WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 1 of Moriarty the Patriot, “The Earl’s Crime,” now streaming on Funimation.
Judging from the premiere episode, there's a lot to love about Moriarty the Patriot, a new anime centered around Sherlock Holmes' nemesis. Professor William James Moriarty is depicted as a beautiful young man who seeks to bring order using criminal means. Like his counterpart Holmes, he has brilliant detective skills that help him unravel mysteries.
Moriarty Discovers Inhuman Deeds
In this episode's mystery, a young boy is chased and captured, with moments of violence censored through ominous imagery of gargoyles and crying statues. In a cut to an image reminiscent of the surreal and horrific painting Saturn Devouring His Son by Spanish artist Francisco Goya, viewers are left to imagine the gruesome means by which the murderer dispatched the boy.
As William and his brother Louis are introduced, the newspaper reveals this murder was the work of a cold-blooded serial killer. While Louis seems dismayed at this news, William seems excited to get to puzzle-solving. He also reveals a distrust of the authorities, perhaps one of the reasons he prefers to take things into his own hands.
Solving the Mystery
Just from looking at the article in the newspaper, William is already able to deduce the nature of the killer. He explains to Louis that the occupations of the boy and their fathers all had one thing in common: they would often come into contact with nobility. Although one or two may have been a coincidence, William concludes that the number of victims makes it all too obvious.
The most important clue is the outlier: a homeless boy who should never have been in the presence of a noble. By tracking down a friend of the deceased, William discovers that the street the boy once frequented was in clear view of a specific window in the nearby gentlemen's club. There, he corners the Earl with subtle accusations, then abducts him. For a final touch, he arranges for one of the victims' fathers to finish off the murderer.
Crime Is A Family Business
One aspect of the Holmes novels that Moriarty the Patriot takes liberty with is giving William two brothers, Louis and Albert. Although the original source material does sometimes reference Moriarty's brothers, they're never explained in detail. Here, they provide an important role in helping William as a crime consultant.
The brown-haired gentleman Albert seems to be James' informant. It's through his connections that James managed to enter the gentlemen's club, and James is also the one who contacted the father of one of the victims to help enact revenge. On the other hand, the normally unassuming Louis is the muscle of the operation: his abilities appear to lean towards assassination.
The Perfect Crime
Beyond just solving the mystery and turning in the culprit, William goes a step further with his sense of justice. He orchestrates an entire secret operation to nab the villainous Earl, making sure to recreate the circumstances with which the murderer would torture his victims. Though arguably cruel, he seems to adhere to the principle of an eye for an eye. There's a cold, calculating personality hidden behind that innocent smile.
He also seems to encourage crime for the "right" cause. When his brother Albert recruits the tailor whose son was murdered, he mentions that it's unfortunate that the current world is "twisted" and would not condone killing the murderer in revenge. William goes as far as to arrange and clean up after the crime without leaving a trace, all to ensure that his justice is complete. However, we haven't even seen Sherlock onscreen yet -- he'll be the ultimate judge of William's "perfect crime."
New episodes of Moriarty the Patriot premiere Sundays at 7:00 AM PST on Funimation.