‘Puzzle Prince’ airs on phones from April 7

Translated by The Asahi Shimbun from the website of Anime Anime Japan Ltd.

The brain-training anime series “Phi Brain: Kami no Pazuru” (Phi Brain: God’s Puzzle), slated to start this fall, is already spawning a spinoff: “Puzzle Prince” will be broadcast for mobile devices from April 7.

“Phi Brain” starts airing in October on Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK)’s educational channel.

In an unusual promo twist, the new program “Puzzle Prince” is a live-action series about 16 teenage boys who aspire to be actors or voice actors. They will compete in a quiz show over two seasons to become “Puzzle Prince,” a title bestowed only on the smartest contestant.

The series will be streamed on NHK’s One-Seg 2 mobile TV channel for mobile devices during its “One Seg Lunch Box” time slot, from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.

The public broadcaster hopes the cast will help reach a wider audience, including young women, who tend to pay less attention to anime shows.

While the series will be viewed by the mobile phone generation, it will also draw attention to “Phi Brain,” its producers hope.

In each “Puzzle Prince” episode, two boys will act as “Solvers” entered in a quiz tournament. As the series continues, winners move up to the next level.

The tournament will take place over two seasons. Winners from the first and second seasons, as well as those who rank at the top of an audience popularity poll held via the show’s website, will move on to the final round.

The final winner of the “Puzzle Prince” crown will also become a voice cast member of “Phi Brain.”

As with its spinoff, “Phi Brain” is a puzzle-solving anime that boasts it will “train the brains” of its audience.

The story revolves around Kaito, a senior high school student who loves puzzle-solving.

One day, Kaito solves a potentially life-threatening puzzle called the “wise man’s puzzle,” created by a mysterious group called “POG.” Now a “Solver,” Kaito is thrown into a battle of wits against POG and sets out on an adventure with his fellow Solvers.

Visit the official websites of “Phi Brain” at (http://www9.nhk.or.jp/anime/phibrain/) and “Puzzle Prince” at (http://www9.nhk.or.jp/anime/puzzleprince/main.html).

Copyright The Asahi Shimbun Company.