Kunoichi Challenge (aka: Women of Ninja Warrior)
Posted on September 20, 2010 by Chris Nelson
Kris and I didn’t have cable for a number of years, but finally broke down and got a subscription this past month. I’m usually against television, but imagine my surprise when I found out that G4 had the Kunoichi show I’d seen on Japanprobe so many years ago! And best of all, this past weekend, before heading off to NewPeople‘s J-POP summit (to be covered shortly) I managed to grab a majority-of-day Kunoichi marathon with my DVR. Now I’ve got 6+ hours of Kunoichi challenges, and just need to dump them to DVD :)
Now if G4 could just get Pan Kun’s show, I’d be in heaven.
But anyways, for those of you who aren’t familiar with “Ninja Warrior” as it’s called in the US, it’s basically a timed, impossibly hard real-life obstacle course straight out of Mario Brothers (not the stupid crap they have on Wipeout). Each iteration starts with 100 challengers, ranging from athletes to housewives, an contestants are eliminated as they fail the course, either by losing their balance, running out of time, or being disqualified. Each challenge spans four episodes and equally as many increasingly hard stages, where the number of contestants is finally whittled down to one or two, the last of which bestows the winner with ultimate “ninja warrior” status. The male version of the show tends to feature courses that focus on speed and strength, while the female courses emphasize more balance and agility. If you’ve never seen these, you’re in for a treat.
There were a number of excellent performances throughout the shows I’ve watched so far, but Ayako Miyake, a professional acrobat, stood out head and shoulders above the rest as the course’s first female champion. If the youtube videos and tributes are any indicator, it appears she’s won the full challenge multiple times:
Rie Komiya, a late night television host also put in admirable runs in multiple contests, earning her a number of Youtube compilations as well:
Another highlight was a run by Nao Oikawa, whom as all of you probably know, is a very famous film reviewer for Yahoo! movies [Original link in case the translate link expires] ;) She didn’t make it past the first course, but the announcer was anxious to see more. Incidentally, she’s also in Kunoichi film of another stripe, released here in the United States, where she boasts a superpower involving machine-gunning boobies, which shoot poisonous needles. High art indeed.
I’ll post a few others as I come across them, but if you haven’t already, you must check out the show! It seems to be on G4 in the mornings throughout the week. And the Banzuke show that follows is even more insane. But more on that later :)