Yes, that is indeed a Japanese samurai going up against a Viking. It’s a scene from Spike’s television series Deadliest Warrior.
I have to admit I’m a fan of the show. It’s every geek or nerd’s (which I do consider myself) fantasy. It’s like those questions that are sometimes asked. Who’s stronger, Wolverine or Superman? You know, the kind of questions that can never really be answered but that are fun to ask and argue about?
That’s what this show is. It pits warriors (that is, experts on, for example, Viking weaponry) from different eras or countries against each other. After a lot of what I like to think of as testosterone-driven techno-bio babble and not terribly convincing trash-talking, the experts analyze the different weapons, strategies and tactics of the opposing warriors.
Their data is then fed into a battle-simulation computer program and ran a 1,000 times to determine, for example, whether a knight or a pirate is the deadliest warrior. Once that’s done, at the end of the show, the showdown is filmed with stunt men so you can actually see a Spartan going up against a Ninja. Last week it was the Mafia vs. the Yakuza. This week, the Green Beret vs the Russian Spetsnaz.
I’m almost ashamed to admit I watch the show. It’s very violent in that the experts have the respective warriors for each episode show off their weapons by stabbing or firing at jellied torsos and skulls that are meant to show the effects of the weapons on the human body. Yikes!
But history buff that I am and having a fascination with warriors and warrior culture down through the ages, I’ve been watching the show every Tuesday since I accidentally stumbled across it while channel-surfing. (It was the epsiode where an Apache warrior was fighting a Roman gladiator. I went, whoa!, what the heck is this!?!)
My son watches it too but we spend most of our time criticizing the way the guys on the show go about determining who is deadlier. It’s really more a matter of context in the long run than anything, I would think, but Deadliest Warrior is my Guilty Pleasure #1. 🙂
Oh, next week it’s a Shaolin monk vs. a Maori warrior. I’m already betting on the monk. 😀