The evidence continues to build that either BONES has figured this adaptation out, or that the material simply started getting better. Either way, this episode continues a very positive trend for Gosick. Both in terms of plot and atmosphere this arc has clearly been the best of the series so far.
There’s an awful lot to like here. For starters, the setting of the odd little village in the mountains is really well-done. They’ve done a terrific job of creating a distinctive and creepy atmosphere in an oddly beautiful place. Of course the summer festival with its incumbent floats, dances and fires resembled a Japanese matsuri much more than a traditional European festival, but I’ll certainly forgive that small bit of cultural chauvinism – it was nicely executed.
In purely practical terms it’s important to recognize that the mystery is much better this time as well, and given that this is a mystery series that’s obviously significant. There’s more emotional heft to it given Victorique’s involvement, of course. But more than that, it’s much more layered and intricate than the ones which came before. I’m sure there are the Detective Conans (and Gosick readers) out there who have this all figured out, but I’m enjoying the guesswork. There’s a lot to this mystery – the wolves, the murder of the elder, the maid with the crazy eyes, the “nun” and her plate – and it’s not immediately obvious how it all fits together.
This episode featured some of the lovely character elements that have been the strength of the show so far as well. Aoi Yuuki delivers her second bravura seiyuu moment of the season (the first being “the laugh”) with her hilarious off-key singing in the bath. Her childlike enthusiasm about a simple bath was charming, if a little mysterious – is there something behind that? I also loved the fact that Kujo’s question to the Elder involved his future with Victorique, and whether they’d always be together. The Elder’s shamanistic response was scary and offered a wonderfully subtle possible reference to WW II, as a “great wind” that would separate Kujo and Victorique in body, but not in mind. Victorique’s question for the old man was amusingly practical – “Am I going to get any taller?”
Speaking of which, what’s interesting is that according to the series timeline and the background info, Victorique is somewhere around 15 – yet as young as she looks, what’s even more striking is that she looked like a baby in the photograph under the floorboards of her mother’s house – a photograph that should have showed her at about five years old. Was that a continuity error, or is she just really, really a slow developer?