Kujou is a Japanese student in a rich European school but because of his appearance is avoided and given the nickname ‘Black Reaper’ (a point that will only be made early in the series and sporadically after because it really serves no purpose to the narrative). However, one day while exploring a library he comes across Victorique who pretty much lives in the library and attempts to solve mysteries. Of course she takes Kujou on as her off-sider (gofer, whatever).
There are two things I am absolutely certain of when reviewing this anime. One is that the first story in the series (where Kujou meets Victorique and they solve their first mystery) is the most interesting part of this entire series and the quality of the mysteries and the story continues a slow but steady decline for the rest of the run time. The second thing is that this show was in love with the idea of a doll-like golden-haired heroine who could take on a Holmes like attitude but while that could have been the start of an interesting character and set up they did very little with that.
That isn’t to say that Gosick is not an interesting watch. The individual mysteries as the characters collect the fragments of chaos (or clues as most of us would call them) and Victorique puts them together in her head before coming out with an improbable and yet somehow totally accurate conclusion are satisfying enough and there’s enough attention to detail that these mysteries don’t totally fall over.
Where the story actually goes down though is in the atmosphere. The first episodes are just steeped in this rich air of mystery and the time period and the whole thing is beautifully cohesive and enthralling. It never manages that again in the series as too many anime tropes as well as their desire to put Victorique through forced character development keep detracting from what made those first episode work.
Of course Victorique is not alone in not holding her own as a believable central character. Kujou is… well he’s Japanese when he needs to be but most of the time you’ll see him wearing that shocked expression as if everything he hears is totally mind blowing. You would think by the sixth time in an episode he would just accept that Victorique is going to know the answer and that he would be ready to just move on. It’s a shame because later in the series there is a central story built around the fact that Kujou is Japanese and a foreigner, but so little has been done to make that more than a tag on to his character up until that point that it really feels more like a plot contrivance than a genuine challenge faced by the pair (and it really shouldn’t feel like that).
Victorique’s half-brother Grevil is kind of entertaining as comic relief but can become a bit obnoxious at times, however as a support character he works well enough. There’s even a reason for that hairstyle and that particular sub-plot is kind of well played.
All and all, I couldn’t help but be disappointed by Gosick. Not because it isn’t an okay anime, but because those first two episodes show us what could have been a really interesting, sweeping, moving anime and instead we got an okay one. Still, if you like a bit of historical drama with some mysteries woven through it then you will probably find something to like here. For people who aren’t into that genre this anime isn’t really interesting enough to recommend.
What did you think of Gosick?