Phi Brain S3 – 10

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Does anyone in anime know how to actually play basketball?

I actually forgot that a new episode came out until today. That’s how crazy my schedule has been – my favourite show came out and I wasn’t even conscious of it. That’s never happened before! Thankfully, my exams are over so I can start paying attention to the things that really matter like puzzles, motorcycles and basketball. This episode has all three.

I’ve always loved watching Gammon’s antics, because he adds a bit of an outsider perspective to this nerdy puzzle world. Yes, he’s another puzzler, but he’s the closest thing these dorks have to someone “cool.” He tries too hard and often misses the mark, but he’s packaging himself as the bad boy of the group. He dresses in black (leather, I might add), rides a motorcycle, and scoffs at all the friendship speeches. He even joined the dark side for a bit in season one with his POG stint. It’s funny to have a puzzle geek try to pretend he’s cool and “totally not one of the nerds” when he clearly spends all his waking hours thinking about puzzles. This cool, tsundere personality combined with his octave-hopping voice have made him one of my favourites (aside from all the murderous, white-haired boys).

Where am I going with this? Gammon is one of the main characters and someone complex enough to expect some sort of character arc from. He’s gotten quite a lot of attention in the past as Kaito’s main rival and someone with a lot to prove. So instead of giving one of the main characters more attention…they created an exact doppelganger and decided to develop him instead as a metaphor for Gammon. Actually, no, it’s not even a metaphor. They literally look the same, talk the same, have the same family situation, the same personality, the same interests and the same penchant for joining evil organizations and feeling bad about it. The level of similarity is so high that they are essentially the same person.

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It’s like the directors thought we couldn’t possibly be able to connect the dots about a one-shot villain relating to Gammon unless he was exactly the same. It’s kind of sad that they went to such an extent to basically explain why Gammon is tsundere and to remind us that he has a little sister. Was the doppelganger thing necessary? Furthermore, did the little really have to look like Nonoha instead of Gammon’s actual sister? Because if you connect the dots too much then it makes me worried about a subconscious siscon reference and oh God noooo don’t do that.

Despite what a ridiculous detour they took just to give Gammon some character development, I did enjoy the puzzle. The drama was…well, the same as usual, but at least it was condensed to the point where it was tolerable. The maze puzzle was really fun, mostly because Gammon won by breaking every rule you’re supposed to follow when solving a maze. Dead end? JUMP OVER IT. In a bad spot? DRIVE ON THE TOP OF THE WALL AND CHEAT. Ah, the puzzles on motorcycles bit was just what I wanted. High octane racing combined with lots of screaming. And we all know that no one screams like Jun Fukuyama when he’s playing Gammon.

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Don’t solve puzzles and drive at home, kids. They’re experts.

This new world puzzle tour thing is really cool, I must admit. I love the idea of them solving a big puzzle over the course of many episodes – gathering clues like a scavenger hunt until they find Raetsel. My favourite joke is Kaito asking if literally everything he touches is a puzzle. Usually that’s normal (because everything IS a puzzle), but now it’s just getting on everyone’s nerves. I love how he sees a touching photo of Nono’s brother that should spark questions about his dark past and he’s just like “is dis a puzzle?” Truly, Kaito is the most caring protagonist of our time. MC of the year.

If they make the scavenger hunt a little more involved than quick etchings at the finish line of the Master Brain puzzles then I think it will be really great. It would also be a little better if finding these clues didn’t involve huge coincidences such as running into the Master Brain and following them all the way home (because that’s what people do I guess????). The guy wasn’t even looking for people to solve his motorcycle puzzle! Raetsel, did you even plan this or did you just drunk-text him a photo you took of Jin at the airport?

My guess is that the end location is the village Raetsel grew up in, or an entirely new place we haven’t seen yet. Either way, I’m excited to see them get there. The way the cast is completely split up is kind of fun because you get to see a little bit from Raetsel, a little from Kaito and company, and a little from the oddball/comic-relief group back in Japan. It keeps things interesting! What they need to do is keep the focus on the core group and stop dumping up with these shitty backstories about one-off villains. They don’t matter, there’s not enough time to make anyone care, and it wastes time better spent having Kaito touch random furniture and asking if he can solve it.

Bonus Screenshots: Show ▼

Preview: I love how everyone is changing up their outfit! Except Gammon. He only wears leather, even when playing intense sports in a hot desert. Sheesh. Anyways, I guess the losers back in Japan have to solve some puzzles? Looks like a pleasantly dorky episode.

On a side note, the previews are always comedy gold. Bishop (Mamoru Miyano) singing at the end killed me.

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They aren’t impressed at being challenged to a puzzle battle by a woman.


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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3 Responses to “Phi Brain S3 – 10”

  1. BlackBriar says:

    It was a good episode this week, as if it was like watching mirrored versions of Gammon and his sister. Plus, it’s always a pleasure hearing Jun Fukuyama using his voice for over the top characters like Gammon. Raetsel sure has Kaito whipped. Anything out of the ordinary going on and he thinks it’s related to her. As if he wasn’t already obsessed with puzzles.

    • Overcooled says:

      Yeah, I love when Kaito’s love for puzzles – which is already quite frightening – gets pushed even further. Raetsel is completely stringing him along.

      • BlackBriar says:

        Funny how apparently there is no end to the unhealthy obsessions in this show.

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