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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Sasuke related updates - Sasuke Europe, Sasuke 31, Tokyo Otaku Mode

 2015 Osaka Auditions ©TBS
As I mentioned before, the 2015 Sasuke Auditions have concluded.  These were the final Japan auditions for the upcoming Sasuke 31 tournament.  The first audition was held in Osaka, Japan which took place on Saturday, April 4th.  The format of the auditions was the same as last year (and Sasuke 28's actually) which comprised of Push-ups, 30 second appeal and finally Q&A.  Each hopeful would be assigned a number and told to wait until their number was called. A group of hopefuls would gather in a room where buzzers were placed on the floor.  The groups (I believe of 30) would have to perform push ups in time with the beat of a Taiko drum that was operated by one of the production staff.  Previous auditions had the max at 100 beats (or 100 push ups), though many dropped out well before that. If your knees hit the ground then your counter was stopped and the amount was recorded as completed.  Those in Osaka were treated to the cheering of Sasuke All-star (Mr. Sasuke) Katsumi Yamada 山田勝己. He lives in that area of Japan and shows up every year to cheer on his Tigers. He even took part in the push-up portion.  At the completion of the first group, another group of 30 would be called to do the same thing until they went through all of the invited hopefuls.  They then had to pray that their number was called to continue on through the Interview section of the audition (which I'll explain below).
 2015 Tokyo Auditions ©TBS

The next (and final stop) was in the capital city of Tokyo, Japan.  The Sasuke 31 production team held a one day audition the following weekend on Saturday, April 11th.  Continuing with the explanation of the process, after the hopefuls were evaluated based on the push ups, they then had to wait to see if they passed to the interview stage.  The interview stage was set up in 2 parts. The first was where you were given a "30 second appeal".  This where you are given literally 30 seconds to "sell yourself" directly to a camera within a foot of your face.  This is of course to simulate being recorded on set by the roving reporters..  This is where they gauged your personality and television appeal and quickness of delivery.  Once that was done each hopeful got back in line to wait to see if their number was called again for a more in-depth interview.

 2015 Osaka Auditions - Interview segment ©TBS

Hopefuls were evaluated based on the push ups and then the 30 second appeal and then finally a Q&A with the production staff (in front of Sasuke Director Masato Inui controlling the questions). They would go over your application and asked specific questions to gauge your personality, television appeal, confidence and general interest.  This is after all a television production so this is where they weed out the last bit of people.  No one is immediately told how they did after this.  What waits for them now is a long (and agonizing) wait to hear if they are selected to appear in Sasuke 31.  Each of the invites will be notified (usually email but sometimes phone call) from TBS officially inviting them to the show.  This won't happen (I presume) for another couple of weeks.  As you know already, Sasuke Vietnam is currently being built with production upcoming very fast (the final trials and filming are next week).  That same team headed by Inui has to go to Vietnam first before they go back to Japan to prepare for Sasuke.  So it makes sense that Auditions were held a bit earlier to accommodate that change in schedule. So it could be May (since Vietnam won't even finish taping until almost the 2nd week of May) before they even hear if they are accepted to take part in the 31st tournament.

Tomohiro Kawaguchi 川口 朋広 (left) Shinya Kishimoto 岸本 真弥 (center) and Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介(right)

Speaking of Sasuke 31, I'm in preparations for the trip! Again thanks to all of you IndieGogo Fundraising Campaign Supporters I'll be going to Japan this year for Sasuke 31! I'm super excited!  I ordered and received the printed photos I'm taking to Japan with me in order to be signed.  Remember that you can still order these if you want since IndieGogo has the page set up to still receive donations. There still is time if you wanted an autograph from these three wonderful Sasuke Stars.  I ordered a bunch of these just in case that happens. I wanted to be prepared! If the perks run out (since I have listed as 5 each), I can add a few more lots. I'll gauge how much people are interested in the autograph photos at this stage.

 Dentsu Aegis Network Logo ©Dentsu

Up next is basically tech news involving Sasuke (Japan) and TBS.  TBS International (which is the world-wide advertising arm of TBS Corporate) posted an article on their main page and then linked a  few articles from different sources on their Facebook on a potentially HUGE shift involving Format Rights in Europe.

April 13, 2015, Cannes, France –
Today on the first day of MIPTV in Cannes, France, TBS and Dentsu announced they have entered into a format rights agreement for the sports entertainment program “SASUKE.” Under this agreement, Dentsu acquires the rights to sell the format throughout Europe (excluding four Northern European countries) for two years. By marketing “SASUKE” in Europe, Dentsu will help TBS build on the high popularity and momentum the format currently enjoys around the world.

I'm still trying to gather information on this but it seems that TBS and Dentsu Aegis (a huuuuuuge advertising .. giant) have teamed up to promote Sasuke (SPECIFICALLY SASUKE) in Europe.  The multimillion dollar deal is for 2 years and affects all of Europe except for key regions which should perk your interest.

Under the terms of the agreement Dentsu Inc. will acquire rights to the format in Europe (excluding Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland) with The Story Lab building on the popularity and momentum the format currently enjoys around the world.

The regions exempt.. are all of those that already have Ninja Warrior Europe.  The ones from Ninja Warrior Europe if you remember involve Eccholine and ATS (currently the builder of American Ninja Warrior in the United States and all of the ANW Spin offs - Sweden, Turkey and the most recent, United Kingdom). I'm assuming the other regions listed as exemptions are upcoming tournaments already in pre-production with the same team that currently aren't announced. They might have spoiled the surprise in their press release. LOL

Remember my previous article about why I wasn't blogging about the other ANW spin offs?  This press release may be a direct answer to my concern about the ANW spin offs NOT mirroring the Sasuke "format".  THIS might greatly change the landscape with TBS taking control of Sasuke worldwide and spreading THAT format into Europe.  Only time will tell exactly what is involved and what specific format we are talking about.  If Sasuke Vietnam's format is any indication, this could be a HUGE deal for the hardcore Sasuke fans who prefer the original Japanese version rather than the American Spin off version that's much smaller in the satellite countries.  TBS could be expanding it's control while spreading the one show I love into territory that doesn't have it.  I personally prefer Sasuke's 4-stage "Steel Castle" (the proper name for Sasuke filmed at Midoriyama Studios) being built by TBS (the same team that builds Sasuke Japan's course) on European soil rather than the small 2-stage ANW regionals course in the region of the world.  This deal does not affect American Ninja Warrior at all. That is it's own deal with NBC and that won't be going anywhere. I'm personally excited and look forward to what this deal will turn out to be.  This will also help address the problem of all of those foreigners whom have been wanting to get on the Sasuke course but because Sasuke only holds 100 people and most of them Japanese.  At least Dentsu's size and reputation makes me believe that THIS will be at least in the scale I hope for. Keeping finger's crossed!  P.S. I'm curious if it will involve spreading Sasuke Rising officially into those areas..  I hope so....

 Tokyo Otaku Mode Logo ©Tokyo Otaku Mode

Next is actually from last month but since it's still in standby mode it didn't matter when I wrote about this.  ANOTHER concern of mine may be dealt with soon™. Back in March, TBS International posted a press release about their future partnership with Tokyo Otaku Mode.  A giant website that sells Japanese pop culture products worldwide (in fact their main offices is in the USA).  Their Facebook alone has 17 million likes to give you a heads up on the scale of production.

In addition, TBS plans to market via TOMPS products based on the “SASUKE” sports entertainment program, which continues to win passionate fans around the world.

While their anime section is open to sell TBS based anime products, the Sasuke section is still not available. No date has been announced for its opening but as soon as I find out, trust me.. I'll let you know! Right now, unless you live in Japan and can buy select merchandise from their clunky TBS page, you've been pretty much s.o.l. in getting anything officially licensed Sasuke worldwide. My hope is that this is the start of Sasuke merchandise FINALLY being sold to us foreigners! I'm running out of fingers to cross!!

 Sasuke All-star (Mr. Sasuke) Katsumi Yamada 山田勝己

Earlier yesterday I saw on my Twitter feed a retweet of a hilarious YouTube commercial that is going around in Japan right now. It features Sasuke All-star (Mr. Sasuke) Katsumi Yamada 山田勝己 as a car in various forms.  Oricon published an article and corresponding commercial on Youtube that featured Katsumi and an 18 year old Japan Idol.  Oricon is an entertainment firm (and not a car company) so it makes the commercial even funnier!

And finally, as some of you already noticed, I updated my site with a new banner retiring the 6 year banner and ushering in the 7 year banner! I can't believe time has flown!  March, 2008 was the start of it all and here we are in 2015 and it's still going strong! How much this blog has grown as well in that time period! SQUEEEEEEE!  I also tried to streamline the website so it wasn't as clunky, along with another attempt to monetize the site with small adds and promotions from various companies.  I'm also going to be updating and maintaining my Youtube Channel with videos of the Japan trip and hopefully adding more content on that to supplement the blog in the long-run. I'm also still on twitter for my personal day to day ramblings.  The bigger stuff though will still be on my blog.  Thanks so much for the support guys. I still can't believe how often you all return and support my rambling about this show!


ad uk said...

I'm surprised they don't just copy Hitoshi Kanno and put merchandise on that international website.
It would be interesting to see a massive 4 stage course built in Europe. Unfortunately I just can't see UK doing anything outside. They like the controlled environment of a studio. I personally think the obstacles lose a sense of scale when crammed in to a building.And the weather changing makes for additional drama. Jordan Jovtchev would of made it if it wasn't raining.

Arsenette said...

Giggles. Yeah.. it's not like the UK is known for actually balmy weather without the occasional omg it's raining outside wtf it's not foggy.. wait is that more rain? outside.. :D

I'm still surprised this is happening. Looks like a war brewing.. seriously passing popcorn though.

Unknown said...

Does the prior arrival of Ninja Warrior UK preclude us from ever seeing a real Sasuke UK? T_T
There was a guy named Yoshi from TBS International (I think) hanging around NWUK2, chatted with him briefly though I'm not sure exactly what he was doing there. The event ITV and ATS put on is fairly entertaining I guess but it's not the format I love and have watched for years.

Arsenette said...

Eccholine has rights territory to the UK so you are correct that Sasuke will not be introduced there. Itv wants a smaller course that fits in a building and ANW fits that format. ATS who built ANW is also involved not including the Japan team. TBS still gets royalties since it owns the license.