January 16, 2012 by galudwig
Now, for something completely different, we passed from 2011 into 2012, and some of you may already know what that means. Yes. It means that a new 24 hour no-laughing batsu game was released by the Downtown Gaki no Tsukai team! For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, Downtown is a Japanese comedy duo consisting of Hamada Masatoshi and Matsumoto Hitoshi. They’ve been some of Japan’s biggest comedy stars since the eighties, and their show, Gaki No Tsukai, with Cocorico’s Endo Shozo and Tanaka Naoki and the wacky Yamazaki Housei, has taken not just Japan, but an international internet audience by storm.
You may have come across some clips from some of their most famous shows such as Silent Library, where contestants draw cards and the loser gets some kind of ridiculous punishment, or sketches and challenges involving human bowling pins, haunted mansions, power rangers, hundreds of pies, penis machines and other such entertainment gold. But since about the early 2000s, they have been doing yearly batsu (punishment) games, in which they have to do complete a training of some job over a timespan of 24 hours. The catch is that every time they laugh, a buzzer goes off and a person dressed in black jumps in from out of nowhere and whacks them in the butt! And this while there are ridiculous “traps” and comedians all over the place.
So, that’s a batsu, and if this premise sounds funny to you, then I urge you to type in “gaki no tsukai” in youtube to see just what I am talking about here. Or, perhaps even better, you should take a look at this website, probably the most comprehensive blog, run by volunteer subtitlers, who offer up to date translations of some popular clips, including the yearly batsus. The latest one, set in a school for flight attendants, has, at the time of writing, been about 15% translated.
I don’t know why exactly I wrote this here, but, hey, I LOVE THIS SHOW! Check it out, seriously. And here’s to hoping that the Japanese producers (Gasu, are you listening?) will finally put some dvds on the market for an English-speaking audience!