Gosick – light novel turned manga, and now made into an anime by Bones. The name comes from the word ‘gothic’, which when transcribed into Japanese becomes ゴシック (goshikku), which in turn can be romanized as ‘gosick’. Eh, pretty close…

Episode one opens to a witch-like fortuneteller holding a ritual and divining the downfall of the world, interspliced with scenes of a rabid-looking dog hunting rabbits in a very bloody fashion. The atmosphere is very dark and evil, but it feels a little odd to me. Don’t misunderstand me, it looks great and would be perfect (or at least not unusual) for opening a horror series, but when compared to the mood of the rest of the episode it just feels a bit out of place. Maybe later episodes can manage to tie it in a bit better.

On to the main story. Set in 1924, in the fictional country of Saubure (or Sauville) neghboring France, Switzerland and Italia. Enter the main character, Kujou Kazuya:

A Japanese student at the St. Marguerite Academy located near the Alps in Saubure. He transferred to the school in spring, and was given the nickname Black God of Death (黒い死神 – kuroi shinigami – also translated as Reaper) based on a belief that travelers arriving in spring bring death with them. Such beliefs are so widespread in the country that there even is a Ministery of the Ockult.

Kazuya is urged by a teacher to visit the library and read up on ghost stories and legends of Saubure in order to easier connect with people and be able to make friends. There he meets the story’s heroine, the doll-like Victorica:

They are classmates, but Victorica apparently never goes to class and instead spends all her waking time in the library. She is not all too friendly against Kazuya, and constantly complains that she is bored.

The second time they meet, when Kazuya is asked to deliver some class material to her, this man shows up:

Grevil De Blois. The hair is most definitely compensating for something.

A quite arrogant detective, who doesn’t seem to have much crime solving ability and instead relies on the highly intelligent Victorica to maintain a facade of competence. It is hinted that he has a deeper connection to her than just “assistant”. This time he needs help with an incident involving the fortuneteller from the opening sequence, and later claims that he solved it all by himself.

The beautiful Victorica, I can’t say if I like her or not yet. She has the potential of being great, as long as she doesn’t devolve into a winy little brat. For the story itself, this was an introductory episode so I can’t really say that much. We got to meet the main cast, though we are still missing an antagonist. Definitely going to watch the next episode though, since I’m wondering where the fortuneteller incident will lead, there seems like there could be a deep story behind it.

I always like seeing Japan’s take on old Europe, it’s a bit different from what I’m used to. For me, spotting the differences is half the fun of watching something like this. Most prominent is the school, it looks more like a modern Japanese school than an old European one.

Language-wise, not too many problems. Both Grevil and Victorica speak very direct, sometimes even blunt Japanese, while Kazuya is a bit more polite. Victorica’s requests can sound really harsh at times, especially when coming from a young girl.


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