First Impression – Phi Brain S2

Because smart is SEXY

Just when you thought it left, Phi Brain is back already. …Was there even a week’s break for this show? Whatever. The important part is that it’s back and it’s as fabulous as ever xD
Without even pausing for a breath of air, Phi Brain is back for season 2! For those of you peeking in to see if you want to suddenly get into Phi Brain, you can’t really start here…You’ll have to watch season 1 to get what the hell is going on. It’s a dorky show, but it really has its glorious moments. Let’s see if S2 can top that!

Remember those deadly puzzles Kaito and his friends were forced to solve in season 1? Well, they’re still doing those, but no one is even forcing them to. This show doesn’t even need a villain to get these guys to risk their lives for puzzles! The gang is merrily having a BBQ in the middle of a deadly puzzle, taking their sweet time to solve it, enjoy the food, and come up with yet more puzzles to pass the time with. (note: the answer to Cubic’s puzzle is 8-3=5. Move one bone from the 9 to make it 5, and then place the bone on the 6 to make it an 8.) Nonoha is not pleased so she scolds them thoroughly, like an normal person would. This sets off a trap and sends them flying into the air. How do they recover? No clue, but LOOK! A new villain is watching them!

He stood in the shadows with a dark smile etched on his face, his shadowy frame ominously framed by floating weiners…

To set things up, Kaito has a little flashback while talking with Nonoha. He regrets not keeping his promise to Rook and to Nonoha as well, and he has no intention of repeating the same mistake. Hence his determination to set every puzzle free, which he originally promised Jin. Not that Jin would care, since his memory is gone. As Kaito reflects on his life with Nonoha, the stalker, Rook look-alike talks to his necklace and foreshadows about his upcoming ‘play date’ with Kaito.

Kaito doesn’t even manage to make it to school before he’s challenged to a puzzle. The bus route to school is sectioned off by a large amount of KEEP OUT tape, causing a huge hold up. Kaito and the other Phi Brain children investigate, and soon realize that it’s a puzzle invitation for only Kaito. They send the buses and students back home, which is funny, because it’s not like anyone actually ever goes to class in this show. Anyways, they miss class and Kaito leaps over the tape and onto the bridge…causing it to explode. They really meant it when they said KAITO IN and KEEP OUT on the tape. This is a purely 1vs1 showdown.

HOLY SHIT A GIANT GLASS PYRAMID!!! Clearly, this new organization has time-bending powers, unlike the POG. Kaito, not being one to turn down a life-threatening puzzle, quickly ascends the steps (which are like a puzzle in of themselves). He ends up in a room filled with mirrors that have the ability to turn either reflective, clear or opaque at the snap of fingers. The one snapping the fingers? The coin-whisperer from before, Freecell. He’s had his eye on Kaito for a while, and wishes to challenge him to a series of puzzles to test him. Sensing nothing fishy at all, Kaito accepts. All he has to do is pick the right exit out of 4 possible choices in this crazy maze.

Meanwhile, the Phi Brain gang are taking the long way around to try and get to the massive pyramid erected in their schoolyard. It’s not exactly the sort of thing you can miss, even from a distance. As for the vice president, she’s being forcefully persuaded by another Orpheus Order dude. He knows all about her crush on Jikugawa (again, all villains in this show have high stalker levels) and how jealous she is of how much attention he pays to Kaito. He gently suggests taking him out of the picture, which sounds a little extreme considering that they’re both guys and there’s nothing going on between them. JUST A LITTLE.

Kill Kaito and steal his harem-gathering powers!

Freecell starts moving to the exit, one block at a time. Kaito watches carefully so he can figure out the right exit path, but it’s not so easily when the walls literally lie to you. To make the task even harder, Freecell chastises Kaito for breaking promises and hurting his friends. Kaito only thinks of Rook, but it can pretty much be generalized to his entire friend circle. Despite the sudden stress, Kaito manages to buckle down and enter a Phi Brain mode-like state to solve the puzzle. Using his knowledge of the angle light reflects at and the distance he saw Freecell in comparison to where he was, Kaito deduces that the C exit will lead him out.

The building explodes as Kaito jumps out. Luckily, Cubic is there with his robot to catch him and save him. It seems like a happy ending until Freecell appears again to mock them. He shows them his Orpheus armlet and tells him he’s part of the Orpheus Order. He also promises that he’ll make all of Kaito’s friends turn against him…starting with the Vice President! Wait, was she ever his friend? No matter, she’s got a shiny new earring and she’s ready to challenge Kaito to a puzzle.

Extra Puzzles:

…and then Cubic never ever washed that hand or that lab coat.

The trademark “Einstein” or “Okay I’m ready to put a contact in now” pose.

Puzzles, meat and beer. Obviously, a women would never understand.

Look a little more impressed…Do you have any idea how hard it was for me to get here after this thing exploded?

End Thoughts:

HOLY CRAP THERE WERE FEMALE PHI BRAINS (unless they’re crossdressers… sadly, I wouldn’t put it past them). I didn’t even know that those could exist. Oh man, those new villains are fabulous. It looks like each of Kaito’s friends get a new rival~. I’m totally down for that. Also, KAMIYAN IS THE NEW VILLAIN! AND HIS CHARACTER HAS A HAIRSTYLE FABULOUS ENOUGH TO MAKE UP FOR ROOK’S ABSENCE! Yaaaaay! Like OC joked last episode (aka the end of season 1), he very well could be Rook’s brother. How fabulous that would be. He seems to know a ton about Kaito and Rook’s escapades in their childhood, so he has to be involved somehow. While I’m just as confused as Kaito was at how the glass pyramid was built overnight,  quite liked the puzzle. Especially how Kaito struggled with it. When Phi Brain takes the time at explain a puzzle like that, I’m more and more amazed at the guy who comes up with these things.

I love that OP more than season one’s already (though I don’t like the ED). Another bonus from the OP is that Nonoha had her hair down for maybe three seconds. She should do that more often. On a completely different topic, the thing that’s great about this season is that it looks like Kaito is past his broody angst-ridden “I don’t need anyone, now leave me alone while I go stand alone under a streetlight in the rain at night” phase now. …Or at least that’s how things are as of current. Who knows how high Kaito’s angst levels will rise again if he encounters a difficult puzzle or something, let alone Rook.

Long story short, I already think that season two is better than season one (please note that I have an extreme Kamiyan bias and am therefore not responsible for how crappy you may or may not find the actual anime in comparison to the first season). I’ve long gotten over the fact that the characters are convinced that puzzles=life and while I’m still confused as to where all of this money is coming from, I don’t really care. I’m just glad this awesomeness of an anime is continuing xD.

Welcome back, Puzzle Husbands! I mean..Phi Brain. I’m still unsure how this got a sequel, but I’m beyond caring at this point. Season 2 is continuing with the same feel as season 1 – featuring a crazy organization obsessing over Daimon Kaito. It’s the same schtick but with new characters to ignite a brand new storyline now that the POG has stopped its evil ways. The most exciting part is definitely the Orpheus Order, who are proving to be just as entertaining as the POG, if not more. Freecell already has a lot of the traits Rook had: an armlet that’s skewing his emotions, a toned down fixation on Kaito, colour scheme, and some relation to Kaito’s past. He’s not at the Rook level of stalking, but he’s pretty high on the scale. How else would Freecell know so much about Kaito’s life is he hadn’t been prying into it excessively all this time? The OP also hints that the two share some sort of past link. Perhaps Kaito made a promise to him as a kid, but was so wrapped up in Rook that he forgot about it. There’s also the magnetic KAMIYA HIROSHI factor, which instantly makes him a winner. My worries about the next villain being an underwhelming replacement for Rook have been quelled.

As a whole, the Orpheus Order looks pretty exciting. The character designs are definitely an improvement over the POG goonies (seriously, did they even try?) and they all seem pretty badass. Anyone who constructs a glass pyramid in one night goes down in my books as someone to look out for. They also seem to be sticking Orpheus armlets on EVERYONE now, which finally addresses their explanation of there being tons of armlets out there. This means all the members are probably being slightly controlled by them, and will need Kaito to free them with the power of…say it all together now…FRIENDSHIP! Yes, it’s terribly cheesy, but that’s what this show is about. I look forward to them having every character turn on Kaito. I don’t think they’ll stop at just stupid characters no one cares about (like the vice president) turning on him. Was I supposed to care about her? I’m just quietly waiting for Nonoha to don an Orpheus armlet, suddenly become smart, and completely destroy Kaito. The two-bit Vice Prez character got to have a glowing red eye, why can’t Nonoha? Is that too much to hope for? I would enjoy it IMMENSELY if we could see Kaito suffer for his past assholery.

Looking at this week’s actual puzzle – it was standard fare, but a nice reintroduction to the series. I couldn’t even process Kaito’s explanation of how to solve the puzzle, but I appreciate them going through the solution so thoroughly. The in-house puzzle creator for this show deserves a round of applause for coming up with these every week! Props to the animation staff too, because the art has actually gotten better and things look considerably less derp! The OP and ED look and sound incredible (the old ED was garbage), although Brain Diver will always live on in my heart. So, do I like season 2? Yep! Am I still going to blog about characters who take puzzles so seriously they can’t go a minute without mentioning them? Yep! Phi Brain still retains that odd charm where you can’t help but love both the good, the bad and ugly.

Preview: Vice Prez is up to bat at challenging Kaito to a puzzle duel. Look at that, she’s even got the glowing red eye part down. Wait, I thought activating that power was supposed to be rare? Must suck to be a armlet reject like Jikugawa.



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19 Responses to “First Impression – Phi Brain S2”

  1. BlackBriar says:

    There is no rest for great shows!! What a breathtaking start for the new season. The new OP is great. Nonoha is hot with her hair down!! LOL. She is a total tsundere. This is definitely the puzzle version of Yu-Gi-Oh! The first season, he was up against Maximillion Pegasus and in the second season, against Marik. But in this, Kaito faced the P.O.G and now he faces the Orpheus Order. Also, you gotta love a show that challenges your intelligence rather than always looking at one you feel is pathetically predictable.

    The beginning of the episode deserves mentioning. I mean, who in their right mind would deliberately have a BBQ in a puzzle designed to kill people and make puzzles out of the food you’re supposed to eat? Nonoha was the only one with her head on her shoulders. I think overconfidence has taken over since they beat Rook and this new villain Freecell has come with the wakeup call. Freecell’s name is odd. Who names their child after a computer card game? Then again, Rook was named after a chess piece. Kaito’s personality has changed considerably, which is a big plus in my book. It’s like he’s actually a human being again instead of a callous shell.

    And with everything new about this episode, we get a few new characters. I was looking forward to getting to know who this vice president Chieno was and I got a curve ball finding out she’s actually a full blown traitor, and from start, no less.

    I understand there’s a staff member in the studio behind this anime whose job is to create puzzles. His imagination must be frightening beyond belief because I actually felt a lot of tension during the parts with that giant glass pyramid with the smoke and mirrors that can send you in the wrong place. And it’s called a Judgment puzzle. So there are Sage puzzles, Fool’s and Judgment puzzles now. If Kaito wasn’t the main character, I might seriously consider that he could’ve died. Even more frightening by the fact the Order was able to construct that monstrosity over night. Considering the glimpses we’ve seen of Freecell in the OP, it looks like he’s loaded. And considering the manor/family estate, we’re probably talking about very old money to boot.

    Kaito and the gang are going to catch hell this time because at first, it was just Rook, a single child of the Phi Brain in all of the P.O.G that was the main threat but since their new enemy is an organization that’s all about the Armlet of Orpheus and we’ve already seen that Freecell is wearing one, it’s a 100% chance that every other member is a fierce Phi Brain. They’ve been seen wearing an armlet in the OP and each member has been paired up against each one of the good guys. They won’t play nice. They blew up a bridge.

    • Overcooled says:

      I love the OP and ED song. None of that slow, sappy crap. Plus, yeah, Nonoha with her hair down! Her forehead doesn’t look so huge anymore!

      Haha, yes, the Yu-Gi-Oh! comparisons just keep going. New season, new villain, new organization…I like how they opened things up too. It makes you never forget that these people WILLINGLY risk their lives for puzzles even with NO PROVOCATION. I think the word you’re looking for is “insanity” not “overconfidence.” XD

      The names are all puns…almost none of them are normal. :B I like the new characters though, odd names and all. Freecell’s definitely got mad bank. Rich kids. Pah! The other members definitely have armlets, I agree. Oddly enough, they don’t have the glowing eye though. I guess they only activate it as needed, much like Kaito used to.

      The dude’s brilliant. Can they please show us a video of how he thinks these things up? I kind of want him to be famous. I wonder how a Judgement Puzzle differs from the others. Other than…being used…to judge Kaito. Wait, is that the only slight change? They all kill you if you fail! Who cares what they call them!

      • Karakuri says:

        The new villains are all fabulous. I mean, look at the guy with the bowl cut and pink shades.

  2. Kitty says:

    Question: How does Kaito manage to only score crazy obsessed white haired ukes!!!!

  3. Rolca says:

    Yaaay more Phi Brain! It probably sold many puzzlesor some other sort of goodies, there are quite a few on the official site. They actually recorded 10k tweets tagged PhiBrain during the season finale, that was crazy. “Yanhomo” popped up so often in google translate I didn’t even. It was more that Gundam Age’s count but I’m not sure how popular it is. Not sure about how many there were for this episode though.

    Everyone wants to see Nonoha with her hair down, she’s so pretty! Though had she been designed like that from the start, she would probably have made significantly less effect lol. And I realized I needed more lolis with top hats. I like the Orpheus Order’s overall design. They even have matching colors! They could have made it so that two of them didn’t look like Rook, but they look great too. Freecell’s clothes remind me of Crossfield’s uniform, probably because of the longcoat and the ribbon. Apparently their names are card game-themed. I half expected them to be codenames but POG members had punny names too so chances are low. I’m sad Rook doesn’t even get an appearance in the opening. They outright tell us he was saved in the episode, why would you care about spoilers? But they stay awfully long on Ana and Pinochle doesn’t get a designated enemy (because Nonoha is the only person who isn’t crazy about puzzles and hence wouldn’t make a good rival?) so I have hopes for an updated opening.

    Excellent first episode. Freecell doesn’t lose time. Gotta love the BBQ puzzle. It gives you the atmosphere of the series. “Hey we’re in a DEADLY PUZZLE, let’s have fun! AND MORE PUZZLES”. I was impressed by this week’s challenge. There was a lot of thought put in it and it was explained. Freecell says he’s also watched Jin vs Pythagoras so we should get more info on what actually went on. Maybe is the scroll that burned not the real one? That would explain why Jin is still a potato. I’m curious about the link between Kaito and Freecell. I guess they met each other around/after when Rook and Kaito were together. Kaito’s life confuses me. When did he meet Nonoha? Where was he after Rook got caught? Now I realize we don’t know anything about Cubic, Ana and Nonoha.

    • Overcooled says:

      Huh, guess it’s like a dark horse of sorts. Surprising! The yanhomo thing probably helps since everyone loves a yanhomo. I had never heard the term before now, but I may just have to use it for everything.

      It’s more dramatic to have them change hairstyles halfway through – like Nisemonogatari. The contrast is more shocking that way! I really like the Orpheus Order designs as well. Freecell really is just a colour-swap of Rook if you look at it. I hope he’s not outright replacing him, because I want more Rook too…Not seeing him in the OP has me worried D: A 2nd OP would make me happy, if this thing is over 13 episodes.

      Yeah, you’re right, Freecell mentioned Jin and Pythagoras’ match. Dude gets around, doesn’t he? I should never underestimate the stalking powers of villains in this show.

      Would Rook really be fooled into getting the wrong scroll? Who would even think ahead to make a fake? I think the God Scroll is done with, but we’ll see…they might find a good explanation for it still existing. I still don’t get how both Jin and Pythagoras survived to unlock the Scroll, and his memories are CONVENIENTLY gone…so SOMETHING is fishy there. As for Kaito and Nonoha, we’ve never seen their first meeting, but they’ve been together since before his parents died. I think he just hung around with Jin for a while after Rook got caught, and then led a very, very lonely life at school. We really know nothing about everyone else’s past too. I’m interested in Ana, especially.

      First comment cookie? First comment cookie. It’s written in my contract that I need to give you one (as a bribe)! 😀

      • Rolca says:

        Wait I thought it was going to be another two-cour! Showcasing everyone in 13 episodes would be hell. They kept the OP and the END the entire first season, I doubt they’re going to change it completely.
        I wonder when was the Order formed. They are almost all teenagers, aren’t they?
        I should rewatch ep 22-23 and see what they say about the scroll. Did nobody at POG notice the crazy leader died six months ago? Shouldn’t a scroll that bestows the power to bring the apocalypse be harder to get rid of anyway? And if Rook hasn’t taken a peek, he couldn’t know for sure. Jin vs Pythagoras didn’t go as the God’s Puzzle should have, maybe did they not even do the real deal.
        Nonoha seems to hang out at Kaito’s place a lot lately (and late in the evening). I think she lives alone, is it because of school? Who needs family and school anyway? They have to explain us the psychic trap genius painter. I can accept everything being deadly puzzles and magical armlets, but teleporting prophets are a stretch. Kaito aside, I think Ana is the closest to phi brain in his own way. I’m waiting for more backstory! With all of that, Cubic seems to lack interesting plot potential…
        Aaaaah I’m a super awkward lurker but I have nobody to talk about this show with and I’m doing walls of speculations and oh man this reply is so late. /accepts delicious cookie I misread bribe as bride and was confused. I’M NOT READY FOR THIS.

  4. Liza says:

    Yay for Season 2. I love the OP so much this time around(well I think it’s because I fangirled when I realized it’s Nano singing.) And I hope Nonaha will keep her hair down in the actual show. She looks much prettier that way.

    And that puzzle. Jeez. I wonder about the person who makes up these puzzles. He is a genius that is for sure. Although Kaito’s explanation did make sense, I was still all, “I do not understand this at all.”(guess I can’t be a Phi brain then).

    The villains this time around so awesome looking and hopefully will give Kaito a good challenge before being saved by the power of friendship. XD

    • Overcooled says:

      I didn’t even pay attention to the artist, I just knew I liked it. Everyone’s digging Nonoha with her hair down – I’m going to screencap the hell out of that when it happens in an actual episode.

      I won’t be a Phi Brain any time either. They made his reasoning so you could solve it yourself if you wanted to, but my brain was like “NOPE.” I just couldn’t be bothered to think that hard about it. I solved Cubic’s puzzle though!

      Ah, yes, it’s hard to have a good deathmatch these days without friendship getting in the way. Curses!

  5. anaaga says:

    Tell me when Sugitan appears, and I’ll marathon season 1

  6. Foshizzel says:

    Whoooop whoooop new opening and new ending? FK YEAAAAHHH!! I loved those songs and they had lots of ENGRISH <3

    New bad guy = Araragi-kun! Basically he jumped into another series to play around with puzzles.

    • Overcooled says:

      Mmm, I love the new songs too. OST, WHEN?!?!

      Except Araragi looks totally different and acts totally different as well. Only the seiyuu is the same.

      • BlackBriar says:

        It’s surprising those two totally different characters have the same seiyuu because they don’t sound alike. Not only that, Kamiya is also the voice behind Ao no Exorcist’s Mephisto Pheles. That one is the jaw dropper for me.

  7. fathomlessblue says:

    Poor, poor Nonoha; having zero solving talents pretty much makes you a pariah in the Phi-Brainoverse! This really is a show about women getting screwed over by having their love-interests more interested puzzles. You need to be a trap to make it out with any sanity!

    I love everything about this second season, from the new OP/ED’s, the improved music & animation, & the new cast of antagonists. The show appears to be getting a bit edgier this time around: this probably Phi Brain’s equivalent to Kenshin’s famous ‘Kyoto arc’. Bring on the drama!

    • Overcooled says:

      Indeed, all the women get shafted in this show. Even Ana turned out to be a guy. :/ I doubt Miss Vice Prez will be much better, as desperate for Jikugawa as she is.

      I’m very glad for the improved animation, oh man, so many screencaps I can actually look at without cringing! Can’t say I’ve ever watched Kenshin, but I’m sure Phi Brain will be legendary in its own, dorky way. I’m exciiiiteeedddd :3

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