Moriarty the Patriot Review: Classic Characters Given a Twist

Moriarty the Patriot Review

Season aired: Fall 2020

Number of episodes: 11

Genres: Drama, Mystery, Psychological Thriller

Thoughts: Although I love many types of genres and storytelling techniques, I am incredibly biased towards storytelling twists on the classics. Whether they’re spins on classic fairytales, such as Snow White with the Red Hair, or spins on history, such as Golden Kamuy, I am fascinated by every author’s perception and creativity in bending these common tales. Moriarty the Patriot does just that by pulling its own interpretation of the famous Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty rivalry.

In Moriarty the Patriot, the anime follows the Moriarty brothers. Yes, rather than a single Moriarty existing in a web of crimes, this anime introduces an entire family — Albert, William, and Louis all go by the moniker “James Moriarty”. William, the more known titular Professor Moriarty, has always been aware of how corrupt the elite English society is and has a desire to change it. Using Albert’s political pull, Louis’s scouting abilities, and two other allies’ sniping and spying gifts, William soon crafts an elaborate plan to destroy the corrupt elites of England by murdering them and revealing their corruption to the common people. He catches the eye of Sherlock Holmes soon enough, who engages in the famous cat and mouse game out of curiosity and self-fulfillment rather than out of a sense of righteous justice.

Team of anti-heroes who are just as dangerous

Does making the Moriarty characters anti-heroes rather than devious psychopathic villains work? In all honesty — yes. Moriarty’s appeal to the fans of the original Sherlock Holmes stories has always been his ability to plot out murders and to hide his involvement flawlessly. Whether he murders out of truly selfish reasons or out of a twisted sense of justice, it likely won’t matter to the audience as long as he retains the chilling and intelligent manner he conducted his crimes. The Moriarty brothers do exactly that in the series. They might be murdering corrupt nobles in English society, but they always murder their victims in gruesome fashions and clean up flawlessly after themselves. Those who might worry that Moriarty is too altruistic in this anime has nothing to fear — the retribution they dish out to their victims often leaves you satisfied and a bit afraid. They are anti-heroes that constantly walk the line of anti-hero and villain precariously.

While the first two cases left me chilled to the bone, the next few cases began to feel a little slow. That’s because deep down, without Sherlock’s intervention, we know that Moriarty will never fail. This takes out some of the tension in the mysteries, and while it’s always fun to discover how Moriarty accomplishes his murders, it becomes a little predictable — especially when every single victim is cut along the same cloth of scumminess.

Thankfully, the plot picks up fairly quickly once Sherlock is introduced. A chase between a detective and a murderer is a tale as old as time, but it’s a formula that always works when the characters are written well. Just like Moriarty, Sherlock is also substantially changed in personality. He’s far more flamboyant, has a bit of a flirtatious side, and not the socially inept Sherlock that the stories wrote of him originally. Ultimately though, it works out.

Sherlock – much more social

Whenever the two characters interact, electricity fills the room. Moriarty is incessantly polite, reserved, and careful in the way he holds himself while Sherlock is boisterous, spontaneous, and purposefully annoying. Their personalities clash in all the perfect ways, and the anime becomes less about a case but more about how Sherlock intends to catch up to Moriarty who always leaves no trace of his or his allies’ involvements.

Simply praising the music during those scenes is an understatement. During one particular interaction where Moriarty and Sherlock both tested each other in a manner that felt a bit like dangerous flirting, the music with its distinct beat and orchestral swell elevated the scene so much that I genuinely forgot to breathe. This outstanding music is present throughout the entire series, and it is one of the best soundtracks I have heard in a long while. Its haunting, gothic tune fits well with every atmosphere, and it teases the audience by switching to a more elegant classical tune whenever Moriarty’s façade comes out in high society.

The sceneries and visuals tell just as much of a story. The characters all wear era-appropriate clothes, and there’s a steep contrast in coloring when any of the characters step foot in normal society versus the corrupt elite. The only thing out of this entire production I lament on is the voice work. While the seiyuus are by no means bad at performing their characters, the ones that get the most lines don’t have standout moments. Saito Soma acts out the smooth and confident Moriarty well, and Makoto Furukawa also does well for Sherlock. Yet, ironically, it’s the other seiyuus, such as Takuya Sato as Albert Moriarty, that stood out more to me, but we never get the chance to hear them.

Shading tells a lot of the story

Nonetheless, Moriarty the Patriot still left me boundlessly entertained. It had huge standout moments in storytelling, and the characters’ interactions are a wonderful highlight. It ends on a rather strange spot for the first cour, but I absolutely cannot wait to see more of Sherlock and Moriarty’s dynamic, as well as greater character spotlights on Moriarty’s comrades.

 

Rating

Plot: 8.5 (Multiplier 3.5)

Characters: 8 (Multiplier 3.5)

Voice acting: 7

Art/Animation: 8

Soundtrack: 8.5

FINAL SCORE: 81.25

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