Title: Gosick
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 9.5/10

Summary: Gosick takes place in 1924 in a small, made-up European country of Sauville. The story centers on Kazuya Kujo, the third son of a Japanese Imperial soldier, who is a transfer student to St. Marguerite Academy, where urban legends and horror stories are all the rage. There he meets Victorique, a mysterious yet beautiful and brilliant girl who never comes to class and spends her days reading the entire content of the library or solving mysteries that even detectives can’t solve.

Review: To sum up each episodes of Gosick there were episodes I like, and then there we episodes I loved. Throughout its airing from the very beginnings when Kujo was nothing but an outcast in school to the heart pounding finale, I sat at the edge of my seat in anticipation. Gosick is one of the few anime that had my attention for the whole ride through and is very well deserving of the score it has received. It has easily become one of my top favorite anime of all time for its gripping story, amazing character development, beautiful artwork, and lovely soundtrack. I cannot express my praise in words or my feelings of anger, sorrow, and joy the anime has taken me through; however, I will try my best.

Gosick pulled me in with its brilliant visuals, more specifically the character design. The characters were unique but stuck with the time period’s general fashion. Probably the only one who deviated from the norm was one my all time favorites Grevil de Blois. His drill hairdo made him stand out in the masses even amongst the characters themselves. Sadly, he did not take the spotlight in my heart. Victorique, the cute kitten with a bad temper, has gone down as one of my favorite characters. Her snarky attitude and witty comebacks were only matched by her elegant taste in clothing and long captivating blonde hair. On top of her gothic black dress, the blonde hair and crystal green eyes stood out with unimaginable beauty. I was also surprised by the anime’s attempt to make such hair fluid instead of static. Creating a dynamic feel to hair that nearly touches the ground isn’t an easy task, and many anime try to avoid such troublesome behaviors. Gosick decided to take the extra step with all characters and I’m pleasantly surprised. So far I only spoke of the characters’ good looks. Fear not, for that is not the only thing that caught my eye in this masterpiece. The backgrounds, scenery, lighting all followed suit. Although much of the anime took place on the unbelievably large campus, Saint Marguerite Academy, Gosick had a wide variety of places of interest. Many of the places had a great contrast between setting the scenes and the mystery itself. When Kujo and Victorique initially arrive on the scene it was usually very bright and lively. However, as suspicion and murders started to occur you could instantly see a change in atmosphere. The colors came melancholy, a back drop of dark colors like black and grey. The facial expressions turned from joy to fear. The art did a great job switching between the two atmospheres smoothly, adding a great deal of effect to the series. Even the short bits of action were entertaining to watch because of the solid art. It may seem that the art was the peak and main interest after such praise, but alas I am just getting started. The story and characters were what kept me coming back week after week.

Gosick takes place in an alternate universe where a small European country by the name of Sauville is about to enter a war. The city of Sauville, despite being fictional, was very believable. So believable that I actually went and looked up if it were real. In fact, the only reason I doubted its existence was the time period being set in 1924; a time in which no grand wars really took place in Japan. The culture and setting were very well made and engrossed me into this fictional realm. By combining our world’s fashion and culture at that time with that of fiction, Gosick was able to tell a unique imaginative tale that still made you think everything was possible. This skill of creating a good setting was a foundation for what was to come. The story started off basically introducing the characters and their specific skills. The mysteries were untied to the main story, but gave you a sense of who Victorique is. Kujo also started to develop as the brilliant Grey Wolf’s trusty assistant. The initial contact between Kujo and Victorique wasn’t that of glory or love. While Kujo took particular interest in this fascinating girl, Victorique seemed unfazed. Kujo’s interest turned from basic human curiosity to something more. The steady progression is what made this series so amazing.  It wasn’t too short, or too long. The twenty four episode limit packed in everything in an organized fashion. Many people complain that the mysteries were not up to mystery standards such as Conan or Q.E.D.. I can’t disagree since the mysteries weren’t ones that you could solve on your own. I’m sure most came into this anime because it is focused around murders and other such endeavors, expecting something that they had a chance of solving as an audience. To some it was a surprise that the anime didn’t follow the conventional means of solving. Much of the information was withheld inside Victorique’s head, leaving it near impossible to solve through watching. The different arcs were also focused more around why the murder occur rather than how. The motivations behind the murders are what ultimately led to the main plot. It wasn’t like the murders were too obvious or on the other hand too hard to understand. They were more like a giant puzzle where the creator only gives the user most of the pieces. From there the user must try and put together an educated guess from what little information they have. However, I don’t feel that was the point of the anime to begin with. For one, I found more joy and satisfaction watching the relationship between Kujo and Victorique blossom.

The series had one of the best main character developments I have seen in a long time. It was something about their honest to good feelings that gave me a fuzzy feeling in my chest. Despite disliking Kujo as the main character for his lack of ability I see these two in my top ten favorite couples of all time. It is something about risking your life for someone else without a second thought that gets me every time. The side characters were nothing to scoff at either. I quite enjoyed watching Avril the possible love interest, Cecile the overprotective teacher, Sophie the eccentric housemistress, and finally Grevil the unexpectedly nice brother. Grevil stood out to me for two reasons: his ridiculous hairdo and sympathy for his half sister. Both were continuously suffering through their father’s iron grip. I am pleased to say that Grevil’s cold attitude at the beginning of the series turned out to be a warm heart. His back story wasn’t played out entirely, but the bits and pieces you pick up from the episodes gives you a rough idea where he came from. One episode in particular is dedicated to his love interest which played in the background in later episodes. The way many of the characters were connected together was astonishing.

I don’t recall any specific plot holes, however, this is where things didn’t quite mesh well with me. Due to the series lengthy airing and forced to be watched once a week, I had some trouble keeping up with the different names and organizations. The big name internal war between occult and science plays a heavy role in the climax of the series. I didn’t understand completely what was going on or remember enough names to catch up. I blame this on my personal forgetfulness and weekly (instead of back-to-back) airing of the series. I’m sure if I watched through the series in one or two sittings I would get a much better idea what was going on. Despite such lack of memorization skills, the climax had my heart pounding every second. The final four episodes started to show great promise as one of the few anime endings I truly enjoyed to the fullest. I was literally clenching my fist in anticipation till the final few seconds of the series, my eyes unblinking so I wouldn’t miss a beat. I feel that the climax and resolution made the anime just as it has in previous reviews.

The soundtrack is the final installment of this review and is no less than any of the previous. I absolutely loved the mixup of the upbeat opening and melancholy closing. The two added a great deal to the anime by matching so well with what the general atmosphere. The opening spoke out the joyful moments between Kujo and Victorique while the ending had the bitter hardships each had to go through. The OST consists of numerous titles adding up to a grand total of thirty plus unique songs. This jaw dropping number alone should tell you just how much effort they put into creating specific songs for specific situations. The cliché overusing of background music is finally averted in Gosick. All had quality sounds, my personal favorite being  “Yuukan naru Hinomoto no Shounen”, composed by Koutarou Nakagawa. I was breathless after listening to the sounds of the brass instruments and strings. It truly is a song that inspires hope, something that Gosick has given me in the anime industry.

Final statements: I don’t think I need to tell you again how taken back I am by such an amazing anime. I don’t think that people should jump to the conclusion that the anime is completely about solving mysteries. It is much more than that. The story and character development cannot be properly described in words. A must see by my standards, and I hope by yours too. The only reason I didn’t give this series a higher score is because Kujo wasn’t the best lead role I’ve seen.

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