Phi Brain – 21

I don’t want to be safe, I wanna go down with you…

Kyokai-sama is the best person, no? I’m sure you all enjoyed the nice change of pace when she took over while I was away. Now that I’m back from meeting my relatives on a small, sunny island, I’m back to the city where the internet connection is strong enough for me to blog up a storm. I’m back in full force whether you like it or not!

It figures that having a supernatural armlet that makes you a genius has a catch. Kaito learns very quickly that the armlet not only shows him the rather grisly future, but it spontaneously turns on with the slightest, puzzle-related provocation. He starts to get scared, so he tells Nonoha it’s safer to keep a distance from him. He’s pretty convincing until he spots a puzzle and has a near-epilectic fit where everyone around him disappears. He hugs her tightly when he snaps out of it while telling her to stay away, which is basically the king of mixed message reactions.

A little part of Kaito dies every time you fail a puzzle

Jikugawa interrupts with important news, as per usual. Cubic has been monitoring Kaito all this time, and he has some conclusive evidence that his rate of mental processing has exceeded the maximum potential for a human being. Furthermore, the armlet allows him to block out “unnecessary” information that isn’t related to puzzles to the point where he can’t see, hear or feel people. The biggest blow to Kaito is the warning of death if he keeps solving puzzles. As if that would stop Kaito, who risks his life for puzzles anyways. He leaves right away, and even says a final goodbye to Nonoha.

“So we meet again…wait, who the hell are you?”

Kaito is alone for all but 10 seconds before a POG goonie finds him and challenges him to a puzzle. Rook has a slightly easier puzzle planned for him to test his Dark Solver mode, as opposed to pushing him further. Yes, he’s certainly still quite fixated on Kaito. In fact, he’s letting the captured Principal roam free on the island while he watches Kaito like a hawk. He can’t escape, but he can certainly give Gammon some interesting information. For one thing, he greatly questions Rook’s intentions for Kaito. He doubts Pythagoras would ask him to focus so much on Kaito alone. The redhead seems unaffected by most of his talk – even when he’s called a double agent acting for the sake of Kaito and his friends by joining the POG. Gammon, what the hell is running through your mind?

The not-so-hard Fool’s Puzzle involves boxes, flashing lights, and a shredder. They don’t even explain what the puzzle is, so that’s NICE. Of course, as soon as Kaito looks at his surroundings, he slips into Dark Solver mode. Cubic is still monitoring him and his brain functioning, so he sends an emergency message to Nonoha so she’ll go and fetch him. He would go himself, but he’s busy trying to hack into the POG server with Jikugawa to find out what Rook has planned for his sweet, darling Kaito. As they hack into the server (using puzzles. Duh. That’s how hacking works), Cubic tells Jikugawa that Kaito may be able to see the future with his armlet.

By now, Kaito is in full-blown puzzle-solving mode. He can only see the numbers and flashing lights. No peoples, no conveyor belts, no walls…he doesn’t even bother to worry about the GIANT SHREDDER he is slowly being pushed towards. The combination of flashing lights, sounds, and numbers next to the gates correspond to the word “Phi Brain.” He solves the puzzle in record time, but not without a penalty. He is freaakinnnnnggg outtttt, mannn.

I knew I shouldn’t have eaten the mushroom

Nonoha rescues Kaito with a hug, promising to stay at his side no matter how much he pushes her away. It’s her decision after all, and if she wants to stay despite the danger, she should damn well be allowed to do so. Kaito turns back to normal and – OKAY THAT’S ENOUGH ROMANCE, NEXT SCENE. Rook! Yes, Rook! He’s at the POG doing his usual evil thing by tormenting people. But this time he is tormenting a very special captive. This time, we get to see how he interacts with Jin. He tells the former ghost of the lively Jin about how Kaito is coming to meet them. Jin gives Rook a vacant look before brushing away Rook’s bangs to reveal a piercing red eye, softly glowing with the power of Phi Brain.

Cubic’s Surveillance CD’s:

I’m more amazed that his hair can actually MOVE with all that gel in it.

One a scale of 1 to Cubic how animu are you?

Shhhh, Nonoha just solve the puzzle of my dick.

Whatever is happening right now, IT IS THE BEST TYPE OF HAPPENING.

End Thoughts:

Yo. Yoooooo. YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. THIS SHOW, MAN. THIS SHOOOOW. How is it attaining this level of greatness? Guys, this is the series I started to blog mostly as a joke. I still can’t get over how much this series has changed! How many times have I said this while blogging this show, I do not know, but my shock is so great that I will continue to do it every week if I must! I remain incredulous after all this time, and that says something. This episode was so captivating mostly because the drama was well-done and there were tons of exciting reveals. Phi Brain isn’t usually very plot heavy, and each episode usually feels somewhat estranged from the next. However, this Dark Solver arc feels much more cohesive. Everything that has been set up since episode 1 is finally coming together now. Especially DEM PLOT TWISTS! Who would have thought Phi Brain could catch me off guard? The only things that I feel like I can predict right now is Jin potentially being Kaito’s father and Gammon actually being good. After all, Jin looks exactly like our favourite puzzle-solving porcupine-head as a kid. As for Gammon, he’s had 2 characters smugly approach him and insinuate that they know his secret plan to act as a double agent. That sounds like foreshadowing to me, especially considering how calm they are despite how he tries to deny everything.

First and foremost, we have Kaito entering the final stages of becoming a Phi Brain. The Orpheus armlet automatically turns on whenever he sees anything remotely resembling a puzzle. Furthermore, he can determine the future through the magic of extrapolation. It’s not an 100% guaranteed thing, but it’s a very educated guess given his current circumstances, surroundings, and past knowledge. So it might actually be wrong, although I doubt it given this show’s emphasis on intelligence being the currency of power. This makes a lot more sense than “IT SOLVES PUZZLES! ALSO, CLAIRVOYANCE!” since it’s actually integrated with the Dark Solver abilities. Cubic’s explanation was really interesting – especially for someone like me who is studying the brain. Our brain already sorts out irrelevant information naturally and naturally fills in the blanks for predicting things to a certain extent. Our visual system fills in spaces that aren’t in our main field of vision with “best guesses” of what we think is there. To have this advanced system used against Kaito in a manner that blocks out literally everything except puzzles and can predict the future is kind of brilliant. I know it essentially boils down to “THINK HARD ENOUGH AND YOU CAN SEE THE FUTUREEEE!” but it’s still better than just being magic. At least they tried to explain it, even if it’s impossible. Of course, then I started thinking of how Kaito would die from his thought processes accelerating. HOW DO YOU DIE FROM THINKING TOO HARD?! That’s kind of where it falls apart and becomes ridiculous again if you think about it too much. Ugghhh…you can tell I just had a Neuroscience midterm recently T_T Can’t stop…trying to make sense of this…in real life terms… *sighs*

Not only is Dark Solver mode an interesting ability in itself, but the drama surrounding it was pretty damn good. Kaito finally started to push Nonoha away, signaling a breaking point. Thankfully, it was resolved right away as she came to save him. My only beef is that I’m not a big Nonoha x Kaito fan (I’m starting to find her annoying because she says “Kaito!” every episode in exactly. the same. way.). The hugging was a little too mushy for my tastes, especially considering how much of a jackass Kaito usually is to everyone..including her. I can’t Kaito showing empathy for anyone but himself or Rook seriously anymore.  I don’t think he had one nice thing to say to Cubic who actually checked up on him to keep him safe despite all the crap he’s been through. My favourite part of the episode would have to be when he begged Jikugawa to help him. SO CUTTEEEE. I’m sorry Nonoha, I will never be able to truly like you as a character…I only like you for bringing Kaito back to reality.

The twists don’t end there! Not even close! At the end, Rook reveals his red eye, meaning that he is a successful Phi Brain. His eye is also on the other side as Kaito’s which is probably just symbolic…but it’s still a neat thing to notice. It’s literally on all the time, which would partially explain why he’s so smart…as well as insane. It also could explain why he’s content staying cooped up in a small room all day – he’s just going to ignore background stimuli anyways. This also means that the Principal wasn’t just shooting the breeze as he hinted at Rook having shifty plans for Kaito. If he is already a Phi Brain, he should have no need for Kaito. Rook is most likely working on his own and disobeying Count Pythagoras. Heck, Jin who is tied up right now, might even be Pythagoras. You can’t given orders when you’re a zombie locked in a chess room. All we know for sure is Jin is his prisoner and he’s been like that for a long time based on his near-comatose disposition. Rook just gets more twisted each week, and I love it! I can’t wait for more!

Preview: The Principal reveals his mysterious past with Jin and what the two of them have in common with the POG.


A neuroscience graduate, black belt, and all-around nerd. You'll either find me in my lab or curled up in my rilakkuma kigurumi watching anime.
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10 Responses to “Phi Brain – 21”

  1. Joojoobees says:

    I’ll admit that I liked Nonoha more back at the beginning when she was kicking everyone’s ass in every sport club they had at Root Gakuen.

    I wonder if the big ending is going to be that they convert Rook back to the good side, and season 2 will have Gammon as the evil master of the POG.

    • Overcooled says:

      Me too. Now she’s really only there to be Kaito’s cheerleader and that just makes her…dull.

      That would actually be really, really cool. I want that to happen now…

  2. Dawn of Madness says:

    The closer we get to the end, the get that better this show gets. My mind is getting blown and I love every second of it.

    Oh and two things come to mind when I saw Rook’s red eye. The left and right sides of the brain. The other my squealing over them being a matching set. They will come together in the most glorious ways.

    • Overcooled says:

      It’s amazing how entertaining this show has become, isn’t it? I think them being a matching set is intentional, but I don’t think it would be a reference to right and left brain hemisphere. Whoever got stuck with the right side would suck at most puzzles, except MAYBE visual/spatial puzzles XD

      • Dawn of Madness says:

        I honestly didn’t expect this show to come this from. I started watch it on a whim. That whim has brought to an wonderful show.

        Oh yeah XD

  3. BlackBriar says:

    When did this show suddenly become so awesome? Does this have any relation to CLAMP? Because now I feel so trolled. I really didn’t expect this series to head this way, but Kaito losing himself to that armlet of his turned out to be a wonderful central conflict of this series.

    Nonoha still plays a significant part in this. Instead of just standing there and be useless, the emotional support that she’s giving Kaito is just getting better and better. She has no talent in solving puzzles, and even if she had, she would always just remain in Kaito’s shadow. This way though, they turned into a very engaging couple here.

    There were a few things I found weird: First of all, there were those weird spy cameras. How does the P.O.G keep getting such accurate footage of Kaito? Second, How is it that the headmaster of the school was allowed to roam the P.O.G island freely.

    What’s this? Rook is a Phi Brain as well?! What a twist! Maybe this is another reason for them to clash as polar opposites. Rook as the Phi Brain puzzle Giver and Kaito as the Phi Brain puzzle Solver. I see sparks flying.

    P.O.G must be very confident if their sole security is based around on solving puzzles. It’s like asking Kaito to break in when he finds out about them…

    • Overcooled says:

      Does CLAMP…do this sort of thing…? I tend to recoil away from most of their works.

      I’ve wondering about the spy cameras for a long time. I think it’s just “Phi Brain logic” – it just happens BECAUSE. Also, the headmaster says he’s free to wander around because he can’t escape. Kind of like how they can go almost wherever they want in Deadman Wonderland. They figured they he didn’t have any useful info, and he couldn’t do any harm either. So what if he sees a room that looks important, what’s the dude gonna do? They also trust Gammon now, so they don’t see any issue having them talk to each other…their mistake, I suppose.

  4. obladi05 says:

    What a great episode, one of the best this season! I’d have never expected Phi Brain to turn into a serious show, and to be so awesome! I’ve always criticised Kaito for his behaviour, but I think he is finally growing as a person, and those moments with Nonoha were really sweet 🙂

    Rook… that hair, that eye, that creepy smile… everything about you is just so cool!

    • Overcooled says:

      Me neither, it’s such a pleasant surprise! I don’t know if I’d call it the best of the season (although the winter season really has slim pickings) but I definitely enjoyed it. Kaito is always a jerk until it’s convenient for the plot for him to be caring…it’s really forced, but I prefer him like this. Who knows, maybe he WILL grow and start to genuinely care for his friends for more than one episode!

      Rook is such a good villain, I love him too : >

  5. tatsuya says:

    nice ending by the way

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