First Impressions – Phi Brain S3

Let’s continue puzzle time!

This is my favourite anime of the season. No, I’m serious. That “no, I’m serious” wasn’t sarcastic, either. I honestly don’t know how to tell people Phi Brain is a spectacular show without having them take my enthusiasm as an ironic joke. Phi Brain is something I get dangerously excited about, and waiting all this time for season 3 has been so worth it. I may not be able to convert the non-believers, but I know those of you who also like Phi Brain…really, really like Phi Brain.

Phi Brain 007

Ana immediately reminds everyone that he’s a boy despite his silky, hairless legs

Everyone is back for more puzzles, giving us a huge cast of colourful characters to enjoy. At first I was a little worried that having characters from both season 1 and 2 would get too hectic, but I was actually rather pleased to see Freecell and the gang. Rook is also an obvious fan favourite, as his relationship with Kaito just gets more and more flamboyant. It’s oddly satisfying to see these ex-villains go through “rehab” in their own way. They were once yandere psychos lusting for blood (and Kaito’s dick, let’s be honest) and now they’re meek, obedient balls of fluff. Furthermore, Freecell is so traumatized that he doesn’t want to solve puzzles anymore. That’s a twist that will probably coincide with the overall theme of hating puzzles. With so many characters hanging around, Enigma and Ratsel could potentially scoop up any one of them and get them to turn on Kaito. It’s happened before so I don’t see why it can’t happen again.

Seeing the old characters is just as exciting as meeting the new ones due to the break between the end of season 2 and now. I’m freaking out over their updated outfits alone. Nonoha in a short shorts? Kaito with a new jacket? Rook looking 10x as pink as usual?! I love it. I love how shamelessly (yet quickly) they rotate through the old cast introductions to get you back into the swing of things. My impression of the new villains is fairly good as well. Kaito’s harem was getting so big that it was reaching a threshold, so having a girl makes things easier. We all know Kaito just ignores anyone of the XX chromosome variety, so Ratsel poses no threat of pushing Kaito’s harem into being too large. But seriously, I’m glad they have a cool girl in there even if she will inevitably be the target of hundreds of sexist jokes much like Nonoha was in the past. I bet she sucks at puzzles.

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Enigma is cool solely because he is voiced by Jouji Nakata – but otherwise I get him woefully mixed up with Baron since they’re both cool, older men. It will take a while for us to get to know them, but so far so good. I especially like this season’s concept of puzzles potentially being…EVIL?!?! It’s hilarious that Ratsel is a bad influence for telling Jin that puzzles are bad for killing people. That’s right, the villains are people with normal logic. The beauty of this set-up is that Kaito must somehow convince people with the opinion that life-taking puzzles are bad – the opinion every normal person in reality has if they possess half a neuron – that they are wrong. This will hopefully lead to bizarre conversations where Jin will say “but that buzzsaw nearly cut you in half!” and Kaito will reply “but the puzzle man, I feel it. It needs my love!”. Oh God, I can’t wait to see how they make up this conflict.

I’m not even done getting excited about these anti-puzzle villains yet. Their motives are totally different from Rook’s and Freecell’s in a way that makes things totally fresh. We no longer have the Orpheus rings to rely on for making people evil, so the villains have to have actual motives aside from just “the evil piece of jewellery made me do it.” This means that to maintain the same level of nonsense, they would need something else. But what? Ahhh, yes, to make the villains completely insane! I lied when I said they possess the logic of a normal human being. That logic only extends to the concept of puzzles being inherently terrible due the possible side effects of, you know, death. Their method of countering puzzles is not quite as sober. Instead of dismantling these safety hazards, they are re-activating them and trapping smart people in them.

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oh god, put the cloak back on…

The villains want to kill all smart people. I wish I were joking (not really) but that is the goal. KILL ALL SMART PEOPLE. I lost it when a man ripped off his mysterious cloak to reveal a clown suit and threatened them for being smart. I just…what? You want to kill them because puzzles are bad, so they must be too? WHAT? Clowns? On one hand the villains have this huge potential for bringing up some serious loopholes in the whole puzzle-loving logic the show revolves around (and create a black hole in the process). On the other hand, a clown escaped from Yu-Gi-Oh! or Hunter x Hunter and is throwing bombs onto little boys for fun. Phi Brain…you know how to entertain. You really do. The more nonsense the better and booooyyyyyy oh boy is this season going to be ripe with nyansense. :3c

This is everything I wanted. Puzzles, unnecessary drama, buzzsaws, and clowns. I will never get over that clown. Anyways, this really isn’t much of a surprise for us Phi Brain fans but I’d love to inflict this upon an uninitiated otaku who hasn’t seen ANY episode of Phi Brain in their life. It had the right level of crazy mixed with stuff that was actually, genuinely good in a way I can’t explain. For one thing, the animation budget is kind of great now. Or rather, it’s not terribly derp. The seiyuu cast continues to grow exponentially to the point where I’m certain we’ve wrangled about half of the industry. All we need is HanaKana and we’ve won the game. She’d probably voice another trap because lol girls aren’t in Phi Brain. Another fun bonus I just want to fangirl about  is the ED song, which features a slideshow of ships. The first picture if Kaito and Rook chasing each other on a beach. I am sO DONE WITH THIS SHOW. …..See you next week.

Bonus Screenshots:Show ▼


Preview: Kaito finishes the door puzzle, meanwhile his buddies are stuck battling an insane clown. It’s always fun to see Ana, Gammon and Cubic on their own without Kaito so I’m pretty excited!

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Calm down guys. We have all season for homoerotic subtext! No need to go full throttle so soon…


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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25 Responses to “First Impressions – Phi Brain S3”

  1. sonicsenryaku says:

    Wow…reading that phi-brain blog was way too fun. No need to convince me; I get the appeal of phi-brain. I cant explain why myself, but without even knowing it i just started following it. I guess a part of me just like solving the puzzles while the other part relishes in the sheer ridiculousness of this series.

    • Overcooled says:

      Glad you enjoyed it! I always have fun writing these too. It’s just such an odd show, only those who have watched it understand what makes it special. At this point I’ve given up recruiting new watchers – they just think I’m nuts.

      • BlackBriar says:

        At this point I’ve given up recruiting new watchers – they just think I’m nuts.

        This is why we need to convert them. They don’t see the glory of puzzles as we do. 😉

  2. BlackBriar says:

    Puzzle Time Start! Daimon Kaito is back! It’s round 3 for Phi Brain and the cult is starting back up. Third time’s the charm. We may be able to convert non believers yet!

    The new OP [Destiny] is alright to listen to in my opinion. It’s not as captivating as [Now or Never] for season 2 but I like it a lot more than [Brain Diver] for season 1.

    As I had hoped for the third season, Kaito’s new enemy is a girl and she’s a fierce one at that. Now things get interesting. Rätsel is quite the odd character and I find I might like her easily though she’s a villain. I mean, she makes those cat-like eyes fearsome yet alluring when she makes an expression (Okay, I got a thing for unusual looking eyes in anime. Don’t judge me!) and she makes Rook and Freecell look like pathetic chumps with that murderous intent she’s harboring as she set everyone up. So, since she’s with Enigma, that means she’s part of the group Master Brain. I can’t wait to see how financially loaded these guys are with their puzzles. Gotta know if they can outdo the Orpheus Order building a giant glass pyramid puzzle overnight on the school grounds from season 2.

    The methods Enigma said were going to be used on puzzlers in a way sounds like giving a drug dealer his own product and letting him OD on it. A very dark sense of karma.

    The storyline is what baffles me. After all this time and reverence to puzzles, Jin actually hates them? It’s like everything you thought you knew about the series has been thrown into question just by that little possibility and that would mean everything Kaito and Rook believed were nothing but lies.

    @Overcooled: That’s 5000 comments in the bag now, master. Funny how one of your posts always manage to show up when I’m about to cross the threshold, huh? 😀

    • Liza says:

      All of the non-believers will be converted this time around! We can do it everyone!

      I think there is more to Jin’s story and hating puzzles and Ratsel is just taking it the wrong way? If not, well, Kaito will convert Jin back to the puzzle ways.

      I really like the OP but nothing can beat Nano’s amazing voice. <3

      And congrats on 5000 comments!

      • Overcooled says:

        Usually the villains have the truth horribly distorted (like how Freecell thought Kaito made his mom die uhhhhh yeah that wasn’t what happened) so I think Jin likes puzzles, but may have had a period of not liking for whatever reason. Some sort of dark era of his life.

        I loveeeee the first 2 opening songs. Nano does have a really good voice (and her english is perfect). This one is good, but not quite as catchy.

        • Liza says:

          Well Nano did grow up in America(in Brookyln) so that’s to be expected. XD She’s been apparently forgetting her english slowlllyyyy now that she’s back in Japan. XD

        • BlackBriar says:

          Nano does have a good voice and she’s fluent in both languages. She did the OP for BTOOOM!, criss-crossing between English and Japanese.

    • Overcooled says:

      I should probably be less lazy and use the ä in her name…Anyways, she’s pretty cool. I’m digging the cat thing as well, although I’m not sure if it has a purpose or of it’s just for imagery. So far she doesn’t seem as crazy as Rook or Freecell though. Vicious, yet. But until she screams “BOKU NO KAITOOOO” and collapses into a sobbing mess on the floor, she’s pretty standard as far as villains go. Enigma is super rich though so I’m expecting really fancy puzzles too!

      Congrats on 5000 comments! Such loyalty! :>

  3. EdBunny says:

    PHI BRAIN!! That’s all I have to say. My roommates were really weirded out. I watched this show with utmost major excitement squeeling at every twist and turn. And they thought I had gone insane.

    • Overcooled says:

      We would be perfect roommates.

      • BlackBriar says:

        I imagine someone would eventually be saying “Will you two stop disturbing the peace?”. 😀

      • EdBunny says:

        We would be. We would disturb the peace and the neighbors cause Phi Brain excitement is over 9000 <—I couldn't resist a cliche joke.

  4. Liza says:

    OMG YES. As said in the words of Akihiko, “I’ve been waiting for this!”

    So excited to see this back! 😀 And with a crazy new plot. Get rid of puzzles? *gasp* How could they do such a thing!? Also Ratsel. A GIRL main villain? WHUT. What is this madness!? She doesn’t have white hair. What is thissssss.

    It was great to see everyone again! Oh, how I missed you and your craziness Gammon. And he apparently still likes Nonoha(I will go down with the ship!)

    Can’t wait for what else this season will throw at us. It’ll be good and full of puzzles! 😀

    • BlackBriar says:

      Also Ratsel. A GIRL main villain? WHUT. What is this madness!? She doesn’t have white hair. What is thissssss.

      Madness? Nonsense. 😉 It’s time for change and to end the usual streak! Now we get to see how a girl mastermind does things and Rätsel seems pretty child-like yet sadistic, the kind of person that would have you lower your guard then stab you in your sleep.

    • Overcooled says:


      This season is throwing a lot of curveballs at us while still being the same, lovable show. Females and an anti-puzzle agency is just…brilliant. I already want a season 4!

      • BlackBriar says:

        If it does, I bet it wouldn’t bother you in the least blogging it as soon as the third season ended like it was for seasons 1 and 2 where you spent a whole year on one series.

  5. Celestine says:

    I do not have a opinion on phi brain what so ever since i never watched and still for some reason i got soooooooo exited when the first ep came out, i screamed at my celphone and my mom ( who is already accustomed whit my stupidness ) ask me: what? did something you like came out? and i just awser: no. so why did you screamed? i looked at her: i don´t know. my mother: you really need to do some mental exams. lol

    • Overcooled says:

      So you’ve never seen any of season 1 and yet you got excited enough to scream in glee at season 3? Yep, you’re perfect for the fandom. Welcome aboard! No mental tests required to join haha

      • BlackBriar says:

        I’m keeping a Psycho-Pass around just in case. We might end up with some latent criminals thanks this show and its insane puzzles.

  6. gem2niki says:

    Yay! Thanks for continuing to blog this. There’s rarely anyone that blogs this with such passion as yours that understand our puzzle kokoro~~ *w*

    I’m crazy excited for this season! Can’t believe its been almost a year without it! Plus more Rook!!! Yay!!

    • Overcooled says:

      It is my pleasure to share my love of puzzles with the world! Only Phi Brain fans can truly understand the importance of puzzles, after all.

      I’m dying for the next episode. I usually just watch whenever I have time, but I think for Phi Brain I’ll end up waiting for the exact release time and watching immediately after…regardless of whether I’m busy with school or not ehehehe

  7. Kyokai says:

    This episode was so silly but oh well, it’s usual for Phi Brain. For me the best thing was of course Nakata Jouji voicing Engima and love the whole old crowd coming back again of course.

    And you know what, I have a theory (lol). Jin was all chummy with these anti-puzzlers and sure, in the beginning he was all for it but after meeting Kaito and Rook, he was taken over by the love of puzzles. Yep, Ratsel will discover this by the end of the series and cry tragic tears and might even turn out to love puzzles as well. Yep, this is how it’s going to be. xD

    • belatkuro says:

      Nakata Jouji is in all kinds of weird roles this season. He’s the narrator for NouCome and Ars Nova, he plays a small dragon in Machine Doll and he will also play a cat person in Log Horizon. Still love this guy.


    • Overcooled says:

      You can join me in a post whenever you’re free, Kyokai-sama! Gotta love Nakata Jouji’s voice. I didn’t even know voices could go that low.

      I think your theory is probably going to happen word for word lol. Phi Brain is usually pretty predictable.

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