Actually... the one thing that it reminded me of was the brilliant models that they build in NHK's Pythagora Switch (pitogora suicchi, ピタゴラスイッチ)... a very interesting children's program that if you've been in Japan and if you have children, you're almost certainly familiar with. One of the regular segments of the show contains a marble puzzle, where intricate home-made devices are constructed with only the power of a marble to work minor mechanical miracles. I'm not sure about L-kun, but I always love watching these. (Explanation: Pythagorean Devices - sometimes known as Rube Goldberg machines in the USA - are contraptions that are generally overly convoluted in design against their intended function - in this case, generally the raising of a flag or sign with the shows name)
The one thing I can say about Japanese... they love clever... and this is something that is instilled from a very early age. Of course, not all Japanese children's shows are quite so intellectually stimulating.