When a plot point is dumb

Happens far too often. There’s an anime currently being aired in Japan called Phi-Brain. I like it quite a bit. The adventures and point of the show is the main character is a pretty smart guy who has to solve these massive, overarching puzzles, and if he doesn’t the result will usually be someone’s death. There’s plenty of standard anime like this, where a character has to do something in a certain field to keep progressing/saving lives/etc., but it’s interesting to see one where the main accomplishment is puzzle-solving instead of something typical, like physical fighting or sports.

Anyways, the first season was enjoyable, and the second season just started a couple months ago. Now, I’m not saying the plot is spectacular or mind-blowing, that’s rarely the case with most entertainment. There are very few spectacular plots, those that are have already been relegated to the classics and must-see categories, so putting that aside, I like Phi-Brain for it’s novel use of puzzles while not doing anything utterly dumb. It has dramatic characters and points, sure. But it’s fun.

But the second season just revealed the main antagonists motivation for harassing the main character. And through it all I’m sitting here thinking… “wha… you think that’s gonna disturb the main character? I mean, all he has to do is say: ‘That’s got absolutely nothing to do with me, I have no idea where you’d ever get the idea to place any sort of blame on me whatsoever. Promises are broken all the time, I had more important things to do, and your blame on me for that (big oh-so-important reason the antagonist is harassing me) is misguided at best.” Once he does he’ll go back to winning. That’s such a dumb reason. Anyone with half a mind knows that’s stupid. Oh… he’s losing?”

I try to avoid spoilers, but I’m tempted to write the entire thing out to explain just how dumb it is. Long story short, without spoiling anything, the antagonist blames the main character for something in the past. Frankly though, it shouldn’t matter to the main character. I’m tempted to say it doesn’t make sense, but misplaced blame and anger never does, so that part of it makes sense. But for the hero to not realize that really irks me. It’s dumb. It’s incredibly dumb. It doesn’t make sense to me. Sure, it may to someone else, but it doesn’t make sense to me. They somehow do have one character say that the hero obviously hasn’t gotten over his complex and prior emotional scars involving this particular setting, but that’s the only acknowledgement given.

It’s possible that his personal past has given him an extreme complex regarding this kind of situation, but it’s still too far of a stretch for me. It’s not compelling. I find it to be a very weak plot point. It might be the authors decided to harp on the same kind of issue and motives from the first season, which to me feels very shoddy. It was fine to have people from the past come up with a secret motive and such, and it could be something anime-quality, but it really should have been better than something that I just sit back and go “that’s dumb!” over and over at. It’s also infuriating because more than just being dumb, it’s a side-effect of the main cause of the first season’s antagonists issues. It’s not all that original. If it had been some different cause, but same effect, it may have been salvageable. But it’s both dumb and reused.

Fortunately it’s more of a side-point to the core issues going on in the show, so it’s not like I’d stop watching the show. It’s enjoyable, and it’s about puzzles. And there are other issues to resolve. And there’s still a chance that the authors recognize the weakness of the plot point, but used it to point out a character weakness in spite of a weak plot, possibly to add depth to the character. They do have a character in the show who has a big mouth and speaks the obvious truths every so often, so there’s hope that they are gonna have him or someone else beat some sense into our hero. At the very least I can hope, considering how dumb I think the plot point is. Argh, so dumb. So easy to push aside and say “not my fault, your problem for getting all crazy super-villain over it!”

About James Ashman

I write books of the fantasy, heroic, and adventure types. So far. I'm an author who loves fantastic stories.
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