Oh how I missed you, afro stalker
|There’s nothing I hate more than being late. I even get frustrated if I’m not 15 minutes early when meeting up with friends. I hate having to cram 3 episodes of Phi Brain into one post but I suppose it can’t be helped when you have an extreme ice storm and no power one minute and then spend an entire week on a tropical vacation the next. The island life was wonderful while it lasted, and at least I had my puzzle time dose by playing Professor Layton at the beach.|
Dialing things up to 11
Phi Brain makes a nice return to form this week. An insane, logic-breaking, silly form but a form nonetheless. It’s been trying to be serious lately, and it only barely manages to pull it off. But why would we want something like Phi Brain to try and masquerade as a regular show? It’s a show that has puzzle battles on motorcycles and jewellery that makes you smarter. I don’t have time to be sidetracked by drama and the backstories of oneshot villains! Thankfully, Herbert always promises some wild escalation that takes the show to Crazyville.
Where to even begin…Is there even a term for quadruple-wielding? I thought the surprise was that he retained his Orpheus Rings…until he awkwardly rolled up his pants to look like a grandpa and showed us his 3rd and 4th Rings. I’d love to have seen the list of ideas they had for Herbert’s return if this was the best one there. Orpheus Ring bondage suit…Orpheus Ring belly button piercing…Orpheus Ring hula hoop…maybe just turn Herbert into a sentient Orpheus Ring. All in all, Herbert’s flair for being dramatic and the comeback of the Rings made this episode a real treat. Even before he flashed those anklets he was entertaining us by swinging his hands around and doing dynamic telephone choreography. Bonus: instead of just having one evil voice he gets THREE. Truly amazing. This show is incredible.
At the end of the day, just when you thought cheesy friendship would prevail as per usual…Herbert is still a giant dick. No matter how many times Kaito converts white-haired bishounen to the light side, he will never ever win Herbert over. It’s a fun play on your expectations since in literally every other situation the villain would have given in by now. Every other villain…but Herbert. I never used to like the guy, but his dedication to being a jerk is so worthy of respect that I’ve been won over. Best episode of the season so far? Yep.
At least she has a mic now instead of just screaming all the time
I’m not sure why there are so many goddamned mazes this season because they’re not very interesting to watch unless there’s a catch. By catch I don’t mean cheap traps either – I mean some other sort of mechanic that limits you in some way. The maze in the next episode is inherently much more interesting, but more on that later.
The maze is pretty dull, but the main topic here is really seeing how Raetsel and Kaito are dealing with Jin recovering his memories. Raetsel is bitter and selfish. She would stay with Jin forever even if he didn’t want her too, because she’s so attached to him. She’s doing this for her own reasons, not for Jin. If it were for Jin, she would love him no matter what kind of memories he recalled. As things are now, she’s tentative about getting him to remember his past because he might remember abandoning her and his love for puzzles. Thankfully, Kaito shows some maturity for once and claims to be accepting of Jin no matter who he used to be and who he might become once he remembers. It’s relieving to see him be less uptight about everyone around him loving puzzles.
Jin’s been tugged along by the two of them for quite a while, acting more like a catalyst for them discovering their feelings than anything. But now that he’s been having these phantom Ring lapses into his evil self, I get the feeling he’s going to lash out soon…against the both of them. It should make for an interesting turning point. For a show about puzzles, there’s a surprising amount of material they come up with to keep the story going.
It’s not the best episode, but it’s a good set-up for the more involved puzzle in episode 14.
The rule of the season seems to be that co-op puzzles are the best puzzles. It also helps that any puzzle with a main character is much, much better than one given by a oneshot villain. I was getting real tired of those Master Brain guys popping up every week then pissing off just as fast. All for what? A cheap puzzle you could solve in a 5 minutes bus ride to school. The Egyptian God maze, by comparison, has a really elegant design. It reminds me of the sort of thing you’d find in a co-op puzzle game, and I kind of wish I could play it! The combination of the unlikely duo Freecell and Rook (who appear hostile to each other in the endcards and in the episode previews, adorably enough) makes this puzzle even better.
Unfortunately…the directing for this episode is abysmal. I guess the budget still isn’t the best, so we only get a few shots of them running around the maze. Most of the time is spent looking at a blinking dot zip around the screen. It’s…really bad. Like, the worst it’s ever been. I’m afraid to even count how many minutes of airtime was spent watching geometric shapes race around. What a waste of potential! I loved the puzzle design and the Solvers, so I really wanted there to be more focus on action and maybe even their thinking process. Anything but that overview!!!
You can never have too many screenshots of Rook
Despite having terrible visuals, I can’t resist an episode with Rook in it. The way they made a comeback by tapping into their latent, yandere genius was a pleasant surprise. Rook going so far as to slick back his hair made my day. They like to remind us that Rook secretly is really athletic and muscular under that slimming vest at every turn – even showing Rook to be the faster one. He didn’t even break a sweat, and he’s been doing backflips all season long. But I digress. I cannot talk about his rippling muscles forever. Two past villains teaming up against a current villain and beating them by channeling how much they want to make out with Kaito was lovely. They combined their possessive homoeroticism to save the day! Isn’t that what Phi Brain is all about?
Preview: Past drama with Lovushka (ewww a girl), Jin, Baron and…Enigma. I hope he has a dorky bowlcut and gets bullied by everyone as a teen, only to become an ascot-wearing bigshot in the future.
Solve the puzzle of why none of them have a decent hairdresser