With Moriarty the Patriot manga series now available in its official English translation, the anime series is also releasing episodes. At the moment, on Funimation’s website, two episodes are available to watch (with episode 3 currently available to Funimation subscribers). After watching both the trailer and the currently available episodes, I can confidently say that Moriarty the Patriot is one of the 2020 anime series that people will be discussing and praising. I, however, won’t go over episode 3, since not everyone has access to that episode.
While the trailer doesn’t show too much, it gives the viewer enough of an idea of what to expect with the anime adaptation. It also shares some of the music from the official soundtrack (written by Asami Tachibana) and shares the names of those involved with the project (i.e. animation studio and voice actors). These voice actors include Soma Saito (William James Moriarty), Takuya Sato (Albert James Moriarty), and Chiaki Kobayashi (Louis James Moriarty). After watching the first episode, I can confirm that the trailer focuses on clips from that specific episode.
Episode 1: The Earl’s Crime
To start things off, I haven’t read all of the manga, so I don’t know if this episode is part of the manga or if it’s a filler episode. Either way, episode one did a phenomenal job with drawing in the viewer. While I had already read volume one of the manga and knew what to expect, it felt like I was back there, experiencing the series again for the first time. The moments that I expected to happen, the parts that would shock me, still hit me with the same effect. The first episode has Moriarty and his brothers looking into a series of kidnappings that result in the murders of several young boys. One of the biggest praises I give this episode is how well the writing works with maintaining the viewer’s interest. This episode could’ve flopped with a boring mystery and just slap Moriarty’s name on the cover. Instead, the ones in charge of writing the scripts (Go Zappa and Taku Kishimoto) were able to find a way to make this scenario interesting and keep the viewers invested. The pacing of the episode was just the right amount, the viewers were given a small introduction to the three Moriarty brothers, and the pay-off at the end was all the more satisfying. This episode also has one of my favorite lines (so far): “Please be quick about it. I only have one cigarette on me.”
Episode 2: The Scarlet Eyes, Act 1
Now, this is where the viewers get to see where it all started (at least the first part) and the episode does a phenomenal job of preparing the viewer with learning about it. This is also the first episode that has the official opening animation and theme song and…I love it. This opening (“DYING WISH” by Tasuku Hatanaka) immediately climbed to the list of my all-time favorite anime openings. It’s dark and gritty, sets the tone of the series, and is catchy as hell. As previously stated, episode two is the first part/act of Moriarty’s backstory and how he and his brother became part of the Moriarty family. It’s in this episode where the viewers are given a quick rundown about how society works during the Industrial Revolution, especially when it continues to use the social class system. Long story short, there are three social classes: the lower/working class, the middle class, and the 3% that made the upper class (the rich and privileged). The deeper introduction to the social class system is also what brings in more of the overall tone of the series. Just like any group of people, there are good and bad parts, and the viewer sees and hears plenty of the bad apples when it comes to their opinions of the lower class. Fortunately, however, there are a few who are genuinely sympathetic towards the lower class. One of them being Albert James Moriarty, who discovers/meets Moriarty and his younger brother Louis at an orphanage he regularly visits (and eventually adopts them into the family on his father’s orders). This episode brings so much to Moriarty’s character and shows the viewer that he’s been going through with this plan of his (fix society’s messed-up system) since he was a child. It also shows how far he’s willing to go to make his goal a reality. Since it’s the first act/part, the episode also prepares the viewer with what’s coming up next in act/part 2 of The Scarlet Eyes.
With Tooru Ookubo in charge of character designs and as the chief animation director (and performed the same duties for one of my favorite anime series: Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings), you can tell that a lot of love and care has been put into the series. With the bright and colorful beauty and charm, along with the dark, grim, and intense colors, the animation and art style gives each scene an extra boost of personality. In other words, the animators make London look bright and cheerful, but isn’t afraid to bring out the dark side of society during that time period (the Industrial Revolution). In other words, the animation for Moriarty the Patriot knows how to create an appropriate atmosphere when it needs to. If the animation for the first two/three episodes is this good, then the rest of the episodes (24) are going to be just as hauntingly beautiful. I would also like to thank the Color Key Artist (Sayoko Noda), Art Director (Yoshio Tanioka), Composing Directors of Photography (Hiroshi Tanaka and Fumika Takahashi), 3D Director (Chiaki Kumakura), and Editing (Junichi Uematsu). With everything that goes on with the animation, the talented individuals that I listed put in so much with making the animation work so well, each has been involved with a number of animated series. So if any of you are able to recognize their techniques, have fun with keeping an eye out. Even the occasional CGI animations, that are mainly used with the horse-drawn carriages, are sharp and beautiful.
The Voice Acting
Since the first episode, I fell in love with the voice cast for this series. Each of them have been able to effectively bring their character to life and draw out so much from each line the character has. While we’ve only heard the voices of the three brothers, this has made me all the more excited to hear the other characters that will be playing major roles in the story. These voice actors (and their characters) include Satoshi Hino (Sebastian Moran), Yuto Uemura (Fred Porlock), Makoto Furukawa (Sherlock Holmes), and Yuki Ono (John H. Watson). Also, I haven’t been able to find the voice actors for a handful of other characters (i.e. the rest of the Moriartys and a number of the minor characters), but they also have done a phenomenal job. I’ve been curious about the tone of voice the other members of the Moriarty family would use and honestly, it justifies my deep dislike (to hatred) of them as characters and the bad part of society’s high class (and I love it).
Moriarty the Patriot is a refreshing story that moves away from the famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, and gives the spotlight to William James Moriarty. The anime is colorful, sharp and full of personality, the voice acting is top-notch, and the music is memorable and catchy. The story and the characters are able to maintain the viewer’s attention and make them crave more. All in all, I have more than plenty of confidence that Moriarty the Patriot is going to be an anime fans will continue to talk about. To any of you that have seen the first few episodes: what do you think of the anime adaptation so far? Do you think we need more series that focus on Moriarty (or other Sherlock Holmes characters)? What’s your favorite line so far and what are you looking forward to the most in this series? Feel free to let me know in the comments. Until then, this is CuriousCat-13/Tracy Preston: wishing you all a Happy Halloween and signing off.