Archive for February, 2013

MXC – Takeshi’s Castle

Posted: February 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

America has both influenced and adapted traits from challenging obstacle course game shows from all over the world.  Previously, I have shared information on the American based show, Wipeout, being twisted and aired in Canada and also the original Japanese series Ninja warrior being brought to America.  Another program that relates but does not necessarily fall into the same category as these two is MXC or Most Extreme Elimination Challenge, which aired on Spike TV on April 13, 2003.

MXC

This show is a direct re-edit of Japan’s game show Takeshi’s Castle. The original Japanese version of this show aired in 1986 until 1989 and consisted of two teams of contestants competing to win points.  The ones portrayed as the hosts, Kenny and Vic, in the American version are actually a count named Takeshi and his assistant creating challenges in order to fight off an opposing military leader and his troops.  The main objective was to eventually reach the Takeshi’s Castle. There were a variety of challenges that players competed in, usually four per episode, but sometimes as many as six. The challenges are extremely hard, near impossible, and a majority of the contestants fail to complete the challenges falling into the surrounding mud pits.  A few fan-favorite and recurring games included the Log Drop, Wall Bangers, Dope on a Rope, Rotating Surfboard of Death, and Sinkers and Floaters, and many others. Instead of creating a show based off a foreign game show, the creators of MXC used the footage from the original Takeshi’s Castle episodes but added comical voice-over narration.  People were given names of celebrities, network bosses, or family members and friends of the producers or voice actors and team names were created to continue the comical feel of the show.  Many of the original Japanese actors got massive career re-boots because of the popularity of the show in the US.  The American version brought features such as the “MXC impact replay” to resemble a sports-themed instant replay.

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  This also brought humiliation to the contestants and allowed the audience to witness their failed attempts.  In the case where someone does complete a challenge, their team is awarded 1 or 2 points depending on the obstacle.  As anticipated, the team with the most points at the end of the episode is declared the winner but no prizes are awarded since this show is not taped live.  This American re-edit really focuses on the comical side of things, playing on the audience’s emotions and includes sometimes-inappropriate humor.   The producers of MXC had no idea what the contestants of the original show were saying and the writers based the dialogue on sexual puns, pop culture, or mocking various celebrities, athletes, sports announcers, and politicians.  This example of a foreign influenced obstacle course game show differs from the others that I have mentioned in that all the video content is still the property of Tokyo Broadcasting System while at the same time being edited by RC Entertainment.  This is not a traditional form of influence but still constitutes how foreign media has made its way to America.

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American “Ninja Warrior”

Posted: February 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

It is not uncommon for countries to “borrow” or be influenced by certain shows in our society.  In the last post, I talked about how these countries; specifically Canada used an American based program as a starting point for their own version of the game show Wipeout.  However, not all countries are influenced by American media. One example of how America has been influenced by a foreign country can be seen in the show American Ninja Warrior that was shown on ABC and also G4 and filmed in Las Vegas, Nevada.

                   anw                                                           ninja_warrior

Even by looking at the title, one can tell that this is not an original American idea.  This show was based on the original version, Ninja Warrior or Sasuke, which first aired Japan in 1997.  Once again, it is a challenging obstacle course competition where contestant’s skills and physical ability are tested.  In comparison to Wipeout, in the first recording there were 100 American contestants rather than only 24.  Also, the American Ninja Warrior is much more difficult, physically challenging and the prize at stake is much higher with the winner receiving $500,000.  That is, if they are able to conquer the infamous Mount Midoriyama.

mount

Unlike many other game shows, where there is one winner, Ninja Warrior and American Ninja Warrior do not require that there be a set champion.  In other words, if nobody is able to complete the final course, the grand prize goes unclaimed.  In either version, no American has been able to complete the final course and take home the prize.  Throughout the shows history, both in Japan and America, there have only been 3 people to successfully complete all 4 rounds and they all happen to be Japanese.  As far as structure goes, the American version of Ninja Warrior follows the same course guidelines but some have said that the American version is easier.  After the 2011 season ended, G4’s vice president for development, Laura Civiello, decided that it was time to stage the entire competition in the United States.  This change included rebuilding Mount Midoriyama, the final obstacle, to exact specifications in Las Vegas.  This was not an easy transition because this obstacle is about 1,000 feet long and is slightly shorter than the statue of liberty.  Since then, the show has grown to be much larger than when it started.  A portable course was constructed so that auditions could be filmed in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Miami.

course

  As seasons were completed, more contestants were allowed to audition to compete. As many as 250 people signed up to compete one year and the following year 750 were chosen to audition with the fastest 100 times qualifying for the final in Las Vegas. Also, as the years go by, the producers can tell that contestants are training and preparing harder than before.  This, in turn, causes audiences to become more attached and show support for contestants on the show.  This is a perfect example of how America has “borrowed” the structure of a foreign television game show and have made it profitable for themselves.

 

Sources:

1. Stuever, H. (2012, July 20). ‘american ninja warrior’: A tribute to strength and, most of all, failure. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-07-20/entertainment/35489474_1_obstacle-american-ninja-warrior-g4

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-07-20/entertainment/35489474_1_obstacle-american-ninja-warrior-g4

2.Holbrook , D. (2012, May 21). American ninja warrior comes home!. TV Guide, Retrieved from http://www.tvguide.com/News/American-Ninja-Warrior-1047818.aspx

http://www.tvguide.com/News/American-Ninja-Warrior-1047818.aspx

Wipeout! U.S. vs. Canada

Posted: February 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

Wipeout_Game_Logo1There are numerous amounts of television programs in America that have been influenced by or have influenced other programs from and in different countries and cultures.  One of the more popular genres of these programs is game shows.  These shows consist of a contestant or contestants that take place in some type of game or challenge.  They compete to win first place and the prize at hand.  An example of a game show that is seen both the U.S. and in foreign countries is Wipeout.  Wipeout currently has thirty different versions being made but the original was filmed in California.  In the United States, Wipeout premiered on ABC on June 24th, 2008 but has now changed stations to TruTV.  In this show, twenty-four players are challenged to complete several different challenging obstacle courses divided into four rounds; The Qualifier, Round two, Round three, and the final Wipeout Zone.  Within these rounds, several different challenges/obstacles must be completed and if a player fails to do so, they must start over from the beginning or from a checkpoint.  Each attempt is timed with the players with the fastest time advancing.  Round two is made up of twelve contestants who compete in a slightly more physically challenging course testing which six players are most suitable to move on to round three.  These six people show signs of being more competitive and seem to have their eyes on the prize.  The top three contenders eventually reach the final Wipeout Zone, which has been said to be less challenging than the previous rounds, where the winner, or “Champion”, takes home  $50,000.  Many of the challenges and obstacles are similar of those used on more physical Japanese game shows, which have highly influenced the American Wipeout. This particular show originated in the United States but has made its was to several different countries in many variations.

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One country that has taken the platform of the American version of Wipeout is Canada.  This version first aired on April 3, 2011, and was filmed in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which is where all foreign versions of the show are filmed.  The format is almost the same, with twenty people competing in four rounds to win the $50,000 grand prize.  Contestants are now Canadian citizens and are encouraged to wear outfits or costumes that show off their personality.  Along with the format, many aspects of the courses are borrowed too.

wipeout-renewed-by-abc

BBC-Total-Wipeout

A few obstacles that can be seen in both the American and Canadian version include, The Big Balls, Dizzy Dummy, Sucker Punch, The Sweeper, and Barrel Run.  Each episode brings different obstacles but The Big Balls are always used in the qualifier round.  By showing the details of this Canadian version of the American show Wipeout, one can see how the media can influence different countries.  Since this show was a success here, other countries decided to make their own versions to bring themselves profit and success in their own countries.  This is the case with many different game shows and you will be able to see examples of it throughout this blog.

Sources:

1. Grosvenor, C. (n.d.). ‘wipeout!’ explained. Retrieved from http://gameshows.about.com/od/showprofiles/p/wipeout_profile.htm

http://gameshows.about.com/od/showprofiles/p/wipeout_profile.htm

2. Grosvenor, C. (n.d.). ‘wipeout canada’. Retrieved from http://gameshows.about.com/od/wipeout/a/Wipeout-Canada.htm

http://gameshows.about.com/od/wipeout/a/Wipeout-Canada.htm