Final Review: Phi Brain -Kami no Puzzle- 2

DISCLAIMER: Anime reviews on this blog will attempt minimal to no spoilers unless otherwise noted. If a review seems dull or shallow, it’s because I’m trying to make sure not to go into too detail for those who are actually interested in the show before or after reading the review or those who have yet to finish the title. If you want further details, there are usually tons of reviews that can be found elsewhere on the internet. Furthermore, anime reviews in general are the sole opinion of the author writing it and thus differ across the users. There is no such thing as a “right answer” only a majority agreement. You are free to have your own opinions and thereby free to state and/or argue/debate in the comments section below or on the Fansub TV Forums. The review is not necessarily meant to serve as a recommendation but rather a personal opinion of having completed the series.

Phi Brain -Kami no Puzzle- 2 is the continuation of Sunrise’s original puzzle series that began in Fall 2011. Phi Brain 2 returns with the same hero cast but with a new set of antagonists. Kaito is now free from the Orpheus Ring and embodies a new type of power allowing him to accelerate his brain without threatening his life. He continues to free various fool puzzles to prevent other solvers from falling to their doom with these puzzles. In the process, however, he encounters the Orpheus Order, a group that claims to be the “true” Phi Brain children and the ones that will achieve the ideal human mind by defeating Kaito. Phi Brain -Kami no Puzzle- 2 aired during the Spring and Summer 2012 anime seasons, was simulcasted by CrunchyRoll and The Anime Network, and is licensed by Sentai Filmworks.

Phi Brain -Kami no Puzzle- 2 is really a series that should not have existed. It adds no additional value to the “story” that finished in season 1 and the puzzles aren’t even remotely interesting either. Granted that the puzzles are a bit more down to earth this time unlike the previous season, the series didn’t show much of the solutions and rather breezed over them. The new characters are also nowhere near as interesting and the background is entirely shallow. That said, the story ends up going full circle in bringing back the Orpheus Ring, or in this case the Final Ring, as well as the Puzzle of God. This only further proves that this new series added no additional value to what had already been done. What’s worse is that a THIRD SEASON is coming. You read that right, a third season. This series really does not need any more content. It tried to be Yu-Gi-Oh! Season 0 with its first season and failed and now it’s just making a fool of itself.

Art is still the same as the previous season as is the animation. Nothing really changed. Character designs remain cheap with obvious foundation copies. Animation quality also continues to be all over the place. It’s not as bad as Natsuiro Kiseki quality but nowhere near say Gundam AGE, which is not saying much since Level-5 did most of the work.

The OP theme is one of the best songs these past two seasons. Nano is new to the industry but had been doing a variety of Vocaloid and NicoNicoDouga songs for some time now. It really shows that as a new artist going mainstream he’s (or she since no one knows the real gender) got a very high level of talent and experience. Fantastic song all around. ammoflight is also an artist I haven’t heard of but the ED wasn’t half bad either though I much prefer the OP any day. Background music remains average and hasn’t changed. Sound effects are barely memorable. Seiyuu wise remains the same from the previous season. Still average all around. Gammon’s seiyuu, Jun Fukuyama, continues to be such a great character. Momoko Saitou as Melancholy was also a surprise to me since I haven’t enjoyed her voice since Solty Rei.

Enjoyment? This show was a bore. If it wasn’t for the OP theme, I’m sure my enthusiasm would have hit rock bottom for this show immediately. The OP theme was something to look forward to every week and that’s about it. Still not a valid reason to watch the show though and god knows why this show is getting a third season. Maybe it’s popular with a certain demographic in Japan?

Overall, Phi Brain 2 is inferior to its predecessor in more or less every way possible. Here, we know that Kaito is considered “god” and can’t be stopped while in the previous season, he at least had the Orpheus Ring twisting his mind a bit. All in all, go watch Yu-Gi-Oh! Season 0. It contains a much more interesting story, characters, and puzzles. Here’s it’s a more of a “let’s play nice” but add some “scary-looking puzzles that aren’t really scary.”

Story and Character:

  • Premise (0/1): Same as the first season. Nothing of value added.
  • Character Personalities (0/1): Old characters are old and new characters are nothing special.
  • Character Development (0.5/2): Some for Freecell but too obvious, naive, and shallow.
  • Character Usefulness/Presence (1/2): Cast remains the same, so they’re pretty obvious. Usefulness pretty much deteriorated for characters like Ana or Cubic. Even Gammon seemed unnecessary this time around.
  • Pacing: (1/1): Nothing particularly wrong with the pacing. Typical shounen episodes.
  • Reasonable/Plausible (2/2): Puzzles are more down to Earth this time. You could actually solve it in a reasonable manner.
  • Conclusion (0/1): Too much repetitiveness. Different puzzle doesn’t mean it’s a different story.
  • Total: 4.5/10

Art and Animation:

  • Backgrounds (1/2): Basic and generic.
  • Character Designs (1/2): Basic. Reuses the same fundamental design over and over across all characters.
  • Fluidity (1/2): Basic animation.
  • Visuals/Special Effects/Flashiness (0/2): Aside from the glitter in Kaito’s eyes, nothing stood out visually
  • Art and Animation “Expectation” (0.5/2): Sunrise can do better than this. It’s not like Natsuiro Kiseki bad, but Sacred Seven looks better than this. Accel World is also worlds above this.
  • Total: 3.5/10

Sound and Music:

  • OP/ED/Insert Themes (2.5/3): The OP is arguably one of the best songs these past two seasons.
  • Background Music (1/2): Average Background music.
  • Sound Effects (0.5/2):  Below average sound effects
  • Seiyuu (1.5/3): Fairly average seiyuu cast
  • Total: 5.5/10

Enjoyment:

  • Amusement (0/2): None.
  • Weekly/Next Episode Anticipation (0/2): None.
  • Presentation (0/2): Too repetitive and similar to the first season.
  • Re-watchable (0/1): Zero.
  • Recommendation (0/2): Yu-Gi-Oh! Season 0 is better. If you take away the puzzles, the show is a generic shounen “action” title.
  • Value (0/1): None
  • Total: 0/10

Preliminary Score: 5/10

Final Score: 3/10

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