In the wake of the earthquake in March of 2011, every variety show went off the air and they were slowly brought back as and when TV channels thought it appropriate. But Dasshutsu Game DERO! never came back. Perhaps they thought that escaping from peril in a grey industrial setting was too similar to the nuclear incident at Fukushima.
A few months ago this show arrived to take its place. The format is exactly the same – a bunch of celebrities try and solve puzzles to avoid some pretend danger. Only now it has an Egyptian/Aztec feel to it and contestants have to avoid walls that either try to squash you, or push you into a pit. And instead of scary, cold, concrete grey walls and floors, the show now has a more natural look, mostly browns and earth-tones.
The games are a mix of general knowledge and physical exertion, so it's fairly easy to follow. At least, the aim of each game is pretty obvious even if you don't understand Japanese. I'm glad this format didn't vanish completely and that the time away has given the producers the chance to come up with some more games, since DERO! was starting to get a bit stale and predictable. And the new look means it's now a more light-hearted affair, even if I do worry that someone will do themselves an injury on that tilting floor thing.