Phi Brain S2 – 04

This week, we ditch puzzles in favour of cage fighting.

Like a modern-day Santa Claus who simply appears in your fireplace whenever the hell they feel like it, I come bearing you a gift. Yes, just one. You weren’t THAT good this year. Head over to jikukawa’s Tumblr page and you should find it. Alternatively, just stalk the phi brain tag (which is how I found it in the first place). So, in the end, the gift isn’t actually from me…Hmm, now I have to work harder to make you all unwittingly fall in love with me. u.u

The Orpheus Order meets up with their butler/organizer Whist to discuss their evil plans from Lord Klondike. Freecell is early, Pinochle, Melancholy, and Mizerka are late and Doubt is exactly on time. All the Phi Brain kids can do to try and predict the next move of the Orpheus Order is analyze the fragments of the Orpheus devices and keep a eye out for anything that glimmers with a golden tint. Despite only having that small lead, Cubic manages to figure out the type of signal the microchips in the armlets produce so that he can track their locations all over the city. However, all of the signals are stationary, and they form a picture that points to one location in particular: Gammon’s apartment.

They tried to give an Orpheus armlet to Gammon’s sister Miharu! Thank goodness Gammon returned home in time to snatch it from her and show the evidence to Kaito. Well, he kind of crushes the evidence, but at least they know the Orpheus Order is up to no good. They left an invitation for Gammon and the other Phi Brain children as well, and they have little choice but to obey and meet up with the entirety of the Orpheus Order later that night. Once they arrive, Doubt and Freecell explain the goal of their organization: to create a perfect replica of the Orpheus armlet that can be mass-produced and distributed to the entire human population.

The first time Kaito ACTUALLY USED HIS SHADES outside of an OP song

Their secondary goal is to awaken the true Phi Brain state. Seeing as Kaito was the closest person to ever achieve this, they figured he would be a perfect choice for a opponent. Both for them and their non-consentual lab rats Chieno and Airi. They also challenge the other Phi Brain children in a do-or-die team puzzle battle, while failures like Nonoha and Jikukawa watch from the side with Freecell mocking them. Whist explains that the object of the puzzle is to cover more area than your opponent by the end of the round to win that match. Lose and your entire team is electrocuted to a crisp (ironic seeing as my smoke detector just went off. MOM, STOP BURNING DINNER!)

You guys realize this is going to be a very short season if one of us loses, right?

Cubic vs Melancholy: a tense match of underage kids smirking or scowling at each other. Cubic loses and Melancholy acts as snobbish as Cubic used to when he first appeared in the show. Ana vs Mizerka: Ana tries to make a smiley face. I think we all can guess how that turned out. Kaito vs Pinochle: Kaito wins, but no one is sure why considering that he chose a route that would cover less area. Lots of gossip and trash-talking occurs after this one. Gammon vs Doubt: the red head gets pissed at Doubt’s ambivalence towards other’s safety (namely his sister’s) and works hard until he gets a tie. As a result, no one goes home as an amorphous blob of flesh and bones crackling with residual electricity. A good result, I’d say.

Bonus Screencaps:

Kaito stop. That’s racist.

They were like ying and yang. Dark and light. Bird nest hair and silky bowl cuts.

…Wha happen?

I need you to please look at that painting on the wall and please, please tell me they didn’t frame a puzzle


End Thoughts:

This was better than last week, except for the lame puzzle. We finally get an exciting taste of TEAM PUZZLE BATTLES…and it’s a slow puzzle where you simply walk from one square to another. Think of all the possibilities for tag team puzzle matches! Turn-based ones should greatly reward teamwork and punish those who try to solve the puzzle in a different method from their teammates…it would be an interesting mix-up from having one person solve it their way. Likewise, imagine a free-for-all where everyone is running around. We could have a battle royale all up in this! Instead, they opted for a territory-securing puzzle that moved slowly and had no tension. They’ve cooked up some crazy puzzles so far in this show, so excuse me for becoming the ruling expert on puzzles and being a snob when one doesn’t meet my high standards.

My guess is they picked a more low-key puzzle to show off the Orpheus Order members all at once. They wanted the focus to be observing their personalities and learning their goals, but that didn’t make up for the boring puzzle. However, we have got some mild infodumping out of the way so that things can finally get more intense. For one thing, they reveal their goal for world domination. I was convinced they wanted to outfit the entire world in Orpheus bling, and indeed, that’s exactly what they’re up to. Humans are naturally seeking ways to become smarter in order to improve society (…or solve puzzles, because we all know the priority of society in this show.) so it makes sense. It’s not like they want to brainwash everyone – they just don’t see emotions as an important part of humans. Keep in mind they’re being slightly controlled by their armlets while making their decisions, and a person with dulled emotions isn’t going to be a very good judge of whether they’re important or not. This makes them a little more morally ambiguous than the POG if you ignore that they achieve their goals with puzzle duels to the bitter end. Don’t forget that this is a world where intelligence trumps all other special abilities.

They also addressed Jikukawa’s inability to wear an Orpheus armlet. I thought they’d ignore it and leave it as some sort of loophole, but instead they’ve made him a black sheep of sorts. I wonder if they’ll use him for tests to make sure their replica works on ALL humans, even rejects like Jikukawa. What’s the point of mass-distributing them if it only works on a small fraction of the world’s population, right? Anyways, I found their discrimination of Jikukawa to be interesting. He hasn’t done anything for a LONG time, so maybe he’ll get some action soon.

Last but not least – we learn more about the personality of each individual member. It feels a bit like an awkward slideshow of traits made just for us so we get that Melancholy is a diva, Doubt is anal about everything, and Pinochle is a womanizer. They look cool, but they’re really lacking in depth at the moment. The only characters to catch my eye were Doubt, Freecell and Whist. Whist isn’t interesting in terms of personality, but it makes me wonder why a normal dude would willingly help a bunch of lunatics achieve such a ludicrous plan for world domination. Most normal people would be repulsed by their plans. He might have an Orpheus armlet under his sleeves, but I doubt it, seeing as he doesn’t participate in any puzzles. Doubt has a little more depth than the others in that he acts as bossy as a group leader would, despite that position clearly belonging to Freecell. He’s also the most ruthless, and I think that will make his puzzles all the more exciting to witness. Then there’s Freecell, who is so intense that he scares Melancholy. While Rook was obsessed with having Kaito as his own, Freecell is obsessed with keeping promises. He also seems really stuck on the past – his interactions with Kaito especially. Apparently, the entire organization knew him back then too. HOW DID THEY ALL KNOW HIM? Kaito, please remember your past life of whoring around town with lunatics in order to get them off your case. This isn’t the type of thing you should just erase from your mind!

Preview: Gammon is still fuming over the Orpheus bracelet they tried to give Miharu, and he’s recklessly seeking revenge. His morals have always been a bit at odds with the Phi Brain group, so will he break off from them again and go on a hunt for merciless vengeance? Only time will tell. DUN DUN DUUNNNNN! *flips a table for emphasis*

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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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13 Responses to “Phi Brain S2 – 04”

  1. BlackBriar says:

    Wow, these Orpheus item sure has the gang running ragged. They’ve become like a drug being distributed all around. Nonoha’s going to make her hair fall out if she stresses herself out like this. And Ana continues his weird streak. Talking to cats? How much weirder can he get?

    Freecell is still awesome as ever. He stalks Kaito like a ghost. I wonder if Kaito lost some of his memories a few years ago explaining why he doesn’t remember Freecell because he definitely knows Kaito to a disturbing degree. Moreover, maybe the school that Kaito and Rook were attending as kids had something to do with the Orpheus Order.

    Each of the Order’s member’s names is a reference: Freecell: a solitaire-based card game played with a 52-card standard deck.
    Pinochle: a trick-taking card game typically for two to four players and played with a 48 card deck.
    Doubt: a status between belief and disbelief, involves uncertainty or distrust or lack of sureness of an alleged fact, an action, a motive, or a decision.
    Hoist: Too many references to be noted.
    Melancholy: mood disorder of non-specific depression.
    Mizerka: a trick-taking card game belonging to the Whist group.
    Klondike: a solitaire card game.
    I wonder what the creators were trying to do giving their characters such names.

    The puzzle wasn’t as exciting as the others but I liked the setting around of what would happen if you lost. Whoever hired that sadistic butler can’t be good in the head.

    • Overcooled says:

      The only way to stop them is to stop the source, and that’s…well, that’s easier said than done. Nonoha’s method isn’t a very good fix (although it’s amusing to watch) and…uh…I don’t know how good animals will be as messengers lol. Godammit Ana, stop being so ambiguously magical/crazy!

      I don’t get how Kaito could just FORGET a group of friends unless something was done to his memory :/ Weird. I actually didn’t know Pinochle was a card game. It suits him. Tricks and 2 players? I bet he’d play it with a girl.

      • BlackBriar says:

        It’s true that it would be easier said than done. They’d have to first find out where they’re all these Orpheus items. Having an Orpheus detector could’ve helped Nonoha in her frantic search but I agree it was amusing. I think Ana will always have some unexpected weirdness up his sleeve. I wonder if it’s because he has some particular mental disorder.

        Something probably happened to Kaito that’s given him repressed memories. Most of Kaito’s was a lie so anything is possible.

        The name Pinochle does suit him. After all, he’s a trickster and a womanizer. The definition of his name is thus considered part of a “trick-and-meld” category which also includes a cousin, belote. Each hand is played in three phases: bidding, melds, and tricks. The standard game today is called “partnership auction pinochle.”

        Mizerka is also a a trick-taking card game and is traditionally played with three people. What distinguishes Mizerka from tradition trick is the use of a fourth dealt pile, serving as a “grab bag” for players to exchange their cards. This pile is referred to as the talon.

        Excluding Melancholy, everyone in the Order is basically named after card games. Things have changed this season. So from a Chess motif in the P.O.G. side like Rook to a card game motif for the Orpheus Order.

      • BlackBriar says:

        “It’s true that it would be easier said than done. They’d have to first find out where they’re making all these Orpheus items and destroy them.”

        • Overcooled says:

          I don’t know what’s up with Ana, he’s just….odd. Odd and smart. He’s probably just an eccentric genius, considering the fact that he’s ACTUALLY PSYCHIC.

          Kaito had a rough past, and was a lab rat of sorts, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s repressing memories or they messed around with his head.

          Did you know about these card games beforehand, or did you look it up? It sounds like it fits them well, but I’ve never heard of them before. I think they just got sick of puzzle-based names at some point, since even some of the main cast members aren’t named after puzzles. Melancholy is still a weird choice though. It’s not even a Japanese name o_o

          • BlackBriar says:

            No. Like you were wondering, I looked it up because I found it weird that they all had names with a common pattern.

            They reminded me of the patterns in the Megaman Starforce game series for Nintendo DS. The bad guys and rivals in the first game had names referencing stars (Ophiuca, Libra, Gemini, Cygnus, Taurus). In the second game, they had names referencing animals and the third one with cards (Spade, Diamond, Club, Queen, Jack, Joker, Ace).

          • Rolca says:

            Melancholy reminds me of Medaka Box’s Perfect Melancholy, which is a variation of the concentration game, but outside of that google hasn’t come up with anything… maybe is it a Japan-only name/game.

            The Orpheus Order talked about a “Game”, which struck me as weird in this puzzle world so there must be more to it.

            • Overcooled says:

              Hmm, didn’t know about that since I’m not watching Medaka Box. I guess her name is technically based off a game too then! It could either be an incredibly obscure Japanese game, or something exclusive to Medaka Box. I’m guessing if Google has nothing about it that isn’t tied to Medaka Box, that it’s just a made up name for a spin-off of another game.

              Weird that they would play a game that would risk so many of their members when they’re only after Kaito. The Orpheus Order definitely has something odd up their sleeves.

            • Rolca says:

              The problem with Medaka Box is that unless it’s more than a two-cour, the only arcs that are going to be animated are the boring ones (I even dropped it). The following ones have more deconstruction and especially glorious trolls as big bads. Medaka Box is not that popular though, so Melancholy is still an obscure choice.

              They must trust Kaito’s life-saving skill or have back-up Phi Brains.

    • Zing says:

      Hoist? Don’t you mean Whist?

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