Gosick – 12

It’s been the case since the beginning that Gosick was better as a character study than as a mystery, so this week’s episode should, on paper, have been among the best. And as it happens, it may have been my favorite of the series so far.

Victorique and Kujo may be my favorite anime couple in… Well – in a very long time. Maybe since “Good Boy” Shin’ichiro and Hiromi? In any case, these two have an absolutely fantastic chemistry. Every scene they’re in together is a joy to watch – so filled with subtext and deep feeling. It’s a rare – and so far chaste – romance, but it wouldn’t work nearly so well if both characters weren’t so likeable on their own.

Victorique’s charms are obvious – she may be the most kawaii character of the year, and the performance by Aoi Yuuki certainly borders on the genius. But I really feel Kujo is tremendously underrated. I think the folks who rip on him for being dense are totally missing the point. The relationship with Victorique wouldn’t work nearly so well if he were more like her – a competitor in the smarts department. It’s a perfect pairing because he’s the polar opposite of her in so many ways. Where she’s closed, he’s open. Where she sees the subtlety and darkness in everything, he’s direct, straightforward and trusting. Yes he’s a tad dense – but his feet are firmly planted on the ground (unless he’s climbing a tree). That’s exactly what Victorique needs – an anchor, someone to cast light into the shadowed world she lives in.

A couple of moments from this episode stood out for me. It was nice to finally get a little context for Kujo’s past – the experiences that made him who he was. There were no major surprises, seeing him overshadowed by older brothers and fearful of a harsh father – but it means a lot to see what he gave up in coming to Japan. Namely, a close relationship with a mother and sister he loved dearly. The other was Victorique’s little speech about how he was the best tree-climber in the Academy. While it’s obvious to anyone that her harsh act with Kujo is just that, an act – it’s still a rare thing indeed to see her actively seek to bolster his spirits. It was a very well-written scene and showed a lot about both Victorique and her relationship with Kujo.

I’m very glad this series is two cour, because it’s only now that we’re really starting to get deep into the working of the main relationship. Avril is still there, of course – her reaction when finding out Victorique was a girl was priceless – and clearly has her sights set on Kujo. Of course there’s no real suspense about her actually beating out Victorique but it does lend some interesting dramatic possibilities having her around – she’s adorable and quite charming in her own right. We’re obviously going to get back to the mysteries soon enough, but my faith is growing that the series won’t ignore the real core of the series, the character development – it’s taking an increasingly center-stage role as the play moves along.

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