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Fun With Names: GOSICK

Welcome to Fun With Names, where I pick apart the various names that appear in anime! Today I'm looking at GOSICK, an interesting mystery anime with romance and drama to boot, GOSICK focuses on Kujou Kazuya, a Japanese exchange student studying at the prestigious Saint Marguerite Academy in the Southern European country of Sauville. His jet black hair and eyes become the object of the scorn of the other students, who call him "The Black Reaper", based on a local myth about a traveller who brings death in the spring. A trip to library looking for ghost stories leads to his discovery of a golden strand of hair belonging to one Victorique de Blois. Her foresight allows her to predict their futures as they get dragged into a mystery involving the appearances of an alchemist and a ghost ship. With things getting pretty weird around them the two stick together as the mystery unravels. I'll be unpacking the hidden pun in the title with tricks I discovered... by mistake.



So GOSICK, a vague-sounding title with no reference point in the show at any point whatsoever turns out to be a pretty well-hidden pun. If my thinking is anything to go by (I could be wrong), the anime's title wouldn't be pronounced "GOSICK" as in "go" and "sick", but rather, the written form of the title is a stylistic choice. If we were to play with the pronunciation and say it the way it would be said in Japanese, we come off with a pronunciation that reveals the actual English word that is actually the title. If you pronounce it "goshikku", you're saying "ゴシック”, "gothic" as a loan word written in Japanese. The stylized form isn't merely an aesthetic choice but also a form of romanization, where the character シ - "shi" can also be romanized as "si" given that there is no "si" (as in Spanish for "yes") sound Japanese and consequently, no character for it either.


The consequence of figuring out that the name is GOTHIC is that it automatically connects you to main character Victorique de Blois's fashion choices - she's dressed in a black Victorian dress when she first meets Kujo in the library. A subculture of Japanese fashion known as Lolita is influenced by Victorian and Edwardian styles of the late Baroque period and one of the three main styles of Lolita fashion is "Gothic". So after switching up our pronunciation, we come out with a title which roots itself in the fashion choice and greater setting influenced by a particular period in history. Perhaps it also cloaks the show in an enigmatic shroud of darkness which may or may not be revealing of the nature of the anime - I won't say. What I will say is that sometimes just saying things in different accents can get the Sherlock Holmes - or - Victorique de Blois in your head to find some surprising or somewhat banterous revelations.

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