(The second episode picks up from where the first left off, with Kujo and Victorique aboard the mysterious ship. Things soon come to a head with the usual mysterious deaths in/aboard the Locked Room/Villa/Ship and we soon find out what the box/hare metaphor refers to, as the players are whittled down one by one….)
Gosick 02 has some of the common trope issues that Japanese tantei tales have, such as the over-reliance of the Scooby-Doo setup mechanic. Still the whodunit elements aren’t as predictable as what was delivered in the first segment of this arc, and we get to see more of Victorique’s behaviourial tics and welcome comedy relief through the Holmes/Watson exasperation dynamic, including a truly priceless scene after Kujo nearly bites it from a trap. The introduction to a large cast of new characters is a bit of a wash with half of them predictably removed from the picture quickly. The events that set the grisly chain of events in motion are rooted firmly in the sins of the past, another common element of Japanese anime/manga detection.
The interplay between Kujo and Victorique, although reasonable and generally quite amusing, was hamstrung by Kujo being a typical patronizing shounen git, with his laughably cliche backstory leading to the annoyingly paternalistic behaviour we get to experience in excruciating detail, including a doubled flashback.
Now, it’s a reality that Gosick is generally targeted towards the otaku market, and using Japanese characters to placate the ridiculously insular modern manga/anime domestic consumer is seemingly a must these days, but Kujo seems completely like a shoehorned fish out of water, and generally his character buildup only detracts from the story, unlike instances such as Monster, where a foreign surgeon is an acceptable premise and has further plausible plot consequences, as loser-x reminded me.
Still, as a side-effect of all this, we also get another great scene where Kujo saves Victorique from something her lack of inches would never have put her in danger of. Predictably, nothing comes from the anime ever acknowledging it. The cliffhanger at the end of the episode is also extremely pointless, not only because it highlights the above issues, but because we know nothing is going to happen to both the main characters within less than an hour of the season.
Gosick continues to be solid but unspectacular, but that’s enough in these diminished times for the industry. What’s needed is to build on Victorique as a character, since she’s the selling point of this story, and to polish the whodunit elements. Everything else should be second priorites, including wasting valuable time on Kujo’s Japan-ness.