Hello and welcome back to Manga Talk!
Today we delve into a world of mystery and crime, of a war between the upper class and the lower class, and how in order to save the world, one must be ready to burn it to the ground.
We are taking a look at Moriarty The Patriot, which is using Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories and taking a look at the man who is often considered Sherlock Holmes’ greatest foe, Moriarty.
Let’s get started!
The story begins with a young boy going by Moriarty, who is one of the two of the recently adopted orphans of the Moriarty family, helping out people in town by using his incredible intelligence.
Now this adoption was not done by Count Moriarty, but by the eldest son Albert, who worked at an orphanage and seemed to have taken a liking to the two boys, for some who reason.
The ones who have not taken a liking to the two boys is the Countess Moriarty and the second eldest son William, as well as the servants, as they see two boys leeching off the rich family, only spared by Albert’s noblesse oblige, the idea that nobles should use their money and influence to help people.
Everyone in the household treats Moriarty and his younger brother Louis, who had fallen ill while they were orphans and has recently recovered by a surgery that had been provided by the Moriarty family, like absolute and utter garbage.
All except Albert, who is revealed to have heard Moriarty give a speech to the orphans that they should one day rise up and kill the nobles.
As William and the Countess continue to harass and belittle the orphans, Albert solidifies his stance and goes to the two boys with a plan.
During the evening, with the boys having been forced to clean up for William’s upcoming birthday party, William and the Countess are caught by Moriarty to be planting silverware in their drawers, as a way to frame the boys for stealing and force them to be kicked out.
As the Countess and William talk up at how they are ready to use their influence to make the Count believe them, Albert comes in and says that since he is next in line for being Count, his word would supersede theirs.
But it won’t come to that, because Albert has a different plan.
Kill everyone in the house, leaving only Albert, Moriarty, and Louis alive to claim the family fortune.
It is revealed that Albert wanted to take in the two boys to use Moriarty’s genius to kill his family because Albert is also sick and abhorred by the class system that plagues the Great British Empire.
The only way to save it, is to rid the world of nobles, in order for people to not be shackled by the chains of the hierarchical system.
Albert and Moriarty manage to immobilize William and the Countess, just enough to make them die via smoke inhalation from the house fire that they set up to look like an accident.
When the three children are discovered, Albert manages to convince the rushing townspeople of the accident, what’s more making Moriarty seem like he was a surviving William and that who he was had died in the fire.
This all turns out to be a recounting of a 13 years older Moriarty, who omitted the parts of him and his brother committing the perfect murder, to a class of mathematics students that he teaches.
The trio have moved to an estate that was once owned by a noble who had gone bankrupt, and they have begun a new chapter in their lives, especially with Moriarty who at the age of 21 is an accomplished professor and has a job as a consultant.
The people of the town are initially wary of the trio’s presence, since the previous lord and the current Baron had imposed massive taxes on the local farmers, so much so that they have a massive bag of money that they are presenting to the trio, thinking that they will be the same as the previous lord.
Moriarty, furious about this, has decided to reduce the rent and taxes of the people in the area the trio is in charge of, which makes the people who live in the Baron’s area upset and start causing issues for the Baron.
During all of this, Moriarty encounters a couple, Michelle and Burton, who had lost their child a few years earlier because the Baron had not let them use the doctor that was attending his party, and tried to extort money out of them as part of it.
The Baron, upset at the prospect of losing money from exploiting his workers, asks the trio to renegotiate their deals with the townspeople, but with a dinner at the Baron’s house because he is suspicious of the trio’s beliefs.
The trio arrive at the Baron’s home, with the parents of the dead child coming along as well.
When the woman reveals herself to the Baron, it is also revealed that Moriarty’s job as a consultant is that of a crime consultant, meaning that he is there to kill the Baron.
The Baron, as a way to try and intimidate everyone, threatens to call the police and that he will double the rent and taxes of the citizens as retribution.
Moriarty remarks that the Baron has no allies left, and that the people will not stand for any worse treatment, meaning that the Baron has no one to turn to, since he is also without an heir or a wife.
The Baron begins to have a heart attack, and while he does have medication, it is too far away for him to reach and asks for help. He is hit with the same line he asked the parents, and it is revealed that Michelle had not paid a penny for Moriarty’s services, only herself.
The Baron asks for forgiveness, and the couple agree to give him the medicine on the condition that he write a formal apology for the death of the child and that he will give the people their farm lands to own on his passing.
Thinking that he has gotten away with it, boasts that he will double the rent and taxes anyway as he takes a bite of grapefruit pie.
He starts getting dizzy, and it is revealed that Moriarty had known that the type of heart medication that the Baron uses would react with the grapefruit in such a way that it would resemble a heart attack.
As he gets away with another perfect crime, Moriarty reveals that Burton had also made the promise to give his life to Moriarty, and that he wants the two to live happy lives together.
This is done as a way for Moriarty to gain favor with the townsfolk, and it works in spades.
Then we cut to a girl, named Frida, dancing on a bridge and falling off, killing herself.
During Moriarty’s class, he notices that a boy named Lucien is absent and is about to send someone to call the police, when a man named Dudley Bale, the university’s accountant, says that there is nothing to worry about.
Moriarty encounters Bale again later and it is heavily implied that Bale makes it so that any problems or mischief that the students of the university get involved with, goes away.
Moriarty inspects the student dorms to find that Lucien is missing, with some of his diary entries tying him to Frida.
Moriarty isn’t able to interact with the lower class folk, not for his lack of trying but their distrust of nobles. What information he does get is that Frida was a lively girl who had no reason to kill herself.
Lucien is then shown in an opium den, being kept there by Bale to keep him sedated.
Moriarty enlists the help of two men, a large and brash man named Moran and a slimmer man named Fred, with Moran finding out that Lucien had proposed to Frida, and that they were expecting a child soon.
However, Frida was harassed by Bale and Lucien seemingly disappeared, but she was determined that she would still raise the baby on her own, only to shortly thereafter kill herself.
Fred on the other hand found Lucien in the opium den, and they begin their plan to bestow a punishment on Bale.
A message to Bale, seemingly from Lucien, arrives and tells him that he is aware of what Bale has been doing, leveraging the wrongdoings of the students to get money from their parents or favors from the students to make sure no one is aware of whatever mistakes may arise.
When Bale begins questioning Lucien, “Frida” seemingly comes out of the water nearby, where Bale admits to pumping her full of opium, which was the cause of her jumping off the bridge, as a way to protect Lucien’s status as a noble and to gain favors down the line.
Moriarty reveals that this was all a set up, and Fred removes the wig he was wearing to disguise himself as Frida.
Bale goes off the deep end, saying that he was doing it for his own purposes and goals, and that is when Moran’s readies a rifle.
He shoots at Bale, not to kill him, but to startle him and move him off the bridge.
Bale is then seem by people in the nearby bar to have seemingly killed himself as well, thus marking another perfect crime.
Bale’s crimes are revealed to the world, and Lucien gets a nice gravestone for his murdered fiancée, and the trio along with Moran and Fred prepare themselves to change the world of its hierarchical system.
I will admit that when I saw the title of the manga, I thought that it would go in the direction of Moriarty secretly being a spy for the crown or something of that nature.
I am glad to say I was wrong on that assumption.
Moriarty is a protagonist in the same way that Light Yagami was the protagonist, he is the focal character but not necessarily a morally good character.
Moriarty is cold, calculating, and intelligent to a degree that would seem unbelievable if not for the fact that he is fated to be the one true rival for the world’s greatest detective Sherlock Holmes. It is also an interesting thing to note that Moriarty’s real name is never revealed in the entirety of the story, even in the beginning he was referred to as “brother” or “orphan”.
He longs for a change in the corrupt system that the world placed him and his brother in, and he is willing to kill for it. He is a man who wholly believes that he is doing the right thing in the world by killing the corrupt nobility.
And honestly, with the way that the nobles are portrayed in the story, I can see why. The nobles have such a high opinion of themselves and such a low opinion of others that they borderline on being cartoonish, but I actually enjoy that.
It isn’t often that we get to see evil people in stories, since the trend nowadays is to make sure every villain has a tragic or sympathetic backstory, that it is actually refreshing to see evil people being evil people for once.
The way that the murders of the people using the nobles system to their advantage is fairly believable as well, if a bit over dramatic in the case of the Baron story.
They all died in a way that would seem like an accident, i.e. the perfect murders. This story seems to be setting itself for Moriarty and his crew to go on a murder spree with murders that can only be solved by a genius that rivals Moriarty himself, I’m sure you can guess who.
The art is well done and perfectly detailed. With there being few action scenes, the expressions and character designs need to do the bulk of the heavy lifting for the story and they are done well, as well as the backgrounds to the stories.
Caught Red Handed
There are very few complaints I have for the story, but the one that I find to be the most egregious is that after the time skip, the other Moriarty brothers are barely featured in the story.
They were set up to be very interesting characters in the beginning of the story, that I was upset to see that they didn’t have much more of a role in the rest of the volume beyond being sources of exposition.
I hope that changes in the future, because having Moriarty have a family is an interesting take on the character that can provide much more depth to a traditionally shallow character.
Which is also another issue I have, or rather a potential issue I see in the future.
How much will this story add to the story of Moriarty and how much of that will be done well. Since Moriarty only appeared in a small number of the original Sherlock Holmes stories, he only has so many distinct characteristics, the manga even having a small section in the end addressing that.
The rest of what people see in Moriarty comes from interpretations of the character in film and TV, which have a tendency to go overboard on some aspects.
Moriarty is a villain through and through, and while we are presented with a reason for his crimes, he is still a criminal at the end of the day. How much will the story want us to sympathize with him and how well will that be done?
It can be done in a way that adds interesting layers on a flat villain or bloat it to the point of making Moriarty seem like a fan’s overpowered and misunderstood OC.
It’s a delicate line that I hope that story can manage that line. It isn’t an issue per se, but more of a concern I have for the future of the story.
I would highly recommend this story, especially if you have an interest in the Sherlock Holmes stories, like following a villain killing evil people, and want to see well done classical English architecture and styles.
I am probably going to be following the manga, as I personally do enjoy myself some Sherlock Holmes, and I have high hopes for the story.
On Friday I will be moving from crime and mystery to sports and energy.
Make sure you are ready because I am going to be taking a look at the first volume of Haikyuu!!
So until then,
Heiwa to sayonara!