For general information on this series: Gosick entry
This review is for the first volume of Gosick by Kazuki Sakuraba (with art by Hinata Takeda). The English edition was released by Tokyopop in April 2008. One more volume was eventually released, but the remaining novels were never localized.
Though the series was discontinued, fans of light mystery adventures will still be able to enjoy the self-contained story of Gosick‘s first volume just fine. And, of course, fans of the Gosick anime adaptation will especially be interested in reading the story that launched the franchise. I actually read the book before the anime had been announced, which is a rare and exciting experience. (And as I hoped, the anime was quite wonderful. If you missed it, you can still watch it on Crunchyroll.)
Gosick is set in the early 1900′s in a small European country named Sauville, tucked between France and Italy. I first assumed this was entirely fictional, but I’ve since learned it’s based on a real historical territory named Savoy. It seems the author did some decent research on the region, as a number of elements in the story match up with the geography and culture of the story’s setting. The location and time period of the story is a big part of its charm, and will be of special interest to those who enjoy historical pieces.
The viewpoint character is a Japanese boy named Kazuya Kujo, who forms an unlikely friendship with the small and eccentric girl on the book’s cover–Victorique. They form a sort of Watson-Holmes duo in order to solve the mystery of a ghost ship, which turns out to be a fairly straightforward plot. I personally felt that what stands out much more than the mystery though are the two main characters, who are each interesting and charming in his and her own way. The story works well to establish their personalities, and most of the highlights of the book (and perhaps the series in general) stem from their amusing interactions with one another.
The quality of the translation is not the best unfortunately, as much of the text feels choppy and portions of the dialogue seem out-of-place. At least, I could have done without lines like “Howwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww?” and “Victoriqqqqqqqqqqqqque!”, neither of which are actually elongating the correct letter in the first place. A little more poetic license for the prose in general probably would have gone a long ways. If you can look past that though, there’s still a lot to enjoy in the story of Gosick–particularly if the two leads click with you as they did for me.
Cho’s Rating: Recommended