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The Cliffhanger (クリフハンガー) is one of the longest-enduring obstacles in SASUKE to date, having proven to be brutal throughout the history of SASUKE.

In essence, competitors must traverse through at least three narrow ledges, which are 3cm wide, only long enough to support the fingertips. Since its introduction in SASUKE 4, it has 7 different versions.

Version 1 (SASUKE 4)


The original version of Cliffhanger was introduced in SASUKE 4. Its actual name is 直線型クリフハンガー (literally Cliff Hanger straight version). 

Every ledge was at the same height, and each ledge was 1.2m long, and each gap was 50cm long. 

It only lasted for the one tournament, as the producers increased the difficulty of each stage afterward due to Akiyama Kazuhiko's kanzenseiha in that competition. 5 people failed on this version of Cliffhanger. 

KUNOICHI Appearance

A toned-down version of this version of Cliffhanger was used as the sixth obstacle on Blue Stage (Second Stage) on KUNOICHI 9, with only two ledges instead of three, one of them being longer and both ledges were increased to 4.5cm wide. The gap between the first and second ledge is 60cm.

CH1

Cliffhanger, KUNOICHI 9 Navi.

Competitors' Success Rate

  • All results based on the TBS broadcast and external information found
SASUKE Clears Attempts Percentage
4 5 10 50%
Total 5 10 50%

KUNOICHI

KUNOICHI Clears Attempts Percentage
9 1 1 100%
Total 1 1 100%

Version 2 (SASUKE 5-8)


The second version of Cliffhanger appeared in SASUKE 5, where the final ledge was raised 30cm and was renamed as the 段差型クリフハンガー (literally Cliff Hanger Dropout section).

Yamamoto Shingo was the only competitor to attempt this version more than once. He attempted and passed it in SASUKE 5 and SASUKE 7. 3 competitors failed on this version of Cliffhanger.

KUNOICHI Appearances

A toned-down version of this version of Cliffhanger was used as the fourth obstacle on BLACK Stage (Third Stage) on KUNOICHI 10, but with the removal of the first ledge, which made it similar to this version of the Cliffhanger. It was revealed that the ledges' thickness was reduced to 4cm in that tournament. 

Competitors' Success Rate

  • All results based on the TBS broadcast and external information found
SASUKE Clears Attempts Percentage
5 1 1 100%
6 1 2 50%
7 1 3 33.33%
8 3 3 100%
Total 6 9 66.67%

KUNOICHI

KUNOICHI Clears Attempts Percentage
10 2 3 66.67%
Total 2 3 66.67%

Cliffhanger Kai [Version 3] (SASUKE 9-17)


In the third version of Cliffhanger, the length of the first ledge was doubled, the second ledge raised by 30cm, and the last ledge lowered by 45cm. It was renamed again, this time as the Cliffhanger Kai (クリフハンガー改) (literally Altered Cliff Hanger).

This version lasted the longest thus far of any iteration. In later competitions, the obstacle marked the halfway point and passing it was a major accomplishment.

The distance between the third ledge and the mat varied in it's entirety. In SASUKE 9, the mat was far from the third ledge, in SASUKE 10, 11, and 13 - 17 the mat was slightly underneath the third ledge and in SASUKE 12 the mat was barely past the second gap, close enough to dismount after touching the third ledge.
Cliffhanger

A diagram of the Cliffhanger Kai.






American Ninja Warrior Appearances

This version of the Cliffhanger was also used as the ninth obstacle on American Ninja Warrior 5 in Venice Beach, defeating all but a small group of competitors to make it that far. Those competitors to fail the Cliffhanger still received a spot in the Las Vegas finals, seeing as many competitors were also eliminated by the Salmon Ladder and Rope Maze.


Other Appearances

Treo Người Trên Vách (Sasuke Vietnam official name for Cliffhanger) is fifth obstacle on 3rd Stage of Sasuke Vietnam and Sasuke Vietnam 2.

It was replaced by the Crazy Cliffhanger (called Treo Người Trên Vách Kép) on Sasuke Vietnam 3.

Competitors' Success Rate

  • All results based on the TBS broadcast and external information found
SASUKE Clears Attempts Percentage
9 1 1 100%
10 1 2 50%
11 2 4 50%
12 5 9 52.56%
13 2 3 66.68%
14 2 5 40%
15 3 4 75%
16 3 7 42.86%
17 3 4 75%
Total 22 39 56.48%

Shin-Cliffhanger [Version 4] (SASUKE 18-24)


The fourth version of the Cliffhanger came after Nagano Makoto's completion of the course in SASUKE 17. It has been renamed once again, this time to the Shin-Cliffhanger (新クリフハンガー) to emphasize its redesign.

The second ledge was shortened to 77cm, but also on an incline of 12°. This caused the horizontal gap between the last two ledges to increase to 1 meter. To make up for this large gap, the width of the first part of the third ledge was increased to 6cm. Also, the ledges have been beveled to increase the difficulty.

Due to the large gap, it seems that competitors must now clear the obstacle by jumping across from second ledge to the third one. The first person not to attempt a jump, Nagasaki Shunsuke, was not able to clear the obstacle in SASUKE 18. However, in SASUKE 23, Takahashi Kenji was able to successfully clear without jumping, being the only contestant to do so.

In SASUKE 19, a metal sheet was placed above the first and third ledges to prevent competitors from getting disqualified like Nagano Makoto in SASUKE 18 (see Nagano Makoto's Disqualification).

This version of the Cliffhanger proved to be one of the toughest obstacles in the history of the show as the first four competitors to try it, all failed (spanning three tournaments). TBS showed testers clearing it in SASUKE 20 and SASUKE 21's introduction, but it wasn't until Takeda Toshihiro cleared it in SASUKE 21 that it was finally conquered in competition.

Other Appearances

This obstacle was used a the fourth obstacle of the Final Stage of SASUKE Ninja Warrior Indonesia, with 6 out of the 10 competitors who attempted it could complete it (the other 4 competitors failed to make transition to the third ledge).
Vlcsnap-10678096

Takahashi Kenji reaching over the gap of the Shin-Cliffhanger. He is the only person to ever successfully do so.

Competitors' Success Rate

  • All results based on the TBS broadcast and external information found
SASUKE Clears Attempts Percentage
18 0 3 0%
19 0 0 N/A
20 0 1 0%
21 2 2 100%
22 2 4 50%
23 5 6 84.36%
24 7 7 100%
Total 16 23 68.52%

Ultimate Cliffhanger [Version 5] (SASUKE 25-27)


The fifth version of the Cliffhanger came after Urushihara Yuuji's completion of the course in SASUKE 24. It has been renamed once again, this time to the Ultimate Cliffhanger (アルティメットクリフハンガー) to emphasize its redesign. It is by far the largest and longest Cliffhanger to date, with a total of six ledges instead of three.

  • The first ledge is 2m and on a 24° angle and requires competitors to climb right.
  • With a gap of 20cm, the next ledge is also 2m and is on a 12° angle, requiring competitors to climb left.
  • After that, there is a 60cm upwards vertical gap to the third ledge which is 3.2m long.
  • Competitors must then cross a 90cm horizontal gap to another 1.2m ledge.
  • At the end of that, they must jump and catch themselves on a small 15cm ledge.
  • From there, they must swing to the final 2m ledge and traverse that to complete the obstacle.

In its first tournament, SASUKE 25, the obstacle proved to be unbelievably difficult. All four competitors who attempted it failed before any could even touch the third ledge.

In SASUKE 26, the third ledge was lowered to make the transition from the angled ledges easier, but this resulted in making the transition to the fourth ledge much harder.

To compensate for what would have been a 1.2 meter gap between the third and fourth ledges, the third ledge was also lengthened slightly to make it a gap more similar to the gap between the second and third ledges of the SASUKE 5-8 version of the Cliffhanger.

Also, a large sheet of metal was placed at the base of the obstacle, in order to hide the metal supports that were visible in SASUKE 25. Lee En-Chih and Okuyama Yoshiyuki, in their second attempts, made it to the end of the fourth ledge, but failed while building momentum to swing to the small fifth ledge. Two American competitors, Brent Steffensen and David Campbell, also made it to this obstacle. However, both of them failed while trying to make a transition to the fourth ledge.

Vlcsnap-12953465

Ultimate Cliffhanger in SASUKE 26 with the lowered third ledge.

In SASUKE 27, the obstacle was moved from its previous position as the fourth obstacle to the third obstacle. As the result, it was finally conquered by: 

with them both having their first attempts of the obstacle. 

The obstacle was nearly cleared by David Campbell as well but his grip gave way on the final ledge, moments before he could reach the other side. 

Despite three competitors completed this obstacle in SASUKE 27, five competitors failed on this obstacle in that tournament, with four of them were the remaining American competitors: 

In total, 13 competitors failed on the Ultimate Cliffhanger.


American Ninja Warrior Appearances

Ultimate Cliffhanger ANW4

American Ninja Warrior 4's Ultimate Cliffhanger in Stage Three

On American Ninja Warrior 4's Stage Three, the Ultimate Cliffhanger appeared as the fourth obstacle, with the same specification from SASUKE 26 version. Brent Steffensen, who himself failed there in SASUKE 26, became the first American to beat the Ultimate Cliffhanger in competition and made history. 

On American Ninja Warrior 5, the ledges were made much larger than before. Instead of being 1.8 inches (3cm) as they had been in Japan, they were increased to 2.25 inches (5.7cm) in thickness, making the obstacle much easier. As a result, Brian Arnold became the second American to beat the Ultimate Cliffhanger, nearly beating Third Stage

During USA vs. Japan, Paul Kasemir (who failed on this obstacle in SASUKE 26) became the third to beat the Ultimate Cliffhanger, also nearly beating Third Stage

On American Ninja Warrior 6, Joe Moravsky became the fourth American to beat the Ultimate Cliffhanger and just the third person to complete the Ultimate Cliffhanger in national competition. 

On American Ninja Warrior 7, the obstacle was heavily modified:

  • The first three ledges were positioned identically to before but now had gaps in between them, 
  • The fourth and fifth ledges remained the same, with the fourth ledge was placed much higher. 
  • The sixth ledge, as opposed to being lower down than the fifth ledge, was equally as high, and it was now impossible to reach the landing mat from that ledge. 
  • Instead, similar to the Crazy Cliffhanger, competitors would have to jump 6 feet to a final ledge facing opposite to the main wall which is 2 inches wide as opposed to only 1 inch. And from there, they were able to reach the landing platform. 

However, unlike the Crazy Cliffhanger, competitors are allowed to face the final ledge when making the transition (as the controversial rule was not established). Even so, the obstacle caused havoc, as half of the remaining competitors in Stage Three was eliminated on this obstacle, including Joe Moravsky (who had cleared the obstacle in the previous season), who chose the traditional method of transition to the final ledge. 

Despite that, 4 competitors completed this obstacle, which was the largest number of Ultimate Cliffhanger's completion during American Ninja Warrior's regular season. 

Ultimatecliffhangeranw8

American Ninja Warrior 8's Ultimate Cliffhanger in Stage Three

On American Ninja Warrior 8, with the total victories of Isaac Caldiero and Geoff Britten, the obstacle was once again modified:

  • The first four ledges were the same as on American Ninja Warrior 7.  
  • Under the fourth ledge, there was a small ledge as a foothold, in order to ease the transition to the next ledge (first hanging board; the transition was similar as in Spider Flip).  
  • After that, competitors must make a transition to the next ledge (second hanging board).  
  • And finally, they must transit back to the final ledge, and dismount to the landing platform.  

Making this version of Ultimate Cliffhanger was similar to the Ultra Crazy Cliffhanger with two transitions across the water. Only Drew Drechsel completed the obstacle, while Daniel Gil failed the transition to the second hanging board.

On American Ninja Warrior 9, the same version of the Ultimate Cliffhanger from last season appeared, with minor modification for the ledges at the two hanging boards. Only Joe Moravsky could complete the obstacle, even using the Crazy Cliffhanger technique on the second transition (which he failed to complete on American Ninja Warrior 7), while Sean Bryan and Najee Richardson failed on the transition to the fourth ledge and the second hanging board respectively.

Other Appearances

NWSAlexanderMars

Alexander Mars on the Cliffhanger, Ninja Warrior Sweden

On Ninja Warrior UK and Ninja Warrior Sweden, a variant of the obstacle unofficially named the "Miska Cliffhanger" has appeared.

This version features radically different ledge placement compared to the SASUKE and American Ninja Warrior versions, with a greater emphasis on diagonal ledges and long jumps.

So far, no-one has attempt the version shown in Ninja Warrior UK due to being replaced by the Crazy Cliffhanger in the third season, although international competitor: Alexander Mars failed there in the first season of Ninja Warrior Sweden.

Competitors' Success Rate

  • All results based on the TBS broadcast and external information found
SASUKE Clears Attempts Percentage
25 0 4 0%
26 0 4 0%
27 3 8 40.8%
Total 3 16 18.75%

American Ninja Warrior

ANW Clears Attempts Percentage
ANW4 1 1 100%
ANW5 1 1 100%
USA vs. Japan 4 5 80%
ANW6 1 1 100%
USA vs. The World 7 7 100%
ANW7 4 8 50%
USA vs. The World 2 6 8 75%
ANW8 1 2 50%
USA vs. The World 3 6 9 66.67%
ANW9 1 3 33.33%
Total 32 45 71.11%

Crazy Cliffhanger [Version 6] (SASUKE 28-31)


During the SASUKE RISING Navi, the preview of the Third Stage saw a new incarnation of the Cliffhanger, known as the Crazy Cliffhanger (クレイジークリフハンガー).

The first wall consists of three ledges, the first and third being equally high off the ground but the second having been raised by 30cm, almost identical to the Cliffhanger Kai (SASUKE 9-17 version).

However, the third ledge has been shortened to a point where the competitor cannot reach safety from it. Opposite the third ledge is another wall with a fourth ledge.

The competitor must maintain momentum and jump from the third to the fourth ledge( similar to the Spider Flip), and only then they can transfer to the safety pad.

Unlike the Shin and Ultimate Cliffhangers, the ledge that must be jumped onto is not wider than the other ledges, making the transition more difficult.

For its first three tournaments, four competitors, cleared this obstacle (first clear in SASUKE 29, three in SASUKE 30):

While weight plays an important role in every version of Cliffhanger, this version seems to be based more on the weight of the competitor rather than technique or stamina due to the style of the last ledge transition.

Asa Kazuma and Kanno Hitoshi who had practiced this obstacle, were not that fatigued, however they failed to keep themselves on the 4th ledge, mostly due to their weight.

On the contrary, Morimoto Yūsuke, who had struggled with the Iron Paddler compared to the other third stage competitors in SASUKE 29, cleared this version rather easily, using his light-weight body to his advantage.

In SASUKE 31, the distance of the third to the opposing fourth ledge is revealed to be 1.8m, though it was already mentioned since SASUKE 28.
Crazycliff2

Crazy Cliffhanger showing the jump from the third to fourth ledge.

For SASUKE 30, the Crazy Cliffhanger was moved to the 4th obstacle position, its spot being replaced by the Drum Hopper.

In SASUKE 31, a very unusual rule was added in which competitors are not allowed to face the fourth ledge while transitioning from the third ledge (see Drew Drechsel's Crazy Cliffhanger Disqualification).

SASUKE 31 also saw Asa's fourth consecutive failure on the obstacle, Kanno finally clearing after his fourth consecutive attempt (and being just the fifth overall clear) and Morimoto being the only competitor to clear the obstacle twice. 18 competitors failed on this version of Cliffhanger.


American Ninja Warrior Appearances

Crazy Cliffhanger

The Crazy Cliffhanger from St. Louis finals of American Ninja Warrior 6

An alternate version of the obstacle was used in St. Louis finals on American Ninja Warrior 6, in which instead of three ledges going to the right then having to jump to the other side, there is one ledge going to the right then two small ledges to help get to the other ledge.

The Crazy Cliffhanger appeared in Houston finals on American Ninja Warrior 7, looking almost similar to the SASUKE version, but instead of four ledges, there were six ledges in which the first five ledges are on one side and the last ledge on the opposing side. 

Competitors can also face the opposing ledge when making the transition unlike in the SASUKE version that competitors are not allowed to do it (as the controversial rule was not established). The distance of the fifth and the last ledges are 4 feet. 

Other Appearances

It was also used in the third season of Ninja Warrior UK, which was very similar to the one from Houston finals.

In Sasuke Vietnam 3, it appeared as the fifth obstacle on 3rd Stage replacing the Treo Người Trên Vách (Cliffhanger Kai). It is named Treo Người Trên Vách Kép.

Competitors' Success Rate

  • All results based on the TBS broadcast and external information found
SASUKE Clears Attempts Percentage
28 0 3 0%
29 1 4 25%
30 3 9 33.33%
31 2 8 25%
Total 6 24 25%

Ultra Crazy Cliffhanger [Version 7] (SASUKE 32-)


The Ultra Crazy Cliffhanger (ウルトラクレイジークリフハンガー) was first seen via Inui's twitter and then the SASUKE 32's Navi after Morimoto Yusuke's kanzenseiha.

It was modified after the Crazy Cliffhanger, however unlike the Crazy Cliffhanger:

  • It only has three ledges,
  • The catch is that competitors have to make two transitions similar to the Crazy Cliffhanger,
  • The second ledge curves inwards so as to increase the difficulty, compensating the distance of 1.8 metres for both transitions.
  • The third ledge, where the second transition has to be made, is a moving ledge that goes up and down by 90cm.
  • It was also tied together with an obstacle, (The Vertical Limit Kai) without any breaks to make the second half of the Third Stage's more difficult as a whole.
Screenshot (34)

Internal view of the Ultra Crazy Cliffhanger

However, unlike the Shin-Cliffhanger, Ultimate Cliffhanger, and Crazy Cliffhanger, this obstacle was successfully completed in its introductory tournament, with Drew Drechsel managing to become the first competitor to clear it.

Unfortunately, no one managed to clear it in the next tournament, as Drew Drechsel, the only person to attempt it in the tournament, fell in the second transition with the moving ledge starting to move up.

Unlike other versions of the Cliffhanger, starting from the Shin-Cliffhanger, fewer people were able to attempt the obstacle in its first two tournaments due to the preceding obstacles becoming more physically demanding. It was not until SASUKE 34, where a larger number of competitors took on the obstacle that it proved itself a force to be reckoned with, eliminating a whopping 6 competitors out of 7, including Drew Drechsel, who failed the second transition yet again, with the moving ledge still moving down, and Jessie Graff, who was the first woman to attempt the Third Stage in SASUKE history. Only Morimoto Yūsuke was able to clear the obstacle in that competition.

Competitors' Success Rate

  • All results based on the TBS broadcast and external information found
SASUKE Clears Attempts Percentage
32 1 3 33.3%
33 0 1 0%
34 1 7 14.28%
Total 2 11 18.18%

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