Sherlock Hound: Steampunk Cartoony Adventures

Background, Hayao Miyazaki, and Nausicaa

There are so many cool details about the production of this show. Especially since it has a lot of legal issues behind it along with this being one of Hayao Miyzaki’s projects. Which he was involved with because he was supposed to be a director for the whole project and this was supposed to come out in 1981. Well, here is the thing about that. Enter the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle estate causing a massive delay in production. It lasted for a few years in which during that time, Hayao Miyazaki became the director of the Nausicaa: Valley of the Wind film. All of which we should be thankful for because it’s such a great film. 

So in the end, Hayao Miyazaki only directed six episodes of this show. The other twenty were directed by Kyosuke Mikuriya, a seemingly unknown in the world of anime too even if he really shouldn’t be. There are so many works put onto these things there too. For instance, Sherlock Hound aired in english on HBO in the 80’s with episode 12 appearing in the United States before it appeared in Japan. So there is an older English dub of this show with its own opening or it too. This is all the basic sorts of stuff behind the production for this show too. I”m sure there is a lot of this show that I am missing because I am only coming across this show now too. It does make an interesting series more interesting there though. 

Setting and Basic Story

This show is really framed during the very beginning of the industrial revolution. Airplanes are made out of cloth and fly by using propellers, cars are only beginning to function, and larger ships are powered by coal. Plus the general setting of the show takes place in 19th century England during the height of the British Empire. For an episodic anime series, it really does dig into the setting of London with the classic address: 221B Baker Street, London. Yes, there isn’t only the city but the countryside and smaller towns around it. There is so much work put into everything into the setting to make it such a living, breathing sort of world. 

This is an entire world of dog people. Finally, the justice I needed after seeing so many anime series with cat girls throughout the years. Dogs are underrepresented in anime and there is finally a large amount of them here. Yay, the comfiness of all of this makes me so happy. Especially since cats are just cats. All of this stuff is very important to me as a dog owner and a massive dog lover. Sherlock is based on a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Watson is a Scottish Terrier, Mrs. Hudson is based on a Golden Retriever, Moriarty is a Grey-wolf, and Lestrade is a bulldog. I love it. Give me more dog people in anime. I want to see more!

Episodic Adventures and Helpful Kids

Every episode follows some very familiar plot beats played up in different ways or has something added to make it stand out. I mean really, this entire show is episodic but in some very fun and creative ways. The first plot beat or opening part of the investigation will be Moriarty causing some kind of crime or stealing something no one expected him to in crazy ways. Next, Inspector Lestrade will brute force his way in trying to discover what happened. He fails, which leads to Sherlock investigating and slowly unraveling the entire plot set into motion by Moriarty. 

That sounds boring on paper, but it really isn’t. The variations of this come from where the crime happens, how Moriarty pulled off the scheme, what the stolen object is, how are other characters involved, did someone else steal the thing and Moriarty was framed, and so many other things. The whole thing is a combination of Lupin the Third and Looney Tunes. Those two are immediately compatible and fun, which is why it can be put into 19th century England with these characters I’ve mentioned before hand. None of it ever gets old. It really is just a fun show that I wish could last indefinitely. Though, I suppose there is always more Lupin III. 

All of that is great on its own and instantly makes the show worth it. The cherry on top of me for all of it is that it embraces the show’s childish nature. Almost every episode has a little kid put into the plot and will contribute to it in some important way. Moriaty dismisses these kids or shoves them aside while Sherlock will take the episode’s kid along with him and Watson. I love the episodes where Sherlock joins a whole group of lonely kids on their boat. Or the little girl that helped Sherlock solve a case by just wanting Sherlock to find her cat. Sherlock’s open mindedness which allows him to listen to kids is such a good draw which makes it comfy. 

This Interpretation of Sherlock Characters

What makes this show so different from other Sherlock Holmes stores is, like literally every other adaptation, how it interprets its characters from the Sherlock Holmes novels. I mean, what else is there in that department? What separates all of it is obvious here. Sherlock Hound’s focus is being very kid friendly. That goes in literally every department besides Mrs. Hudson who is probably a very Miyazaki interpretation of her character? The reason why she stays at home and cooks meals? She is an absolute badass that not only can fly airplanes, but she is a race car driver, and a master marksman. She is literally too powerful to be involved in every case.

Sherlock Holmes is recognizably Sherlock Holmes with some slight changes. He is an eccentric character that performs science experiments in his room and does a lot of the ground work in terms of investigating each crime seen to see how it happens. What are the differences? Sherlock Hound is most of the time awake and on the case unless he spends the night looking up something about the case in the newspaper to find clues. Plus, Sherlock Holmes is very nice to kids and will lower himself to accept their point of view while other adults don’t. Watson himself is along the same lines as being the doctor that follows along with Sherlock’s adventures and has everything explained to him so the audience understands everything. It’s good stuff.

The major change is Moriarty himself. He isn’t the Napoleon of crime at all, he is instead a criminal mastermind wannabe. Despite the wonderful Moriarty’s inventions that he creates to just cause crimes, he and his two henchmen are constantly money strapped and struggling to steal expensive items just to survive. Yes, he is able to pull off crimes that sometimes even stump Sherlock for five minutes. But he never fully gains any success besides never being arrested (because they are always blasting away). Even if it fits the tone of the series and he is indefinitely hilarious, I don’t think this is something that most Sherlock Holme fans would enjoy because he is such a turn from the traditional. Doesn’t bother me, he’s fun.

The Excellent World Construction and Visuals

I’ve already mentioned it in this post, but everything about this show really does engulf itself in its setting. One episode focusing on the launching of a Dirigible involved a lot of really cool bits of fanfare that I’m sure the people behind this production must have researched. Same with the cityscapes, technology, and background scenery that must have been researched heavily because everything feels accurate to that era. Even if its not, because I’m not from the UK, everything works well enough to be believable in the setting the show presents itself. Combine that with a lot of the Yoshifumi Kondo character designs turned into dogs with really fun and clean animation there too. 

So yes, I’ve had such a blast watching this show. I wouldn’t call it for kids, even if it’s focused on them in particular, it’s a show for everyone. For instance, Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry are generally meant as kid cartoons right? Kids enjoy those shows, but I remember sitting down with my grandpa a long time ago and he loved it too. There is a reason why that kind of humor sticks around, it works for everyone. Lupin III is also the same way. Sherlock Hound is running on that same level. It’s really fun and can be pretty thoughtful at times too. There is so much work put into this show on every level that it’s really easy to just check out there too. The blu-ray is available from discotek and it’s absolutely worth it. 


  1. I had no idea that Sherlock Hound got caught up in the whole intellectual property issues back in the day. Looking at the situation now it’s somewhat ironic because Sherlock Holmes is now public domain to my understanding.

    Mrs. Hudson was my favorite character of the episodes I’ve seen!! She truly was/is too powerful to be involved in every case, otherwise poor Sherlock would be out of work!

    Liked by 1 person

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