Bizarre Japanese Sports Shows
When it comes to entertaining shows barely touching the line of sports, the weirder the better. Fortunately, Japan seems to have a monopoly on the stuff we now get to enjoy.
What follows is a brief snapshot of some damn fine programming, complete with obstacle-course mastery and human bowling ball shenanigans.
Now, we do have to note that some of these video clips come via YouTube with scant details in tow. We will try to track down the names of some of these shows. However, if they are missing or listed incorrectly, please do not hesitate to correct us below.
Also, if you know of any Japanese shows we should have included, please chime in as well, because we just can't get enough of this.
This is the big one, a show that spawned so many international versions. There was some trouble tracking down a clip that wasn't already dubbed over, so we erred on the side of using the domestic MXC: Most Extreme Elimination Challenge offshoot of Tekeshi's Castle.
If you enjoy needlessly getting smashed with giant objects or falling into a pool of muddy water, this is your show of choice.
The only thing we have to say now is that we miss the show terribly.
Now, "Get it on!"
Za Gaman, or The Endurance show has the perfect tag line to go along with this clip: "The ultimate survival game... Proof that every man has his price!!"
As best we can tell, the show is about proving once and for all that one person's misery is another's entertainment.
"Gaki No Tsukai Ya Arahende!!"
Beginning in 1989, Gaki No Tsukai Ya Arahende!! is a game show that features, well, some pretty weird stuff (Link contains NSFW material). For our purposes, we bring you a brief clip containing some rare sports fare.
OK, sports is a tenuous term, but we think you will enjoy the sight of people playing limbo under a bar set on fire.
Either way we are impressed.
"The Team Fight"
As best we can tell, The Team Fight was attempting to become the best thing ever created by humans. Well, it damn near pulled it off, giving the world show after show of team-on-team goodness.
In this episode, the teams play some dodgeball, which takes place after much posturing and crazy gesticulation—sort of like American sports.
Of course, this isn't your average game of dodgeball, because this isn't your average boring television. Sit back and enjoy balls coming out of the wall, aimed at terrified contestants.
Masahiro Tanaka Boogies
Granted, this might not be a sports show, but it features a sports star.
Masahiro Tanaka, a man who already has 46 strikeouts through five games, gives us an idea of how international superstars dance.
Fox Sports' Stephen Mast spotted this video of Tanaka last year when the ace was still in Japan, dominating hitters and, apparently, letting loose on TV.
We aren't quite sure if this sport is covered on television in Japan, but it's certainly rampant all over the Internet—as completely crazy sports tend to do.
Wikipedia gives us a bit of clarification amid the bedlam:
Bo-taoshi ('pole bring-down'), is a capture-the-flag-like game, played on sports days at schools in Japan. The game played by cadets at the National Defense Academy of Japan traditionally on its anniversary is famous for its size, wherein two teams of 150 individuals each vie for control of a single large pole.
It looks challenging, painful and exactly the sort of thing we would much rather watch than play.
Human Bowling I
We aren't sure the exact show from which this clip originates, but it's all we need to break out the slip and slide on a hot day and set up some large pins ourselves.
Although, we feel they missed an opportunity to have gutters that led to giant pools of water.
Human Bowling II
Or, you can always make human bowling something of a winter game, sliding down a hill and right on your way to a perfect score.
Seeing this clip basically destroyed our own enjoyment of regular bowling, which is far less fun and far more exhausting by comparison.
Sasuke is nearly as well known to fans on this side of the pond as Takeshi's Castle, yielding the beloved hit Ninja Warrior.
You only need to see a clip to be hooked, because it features nearly everything that we sports fans have come to love: amazing feats of athleticism, drama that builds as the clock winds down and crazy obstacles.
Granted, the obstacles are what make this show so special.
As Bleacher Report's Eric Newman notes in a similar rundown of Japanese shows, Kunoichi is basically the female version of Sasuke, giving fans double the amount of obstacles and athletes daring to take them on.
We are left with the realization that we have no place on either show. Still, the need to actually try out some of these obstacles remains at an all-time high.
Apparently, if you strap binoculars to soccer players and force them to wear pajamas we imagine they give out at the most festive prison in the world, you get some mighty fine programming.
We now have an idea for a similar show, which is having players wear Oculus goggles while playing any sport. It's hilarity for 2014.
Or, if you enjoy less human exploits, you can always watch some Kondo Cup action, featuring robots playing soccer.
"Tonneruzu No Minasan No Okage Deshita"
Human Tetris seems to be a thing over in Japan—a very wonderful thing.
If we had the funds and enough room in the house, this would be the only party game we would play on the weekends. Making this a drinking game seems like the general progression.
Being of chubby proportions, we imagine we would be fairly awful at this game, but we don't care, because we simply have to experience this great Tetris pose off.
Kasou Taishou doesn't feature "sports," but rather live performance art. However, there are some famous sports clips you may have seen from the show.
Above is how baseball might play out if you actually had to wear the opposition. The other more famous clip features performers playing ping pong but with a Matrix twist.
Now, if they could reenact the Butt Fumble we would all appreciate it.
Well this doesn't look safe at all.
We don't know the show this comes from, but it seems to be centered on bringing contestants to the brink of bodily harm.
We hope you enjoy it, because there were more than likely a ton of bruised appendages and egos sacrificed for your entertainment.
If it's outrageous and captivating, chances are America will adopt your show, which is a great thing. Kunniku Banzuke eventually aired on G4 as the aptly titled Unbeatable Banzuke.
To this day, my favorite has to be the hand walk that proved traversing anywhere on your hands remains one of the more senseless ways to travel.