While a little belated, it seems like the world has fallen in love with the Japanese-created obstacle course action game show SASUKE (known as Ninja Warrior in other countries).

The show, for those that somehow haven’t seen or heard of it yet, gracefully combines three things that human beings all love the world over: Competition, people failing spectacularly, and ninja-like acrobatics. Although, in most SASUKE obstacle course runs, you only get either one or the other of those last two.

But, a recent contestant on the Chinese version of SASUKE pulled off an amazing hat trick of all three when he managed a nearly flawless run, only to fail spectacularly just before the finish line.

Let’s watch in this grainy, crazily-edited .GIF of the incident. Sorry about the low quality; we presume the Chinese Internet censors did their very best to keep this national shame out of the wrong hands.


If it’s a little hard to tell what’s going on there, we see our contestant absolutely nailing every obstacle in presumably near-record time, only to stop just shy of the finish line. He’s got so much time left on the clock, it seems, that he couldn’t resist a little showboating. He then proceeds to wave to the crowd, then initiate a pretty graceful backflip, only to fail the landing and go toppling off into the water – an automatic SASUKE disqualification.

Lessons learned: Gymnasts sometimes fail backflips too, so take heart the next time you should try one and fall directly on your head. And, showing off doesn’t always end in hilarious, ironic divine retribution, but it’s certainly a risky endeavor.
[ Read in Japanese ]