Magical puzzle-solving bling..what more do you want?
|Fall is rolling in on us with another new anime. So… Phi Brain… I’m unsure what to expect from this aside from some puzzle action. I’m not too big on doing puzzles (on my free time) but seeing others working it seems fine enough for me. I’m hoping that this show brings some intense puzzle solving action to keep me entertained.|
|For the love of puzzles and Professor Layton, I have decided to take a chance on this problem-solving anime filled with all manner of dreadful hair styles. Get your rubix out and rockkk onnnn~ /cheesy puzzle slogans.|
Phi Brain seeks to shatter the view that all puzzles consist of piddly little math problems or simple brain teasers by opening up with a puzzle where if you walk the wrong way, you will be destroyed. Kaito is following the proclaimed Puzzle King through this maze, and forcefully drags him away from the collapsing ruins when he triggers a trap. The whole area shifts and suddenly fills with water, making it a very close call for the two of them.
That totally wasn’t worth 10 picarats
The next day at school, everyone is gossiping about how some kid from their school saved the Puzzle King from getting smooshed. Aforementioned student is too busy casually reconstructing a maze out of desks from a strange handheld device. It’s an unsolvable maze, which naturally confuses the hell out of everyone. But wait, forget puzzles for a moment as the token female character appears and kicks the lead guy in the face. Why? BECAUSE ANIME!
Despite going off and doing whatever the hell he wants, the school isn’t very interested in punishing him. It’s not because he has any secret potential to use the Phi Brain under the Orpheus Contract or anything special like that, they just like him. Nope, no secret meetings at night to discuss his potential either! So stop suspecting things! Afterall, who wouldn’t be interested in a slouchy kid who casts a condescending gaze on everyone he meets?
Kaito’s reign of “I art better than thou” continues as he strolls into the Puzzle Club and nonchalently finishes a supposedly “super hard” sudoku in a few seconds. The club president Jikugawa finally has a word with him, and is by no means conspiring to get him to solve life-threatening puzzle sin order to unlock his potential. He also isn’t trying to tempt Kaito into solving the unsolvable Sage Puzzle and doing whatever his shiny new handheld tells him to do. Nope, nothing suspicious – aw, I give up, he totally convinces Kaito to put his life on the line for the satisfaction of being a smartass.
Don’t you know? Sudoku masters get ALL the bitches.
Kaito blindly heeds the call from Minotaur, who sends an invite to his handheld telling him to come to these totally spooky ruins at night and get out of the maze. Sounds legit, so Kaito and his ladyfriend head right to the creepy underground ruins to make it through the maze. Strategy #1 is to keep your hand along one wall and run until you find the exit. That works just fine until a giant pit opens up and nearly claims Nonoha as the first casualty of the show. Strategy #2 is to find a sketchy dead end and poke around. Nonoha is actually the one who solves the puzzle, thanks to her OCD-like attention to detail. They push some poles around the entire maze moves. I don’t think that’s how mazes are supposed to work, but they seem satisfied with that solution.
At the end of the maze is a big, ominous room. Upon further inspection, it is actually a giant puzzle with a little shrine in the middle that causes some seriously fabulous bling to latch onto your arm when you enter. Sadly, no one told Kaito this so he enters and gets a bracelet stuck to his arm. The final puzzle of the episode is to pull the correct rope in order to stop the water from flowing in and causing the structures to collapse. The pulley system is far too complex for him to process so he begins to feel trapped. That is, until his MAGIC BLING INCREASES HIS NEURAL ACTIVITY!
Don’t believe in God, believe in puzzles!
Well, at least I got this 3DS after the price drop…
I didn’t know minotaurs were so self-conscious about their body
MY TEENY WOMANLY BRAIN CANNOT COMPREHEND WHAT JUST HAPPENED
I think that I have mixed feelings about this anime. The story is pretty simple enough with it being focused on puzzle maniacs who takes the whole concept of puzzles to another level as if it would become the next competitive sport (which it seems that it already is in this show). But what cracked me up was thinking of Yu-Gi-Oh when watching the opening theme and seeing Kaito with his golden armband. But what is even more amusing is that there seems to be some kind of supernatural element in this with the armband that gives access to the whole brain of it’s holder.
The actual characters are pretty interesting enough with the various types present. I cracked up seeing Kaito being beaten up by Nonoha. The tomboy friend of Kaito, using him as a punching bag and doing wrestling moves on him reminded me of Angelic Layer’s Tamayo and Kotaro. I’m sure that Nonoha might have some hidden feelings somewhere for Kaito. The whole mysterious student council president and the school principal who seems like they’re part of some secret puzzle society who’s intermingling Kaito into their endeavors is so amusing. As well, the concept of people representing Einstein and other historic intelligent figures is kind of interesting and I want to see how it all ties in.
As for the animation, it wasn’t that great with character designs. It just felt weird and the main character doesn’t look that cool. As well, the hair styles are not pleasant to look at. Nonoha, wtf kind of hair design is that? And Kaito, what’s with the random shades on sitting on the head not being used? But with that aside, the actual attitudes of the characters goes well with the character designs. The background designs are pretty cool, especially the puzzle designs. Seeing that last puzzle in the end of the episode looked kind of cool. I don’t have much of an opinion on the music, but it wasn’t bothersome. Overall, this anime doesn’t seem too bad but I dunno if it’s even good..but I’ll give it a few more episodes.
I’ll say that was a fairly decent first episode for Phi Brain, and I suspect it’s pretty much laid most of its cards on the table in terms of what the show is going to be about. It’s an enjoyable show with a nice blend of action and puzzles with a nice shounen flare. You’d think the puzzle aspect would open doors for some potentially interesting storylines, puzzle-solving segments and badassery. However, the show is plagued by shallowness and it’s hard to take anything seriously in world where everyone is BATSHIT ABOUT PUZZLES.
I’m hoping there will be some development later on, but for now everyone is rather bland. Kaito is the blasé genius who solves puzzles with his ladyfriend who is dumb and just runs on woman’s intuition. She’s useful, but she’s pretty much just there to be a liability to make things harder for him in the future. The story also seems to be pretty predictable. It’s obvious the white afro kid is his childhood friend. If you listen, you’ll realize The Minotaur is voiced by Akira Ishida so he’s clearly Jikugawa leading Kaito towards unlocking his powers. I have a general idea how half of the series is going to unfold from one episode. It’s frustratingly predictable, and the plot covers for being shallow by using a lot of stupid jargon to feign originality. Orpheus, Phi Brain, Sage Puzzle…in other words, some punkass kid had too much time and risked his life TO SOLVE PUZZLES. It’s Yu-Gi-Oh! levels of ridiculous. So far the solving of the puzzles haven’t been integrated very well either. I want a puzzle where they try and get the watcher to solve it as well, so we can at least realize how hard of a puzzle it was and appreciate Kaito’s intellect. I guess they can’t have puzzles just floating onscreen like Professor Layton for us to mull over, I suppose. Anyways, I’m hoping we get less awkward “I specifically hired like 20 engineers to install this puzzle because I want you to solve it” and more natural puzzles where they simply have to be innovative and resourceful to get out of a pinch. But based on the preview, it’s going to be a lot of “puzzle duels” that are head-on confrontations.
It has a lot of flaws when you scrutinize it, but it’s still fun. My brain dislikes it, but my heart likes it. It’s one of those “just forget about logic and enjoy it” sort of things. It actually does have moments where it really gets the momentum going, such as when Nonoha nearly fell into the pit and Kaito’s badass “solved” catchphrase at the end. It’s not brilliant by a long shot, but it’s COOL. I’m going to see if this series has the potential to grow, so I’m going to keep blogging it week by week to see what puzzles are on the table. If it starts to suck hard, well, expect some crack-filled posts as I attempt to amuse myself. PUZZLE TIME NO HAJIMARI DA~
Preview: New character introduction time! Galileo is the newest addition to Kaito’s team, although he seems a bit brutish to be able to solve anything harder than a maze on the back of a cereal box. Still, they don’t seem to have much choice but to rely on him, because they’re in some sort of pinch where they must moves cars on a grid to solve a puzzle! Oh man, I hate those things. Good luck guys!
Puzzles can hurt loved ones and destroy relationships. If a loved one is suffering from an addiction, please call now.