Anime Review: Phi-Brain Episode 2

Anime Review:
Phi-Brain Episode 2

What this is about: Separating the anime wheat from the chaff! Reviewing every subtitled anime show from 2010 and 2011! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.

Series Premise: Phi Brain: Puzzle of God is an original 25-episode anime television series between October 2011 and April 2012, airing on NHK Educational Network. Kaito is a master at his high school at solving all kinds of puzzles. Along with his assistant Nonoha, he discovers a massive “unsolvable” puzzle near his school, and ends up battling the mysterious “Puzzle of God” for his very life.

Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size in a new window:

Very Quick Episode Summary: Kaito, using his ‘special powers’ solves the underground maze puzzle and saves himself and Nonoha. The next day at school, he meets up with another annoying puzzle solver known as Gammon. When Kaito is called to solve another “Puzzle of God” puzzle, Gammon butts into the action. Trapped in a life-size version of the ‘parking cars’ game, Kaito once again saves the day.

My Impressions: Everything that I found distasteful about the first episode, I find equally as distasteful in the second episode.

One thing that makes Phi-Brain so unenjoyable is Kaito himself, who is definitely in the competition for the most insufferable and dislikable character of the year. As hard-headed as a mule, always yelling, always frowning, lashing out at everyone about everything — I wonder why the hell Nonoha would stick around that jerk. Then again, she hasn’t proven to be exactly the smartest girl on the short bus, herself. (And the overbearing, brash, braggart Gammon who apparently is being introduced as one of Kaito’s rivals — not exactly an improvement in character over Kaito. Hate him, too.)

Also, for a show that is about puzzles, I remain underwhelmed. While I cannot say that I am a fan of the American movie series “National Treasure”, at least they get the idea of these huge, cryptic secret-society puzzles *right*, with tension and excitement and honest-to-god mystery. In this second episode we have our protagonists facing off against a bwa-ha-hah-eeeeeevil-style-minor-level-boss-bad-guy in a…wait for it…real life parking car game. For those unaware, it’s the kind of game where various cars are ‘parked’ on a sealed grid, and you have to slide them back and forth until you are able to slide the key car through the exit. So, this relatively easy little puzzle is the best they can do?

The verdict:

In the beginning, I wanted to like Phi-Brain, and the rough concept is kind of intriguing. It’s a shame that they decided to lead it off with the most disagreeable character I’ve come across in a long time, and dumb it down too much. Cool concept, terrible execution.

For more information:

  • My earlier reviews of the series:
  • Info resources:

    Sampling of Online Reviews:

    • “The show itself is not terrible but the over-the-top reactions of the characters with their awe-filled voices does get on my nerves and destroys the show.” – Otakuness
    • “Despite the puzzles being a little easy so far (my favourite one was the morse code one, and that was barely even a puzzle), at least the show makes the puzzles seem tense. Characters sweat like mad, the music ramps up, and the villain starts laughing evilly. It really is a world where if you can solve a puzzle, you can rule the world. Can’t wait to see how lulzy things get when they try and solve that DIVINE PUZZLE to become closer to God ppffftttt. Well, if you’re gonna do puzzles in a shounen anime, might as well go all the way! This show is corny as hell, but I kind of like that sort of thing.” – Metanorn
    • “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.” – Moe Sucks
    • “I still have no idea if this show will be good or not. The episode was entertaining, but I feel like there were just too many things that could go wrong with this title.” – Angry Anime Bitches
    • “So yeah, it’s pretty ridiculous at first glance. Look a bit longer, and it’s still silly. But if you’re willing to accept the absurdity of the premise and just roll with it, there’s some enjoyment to be had.” – The Anti-Otaku

      ROUND TWO (Second Episode) RESULTS FOR THE FALL 2011 SHOWS:

      Thumbs-up for Round Two: Un-Go, Chibi Devi, Bakuman Season 2, Mirai Nikki, Shinryaku Ika Musume Episode 2, Ben-To, Chihayafuru

      Thumbs-down for Round Two: Working Season 2, Guilty Crown, Phi-Brain

      Coming up next: Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing, Fate Zero, Boku Ha Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Hunter x Hunter, Tamayura Hitotose, gdgd Fairies

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