Hello all and welcome back to Otaku Thursday! And happy December! I hope you guys are ready for the middle/end of the month when we bring you our annual 12 Days of Weebsmas that’ll feature holiday otaku-related content leading up to Christmas (mainly because that is the holiday we celebrate). But before we get to some wholesome holiday content, let’s talk about something that’s more of a spook season feel (because I miss it already). Today, I’mma tell you about a little anime called Yuukoku no Moriarty.
So. I will give you one guess at what this anime is about. That’s right–it is about Moriarty–the ‘villain’ of Sherlock Holmes. Naturally, this sounded amazing from the get go–well, sounded amazing. The thing about almost all things Sherlock Holmes is that–yes. It may sound amazing, but not all Sherlock Holmes related things are amazing. Mainly because there are so many iterations and spinoffs of the stories and the characters. So yeah, Yuukoku no Moriarty looked great but also so many things could go wrong. Still, I was hopeful when I first saw this. After all, this was not Sherlock Holmes–no this was William James Moriarty instead, and we love a antagonist MC. So going into this…I didn’t have huge expectations, which ended up being for the better. After all, that meant that when I watched it? It was FANTASTIC.
No seriously, Yuukoku no Moriarty takes on the story of Moriarty by introducing him as a “crime consultant” who works with his two brothers–Albert, his elderly brother, and his younger brother Louis. The three of them are really close, and honestly part of what really sells me on the show is the relationship and collaboration of the three. Whenever I see Moriarty in other adaptions, it is often that Moriarty works alone as this extreme mastermind who manipulates behind the scenes (so as to place the blame on those who hire him rather than . While it is true that he continues to be the mastermind in this show, it’s great to see him have a team who set up and make arrangements with him. Do they still make sure that their work goes under the radar for direct involvement? Obviously. But I like that it’s not Moriarty alone pulling the strings, but rather him acting as a conductor to both his direct team and those who hire him to be a crime consultant. Plus…I love their family relationship. In fact, when they showed the backstory episode for the three brothers, it was some of the best shit I’ve seen all season. Family who commits mass murder and arson together, stays together. I also like the dynamic on how they got together. All three brothers, one of actual blood to the family name, the other two orphans, are bound together by the hatred of nobility and the upper class (eat the rich). Their goal is to collapse the entire class system, and they work within it in order to do that. By being upper class, they have access to the upper class that commoners just don’t.
The characters aside from Moriarty are also quite likeable. Only two episodes in and I was already a huge fan of Albert and would die for Louis. In fact, after the flashback episode of how they all got together, I would kill everyone and myself if anything ever happened to Louis (good fox demon, he’s gonna die ain’t he–HE’S TOO LOVEABLE). The fact that they are likeable characters is super important to the show. I feel like if we only had Moriarty as someone we liked…it’d still be kind of boring. Because let’s be real–think about how BORING Sherlock Holmes would be without Watson? Not great. You’d just be watching this dude acting solo and solving cases in a very Mary Sue eque way. If this show was made entirely of William James Moriarty acting alone, creating crimes and getting away with it, it’d get pretty stale. Adding characters to his team that are as likeable as Watson definitely makes the viewer more invested in this antagonistic side as a whole.
Another thing I think Yuukoku no Moriarty does exceptionally well is give reason to the crime consultancy. It could have been very easy to simply have Moriarty do crime to do crime. Instead they make it very clear early on that his goal is to take revenge on the classist system by sewing chaos into their structured society. This includes consulting on crimes targeting nobleman, to framing nobleman for committing crimes. The pure fact that there is motivation–and good, relatable motivation, makes everything in the show more compelling. It makes you want to root for Moriarty and his brothers as much as you would traditionally root for Holmes. I will say though, in terms of the crimes–some of them are hidden nicely and well thought out–others not so much. It’s very hit and miss in the show, though they always try to play them off as grand schemes even while there are clear plot holes to the viewer. Take for example when they poisoned the nobleman in the greenhouse through a natural means. Yes they made it look like an accident, but also from as far as they showed the viewer, it could also be made an argument that they would’ve been tied to the murder as they had been visiting with the noble before the time of his death and while, even feigning the knowledge of what grapefruit did mixed with his medication, seemed to have left the place without telling the house staff or doctor. Is it a thin line that they could’ve easily weasled out of? Yes technically, but you would think from the actions alone that they showed the viewer, there would’ve been some sus.
Ah yes. And speaking of Holmes–yes, of course he is in the show as well. Holmes is–well, Holmes. Honestly there’s not much you can do with him as an intellectual character, and it’s very clear he takes inspiration from many of the retellings of Holmes, as well as the traditional Sherlock. That does mean he is great to watch, charming–smart–got that cute anime man look. I think what really sells him though is the way he plays off Moriarty. I think in many adaptions, we focus so much on Sherlock that it’s very easy to lose a key aspect of the relationship between these two–which is that they are two sides of the same coin. Both are sociopaths in their own way. I feel like a lot of Sherlock Holmes adaption never fully captions that with actions, but instead reinforces that within narrative and dialogue. Though Holmes doesn’t make an appearance in this anime until episode six, I like how established it is from their interactions that yes–they truly are two sides of the same coin. Minds that think alike for different reasons, and minds that find each other genuinely intriguing. Moriarty, senses a bit of a threat and Holmes senses a player who is just as cunning as he is. Neither know of the web that will deeply entwine them yet, though I look forward to when their cat’s cradle begins.
The last thing I want to touch on with this such show is the direction of it. The shots in the anime are fantastic, truly. They are truly cinematic in the way they are drawn. From angle, to the way characters move throughout the scene–I find that it is kept visually entertaining this way. It’s also a weird experience–at times, I feel as though I am watching a movie instead–like a live action movie, rather than an anime. It’s definitely something noteworthy, and it goes well with how they choose to narratively tell each episode. In terms of animation? Well, I find it nothing too special. It actually reminds me a lot of 91 days–both visually and in terms of direction. That show also very often felt movie-like.
Overall, I’m a big fan of Yuukoku no Moriarty. I think it’s a great show and I definitely think it’s one of the best of fall season. I would 10/10 recommend anyone to give it a go–especially if you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes. I really look forward to the rest of the season, and I really hope that it receives an order for a second season. I think it could be really good. Anyway, for now these have just been my first impressions.
P.S. Also we love good stories getting the sexy anime makeover