It is Sasuke season and the first pre-show of the year is coming up!
It will air on December 11th @ 17:00 JST Time.
This works out to:
3am ET 2am CT 1am MT 12am PT 8am GMT
This preshow is occurring on the TBS program “Birth Day”. Birth Day as a program is notable as it is the current version of a Documentary series that spun off of the 90s series “ZONE”. In the past, ZONE was produced by Sasuke creator Ushio Higuchi had aired 14 episodes based on Sasuke in the past. These episodes are used to promote tournaments and show extended fluff pieces on competitors. ZONE ended way back in 2004, and Birth Day began in 2005, but since Higuchi was no longer involved, it stopped covering Sasuke content….. until now.
In our first Sasuke episode of birthday, we’ll be getting a behind the scenes look at the Sasuke 39 journey’s of two prominent competitors:
Previous champion Morimoto Yusuke (#100), and chart-topping artist Iwamoto Hikaru (#88)
#65 Nishida (ニシダ) got a surprise as a fan of Sasuke, and in this video is shown rushing to a local gym. The trainer asks what his goals are, and he responds “I made it on Sasuke, so I need you to help me prepare”. Nishida already had some basic strength, but will be training relentlessly to prepare for his shot on this course this season.
Sugeta Rinne show off his Routine
Last season, #20 Sugeta Rinne (菅田 琳寧) broke onto the scene by making Stage 2 in his debut tournament. This season, he is back for a second go alongside other members of talent group Johnny’s Jr, and shows off his training routine.
In today’s first video, we see one of the regular Sasuke groups, The Rampage from Exile Tribe, getting ready for this season. The group consists of #56 Zin (陣), #57 Urukawa Shohei (浦川翔平) and #58 Takechi Kaisei (武知海青). Despite being celebrities this group has done relatively well, with two of the 3 making Dragon Glider in Sasuke 37, and again in 38. During their video today, they are shown training with #98 Tmohiro Kawaguchi (川口朋広) on the Matsuda course. They practive the Dragon Glider, Warped Wall and Fishbone to good results. They also said during this video that they believe if they can pass Dragon Glider, they could get all the way to Stage 3.
Bandai’s Sasuke Fanclub is Strong as Ever
In today’s second video, we see Bandai employee #13 Honma Takashi (本間隆史). He runs a Sasuke fanclub with other Bandai employees and has always had mascots from Tamagochi and Pac-Man on the sidelines with him. Honma rose to extreme notoriety after his Sasuke 38 run, where his absurd Dragon Glider fail rose to become one of the most iconic fails in franchise history. Due to this growing respect, Bandai and TBS created their own 5 Stage course called “World Animal Adventure” that aired on current Banzuke iteration “Taiiku Kai TV” in November 2021.
In this video, we can see him getting prepared for another Sasuke run, and talking about his journey and preparation for the show.
The episode that as mentioned in the previous blog was cancelled due to baseball, has been re-announced to air on December 4th. The Navi episode that was to air earlier in the day, however, was not listed for broadcast, leaving it’s status unknown.
Today we see #48 Fuwa-chan (フワちゃん) over at the home of #36 Daisuke Matsuda.
Fuwa is a popular YouTuber who has broken into the Japanese television scene over the last two years. In April 2021, she was announced as a new lead host on the current iteration on Banzuke, called Taiiku Kai TV. Ever since then, she has been a staple at TBS and was expected to appear alongside her real life best friend, #19 Toshiaki “Audrey” Kasuga (春日俊彰).
Given that Fuwa is a rookie to the world of Sasuke, this visit was useful for her to get acquainted with the obstacles she can expect to see on the course.
Fuwa and Kasuga have been training together for the last few years, taking on lifting competitions, and current training their aerobics skills to head off to a national competition. It’s safe to say physical skill isn’t an issue… although given their goofy nature it’s possible they might play up the drama during their runs.
Earlier this year, Fuwa was also invited to compete on Sports Danshi Grand Prix (the new version of Sportsman No.1). Sadly, it ended up being a prank and she was quite upset, so at least this time she will get a fair shot to compete.
Competitor Profiles – #6 – #10
#6 Kento Miyahara (宮原健斗) is a Pro Wrestler making his Sasuke debut. He’s been in the wrestling scene for 13 years now and it’s safe to say he’s got the physical skills to take on the course!
#7 Boru Neesan (ボル姉さん) is the mascotcharacter with the goal of increasing fitness. During the Sasuke 39 auditions they shocked viewers by being a surprisingly strong competitor. While Boru Neesan’s identity is not known, they have extremely strong climbing skills. Boru even has their own merch! Boru has held up their promise to run the course in costume, so it should be a great run to watch.
#8 Fujimoto Shota (藤本翔太) is a cram school teacher, and one of this seasons new participants from the general public. He came in through auditions, and impressed with his extreme strength, being able to do a flagpole while someone stands on him!
#9 Saikawa Koji (才川コージ) is an action actor known for doing stunts in several stage shows, as well as the popular Japanese series Kamen Rider. Despite the low number, Saikawa broke onto the SASUKE scene by making Stage 2 in both of his first two tournaments. He definitely has the potential to be one of the new generation stars of the show!
#10 Karen Macaron (competing under her stage name KAREN) is a model and cosmetics entrepreneur now returning for her 7th ninja appearance. While her best result was reaching the Dragon Glider in Kunoichi, she appeared on the athletics competition Spotainer Japan which showed off her training routines and athletic skill. In her interview this year, she said her goal for Sasuke 39 is to reach the crossover point in the Fishbone Kai. Let’s wish her luck to reach that goal!
Over the last few years former Sasuke and Banzuke Producer Ushio Higuchi has made a lucrative business running theme parks.
This venture started during the 2000s with his like of “Muscle Park” locations. These have since closed, but following a pilot with popular YouTube channel Fischer’s in 2018, his company GoldEggs has gotten back into the theme park business, offering other services like sports training and Monster box competitions.
The first park opened in 2019, with a second location opening in 2020.
It seems these are doing well, as a 3rd location opened in August 2021, even getting promoted on the TBS program “King’s Brunch”.
This week, it was announced a fourth location will open in Musashiurawa on December 4th, 2021. It seems these parks are doing very well, so hopefully that momentum continues!
Now that Sasuke Season is in full year, TBS is on a sprint with posts about the show. I won’t always cover each in full detail, but I will try:
Competitor Profiles – #1 – #5
This year, TBS seems to be bundling the profiles into larger videos instead of one at a time. I don’t mind this at all. This session we have:
#1, Katsuhide Torisawa (鳥澤克秀). He’s competed 21 times and is now an honorary “Joke” Competitor.
#2 Kyohei Oshita (大舌恭平), a legendary Rhythmic Gymnastics Athlete
#3 & #4 Takeru (たける) & Shogo (ショーゴ), a popular comedian duo know as Tokyo Hoteison (東京ホテイソン). Despite being comedians, they have an athletics background with Shogo doing extensive muscle training, and Takeru being a golfer.
#5 Yoshihisa Kobayashi (小林よしひさ). Previously competing in SASUKE 38 but failing on Quad Steps, he is back for revenge. He is most notable for taking over ninja legend Hiromichi Sato’s role at the NHK in their gymnastics programs after Sato retired.
Competitor Spotlight – #30 HIKAKIN
A popular youtuber who is on the show this year. I’ve already seen a ton of excitement around him, especially after he recently appeared on the Chronos series of gameshows. Between all of his channels he has a whopping 20 million subscribers and 15 billion views. He is sure to draw new fans to Sasuke.
Shorts – Morimoto talks to Nagano
TBS has been posting lots of shorts recently, and the last few have been Q&A sessions with reigning #100 Yusuke Morimoto
So, a week ago TBS announced the new episode of Taiiku Kai, but since then a lot of weird things have been happening with it.
Firstly, they did not release a synopsis, even with less than 48 hours until broadcast. They also deleted the trailer only to reupload a nearly identical one.
Then this morning, it was removed from the schedule. So what’s going on?
Right now the finals of the Japan Series is underway. (Japan’s equivalent of the MLB World Series). The current score is 3-2, which means they’re going to a Game 6. As it turns out, TBS owns the broadcast rights for Game 6 of the series and so they were forced to remove Taiiku Kai from the schedule with less than 48 hours notice.
It is currently unclear if this episode will be skipped, postponed, or released online only. I’ll be sure to update everyone once we have more information.