My take on…Ninja Warrior
I’ve been watching Ninja Warrior (or Sasuke, as it’s called in Japan…well, at least that’s the English version of the Japanese name…pronounced roughly “Sauce-Kay”, as opposed to a Spanish-ised “Sah-SOOH-kee”) for several seasons now on G4.
It’s basically a really hard obstacle course…almost impossibly hard.
Tonight, NBC is going to show one episode of “American Ninja Warrior”. That’s a reality show that qualifies Americans to go compete on the Japanese course.
However, the American version and the Japanese version, in my opinion, really show some differences in cultural tastes.
In the Japanese version, almost nobody wins (defeats the entire course). I’m not really exaggerating…three people have done it out of thousands and over more than a decade.
In the American version, somebody got kicked off every week trying to make the American team.
In other words, there were winners and losers.
That’s sort of my philosophical question: would Americans watch a competition show with no winners and losers?
What if no one became America’s Next Top Model? Nobody from the Glee Project made it to the show? Nobody won the Super Bowl?
Of course, there is something very similar to an American version of Ninja Warrior: Wipeout. That’s the two I’d compare. Ninja Warrior has a funny voiceover…but you’ll notice, they don’t make fun of the contestants the same way. There’s a winner every week on Wipeout. Ninja Warrior mixes (in the initial phases) celebrities, and sincere people who are going to be eliminated on the first obstacle with world-class athletes, including Olympic gymnasts, like the Hamm brothers.
I’ll be interested to see the ratings on the NBC showing. I’ve enjoyed it on G4…and I’m not really a sports person. It’s about the striving: every victory is a victory, and every failure is an attempt. I want somebody to go all the way, but I’m okay when they don’t. for the elite, it’s amazing stuff to watch: like parkour or Bruce Lee. However, they probably still aren’t going to win…and that’s okay with me.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.