Moriarty the Patriot – Mid Season Anime 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):
Linny: Moriarty the Patriot takes the well known classic villain character from the Sherlock Holmes literary universe and re-imagines him as a former orphan, now nobleman secretly working to disassemble the class system, get rid of corrupt noblemen and bring justice to the exploited and downtrodden commoners. This gives the show the advantage of feeling familiar thanks to the brand value of the Sherlock universe while retaining the freedom to build its own take on classic characters. For those curious as to just how heavily the show borrows from Doyle’s universe, it’s mostly just the names. In fact, by episode 6 we even meet a character clearly meant to be Sherlock Holmes himself yet besides a clear display of his deductive skills, little else about him resembles the canonical character. This drastic clash shouldn’t be all that shocking considering that while Moriarty himself, our titular lead, does dabble in illegal activities to help people get their revenge, he is clearly meant to be the hero of the series, a far step away from his role in the original Doyle universe and stories.
Tom: Moriarty feels like the type of hero we need these days though. From an American perspective, where the rich seem just as untouchable as the nobles of old, where crimes they commit carry little penalty, Moriarty is a cathartic force that offers up the kind of hard-line, no forgiveness justice many might crave. Even from a less political perspective, this Moriarty’s obsession with grim justice allows for a sort of off-brand type of the whodunit or Ocean’s 11 mystery; How exactly will they manage to pull off this murder without leaving any clues behind? Who is the horrible noble responsible for gross atrocities and how shall he be punished? In that way Moriarty feels like a breath of fresh air, albeit one with less of a stringently altruistic/noble morale compass.
Linny: The show makes it clear early on that its main theme is following Moriarty and his crew as they help the downtrodden get revenge against the privileged and often cruel, twisted upper class noblemen who caused them such grievous harm. Though we do spend some time exploring Moriarty’s beginnings, the main thrust of the show is these episodic tales and the satisfaction of watching some evil nobleman get their due comeuppance and the inventive ways through which Moriarty achieves those means. Moriarty the Patriot does a great job of really selling how pervasive the class divide that Moriarty is working so hard to try and erase is, showing that the snobbish aura of the upper class extends even to the help, with a butler refusing to acknowledge or give any respect to Moriarty when he is first adopted by a noblemen simply because of the fact that he is an orphan that was adopted and not actually born an upper class child.
Tom: Because we have such a narrow, plot-centric focus; revenge on the rich, Moriarty can feel a bit formulaic. Outside of the two part origin story Linny mentioned (Episodes 2 and 3) The rest of the show’s content has been set on Moriarty’s entrapping murders. Thankfully, despite a noticeable formula or two, Moriarty knows to juggle its formulaic episodes back and forth, making sure neither grows outright stale. Even if a tad too married to formula, the show has still managed to produce a few stand out episodes, Namely Episodes 1 and 4, if we discount the two part origin story. That said, Episodes 5 and 6 are less compelling, in part because of the show’s growing propensity for melodrama.
Linny: Moriarty the Patriot truly has a flair for the dramatic, which only grows as the show proceeds. While it was a bit restrained at the start, eventually the villainous characters in the episode start to launch into evil gloating monologues, to the point where a sadistic nobleman is shown engaging in murder with sheer glee, and salivating at the thought of literally hunting low class people for sport and stress relief. These theatrics aren’t exactly show ruining but if you are someone who generally dislikes more melodramatic depictions, they might prove rather distracting. To sum it all up, while formulaic, there is definitely some fun and satisfaction to be had in every episode of Moriarty the Patriot as we watch evil people get their due comeuppance. It isn’t the most gripping storytelling or the most novel plot wise though and the heavy dose of dramatic villains are definitely an acquired taste. But if the sound of a once a penniless orphan, now nobleman, working to take down the evils of society while parading as one of them sounds intriguing, you might find the show enjoyable enough to follow all the way through.
Tom: For me, while undoubtedly bordering on melodramatic, there’s still that cathartic energy to seeing nobles receive their just deserts, even if their end is more violent than the kind of justice often preached for in pop-culture media. I’d argue in fact that skewed sense of justice, that more basic and primal “eye for an eye” is the real appeal of Moriarty the Patriot. Because, outside of James’ origins, the show is so plot centric that it’s hard to become all that attached to anyone. While James and his brothers are somewhat explored, there’s a number of other accomplices and one-off characters who feel as thin as the day they were introduced. So, if you’re coming into Moriarty the Patriot looking to be enthralled by an ensemble cast, then this one isn’t for you, but if you’re just looking for a calculating anti-hero delivering brutal levels of justice to the arrogant rich, then Moriarty is a perfectly cathartic watch.
Moriarty the Patriot is available for streaming via Funimation.com