Sequels are tricky things to get right and The Promised Neverland demonstrated in spectacular fashion how wrong a second anime season can go. Moriarty the Patriot hasn’t fallen to such a low point in this second season follow up but it also hadn’t risen to such lofty heights in the first place.
Season one of Moriarty the Patriot was a bit of a mixed bag and after a solid opening act seemed to struggle to maintain momentum or really capitalise on its strengths. However in season two we see those issues, and the issues the writers were clearly faced with in trying to write for not one but two super genius characters, cause the story, particularly in the mid-season to really flounder.
Moriarty The Patriot Season 2 – Not What I Signed Up For
When the spring 2021 season kicked off I wasn’t really sure what I would watch and review though I ended up agreeing to review a couple of anime with Irina and then there were the series that were sponsored by readers. Moriarty the Patriot I decided to cover because I’d been looking forward to seeing the story continue and I’d hoped that I would be satisfied with how it went.
The opening episode of Moriarty the Patriot Season 2, with the heavy focus on Sherlock rather than Moriarty, wasn’t great but had some intriguing ideas. However, those who followed my episode reviews will know that by the mid-season I was pretty much over this anime and ultimately I stopped doing episodic coverage entirely, choosing instead to wait out the final arc and then watching in a single binge session.
However it did make me wonder just what it was about this second season that really didn’t sit right with me. It wasn’t like it took a huge deviation from the set-up in season one. Though a lot of that set-up ended up feeling superfluous with the final plan really feeling kind of thrown together and not well thought out.
Going back through my episode posts, I realised episode 15 was where I more or less admitted I wasn’t really enjoying watching it and a large part of the problem was that our title character, Moriarty, wasn’t really the main character anymore.
In season one, William James Moriarty was almost always in the centre of things and his plans were nicely detailed. He also seemed to be actively involved in their execution even if he didn’t deliver the final blow. The introduction of Sherlock during season one shifted the dynamic and as more and more cast members stepped up Moriarty’s role diminished.
Despite this being the story of Moriarty and supposedly telling the story of him actually being a patriot and not just a criminal foil for a master detective, Moriarty’s presence becomes increasingly irrelevant. Sure his brother’s defer to him and his gang all revere him, but his own actions becoming increasingly less important – you know until the anime just kind of throws its hands in the air and sends him on an outright murder spree.
Given a lot of the appeal for me in season one was his character and how much I enjoyed seeing the reframing of his villainous acts, season 2 of Moriarty the Patriot just felt like it wasn’t giving me what I wanted from the anime.
And a lot of what we were getting felt like bloat just to stretch out the conclusion of a story that really could have been told in a single twelve episode season without all the unnecessary additions and complications that ultimately added nothing.
Whether we are talking about Irene’s character arc and conversion into one of the gang or the entire Jack the Ripper near rebellion incident, neither of these ultimately contributed anything to the end story and really we could have got to the same place faster and felt a better connection with the central players without it.
Likewise, an attempt to bring in a third player who could rival Holmes and Moriarty, Milverton, proved just another distraction and ultimately he and his plots amounted to nothing. Admittedly, at least his interaction with the main pair forced the main plot into action but again, it just felt like he existed to give Moriarty the Patriot another handful of episodes before we limped over the finish line.
However, if I wasn’t going to get more of a character I loved, I was hoping at least that the plot would hold itself together. Yet season 2 of Moriarty the Patriot more or less doubles down on the same issues that plagued season one with the mob characters, both nobility and commoners, being particularly stupid and the schemes of those manipulating the masses being pretty transparent and poorly executed.
There’s little joy in seeing a plan succeed when it seems so incredibly weak.
Moriarty the Patriot wants to delve into serious issues of class warfare and seems to want to explore the character of individuals when placed under duress. Yet at no point does it have the ability to really write these scenarios in a way that makes them feel anything more than a superficial nod to themes that are kind of essential for the story to hold together.
From start to finish my main complaint about Moriarty the Patriot season 2 would be that I wanted more. More from the characters I liked, more from the writing, and more intrigue from the plot. It all just fell that little bit short leaving the viewing experience feeling lacking.
It was always watchable. At no point does this anime derail and become a terrible incomprehensible mess. At no point are the characters so stupid that watching them another minute would be painful. But there’s little joy in watching it either. It just kind of is and the most disappointing thing is the potential that is in this premise and plot that feels like it was just missed.
What I will say is that at the very least we were given a conclusion. It is as satisfying as could be expected from the series given how the second season plays out and while there’s room for a follow-up any such attempt would undermine what little good this season did bring to the characters (so let’s hope this is the end).
It is kind of tricky because this anime isn’t all that bad and I’m sure that there will be some people who quite enjoyed it for what it was. I can’t personally recommend it because ultimately I feel that Moriarty the Patriot just squandered too much of its own potential leaving me feeling more frustrated while watching than anything else. Still, there’s certainly worse anime out there and at least this one finishes.
Images used for review from: Moriarty the Patriot. Dir. K. Nomura. Production I. G. 2020.
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