RogerBW's Blog

Gosick 11 February 2018

2010-2011 mystery, light novel adaptation, 24 episodes: AniDB. In the European country of Sauville, Kujō the military brat transfers to an exclusive private school, and meets Victorique the goth-loli enigma. They solve crimes!

As with many series, this one falls very clearly into two parts: the first twelve episodes build up the characters with light puzzle-of-the-week stories, and the latter twelve get much bleaker. The first half worked better for me: start with a horror story or urban legend told around the school, then gradually uncover the real deeds behind it (though this isn't the sort of mystery where the reader can usefully work out what's going on; it's more a case of following along as Victorique exposits). The second is rather more about the terrible deeds of the past and the shadow they cast on the present, and much grimmer.

Alas, the leads aren't compelling: Victorique is a petulant genius, and Kujō is an undisciplined fool. One is never convinced that they're falling in love with each other, as much as being the only ones who'll put up with each other. Supporting characters are there to make the principals look good.

But apart from that it's often enjoyable. The setting is a Victorian-styled alternative 1920s, which looks good, especially the dresses and the trains. Not much is done with the alternate history, except for bringing in the Second World War a few years early, and that's an interesting shift from minor political implications of the cases to politics that might actually matter: will Victorique's deductions push Sauville to join the war or stay aloof? (It seems to have a choice.)

Probably not worth bothering with unless you particularly like the visuals.

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