Original Run: April 4, 2021 - June 27, 2021 Number of Episodes: 13 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 2nd Season. Reader discretion is advised.***
Our story continues.
All around London, there is great excitement over the so-called Lord of Crime, and the famed detective Sherlock Holmes (voiced by Makoto Furukawa) feels like he has been chasing a ghost. The police are no closer to finding this individual, and even Holmes’ superior mind can’t pin the fugitive down.
This is precisely how the Lord of Crime wants it.
As it happens, the Lord of Crime is not one individual. It is the moniker of a shadow organization led by the three Moriarty brothers, William James, Albert James, and Louis James (voiced respectively by Souma Saitou, Takuya Satou, Chiaki Kobayashi). Although Louis is the muscle and Albert the purse, it is William who is the true brains of the operation.
Despite taking over the underworld, the Moriartys have a far more ambitious goal in mind. Their crime spree is only the prelude to a grand revolution, and all of Great Britain is in the balance.
Moriarty the Patriot 2nd Season was a show I greatly anticipated. Not only was this series’ first season excellent (Anime Hajime listed it as the 15th best anime of 2020), but it was also a highly commendable adaptation of Sherlockian lore. This story took some of the most iconic characters and tales in all literature and gave them an intriguing spin.
Again, like was last time, it was challenging to keep my Sherlock-Holmes-nerdom in check. However, to this show’s credit, it always maintained healthy respect towards the source material it so liberally adapted. Thus, assuming you are not a die-hard purist who thinks the slightest iota of deviation from Sir Arthur Conan Doyal’s lore is sacrilege – every fandom has such people – I am willing to bet you can appreciate Moriarty the Patriot’s alterations.
I know, in my case, it helped to think of this series as a more “historically accurate” account of the Holmes-Moriarty era of Britain. Therefore, if this show was “history,” then the original stories we all know are merely the retellings of the actual events. And like it often happens with true history, the real events have become altered and sensationalized over time. Heck, this show even suggested this was the idea near the end anyway.
So, that was the introduction. Consequently, if you’ve made it this far, I will assume you are not one of those irrational, easily offended fans who can’t accept a noncanonical story tweaking some details. You are here for the show at hand. As such, what of Moriarty the Patriot 2nd Season? Did it continue the momentum of its predecessor?
Well, unfortunately, that question doesn’t have a simple answer. On the one hand, this season was good, like very good. It was a ton of fun, the series didn’t degrade, and it was on par with the previous installment in many ways. On the other hand, also in many ways, there were aspects of this story that made me say out loud, “Wow, that is really f-ing stupid.” But we’ll get to those bits in a bit.
For the moment, though, let’s look at the thing this series did best – its characters.
Now, granted, for all the characters that had any real sway on the narrative – Moriarty and Holmes, in particular – this show wasn’t starting from zero. On the contrary, it took inspiration from what is, arguably, the best, most complete cast list that has ever existed in fiction. Therefore, Moriarty the Patriot, as in the whole series, faced two obstacles.
- Don’t do a poor retelling.
- Add fresh nuances that are in line with the firmly established personalities.
This was not a simple task. But, it was a task Moriarty the Patriot pulled off and made it look easy. And nowhere, absolutely nowhere was this more evident than with the titular William James Moriarty himself.
On a smaller scale, this series well-adapted many of Sir Conan Doyal’s most famous characters. To do a bit of spoiling, because I want to make my point:
- It was no stretch to believe Miss. Irene Adler would join Moriarty’s gang of criminals.
- It wasn’t unprecedented for Sherlock Holmes’ older brother, Mycroft, to be a no-nonsense governmental superman.
- It was no shock that the frightening King of Blackmail, Charles Augustus Milverton, would be arrogant enough to take on both Moriarty and Holmes.
But for William James Moriarty, this series’ mere premiss required a fundamental shift to portray Sherlock Holmes’s greatest and most dangerous rival.
In case you are unaware, the iconic mathematician, Professor James Moriarty, first seen in the Sherlock Holmes story “The Final Problem,” is, in a word, evil. Known as the Napolean of Crime, Professor Moriarty was the one man the famed detective truly feared. With an intellect that was as equally brilliant as Holmes’, Moriarty is cruel, cunning, violent, and not someone you would want to cross paths with.
And yet, Professor Moriarty’s most unnerving feat wasn’t his (nearly) all-seeing mind. No, it was his influence. Despite running a massive criminal empire, Moriarty’s identity was hardly known by anyone. And those who did know dared not speak of it for risk of a quick and sudden death. It took every ounce of skill Sherlock Holmes possessed to notice Moriarty, let alone stop him.
Knowing that, the Moriarty portrayed in Moriarty the Patriot had a lot to live up to. At this time, it would behoove us to mention William James Moriarty’s two brothers – Albert James and Louis James Moriarty – because things might get confusing. Therefore, when I say the name “Moriarty,” I am exclusively referring to William.
Accordingly, this incarnation of Moriarty differed from his original counterpart in one significant area. “Evil” is not the word I would use to describe him.
Throughout Moriarty the Patriot, and especially during the final few episodes of season two, Moriarty committed many evil acts. He was a criminal and murderer. Nevertheless, but without justifying the things he did, this Moriarty was more of an anti-hero.
His goal was noble, yet his methods were anything but.
Still, this series never had Moriarty and his gang go after that was innocent. Their targets were vile and malicious people who preyed on and exploited those below them. Although the “correct” response to such blatant corruption would have been to turn these people over to the authorities, that wasn’t an option. The nobility were the authorities, and few were willing to stick their necks out for – to use their words – the common filth.
In this sense, Moriarty’s actions weren’t just necessary; they were inevitable.
That was something this series did amazingly well. It set up a situation that captured everything memorable about the Professor Moriarty character – his brilliance and ruthlessness – and crafted a protagonist you find yourself rooting.
But, and this was the clever twist, you found yourself rooting for Sherlock to stop Moriarty, too.
Moriarty the Patriot portrayed these two’s rivalry excellently. They were – to use a common cliché – two halves of the same coin. And that is why we need only praise Moriarty when talking about what this show got right. Since this series did him so well, everything else naturally fell into place.
It is a rare occurrence when someone befuddles Sherlock Holmes. In the original stories, it happened on only a handful of occasions. Deduction is Holmes’ superpower. Therefore, any incarnation that depicts him losing needs to be careful. It would be like finding a Superman story where bullets slow him down; sure, it can be done, but only under very specific circumstances.
Moriarty the Patriot, both seasons, masterfully implemented such circumstances.
This show’s Holmes had trouble besting Moriarty not because the former could figure out the latter. No, Moriarty kept coming out on top because he deliberately crafted his schemes with Holmes’ interference in mind. This version of Moriarty’s acknowledgment of this version of Holmes allowed this series to be a legitimately good Sherlock Holmes tale.
And in my experience, it is hard to beat a good Sherlock Holmes story.
Although I enjoyed and will be recommending Moriarty the Patriot 2nd Season, I would not expect this series to take home any awards at the 2022 Anime Hajime Highlights. If you’re reading this review far enough in the future, you will know if that is true.
To put it simply, this series was Sherlock Holmes fanfiction. Nine times out of ten, it was a well-written fanfiction, which is usually a ton of fun because these types of narratives keep asking the question, “Wouldn’t it be cool if?”
Unfortunately, that other ten percent of the time was impossible to ignore. Just as good fanfiction can be interesting, bad fanfiction can be dumb, and for precisely the same reason – Wouldn’t it be cool if?
- Wouldn’t it be cool if Professor Moriarty was a revolutionary anti-hero? Interesting.
- Wouldn’t it be cool if James Moriarty were actually three different people? An odd direction, sure, but I’m on board.
- Wouldn’t it be cool if the Holmes family history included someone who was the mastermind behind the French Revolution’s infamous Reign of Terror? Wait, what?
- Wouldn’t it be cool if the actions of this anti-hero Moriarty led to the creation of the fabled MI6 spy organization? Okay, I think you better stop while you’re ahead.
- Wouldn’t it be cool if one of the characters takes the name, James Bonde? Okay, stop.
Moriarty the Patriot 2nd Season kept doing this. And the more it happened, the more it took away from the intrigue and goodwill this series had built up.
Seriously, the Bond thing was really f-ing stupid, and I cannot let it go.
That aside, season two’s finale, a.k.a., the conclusion to the Moriarty the Patriot story, arrived jarringly quickly. As this installment was getting close to the final episode, I assumed it would set up the groundwork for a third season that would then wrap everything up. Boy, was I wrong!
I won’t say I was dissatisfied with the ending we got; it put a nice bow on everything. However, I do believe this story could have kept going. Moriarty the Patriot concluded far sooner than it needed to.
Not considering all the extra, unneeded details, this series was great. It’s a fantastic example of how a Sherlock Holmes story can exist as an anime.
With clever twists the canonical lore, this show is a fresh take on the classic tales. On top of that, it delivered a well-crafted and memorable lead character. A lead character whose personality and intelligence significantly elevated everything around him.
Moriarty the Patriot 2nd Season 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 2nd Season? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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