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.
Jumping Spider Trampoline placement.
ANW7 Finals (Top)
USA vs. World (Bottom)
Before I get to the Second Stage, I wanted to elaborate on something on the First Stage that apparently caught people's attention when I brought it up. Thanks to Rider from the Sasuke Maniac Forums (SMF) for doing this comparison for me. If you can literally see the pitch difference from this far out then the pitch change is huuuuuuuuuuuuuge.. that's several degrees higher and you better believe that changing how much that tramp goes high instead of out will make you change your technique. Heck in most cases the forces are pushing you backwards! It didn't help either that Japan didn't get a chance to practice on the obstacles the way USA and Europe did either but I'll go into further detail at the end of the blog. (For the record before I go further, Japan did not blame their fails on either the lack of practice on the obstacle or the size of obstacles. They are used to the stunts NBC pulls by now. I am bringing this up to explain why 3/4 of the entire field failed the exact same obstacle in the exact same way.) There was something fundamentally different between the obstacle in ANW7 Finals 2 nights before and USA vs. World. They made tweaks to the course and it wasn't just a trampoline to the Flying bar. Someone screwed up when they did this and it affected everyone. I wouldn't have even gotten so frustrated if it wasn't that Matt stopped the broadcast to height shame Morimoto. To insinuate that "someone shorter passed it" is disingenuous. It was not the same obstacle so comparisons shouldn't be made. This is the same argument against the Jumping Spider distances in other Sasuke tournaments and why most of the fan base applauded certain athletes for passing the "most difficult" Jumping Spider in certain tournaments. Placement and pitch of a trampoline.. is EVERYTHING. Seriously.. I spent a week defending ALL of the athletes when they failed this.. fans actually believed they "threw" their performances because USA vs. World didn't have prize money. It wasn't the same obstacle. It was uncalled for and shouldn't have been brought up unless NBC really felt they needed to cover themselves from the backlash because someone screwed up. Morimoto didn't need to be thrown under the bus.
With that out of the way we are at USA 2 points, Europe at 1 point and Japan at 0 points going into the Second Stage. As a reminder each heat is now doubled at 2 points per heat won. A total of 6 points are up for grabs now.
Obstacles in the Second Stage are Rope Jungle
Double Salmon Ladder
Unstable Bridge (Yay not Ghetto Bridge™)
As a reminder that you jump to the butterfly wall and then grab the rope on the other side
Weird hydraulic walls.. I'm so used to the graceless/unforgiving walls from Sasuke. Cool glass though.
Heat 1 is set
Up first is Stefano Ghisolfi
But first this Fluff piece!
LOL Unintentional double exposure. Cool Effect though. That's his apartment from the outside AND the inside. LOL
Kudos for his excellent English!
Stock footage but still cool
er.. that's not what the wall says..
His best season yet! He wasn't as accomplished last year.
Reminder that he failed the Salmon Ladder last year
I'm a sucker for green eyes... ehem..
And here we go!
Took a while to get through it but he clears
Stock footage of Italian Flag
Now for the Double Salmon Ladder
Really thinking it though and it's taking all kinds of time on it.
Granted.. he doesn't want to fail.. but 1 minute just on 2 obstacles is a bit much. Yet again another reason why I don't like untimed Stages that are normally timed.
Finally at the Unstable Bridge
Taking his time..
Now for the Butterfly Wall
He jumps safely .. if barely!
And lets it spin around
And catches it
I'm not sure what the timer for ANW7 is for this stage but he would have timed out in Sasuke a while ago.. They are usually 90-120 seconds tops. Hell it's been 45 seconds in the past.
So is he Strategizing™?
Finally on Roulette Row
Transition to the other side
Wild throw off the obstacle!
Tim is stunned
Is this stock footage? This looks identical to one before used in the First Stage..Wait.. THIS IS from the First Stage.. More on that later..
Stefano Ghisolfi - Death by Roulette Row
Looking at the transition
He one hands it but never gets control of his left arm
so since he's not hanging on controlling his body
he just twists in the wind before being thrown off the obstacle
Poor guy.. he said he was exhausted by this point. Still, marked improvement from last year!
Up next is Kevin Bull
and off we go!
Time for the Double Salmon Ladder
Wow I have no idea.. looks like he just missed catching one side and down he goes!
Exactly what I thought.. This IS from the First stage.. it's the exact same shot including the lady holding the flag on the left of the screen. Again.. more on that later..
Kevin Bull - Death by Double Salmon Ladder
Yeah he was looking at his right but his left didn't line up
That's a shame because he cleared it a couple nights before and ended up in the Third Stage so it's not like he doesn't know how to do this.
Just bad luck for Kevin Bull
ew.. drain juice..
Not a model LOL
Roll that beautiful bean footage!
Okay this is what was happening.. By this point..
Geoff had passed out between stages and was getting looked at by medical staff. He didn't see the run and definitely was not on stage to react to Kevin's fall.
back to the Second Stage as Sasuke 30-31 Third Stage competitor - Masashi Hioki 日置 将士 is up next.
He looks terrified..
Btw this shirt should look really familiar..
Drew totally repping Hioki's Shirt! ♥
See? ♥ That's his Kitagawa Denki uniform.
Hioki's daughter Miyuna 心結菜, wife Mayumi 真弓 and their baby son Ryusei 琉青.
This was stock footage from Sasuke 31's Broadcast
But it's still super cute! Notice they are watching Sasuke 30 in the background.
And yes, 90% of this was embellished. He didn't say most of what was translated. I'm not sure if it was in cahoots with NBC, or the Japanese interpreter took liberties and decided that's this is what NBC wanted to hear.. but Hioki didn't say most of what was said. In fact.. the same goes for the other Japanese interviews but his specifically. I'd rather they subtitle it correctly so we knew exactly what he said. It would remove all doubt and remove that voice that doesn't help the situation.
This was from Sasuke 25 who back then we knew him as the "Lucky Bastard that got Bunpei to speak at his wedding™"
This from Sasuke 27
and from Sasuke 31
He got the Crazy Cliffhanger in this tournament repeating his performance from Sasuke 30.
Hioki's father in law Masayoshi Kitagawa 北川正義 along with Hioki's daughter Miyuna 心結菜, wife Mayumi 真弓 and their baby son Ryusei 琉青.
(They are always with him despite the translation)
He's competed in 6 tournaments in Sasuke making it to the Third Stage twice in a row (again despite the translation). In fact because of his last few performances the show relies on him with being the first clear in the tournament and give him a low number because of it. He's been that consistent.
But first time competing internationally here in Vegas.
Hioki is up next
Oh hey there Brian Kretsch! ♥
Stefano looks on as Hioki goes through the Ropes much faster
Onto the Double Salmon Ladder
and having all sorts of issues
He really lost herds of time on the Salmon Ladder
Finally to the transition to the Unstable Bridge
Oh .. not good.. he's laboring badly..
Yeah.. sadly the expected result given his issues on the Salmon Ladder
Sadly.. they aren't too surprised either. More on that later.
Tomo is not impressed™
Whatever he had was gone going up that Double Salmon Ladder
So he got to the Unstable bridge and had nothing left
Oh hello there Joe Moravsky.. Giggles. Your introduction is kind of early! LOL Spoilers!!... See what I meant about how they had to use stock footage for Geoff Britten?
Yeah that Salmon Ladder is unlike anything he's been on before and this is the first time he touches it.
Stefano relieved his run was enough after a wild first heat.
So with 2 points for team Europe this changes the leader board where they are temporarily ahead of the USA. 4 more points up for grabs in the next two heats.