Phi Brain S3 – 05

Phi Brain 013

That’s it. That’s the entire show.

Immediately after watching this episode, I went out for takoyaki with my friend. I tend to be really impressionable when it comes to food, and even commercials are dangerous for me when I’m hungry. The takoyaki looked 100x better here than it did in the penultimate date episode of season 1 where it made its first debut. Amazing what a budget can do to takoyaki…and my carb cravings.

The issues with Jin’s memories are interesting because everyone is right in their own way, so the reasons they have for fighting each other are misdirected. It’s a fun dilemma because everyone has the potential to work together and be friends, but instead they’re fighting to the death. Last week poorly addressed this potential chemistry by having Kaito and Raetsel blandly state their own sides without listening to each other – which totally takes away any fun they could have with grey areas. I’m very relieved that Rook sorted things out this week, explaining that Jin is a complicated person who harbours mixed feelings for puzzles. Much like real life, the answer to the question depends on the context it is being asked in. Asking Jin whether he likes cutesy giraffe puzzles or whether he likes deathtraps will get you very different answers.

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Meh, it’s not so scary. I’ve seen some pretty tough sudokus before though!

The new goal for Kaito and Rook is not to decide who is right anymore – but in finding the absolute truth regardless of any past biases they might have. Kaito got over his immense stubborness almost immediately – agreeing that maybe Jin might have some resentment towards puzzles. This is Kaito here. Kaito. The guy who wouldn’t admit he couldn’t solve puzzles even when he had an armband that flashed purple disco lights whenever he tried to. That’s a huge compromise for him to make considering how much he idolizes Jin as a lover of puzzles. The fact that they want to try and help Jin recover his memories no matter how much they may go against their current views of him (and puzzles) shows a lot of maturity and care. They really want to help him, even if it means digging up stuff they didn’t want to see.

It would make sense for them to pool their info together and find the truth together, but Raetsel is not having it. She refuses to confront anything that questions her own perfectly edited view of Jin. I actually really like this shift in roles where Kaito is no longer directly antagonizing Raetsel. He accepts her viewpoint and admits defeat, but she refuses to let the issue slide. It’s like a one-sided argument where someone keeps yelling at their opponent once they’ve already won. It comes across as incredibly desperate and sad.

Yet once again I must point out that in our society, someone like Raetsel would be totally correct. Yeah, puzzles that smoosh you against the ceiling are pretty sucky. Being traumatized by watching her guardian suffer (I’m assuming she had no one else to look after her for whatever reason) made her even more opposed to them. But she seems to show more hatred than fear. I get the feeling Raetsel is doing all of this for her own selfish reasons. Remember when she copied Jin by not eating onions and Enigma poked fun at her? Well, her entire reason for being against puzzles and attacking Kaito is also because she wants to be like Jin.

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Who could say no to a face like that? ….Uh. Jin, apparently.

Her desires to retrieve his memories are entirely selfish too. She is terribly biased, and only wants to help him regain memories that confirm her image of Jin – not the true Jin. Her subjective version of him is far from the whole picture. Raetsel is possessive and wants to be the only one Jin needs so she can feel loved. It’s a sick desire to push on someone with amnesia, and Jin realizes that she’s got a few screws loose. My favourite part of the episode was the Kung Pow-like superfluous flashback where Raetsel had a flashback just repeating exactly what Jin said without any further elaboration.

Raetsel is in the wrong for thinking puzzle deathtraps are bad, and arguments like “your entire family were killed by puzzles” are somehow invalid. It’s amazing. In classic Phi Brain style we get wonderful lines of dialogue about puzzles being used for mass murder being shut down by Kaito stating how neat they are. Step back a minute, out of the frame of reference of Phi Brain, and remember how Kaito’s tragic past is actually that puzzles killed his parents in a horrible accident. We go from these dark evils to cheesy lines about how wonderful puzzles are, the heart of the puzzles, and how you must “listen” to the voice of puzzles to understand them. I even forgot Kaito could talk to puzzles until we got this reminder. How could I forget that?! What a nice gem to rediscover! I love when the conversation topic explicitly turns to puzzles because you get these great reminders about how pivotal these things are in the Phi Brain universe. I loved the whole exchange between the three as they discussed the moral implications of puzzles, as if in real life it would be difficult to decide whether puzzles that kill you are a good thing or not.

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Between amazing conversations that epitomize the absurd, puzzle-centric mindset of the show and a genuinely fun puzzle with Rook…this episode was great. I love Rook, even though he’s been watered down from his yandere days to the point of not really having much of a personality. The takoyaki callback was also adorable. Anyways, I digress. I liked watching Rook solve a puzzle this time without any help from Kaito because goddammit, he always saves the day. It’s nice to see him sit back and watch for once. Truly, this episode covered all the bases for why puzzles are a big part of this show and why that creates a magical experience. Watching Raetsel in disbelief at how these two boys with puzzle-related trauma could love puzzles is akin to trying to describe the appeal of the show to otaku who don’t watch Phi Brain. The way they recoil in horror and deny it is exactly the same!

Watching Raetsel finally start to sweat was nice. From now on, I imagine she’ll get a little more aggressive in how she handles Jin and his memories. I’m beginning to think Nonoha will somehow be important for this since she’s so neutral about puzzles. In a world where everyone either screams fanatically about sudokus or hates them so much they want to lash out and kill you, Nonoha is a nice middle-ground. Unbiased, so to speak. She’s a good person for Jin to be around because she doesn’t care either way about whether Jin likes puzzles or not. We’ll see. We’re still following a puzzle-of-the-week formula so it may take a while before we get any drastic changes in Jin. But hey, I’m willing to wait!

Bonus Screenshots: Show ▼

Preview: A “girl’s day out” it seems. Not sure how I feel about this when all I see is fanservice (not even good fanservice) and characters I don’t care about such as Airi and Chieno. I can only hope Ana is included as the wonderful trap of the group to make things fun. On the bright side, Gammon lets out his bad boy side and runs off to challenge another puzzle hunter. Can he do it alone or will he be humiliated? Any episode where Gammon has a lot of lines is good so hopefully he’ll make up for all the swimsuits.

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I wonder if Raetsel “knows” about Ana…


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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6 Responses to “Phi Brain S3 – 05”

  1. BlackBriar says:

    I don’t know who’s more confused: Kaito, Rook and Raetsel or those watching trying to figure things out themselves. Each side sticks to their story with conviction to the point you believe they’re right and that’s what makes it interesting. I feel Jin was being truthful on both ends so I’m guessing that he may have a split personality or he, himself, didn’t come to a definite conclusion on what he feels about puzzles before getting struck with amnesia.

    The fact Rook got some of the speeches and insinuations that Raetsel did when he was young made the situation more unstable than before. Maybe Jin asking if puzzles are necessary means if people are content with them despite their horrific drawbacks, therefore the reason behind his possible resentment. And it is a shock Kaito was starting to go against everything he’s believed in until now but that could be him now being more open minded of people’s opinions in place of being pig headed with only his views unlike a certain cat-eyed, pink haired, possessive and obsessive girl.

    Once again, I’m baffled by how needlessly dangerous these Fool’s Puzzles turn out to be. Whoever made them really must have been bored and had nothing but time on their hands. Rook did good someone I previously thought could only make puzzles instead of solving them. He, himself, said one time that he wasn’t good at it. If he didn’t solve it, he’d either be isolated and trapped or flattened. Those are some horrible choices.

    • Overcooled says:

      Everyone is usually either so black and white about puzzles (either they love em or hate em) so it’s really nice to see someone like Jin who has mixed feelings. I wonder how he’ll come to terms with that…especially considering how traumatic those Fool’s Puzzles were.

      I pegged Rook as being kinda bad at solving too. I think they even explicitly said he was kinda sucky at doing puzzles (but that might be because they compared him to Kaito, who is like Puzzle Jesus). Anyways, I’m glad he conquered it! I love the more gruesome Fool’s Puzzles. They’re more intimidating than the ones those crackjob villains give out because the threat feels more real.

  2. Cybersteel says:

    So Jin was a lolicon?

  3. Kyokai says:

    Somebody needs to beat up Raetsel so that she comes to her senses. I want to appoint Mari for this mission. :3

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