Preview: Phi Brain: God’s Puzzle


I don’t have much personal rambling for the start of this post. I guess I could mention that it felt like today was only three hours long despite being awake at 7:00am, but that’s about it.

Oh, but I ordered some shows on Righstuf. Sentai Filmworks/Section23 stuff is on sale, so I finally got around to buying Elfen Lied. They’re actually making a new package for it to be released in December, so I’m excited to see what it’ll look like. I also pre-ordered The World God Only Knows (which I never thought would get licensed, so I’m definitely willing to show my support) and the Hetalia movie. The Hetalia movie isn’t Sentai Filmworks/Section23, but it was cheap and combined with TWGOK made my combined cost slightly over $50, so I got free shipping. Huzzah!

There’s something odd about Phi Brain, and no, I’m not talking about the practically archaic character design. It’s really silly in how it takes itself so seriously, and the puzzles aren’t even solvable ahead of time due to some trick (techinically the second episode’s puzzle was solvable, but not after the guy overseeing the puzzle cheated).snap2

But at the same time, Phi Brain is oddly enjoyable. It reminds me a hell of a lot of Yu-Gi-Oh! They both have the concept of taking something normally completely harmless (Yu-Gi-Oh! = card games; Phi Brain = puzzles), and making life-or-death ultimatums with them. The third episode of Phi Brain had a guy threatening to blow up the freaking city.

It’s utterly absurd, yet oddly compelling.

Though admittedly, the only reason Yu-Gi-Oh! did it was because it was basically marketing the card game. Phi Brain doesn’t really get to use that excuse. However, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still the same mindset, and is still somehow enjoyable to watch for some inexplicable reason.

There’s absolutely no interactivity to be had except for maybe the minor puzzles if you pause the video, and the major puzzles are resolved through asspulls, but maybe people are too quick to forget that maybe these aren’t such a bad thing. Classic anime shows that got people into anime use them all the time: Dragon Ball Z, Yu-Gi-Oh!, every shounen in existence, etc. Sure, that essentially means you get to sit like a lifeless blob and just watch everything play out, but that’s part of the fun of it. If I wanted interactivity I’d play a video game or write my own story.snap3

Phi Brain is just dumb fun. Yet it’s dumbness actually helps it in the long run. It uses a formula that’s worked before, and still works. There are plenty of other shows this season to watch for the serious factor. It helps to have a ridiculous show in the lineup to just relax and turn your brain off for.


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