Gosick Ep. 1-3: I wanted to enjoy this, really

Slick production values and dealing with mysteries? Gosick had a couple things going for it already and I really did try to settle in and enjoy the show. In the end, however, the show succumbs to the fact that its narrator is yet another typical bland anime nerdhero.

The first arc isn’t particularly creative or clever, but being a fan of mysteries, I didn’t need a whole lot to keep me interested. The silly tie-in to the First World War in the resolution was actually kinda humorous in an “oh dear” sort of way. It’s just too bad the main character is annoying as shit.

Kujo needs to put his dick away. Instead of a developing mystery with rising tension, I’m bombarded by male pride bullshit.

So in the middle of a scenario where everyone’s trapped on a haunted ship (the Queen Berry) and there’s a murderer within the group, the anime subjects us to frivolous nonsense like hand-holding.

And pointless boy-girl teasing.

Alright, Kujo wants to be a gentleman. No big deal… except the show makes it a great, big anime deal by repeatedly emphasizing the hand-holding act:

Anime in general has built up hand-holding to practically represent some sacred bond between star-crossed lovers. You could have only pinkies touch and someone out there is wetting themselves over it.

Way before Victorica goes deredere by the numbers, Kujo seems perplexed that a little, wittle girl refuses to stay behind his broad, manly shoulders.

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Like, man, that’s so weird and shit. Why won’t you cower, woman! Cower!!

At first, he totally thought she was an inhuman doll, but Victorica would tremble in fear a little later. Just for that, she gets to be human; she’s just a girl after all.  No matter how smart Victorica is, she’s just a dainty, little girl, and like all other dainty, little girls, they get scared and need piggyback rides.

This video doesn’t exist

God forbid Victorica could do it all so we can just focus our attention on something else besides the countless re-iteration of the gender divide in popular discourse. But silly me, I’m sure if anyone has anything insightful to add to the discussion, it’s definitely a TV anime!

If Sherlock Holmes could also be a champion pugilist, I really don’t see why Victorica needs to be meek and literally four feet all. Oh, I forgot — she’s just a girl and it’s the real Japanese man’s job to protect lolis of all nationalities.

Goddamn, is this schlock in the light novels too?

Nice OP though.

35 Replies to “Gosick Ep. 1-3: I wanted to enjoy this, really”

  1. Well, not that I think anime’s typically regressive attitude towards women is Gosick’s biggest issue, but it is an issue. As a mystery story, the writing is rather poor. When it’s not predictable, it feels like a lot Victoria’s insights into the various mysteries presented to her get pulled out of her proverbial.

    1. For anime, the bar for mysteries isn’t set very high. I can forgive a lot, essentially. The lame-o budding romance between the main characters, however, took me completely out of the show. Personally, it was the biggest flaw.

  2. But, remember: if you don’t like Gosick, you are basically a fundamentalist who is rejecting art because it doesn’t jive with your beliefs. Also: Gosick is a narratological and aesthetic pleasure. Really.

    1. Dude kinda misses the point anyway. We can respect aspects of a work without liking the whole thing. I’m sure anyone can get something out of Triumph of the Will without liking it. I’m not sure where he got aesthetic pleasure from, but hey, I said Gosick looked nice (more or less)!

      1. But by comparison to other Bones anime? It’s kind of no surprise that Gosick isn’t quite living up to it’s potential. It really is Bones B-team at work. Director of Heroman says quite a lot but hopefully, like Heroman, this show will get better as it goes on. In fact the beginning of the recent arc is pretty interesting as it goes into Victorica’s origins. But yeah Kujo is pretty dumb even as far as most sidekicks go.

        1. Well, the last Bones anime I watched was Star Driver and other than a couple strong episodes, the animation quality there has been less than desired. I didn’t watch Darker Than Black so I can’t really comment there. When considering standout animation, I usually think KyoAni or Production IG first. Besides, animation quality shouldn’t have any bearing on the lame characterization.

  3. Being a great fan of crime literature I was mildly interested when I first read of Gosick and its premise. Then I saw the artwork and my interest plummeted straight into the ground. I cannot think of any reason beyond pure shameless moe-baiting for Victorica to be a china doll styled little girl in a goth-loli costume instead of merely a normal looking female student with an extremely eccentric personality. It even seems to go against the premise of the setting as she somehow manages to be exempt from the school’s obviously enforced dress code with required uniform. In the unlikely event that there is ever a scene where Victorica is stopped in a hallway by a teacher and reprimanded for being out of uniform I’d like to see it.

    On another mystery related note, are you still planning to post that write-up of Mouryou no Hako that was promised in the earlier entry?

    1. Actually, she is forced into school halfway through the series and it\’s a VERY funny scene. Also, her not wearing the uniform is an semi-important plot-point that\’s addressed in the novels and eventually resolved when she respects and acknowledges Cecile as a teacher and finally dons the uniform… buuut that didn\’t make it into the anime.

      (And am I the only person who was missing that Victorique wasn\’t actually scared on the ship? She was taking advantage of Kujo\’s need to be chivalrous so that he\’d keep his dense self out of trouble without alerting the murderer that she saw through his trick. I thought that was pretty clever of her, all things considered.)

      The early mysteries aren’t very exciting in the anime, but some of the later ones definitely are. The Leviathan arc is my personal favourite, although the Queen Coco Rose case was more challenging. I loved both! GOSICK is a good show that suffers from a VERY slow beginning and weakness in conveying the mysteries in an interesting/not-dreadfully-obvious manner. The ending is great, though. Take it from someone who normally can’t stand moe nonsense.

      Victorique’s size also does have an in-universe explanation. Her mother looks quite similar! It’s apparently genetic in her home village… they’re practically all blonde, green-eyed, pale, and small-bodied, although Victorique and her mother moreso than most.

  4. I would to think that Kujo’s demeaning of Victoria is just a realistic result of his culture and the time period, but due to the fact that it’s more in narration, there’s no real way of know that it’s going to even be spoken of or checked in any sort of way. I don’t really know about the treatment or views of women in whatever country they’re in, anyway.

    1. Yeah, that’s possible. But in the first arc where a game of hunting hares aboard a mystery liner predicted and influenced the outcome of World War freaking One, “realistic cultural attitudes towards the womenfolk” seems like the least important thing to worry about.

      1. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who got a laugh out of that. I mean come on now. When I’m reading a book from the teen’s section of the library about demi-gods and it mentions George Washington and several other figures as demi-gods in that kind of “oh-that-explains-everything” kind of way, it’s meant to be played for laughs. In Gosick, it’s more of an “are you really taking this seriously” kind of laughter.

  5. well, this aspect of the show didn’t bother me much here. i don’t like the cliche of weak women being weak for the male’s ego alone, but here it’s justified to a certain extent. she is TINY. she fucking needs to be protected! what is wrong with that? this is not the 21st century. although hand holding was not needed. but i still didn’t see it as an emphasised element of the show. it didn’t happen that often, so i didn’t even notice it at first. i’m perfectly satisfied with the fact that for now at least vicky is mentally and emotionally self sufficient. she doesn’t run around kujo making lame excuses for doing so.

      1. well she IS. that is a basic fact that has been laid out by the author. its like an acsiome (did i spell that wrong?), you can’t do anything about. it can’t be wrong. more acurately, its what is given at the start of a math problem. x = 2y. and from that acsiome we can work our way to more complicated things, sprouting our little theories, basing them on whatever, but still grounding them in the setting of the anime and its initial settings.

        1. If you grant that she’s helpless because of her size, which isn’t a complete given, the natural follow-up then is “Why must she be tiny?” “‘Cause the author said so” is pretty weak and she’s not exempt from criticism either.

  6. well, if she was a huge amazon-style girl, i could ask “why is she huge?”
    if she was normal sized, i would ask “why is she normal-sized?”
    cause the author said so is not weak only at the most basic points of the premise. i’m not telling you that the author wrote that vicky is stupid as a boulder and that you should respect that. but i don’t see you complaining that the author decided that the story takes place in the 1920’s. or that she is a detective. or that she was kept in prison for most of her childhood. or that she smokes a pipe.
    if i go outside of the premise for a bit, then she is tiny because otaku like lolis. i think this is what you were going for all along. but that doesn’t translate to pandering automatically, imho.

    1. Sure, we could ask any questions but if you think “Why is she normal-sized?” is as pertinent as “Why is she tiny?” then there’s really no point continuing this discussion.

      And I didn’t mention anything about pandering. In fact, it wasn’t really where I was going either. More interestingly, you came up with it all by yourself and yet you dismiss it easily.

    2. shit. just disregard the part about pandering. i contradicted myself. it is pandering, but it doesn’t mean that that is all it is and/or can be. we like lolis, but that doesn’t mean an author can’t build a good story around them.
      shit, i’m replying to myself. kill me now.

        1. alright, the waters seem calm…
          anyway, i don’t get why the discussion has no meaning if your question is equalled by another similar one. “i won’t understand if you don’t tell me anything, kyouske”…or smth, lol. really, why does it matter why she must be tiny? if someone gives you an answer, will you be satisfied?

          1. why does it matter why she must be tiny?

            The author didn’t throw darts at a board. She made a decision to render her tiny. You made the argument yourself that she’s weak and needs protection due to her diminutive size. Since the trait defines a large part of Victorica’s character, I think it is a worthy question to ask.

    1. 1) Why not what?

      2) I’ll borrow the following argument as I have done before:

      Although the gaze we turn on the cute thing seems maternal and solicitious, it is in actuality a transformative gaze that will stop at nothing to appease its hunger for expressing pity and big heartedness, even at the expense of mutilating the object of its affections. — D. Harris, “Cuteness”

      The first arc sets the stage; it introduces us to the characters. More importantly, it gives Kujo a purpose to his character. Why should he care about a bossy girl he just met in a foreign country? He is haunted by visions where his father admonishes him to protect those who are weak. Without provocation, he constantly offers to help Victorica despite the fact that she never once asked for it. When she finally relents, he convinces himself that she is small and “just a girl” simply because he saw her fingers tremble. How does he know she simply wasn’t cold? After all, they were wading through a water-logged ship during a storm and these environments are typically cold. Nevertheless, his assumptions of her weakness gives him a purpose. He can only summon up the courage later on (twice) only because he thinks he’s protecting her.

  7. 1) why not tiny? why can’t she be tiny?
    2) personally, i’m right back where i started. what is wrong with giving a character purpose, if at the same time the cliche is justified? i don’t see any mutilating either.
    i think we can go in circles. tiny – needs protection – why tiny? – surve purpose – what purpose? – need to protect – what? – tiny girl – needs protection – etc.

    ah, how nice to have a normal discussion. after animesuki’ s several topics i’ve come to think there is no hope. although i wouldn’t be surprised if its not an interesting discussion for you.

    1. 1) “Why tiny” obviously has implications that I was trying to draw forth. I have no idea why you’re bothering to ask “why not.” The questions are not equal within the context of the discussion. You may as well ask “Why not a giant purple orangutan?”

      2) How is it not a problem to give a character purpose when it perpetuates a negative stereotype (i.e. “just a girl”)? And there’s no circularity in what I’m trying to say. She’s made tiny so that Kujo gains a purpose: an inflated sense of need to protect her. Why give him this purpose? Because it’s just yet another antiquated view that “real” men need to protect those who are weak, even when they may not be weak at all. Why is this even a men thing? Why can’t women help protect the weak?

      1. SPOILERS: Actually, Victorique’s mother, Cordelia Gallo, does try her best to protect her.
        In the end, it’s not Kujou who defeats the main antagonist of the series, but Victorique’s own mother.
        I recommend watching at least the last two episodes, if not finishing the series, before judging it!

  8. you know that you could have just said that you didn’t like seeing guys protect girls from the start, right? instead of asking why she is tiny…
    i don’t see anything negative except overusage of the cliche. and she IS weak. there is no “may” here.
    and again. its not over-emphesized in this anime, so i don’t know why anyone cares. i’m going to think about circles today at work. i’ve read a similar blog post like 2 weeks ago. its one of the blogs you linked to. and that one lead me through a chain of links to a femenist discussion on rape. i don’t wanna go there again.
    so he helped a girl a few times. its not like its fate stay night (i’ll protect a girl who has a sword and armor. with no weapons. against a huge monster. because that is what guys do)

  9. edit.
    nothing negative only in gosick. in other anime, of course.
    that cat. looks serious.
    oh, and the circularity is not in what YOU were trying to say, its in what WE were talking about. minor correction.

  10. i, too, don’t see anything negative about the persistent infantalization of women and inculcation of disgusting misogynistic ideology in popular media aimed at 18-35 year old males.

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