Last summer, I discovered Animal Hunter Imoto. A little late, I know. A person appearing to be a rather plain high school girl with thick eyebrows and bad teeth dared a cave full of bats and another packed with snakes (the latter none too well despite a hypno-therapy session to curb her fears), then dove into a river in South America to fish by hand. She also had an artist working in the medium of chewing gum produce her portrait. The best part was when she donned the garb of the Guardian Angels group and attempted to break up a fight outside a Los Angeles nightclub. One punch in the face later and she declared it too dangerous to continue. I found it hilarious even though I could only understand a fraction of what she was yelling.
Then I forgot about her for a while.
This past weekend, my wife and I had some rare time off and noticed a commercial for Sunday night's Animal Hunter Imoto segment. Ayako Imoto in Africa. Trying to ride a tiger. This proved irresistible to us both, so we tuned in at 8pm and gave it a watch. We were not disappointed. Let me try to recap Imoto's antics through the filter of my faltering memory.
First, she dressed like a rocket ship and launched herself off a mountain. She was attached by harness and pully to a rope which I believe they said was more than 2 kilometers long. The speeds she attained seemed tremendous, with Imoto becoming nothing more than a black streak through the sky. The announcer seemed concerned about a dangerous landing, but the show hilariously cheated with a jump cut to a perfectly safe, grounded Imoto cheerfully shouting something which I couldn't catch, much to the delight of the celebrities watching the segment in the TV studio.
After that, Imoto took a luxury train across the countryside. She enjoyed a very hot bath with the train's rocking motion spilling quite a bit of water all over the bathroom and then took a nap on what looked like a very comfortable bed. The people eating in the dining car gave her the stink eye as she entered and gave a running commentary all the way to her table. Then disaster struck as she shattered her front teeth on what looked like a chicken wing on a stick. Snaggletoothed, she complained for a bit, then the show cut to Imoto visiting a general store where she tried to buy glue to repair her teeth.
The store didn't have any, but by that time Imoto was entranced with trying to win a prize in one of those claw-arm games and had apparently forgotten all about her dental troubles.
Cut to a hilltop golf tee high above a beautiful valley containing a single green. You pay 50,000 yen and take your whack in the hopes of a 100,000,000 yen payoff for a hole-in-one. One of the golf pros demonstrated and put his ball in the rough just off the green, an easy chip shot to the hole. Another said he once got within 2 meters of the pin, but his shot went out of bounds, and Imoto loudly registered her dismay. They then told Imoto she had a 1-in-10,000 chance of making a hole in one on this hole and, after a few practice swings, she took a mighty stroke and sliced so badly they didn't even bother to show where her ball landed.
By now, Imoto's teeth were repaired and she was ready for a trip to a small jungle where she met a muscular young man who lives the Tarzan lifestyle. Imoto sussed out he does this 5 days a week, with 2 reserved for working as a house painter with his father. Even Tarzan has to make car payments, it seems. Imoto found this hilarious. Then she dressed like a female Tarzan and her new friend drove them both to a wild animal park where they talked her into trying to ride a full-grown tiger. It didn't go well, and the tiger quickly became irritated with the whole set-up. The keepers told Imoto usually the big cat was quite docile, but for some reason she really seemed to piss it off. Cut to Tarzan driving them both back to the jungle.
There, on what Imoto revealed to be Christmas Day, Tarzan showed her how to dig for insects. He caught a large black scorpion and chopped off its stinger, rendering it harmless enough to eat. Tarzan and Imoto put it in a white plastic bag, the kind you get at convenience stores here in Japan. She dug up a worm and declared it her "Christmas present." Then Tarzan attempted to show Imoto how to fish with a spear, but her teeth broke again. They spent the rest of the day on their knees with the film crew searching the pond-side for the missing teeth. The show rolled some video outtakes of a broken-tooth Imoto trying to introduce a segment but finding it impossible to enunciate sa, si, su, se, so. She cried.
Cut to a night scene with both Tarzan and Imoto by the fireside roasting their insects. Imoto had difficulty eating her crisp scorpion using just her molars and she wished Tarzan a glum, "Merry Christmas."