Takeshi’s Castle is returning this April, and ahead of that, Amazon Prime Video has unveiled its cast lineup. Serving as a reboot of the original 1980s Japanese game show, Takeshi Kitano returns as a resurrected Castle Lord, setting up challenging obstacles for its participants. Other additions include Osamu Shitara (Star Wars Rebels) and Yuki Himura as the chief retainer and vassal of Takeshi’s Castle, respectively. Comedians Shinya Ueda, Naomi Watanabe, and Ennosuke Ichikawa IV will appear as governors of three castles guarding the centre of Takeshi’s Castle. TV presenter Hayato Tani and Subaru Kimura — best known for voicing Takeshi Goda/ Gian in the Doraemon anime — serve as the attack captains.
“Takeshi’s Castle is filled with fundamentals of variety shows,” castle lord Kitano said in a prepared statement. “The way people boldly try something nearly impossible and end up failing is one of the most fun things to watch. I hope you enjoy the show without thinking too much.” For the uninitiated, Takeshi’s Castle was a Japanese game show, where over 100 determined volunteer contestants would participate in an array of well-designed physical challenges, such as balancing on a surfboard, swinging across a muddy pit, navigating across giant trolling pins, a claustrophobic maze game, and a whole lot more. While most challenges are based on skill and brains, some lean heavily towards luck, instantly disqualifying unlucky participants. By eliminating Takeshi in a laser-gun-based cart battle, the player would win ¥1 million (about Rs. 6,14,000), at the time.
The series spawned several other international versions of Takeshi’s Castle and even inspired physical game shows such as Wipeout in the US and Total Wipeout in the UK. In India, a shortened version of the original Japanese Takeshi’s Castle was aired on the Pogo TV channel, featuring comedic Hindi dubbing/ commentary by Jaaved Jaffrey (Jaadugar), which was perhaps the biggest draw of the show and made it quite popular for Indian audiences when it aired in the 2000s. When news about the aforementioned reboot broke last year, the actor expressed his interest in lending hilarious commentary for Hindi-speaking audiences. Currently, there is no word on whether dubs will be included in the Amazon Prime Video version.
While Takeshi’s Castle’s commentary style might sound aged to a modern audience — if they follow the same format — it will be interesting to see what tech they use to make challenges more daunting. Proximity sensors could be a good way to modernise the show, while another cool idea would be to have the contestants wear GoPro or other action cameras, so we get to experience the impact first-hand when some giant rubber beam slaps against their faces or they fall head-first into mud.
Takeshi’s Castle reboot will be available for streaming in late April on Amazon Prime Video.