Moriarty the Patriot – 1st Episode Review
Synopsis: In the late 19th century, the British Empire nobility reigns while its working class suffers at their hands. Sympathetic to their plight, William James Moriarty wants to topple it all. Frustrated by the systemic inequity, Moriarty strategizes to fix the entire nation. Not even consulting detective Sherlock Holmes can stand in his way. It’s time for crime to revolutionize the world! (Official Funimation Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Moriarty the Patriot is a fun watch as it takes the famous villain character of James Moriarty, Sherlock’s ultimate villain, and reimagines him as a pseudo-heroic character instead. For any fans of detective tales and series, this first episode of Moriarty the Patriot plays out as a pretty decent watch, where in Moriarty tracks down a mysterious murderer who has been killing young boys in period England. Sometimes in a bid to paint their protagonists as uber geniuses of deduction, some detective or crime shows will whip out answers or clues that are completely hidden from the viewer or downright ridiculous for the sake of stumping the viewers’ own guesses. This usually ends up disengaging the audience as often part of the appeal of crime and mystery is figuring out the answers alongside the heroes. By throwing in ridiculous clues, a show can also run the risk of coming off as contrived or half baked. But that is not the case with Moriarty the Patriot. Moriarty himself points out clues first, then reveals what one can derive from said clues and information, giving audiences a chance to come to the revelation themselves, even if it is for but a brief second.There are no huge gaps in how he comes to his conclusions when solving a case, making the story convincing and easy to follow along.
Not only that, the episode moves briskly, never dawdling on a scene or moment longer than needed. It makes efficient use of its airtime, coupled with decent animation and solid direction, crafting Moriarty the Patriot as polished enough to hold the audience’s attention throughout. On a shallower level, Moriarty and his butler, along with two other as yet introduced (for now) seemingly main characters are all given typical anime ‘goodlooking’ physical appearances, which is likely to earn the show its fair share of ‘ikemen’ fans who’ll enjoy watching this handsomely drawn all male cast seek justice for the wronged masses. Also, having a lead previously notorious for being an evil mastermind play the good guy instead makes the series rife with potential for drama and all manners of twists and developments.
That said, the episode isn’t without its flaws. Firstly, the culprit is shown to be a man after young children, specifically young boys. This depiction or revelation of criminals as often being of non-binary leanings was often used in the past as a way of demonizing and fear-mongering against non-binary people. To see it pop up again in a more recent work is definitely something that will sit uneasily for those familiar with the more inhumane and irrational history behind it. There is also the matter of how the show wraps up this episode. We learn that Moriarty somehow managed to keep the brutal murder of an Earl and his coachman completely out of the public’s attention. Not even the news papers bring it up.We do not learn exactly how he managed to do so. This is a minor complaint but as I mentioned earlier, when a show makes grand claims about its protagonist but doesn’t show you how said character could achieve such impossible feats, it ends up feeling like a hollow claim. But this is only the first episode so there’s always a chance we will get a much better explanation as the show continues, so this is definitely a complaint that could prove to be pointless within another episode or two.
Moriarty the Patriot is definitely a show brimming with potential. If it can avoid repeating the few missteps from this episode, while keeping up its tight pacing and atmospheric storytelling, it might just turn out to be one of the better shows to come out of this season. And so far, it seems like you’ll need little to no knowledge or familiarity with the original material i.e, The Sherlock Holmes series to be able to follow along and enjoy. So, if you have some free time and a penchant for detective tales, do give this show a try.
Moriarty the Patriot is available for streaming via Funimation.com