Original Run: October 11, 2020 - December 20, 2020 Number of Episodes: 11 Genre: Crime, Historical, Mystery Based on the Series Created By: Ryousuke Takeuchi and Hikaru Miyoshi
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Moriarty the Patriot. Reader discretion is advised.***
In the second half of the 19th century, Great Britain is starkly divided between the affluent and the impoverished. Many people from noble families see the ordinary citizen as no better than a cockroach, and they treat them accordingly.
Those who suffer at the hands of vindictive aristocrats have no way to release their rage – until now.
Hiding in the shadows are the Moriarty brothers, whose mission is to bring justice to those society has abandoned. Though the eldest, Albert (voiced by Takuya Satou), provides the money and the youngest, Louis (voiced by Chiaki Kobayashi), it the muscle, it is the middle brother who is the brains of the operation – the devilishly brilliant and endlessly cruel Willian James Moriarty (voiced by Souma Saitou).
William Moriarty is a master of observation and underworld genius. Thus, he introduces himself to his clients as the world’s first crime consultant. With his help, the poor and the downtrodden can get their revenge.
It would seem that nothing stands in the way of the Moriarty brothers’ ambitions. However, William sees a potential threat and worthy rival in an up and coming detective named Sherlock Holmes (voiced by Makoto Furukawa).
I apologize for my Sherlockian nerdom leaking into this review, but it was a crucial factor to whether I would like Moriarty the Patriot or not.
First, was this a Sherlock Holmes story? Although the detective played a vital role and momentarily took on the primary protagonist’s part (more on this later), William James Moriarty was the lead.
As a side note: From this point on, I will refer to William Moriarty as the true Moriarty (or Professor Moriarty). Should I need to refer his two brothers, Albert and Louis, I will use their first names.
Returning to the thought; recognizing this show’s central force is essential because it frames the narrative. Knowing Moriarty is the main driver helps us establish what our expectations should be.
Second, we need to understand that Moriarty the Patriot was an artistic interpretation of its source material. Therefore, when you go into this series, know there will be deviations from the established and recognized canon. As such, our question then becomes: Did this show respect the Sherlock Holmes universe?
I am prefacing this review as much as I am because this was not the first Sherlock Holmes-based anime to come out in 2020. The other, Kabukicho Sherlock, was why I kept my expectations low for Moriarty the Patriot. Although Kabukicho Sherlock wasn’t a terrible interpretation, it wasn’t great either.
With everything finally said, I can confirm that Moriarty the Patriot was really good.
The lynchpin that held this show together was Moriarty himself. Since this series did his character so well, most everything else naturally fell into its proper place. For those who aren’t familiar with the Sherlock Holmes stories, allow me to explain why Professor James Moriarty is significant in the lore.
Assuming you have not been living under a rock for the past hundred-plus years, you know who Sherlock Holmes is and why he’s the most famous detective to ever and, most likely, will ever exist. Throughout all his stories, there have only been three people Holmes recognized as his intellectual equals: his older brother Mycroft Holmes, Ms. Irene Adler, and, of course, the Napoleon of Crime, Professor Moriarty.
Professor Moriarty’s existence was shadows. He ran a massive criminal empire that no one realized existed, and that was by complete design. Moriarty ensured that anything he did could not be traced back to him. He used fear, violence, extortion, and manipulation to achieve his goals. He is also the only person Sherlock Holmes feared. Conversely, Moriarty shared the same sentiment towards the detective.
Where Holmes and Dr. Watson are considered the archetypical partnership, Holmes and Moriarty are the ultimate rivals.
Moriarty the Patriot was as good as it was because I saw Moriarty while watching this series. And since this show effectively encapsulated his character, the following fell in line:
- Since Moriarty is brilliant, the series was smart and well-written.
- Since Moriarty is a cruel crime lord, this series was dark and tense.
- Since Moriarty considered Sherlock Homes a threat, this series’ rendition of the great detective was equally spot-on.
- Since Moriarty was a master of deduction and observation, this series’ progression was – or, at least, felt like was – logical.
Then to sweeten the pot, this show threw in a twist that complimented the original character – Moriarty’s motivation.
In the stories, Moriarty was pushed by a desire for power and wealth. In Moriarty the Patriot, he was a champion for a “righteous” cause.
In this series, Moriarty wanted to upend Great Britain’s oppressive class structure. As established in this story, the rich aristocrats controlled all the wealth in the Empire. With their privilege, the nobility looked down on and belittled the – to use their words – filthy dregs of society, a.k.a., the common people. Moriarty worked to change that.
However, instead of organizing and lobbying for change, Moriarty, the first-ever crime consultant, chose a different, bloodier path. Although Moriarty never took a person’s life himself, he set the stage for clients to commit brutal murders. And since targets were absolute examples of pure human garbage, it wasn’t hard to appreciate where people’s anger and bloodlust came from.
Please note that I am not saying Moriarty is a character you should root for. After all, he was a proponent of domestic terrorism.
What I am saying is Moriarty the Patriot’s Moriarty shared a quality that many other memorable villains have – his motives were known. It clear why he did what he did, and his rationale went beyond evil for the sake of evil. In Moriarty’s mind, he was performing a long overdue service. Plus, the people he “helped” didn’t see him as the bad guy. For many, Moriarty was the answer to their hopes and prayers.
So, yeah, Moriarty the Patriot was an incredibly fun watch. It respected its source material while simultaneously adding its own unique take. I don’t anyone could ask for more.
As of this review’s publication (January 2021), Moriarty the Patriot is being released in two parts, with its second, thirteen-episode installment scheduled for April 2021. Thus, this season didn’t have a conclusion. And given how much I praised this show, you better believe I am looking forward to its continuation.
Be that as it may, there were two aspects of Moriarty the Patriot that did not sit well with me.
First, there were Moriarty’s brothers, Albert and Louis. They were not bad characters by any stretch of the imagination. Unfortunately, they were horribly underutilized.
As this story was portraying the trio’s background, things were going well. It was clear why these three were so close; they shared the same goal and had no reservations towards violence. Then, once that was done, Albert and Louis’ importance plummeted.
Although Albert and Louis did small jobs that kept them relevant, they were utterly overshadowed by Moriarty. That wasn’t much of a surprise, given who Moriarty was. However, it did cause me to question why Albert and Louis were in this show; what did they add?
If we were to go off this installment alone, Albert and Louis did not need to be here. Hopefully, this will turn around in season two. The problem is, they’re going to need to climb out of a pretty big hole while still contending with the powerhouses of Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes.
And speaking of Sherlock Holmes, he just took over the last half of this season.
Like Moriarty, this series pulled off a faithful rendition of the famed detective. But let’s not forget, this show established Moriarty as is star.
I have no qualms about Holmes sharing the spotlight with Moriarty; I want to see these two have a rivalry. We even got a sense of what that might look like in this season’s last two episodes. Nevertheless, the pivot from Moriarty to Holmes was jarring. The entire atmosphere of Moriarty the Patriot changed.
And, of course, that would happen.
Moriarty was surrounded by companions who had the same goals as him and understood the depths of his intellect. On the other hand, Holmes was practically an intellectual god among men – no offense to the good Dr. Watson. Therefore, Holmes was much more eccentric, silly, and conspicuous than the ever serious Moriarty.
This clash of personalities is part of the reason Moriarty and Holmes are perfect rivals. But the sudden switch from the former to the latter was not one of this show’s better moments.
I already said it; l am looking forward to the second half of this series.
I have no problem with an adaptation trying to do something different from its source material, so long as it respects the said source material. This show did that and more.
While still capturing the frightening nature of the world’s great detective’s arch-rival, this series managed to put its own spin on a well-known character. The result was an incredibly entertaining and often fantastically dark watch.
Moriarty the Patriot has earned a recommendation.
But these were just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise Moriarty the Patriot? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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