Phi Brain – Episode 2 Review

Anime

Phi Brain
Episode 2 – “Philospher’s Reward”

Now this is what you want from a second episode. This is exactly what you want. The story was left hanging on the previous episode and is quickly resolved here, with Kaito solving the gears puzzle, which is great because it progresses things at a pace I’d much prefer.

I’d be in agony if the focus of this episode was on Kaito solving the cliffhanger from the previous episode. Thankfully the focus quickly shifts to what is without a doubt going to be the over-arching storyline for this series. Kaito has been contracted as a Solver, which is essentially a person who is a genius at solving puzzles. There are many Solvers each tackling Sage Puzzles all over the world, of which the Pyramids and Stone Henge happen to be anicent Sage Puzzles.

It was the universe building that really impressed me with this episode. I am a huge fan of the ancient puzzles concept. While I doubt, Kaito will ever tackle the pyramids, it is nice to know that the history of this secret puzzle world is long and deep.

One problem I have with a lot of series is that the world feels too small and almost as though there is invisible walls blocking them off from the rest of the world. Thankfully this little bit of universe constructing really made the mythology and scale of Phi Brain feel so much bigger.

Other than that we were introduced to a new character named Gammon who has the title of Gallileo. Now while I admit I like his character design, I find his personality to be grating. He reminded me of a poor man’s Kuwabara (Yu Yu Hakusho). It seems they tried to create a similar dynamic, but I found his voice and portrayal to be utterly annoying. However I am willing to give him a chance and hope that he gets given further depth in coming episodes.

As for the focus of this episode, which is the car puzzle. I absolutely loved it! I did not anticipate it’s solution and unlike the gears puzzle, it actually was understandable how Kaito solved it. I look forward to more “Puzzle Time” moments in future episodes. Because honestly that puzzle was just a lot of fun and despite the somewhat one dimensional villain pulling the strings and trying to sabotage the puzzle, I enjoyed it for showing us that Kaito’s Oprheous Armband is not simply a Deus Ex Machina item.

While I can imagine people may have had a few grumblings regarding the skipping of the small puzzle solutions, I don’t think it’s because the creators don’t know the solution, I think it’s to entice you to try it yourself. I personally prefer the focus on the big puzzle of the episode. Here’s hoping for the next few weeks we get a sort of “Puzzle of the Week” formula. I’m enjoying this formula too much for it to end abruptly for the heavy story which we all know will eventually be coming.

Speaking of the heavy story, we have the fabled “Kami no Puzzle” or the “God’s Puzzle”, that Kaito is blazing a trail towards. I’m more fascinated with what the puzzle actually is than how Kaito will come across it. I am going to hazard a guess that the “God’s Puzzle” refers to the meaning of life. Whether Phi Brain will go so philopshical is still to be determined but I am hoping it does. This is a series that I believe can pull of a message such as “Life is a puzzle”.  Whether it does, only time will tell.

This episode was a great sign for things to come and has really got me excited for this series. Of all the series that have started this season I feel this series has the most potential to become something truly brilliant. I can’t wait to see what puzzle Kaito has to solve next week.

9-0-capsules-out-of-10

Senior Editor & Anime Specialist

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