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Series / Panel Quiz Attack 25

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Attack... CHANCE!

Asahi Broadcasting Corporation Game Show that's aired weekly since its debut in 1975, best described as a cross between 4-player Jeopardy! and the board game Othello. Sometimes shortened to just "Attack 25."

Four players, symbolized by four colors—red, green, white, and blue—answer trivia questions and solve brainteasers to fill up as much of a 5x5 game board with their color as they possibly can. Along the way, players "attack" their opponents' panels on the board (hence the name of the game) by attempting to surround them on two sides. Doing so flips the surrounded panels to their color.

The basic rules of capturing:

  • You must capture an opponent's panel, if you can.
  • If you cannot capture, you must attack an opponent's box (so that you are set up for a capture on your next turn).
  • If neither of these things are possible, you may capture any panel adjacent to anything that has already been captured.

If a player answers a question incorrectly, he or she must sit out for two questions.

When 20 panels have been filled on the board, a bell rings, signaling the Attack Chance. The next player to give a correct answer captures a panel as usual, but then attacks one of their opponents' boxes, turning it yellow. That box can then be recaptured by any player who can capture it on his proper turn.

Whoever captures the most territory on the board wins the game, some prizes, and the right to play a Bonus Round for a trip.

It's probably easier to understand if you watch the game in action.

It's a Long Runner in Japan, debuting in 1975 and airing weekly ever since. Hosted by Kiyoshi Kodama until April 2011, when he was forced to step aside for health reasons—he died the following month. Yasuyuki Urakawa, who had served as substitute host while Kodama was sidelined, became the permanent host thereafter.

Urakawa stepped down in March 2015. Actor Shosuke Tanihara took over starting with the show's 40th anniversary on April 6, 2015.

It was announced in June 2021 that the show would end in the fall, in an effort to try new programming to bring in a younger audience. The final episode aired on September 26, 2021.

A few months later, app-based channel BS Japan Next announced they were bringing the show back under the title "Panel Quiz Attack 25 Next," to coincide with the launch of the channel on March 27, 2022.

Game Show Tropes in use:

  • Bonus Round: The winner is given a series of clues that led to a location. The catch here is that the player could only see through the panels they had captured in the first part of the game. Correctly identifying the place won them a trip. Originally, the trip was to France; the destinations changed every so often before the show settled on a Mediterranean cruise for the Urakawa era and much of the Tanihara era. This later changed to a trip to Hawaii, and later a trip to Miyakojima in Okinawa. When the show returned in 2022, the trip became a cruise around Japan, then ¥150,000 worth of merchandise, and for the annual champion, a flat ¥1,000,000.
    • In more recent years, the subject of the final puzzle could also be a famous person or a year (where the clues would depict various events that occurred during that year).
  • Celebrity Edition: Usually averted, as the show was one of the few remaining Japanese game shows to use civilian contestants. That said, however, there have been several celebrity doubles matches over the years.
  • Confetti Drop: For Bonus Round wins in the '90s.
    • The final Asahi episode had one at the end of the show.
  • Consolation Prize: The runners-up receive lesser prizes, and all players receive ¥5,000 as an appearance fee.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: And this one's really weird: the first six months' worth of shows had no Attack Chance!
  • Golden Snitch: The Attack Chance can be one if played right.
  • Home Game: For the PC, PS1, and PS2, featuring Kiyoshi Kodama.
  • Losing Horns: Type A for bonus round losses, Type B for incorrect answers during the main game (which followed a buzzer).
  • Personnel:
    • The Announcer: Several, Always Female. Usually doubled as a Lovely Assistant, though they could also be considered hosts in their own right, as they read all the toss-up questions. Akiko Kato served from April 2015 to the end of the show's run on Asahi. Past announcers include Yuki Akawa, Kyoko Nakamura, Junko Aizawa, Miyuki Toyoshima, Hiromi Soma, Mikako Sawaki, and Yuki Kadono. Kato had previously served as announcer from 2009-2013, making her the only announcer to span three hosts.
      • Sawaki, who had previously announced the network run from 1999-2009, returned for "Next" in 2022.
    • Game Show Host: Kiyoshi Kodama from the show's debut in 1975 until his death in May 2011; Yasuyuki Urakawa until March 2015; Shosuke Tanihara thereafter until the end of the network run.
      • Tanihara returned for "Next" in 2022.
      • Temporary Substitute: Kodama was hospitalized for peritonitis in October 1984. Entertainer (and former baseball player) Eiji Bando filled in for him for two shows.
      • Tanihara had been booked for a live stage show before the "Next" series was announced, so announcer Ryoji Ishii stepped in for three months. He hosted until July 31, 2022; Tanihara returned the following week.
      • Ishii would return in late January 2023 while Tanihara was sidelined with COVID-19.
      • Eventually subverted with Urakawa; he temporarily stepped in for Kodama in April 2011, but Kodama passed away the next month before he had a chance to return. Urakawa then became the permanent host until he stepped down in 2015.
    • Lovely Assistant: Several until 1985, when the position was eliminated entirely.
  • Retired Game Show Element: The first question of the game always awards control of the center box, panel #13. For a short time in 1985, however, this was changed—the player who won the Opening Quiz selected their first box via a Press Your Luck-style randomizer that was stopped with their buzzer. This proved unpopular, however, and was quickly scrapped.
    • Also, getting a question wrong used to knock you out for three questions instead of two.
      • This could, albeit very rarely, result in a player playing a question all by himself!
  • Think Music: If a player hasn't buzzed in by the time The Announcer reads the full question, players get 5 seconds of this before the question is thrown out.
    • Also during the Bonus Round, while the clues are being shown.

This show provides examples of:

  • The Cameo: Since Urakawa took over, many celebrities (and in some cases, characters) have presented the first question. In recent years, the game always starts with one such question. (Subverted in the later Tanihara era, as outlined below.)
    • Tanihara himself was one such guest during the Urakawa era, before taking over as host.
  • Catchphrase: "ATTACK CHANCE!"
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The four players. They're even referred to by their colors, rather than by name, when buzzing in.
  • Downer Ending: Very few players have managed a Flawless Victory, thus being able to see the bonus round clues in their entirety...and still couldn't solve the final puzzle.
  • Fan Remake: Greggo did a version at anime conventions, which is about as close to a Transatlantic Equivalent as the USA is going to get.
    • Greggo's a little more lenient with the penalty for an incorrect answer, though. Whereas on the real show, a player is knocked out for two questions regardless, Greggo allows a player to rejoin the game as soon as another correct answer is given.
  • Flawless Victory: When one player captures all 25 boxes on the board. Has been achieved just 14 times in the show's 46-year history. The first Tanihara-era perfect game was also the only perfect game played from the blue position.
    • The cash prize for pulling off such a feat was ¥500,000 until November 2019, when it was doubled to ¥1,000,000.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Games can have a tendency to end this way, although the Attack Chance usually makes sure that doesn't happen.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode:
    • Three times in the early Heisei era (1989-91), there were special college episodes that had a different format.
      • Each color was represented by a 25-person team from a particular college, each wearing numbered bibs and hats corresponding to their color.
      • In numerical order, team members went up to the podium to answer questions. A correct answer meant you kept your hat and position while the other three teams switched players, and had to give up their hats. An incorrect answer meant you gave up your own hat and podium.
      • Play was like a normal episode of the show, except there were two Attack Chances (at 10 boxes and 5 boxes to go).
      • If, at any point during the show, a team ran out of people still wearing hats, they were eliminated.
      • The team that captured the most boxes AND still had players with hats on won the game.
    • The second episode of 2023 was a 2.5-hour special featuring four teams of four college students each (some of whom had been on the show before). What they weren't told prior to the show, however, was the expanded format they were using:
      • Instead of the normal 25 panels, the players played on a 6x6 board of 36 panels. Rather than awarding control of the center box, the center four boxes were already lit up, one of each color. An Attack Chance was still played at the regular interval, with 5 panels left on the board.
      • Every 8 panels captured, the person buzzing in for each team changed.
      • When the 36 boxes were all filled, panels were added around the perimeter of the board to make an 8x8 board of 64, and the game continued with some new rules.
      • During "Attack 64," there was no penalty for incorrect answers.
      • All the boxes had a category contained within them that had something to do with local hometown products specific to each prefecture. A box was chosen before the question was asked; whichever team answered the question correctly captured the box, even if they couldn't normally call for it during a regular game.
      • Instead of an Attack Chance at 5 panels to go, there was an "Attack Change"; the winning team would call for an already-lit box as usual. Rather than needing to answer another question, they captured the box straight away.
      • When all the boxes were filled, the board expanded once again to a 10x10 Attack 100.
      • During "Attack 100," the wrong answer penalty was back in play; however, each question required two answers and awarded two panels until the Attack Chance.
      • Two Attack Chances were played: one at 10 boxes to go and another at 5 boxes to go.
  • Gratuitous English:
    • The aforementioned "ATTACK CHANCE!"
    • And, when calling for the final available panel: "Last call!"
    • Some players have even called their numbers in English. "Number One" and "Lucky Seven" seem to be the most popular instances.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Normally the game ends when all 25 boxes have been captured, but there is the rare occasion when time will run out before the board is completely filled (signaled by the Westminster Chimes). At that point, the player who has captured the most boxes wins the game.
  • Once an Episode: The Attack Chance.
    • Subverted during one special in the late '80s, where there was an Attack Chance with 10 boxes left and another one at the regular time.
  • Player Nudge:
    • Kodama (and Urakawa, to a lesser extent) sometimes does this when a player opens up a corner, and especially would point out potential consequences of the Attack Chance after it happens.
    • Tanihara has taken to pointing out open corners pretty much as soon as they present themselves.
  • Product Placement: In recent years (since Urakawa took over, anyway), the show has added some designated questions:
    • The Opening Quiz was usually presented by a celebrity (or, in some cases, notable characters) via pre-recorded video. The later Tanihara years mostly scrapped this, reverting back to a hidden-image kind of question.
    • After 15 panels have been captured, the next question is a movie question, usually showing footage of a recently-(or soon-to-be-)released film.
  • Sudden Death: On the rare occasion when a tie for the win happens, this decides who plays the bonus game. A 3-way tie has only happened twice.
  • Tick Tock Tune: During the main game, after the full question is read and if nobody's buzzed in by then.
  • Title Theme Tune: "Attack! Ni-jyu, gooooooooo..." (Ni-jyu go is, of course, Japanese for the number 25.)