“Takeshi’s Castle” — What Have They Done To You?

“Takeshi’s Castle” — What Have They Done To You?

In 1989, I was fresh out of Tech School and was sent to my first duty station at Yokota AB, Japan. Being 19 at the time, there was clearly much I had yet to experience and Japan was about to give me a ton of experience in just two short years.

One of the early experiences I had was the Japanese game show. The first one I saw had (among many other things) contestants attempt to cross a narrow, swaying bridge (with no hand rails) while carrying a gold-colored ball. While that is a challenge in and of itself, the Japanese upped the ante by firing balls at the contestants via a cannon as they tried to cross. Sadly, a video showing just that was removed from YouTube.

I absolutely loved the show and wondered why we didn’t have such shows in the U.S. Since I couldn’t read the Kanji (風雲!たけし城) and didn’t remember the romaji (Fūun! Takeshi Jō), I had no clue once I returned to the U.S. of how to obtain this show in any form. So for years, I would make mention of this show to friends and co-workers while never knowing the name of the show. It seemed like I was destined to never see this show again, much less finally obtain the name of the show.

That all changed a month (or so) ago. Through the wonder of YouTube, some co-workers and I discovered the whacky humor of the Japanese comedian Razor Ramon HG (レイザーラモン HG), also known as Hard Gay. We were also introduced to the outrageous batsu (punishment) game series Downtown Gaki no Tsukai (ダウンタウンのガキの使い), from which the infamous “Silent Library” and “Fart Game” come from (among many, many others).

It was during this time that I made mention of the old game show I’d seen in Japan. One of my co-workers, upon hearing me tell my tale, immediately piped up, “That sounds like Takeshi’s Castle.”

Takeshi’s Castle, eh? Well that meant a search on YouTube. However, I was stunned at what I discovered. Instead of getting lots of raw clips from the original Japanese show, I got lots of clips from the hideously domesticated MXC: Most Extreme Challenge. The show, seen on Spike TV, took the original Japanese show and turned it into something completely different. Biito (Beat) Takeshi, name in western form, is given the name Vic Romano. Sonomanma Higashi is renamed Kenny Blankenship. General Tani is renamed Captain Tenneal. Ho!Ho!Ho! Isn’t it a wonderful and funny pun? And the list goes on.

In addition, rather than show the series as it was seen in Japan, the series is cut up and spliced together to change it from a bunch of contestants going for a prize to “teams” in competition with each other. Various “games” are given names with sexual (or other) innuendo. The dubs are also filled with crude, American humor and as a result, this new show is nothing like the original. I found myself devistated by the treatment this show had received (though my co-workers thought it was one of the greatest things on TV). As a huge opponent of domestication in anime (especially subtitles), I guess this comes as no surprise.

I decided that if I wanted Takeshi’s Castle, I’d have to look to Japan. After all, I have a region-free DVD player, so playing R2 DVD’s won’t be a problem. Sadly, it appears that the series was never released on DVD in Japan and the VHS release has long-since been out of print. Drat.

It appears that the 1st season of MXC has one uncut episode of Takeshi’s Castle on it as an extra, but I see nothing to indicate that the licensor of the series has any plans to put out an uncut, unedited version of the show (as Takeshi’s Castle).

So, I’m left with absolutely nothing but a pile of domesticated filth if I want to see pieces of a show that meant so much to me when I lived in Japan. Not going to happen! Therefore, I would BEG the licensor of this series (Magnolia Home Entertainment) to give us an undomesticated, unedited version of the series (with honorifics in the subtitles) of the show and make a person happy. Hey, you never know, they might just do it.

風雲!たけし城 Takeshi's Castle

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8 Responses to ““Takeshi’s Castle” — What Have They Done To You?”

  1. Peter Decker says:

    Takeshi’s Castle was always a favorite of mine. I have not seen the MXC you mention though.

  2. Chibi Yosho says:

    We get it over here in the UK as Takeshi’s Castle. I believe we get the MXC too but the raw was just dubbed over with commentator, no translation done or anything like that.

  3. AstroNerdBoy says:

    DevilDoll from the Community Anime Review site (who couldn’t leave a message here unfortunately) was mentioning the German version of the show, which he’d seen and loved. He remarked that the German “Takeshi’s Castle” and the British one were like watching two different shows. I know the UK version has Craig Charles of “Red Dwarf” fame doing the voice-over. I gather the UK version is only 30-minutes long (with them cutting out the comments sections by Takeshi and others) whereas the original was for an hour-long program.

    As for MXC, well…*_* Like I said in the blog entry, I REALLY want to get this show uncut and undomesticated because it was a favorite of mine in Japan.

  4. I have a Bunch If you’re still looking.

  5. AstroNerdBoy says:

    I’m always looking. Did you get these on DVD?

  6. Yeah I have about 20 give or take. http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=63C7046AAEC02FC2
    I’ve been searching for some of the songs used on Takeshi’s CAStle. If you would post these video’s on your blog, someone might recognize the one or more BGMs. If you post it I will send you an episode. If you can Identify any of the BGMs I’ll give you another episode for every bgm you identify. Do you speak Japanese

  7. AstroNerdBoy says:

    I’ll have to take a look-see. I’m only at an advanced beginner level of Japanese for whatever that’s worth.

    If you have these on DVD, where’d you pick them up from?

  8. A number of people. Usually tape traders. They were far from official.

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