Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Animation Block: Sherlock Hound/Famous Detective Holmes

Funny as it may sound, I was never a huge anime fan as a youth. Of course, back in my day it was called Japanimation, and the only things that came to mind were Voltron and Robotech. I wouldn't really get into the whole scene until the 90's, but even today my exposure and knowledge of the medium is sadly lacking.

So, when I heard that famed director Hayao Miyazaki did a Sherlock Holmes series in the 1980's, well, that's something you need to track down.

The show itself was a joint production between Tokyo Movie Shinsha and the Italian company RAI. Thanks to issues with the Doyle estate, Miyazaki left after six episodes by the time the issues were cleared up, with the rest of the series being handled by director Kyosuke Mikuriya.

As for the show itself, it isn't the most faithful adaptation of Sherlock Holmes. If anything it seems more inspired by the Universal series than the Doyle stories. Sherlock Hound is still the droll consulting detective, whereas Dr. Watson is clearly inspired by Nigel Bruce's Col. Blimp take on Watson. Inspector Lestrade similarly draws on Dennis Hoey's portrayal as the bumbling Scotland Yard inspector. Mrs. Hudson is probably the biggest departure, here portrayed as a young widow with a past as an aviator and quick with a pistol.

As for the episodes themselves, not terrible but nothing really stays with you. Hound and Watson usually get dragged into solving seemingly impossible crimes, usually carried out by Professor Moriarty, here seen as far more comedic than most portrayals. Thanks to Miyazaki though we do get to see plenty of light aircraft fighting over the English countryside.

A pity that Miyazaki didn't stay with the series, but overall not bad. The entire series was released on DVD, so worth a shot if you can get it from a anime standpoint. If you're a Holmes fan, it might be worth a rental at least.

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