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Monday, February 22, 2016

USA vs World - NBC ANW7 Special - Part 5

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.

A look back at Stage 3 from last season.. which now is about a year and a half ago.. LOL

Sasuke Grand Champion Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 made American Ninja Warrior History by being the first person ever to clear ANW's Third Stage.

and we thought Japan was going to be rewarded.. but we know what happened. LOL

Team Europe came out of nowhere

and won Stage 3.. er.. uhm.. wait that's not quite what happened.. lol

Europe won in the end

But NBC made that final happen!  All backlash be damned!

As USA celebrated their miracle comeback to make it to the Final Stage.. but Europe won anyway. LOL

yeah yeah we are back to Stage 3 of this year.. er.. last year.. er.. this was June, 2015 so you have to forgive me if I screw up the years.. besides this has been an ugly and crazy tournament where Drew and Sean are ridiculous standouts and everyone else left their spleen and probably a couple kidneys on obstacles. Oh! and the ANW Champion ("the other one" LOL) collapsed and Joe was plucked from the audience to save Team USA and had a ridiculous time but oh... wait.. Sean beat him.. but still!  It's a crazy show! Oh and Japan is being blown out.. groan.

Japan hoping their ANW vets can get them back on track.  you can tell this is for much later since Morimoto isn't up until much later.. LOL Gotta love random video..

I'm sure ATS (the builders) are running out of names for these obstacles by now..

okay that's the prettiest so far.. usually I call it Home Depot Fire Sale™..

Yeah.. even if the paint is freaking out my eyes.. too many primary colors.

zomg so many arrows.. you know I thought they'd change the name of this..

Considering that they added the poor-man's version of the Crazy Cliffhanger at the end.

OMG I now have a massive craving for Pixy Stix!

 Are they making this shorter every year?

Giggles.. UFO's..

And the Flying Bar

Okay!  The final 3 heats coming up!  9 points up for grabs!  First up Heat One!

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

Incoming Fluff piece because you knew it was coming!

LOL They caught him surfing the internet on his job..

LOL He's a cool dude.  I'm partial to people with self deprecating humor.

Ahh.. busy work. That's more like it!

Hey I played Ultimate Frisbee in high school!

He was the last man standing in Ninja Warrior Sweden. Like most in Sweden, they didn't know much of the show.

ANW is exploding worldwide.  That is the preferred format (whether I like it or not) since it's easier to put a regionals course than it is for a full course like Sasuke or Vegas.

Okay back to the Third Stage!

transition to the door knobs.

doing well on the doors themselves

Time for the crazy ultimate ultra cliffhanger with a road going through it.. in fact. it looks like Pole Position.. yeah  because I didn't date myself with that reference...

I can almost hear Drew cursing under his breath.. and so is Inui...

Awww.. he got his hands on it.. gaaaaaaah

LOL did they expect it?

Alexander Mars アレクサンダー・マーズ - Death by Ultimate Cliffhanger

Akbar you may not have seen that before.. but this happens ALL THE TIME on Sasuke.  This is actually a very common way to fail sadly.

College kid? 25.. masters I hope? maybe he took a break when he got married? dunno I just work here.. I don't call a married father a kid.. especially at 25 years old..

NBC rubbing salt in the wound reliving how close he got to the final before falling into the water just the night before.

The agony of defeat

Awww he's embarrassed. I actually smile/laugh when I am embarrassed.. usually at the worst possible times...  Interesting though how they make it look like he trained months for the Flying bar after he failed in ANW7 Finals.  That's a bit disingenuous.. this happened the DAY BEFORE..


Transition to the doorknobs

mad focus

on to the hanging doors

His turn on the overclifferwallofdeath 
Thanks Matt for correctly saying ANW history and not including Sasuke in it.  Thank you. ♥

wait.. they can put their thumbs on the rigging of the obstacle?

I mean the ledge itself is already 2 centimeters thicker than Sasuke's.. but the rigging?? How is that legal?

and clear!

with that he eliminates Alexander Mars

don't remind him..

mmm.. Pixy Stix.. 

... cross between showboating and "HI MOM!!".. not sure how I feel about that.. there is still someone else to come.. show some respect.. (/shakescaneinair)

Okay it's not smaller.. just looks different since now it's transparent.

I can't imagine all that blood rushing to your brain..

shake out those arms..

okay.. first time seeing this particular obstacle.. I.. don't like it.. it's.. ugly. LOL

Ian doesn't care. He's super happy he's back to try to avenge his loss from last night.

beat his effort from last night!

Awwwwww down on the last one

Million depressions..

I THOUGHT I heard him scream..

He must have been running out of steam. Poor guy.

Aww.. that's going to haunt him for a whole year.. twice in 2 nights..
Ian Dory - Death by Flying Bar

I'm convinced she knows when they are taken.. LOL (yes.. yes.. just kidding :P )

Last minute pointers.. wait.. Hioki you haven't gone that far before! LOL

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

Team Japan hoping they can cheer more for Tomo. He did really good in the Second Stage here!

Hmm.. I don't like chain obstacles I guess.. chain seesaw.. yeah.. I don't like chain obstacles. LOL

 Onto the door knobs

Starting to smile!


Oooh tried to save himself... that had to hurt.. that thump was LOUD..

Yuusuke in complete shock.. so am I!

Another one of those "it would be nice if they got to practice on this" time. He had no idea that was going to spin.. Akbar was onto something.. but there was no "forgotten".. he wasn't told and he never practiced on it to know they did..

Good effort trying to save himself knowing he was falling.. Just heartbreaking to watch. I personally think with some knowledge of the course Japan would have done better. Tomo specifically.

oh he got close to saving it though that couldn't have felt good.. 
Tomohiro Kawaguchi 川口朋広 - Death by Doorknob Grasper

LOL she's terrified of him.. 
Btw he does know a little bit of English. He's self taught and understand a lot more than he can speak it.  He speaks better English though than anyone else on the team hands down.

 If the translation is correct, I'm happy he's thinking of at least a good showing from Ryo and Yuusuke coming up.

Ian almost feels guilty to win that way.

USA takes the point and goes into the lead again.

So.. yeah.. those last 2 doorknobs actually turn. Take note..

 Heat 2 coming up.

Geoff  Joe is up next.  I don't envy that pressure of suddenly going when you weren't expecting to do so.

NBC replaying his history.

 Stage 3 back to back - first in ANW6

Then a day later at the Special

Then last night got to the Ultimate cliffhanger and failed doing the Sasuke technique of the 180° turn then jump


 and here we go!



And here we go on the Cliffhanger

.. he's turning around it seems

Same result though ( > . < )

Team USA crushed


This is the "Sasuke" accepted technique.

This is the ANW technique. Seems he's not accustomed to that so I wasn't sure why he did it.

Joe.. you aren't helping me here.. Stop blaming others for your fail. You yourself are ultimately responsible for your own body.  I know you are frustrated but blaming others will always get me to write negatively about it. I don't care how many times you write me to complain about it and I don't want to hear it this year either.

At the end at least he recognizes he needs to go back and try something new since he mentally can't get past this. We know he can physically do it. He's just missing the confidence in himself to just block the outside world and do what he does in practice. He's easily influenced by the words of others and falters when he does it. He doesn't need validation from others. He needs validation from himself.  No one can do that but him and him alone.

Now for the Japanese head case.  The complete reverse is happening on the other side of the Pacific where he has validation but he totally revels in it as if he's the second coming.  Since 2014 this guy has believed the hype and proceeded to radically chance his personality, become insufferable and his ultimately his results have suffered greatly for it.

He's come back to the USA because he did well last year here. Otherwise, he would have been replaced with someone else who has done well in the past year in Sasuke.  He's only a couple weeks removed from his epic choke on the First Stage when wearing #100 he was crushed under the pressure of being the "it" guy.

He's hoping to turn his year around in this competition to be taken seriously in Japan again.

Oh hey there Strat/Beast/Bernardo!

Stock footage of Brian Kretsch!

Sasuke 27/30 Finalist - Ryo Matachi (Cliffer #2) 又地諒

Time on the left in blue is Joe's time to the Floating Boards which was his last completed obstacle.

They Spin Ryo..

No problems. Amazing what prior knowledge will do... 

Tomo: See? I could have done that..

 Taking a while on the boards..

So he has to clear this to pass Moravsky since he failed to complete the doors before Joe.

but.. he's a Cliffer so there's no way he's going to go down on this.. besides.. there's already a pretty severe team penalty if he does fail it..

For those who don't remember from last year: I was told by the Japanese that when they found out that the American Cliffhanger was a 5 cm ledge they openly cackled.  Sasuke's are 3 cm ledges (much harder) so this should be a piece of cake. They even joked amongst themselves that if anyone (Japanese) failed this cliffhanger then they should be kicked off the team... permanently. Added penalty for this year.. They would have to swim back home as they won't be allowed back on the Team plane for the flight back home. LOL

And safely across.  This is why he's on the team this year.  For this exact reason.

Cheesy Morimoto grin.

wtf.. not.. good.. Kanno looked this way right after the Cliffhanger last year..

Japan now ahead of USA in this heat thus far.

Yelling encouragement to keep going and shake it off

Eep.. having issues reaching

 LOL Making it swing despite Akbar saying he can't.

Having to be creative in getting around this but he's taking an obscene amount of time on this.

Curse the short arms... but he's getting it.

Drew yelling encouragement

They know he's in real trouble..

Praying he can get past this next section. He's exhausted..

shaking off his arms on the transition.

Get those legs up...

Okay somehow getting up the wall

Next transition

what's he doing?

Ooooooh..  but I can't imagine having blood rush to your head is going to be good..

Yeah.. he's hosed.. I guess they can't sit on the ledge?  Must be against the rules. Otherwise I have no idea why he didn't do that to shake his arms out.

My God this is such a weird looking obstacle.. or should I say people look bad on it.. 

I'm not sure if designers expected people to worm across it.. maybe they expected people to jump across it?

Either way, it's a killer for those who are shorter but so far the two I saw going through this looked.. awkward..

Kong trying to will him across

Saw this coming though.. 

 Ryo Matachi (Cliffer #2) 又地諒 - Death by Area 51

The last gasp..

before the inevitable..

 Asking if it was his height that defeated him

This year was harder and ran out of strength. I honestly think he pulled something but only goes to show how difficult this stage is this year.

 And that's the extent of his English. LOL
Ultimately he did what he came here to do on the Third Stage.

Move over.. now for the professional. LOL

Last year as a rookie to the show he cleared this stage.

NBC loves you guys!

And all he has to do is get to Area 51.  Ryo had a crazy high time so he Stefano can take a nap and still make it.


 Getting a little hung up at the end

whoah... bailing sideways..

 Safe landing! LOL

Cliffhanger time

Turns around

and clears!

mmmm Pixy Stix...

seriously.. do I have to blog this part? LOL

Morimoto checking to see how Ryo is doing..

Yeah.. that's over..

And Europe wins the heat.

Still.. he's going on!  Granted.. no one wants to drop into the water even IF they won the heat. LOL

and a repeat of last year where he's up to the Flying Bar

He looks tired though.. I don't blame him.

Ack.. wasn't expecting that though.

LOL James your shirt..

 missed right side

And so Europe jumps ahead with one Final heat to go.


Anonymous said...

Wait... so you DON'T like Ryo? When I read that, it kinda shocked me. Calling him insufferable is a bit harsh, don't you think?

Arsenette said...

Not anymore. Insufferable is an appropriate description on how he deals with people outside of his.. "caliber"..

Anonymous said...

Is this a "permanent, set in stone dislike" such as Yamada, or a transitory, "he can redeem himself" dislike? Because he is starting to sound an awful lot like Prime-Yamada, and that is not a good thing. How does Inui put up with him?

Arsenette said...

I'd say transitory since he can and SHOULD redeem himself. He's also still young and similar to how Yuuji grew out of that state I'm hoping Ryo does as well. For the record he treated me okay after Yuuji made the meeting happen at all. To other Japanese competitors.. that's another story. As for Inui, he's the boss and everyone likes him so he wouldn't act up on him. LOL

As for Yamada.. well you know.. let's say I met him in person in Japan and nothing changed my opinion on him.. in fact.. it solidified my opinion. Besides.. he's set in his ways.. he's older than I am!

Anonymous said...

I understand you now. I agree with you that I hope he grows out of it, especially considering I always assumed Yuuji was quite mellow and reserved, even for a two-time champion! It just goes to show that even though so many people try for it, success in Sasuke can lead you down darker paths, and it makes me respect people like Nagano, Akiyama and Morimoto even more, who can "taste the drug" without getting addicted. But how did he treat you beforehand? Did he say something condescending or pompous?

Arsenette said...

That is what makes Akiyama and Nagano and Morimoto special. They were always super nice and friendly. Yuuji wasn't in the beginning and now realizes what happened and is working on rehabilitating his image.

Fame can be a double edged sword. When you are good and you start to succeed.. you either can just continue your path remembering when it was just "you" and no one else or you can believe the hype and rely on "others" to derive your self worth. I think for the less confident or emotionally fragile people it is easy to accept the praise and become conceited. With time and experience they will realize that all fame is fleeting and if you are perceived to be anything but humble you will be turn down.. and swiftly. Yuuji found out and Ryo may find out. it's just the process of growing up. Your upbringing and how you deal with life can shield you from those things and teach you to ignore all outside pressures.

Anonymous said...

Well said. I think this is a lesson even some ANW competitors need to learn, and a super important one for both this "sport" and life as a whole. Funny how a simple comment about Ryo turned so deep and philisophical :)

Arsenette said...

Giggles. ♥ It's everyone's life lesson. I had to learn the hard way myself!

MysteryMan said...

Yeah, I'm not a fan of Moravsky either. He just comes off as pompous and arrogant when he does this. Maybe I'm getting the wrong idea about his personality, but being a bad sport like that isn't improving my opinion of him.

Unknown said...

Unfortunately I would imagine a lot of the competitors are very selfish people by nature or they wouldn't be able to dedicate the time required to be the best. (Just a personal observation over the years for all things that require dedication)