For about a week, I was without internet (and no smartphone… Don’t judge me). Let me tell you, it was rough. But, it did give me a prime opportunity to grab one of my blu-ray and do another Anime Revisited. This time, we’re taking a look at Gosick.
I feel like this series didn’t get a lot of publicity, so I’ll start with a bit of an introduction. Gosick is a mystery/drama/romance anime that follows Kujo and Victorique (they pronounce it “Victorica” in Japanese, not sure why the subs went with this spelling… *shrug*) in the fictional country of Saubure in Europe, a few years after the end of World War I.
From her conservatory atop the school’s huge library, Victorique solves mysteries using just the available evidence and her “wellspring of wisdom”. Kujo just kind of supports her in this, as well as apparently being dragged into every case by happenstance. Well, there’s more to the story than this, but we’ll save that for the plot section.
The plot can be divided pretty cleanly between the first and second half of the series. In the first half, we’re given random murder cases, brought to Victorique by her half-brother, Grèvil. And, as you might have guessed, Kujo seems to be at the scene for several of these.
Most of the cases, done in one to three episode arcs, are fairly minor. One introduces a side character, Avril. Another introduces another support character, Luigi. All in all, the cases are largely inconsequential, though occasionally hint at future events. LOTS of foreshadowing this “storm”.
The one exception in the first half of the series is the arc where we go to the village (or kingdom, depending on who you ask) that Victorique’s mother Cordelia came from. It’s explained in this arc that the Gray Wolves, such as Victorique, are some kind of special humans from this village, with similar features and incredible intellect. It basically explains her whole “wellspring of wisdom”. This arc was probably the best one because it built up the female lead character, and foreshadowing the turbulent future for our two leads.
As we transitioned to the second half of the series, we finally start to build up what I’d call the meat of the story. We learn about Cordelia and the enigmatic Brian Roscoe (plural possibly? I don’t know, it’s weird). We come to understand that Victorique was actually the product of rape, her father Marquis Albert de Blois wanting the power granted by the immense intellect of the Gray Wolf.
We get more insight about Victorique’s sad upbringing, as well as a prime reason to hate that fucking Albert. What a piece of shit. There’s still a couple mysteries to solve, but these all end up connecting to the conclusion, so they actually have weight for the main story.
The series’ plot really ramps up as it reaches the end, with the stage being set for the aforementioned “storm”, World War II. The mysteries that tie into this all have nation-level ramifications (I was thrown off a bit here, as the timelines weren’t lining up, but it really is a “setup”, not the actual war. Bit confusing, honestly). Victorique is leveraged as a pawn for her father’s ultimate plan, and the two lovebirds are ripped apart. I won’t spoil the ending, but I will at least grant you that it’s not tragic. Anyone like me who hates sad endings, you’re safe to watch this.
Gosick had a bit of a weak intro half, but finished strong. I’m not opposed to a slow story like the first half has, but I don’t think this genre works well with that (except for a series like Hyouka I guess… That’s a great series by the way, check it out). But, finishing with suspense kicked up to the max is a good way to close it out. As a final comment, I will say the last two episodes could have been slowed down a bit, but this may have been left as-is to give the audience a taste of the character’s confusion in the chaos.
Let’s start with Victorique. She’s definitely the winner in this series for me. Such a cute tsundere gets mega-moe points. Got to love that hair design too. Having her incredible brains is cool, but then you’re slapped with her frustrated face, or kicking Kujo repeatedly. Her character really made me smile throughout this series, whether from the antics or the adorable romance with Kujo. Only downside for me here was the romance seemed almost instant. Not sure what that was all about.
Kujo next. I physically sighed as I started this paragraph. For much of the series, he was the dimwitted assistant for Victorique, there to be verbally and physically abused. By the end, I did respect his drive to protect her though. It hurt to see him repeatedly gut-punch Avril throughout the series. I also wish they gave him more varied lines, as I’m pretty sure ninety percent of them were him just shouting Victorique’s name. Either way, his courage later was great, especially at the end where he took that beating, not wanting to give up his memento from Victorique. Good job, my man.
Avril and Grèvil both had roles to serve throughout. Avril was basically there to support a love triangle, though I wonder if it was just to gut-punch this poor girl repeatedly. Too sweet of a person to deserve that, and was rewarded by getting gut-punched by the ocean at the end (you’ll see when you watch it). Grèvil was actually pretty fleshed out. We got to explore his failed love as well as the meaning behind is very bizarre hair style (and for once, it wasn’t just “it’s an anime character, deal with it”). As a viewer, your relationship with him sways back and forth quite a bit, from hating him to respecting him. I was glad to see his story get fully completed, honestly.
Cordelia and Brian Roscoe (plural?) have quite a story, but they didn’t have enough screen time to really get to know them. Brian seemed to basically serve as the muscle for our protagonists, since Kujo isn’t much of a fighter throughout the series. Cordelia is probably one of the deeper characters. She had a truly rough journey, but seeing the deep love she has for her daughter despite everything was great. Her actions seemed purely motivated by her protective, motherly nature, so she’s got to win some points here.
Albert de Blois. What a fucking creep. Honestly, it makes him a good villain. All the pain and suffering he inflicted on Cordelia, Victorique, and everyone else was entirely for personal gain. This leaves him as pretty easy to hate. While one could argue it’s a bit one dimensional, I don’t think it’s particularly unrealistic, so works fine for me. With as many other moving parts as this story has, having someone that you can just plain hate is kind of nice. So, good villain for the series, and he deserves everything he gets.
For the rest of the cast, there isn’t really a lot to say. Their teacher Cecile was just kind of there to serve as comedic relief most of the time (and, like everyone else, gut-punch Avril… Holy balls, this poor girl). I actually thought Jacqueline, Grèvil’s tragic love interest, played a bigger role, but she’s barely in it. Honestly, everyone else seemed to be devices to move the plot along or help the main cast briefly.
I don’t really have much to say here. The animation and art were decent, but not something that’d blow you away. I will say, I liked many of the character designs. Especially Victorique. Gothic lolita attire, paired with the cut of her bangs. Yep. Grèvil and his crazy hair stood out also (they even had an episode where it had a ton of bugs attracted to it due to using sugar water to hold it up…). The rest were decently diverse, though Kujo was pretty typical of a male protagonist.
The artwork for the setting was good. It felt very realistic for post-WWI Europe, and the city felt real. There was a lot of empty green space in the academy, but the library was cool. Same deal with the clock tower. And the very eerie atmosphere in Cordelia’s hometown was a nice touch.
As for the voice acting, it was pretty good. I will say, in Gosick, a lot of it is pretty flat, due to being very intellectually-driven, rather than emotional. As such, many opportunities to really stand out. That being said, I’m going to call out Victorique. Her actress, Yuuki Aoi (or Aoi Yuuki, for us westerners), did a good job of alternating between the very emotionless, logic driven aspect of the character and her cute, tsundere side.
The music was good also. It fit the setting and theme well. I wasn’t a big fan of the opening, but the ending songs were good. Specifically the first half’s ending. That one was great, and I wish they didn’t change it. The second half had an okay ending, and it was fitting for the drama. The first half’s song, however, was incredible. So much so that I had to leave this here for you to enjoy.
Gosick had a lot going on, to the point where I feel it almost bit off more than it could chew. The mystery was okay, but clearly wasn’t the whole focus. The drama was okay, but didn’t really hook you until near the end. The romance was cute, but it felt almost one-sided, with Kujo basically being a brick wall Victorique (and to a lesser extent, Avril) threw their emotions at. Honestly, the romance would have been well-served if we could get a verbal or physical demonstration of their feelings…
The point I’m trying to make is nothing felt fully fleshed out. Now, I won’t say it’s bad, because it’s not. In fact, I still really enjoy the anime. I just wouldn’t put it as a “you must check this out NOW” series.
The mystery aspect isn’t much of a mystery, as the viewer is rarely invested enough to try and solve it themselves. You basically just hang out until Victorique has all the pieces and then drops the mic.
The drama does get dramatic, especially when you get the full story about Victorique and her mom. But, this doesn’t really come into the picture until the second half, where there’s a complete shift of focus to this part of the story.
What really deflated my opinion in this one, watching it again, was how the romance was handled. I do appreciate the subtle implications throughout, but I feel like they could have concluded it in a stronger, more expressive way than they did. There technically is a follow-up to the novel that gives us this closure, but I think my point stands. Maybe I’m just being a child, but that’s my opinion on that.
Okay, this one’s been long. I’ll finish this by saying it’s good. Still worth a watch, if for nothing else than the moe adorableness of Victorique. Just don’t skip watching something like that new season of Kaguya-sama for it. Okay, signing off here. Laters.