Phi-Brain: Puzzle of God – Collection 2 (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)
August 4, 2013 by Dennis Amith
“Phi-Brain: Puzzle of God” is a fascinating anime series that revolves around puzzle games. With the second half of the first season featuring more revelations for Kaito and friends, “Phi-Brain: Puzzle of God – Collection 2” distinguishes itself from other anime series for its smart, puzzle game storyline. Recommended!
Images courtesy of © 2013 Sentai Filmworls, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Phi-Brain: Puzzle of God – Collection 2
YEAR OF SERIES RELEASE: 2011
DURATION: 14-25 (300 Minutes)
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Subtitles: English
COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks
RATED: TV 14 VL
Release Date: May 28, 2013
Directed by Junichi Sato
Series Composition: Mayori Sekijima
Music by Akio Izutsu
Original Concept by Hajime Yatate
Character Design by Youhei Sasaki
Art Backgrounds by Green
Anime Production: Sunrise
Featuring the voices of:
Jun Fukuyama/Christopher Patton as Gammon Sakanoue
Shintarō Asanuma/David Wald as Kaito Daimon
Akira Ishida/Blake Shepard as Sōji Jikukawa
Chiwa Saito/Allison Sumrall as Kaito Daimon (young)/Maze
Daisuke Kishio/Kyle Jones as Yuuichi Aizawa
Kaori Shimizu/Luci Christian as Nonoha Itou
Keiji Fujiwara/Jay Hickman as Baron Kaidō
Kenta Miyake/Christopher Ayres as Funga
Kishô Taniyama/Eric Opella as Diceman
Kouki Miyata/Shannon Emerick as Cubic G (Galois)
Mai Goto/Cynthia Martinez as Airi Mizutani
Mamoru Miyano/John Gremillion as Bishop
Masahito Yabe/Clint Bickham as Naoki Takeda
Rina Satou/Carli Mosier as Tamaki Chieno
Satsuki Yukino/Brittney Karbowski as Ana Gram
Takahiro Sakurai/Greg Ayres as Rook Banjo Crossfield
Toshiyuki Morikawa/Illich Guardiola as Herbert Müller
Kaito’s spent his whole life solving puzzles, and now his life depends on being able to solve some of the world’s most difficult – and deadly – puzzles. Designated as Puzzles of Fools, these puzzles are designed to push Kaito’s solving abilities to their limits and beyond, or destroy him in the attempt. Each one is more fiendish than the last, and they’re all intended to prepare Kaito for his attempt to solve the Puzzle of God. There’s just one catch: Kaito doesn’t want to solve the Puzzle of God; that’s all the POG’s idea. And when Kaito discovers the identity of the mastermind behind the POG, the sinister group that’s been endangering him and his friends with their cruel puzzles, it may just be the final solution. Solving puzzles has never been more challenging or potentially lethal than in Phi-Brain ~ Puzzle of God Season 1 Collection 2!
For Kaito Daimon, he has been searching for childhood friend Rook Banjou Crossfield, a friend that grew up under the tutelage of the man who taught Kaito how to be the ultimate puzzle master.
For so long, Kaito has dared the mysterious organization known as P.O.G. by solving and beating all of their puzzles, but as each puzzle become riskier and start to include his friends, it has now became personal.
But the first half of “Phi-Brain: Puzzle of God” revealed a shocking revelation and that was that Kaitou’s childhood friend, Rook, is also the head of P.O.G.
With the second half of season one, Rook and P.O.G. create more difficulties for Kaito and friends. Also, Kaito learns what happened to his parents.
But also, Kaito begins to experience strange physical situations where he is starting to lose focus on everything else around him when he tries to solve puzzles. How will this affect Kaito when Rook begins to challenge him in puzzles which put his friends in risk?
Find out in “Phi-Brain: Puzzle of God – Collection 2”!
What is “Phi-Brain: Puzzle of God” all about?
From Hajime Yatate, creator of “After War Gundam X”, “Armored Trooper Votoms”, “Battle Spirits”, “Big O”, “Cowboy Bebop”, “Infinite Ryvius” and many other well-known anime series comes the concept of a world that revolves around puzzles.
“Phi-Brain: Puzzle of God” is a 25-episode anime series produced by Sunrise and aired in Japan on NHK Educational TV from October 2011 to April 2012 with a second season with April to September 2012. And a third season that is set to air this year in Japan.
The anime series is directed by Junichi Sato (“Kaleido Star”, “Princess Tutu”, “Sailor Moon”, “Sailor Moon R”), series composition by Mayori Sekijima (“Angel Sanctuary”, “Clamp School”, “Megami Paradise”, “Tekkaman Blade”, “Tenchi in Tokyo”, “Zillion”), music by Akio Izutsu and character design by Youhei Sasaki (“Fafner”, “Case Closed”, “Shakugan no Shana III”).
The anime series has led to a manga serialization on Kadokawa Shoten’s “Newtype Ace” and also a release of a Sony PSP video game.
And now “Phi-Brain: Puzzle of God” will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of Sentai Filmworks.
“Phi-Brain: Puzzle of God” is set during a time where puzzles are the way of the land. For high school freshman, Kaito Daimon, solving puzzles is what he is great at but what is his drive?
Having lost his parents who died trying to solve a deadly puzzle, long ago he and his good friend Rook were raised as children by an unknown traveler, who taught him the importance of solving puzzles.
And to this day, as a teenager, Kaito has made it a mission to solve all puzzles but most importantly not wanting for anyone to get hurt by puzzles.
But there is a mysterious organization that creates deadly puzzles and many have lost their lives to it. Known as the P.O.G. (Puzzle of God), Kaito has made it a mission to defeat all puzzles, especially those coming from the P.O.G.
One day, while he and his friend Nonoha were trying to solve a puzzle, an Orpheus armband attaches to his arm. The Orpheus helps Kaito see through puzzles and helps him defeat them, but will he and his friends be ready to take on the deadly P.O.G. puzzles?
Meanwhile, Kaito has trying to find his childhood friend Rook, not knowing that his friend is now the leader of P.O.G. and Rook’s childhood jealousy towards his puzzlemaster friend has grown to the point that he has created deadly puzzles that will put Kaito and his friends at risk.
Can Kaito beat Rook’s puzzles?
The main characters of “Phi-Brain: Puzzle of God” are:
- Kaito Daimon – Seen as a slacker, Kaito catches the interest of people at his school because he is an excellent solver and cares about nothing but puzzles. But why is he interested in puzzles and what happened in his past life that made him interested (or hate) puzzles. Looked at as the only hope to solve P.O.G.’s deadly puzzles and is being followed by P.O.G. as a potential Phi-Brain.
- Nonoha Itou – A tomboy who has a photographic memory. Not good with puzzles and often seen beating up Kaito, but the truth is she has feelings for him and feels that he must be around him to make sure no other girl gets close to him. She also doesn’t like when Kaito talks bad about her cooking.
- Gammon Sakanoue – A cocky solver known as “Galileo”, Gammon has a crush on Nonoha and rather solve puzzles when money is involved. He sees Kaito as his rival, but is often on missions assisting him and Nonoha.
- Cubik Galois – A solver known as “Edison” who loves building robots and loves math. He is loyal to Kaito.
- Ana Gram – An effeminate boy who loves paintings. A solver known by the name “Da Vinci”.
- Souji Jikukawa – President of the student council and president of the puzzle club. Tries to assist Kaito and his friends by guiding them to the Puzzle of God.
- Rook Banjo Crossfield – Childhood friend of Kaito and the current leader of P.O.G.
“Phi-Brain: Puzzle of God” is rather interesting because for an anime coming from Sunrise, you expect to see animation and character design that is exceptional. With that being said, this is an anime series that is not aired on the major television networks in Japan. In fact, it’s aired on NHK’s Educational channel and so, it’s gets a different treatment with many people contributing to the series, including Green who does the art backgrounds. With that being said, the 3D use of the backgrounds are good, character designs are well-shaded but facial character designs are much simpler compared to other Sunrise animated TV series.
“Phi-Brain: Puzzle of God” is presented in Japanese and English DTS-HD MA 2.0. Dialogue is clear on both soundtracks and the dynamic range is good for stereo. But I found myself adjusting the audio settings on my receiver to have a more immersive soundscape.
“Phi-Brain: Puzzle of God” comes with the clean opening and ending sequence.
With the second half of season one of “Phi-Brain” now on Blu-ray, the storyline takes a change with the head of P.O.G. revealed to be Rook, the childhood friend of Kaito. The second half also unveils some revelations in regards to Rook’s family and the Phi-Brain project and that others may also possess an orpheus bangle.
With the second half of “Phi-Brain: Puzzle of God” now not being so Kaito-centric but now including Kaito’s friends who take a more pro-active approach in assisting him in taking down P.O.G.’s puzzles but also putting a test on their friendship.
While “Phi-Brain: Puzzle of God” is considered an educational anime series, I absolutely enjoyed its storyline because I love to partake in puzzles and solving them.
It has always been said that the more you use your brain, the better things are when you get older. And for me and my wife, we both partake in advanced puzzles because we have loved ones who have Alzheimer’s Disease. So knowing this, we have constantly used puzzles as a way to keep our brains active.
And so, the whole concept of an anime series about puzzle solving is rather fascinating but not surprising, considering that a lot of Japanese video games incorporate puzzles. May it be the “Professor Layton” video games to the “Brain Age” games that are released, Japan has always been a big proponent of puzzle games because of research showing that puzzle solving is good for the brain.
With NHK being a government owned network, what best to get the message across than through an anime release about puzzles and puzzle solving.
In each episode, we see how the main protagonist Kaitou gets involved with challenging puzzles, but how he is able to solve them. The series goes into the process of how Kaitou thinks, the different moves he can make, but one is correct.
I know, some of you may be reading this and are thinking that the concept must be boring, but fortunately what makes “Phi-Brain: Puzzle of God” work is its characters and their mysterious background.
Add a couple of intriguing characters as the tsundere Nanoha, the effeminate Ana, the cocky Gammon and the robot building Cubik, to see these very different characters work together to take on the various puzzles by the antagonist group Puzzle of God (POG) is rather fascinating and fun to watch.
Sure, “Phi-Brain: Puzzle of God” may not have the glitz or the detail of other Sunrise animated releases but this is a special series that airs on NHK’s education channel and while it’s an educational anime series in one sense, it also has its share of action and violence as well. So, this is not PBS, for children-type of anime.
As for the Blu-ray release, while the series does look good in HD, once again, it’s not the most-detailed anime from Sunrise and its lossless soundtrack is in stereo. Special features are primarily the opening and closing theme and Sentai Filmworks trailers.
Overall, “Phi-Brain: Puzzle of God” is a fascinating anime series that involves puzzle games, having to solve the puzzles and even giving the audience (especially those who also enjoy puzzle games to participate).
The first season I felt was more or less the introduction to the characters but now preparing a much more deeper storyline involving the Puzzle of God and who is after the God Scrolls and why. And setting up events for season two.
But for those who enjoyed the first half of “Phi-Brain: Puzzle of God” will no doubt enjoy the second half as more revelations are made, more puzzles are introduced and we see Kaito and friends being put in a test of their friendship.
For puzzle game fans and anime fans who want an anime that may require quite a bit of thinking, “Phi-Brain: Puzzle of God – C0llection 2” is recommended!
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