Gosick 9 – save, or be saved

March 5, 2011

Gosick episode 9 kicks off a new arc. Victorica is stuck in bed with a cold, and Kujo heads to town for a little shopping trip. Of course, it doesn’t take long for Kujo to stumble into another mystery. This post doesn’t discuss the events of this episode, however. My topic, instead, is the way Gosick avoids falling into the tired cliche of saving the helpless romantic interest.

One of the most overused cliches in popular entertainment is the character who is included primarily so that the hero can save them. We could call this generic character Lois Lane for obvious reasons, but even in Superman comics there was a little variety in that Jimmy Olsen also was useless except as a person who could advance the plot by needing to be rescued at the right moment. Nevertheless, it often is the hero’s girlfriend, or substitute girlfriend (his “secretary”, perhaps) that gets kidnapped by the evildoers, and needs rescuing. Much of popular entertainment (including MUCH of anime) uses this ploy to create a plot for the (often insubstantial) characters. Sometimes there is a gender reversal, where the main character is the female, who endlessly saves the wimpy male lead.

Happily Gosick goes beyond the cliche, which makes the stories less predictable, and more enjoyable. On the one hand, Kujo is just a boy; he has no unusual skills to speak of, and he is not particularly bright. Since Victorica is so small (she isn’t merely young, the last arc remarked upon her being descended from people known to be very small in stature, though powerful in intellect), Kujo can legitimately take the role of protector in cases where physical violence threatens her, despite his average abilities. Nevertheless, Victorica ends up saving Kujo just as much, by the power of deep reflection. Further, because of the political situation, Victorica is extremely restricted in her ability to move around. In essence, the academy is her ornate prison. As such, she cannot accompany Kujo on all the adventures. This means that Kujo cannot save her, because she is at home, safe from danger. Kujo, meanwhile, serves as her eyes, ears, hands, and feet: discovering mysteries that he brings back to Victorica, to save her from her boredom and isolation.

To me, the way that the pair complement each other really keeps the show from seeming run-of-the-mill. Neither is invincible, nor is either helpless. They work together well as a team, but the restrictions the government has placed on Victorica’s mobility often keeps them from acting together at peak efficiency.

(By the way, for more great Superman covers, don’t hesitate to check out http://superdickery.com/).

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