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 (greatly improved in the second season), 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.In season two, Kaito and friends are finally able to enjoy a period of normalcy, but this peace is soon shattered by the appearance of the Orpheus Order. Whilst their leader claims to have been betrayed by Kaito in the past, Kaito and friends' actions in the previous season have earned their everlasting enmity. The Orpheus Order ups the ante with manmade Death Trap puzzles and display that they are more than willing to pull innocent bystanders into the fray if it means furthering their goals.In season three, Kaito attempts to restore the memories of his mentor, Jin, after the events from season one. However, he and his friends encountered a mysterious girl named Raetsel, who happens to be someone that Jin knew in the past. It turns out that she and another man named, Enigma, want to fulfill Jin's wish which is to destroy all puzzles.Has a character sheet in the works that Needs More Love.
The Ace: Holy crap Nonoha is great at everything: martial arts, acting, cooking (exceptin 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.
All Love Is Unrequited: Elena loves Gammon, Gammon has a thing for Nonoha, Nonoha gets jealous whenever Kaito is with another girl or Ana, and Kaito loves... puzzles.
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 Cloud Cuckoo Lander 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
Like the first season, Freecell reprises his role as Big Bad by curbstomping Klondike
In Season 3 we find out the Big Bad for the entire series. Orpheus himself.
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.
Bounty Hunter: The Master Brains. They target those who can solve puzzle like Kaito and the gang with the intention of killing them with dealing puzzles.
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.
Episodes 10 & 11 of the second season are back-to-back breather episodes, combined with a Beach Episode as Elena invites them to relax at an island resort in the aftermath of the multi-episode Rink Slider arc.
Brick Joke: During the Beach Episode, Nonoha's many club activities prevent her from going at the same time as the others, but Kaitou makes an offhanded joke that she's so fired up that she'll get there even if she has to swim. Come the end of the episode, and it turns out that's exactly what she did, taking SIX HOURS to get there.
Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: During the Beach Episode, the Phi-Brains are forbidden from doing puzzles due to Nonoha's wishes to have a normal vacation, and subsequently start to suffer such severe withdrawal that when they stumble onto an old abandoned movie set, they start solving puzzles that aren't even there.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Freecell takes out both Klondike and Melancholy in a matter of seconds.
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.
Disney Death: In Season 3. Rook, Freecell and Gammon. Turns out it was all a part of Rook's plan to escape from Orpheus' notice, save the others, and ready the device to stop Orpheus' plan to take over Kaito.
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.
And it remains a subtle running joke for the series where every new girl that shows up that finds out Ana's a guy freaks out.
Evil Counterpart: Season 2's Orpheus Order has a counterpart for each member of Team Kaito.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We find out in Season 3 There is NO Writing of God. Orpheus made up the story as bait so people would have a reason to challenge the Puzzle of God and thus become his next vessel. Of course the endgame is the same as Orpheus plans on challenging the Gods and thus the End of the World as We Know It
Off Model: Quite often, with characters' faces seemingly melting off their heads at some angles, as well as frequent QUALITY non-close-up character shots.
You could tell that the animators just weren't very comfortable drawing in such an atypical sort of anime art style from the way they'd sneak in a more standardized style between frames when they thought they could get away with it.
Less so in the second season.
Old Shame: Puzzla was this for the P.O.G. A cheesy monster movie that the organization made, but never saw the light of day due to financial problems.
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 explain why
In Season 2 we found out that Gammon has another source of income (which makes sense as obviously solving Kenja Puzzles aren't a stable source of income...or a safe one at that). He's actually a world renowned Puzzle Giver when it comes to magazines and such, but he used an alias to maintain a normal life for his sister. It becomes a plot point when his created puzzles start sucking hard due to his anger towards the Orpheus Order.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Season 3 we gain light on what exactly happened during the Jin/Pythagoras challenge. Pythagoras didn't go mad and die because of the power of the Writings of God, likewise the Bad Future constantly being shown weren't because of obtaining said scroll. Because there IS NO Writing of God. It was just bait. Orpheus created the Puzzle of God to gain a Phi Brain vessel for his mind and exceed the Gods. Obviously Pythagoras wasn't amused by said information. The Bad Future we see would be caused by Orpheus challenging the gods and the aftermath would be the death of all mankind.