Boy, was that preview at the end of episode 21 a massive fake-out. The storm crept in on little rabbit’s feet, and our cute Christmas story turned into one of the darkest – and best – Gosick episodes to date.
I know Victorique is the true heroine of this series, and deservedly so. But damn, I’m not sure there’s ever been a cuter second fiddle than Avril. Dressed in that fairy costume, with the tights… I’m done. I can’t help but feel for her as she helplessly watches Kujo fawn over Victorique – the sadness in those beautiful eyes rips me to shreds. But the reality is, she has absolutely no chance and never did.
Without question, then, we’ve entered the final arc full-steam ahead, and the Christmas party was only the set-up for that. As so many of the mysteries in this story are, this one is based on an old fairy tale – the story of the Monstre Charmant, a powerful being that took the form of a little girl. With her powerful rabbit as her muscle (OK, LOL) she did good deeds around the country like a sort of mystical Robin Hood, until a power-hungry noble killed the rabbit in an attempt to capture her. Except it turned out that killed Charmant, too – because the rabbit was the monster’s heart. Kill the one, you kill the other.
Now, even without the fact that Victorique dressed as Monstre Charmant and Kujo as the rabbit (I did wonder why they didn’t make it a squirrel, but Grevil, made light of that later) for the Christmas Masquerade, the application of that fable to the two of them was just a little too perfect. Still, the point is made and it’s a poignant one. What follows the party is our young heroes getting swept up at last in the endgame of the political match between de Blois – with his Ministry of the Occult – and Jupiter Roget and the Science Ministry. Kujo is taken away by King Rupert’s men (supposedly), as part of a plan to deport all foreign students because war might be coming. Kujo flees and is aided by Luigi (earlier referred to as Ryuji, though this makes more sense) the urchin from the earlier jewel robbery/slave ring arc. He takes Kujo home to his new adopted mother Jacquilene, who unwittingly delivers Kujo into the hands of de Blois by way of appealing to Grevil to keep Kujo in the country.
We seem to have wandered into alternative history territory here, as Europe was actually pretty calm in 1924 – but that’s certainly fair play. There are a lot of variables at play politically. There’s an underground groups of radicals dressed as rabbits, recalling the Monstre Charmant legend – whom the government is cracking down on. Did the King’s men abduct Kujo on behalf of Roget, to keep him out of the hands of the Occult Ministry? Or was that merely de Blois’ first attempt to capture him – or exactly what the King’s men said it was? Does de Blois plan an out and out coup against the King, now that he knows the secret of Coco Rose – and does he plan to use the radical rabbits as a tool to put that into action?
What’s crystal clear is that Victorique is at the heart of de Blois’ plans, and a captive Kujo is the gun pointed at her head, forcing cooperation. Grevil is, as I’ve always suspected, the key here – just look at his reaction to Victorique’s crying at the 22:28 mark. It will ultimately fall on him, I suspect, to betray his father and spare Victorique and Kujo from a terrible fate (separation – or dearh).
Yes, that’s right, she cried – and hard, too. Victorique left no doubt that she loved Kujo dearly, admitting right in front of Grevil that he was her heart. That’s not to mention that she made a gift – through a very clever form of character analysis – to him of her mother’s ring. And she was close to tears when Kujo presented her with the gift of the pendant. Their love is going to have to be what gets them through the trials to come, with the ominous prediction of the old man in Horvitz hanging over them like a curse. There’s no mystery to the romance in this series – the couple has been obvious from the beginning. The suspense is in not knowing whether fate (and Grevil) will permit them to be together.