Kunoichi Season 1
The first season of Women of Ninja Warrior was, not to put too fine a point on it, cheap looking. All yellow plastic covered with netting; they couldn't even spring for Astroturf to cover the obstacles, much less the decorative paint, fake vines, flame jets and water fountains we see decorating the obstacles on Sasuke. It seemed like they didn't know if it was going to be a success or not, and didn't want to invest a whole lot in the sets the first time out.
Women of Ninja Warrior's first season was also really, really hard. Only two women finished stage 1, and both of them went out on the first obstacle of stage 2.
In the first season most of the regulars haven't yet become competitors. However, a few of my favorites show up in this season, including Akari Hayashi, the butterfly girl who falls in at the first obstacle every time. And Hiromi Satake, the sumo wrestler who also never makes it past the first obstacle. I give Satake credit for her perseverance. With its emphasis on balance, Women of Ninja Warrior is even less friendly to bulky sumo wrestlers than regular Ninja Warrior. And the announcer can be a bit unkind in describing her as she hits the water. But she keeps trying, and seems good natured about the whole thing.
Stage 1: 6 obstacles, 80 seconds, 2 cleared
Stage 2: 4 obstacles, 50 seconds, 0 cleared
Final Stage: ?
Competitors cross the water by stepping on a series of "stones" (round things covered with yellow plastic) on top of poles.
I have mixed feeling about the Dancing Stones. It's certainly a challenge, but it slows down the beginning of the course. Watching the competitors gingerly make their way across the dancing stones seems less exciting than watching them start at a run, the way they do on Sasuke.
Competitors must walk on a rolling barrel. The subtitles show the Japanese announcer calling this "Cylinder Walk," but the icons on the right side of the screen say "Barrel Roll."
This obstacle is basically the same as the Log Roll from regular Ninja Warrior Stage 2, except a barrel rather than a log. It's really a barrel, too. Actually two barrels joined at the ends. They couldn't be bothered to cover or even paint the barrels. You can even see the small cap on the end.
Competitors jump on a series of trampolines, and bounce up onto hurdles. Similar to an obstacle in stage 2 of Kunoichi season 4 and 6. The Triple Hurdle seemed hard, and probably would have eliminated a lot of competitors if they had gotten that far.
The announcer said that competitors had to jump, not climb up onto the hurdles with their hands. It was kind of unclear where they drew the line, though. Some of them seemed to me to be climbing up, at least somewhat.
Competitors slide down an incline on something that looks like a skateboard. At the bottom they jump off the skateboard, across the water and land on a circular platform.
Only two competitors made it this far. Both of them timed their jumps badly and hit the water. A similar, and more difficult, version of this obstacle shows up in Stage 2, Seasons 18 and 19 of Sasuke.
No one made it past the Super Jump, so we didn't get to see the rest of the course in action.
But we did see quick shots of the other three obstacles, including the Pendulum Bridge and Floating Bridge which show up in later seasons. Also frustrating glimpses of an obstacle we never see again, which looks like a series of rotating angled platforms.