Web Crush Wednesdays: GakiFiles and Downtown

Do you like schadenfreude? I, for one, practice schadenfreude daily and today’s Webcrush combines this with two of my most adored things: good translations and Japanese television. Essentially, it’s perfect.

In Japan, the ‘variety show’ style of show that seemed to die out in America  during the Seventies is still running strong and none is better

than Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!! (Literally “Downtown’s ‘This is No Task for Kids!!'”). This is known more affectionately to me, as this is the title it was introduced to me under, as ‘Batsu Game’. Batsu directly translates to ‘punishment’ and from that I’m sure you can gather some sense of what the game entails. The players are assumed to have lost a bet—although in this series, I’ve only seen the actual bet once or twice—and thus must suffer through a punishment game for it. Usually it’s something simple: playing rock-paper-scissors and the person who loses gets slapped in the face. Downtown takes it to a whole other level.

Downtown itself is a manzai comedy duo formed of Hitoshi Matsumoto (who plays the role of the boke: the stupid one or “funny man”) and Masatoshi Hamada (the tsukkomi: the “straight man”). They’ve been around for at least twenty years, so they know their shit and know exactly how to get each other to continuously lose in their batsu games. Notice I said ‘continuously’.

Yes, folks, the thing that sets the Downtown batsu games apart from several other ones is that they are a legitimate event. Stretching far beyond a single prank, these punishment games of theirs last for a full, 24-hour day and utilize a full cast of other comedians and stars from Japan along with elaborate sets (the last batsu game used an actual intercontinental airport, just to give you an idea). The only rule? They can’t laugh for the duration lest they suffer divine retribution on their buttocks.

Now, as I stated before, this Webcrush isn’t only for the series itself, it’s also a very fangirl-y appreciation post for the sub-ers who take the time to

translate the show almost perfectly. In short, I want to be like them when I grow up. You can tell they have a love not only for the show and its victims, but also for the Japanese language. So here’s to you, GakiFiles! May you continue subbing and giving us all the gift of laughter at the expense of others!

If you’re interesting in watching one of these games—and you really should be—visit their site here. My personal favorite is the High School Batsu, but each game is different!  Just make sure you have some time on your hands to sit down and watch it: each game takes at least an hour and you may get addicted.