sexta-feira, 13 de dezembro de 2013

[Anime Review] Phi Brain - Kami no Puzzle (1st season)

There are animes, and there are ANIMES. This one is one of those last ones. 

Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle is such a thrilling piece of animation. It brings all I want to see to the screen. It´s (much more) realistic than other type of animes, and it´s about one of the most interesting types of fights (conflicts) there are - the battle of wits. 

So, without further ado, let´s dive in.


The anime is about - more or less - a protagonist named Kaito, who is very good in solving puzzles. Of all kinds, shapes and forms. But puzzles in this anime is what it is all about (well, more or less): there are huge puzzles in the story, named "sage puzzles" or "philosopher puzzles", who are sometimes maze like, indiana-jonesque type of places. But the story doesn´t end there. 

There´s a whole conspiracy, from a society called "POG", or "Puzzle of God", who is after the Phi-Brain, an ability that some people can achieve, people that, through the training of diverse types of puzzles, can be able to read the mentioned puzzle of God (hence, POG), which has been sealed by the Count Pythagoras (if it´s the same Pythagoras as in our history, or just a namesake, it remains to be seen). 

To be able to battle the POG, you have to become a 'Solver', which gives you a title - some character titles are Einstein, Galileo and Edison, for example. Some 'Givers' (people from the POG), also receive titles, and this because... well, for reasons not yet explained. 



This is an awesome anime. Like... really awesome. There´s a conspiracy, but the things are not "bad guys" vs "good guys", well, you have your good guys, and your baddies, but you have also a kind of a mix, sometimes, in the case for example of the main protagonist, he is friends with the main antagonist of the series for the first season. Sometimes the villains refrain from doing harm to the "heroes", proving that they are interested in something other than just "doing bad stuff". It´s much more complex than that. 

I am one to really like, really enjoy, brainy anime. I´m not all for the whole "let´s punch and kick them all" motto of most of shonen anime. To me, the ones who are psychological - or which carry deep psychological roots - are the most interesting.

And this one has it all. One would figure so, being an anime that deals with puzzles. 

Allow me to make the current assumptions, will you? To me, this anime is like Steins;Gate, in steroids - is Chaos;Head done right - it´s Death Note expanded and without schizophrenia, it´s Fate Zero without the (utter) misery and despair, it´s Hunter_X_Hunter in a (more) realistic, grounded setting, it´s Naruto without the whole "ninjas are super coolzzz you knoez?" shtick. I´m not saying those shows are bad you know? I´m not saying that. I´m just... I´m just saying. You know? 

I have been watching the first 16 episodes non-stop, it´s unbelievable. 

What is funny is this almost feel like one of those "stupid" (pardon me, pardon me!) shounen-like anime who are just about swords and punches and power levels, and bigger power levels, and even bigger ones. There´s the whole feel of it, when it starts, probably because it was as well targeted to those in that demographic. There´s something on the art, and some characters are pushed to the limit of shonen like style - complete with a full on "clown"-esque character. But you are mistaken if you take this anime to be just another one of those "shounen". This is much, much more. Some say the premise is not very good. Whatever. I say the execution, which matters most, in this case, is really well done. It´s, for all intents and purposes, amazing. 

You have your supporting characters, your mid-tie characters, a whole bunch of characters who you can just get used to and favor. None of them are shallow, they always come with a heavy history, or a hint of mistery in them. There´s deceit, there´s intelligence in abundance, but there is also charm and good moments - there are some slapstick humor too, though I´m not much of a fan of that, but anyway. 

There are games and puzzles, dangerous games and puzzles, but this is no Saw, there´s no exaggeration, only elegance. 

In three words: gotta love it. 

There are some words to be said, though, the anime is a bit silly, in times, and sometimes, it can feel formulaic, but despite all this, there is a real, solid plot underneath it all, one which we feel like wanting to see unfolding. 

I can get no shortage of intelligent heroes, scientist heroes and the like. That´s because they are much more close to us, our situation, than the heroes who simply defy physics with their acrobatics. There´s a certain charm to them.  That´s what makes Batman interesting, for instance. And that´s what makes characters like Ian Malcom (from Jurassic Park), and another character played by Jeff Goldblum, David Levinson in Independence Day, memorable. Very few people care about the character of Will Smith from that movie. Yes, the character has its merits, he pilots the alien spaceshipe, yadda yadda. But when it comes right down to it, the brain of the operation is David. And that´s what matter. People are enthralled by it. I know I am. There´s a certain magic to it. That´s why ninjas are so much admired - they are smart fighters. There´s a hint of strategy, of thinking ahead, in the ninja and ninja-esque characters and media. Take a viking, and give him a brain, and you got a ninja. That is very interesting, if you ask me.

Note of reference - I noticed that Edison (Cubic Galois) called his robot Okabe, and he dresses with full on scientist garment, in a full long white coat - as Okare Rintarou, from Steins;Gate. Nice going fellas. I see what you did there!

So, I gotta say, after all this, Phi Brain - Kami no Puzzle, is totally recommended. 

Positive Points:
- Intelligence;
- Games;
- Intellectual battles;

Negative Points:
- Tends to be a little formulaic regarding some shounen style anime;
- Tends to be a bit silly on the downtime;

Rating - 5 crows!

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