A tailor’s son is the latest victim in a series of grisly murders of London boys, and it’s this incident that draws the attention of Williams James Moriarty, a “crime consultant” whose mind is sharp and resolve strong. Piecing together the most likely scenarios, Moriarty quickly unravels the case, while employing help from his butler and a Lord Albert, pursuing justice—though the vigilante kind—in Victorian England.
A special early release of the first episode of this series aired yesterday—a surprise to me, as I expected it to land later. But I was glad for it, as episode one of Moriarty the Patriot was a stunning one and, like the mystery it’s meant to be, just begins to open the case of what this show is all about. That’s what I wondered the most while watching—who exactly is Moriarty meant to be? I was aware that he is meant to be presented as a hero (anti-hero?) in this most recent reevisioning of the Sherlock Holmes tales, but why would I be interested when so many series and movies, both anime and live-action (I just watched Enola Holmes, for instance), have already been produced in recent years?
At first, I thought there may not be more to this adaptation than meets the eye. Moriarty is shown to be, well, a blonde Sherlock Holmes through most of the episode—rational, smart, connected. While the landscape is beautiful (impressive detailing on buildings, for instance, by the always-impressive Production I.G.), and the characters seductively handsome, it felt like there was no depth to this series. But the last few minutes, as they often do, reveal that there’s something interesting here, namely that Moriarty indeed appears to be an anti-hero, and possibly a great villain in the making. And that, combined with the beauty of the series, potentially makes for one of the more interesting shows this fall.
Moriarty the Patriot can be streamed on Funimation. Read our thoughts on all the new fall anime series, in additional comments from our other writers, on our fall 2020 anime first impression master post.