There is ALWAYS time to pose in a life-or-death battle
|Aww, man…Sorry I’m so late with these things. The 3 shows I blog about all come out around the same day (Sunday evening/Monday morning) and Phi Brain comes out last, so I don’t get to start working on it until later. I’ve also been really busy running around buying gifts for my friend’s birthdays, which is troublesome since I am prone to getting lost, so it takes 3x the time to find anything on my own D: Now that I am done showering you with excuses for a post that isn’t even all that late (imagine if it were 2 episodes combined into one post! *gasp*), let’s just get on with the show.|
Ahhh, resisting the urge to commence this post with “BUHYOOO~~ PINOCHLE IS SO MOE~!” is very hard. So hard that I apparently couldn’t resist it. Ugh. I can’t help it, he’s just so cute this week! I like Pinochle, so I was pretty happy to see him take the wheel this week. He challenged Kaito to a really exciting puzzle this week too. None of that sliding tile bullshit was to be found this week! No sir! Think about the process of making this puzzle for the show. Strip everything away, and this is just a colour wheel. It’s very boring to watch someone solve one of these in real life because it just involves turning dials in a circle until they match. The staff sat down and thought how they could make a colour wheel more exciting…so they decided the natural conclusion to draw would be to set it over a vat of lava (I don’t think that’s how furnaces work) as two opponents try to throw each other to their fiery demise. Wow. All that from an unassuming little colour wheel!
It helped that this week’s puzzle seemed to have a bit of a higher animation budget, so the solving animations were pretty damn cool to watch. Very reminiscent of Yu-Gi-Oh! or how Light writes in his Death Note in the anime with dramatic hand swipes and strange hand positions. I’m not even sure what Pinochle was doing by the end – it looked like he was a cat trying to pounce on a catnip mousey. Kaito’s CLEAR poses were more sensible, but still really dramatic and totally not needed. Not needed..but awesome! The puzzle was gloriously over the top, well-animated, and escalated appropriately in tension at the end. Pinochle tried to shake Kaito with his words, but ended up being the one to get flustered by Ana’s observations and Kaito’s cool as a cucumber attitude. Kaito was a BAMF this week, you have to admit. Not only did he solve the puzzle without breaking a sweat, but he went into overdrive to solve that last colour wheel in like 2 seconds! He must be getting stronger…and by stronger I mean smarter.
Overall, an excellent episode that is spent almost entirely on an exciting versus puzzle.
Bowlcut-kun Steals our Hearts
I started to like Pinochle when he revealed his undying love for Freecell back when The Order had that massive sliding puzzle match against Kaito and pals. He proved that he wasn’t just a sleazy villain who relied on blackmail and trickery – he just wanted to have a friend. Everyone in The Order is so focused on puzzles and trying to beat Kaito, but Pinochle is the only one focused on trying to make Freecell happy. The sad truth of the matter is that his feelings are unrequited. It doesn’t take Ana long to realize that Freecell couldn’t care less about Pinochle, and that much is shown to us by how casually Freecell looks as he watches Pinochle struggle for his sake. I don’t think his expression changed one bit as he watched Pinochle almost fall to his death.
At least someone cares about Pinochle…
As a result, this episode is basically a huge pity-fest for Pinochle. We see his trash-talking as per usual, but it’s counterbalanced with explanations of why he’s going to such extreme measures. I really appreciate the extra lengths that were taken to humanize Pinochle, because I think a lot of Phi Brain fans just saw him as a cheating bastard. They ostensibly put more of their budget towards making Pinochle look awesome this week too! Pinochle wanted to befriend Freecell very badly, but his eyes were so set on Kaito that he ignored Pinochle completely. He was so desperate to become friends with Freecell that he sabotaged his second attempt to speak with Kaito by spreading horrible rumours. It was all so he could make his first ever friend; to get Freecell to stop ignoring him for Kaito. So if you zoom out for a second, you have Kaito ignoring Freecell (for Rook) and then Freecell ignoring Pinochle (for Kaito) in a sort of vicious cycle that ends up hurting everybody. However, everything Pinochle is doing is out of his longing for Freecell’s acceptance while everything Freecell does is for selfish revenge. Kaito did nothing to Pinochle, so he hates the puzzle genius simply because Freecell does.
So now we know why Pinochle is so determined to strike down Kaito – because he loves Freecell and wants to have hot, sweaty puzzle time with him. Not the kind of thing you usually plan out murders for, but okay, his reasoning makes good sense in the Phi Brain universe. As for why he likes to spread rumours and play dirty, that’s a side effect of his childhood too. He says that he only made new friends when he started to spread rumours about Kaito. That little bit of positive reinforcement was enough for him to make a habit out of doing that kind of thing. Thanks to the Replica Ring, he just got worse and started stalking people too. Yikes.
We learn pretty much everything we need to know about Pinochle this week. As soon as the Ring comes off, we see that he’s just a pathetic, lonely kid with a bowl cut. Suddenly he’s meek, co-operative and really receptive to people being nice to him. Without the Ring, he suddenly becomes SUPER CUTE. We’re talking maximum moe levels here. I’m not sure how much he’ll be on the frontlines for Team Kaito (probably not a lot), but he’s almost certainly going to try and contact Freecell and attempt to free his heart.
Burning From the Inside Out
The Order is in rough shape right now. Mizerka is confiding in Doubt about the Replica Rings, which brings a very important question into light: are their rings fakes too? It’s highly likely. Pinochle had a fake one, so why not them too? The scary thing is that they haven’t been told precisely who has real Rings and who has fake ones. The flow of information is being very carefully drip-fed to the right individuals to make sure no one discovers any unfavourable secrets. Whist seems to be the one doing this. He’s the only one in direct contact with Klondike, so he not only controls what Klondike knows, but what the rest of the Order knows as well. He can tell lies to either party, and leave out details where convenient to fulfill his own agenda. For example, he tells Freecell about the Replica Rings and lets him see Pinochle fall into enemy hands. He tells the other members that Pinochle died in action, using this death to pin more blame on Herbert and flush him out. He’s a crappy boss who cheats, gets angry, and doesn’t get along with the other members, so getting rid of him is a wise move. Make no mistake – Whist is the puppeteer making everyone dance for his own amusement.
Preview: Herbert has to challenge Kaito and friends to a puzzle to make up for screwing everything up. He’s still cheating, so it’s bound to be…eventful.