Phi Brain Ep 03 - And then there were three...

Greek alphabet graffiti makes me weak in the knees

Today we're introduced to yet another character. It may be too early to talk about the preview of the next episode, but from that preview it seems that this series is taking the route of introducing one titular character per episode. I guess one could argue that Kaito's childhood friend was "introduced" in the previous episode, but I like to think that we were more acquainted with him. Introductions require names.

I was so sure his friends were robots. Instead, they turned out to be mathematical proofs.
The character of the day is Cubic Galois who also responds to Edison. His namesake is chosen for obvious reasons. He seems to be an eccentric inventor and data whore; Edison was at least one of those. Cubic (I'm confused as to whether this is his first or last name. I'm not confused about it's coolness however.) believes that puzzles are a silly waste of time and wants Kaito to devote his time to the better "time-waster" that is mathematics. Maybe Cubic just wants Kaito to be friends with his friends. He is after all a genius middle schooler cum manic inventor. I'm surprised that even mathematical proofs wanted to be his friend.

Edison shows them how cool math is by employing simple arthmetic. Nonoha is in the habit of not understanding things.
When Kaito duly ignores Cubic and walks out on him, he (more accurately his robotmobile) strongarms a bracelet on Kaito's wrist. This is the "Anti-Puzzle Charm". Cubic's creepy cuteness melts my heart. Kaito tries to push the bracelet of his wrist in many funny positions and finally succumbs to wearing it all the time. Nonoha seems to think having two pieces of jewelry on the same arm looks cool. I question the safety of having an ancient armband that unlocks the power of your entire brain and a lego bracelet which prohibits intelligent thought on the same person, let alone the same arm. As long as it looks cool I guess...

The robotmobile intimately knows the face of pain
The POG Giver is of an urban engineering flavour. He seems to be a desk jockey who hates his job, his colleagues, his supervisor and his life. His solution to his mid-life crisis? Well, why don't we wager the city in a puzzle bet~? I do like him a lot better than last episode's Giver. He's the embodiment of a normal man driven to serial killer psychosis by a social system failure. This Giver has spent 35 years building up the city and he's spent all those years building a complex puzzle into the very city. He's also built a few bombs to tear down the city when the solvers fail. I call this dedication and patience. He has his admirable qualities. Alas, he's a damned cheater too. What is with this POG organization not being able to hire Givers with integrity?

I WANT THE ANTI-PUZZLE CHARM! What a fabulous excuse to shirk work!
Unfortunately the puzzles today were not screen capture worthy. There were three stages to the Sage puzzle. Gammon makes his cameo appearance when the first puzzle is sent to Kaito. His perfect timing is uncanny. Kaito wanted to be annoyed but it's difficult to be annoyed with your knight in shining armour. If Gammon had not appeared for the first puzzle, the anti-puzzle charm would have prevented Kaito from solving it and getting to the next level. Kaito cannot afford to lose such face. The first puzzle was the simple numeric encryption of a sentence. Substitute 1 for A, 2 for B and so on until you get to 26 for Z. What a trivial qualifying puzzle.

You think she'd learned the basics of Sudoku by now...
The next puzzle triggered a time limit of 16 minutes. This was a double layered encryption. A sudoku square had kana annotated in various spaces. The goal was to determine what number represented each kana, arrange the kana in alphabetical order and then use the numbers to find the letters of the english alphabet which spell the next location. A complex explanation for a simple puzzle. Cubic comes along after the timer has begun it's countdown and increases the difficulty of the sudoku square forcing Kaito to waste time.

I quite like the president and his lackie. They remind me of Persia and Fuji respectively. <3
The last puzzle takes place in a park. Kaito, Gammon and Nonoha are to find 16 numbers hidden in the park and arrange them "properly" in a 4x4 square. As the group is running around trying to find these numbers (they are hidden symbolically - hexagonal tiles indicate 6 edges, baseball diamond indicates 9 players, etc), Cubic tells Kaito to surrender to the Giver, believing that the Giver will trade the win for deactivating the denotation device. The Giver proceeds to school Cubic on the harshnesses of the POG game and tie him up to prevent him from interfering. This is where Cubic realizes how real the consequences of participating in this puzzle game are and feels guilty for sicking the anti-puzzle charm on Kaito. 

Why not 4 diamonds? Why!?
Surprisingly, Nonoha's thoughtless first guesses generate more correct numbers for the squares than Gammon's over-thought analyses. When Kaito realizes that the deadline is closing in on him, he stops to think of an alternative way of solving the puzzle. However Edison's charm is a true hinderance to his thinking. Out of frustration, he slams his wrist into the ground, breaking the charm. Immediately, Orpheus activates. I bet the ancient karmic forces are brimming with spite for Edison who managed to suppress their power with what looks like a toy. As always, Orpheus has 1 minute and 50 seconds to save the day. In a turn of events, he discovers that the 4x4 square is actually a magic square! (Who'd have thunk?) Kaito (or shall I say Orpheus) realizes that there is a square invisibly drawn across the park. He has mere seconds to calculate the solution to the square. But for Orpheus, impossible is nothing. The solution is inputted into the console with a whole second to spare.

Liquidated!? They've finally put a price to human life I see.
Their reward for this success was a beautiful sunset. (How do you put a price on that?) Gammon sadfaces all over the park and is ignored by the rest of the group. Cubic acknowledges that puzzles are still stupid but Kaito's passion for them is cool. I have a feeling Cubic has a boy-crush on Kaito. While Cubic decides to return to his mathematical friends for now, I have a feeling he will be joining us as a full time solver further down the road. The episode wraps up with the Giver trying to blow up the city regardless, only to realize that POG is a step ahead of him. He is fired and I'm left craving a moral Giver. With a position title like The Giver, I feel the need for ethical recruits. Alas, I will have to wait for this just as patiently as I wait for more information on the POG organization and the president's role in it. The episode is punctuated with the same nameless childhood friend of Kaito's.

When will I learn your name bishonen!?