Posted by psgels on 1 July 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Gosick




During the past half year Mari Okada set some sort of record: writing five series in just half a year, two of which original stories. This totaled 70 episodes in just six months. Surprisingly, with the exception of Fractale, all of them were really, really good.

Gosick does have a catch though: a weak start. The first half of this series is pretty much a mystery series that fails at mystery: the stories themselves are good, but the cast that has to solve them is surrounded by idiots who miss vital clues, need everything explained on a silver platter for them and just can’t think for themselves. The mysteries meanwhile get solved so conveniently that the detective in question must have had access to the script in order to be able to figure them out. These stories all don’t really serve any purpose to the plot or characters and are generally pointless and a bit of a chore to watch.

Intead, this series shines when it turns to its main storyline and adventure roots. This amounts to about three arcs and the first half, and just about everything after episode fourteen. It’s here where this show against all expectations reveals itself as wondrous journey throughout imaginative stories and murder mysteries that are deeply rooted within its setting of a small fictional country in Northern Italy in the 1920s. It successfully combines occult, legends and folklore with each other and succeeds in what a great adventure series should be.

Beyond that, it’s also here where the characters really get better. The stupid characters either get better or get shafted in favor of the vast array of interesting ones with great back-stories. There is a ton of character development in this series for both the main and side-cast and this gets woven wonderfully together with the story.

With Gosick you have to be patient. It’s not just that it takes its time to get going: some episodes and stories are downright bad, rushed and make no sense. This gets completely abandoned as the series goes on, though. ‘Engaging” is the best way to describe this series. It may not be amongst Bones’ best work, but once it left its flaws behind, it really drew me in.

Storytelling: 8/10 – It doesn’t get the mystery-genre at times, but as an adventure it hits a lot or right notes, though it remains a bit rushed at times.
Characters: 8/10 – Aah, this is a difficult one to grade because of the sheer difference between the first and second half. The big plus is the huge amount of character development, the big minus is the number of unlikable idiots that walk around in the first half.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Solid throughout the entire series, but not the most remarkable for Bones’ standards.
Setting: 9/10 – Tons of great ideas, settings and backstories that will really draw you in. Even when the characters are having a day off, the setting remains rock-solid throughout.

Suggestions:
Armed Librarians – The Book of Bantorra
Pandora Hearts
Nijuu Mensou no Musume

5 Responses

  1. Taara535 says:

    I could not be patient enough on this one. I dropped it after episode one. I am very surprised you can handle “a mystery that fails at mystery” for 13 episodes. Though I’m not a fan of mysteries in the first place, I would have been happy to watch one that accomplished its basically goal.

  2. Kyubey says:

    @Taara535 The power of moe has made me sit through worse crap than this. This show wasn’t actually that bad.

  3. This was an amazing series. It’s true that the beginning was less than stellar. I’m a bit of a sucker for mysteries though so I found it enjoyable enough, and I actually really liked the characters, realizing there was more depth to them to come. But the second half blew me away! I really like how they took fairy tales and used them, as well as how the people viewed these tales, in order to explain Europe’s tragic history leading up to the World Wars.

    * MINOR SPOILER *
    The bunny heads were like swastika armbands and the twisted history of the royal family was deeply hidden inside the children’s stories.

    Really enjoyed it! Thanks for the review. You can read more of my reviews on Gosick and the last few episodes of it at popgoestheeast.com

  4. some loser says:

    finished it finally, the mystery aspect is enough to make you cry (and not with tears of happiness). the rest of the story kinda makes up for it. Question here is why the hell does Kujo exist? has he ever won a fight? why is he dumber than the average teenager? and how cliche and boring can this character be? is he just there to make the entire story be placed in the romance genre as well?

  5. Hogart says:

    Well, I finally got around to watching this, and yes.. I ended up enjoying it more than expected. I wouldn’t exactly call it “great”, but I’ll settle for “decent”. Thanks to those who suggested to try it out, I’ve watched far worse and enjoyed some of this greatly.

    The stuff relating to Saubreme and Leviathan was excellent, but the stuff revolving around Victorique’s past and the Marquis was way too over-the-top and contrived to torture her for our sympathy. It also took me a fair bit of effort to buy into the romance.

    I wish they had cut the crap earlier in the story so the last few episodes weren’t so rushed. Also that the villains didn’t feel so stereotypically insane.. that felt really out of place for some reason.

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  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:48 AM)
    Ashura was an excellent example of how to through anime illicit and emotional response in an honest, non-melodramatic way.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:46 AM)
    @Bam: I’d be more than happy to take a look at some of those shorts anytime.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:44 AM)
    @Emma: there’s a lot of European animators that got active in the last 10 years or so that are really reinvigorating their animation scene, and every now and then I get introduced to some fabulous shorts.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Emma: no I don’t really mind gory ‘for the fuck of it’ violence, I even like it in some grindhouse type of works, but I just don’t think it’s always effective as a shock factor. Live-action is the most sympathetic for obvious reasons, but there are animated works that do elicit a deep response. Probably because of circumstances but also the details of the in-between animation, which can induce certain feelings of disgust.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:39 AM)
    *here and there
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:35 AM)
    @Bam: I really wish there was more arthouse anime now to give some kind of a balance to everything thats out these days.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:33 AM)
    Now I like my exploitation every so often, but yes Bam I really do wish that adult and mature storytelling could be better associated with truly, more pure mature themes.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:25 AM)
    I get choked up over Bergmans cries and whisper and Autumn sonata, I look back on a work by Key and Jun Maeda and wonder, think of how silly it looks to me now.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:24 AM)
    I also find it easier to get an emotional response from a honest drama, live action film, largely due to the real people doing the acting. Sometimes you get an actor whose just that good too…
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:22 AM)
    I’ve gotten my odd emotional reaction here from anime and manga but a lot of the time it feels like the jump scare in a generic horror movie, I got shocked but I felt minipulated afterwards it wasn’t genuine, the same goes for some anime/manga drama when it takes a melodramatic turn instead of a bleak, honest one.

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