Greetings fellow manga fans, CuriousCat-13 (Tracy) here with a special review article. I’ll be sharing with you my thoughts on the first volume of the Moriarty the Patriot and what you can expect from the story and series as a whole. This will be a spoiler-free review, so expect some vagueness in certain parts.
The Main Plot
The story starts in the year 1866 in London, England, and follows the story of one William James Moriarty, along with his younger brother Louis James Moriarty and older brother Albert James Moriarty. Raised in an orphanage, William and Louis are discovered by their soon-to-be older brother Albert, who immediately recognizes William’s remarkable level of intelligence at his age (both could also read and write). He also takes them in to help the younger brother with his illness (a weak heart from the looks of it). While both are immensely grateful for being taken into a comfortable life, things aren’t like that behind the manor’s closed doors. Despite being taken in, the rest of the family, including the servants, never truly acknowledged the brothers as members of both the family and the high class of society. Due to an unforeseen “tragedy,” the Moriarty manor burned to the ground, leaving the three brothers being the sole survivors and Albert (being the eldest son) as the head of the family.
Fast forward about thirteen years and Moriarty (William), Louis, and Albert are adults living in their own manor (in the countryside of Durham), which includes a nice area of land surrounding it. Moriarty teaches mathematics at Durham’s University and works a side job as a private consultant. So far, this is what the manga mainly revolves around. Throughout the manga, Moriarty helps those, mainly in the poor working class, in need. These cases involve a variety of different crimes committed towards the poor that are just trying to get by. At the end of each case, Moriarty personally makes sure that the criminal receives their appropriate punishment. Just a fair warning, the “punishments” the criminals go through can be pretty brutal but are, at the same time, made to look like an accident.
While this is only the first volume, the characters are written in a way the made me want to know more about then. They held my attention with how they interact with the other characters and their overall personality. An obvious example of this is our main character: William James Moriarty. Even though we already know him as the main villain of the Sherlock Holmes stories, it’s still enjoyable to see things from his point of view, as he tries to fix the unfair class system during the 19th-century era of London. What makes things interesting and tense, is the fact that even though Moriarty, in a way, is the leader of this “group” and movement, he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty. It makes you wonder if, in this story, he’s a hero or a villain, or even an anti-hero. While he and his younger brother were raised in an orphanage, they were quick with learning the mannerisms of high-class civilians soon after their adoption. Speaking of Moriarty’s younger brother: I can’t wait for more of his character development. The writing does show that Louis does have a level of intelligence, although not as high as Moriarty’s, and that he is more than willing to help his brother should the need arise. When he’s not doing that, Louis takes care of the land and the manor, making sure that everything is in order. Again, I can’t wait for any character development with Louis. The same goes for the eldest brother: Albert. While he’s been in London serving in the British Military as a lieutenant colonel, he still looks out for his brothers. Out of everyone in the Moriarty family, Albert was the only one that saw them as equals and treated as such. With him as the third member of their “official” group, the three brothers make a terrifying bond as partners in crime.
Although they were introduced in the third and final chapter of volume one, Moran and Fred are two new main(ish) characters that were quick to pique my interest. A colonel in, what I’m assuming is, the British Military, Moran is the roguish sharpshooter of the group. While there isn’t much revealed, at the time, about his backstory or how he met the Moriartys, I eagerly await the release of future volumes to learn more about him. The same goes for Fred, the gardener of the Moriarty family. Quiet and uses few facial expressions, Fred is skilled in the art of disguises. With what has been shown so far, I can’t wait to see what other disguises he can pull off. From what I can see, there are still a handful of people from Moriarty’s inner circle that have yet to be revealed. Heck, we still haven’t seen the famous Sherlock Holmes and his partner Dr. John Watson.
The Art Style
One of the first things that came to mind when I started reading, was how much some of the characters reminded me of Psycho-Pass. Sure enough, with some research, including the article that Tatiana Stec wrote, my hunch was proven correct. If you’re a fan of the art-style of the anime and manga Psycho-Pass, you’ll without a doubt enjoy the art of Moriarty the Patriot. With Ryosuke Takeuchi and Hikaru Miyoshi collaborating this murder mystery, you’re going to get a wonderful combination of beautiful landscape shots and people from various backgrounds of life. The every day, slice-of-life kind of moments are sweet (with the occasional drama), while the tense mystery scenes keep you on your toes and aren’t afraid to show the violent side of society. Even the various expressions of the characters have this way of drawing you in. Sure, there are some expressions that are drawn in a way that you see in other manga, but when things get intense, that’s when the artists really go the extra mile. A perfect example of this are some of the scenes involving Moriarty. Although Moriarty wears this almost constant serene expression, it almost terrifies me, especially when he has the suspects cornered. It’s not just his face, the eyes alone are drawn in such a powerful way that they can express a wide variety of emotions. When those moments play out, he becomes the hunter that has caught his prey and it’s terrifyingly beautiful. Whenever I good back to read those scenes again, I feel a chill run down my spine when he gives them that look. Whether it’s from looking into his eyes or taking in his whole face, I feel like I’ve been transported into the criminal’s shoes. Like I’m the one that’s been cornered and will soon be facing judgment. If an artist and story-teller are able to affect their reader and viewer to such a degree, they’re doing their job correctly.
I can say without a doubt that I’m looking forward to the release of this series. It’s hard to believe that the 6th of October is just around the corner. If it has me this excited and intrigued just from reading the first volume, I can’t wait to see what the future volumes have in store for both myself and future readers. The story’s writing maintains a hold on my attention and the artwork on each page guarantees that I’ll be re-reading the series. With the anime adaptation recently announced, you can bet that I’ll be watching it. Speaking of the anime, I’ll be writing a brief article about the trailer and what I’m looking forward to, so keep an eye out for that. So tell me, are any of you looking forward to October 6th? Did anything in my review pique your interest? What are you looking forward to the most with the series? As always, feel free to write your thoughts down in the comments. Until then, this is CuriousCat-13 (Tracy): signing off.