Moriarty The Patriot Series Review – I Appreciate The Attempt

Moriarty Review

Moriarty: The Greatest of Villains Have Equally Great Ambitions

I will admit I was a little intrigued by this title when I first had this recommended to me as an anime to catch up on. While Sherlock Holmes movies haven’t done a great deal for me, I have enjoyed a number of TV shows that have updated the characters or taken great influence from the world’s greatest consulting detective, and even though many anime attempts at borrowing these characters haven’t exactly been brilliant, the attempts are usually intriguing for a whole bunch of reasons.

I also didn’t mind revisiting Victorian London as the setting is one that various anime have utilised again and again with varying results. But when they get it right, something kind of magical happens and long time readers of my blog will know about my love of Black Butler which is also set in the era (though I’ve learned my lesson and will never watch another historical anime set in this era with one particular friend of mine who spent the entire run time of Black Butler pointing out historical inaccuracies).

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What made me particularly interested in Moriarty the Patriot (or Yuukoku no Moriarty) was that from the title it was clear we were going to be focused not on the detective but on the man who becomes his antagonist. More than that it seemed like we were going to very much explore Moriarty’s motives and worldviews that shaped him into the criminal mastermind we are somewhat more familiar with.

Moriarty preparing to board ship from Moriarty the Patriot
Indeed – let’s see what this anime had to offer.

This review is going to end up being a bit strange because my impression of this anime very much changed from my initial impressions in episode 1, to my half-way impressions, to my final impressions. That is largely due to the fact that the opening act is strongly written, atmospheric, and generally intrigues, the mid-way point has kind of settled into more episodic and predictable patters, and then just after the half-way mark we finally meet Sherlock Holmes and from there the anime begins to split its focus away from Moriarty and to be honest I felt that was to the show’s detriment.

However, let us start with the first three episodes, which to be perfectly honest were everything I could have wanted going into this anime.

Outside of the fact that these apparently very English characters have largely standard anime hairtstyles (there’s some attempt to localise them but really, these boys are all rocking fairly contemporary anime looks), I loved the visuals in the first episode. The cuts to old statues, the use of a dark colour palette in the appropriate scenes, the fog and gloom that we associate with the city and era just worked.

Even the music in the episode relied heavily on the organ and while it might have been a little on the melodramatic side it still served the purpose for the story as did the periodic thunder in the background. Admittedly, I wasn’t entirely sold on the boppy techno-esque music that hit us at the end of the episode as it was just a little on the jarring side.

Albert - Episode 1 - Moriarty the Patriot
Albert’s really perfected that bored expression.

Equally, the first episode delivered in terms of story and character introduction. We meet the three Moriarty brothers, Albert, William and Louis and learn a little about the dynamics of how they operate as we see them investigate a series of murdered boys in the town and then organise for ‘justice’ to be served.

There is definitely a bit of a comparison to be made between these characters, particularly William, and Light from Death Note. Admittedly, Moriarty doesn’t go as over-the-top in being drunk on his own power and also has no particular supernatural assistance, but both Light and Moriarty see their world as rotten and in need of fixing and both take fairly extreme measures in order to repair what they perceive as broken.

I also like that Moriarty has a great ambition here. He wants to improve the world even if he has to break the existing society down in order to achieve that and he isn’t afraid of getting his hands dirty even if he usually prefers to work via proxy leaving him clear to take the next step in his grand plan.

For those who are a little on the squeamish side, there will be blood and vengeance in this story. Between stabbings, poisonings, potential shootings, and burning a building down with the family inside, this one isn’t a shiny-happy story full of happy characters. That said, it also ensures each of these deaths serves a narrative purpose and while it doesn’t shy away from showing the killing, it doesn’t really glorify it either. Here, death is a tool and murder a means to an end.

William Moriarty (the original) - Moriarty the Patriot
And some of these characters really are just asking for it.

Immediately after a strong first episode, the audience is given the background on how these brothers came together and how the dynamic formed, as we are given a two episode reminiscence of how Albert Moriarty came to meet William and Louis and just how they ended up ‘brothers’.

This is definitely what I wanted going into this anime as we see a young Moriarty developing his views on the England at the time, the class system, as well as his own sense of morality. Realistically, I could have been happy with this anime ending after episode 3 as seeing young Moriarty was a pretty solid viewing experience.

You know, aside from the fact that various noble characters are ridiculous caricatures rather than human beings in how they make their class prejudices and overall stupidity abundantly clear. A lack of subtlety in the characterisation of every character outside of the central protagonists is an ongoing issue with the series. Sure, you get the point across that things are really messed up and that the noble classes aren’t exactly to be pitied, however they are all just so blunt in their power abuse and general despicable attitudes.


The mid-season works rather effectively as we move back to the brothers being grown up and we end up in a fairly episodic sequence where Moriarty becomes aware of a situation and offers ‘assistance’ and we see just how clever he really is as he plans out and executes what he calls ‘perfect crimes’. Again, a serious failing here is that while Moriarty does appear to be quite the genius, it is difficult to really appreciate him when every character he’s up against is so very, very stupid.

Moriarty - I'd like to have a brief word with you - from Moriarty the Patriot
Ah, but what will come after that brief word.

Despite that criticism there’s a nice range of scenarios carried out over the episodes and Moriarty is actually quite fascinating as a character here. I just kind of wish the supporting cast and the villains and victims of the week were written better in order to really showcase him in a better light.

We also are introduced to two other members of Moriarty’s network who then hang around and support in all subsequent cases (which kind of makes you wonder where they were in the first episode). I’d like to say that the two brought something to the party, but other than anonymity (which none of the Moriarty brothers have) and some weapon skills, they ultimately don’t amount to much.

The turning point, is of course the two part episode in the mid-season where Moriarty boards a boat to stage a wonderful show for nobles and commoners alike and while on board encounters another young man who seems to have a gift for deduction. This particular story is great with the only negative I can find being again the seriously over-the-top villainous nature of the noble at the centre of the story. As a first encounter between Moriarty and the later-to-be-identified Sherlock, it also works exceptionally well.

Murder on stage? - from Moriarty the Patriot
Yeah, you aren’t talking your way out of that.

Unfortunately for me, this was where the series did take a turn for the less interesting with subsequent episodes focusing on Sherlock meeting Watson and Moriarty setting up an elaborate ‘test’ for the consulting detective. The only real high point from the end season comes when the two end up coincidentally on the same train and end up solving a crime on board.

Possibly it is because Sherlock’s story is so well-known and so seeing something that had originally provided a different take and perspective on the characters suddenly shift to the standard Watson meeting Sherlock narrative was a bit of a disappointment, or it could be that really once Sherlock comes along Moriarty’s screen-time is reduced and he was very much a selling point for me in this.

The other disappointment comes as episode 11 ends without really establishing where to next but leaves lots of loose ends. Admittedly, there’s a second half or season that’s supposed to air in the Spring 2021 season which may actually give this a bit more of a finish, but as it stands it just kind of stops leaving the audience without much in the way of closure or resolution.

When left wondering if I recommend this I’m in two minds. Part of me thinks yes, if you enjoy this kind of mystery story and don’t mind taking the villain’s perspective for the majority, there’s plenty to enjoy particularly in the early part of the series. Depending on how you take Sherlock’s episodes later in the season, there’s no real change in quality throughout, so you might find these more or less enjoyable depending on whether you like this particular anime’s take on the detective.

Despite that, this isn’t a must watch and while I really enjoyed this depiction of Moriarty, too many other characters just don’t feel nuanced enough or well written enough to really do the overall concept justice. I appreciate what it was trying to convey but felt it could have done it better.

Still, if you’ve watched Moriarty the Patriot I would love to know your thoughts on it.

Images used for review from: Moriarty the Patriot. Dir. K. Nomura. Production I. G. 2020.

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Karandi James

Haikyu!! To The Top Episode 1 Review

Haiku1 Episode

Room To Grow

I was very late jumping on the Haikyu bandwagon. Largely because I just refused to watch sports anime of any kind for a very long time. Once I caved on that, the title that came up over and over again in my recommendations was Haikyu. And so I started season one. Three seasons on we’re now seeing the release of season four and I was definitely ready and actually super excited. However, season 4 faces a different kind of challenge as I’ve never watched Haikyu weekly. Last time I watched in batches of episodes so I didn’t need to wait for things to get to a point as I could just keep watching. So I guess we’ll see whether season 4 manages to be as exciting as the last three and whether or not I can handle watching weekly or whether I give up, wait for the season to finish and binge it.


The difference became quite apparent by the end of this episode. There’s a lot of set-up and reintroductions to characters as they get their heights measured and do some basic physical tests and then the supervisor drops the bomb that Kageyama has been invited to a national youth volleyball camp and Tsukishima is invited to a regional camp. It’s all really fun hanging out with the characters and seeing the rivalry between Hinata and Kageyama as well as the bonds these characters have forged, but it isn’t really moving things forward so much as re-establishing the cast (as you probably should after a gap between seasons when there’s a large cast). That outside of Hinata making a really obnoxious choice before the end of the episode is really all that happens and I’m sure it will all lead to fun later but it is set-up.


Of course, it was really fun to be back with this team. The usual bickering and silly antics were in full play and it was nice to see them all still really excited about the nationals. So there’s very little to complain about there. Also, visually it still looks fine transitioning to actually good when characters start moving. Hinata’s jump was beautifully animated and the wing motif is back which was welcome to see.


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But the episode in itself leaves you with little to talk about, unless you would like to me to gush about Tsukishima. I could do that because his reaction to Hinata’s idiocy in the second half of the episode was golden. Of course, we could look ahead and start wondering if splitting up the core group in these early episodes and sending them off to training camps is a great move. Haikyu is more fun when the team are together and they literally just split two of the four first years we’ve really been following off to play with other players at training camps. While I’m sure it is a great growth opportunity did I come back to Haikyu to not spend time with the gang from Karasuno High School? Then again, I have no idea how many episodes this will go for and how they’ll bring it together so no complaints at this point.


Time will tell whether this is a good decision or not but Haikyu has definitely earned some trust having delivered three very solid seasons of entertainment. While I may end up putting this cour on hold and binge it before the second cour comes out depending on how it goes watching weekly, I will watch this season through. So how excited are you about the return of Haikyu!!

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Karandi James

Run With The Wind Series Review


They’ll take your emotions for a run.

For those who followed my episodic reviews you will already know it took me awhile to get into this series. The opening episodes, while there were some really pretty animations, didn’t really grab me as we set up a fairly standard team sport anime. We had Haiji, the pushy driver of the group getting the team together with his vision of them running some marathon, and then we had the assortment of motley characters who would ultimately come together as a team. It was all very ordinary and I didn’t really like Haiji as a character, but something kept me watching.

Run With The Wind Episode 1

I’m really glad for whatever that something was. Run With The Wind ended up being an extraordinary emotional experience and by the end I was smiling and crying and just wanting to cheer with these boys. It isn’t that this anime broke any new ground or did anything a whole pile of sports anime haven’t done before, it was more the execution of its elements. Giving this anime its two cours to develop these characters and the team and leading us to the race that they had been training for and giving that race the episodes it needed to play out so that we could see how each character had really grown throughout the series really paid off and while it might be just another sports anime, this one really hit me where it needed to.


It is unusual for me but I want to start reviewing this anime by discussing the sound design. I specifically discussed this in my episode 11 review, but really Run With the Wind was a standout anime for how it used sound. Whether it was music or ambient sound the choices were always extremely fitting for the scene and highly effective at conveying the tone or emotion of the moment. It is very rare for me to pay that much attention to the sound but Run With The Wind is one anime where it pays off and while it might be a little heavy handed it is a major contributing factor in explaining why I was so swept away by events in each episode.

Run With The Wind Episode 11 Rain

Equally, Run With The Wind new when to put its effort into the visuals. While it wasn’t used in every single race, there were several moments throughout the series, particularly when Kakeru was running, that the anime went all out to visually represent the beauty of his running or his connection with the wind. They are scenes that just draw you in and leave you breathless but they aren’t overused or intrusive. It would have been tempting to put such visual effects over each runner or to use it every time Kakeru ran but the restraint shown meant that each instance really stood out and had impact.

For the rest of the visuals, these are adequate with each of the ten boys having an interesting enough character design and the animation being on point. I was impressed by the races where most of the characters still seemed suitably animated even if a little too regular in their movement but there weren’t a huge number of still shots and panning which a lot of anime would have done rather than animating the crowd of runners.

Run With The Wind Episode 16

All and all, the production is pretty solid for Run With The Wind and that complements a narrative that is basic but well paced and delivered and characters who each have an arc that works and ties in nicely with the story.

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I’m not going to argue that this story or the characters are revolutionary or something we haven’t seen before. If you watch a lot of sport or club anime you’ve seen everything here before. However it is delivered competently and ultimately the experience is fairly rewarding.

Run With The Wind Episode 4

Haiji was perhaps my greatest surprise. Starting as a character archetype I find quite grating, by the end of the series, while I’m still not thrilled at how he enlisted the others, I found him a fairly charming character. His leg of the race was one that really made me smile and I celebrated with him, which is something I wouldn’t have believed early on in the story. It wasn’t that Haiji changed all that much throughout. It was more that the anime took the time to flesh him out and make him feel like a real person. Sure he was pushy at the beginning and they never try to pretend that didn’t happen, but they give him a motive that makes sense and allow even him to second guess his own actions and to consider where he’s really going. It helps to really begin to appreciate what he was trying to do and why by the end.

Run With The Wind Episode 18 Haiji

Equally, Kakeru begins as your fairly standard character archetype. The highly talented runner who has quit due to some trauma from his previous club. He initially clashes with everyone. Haiji because he doesn’t really want to run with the club and with everyone else because of their inexperience with running and their attitude toward it. His character journey is also pretty standard and honestly drawn out too long. While I like where he ended up, I feel they could have resolved some of his arc a bit sooner than they did and that’s probably my main complaint from this series.

Run With The Wind Episode 13 Kakeru being pulled up by his team.

However, each character needs to be looked at individually. Where they all start as just background noise and additional numbers for the club, by the end they have each become a character in their own right and one that for whatever reason the audience has become attached to. It is an extraordinary effort that Run With The Wind has taken to give each character sufficient moments that there is a connection formed before the final race and then each character concludes their character arc as they run their leg.

Run With The Wind Episode 23 - Prince

Honestly, if you didn’t give Run With The Wind a go when it was airing, this is an anime that is well worth the time. While it is slow to really get going it is a journey that is rewarding and with great sound and visual design it is an anime that is truly worth watching.

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Karandi James