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Pretty much anytime someone wins, who gets practically instant fame in Japan. Or when someone makes it past the first stage. Its just that impossible. The more notable runs include:
Makoto Nagano's runs in the 12th and 18th tournaments. In Sasuke 12, he finished the course with 29 seconds left on the clock. Out of 80 seconds. His run in the 18th tournament is similarly impressive, as despite the overhaul of the First Stage, he still makes it through with ease.
In the 23rd tournament he failed to complete the first stage due to a technical error with the slider jump which prevented him from gaining enough distance to reach the cargo net. He then had to retry the first stage again - and succeeded! He has now officially taken Katsumi Yamada's title of "Mr. Ninja Warrior/Sasuke."
Shingo Yamamoto is the only competitor to compete in every single tournament and in Sasuke 23 manages to clear the First Stage for the first time since the overhaul of the course.
Original champion Kazuhiko Akiyama, in Sasuke 11, would clear the First Stage for the first time since his return to the competition in Sasuke 6. To put this into perspective, the clock displayed on-screen usually only counts down to tenths of a second. Akiyama finished with three-hundredths of a second left on the clock. Akiyama is shown literally in tears immediately following his run.
In Sasuke 15, Bunpei Shiratori came down with heat exhaustion, and it was uncertain whether he would even be able to compete. He manages to overcome it however and make it all the way to the Third Stage. For that tournament, he was dubbed "The Phoenix".
Levi Meeuwenberg's time left on the 21st tournament. He finished with 21 seconds left. And what did he spend some of his time doing on the course? Doing midair flips.
Salvage diver Travis Schraeder gave an impressive run of the 4th tournament, making it all the way to the third stage. Being so much larger than the other competitors, it was all the more surprising that he dominated the first two stages and posted some of the fastest times in that tournament.
Chie Nishimura becoming the only woman to ever finish the First Stage of Sasuke in the 2nd tournament. She returns later on in the Kunoichi as a Action Mom, making it to the third stage, establishing that even as a housewife, she's still got it.
Kota Honma becoming the youngest competitor to clear the First Stage in Sasuke 17, a title previously held by trampolinist Shunsuke Nagasaki (Shunsuke still holds the distinction of being the youngest competitor to make it to the Final Stage.)
Kunoichi, the sister compettion to Sasuke, would have Rena Higashi become the youngest competitor to clear that course, and she would make it all the way to the Third Stage.
Sasuke, a.k.a. Ninja Warrior, has more than its share of Crowning Moments:
Kazuhiko Akiyama clearing all four stages of the course in the 4th tournament.
...which is arguably overshadowed by Makoto Nagano's victory which a) ended a 7 year drought of victors (two tournaments a year = 14 tournaments) and b) the entire course was made exponentially harder the following year.
And Makoto Nagano's victory may be overshadowed by the 24th tournament. After only 4 tournaments to his name, Yuuji Urushihara, quite possibly the most awesome shoe salesman ever, achieved kanzenseiha (Total Victory in the US), after becoming the first person since the 17th tournament to make it to the final stage only two tournaments beforehand. Oh, and he was one of five people in the final stage, including 39 year old Yoshiyuki Okuyama, the oldest competitor to make it that far, and Lee En Zhi, the first foreigner to do so since the 8th tournament. You know what? Let's just call the entire final stage of that tournament a crowning moment of awesome.
While it's not "total victory", Bunpei Shiratori got his moment in the sun during the 15th tournament, when he was stricken with heatstroke for most of the day. He overcame the heat and finished the first stage anyway. A very thrilling comeback, for sure.
The show's female-only equivalent Kunoichi has Ayako Miyake, who completed the course not once, not twice, but three times in a row.
To put this in perspective, one woman has won as many consecutive tournaments as all men have won tournaments in history.
Any time someone pips through at the last second. Especially Yoshiyuko Okuyama becoming the only Japanese competitor to pass Stage 2 with only 3 tenths of a second remaining.
A special note to Jordan Jovtchev. In the 8th tournament, he cleared the first stage with 0.00 seconds left on the clock. Holy shit.
Oh so many in Sasuke 27. First, 27 people cleared the first stage, more than any tournament except the second and fourth. Secondly, David Campbell, on his third stage one attempt, beat the course with 44.32 seconds left on the clock, with his nephew Travis Furlanic only a second slower. And come time for the third stage, three people beat the previously unbeaten Ultimate Cliffhanger, and of those three, two make it to the final stage. Ryo Matachi (one of the finalists) had never been past the first stage before 27 and made the second and third stages look like pieces of cake. The other finalist, Yuuji Urushihara, passes it, not only becoming the 4th total victory winner, but the only competitor to have achieved multiple kanzenzeihas, except for Ayako Miyake in the Kunoichi tournaments, who won 3 times in a row. Holy fucking shit, this was a tournament of badasses.
Rie Komiya was one of the few female competitors besides Ayako Miyake to complete Kunoichi.
In a different form of awesome, there's Nagano's reaction to screwing up by touching part of the Cliff Hanger: he disqualified himself and bowed out of the competition in a beautiful show of sportsmanship.