Okay, so in the end the whole brainwashing subplot was all just a build-up. It wasn’t meant to give depth to the entire cast with its formula, but instead it was meant to show the Orpheus order as a formidable foe, explain what they were doing and why they were doing it. The fact that two side-characters got fleshed out was just a neat side-effect.
Instead this has very much the tendencies of a mystery story: inbetween the puzzles it really slowly continues to reveal a bit more about the Orpheus order. This episode was about Cubic again, who always struck me as the least interesting member of the cast. He’s genuine, but in comparison to the rest of the characters he lacks something. It probably has to do with how he is this series’ plot device: if something needs to be explained, he just goes “science!”, and things somehow become clear. This episode was about this too. The punchline of this episode was that he lost, yet he did manage to gather “data” which will somehow be of importance later. It’s all very vague, in a series that thrives on math.
In any case, this seems to be an arc in which the Orpheus order will show a bit more about their true characters; a way to flesh them out, in having a tournament-style match-up. I do wonder why Nonoha forced herself into the picture though, especially when Jikugawa would have been a much more sane choice to bring along. Right now she has no role in this series. Her role in the first searon was clear: support Kaito as he was having the living brains kicked out of him. Right now though.. Kaito doesn’t really need help… yet.
Rating: * (Good)