“Wellspring Of Knowledge” – GOSICK (anime) – 8/10 Notebooks

“Without mysteries, life would be very dull indeed. What would be left to strive for if everything were known?” ~Charles de Lint

Genre: Mystery/ Romance/ Historical/ Shounen

Review Status: Complete (26 Episodes/26 Episodes)

Licensed: Yes, this anime is licensed in the US. You can watch it free, legally, on Crunchyroll.com.

Art/Animation: The art is pretty standard for anime, but it looks nice regardless. The colors are bright and vibrant. The animation is also standard, nothing really stand-out. The notable exception to both the art and animation is the opening, which looks like a stained-glass picture come to life. The art and animation for that is simply exquisite.

Summary: The year is 1924, the place, Sauville, a small European country neatly tucked beside the Alps…

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… (Source: Tokyopop)

Review: This anime was quite a surprise- one part mystery anime, one part character drama, one part romance, GOSICK manages to blend all its elements surprisingly well. None of these elements overpowers the others, and all are important to the overarching storyline. From the beginning you’re drawn into the mysteries that are presented. They all are given facades of the supernatural, from the ghost ship where children were massacred in an evening, to an undead alchemist. However, in the face of Victorique’s logic and ability to unravel a mystery (with the help of her trusty sidekick Kujo!), none of the mysteries remain unsolved. What can be frustrating is that since it isn’t a straight mystery anime, the viewer isn’t presented with all the clues that could help solve the case. This relies on some Dues-Ex-Machina on the part of Victorique.

However, it would be wrong to say that this weakens the story. The mysteries often tie together and reveal something about Victorique and her circumstances, such as her relationship with her brother and why she is stuck in the school. The mysteries aren’t the main part, they just help supplement the main storyline.

The main story is actually Victorique herself- her past, her parent’s past, her future. There are strange things going on in the country of Sauville, and she is at the heart of it. From the third arc onwards, the mysteries reveal the history of the nation, the ongoing war between the factions within it, and why Victorique herself is both reviled and needed by her father.

None of this would work well if the characters weren’t likeable or understandable. It’s hard not to like a tsundere in a Victorian dress, apparently. Victorique is far more likeable than many of her counterparts- she is logical and practical (for the most part), not flying into rages at the blink of an eye. Yet she still has her moments where she’s flustered and frustrated, not liking to ask people for help. And when she has her warm, caring moments, they might embarrass her, but they are still genuine. Kujo is a little less memorable. As an all-around nice guy, he’s often confused by Victorique’s pouts and moods. However, the relationship between the two is firm and strong. He’s willing to get right in the middle of family issues, calling out her brother when he’s wrong and doing small, thoughtful things for Victorique. The way his and Victorique’s feelings grow and change for one another is quite believable and makes you root for them at the end. While the rest of the characters get very little development except for Victorique’s brother, they do play important parts in moving the story along.

This anime held true to the light novels that it was based off of, telling the stories well and having good pacing and characterization. However, when the mystery arcs ended towards the end and went straight to a drama of two lovers torn apart, the story suffered. The war was highly condensed, and this made for some scenes that were glassed over in a way that made no sense- for instance, there was one where Kujo’s legs had disappeared and he was in a sea of sand. How did he lose his legs? Were they really lost? Where was he? And in the next scene he’s getting off a boat in Japan and meeting Victorique. While that was nice to see, it didn’t stop the previous scene from making no sense whatsoever and being completely unexplained.

Even with these issues, on the whole the story was strong, and was a good adaptation of the source material. I think I will be picking up the light novels if they’re ever translated to get the story behind some of the scenes in the epilogue, though.

Overall, this was a good show with a rushed ending, but still very enjoyable.

Recommended: Sure! 13+, as some of the deaths and dead bodies are shown but not in graphic detail. Some could be slightly disturbing (one man is burned alive, for instance). Others have the situations surrounding them be even more disturbing, as apparently one deals with children that were made paranoid enough to kill each other. One man apparently can be possessed by the ghosts of ancestors to tell the future. This is only relevant to one story arc, and is not pertinent to the storyline… only a relationship within the story. Some people are drugged. There are also a few other scenes that are violent- a beheading is done offscreen, you see a head roll onto the floor, some people are stabbed onscreen (this is not prolonged, the actual stabbing is offscreen or with the figure in shadows), and there is a burial on the seas.

Other titles you might enjoy:

Detective Conan (manga and anime)

Rozen Maiden (anime and manga)

Occult Academy (anime)

Denpateki na Kanojo (anime)

Detective Academy Q (anime)

Spiral: Bonds of Reasoning (manga)


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. National_Animeism
    Sep 07, 2011 @ 02:43:38

    Nobody can resist the cuteness of Victorique.. But good storyline has making me liking this anime. Superb~


  2. Trackback: Best Anime of 2011 « Paper Chimes
  3. Trackback: Best Anime of 2011 « Paper Chimes

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