Gosick–Anime First Impressions

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Gosick is a series of detective stories based on a series of light novels by Kazuki Sakuraba.

“Gosick” is apparently what you get when you take the Japanese word for “gothic” (GOSHIKKU in katakana) and convert it into Roman characters, either with no knowledge of the original English word, or as a deliberate joke. In either case I suspect that the author had no idea how bad it would sound in English.

The story begins in 1924 in an exclusive private boarding school in the mythical kingdom of Sauville, located between France and Italy. Kazuya Kujou (Takuya Eguchi), the disaffected younger son of a Japanese army officer, is attending the school but is shunned by his fellow students. He forms an unlikely friendship with another misfit student, Victorique de Blois (Aoi Yuuki.) She is small, very arrogant and very smart. She wears gothloli dresses that would have been appropriate half a century earlier. A virtual prisoner at the school, her primary amusement is solving crimes that have baffled the police. This is made possible by her half-brother Grevil (Hidenobu Kiuchi), a flamboyant but incompetent police detective.

There are some deliberate parallels between Victorique and Sherlock Holmes. She often wears a bonnet with a brim like a deerstalker cap, and fondles a meerschaum pipe while contemplating mysteries. (I don’t see any smoke; perhaps it is a bubble pipe.) Like Holmes she has a keen analytical mind and a brusque and arrogant manner. However she lacks his height and his tremendous physical strength, and in a pinch she is not above resorting to feminine wiles.

We’ve only seen one mystery so far and it was pretty far-fetched. It is hard to imagine a more unlikely, hare-brained scheme. On the other hand some of the plots in the original Sherlock Holmes stories were also pretty bizarre. I’m willing to give this a chance. The major draw in any case is the character of Victorique and her interplay with her reluctant Watson.

“Victorique” is pronounced “Victorica” (katakana VIKUTORIKA.) I’m not sure how the translators get “Victorique” from that. As far as I know neither “Victorique” nor “Victorica” is a legitimate European name, but strange names for European characters is pretty much par for the course in anime.