I spy a mameshiba…
|(Did you find the mameshiba?) January 29th was National Puzzle Day! I’m kind of sad I didn’t time this post better and get it up for such an appropriate (and oddly specific) holiday. Oh well, maybe we’ll have a season 4 and I can catch it next year. Maybe.|
Despite being an anime about using your brain to solve puzzles, Phi Brain really likes explaining any new developments. It’s kind of nice to get a thorough debrief (in an office room meant for debriefing, no less) right after something freaky happens. Like, say, someone becoming the vessel for a God and playing around with the fabric of time itself? The past few seasons have been heavy on supernatural stuff, but this season has mostly abandoned that. Most of the main characters removed them and new ones are no longer in circulation. The main villains don’t have them either (except Herbert, but he’s a walking joke), so the puzzles have been without much in the way of magic, seeing the future, or becoming possessed.
Dayum, Gammon. That’s some apocalyptic booty right there, mmhmm.
After going so long without experiencing the various powers of the Orpheus Rings, a bit of a refresher is in order. A lot of this stuff is from season 1 as well, and it’s easy to forget what happened that long ago when most of us can’t remember what we had for dinner last week. Basically, the whole set-up with the God Scroll and the God Puzzle is finally making a comeback. The God Scroll isn’t the secret to knowledge – it’s the mind of Orpheus that “downloads” into your brain as soon as you beat someone else in a God Puzzle. In fact, there is no God Scroll. Whatever scroll-like thing Rook had to bait Kaito with at the end of season one wasn’t real, I suppose. Who knows? Maybe they didn’t plan this far and now they’re just retroactively making shit up as they go along. Either way, this is a minor point and it feels like they planned this all along and the seeds they oh so tenderly planted are finally beginning to sprout.
The girls just can’t catch a break
Orpheus – a name they’ve been throwing around since day one – has finally entered the playing field. Now that he’s here, it’s kind of like a shocker you wish you could have seen coming. This whole plot was cooking the second Jin lost his memories, and it’s been stewing until now. I really can’t express just how much more I like this twist than the alternative – Jin regaining his memories through the power of friendship and everything being peachy keen. I didn’t realize there was a “try to take over the world” option until now, but I’m loving it. Forget Enigma as the end boss – this guy is perfect.
Kaito has faced a lot of enemies before, but never a God. Or a God-like being, I suppose. Orpheus still is one “puzzle of the world” short of beating out the real Gods…whatever real Gods are. Orpheus may just be a really smart poet, but he’s so powerful that it’s hard to see him as anything but otherworldly. I like that his powers extend to not just seeing the future, but altering the past. Unlike past villains like Rook or Freecell who were vicious – but also a little desperate and unhinged – Orpheus is confident and completely in control. He could kill you just by making eye contact.
Yes, quiver in fear of my exposed clavicle and man cleavage!
The debriefing of all of his powers and basically where the series will go next was long, but not tedious. It’s a lot of talking, but it helps you really see all these links between now and things that happened many, many episodes ago. It’s also good to clarify the more trippy aspects, such as how Orpheus is able to control time in any way he pleases and how he managed to keep his mind in tact without a body for so long. It feels like a thought-provoking sci-fi novel more than Phi Brain at this point, and I love it.
I’ve already gushed over how cool it is that someone preserved their mind for years and years just to give to someone who wanted to be smart. Even cooler, Phi Brain was the one to use such a high-tech concept. Phi Brain. The anime with a psychic trap and characters named after synonyms for “puzzle.” It’s not the most serious series, but Phi Brain is really reaching to try and make fans take it seriously. This show has come a long, long way from it’s roots. The animation is leagues ahead, the derp-factor has gone down, and the rampant homoeroticism is only joked at in previews. Hmm, perhaps that last one is a bad thing. But all in all, Phi Brain should no longer be looked down on as a niche anime that only weirdos and British people like. After this season, I’m starting to feel like I could recommend this show to anyone.
*blocks everyone’s view of entire screen with hair*
It’s not just this big, sudden twist that’s making the show better either. There’s also some lasting character development that’s been really surprising. I’ve always seen Kaito as a little, stubborn prick. As a result, my jaw drops every time he shows humility. He still has the fire in him to pull at Rook’s collar and shout at him, but he now has the maturity to understand that Rook is just trying to help. Of course, he’s still magnetized by puzzles despite the dangers, but so is everyone on that damned planet. I won’t even call it Earth because it’s not the Earth we know, that’s for sure. Aside from Kaito, there are other nice touches such as Freecell finally doing something and Melancholy helping them too. I guess that Melancholy episode actually had a purpose! In retrospect, I’m kind of glad it happened, even if most of it was spent watching her be insufferably irritable.
I really like where things are going. The tables have turned and now Enigma is serving Orpheus and Raetsel and Kaito must fight Jin instead of save him. The next episode looks especially wonderful as well. I can’t wait to see what goes on and what Gammon overhearing their conversation could mean for the future. Good thing the next episode is really soon since I posted so late…Hahaha…
Preview: Orpheus sends Kaito, Nonoha and Freecell into their past to witness themselves as children. Events include messed up versions of Kaito’s parents dying, Freecell’s mom being sick and Nonoha…oh, she doesn’t matter so we don’t see her. Right. There also might be an alternate reality/future created as a result of this??? I don’t know but seeing all the guys together in some strange puzzle school(???) looks adorable and I might have to retract that statement about rampant homoeroticism soon.
Who’s gonna wear it?