Nothing says it's a great cruise like more dead bodies turning up.
What They Say:
Victorique and the others not only realize that the ship they're on is a replica of the Queen Berry, but also that the deadly events of ten years ago are playing out again. Facing the possibility of being murdered at every turn, the survivors begin to suspect each other, when suddenly, Ned, the English actor, dies before Kazuya's very eyes!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With Gosick originally seeming like a standalone episode story kind of show based off of the first episode, I was really surprised and pleased to see an extended murder-mystery take place in the second episode that runs into the third. Giving the show a chance to really expand on a mystery rather than trying to cram it all into one episode can work very well, especially with the strong production values we see in Gosick. The extended period also allows us to really get a feeling for how Kazuya and Victorique work together and start to figure out a little bit more about each other as well.
The story for this two parter hasn't exactly grabbed me hugely, though it's been very well executed as the group of people that have been brought on board the ship are slowly being killed. The mystery of it and how this particular ghost ship has been refitted, rebuilt and reused for the purpose at hand was really intriguing in the first part, especially as Victorique showed how the double rooms worked. With this episode, it turns to the mystery again but the violence is heightened as there are fewer people left and some surprises are brought into play with who is truly left. Victorique's deductive abilities work well, though it doesn't hurt that one of those said to be dead has suddenly risen and is revealed to be the Hound Hunter that will deal with the rest of them. The malice is really well done here as once they know who they're dealing with, it becomes even more oppressive.
What I truly appreciate about this show is that it does adhere to the classic staples of a good mystery by spending time actually going through the angles associated with it. Case Closed did this to some degree, but because of the nature of it, they were all very quick resolutions with everything falling neatly into place. Here, the show takes its time to explore the mystery once the culprit is truly revealed and we see the why of everything. And not just the murders themselves, since we saw those occur plainly, but the real motivations behind it. I also really appreciated that Kazuya isn't just a spineless helper for Victorique, as we see him deal with some strong hand to hand combat issues here where he really takes a beating but does what he has to and shows great concern for Victorique. The pairing of the two combined with the way the mysteries are being dealt with certainly helps take what's an average story and expands on it in a way that makes it much larger than it would be with most other shows.
With this episode, we do get some interesting insights into Victorique's background, though it's thrown into the final minutes of the episode, but it works better there than shoehorned into a dramatic moment within the ship storyline itself. This two part story does go a long way towards really establishing how these two characters are going to operate with each other and it's very appealing. Victorique deals with the mysteries well and has definitely earned the title of a mini Sherlock Holmes while Kazuya avoids the trap of being a fool or constantly bumbling into discoveries. These aspects alone help elevate the show, but in combination with strong scripting and beautiful animation, it makes this the series to watch this season.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.