The Badass of the Week.

Makoto Nagano

If you've never watched an episode of Ninja Warrior before, then let me be the first to tell you that you are seriously missing out on some of the most insane shit that Japanese game shows have to offer, which is a huge fucking deal because insane shit is pretty much Japan's specialty these days.  If you've never heard of the show I'll magnanimously forgive you, simply because it's pretty much the only thing on G4TV that's even remotely worth watching (except of course for the occasional Arrested Development rerun) and if you've never turned that station on before I completely understand.  Anyways, Ninja Warrior a Japanese game show where one hundred contestants from across the globe compete in the most suicidal obstacle course this side of the Aggro Crag, doing balls-out crap like crossing a set of monkey bars with their teeth, hanging suspended a hundred feet above a pit of giant spikes with nothing more than a tentative grasp on a frayed kite string and doing a bunch of other shit you wouldn't see this side of God of War or Prince of Persia, all while this crazy Chairman Kaga motherfucker screams at them, insults their virility and tells the jeering crowd that they have dishonored their families and must be the subject of scorn and ridicule.  The demonic four-stage obstacle course from Hell is so evil, heinous and damn-near impossible that over the span of nineteen tournaments and several years on the air only two men have ever completed the entire thing.  One of them was Makoto Nagano, a commercial fishing boat captain who as far as I can tell is built out of five and a half feet of solid superhero-caliber adamantium muscle and can perform daring feats of strength and agility that most people technically shouldn't even be allowed to dream about.

One thing I dig about this guy is how every time they mention on the show that Nagano was a fishing boat captain the producers cut to some home grainy video of him climbing up to the crow's nest of his ship, doing a handstand and then hanging upside down on a rope or some shit just to prove how fucking hard his nuts are.  He's one of those boat captains that probably spends his long days at sea just wishing that he could be attacked by pirates so that he could flip out and beat their asses with a series of Guile-style backflip front kicks before somersaulting over some sharks, rapelling down a flaming cargo net and punching a hole in the pirate ship with his bare hands.  Seriously, the man has more upper body strength than a Mr. Universe contest, but still manages to be agile and quicker on his feet than the opening act of Riverdance.  The dude is seriously one shuriken short of being a one-man unstoppable ninja army capable of scaling walls, leaping over moats filled with rabid alligators, climbing upside-down on ropes like Sam Fisher on the Cream and the Clear and then kicking anyone's ass without even thinking about it.  I mean, this guy goes up against decatheletes, Olympic gold medalists and other hardcore motherfuckers in peak physical condition and his performance on the course makes these guys look like they were runners-up at a Cub Scout Field Day.

Now Nagano also isn't just some one-shot flash in the pan motherfucker like Akiyama or some shit either.  Not only did Nagano complete the entire obstacle course in the most brazen display of manliness and badassitude this side of a documentary about testosterone and body hair, but he's routinely battling through the first couple of stages without even breaking a sweat, reaching the third stage in pretty much every single tournament he's ever been in.  He holds the speed record for the first and second stages, taking obstacle courses that would make Sylvester Stallone crap his pants and destroying them like they were a poorly-constructed LEGO spaceship put together by a blind third-grader, he can climb up a rope faster than Spider-Man on cocaine, and he's capable of not only supporting his entire body weight using only two fingers tentatively clutching a railing an inch and a half wide, but then he can climb thirty feet over a giant gorge on said railing without even blinking.  The man is unstoppable.  You could run over his legs with a bulldozer and he'd still find a way to beat the first stage, probably by propelling himself thirty feet in the air using only his arm muscles and soaring the entire length of the course.

I've embedded a clip of Nagano defeating the Ninja Warrior course, purely for your enjoyment.  Unfortunately the video quality is about as high-fidelity as a 1970's underground snuff film and I couldn't find the American version on YouTube, so in the meantime this crappy squint-your-eyes-to-see-anything 64k version will have to satiate your desire for badassitude.



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