If you want to see the cutting edge in sports entertainment, then look no further than EPSN 2. No, I’m not talking about bass fishing. I’m referring to Tokyo, Japan’s very own Viking: the Ultimate Obstacle Course Challenge. The makers of the show describe it as an “obstacle course designed to test the outer limits of human strength, speed, agility, and endurance.” At first I simply thought it was syndicated episodes of Most Extreme Elimination Challenge (MXC) from Spike TV until I realized that the contestants on the show were actually speaking in Japanese instead of having their voices replaced by cheesy (yet hilarious) voice-overs and the announcers were taking their jobs seriously.
What’s so entertaining about this show however is how dangerous the obstacle course actually is. This show would never fly in the US because of the insurance policy to cover it would be way too expensive. Failing an obstacle usually leaves the contestant falling awkwardly about 15 feet before they meet the water below. And if you are lucky, that fall might also include a ricochet off a wall.
In this particular episode that I’m watching, the contestants start by carrying a yoke with ropes tied to 30 pounds of cement on each side across a slow spinning balance beam. I’m thankful that I was fortunate enough to see someone make it one step onto the beam before losing their balance to fall into the water followed by the yoke and its cement blocks. Now that’s entertainment.
So where does the Viking come into play? That, my friends, is what we call an example of “Lost in Translation.” The obstacle course is placed within a giant pirate ship, not a Viking ship. Yes, I found this disturbing as well. I’m not sure how pirates and Vikings go together, but apparently for the Japanese they are one and the same. Fine by me as long as I get to see 5’4”, 130 pound men try and rope swing across a large ravine only to end up looking like Wile E. Coyote as they slam flat against the wall on the other side.
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