Anime Review: Gosick

September 8, 2017

Victorique and Grevil talk privately

I hope that everyone has been having a good week, and
getting things set in place for the upcoming weekend.

Things have been going fairly well, with a few exceptions,
as I can still do things that I enjoy.

Earlier this year, I found out that a show that I had liked
in the past was finally going to be officially released here and I got my hands
on all the episodes, to see how well it stands up these days.

Today, I will be reviewing that series, which is called Gosick
(part 1 and part 2).

Kazuya Kujo encounters Victorique for the first time

Kazuya Kujo is a relatively ordinary boy who grew up in a
household as a son of a military officer and left Japan to study abroad in Saubure.

However, not long after his arrival at his new school, Kazuya
meets a doll-like girl who can solve cases with only a few bits of information
and gets wrapped up in all kinds of mysteries, but little do they know that
these cases are only the beginning of their tale.

Sophie, the dorm mother, talking casually

Even though I liked something in the past, that does not
mean that I will always like it, or to the degree that I used, because, like
many other people, I might start to notice how flawed it is, which is why it is
nice to revisit series.

And after watching this, I can say that I kind of liked it.

After only watching a few episodes, I found myself so
engrossed in this series that I did not want to stop watching for any reason,
though I do have to satisfy the same needs that every human being has to deal
with.

The world presented was quite interesting and even the
characters were as well, though they might not have all been particularly likable.

Now, some of you guys might be wondering how a show could be
so intriguing if there are characters that are not likable, since some people
place more emphasis on the characters than any actual plot line.

However, as I made note of in my review of Saga
of Tanya the Evil
, characters do not really have to be all that likable to
make a story be great or characters to be interesting.

After all, there would be no point in going through a series
if there were not a few things of interest to capture the reader's or, in this
case, the viewer's interest.

In the case of this series, this interest came from the many
different, though really basic, questions that came up during the course of the
series.

Just like how it is important for the audience to be dragged
in with a slow start, or an action packed one, if it is fast paced, the
audience needs to have some questions to even been able to get to know the
characters better and the series does that quite well by making me wonder why
exactly Victorique has very limited freedom and a few other things.

If the audience never got these kinds of questions, they
probably would drop the series because there is nothing to keep the people
invested in a work, especially considering that this series is not the typical
mystery series that people usually equate to being synonymous with detective
fiction and crime fiction, instead of realizing that the three are not
necessarily the same.

However, because this much was done fairly well, I can give
the staff at Bones Studio that worked on this anime a good round of applause.

I also liked how many of the mysteries were executed in a
good manner.

For the longest time, I have been heavily interested in
works in the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres and I like to take
the time to see if people can deliver things that are just as intriguing as the
early cases of Detective Conan or the works of Agatha Christie, and
seeing as this work is listed as a detective fiction series, among a few other
categories, I was hoping to see a decent case here and there, and this series
was able to deliver quite well in this aspect.

While I cannot call every case an absolute masterpiece,
especially the very first case present in the series, which was more meant to
show off a small portion of Victorique's ability, because it does not do
provide everything needed for a great case or mystery, the most important thing
needed to create a good case is to set things up in a way that the reader or
viewer would want to go in and find out the truth behind the cases.

Fans of detective, mystery, and crime fiction might have a
bit more patience than the fans of action flicks and Hollywood movies, as they
know that things can take a while to become interesting, but a case can still be
quite dull, even when everything else is done right, and they might just stop
reading or watching because they are not being given what they want.

If Bones Studio had not been able to do this in the anime, I
would have been pretty disappointed in this series, because the cases and other
mysteries are an important part of the series, since it is a big part of
showing how Vicrorique and Kazuya, the established Sherlock and Watson duo of
the series, grow closer, just like how the many adventures Lawrence and Holo
had in Spice
& Wolf
showed how the two grew closer.

However, because they made many of the cases seem
interesting, regardless of whether they were actually good or not, I feel like
giving them a nice round of applause.

Of course, whether Bones Studio was able to surpass what
Kazuki Sakuraba delivered in the original light novels or not remains to be
seen because only two of the nine volumes were published in my country and are
old enough to be considered out of print, so I can only judge things based off of
what I have here, unlike Detective Conan, which I can investigate
thoroughly through multiple resources.

Still, that does not change the fact that the staff behind
this series at Bones was able to deliver in at least one aspect that is
important for fans of detective, mystery, and crime fiction, and they deserve
to be praised for delivering at least the bare minimum.

Another nice thing about this series was how there were a
few things to laugh about.

While the humor was not unique, compared to manga and anime
in general, a lot of which has been present enough to practically be considered
cliché now, things were still executed well enough that they seemed to be
funny.

This series is not strictly considered a work of detective
fiction, and that means that the audience does not expect things to remain as
serious as many of the works written by Agatha Christie and the other faces
behind many of famous detectives of today, so if things kept on being too
serious the audience might grow tired from not getting a break.

Fortunately, Bones realized that and put in some things to
lighten the mood with the usual stuff, and included a few other funny moments
too.

The funniest to me was how the series showed what many
detectives and avid fans of the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres
usually feel when they come across a case that is not that interesting.

In works in detective, mystery, and crime fiction, the
police and other law enforcement officials seems to come across as extremely
incompetent, unlike their real counterparts, because they seemingly go to the
detective about every case that comes across their desk and many writers seem
to make it seem like the detectives were proud to have been involved in such a
case, even though they say that only take on the most interesting cases, and
they seem to be done with it.

However, such a portrayal seems to be a bit inconsistent, as
the fans were not impressed by the case and we do not get to see their ordinary
everyday lives of those detectives, which just helps make the detective look
like yet another Sherlock wannabe nd shows that the writer may have been the
only one that thought the case was any good.

In this series, however, when a case seems to be boring or
too simple, Victorique yawns or shows some other form of dissatisfaction.

For example, in the first episode, which can be viewed at FUNimation's
website
, before the first actual case begins, Grevil makes his first
appearance and tells Victorique about some details about a case where events
lead all the way up to a maid firing a gun at a door, in order to allow the
suspects to enter the victim's room, and the victim is found with her left eye
shot out, and after that Victorique yawns and says, “So that's the best you
could bring me,” and continues, while putting a pipe in her mouth, by saying,
“It's a simple enough puzzle when you have all the of the parts.”

This may have been meant to show off Victorique's abilities
before getting into the actual case at hand, which explains the motives of the
culprit and was the first to actually seem interesting, but the fact that even Victorique
found it dull made things funny and refreshing, compared to how writers seem to
make it seem like their detectives never have a dull case.

If Victorique were not bored out of her mind by such a
simple case, I would have not only been unable to find anything uniquely funny
about this series, in comparison to other anime, but it would have also been
difficult for me to believe that she could stand on the same stage as Sherlock
and Hercule Poirot.

After all, this particular case was already awful enough to
have it make the series turn off fans of detective, mystery, and crime fiction,
and by having her seemingly satisfied with unraveling something this simple
would have made her look inept.

Thankfully, the staff behind this series at Bones Studio did
not make that mistake, and it helped to make Victorique come off as quite
brilliant, though I am kind of tired of seeing the stereotypical Holmes
character that does not seem to have any series flaws in solving crime.

This is what I was expecting things to be like with Detective
Conan
, after I had gotten a bit more familiar with the detective, mystery,
and crime fiction genres, but that series only tends to make fun of how there
is a dead body wherever the detective goes, and the fact that Bones Studio included
this in the anime adaptation of this series makes it stand a little bit higher
than Detective Conan, though not quite enough to make it an overall
better mystery series, which makes me want to give them a bit of applause.

Hopefully, they can one up themselves when they decided to
take on a series that really can be put into more than just the detective
fiction genre, because I would like to see some more moments like this, as
opposed to being reminded that a body shows up wherever a detective goes.

Speaking of the clichéd element of bodies showing up
everywhere, it was also nice how that was not always the case in this series.

In many works of detective, mystery, and crime fiction,
especially Detective Conan and the works of Agatha Christie, the cases
more often than not involve a murder investigation, some of which end up being
rather dull and some actually enjoyable, because the writers of the time think
that the only kind of case that is intriguing is a murder case, though there
are works featuring Arsène Lupin where to goal is to capture the criminal,
instead of unmasking him like the typical whodunit, but it ends up becoming
really tiresome after a while, as there is no longer any variety that can
actually make the cases intriguing.

However, in this series, even though bodies do show up a
lot, there is hardly a murder investigation to be found, coming to a total of
about three or so murder cases, and many of them were decent, though probably
not that great.

The reason why many of the cases still seemed to be
relatively interesting was because many of the mystery explored the world a bit
and were rooted in folklore or ghost stories.

Now, my fellow fans of detective, mystery, and crime fiction
may be wondering how cases involving things like ghost stories and folklore,
regardless of whether they come from this world or not, could make for some
good cases, as many of them put their faith more in the science than the
occult, but they seem to forget that Agatha Christie, the mother of many of the
elements that fans of those genre want to see, used nursery rhymes, such as Sing a Song of Sixpence, Ten Little Indians, and many others, to craft
some of her best work, so using things like folklore of a fictional country is
actually nice idea in itself.

In fact, Ghost Hunt,
an anime with cases that deal with investigating the supernatural, did fairly
well in creating some relatively interesting cases around the supernatural and
showed that such things could be relatively interesting, and the fact that Gosick
tried to do something similar, though not necessarily dealing with ghosts, was
a pretty interesting concept.

If Kazuki Sakuraba had not created the cases like she did,
which is the only thing that I can confirm with my resources, I would have been
disappointed because this series would have come across as something quite
genric and led to the further misconception that all works of mystery are also
detective fiction and crime fiction.

However, because she did not do that, the staff behind the
series at Bones was able to put something together that was pretty good, and it
makes me want to give the light novels a try, if they ever come back to my
country, which makes me want to give her some applause.

The thing that I liked the most though was how this series
felt complete.

In the world of anime and manga these days, there is a
tendency for things to go unfinished because the anime was meant only to
promote the source material, with Saga of Tanya the Evil, and The
Legend of the Legendary Heroes
, and Spice & Wolf being great
examples, and many people get mad because they are only interested in the
animated medium, instead of the written ones, and were expecting a complete
story with enough questions answered to be satisfactory for them.

Of course, this kind of issue does not bother me too much,
unless, like The Legend of the Legendary Heroes, the original source is
not available where I live, since that means I cannot investigate things too
deeply, so I can see why people would have an issue with it.

In this series, however, the staff at Bones seemingly took
the nine novels of the main storyline, at least from what I could gather, and
presented everything from beginning to end in only 24 episodes, with only a few
questions, none of which were those that the people who read the light novels
would have had from watching it, and I was left a good sense of satisfaction,
though not exactly on the level I would have wanted.

If more anime were like this, many people would actually be
happy to have seen series than if they were left without a true conclusion, as
people like to watch anime because they want to see a great story play out, and
by ending things in a way that there is obviously more the viewer tends to feel
cheated, much like I felt cheated by FUNimation's Detective Conan season
sets that were advertised as unedited and uncut.

Unfortunately, very few studios and publishers see anime as
anything more than a way to advertise manga and light novels, as opposed to be
a medium that can tell a full-length story, and I doubt that is going to change
any time soon, unless fans in Japan demand that stories get completed via the
medium that they prefer and avoid all of these shows that end without a true
ending.

Still, the staff at Bones does deserve a good round of
applause for doing something different from the norm.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else
that I particularly liked, at least that could not be inserted into what I
talked about already or repeat myself.

Because my attention was grabbed fairly quickly and held for
much of the show, the mysteries were executed well enough to seem interesting,
regardless of whether the case or any good or not, there was humor from
detective character was shown to get bored from lousy mysteries, much like fans
of detective, mystery, and crime fiction would, murder investigations were not
too common, and that the series did have a satisfying end, this series was
fairly decent.

Victorique yawning after being given a lousy case to solve

Although I did like the show, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about,
there were only two things bothered me.

First many of the mysteries present were terrible.

Yes, I did state earlier that not all the cases present were
not good enough to stand on the same level as the early cases of Detective
Conan
or the best works of Agatha Christie, but the one thing that I
remember being different watching the show this time was how the cases ended up
being too simple to figure out.

When I first watched this series, I remembered liking each
and every case, as well as everything about it, but, now that I have come back
to the series, I see everything as quite flawed.

If I had to say why, it would have to be because the cases
too straightforward and obvious.

While mysteries from the earliest period of publication for
works in detective, mystery, and crime fiction, are not that well known to
throw people off like Agatha Christie's best works could, as there was no way
of knowing what made a great mystery, this series originally premiered in the
early 2000's and fans of those works now expect things like misdirection, red
herrings, and surprising twists, as well as ingenious tricks.

Here, however, there were absolutely no red herrings to be
found in any of the cases and the only attempts at misdirection ended up
failing terribly because the guilty party was already obviously guilty.

Really, guys? Is this how to create a good mystery?

If this series had come out before Agatha Christie and other
people that made a name for themselves during the golden age of detective
fiction perfected things and brought us the standards we have today, this would
have probably been considered one of the best mystery series out there.

However, because it goes for the old ways, trying to appeal
to today's fans of Sherlock Holmes, the mysteries end up being rather
unimpressive and predictable to somebody of my caliber.

Unfortunately, since I do not have access to a good quality
version of the light novel series from beginning to end, the only people that I
can really blame for this problem is the staff that worked on this anime at
Bones Studio, though I do suspect the possibility of this problem lying with
Kazuki Sakuraba.

Seriously, the people involved with this series should have
gone back to the drawing board and realized that people other than fans of
Sherlock would have decided to check this series and they have much higher
standards than those just dipping their toes into the genre, though I would not
say that this series is not a bad one if you want to dip your toes in the
waters of the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres, seeing as the fans
of those genres were not always able to piece things together as they can now.

Instead of doing that though, many of the most interesting
cases do not even crop up until the latter half, where Victorique's backstory
starts being delved into a bit, and only last a few episodes at best.

The thing that I hated the most though was how things seemed
to feel rather dull towards the end.

While I will admit that I do not truly hate this series for
the same reason that I would not throw DBZ in the trash that many anime fans
would put it in, as I did say that it ended in a satisfactory way, the way
things headed towards that ending were not as enjoyable as things had been
earlier.

If I had to say why, it would be because everything that
made the series so great and exciting suddenly disappeared, from the
interesting set up of cases that may or may not have been good, to the fact
that things were just sped through, without any sort of buildup.

I felt like I cared for these characters during the early
portions of the series and wanted to see what would happen to them, as they got
fleshed out over the course of the series, but, now, the characters themselves
seem to be missing, as they are now being dragged along by the whims of the
writers and how the people behind the series want the show to end.

Really, Bones Studio? Is this any sign of any good way to
the end series?

Readers and anime fans do not want a happy ending for the
sake of a happy ending. They want an ending that feels like it has been earned,
like how A Silence Voice ended in the seventh
book
or how Spice & Wolf officially concluded in the sixteenth
book
, because that is what makes things end in a truly satisfying way, as
opposed to just getting a happy ending for the sake of a happy ending.

Unfortunately, Bones Studio does not even bother showing how
deep the ties between Victorique and Kazuya are, or even show any kind of
struggle from either one of them past the Beelzebub arc, so the only ones that
might end up liking how things end are those that cannot tell a good story from
a bad one or those that like Victorique and Kazuya, outside of their roles of
being yet another Sherlock and Watson, and only rush to end things, thus making
the audience more relieved that things are finally over, which is something
anime fans do want to see.

Thankfully, those were the only things that I found wrong
with this series, and I do not have to continue ripping something a part that I
remembered liking, which means I can still enjoy it on my own terms.

While there were only two things majorly wrong with this
series, both were bad enough that this series went from being great to not so
great.

Despite the fact that there was quite a bit to like, the negative
overshadowed things enough to make this series only good enough to kill time.

I recommend this to current fans of the Gosick anime,
those that want to see why detective fiction is not always synonymous with
mystery and crime fiction, and those that just want to dunk their toes into the
detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres, as those people would be able to
enjoy it the most, at least for most of the 24 episodes that it is good for.

As for everyone else, it might be worth giving a try, but if
you are looking for something that will sate an appetite for good mysteries,
which would include diehard fans of detective, mystery, and crime fiction, or
something on the level of Spice & Wolf and A Silent Voice, it
would be better to look somewhere else.

If you liked this review and would to see more, please
consider supporting me on Patreon
or, if you want to give the series a try for yourself, buy it from either
Amazon (part 1, part 2) or, if you prefer a digital copy,
iTunes (part
1
, part
2
), so that I can find more worthwhile anime for you guys to watch, and do
whatever you guys do when you find something that impresses you.

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