Original anime graphic tees and posters
Original anime graphic tees and posters

This week was spent in a pool of self-pity and surrounded by empty bowls of chicken soup. That's right folks, I got the flu and I got it real bad. It started off on Saturday as a sore throat and itchy ear combo and gradually evolved into an insane combination of weakness, stuffy nose, crazy coughing and headaches. Basically I was miserable all of this week. I hope this nonsense ends before Thanksgiving comes around.

The only silver lining here was that I could legitimately spend hours on my couch watching anime on the TV via the Roku (Roku + Crunchyroll = great escape!). This week's anime of choice was one I've never heard of. Phi Brain. Is basically about a guy who is truly adept at solving puzzles. In every episode, he is challenged by someone to solve a puzzle. Without going into further details, I will just say that I got the same vibe I got from watching Yu-Gi-oh Season 1 and 2 (Yu-gi-oh got out of hand quickly. Had to stop) .
Rappelzragnarok On Deviantart Image belongs to Rappelzragnarok On Deviantart

I realized both shows shared some annoying similarities after going through season one of Phi Brain.
Here they are:

1)Obscure hobby can bring doom

Leave it to anime to make anything seem critical. I bet you there is an anime show out there about how cooking can save the world from doom. Anyway, in Phi Brain, the bad guys believe that there is an object out there that if opened can reshape the world. However this object can only be obtained through a "puzzle duel" between two very smart people or "Phi Brains" as they call them.

In Yu-gi-oh you get a similar premise, where a card game if played and won by the wrong people could spell doom to the future of mankind.

2)The bad guys are just good guys whose hearts were in the wrong place.(Give me a break)

In season one of Phi Brains, you are introduced to what seems like a really menacing villain. However over time , his humanity starts to show coupled with flash backs of a sad past as an innocent toddler. At which point you the viewer, realizes is only a matter of time till a season finale shows just how "good" this villain intentions were supposed to be.

In Yu-gi-oh, you have Maximillion Pegasus. I remember thinking to myself that he was really scary. Being able to beat Yu-gi Moto in a card game via a taped match. But at the last duel with Yu-gi-oh we see flash backs that shows us pretty much why Pegasus became the monster that he was. After inevitably losing the match, he changes his ways, releases all the souls he captured and decides being a jerk was a bad idea.3)Ancient amulets will always surpass modern weapons any day

If you've watched enough anime, you will notice that there is a fascination with ancient technology. So much so that is almost always considered to be far superior to the modern stuff. Phi Brains and Yu-gi-oh are no strangers to that belief. In both shows, the main characters are connected to ancient amulets that either unlock hidden potential or unlock a more badass alter ego.4)Friendship. The envy of all-powerful villains

When all else fails, kill them with friendship. That's the popular rhetoric in both shows. "Oh look how much fun and trust I have among my friends. Don't you just wish you were like us?".
In Phi Brains, the over powered bad guys believed that the main character Kaito was surviving all his encounters with them because of the close bond he had with his friends.
In Yu-gi-oh, his bond with his friends is also considered a great source of his strength.5)Every main character needs a friendly rival that's probably more talented than the main character

In Yu-gi-oh, you have the calculating awesome Seto Kaiba. In Phi Brain, you have the surprisingly awesome Gyamon aka Galileo. Both characters serve to remind the main characters to bring
their A game to any puzzle or card game. These are the similarities that jumped at me right away. I am sure there are people who can point out more similarities. If you do, I would like to know. Lets face it... anime is always going to be absurd. I don't think anime creators have tried to hide that fact. Funny thing is, the absurdity is what attracts us to this foreign genre of entertainment. As absurd as Phi Brains is, I am actually now watching Season two and I plan to watch it to the end.
November 21, 2012 by Justin Anyanwu
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