(Now that the semester is winding down, I’m going to try to get back into regularly writing. I’ve marathoned a few series so that seems like a good place to start.)

27906Nestled in the European Alps, “Gosick” follows the tale of superstitions, folk tales, and legends surrounding the country of Sabure, and it’s foreign exchange student, Kazuya Kujou. Alienated for his strange appearance, dark eyes and hair, he happens across “the golden fairy of the library”, Victorique. Victorique de Blois, the daughter of a powerful Sabure nobleman, and the half-sister of one of Sabure’s most noteworthy (and fake) detectives, spends her days in solitude, reading and handily solving the mysteries her older brother can’t wrap his head around. Little does she know the weight of history that has been placed on her shoulders through the deviousness of her unloving father.

With Kujou in tow, Victorique makes easy work of many of Sabure’s legendary myths, including a fantastic tale of a runaway African turned queen’s alchemist. While also retracing her dark past, she comes to the forefront of a new war that’s set to overshadow the Great War, the ashes of which Europe is just beginning to rise from. With help of friends, faculty, and Victorique’s ever watchful mother, Kujou rescues Victorique from her dismal fate, only to be torn away by new tides of war.

preview03124b38ad1acb9e5e1a73cf9bb90256A continually progressive plot set in a very superstitious country, Gosick manages to blend clean logic with impressive character sets to cut through mystery and lay truth bare. No back-handed scheme is too much for these two who defy prophets’ visions and historical epics in search for one another. I may sound like I’m gushing or being emphatic, but Gosick really does weave an intriguing story that was a joy to experience. No spoilers, but the final episode left me speechless and very satisfied with this series.

Coupled with visual detail I wish was the standard, Gosick is a series I wish I’d watched earlier.
Final rating: 9.3
If anything, and this may sound greedy, Gosick needs more stories, maybe not with Victorique or Kujou, but the rest of the cast surely has more to tell.
(In retrospect, this is just the sin of a greedy fan. Even though the series has a solid ending, I enjoy the ride so much that I dare suggest augmenting it for more content. How selfish…)

Guilty Crown OVA: Lost Christmas

Bundled with the PC game “Guilty Crown Lost Christmas” comes an animated short, an OVA to the original series following new protagonists Scrooge and Carol, a few years prior to Shu’s crowning with the Void Genome. In their timeline, Scrooge is on the run as the GHQ, along with our 2nd favorite mad scientist, Segai, rush to contain and preserve the secret of the Apocalypse Virus from the general public. First things first…oh how I’ve missed Bios in the background, good bit of nostalgia when those tones hit my ears. But also, as far as characters go, I think more than a few people will say Scrooge seems like a much better protagonist as he seems to understand how to fight and look awesome doing so.

To Shu’s credit, in his time as king, the GHQ had fully developed Endleaves, though Scrooge more than handily defeated a pre-fab model that Segai so elegantly dropped on someone’s house…now and then, the GHQ are the epitome of style and grace on the battlefield…Speaking of Segai, ever wonder what happened to his eye? Well, I won’t spoil, because I can’t, though I imagine the game will explain these virus crystal monster-things. One of which dropped down on Scrooge thanks to (who I’m guessing is) a Daath agent.

Scrooge, as well as being a certified badass, is accompanied by the cute tag-along Carol. Much like how Inori was Shu’s sword (literal sword, thanks to her void), Carol gives Scrooge a super-charged chainsaw/long sword, perfect for cutting down endleaves. Unfortunately, the virus monster seemed to be able to disengage Carol’s void. Shu would’ve most likely been screwed, as it seems he never discovered pulling voids from animals, like Scrooge was able to do. But the dog had some genome experimentation, which might’ve allowed it to carry a void…if only until drawn, and then it kinda crystalized with the Apocalypse Virus and died…

Overall, an interesting 15 minute special that I’d wish there was more of. I mean, Scrooge seems like a really good protagonist, and I know a lot of people want a Guilty Crown with a better main character (hence names like “Shoe”). This OVA makes me kinda want the game, which I’d probably get if I were more into PC games. At the very least it’s a nice, short piece for people who actually enjoyed Guilty Crown and can appreciate a little expansion.

Guilty Crown OVA Lost Christmas – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket

Another 0 (OVA): I’ve Missed Mei…

In for a bit of a treat this week with the release of the Winter 2012‘s horror series’, Another, prologue episode. Recounting Mei’s friendship with her once lost twin, Misaki, just a short period of time prior to her entry into the third year class and the subsequent horrors we saw in the main series, Another 0 shows Mei in a new light compared to her usually stoic nature. Lighthearted outings with her sister, separated at birth, and the closeness they shared that turned dark the night Mei began to see the color of death upon her. After more than one near death experience, Mei’s fears come to fruition as Misaki collapses, later finding out she has leukemia. Sadly, Misaki wasn’t meant to recover, but it did lead to Mei’s chance encounter with Kouichi, one night in the basement of the hospital, as Mei goes to deliver her final gift to her now forever lost twin sister.

Breaking away from the horror trend of the main story, Another 0 really showcases the art style and background of the series. In the words of Misaki, even the most run down things seemed “cute”, or at least well designed and crafted from an animation and design standpoint. I still get goosebumps when I get to see Mei’s faux eye, it’s always so perfectly lit and seems to have a depth beyond what is physically there. I also thought it was cute that Misaki wore an eyepatch too for part of the episode.

The character dynamic between Mei and Misaki was very interesting, it really showed the subtleties of two sisters who hadn’t lived together. And I always love it when twins, although in this case visually dissimilar enough to tell apart, have personal mannerisms that differentiate them, and I like it even more when these mannerisms make me like one more than the other. Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t dislike Misaki, but I adore Mei, especially so when she was smiling and happy. The emotional connection Mei had with her twin before she died also explains some of Mei’s behavior seen at the beginning of the series back in December. Her quiet despair and seeming loneliness make more sense and are more recognizable now that these traumatic events have been shown. Or maybe it’s just me that found this whole prologue to be an enlightening look at what may have caused Mei to just accept her fate as the “extra” student.

I’m glad this episode 0 was released, after all the events of the main story this extra look into the events beforehand shows a more in-depth look into Mei’s backstory that really couldn’t be shown in the main series. A lot of the mystery surround her and the class would’ve been ruined (or at least diluted) if the whole backstory and once-lost twin had been shown as a part of an early episode. Now, seeing this OVA lets one look back at the main series with an additional piece of understanding and appreciation for the character depth that was prevalent through the whole thing.

Another – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket

Gundam AGE 28: A Bromance Crashes to Earth

Is this the end of a star-crossed bromance? Now that Romary has stolen away Asemu and their kid seems to be the 3rd generation (and arc) in the Gundam AGE saga, whatever’s in store for Earth and Vagan seems to have gotten a lot more interesting. Following a climatic battle above the Earth, Vagan forces have scattered and hidden themselves on the Earth’s surface. A year later, as Flit prepares to expose the Prime Minister of the Federation of his corruption, Vagan forces move to eliminate loose lips, as Asemu and Romary begin their lives together and Zeheart gets put on ice for the battle to come.

Gundam AGE continues to prove it’s not the in-depth series its counterparts were. Merely touching on a planet-wide scandal full of corruption of the international government’s most prominent officials, apparently the lackluster characters are much too important to even give Grudek his due for uncovering the whole scandal. I can’t help but feel like this was just a power grab for Flit to continue seeking his vengeance against Vagan. Even though he was a two-faced traitor, the Prime Minister had one thing right, Flit is absolutely blind to possible negotiations with the Vagan leaders, who seek reparations for the Federation abandoning them when the Mars Settlement project failed. Now it seems Asemu is being dragged down to his father’s level with his desire to fight the Vagan to “protect” the ones he loves, apparently abandoning Zeheart (I’m not allowing this bromance to die).

The next episode appears to showcase the newest Asuno pilot, biggest question on my mind is whether or not she’ll be an X-Rounder (I pray she won’t, I’d much rather see the “Super Pilots” win out over X-Rounders). With the battlefield on Earth’s surface raging, should I expect the Vagan resistance to spread, or will Vagan forces be put in a hard fight trying to occupy a planet? If my hunch is correct (and I hope it isn’t), Flit will have more control over the Earth sphere thanks to his “purge” of the Federation government following the Prime Minister’s arrest. Maybe not outright, but you have to remember, he already essentially controlled Federation forces beforehand. On the upside, there’s the new Gundam AGE-3 to look forward to.