First Look: Moriarty the Patriot

Alternative title(s): Yuukoku no Moriarty
Manga Adaptation by Studio I.G
Streaming on Funimation

Premise

Seven young boys have been brutally murdered, yet the killer is still at large. William Moriarty is on the case, though his idea of justice is a little different from what you might expect from a so-called crime consultant.

Euri’s verdict: Free Shipping

I’m honestly surprised that it’s taken this long for us to get a period-appropriate Sherlock anime, given just how popular its been in recent years. It should be mentioned that this is not an adaptation of anything Arthur Conan Doyle wrote, though the setting and characters are certainly very familiar. It also focusses on Moriarty, the popular villain of varying importance depending on whose works you’re looking at.

Other changes include Moriarty’s name and the existence of three Moriarty siblings, though you might not consider that a change depending on your interpretation of certain Doyle works. Oh, and they’re all handsome anime men now.

As a brief note, my future mentions of Moriarty refer specifically to the character in this show named William Moriarty, who is essentially Professor James Moriarty from Doyle’s stories and the many, many extensions of it.

This first episode is an anime original from what I understand, created to help introduce the Moriarty siblings and the tone of the show before diving into some of the story arcs from the manga. To that end it does pretty well – there’s no faulting the character development here, with all three characters featuring enough for us to see how they tick. The animation is also superb, something I didn’t expect on an anime that could likely coast on its name alone.

My only real gripe is that the story being told in this first episode isn’t particularly exciting. While it’s expected that Moriarty is going to use his smarts to solve crimes with little effort, we go from reading about the murders in a newspaper to sitting down with the criminal so quickly that it’s hard to comprehend that the police had a hard time finding evidence, as is mentioned at the start of the episode. I don’t want to judge it too harshly considering what the episode was designed for the sake of characterisation, especially when it did well in that regard, but here’s hoping the manga arcs fare better.

As you might expect, Moriarty’s idea of justice doesn’t particularly care for legality, so the villains in this case doesn’t make it out unscathed. I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot more of this in the coming episodes, so if you’re up for a gritty detective show this might be one for you. Personally I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed this, so I’ll be tuning in next week to hopefully see some of the manga’s material.

Oh, and on a minor but baffling note – blasting the boyband ending theme while we’re still pre-credits and wrapping up the episode super didn’t jive with what was happening on screen!

Zigg’s verdict: A Study in Scarlet

As far as ‘anime-ass ideas’ go, turning Sherlock Holmes’s arch-nemesis into a hot anime boy is right up there, and yet I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this tautly paced opener. A good deal of that is down to how surprisingly dark the atmosphere is and how seriously the story treats the idea of Moriarty as some sort of Victorian-era Punisher.

As Euri mentions the actual mystery here is solved incredibly quickly but that’s fine, since it’s more of a tone piece anyway, and choosing to start with the brothers taking down a pederast murderer from the high aristocracy shows that the tone in question is going to be violent, bloody, and provocative. It never felt overly exploitative though, which prevents this from slipping into the grindhouse schlock a lot of ‘dark’ anime falls into. There’s also the superior production values to bask in, with good directing and excellent animation doing much to enhance the smoky, shadowy atmosphere.

If I’ve got a criticism it’s probably that there’s no real reason our hero *had* to be the infamous Moriarty, but I’m hopeful that as we go on we might see more of the Sherlock Holmes backstory bleed into this. Perhaps we’ll even get to see Holmes as an antagonist, which would be a fun turnaround. As it is this is a great debut and definitely an under-the-radar gem from the season so far.

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