Anime Review: Gosick

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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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.