FanPost

ANW 13 Qualifiers Review

I haven't posted here in a while, so here goes:

So we just finished with the fifth and final episode of qualifying this season. So I'm here to talk about my thoughts on the qualifiers as a whole.
Overall, I thought the qualifiers were ok. Just ok. They had some nice qualities to them, but there were some glaring flaws to them, as many fans have been mentioning before. While I don't think the qualifiers were "atrocious" or even downright bad per say, I do think they were still forgettable overall.


To give credit where credit is due, here's some positives I had:

  • There were more competitors that tackled the course, so that brought a lot more variety to the course. I know this was for obvious reasons regarding the pandemic, but it was still a blessing given the situation last year. One thing I did notice is looking at NinjaGuide's list on who was originally supposed to compete last season, many of the competitors that competed were the same people that originally got the call (this also includes the teen competitors, which I'll talk about later). Honestly I could tell ANW knew how unfortunate it was that their call to compete was stripped away because of an unexpected disaster, so I thought that was very accomodating and thoughtful of the casting crew to priortize that when the show started taking steps into a normal season.
  • I liked most of the obstacles used. I'll admit I am still irked about them reusing obstacles (will also talk more about that later, though it's understandable). However, quality of quantity did still show. A lot of the new obstacles were honestly interesting and cool. My favorite out of the qualifiers honestly has to be Double Down, for honestly being a well-thought out combination of two fan-favorite ODC obstacles in my opinion. Should also mention I really liked the idea of Split Decision, for how it added a path of strategy on the course. Not to mention because of it, competitors had options and ultimately it didn't feel like everyone was just going through the same motions as the rest of the field. The issue of having to reuse obstacles between rounds was still present from last season, but the obstacles themselves were still good, so that's a plus.
  • The teens, while a controversial topic, were honestly new additions. I don't think the teen range should be the new norm for competing personally, but giving credit where credit is due, I did like how ANW was experimenting with the teenage competitors this season, as it's clear they wanted to try something new given the growing demographic of the sport. Also, I don't see why so many people have a problem with the existence of teenagers competing on its own, because one day, Ninja greats like Flip, Jesse, Campbell, Moravsky, etc. will eventually retire and we'll need new faces to continue running with the flag. So it's a great thing these teens are getting a head start, being ambassadors for this sport, and overall just setting a future for not only themselves but ANW as a whole.
  • The competitor backstories weren't half-bad honestly. I know in just about every season, people always complain about sob stories and such (I got so much to say about that response, that'll be for a later post). But to me, I felt there was a good balance between emotional backstories and easygoing slice-of-life stories. Honestly I think it was just as well-handled as ANW 11's qualifiers, and better than ANW 9 & 10 in that regard. For as much as everyone always whines about sob stories existing, at worst all I can say is that it could've been handled a lot more sloppier.
    • Wanna know something that is normally controversial but hasn't been an issue lately? The womens' top 5. Normally, this is something that's divisive among fans because of how female competitors perform and still make the leaderboard. But this season? Most of the problems people normally have aren't a big factor. Heck, in two episodes 5 women made the top 30 overall, so the womens' leaderboard almost felt nonexistent. I still think they should keep the womens' top 5 just for accomodation reasons given that this is more of a situational thing in practice than anything. And this doesn't really have anything to do mechanically about the qualifiers; I just thought to bring that up.
  • Wanna know something that is normally controversial but hasn't been an issue lately? The womens' top 5. Normally, this is something that's divisive among fans because of how female competitors perform and still make the leaderboard. But this season? Most of the problems people normally have aren't a big factor. Heck, in two episodes 5 women made the top 30 overall, so the womens' leaderboard almost felt nonexistent. I still think they should keep the womens' top 5 just for accomodation reasons given that this is more of a situational thing in practice than anything. And this doesn't really have anything to do mechanically about the qualifiers; I just thought to bring that up.

Now for the negatives:

  • The editing balance between the teens and veterans was awful. I said before that I have nothing against the teens competing, but the editing was very unbalanced between the teens and veterans (and even for some of the rookies that weren't teens). I mean, in two episodes (Ep. 1&3), no ANW veteran who cleared the course got a full run shown. Not even one. I'm normally not someone who complains about ANW fast-forwarding runs, nor am I someone who only wants to see "all-star veterans". But they did a really sloppy job balancing things out between the teen/rookie and the veteran competitors.
  • I wasn't too fond of ANW reusing obstacles between qualifer rounds. I know this was all held in one location and all were taped within one week, which is why it's understandable. But at the end of the qualifiers, it is a reason why these qualifiers (along with ANW 12's) are rather forgettable overall. Honestly because of this I have trouble distinguishing between qualifier rounds as they all pretty much blend together. I will say though I will admit I was why too harsh on this complaint in one of my last posts. Knowing the context of things, I take back what I said about ANW being "lazy" with qualifiers.
  • I honestly wish they stuck with the same Mega Wall rules as ANW 11. I felt this was what made the ANW 11 qualifiers so memorable in my opinion. Because it gave runners a chance at strategy of whether to gamble at the Mega Wall and risk a course completion, or play it safe and finish the course. I feel that the perfect qualifier combination would be to have ANW 11's MW rules, combined with Power Tower and Split Decision (I think the course should emphasize strategy as much as obstacle skills; give competitors a reason to challenge their mental game as much as their physical game). Speaking of which...
  • Why couldn't the Power Tower be in play for qualifying but not the city finals? I know this is for city finals and not qualifiers, but I'm honestly disappointed the Power Tower is reserved for the city finals and excluded from qualifying. More importantly though, is that only the Safety Pass is up for grabs. I really didn't like the Safety Pass (or rather, how it functioned) and many others weren't too fond of it either. So why would they keep the Safety Pass this season, but not the Speed Pass? I know the Speed Pass had some questions raised, but the Safety Pass was the more controversial out of the two. People were critical about the Safety Pass, so why would ANW bring it back and not change a thing about it? Has ANW learned nothing about its reception? Also as mentioned before, this is also a reason why the qualifiers are less memorable overall, since the PT's existence also gave hype to who could possibly be in the top 2 at the end of the night and battle for a prize.

One other thing to get off my chest:

  • Like ANW 12, I didn't find a lot of early exits to be all that shocking to me. Granted, I did find some runs to be unexpected and admittedly shocking, such as with Daniel Gil and Michael Torres. But that's mainly because it happened to competitors that are usually consistent. Like with ANW 12, Covid is still a thing, so several competitors we anticipated to see (e.g. the Bergstroms, Brian Burk, Ashley McConville, David Wright) had to cancel their plans on competing due to risk. Like with last season, I honestly think it's just a victory even being able to compete. Despite ANW trying to take steps into a regular season, mind you this still isn't a normal season given the circumstances. Also, is it just me or am I the only one that thinks the terms "shocking" or "surprising" are overused by the ANW community?

Final Verdict:

To conclude this long post, I thought there were some really good qualities to the qualifier rounds this seasons. However, there were some glaring flaws that kept them from being any more enjoyable. At the end of the qualifiers, I don't hate them as much as everyone else. Heck, I do think the qualifiers were a major step up from ANW 12's qualifying rounds. Though I think they went ok overall, they are admittedly forgettable.

Final Rating: 5.5/10



This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of American Ninja Warrior Nation's writers or editors, or of NBC.