Phi Brain Ep. 2: Yeah, why not?

What a coincidence — not only do the people behind WhyNot give me the enviable opportunity to comprehend Phi Brain, they also provide me with the perfect reason to blog about the anime. I mean, what else am I going to write about? I watched about ten seconds of Maken-Ki and saw a heroine with a boob — a single goddamn boob — bigger than her own head. At that point, I pretty much just said to myself, “Welp, nothing to do here.” And of course, there were the second episodes to C3 and Bakuman S2. I can normally stomach pretty bad anime, but when I thought about possibly blogging another episode of either of the two above series, I instinctively let out an exasperated sigh. Maybe I’m losing it!

In any case, here we are with Phi Brain again. Yeah, it’s generic shounen shit — NOW WITH PUZZLE SOLVING! — but it’s also pretty harmless shit. And I think that counts for something. In a medium where twincest, incest, loli fetishism, etc. is the norm, Phi Brain deserves another look. And maybe I won’t even generate any discussion with this anime ’cause Lord only knows who else is going to bother following this series with me — kind of like those Sacred Seven posts, I guess — but damn it, I’m going to write about the anime no matter what.

Not when I’m doing my puzzles, woman! How many times do I have to tell you?

Ever since I saw the following image…

…I’ve wanted to see a chemistry-based anime. Not because I’d think such an anime would be cool, but rather, the idea sounds absurd and I want more absurd anime. Every time I think about a shounen hero showing off by “[d]ecantering at such great heights,” I can’t help but chuckle to myself. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen an anime with this sort of spirit yet… but maybe Phi Brain will do the trick. Hell, we already got a bit of this last week with the whole “Look at him sudoku-ing!” We just have to add “at such great heights” to the end of that sentence and we’ll be in good shape. In the meantime, I guess the following pose by our boy genius will have to do for now:

Hell yeah, bitches, I just totally solved this rope-and-pulley puzzle! And you can’t go wrong with lines like “It felt like I had become one with the puzzle.” Unfortunately, the one major flaw in the show that I complained about last week still holds true this week. To compound matters, Phi Brain isn’t even giving us new puzzles to think about. After all, I’m sure I’ve seen that “Connect these nine dots with four continuous lines” brain teaser before. Still, if Kaito’s going to make a business out of solving puzzles, the anime should at least show me his solutions. Uh, excuse me, ma’am, but you happen to be in the way:

So I guess we should get the plot-related stuff out of the way. That golden armband doesn’t just allow Kaito to lift heavy objects; it allows him to be the chosen Solver with a capital ‘S!’ Actually, it awakens his special powers within Kaito that were, for whatever reason, hidden. I’ll never understand why abilities are hidden within us. Who hid them to begin with? In all seriousness, our stories are always full of these wonderfully gifted characters who show up out of nowhere with untapped potential locked away inside them.

Malcolm Gladwell argues, however, that one-of-a-kind geniuses are actually super rare. People who seem talented to us are just those willing to submerge themselves in a given subject for around ten thousand hours. Yes, hard work is the key to success. But surprisingly enough, despite the fact that the anime medium is full of hard-working shounen, you never see anyone work their way to the top in this fashion. The hard-working shounen usually win through sheer luck. As for the rest of the heroes, they just have “it;” they’re always born with that innate ability.

I’m just rambling now. I should really get back to the anime. Like how the show tells us that the pyramids are really giant, ancient puzzles. Hoo boy, so the pharaohs made everyone toil in the hot sun just to build toys? I guess I’m watching some anime version of National Treasure — well, if only. Kaito doesn’t come anywhere close to Nicholas Cage’s manic genius!

We also see shots of the Stonehenge. I guess anything strange and wonderful gets to be some silly puzzle in the Phi Brain universe. So anyway, there’s a group overseeing puzzles and they’re called POG. I forgot what the acronym stands for so just imagine that they’re literally pogs.

Supposedly, these POG guys are testing gifted individuals until there can only be one! And the highlander gets the chance to solve the Divine Puzzle… the female orgasm! I’m just kidding — you just get to be god or something lame like that. I can thus understand why Kaito isn’t enticed. He solves puzzles for the love of the game, man. He’s a total rebel and he won’t conform to them squares.

Then in his ubercool fashion, Kaito shows them all what’s what:

The anime briefly tries to get philosophical: “When you see a puzzle, you see the person [behind it].” And apparently the great puzzle is fate. But the real climax is some silly car thing at the end.

Wait, it looks a little too easy, right? It looks like something even the audience would have no problems solving right? That’s why it’s not the real puzzle! So Kaito does his thing, but the anime still doesn’t give us a good look at what he’s doing. Hell, it just seems like he brute-forces his way out of trouble here. And with that, the second episode of Phi Brain is over.

Yeah, I’m about to.

19 thoughts on “Phi Brain Ep. 2: Yeah, why not?

  1. A Day Without Me

    “I guess I’m watching some anime version of National Treasure — well, if only. Kaito doesn’t come anywhere close to Nicholas Cage’s manic genius!”

    Nicolas Cage as a shounen lead in a puzzle anime —> something I would watch.

    1. E Minor Post author

      Yes. It dragged on, but yeah, it was funny for a bit. I guess my favorite part is the judge being literally sent to heaven ’cause the bread was so damn good.

    1. E Minor Post author

      I meant a single one of her boobs alone was bigger than her head.

      I’ve seen Yakitake Japan. Was funny for a bit. Then the series dragged on.

  2. inushinde

    I’d love that chemistry manga to get an anime adaptation.
    Anyway, this episode wasn’t too bad. It’s mediocre to an extreme degree, but it’s absurd enough to get away with it. And really, that’s all a show needs if it doesn’t aspire to anything.

    1. E Minor Post author

      I dunno, not absurd enough for me. In fact, I think the anime thinks its main character is kind of cool. In these types of shows, I would prefer to laugh at the protagonist than pretend that the spikey-haired fellow’s got it made.

  3. dl18

    *sweatdrop* Yeah, I was sort of pissed that I couldn’t see what the heck the protagonist was doing. So I did what I thought best of: when the Giver said to use the touchpad, I printscreened that part and tried it out myself. It made sense after I did that puzzle and then went on to look at what spikey-haired and the protagonists were doing.

    But really, it’s almost like making us think they are so cool and all, even though the puzzles aren’t that amazing.

    1. E Minor Post author

      I thought about doing what you did too, but ultimately, I decided that Phi Brain wasn’t worth the trouble.

  4. heartlessmushroom

    I burst out in laughter whe I saw the picture withe the life-sized Traffic Jam puzzle.

    THer’s no way they could take this anime seriously

  5. Pingback: Anime Review: Phi-Brain Episode 2 | This Euphoria!

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