What do puzzles, gay harems, apple juice and seeing the future have in common?
I devoted an entire year to puzzles. Starting from 2011 and carrying on well into 2012, I watched and blogged 2 seasons of the cult hit Phi Brain. At first, I thought I had made another grave mistake in choosing what to watch. “This is Fractale all over again” I thought to myself bitterly. I only continued to watch it out of obligation, and I steeled myself to hang on through poorly animated and completely nonsensical puzzle battles.
This was a show about a boy who used an arm band to become a genius – yet always solved puzzles by cheating anyways. Kaito was so smart that everyone loved him, and he quickly developed a harem…of men. This was further enforced by the canonical FACT that women were terrible at puzzles and therefore ignored by every single male with almost determined purpose. Things got even more ridiculous over time. At one point, there was a big reveal that Kaito’s parents were killed by puzzles which was the source of all his emotional baggage. Just let that soak in. His parents physically died trying to solve a puzzle! You can’t tell me that isn’t the most hilarious tragic backstory you’ve ever encountered. I went into Phi Brain thinking it was the dumbest show in existence.
Then it broke me.
And I swear, in that moment we were infinite…
Phi Brain physically snapped my spine in two and left me paralyzed. Out of nowhere, it had flipped the switch from being mediocre to the work of a genius. There was no resisting the dark lure of puzzles, and I quickly found myself unironically enjoying Phi Brain with all of my heart. It’s not the sort of thing I’d suggest to everyone because it’s got the strangest brand of appeal I’ve ever encountered in an anime. It’s not “terribad” (so bad it’s good) but it’s not genuinely amazing either. It’s a strange hybrid between the two that captivates and awes all who watch it. The best part is that it’s completely self-aware at how insane it is. It really is one of those shows you either can’t stand or will adore to the point you write an entire “12 days of anime” post about it since it was the best event in anime of your year.
With my newfound addiction to puzzles, Phi Brain became something to look forward to every week. Of course, the next natural step was to find like-minded people who understood that the secret to curing cancer, ending poverty and halting war all over was puzzles. I generally take a venus fly trap approach to socializing where I just wait for someone to talk to me first, and then I will
devour them respond. Otherwise, I just lurk quietly and keep my comments to myself. Fortunately, SCCSAV invited me to their Phi Brain watch group when season 2 started airing, and I got to create even more wonderful memories with them. I’m super happy that processr, swabl, Caraniel, fathomlessblue and Foshizzel let me join in on the fun, especially since I’m a bit more on the shy side. I haven’t done a livewatch for any other series, so this was a first for me and yet another reason why Phi Brain was such a memorable event in 2012. So…thanks for that, guys!
Woof woof, motherfucker.
As the rest of the aniblogsophere looked at us with a mix of disgust, confusion, and that sort of sympathetic look you give three-legged dogs, we proudly gathered each week to talk about puzzles. This is one of those shows that improves when you watch it with others. Together we encountered wondrous events such as the unforgettable puzzle dog (a genius dog that solves deadly puzzles) and Jikukawa regaining his sanity thanks to apple juice. The promise of season 3 despite the fact this show has the budget smaller than what you’d give a 10 year old for lunch money and a tiny fanbase was also another momentous occasion. I’d love to leave it at the fact that Phi Brain’s greatest moment was every second of every episode, that is a bit of a cop out, so I will select one moment for us all to look back at fondly.
I’ll be the Giver and you’ll be the Solver tonight, if ya know what I mean~
Yes, the second to last episode of season 1. The big build up to the finale is an amazing episode that focuses on Kaito going on an outing with his extremely touchy friend Rook, who is also the main villain of the entire series. A date episode. Not with the main female character who loves him, but with another guy who has been lusting after Kaito all season and saying such memorable lines as “he’s so beautiful when he solves puzzles” and “BOKU NO KAITO!!!!”. If the term yanhomo didn’t exist before, then Rook was the one who invented the use of it. Right after the date ends, Rook reverts to yandere mode and asks Kaito to solve a puzzle with him so one of them will die so they can live on in the other person’s heart forever. This one moment of Rook going from sugary-sweet to a maniacal serial killer/stalker complete with super saiyan hair is the definition of all that is Phi Brain. Love for puzzles? Check. Homosexual subtext that isn’t even subtext anymore? Check. A lack of females doing anything important other than cooking? Check, check and check.
Season 3 is coming soon, so I’m sure there will be even more wonderful moments for 2013. You still have time to catch up! It’s weird, and has a certain barrier of entry, but once it wins you over, you will become a diehard fan and start seeing sudoku as if they were scorched onto the backs of your eyelids. If you’re a fellow Phi Bro, then tell me what was your favourite moment of 2012 from the show was! What was it? Puzzle dog? Freecell’s final puzzle? Pinochle getting bitchslapped? Let us relive the glory of puzzle time until the long-awaiting S3 airs!
Merry Christmas everyone! Make sure to have puzzle time with the people you cherish most!