Phi Brain S2 – 19

Look, if you don’t take his bloody hand he’s going to take out your ribs and crucify you to them, okay?

I’ve been getting distracted a lot while studying lately. Mostly because my notes are littered with Phi Brain doodles, and it’s hard to read about neurotransmitters and hormones when Freecell is tap-dancing on almost every single word. Yes, this the heavy burden that I carry. Nineteen episodes in and the Phi Brain obsession continues to thrive within me!

Freecell’s Ring went through some drastic and very confusing changes. Remember in season 1 when Kaito’s Ring started doing crazy shit like seeing the future? Well, the tail end of season 2 seems eager to do the same thing. It’s still unclear exactly what his Ring does, but I have some best guesses ready. First of all, the Ring was originally a fake created by Whist. The whole reason he could gather data and monitor Freecell was because he installed such a device into it. Like the other Orpheus Order members, he was just another lab rat. I was starting to get suspicious of Melancholy, and it seems like she’s in on the whole thing with Whist. She doesn’t seem surprised to see Whist watching Freecell and collecting data, and Whist doesn’t mind her walking in either. I doubt her Ring is real though, because who entrusts an ancient artifact to a haughty loli?

During Whist’s surveillance, several things happen. For starters, Freecell unlocks a new “rainbow mode” (or as I like to call, the “Pride Parade Mode”) that we’ve never seen before. As he’s recalling his memories, the rainbow effect comes on, suggesting that this mode is specifically related to the wearer’s memories. Freecell says that he suddenly remembers the truth, meaning that this mode actually helps him remember the actual events instead of the twisted one where Kaito killed his mom.

Nonoha is pretty dubious of this and calls him out on it, asking him how she should discern between the fake memories and real memories. When someone commits themself so deeply to one set of facts and then swiftly throws it away and adopts a new truth without any stress whatsoever, then something is wrong. The Ring has never been very good at showing people the truth, so I think this Ring might just be further muddling up the memories. The only way sanity can be restored is by destroying those Rings. Pinochle didn’t realize the truth until his Rings were broken, and I would imagine the same thing applies to Freecell. A real ring is stronger than a fake ring, and so it should follow that the emotional and memory-manipulating aspects should be stronger too.

Whoaa…pretty colours…

So, let’s review what the Ring changed. Instead of loving his mom, he apparently hated her. It’s odd, because Freecell has naturally been fluctuating between loving and hating his mother. After Pinochle “died”, he said he hated her despite spending the rest of the series mourning her death. The other change is that he apparently was the one to kill her, which sounds just as unlikely as Kaito killing her. I doubt a little kid has the means to murder someone and have the police not notice it was a homicide case. If he simply exacerbated her condition somehow, then that’s still not really causing her death either. These two changes completely alter Freecell’s perception. He is no longer obsessed with Kaito’s promise to him or his mother’s death – he’s purely obsessed with Kaito as a person. He has blinders on to everything else now, and his only desire is to solve puzzles with Kaito. Not out of revenge, just…for fun. That would be fine if the whole “you die if you lose” penalty wasn’t always in place.

I get the feeling that if his true memories were restored, he’d react with something other than villainous chortles and dramatic hand gestures. Some details are most likely true, but the majority of his tale smells fishy to me. In fact, this change might actually be quite harmful to Freecell instead of helpful. His grudge may be gone, but he’s more likely to accidentally kill Kaito now. He’s a lot smart now that his Orpheus Ring became real! Real Rings don’t have transmitters, so it shut off entirely and left Whist in the dark. Also, it started to glow purple at one point. I think he might have Kaito’s old ability to see the future as well. Instead of focusing on his depressing past, he’s fixated on a beautiful future holding hands with his precious Kaito. Holding hands and going through life-threatening puzzles…

Of course, nothing is certain with Phi Brain, and that Orpheus Ring could be controlling robots and combing Freecell’s hair every day for all I know. These things do everything! If you couldn’t tell by how I dedicated this post entirely to Freecell’s mental state due to the Ring; I really like how ridiculously over-powered these things are. Let me know what you think of the Ring and if his memories are real or fake! I also have one more question for you guys: why didn’t Freecell recognize Pinochle when he was scouted to the Orpheus Order?

Screenshots Rescued From Under The Rubble: Show ▼

Final Thoughts:

I have to say, this was an excellent episode. Nonoha is the character I always try so hard to like, but rarely find anything to latch onto because of the role they cast her as. Nonoha as the cheerleader is lame, but Nonoha as the support character is great. Whether it’s using her physical strength to punch through solid rock or taking advantage of her photographic memory, I can’t help but nod in approval at every opportunity that she takes to use her special skill set. No one else in the show has this ability. It’s her niche. Nonoha held her own this week by trying to save Kaito and explaining the puzzle layout to Freecell. In addition to that, she used this as a great moment to grill him about his deal with Kaito. As a result, we learned a heck of a lot about Freecell’s past and even saw some freaky new Orpheus Ring modes. I love when Phi Brain lays down these crazyass plot twists! Things are really getting exciting now!!

Preview: Kaito asks Rook for puzzle-training, which involves a little more than those 5 star sudoku in the newspapers. I’m talking Fool’s Puzzles. The kind that eat you up and spit you out if you’re not quick on your feet and twice as fast up in the ‘ole noodle. KAITO FIGHT-O!

I’m more scared of the faces than the spikes…


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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15 Responses to “Phi Brain S2 – 19”

  1. Jenanime4eva says:

    He’s got plenty of experience stomping cell phones to do this. Oh wait, that’s another character voiced by Kamiyan…

    *Shakes fist* I-Z-A-Y-A!!! >:D

    Freecell carrying Kaito bridal style totally made my day LOL XD. I bet Freecell enjoyed doing that immensely because everyone on this show is gay for Kaito ;).

    I also have no bloody clue what’s going on anymore with regards to Freecell’s memories that seems to change quicker than the British weather :P.

    Hooray! Kaito’s lover Rook is back next episode. I am looking forward to seeing him help train Kaito in what looks to be some more exciting life-or-death puzzles. It should be really interesting when Kaito, Rook and Freecell finally gather together in one place: the ultimate puzzle menage-a-trois :).

    Also, they keep teasing us with Nonoha letting her hair down in the opening. I wonder when that will actually be happening? Come on Phi Brain writers, everyone wants to see that happen very soon :D.

    • Overcooled says:

      I may have taken 20 screencaps of that one bridal-carry scene. It’s so good, i went trigger-happy. For all the potential Nonoha x Freecell fodder that happened (not a lot) there was twice as much glorious homoerotic feelings towards Kaito. Ah, good old Phi Brain~

      Haha, can’t wait to see Rook again too. I really hope he accompanies Kaito in his final battle with Freecell to help…or at least cheer him on!

      I keep forgetting that this is a thing despite it being in the opening every week. Show us your hair, girl!

  2. Yuushin says:

    My, my…..Freecell sure is gentleman…. But letting girl carry the man twice her size and weight probably. Not cool Freecell, not cool…But if it was other way around whole scene probably wouldn’t have much impact now would it. >:/

    Whole Ring situation lost me at this new mode xD Much like Nonoha I have no idea what story to trust anymore.
    Which ever version is right ( and I think there’s truth in both. maybe second one bit more) all is leading up Freecel wanting to solve puzzles with Kaito. We just have to wait and see what connection all this really have with relationship between Freecell and his
    Even through I’m sure we all can guess what ending would be like ( Kaito defeats Freecell, ring falls of, everyone is happy for the rest of their days, until new villains pop out…) I have no idea what will happen in these last five/six episodes that would lead up to it. 😀
    On other..places people are yapping how this show is stupid and predictable…But beside ending the time in between is a puzzle to me xD

    PS: I agree, faces on those rocks are far more creepier then the spikes. O__O

    • Overcooled says:

      I bet Nonoha is the only one with the strength to do so. Freecell looks like a stick with no muscle whatsoever. Unless he’s secretly ripped like Rook (DEM MUSCLES!)

      It’s a messy situation that kind of leaves us in the dark, but it’s still cool. I hope they explain things clearly soon, because I doubt I really guessed right about everything.

      Yeah, all we know is it will end with Freecell becoming good again and forgiving Kaito. That’s almost guaranteed. XD

      I’m not sure how people watching this show up to this point can suddenly turn around and say it’s predictable. If they found it predictable from season 1 then okay, but it’s not like season 2 suddenly nosedived and started blatantly telegraphing things more than season 1 did. Ah well. I’d disagree with the statement that this show is predictable (aside from the ending of course. I’m with you on that!)

  3. BlackBriar says:

    Nineteen episodes in and the Phi Brain obsession continues to thrive within me! What are you going to do when it finally finishes its run? It’s going to leave a hollow feeling because when it ends, we’ll have gone through a whole year. Interesting episode so far. What I liked was the music during the second half.

    Ah, Nonoha. She’s awesome for punching through ruble and carrying people about twice her size. If she was a regular, everyday girl, I’d have been concerned but she can hold her own.

    Now I’m even more confused about the Ring’s function. Which is the truth and which is a lie? Even Freecell doesn’t know. I think the effects have pushed Freecell’s sanity to the point that he doesn’t care for anything but power anymore. And what he said about the Ring being a fake which turns out to be the real deal, I guess he’s implying that a fake can be more real than the real thing.

    • Jenanime4eva says:

      Was that a sly Nisemonogatari reference there? 😉

      • BlackBriar says:

        Hahaha. Bingo! I was hoping someone would notice and it seemed appropriate since they’re talking about what’s real and what’s fake and that both this season of Phi Brain and Nisemonogatari has Hiroshi Kamiya.

        • Overcooled says:

          Haha, I didn’t notice the reference until it was pointed out. Ahhh, the difference between fakes and the real thing. Will Freecell’s fake become better than the real thing or will he still fall short of being as smart as he wants to be?

  4. Foshizzel says:

    “Is it time for a drill sexual innuendo joke or a Gurren Lagann joke?” “Ana, shut up and get out of there” < I wonder who's drill was piercing the heavens?! Trololololo Greatest episode so far! Damn I want them to announce s3 or maybe like three random Phi brain movies!? HELL YES! Either way whoever passed on this series is missing out on something really fun!

  5. Hazou says:

    This episode from the preview looked like the answer to my questions. But it ended confusing me even further. And Freecell is being thrown farther and deeper into the crazy hole,he needs to be quickly taken to the mental aslyum. Do they have mental wards for victims of Orpheus rings?

  6. Rolca says:

    To say I only had minimal modifications to make compared to the version of this comment I did the day you posted this… sigh I blame my laziness and my tendency to cover every points. Gomen Overcooled-sama ;_;

    Nonoha is way better when she tries to make sense out of the puzzle-bakas’ bullshit and doing the talking for everyone. What’s more, she’s the only one who didn’t get a single scratch or get trapped in rubbles. And she stayed two good minutes hanging on that block listening to Freecell like if it was nothing thanks her upper body strength. I was glad she did something this time, though Freecell ended up going rainbow mode and got her sidelined yet again…

    I was sad when Freecell didn’t recognize Pinochle. Does that mean Freecell never noticed him after all these years? ;A; (well Kaito didn’t care about Freecell either) He should at least know the guy who was protecting him from the rain at his mother’s burial! Btw it probably was at a sightly different moment, but in the flashback Kaito had of the burial, Freecell was standing instead of praying (the things I see with my searches lol). Anyway since Freecell used the plural you, maybe was he referring to “Melancholy&co”. They didn’t seem so young in the flashback. I’d say it happened a bit before S1. Does that mean Kaito barely arrived at Root before the beginning of the anime? He’s very close to Nonoha…

    I doubt Melancholy cares about having a fake or not. I feel she’s monitoring her teammates’ thoughts to a certain extent. Her reactions (or lack thereof) in the recent episodes were gold. I expected Whist to say “Melan-sama” when she called him Hoi again, I was kinda disappointed. She looks like she regrets scouting Freecell and how! That guy has scary tantrums! In ep 9 Ana said he loved his mother. I trust the trap. The trap is always right.

    The term real feels inappropriate. It’s infinitely close to the genuine article, but it’s a fake at core! Did the ring react at Freecell becoming closer to a true Phi Brain because he was stimulated by Kaito? How does one reach Phi Brain? What does the sketchy stylistic sequence mean? (it’s interesting how the roles were reversed there) What did Freecell see? What is he going to do now? And did Herbert’s dual rings break in the meantime?

    “It’s hard to read about neurotransmitters and hormones when Freecell is tap-dancing on almost every single word.”
    As they say, PICS OR IT DIDN’T HAPPEN!

    • Overcooled says:

      Not sure why you’re apologizing. It’s okay!!!

      Nonoha let Freecell do most of the work in the end, but this is such a huge improvement that it doesn’t really matter. I was wondering how she was hanging on that block for so long too! I can barely do like 4 chin-ups and she was still hanging there for that entire time without straining or anything. o_o

      It was a really short scene, but it bugged me immensely. How could he forget Freecell? He was going to the same school the entire time! Mmm, he knew Nonoha before going to the fancy puzzle school with Freecell. His parents died before he went there, and Nonoha was there after the funeral. The recruitment probably happened a while after Kaito transferred, and then the Order slowly grew while S1 progressed. Sounds about right, no?

      Haha, Ana is always right, yes! Although in the latest episode, Cubic does bring up that Freecell keeps switching between the two, and it’s seriously weird.

      A fake can become real, but it’s origin will always be that of something fake. Whether or not you call it “real” depends on your definition of real, I guess. But it’s weird that it suddenly reacted like that. Whist says Freecell’s brain accelerates the most when Kaito is involved, and saving Kaito was such a huge priority that is probably stimulated his mind so much he became a child of the Phi Brain. I think the sketchy sequence is meant to show Freecell’s vision of the future. Kaito’s visions of the future are black and have ink blots and Freecell’s have pencil. He predicted saving Kaito and…well…he did. As for what else he saw other than saving Kaito, I’m not sure…

      I mentioned Herbert’s rings in my next episode post, but I don’t think they broke. In the screenshots, his sleeves are rolled down so I can’t tell, but I don’t think they’ll break without him feeling like he’s really lost.

      Hahaha, I didn’t scan it, so I don’t have proof at hand! Just trust me!

      • Rolca says:

        Because I’m always late on commenting :s
        How could they not know at least each other’s face (forget try to talk to each other) if they spent that many years? Phi Brain logic everywhere.

        The sketchy part being Freecell’s vision would be interesting! At the beginning of spring I thought it would be Ana’s doing, but it really comes from Freecell.

        From what I understood during my fic research:
        -phi brain: person who released themselve from the shackles of the gods and reached their brain’s true potential (which reminds me, Freecell said he wanted to be set free)
        -phi brain child: potential phi brain (hence why jikukawa isn’t one anymore)

        I thought Herbert would be taken to the POG like Eve and Pinochle, but we didn’t get any mention of him. Weird. He was willing to give up and have puzzle time with Kaito, and it’s usually at this moment that the ring comes off. The two options now would be 1) the ring got a final before-death reaction and broke during ep19, but since the remains are in the rubbles, Cubic can’t analyze them 2) Herbert is doing stuff on his own with both rings still manipulating his body, which is unlikely since we only have 5 eps left and he’s supposedly injuried.

        Darn! I wanted to see that!

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