[Anime Review]: Gosick

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Director: Hitoshi Nanba

Writer (of original novel): Kazuki Sakuraba

Animation Studios: Bones

Version Watched: Subbed

Sometimes there isn’t just one thing about an anime that you can pinpoint as being the reason you liked it. You can’t just say that you enjoyed the romance, action, characters or themes any more than the series’ other aspects. Gosick (like gothic with an ‘s’) has some drama mixed with some romance and just a little bit of comedy, all balled up in a mesh of mystery that makes the show wonderful to watch. Any one of those components on its own just wouldn’t have the same effect. It’s not going to have you jumping in the air screaming or clamped on the edge of your seat, but the more subtle emotions it evokes are well worthwhile.

 Kazuya Kujo came to Saubure in 1924 as an exchange student from Japan. Shunned by his fellow students because of a local legend, he takes refuge in St. Marguerite Academy’s massive tower of a library, and at its highest level forms a bond that will never be broken. Victorique de Blois, the Golden Fairy of the tower, is a tiny girl with flowing blonde hair, a fiery temper and a brilliant mind. Confined, practically held hostage by her father, she spends her days attempting to fend off the boredom that plagues her. In the midst of chilling murders and swirling intrigue, the two desperately struggle to avoid being torn apart.

Gosick2 What can I say about Gosick? It starts off slowly while beckoning for your curiosity to follow it through the twisting halls of its mysteries, gradually placing block after block of new information beneath your gaze before finally entering a grand finale in a crescendo of revelations and emotion. That’s about it. In all seriousness though, while Gosick always has some sort of new or plot device that holds your attention, there are a number of aspects of the show that sort of float around in the background and don’t change a whole lot throughout the course of the story. A lot of things that are introduced early on don’t get much attention until the series’ conclusion and that can be a little frustrating. Despite that, I could never quite say that I was bored during my experience.

 For the most part the mysteries are well-crafted enough that it’s easy to follow along with them and the thought processes of the main characters. Some of the episodes are so ridiculously clever that you don’t even care if what you were thinking had been way off the mark because the journey itself was just so much fun. There’s a good mix of high-stake and low-stake puzzles throughout the show, though I would be lying if I denied that flowing back into one of the less important incidents after life-or-death battles of wits could be a little tedious. In one of my earliest posts on this site I talk about what can make a good ending, and Gosick fits one of the categories that you really don’t see very often. Without giving anything away I need to mention that the ending is very well put together even though it features one of my least favourite storytelling techniques of all time. Strangely enough, it also features my favourite type of villain, the kind that you really despise; it’s like they’re taking notes or something.

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It’s a little hard for me to get my thoughts together about Gosick’s main characters. On the one hand, the relationship they have can be incredibly touching at times, while on the other hand it’s Toradora all over again (though it’s worth noting that Gosick was written first, which renders this particular complaint effectively baseless). What I can complain about, however, goes back to what I said earlier about some aspects of the plot being less developed than others. The number of times the “girl gets annoyed at boy for no reason, so boy gets annoyed at girl and storms off only to return later with an apology” series of events is used is a little over the top, making it seem like nothing changes between the two characters despite the time they spend together. Having said that, there’s sort of an explanation for it within the show so that one’s out the window too. I guess what I’m trying to say is that, although you don’t see it often, when Gosick’s romance appears on set it’s exceptionally powerful, the kind that makes big, gruff, totally manly viewers like me go “aawww” on the inside but definitely not the outside. Definitely.

I don’t have a huge amount to say about the technical stuff on this one. Neither the character designs nor the animation are particularly special, though the time-specific clothing is novel and much of the background art is superb. If you’re going to set an anime in a fictional European country you should probably take a page out of Gosick’s book. The music used is the kind that grows on you over the course of the series, with insert songs being put to good use near the end, but isn’t particularly special on its own.

 Summary – Though it may not seem like it from the review I really enjoyed Gosick. A lot of more subtle components of the story come together to form an interesting and compelling story and most of the complaints I can make are minor or completely unfounded. The mysteries are good, the romance is good and the drama is good, creating a fun and interesting experience overall that I happily recommend, but it’s more of a cult classic than a mainstream hit.

 Score: 8/10 – Good

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About Silvachief

I'm a Gamer that dabbles in a little bit of everything. I'm big on Video Games, Visual Novels, Anime, Books and TV Series, but there's more to me than just those!
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10 Responses to [Anime Review]: Gosick

  1. Overlord-G says:

    Mina Tepes and Victorique are the two roles that made me an Aoi Yuuki fan for life and my running gag on how she is my soul mate.
    Kujo is a real man’s man. Much respect for one as manly as Kujo.
    The homage to the Yoda vs Darth Sidius battle was exquisite.
    The team of Kujo and Victorique is one that should go down in legend.

    • Silvachief says:

      I actually have yet to see Dance in the Vampire Bund, do you recommend it? I’m glad Victorique wasn’t voiced by Kugimiya Rie…it’s not that I dislike her but her characters sound and act exactly the same and it’s getting hard for me to take them seriously >.<

      Much pair. So ship. Wow. Agreed though, they make a great team ^_^

      • Overlord-G says:

        Rie’s best at voicing loud, obnoxious tsundere lolis whose redeeming factor are their flashbacks…I think. I have yet to see Toradora or Zero no Tsukaima.

        About Vampire Bund I watched and reviewed it, along with Shiki, during the peak of the dreaded Twilight Movie Saga. Suffice to say both shows were breaths of fresh air in their own ways. Can’t say they still hold up after Twilight thankfully became irrelevant but give it a try. Be warned though that episode 1 was a…unique introduction. Stick around to the end of the episode and then it’ll be smooth sailing. Oh and also make sure to always remind yourself that Mina is thousands of years old.

  2. Lazarinth says:

    Chibi-ish styled heroine + extended romance = Lazarinth face-palming… So may yeah, maybe when I’ve had time to grow out of this prejudice I’ll give it a go. On a separate note I have a question on another subject. I had conversation online about favorite VN sound tracks, considering you’ve read so many I’d be interested in your answer(s) for this. After listening through all of the OST of the VNs I’ve played (not that many) I still find I like the sound track to Katawa Shoujo the most, mainly because it is very relaxing to write and read while its playing in the background.

    • Silvachief says:

      At least you recognize it as a prejudice XD

      Ack! You’ve hit me in a weak spot. OSTs don’t often get a lot of attention from me, though there are a few that i’ve had no choice but to grab. G-Senjou no Maou and Kira Kira stand firmly at the top of the list, with Umineko standing not too far below them. In fact, all of Akabei Soft2, OVERDRIVE and 07thExpansion’s VNs have fantastic BGM. In addition to those, I have tracks from Muv-Luv and Hoshizora no Memoria.
      That was easier than I thought it would be ^_^

      My favorite sound tracks are the ones that are nice to listen to and bring back all of the feelings of their source visual novels. Despite it having been nearly two years since I read G-Senjou no Maou, those tracks still make me shiver.

  3. fire says:

    Loved Gosick. Gave it a 9.3/10, before realizing that I was rating it beyond what it objectively deserved – so pushed it down to 9.

    I agree that it’s hard to pinpoint what was great about Gosick – even the general atmosphere it produced felt special, and lovely, and very unique.

    Two points:

    1) The mystery-solving stuff. Suitably cool, though often it went beyond DN levels of bullshit. Smart as Victorique is, she shouldn’t be able to pull such stuff out of her ass.

    2) The ending – really epic, in the truest sense of the word. Suddenly the world explodes into the violence of the “Coming Storm”. Victorique and Kujo’s separation, and struggling on without the other, and their final reunion was very touching. The whole thing felt was incredible, yet believable – due to the nature of its subject matter. I was also really impressed by what the story tried to portray regarding the Second World War – the irrationality and nationalism of the people pushing for war; the discrimination that certain groups faced for no crime but that of having the wrong blood; the futility and destructiveness of the war when it finally came.

    When I first discovered Gosick, I was really, really excited – it felt perfect – everything I was looking for in an anime. Ultimately it didn’t live up to expectations – I was expecting GSM, but then nothing really compared to it – still Gosick was excellent, and there’s nothing much to complain about it.

    Looking forward to your Comyu review!

    • Silvachief says:

      That’s an oddly specific initial score XD A lot of what Gosick did was fantastic, and most of that was due to its uniqueness. The portions where it relied on tropes were where it fell down for me.

      I don’t really remember seeing your first point in Gosick which is interesting because I normally hate that kind of crap. My memory could just be terrible though.

      The believability of the ending made it feel special for me and I can only agree with what you’ve said about the show’s portrayal of real world events on a micro scale. It’s nice to see that kind of thing explored from (essentially) a non-combatant’s point of view rather than that of the gruff, battle-hardened soldier i’m used to seeing from other media.

      I’d never heard of Gosick going into it so I was pleasantly surprised by the experience. It’s been a while since I wrote the review (and even longer since I watched the show!) so it’s difficult to remember exactly how I felt after finishing the series, though I think the score i’ve given comes more from Gosick not going far enough than from it doing anything horribly wrong.

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