Posted by psgels on 28 May 2012 with categories: Phi Brain

The sliding puzzles arc has some really big flaws, combined with a number of things that look suspiciously much like flaws, but can be written out of with the right writers.

Let me start with the big flaw of this arc; one that can’t be excused at this point: we’re basically watching five episodes about the same game here. No variations, it’s five episodes of sliding puzzles. That is way too much and way too long. I’m not opposed to the tournament set-up: it’s clear that the creators intended this to be an arc chock full of character development. For that it makes sense to devote an entire arc to just one game. But writers: you should have picked different puzzles to do this with. This is just lazy.

Another flaw here seems to be the cheese. The long format of this arc leads to a lot of time being devoted to characters angsting. I felt that the first season did this better (although I do admit that none of the characters in the second season comes even close to being as bad as that one villain of the first season who smashed the screen with his chair out of anger…). I’m missing a bit of balance here.

Now, the flaws that seem like the writers wrote themselves into a corner, but can still get out of with the right direction: the bizarre plot devices:
– First there is this mysterious “data” that cubic collected, which was way too vague. With an entire episode being dedicated to him collecting that “data”, it has to be something pretty awesome to make up for it.
– Then there was the previous episode. There, it was established that Freecell hates Kaito because he made him sad on the day that his mother died, causing his mother to die sad, but in this episode made it look more like he outright killed the woman. The funeral scene definitely hinted that there is something more going on, but really: there are still so many ways in which that back-story can end up as a complete disaster.
– And then there was this episode with Ana Gram. At one point he suddenly from out of nowhere reveals that he has an older sister… oh hey Mizerka, what are you doing here?

the way the creators can fix this by making Mizerka just some random girl who grew up with Freecell. My biggest issue with this is the way it was built up though: it does make sense for Ana’s sister to be sent to England as well, but don’t just introduce this from nowhere and show hints that Mizerka actually knows Ana. The creators could have avoided this by making Mizerka incredibly stoic to her sister: with that it would have made sense if this came out of nowhere, but this episode also shot down that potential thread by making Mizerka just flip out: she is not the type of person to hide her feelings.

When the second season first was announced, I really thought that the first season was made with the second season in mind. Right now though, it’s pretty obvious that the writers only learned that there would be a second season after the first one was completely written. Most of the times they were able to hid this very well, but Ana’s sister really is a big hint that the second season was written much later. It really feels like a nice idea one of the writers had along the way to add to his character, because if she really is so special to Ana, then he would have mentioned that somewhere in the first season.

Rant aside by the way: I did like this episode. I mean, I think that Ana is a very interesting character to watch, and he used his charm well here. He’s much more interesting than Cubic in any case, so it’s great for him to have another episode dedicated to him. The way she managed to cheer up Kaito was also quite heart-warming.
Rating: *+ (Great)

4 Responses

  1. kuromitsu says:

    Mizerka is not Ana’s sister, that was made pretty clear – unless of course she has a split personality even she doesn’t know about. In the end Mizerka mentions that Ana is just like how Eve described her, so she knows Eve, but is not Eve herself.

  2. Rolca says:

    I do agree on the angsting and Freecell’s story which must have more to it. But we knew absolutely nothing about Ana’s background up to now! All he did was weird metaphors and paintings.

    I’m not sure I understand what you meant about Mizerka. She could have met Eve outside England, for all we know. Mizerka is usually calm, Ana and Kaito just pissed her off.

    I’m expecting the POG to crash into Prouder Horse at the end of the next episode. The data Cubic sent to Jikukawa was sent to Maze and we get an update on their side at the end of the episode. The arc is going to be reduced to 4 episodes anyway since Kaito and Gammon do a 2 vs 2 in the preview.

  3. Mirun says:

    One I absolutely agree, Phi Brain second season is just wow. And very disappointing. I was a little iffy originally when Freecell was crying that Kaito didn’t remember him. Then the big reveal on the last episode, I was in utter disbelief. I was like, really this is why you want revenge and take over the world. Because you are filled with just angst. At least Rook kind of have a better reason, at least he knew Kaito more than one day and talked to him more than one day. But even then Rook’s motivations were slightly iff “you don’t love me any more”. Okay then Rook. But at least there was development in the character. Not this Freecell crap. And I mean who names their child Freecell, obviously she didn’t love him as much because there is no hell in way you name a kid Freecell. I hope it’s a code name, because wow.

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  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 04:10 AM)
    Now that things have slow down a bit and stil some time left till Witcher 3, I came up with the grand idea of getting around to finishing F/SN UBW route before the series ends so I can jump on the wagon as it rolls thru the last few episodes. I think that’d be kinda cool.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:39 AM)
    Madhouse is still a very descent animation studio, and some of those older talents still remain with the company, but the market demands that they pander to the supposed “core” anime demographic. Although Masao Murayama did take a lot from Madhouse when he left to form studio MAPPA tho.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:35 AM)
    Nagai was definitely imaginative and creative enough to come up with ideas and works that broke convention all in the name of entertainment, an tags why he was such a trend-setter in the manga/anime scene.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:28 AM)
    It says something interesting though about me when I was younger though, as much as the rape put me off when I was a kid I was always switch back to get something out of the gore…how interesting that we seem so much more comfortable with violent content =P
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:25 AM)
    @Bam: Violence Jack however I felt about it and however I feel about it now that I’m older, it was like a baptism for crazy for me.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:20 AM)
    But theres stuff I so sorely miss, I mean come on anime you had a nazi doctor surfing on missiles in the sky, I can’t see that any more.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:19 AM)
    It really doesn’t say much for some comedy anime though when stuff like Kenya boy and Garzeys wing end up being funnier.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:17 AM)
    @Bam: Its so sad to see Madhouse, who made Shigurui-death frenzy make mahouka.
    Ha I recently skimmed apocalypse zero (which coincidentially shares shigurui’s author), Mars of destruction level awesomeness there.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:12 AM)
    @Bam: I respect the man for going out of his way to genuinely fuck with peoples heads with the content of his material.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:10 AM)
    @Bam: Nagai’s lighter stuff is hella’ fun too though, shin mazinger is my favourite mech show =P And Dororon-enma showed that even crude humour in his hands could work. I don’t think I was ready for violence jack when I was younger but I know I was still half-drawn to it because I kept switching back to the channel it was on.

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