What’s it about ?
X-TREME puzzles !
Kaito “Einstein” Daimon, our spiky-haired protagonist. He’s a genius puzzle solver (to the point of seeing his high-school’s puzzle club as beneath him). He stumbles on a hidden giant puzzle/death trap combo just behind the school (how the heck did nobody notice this thing before ? Yeah, it’s underground, but still…), and he’s quite offended by the death traps sullying the purity of the puzzles.
Nonoha, his childhood friend/sidekick/whatever. She’s not very good at puzzle-solving, but her observation/memory skills do come handy. She’s mostly there so that Kaito has someone to show off how brilliant he is to.
“Genius Okudera”, a famous adult puzzle-solver who’s this series’ “Mr. Satan” figure. You know, the gloryhound who’s way less competent than he claims.
Souji Jikukawa, president of the puzzle club and member of the student council. He thoroughly tries to recruit Kaito, ultimately giving him (in flashback) a mini-computer with advanced puzzle games.
Minotaur, a dude in a ridiculous disguise who starts soliciting Kaito through the mini-computer and is eventually revealed to be in charge of the puzzle-deathtrap-thingie behind the school. He really should invest in a better voice scrambler, because it’s blindingly obvious he’s Jikukawa (Akira Ishida’s voice is clearly recognizable).
Pretty good ; the directing has enough energy to make the puzzles look cool. I also quite like the soundtrack, which helps sell the high-octane puzzle action. And the OP & ED take full advantage of the visual possibilities of the “sliding puzzles” motif.
What did I think of it ?
Well, that was fun. It’s obviously a very stupid show, but it accomplishes what it needed to : making puzzles look cool. That’s half the battle, and as decent a hook as any. It also has enough bits of cleverness (such as the solution to the maze, which is ridiculously outside-the-box but somehow works) not be boring.
I think I’ve found my Sunday night popcorn action show. Unpretentious, but quite enjoyable.