Mystery anime Yuukoku no Moriarty, or Moriarty the Patriot has an eerie atmosphere, meaningful symbolism, intriguing music and political themes.
The original manga, first published in 2016 was written by Ryosuke Takeuchi and illustrated by Hikaru Miyoshi, and is based on the Sherlock Holmes novels of Aurther Conan Doyle. But instead of Sherlock, it is his nemesis, Moriarty, who has the spotlight shone on him throughout this story. A genius math professor whose intelligence shocked those around him ever since he was a child, he is depicted in the anime with glowing red eyes and, as stated in the original novels, embodying the perfect “Napoleon of Crime.”
The story taking place in the late 19th century where Great Britain functions by the strict classification of nobles and commoners. The overall concept of Yuukoku no Morarity illustrates the harsh difference in status between the groups. Moriarty and his two brothers Albert and Louis take matters into their own hands while Moriarty acts as the ringleader. They are willing to help anyone in need and conduct a perfect plan not to get caught.
The twist in Yuukoku no Moriarty is that Moriarty has a second job as a private criminal consultant. He strives to shape a new world from ashes, bringing selfish nobles down and begging commoners up.
“This hierarchical system is like a curse that darkens people’s hearts and turns them into monsters,” William says to Albert. “Which means the opposite should be true as well. If the monsters of this world were to disappear, then people’s hearts would be cleansed, thus removing the curse. And our country would surely become a beautiful one.”
Albert listens in to William’s speech, astounded to finally find someone with the same goal as him. William turns to him, with a calm expression:
“All you have to do to make this country perfect is to get rid of the evil people.”
The anime adaptation of the story, directed by Nomura Kazuya started airing in late 2020 and has continued up to eleven episodes. The second half is set to premier in April 2021 with thirteen more episodes.
The music for the anime is excellent. The opening song, Dying Wish by Tasuku Hatanaka, refers to a “dystopic world” and the “lord of crime” while the visuals show a bloodstained flower catching on fire, engulfing everything around it into flames. The image has metaphorical and symbolic significance given the revolutionary goals of the protagonists. Other lyrics include the line, “Set a thief to catch another thief” which refers to the theme of hypocrisy; that could be Moriarty becoming what he fears the most, a bad person. He shows little to no remorse when seeing corpses, or burning down his childhood home and killing everyone in it.
Furthermore, the soundtrack that plays during scenes is also impactful. It matches the cold atmosphere, and the eerie highs and lows of tones that compliment dark color schemes.
The imagery in the show often seems to have symbolic significance. For example, in an early episode, a father gets revenge for his killed son. The once blood-stained button is polished, and cleanly framed on his desk. The image seems to convey his dissipated rage after taking vengeance.
The anime neatly captures the eerie atmosphere by including dark, red color schemes. Eyes are animated glowing red in suspenseful scenes, and they show emotions instead of telling. Dilated pupils, dull eyes, and breathing is prominent.
With similar themes to Death Note, Yuukoku no Morarity is worthwhile to look at, as both the manga and anime are exceptional. Death Note plays around with a similar hierarchal system as Yuukoku no Moriarty and shows the contrasts of a protagonist who is led by an antagonist. The main character truly believes that killing is the only way to purify the corrupt world.
Yukkoku no Moriarty is appropriate for teens who are likely to be intrigued by the genre and music, and for adults who can make connections to it by referring to Sherlock Holmes. It is not recommended that young children watch it, as there are commonly bloody scenes.
The anime shows the contrasts of darker scenes with suiting music. Mystery and thrill are the spotlight of the show, with well executed symbolism. You can watch it on Crunchyroll.
Cover image: Funimation, Production I.G studio