Gosick’s Most Interesting Story & Why it’s NOT Victorique and Kujos’

A Tale Spanning Centuries

Over and over again I’ve been recommended Gosick for both its mystery and romance angels. While I can say the show is alright to that regard, following Kujo, or “The Reaper who Comes in Spring”, and Victorique the “Golden Fairy of the Library”, it’s far from the most interesting thing Gosick has to offer. Today I want to explore the rise of science as the mystical is slowly lost within this world.

The story of Gosick takes place in the fictional country of Sauville but otherwise mirrors our real world. We come into the story just off the heals of the first world war and follow the events leading up to the second. In between we see events that occurred as early as the 17th century with a bulk of the narrative focusing on the late 1800’s and early 20th century.

That’s great and all, but it’s far from what Gosick is actually about

Understanding this is important because the anime doesn’t make this obvious. For the first half of the series Victorique and Kujo spend most of their time solving simple mysteries that don’t seem to have much to do with a grander plot. It’s only towards the end of the first half, and the entirety of the second, that the real plot is made clear in Gosick.

However, this is not to say that the show does not sprinkle hints to the most interesting aspect of this series. In fact, you can see it in Kujo’s introduction where he’s introduced as The Reaper who Comes in Spring. The country of Sauville is one that believes heavily in folklore and, as the show refers to it, “the occult”. Legends carry real weight and even impact policy when it comes to governing the country. This gives the setting a very 19th century European feeling in terms of the people’s beliefs and values.

The conflict for the narrative soon becomes the occult vs science, and that’s where the story really shines. In our real world this transition to mystical thinking to more grounded scientific thought also occurred, so seeing it mirrored within the anime was what really grabbed my attention.

Throughout the entirety of the anime Kujo and Victorique are constantly compared to different stories in Sauville folklore which act to reinforce the narrative ideas within the series in terms of how the pair are connected, but also as commentary on the societal beliefs the general populace has. As a result, their story is important, and often given center stage, but the driving force behind much of the plot is in thanks to these various folktales.

You can see this most strongly at the end of the series where one of the characters we met previously is working in a library/bookstore (it’s unclear). He’s told to burn a book containing one of the folktales we’ve seen previously, but instead he opens the book to this scene:

A picture of all the imagery used thus far to represent Victorique and Kujo, along with other key events in the narrative is beautifully illustrated in the book. The character looks at the image before it suddenly begins to move. The characters wave and then vanish from the page, just as our main characters move on from the past and into their futures.

Danganronpa 2 Goodbye Despair; Stop Killing my Husbandos! - I drink and  watch anime

There are obvious symbolic implications here that go beyond what I’m talking about specifically, but they don’t take away from the core concept I’m presenting here. In this same sequence characters mention how electricity is becoming more widely available, and point out other advancements in society.

For a Japanese story, this is far from the first to explore the idea that modernization has somehow cut us off from a more mystical or spiritual world. You can see it in so many stories in and out of anime. It’s not even that unique to Japanese culture, but you see it here a bit more than other places.

Going back to Gosick, I wanted to mention how the visuals act as a way to further drive the connection. The OP having a storybook feel, the use of literature repeatedly as a motif throughout the story, and the color palette are all reminiscent of this idea. It’s really cool to see how strongly these elements work together to illustrate this point.

That’s why I say this is Gosick’s most interesting story. It’s not that Victorique and Kujo arern’t, nor am I saying they serve no role in this larger narrative, but they are only a small piece of it. Compared to the smaller stories in the anime, this one is also the best told and what I believe to be the real intent of the narrative, but of course, you are free to disagree.

Let me know what you thought of Gosick and my ideas here in the comments below. If you enjoy my work please consider becoming a patron or making a one-time donation via my Ko-fi by utilizing the buttons below. Thanks for reading and I hope to see you again soon!

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5 thoughts on “Gosick’s Most Interesting Story & Why it’s NOT Victorique and Kujos’

  1. Nicely put. This is a favorite anime of mine, and I was likewise drawn to the brooding mood expressed through fantastic and stylized artwork. Speaking of the transition from superstition to science, however, one must remember that there was a period of backlash immediately preceding the first World War, during which a highly publicized reemergence of belief in the arcane occurred.

    It can be said that it was the advent of the Industrial Revolution (mid-1700s) that thrust science into the everyday lives of common people (before that, science was primarily a pursuit of the wealthy) and led them away from lingering folk beliefs. However, towards the latter part of the 1800s and into the early 1900s, there was a pronounced call to return to earlier belief systems–or at least to the mysticism popularly associated with such. This was the timeframe that saw the rise of the [Hermetic Order of the] Golden Dawn and other similar societies and popularized the pursuit of arcane knolwedge and the reemergence of pagan spirituality. I think that Gosick does a masterful job of showing this movement and its influence upon the thinking and politics of the day. (And for any who think I’m giving too much credit or credence to the actual political power of said movement, I invite your consideration of the role of mysticism in Nazi Germany. . .)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I actually had intended this to be a longer, more researched article but had to cut it down due to some issues I was experiencing from WordPress, so the things you mention above were originally mentioned but cut from the final article. Certainly ingesting though, and I hope readers enjoy your comment! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Modernisation was something that really tore the country up throughout history, so it’s not surprising to see it in so much of its media and storytelling. I also don’t think it’s limited to Japan. We see it a lot more abundantly and blatantly in Japanese media, but authors and creators around the world have been discussing and dissecting the issues with modernisation for many, many years. With Gosick, I think the anime was limited to its episodic constraints as Gosick was originally a light novel series and there’s a lot more world-building and fleshing out of Victorique’s and Kujō’s bond. I had always hoped that it would be two seasons with decent adaptation of that, but that never happened sadly. Overall, I remember really liking the series and the mystery elements of it, and the chemistry between them wasn’t too bad either.

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