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?
15 thoughts on “Gosick Series Review”
I loved this series! I wanted another season with Victorique free to explore the world.
I love mystery anime so i might give this a try.. 😀
Haven’t seen this in yonks!. Hold on….VIC-TO-RI-KA, VIC-TO-RI-KA. Kind of felt bad for Victorique being treated badly.
Omg I started this but never got to finish this. It wasn’t bad, in just not sure why I stopped. Hmm weird
That is one hell of a hairstyle.
I haven’t watched many anime dealing with mysteries but I am interested in that kind. I’ll probably watch this some day but I guess I shouldn’t expect anything too good.
It isn’t overly bad and Gosick gets quite a few highly positive reviews. Just doesn’t quite work for me. If you are interested in mystery, you’ll probably find enough to enjoy as long as you don’t mind the main character solving everything before you have a chance.
I never manage to figure out the mysteries beyond vague suspicions – not even in books. So that shouldn’t be a problem.
I saw the image in my daily digest e-mail and oh I was flushed with nostalgia. I swear, you bring back such fond memories with your series reviews.
I’ve been looking for a series to watch after I finish Girlish Number, so I may give Gosick a chance! 🙂
Absolutely adored this anime first time around. I tried re-watching it about a year or so ago and couldn’t make it past the first episode. Needless to say, I need to ACTUALLY re-watch it to see how I really feel, but one thing about the show I know I’ll despise is Victorique’s OP mystery-solving powers. Very similar to the demon lady from UN-GO, where they just happen to know everything before everything goes sour at just the right moment just because. Ruins a lot of suspense and makes it become formulaic. The last few episodes actually benefit from moving away from that.
This post seemed a little rushed, if I may add. Felt very “Well, this was a bust. May as well write up a post and get it over with.” Was this post particularly hard to write?
Not rushed but probably not my best. This one went through final edits while I was sick a little bit ago and I probably needed to revisit the post prior to publishing but didn’t. That said, I don’t have that much more to say about this anime. I didn’t particularly like or dislike it in the end but was a little disappointed with it.
Gosick is basically similar to Hyouka.
Great with the first episodes as they do episodic mysteries but goes off-board as they add more sub-plots.
Have to agree the two are similar.
really enjoyed this series despite its flaws. it captured the essence of a holmes-style mystery for me, which is something id like to see more of in other mysteries.
I loved the individual episodic mysteries in Gosick, but I found the romantic subplot and overall conclusion to be a bit disappointing. Gosick used mystery conventions really well, and while I normally had a pretty good idea of the conclusion of each case I didn’t find it disappointing because it was fun to watch Victorique put the ‘fragments of chaos’ together. I felt like it could have been a really strong series if they just stuck with a purely episodic format and didn’t try to tie in additional plot threads. It ended up being a somewhat fun series, but not an outstanding one in my eyes. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.