Segata Sanshiro was a prominent mascot in Sega's Japanese ad campaigns for their Saturn console. Acted by Hiroshi Fujioka, Segata Sanshirou was a parody of the titular protagonist in Akira Kurosawa's film Sugata Sanshirou. In his ads, Segata Sanshirou would perform various comedically extreme and often impossible acts in a very serious manner, typically ending his antics with the Japanese phrase "Sega Saturn, shiro!" ("Play the Sega Saturn!") Although his time as a major character ended in his 19th ad, which promoted his own game and also ended in his death, Segata Sanshirou appeared years later to once again vouch for a new Rambo arcade game produced by Sega.
Sanshirou-san has had sporadic appearances at Sega-themed events and spontaneously pops up as an actual video game character from time to time.
The following is a brief overview of the 19 commercials in which Segata Sanshirou appeared. Although an additional one was also produced to commemorate the character's "death," no new material appeared, as it was merely a complilation of the other ads.
Commercial 1: It's Christmas time in a Japanese household when somebody appearing to be Santa Claus suddenly appears. The children, while initially excited, freak out once the Santa Claus takes off the mask, revealing that it was actually Segata Sanshirou after all. The ad promotes a variety of Sega Saturn games simultaneously at the end.
Commercial 2: A group of boys on their way to play a round of baseball end up getting into an expected scuffle in the middle of a street with Segata Sanshirou, who quickly wins the fight. The ad itself is for Sonic R.
Commercial 3: In another fight, this time taking place in some mountains, Segata Sanshirou quickly and easily throws his opponent high off the ground. The attacker promptly explodes in a dramatic manner upon hitting the ground. The ad is for Saturn Bomberman.
Commercial 4: Segata Sanshirou is in the mountains again, although this time no fighting is involved. Instead, he's training with a giant Saturn console, with which he runs on trails and tugs when it's strapped down. He also punches a giant version of the controller repeatedly. The ad depicts several games at the end, most notably Panzer Dragoon.
Commercial 5: More training for Segata Sanshirou is in store for him in this commercial. In this instance, he performs the classic karate maneuver of breaking a stack of concrete blocks, albeit with his head. The ad is for Solo Crisis, a strategy game for the Saturn.
Commercial 6: Segata Sanshirou is a batting cage and hits a home run. He does so not with his equipped bat, but rather his foot. The ad depicts Pro Yakyuu: Greatest 9 98.
Commercial 7: Segata Sanshirou frolicks about in a park full of Sakura blossoms with a girl also naturally named Sakura. The ad is promoting Sakura Taisen 2.
Commercial 8: A soccer game is going on and in order to intercept a pass from the opposing team, Segata Sanshirou throws a teammate from the bench straight at the ball, which then bounces off his head and scores for Segata's team. The ad is for Nippon Daihyou Team no Kantoku Ninarou! Sekaihatsu Soccer RPG, which, as the title implies, is a soccer game with RPG elements.
Commercial 9: Lots of people are partying at a Japanese rave when, without warning, Segata Sanshirou fights them in the same manner as he did the baseball players, knocking numerous people out in the process. The ad finishes with footage of Shining Force III.
Commercial 10: While wearing a dragon mask, Segata Sanshirou rushes towards the screen with torches in the background. Naturally, the ad is for Panzer Dragoon Saga.
Commercial 11: As a building is burning down, a girl is screaming for her older sister, who is unconscious. Segata Sanshirou bursts onto the scene and starts to desperately perform CPR to save her life. The game that this ad corresponds to is Burning Rangers.
Commercial 12: Participating in another sporting event, Segata Sanshirou wins a round of speed skating with just his bare feet. The game in question is Winter Heat.
Commercial 13: Segata Sanshirou attempts to fight a horde of zombies that actually manage to overwhelm him by the end. The House of the Dead is the game featured in this ad.
Commercial 14: While opening up a dead fish with a knife unflinchingly, Segata Sanshirou sports a grim expression. The ad is for Deep Fear.
Commercial 15: Various heads of Segata Sanshirou correspond to points on a chart covering different things about him. As the data is being rendered, it stops on the "steamy" section. Wachenröder is the star of this ad.
Commercial 16: In a World Cup showdown, Segata Sanshirou lifts the goal post by himself out of the ball's way to prevent a score. The game in the ad is World Cup 98. Segata Sanshirou also gets chastised by the referee after the clip montage for the game is done playing.
Commercial 17: Segata Sanshirou is at a personal shrine for a Japanese baseball player. The game in the ad is Pro Yakyuu Team Mo Tsukurou.
Commercial 18: A one-man Segata Sanshirou army quickly multiplies and becomes a platoon of numerous Segata Sanshirous. The ad is campaigning for Dragon Force II.
Commercial 19: In a valiant effort to protect the Sega offices from being attacked during a meeting about the Dreamcast, Segata Sanshirou intercepts a terrorist's rocket and pilots it to space by hand. The rocket explodes after leaving Earth's atmosphere, destroying Segata Sanshirou with it. The ad is a promotion of Segata's own game, Segata Sanshirou Shinken Yuugi.
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