「黒い死神は金色の妖精を見つける」 (Kuroi Shinigami wa Kin-iro no Yousei wo Mitsukeru)
“The Black Reaper Finds the Golden Fairy”
Set in a fake nation smack dab between almost all that is Europe, a made up school with made up char- oh wait, did I go too far? Let’s just say it’s not a high school in Japan. I don’t know who or what was more serious about mysteries in this production, but someone out there wasn’t kidding around when they wanted to adapt GOSICK. The story does not wait for you, the characters do not wait for you, and you will get a mystery in the first episode, like it or not.
I suppose the quick pacing doesn’t really matter when it’s a series, so GOSICK merely went for the “ignore main character now, focus on girl first” route. I know absolutely nothing about Kujou Kazuya (Eguchi Takuya), except that he can be pretty funny, has no friends, and yells a lot. The obvious charm of the show is Victorique, voiced by Yuuki Aoi, who has claimed two main protagonist roles this season, the other being Madoka. An eccentric petite girl, dressed in the most Victorian of clothes, Victorique is the quintessential representative of a Goth Loli, although a little more mild mannered than her more famous counterpart, Shinku. Push her buttons, she’ll respond like a kid, but question her about a mystery, and she’ll deliver a monologue akin to Sherlock Holmes (comes with the pipe too). She’s quick tongued, unabashedly forward, and hard not to like when she rolls around the floor. Somehow relating to her is the oddly fabulous drill hair Grevil (Kiuchi Hidenobu), whose closest cousin would be Kogorou Mouri, and requires Victorique to answer all his mysteries. A failure of sorts, he actually provides most of the episode’s direction, which is kind of weird.
Gosick’s storytelling is, for some reason, hasty. And yet, I’m glad it is. For a rather bland setting, moving along the plot and focusing more on the characters is a smart idea. While Grevil provides the smaller mystery of the story, the scenes string together a much bigger one, starting with the old woman, her being killed, and an invitation to a luxury cruise ship. My attempt in seeing the big picture here is, the old woman did something evil, the maid killed her for it, and thinking that was over, the granddaughter awarded the yacht as a prize. Victorique stumbles upon the letter, and further explanations of the motives behind everything will probably be on the ship. And so, the two just board the ship, leave their school behind, and try to solve a grim mystery they know nothing about? These two are way too easy going. Initially, I had expected they might pull some slice of life stuff or have some small mysteries at school first, but I’m okay with this.
Not bad for a first episode, but I believe you can’t just binge on one aspect and expect to pull in viewers. It can be enticing if done right, but that requires some experience, something Nanba Hitoshi only has from Heroman. BONES must have borrowed him in-house or something, but I’m not so quick to write him off just yet. Being a BONES show, the animation is fluid, consistent throughout, and really exhumes their skill in animation in simple scenes like this. However, it feels as if to balance the lack of explosive action scenes, they directed their budget into the background art, which makes other shows seem like they take art from children’s books. Again, given that it’s merely the first episode, the best things so far are the characters. The two mains share a fun relationship, if only just because Kazuya isn’t afraid to touch her and go through her luggage with no remorse to stir up some hilarity. An air of quirky humor constantly lines all the characters, and help create relatively “new” kinds of jokes to laugh at. The plot is a little less impressive, seemingly fumbled together, but given that it’s a mystery, everything probably won’t seem enlightening until a little later. I’m hoping the mysteries actually shape up to a witty and intriguing ride, rather than end up seeing the characters go through the motions. It was already an obstacle jumped over that BONES isn’t the one making up the story, but the source material itself isn’t even impressive? Let’s hope not. If the OP is anything to go by, I think some good stuff will be on our way.
It’s interesting how bipolar the OP and ED are against each other, one possessing an upbeat tone while the other a depressing one. OP has far more interesting visuals, but that’s typical of a OP vs ED. It’s also indicative of where the series might go, story-wise or mood.