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  #1  
Old 08-04-2014, 08:38 PM
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American Ninja Warrior


Any other fans of this show?

I love watching the athleticism. It is a very different type of athletics than you normally get to see. A very cool mix of parkour, rock climbing and gymnastics.

The big thing I like about this show is that you can cheer for everybody!

I end up yelling at my screen urging the competitors on.

Gooooooooo everybody!
  #2  
Old 08-04-2014, 09:29 PM
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I love how faux-serious the commentary is. Makes me crack up every time.
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Old 08-04-2014, 09:47 PM
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Cool show, but would be much better if we saw far, far more of people doing the course, and far less of the "profiles" and human interest crap. I wanna see people do the obstacle course, I don't care what they do in their spare time.
  #4  
Old 08-04-2014, 10:36 PM
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I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Mt. Fujiama is actually the eliminator course from Wipeout.
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Old 08-05-2014, 06:05 AM
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ANW is just about the only reality show I watch. I like it because (I hope) they are really doing the course and no voting BS. I just surf during the profiles.

Obviously they edit it (successful runs are more likely towards the end of the show - I pay less attention during the first half hour)

Brian
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Old 09-15-2014, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by RickJay View Post
Cool show, but would be much better if we saw far, far more of people doing the course, and far less of the "profiles" and human interest crap. I wanna see people do the obstacle course, I don't care what they do in their spare time.
Yep. It's the same feel-good filler garbage that ruined the reboot of American Gladiators. They even went so far as to cut actual competition events from the show and say "watch this fun action-packed gladiatorial combat event on our website so we can tell you more about this week's competitor's grandma's struggle with diabetes!"
  #7  
Old 09-16-2014, 03:04 AM
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I enjoy the show from the standpoint of watching the competitors try to run the course. I am amazed and stunned by some of the submission videos. I get excited and root and cheer for them to do well.

However, the editing and pacing of the show is dreadful. First off, I HATE previews. At least they don't show parts of the person's actual run in their previews. But they offset that by showing the profiles, and they're so damn repetitive. They run snippets and comments as previews, then run them in full before the chosen competitors.

What makes this especially annoying is they take all the time to profile this one competitor who may or may not do well, then we go to commercial, and when we return, they montage three others who did just as well. Why didn't they deserve to have their run shown?

That part annoys me especially because they don't just use that in the qualifying rounds. No, they were still running "while you were away" during the stage 1 Finals. GAH! I think if someone gets all the way to Finals, they should get their run fully televised.

(What's worse, during the America vs the World segment this week, several of the Japanese competitors got this treatment. Yes, they struggled on the run and went out early, but come on.)

And then there's Matt Iseman's perpetual grunting. God that gets old. "Coming up - I'm going to grunt my way through this whole intro package."


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Originally Posted by ZipperJJ View Post
Once again, kudos for her for being in such amazing shape and having the stamina for the course. But I felt so awkward with all the "she's just a small woman!" gushing going on.
Lots of the events are upper body intensive. Women in general are not as capable in that category. Plus, she's only 5 feet tall. Size is definitely an issue on some of the obstacles. There's reach elements. There's the jumping spider, where you have to jump off a trampoline and do the splits and wedge between two walls. The walls start wider and get narrower the deeper you go. If you are short, you have to jump farther to be able to reach the walls. One of the obstacles she crossed was a series of vertical poles they had to climb between that were spaced different amounts. One gap was 6 feet across. She had to jump where other competitors could reach out and grab it.

Yes, she's a gymnast who only weighs 100 lbs, so she's strong and well-coordinated. Compare male gym events vs female gym events, the men do upper body intensive events like parallel bars, pommel horse, iron rings. Girls do balance beam. Yes, they do uneven bars, which is their most upper body intensive element, but the guys program is more heavily slanted that way.

Even on events they both do, vault and floor, there are differences. Mens floor exercise is silent and is going to have pommel horse style routines on the mats. Ladies program is set to music. And vaulting, the ladies are almost always not getting as big of air. It was a huge deal in the last Olympics where one of the US competitor girls was a vault specialist, and could get huge air like the guys.

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Originally Posted by Loach View Post
The original Japanese show was usually harder. In the American version the clock goes and if there are many that complete the stage only a certain number of the fastest will move on. If enough people don't finish the the fastest longest non-finishers move on. In the Japanese version 3 of the 4 stages had time limits. If you didn't finish on time you were done. IIRC there were a few seasons when no one went past stage 2. Sorry season over. No way an American network will do that.
You're missing the elements in the US version. They have qualifying rounds from 5 regions around the US, to weed down the competitors to the 100 entrants that get invited to Vegas. In the qualifying rounds, there is no time limit and they take the top 30 and then 15 competitors, whether they finish or not. They do take all finishers.

Once they get to Vegas, it's run like the Japanese version. There are time limits on some stages, and if you fail you are eliminated.

This has roots in the early years of the American Ninja Warrior program. When it originated, it was preparing Americans and taking them to Japan for the competition. The early stages were basically training rounds. They didn't really count except as a way to weed down the competitors.

And sorry, you are wrong, they've been running the show with Mt Midoriyama in Vegas for 3 years now, and nobody has made it past stage 3 until the special showdown this week. So an American network is doing it.

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I always like it when the ultra gimmicky guys fail, like the one in the diaper and the baby bonnet. The guy who was shirtless and in tight jeans wasn't quite as gimmicky but I can't imagine that's a good outfit to do the course in.
Yeah, certain ones I have to root against. The guy in a diaper is one. Any grown man dressed in a diaper gets points against him. (America's Got Talent had it happen this season, too. Some singer guy came out and sang really well, wearing a diaper. He got through the first round, but I would have made a strong comment against the diaper.)

I also want for people with droopy crotched pants to trip on those saggy pants. I keep rooting for them to fail because of their pants.

The guy in the loincloth almost went out because the floppy tails nearly dragged the water.
  #8  
Old 09-16-2014, 07:42 AM
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Cool show, but would be much better if we saw far, far more of people doing the course, and far less of the "profiles" and human interest crap. I wanna see people do the obstacle course, I don't care what they do in their spare time.
This. It makes the show almost unwatchable for me.

This is why the Japanese version is far superior. It's basically an hour of "next guy up". Without all the stupid stories. It's been a while since I watched though but I also remember the japanese show had people wearing funny costumes sometimes or am I thinking of another show?


ETA I used to LOVE American Gladiators. I used to stay up all night watching it on TBS when I would sleep over my gramps house.

Last edited by Cubsfan; 09-16-2014 at 07:43 AM.
  #9  
Old 09-16-2014, 11:07 AM
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I miss the characters from the original. Bring back the Octopus Man!
  #10  
Old 09-16-2014, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cubsfan View Post
This. It makes the show almost unwatchable for me.

This is why the Japanese version is far superior. It's basically an hour of "next guy up". Without all the stupid stories. It's been a while since I watched though but I also remember the japanese show had people wearing funny costumes sometimes or am I thinking of another show?
Yeah, that was the show. There was Tako-san, the tiny old guy who always dressed in white shorts and tank top and had a boiled octopus in one hand before he started the race. There were other guys who ran the course in their work uniforms, e.g. Shingo Yamamoto in his gas station attendant outfit, or firefighters in their Japanese firefighter orange pants. Or that oddball artist fellow who was strapped into a hang glider at the start line, jumping out of the harness a few seconds before the start horn.
  #11  
Old 09-16-2014, 01:54 PM
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I agree that the human-interest stories are a bit silly, but they don't overly interfere with what is really a genuinely gripping athletic competition. In USA vs. the World we had...

-The continued, and fairly inexplicable, woes of the Japanese team on stages 1 and 2
-The fastest time ever on stage 1 set, and then CRUSHED
-The French guy doing a belly flop out of the rope grasper on his way to a stunningly fast time on stage 2
-FOUR people finishing stage 3, which had never before been finished, including Brian Arnold shaking off his demons to force a tiebreak, and two japanese guys finishing it for national pride, but neither one winning a point
-0.3 seconds determining the winner
-The American crowd cheering on EVERYONE, including the Europeans and Japanese

What's not to love?

(My favorite competitor is Isaac Caldiero. I love how completely mellow he always is. He clearly tries really hard, but then at the end of the day, win or lose, he just seems like his attitude is "well, THAT happened, now back to my trailer-full-of-pot-smoke".)
  #12  
Old 08-04-2014, 10:35 PM
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I agree. I don't mind the occasional story; however,

(1) They repeat the stories across qualifying, finals and Mt Midoriyama.

(2) Many of the stories aren't that interesting. How many times do I need to know that so-and-so has become a father and hopes their child will be inspired by their father's performance on ANW?

If they saved the stories for the truly incredible it would make it more meaningful.
  #13  
Old 08-05-2014, 07:19 AM
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Yeah, it's weird. I've always hated sports but I love this show!
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Old 08-05-2014, 07:36 AM
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Gotta admit that gal from Dallas that made it all the way several nights ago had me glued to the set. She kicked ass.
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Old 08-05-2014, 08:45 AM
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I admit to wanting to sneak onto the set during off-hours and attempt the course myself.
I would undoubtedly fail horribly but want to try anyway.
I might gain more respect for some obstacles that have a high failure rate but don't look that difficult from my couch, like the doorknob bridge.
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Old 08-05-2014, 09:39 AM
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I think the doorknob one was hugely difficult because of its placement late in the course. I would bet that if the doorknob bridge was first in the course, many more would have passed it.
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Old 08-05-2014, 10:00 AM
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The course seems to favor those with upper body strength who are light weight. If you can lift your own body weight with one or both arms for extended periods you can do pretty good. Guys over 200# no matter how cut seem to have problems.
The polar opposite of this would be those strong man competitions where brute strength lifting, pulling, pushing power is needed. The ninja warrior guys would never make it.
It would be nice if the had a competition of a hybrid of these two.
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Old 08-05-2014, 10:06 AM
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I watch it now and again. It really is a test of a certain kind of athleticism. I would never watch something like this live, though. FF is your friend.
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Old 08-05-2014, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
The course seems to favor those with upper body strength who are light weight. If you can lift your own body weight with one or both arms for extended periods you can do pretty good. Guys over 200# no matter how cut seem to have problems.
The polar opposite of this would be those strong man competitions where brute strength lifting, pulling, pushing power is needed. The ninja warrior guys would never make it.
It would be nice if the had a competition of a hybrid of these two.
agreed - I'd love to see that show
  #20  
Old 08-05-2014, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
The course seems to favor those with upper body strength who are light weight. If you can lift your own body weight with one or both arms for extended periods you can do pretty good. Guys over 200# no matter how cut seem to have problems.
The polar opposite of this would be those strong man competitions where brute strength lifting, pulling, pushing power is needed. The ninja warrior guys would never make it.
It would be nice if the had a competition of a hybrid of these two.
I don't watch the show but I did watch some of the runs of the woman who made it through. Not to take anything away from her, because she is indeed strong and athletic, but I don't know why everyone was making a big deal out of her ability to do the course. They kept saying "She is only 100 lbs!" Well GOOD! If you're only 100# and a GYMNAST then no one should be surprised when you've got the strength and the balance to whip yourself across that course.

Yes women have less upper body strength than men but she is not pulling around a man. She's pulling around a 100# sack of pure bone and muscle.

Once again, kudos for her for being in such amazing shape and having the stamina for the course. But I felt so awkward with all the "she's just a small woman!" gushing going on.
  #21  
Old 08-05-2014, 11:37 AM
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I'd rather see a show that celebrates people who are good at something than one that seems designed just to find different ways for people to fall in mud.
Exactly! That's what I love about the show. It is about pushing past your limits and achieving victory. I got very excited last night when

SPOILER:

Jon Stewart made it up the warped wall. And then beat the course!


What a great moment.

Last edited by BeepKillBeep; 08-05-2014 at 11:37 AM.
  #22  
Old 08-05-2014, 12:49 PM
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Interesting tidbit:

Commentator Matt Iseman is an licensed physician who quit medicine after his residency to become a stand up comic.

Last edited by Trom; 08-05-2014 at 12:49 PM.
  #23  
Old 08-05-2014, 01:12 PM
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It just goes to show you, you should do what you love and makes you happy and not what society deems the more important job.
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Old 08-05-2014, 01:20 PM
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The original Japanese show was usually harder. In the American version the clock goes and if there are many that complete the stage only a certain number of the fastest will move on. If enough people don't finish the the fastest longest non-finishers move on. In the Japanese version 3 of the 4 stages had time limits. If you didn't finish on time you were done. IIRC there were a few seasons when no one went past stage 2. Sorry season over. No way an American network will do that.
Actually, this is how it works when they get to Mount Midoriyama. I don't think any American has ever made it past stage 3 and maybe only one even finished stage 2. (And he crapped out in qualifiers this year-but his GF is still in it as noted above-GO KACY!). Once they get to Vegas, the time limits kick in.
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Old 08-05-2014, 08:34 PM
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Actually, this is how it works when they get to Mount Midoriyama. I don't think any American has ever made it past stage 3 and maybe only one even finished stage 2. (And he crapped out in qualifiers this year-but his GF is still in it as noted above-GO KACY!). Once they get to Vegas, the time limits kick in.
Actually, Kane Kosugi (Japanese-American) made it to the Final Stage of season 8 of the original Japanese version (Ninja Warrior/Sasuke). No one has made it to the Final Stage of ANW, although Brian Arnold fell on the last obstacle of stage 3.

The major differences between Sasuke and ANW:
  1. Sasuke was held twice a year, while ANW is once per year.
  2. Sasuke was held in one day with 100 competitors total, while ANW has regional qualifiers, and the Vegas finals ("Mt. Midoriyama") is held over two nights.
  3. Sasuke was broadcast as a TV special in one day, while ANW is stretched out over many weeks.

I saw Makoto Nagano and Yuuji Urushihara (the last two Sasuke grand champions) test run the ANW qualifying course in 2010. It was obvious that, back then, the ANW course was sized for American competitors, as Nagano was not even close to reaching one of the obstacles that many of the competitors had no trouble with. It's not surprising that the Japanese guys got crushed by the Americans on the Vegas course.
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Old 08-05-2014, 01:45 PM
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I know it's trivial but one thing I cannot get over bugging me is that the course is literally translated as "Mount Green Mountain". Either "Mount Midori" or "Midoriyama" would be fine but "Mount Midoriyama" hurts my brain.
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Old 08-05-2014, 03:36 PM
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Always harder, you mean.


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The original Japanese show was usually harder.
Yeah, I used to watch the Japanese show. I bet if those guys watched the American version they would wet their pants laughing.
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Old 08-05-2014, 04:14 PM
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My kids and I used to love watching the double feature of the Japanese original (Sasuke) and Ultimate Banzuke, another Japanese athletic show. I agree with the posters here who want less stories and more competition, that's one of the great things about the original. They break it up with some interesting characters trying the course, and some of the competitors' stories, but nowhere near as tedious as the American show. I miss those shows.

We just started watching a couple episodes of the American version and like it well enough, but it seems to take forever to get to the competition part. We'll give it a few more episodes though, just because it is interesting.
  #29  
Old 08-05-2014, 05:06 PM
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I generally enjoy this show, but I can watch 90% of it via DVR on 2x or even 3x speed and not feel like I've missed anything.
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Old 08-05-2014, 08:11 PM
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They did a Americans vs Japanese dhow - even though some on the Japanese team made it all the way to the end the Americans won.

something any given Sunday something

For the finals some stages are timed

Brian

Last edited by N9IWP; 08-05-2014 at 08:11 PM.
  #31  
Old 08-06-2014, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Shalmanese View Post
I know it's trivial but one thing I cannot get over bugging me is that the course is literally translated as "Mount Green Mountain". Either "Mount Midori" or "Midoriyama" would be fine but "Mount Midoriyama" hurts my brain.
This is I think inspired by the recent tendency of people to refer to Mount Fuji as "Mount Fujiyama," which is stupid, essentially the equivalent of saying "Mount Mount Fuji."
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Old 08-06-2014, 01:57 PM
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I felt very sorry for the small Asian guy this week (I think his name was Yan- can't google it right now) because he was done in by his armspan. Had his arms been as long as the other contestants he'd probably have easily cleared the rails/rings.

They went out of their way to illustrate just how "old" 52 is. Actual examples:

"That's older than Lincoln was when he became president! That's older than Wilford Brimley was on COCOON! That's 17 years older than me!"

Yeah, we get it. 52. It's older than most contestants. It's not "old for the Earth". Yes, it's impressive a 52 year old guy did it, but it's impressive when anybody does it.

I always like it when the ultra gimmicky guys fail, like the one in the diaper and the baby bonnet. The guy who was shirtless and in tight jeans wasn't quite as gimmicky but I can't imagine that's a good outfit to do the course in.

I think I'm going to try out next year. I just need to lose a pound or 50 and maybe go to the gym. I've already got my hat picked out, and that's the hard part.
  #33  
Old 09-15-2014, 10:15 PM
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Disappointed only two made it to stage 3, and neither finished.

But tonight's USA vs the world (ok, Japan and Europe) was interesting, where 4 people made it through stage 3 (including Brian Arnold).

On stage 4 (a 70ft rope climb) Europe beat the US by 0.3 seconds - it just so happens that the US guy missed the buzzer the 1st time he tried to hit it, and that was likely the difference.

Brian
  #34  
Old 09-15-2014, 10:18 PM
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Thought tonight's was a lot of fun. I really do enjoy this show.
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Old 09-16-2014, 02:32 PM
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I think the show would be more compelling if they set up 2 courses next to each other for stage 1 and had 2 people going at once, race style. The way it's set up now they give you a 10min backstory then you watch the guy fall off the first obstacle in .02 seconds.

I also enjoyed the "water" in the Japanese version better. Just holes dug in the ground and filled with water. Kinda dirty and muddy. Seemed a bit more perilous. Here we have padded pools filled with mineral water or something.
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Old 09-16-2014, 04:06 PM
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The USA vs the World was awesome!!!

As mentioned above, a stage 1 record set and then crushed by 10 seconds! Nearly under 1 minute. Amazing.

As per my OP, what I love about this show is that you can cheer for everybody and fans of the sport seem to get that. It is all about personal total victory even when it is a team sport. Love it!

Cheers to Brian Arnold! Maybe next season we'll have an American Ninja Warrior!
  #37  
Old 09-18-2014, 12:33 AM
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Recorded this, but won't have access to the TV for any appreciable amount of time for a while, so for now, just addressing others' comments.

Oh, and might I add...the thing I absolutely, absolutely looooove about this show is how amazingly, awesomely cool everyone is. Think about it. When three women made it past the 1st round of prelims, everyone cheered, and a few cheered like crazy. When Kacy Katanzaro (there's a name I'm going to remember for a while!) cleared the 2nd round of prelims, the crowd celebrated like she won the WNBA title. When Jon Stewart made it to the top, they were inspired. When Jason "Flip" Rodriguez and Drew Dreschel took their inexplicable plunges, they wrere sobered. NO sexim, NO racism, NO bigotry, NO violence in the stands, NO heckling, NO bum-rushing the course, NO insane stunts (I'll give Brent Steffenson's climb a pass since he wasn't endangering anyone else). How many bigtime sports can you name that are like this? And every time the camera was on a competitor, he was a gentleman, or a cheerleader, or just glad to be there. The worst it ever got was that he took failure too hard and was in tears. And no drug abuse, domestic violence, shootings, stabbings, drunkenness, none of the nightmare-inducing embarrassments that have become routine in our major sports. Look at how much crap Zoe Quinn got for making a freaking freeware game, and Megan Martin turns a wildcard berth into yet another milestone and everyone celebrates.

BeepKillBeep - Yeah, love this show, easily my favorite reality TV show ever (and if NBC treated it like a serious sport, that would make it even better). After following it this far, however, I don't really see how parkour figures into it. Oh, sure, having a parkour background helps in certain areas (I think the biggest advantages are Warped Wall and Half Pipe Attack), but for the most part athleticism takes a back seat to raw power, speed, tenacity, and of course an unshakable death grip. Parkour was hardly mentioned this season; it appears to be (sadly) being phased out.

Hampshire - I don't get all the comparisons to Wipeout; pretty much the only thing they have in common is water landings. Stylistically, Wipeout owes a lot more to Double Dare, American Gladiators, Grudge Match, and similar prop-based contests than Sasuke. The main difference is that in Sasuke (and its short-lived spinoff Kunoichi), absolute perfection is demanded from start to finish, whereas on something like Wipeout, everyone's expected to mess up frequently, and the winner is simply the one who doesn't mess up quite as frequently as the competition.

N9IWP - The only "voting" occurs when the hosts choose the 15 wildcards. There's been a little grumbling over the existence of wildcards, but the bottom line is that they improve ratings and encourage the bubble contestants to give their all, so they're not going anywhere. I don't recall any egregiously bad choices, so I don't think you have to worry.

As for USA vs. Japan, it looked to me that the Japanese contingent was just plain unprepared. I almost couldn't believe how badly they screwed up fairly routine things like Salmon Ladder and Giant Cycle. I can't begin to say why.

Shalmanese - "Mount Midoriyama" is just one of those Americanisms. I'm sure someone at NBC is well aware of the redundancy, but once they repeat it enough times, there's no changing it.

Loach - ANW4 very nearly had no one make it past Stage 2. The only one who cleared it was Brent Steffensen, and he hit the buzzer with three hundredths of a second on the clock. NBC will be generous in the preliminary stages (don't forget the wildcards), but once it gets to Vegas, it's 4 stages and no mercy. Absolutely NBC wants a Stage 3 every time, but it's earned, not given. I don't see how this makes ANW a lot easier. The only real difference is that the joke entrants and goofballs get taken out before Stage 1 rather than by it.

gatopescado - After USA vs. Japan and the recently-concluded USA vs. The World, if they were laughing before, I somehow doubt they are now. Japan, for whatever reason, just can't compete on an international stage.

MaxTheVool - Totally agree on Caldiero. He just sounds like the ideal jock, an incredibly decent guy who's great in front of the camera and just happens to be an absolute beast on the course. If anyone deserves to take the half-million, it's him.
  #38  
Old 09-18-2014, 11:25 PM
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Oh, and might I add...the thing I absolutely, absolutely looooove about this show is how amazingly, awesomely cool everyone is. Think about it. When three women made it past the 1st round of prelims, everyone cheered, and a few cheered like crazy. When Kacy Katanzaro (there's a name I'm going to remember for a while!) cleared the 2nd round of prelims, the crowd celebrated like she won the WNBA title. When Jon Stewart made it to the top, they were inspired. When Jason "Flip" Rodriguez and Drew Dreschel took their inexplicable plunges, they wrere sobered. NO sexim, NO racism, NO bigotry, NO violence in the stands, NO heckling, NO bum-rushing the course, NO insane stunts
Yes, everyone's attitudes are great. Even the guy who stopped and climbed off the course on the first obstacle, because he accidentally violated a rule. He didn't wait to see if the judges caught it, he knew he was wrong and he admitted it and quit. He got my respect.


Quote:
(I'll give Brent Steffenson's climb a pass since he wasn't endangering anyone else).
What do you mean?


Quote:
After following it this far, however, I don't really see how parkour figures into it. Oh, sure, having a parkour background helps in certain areas (I think the biggest advantages are Warped Wall and Half Pipe Attack), but for the most part athleticism takes a back seat to raw power, speed, tenacity, and of course an unshakable death grip. Parkour was hardly mentioned this season; it appears to be (sadly) being phased out.
Parkour was used by the captain of the European team that beat the Americans. When he went after the warped wall, he did his run up off the beams from the rope landing, rather than getting onto the course and backing up the short curve. That saved him several seconds, and contributed to his smashing the stage time record.

Parkour helps with knowing your foot placement and balance. It helps with leaping. The rock climbers tend to have more grip strength because they train that, but the parkour guys do better on jumping spider and the like.

Except, of course, now the top athletes train on obstacle courses, so you don't have straight rock climbers or straight parkour guys, you have obstacle trainers. Yes, they still do their chosen sports, but there's more crossover experience going on.
  #39  
Old 09-19-2014, 12:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Irishman View Post
What do you mean?
This.
  #40  
Old 09-19-2014, 05:04 PM
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Oh, that. Shoot, that's just climbing a ladder. That's much less risky than plenty of the parkour moves all over the submission videos. Like climbing an Ibeam column in a gymnasium 50 feet to the ceiling, hand walking like the Ultimate Cliffhanger off bridges over highways, doing handstands on the edges of building roofs, etc.
  #41  
Old 01-01-2016, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by BeepKillBeep View Post
Any other fans of this show?

I love watching the athleticism. It is a very different type of athletics than you normally get to see. A very cool mix of parkour, rock climbing and gymnastics.

The big thing I like about this show is that you can cheer for everybody!

I end up yelling at my screen urging the competitors on.

Gooooooooo everybody!
I avoided this show. Based on its name I thought it would be a bunch of guys in black outfit playing with swords and throwing stars.

Then I caught the Las Vegas finals by accident and I was hooked.

I was hooked for exactly the reasons you described. I love the way the crowd cheers for everyone and the competitors cheer for each other.

Now I watch it when I get the chance. Today they were showing 2014 city competitions. Doesn't matter they're from last season. Still fun to watch.
  #42  
Old 01-02-2016, 12:43 PM
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There was a preview snippet from Team Ninja Warrior during the ninja-thon today. Looks like the format is this:

-Teams are two men and one woman, with a team captain (seems like the team captain is usually one of the men, but is sometimes a woman)
-There's a single course, about the length of a preliminary course, built with two side-by-side tracks, ending at a warped wall (well, two warped walls)
-The three team members from team A compete one by one against the three team members from team B, on the course at the same time, side by side. Whoever completes the course fastest wins. Incidental contact with the water is not a loss, but falling into the water is. I assume that if neither ninja completes the course, whoever gets further wins, but that wasn't totally spelled out
-Some of the obstacles are set up so that two competitors slightly cross path or interact, although they're mainly in their own lanes
-The first two competitors earn 1 point for winning. The third ("anchor") earns 2 points. In the event of a tie there's an "instant death" tiebreaker of some sort.
-Four teams compete in each "normal" episode. A vs B. Then C vs D. Then the winners of each match against the LOSER of the other match. Then the winners of the second round play each other in the final match, winners advance to some final round later on

Things I like about this format:
-The head to head racing seems really interesting. The time pressure can make even really talented ninjas make mistakes. In the brief bit we saw, a lot of people who can normally make it up warped walls failed to do so, and people screwed up fairly easy things like swinging to a cargo net

Things I don't like:
-I don't like the second round with losers against winners, because it can easily incentivize a team to punt their first round match
-I like each team having a woman, but... I worry that the very small number of really elite female competitors are just way better than numbers 6 through 20 or whatever. There are plenty of men who can consistently make it through a fairly easily qualifying course, even the 30th or 40th best man can give the top guys a run for the money. But the qualifying course ends with a warped wall, and only 4 women have ever made it up a warped wall (if I recall correctly)


One thing that is so far unclear is how many different varieties of courses there are. Will all of the team-vs-team competitions each episode be on the same course?


Anyhow, looks like quite a bit of fun overall.
  #43  
Old 01-02-2016, 07:05 PM
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I saw it a couple days ago, and got pretty excited for the new season.
Quote:
I assume that if neither ninja completes the course, whoever gets further wins, but that wasn't totally spelled out
We saw this happen in the preview. It's standard "furthest the fastest" rule. So, for example, one time we saw the leader of a leg fall on the unstable pegs (or whatever they're called.) The run continued, as the second place dude had to complete the unstable pegs in order to have gotten the furthest the fastest. As soon as he got past the obstacle, the horn was blown.

Quote:
Four teams compete in each "normal" episode. A vs B. Then C vs D. Then the winners of each match against the LOSER of the other match. Then the winners of the second round play each other in the final match, winners advance to some final round later on
This wasn't what I took away from it. I may have missed something from my aggressive FFWDing through the non-racing parts, but from what I could tell:

Round 1: A vs B
Round 2: C vs D
Round 3: Loser's bracket to determine 3rd and 4th
Round 4: Winner's bracket to crown the champ
  #44  
Old 01-03-2016, 10:28 PM
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Eeeeennghhh. There it is again...lots and lots of nagging little doubts.

First off, let's remember the origin of this event, a Japanese one-day amateur competition called Sasuke. (That's where the "ninja" comes from, lalaith.) In the vein of most Japanese game shows, it features a whole bunch of weird and colorful contestants, a plethora of unusual-looking obstacles, and an overall freewheeling spirit of good fun. There are no prizes nor any special rewards for Total Victory; succeeding is supposed to be its own accomplishment. It's not a "competition" in any meaningful sense of the word, and in fact a lot of contestants obviously don't have a prayer and are just there for the publicity.

In its entire history, I have not heard of a single genuine controversy of any kind. Sasuke is not a serious sport and doesn't pretend to be, and it's exactly this irreverent spirit that frees it from getting bogged down in bitter divides.

So fast forward to September 2015, and Geoff Britten makes the climb for the ages. This, you'll recall, is something that NBC has been hyping up nonstop from literally the moment ANW began, and now it's finally happened.

So what does he get? Jack squat, because Isaac Caldiero got up in a slightly faster time, which means that he gets the million (which he totally deserved, don't get me wrong). Never mind that there was zero indication in any prior episode that they'd be competing against each other (because, again, this isn't supposed to be a competition), never mind that this doesn't even make much sense, never mind that pretty much everyone hated it. There's one king and everyone else is a peasant (because that worked so well for Dancing With The Stars). That's the rule, and the rules are sacrosanct, and they can never, ever bend in the slightest, never mind that NBC made up the stupid rules in the first place, and it doesn't matter how many millions of viewers are unhappy about it.

And now a team competition. With women competing on the same course as men.

One of the things I really liked about the way ANW was set up was that everyone competed on the same course. No handicaps, no chivalry. Pretty cool, and something that isn't really a viable option for most sports. More than that, though, each person is competing for himself or herself and gets to set his or her own goals, or no goals at all. We get to see boundaries pushed, seemingly unremarkable athletes accomplish what once seemed impossible, and truly inspiring feats of strength and resourcefulness. This was amateur athletics in its purest form. No divisions, no qualifying scores, no damned expectations, just watch and be thrilled by what you see.

All that is gone for this event. Now every second matters, every tiny stumble matters, every fall is disaster, because they're not just failing, they're letting down the team. USA vs. The World could get away with this because they were the best of the best, people who had established themselves and were used to pressure. I've seen no indications that the selections here will be as accomplished.

Then there's that nonsense about the 2-point "anchors". Great, scoring tomfoolery to ensure even more furious arguments and take another bite out of ANW's legitimacy as a sport.

And there are going to be women here? Look, I was as elated as anyone else at Kacy Katanzaro's historical conquest of the City Final, and also Catanzaro and Meagan Martin setting a new milestone in Stage 1. But these were impressive achievements for women, and I was happy because I could judge them by that standard. Failing at Warped Wall would rightfully not be considered anywhere near impressive for Brian Arnold, or Joe Moravsky, or Elet Hall, or Geoff Britten. And I've seen how the female contingent did the last time. Graff was really good, Martin uncharacteristically stumbled but made the most of her second chance, Catanzaro ran into a bit of bad luck but did the same, Warnky was so-so, there was that one in the military episode that wasn't too bad, and nearly everyone else flat-out stunk up the joint. Is NBC going to round up four who are willing to do this and won't embarrass themselves?

Little doubts. Hoping that the actual event is a decent contest.
  #45  
Old 01-04-2016, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DKW View Post

So fast forward to September 2015, and Geoff Britten makes the climb for the ages. This, you'll recall, is something that NBC has been hyping up nonstop from literally the moment ANW began, and now it's finally happened.

So what does he get? Jack squat, because Isaac Caldiero got up in a slightly faster time, which means that he gets the million (which he totally deserved, don't get me wrong). Never mind that there was zero indication in any prior episode that they'd be competing against each other (because, again, this isn't supposed to be a competition), never mind that this doesn't even make much sense, never mind that pretty much everyone hated it.
I agree that it was crappy the way that played out. That said, I'm 100% sure that in previous years, when discussing the four stages of Mt. Midoriyama, they had said "and if anyone completes stage 3, they will go to stage 4, and race for (the prize, was half a million and then later a million). If multiple people complete stage 4, whoever completes it fastest will win". If anything, the problem was not that they had no procedure in place, it was that they had a procedure in place that turned out to suck... but presumably no one was seriously considering that two people would achieve ultimate victory in the same year, given that no one had ever even gotten to stage 4 before.

I really really hope that they'll give Geoff Britten a special reward, with some money, and change the policy for future years, because I agree that what happened really sucked.

That said, while ANW has its origins in Sasuke, it's clearly a different show, and stands or falls on its own merits. I think having a big prize is why so many really top-notch athletes have showed up to compete, so I don't mourn the loss of amateur-status-pureness or anything of that sort.


Quote:
Now every second matters, every tiny stumble matters, every fall is disaster, because they're not just failing, they're letting down the team.
Or, on the flip side, one fall does NOT immediately disqualify you because you have a team there to pick you up if you fail. A team sport always has a different dynamic than an individual sport.

Quote:
Then there's that nonsense about the 2-point "anchors". Great, scoring tomfoolery to ensure even more furious arguments and take another bite out of ANW's legitimacy as a sport.
There's a very simple reason for that, which is to make for better TV. Even if one team wins round 1 and round 2, round 3 still matters. And I don't see how it will lead to arguments, the rules are the rules. And ANW isn't a sport, it's a TV show. It's not trying to be a sport.

Quote:
And there are going to be women here? Look, I was as elated as anyone else at Kacy Katanzaro's historical conquest of the City Final, and also Catanzaro and Meagan Martin setting a new milestone in Stage 1. But these were impressive achievements for women, and I was happy because I could judge them by that standard. Failing at Warped Wall would rightfully not be considered anywhere near impressive for Brian Arnold, or Joe Moravsky, or Elet Hall, or Geoff Britten. And I've seen how the female contingent did the last time. Graff was really good, Martin uncharacteristically stumbled but made the most of her second chance, Catanzaro ran into a bit of bad luck but did the same, Warnky was so-so, there was that one in the military episode that wasn't too bad, and nearly everyone else flat-out stunk up the joint. Is NBC going to round up four who are willing to do this and won't embarrass themselves?
Not sure what you're saying here.

Women are always competing head-to-head with other women. Some women are better than other women. Whichever woman does best on the course wins a point for her team. Where's the objection? (Or are you echoing what I said, that there seems to be a steeper dropoff of talent between the best handful of women and the others? Because I obviously agree, but what other solution is there? Have no women at all? They're an integral part of ANW. Or only have 4 total teams, so that each team can have an elite woman?)
  #46  
Old 01-21-2016, 02:58 AM
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This first episode was already broadcast as a preview a few weeks ago. I'm looking forward to next week's episode.
  #47  
Old 01-28-2016, 12:31 AM
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[A bit late because I just switched to a new cable provider, and it took a while to get recording down. Had to pick up the repeat.]

So, thereís going to be six of these. Cool.

PRELIM #2

Obstacles: Sonic Swing, Log Grip, Swing Jump, Dancing Stones, Bungee Road, Warped Wall, Dueling Salmon Ladders, Tilting Ladders, Tower Climb

Golden Hearts: Grant McCartney, Natalie Duran, Neil Craver
Norcal Ninjas: Sean Noble, Rachel Mulvaney, David Campbell
Team Midoryama: Dan Yager, Meagan Martin, Ian Dory
Towers of Power: Dan Polizzi, Selena Laniel, Brandon Mears

= 1st match: Golden Hearts vs. Norcal Ninjas =
L: McCartney def. Noble (finish) - Noble builds an early lead but gets tied up on Bungee Road, which his opponent has no trouble with, and even a late surge at the wall canít save him. Pretty sobering reminder of how one obstacle can make all the difference in the world.
W: Duran def. Mulvaney (distance) - Yeah, letís just throw this one in there, why not? Itís mercifully quick, as Mulvaney flubs the transition at Swing Jump and crashes.
A: Craver def. Campbell (finish) - Campbellís hopes are crushed immediately when he misses the jump at Sonic Swing. Craver expends just as much energy as he needs to hit the buzzer first.
Four-owe!! Suh-weep!! Absolute disaster for the Norcal Nin...oh, wait, this is the almost completely meaningless placement round. Never mind.
GOLDEN HEARTS WINS

= 2nd match: Team Midoryama vs. Towers of Power =
L: Polizzi def. Yager (finish) - Battle of the Dans. Luckily neither of them is wearing a pink gi, so it shouldnít be too much of a slaughter. Ahem...another one which turned on a botched transition at Swing Jump, by Yager. He fights hard to close the gap, but a failed Warped Wall attempt is the nail in the coffin.
W: Martin def. Laniel (distance) - To her credit, Laniel looked good for a while; she even had a sizable lead going into Dancing Stones. Alas, thatís as close as sheíd ever get, as she simply loses her footing and goes out on an uncomfortable-looking bellyflop. Martin actually went on to finish the whole shebang, which Gbajabiamila chalks up to the pride of the Warped Wall, which Martin confirms to be the truth. Broken clock, folks, broken clock.
A: Dory def. Mears (finish) - A seesaw battle where we both menís strengths and weaknesses are on display. Dory is better where it counts (i.e. the last two obstacles) and gets a clean win.
TEAM MIDORYAMA WINS

= 3rd match: Golden Hearts vs. Towers of Power =
For some reason, 1. itís actually legal to swap the leadoff and anchor positions as both teams agree to it, 2. necessitating, of course, that both teams find an advantage to doing so, 3. and thatís whatís happening here. Huh.
L: Craver def. Mears (distance) - What looks to be a good contest comes to a crashing halt as Mears bites the dust in Dancing Stones.
W: Duran def. Laniel (distance) - Duran maintains a slight edge up to Bungee Road and completes it first...then watches Laniel run out of gas and go straight down. Thatís five straight wins for Golden Hearts.
A: Polizzi def. McCartney (finish) - Run of the night! (Dunno if Iím going to make this a regular thing. Maybe.) Not much to say; it was tight, both men gave it their all, and the winner juuuust pulled it off.
T: Polizzi def. Craver (distance) - Craverís luck runs out in Dancing Stones, and the miracle comeback is complete. Iím sorry, who was ToPís captain again?
Our first ďstealĒ of the competition, and honestly...Iím not sure what to make of it. Maybe if it happens three or four more times Iíll have an informed opinion.
TOWERS OF POWER WINS

Laniel has an injured shoulder. If she canít go for the final, alternate Traci Dinwitti will run in her place. Iíve seen what alternates did in the early days of UFC. Iím not optimistic.

= 4th match: Team Midoryama vs. Norcal Ninjas =
L: Noble def. Yager (distance) - Yager leads most of the way, looks good through Bungee Road...and just flat-out loses his grip at the end. I canít explain it. His hands just slipped off.
W: Martin def. Mulvaney (distance) - No contest. Mulvaney was never in it and clearly didnít have the arm strength for Bungee Road. And Martin goes up the wall again, because why the hell not. Remember, Mulvaney is supposed to be one of the 24 best female ANW competitors.
A: Dory def. Campbell (distance) - It looks like Campbell just didnít have the energy. He fell behind early, tried to rush through Dancing Stones, and collapsed hard.
TEAM MIDORYAMA WINS

= Final: Team Midoryama (LWA) vs. Towers of Power (WLA) =
Let me get this out of the way right now. In any physical contest between two competitors that, athletically, are at least average in their respective fields, a man is going to destroy a woman. Period. I harbor no illusions about this whatsoever. Now, if itís between complete clods or out-of-shape slugs, then yeah, itís a toss-up. But a good man crushes a good woman, and an average man clobbers an average woman, maybe even a good one.

Men, provided they take the time to develop their physical abilities, will always be on a higher level than women. This has never been a big deal for me. Itís biological fact. I donít recall there being any controversy over plants needing carbon dioxide to live or whales being air-breathers who live in water.

So as far as this ďfirst ever male vs. female matchupĒ, is Yager going to leave Dinwitti hopelessly in the dust? Of course he will. And is Martin, for all her prowess, going to give up quite a bit of ground to Polizzi (who, admittedly, has absolutely been on fire today and would make a tough matchup for anybody)? Yes, yes, and more yes. Do I consider this a commentary on anything other than how screwball this whole contest is? HELL no. And Iím sure as hell not going to be the one to chest-thump about how grossly inferior women are and how they should stay on the ladiesí tees or whatever. Like I have anything to brag about. For crying out loud, I barely held my own in youth soccer. Pfft.

An-y-waaaayyy...it goes pretty much according to Hoyle until Dueling Salmon Ladders. Mears does his best but canít close the gap, and gravity proves to be his nemesis on Tower Climb. Not close.
TEAM MIDORYAMA WINS

MVP picks: Polizzi, Martin, Dory

On a related note, am I right to be just a wee bit concerned with the constant horse race narrative? ďItís going to be close!Ē ďTheyíre neck and neck!Ē ďItís really close!Ē ďSynchronized swimming!Ē ďClose, close, close, close!Ē Granted, most of the contest is specifically geared to have little or no effect on the final result, but you never know. Upsets happen, surprises happen, and every so often someone just runs away with it. Thatís how sports is. What happens when a complete blowout happens? When a team wins two rounds and then cleans up in the Relay Showdown? Can the powers that be even accept it? Maybe a minor concern, but right now itís definitely fingers crossed.
  #48  
Old 01-28-2016, 09:38 PM
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What station is it running on? It's not NBC.
  #49  
Old 01-29-2016, 12:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Irishman View Post
What station is it running on? It's not NBC.
Esquire.
  #50  
Old 01-29-2016, 01:14 AM
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They run lots of replays, so you can still catch the second week if you like (or both, for that matter).
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