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A new anime as part of the fall 2011 lineup. Produced by Sunrise, it premiered on October 2, 2011. It's directed by Junichi Sato, written by "Hajime Yatate" and while it has average animation quality, the series employs an all-star voice cast.

Kaito, a puzzle-loving high school freshman, is drawn into the strange world of "Phi Brain". He gets a strange device that sends him puzzles and, on occasion, directions to a certain location. Taking this as a challenge, he and his friend, Nonoha, decide to follow their directions, only to be forced to solve puzzles that have a dangerous touch of Death Trap to them. These are the "Philosopher's Puzzles"; dangerous puzzles that, if left unsolved, will cause some sort of disaster. Not only that, but there is a mysterious organization known as POG that's activating these puzzles and are specifically targeting Kaito in order to force him to solve them.

Has a character sheet in the works that Needs More Love.

A second season has been announced to air right after the first season.


Tropes:

  • All Love Is Unrequited: Gammon has a thing for Nonoha, Nonoha gets jealous whenever Kaito is with another girl or Ana, and Kaito loves... puzzles.
    • And Elena loves Gammon
  • Anime Hair
    • Shounen Hair: Kaito (long spikes with a short ponytail) and Rook (looks like a white moss ball).
  • Baka: Gammon loves calling Kaito this his first appearance has him using the word in Morse code format.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: According to the POG, Pythagoras made a discovery that would grant whoever had it the power of God, and sealed it away. The POG exists to find the person who can overcome the puzzles set to guard it.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Parodied in episode 15. Gammon and Cubic appear as the former screams PUZZLE TIME HAS STARTED!! They're ready to solve the puzzle and save the day. Only Ana already did so without any hamminess whatsoever. On his part, at least - a POG Giver was acting very over the top in a pointless attempt to intimidate Ana. Ana was way too into Cloudcuckoolander mode to act differently than normal.
  • Bigger Bad: Count Phytagoras - mentioned several times and later stated by Baron to be the one who twisted POG into what it is now, yet hasn't make an apperance, letting the role of the Big Bad to Rook
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Nonoha gets the idea to put on this sort of act to encourage Kaito while he's in the hospital thanks to Rook and the Fool's Puzzle.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Cubic, as lampshaded in one of the previews. But he's different from most other children who fall under this trope in that he immediately acknowledges Kaito's genius. Cubic qualifies by trying to force Kaito to stop wasting his genius on puzzles and to work for him, even foolishly laughing at a POG member, thinking that his puzzle was a game.
  • Break Them by Talking: Pinochle does this to Kaito in the Rink Slider game in season two, making Kaito so distracted with guilt that he loses the round.
  • Breather Episode: Episode 8 takes a brief break from over the top Givers and death traps while Kaito, Nonoha and Ana enjoy some time at a puzzle-themed hotel. And even when a death trap is used, Kaito is saved from certain doom thanks to Nonoha and Ana riding up with some animals Ana had befriended.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Second half of the first season started getting progresively darker and heading towards Deconstruction.
  • Child Prodigy: Cubic is a little kid that needs a specially designed robot/moped to keep up with his much taller classmates.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Ana
  • Cutting the Knot: Kaito is trapped in a burning tower which has a series of elevators, but he no longer has access to the route that will lead him to the top. His solution is to break off the door of one of the elevators so that he can jump off when it passes a floor that will take him to the top.
  • Dark Chick: Elena
    • Mizerka in Season 2.
  • Distressed Damsel: Nonoha ends up as one in episode 9, but it it could be considered an inversion, because Nonoha was dressed as a prince at the time, and Kaito was the one in a pink dress and make-up. We're serious.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Ana. He even sounds and acts like a girl. It's to the point where both Kaito and Nonoha, who know the truth, are still weirded out by Ana being in the men's bath during their hotel trip. He even wins the Miss Root Boy cross-dressing beauty pageant despite not even entering.
  • Evil Counterpart: Season 2's Orpheus Order has a counterpart for each member of Team Kaito.
  • Face Heel Turn: Gammon
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Foe Yay: Between Gammon and Elena.
    • And Rook toward Kaito.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Ana, who only needs to sit in one place for a few minutes to be swarmed by animals, and seems able to communicate with them to a degree.
  • Fun with Acronyms: POG (Puzzle of God)
  • Glowing Eyes: Kaito's right eye always glows when he needs to solve a very difficult puzzle that puts his life or his friends in danger, activating the armband of Orpheus.
    • Rook has one, too.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Both Nonoha and Cubic become this when they find out that Kaito's infatuated with a puzzle-solving celebrity in episode 10.
  • Heroic BSOD:
    • Kaito suffers one after being confronted with a replica of the puzzle that killed his parents. Because of the way the armband of Orpheus works, this has the potential to escalate into a full-blown Heroic RROD if he isn't careful.
    • Cubic gets one after nearly getting killed by a puzzle Rook made when he was five.
  • Hot-Blooded: Kaito and Gammon
  • Idiot Hero: Kaito and Gammon are subversions because despite their Idiot Hero tendencies both of them are genius puzzle solvers.
  • I Need You Stronger: This seems to be POG's reason for targeting Kaito.
    • Baron says this nearly word for word in episode 9.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: The poor POG officer, Maze tasked with challenging Ana in episode 15. She tries and tries, but Ana's just too carefree to be properly intimidated, or even listen to the instructions.
  • Japanese Pronouns
    • Gammon uses "ore" and sometimes "ore-sama".
    • Kaito normally uses "ore" but when he has a breakdown remembering his parents' death he switches to "boku".
  • Large Ham: SAKANOUE GAMMON! Herbert Müller is not far behind him, though.
  • Lethal Chef: What Kaito thinks of Nonoha's cooking. Everyone else thinks the food she cooks tastes good.
    • At the end of episode 18 Gammon's little sister proclaims her own cooking to be the weapon of mass destruction.
    • Nonoha later intentionally tries to invoke this trope in episode 19 because of how Kaito doesn't like her usual cooking. Despite a very ominous appearance and releasing a purple aura, they still taste good.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Kaito and Nonoha, although Nonoha wouldn't mind if their relationship changed (it's not clear how aware she is of her feelings for Kaito).
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Whether or not Ana actually got a message from the hotel owner's late grandfather in episode 8 is a question that just gets an enigmatic smile out of Ana.
  • Names to Know In Anime: The show has a pretty impressive supporting cast.
  • 90% of Your Brain: What the Orpheus objects does to it's wearer.
  • No MacGuffin, No Winner: The God Scrolls are destroyed at the end of the first season. But it's technically a win since it's continued existence would only lead to the world ending one day.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: A variant. The heads of POG are seen, but there are only two people, and the viewers can clearly see their faces in both canon appearances and the opening and the ending.
    • As of episode 5, three new members have joined, and we've seen all of their faces.
  • Only in It For the Money: Gammon's reason for butting into every Kenja Puzzle he can is for a shot at winning the treasures awarded to the solver. Offhand mention by his little sister that he gets all the money for them to survive may eplain why
  • Ordinary High School Student: Nonoha, mostly: she is very strong and has photographic memory that also makes her a top student. But she sucks at puzzles.
    • Turns out she isn't as normal as she thinks she is and now has the title Nightingale. She's not happy.
  • Photographic Memory: Nonoha
  • Punny Name: most of the main characters.
    • Ana Gram - obvious.
    • Daimon Kaito is a pun on "mondai kaitou" ("problem/solution" in Japanese)
    • Nonoha's name is a pun on the game "tower of Hanoi" ("hanoi no tou" in Japanese which is an anagram of "Itou Nonoha")
    • Gammon's name comes from Backgammon.
    • Cubic Galois is named after Rubik's Cube and Évariste Galois.
    • Rook Banjou Crossfield: Rook as in the chess piece, "Banjou" refers to board games, and Crossfield to crosswords.
    • Jikukawa Souji's name is a pun on "jigusoo pazuru" (jigsow puzzle in Japanese).
    • A minor character, Chieno Tamaki's name is a pun on a type of mechanical puzzle named "ring of wisdom" (chie no wa) in Japanese. "Tamaki" is a synonym of "wa".
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Lampshaded in episode 12, when Ana calls Rook a red moon and Kaito a blue sun.
  • Refused by the Call: Jikugawa used to be a candidate for the Phi-Brain project, but wasn't suited for it. However, he does quite well in his role as the P.O.G. Giver code-named Minotaur.
  • The Rival: Gammon.
  • Third Person Person: Ana.
  • Tyke Bomb: Rook. Kaito would have become this if his adoptive parents didn't become the mask
  • School Uniforms Are the New Black: Surprisingly with all of the solvers, who don't wear school uniforms, but still wear the same thing every day.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them: Herbert Muller is given a lot of leeway regarding his rather questionable methods, due to his high rank in the P.O.G. organization. However, he does face repercussions when he's caught setting up remote-controlled grenades into the puzzle for no reason other than to kill the Solver, combined with the fact that Rook got himself promoted to a higher rank than his, allowing him to put Muller in his place.
  • Serious Business: Puzzles, though Kaito really wishes they weren't.
  • Skinship Grope: A very light version is pulled by Ana in the public bath. Hilarity Ensues, naturally, as this takes place in the male-only bath.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Okudera, the Puzzle King. He does have some level of celebrity, but he's clearly out of his league compared to the title-holders in the main cast.
  • Stupid Sexy Ana
  • Sunglasses Do Nothing: Kaito wears a pair of sunglasses on his head that he never seems to use (except for a moment in the opening when he's taking them off).
    • He uses them in the fourth episode of the Second Season, due to the antagonist group standing with floodlights behind them, Jikugawa and co are forced to shield their eyes because of how bright it is.
  • The Ace: Holy crap Nonoha is great at everything: martial arts, acting, cooking (except in Kaitou's opinion, teaching kids, and she has a great memory. During the school festival she was pretty much involved in every club's activity. The only thing she isn't great at is puzzles and even then she can see things in a way the main puzzle-solvers don't.
  • Theme Naming: Rook and Bishop are apparently named after the chess pieces.
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: According to Jin in Kaito's Bad Future, the Puzzle Of God is this
  • The Watson: Nonoha is Kaito's Watson, possessing roughly average intelligence when it comes to calculations and analytical thinking, but her Photographic Memory and knack for picking up on clues her friends miss keeps her from becoming The Load.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: whoever gets the puzzle of God always seems to result in this. So far Phytagoras, Rook, and Kaito are shown in the Bad Future where they got a hold of the scrolls and destroy the world.
    • Phytagoras succeeded in getting the God scrolls in the past. But the power drove him mad and he died as a result.
    • In Season 2, the Orpheus Order use items of Orpheus to induce More Than Mind Control on otherwise ordinary students that turn them into serious challengers to pit against Kaito and his friends.
  • Wham! Line: "Pythagoras is Dead" counts as this.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Ana.
    • In episode 9 there was a contest about this. The winner was Ana and he didn't even participate.
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