I often enjoy watching the educational programming of NHK’s E-Tele in the mornings with my family while we get ready for the day. It’s full of fun and educational shows that teach everything from English to geography, and Pitagora Switch (Japanese pronunciation of “Pythagora Switch”) is a big crowd favorite. It showcases cute little machines similar to Rube Goldberg devices where a ball travels along an array of painstakingly arranged cups, springs, ramps, pulleys and whatever else they can cram in to get to the other end.

My two-year-old daughter always gets a kick out of its blend of physics and fun, and now apparently so does much of the Western world after a segment of the show posted onto YouTube has received rave reviews on Reddit for its unique combination of story-telling and Rube Goldberg machinations.

The video posted on YouTube came from a summer special edition of PitagoraSwitch and featured an extra-long course that also told a story. The tale is called Bisuke Ball’s Big Adventure and follows Bisuke (played by the red ball) as he rescues his brothers Bita (green ball) and Bigoro (yellow ball) from, um the government or something.


As the video starts Bisuke swings onto the scene as HQ radios in and informs him that his brothers are trapped in a tower. He would have to use stealth and cunning to reach them and escape.

After navigating several ramps, dominoes, and paper cup booby traps, Bisuke reaches the prison and frees Bita and Bigoro.

However, the mission is far from complete. As the trio were making their exit, a big black ball was alerted and began pursuit.

They narrowly evade the big ball on two occasions and commandeer a cute little trolley to make their final escape from the enemy camp. From there, it’s just a hop, skip and a jump from a pair of bongos until they’re home free.

However, this story ends leaving us with an uneasy feeling. As Bisuke and Bita celebrate outside their home, Bigoro hangs back in the shadows of the doorway. Perhaps the trauma of the abduction and escape has left him mentally scarred? We may never know…

Reaction to the video on Reddit was overwhelmingly positive, not only for the extremely complex device that must have taken countless hours to prepare and execute, but for the strangely endearing plot-line and song that accompanied it.

“Funnest one I’ve seen. Love the story. 10/10”
“Japan is light-years ahead in entertainment.”
“I’m not ashamed to say I yelled when the black ball was chasing them.”
“That song made it even more awesome. Go Bisuke!!!”
“God only knows what happened to the yellow ball while it was imprisoned…”
“A Hideo Kojima Game.”
“Directed by Hideo Kojima.”
“Written by Hideo Kojima.”
“I want a sequel with Bisuke, now hardened with experience, and stronger enemies.”
“From Red Ball to Round Snake. And later, Big Balls. With his clone son Solid Balls. And later, Old Balls.”

One reader also astutely mentioned how visual effects alone as a form of entertainment are limited and simply by adding some dramatic elements the viewer becomes exponentially more immersed. Indeed, rather than a red ball that was simply following Newton’s Three Laws of Motion, we were watching Bisuke: Champion of Freedom, Perseverance and Brotherhood!

Amen brother.

Source: YouTube/royaltree1204, Reddit (English) via Yurukuyaru (Japanese)