of September as a target date for competitors entering ANW2 to be available for taping in Japan for the tournament Sasuke 26. That.. would make it this week. Obviously by now we know that's not just not happening now.. if it is.. there's a whole bunch of regulars who would be missing out on it.

Training at Arashida's camp ©Kouji Hashimoto 橋本亘司

In the meantime it's been full steam ahead for training in Japan. Would be competitors, newbies and former STQ'ers (Sasuke Trial Qualifiers) have sent their applications for consideration provided there even is a Sasuke 26. Monster 9 has updated their SasukeMania site with an new Monster 9 address (which serves as the destination for said applications) and as has been from the start, there is an ongoing call for applications on their site. What's funny is that I emailed TBS about Sasuke 26 and even they sent an automated (what I call "canned") response that sent me an address to send my application to.. yeah.. me.. LOL obviously they didn't read the email and just saw "Sasuke and hit an auto response".

Training at Kishimoto's camp ©Shinya Kishimoto 岸本 真弥

There's a lot more questions though as to the state of Sasuke NOW than it has been even back in April, 2010 when I first wrote an extensive blog about my concerns. Even with M9 pulling the plug on it's mobile ap it's been pretty much downhill with Sasuke in Japan since even before I wrote the blog. Their own stars don't even know the fate of Sasuke when by now they should have either been recording it or planning for it. Given how fragile the show is now.. it's not helping them be calm about the situation.. all they can do is train and be ready.

Triple Rangers goofing off in Muscle Park ©Hirotsugu Kobayashi 小林 博嗣

Possible solutions would be to actually do a press release and explain the situation. Communication going a long way towards easing the fear of it's intended audience. In the past there has been massive gaps between tournaments. Sasuke 16 was aired on December, 2005 (after being the 3rd of that year! (Sasuke 14 was in January, 2005, Sasuke 15 was in July, 2005 and of course Sasuke 16 in December, 2005)). The next tournament wasn't until October, 2006 (10 months later) and the only Sasuke to be taped/aired in Japan for the calendar year 2006 . That tournament was Sasuke 17.. and we know how that tournament turned out. I'm hoping that with this precedent we have hopes that even with a delay there will be another Sasuke. The only fear I have is that it has already been 8 months from the taping of Sasuke 25 and 7 months from the airing..


Sasuke Stars having fun with the Warped Wall during ANW2©travisio2010

We all know that TBS is the key to the issue here. If you don't understand, I'll explain why. TBS gives Monster 9 a list of dates available for taping. After all, it's the TBS lot that has to be rented, TBS also helps finance the event by helping build the course, TBS gets the sponsors to buy advertising during Sasuke, TBS is also the distributor and it is their television station that allots time to show Sasuke in the first place. Getting blocks of 3-4 hours of time to show an infrequent variety show poses some challenges especially considering how busy this time of year is in Japanese television. It's also difficult this year given the economic recession (especially in Japan where TBS is cutting down even in their own programming in lieu of cheaper produced content). The longer it takes to slot that time the more likely it is that we will not see Sasuke this year. After all, Holiday events are booked well in advance. While it is entirely possible that they may have it pushed to next year it would be nice if some announcement was made. Otherwise.. those of us who fear a cancellation are given no reason to stop thinking this way with a tournament that was delayed indefinitely given the dismal ratings from Sasuke 25 in Japan.

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