First Impressions: Gosick

 

Summary: Kazuya Kujo has been studying abroad at the prestigious Saint Marguerite Academy, where urban legends and horror stories are all the rage. Most Kazuya ignores but the story of the Queen Berry, a mysterious ghost ship, really gets to him. Of course, his brainy friend Victorique is much more intrigued by true stories, and she uses her unrivaled logic to solve mysteries even the town’s famous detective can’t. Ironically, it is Victorique’s inquisitive nature that leads the duo to board a ship that matches the Queen Berry’s description to a tee, a ship that might just hold the key to solving a sinister mystery…

Review: There is a lot to like about GoSick, Is it well animated, has a gorgeous art style, and some interesting character designs. The setting is beautiful, the private school is nestled in a central European landscape, the architecture is designed to appear grand, and even the insides of the buildings from simple classrooms to Victorique’s atrium above the library are designed with a skilled hand. The setup even provides a great hook; a transfer student befriends a young girl who turns out to be a brilliant detective.

The characters have a great relationship with each other from the moment they meet. They play off each other well with Victorique’s standing as a spoiled girl who is intelligent beyond her age and Kazuya as the sensible down to earth anchor of the pair. Their interactions made otherwise painful scenes, such as the scene with famous detective Grevil, tolerable. If the relationship continues to build from this powerful start they have the potential to be one of the most memorable duo in the medium.

GoSick goes out of its way to ruin itself. It starts off by giving Kazuya the nickname Springtime Reaper because he suddenly appeared in the spring and that has something to do with a ghost story that his teacher tells him to look up in order to grow closer to his classmates. It takes a lot of time and concentration on the part of the audience and it ultimately leads nowhere, except for a roundabout way of getting Kazuya alone with Victorique for the first time. The main story may have something to do with ghost stories but I saw no evidence in the first episode, if they were introducing ghost stories as a theme the show failed to express their importance to the audience.

But that pales in comparison to Victorique’s first mystery. Grevil struts into her palatial room on top of the library and gives her the first mystery of the series. Now Grevil is a profession detective… a famous professional detective and he comes to Victorique because he can’t figure out what I’d call the most obvious mystery in the history of mysteries. I was able to figure it out before all the evidence was given, and I’ve heard the same from a dozen people who watched the first episode. Including such a silly mystery in the first episode puts the entire show into question, not only on the quality of the mysteries but of the strength of the episodic structure for this type of show.

Verdict: Gosick has some strong elements to ride of including some fantastic art and a wonderful pair of main characters. However, the narrative has some pacing and development problems on top of the fact that the first mystery of the series was painfully easy to solve. If you enjoyed the characters of the first episode, as I did, you’ll probably want to keep going. Other than that there doesn’t seem to be much here worth sticking around for.

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