Turns out that the whole Mayan apocalypse didn’t happen so I must now return to blogging.
Welcome 2013. And as is customary, 2013 started off with a 6 hour long Gaki no Tsukai special batsu (punishment) game. This annual event dates back to 2003 and typically involves the main cast of the show having to spend 24 hours not laughing in an environment designed to specifically make them laugh. And every time they do laugh the a masked man appears and smacks their ass (the punishment) with some large, rubbery object. You can read a bit more on these batsu games in this post I wrote a couple years back.
So what was this year’s scenario?
This year’s batsu game has the five Gaki members taking on the role of (enthusiastic) teacher. They wore Kinpachi-sensei inspired costumes. Kinpachi-sensei is a popular Japanese drama that ran for 32 years. Fun fact: the main character, Kinpachi Sakamoto, was the satirical inspiration for the evil teacher in Battle Royale.
As usual there were many Japanese celebrity cameos, insane gags and pranks, and a pretty awesome section where the cast “time travel” back to the Edo period and spend some time in a typical Edo period town. It’s during this time travel that one of the cast is exposed to an especially awkward situation in which text messages he sent from his phone trying to talk women into sex are put on display in front of his family and ex-wife.
The gags brought out in the batsu game do not vary much from year to year. There are staples that everyone expects to see such as hidden items in the desks the cast sit at during some of the show; Yamasaki Hosei, one of the cast, eventually being confronted by Chouno Masahiro and receiving a serious, not holding back anything slap to the face; a late night quest through a darkly lit building with traps to scare the cast; and a bus ride to start the show where different celebrities hop on at each bus stop and perform some bit to make the cast laugh. This regularity is, for some, boring and repetitive. I think that’s like complaining late night television is boring and repetitive because the hosts talk to celebrities during every show. While the basic structure remains the same, the details change and that helps to keep things fresh.
I thought this year’s batsu game was made especially fresh by the time travel segment which offered a nice change of scenery and provided some new situations to put the cast into and make them laugh. My only complaint was a lack of a stage play (another of the batsu game staples) starring Claudia Umemiya.
She was an American model many years ago, but wound up moving to Japan and marrying actor Tatsuo Umemiya. Their daughter Anna Umemiya is herself a model and Japanese television personality. Claudia isn’t an actor and her performances in these batsu game stage performances leaves much to be desired, but her awkwardness on the stage makes them easily one of the funniest things in the batsu games.
Even without Claudia this year’s batsu game was one of their best.