Phi Brain S3 – 22

Phi Brain 095

Now would be a good time to use those goggles.

Friendship, puzzles and faith have been the key components of Phi Brain. If there’s any moral to be taken away from this show about killer mazes, it’s that you have to believe in your abilities as well as in the strength of your friendship. Nonoha has spent countless episodes cheering from the sidelines, sincerely believing that Kaito would survive whatever mathematics or spacial navigation challenge he faced without dying. It’s not just Kaito who has come close to dying – but just about every other Solver and Giver amongst the main cast. They’ve all been 1 second away from not solving a puzzle in time, but they somehow manage to do it with time to spare. They inspire the deepest of hope in our hearts.

And where there is too much hope…despair will surely follow. Yes, this is the only way to explain the sudden events of Rook’s death followed by the deaths of Gammon and Freecell. The only explanation here is that Urobuchi Gen broke into the studio and is now directing Phi Brain.

Phi Brain 094Phi Brain 092

Crushed between two walls OR blown up and buried alive. Ouch.

Urobuchi “Urobutcher” Gen is known for his grim stories that ruthlessly kill off cast members and go through various dark twists that leave you with your jaw hanging open. He’s the guy behind Madoka, Psycho-Pass, and many more anime that do their best to torture the viewer. Phi Brain may seem like a different show from his usual stuff, considering it’s a kiddy show about puzzles. However, if he can give magical girls a dark spin, then why can’t he continue his dark reign into the kingdom of puzzles? The sudden propensity the story has taken to killing off characters in melodramatic ways can only be the work of a man known for his brutality. He knew that we had grown lazy – blind to the possibility of death after 3 seasons of coddling. If it wasn’t a deer headbutting Kaito to safety, it was some other deus ex machina that kept Kaito and his friends alive. We took their fragile existences in this cutthroat world of puzzles for too long. We have underestimated puzzles, and now we must be punished for it.

When asked about his visions for the future of Phi Brain, Urobutcher did not respond, as I did not actually find a way to talk to him. However, I imagine he would say something like “I will bring Rook back, and then have Kaito kill him again in the finale so the series ends with everyone crying.” He might also mention more character deaths and perhaps some anguished sobbing. After making no attempt to contact the Phi Brain staff on this, they had no comments on this matter. Truly, the future of this show is tumultuous at best. I myself have a few rather convincing alternatives. One is that the cat will get an Orpheus Ring (much like season two’s beloved puzzle dog) and win, trapping Orpheus in a useless feline vessel for all of eternity…or however long cats live. Another is that they just shoot Orpheus and give Kaito therapy for the last 2 episodes.

Phi Brain 097

“Your meowjesty”

But perhaps this is just a guest appearance, and afterwards Urobutcher will go back into his cave to continue his work on Psycho-Pass season 2. Perhaps the characters are actually alive. At this point, things are still very uncertain because this is all new territory along the lines of the Guillotine Gorilla incident of Samurai Flamenco. Rook’s death seemed too fake to believe, but now that the trend is continuing, it’s becoming harder to ignore. To be honest, I don’t think they’d actually kill anyone in a show like this. I’m still in disbelief. But the fact they have the nerve to try and make us think they killed off characters…well, that’s not so great.

Trying to pretend that Phi Brain is secretly an edgy show is disingenuous to the heart and soul of this series. It was never about being cool and dark. Phi Brain is as dorky as it gets, and straying away from that is very, very confusing. I don’t feel sad for these deaths because I can’t believe in them…but I can’t completely disregard them either since they stand out so much. It’s hard to focus on anything when all my muscles are tensed, waiting for one of the “dead” characters to suddenly appear and give an infuriating, Chesire grin.

Leave Phi Brain alone, Urobutcher. I know you “deconstructed” magical girls, but leave puzzles to us. This is no place for the most ambiguous deaths ever, because they are haunting. How will I ever stop thinking about if they’re real or not? As much as I love dark shows, it just doesn’t feel right to shove it into Phi Brain. Thankfully, the preview shows a bit of a date-like episode so Urobutcher must be gone…Unfortunately, this means the next episode is yet another first: Kaito going on a pseudo date with a girl. You know it’s gone to hell in a basket when there are hints at heterosexual couples with Kaito as a love interest. Maybe Yamakan will step in to try and save the ending and redeem his status as a director? Tune in next week for another completely official report with facts(trademarked).

Phi Brain 096

Um, now is not the time for a festival.


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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8 Responses to “Phi Brain S3 – 22”

  1. Peache says:

    omg…why this is so complicated?! I don’t know what i have to believe
    hehe, I like the cat idea.

    • Overcooled says:

      I’m doubt the deaths are real, but it’s still aggravating to have to go through all this while wondering what the heck is happening.

      Heh, now let’s hope the cat thing doesn’t actually come true :3

  2. BlackBriar says:

    Wow, you made this post real fast and I noticed you were playing DmC: Devil May Cry as I was using my PS3. 😉

    It would really be something if Urobutcher really infiltrated Phi Brain. There’d be so much despair. But Kaito’s share is coming from his kindness (selfishness?) of wanting to save everyone. Not everything will go the way we want it to. That’s just life, something I think that’s been finally drilled into his head.

    This puzzle was nothing to sniff at. They’re out for blood this time and Enigma finally gone off the deep end. As he was blowing up his own boat, I was asking “Just what is this guy doing?” Something is telling me he’s going to get shafted. Besides, if Orpheus gets what he wants and ends up being the only survivor, it’s going to be full circle because Lovushka would end up dead again.

    Out of those who were involved in the puzzle, Raetsel had thick plot armor on her side. First time watching the episode and I knew she’d get out first. Serious exploitation of her devotion to Jin. This season is really trying to say it’s being centered around Kaito, Jin and Raetsel. Out of all the outfits she’s worn, I find the she was wearing here suits her best.

    • Overcooled says:

      All of my classes are crammed in the middle of the week so I either finish my post before then or after. There’s no in-between! And yes, I just started DmC and although the story leaves much to be desired, I’m in love with the gameplay. Seems like you’re getting good use out of your PS3 too.

      Phi Brain would be more like Saw if he took control. You would actually see the blood as they die.

      I guess it was time to show Kaito that he can’t always save everyone. Not sure why they had to show it now of all times when it’s worked for 2 whole seasons, but I guess we need to make things harder for the hero so it’s more exciting when he overcomes it.

      I get the feeling Enigma isn’t going to get a happy ending either. They keep showing him looking all wistful and excited, which means they’re going to disappoint him.

  3. processr says:

    In the game of puzzles

    You either win

    Or you die

    • Overcooled says:

      The last puzzle will just lock everyone in a room and the screen will fade to black as “The Rains of Castamere” starts to play.

  4. Noc says:

    Overcooled, please, it’s Japan. Now is always the time for a festival. OH WAIT! They’re in a foreign country right now. In that case there’s no excuse.

    I almost feel like the writers just decided that Kaito had too many love interests and needed to kill them all off, if only for the moment. The cheery ending theme is really making it hard for me to suspend my disbelief. I’m a bit of a sadist when it comes to fictional characters though, so I don’t hate this turn of events. Hurray for emotional turmoil! Ah, I will feel pretty bad for Gammon’s sister if his death turns out to be real though…

    And am I the only one excited for a rare male shower scene next episode? I’d like to apologize to Kaito in advance for enjoying what’s probably going to be a pretty angsty time for him.

    • Overcooled says:

      Haha, I should have known! I hope they stumble across a takoyaki stand and Kaito has a flashback of the good old days with Rook before crying.

      I usually love seeing suffering as well (I actually really love the stuff Urobuchi does), but it’s so out of place here that I can’t enjoy it. Until I know whether they’re 100% dead or alive, I’m going to feel pretty ambivalent about it. The end card with Miharu was pretty sad though, I will admit.

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