Ninja Warrior is the god of obstacle courses. Ninja Warrior can devour athletes and leave them weeping in a heap. Ninja Warrior is four stages of muscle-burn that must be completed in a single day. The competition is held a few times a year and has become an international favorite that occasionally includes Olympic gold medalists among its competitors. In 10 years the show has held 19 competitions and in that time, only two people have completed all four stages. This is a show all about the journey and hardly ever about the destination.
With obstacle names like Warped Wall, Spider Jump, Hammer Dodge, Salmon Ladder, and Cliff Hanger, Ninja Warrior provides ample opportunity for displaying incredible athletic prowess, while also setting the stage for spectacular (and spectacularly entertaining) wipeouts.
The Ninja Warrior All-Stars include a handful of competitors including professional and non-professional athletes, who have performed at least somewhat consistently well for at least part of their Ninja Warrior careers. With the diverse and oftentimes absurdly difficult challenges of the Ninja Warrior competition, along with the constant re-designing of the course almost every season, just about each of the All-Stars have failed unexpectedly early at some point.
Then there are The Hopefuls, among them: The Octopus, Hibari (The World's Toughest Transsexual), The Ballet Thong Guy, Samba Girl, Superman, Bruce Lee, and 3% Body Fat; they each do their best and are great fun to watch and cheer for, each of them performing a comedic theatrical skit that gets them on the show, and if they ever finish the first stage, it's cause for celebration.
Kudos go out to G4TV for carrying this show on their daily lineup. I had heard of the show for years and later saw various clips on YouTube (look them up, people!), but I had never seen a complete episode until G4 began airing it, beginning with season two. On a side note to G4TV: People, I understand each episode runs three hours in Japan; why do you edit the episodes down? I recognize the need for past seasons being compressed into one hour segments, but we're talking about the US season premiere. I say, give it up! Let us watch the entire episode at least once -- especially on the premiere night, which is right around the corner.
On May 18th the US premiere of competition #20 will air, featuring two US challengers hand-picked by G4TV. The premieres have become a semi-annual event at my house. This next competition, #20, will be the second gathering (it's the little things that bring me pleasure). With #19, only two competitors made it past the fully re-designed stage one and both of these competitors were defeated early in stage two. Even the producers of Ninja Warrior were surprised by the results; generally there are at least five competitors that make it to the opening of stage three. Rarely, if ever, does the show end at the opening of stage two.
Will it be more difficult this time around? Will the producers have made it easier due to the last shocking competition? Will anyone make it past stage one? Most importantly, who will have the most spectacular wipeout? Tune in to find out.