Japan has a long, illustrious history of putting awesome variety shows and animal videos on TV. From chimpanzees in overalls to awesome mini-games on variety TV to monster hunters with magic breasts, Japanese TV has everything you could ever want unless you’re my mom, in which case it’s just never enough, is it devil woman? But enough about my problems, here are fourteen clips to help you forget about yours:
PAN-KUN AND JAMES
Pan-kun is a chimpanzee often featured on the shows Tensai! Shimura Dōbutsuen (“Genius! Shimura Zoo”) and Dōbutsu Kisō Tengai! (“Unbelievable Animals!”). You may recognize him as the star of the Parry Gripp’s “Chimpanzee Riding a Segway“. James is his bulldog friend. They go on adventures.
Above is just one of the many great Pan-kun clips out there. If nothing else, watch around the two-and-a-half minute mark when Pan-kun learns what a blow dryer is. I’d also recommend the clips where Pan-kun is confused by magic and boards a train.
I never thought I’d see a guy in a grasshopper costume strutting around like he owns the place. Well, someone other than myself.
Kids dressed as dolphins slide around on balls. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d type. This is the grand prize winner from the most recent Kasou Taishou special. You might already be familiar with that special from the Matrix Ping Pong video that was everywhere four years ago.
ANIMALS AND DOMINOES
Many variety TV shows in Japan like to run “what if” scenarios involving animals. This clip, for example, poses the question, “Which animals can navigate a winding path to food without knocking over these dominoes.” This is important.
Here’s what’s happening: there are marshmallows hanging from the ceiling, which contestants try to reach while being held back by a bungee cord strapped around their face. The end. I want to know who came up with this and have them do my taxes.
Here’s another entry in the “smash your face up for our amusement” TV pantheon (more on that pantheon later). What’s going on here? Oh, just a pantyhose on the face tug-of-war. The usual.
LEARNING IMPORTANT PHRASES THROUGH SONG
Here’s a clip from a language learning video. Singing a song can help you learn another language, but how often are you going to use the phrase, “I have a bad case of diarrhea”? Also, what happens if you can only remember this phrase by singing the song and performing the accompanying dance? I’ll tell you what happens: something magical.
JAPANESE BERT AND ERNIE
Sesame Street aired in Japan, in English, for many years, and a lot of people have used it to learn English. Here is a parody clip that lampoons Sesame Street’s influence in Japan. Did I say “lampoons”? What I meant to say was “makes nightmare fuel out of”.
SHOWER GIRL GAME
This clip (probably NSFW) shows the lengths twenty guys will go to in order to possibly see a woman’s breasts. We really are all the same when you get right down to it.
ANCIENT DOGOO GIRL
Speaking of breasts, (awesome segue) here’s a promo for a TV show about a yōkai-hunting warrior from the Jomon era who is resurrected by a clumsy archaeologist in modern day Japan. More importantly, her main weapon is shooting magic beams from her chest. That’s just good TV.
Here are two compilation clips from “Brain Wall” (AKA Human Tetris). This started as a component of TV show Tunnels’ Thanks to Everyone, and has since been adapted in 38 countries. There was even an American version of the show (Hole in the Wall) which Fox pulled in the first season and replaced with episodes of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? This is why we can’t have nice things.
Here’s the show sometimes credited as the first in the “smash your face up for our amusement” TV pantheon. Za Gaman (The Endurance) was a TV show from the 1980’s that put university students in horrible, often painful, situations, and the winner was the one who endured the longest, if you can call that winning. Za Gaman also appeared in the Guinness Book of World Records as “Most Extreme Game Show”. And here I thought France’s “Zone Xtreme” was the most extreme. I mean, just look how they misspelled extreme. That’s extreme.
On a final note, I’d just like to point out how enraging it is that Japan has had this amazing jetpack technology for years and have kept it hidden for so long. Not cool, guys.