Phi Brain 3 ~ an interest in puzzles
October 17, 2011
Φ Brain (Phi Brain – kami no puzzle) seems to be hitting its stride. This third episode was an entertaining adventure in a world where puzzles are a life-or-death matter. We were introduced to another side character, but no major changes were introduced into the formula. Best of all, now that the important mechanisms of the world (the “sage puzzles”, POG) have already been introduced, there is more time for Kaito and his friends to try to solve puzzles.
Unfortunately for Kaito, this time he will be working with a handicap. He makes the acquaintance of a boy genius, Cubic Gulliver, a student at Root Academy’s junior high. Cubic wants Kaito to give up on puzzles, and takes direct action to see that Kaito stops solving puzzles and dedicates his time to Mathematics, instead. He attaches a device to Kaito’s wrist that prevents Kaito from thinking about puzzles.
Nonoha and Gamon tag along as Kaito gets involved in another sage puzzle. This time the puzzle giver has created a puzzle that will blow up the city if it isn’t solved in 16 minutes. To make matters worse, Cubic shows up and makes the puzzles even harder — not to mention the bracelet that interferes with Kaito’s thinking.
We’ve only seen two puzzle givers so far, but both have been adult males who appear in work clothes. Last week it was an auto mechanic, and this time the POG rep is a department head in city planning. The bulk of this puzzle takes place in a park he designed (for this purpose), and his secret goal is to blow up the city, so it will be entered into the history books as a testimony to the power of puzzle givers.
Another reason this episode was really great was that there were several great tracks of background music. The OST for Phi Brain is going to be great! A couple of tracks that had a Middle-Eastern (or possibly North African) flair. By the way, I haven’t linked to the OP (“Brain Diver” by May’n) yet, so here it is.
So this episode didn’t radically restructure anything. It didn’t explain any of the deeper mysteries. What it did do is deliver the formula with energy and style. Honestly I’m still not a big fan of the character designs, and the dialog isn’t particularly clever, but the direction really is great, and, as I said above, the BG music is excellent. Phi Brain is goofy fun. Over the top shounen attitude where puzzles CANNOT be taken lightly.