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Series / Takeshi's Castle

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Takeshi's Castle is one of the maddest shows on the planet. It was originally broadcast in Japan from 1986 to 1990, where it proved a hit. Then in the 2000s it was syndicated internationally and became a massive hit everywhere else. It was to Japan what The Crystal Maze was to the United Kingdom, or what Fort Boyard was to France. Except this turned the wackiness to a(n) (un)considerable degree.

100-140 (or maybe possibly more) Japanese contestants (Or international, depending on what episode it is) take part in a series of madcap challenges, hosted by Japanese actor/comedian Takeshi Kitano. He envisioned it as a live action Super Mario Bros. game, and this became increasingly evident as the budget grew.

Challenge (who do the UK version) reportedly only bought this in 2002 as a weekend filler, with Craig Charles doing very humorous commentary. One hundred and twenty-two regular episodes, ten double-length specials and twelve "Best Of" specials were produced from the source material, which says something about how popular it became. A Revival, Takeshi's Castle Rebooted, with unused material started on Challenge in 2013, with Dick & Dom replacing Craig on commentary.

The show was wildly popular in Spain, where was known as Humor Amarillo.note  It was broadcast twice in ten years, with the second one becoming the most succesful thanks to its commentary, which reinvented the show by making up over-the-top characters and stories out of the original material. It was more of a reinterpretation of the old show than an exact retake, but nonetheless the audience loved it.

The show was (and still is!) insanely popular in India (of all the places!) where the commentary for it was given by local comedian Javed Jaffery, who in a remarkably good case of Woolseyism, managed to preserve almost all the jokes and snarky commentary verbatim while translating it into Hindi. It was syndicated on POGO where almost all the episodes were shown. As of 2019, it's still being aired — ever since its introduction in 2008 (!!).

The show is also popular in Italy, where it was brought there with the famous prime-time show Mai Dire Banzai,note  together with fellow game show The Gaman. Both shows received huge popularity in Italy, and Takeshi's Castle received numerous Italian Gag Dubs. Some of the challenges were even readapted in other Italian shows such as Ciao Darwinnote  and Mezzogiorno In Famiglia.note 

It was adapted for CBS in 1993 as a one-shot special, Storm the Castle. The U.S. version, MXC (formerly Most Extreme Elimination Challenge), effectively completely alters the show.

The ultimate aim of the game is to storm the eponymous castle. This has only ever been accomplished once in the Challenge version— the prize, which had been the subject of much speculation up to that point, was revealed to be a small box. Craig Charles speculated that it contained the contestant's teeth. In fact the prize for storming the castle was ¥1,000,000 (which was about $8000 or £5000 back then) which was won nine times overall.

In late 2008, Tokyo Broadcasting System sued the American network ABC, claiming the latter's summer 2008 series Wipeout was an infringing copy of Takeshi's Castle.

In 2014, the show was given a Thai adaptation (Takeshi's Castle Thailand). In late 2017, it was announced that Comedy Central (with the exception of the American, Canadian and Japanese versions of the channel) had obtained the rights to air the Thai version, with Jonathan Ross acting as the UK version's commentator this time round.t

A revival, with the help of Amazon, was launched in 2023, and streams on Amazon Prime Video.

This program provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • Several versions changed the original Japanese format of breaking up the challenges with comedic sequences by merely focusing on the challenges with gag dubbing over it, presumably to fit it better into timeslots. There has been demand for uncut versions of the show to be broadcast.
    • Very notorious in the new German version, almost to the point of people considering it completely ruined.
  • Anachronism Stew: Appears as the result of Rule of Fun. A Japanese medieval castle, with correspondingly-suited count, his geishas and advisor, plus General Lee/Tani/Tennant; all mixed up with such modern and futuristic stuff like laser guns, karaoke bars and American football fields. The 2023 revival takes the cake with "AI Count Takeshi", the computerized virtual head of Takeshi Kitano, and the various lords of the castles wielding modern weapons such as chainsaws or rifles.
  • Art Evolution: As the budget grew, so did the sets and the quality of them. The best example would be for the finale, which started off as a water fight in the castle itself, then added carts with paper rings, and finally a laser show with light sensitive targets on them, a cart for the general, an airplane, and a fake cart. They also gained a fixed campus with permanent obstacles and lakes before the show finished.
  • Ash Face: The result of Non-Fatal Explosions featured in comedy skits.
  • Ass Kicks You: The whole point of a variation of Sumo Pong.
  • Author Avatar: The Spanish announcers, Paco Bravo and Fernando Costilla, once "appeared" in the show by pretending that two random contestants were themselves. Both were unsurprisingly eliminated.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: A special edition of the Uphill Garden had the contestants facing a big contingent of Emerald Guards in their usual attire, but now joined by what was called their "secret weapon", a guy in a gigantic, Ebirah-like lobster costume. The monster seemed to be a truly dangerous asset for his side, as although he wasn't equipped with guns, he had no target either and thus couldn't be technically eliminated by shooting. However, their entire plan failed when the contestants managed to wipe out all the other guards and surround the lobster, because beatable or not, the latter's suit was so cumbersome that he could not maneuver around easily. He tripped in his own effort to move and ended up spectacularly falling down the hill, which incapacitated him and made his team lost the battle.
  • Back from the Dead: The General, and just in time to close out the series in the Grand Finale, at least in the Original Challenge version of the UK dub, in the Original however, that happens early on in the first One-off special in 1990.
  • Bad Impressionists: The 2023 series uses the "AI Count" (who is definitely not Takeshi just being recorded elsewhere) having different personalities coded in as an excuse to get Takeshi to do a series of (apparently) terrible impressions of Japanese and a few international celebrities.
  • Bald of Evil: Shozo Kobayashi (the Sea Goblin), humorously called "Juanito Calvicie" ("Johnny Baldness") in Spain. Also Strong Kongo and Masanori Okada.
  • Ball Cannon: The game Bridge Ball features contestants trying to cross a very narrow and wobbly bridge, while the guards fire balls at them, often with painful results.
  • Barbarian Longhair: Kibaji Tankobo and his red wig, who was named "Paco Peluca" ("Frankie Wig") by Spaniards.
  • Beach Episode: Six times.
  • Beard of Evil: Animal.
  • Big Bad: Takeshi played the villain of the show, a scheming, self-centered feudal lord who tried to crush General Tani and the participants in order to rule the land.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: The sumo Shinoburyo was named as "La Señora" ("The Lady") in Spain and always referred to as female, which became a bit awkward (and not less creepy) every time he appeared in his mawashi.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: During the 2006-07 run of Humor Amarillo, a few episodes featured short interviews with an alleged network executive called Nikito Nipongo. This is a Punny Name roughly translatable as "I neither remove nor put", as if to imply that Nipongo's role within the channel's board of directors was, in fact, irrelevant. His interviews often ended with him encouraging the viewers to watch House, which was airing on the same channel back then. In another instance, the character of Higashi mistook an in-universe cartoon for Naruto, which was also broadcast on the channel at the time.
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Takeshi and his advisor Ishikura would often partake in these, with Takeshi often smacking Ishikura with hisam fan.
  • Book Ends: Many an episode has a starting game that take place at the castle.
  • Bowled Over: Star Bowling.
  • Bridge Bunnies: Takeshi had a personal entourage of females who dressed up as geishas or bunnies in his palace.
  • Broken Heel: As Craig Charles put, the general purpose of the contestants was for them to fall down in a variety of ways for our amusement.
  • The Brute: Takeshi's army featured a big mook named Large Fuji, who went to replace the sumo Shinoburyo in the sumo matches. Otherwise, Animal played the role.
  • Butt-Monkey: In Humor Amarillo, one of the most popular made up characters was the Chino Cudeiro, an usually plain-looking but spirited contestant who always ended spectacularly failing and "dying" in some challenge (see They Killed Kenny Again below).
    • Around 99% of the contestants who take part in this show qualify as this. Even those few who emerge victorious put themselves through (quite literally) dirt.
    • The first two episodes of the 2023 revival have "Mr. SASUKE", a winning contestant from the Sasuke obstacle course (also known as Ninja Warrior) with a boastful and arrogant attitude, who competes in the hopes of getting known as "Mr. Takeshi's Castle" too. He invariably fails all the stages, sometimes in quite dumb or humiliating ways, always trying to find an excuse for his poor performances.
  • Camp Gay: The Spanish version had a entire gang of this, starting with the Japanese comedy duo Pop-Corn (the two guys with bowler hats and rainbow ponchos), which were called "Dúo Pirata" and played flamboyant gay characters. They were sometimes joined by fellow camp gay Pinky-Winky (in real life Michiru Jo, the singer guy in pink) and the Ax-Crazy Chupy (Yosichi Shimada) in order to make it a trio or a quartet. Also, Pinky would Start His Own with two alien characters in a boy band-like unit called "Los Piratas del Espacio" ("The Space Pirates").
  • Catchphrase: Craig Charles' commentary contains several distinctive phrases that pop up again and again. Take a drink every time you hear one of the following:
    • "Ladies' favourite, General Lee."
    • "Happy clappy Jappie chappys."
    • "As my old dad used to say, (Non Sequitur)."
    • "Time to look back in anger at the Furious Flashback."
    • "Emerald Guard, highly accurate."
      • Also, for the Honeycomb Maze: "Black-hearted, black-handed Emerald Guards."
    • "All that mud, shipped in from a pig farm in Southern Japan."
    • "Answers on a postcard, please."
    • "The ultimate shin-shredder." (Particularly in relation to Skipping Stones)
    • "One hundred kamikaze contestants."
    • Any indication that the contestants are insane.
    • "We've got Wipe Out, in which we do."
      • "And Bridge The Gap, in which we don't."
    • "I don't know how anyone ever passes this one..."
    • And of course..."I do not believe it! NO WINNERS this time, on Takeshi's castle!"
      • On the other hand: "WE HAVE A WINNER!"
    • In the Spanish version, General Tani always inflamed the participants with a hammy "¡Al turrón!" (translated roughly as a colourful "let's go!"). He also liked to tell Ice-Cream Koan shenanigans.
    • The Spanish announcers also had a joint Signing-Off Catchphrase: "See you next time!" "Or, as it is said in Japanese, [insert foreign-sounding Non Sequitur here]".
  • Celebrity Edition: The third special of the show.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: In the Spanish version, Saburo Ishikura was called "Primo Mario" ("Cousin Mario", 'cousin' due to be in storyline Takeshi's cousin) given his resemblance to Mario Bros.'s title character.
  • Christmas Episode: Japan episode #115
  • Compressed Adaptation/Edited for Syndication: Most of the foreign dubs (mostly shows based on the UK dubs (specifically the Challenge version (until the rebooted series)) is edited to exclude comedy skits, and/or interviews so that more or less games are shown.
  • Consolation Prize: The fighting spirit award (which has 100,000 yen thrown in) which is given to at least one person for their best efforts or being very amusing.
  • Corridor Cubbyhole Run: "Avalanche" features cubbyholes so that the contestants can hide for cover from the boulders, however they are also occupied by the Crazy-Prepared Emerald Guards.
  • Cosplay: One pair of contestants came dressed as Master Roshi and Son Goku, complete with a shout of "KAMEHAMEHA!" before attempting Slip Way.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: One of the final assaults on the castle was ended after just five seconds — only two competitors were left by that point, and so Takeshi and his men concentrated their fire and took out both the two remaining competitors and the General almost instantly.
    • In the episode when Takeshi was recruiting monsters and the Guards were dressed up they allowed every. single. one to take part in the storming of the castle, no matter how many times each of them had failed during the show up to that point. So it was twenty people vs. two hundred.
    • Some "Tug of War" and "Sumo Rings" matches were these as well, depending on the luck, such as somebody playing tug of war with a tractor or a small woman trying to fight a sumo wrestler.
      • On the other side of this, the sumo wrestler in the giant head outfit that limited most of his movement may as well have been a bye to the next round for how easy he was to knock over. Sometimes he just tripped over his own feet and fell out of the ring without the contestant touching him.
    • Many contestants didn't last long against the guards in the Honeycomb Maze, like this poor woman.
  • Dance Battler: The show once featured a contestant who danced and gyrated his hips in midst of the challenges. To show how of a battler he was, he apparently went to win the show prize.
  • Demoted to Extra: Takeshi himself in most of the foreign dubs, to the extent that he practically qualifies as The Ghost. Since his main role was as narrator in the Japanese original though, this was kinda inevitable. In the Spanish dubs, however, he gets ascended to Big Bad. MXC retained all of Takeshi's footage, but overdubbed him to make him a new character, Vic Romano, though he retained the role of primary commentator.
  • Disguised in Drag: A episode featured a man dressed in a geisha outfit which the Spanish commentators nicknamed the Geisho Pepito, who was also secretly a ninja.
  • Door Roulette: Often used for various events and challenges. For example, it is the whole point of Knock Knock.
  • Drunken Boxing: The sumo matches often featured a bald, spasmodic wrestler (in real life Kunihiko Katsura, the show's producer) who tried to do something resembling monkey kung fu against the contestants.
  • Dub Name Change: The Spanish version had a lot of them: "El Chino Cudeiro" (see They Killed Kenny Again below), "Pepe Livingstone" (the field reporter with the safari hat), "El Grano de Café" ("The Coffee Bean", the large brown doll), "Pinky-Winky", "El Primo de Harry Potter" ("Harry Potter's Cousin", the skinny sumo with glasses), "Dolores Conichigua" (a Punny Name with the konnichiwa Japanese phrase) and "Gacela Thomson", among others.
  • Dumb Muscle: An exceptionally known one in Spain was the Maxi-Chino Cudeiro (also called the Chinazo Cudeiro), a hulking, corpulent contestant who rammed brainlessly its way through the challenges and even tackled Yoroi to the ground in the belief he was another obstacle door.
  • Dungeon Bypass: One competitor, faced with the "Square Maze", decided that rather than go through the doors and potentially encounter one of the two goons waiting to throw him out, he would simply climb to the top of the wall and walk across the borders of the rooms straight to the goal.
  • Dwindling Party: Someone was almost guaranteed to be eliminated at each stage, due to the way the games were designed. The competitors initially numbered around 100, but their numbers fell to the single figures more often than not.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Most of the episodes in Series 1 of the UK version had the background music for some or all of the challenges (Save for the tracks in Karaoke, and the drums in Sumo Rings) edited out for some reason.
  • Eviler than Thou: Humor Amarillo once ran a storyline in which an evil millionaire named Floren Kagapasta (the surname being translatable to English as "one who shits money") who tried to buy out the show from Takeshi's hands. He was successful, but Takeshi got it back and slapped him away for good.
  • Every Year They Fizzle Out: Out of hundreds of contestants that would show up each and any time, you would be lucky to see more than 10 make it to the end, there were even fewer people who actually won the thing: nine throughout the entire show.
  • Excuse Plot: Justified, as the third special of the Original Challenge UK edit of the show involved General Lee's stolen spare pair of yellow boots.
  • Facial Markings: Shozo Kobayashi, Strong Kongo, and especially his partner Kibaji Tankobo.
  • Fake Difficulty: Several challenges were much harder than they look. Occasionally someone would find a way around it.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: Water/Paint and Laser Guns in the episodes.
  • Fast-Forward Gag: In some occasions in man eating Hole in many an episode.
    • This is also invoked in Episode 67, because one contestant was trying to get on the mushroom but keeps slipping off, because he thought his clothing is making him do that, and decides to take them off, two fast forward segments later he's stripped down to his white clothing.
  • Fiery Red Head: Kibaji Tankobo, the facepainted mook with the red wig.
  • Finale Credits: While not the final episode, the UK Challenge version of Takeshi's Castle ends one of the specials with one of these, with Craig Charles speaking in a more poignant tone in contrast to his usual upbeat narration from the rest of the series, as the eponymous castle catches fire and burns down.
  • Foreign Wrestling Heel: Animal, the lone white guard, also a Giant Mook, would often taunt people before easily beating them in Sumo Rings. He returns in the 2023 Revival, with his daughter taking part as well.
  • Friendly Rival: General Tani was sometimes asisted by a guy wearing a red version of his uniform who was introduced as his rival. He was called the General Tano in Spain.
  • Gag Dub (MXC):
    • Craig Charles (and later Dick & Dom) in the UK version, who displayed what seemed to be only a fleeting idea of what the show was about, but hey, Rule of Cool.
    • In 1989-90 the show received a Gag Dub in Italy under the title "Mai Dire Banzai" (Never Say Banzai): clips from the show, with original audio, were edited along with clips from another show, Za Gaman, and shown together to give the impression of a single huge contest. The Italian hosts, Gialappa's Band, faked being broadcasting live from Japan and their humorous commentary treated Japanese people as an entire nation of masochistic nutjobs. Finally, every character were given a mock-Japanese name, from "Pokoto Pokoto" to "Mashiro Tamiji" (the latter one was the guy with the giant papier-maché head, treated by Gialappa's as if he were the mind behind everything).
    • Ren-TV, the Russian channel, was pretty close to creating a full-length Gag Dub which kept all of the original cutscenes intact... and filled the remaining part with references to more familiar cultures. Sadly, only one episode dunned like this is available online.
    • The second Spanish version, Cuatro's Humor Amarillo (2006-2007) is an overdub even though the original content of the show remained intact (including most of the show's audio), but edits out some of the challenges (including, in a majority of the episodes, the final showdown, which they Played for Laughs by saying stuff like "we were going to show you the final Showdown today, but we've run out of budget, so that'll have to be next time").
      • Juan Herrera, the narrator of Humor Amarillo's first run in Telecinco (1990-1995) explained many years later in an interview how the Gag Dub concept came to be: "Valerio Lazarovnote  came over from Italy saying they had bought this bunch of tapes they didn't quite know what to do with. (...) They sent me the tapes and nothing else, without runtime indications or anything. We watched it all and did a crazy montage on the fly". He also revealed that the name of Chino Cudeiro was a Homage to a producer the channel sent to work with him, because "he seemed a nice guy no one in the station cared about".
    • The newer German version is also a Gag Dub, but the narrator is considered so grating, the show is basically unwatchable.
  • Gag Sub: The UK Dub of the show in Finland was titled Hullut Japanilaiset, while the original audio was audible and the UK Narration remained untouched the subtitles for the UK commentary however was in Finnish.
  • Game Show Physical Challenge: Takeshi's Castle is built around tricky obstacle courses, with the expectatin that players will fall and the audience will laugh.
  • Godzilla Threshold: In the Monster Special, Count Takeshi was so enraged he lost his castle in a previous episode, he summoned all manner of monsters and ghouls from myth and legend (even Godzilla himself!) just to reclaim it.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Starting from Takeshi's Gundan and ending with various monsters like The Ghost of Bloody Samurai.
  • He's Back!: General Tani makes an appearance in 2013's Takeshi's Castle Rebooted (which is possibly more faithful to the original Japanese show than the original Challenge version). In a Continuity Nod however, he noted he's sometimes known as General Lee. He also reappears in the 2023 revival when the new general gets captured by Takeshi's army.
  • Huge Holographic Head: Takeshi Kitano does not appear in-person in the 2023 revival of the show, at least until the final two episodes (for health- and age-related reasons). He interacts with the other members of his army as "AI Count Takeshi", a giant green (or red when he gets angry) polygonal head who's fond of saying weird things and making awful celebrity impressions, sometimes explained as glitches in the programming.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: General Tani was fond of those in the Spanish version, always referring to them as wisdom quotes he received from an old Shaolin monk. They were mostly Non Sequitur and silly sentences, however.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Takeshi's Gundan are known for it, and even Craig even noted this by their "Incredible Accuracy".
  • Indy Escape: "Avalanche" is known for contestants invoking this trope.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: In the Spanish dub, commentators freely admitted that they knew the contestants were Japanese, but referred to them as Chinese because they thought it sounded funnier that way (though sometimes they broke the fourth wall and blamed the script, claiming they didn't know why it did).
  • Intrepid Reporter: The show had a series of salacot-wearing "war-zone" reporters who would interviewers with the contestants. Although they were different people in the original (predominantly Junji Inagawa, but Akira Sakamoto and Shingo Yanagisawa worked as him as well), they are referred as the same character in most of the dubs.
  • It's Personal: One contestant in the 2023 revival wants to "avenge" his father who failed one of the games in the original edition of the show. He even wears a costume that's almost identical to what his father wore back then. He doesn't make it.
  • Kaiju: An entire episode was dedicated to contestants in monster costumes, among them several well-known mascots of the show and several homages to famous kaiju from Godzilla.
    • A purple CG gashadokuro is part of the castle interiors in the 2023 remake, thankfully just as background stuff.
  • Killer Gorilla: The show originally featured a large mascot named Jumbo Max, a white gorilla wearing a sweater, who was later replaced by the samurai Yoroi. Fittingly, the ape was called in Spain "King Kong's Funny Cousin".
  • Large Ham: Dolores Conichigua from Humor Amarillo, in which she was a sadistic, loud-spoken contestant advocate. Oddly enough, she qualifies both in the this and the original show, as she originally was a contestant who shouted to the camera when interviewed. Frankly speaking, though, almost all the characters in the Spanish version were at least significantly large hams, which was part of its popularity.
  • Laugh Track: Makes it sound like it's recorded in front of a live audience.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Of all the contestants in the 2023 revival, Chiitan the fairy otter. Despite his regular appearances and comedic tendencies on the show, he had managed to finish one obstacle away from challenging both Ueya Castle and Ennosuke Castle, and do surprisingly well in the Loser Resurrection games; he defeated Donguri Takeshi in Tug-O-War or Splash, and guessed correctly that the jackal belonged to the dog family in the Slip-And-Slide Quiz.
  • Lighter and Softer: The 2023 revival, in a sense. The games (both old and new) are as sadistic as ever, but everything looks cleaner, less grimy and much more colorful and whimsical. The CG interiors of Takeshi's castle are full of every kind of goofy stuff, and the castle itself has eyes and talks sometimes.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: The Final Showdown music due to said showdown commonly being a Curb-Stomp Battle. Possibly averted though, as the final showdown music is the same as the theme music and/or it depends on how long said showdown lasts, you'd be lucky when the music loops from the part after the beginning.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: Pepe Livingston (see Intrepid Reporter) was a bordering creepy example in Humor Amarillo, as he would always try to invite women to his roulotte without bothering to hide his lubricious intentions. In one occasion, he offered a husband to shoot homemade porn with his wife and Pepe.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The series ran on this trope, almost.
    • Such challenges like "Final Fall", "Sumo Rings" and "Tug Of War" (albeit Episodes 88 and 89 in Japan) are the more or less true embodiments.
    • "Sumo Rings" was also only half of an example. Contestants drew by luck who they would have to fight but after that it was really up to them. The tougher fighters (an actual sumo wrestler and Animal) have been beaten at least once each and the weaker ones (the potato and the weak man) have both beaten contestants.
  • Medium Blending: The early segment in the fourth special that has puppets.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: In the 2023 series, many members of "Takeshi's Army", in charge of spraying the contestants with water and otherwise hindering them, wind up cheering for their opponents despite their supposed rivalry, then realizing they're supposed to be foes. All in the spirit of friend competition in real life, of course.
  • Mook–Face Turn: Toshiaki Kasuga served as one of the guards in the 2023 revival, only to suddenly serve under the crowd Army in the fourth charge to Takeshi’s Castle from Episode 7. Right before the end credits to Episode 6, it is implied that Captain Kimura convinces him.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: In the 2023 Revival, guard Kyoko Hamaguchi ended up bending the rules badly in two challenges, only letting a handful of contestants through after her shenanigans.
  • Nintendo Hard: After all, it was an attempt to create a live-action Super Mario Bros. It took some time for the budget to come around. Plus the Final Showdown was as hard as you'd expect; there were times where as many as 20 people made it to the finals, and all of them still lost.
  • Nobody Can Die: Borders with the Cartoon Bomb, and Non-Fatal Explosions. As a matter of fact no-one ever dies in the show (except the general who gets resurrected by lightning after being strangled by Chinese zombies), despite it being greatly exaggerated.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Among the one-shot characters of the Spanish version there was a villainous TV host named Ramonchu Tokanabu. The first name was a reference to popular Spanish TV host Ramón "Ramonchu" García, while the surname was pun with a vulgar idiom meaning "one who messes/fucks with people".
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: Comically results with someone getting an Ash Face, and Clothing Damage.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The sumo Daifujii was named "Tiburón" ("Shark") in the Spanish version, but the exact reason was never revealed.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Nobody's ever actually died or suffered permanent injury, but the show is noticeably less risk-averse than Western series like Wipeout or Its A Knockout. This might well be part of its appeal.
  • Oh, Crap!: General reaction in Sumo Rings to picking either the Sumo Wrestler or Animal.
  • Perverse Puppet: Yosichi Shimada was called Chupy in the Spanish version in order to make a pun with Chucky, the killer doll from Child's Play, due to Shimada's clothing resembling his. Unlike Chucky, however, this character was not literally a doll.
  • Platform Hell: The only shows to equal and perhaps beat it in terms of difficulty would be Ninja Warrior and Unbeatable Banzuke. Even then, those shows are designed for professional athletes, whereas Takeshi's Castle was meant for anyone (albeit mostly older teenagers and young adults) to take part in.
  • Punny Name: Countless characters from the Spanish version, like Dolores Conichigua, whose last name sounded like the Japanese greeting (konnichiwa).
  • Put on a Bus: Saburo Ishikura was absent of the series after the first season, although he could be seen in special occasions as a Shinto priest.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The aftermath of the Final Showdown in Japan Episode 9 (Ironically this was the first time a winner was declared (however it's against the rules to stab one's ring)).
  • Race Against the Clock: The "Adventure Zone" for example.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Michiru Jo, the male idol singer who wore a pink outfit (among others). He was even called "Pinky-Winky" in Spain.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: Wikipedia has a whole list of these. Observe.
  • Recycled Title: The Original Challenge version.
  • Red Shirt: Humor Amarillo's Chino Cudeiro, both figuratively and literally (see They Killed Kenny Again below for more details).
  • La Résistance: General Tani commanded one composed by the participants.
  • Rock–Paper–Scissors: A one-off challenge in the Celebrity Special involved doing this.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Takeshi, mainly because he's defending the castle and one million yen, but mostly his castle.
  • Shout-Out: In the Spanish version, the character Junior (Higashi) often mistook the show's animations with Naruto, which was being broadcast in the same TV channel in Spain at the time Humor Amarillo was released. Hilariously enough, the Spanish dub of Naruto returned the Shout-Out when they put Kankuro to utter some of the show's most famous insults.
  • The Smurfette Principle: The 2023 revival adds Naomi Watanabe among the lords in Count Takeshi's army.
  • Special Guest: Used during the time Takeshi was banned from Japanese TV.
  • Sphere Factor
  • Spin-Off: There have been versions where kids tried to storm the castle and even one where people from around the world took part. The latter was Played for Laughs in the Spanish version with a touch of Self-Deprecation:
    Tani: (after the first challenge) The eliminated countries so far are... only Spain.
  • The Stinger: The final episode of the UK Challenge version ends with a shot of General Lee laying seemingly dead in a grave at night, with Craig stating that he has gone to "the great castle in the sky". Several people then approach him and sticking a metal rod in the body. Lightning strikes the rod, reviving Lee, and he gives out a battle cry one last time. The end title states that "As long as there are keshi-heads, the general lives on".
  • Stock Sound Effects: The UK Dub.
  • Storming the Castle: The ultimate aim, which failed almost every time.
  • Story Arc: Most of the specials in the original Challenge version of the UK dub.
  • Styrofoam Rocks: Any challenge that feature these.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • When Takeshi was banned from Japanese TV due to assault charges, he was replaced by someone wearing a Paper-mâché head of him. Later (which is about a few weeks after Higashi took the position as Chief Retainer after Saburo left) he returned, and three weeks later the substitute was anticlimactically unmasked.
    • A Giant Mook resembling King Kong was changed to a giant samurai named Yoroi shortly after.
  • Swapped Roles: At least two specials (Revenge of the Emerald Guard and the Monster Special) had Takeshi and Tani swap their roles, with the Count leading the charge on the General's castle after being deposed.
  • Sycophantic Servant: In the Spanish version, Higashi Sonomanma (here known as Junior) was this to Takeshi Kitano, in a Waylon Smithers-like manner.
  • Taken for Granite: In the second episode of the 2023 revival, the new general Subaru Kimura gets turned into a slab of stone a la Han Solo in carbonite by some "demons", necessitating the return of the legendary General Tani/Lee in his place.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: The Spanish Humor Amarillo created a character, dubbed the "Chino Cudeiro", who became its staple. The character was a random contestant (usually wearing some red garment) picked by the dubbers each episode that crashed rather spectacularly at certain point, playing this trope at that moment, with tragic Titanic music montage and all. The Chino Cudeiro would come back the following episode with little to no explanation, although somtimes it was mentioned he had superpowers that allowed him to come back from the dead, or alternatively just the executives' favor. He had a wide array of variations, but the most of them kept the traits of wearing something red and dying in a challenge.
    • They subverted it in a special episode where EVERYONE who crashed was called "[Something] Cudeiro", and referred to as being a relative to the real Chino Cudeiro. When the episode ended and one contestant won, the commentators started wondering where the real Chino Cudeiro was and why they hadn't seen him die yet. At that point, the winner reveals himself as the real Chino Cudeiro, finally victorious after countless deaths.
  • Travel Montage: During each one of the three New Year's on location Specials (you could also say it was so nice it was done thrice).
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Many a contestant would detect a pattern in certain challenges.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Spanish commentators would refer to contestants' nether regions as their "nakasones" whenever they got hit on them during the challenges. This was used as well in the Spanish name of the Bridge Ball challenge, which was "Los Cañones de Nakasone" (a Pun on the Spanish title of The Guns of Navarone).
  • Vacation Episode: Many times in the series for on-location specials.
  • Verbal Tic: In the Spanish version, General Lee would always call "piltrafilla" ("little sleaze", a quite disrespectful word, if relatively unserious, in Spanish slang) to any interlocutor regardless of who was, including Takeshi himself and his mooks.
  • Virtual Celebrity: Parodied in the 2023 revival with the introduction of "Beat" Takeshi's giant floating polygonal head, explained as an AI version of the Count gone awry.
  • The Voiceless: The Takeshi Doll usually used non verbal cues.
  • Voice for the Voiceless: The episode's featured Special Guest would talk on behalf of him.


Video Example(s):


Takeshi's Castle: Skittles

One of the games in Takeshi's Castle is human skittles, where after picking from a card, showing where they have to stand in a bowling triangle, have to avoid being knocked over by the Emerald Guards.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / BowledOver

Media sources: