VIKING: The Ultimate Obstacle Course Challenge

There’s a new badass show on ESPN2.

Fuji’s “Viking” to Debut on America’s ESPN 2

Japan’s top-rated TV network FUJI TELEVISION joins forces with ESPN, the world’s premiere sports channel, to bring “VIKING: THE ULTIMATE OBSTACLE COURSE CHALLENGE” to US viewers.

Rope Maze

Produced by Japan’s top sports-variety producer Ushio Higuchi, “VIKING” features a series of grueling obstacle courses designed to test the outer limits of human strength, speed, agility, and endurance.

Built around a maritime theme, the VIKING course resembles a giant pirate warship, full of ropes, wooden masts, and gigantic cannonballs. On the forbidding 1st Marine Stage (larger than a football field), 100 contestants navigate perilous obstacles such as the “Swing Mast,” “Loading Dock,” and “Captain’s Cabin.” Contestants who fail to overcome an obstacle plunge headlong into pools of water waiting below. Those few intrepid fighters who successfully complete the 1st Marine Stage proceed on to stages with gradually increasing levels of difficulty, culminating in the “Final Viking”
— the ultimate test of mind, body, and spirit.

Following in the footsteps of its incredibly successful “Iron Chef” franchise (aired in the US on The Food Network), Fuji Television continues its impressive track record of importing spectacular television entertainment from Japan to the United States.

Final Viking

6 x 30-min episodes of “VIKING: THE ULTIMATE OBSTACLE COURSE CHALLENGE” will premiere on ESPN2 beginning February 18, 2006.

VIKING is produced by Monster 9, in association with Fuji Television. The English-dubbed version is produced by Fujisankei Communications International.

A little bit parkour (urban free running/climbing), a little bit American (voiceover commentary), and a lot Japanese, this show features an awesome intro with a big water oni punching his fist into the water and creating a tidal wave. I don’t know how this relates to vikings, parkour, or anything in particular but it looks bad ass. The water oni is also shouting, “OH CHEE NAY WAH” or something. It sounds pretty fucking impressive.

Then there’s these massive jungle gyms of metal and padding and water and fancy lighting, built next to what looks like a harbor, with a goddamn fucking monorail train speeding by one of the sets. It’s like a fucking Japanese video game!!

And then the athletes…gymnasts, red-haired Japanimese chicks, and muscle-bound fishermen jump and climb and vault around these jungle gyms to get through each stage. Seriously, for a moment I thought I was watching fucking Final Fantasy when one of the competitors (probably named Cloud or something) conquers the stage and then punches his fist in the air like Guile doing a sonic boom and then saying something badass in Japanese while looking really mean like a fighter from Virtua Fighter.

The last stage seems to center too much on upper-body strength, even using the pegs in the holes like our favorite scene from Vision Quest when Matthew Modine climbs up the whole peg wall.

Strangely there’s all types of people in all types of dress (the guy on right now looks like a fresh-off-the-boat engineering student except he’s like 40) going through the event. Also they have to complete a math problem like (65 + 83) or say what letter (in English!) comes two spots before another (like E is two before G).

Seriously, it’s damn cool. Give it a nisten.

  • I hope, there are still upcoming events like this one in this year. This is really exciting.