Written by: ClayDragon
It’s like Sherlock Holmes, with romance and tsunderes.
Allow me to be particularly honest for a moment. When I was first recommended to watch Gosick, I checked out a quick summary online, and I wasn’t exactly gripped with enthusiasm. A romantic storyline set in post WW1 Europe? It sounded like a slightly tweaked anime version of Downton Abbey. However, in the interests of writing a fair, balanced review, I decided to push aside my doubts and actually sit down to watch it. This, it turns out, was a good thing.
The easiest way I can describe Gosick is that it’s like a cross between Sherlock Holmes, Black Butler, and Professor Layton. In 1924, a young boy named Kazuya Kujo is sent to the (fictional) country of Sauville in order to study at a boarding school. There, he meets Victorique, a super-intelligent girl who solves mysteries to alleviate her boredom. Together, they fight crime. And despite the cutesy style of this show, it certainly doesn’t shy away from blood or death.
|"I absolutely must get the number of your stylist."|
Visually, Gosick is amazing. The opening is animated in a style reminiscent of art nouveau, and it causes it to stand out that little bit more. In terms of the actual anime, the character designs are well done, and the backgrounds are painstakingly detailed. The music is good as well, but it’s not as memorable or catchy as that of some other shows. The opening song, however, fits the animation perfectly and captures the tone of the series.
|That's pretty much her default expression.|
Character-wise, Gosick is kind of a mixed bag. Kujo is a likable main character, and serves his role as the audience surrogate very well. The only complaint I could make about him is that he feels that he always has to save Victorique, and that gets tiring quite quickly. On the other hand, Victorique’s sheer intelligence is a big plus, but she acts like a typical tsundere – harsh one minute, soft the next. The problem is, she has far too many harsh moments, and so ends up looking far too uncaring.
|That'll be two ribs broken, at least.|
It’s the same story with the more minor characters, i.e. they would be really good, but they end up being held back by some damaging trait. Avril is a nice, likable person, but she’s often pushed aside. Grevil is a good source of comic relief and is a multi-layered character, but the fact that he follows his father’s every order makes it difficult to sympathise with him sometimes. Brian Roscoe is one of the most enigmatic, badass characters in the show, and yet he gets very little screentime. You get the idea.
|Dignity = Destroyed.|
In terms of the actual story, Gosick is pretty much spot-on. The various mysteries are usually interesting enough to grab your attention, and it can be fun to try and figure out the solution before it’s actually revealed. The slow build-up to the outbreak of WW2 is a good backdrop, and it offers a decent perspective into how a country would react to the threat of a looming war. The only problem with the story is that the conclusion to each mystery sometimes involves huge leaps of logic to reach a solution that was never even hinted at before Victorique mentioned it, making her look like she can read minds or see the future.
|"Made you look!"|
Each mystery usually has a self-contained villain who is done away with at the end of the arc, and surprisingly this is pretty much true of the main bad guy too. Granted, he appears at a few points throughout the story, but his plans only really come into prominence in the final few episodes. In another surprising departure from the clichés of this genre, his villainy is pretty much a foregone conclusion after seeing his first appearance. In fact, if you watch the opening and still don’t know which of the characters is a villain, you obviously weren’t paying too much attention.
Overall, Gosick is a solid, enjoyable anime. It isn’t particularly ground-breaking, by any means, but the design, characters and plot will keep you entertained.
Good Things: The characters are mostly likable.
The pretty visuals.
That feeling you get when you solve a mystery before the solution is revealed.
Bad Things: Victorique comes off as too harsh.
Lack of focus on some good characters.
|Enjoyable and Entertaining.|
Got any ideas for an anime I should review? Post your suggestion in the comments below!
ClayDragon is currently studying Physics at university, and is constantly bewildered by it. The main method of contacting him is his Gmail account at firstname.lastname@example.org. The alternative is his Skype account at kyleroulston1993. When not playing games or reading, he can be found with his head in his hands whilst trying in vain to understand quantum physics. Most forms of technology hate him.