Yuukoku no Moriarty Season 1 Review

Title: Yuukoku no Moriarty / Moriarty the Patriot
Length: 11 x 24 minute episodes (2nd season due in March 2021)
Genre: Mystery
Year of release: 2020

Episode 1 Review

As if 2020’s first 3/4 hadn’t already made the best case for a class war, Yuukoku no Moriarty flies in like a molotov cocktail to smash in the evil that rich do. There’s virtually no nuance to it: the late 19th century British upper class are shady pricks and Moriarty, the adopted son of a ‘philanthropist’, comes in to assist the victims give the murder-for-fun type of bastards comeuppance. But William James Moriarty isn’t just trying to create ‘perfect crimes’, preventing his perpetrators from being tracked. Moriarty is trying to create an uprising, topple the ruling class and implement a fairer social system.

As a retribution show, the show is painfully okay. It’s elementary at best. Production I.G. had a solid showing, using virtually no CGI outside of crowds and painting the world in a detailed but uninteresting way, consistent character designs… yes, it was impressive in not having holes but, outside of a few creative cinematic shots, it didn’t stand out. The stories themselves have too small a mystery element, such that if you’re trying to ‘create the perfect crime’ alongside the criminal (the opposite of detective shows!), it still feels a little too easy.

The revenge plots began to come into their own around the fourth episode or so, where the dilemmas became a bit more nuanced than child murderers, but also, the retributions more amusing. The Moriarty family and the handful of aids they collaborate with create decent chemistry, but when the episode finales come, it feels downright cathartic to see bourgeoise douchebags have their asses handed to them in deliciously ironic schemes. Ah! Feed me more of these! The OST hams it up to inspiring levels such that, if you didn’t already want to eat the rich, you do now.

Though, I won’t complain where the show ended up shifting tracks to towards its latter half. After all, what is Moriarty without Sherlock?

The Totally Not Titanic two-parter is where the shift focuses. The crime itself is relatively basic and a little convenient in ‘insanity’, where Moriarty is relying on the criminal to stab a corpse on a stage lift rising during the middle of a performance… but the presence of Sherlock, as an outside observer, shifts the perspective to a discussion on morality.

The ‘Catch Me If You Can’ was cheesy but wonderful, and perfectly demonstrates the kind of flashy dynamic this pair have.

Sherlock himself is brilliant, and the show opens up around his introduction – he’s like a less abrasive version of Benedict Cumberbatch’s recent adaption, more able to posit a gag that’s not at his social inaptitude’s expense. Moreover, William James Moriarty’s charisma opens up when he realises that somebody’s on his case, with more devilish grins than you can fill an Imgur folder with. The rest of the series’ cases are original spins on Sherlock lore, but the way Yuukoku no Moriarty captures the detective/criminal dynamic is easily its best asset. The pair conversing indirectly via their monologues is excellent, and only gets better when they directly communicate.

Which is, sadly, when the show peters off. These ‘split season’ anime are becoming more popular recently and is absolutely a blessing for my MAL Completed Numbers. and as one such example, Moriarty is set to return in a few months. With bigger plots abound, the introduction of Myecroft, and in general, this show’s latter season upswing all to take note of, Yuukoku no Moriarty is coming back with momentum. The game is, for sure this time, afoot.

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