Manga Mondays: Gosick

gosick1Gosick follows Kujo, a Japanese exchange student in a European country in 1924, as he gets accustomed to his new, very superstitious school. One day when Kujo gets sent out early to run an errand for one of the maids, he observes a murder. Kujo then gets accused of the murder by the town’s aristocratic detective, Inspector Blois. Kujo, running from Blois, finds himself at the top floor of the library and in front of Victorica, a super genius girl who skips class and helps Blois solve his crimes when she’s bored. They all become friends and they solve crimes together.

This manga reminds me a lot of the Encyclopedia Brown books, which is a childrens’ book series about a boy detective whose father (the police chief) seeks his son’s advice about cases. And by advice, I mean Encyclopedia solves the case. Victorica is Encyclopedia Brown, in that she listens to the facts and then solves the cases.

I personally liked Victorica; she’s just her quirky little self and doesn’t really care what anyone thinks of her. She’s like a mix of L from Death Note and BBC’s Sherlock. It does make for an interesting mix: she’s got the whole sweets obsession that L has and the ability to solve crimes. She also treats Kujo a lot like Sherlock treats Watson. She’s a very interesting character to read, and other than L I’ve never seen anyone like her in a manga.

However, Inspector Blois is one of the most annoying characters I have ever seen. I get the impression that he’s more of a comedic relief character, but he’s such a pain in the ass. He’s like a Hetalia character, specifically America, in that he’s always jumping to crazy conclusions or making bizarre suggestions about their next course of action. Hetalia is supposed to be over-the-top and ridiculous, but in a manga that is supposed to be about solving mysteries, Blois’ ridiculous antics only get in the way of the actual story.

Now, I said up at the top that the school was very superstitious. I just want to be clear that so far, there haven’t been any real ghosts, or zombies, or haunted houses. While everyone suspects these things, Victorica gets to the bottom of everything and figures out that the supposed supernatural has a very reasonable and logical explanation.

Gosick is a very good manga, and I highly recommend you read it. Be warned though, while there are only twenty-three chapters that I’ve found, some of them can be as long as fifty pages. So it’s a time investment, but it’s definitely worth it. And if you don’t feel like reading it, you can go watch the anime, which Saika reviewed ages ago. Do take note, though, that she didn’t think the show was very good.

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