Friday, 7 January 2011

Gosick - Episode 1

In case you're wondering no, Gosick isn't about taking a day off sick from work because you can't be bothered to sit in an office all day when there's new anime to be watched.  That said, maybe that isn't such a bad idea for a new show in this day and age...

Anyhow, instead of all of that Studio BONES' adaptation of the Gosick light novel series finds us within the fictional European country of Saubure, at a prestigious academy at the base of the Alps.  We're introduced to this setting via Kujo Kazuya, a Japanese living in Saubure who has already earned himself the nickname of the "Dark Reaper" on account of his jet black hair and dark eyes... a rather harsh nickname to be given, as it turns out he's actually rather a nice chap.  Still, misfits coming together as they tend to in such series, and with Kazuya advised by his teacher to read up on some ghost stories to help him make some friends, a trip to the library soon introduces Kujo to a mysterious blonde and slightly creepy "doll" who seems to have told him a fortune of some kind.

Of course, this is no doll in reality, but instead one of Kazuya's classmates (although she rarely actually bothers with such frivolities as classes) - a girl named Victorique (played by Aoi Yuuki doing her Murasaki from Kurenaivoice, of which I heartily approve) who seems to be a bit of a genius when is comes to solving locked room mysteries in a flash and without a hint of effort.  A good job too, as we soon see her visited by the eccentric detective Grevil de Blois - you can tell he's eccentric because of his hair, by the way.  Of course, Grevil uses Victorique's intellect to solve a seemingly insoluble crime as Kazuya looks on, before going off to claim the glory (and a rather nifty prize or two) as if he solved the murder in question himself.  Once Kazuya gets wind of this he demands a share of the spoils with Victorique in mind, only to set in motion a chain of events which soon accelerate as it becomes clear that there was more to this murder case than first met the eye.

Starting out on the positive side of this opener to Gosick, there are certainly things for me to like here.  For starters, you can't go wrong with a good murder mystery particularly when that mystery is a locked room affair, and from that point of view this show promises to be some kind of Jonathan Creek with a young girl who pretends to smoke a pipe - I loved her lightning-fast solution to the case presented to her, which turned the usually long and arduous solutions to such things on its head.  Indeed, Victorique's character seems a lot of fun all around in this episode - cutesy on the one hand, an oddball on the other, all exquisitely voiced and with plenty to keep us guessing about this all-important character.

Away from that, elements of this instalment somehow felt a bit "messy" - Kazuya seems was likeable enough I suppose and the other supporting characters did their job, but the tail-end of the episode felt a little rushed and ill-considered to the point where it almost spoiled what had gone before.  It's too early to start criticising a series for having ill-judged pacing, but the balance of episode one seemed "off" to me, and I hope it isn't an issue that's going to plague the series as it feels like an outing that has some compelling tales to tell.

No comments: