This is a nice trend – Gosick was excellent again this week. Though the mystery lacked the personal urgency of the last one (at least until the end) it was still interesting – like something out of a “Doctor Who” episode from the 70’s. As usual, though, it was the character stuff that was the main draw – I found the whole episode charming from beginning to end.
What can one say about Victorique? I’m as skeptical of moe as anybody but the combination of the writing, character design and Aoi Yuuki’s spot-on performance make her totally irresistible. I loved all the moments with her this week – the “I’m bored!” mantra, the sneezing, the kimono song… Maybe best of all were her disastrous efforts to tie the kimono and her reaction both before and after getting a shot. It turns out she also has a cute little house in the middle of a garden maze, which is quite a relief as I’d imagined she slept on a chair or fainting couch in the library.
For all that, most of the episode focused on Kujoe this time and I thought he carried it off pretty well. On a shopping trip to the capital of Sauville he stumbles upon a strange series of events in a department store – a priceless stolen diamond on the top floor, a girl in a box in the basement who screams about demons and begs him to call the police. She disappears, but conveniently for Kujoe Grevil happens to be int he capital, too, and Kujoe enlists his help in trying to figure out what’s going on. Naturally Grevil is skeptical and with everything glossed over in the department store and the owner and employees playing dumb, he dismisses his story out of hand. Kujoe phones the ill Victorique for help, but before she can offer him any advice he’s kidnapped off the street in front of a crazy old lady and a beggar child.
There are some interesting hints here – the department store was clearly on the lookout for an Asian male, as the doorman sent Kujoe straight to the top floor. Of note: Kujoe only said “in the East” and the beggar boy called him a “Chinaman” – which supports the very probable theory that Europeans in 1924 wouldn’t know one Asian from another. The store owner is obviously in on the ill doings, so the mystery here appears to be the “why” rather than the what. Judging by the PV Victorique will still be off-site next week, but there is a glimpse of Brian Roscoe (the guy who left Horvitz and opened it up to the outside world) so I suspect he’s somehow connected with the theft of the Blue Rose.
All of that totally worked for me as pure, straight-ahead fun with a healthy dose of cuteness. This is really the first time Kujoe and Victorique have been separated and I did miss their face-to-face interaction, but it was interesting seeing how much she missed his presence and watching him try to cope with the mystery on his own. The series (thanks in no small part to the source material) also does a lovely job of scene-setting – whether city or village, there’s always an interesting atmosphere that really gives you a sense of place. I was a little worried that this show might just settle into comfortable mediocrity, but I’ve grown to enjoy it very much.