GOSICK Collection 1
Publisher: Madman Entertainment
Format: DVD (Subtitles Only)
Release Date: July 4, 2012
Price: $59.95 – Available Here
What is it about mysteries that captivate us? Why do we as a species find that mystical unknown so curious? GOSICK is an anime series that focuses on this concept. From the very get go, we’re asked, why do we seek answers for questions? Just like the students creating their own answers for the mystery of the new exchange student, we try to figure out the answer to the mysteries that GOSICK gives to us. So let me ask you, why do we so search for answers? Why must a mystery be solved? This is the mystery of GOSICK.
The set-up for GOSICK is relatively complicated despite the fact that it holds nearly all it’s cards close to it’s chest in the early going, leaving everything (that’s right you guessed it) a mystery.
We begin with a new student having moved from Japan to the fictional and vaguely European country of Saubure. The student is named Kazuya Kujo or as the student body has dubbed him ‘The Black Reaper’. Kujo finds himself unfairly ostracised by the rest of the students at the school as they believe him to be ‘a traveller who brings death’ as mentioned in some local folklore. It’s really just these kids giving the foreigner a story, because to them he is a mystery. They don’t want to know him, because they fear him, but at the very same time they are curious about him, because they don’t know him. That is the nature of a mystery. It’s not a mystery if someone isn’t trying to solve it right?
Kujo eventually meets a mysterious doll-like genius girl by the name of Victorique. She has a brilliant mind, but doesn’t seem to get outside too much. Kujo soon becomes swept up by her ‘mystery’. He wants to know more about her, but she’s a hard case to crack. Thus sets up the series premise, two enigmatic characters team up to solve enigmatic mysteries in a Gothic/Victorian styled setting. The best part of this is that it feels so organic and natural, it does not once feel forced and the characters are developed enough for us to take a genuine interest. Not only are the mysteries they tackle captivating but the mystery of these characters themselves is as equally spellbinding.
As you can imagine the series implements a mystery of the week structure, with every episode or few episodes featuring a mystery for the enigmatic duo to solve. It’s a proven formula that works and in GOSICK it’s no different. If you love cleverly composed mystery stories with excellent characterisation and writing, then GOSICK will be nothing but a joy to watch for you. It is addictive in nature and just keeps throwing mystery after mystery at viewers and begs them to solve it alongside Victorique and Kujo. It’s all so simply yet oh so clever.
Visuals and Audio:
GOSICK is a series that looks absolutely gorgeous. It’s visuals are very nuanced and imaginative and really bring life to the country of Saubure and it’s inhabitants. The most impressive part of GOSICK’s artstyle though is how incredibly varied it is, while never once missing a beat. The setting may change quite often but regardless of how different each may be they are each as detailed and imaginative as the last. Which is an impressive feat in and of itself. Not just that but the character designs are excellent. They are very unique and undoubtedly memorable (particularly that of Victorique).
Unfortunately the audio is a real misstep. More often than not the soundtrack seems incredibly poorly timed and sadly not very well composed. It just doesn’t ever feel like it truly fits the action playing out on screen. It’s almost superfluous to it even. Some scenes would play so much better without the disruption of the forced backing tracks. While the incidental music leaves a lot to be desired the opening and ending theme songs fit the series perfectly. I particularly grew fond of the opening theme throughout this collection.
One last qualm I must mention however is that this release only features a Japanese language audio track. That means there is no English dub on this release which of course can make this a deal breaker for some. But of course the purists out there should have no problem with that. If you prefer watching your anime in English unfortunately this particular release of GOSICK is lacking that. As you may or may not know this is one of Madman’s sped-up releases and much like the also recently released Blue Exorcist, is getting a sub only release with a dub release some point down the track. So if you can handle waiting for the complete release, do so.
Disappointingly GOSICK Collection 1 is incredibly light on bonus features. There is a reversible cover for the case, some trailers, promo videos and of course textless opening and ending theme music videos. This is all standard stuff and for those of you disappointed by the lack of an English dub on this release I don’t imagine the lack of special features is going to give you any reason to not just wait for the eventual dubbed release.
GOSICK is an enigma. There is something so unbelievably addictive and captivating about it, that just takes grasp of you and doesn’t let you go. It is a mystery and you will want to solve it. But as much as you want to, you won’t just yet. There is still a whole other collection left for that.
So what exactly is it about mysteries that we find so engaging? Well it’s simple really, we all want that intangible ‘something’ that exists outside of our immediate understanding. We want to know that which we do not already know. GOSICK dangles those intangible ‘somethings’ in front of viewers constantly and that’s part of what makes it so engrossing. We don’t know what that ‘something’ is, but it’s the search for that magical unknown entity that we simply cannot resist. GOSICK understands this. GOSICK is this. Give in to that unknown. Give in to GOSICK.