Overall - 9
If you are looking for a good detective series, this is not the show you are looking for. Gosick is not a detective show. It is a historical fiction that tells the story of Ministry of the Occult’s attempt to maintain political power against the rise of science. Victorique, the heroine, solves minor mysteries in a Sherlock Holmes manner throughout the show. As Ridiculous as they may seem at first, the resolutions of these mysteries foreshadow events crucial to the actual plot. Although the conflict is not obvious until the second half of the season, it is present from the first episode.
Another important note to mention is that the show is also a romance. I would put it akin to Toradora. The romantic plot is important to the overarching plot, but it does not take priority over it. If you don’t like romance, you can still like this show. If you want a good love story, you still get that.
Gosick gets very dark towards the end, as the overarching plot becomes noticeable. There are scenes filled with action, especially towards the end. Every episode build suspense and questions; as the show comes to a close, it does not disappoint.
The staff of Gosick takes the unimportant details seriously. Minor characters have a lot of personality and perform their roles decently. The background art is among the best of any show I have seen. Every little thing was given time and effort by the staff, and that is one of the best parts of the show.
If you love music, this show doesn’t have the world’s greatest soundtrack. However, the music is still very good, especially in the opening and ending themes. As a warning, endings change at episode 13. Being a huge fan of the first ending, the second was a shock, as it is not nearly as good. It is still a very good song, once you’ve hear it a few times. The in show music could be better.
Characters - 10
The lead role of the show is a Japanese exchange student Kazuya Kujou. Kujou is an intelligent, albeit naïve, student. He trusts the myths of his host country, Sauville, but does not become entranced by them like the students of that land. In his home country, he is considered a pansy; in many ways he is, but there are times when he has plenty of courage. He is not a toughened warrior at all times, but when other people’s lives are in danger, he steps in the path of bullets. Although Gosick is not narrated, Kujou seems to take that role. Whenever the viewer is left in the dark, so is he. Whenever the view would be confused, so is he. When the show journeys into the supernatural, even Kujou keeps it tied to reality.
Victorique is the character that causes people to label Gosick as a detective series. People present her with cases, sometimes unintentionally, and she solves them within moments. She constantly acts bored and rarely shows any emotions at the beginning. Her history is a mystery that is uncovered bit by bit after each case she solves. The only thing that is obvious in the first few episodes is that Kujou causes Victorique to change. She becomes more social and emotional. Her character changes so much over the course of the show that she looks dramatically different at the end than at the beginning (literally and figuratively – although the literal change is to emphasize the figurative). The changes make sense with the story, and do not distract the viewer at all.
Each supporting character has a clear cut personality. Even one shot characters have histories explained briefly without distracting from the plot. This is one of the best aspects of the show. The minor characters fulfill their roles well. Grevil de Blois, the only real detective in the series, plays a complex part. He often becomes an obstacle to the main characters, but sometimes he aides them by following or ignoring his superior’s orders. He changes as much as Victorique as the show progresses. Although Grevil is the strongest support, almost none of the others can be done without.
I’m not as picky on grading characters as I am with other sections. I am willing to give 10’s to multiple shows, not just the best. There are requirements to get this score. The cast must be well developed, have purpose in the plot, and fulfill their roles properly. Gosick is one of few shows where I could not find a character I did not like. That being said, there are characters I wouldn’t want anything to do with if they existed. In fact, that is the reason I’d give this show such a good score here. I think that every single one of these characters could exist, because they are developed enough to have realistic personalities.
Story - 9
The first half of the Gosick has lots of little mysteries that seem to have little relevance to the entire plot. Also, for someone expecting a detective show, these mysteries are a bit disappointing. Very little work is done in the actual investigative fields, and Victorique solves these mysteries quickly. While many people would find her evidence a bit farfetched, it is fitting for the overall plot of the show. Victorique claims that she puts together the chaos around her using a “wellspring of wisdom.” This is a horrible way to end any mystery arc, if you want a show like Columbo, Monk, or Law and Order. However, this does not hurt Gosick at all. After all, this show is not a detective series; it is a historical fiction. The first few mysteries help develop the characters and foreshadow the important plot points that come later on in the show. Each minor event has relevance to the story, but it does not become noticeable until the second half.
Like the first half, the last episodes are full of minor mysteries. At this point in the show, these mysteries are no longer random. The cases from the first half have gained relevance to the overarching plot. The new mysteries reveal the most important details of the history within the show. Victorique’s past is revealed. The conflict becomes overt. This is an important point in the show; the viewer can see that the conflict has always been present, but no one knows exactly what it is until Kujou discovers it. Also, it proves that the show is not a detective story. Although the heroine is treated as a detective, she does not change the show. The conflict of a detective show is always the same; the leads must discover how an event happened, and who caused it to happen. In the case of Gosick, the conflict present in the overarching plot is completely different: the Ministry of the Occult’s final attempts to maintain political power against the Academy of Science.
The presence of the supernatural is important for the plot of Gosick. Myths and superstitions help keep the Ministry of the Occult in power. The ignorant populace responds to mystical evidence before the scientific. Victorique offers scientific theories to cases, but she creates them through unlikely means. These theories also make sense when she says them, but they seem mythical as well. This makes Victorique the focal character; she contains elements of the Occult and science in her. She represents both sides equally.
The ending of the show feels rushed. The last episode is forced to switch between several characters, locations and times that it is hard to understand what is going on. While it isn’t the smoothest finish ever, it still ends the story well. The conflict between the Occult and science is resolved properly without anything being rushed. The resolutions of all the characters, however, are rushed. As the Second World War passes, viewers get to see where each of the characters are and what they are doing. Perhaps the chaotic ending was intended, since everything that happened during that war was chaotic. Very few questions are left when the screen reads “Fin,” and most of those are philosophical.
As mentioned in the characters section, this show is also a romance. The relationship between Kujou and Victorique is very important throughout the entire show. The conflict between science and magic still takes priority over it, but the conflict of the romance plot is directly related to the other. Although they are not the same, the events that occur affect both plots. When the main conflict is resolved, so is the romantic one (albeit a romantic sub plot remains unresolved until the very end).
In many ways I want to give the story a 10, but I will not for one reason. The show that gets a 10 in this field must be, without a doubt, the best story I have encountered. While I haven’t seen such an interesting storyline executed in such decent way, I cannot say it is the best. That being said, I cannot say that about anything else I have seen. I’m picky that way. So go ahead and put a 10 in that spot, since it would have one if I wasn’t stubborn.
The character art in Gosick is basic. It does not distract the viewer by being too flashy or by being of poor quality. The faces of the characters do not have the details they could have, and my art styles surpass the one used in this show for that reason. However, plenty of detail went into the clothing of each character. Not only were Victorique’s dresses given plenty of time and effort, but even the supporting characters had well thought out clothes. Luigi, who appears only a few times, first appears wearing a ratty set of clothes. The detail put into making his simple set of clothes look like he slept in the streets took effort that many shows don’t put in.
The quintessence of art in Gosick is its back grounds. From the insides of homes and libraries, to greenhouses and full landscapes, the artists of this show worked hard on every detail. The scenery of the city near Kujou’s academy is splendid; the cobblestone street and European style homes look realistic. Several landscapes are shown when the characters travel, and they are never reused images. Every time one appears, they look like places worth visiting.
This is why I gave Gosick a 10 in art. I would want to visit every place the characters travel if they really existed: from the lush green countryside to the snowy Alps (granted I could visit Italy for that). The scenery was never ignored or rushed, and I have seen very few shows that compare in the slightest. As for character design, the show does not lose any points from that. Although it is not the best way to draw characters in my opinion, it fits the rest of art well. Because the art does not take any time to get used to (unless you’ve never seen anime before), with the combination of its simplistic style and mixing well with the background art, the character designs do not distract from the show. As a note, art is one aspect that I’m extremely picky about. Art alone can decide whether or not a complete show.
Music - 8
The in show soundtrack is very good, but it does not change much as the show continues. Nakagawa Koutarou does not ruin the show with her music. In fact, many of the scenes are made much more dramatic due to her works. However, she is no Yuki Kajiura. A show of such high quality seems deserving of an amazing soundtrack, but it is left with an above average one at best.
The opening and endings of the show are among the best music the show provides. Yoshiki Lisa created an amazing opening for the show. Destin Histoire puts the viewer in the right mood for the show. It is an upbeat song, but it is not so happy that it deceives the viewer (as the show gets dark from time to time). It is not dark enough to scare away people looking for a good story.
Komine Lisa made the first ending, Resuscitated Hope. This song was a perfect ending for each episode. Since the show often ended on a cliff hanger, this song only intensified the suspense. Also, appropriate for a show title in the engrish version of “Gothic,” this ending has plenty of Nightwish vibes. Of all the themes for the show, this fit the very best. Unity was the second ending of the show. Also created by Komine Lisa, this song is drastically different from Resuscitated Hope. It is not unfitting for an ending for the show, and it accomplishes everything the first ending did nearly as well. However, this song drops the score dramatically. It is so different from the first ending, that it is a shock to the viewer when it appears. It is not as good as the first, so it seems quite worse than it actually is. This should be unexpected when you go from a Finnish rock style to a folk style suddenly. For those willing to ignore the change, the song becomes attractive over time. However, it is an immediate distraction, and unfortunately is the absolute worst part of the show.
I give Gosick a generous 8 in music. I generally don’t pay attention to in show soundtracks, and if I don’t notice it, it deserves about an 8. I noticed this soundtrack from time to time, always in a good way. All of the openings and ends are songs I can listen to over and over again. This show deserves a 10 for its work. I will not give that score, because the music causes what I believe to be the biggest flaw in the show. If the endings had not changed, I would not be as harsh as I have to be.