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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

USA vs JAPAN - NBC ANW5 Special - Part 1

Well, I promised I would blog this. For the record most people know I don't like the NBC presentation of American Ninja Warrior.  It's a personal preference and it's personally not my preference.  I don't like the show and haven't watched it since it's first ANW from 5 years ago. I hate NBC.  They are so desperate to turn this into a reality show (a forma I despise) but I hate them more since because of them we will never get Sasuke in the USA ever again. Ninja Warrior is now dead according to NBC so as a result no one around the world will ever see Ninja Warrior again.  And as a consequence we will never see another American (G4/NBC/Comcast sponsored) on Sasuke ever again.  They have boycotted Sasuke Rising because they think ANW is more important.  I hate NBC for that.  The only reason why I'm watching or blogging at all is because it has the Japanese competitors in the event.  That's it.  Again for the record, I hate NBC, I don't hate the competitors in the show.  They have no control how NBC misrepresents them and they are also at the mercy of NBC's whims when it comes to their now boycott of USA competitors in past and future Sasuke tournaments  in Japan.

With that out of the way let's get on with the show.  I only took a few of the screenshots since NBC is love with their fluff pieces and fast-paced ADD presentations.  You get the gist of the fact that Sasuke Japan has been in existence for over 16 years.

Mount Midoriyama is a television studio lot that TBS owns.  It's not even a mountain. It's a flat piece of land with a parking lot and a BMX course... The name itself means "Green Mountain" and some idiot in G4 decided to add the Mount in front of the name in the many years of translational errors that plagued the original Ninja Warrior broadcast.

So I'll let NBC own up to the name Mt. Midoriyama (which now literally means Mount Mount Green /facepalm - guys you don't call Paramount a redundant name like Mount Paramount.. do you?) since it's a joke to any Japanese speaking person.  They literally find this hysterically funny that they own up to a translational mistake. NBC is a joke so it serves them right.

Sasuke Veteran "Kongu" Kenji Takahashi 高橋 賢次

At least we get to see Kongo screaming with a BIG ASS Sasuke sign behind him.  For the record, Sasuke 2011 - which is Sasuke 27 for us, is the last time the USA has legally seen Sasuke.   It is also the last tournament that NBC actually has a copy of since G4 bought it before Monster 9 went bankrupt.

Shingo competing during the 1999 clip

What followed was a very quick run of the 16 years in clips (this one being Shingo) from the original TBS broadcast.  Funny how they didn't bother showing "Ninja Warrior" anywhere near this. LOL

And magically they speed up reaaaally fast to the present day.. wait.. is that a bootleg copy of Sasuke Rising?  That totally is.. they totally hijacked our copy of Sasuke 29.. LOL!!!!!!!  You seriously think we wouldn't notice the image quality change? LOL!!!!!!! No wonder they didn't bother showing a lot of footage of it... they never bought the footage to begin with since they had no intention of ever showing it in the USA.

Sasuke All-Star Kazuhiko Akiyama 秋山 和彦 winner of Sasuke 4

Anyway NBC reminding us that there have only been 3 winners of Sasuke Japan.  This is actually one of my favorite competitors of all time.

Sasuke All-Star Makoto Nagano 長野誠 winner of Sasuke 17

Arguably the most famous of the Sasuke competitors - Makoto Nagano. And for those bitching that Nagano wasn't there.. he was at home caring for his wife and new baby son since Taiou was born premature. He was forced-delivered early since they couldn't hear his heartbeat a few times.

Nagano family photo!
 Proud mother Asami 阿紗 美 along with husband Sasuke Legend Makoto Nagano 長野誠 with their sons Kaiou 塊王 and Taiou 太皇 ©Makoto Nagano

For those who are confused when this happened.. it was the Final day (Sunday) of the Las Vegas taping of American Ninja Warrior 5 back in June 23, 2013.  His new baby Taiou was born June 16, 2013. He wasn't about to leave his wife and child during a very scary and dangerous event.  Kudos to Makoto for being a good daddy!

Leader of the New Stars Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 (or for me (Cliffer #3) winner of Sasuke 24 and Sasuke 27

Aahahahahaha they totally called him the way I do.  Yuuji!  By his first name!  Yep we are being watched! LOL  Anyway he's not an All-star. They came up with a totally different and appropriate moniker: Shin Sedai (新世代) literally "New Generation" (some call them the "New Stars" deriving from the Allstars).

Ah.. one of my favorite moments - The ceremonial toss into the water of Makoto Nagano by the Sasuke All-stars at the end of Sasuke 17.  The only appropriate time to toss someone into the water.. after a win.

Fellow finalist and New Star Ryo Matachi (Cliffer #2) 又地諒 yelling his support of his fellow cliffer's (Yuuji) win in Sasuke 27.

Yuuji's win during Sasuke 27

And because NBC will never accept that G4 did FOUR other American Ninja Challenge competitions/events, this is the birth of ANW1 (Technically ANC5)

I'm sure Brian Arnold is a great guy (he totally looks it). I hope they didn't throw him in the water.  He did a great job getting as far as he did in ANW5 especially since he had to do it twice thanks to the crappy course that broke apart in his own hands! LOL

No I don't live in Chicago! LOL Thanks to those who made this copy (for screencap purposes) possible!  You totally rock! Oh yeah the overhead shot of the entire course lit up at night.  The only time they ever taped. LOL

Travis Rosen (top) / Shingo Yamamoto (bottom)

NBC doing what they can to tie both courses together.  They are trying.. they really are!  We are getting head to head match ups.  Ya'll already know how much I despise these.  It's not Sasuke but I'm beating a dead horse already so on with the show!

Brent Steffensen (top) / Ryo Matachi (bottom)

Hey NBC!  The Ultimate Cliffhanger is soooo 2011!  Get with the program! It's Crazy Cliffhanger era! LOL

Team Japan
Shin Sedai (新世代) literally "New Generation"
(some call them the "New Stars" deriving from the Allstars)
Ryo Matachi (Cliffer #2) 又地諒, 2-Time Grand Champion Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 (Cliffer #3), Hitoshi Kanno 菅野仁志, Sasuke All-star Shingo Yamamoto 山本進悟 and Kazuma Asa 朝一眞

Team USA
James McGrath, Brent Steffensen, Brian Arnold, Paul Kasemir and Travis Rosen

Asa the total Spazz showing his passion

Hitoshi Kanno passing Stage 2 again in Sasuke Japan

And Metal Spin Cam™

American Announcers:  Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbaja-Biamila

Bragging rights trophy

Team USA pumped up for the start of the event.

I already went through the rules in the previous blog.

Here's the points system

Seems Team Japan won the coin toss and elected to go 2nd.  So we start with Team USA in Stage 1

Star of the USA team - Brian Arnold

Oh.. I see how they are doing this. I don't like the mixing of events.  Brian is a vet of the ANW course. He's never been to Midoriyama though.  Only MOUNT Midoriyama which is different. Still a great accomplishment, however it's not the same thing.  3 guys on his team have been to BOTH.

A much more subdued Team Japan who had a rough few days in the USA.

2-Time Grand Champion Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 (Cliffer #3)

Team Japan's star is the 2-Time Grand Champion of the Sasuke Japan course.  This is his 2nd time in ANW but the first time actually competing on the course and not prelims.

Yuuji won this in Sasuke 24

Then repeated in Sasuke 27

Definitely more subdued.  I assume figuring out who's going in what order for stage 1.

This is about as much emotion as you'll get!

NBC's (ehem) first match up (more on that later)

Aww he doesn't work at the Ice Cream parlor anymore?
Who the hell is James McGrath is first!

A TRUE Midoriyama vet.  He was part of the dominating USA team back in Sasuke 27 making it all the way to Sasuke's Third Stage.

  James McGrath ジェームス・マクグラス

Accomplished in both obstacle courses is James McGrath

NBC and their fluff pieces!  Back ANW3 (the last of the cooperative events with TBS) James as a walk on to the Venice qualifying.

That earned him the right to compete in Japan in Sasuke 27 (Not Mount.. not mount..). 

His nickname is "The Beast"

Another shot of James in Japan.  Ah.. the good old times.. Sad it's no longer like that.  Damn politics.

NBC trumping up the rivalry that doesn't exist. LOL

We're just as good yo! Go team USA!

LOL NBC totally milking that 2011 footage they paid for.  That's Sasuke 27's Third Stage in Japan.

LOL how many times did they make them pose like that?

Okay finally his first stage run!

No.. he's the 29 Time Sasuke Veteran. Omg this Mount thing is driving me nuts.  This is going to be a looooooong 2 hours. And people wonder why I didn't watch the 12 weeks during the summer?

Okay and we're off!  Copy and paste from my preview blog:

These are the "Timbers".. which is a bastardized version of Sasuke 23's Jūnidantobi (十二段跳び) which means 12 steps but G4 named Twelve Timbers for the Ninja Warrior broadcast. So, because there aren't twelve and they are married to the horrible name.. they just called it the Timbers.

James demonstrating the "Giant Cycle" which is new to Ninja Warrior in General.  Cycle of course short for bicycle since it has a wheel. Man this thing is huge.. James is a big guy and he looks the same size as this thing!

And because NBC wasn't told of the horrible injuries on the Rope Glider ロープグライダー from Sasuke 18..  (including someone put in traction..) here it is in ANW5.  Hope no one was injured on it this time around.

James doing well landing on the very colorful Jumping Spider ジャンピングスパイダー  with a nice time already on the clock. Curious if the arrows screwed up people's depth perception?

Again.. that's a very SOLID platform on the Half-Pipe Attack ハーフパイプアタック.  Notice the non-cushy landing.. yeah.. ouch. Who thought of that? It was bad enough with people breaking their ankles on the cushioned Half Pipe Attack.. now they make it solid wood?

Oh.. a balk at the first wall attempt. I still can't believe this wall is flat..
This is the Warped Wall (in Japan it's known as the Soritatsu Kabe そり立つ壁) with a very non-warped bottom.. (chuckles)

James made it up the wall on his 2nd try.

Why does Brian Arnold look like someone farted?

Whoops totally forgot to screencap an obstacle. Oh well we'll see it later.  James already at the final obstacle.  It's technically 2 obstacles in Japan (Tarzan Rope and Rope Ladder) but I really don't care right now LOL

The Rope Ladder ロープラダー is is the last obstacle of the first stage. i always call this thing the Rope Wall.. but I digress again.  James gets a good high reach on the wall.

James relieved to have a good time of 1 minute and 16 seconds.

Ryo totally crushed at the time.  It's difficult to tell what they are looking at as this presentation on NBC is all over the damn map.  I know the order the Japanese went.. and this match up didn't happen until later so who the hell knows what he's being shown covering his face for.

The smell must have dissipated :)

That Half Pipe attack friggin hard platform scares the hell out of me..

Man this guy is gigantic!

Sasuke All-star Shingo Yamamoto 山本進悟 who seems pumped to be on stage in the USA

.. THE GOD FATHER???  He's in the MAFIA now??

Don Corleone: I'm gonna make him an offer he won't refuse. Okay? I want you to leave it all to me. Go on, go back to the party.

Shingo was 23 years old when he first appeared in Sasuke back in 1997.

He's been in every single tournament ever since.

This is his new poodle "Coconut".  Sadly Sasuke the Poodle is no longer with us.

Shingo is a co-owner of a car repair shop (chain?  I lost track), he also is about to open a new gym and even manages hotels.. he's one busy bee ever since retiring from managing gas stations!

NBC finds this new news but he's been married to Eiko 英子 for about 10 years now.  You know.. we have seen Ninja Warrior before.. I'm sure it was mentioned there.. years ago..
(Edit: They've been married for 13 years.  They married in July, 2000)

Oh my brain hurts when NBC tries to do a biography on people they know nothing about.

In the meantime let's see clips of Shingo leaving his spleen on the wall and other obstacles.

NBC rocking the bootleg copy of Sasuke Rising.. you know.. the one that wasn't aired in the USA?

So since he went with the TBS program of retiring on camera he had to show that he was desperate to come back.  You know television politics..

So they showed him training his ass off to earn his way back to the show since Takeda declared he was coming back on camera despite being forced retired. LOL

Hot damn Shingo has the power to go back in time!  He trained his ass off to return to the past to compete in Sasuke 27!  Go Shingo! Whoot!

 Once and All-star.. always an All-Star..
Sasuke All-Star Shingo Yamamoto 山本進悟 

Lemme help you NBC.. you didn't show this because it has SASUKE RISING on the damn moniker behind him.  You know.. the tournament you are boycotting now that ANW is making you money?  Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

Because I'm not bitter or anything..

You bet your ass I'm showing the clips of the Japanese stars here.

A true television veteran knows what he has to say for the camera.

I'm already digressing as Shingo was the not the first guy to compete for Japan.. but onwards!




That's one hell of a fall down to that mat. I didn't see the other shows.. did anyone get hurt landing on the platform from dropping so high up?

Looks like a candy cane explosion especially with Japan being red and white. LOL!

Shingo's foot slipped as he's hauling across the air now.

Dammit his hat is on so he has to do some ridiculous fail on this cursed obstacle right?

They strangely don't seem too surprised right now LOL


He's attempting to run up the wall on his SOCKS!

He has no friggin' hope to go up this wall with zero traction.

Okay I officially love James McGrath.  The true Sasuke spirit is not a competition between people.. it's against the course. So, he's not happy with what is going on even though he knows he beat his time.

I swear I knew Shingo was going to screw something up spectacularly. Oy vey.

A mixture of disbelief and "that's my Shingo" along with a hint of odor it seems LOL

at least he tried and didn't give up

And it's over.  First match up to USA for the first stage head to head.

Dammit.. we forgot about the Shingo Hat Theory™ (for those who don't know it, if Shingo still has his hat ON he will fail the first stage.  If it falls off during it, he will pass the first stage.  This was a theory developed by my husband years ago when watching Sasuke.)

Hat on.. USA wins match up. wait.. no interview?  Damn you NBC..

Maybe they need some airspray or something?  I recommend Glade Plugins.

Let's see that again™.  (Channeling my inner Marv Albert).  He overshot the landing and tried to slow himself down.. with the heels of his feet.

Scraping off both shoes, the left one falls in the water and the right one is hanging on to his toes. He later removes it and places it on the landing pad.

Oh Shingo.. this obstacle is totally cursed isn't it?
Shingo Yamamoto - Death by Time up on Warped Wall (exacerbated by Shingoism™)

Okay Match 3.. no wait.. match 2.. ehem..

Up next is Laser Guns!

Awww he's punching his face to psyche himself up!

Former Sasuke Finalist and New Star Hitoshi Kanno 菅野仁志,
Wait.. "The Muscle"??

NBC totally showing me why they went with this moniker.  Better than the stupid Godfather moniker though..

Kanno is a former finalist (Sasuke 23).

Oh I had like 10 different NSFW comments about this screenshot.

aww no mention of his girlfriend/wife/mother of his child

His name is Yuuto 雄仁 ©Hitoshi Kanno

I already mentioned that since this taping back in June, Hitoshi became a father and husband.  His baby was born in November, 2013.

Oh wait that's right.. this was LAST YEAR

Again they are using the old footage from 2011 when G4 still bought the show

The many looks of Hitoshi Kanno

This was back in Sasuke 23 when he made the final stage.

Again from Sasuke 23

Hey at least they bothered doing a fluff piece even if it's horribly outdated.

Hitoshi Kanno 菅野仁志 up next in the 3rd.. er.. 2nd match up!


LOL He's so short

Man this obstacle still freaks me out

Ryo still cracking me up. Still strange to see this again after they already spoiled 90% of his run a couple days ago.

These lines are totally freaking out my eyes.

Seriously.. who's farting that Brian Arnold is still grimacing?

Safe landing!

No problems with the wall on the first shot! (now comes new footage! LOL)

That's a shame that they totally changed one of my favorite obstacles and made them.. spongy..
This is the Cannonball Run from Viking.. er.. Spin Bridge スピンブリッジ from Sasuke.. no wait.. it's the Spinning Bridge since they were inspired by Spongebob.

Asa jumping out of his seat since apparently there are no monitors they can stare at.

And onwards to the Rope Wall Ladder!

pretty low on the wall actually

He's relieved to be the first to clear the first stage after 3.. er.. 2 runs of the Japanese.

A true vet knows where the cameras are! LOL

Heh I moved a couple pics round.  It's obvious they were talking to each other from a distance.

LOL that's funny

Check out my guns!  Zap! Bzzzap! Bzzzap!
Hitoshi Kanno - FIRST STAGE CLEAR!

.. since I was 3rd to run..

Because it was.. LOL

Yay they showed the interpreter!

And this is what I like about the competitors.  They really don't care that NBC is making it a competition between them.. it's about how you compete against the course.  Good job guys!

LOL Paul making it almost impossible to get a good screenshot of him.

Paul is up next for Team USA

While NBC concentrates on his ANW career.. I'm more enamored with his Sasuke Career. He's been in 2 Sasuke competitions and made it to the Third Stage TWICE!

Paul Kasemir ポール・キャゼミア

He is right. Most people don't think of him as an athlete when they look at him. But don't let that deceive you, he's friggin' consistent.

Sweet! He teaches Tango?

I remember him from 2010 when he drove all the way to Venice Beach in hopes of a walk-on spot to ANW2.

And made it all the way to the Third Stage of Sasuke 26!

ANW5 stuff I didn't watch. LOL

How many places did they make them pose for the camera? LOL Damn NBC and their love for fluff pieces LOL

Again more ANW5 stuff I didn't watch.

Aahahaahahah James totally cheesing for the camera! I wonder if he got yelled at?

Okay finally at the start line for the 3rd.. er.. 2nd match up!




suddenly that shot looks obscene.. I must be tired..

Kanno looking on anxiously since this is the deciding match.. er.. not.. nothing to see here..


Eeeeeeeep.. hang in there..

Unlike Sasuke that rope is really low..  so he has to be careful not to scrape the water.

Nice recovery!

Maybe HE is passing a stone?

OOOOOONE handed!

Flying across the sponges!

Kanno is really getting nervous..

Wow this is going to be close...

not terrible.. but he's got to haul up that wall.

Aaaaannd.. he DOES it!

Holy crap I did it!

And Japan loses the first Stage.. no wait.. sorry .. spoiler..

He's totally crushed.

Yuuji totally dejected

Yeah yeah.. technically according to television editing this is the "2nd".

Through the power of television we are now in the 1st.. er.. 3rd match... sorta..

Next up is Showboat!

Brent Steffensen ブレント・ステッフェンセン is up next

You already know my feelings about showboating so I'm moving on :)

NBC reminding us of his struggles to make it in Hollywood

And his current occupation.. is it an occupation?  I guess it is? Doesn't matter.

More Team USA and apparently James got yelled at LOL

A restrained Brent at least doing his hand signal!

These shirts should look familiar!

Hitoshi feeding his son Yuuto ©Hitoshi Kanno






Nice landing

First shot up the wall!

Cannonball Run

I wonder if anyone missed the wall before since it's sooooooo slanted?

Clear with emphasis!

Stone safely passed!

Amazing editing job on that interview.. LOL!
Brent Steffensen - FIRST STAGE CLEAR!

And starting our day.. er.. 3rd.. oh who knows at this point LOL
I'm still annoyed at how they butcher his name...

Not even sure what he's smiling at since we have no idea when this was recorded in the night LOL

And through the magic of television... he's back in the lineup LOL

Yeah yeah..

Okay finally back to the beginning of the night.. up next is Kazuma Asa (emphasis on KAH.. not Zoo)

New Star Kazuma Asa 朝一眞

Definitely one of the most colorful competitors in Sasuke

.. "The Speed Demon"? they are running out of nicknames..

I actually ignore the records in Sasuke since each of the First stages are totally different lengths.. but it's neither here nor there.

At least they like him for the same reason that I do, he shows his emotions.

I'm just happy he is a Shin Sedai and invited to travel representing the group abroad.

Asa is a tree trimmer.. not a gardener.

LOL he looks like a deer in the headlights.

One of the many signs on his back.  This one was from Sasuke 27.
魂:meaning spirit or soul, so his back is meant to read "The spirit of Sasuke or the soul of Sasuke".

And the now famous Sasuke pants

Injury from training earlier in Vegas

Ah yes.. the reminder that NBC will butcher the Olympics next! (That's why I watch online streaming of other country's broadcasts. LOL)



And the holy crap moment™ of the First stage!

Not a good Start of Team Japan

Asa trying to figure out wtf just happened

He jumped way too high and smacked his face across the wheel.

This is what I mean by the power of television.  This wasn't during Asa's run.. as you can tell .. since ASA IS ON THE BENCH.. see?

Regardless of how they got it (and they did legitimately), Team USA won the first Stage head to head in the best of 5. I personally do not like the format but .. meh..

Yeah he whiffed on grabbing the wheel and instead found his face

Front view

Good to hear him in the interview.

Offering no excuses.

Just a matter of fact assessment of his overconfidence.

Agreed.  He was being cocky and paid for it.

Obviously being the first run.. I'm sure he didn't think Japan would miss the next 2 runs as well.

Kazuma Asa - Death by Overconfidence Giant Wheel

And with that Stage 1 is complete! Not sure who got the cash prize though.


2D2Will said...

If I remember correctly, only one person failed the Rope Glider in ANW 5, so I doubt anyone was injured. The Sasuke 18 version looks both faster and higher up.

Also, holy crap on the Asa editing error. That's more out-of-order than ANW usually is.

band97 said...

First. Who the hell calls any of them those names? Second. Am I the only one who shit a brick when Asa failed stage 1 and didn't breathe for a solid few minutes. And third. NBC FAIL!!

jenn said...

Quick post, since I'm logged in to the second job: geez, NBC, way to so kindly edit the show to make the Japanese look bad. I'm glad I did spoil myself way back when, so when Asa wasn't the first Japanese run, I knew something was up. (sighs)

On a good bit, though, I found another NW fan at work, so I've offered to get her family caught up on what she's missed in Sasuke Rising (and I'll have to watch it when I get home - I did see most of the first 15 minutes before I came to work yesterday, and didn't catch the bootlegged footage - that alone would be a VERY good reason for TBS to be pissed at NBC).

Arsenette said...

I'll get part 2 up tomorrow.

Thanks William for checking in on that. I think they are about the same height actually just different angle and at night still looks scary to me. The difference also is the drop is much higher in ANW but the run in 18 was much longer with very little room for error on the landing pad.

No idea Band as to who the hell calls them by those names. LOL And yeah I knew Asa was hurt but was told he was okay for a bit so I wasn't as freaked out. The shock was back in June when it happened.

Hey Jenn! You are nuts.. 2 jobs.. hang in there! Yay for another NW fan :) You should know where to find the tourneys to catch up. If not just check the place I always frequent as a hint :)

Unknown said...

Arsenette, it's lok from SMF, and ninja warrior is still shown in Australia, a double or triple episode every weekday

Unknown said...

well, i wouldnt blame asa for failing because being cocky or overconfident. first of all, if theres something you need to compete in sasuke, its confidence, second, he wasnt being cocky, he just did his signature scream and tried to perform well for his team. and also the freaking wheel is a flawed obstacle from exclusive to the retarded anw. i always thought it was a stupid obstacle. its like common sense that a lighter weight person than the americans would gain too much momentum on the trampoline and would smash his face with the wheel. it was just an accident waiting to happen.

Unknown said...

"Hey NBC! The Ultimate Cliffhanger is soooo 2011! Get with the program! It's Crazy Cliffhanger era! LOL"
Did you say Crazy Cliffhanger? You want it, you got it! Go check out the St. Louis Finals! The Crazy Cliffhanger has one ledge on the left side, one ledge on the right side! And to top it off and make it a JOKE of a Crazy Cliffhanger, two small ledges for each hand hanging from the middle above the water! LOL

Anonymous said...

it's called the bastardized CCH!