January 20, 2013

Anime Review: Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle

"It's puzzle time!" will be the most used phrase you will hear in this anime - and that is all the anime is about. A bunch of 'Solvers' solving puzzles challenged by the 'Givers'. "How is this even interesting? "you may ask. Well, let me explain.

Phi Brain: Kami no PuzzleSynopsis:

Kaito Daimon would be a completely average high school student except for one thing: he's a 'demon' at solving puzzles. Kaito is so brilliant, in fact, that when he's asked to take some 'special' tests of his unique ability, he immediately suspects that the test itself is a test. Kaito suddenly finds himself caught up in a lethal Philosopher's Puzzle made by the sinister group POG, a murderous maze of trap upon trap, where failing to solve the secret correctly will result in death! Fortunately, Kaito's skills prove up to the first test, both for himself and his childhood friend Nanoha, who is also caught up in the deadly scheme. But now that he has been designated as a Solver, he is pulled into a new life where he must travel the world with other Solvers, attempting to solve the latest deadly riddles left by POG. There's a new conundrum around every corner and each deception could lead to death, but once a riddle has been posed, you can count on Kaito to unfold, unravel and unlock it!


It is rare for a puzzle genre to be transposed as an anime. Some do pretty well, whilst others are outright failures. However, Phi Brain adds in some action and adventure elements that will rack your brain and keep you entertained throughout the duration. Simply put, they turned the puzzle genre into a whole dramatic game. Don't worry if you don't understand the puzzles, as most of them are quite complex indeed. You don't need to analyse the complex puzzles to understand the story, just sit back and let the main character do all the solving for you. That said, "It's puzzle time!". The story is set in a shounen way where the good guys are the Solvers and the bad guys are the Givers. Kaito is the protagonist in this story, he is actually quite smart but doesn't show it to anybody. With a hidden dark past, he uncovers the truth about himself, his parents, and the people around him. Quite the interesting anime to watch if you are into deep puzzle solving mystery and suspense.

Although the art isn't groundbreaking, the animation and the overall presentation of the puzzles was quite we;; done and engaging to the audience. One question the producers must have encountered was "How to make puzzles appealing to the average person?". The answer was use of awesome imagery, quick action shots, and unbelievable huge puzzles with death-dealing punishments. The character design was also quite good but not really my style. In the end, it was well presented and fit the "personality" of the anime perfectly.

The voice acting was also quite good although not totally perfect. Some character's personalities and voices seemed a bit too forced or unappealing or boring to listen to. That may just be me. Anyhow, the opening song was really catchy and the ending song was simply wonderful to listen to. I had no issues with the soundtrack throughout the series.

As for characters, there were quite a few unique persona here and there. Mainly though, you will be dealing with Kaito and his few friends. They all have different titles and skills so it doesn't get boring watching them socially interact with one another. As for the POG, there is quite a few minor characters that only appear in the anime as Givers. They don't really help the main story but they are just there to give puzzles to Kaito to solve. On the other hand, there is a plot twist in the whole POG thing that gets half explained at the end.

Overall, it was a surprisingly interesting anime to watch. If you think an anime about puzzles would be boring, think again. The way it is presented and structured was really well done and I look forward to watching the sequel in the near future.


ART: 8





LINE hits 100 million

The logo of the Line free-telephone service (Provided by NHN Japan Corp.)
Line, a free-telephone app for smartphones, has won 100 million users worldwide, establishing a dominant lead over rivals hoping to emulate its success.

The service, which started in June 2011, has attracted 100 million users in just 19 months or so, a faster pace than Facebook, the world’s largest social networking service, the company said.

A type of Internet protocol phone, Line enables users to talk free of charge except for standard data communication fees. People on both ends of the line need to download the free app on their smartphones.

Line boasts a subscriber base of 41.5 million, mainly young people, in Japan alone.

NHN Japan has yet to make money on a monthly basis due mainly to investments for expanding overseas. But monthly sales from pictograms and messages that Line users can send to one another reach several hundreds of millions of yen.

[via Asahi]