Longsuffering ‘oriental’ student Kujo (Miyu Irino) and the brilliant yet childish Victorique (Chiwa Saitō) are back in the second half of the brilliant Gosick anime series. After the strangely light-hearted ‘summer holiday’ episode that rounded off part 1, this collection plunges headlong into the mythology of the series’ metanarrative.
As with the first half, Gosick comes across as a kind of ‘Jonathan Creek’ meets Edgar Allen Poe mysterious series. Locations in these episodes include an ancient nunnery, an abandoned tower on school grounds, a steam train and an opera house, however the mysteries aren’t quite so self-contained and the series is slightly less enjoyable as a result. We delve into the history of the Victorique’s family, the ongoing feud between the Ministry of Occult and the Science Academy and finally discover the significance of Brian Roscoe (Tōru Ōkawa), the stage magician that kept popping up in the first half of the series. Whilst the stakes get higher, the plot becomes more complex. Flashbacks and names of characters flash by to such an extent that I was only barely able to keep up.
Early on, we get a bit more of Avril Bradley’s (Noriko Shitaya) pining for Kujo, but once proceedings take a more momentous turn, her character is seemingly forgotten. I wasn’t exactly craving a love triangle, but it’s a pity that her character wasn’t more fully developed. Kujo and Victorique’s relationship grows exponentially, on the other hand, though never gets tiresome.
Whilst not as action-heavy as the majority of anime TV series out there, this second half does feature more in the way of violence. Their rarity makes such moments shocking, but they are brilliantly realised. The level of animation is altogether fantastic, and, even as an ordinary DVD viewed on an HDTV, the picture quality is wonderful. As with the first collection, there’s no English dub, just subtitles, and the episode titles are yet again hilariously difficult to read in the short time they appear on screen. Highlights this time around include, ‘A Malicious Frill Denounces A Farting Newt’, ‘The Rose Colored Life is Buried Under Fresh Snow’ and ‘The Bells of Christmas Eve Toll at the Heels of Time’.
My major complaint would be the way in which certain characters – ‘Inspector’ Grevil (Takehito Koyasu), for example – fall to the wayside. It’s also disappointing that the show’s mystery elements begin to fade as the meta narrative takes precedence. In the end, it’s a solid conclusion to the series, but not as satisfying as it could or should have been.
Gosick Collection 2 is available on DVD from Madman now.Rating: