In 2007, Asian Americans made the nation laugh, cry, and feel inspired. They also made fellow Asian Americans cringe. Here's why.
APA looks behind the spotlight to uncover some of the behind-the-scenes talents we admired in 2007.
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For this year's collection of YouTube clips, we decided that Japan, with their creative television game shows and their special sense of humor, deserved their very own list.
Ahh, Japan. The country where the television shows have no shame. All in the name of entertainment.
YouTube is home to millions of videos, but the strangest videos have come out of the land of the rising sun. Only in Japan would you find such television shows that reinvent themselves over and over again, producing ideas that you would rarely find anywhere else. Year after year, we're introduced to new sketches. For example, you may remember "Razor Ramon Hard Gay," the wrestler/personality created by Masaki Sumitani, sprouting random acts of kindness as a part of the show Bakusho Mondai no Bakuten! that often ended him in very compromising positions with random citizens in Japan. On YouTube, you can find most (if not all) of it in its full glory. Rightfully, I think Japan deserves its own section for its effort.
Japanese television is home to some of the quirkiest antics in the world. If you're not familiar with Japanese game shows, contestants are put up to very cruel challenges that usually end in cringeworthy, yet hilarious results.
Interactive Zombie game
In Japan, there are no limits to the imagination. You can cosplay as your favorite character from an anime, but these two clips take it further. On the show Tunnels no Minasan no Okage Deshita, video games are brought to life, and you can see Japanese actor/pop star Eiji Wentz featured as a contestant in the show's version of "Human Tetris" -- amongst some other contestants, including a seven-foot man whom I am unable to identity. Despite the lack of subtitles, the sheer joy comes from watching the characters attempt to squeeze themselves into the various shapes of holes in the walls charging towards them. If they fail, they fall into a pool of water (which seems to be a trend in Japanese game shows). The second clip doesn't feature contestants, but seems to be more of a comedic sketch where the "ghosts" take a beating to the human Pacman. It's as if you're watching Pacman turned into a real-life television show, where the running gag is taken out on the star of the show. In the last clip, a Japanese comedian has a series of interactive sketches. In this one in particular, he plays a hero-fighting zombie off to save a princess. However, the zombies aren't what they seem to be, and the joke seems to be on him.
Tokyo Wave Pool
This pool takes the cake when it comes to summer pools. Beware, the clip might make your stomach turn a little after watching the waves go by, watching people go up and down, up and down. I also can't help but wonder: how many kids have urinated in that pool? Yes, I'm pretty speechless too.
Tokyo Dance Trooper
Danny Choo, the man behind the "dodgy dancing" in Stormtrooper gear on the streets of Tokyo, brought a whole new level of Star Wars fandom to the world, by enlisting some fancy dance moves in the middle of some of Tokyo's most popular neighborhoods. What's even better is when some of the pedestrians walking by stop and join him in his dancing. Goes to show the lengths people will go to grab attention and entertain. Trooper in Shibuya
Hare Hare Yukai (original version)
Going along the same lines of fandom, the Otakus of the universe unite, all in the name of the dance that has been sweeping the world: the "Hare Hare Yukai "dance from the highly popular anime The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. In one clip, you'll see the original dance in its animated form, and in the next clip, watch how it transcends across nations. As sickeningly cute as the dance is, it is amazing to see how a dance from a quirky anime can affect so many people all at once -- from Chile to Bosnia, and even to the inmates from Cebu in the Philippines!
Thanks to YouTube, we're given a lot of access to watch Japanese pop culture as it happens (sometimes even complete with subtitles), without even having to travel to Japan. We're not laughing at Japan, but virtually laughing right there with them.
Page 1 | More Best of 2007: YouTube
Date Posted: 1/4/2008