Monday, September 19, 2016
This week, I had the chance to grab a DVD of the first season of “The Adventures of Sherlock Hound” (as is the English reference), an animated series made by Mr. Hayao ‘Spirited Away and other great Animes’ Miyazaki in the 1980s. The title Sherlock Hound is fitting, because all sentient beings in this series are dogs (well, Moriarty looks more like a wolf to me, but still…).
The series takes its freedom with the stories written by Doyle (like “The Blue Carbuncle” or “The Speckled Band”) and almost overuses Moriarty and his two henchmen (they’re essentially guilty of every crime in the series), but apart from that, it’s a highly enjoyable series which has aged well - something which can’t be said for all animated series made in the 1980s. It also has the most badass Mrs. Hudson I’ve ever seen in a Sherlock Holmes series. Honestly, the episode “The White Cliffs of Dover” has her spring across a garden wall with an axe to save a crashed aerialist and later on chase a plane in two cars (jumping from one into the other at full speed when the first car runs out of gas) with Watson holding on for his dear life. Before she lost her husband and became a landlady, she was piloting herself, too. She is a good deal younger than you usually see her portrayed, too, and capable of actually charming Moriarty when he has her kidnapped.
Even though the series was produced for children, it also doesn’t omit the dangerous parts. There are several episodes where bullets start to fly and usually the main characters survive through a mixture of agility and luck. Yet, the series also keeps a light tone and is enjoyable even if you watch it from episode 1 to episode 13 in one day as I did. The cases are logical and can be solved with the information you are given, so there’s never a feeling of being kept in the dark, either.
I’m also still amazed at how well the feelings of the characters are shown, since putting human emotions on dog faces isn’t all that easy. Yet there’s never a doubt as to what the characters feel.
From today’s point of view, the series also has a great Steampunk style to it, from Sherlock’s car over the regular use of steamboats and trains to Moriarty’s flying contraption and his steam tank (there is no better way to describe this monster of a ride). There are zeppelins, balloons, and dirigibles, interesting machinery, and a lot of fun situations that arise because of them. It also has a great intro music and a nice casting.
All in all, it’s a great series to watch, no matter whether you’re a kid with interest in Sherlock Holmes or an adult looking for something to fill a relaxing half an hour (or day).