Tetris gone terribly, terribly wrong.
|You know what I love about these introductory paragraphs? The fact that I can complain about school and then say Phi Brain is the saving grace that keeps me going through it all. I have a million deadlines, but writing about Phi Brain in time never makes me feel stressed. Well, sometimes. I hate being late. But for the most part, I can blog about Phi Brain immediately after writing two essays and still enjoy it. Like right now for instance!|
Allow me to start off not at the beginning of the story, but at the climax. No, it’s not the preview where Rook spouts more homoerotic lines about Kaito (close, though). The part I liked so much that I couldn’t wait to gush about it was this week’s puzzle. Quite simply, it was fantastic. It’s not even over and it’s already fantastic! I’m telling you guys, these co-op puzzles are great. Having more people means the puzzle’s rules will generally (although not necessarily) be more complicated. It also allows for newer, more creative puzzles to really break away from the tired and true “run through this maze” or “do math except really fast because of traps.” Not only is the design better, but characters have to interact with not just the puzzle…but each other.
It’s less of a battle of wits to see who wins. Now they have to make these moral decisions about if they want to try and win to escape (thus killing the unlucky straggler) while risking their own life if they don’t properly connect with someone. The thinking processes of the four characters are totally different, giving you four completely different takes on the exact same puzzle. Melancholy is obviously a selfish little wretch so she’s in it to win it, ignoring any and all clues from Kaito. Basically, she’s gonna screw everything up. Like always. Meanwhile Freecell at least notices Kaito’s message, but is too out-of-practice with puzzles to know what it means. As a Giver who recently took a huge hit to his self-esteem, he gets a gold star for effort and not much else. I imagine when he finally twigs in to what Kaito is planning, he’ll start to like puzzles again (despite his near brush with death). Gammon is a puzzle dork so of course he knows everything that’s going on and he gets Kaito’s clue. It will be fun to see them try and communicate using the puzzle alone.
The different dynamics between all 4 Solvers is just so great. Kaito can be a bit of a boring main character for puzzles because his motivations are clear and he always has the right answer. Throw in a little bitch and a Giver going through a mental breakdown and things instantly become fresh. We’re only halfway through the puzzle too! I can’t wait to see how it ends. I think this week’s puzzle may be one of my all-time favourites, second only to Rook’s flaming tower of razorblades and elevators. I imagine it will end gloriously as well, either with some sort of game-breaking ass-pull (as per usual) or a heart of the puzzles moment of trust and friendship. Or both? Really, there is no bad way to end this.
Enigma is the catalyst to set up these widescale puzzles. By putting up bounties he gives the Master Brains incentive to try and take out more Phi Brain Children in one sweep. He also just loves betraying his own henchmen by throwing them into the path of murderous puzzles. First it was Raetsel, and now it’s Melancholy. I’m surprised no one has figured out what a snake he is yet. He’s like a suave, competent version of Hubert/Herbert/Sherbert/Qbert/The desk-flipping guy with luscious hair. Whatever his name is. Anyways, Enigma has successfully backstabbed just about everyone he’s put under his contract. This appears to be a running trend, and I suspect he might trick a few more people as well.
Having such an interesting, manipulative villain pulling the strings has been immensely fun. Phi Brain villains have been really stupid in the past, but Enigma really keeps a tight leash on his underlings. I must say I did not expect him to turn the tables on Melancholy. It was so great to see her trick Kaito and Gammon into trap doors by actually asking them to move…and then end up falling herself. I was never a big fan of her, but I kind of like how even without her Orpheus ring she’s still a megabitch. Like wow, you haven’t even hit puberty yet and you’re a raging ball of emotions in a top hat. Then again, she was nice enough not to make her puzzle lethal, so she’s not as insane as she was before. Perhaps she really didn’t want revenge. Next week seems to be a huge flashback for her so I guess we’ll find out some more sympathetic things about her. Kind of odd that they’re trying to appeal us to her now after her main appearance in season 2 is over.
Now, there was another reason for gushing over the puzzle first. One, I was excited as heck. Two, the build-up to the puzzle – in true Phi Brain fashion – made zero sense. Freecell sees Melancholy on the streets, above ground, with flowers. The next time we see him, he’s underground. Someone please tell me how, when and where Freecell decided the best way to escape from a small girl is to jump into a sewer? Did Melancholy just open up a yawning pit into the depths of the sewers? Furthermore, Freecell is down there for the entire span of time it takes Kaito and his buddies to fly from Japan to England. He’s running the entire time without thinking to, you know, go above ground. There’s just so many things wrong with that. You don’t call your buddy in another country when a serial killer is chasing you because they aren’t gonna make it in time. The holes in logic are so big you could fly a plane through it. Which, I suppose, is what Kaito does. Jesus Christ this show makes less sense every time!
One of my pet peeves is when characters conveniently overhear key dialogue, because it’s just a lazy way to convey information to someone. This happens three times over the course of the entire episode, with Raetsel following them the entire time. It’s like they don’t know how to incorporate her into anything now that she’s distant from Kaito, yet going to the same school. The reveal that Jin made Fools Puzzles isn’t even all that exciting because it’s immediately dispelled as being totally ok. He made them for his own practice and then dismantled them, which is a really nice thing to do. Kaito isn’t so pleased about that, but at least we know that Jin is consistently a nice guy. The only thing that doesn’t add up right now is his decree to kill all puzzlers. I can imagine him wanting to stop puzzlers from wandering into puzzle deathttraps, but killing them before a puzzle does seems a little counter-intuitive. That’s like killing healthy people so they don’t get cancer. The pacing of info about Jin has been nice and slow, but not frustratingly so. I don’t expect all the answers now, but I can’t help but wonder what the heck he was thinking back then.
Bonus screenshots:Show ▼
Preview: Time to learn about Melancholy and her ~*~dramatic past~*~
It’s so cute that Pinochle has Kaito’s cellphone number