I have no joke to make here :/
When I get the charts for the next anime season, I try to have at least one of everything. Is there a mecha show? I'll check it out. A comedy looking thing? On the list. And I will try to have at least one show that can be considered "serious business". This is actualy the hardest one for me to fill, simply because of one simple thing: I am very picky. Hard to believe I know, I think the third season of Zero no Tsukaima was good, I can put up a decent defensive arguement for Girls Bravo and I consider Neon Genesis Evangelion to be one of the greatest abominations to ever slap it's balls on the anime genre. As you can tell, I have bizare taste and, honestly, I first picked up GOSICK because there didn't seem to be anything better on that I could take seriously. Keep in mind, this was the season when I had the twin onslaught of Rio: Rainbow Gate and Dragon Crisis to deal with and I REALLY needed something with substance to ballance out the sheer amount of retardation presented to me by Rio, and the amount of eh given to me by Dragon Crisis. Now, allow me to say that I liked GOSICK alot, I mean ALOT. It was a refreshing breath of air in a medium that's currently being saturated in mediocrity or, worse, just plain badness. But enough of that rambling, let's get on with the content, shall we?
Now, I've never read the novel, so I can't tell you how well it holds up to it, but I can give you the gist based on what I've seen. We are thrown into the made up kingdom of Saubure in 1924. Kazuya Kujo, a transfer student from Japan (even in those days we had them huh?) and enlists in an academy within the country. As it turns out, people in those parts love mysteries, ghost stories especialy, and he just happens to stumble across one. One of the more famous academt stories proves true, as he discovers upon entering the academys library tower amd meets a mysterious girl called Victorique, a girl so hyper intelligent that she solves cases even the police and detectives can't solve for breakfast. The nice thing about this plot, is that it develops way past this simple tale into something much more complex and intertwineing and you'll often find yourself caught up in the momentum. It goes from simple murder mystery to political intrigue, snakeing into the power struggle within the country and the eventual outbreak of the Second World War. The only real issue is that some of the mysteries, the early ones especialy, are a little too easy and you'll find yourselves working out the answer sometimes even before the characters do.
The real enjoyment though, comes from the character interaction between Kujo and Victorique. Some people might find Kujo to be a little bit grateing at times, and with good reason. He sometimes falls victim to the narrative quirk alot of anime protagonists suffer from with being completely blind to another persons feelings, not through malice, but simply because he just doesn't pick up on it. He's been given the nickname by viewers "Denseman" for a reason you know. He can be very sweet an endearing when he tries however, and it's this that makes him more than tollerable to anyone willing to just go with it. Victorique is a totaly different story. Though being a little girl, she manages to keep up the haughty attitude even in extreme danger. At times though, it's clear that she's still young and vunerable, as when the series progresses the very thought of never seeing Kujo again makes her break into tears. Her intelligance can be debated heavily, howerver. Though they offer explanation for it in the show, it's not entirely clear where it comes from, how she got it or, indeed, when it can be used. It's as though she can't even make an educated guess untill she has all the necessary information. If I had to compare it, I'd say it's a little like Miss Marple, she quietly works it all out in her head and comes to the correct conclusion. She also has one of the best laughs ever, just saying, and can also be kind of cute when she wants to be.
There are several other characters, and I could spend a long time talking about them, but it's not entirely clear how some of them develop. Thankfully, all of them are very strong and don't require too much of a change for them to fit nicely into the plot from begining to end.
The artwork is fitting, given the time period, with a nice amount of gothic archetecture thrown in. I'm sure there are alot of people who can pick out the small historical inaccuracies within it. The animation is also pretty fluid and pleasent to look at if that's your kind of thing.
Music wise, you'll barely notice any of the in-anime songs that play on occasion. While the opening never changes throughout the show, there are two ending themes. Both of them are by Lisa Komine and they reflect the dramatic change in story tone perfectly when it eventualy happens. The first is serious while keeping itself lighter hearted (and, of course, in the begining, all the interest is in finding out more about Victoriques mysterious past) and the second...well, you'll see for yourself. The opening, by yoshika*lisa, while not perfect does fit the show pretty well. And here's a neat little trick, mute the opening and play the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann opening song over it. Tell me it doesn't fit, I dare you. Aoi Yuuki (Mina Tepes, Dance in the Vampire Bund) does an incredible job as Victorique and deserves alot of credit for it. The rest of the cast do a decent enough job, while nothing particularly note worthy coming to mind.
GOSICK recieved quite a bit of hype leading up towards its release. Quite alot of people didn't believe it could live up to the novel, as we all know anime based off of books or manga are rarely as good or better than their source material *cough*SoraNoOtoshimono*cough*, but equaly I haven't heard any major complaints by these people either, so I hope they were pleasently supprised. I have to give kudos to Bones for this one, they did a very good job with GOSICK and I find it hard to even think of one single complaint I could have for it apart from the slight frustrations one might have with Kujo. Now, I'm perfectly aware GOSICK has both novels and manga as it's source material, but there's one, small problem. They were both distributed by Tokyopop. TOKYOPOP. This means that I am almost totaly unable to read them unless I hunt them down on the net or sink into my bank account and order them off of Amazon which is also likely to be close to impossible very soon. When all aspects are considered, I'd find it hard to live with myself if I gave GOSICK anything less than a 10. A 9 at the very least but, ever the optomist, my final score has to be:
Final Score: 10/10