"Gosick" is, of course, the Japanese way to write "Gothic". And since it's set in 1924 in the fictional European country of Sauville during the rising tensions leading up to WW2, it's a really weird mish-mash of historical things. Kujo, the third son of a soldier, is sent to Sauville as an exchange student, but his black hair and dark eyes remind everyone of the legend of the "Grim Reaper Who Brings Spring", and his fellow students stay away from him. Then one day Kujo decides to check the library for the legend, and he ends up in the botanical garden on top of the tower that houses the library. There he meets Victorique, a hyper-intelligent gothloli who keeps herself away from the other students. She toys a bit with Kujo, until inspector Greville comes to the garden. Greville asks some questions about a muder case, and Victorique solves the case for him!
This gets Kujo involved with Victorique, and he is just about her only friend. Victorique is pretty moody though, and shows a shocking lack of common sense when she is allowed outside of the school grounds. But with her quick wit (she calls it 'The Fountain of Knowledge') she manages to get them out of the sticky situations they find themselves in.
At first it's a bit 'murder mystery of the week', but when the series progresses, there is an actual plot! You see, Greville is Victorique's half-brother. Their father is a Count, and head of the Ministry of the Occult. Victorique's mother is from a minority of smart people with blonde hair, the Grey Wolves. (Just why the Grey Wolves are called like that when they have blond hair is not explained.) Victorique and Kujo travel to the village of her mother to clear her from the blame for a crime that got her exiled, and much is revealed in that story arc.
And it turns out that the Ministry of the Occult is vying for supremacy with the Ministry of Science -- who has the ear of the king of Sauville has the real power! And there is something unsavoury in the king's past, and both ministers don't think blackmailing the king is beneath them.
And Victorique is a 'device' bred for a specific purpose: to protect Sauville and it's interests as master tactician when 'the storm' (that would be WW2) comes. She got locked away in the school to keep her out of trouble and in sight. But Kujo teams up with Victorique's mother to free her when things go pear-shaped...
The plot is revealed in small portions. A hint here, a foreshadowing there... it's all very, very cleverly written. Some of the (murder) mysteries that serve as scaffolding for these hints are pretty meagre, but when the plot hits full force, all is forgiven: you get to witness a power struggle and schemes of epic proportions while the love between Victorique and Kujo deepens. When the shit hits the fan and the two are separated, things look bleak indeed -- but it all ends well.
Visually, the series is quite nice. The backgrounds are dazzling, the animation smooth, the characters well-designed and Victorique's many different outfits frilly. The voice acting is quite good, with many familiar voices. In short: big-budget stuff.
- Deep background story that's gradually revealed;
- Foreground plots are amusing;
- Good ending.
- Starts off slow;
- Historical accuracy is not the strong point of the writers, to say the least.
All in all, a very enjoyable show. I'll give it an 8.