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DVD Review

DVD cover

Sherlock Hound
The Complete Series


Starring (voice): Chikao Ohtsuka, Kousei Tomita and Taichirou Hirokawa
RRP: £29.99
Certificate: PG
Available 01 February 2010

In Edwardian Britain Sherlock Hound and his friend Doctor Watson spend their time thwarting the nefarious schemes of the evil Professor Moriarty...

Sherlock Hound (1984-1985. 25 min each) was a twenty six episode series which mixed the characters from Sherlock Holmes, with elements of science fiction and cyberpunk. The stories were adapted by Montana Jones creator Marco Pagot, in his first job for Studio Ghibli. The show was popular in both Japan and in eighties England and, because he directed the first six episodes, is a show associated with Hayao Miyazaki, the others were directed by Kyosuke Mikuriya.

For the first time the show is presented in all its twenty-six episodes in a five DVD box set. The first thing that you realise is that whilst this was a show designed for children, it is told with a lot of wit and invention. The animation may look a little dated, but the concepts and composition hold up still. That said it is still a fine example of what can be done with hand drawn animation The stories worked so well together that four of them were later combined to make two cinema features.

Obviously as his is a children’s program some of the character attributes have been toned down, so the only drug which Sherlock uses is tobacco, which in itself is a little funny as all the characters have been turned into anthropomorphised dogs.

Disc one hold the first five episodes: The Four Signatures; The Crown of Mazalin; A Small Client; Mrs. Hudson is Taken Hostage; and The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle. The first episode introduces Sherlock to Watson as they are forced to defend a cross channel ferry from Bengal pirates. The first episode gives the general flavour of the series with the show mixing various fantastic elements. One of the trademarks of the show, and Miyazaki’s film work, would be the delight in absurdist machinery, made from a myriad of cogs, which presumably is what the Japanese thought Edwardian England was like.

A hero is only as great as his nemesis and the second episode introduces us to Professor Moriarty, who will be the instigator of most of the hound’s adventures. The third episode sees Moriarty kidnapping Mrs Hudson and there is more than just a hint here that Sherlock may have feelings for the lady. The last story on the disc sees Moriarty’s henchmen terrorising London in a large pink pterodactyl.

For a show of this age the colour and detail remain very high, the lack of artefacts’ and dirt on the print leads me to assume that the print has undergone some restoration. Audio is 2.0, but it does the job well For once the English dub seems to be the natural one to listen to, as the pure Englishness of the animation sees rather odd with the original Japanese track, which oddly has not been included.

None of the discs holds any extras for the show, which is a shame. The rest of the stories follow a familiar format, although they all have something a little special about them, whether it be the love of impossible machinery, or the love of a good mystery, this show is far superior to many anime made for children.

Disc two contains episodes six to ten: The Green Balloon; A Sacred Image Disappears; The Speckled Band; Treasure under the Sea; and The White Cliffs of Dover.

Disc three contains the episodes eleven to fifteen: The Sovereign Gold Coin; The Stormy Getaway; The Runaway Freight Car Load with Gold Bullion; The Coral Lobsters; and The Golden Statue of the Great Burglar.

Disc four contains episodes sixteen to twenty: The Secret of the Sacred Cross Sword; The Adventure of the Thames Monster; The Adventure of the Three Students; The Rosetta Stone; and The White Silver Blade Getaway.

The last disc holds the remaining episode twenty-one to twenty-six: The Disappearance of the Splendid Royal Horse; Disturbance, The World Flight Championship!; The Secret of the Parrot; The Bell of Big Ben; The Priceless French Doll; and The Missing Bride Affair.

It’s good to see the set finally available in this country and I’m sure it will find pride of place with many anime collectors.


Charles Packer

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