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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

USA vs World - NBC ANW7 Special - Part 1

Thanks everyone for being patient!  I've been working hard on a few of projects that I'm planning on unveiling soon™ and I procrastinated in taking time away from that to post this blog!  Without further ado I'm back to blogging about this year's American Ninja Warrior 7 Special - USA vs. World special that aired on Sunday, January 31, 2016 on NBC.  I'm  happy to report that many of the things that made me RAGE in last year's special has actually been addressed! Not all.. but it seems the major issues that TBS officially protested last year were fixed for this year.  A few stupid things remain but I'll point them out as I do the blog.

One thing off the bat, I'm happy the music was not as grating this year.  This year the upbeat music that wasn't screaming 'MURICA was a nice change of pace.  One thing of note as I do screenshots, I could not possibly do the entire show this way.  NBC used A LOT of scenes and usual with ANW's broadcast, a cubic boatload of fluff pieces and "coming up" visuals.  I'll try to stay on course and screenshot the general feel for the show instead of doing every single shot.

This year's trophy

Aaaaah gotta milk that really bad Photoshop that NBC payed for last year.. it still looks weird..

Reminder that after the chaos that was the fixing last year, Europe still came out on top.

Really curious how the NBC apology tour is going to be perceived by fans

Because doing THIS within the time limit is a considered to be crowned Champion everywhere else around the world...

A couple of shots of the many NBC did on this opening montage.  This is Ryo.
And.. we got that damn voice again.. seriously folks.. just subtitle it.  You don't run the risk of us screaming at you for making crap up on TOP of a broken English voice.

Making his debut is Tomo.  Those who follow my blog know him quite well.

This shot of Drew's girlfriend was shown like 10 times.. no joke. LOL

The FIRST American Ninja Warrior.  Period

Raise your hand if you're sure!

The Stanley Cup er.. American Ninja Warrior Cup Trophy

This thing is massive.. I'm sure you can see it from space

This year they put names on the teams on the podiums!

Our Hosts again this year.  Man.. they worked overtime.. they had 2 nights of American Ninja Warrior Finals, then USA vs. World and then again the ANW All-Star Special that STILL hasn't aired and we are in friggin' February.  ALL of this was taped back in June, 2015 within a span of a WEEK.

Ah.. what could have been if that Flag on the right would have been in the final.. the way they were supposed to be. Oh well..

So after a minute and a half opening.. I hear Matt already screaming.. This.. is going to be a long 3 hours..

Same format as last year.. head to head competition.. /sigh

Same crappy rules where 1 person from each team goes head to head in "heats" in elimination style. Whoever from the heats wins they get a point for their team.

Same as the First Stage but this time each heat is worth 2 points.

And the same for the Third Stage.

Tiebreaker is the Final Stage Tower

THERE!  Problem solved.... sorta..   You can see them going up at once so no fixing timers!  Of course, they are expecting only two teams tying. It's still progress though.. (unlike last year that should have been a 3-way tie.. this wouldn't have helped. LOL)

Yay this lady's forehead moves! Botox lady from last year got replaced.  Do they have a revolving door on sideline reporters? Seriously.. there is a new one every year..

Overview of the First stage which is virtually identical to the course that the Americans ran just the night before, Europe practiced on but not Japa... okay I'm digressing already..
This is Piston Road.

The Propeller Bar

The Silk Slider

Jumping Spider

Sonic Curve

Warped Wall

Coin Flip

Flying Triple Swing (which apparently they added a trampoline to get to the first jumping bar) and of course.. no timer because it's against one another instead of the course. /facepalm

Team USA this year!

The millionaire winner who is the Second American Ninja Warrior who moved to Vegas since this video was taken..

but first "winner" since he was faster at climbing the rope.

Hmm.. the "other" that climbed the rope.  Granted.. they did say he was one of the First TWO American Ninja Warriors but stopped short of replaying what Akbar said when HE announced he was the FIRST American Ninja Warrior.

Nice touch saying he was the ONLY person to defeat every stage of the competition touching the buzzer in all 6 stages (Regionals/City Finals/4 stages of Vegas).

It's okay NBC.. you can call him American Ninja Warrior Champion.. seriously.. that's all we want since we know you aren't going to give him a single dime at this point.

Fresh from his 3rd Stage performances in both Sasuke 31 and ANW is Drew Dreschel ドリュー・ドレッシェル

Kevin Bull part of the Trio who were in last night's Third Stage

Ian Dory who also was in the Third Stage that was taped the night before this Special

Awkward team pose ftw!  Team Europe

American Tim Shieff from England

Canadian Sean McColl from.. er.. his training country France

Actually from Italy Stefano Ghisolfi who looks TERRIFIED in this video

Actually from England Tim Champion

And also fresh from his Sasuke 31 Second Stage performance is Alexander Mars アレクサンダー・マーズ from Sweden

Just standing here is Team Japan!  This team is comprised of Sasuke 30-31 Top performances.

.. a "stand out from last season"? I mean yes.. he was.. but Seriously.. he's the FRIGGIN REIGNING SASUKE CHAMPION!!!!!!  The FOURTH in 18 YEARS!!! AAAAAAAAAHRGH.. okay.. that didn't last long.. This was my #1 nitpick problem of this season's show..
Sasuke Grand Champion Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介

Returning for this 3rd appearance is Sasuke 27/30 Finalist - Ryo Matachi (Cliffer #2) 又地諒

Sasuke 31 Third Stage Competitor - Veteran Kenji Takahashi 高橋賢次

Sasuke 30-31 Third Stage competitor - Masashi Hioki 日置 将士

Sasuke 30 Finalist/Sasuke 31 Third Stage Competitor - Tomohiro Kawaguchi 川口朋広

They are noting that this team is a lot taller than previous years (specifically Kenji and Tomo).

First heat is set

One of the ANW Champions (curious how they will announce Geoff later..)

Fluff piece (There's a lot of them.. ) though it's funny how these were recorded before Isaac went on the press circuit bad mouthing Geoff.. ah.. the honeymoon is over isn't it?

Anyway we are back as he sprints across Piston Road

Transition on the Propeller bar to the rope

Silk Slider

and down on the Jumping Spider!

Team USA in disbelief

Team Japan stunned.. Hioki is always good for awesome faces.

Isaac Caldiero - Death by Jumping Spider

That angle on that tramp.. too high? Looks weird..

He got a huge jump really high but not far enough forward.

He's just as stunned as we are!

New Generation Star - Ryo Matachi (Cliffer #2) 又地諒

He's had one hell of a year so far.. but that's of course not in the fluff piece. He's coming off of his shocking performance being eliminated in the First Stage of Sasuke 31 (which was only a few short weeks before this event)

Then of course the history of Japan in this event with NBC doing everything they could to not get them on the board.  I'm totally ignoring the translation since I'm not relying it to be correct (especially from some of the previous reports) so I'm doing my own introduction.

Reminder of the first year that was USA vs. Japan

And we know how that went..

The following year (which is technically "last" year for this event) where in USA vs. World Ryo was piiiiiiiiiiiised off that NBC literally rewrote history.  There was quite an uproar in the corporate level as to what happened as a whole with this particular competition.

Hell.. even this celebration was done after everyone else left, the sun came up and someone had to Photoshop darkness to make it look legit.  NBC couldn't accept that Europe won after robbing Japan from that Final Stage Triple tie. I raged enough about that fiasco on my blog.. it's just funny seeing this shot again knowing how Photoshopped that was.

So while the fluff piece makes it look cute that "oh we wanted to do better".. they knew they did and Ryo specifically was royally pissed at how he was treated last year by denying them their results.  So he comes back hoping to erase that horrible memory, along with the one from a couple weeks back (Sasuke 31) and get back on the world stage as the best of Team Japan.

Speaking of Team Japan, people have asked me how they picked this team.  The previous years they picked from the results of a year before and this was no different. It just so happened that the majority of Team Japan made it to the 3rd Stage or better two tournaments in a row.  The American audience doesn't know much about it since NBC has done everything humanly possible to block Sasuke from airing legally in the USA for the past 5 years.

This man's presence in particular is probably really pissing off NBC corporate right now.  The odds of the same year (2015) crowning THREE Ninja Warrior Champions within weeks of each other were astronomically high but here we are.. June, 2015 in Las Vegas the reigning Grand Champion of Sasuke  Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 on the same lot RIGHT after the chaos that was the TWO American Champions (but one prize money) the night before.  So now several months later, NBC is omitting the fact that Sasuke's new champion is here.. no way were they going to share the spotlight with Japan.  Especially since they still refuse to show Sasuke here in the USA. And for the record, TBS did not give NBC any conditions. There was no information embargo.  This was deliberate from NBC to omit this glaring piece of history.

Veteran Kenji Takahashi 高橋賢次 has competed in Sasuke events (including ASEAN Open Cup winning Bronze in the Power Category and Team Silver) for WELL over a decade (16 years). He is the owner of his own delivery company called "KONG EXPRESS".

Sasuke 30-31 Third Stage competitor - Masashi Hioki 日置 将士 He's the usually animated (but looks terrified in this event) and jovial guy who is tasked every tournament to be the first clear. He's usually the man the Sasuke organizers place low (in the mid-30's) on purpose relying on him to the first clear of the tournament ahead of time. He's been that anchor for a few years going all the way to the Third Stage each time. This is his first ever international competition.

Sasuke 30 Finalist and Sasuke 31 Third Stage Competitor - Tomohiro Kawaguchi 川口朋広 is a consistent competitor in Sasuke and coming off of his Final appearance in Sasuke 30, he was well poised to do well in Sasuke 31.  His career has spanned the entire length of my Rambling Rican Blog.  This is his first ever international competition.

We've got Flags all over this audience and this one in particular is Japan's flag.

Now after that long fluff piece, Ryo is off trying to at least get to the Jumping Spider faster than Isaac.  The record is 20.81 seconds from the landing on the Silk Slider (the last completed obstacle).

Wild ride on the Propeller Bar

Still spinning he lands at the base

Finally landed on the platform and he's still behind Isaac's time.

He just needs to pass the Jumping Spider

HE fails it too!

Team Japan in shock as Kenji just closes his eyes

Isaac's time is still holding.

Same mistake Isaac made. Not far enough to catch onto the walls.

 Ryo Matachi 又地諒 - Death by Jumping Spider
yeah.. that trampoline is too high.. there's VERY little room for error to begin with.. you don't get these types of fails otherwise.

Alexander getting last minute support before he goes.

Kenji hopping around


LOL I didn't realize he did that face when I screenshotted..

ANW competitor who also did NWUK. Gotta love that dual citizenship!

I'm curious if they paid ITV for this footage.. LOL

The whole Pro vs. Amateur argument all over again with these two.

Yay!  He finally speaks in English!

3rd?  Poor 2nd place didn't get invited here? LOL

Sadly this show is painfully boring.. I couldn't get past a single episode.

And legit from Sweden! He's an exceptionally sweet guy when I met him in Japan.

Sasuke 31 Second Stage competitor Alexander Mars アレクサンダー・マーズ from Sweden

Totally raining and leaving body parts on the course!

LOL That celebration with ponchos and everyone drenched!

And we are back!  Alex on the course!

Clear on the Propeller Bar

He's also behind Isaac up to this point.

Yeah.. that trampoline is pitched too high. Neither he nor Isaac are short.. this shouldn't be happening.

Team Europe crushed

And since everyone failed the same obstacle, they go by who was the fastest to clear the Silk Slider and that was Isaac.  So, Team USA gets the point for this heat.

NBC trying to cover up that the trampoline was pitched too high by saying he didn't land on it correctly.  Isaac was high on it and he failed as well.  At this point everyone failed equally to whoever it was that pitched this trampoline.

Alexander Mars アレクサンダー・マーズ  - Death by Jumping Spider
And this is also the reason why I don't like heats.. but yeah.. I'm beating a dead horse on the scoring for this event..


Asameshimae said...

GREAT review of USA vs. The World II, especially since I forgot all about it and was able to miss it. Out of all of this, there's only one thing on my mind, and that's that if they don't mentions Yuusuke's Complete Victory (Although being how it's been so far, and they're reverting to SASUKE 30 in those times, it's most likely going to happen), I will be severely pissed off. Anyways, I hope to see more parts of this and look forward to Part 2!

BravesAvsFan said...

Concerning Kristine Leahy replacing Jenn Brown, as I understand it, Jenn had a baby late in 2014 and only returned to work at NFL Network around the time they started filming the qualifiers for ANW7, so it would appear that NBC was prepared ahead of time for Jenn to not be back. After all, Kristine was announced as the new sideline reporter not long before filming started. Hope that clears things up!

Arsenette said...

Giggles. Thanks for the explanation. I do know though that over the 8 years I've been following them (ANC+ANW) they have had a myriad of sideline reporters. They never seem to keep them for one reason or another. I also totally miss Alison Haislip..

Anonymous said...

The important thing is... did you enjoy watching it Arsenette?

And about Tim Shieff. I think he was born in America, but then moved to the UK at an early age. He has lived there for almost all of his life, lives there currently, and uses that country as a base for all his athletic pursuits. I wouldn't call it unfair for him to be on Team Europe at this point.

Arsenette said...

I talked about that on the Podcast in detail. I was super annoyed at the Morimoto snub making him out to be some kid with great potential.. on top of that not showing that final he won against Ian Dory. NBC must have been reaaaaaally pissed he won just a few weeks before.

As for Tim, I know that. It's just that he does both ANW and NWUK. I've already dealt with the fact that NBC failed Geography and doesn't know where some people actually hail from.. I mean seriously.. Sean is Canadian. I think Canada would have loved to have seen their flag in ANW instead of the Euro flag. ;)

Anonymous said...

I get ya! Honeatly, it was really obvious NBC wanted 'murica to win. They likely went with Tim Champion (over the much more dedicated, speedy 2nd place: Teige Matthews Palmer)because they knew he was a noob and that he wouldn't really be doing Europe any favours, with no chance of completely the 2nd or 3rd stage. It was a miracle he won the point he did.