Posted 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

Posted on with categories: Gosick



Okay, so in the end it does feel like a bunch of novels were crammed into just these two final episodes. The mood swing is a bit too abrupt, and they definitely were rushed. On the other hand though, I did not expect the direction it took because of that: I really expected a formulaic mystery to close off the series. Instead, the mysteries are completely gone at this point, and instead it’s a finale that focuses on character development. Fair enough: that part worked really well.

Two episodes isn’t a lot, so the big separation between Kujou and Victorique doesn’t feel as big as it could have been, but I still admire what Mari Okada managed to do within 2 episodes: she got the essence of this finale. the distance was there, and using a big war as a backdrop, it really made for an engaging ending with two major characters (Marquis de Blois and Victorique’s mother) gone from the stage. Grevil got some great development, Victorique was absolutely wonderful, Kujou also was great, the king got some redemption, the things that were put in this episode really tried to reach as many characters, while to my surprise they actually ignored all of the stupid characters (with perhaps one small scene as an exception).

Brian Roscoe was a bit of a disappointment, though. To me, it seems like he was just killed off for the sake of being killed off: he didn’t need to die and would have actually made things a lot more interesting if he lived. Both of his versions, I mean. Also, Victorique’s hair thing was a bit… weird. How did it change color?

Overall, the show was at its best around episodes 14 to 18. This ending though: it also was really good. It’s a shame that Gosick has such a weak start, because it’s definitely a great adventure series.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 25 June 2011 with categories: Gosick



Oh what the hell. This week has been absolutely amazing in terms of anime. Here we yet again have an awesome episode. Steins;Gate, Anohana, C, Enma-kun and now Gosick. All of them completely delivered. This week has turned out to be an amazing closure to the past season!

This was the kind of episode that was entirely building up to its final minutes, but those minutes were extra sweet because of that. I’m really surprised how this episode shifted Kujou’s role, and actually made him enlist in the military in order to prevent getting kicked out of the country. From that position though, he couldn’t really do anything, and instead the one who saves everything turned out to be… Cordelia. The fight between her and Marquis de Blois was really well animated, and a fitting climax. I really admire the creators that they didn’t go with the most predictable turn of events.

Overall the plot too wrapped itself up quite nicely. This episode really focused on Marquis de Blois’s obsession over the Occult, and how he’s using it to deceive people. The only question mark is why he found it a good idea to allow Victorique to speak. That’s the kind of logic that ends up killing your average bad guy, but in this case this was not vital to Cordellia’s plans: all she had to do was dress up as Victorique and Marquis de Blois would come to her eventually. Red Haired guy’s illusions would have been more than enough for this switch trick to work.

Also, I’m a bit puzzled as to why this show is already announcing the third world war when it’s only 1925. This is an alternate history of course, but I do wonder why the creators decided to speed things up aside from it being handy for the plot.

Also: next episode. It should be entirely focused on Kujou and Victorique trying to find each other again, which really seems like a great conclusion for this series. It’s interesting that that there is no big mystery in these episodes, but that would have felt really out of place in the plot at this point. Either way, I’m really curious how they plan to end this thing.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 18 June 2011 with categories: Gosick



When I first saw that Inspector de Blois guy, and I really thought that he would be just this silly side-character. Especially the way in which he behaved in the first half of this series. But whoa: he’s actually become a great villain here. This episode just showed that he resents Victorique quite a bit

In any case, the creators chose a fitting backdrop for the finale of this series: the legend behind it is fully devoted to the bond between Kujou and Victorique, playing with the prophecy from that old guy, plus the stakes here are the involvement in the second world war. It’s good, epic and not too mundane for the sake of epicness, so it’s definitely a good start for the finale of this series.

I also liked the quiet bits in this episode. Christmases in anime tend to look a lot like each other, so it’s interesting to see all kinds of new rituals and traditions here. The dress-up party was especially nice because for once everyone just forgot their prejudice to Kujou and Victorique. It’s more symbolic than that it actually makes sense, but it’s definitely a nice touch.

Overall, I really like adventure series, and Gosick’s second half really fueled that interest for the past season. As a series overall it definitely has its problems, though. The second half introduced wondrous stories, interesting legends and all sorts of interesting ideas and places. In the first half, there were only two arcs that did that too. The others were just uninspired. I can understand the characters taking their time to grow (but even there their stupidity’s absence would have made this series even better), but what was the reason of not using these episodes in the first half to experiment a bit? Tell imaginative and creative stories, rather than just waiting for the second half to arrive. In fact, most of the build-up was done by the two major arcs of the first half: the ship arc and the village arc. The others just fleshed out the cast, and that’s something that they could have done much better.

Overall though, against my expectations Gosick was worth it in the end. The wait was very much rewarded by these past arcs. The ending is probably not going to be the best part of this series, but I’m nevertheless intrigued in how far this series is willing to go.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 11 June 2011 with categories: Gosick



Interestingly this was the kind of episode that started off rather dodgy, only to redeem itself as it went on. It’s strange, but as the episode went on I caught myself getting irked at quite a few things, and yet when the episode ended it justified all but one of them.

So let’s just get the one wonky part about this episode out of the way first: I usually really like it when a series tells its story through a play, but this was a rather silly example of this trope. The entire play was silent, only to be narrated by the audience. That… didn’t mesh in the slightest.

Also, as Victorique explained the mystery of the Coco Rose, something really felt missing. The whole story just didn’t match up to the previous arcs. So of course she only told part of the truth as a refusal to cooperate with the ones who tried to use her. It really begs the question as to why her father put so much faith into her, but this was actually a pretty good strategy of her to just break this faith and getting him to lose interest in her. Right now she has found an ally in Kujou, which allowed her to do the thing she previously couldn’t do out of fear of being alone.

The way in which Victorique suddenly announced that Leviathan was the daughter of the queen was completely random, made no sense and only made the Leviathan story less interesting, so I’m glad too that that was a lie. My guess is that somewhere, she read that the queen had a servant who looked just like her, and with that she was able to piece everything together as soon as she found out about the baby she had. The way in which they just “bumped” into the real queen at the end was… convenient to say the least, but it was a great way to close off this arc and fill up the gaps.

The Coco Rose still isn’t the most interesting arc of Gosick, but it still turned out to be much better than expected. With three episodes left, the finale will probably start next episode. I originally thought that the final arc would just flow out of the Coco Rose arc, but instead this episode left us with a really bored main villain and the main characters returning home.

Instead we’ll be getting a short final arc of only three episodes. It’s here where the creators of the anime need to show what they’re worth: short finals are either awesome or really rushed.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 5 June 2011 with categories: Gosick



And so much for the “Kujou is stupid” in this series. With this, he’s just become “not as bright as Victorique”, which is how it should have been at the start. This episode shows him actually investigating, using his head and going after clues. That’s what a good Watson should do, compared to his parrot-like role in the first half of this series. The teacher meanwhile still is a moron, but at least she’s a moron who doesn’t get in the way this time.

In any case though, this again was an excellent episode in terms of build-up. Kuji vs Victorique was used really well for that. The distance between Kujou and Victorique has been a major theme throughout the series, and here is where that really paid off with Victorique believing that Kujou’s involvement would only make her father put her back into that damn castle of his.

With four episodes left, the Coco Rose mystery will probably be the prelude to the finale. Here it’s going to be up to Mari Okada again to correctly plan the ending and make it fit into these 24 episodes. With this series in particular there should be no excuse, because some episodes in the middle could easily have been cut in order to fit the finale in.

I’m expecting a lot out of it, though, with such an amazing lead-up. Especially the occult roots around Marquis de Blois are interesting here: this show has consistently debunked any hint to the supernatural as mere tricks (aside from perhaps the fortune teller, but yeah: that’s pretty much the nature of fortune tellers: be vague enough so that your story fits for everyone), and yet this guy keeps going on about grey wolves, rituals and mystical powers. It’s actually much more interesting than the Coco Rose Mystery at this point: how on earth are the creators planning to put all that into perspective? I mean, we know that Marquis de Blois was obsessed over the occult since he was young and all, but I doubt that he carried out all of those rituals just because of his own madness.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 28 May 2011 with categories: Gosick



Um. Wow. This might just as well have been the best episode of Gosick yet. This past month has just been absolutely amazing for this series, there’s no way around it. The bad stories? All gone. The annoying characters? Who cares about those? Heck, every episode this month has delivered beyond what I could have ever expected from this series.

Cordelia’s background… holy crap. To think that in the past half year, there have been two series that feature main characters that were pretty much the products of outright rape (for obvious spoiler reasons I’m not going to mention what the other series was, but those who saw it know what I’m talking about). This episode really gave some insights at who Cordellia was, as well as completely prove me wrong in thinking that the red haired guy was supposed to be a villain.

I also love that how in hindsight, the series has been dropping hints and references to this episode over and over. Unfortunately this can’t be said of every arc: the pointless arcs still remain pointless at this point, but the good arcs are surprisingly well tied to each other. And heck, this past month has really made up for the bad arcs of this series. Gosick has turned from a cheap mystery show to an amazingly engaging adventure series. It’s not just Victorique who is awesome: it’s the bond between every character here that just gets better and better.

The only part I did not like about this episode: Bones didn’t have the budget to really animate that dance scene of Cordellia. That’s a bit of a pity.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 21 May 2011 with categories: Gosick



I must admit: this episode rocks for blending in another mystery, right after previous one ended. It was subtly built up for during the previous episodes by setting up the right people at the right places, and delivered a great storyline that I did not see coming at this point, after such a major episode. This episode was clearly rushed, but heck: we’re on a train riding back from a huge flood. This episode nicely went on with this flow.

I’m a big fan of good adventure series, and thank god Gosick finally turned into one. The mysteries here all are interesting, the characters have stopped being annoying (or at least the most annoying characters have been gone in this arc) and the past three episodes just kept throwing interesting twists and turns to the story. Now that’s what I’ve been hoping for! Victorique’s hasty explanation at the end would have been really jarring if she did this at the beginning of the series with another of those lackluster stories of the first half, but right now it’s just a minor inconvenience. Finally this series has this great sense of adventure that’s really enjoyable to watch.

What I also want to praise this show for is for avoiding the hollywood gunpowder syndrome. I do not know enough about gunpowder to say this with certainty, but I’m glad that for once a bullet actually doesn’t make everything it hits explode. The only questionable thing about that scene was really Victorique’s aim, but then again we don’t really know how much experience Kujou has in shooting from a fast-moving platform. It’s still quite unlikely, but then again, when the rest of an episode is this good, things like these don’t really matter. The more mundane and boring an episode is, the more these inconsistencies and plotholes tend to stand out.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 13 May 2011 with categories: Gosick



Now this is why I originally decided to blog this series! This episode once again showed Gosick at its good side, and it was just amazing. This is what I want to see from this series.

We’re finally getting to the interesting stories here. Beyond the attention to Victorique and her mother, the whole atmosphere of this arc was just wonderful, in this strange theme park full of interesting attractions and people to watch. I also liked the explanation that this episode gave about how Brian Roscoe created the tragedy ten years earlier. He definitely became a much more interesting villain in the second half of this series. This arc ended with this episode, but it left behind a ton more intrigue for the rest of this show to work with.

And heck. The parts that focused on Victorique were just amazing. It’s here where the character development really kicks in, and especially her mother’s message was simple, yet very effective.

The big question right now: why is Victorique so important? Why is Victorique’s mother so important? What item that Brian Roscoe stowed away could be so important? At the moment, these are the things that feel like McGuffins to me. It’s up to the rest of this show to properly explain why the bad guys of this series revolve around them.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 8 May 2011 with categories: Gosick



Yes! That’s the right direction, Gosick! These are the stories that I want to see. This episode was once again excellent, and focused exactly on what this series is good at. This really is the right direction for this series. Now don’t lose it!

Setting aside that this was probably the first episode f anime I ever saw that took place in Lithuania, this episode also showed Kujou at his best. He may have needed a little help to find out the place that Victorique was brought to when she was taken away from the academy, but I still loved how he pretty much did everything that he was supposed to do, and did not get bogged down by stupidity.

The train journey was also wonderful. It’s a great and down to earth way to introduce the major characters, but it also was quite an interesting way for Kujou to socialize a bit with his fellow passengers. The build-up around Brian Roscoe was also excellent. Not to mention how this episode introduced a certain famous chess machine that was used: The Turk, who even defeated Napoleon Bonaparte. Sure, the time frame is a bit off, but it’s nevertheless pretty neat to consider the idea that someone (Brian Roscoe) actually rebuilt it at some point.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

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