American Ninja Warrior
is a reality show inspired by the bi-annual competition in Japan, Sasuke
. In fact, the prize for the show is being a member of the 10 American athletes who will be flown to Japan to compete among the Ninja Warrior All-Stars.
The show had it's origins as a more straightfoward competition prize offered by G4 TV, who ran the English subtitled Ninja Warrior. The opportunity to compete has grown to a large group of hopefuls who got the best time on an obstacle course.
It has since evolved into an elaborate competition after an initial elimination round. They set up three groups of five and go against each other in various obstacles, usually items inspired by Midoriyama and including a physical strain between obstacles. The team to have the lowest combined time has to send two of their members to compete against each other for who has to go home. Unique to reality shows, and certainly in the spirit of Ninja Warrior, is that despite the spirit of competition all of the people involved are rooting for each other and looking to build the strongest team to show off in Japan.
It can be expected that a lot of tropes applying to Ninja Warrior
can be applied here.
American Ninja Warrior provides examples of:
- The Ace: Levi Meeuwenburg was the first competitor and has been to the actual course more than anyone. No one doubts that he'll make it and is generally a fan favorite both here and in Japan.
- Cultural Translation: Despite the reality-show competition the only difference between the shows is that American Ninja Warrior has, well, American competitors.
- Filler: Some profiles. One particular example of filler was a two minute-long profile for someone who went out in three seconds.
- Harder Than Hard
- Le Parkour: Practiced by numerous competitors, not surprisingly.
- Platform Hell
- Shirtless Scene: Many of the men run the course with bare torsos, giving viewers a lot of delicious eye candy.
- Shocking Elimination: After skipping the third American Ninja Warrior, due to working on stunts for a movie, Levi Meeuwenburg returned to the competition for the fourth season. His result? Failing the first obstacle of the qualifying round!
- Spoiled by the Format: Being pre-taped and almost at the end of airing, was how you could tell in the 2011 and 2012 editions that Brent Steffenson wouldn't complete Stage 3.
- Soft Water: The reason the course is constructed over a pool. Unfortunately, this was subverted in the 2012 season. One contestant fell from an obstacle, hit the water, and ruptured his eardrum.
- Spin-Off: Jump City Seattle, a competition between Freerunning teams which featured many ANW alumni. In fact, JSC was filmed during ANW Season 2 (between Boot Camp and the actual competition), with Levi breaking his wrist during the former and being unable to compete in the latter.
- True Companions: Anytime anyone is eliminated, members of every team stand up to send them off.