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The Pro Wrestling-Shonen Anime Connection


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Crani



Joined: 13 Jun 2008
Posts: 3
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 2:38 pm Reply with quote
For the uninitiated this is a very informative article and if anyone is interested in the story of Rikidozan there is a very interesting and well made Korean movie by the same name that you should definitely check out, it takes some liberties, mostly because some aspects of his life are a bit murky, but I like how it didn't shy away from the fact that despite his status and being the father of Japanese Wrestling he was a huge dick in his private life and how it shows how the ascension of Pro Wrestling in Japan is tied with National Pride issues and despite having drift from that in sometime in the 80's, japanese vs gaijin matches are still popular.
But there is a glaring omission of Kinnikuman and if there is ever a follow up to this article you could expand on the careers of Jushin Thunder Liger, who was huge in his hay day and is one of the biggest influences on the Junior Heavyweight division both in the Japan and the US, and Tiger Mask, who was also huge in the 70's/80's and the guy behind Tiger Mask II, Mitsuhara Misawa, has a pretty interesting story and was a major player in the 90's (His matches with Kobashi are legendary) with a tragic ending.
And there's also some noteworthy anime connection, like that One Piece episode with Minoru Suzuki, who is apparently a good friend of Oda, and that anime show that has Okada has a voice actor.

If anyone is interested in getting to know the history of Japanese Wrestling, despite being mostly focused on NJPW, I recommend picking up "Lion's Pride". It's an excelent read and very informative.
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Anime World Order



Joined: 05 May 2006
Posts: 387
Location: Florida
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 2:41 pm Reply with quote
The omission of Kinnikuman from this article was deliberate, as I don't think I really need to tell anybody that an anime about pro wrestling which features caricatures of real pro wrestlers was indeed influenced by professional wrestling. This is also why I only mentioned Tiger Mask in passing.

NearEasternerJ1 wrote:
Rikidozan isn't Japanese. He's South Korean. Never forget that.


The article for which you are replying to already clearly states that Rikidozan was not Japanese, but he was also not from South Korea. He was from North Korea, and everyone in North Korea knew it at the time because Kim Il-Sung was a big fan. It's beyond the scope of this article, but to make a long story short the characters used to write the name "Rikidozan" were a giveaway to those in the know that "hey, he's from North Korea!" That detail was not publicly known in Japan while he was alive, though parades, statues, state television broadcasts etc took place in the DPRNK over Rikidozan. Even today, the reason Antonio Inoki is able to travel to North Korea and put on the shows he did is because he is Rikidozan's most famous student. (Baba was 2nd.)

Octorockandroll wrote:
Really now? That's pretty cool, but I'm not sure my cable service provider has that channel. I'll be sure to check though. I would definitely like to watch it, but I'm sure it would be pretty expensive unfortunately. Plus what I would really like is to keep up with the shows closely as they're happening, although I doubt a crunchyroll equivalent for wrestling is likely to pop up sadly.


The closest equivalent to Crunchyroll would be NJPW World, their online streaming service equivalent to the WWE Network. It costs 999 yen a month, but aside from the signup page much of it's in Japanese. The current shows are streamed live, and the major shows feature an alternate track for English commentary courtesy of the Ring of Honor announcers.
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jroa



Joined: 08 Aug 2012
Posts: 493
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 2:48 pm Reply with quote
Daryl Surat wrote:

I lack mental organization.


That's...one way to put it. But I digress. My seemingly petty jab aside, this was an interesting read. I don't exactly know much about Japanese wrestling, nor wrestling in general for that matter, but you've made a fair case explaining the history of this activity and providing examples of how that industry has had an impact on anime and manga.
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Octorockandroll



Joined: 03 Apr 2015
Posts: 49
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 2:59 pm Reply with quote
Anime World Order wrote:

Octorockandroll wrote:
Really now? That's pretty cool, but I'm not sure my cable service provider has that channel. I'll be sure to check though. I would definitely like to watch it, but I'm sure it would be pretty expensive unfortunately. Plus what I would really like is to keep up with the shows closely as they're happening, although I doubt a crunchyroll equivalent for wrestling is likely to pop up sadly.


The closest equivalent to Crunchyroll would be NJPW World, their online streaming service equivalent to the WWE Network. It costs 999 yen a month, but aside from the signup page much of it's in Japanese. The current shows are streamed live, and the major shows feature an alternate track for English commentary courtesy of the Ring of Honor announcers.


Damn, less than 10 bucks a month for all the NJPW stuff with english commentary and presumably the ppv's too? Well, I know what I'm saving up for next.
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Crani



Joined: 13 Jun 2008
Posts: 3
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:08 pm Reply with quote
Anime World Order wrote:
The omission of Kinnikuman from this article was deliberate, as I don't think I really need to tell anybody that an anime about pro wrestling which features caricatures of real pro wrestlers was indeed influenced by professional wrestling. This is also why I only mentioned Tiger Mask in passing.

Fair enough on Kinnikuman, although it does deserve the shoutout and could do with some more popularity state side, but I think Tiger Mask and Liger could do with more than mention because they are actually examples of cross promotion between anime shows and wrestling, in Tiger Mask's case he was pretty popular with the younger crowd and NJPW licensed him to capture that same crowd and apparently there is going to be a new one some time this year, I think that at some point Tiger Mask the anime was the lead in to the NJPW show on Asahi, and Liger was them trying to repeat that success but ended up creating a far more popular character than the original anime.
And another interesting tidbit, Satoru Sayama (Tiger Mask I) ended up publish a tell all book about the world of Japanese Pro-Wrestling in Japan entitled "Kayfabe", which apparently is a very inflamatory piece and made him get some pretty nuclear heat that lasts to this day.
Octorockandroll wrote:

Damn, less than 10 bucks a month for all the NJPW stuff with english commentary and presumably the ppv's too? Well, I know what I'm saving up for next.

It's well worth the money, I subscribed to it prior to the English commentary being added and even then it was still a lot of bang for your buck. It has content that dates back to the first recording of NJPW with only a few matches missing. Don't have it on me but there's a recommendation excel somewhere on reddit if you don't know where to start. And if you are familiar with the American Wrestling scene trying watching the ROH/NJPW shows to ease you in into NJPW. Or in the off chance that you watch British wrestling last year they started doing joint shows with RevPro and a few of NJPW's stars have started to appear on a few RevPro events sporadically.

Edit: And i just remembered yet another Wrestling/Anime connection, Togi Makabe and Hiroshi Tanahashi (Japanese John Cena) did voice acting for the latest Doraemon movie. Not that Doraemon is a Shounen Anime but it's still pretty cool.
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xchampion



Joined: 21 Jan 2009
Posts: 369
Location: Idaho Falls, Idaho
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:57 pm Reply with quote
I love anime and I love pro wrestling (my avatar should have gave you a hint at least) so this article was a match made in heaven. I guess I fall under the 200 out of 25,000 anime fans who also like anime and wrestling. Can I get a Woo Woo Woo?
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KingGainerXan



Joined: 03 Apr 2012
Posts: 2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 4:09 pm Reply with quote
as Isao Sasaki's theme song reminds

Just had to point out that Mazinger Z's theme song was sung by Mizuki Ichiro (aka Aniki). In fact, even among the hundreds of anime songs he's done, it's still what he's most famous for.
There is a version of the Mazinger Z sung by Sasaki Isao (in English), but that (iirc) was just for the dub broadcast in Hawaii.
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Gemnist



Joined: 10 Feb 2016
Posts: 1626
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 5:51 pm Reply with quote
Anime World Order wrote:
Chojin Sentai Jetman is probably still my favorite of the sentai tokusatsu shows. I think it's because I first saw it via the Malaysian(?) English dub, which was exceedingly wacky because English was clearly the second language for everyone in the cast, but if memory serves only about half the series was dubbed into English. The melancholy final scenes of its last episode struck me as something influenced by Hong Kong action cinema from that era (Jetman came out in the early 1990s), which Japanese stunt teams and tokusatsu creators would certainly have awareness of. Still, the similarities to Rikidozan are indeed there!

Octorockandroll wrote:
I read this article and I loved it. It's almost making me want to get started on njpw despite the fact that I would have no idea as to what anyone is saying. This article made me very happy and I can see it has made many other people happy as well. I can hardly wait for the shojo/wrestling article.


You're in luck! The cable channel AXS TV (formerly known as HDNet) has been running noteworthy New Japan matches with English language commentary since last year (the interviews and in-ring promos are kept in the original Japanese but subtitled in English), and quite a few major cable providers do carry that channel. The episodes air on Fridays. At first, the play-by-play was handled by noteworthy boxing/MMA announcer Mauro Renallo, but since he is now employed by the WWE, as of last month the currently play-by-play duties are now being handled by Jim Ross, whom many consider the greatest professional wrestling announcer of our generation. Color commentary is by Josh Barnett, who was a famous MMA fighter as well as NJPW performer, so if you want to know who all these unfamiliar faces are and why they're doing what they're doing that show's an excellent primer.


Sorry to get off-topic, but where do you get the thing with "My Manga" and "My Anime"? I can't find it.
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Heishi



Joined: 06 Mar 2016
Posts: 1178
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 6:30 pm Reply with quote
Interesting article!
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BadNewsBlues



Joined: 21 Sep 2014
Posts: 4451
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 9:48 pm Reply with quote
XChampion wrote:
Can I get a Woo Woo Woo?


No, no you can't and you know it. Mad

Quote:
It's true. It's true.


Seems to be missing a "damn" somewhere in there.

But hell this article was good.[/quote]
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yuusha



Joined: 27 Aug 2008
Posts: 16
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 10:02 pm Reply with quote
I had previously written an article for Thug-geek.com about the manga/anime-Puroresu connection but after that site got hacked and my own files having gotten eaten it is no longer available. I covered the Tiger Mask connection, the history of AJW and its connection to the Dirty Pair and even touched on how some wrestelrs will moonlight as seiyuu for special projects (Ex. Dump Matsumoto doing the voice for Jade Ivory Fan in Crying Freeman, which was something coming full circle since Koike/Ikegami had paterned Jade Ivory Fan's appearance on Matsumoto herself)..
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 9528
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 10:27 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
One of the most advanced skills you can develop as an enthusiast of any sort is the ability to assess whether the people around you absolutely do not care about whatever thing it is you're really into, regardless of what they may be saying just to be polite. ... As such, what I'm about to say is not something I typically bother with regaling others with because you can practically see the souls escape from their bodies in real-time with each passing sentence spoken.

::hangs head:: Oh, I know that experience all too well, though it only happened to me once, and your description is perfect. It was horrifying, one of those moments where your rational brain is screaming at you to shut the f*** up!!!! but nothing can hold back the torrent once the dam has broken.

Fortunately, I quickly realized that no one I know in person is interested in anything I am. It is so much easier to not talk about stuff than to stop talking about it. Very Happy

Pro wrestling does not happen to be one of those things I'm into, but I am into cultural connections and the history of how various things came to be the way they are, so this was a fascinating article. I'm looking forward the the distaff side of the story!
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GVman



Joined: 14 Jul 2010
Posts: 722
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2016 9:58 am Reply with quote
Wel, well, well, an article by Daryl Surat om ANN, huh? I'd pay to see more of this. He always talks about the most interesting stuff. Maybe we could get the rest of the AWO crew writing on here, too..

SlamMan wrote:
I always noticed the similarities between pro wrestling and anime but my brother is a big wrestling fan who talks a lot about it and I grew up watching WWF (back in the 80s and early 90s when it was good fun). The fact that the first Manga I read and the first subtitled anime I ever watched was Kinnikuman also probably has something to do with it. I always enjoy seeing wrestling moves show up in anime, especially when it's one from Kinnikuman.


I have to give you mad props for making Kinnikuman your firsts, man. That's just too cool.
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Zin5ki



Joined: 06 Jan 2008
Posts: 6680
Location: London, UK
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2016 1:52 pm Reply with quote
yuusha wrote:
I covered the Tiger Mask connection, the history of AJW and its connection to the Dirty Pair and even touched on how some wrestelrs will moonlight as seiyuu for special projects (Ex. Dump Matsumoto doing the voice for Jade Ivory Fan in Crying Freeman, which was something coming full circle since Koike/Ikegami had paterned Jade Ivory Fan's appearance on Matsumoto herself)..

Thank you for sharing this. I knew that Lioness Asuka did a small amount of anime voice work, but not Dump of all people!
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Panoptican



Joined: 03 Oct 2005
Posts: 156
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2016 9:52 pm Reply with quote
Great article! Actually it's funny, but I just read a separate anime/wrestling article over at IGN. It's an interview with a WWE wrestler who dressed up in DBZ gear for Wrestlemania. It's actually a great interview about his love for anime. The anime wrestling connection goes both ways it seems!

The interview: http://www.ign.com/articles/2016/04/07/xavier-woods-on-how-anime-and-wrestling-came-together-at-wrestlemania-32
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