Phi Brain S3 – 02

Phi Brain S3 013

I hope you’re not afraid of clowns. If not…you will be.

I’m burnt out from all the work I’ve had to do this week…but nothing can keep me away from puzzles. Not fire, not ice and certainly not midterms. This week’s episode features a gay clown and lots of fun facts about PUZZLE ASSASSINS. This stuff just writes itself, I tell ya.

Remember when we’d be lucky to get one puzzle squeezed into an episode? Well season 3 is intent on starting with a bang by throwing us a 2-for-1 deal. We really are getting spoiled! First up is Raetsel’s puzzle, which throws everyone for a loop. I found it hilarious that Rook was able to expertly dodge falling blocks and perform backflips, yet Kaito was unable to even move an inch away from danger. They both spend all their time solving puzzles yet one of them is completed ripped and the other is as skinny as a beanpole. Kaito’s missteps were actually what made the puzzle fun though. This is a rare occasion where he didn’t get it right immediately. For once, his first guess was wrong and he had to re-adjust his strategy in the heat of the moment to think up a new solution. This is a nice way to show just how good of a Giver Raetsel is – especially when she works with Jin. I don’t know if Kaito will end up getting yet another crazy ability or he’ll just train to get better at puzzles, but facing Raetsel is going to be a big challenge.

Phi Brain S3 001Phi Brain S3 011

Team Kaito’s Harem and Team…Kaito’s Other Harem.

Even the two-bit clown side character is tough as nails. The Phi Brain children don’t figure out the rules of the puzzles until their time is almost up, and they have three people working on the problem. Co-op puzzles are actually incredibly rare in Phi Brain – yet they are very memorable for integrating the various strengths of different Solvers in unique ways. One of the past ones I can recall is a season 2 co-op puzzle where Hubert dual wields Orpheus Rings and goes nuts, forcing Kaito and his friends to figure out how to cross a river without “eating” or “killing” each other based on their role. It was a fun puzzle, the results of everyone trying to work together was comedy gold, and Kaito wasn’t the only star of the show. If you think back to most team puzzles against the Orpheus Order, they involve one person facing another at a time. There’s nothing wrong with that, but they were not purely co-op puzzles in the way these two were. If more puzzles can successfully include more people into it, then we might be onto something special. A finale where Kaito combines the brainpower of all his friends to defeat Raetsel and show Jin the power of puzzles and friendship? Now that’s something I could bite into.

What makes these two puzzles so much better than previous co-op puzzles is the equal contribution of each member. For Raetsel’s puzzle, Rook saves Kaito’s life, Nonoha memorizes the code, and Kaito figures out the pattern. Usually they have to try really hard to shoehorn in a use for Nonoha, but it felt so natural this time around. The Whodunit (I still can’t believe that’s his name) puzzle was the same thing. Ana spurred them on and gave them a spark to find the answer, Gammon figured out the rules and Cubic used his number skills to solve part of the sudoku. Each person uses their specific strengths to help the team. I remember an old co-op puzzle where we first met Antoinette and she had a miniature model city that everyone had to build. Everyone just kind of…lifted boxes together. That’s nice, but it doesn’t show off everyone’s individual skills. This is important for characters like Nonoha who really one have a niche ability, and will never get to show their importance unless the work is divided in this way.

Phi Brain S3 012

He moves well for a man dressed head to toe in tight leather

I don’t know if co-op puzzles will become a “thing” in the future but I really hope they do. It may take a toll on Gammon’s pride, but he has to learn to be a team player one day. The only downside to these co-op puzzles is that you can tell the director is trying way too hard to sell the whacky shenanigans of Cubic, Ana and Gammon. A lot of things dragged on way too long in that scene. Whodunit had way too many lines. Just how many times was the 750k joke made? At this point I’m convinced it was filler to kill time. Phi Brain is always funnier when it isn’t trying to be funny, so seeing it attempt comedy is sometimes a little offputting. I found the way Whodunit would twirl his hair around his finger and then fling it over his shoulder so it would recoil like a spring to be more funny than dumb things like Gammon being desperate for money.

All in all, it was a good episode for intense puzzles and some plot progression. Yes, it’s easy to forget sometimes, but Phi Brain has a plot. The basic deal is that Jin traveled the world for a year to prepare for fighting Pythagoras (the battle he lost his memories in). Baron knows him from when they were younger and Kaito knows him just before he left for that year, but no one has any clue what he got into during that year. For all we know he went to Las Vegas and made a killing counting cards at the Blackjack table. But whatever happened, it appears Raetsel was there during that lone year.

Phi Brain S3 004

During that time, Jin must have shown some trepidation about puzzles – very understandable when you’re training for a life-or-death battle for an all-powerful scroll of infinite knowledge. These negative memories are the first ones that are coming back because Kaito is being insensitive and taking him to all of the most deadly puzzles first. I don’t know why Kaito didn’t just shove him a kumiki puzzle or the weekly crossword puzzle in the newspaper instead of taking him to ancient ruins. Reminiscing about almost getting sliced into deli meat by your best friend in a tower while solving a puzzle isn’t the best way to sell someone on the concept. This is compounded by Raetsel’s vicious puzzles. It’s no wonder Jin isn’t getting the best impression of puzzle time.

This is kind of BS since retrograde amnesia doesn’t actually work that way (your most recent memories are the most unstable, and therefore easier to disrupt and forget) but whatever…this is Phi Brain. Hopefully we get to learn more about why Jin grew to hate puzzles (aside from the soul-sucking battle thingy) and why he hired a group of Master Brains to kill puzzlers. It’s a fascinating set-up and I’m loving it more and more with each episode. Well, there’s only been 2 episodes so far but…By god, do I love Phi Brain.

Bonus pics: Show ▼

Preview: Raetsel goes to the Root Academy for kicks. Time to re-introduce all the season 1 people you didn’t really want to see again! More importantly, Jin challenges Kaito to a battle on a plane? Either he’s gone insane or one of the Master Brains is super good at disguises (a la Diceman of the POG). Something tells me it’s not a Halloween costume though…

Phi Brain S3 015

She doesn’t even go here!


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.
Blinklist BlogMarks Delicious Digg Diigo FaceBook Google MySpace Netvibes Newsvine Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter

25 Responses to “Phi Brain S3 – 02”

  1. belatkuro says:

    >opens Metanorn
    >sees clown’s face
    How horrifying.

    Have I commented before in a Phi Brain post? Whatever, here I am. Have watched both seasons back when they were airing so another member of this cult reporting in o7

    And yup, this is definitely the comeback of Phi Brain. From the yandere enemies to the ridiculous plot(let’s take Jin to solve deadly puzzles to make him like puzzles again, puzzles are evil, kill puzzle solvers) to these puzzle setups that really makes you wonder how long they took to setup or even managed to get there in the first place. Those spikes surrounding the field surely didn’t place themselves there. Much more mind boggling than the actual puzzles themselves.

    Jin snaps next episode? Can’t wait for glorious Koyasu Takehito’s hysteric voice acting to pull this off. And Raetsel in a school uniform is win. This girl is just pleasing to the eye, evil intentions aside. Add Chihara Minori’s voice acting and I’m sold.

    • BlackBriar says:

      Welcome, new recruit. It’s good to have you joining us. We need to increase the numbers for our just cause. 😀

    • Overcooled says:

      Yeah, I did that on purpose. The front page has been greatly improved by my efforts!

      Welcome to the cult! It just gets bigger and bigger…

      Thinking about all the construction that would have to take place is just mind-boggling. Unless this is the future and they’ve figured out how to instantly grow spikes out of the ground.

      Phi Brain has such a good voice cast, I could never be disappointed.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    One thing I’m grateful for is that the subs have adjusted when announcing someone by their name. Now Rätsel’s name is actually “Raetsel”. The latter is better in my opinion. And I see Phi Brain has kept the trend of giving its characters some unusual names and that it has a relation to something or a definition behind it. Like Rook, Bishop and some of the other members of the P.O.G being named after chess pieces or Freecell and the Orpheus Order members named after card games or a person’s state of mind (Melancholy, Doubt). If you’re wondering what I mean, Rätsel/Raetsel is German for “mystery” or “riddle” and Enigma is another term for mystery.

    Kaito isn’t getting off easy with the puzzles this time. It’s a rare thing to see him make a mistake but Raetsel caught him off guard as well and she’s a Phi Brain. Luckily Nonoha is handy with her memory skills. Given the sequences from OP, maybe she’ll actually be able to solve puzzles. No hints to help at all is a bad sign. It’s hereby proven that whether it’s psychological warfare or puzzle warfare, Kaito has met his match in Raetsel. Rook and Freecell have never gotten to him this bad.

    At first the Master Brain clown was creepy but that quickly faded into pure humor when he turned out to be a huge money fiend. He doesn’t even acknowledge Gammon, Ana and Cubic as humans, addressing them by how much they’re worth by the bounty on their heads. But how did Ana manage to be worth more than Gammon? Kaito being ten million is understandable because everyone wants his head on a plate. But how did Ana get 900,000 while Gammon is 750,000? Total mystery! That was one intimidating puzzle he brought, though. Someone had to have been at that spot overnight conducting land development for the puzzle’s base. Electrified spikes shooting out of the ground reeks of suspicion.

    Next episode: Jin snaps and Raetsel transfers to Kaito’s school. Freecell and his gang did the latter and look how much chaos that caused. I can’t wait to see what she has up her sleeves.

    • Overcooled says:

      Oh, I was wondering what puzzle-related name Ratsel was. They’re getting a bit desperate if they’re using things like “Whodunit” and names in German.

      I don’t think Nonoha will ever be more than just a sidekick because although she has a great memory, she sucks at puzzles even when trying her hardest. Furthermore, Phi Brain just outright hates women. Ah well, at least she got to do a little more than usual.
      The Master Brains are basically just assassins. They don’t even like puzzles – they just want money. It’s interesting to see them be this bloodthirsty, whereas past Givers generally created puzzles because they liked them. Also, the insane clown thing was pretty scary. Just look at that face…

  3. sonicsenryaku says:

    oh phi-brain; you’re ability to make puzzles seem like the ultimate tool of human destruction is glorious. Thumbs up for nonoha being useful and im glad to see the artwork get a face-lift this season

    • Overcooled says:

      Puzzles are all that matter in life. Seeing puzzles in decent animation is a bonus. I looked back at my season 1 screencaps and oh boy…what a difference!

  4. celestine says:

    I really thougt i wouldn’t like phi brain at all, but it turns out i was wrong, i can’t say yet if i fell like loving this series like nuts but it shure can keep my atention, cool you said it should be dumb but (at least for me) it didn’t felt dumb at all, i see de crazy puzzle-is-my-life kind of stuff but, realy all anime have that kind of thing where the main theme is everything on that universe so that’s kind of normal to me. now on my review here is what i think of episode 1 and 2: first of all, baka ba-kaka baba-kaaa kaka bababa-kaka i lol so hard and i share i room with my sister but i just couldn’t control myself and started lauthing realy hard at 2 am in the morning almoust weaking up all people in my house ( big mistake watching stuff like that at that our but what can i say? I’m weird. lol) going back to episode one it amazes me how kaito can reproduce a 3D puzles with school tables out of a plain 2D puzzle, maibe i’m just stupid and the only one who wouldn’t be able to do it anyway, second i would never imagine that the puzzles would be this interesthing i mean doing a puzzles that distroy itself litle by litle until you can’t solve anymore felt really inteligent i have no idea who minotar is but damm he can think, this hole soulve or die stuff reminded me of the egiptian quest of the sphinx where you should decipher the sphinx feelings or she would eat you Alive, and is kind of interesting how you canot run or start hiting things with sword like in a normal shounen anime but rather have to stay put and think with all your stregth as time passes it’s i mind game that can risk your life and it put us (or at least me) to think how a normal person would react in a situation like this, we know that our natural body streght can be enhanced in danger situations, but what about our minds? If we put like that phi brain make us think about how our own mind works in diferent situations of course that ourpheus ring helped alot but it left a impression on me, also a anime where the special item dont turns you into a mahou shoujo godess or a overpowered shounen warrior but rather reveal the role capacity of your brain something you alredy have! That felt awesome for me and makes me thing what would be my special mind ability (lol i do that with every anime: imagine how my powers would turn out to be in such universe, my bankai’s name is mirai densetsuna and i don’t even like bleach) i didn’t felt bored in almost any part of the first episode and it felt kind of non-cliche first ep for an anime to just go head on for the puzzles and don’t show any of the caracters backround iven a litle bit ( we have that memory of litle kaito talking about puzzles with some kind of puzzles-senpai thought, but that raises more questions than awnsers, so i don’t know if it count’s). overall episode one made me fell exited to understand all the crazy stuff going on there, and iven if i still kind of felt confuse about some things at episode two the thing i most enjoied was the solver-giver relashionship i mean it’s really a hig point that those puzzles don’t come from anywhere at all and the invitation stuff gives you that dangerous game vibe that i felt first time i watched mirai nikki, it’s kind like on poker where you don’t bet on your success but on your oponent’s failure as the giver hope that the soulver fails in finding a awser for the puzzle just like you would hope that your oponent’s hand is worse than your’s when playng poker. Until now it’s a good and watchable anime iven for a mahou shoujo fanboy just like myself and has some funy and pretty amanzing parts on it, until now overcooled your taste for japanese animation has been impeccable and phi brain is not a exeption. It has that you wont find this anywhere else fell just like madoka magica or higurashi have ( I will find any excuse to put something madoka-related anywhere!!!!) And for now it fells like a keeper for me.

    • belatkuro says:

      There’s a key called “Enter” in your keyboard. Use it.
      There’s also something called ‘paragraphs’ when typing something. Learn it.

      I can forgive the word shortcuts, capitalization and grammar errors since English is probably not your first language. But not even organizing what you wrote is another thing. I appreciate the enthusiasm for the show but your tl;dr is an eyesore that I stopped reading on the second line.

    • Overcooled says:

      I’m very tentative about recommending this to others, because it’s such an odd show and I’m sure it makes people question my taste in anime. Anyways, I’m glad you like it! I’m kind of surprised lol. Thanks for calling my taste impeccable, we must have really compatible tastes in anime (I loved Madoka as well) haha.

      The concept of Phi Brain is actually pretty neat. You’re right that if this was any other action anime, the main character would have just broke down a wall and busted out using brute strength. Phi Brain puts a lot of emphasis on perfectly-crafted puzzles (they have a person whose job is to invent puzzles for the show) and slowly explaining the logic behind the solutions. It’s pretty neat, especially when you look at the more elaborate puzzles. Without your life being on the line, I don’t think it would be as exciting.

      Phi Brain isn’t a “realistic” show by a long stretch but it does have nice touches. The Orpheus Ring does get some more “magical” properties later on, but they don’t emphasize that you NEED special powers to be good at puzzles. You just have to be smart! Also, not everyone is good at all puzzles. For example, Rook is really good at being a Giver, but he’s actually not that impressive when he has to solve puzzles. There are some well thought out elements amongst the absurdity

      • celestine says:

        THEY REALLY HAVE A PERSON TO DO THE PUZZLES???? I don’t know why but that is funny and amanzing at the same time lol (please ignore my crazyness)

        What is really strange about me is that i love flufy sparkly merry-go-luky kind of anime but then i also have this part of myself that longs for blood and despair, my mother say it’s puberty but lol i don’t think puberty works like that!!!! Phi brain is unique on it’s on way so don’t be afraid of recomending this for other people since i don’t think taste mather as much as the person who has it.
        Also if you hear someone opinion about something and realy put thougt on it then is probable that your ideas change as well.

        One last thing, i will finish watching the first season today, is not like i can run anymore the op music is alredy stuck on my head, i was all day at work huming: dododo it’s a super nova dodododo it’s a super nova lol
        If i lose my job is completely your fault. HAHA

        • Overcooled says:

          ANN lists a credit for the puzzle designer lol. It’s kind of amazing that his job is literally to just make puzzles.

          Yeah, I know quite a few people who love both cheerful shows and the dark stuff. It’s not puberty…it’s forever!

          Good luck marathoning Phi Brain. There’s a lot to get through. Just don’t overdo it because having to lose your jobs over puzzles would be sad

  5. celestine says:

    Sorry for the enourmous coment but i just watched and had all these fellings still warm in my head so…
    Will try to do my school works quikly so i can see the whole first season this weekend so i can also turn into a puzzle freak lol.

  6. celestine says:

    So sorry i am really a messy writer and i don’t think my opinion is that important so i don’t reply most of the posts.

    No inglish is not my first language im from brazil but will try to keep an eye on the grammar errors.

    Also i am typing on my phone and sinc. It’s keyboard is setled for portuguese not inglish it tries to correct iven the words that are spelled right.

    Also sorry for not using paragraphs thats fully my fault, it must look realy stupid doesn’t it?

    I just didin’t put much toght on how ia was wrinthing i hope it’s not so anoyng thay no one wants to read

    • Highway says:

      It’s ok, it takes a while to get used to it. Don’t think you’re stupid or anything, just remember that you can spread it out. 🙂

      • celestine says:

        Oh thank you, I aways end up doing something sily evrywhere, so it’s realy better to just admit my mistake and do better next time.

        It wasn’t my intention to make anyone angry either.

        I’m actualy better reading english than writhing so there’s really no point for me to do stuff like that, just wanted to be more active on the site.

        • Overcooled says:

          No problem, bro. The only real rule for commenting you have to follow is to not be mean (…and put spoilers under a spoiler tag). Other than that, you can comment however you want.

    • BlackBriar says:

      Don’t be so down. We all make mistakes. The best we can do is learn from them and move on. Anyway, glad to have you with us. 😀

      • celestine says:

        Ok will try to be less-down it’s just that i am actualy pretty shy whit anyone around me and i’m always scared of being unpolite or rude whit people so i end up worryng to much and doing something realy dumb, OC could say i’m kind of overlame lol.

        Thank you it’s realy kind for you to say that it realy makes me fell welcome, as long as it doesn’t bother anyone will try to be around giving some toughts.

  7. Noc says:

    Like I said last Phi Brain season, they need to do a GIANT CROSSWORD PUZZLE, where each team member has to spell out a different word by hopping across the letters like FREAKING HOPSCOTCH. Best team puzzle ever.

    Aaaagh, I am not looking forward to Jin snapping T.T gotta agree with you though OC, Kaito did a really bad job by showing Jin the bloodthirsty puzzles first. Should have started by playing around in the field they used to hand out in or something.

    Judging from her uniform in the preview, it does look like Raetsel will be joining Root academy as a transfer student of some sort. I’m looking forward to seeing her interactions with Nonoha, since she’s not a puzzle freak like the rest…brainwash Nonoha pleasepleaseplease

    • Overcooled says:

      I wonder if that would work in Japanese. Are there Japanese crosswords with katakana/hiragana? Or just do it in english like the colour sudoku, I guess. ANYWAYS, they should find a way to make it work because that would be really cute to watch.

      I love watching characters go insane so I wanna see Jin snap. Kaito should realize that this is kind of his fault.

      Elena joined Root Academy a while ago so why not Raetsel? Will we have a potential yuri ship on our hands now with Nonoha and her?

      • Noc says:

        Well my Japanese study booklet has crossword puzzles for practice, so I assume they do…English would be more challenging, though, so either works!

        I usually like seeing characters go crazy too, but Jin has such an important place in Kaito’s heart, this is going to hurt him alot! He’s been through so much crap already, I’m starting to feel sorry for him.

        No yuri ship for me! I’m Nonoha x Kaito all the way (with some Freecell x Nonoha on the side) =P that and, I’d like it if Raetsel stayed a villain ’till the very end. I was really hoping for a ‘Nonoha turns to the dark side’ bit in S2, so now I’m just grasping at straws- it’s just that all of Kaito’s other childhood love interests got play an antagonist role once, I want Nonoha to have a shot at it too XD

        • Overcooled says:

          I’m a fujoshi so we all know what I’m looking for…

          It would be neat to see Nonoha become a villain. Maybe she wouldn’t make puzzles, but she has monster strength on her side! She’s always important somehow (even if they make fun of her all the time) so she should get some kind of important role. Maybe she’ll help Freecell like puzzles again somehow?

      • BlackBriar says:

        If there’s any sign of yuri, let me know as soon as possible. I’ll be on that ship in no time.

Leave a Reply