The Information Manipulation of Moriarty the Patriot


The girls are back to kick off Season 6 – The Mystery of Love – with a deep dive into one particular episode of Yuukoku no Moriarty! Stay Toon’d!

Disclaimer: This episode was written just as Season 2 began airing. As such it does not reflect any new information presented beyond Season 1.

Hey guys!

Hiya!

Welcome to Season 6!

The Mystery of Love!

It’s pretty much exactly what you probably expect. All season long we’re gonna hit’cha with six new episodes.

Three episodes on mystery anime-

-And three on romance anime. Today, though? It’s aaall about that first one.

We actually realized we don’t really talk about mystery all that much. Which is weird! I mean, I love that genre!

It can be one of the more engrossing ones, for sure. It’s easy to get swept up in a good mystery while you try to figure out exactly what’s going on.

Right! It’s like a game! Where the actual goal is to figure it out before the story gets there.

Ordinarily that’d be something most people don’t want. I don’t personally mind predictability all that much. Not on its own, anyway. But very few series actively want you to reach the conclusion before they do, themselves.

And one great example from a couple seasons ago even got a little more creative with it!

So let’s dive into Yuukoku no Moriarty and see the mystery of the greatest criminal mind to ever live.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the golden rule.

Do unto others and you’d have them do unto you?

The golden rule of writing, ya clown.

Oh! You mean “Show, Don’t Tell.”

Yes. Writing is all about conveying information. One of the most important skills in writing is knowing what information to give your audience and when. Or, spun another way, knowing what information to withhold from your audience.

Yeah! And when it comes to most types of mystery writing, that balancing act is crucial. The entire point of mystery writing is to manipulate information as effectively as possible. In many cases, the story has to give you all of the information you’d need to figure the story out for yourself. But it has to be sneaky about it so you don’t figure things out too easily. They sprinkle in some clues you wouldn’t notice, some connections that might take a little extra brain power to see, the whole nine yards.

But there are definitely mystery stories that don’t really function this way. Those tend to be more along the lines of character dramas that happen to have some hints of mystery thrown in, for one reason or another.

Something we’ll absolutely be talking about later!

Yeah. This season’s gonna be… interesting.

To be fair, there’s a fair amount of that in Moriarty too. Especially in the second half of Season 1.

Yeah. When it basically becomes the Sherlock show for a bit.

And just so we’re clear, that is not a dig. I love the Sherlock stuff in this. Like… LOVE it.

It? Or him?

Shut up.

Ahaha! Rude as ever!

My point is that this anime seemed to understand Sherlock better than a lot of modern, western takes on the character. And I am here for it.

And him.

Rila. Shut. Up.

Hm? Oh, did I say something?

Tch. Anyway, the point we’re getting at, here, is that Yuukoku no Moriarty actually features both kinds of mystery. And it does it really effectively. But what we want to focus on is one specific instance. And that is Episode 4.

The anime goes out of its way to reimagine Moriarty. And it does that by recontextualizing a lot of his actions. He’s someone who dares to challenge the aristocracy of old Britain. Using his intelligence, he tears down anyone who preys on the less fortunate.

In other words, it takes Moriarty from just being a crime master, out for a challenge, to being a genuine Anti-Villain. Or is he maybe an Anti-Hero?

You can check out our video on Kurumi if you want our breakdown on that distinction.

The point is, you don’t generally see a mystery story from the perspective of the criminal who commits – or, at least, arranges – the crime. That’s what makes this one stand out.

In Episode 4, Moriarty learns about a noble’s cruelty to his own hired help. So he sets out to… “deal with him.” And that’s the first thing about it. You already know “who done it.”

On the one hand, you know the Viscount is the villain of the episode, so to speak. He didn’t technically do anything illegal, but his own callousness and disregard for the lives of “lowborn” people did result in the death of a mother’s child.

On the other hand, you already know, by this point, that Moriarty is going to be the criminal in this case. He’s the one who plans the entire murder. He’s the one who “done it.” So what’s the mystery? We already know the answers, right?

Wrong. See, in this case, the mystery isn’t about who done it, but how.

If you already know Moriarty is going to commit the crime but he hasn’t done it yet, you’re just left trying to figure out how he’s going to do it. It’s a really interesting spin on the whole thing! It starts pretty much as soon as the opening is done.

And that opening is amazing, by the way. That is all. Continue.

Uh… right. Anyway! As soon as it’s over, the story gets moving that slow trickle of information.

I’d argue that they technically didn’t need the cold-open of the episode to show us the event that started all this. But it was a handy way to set up the tone and all that, I suppose. Still, from an information standpoint, it was pretty redundant.

True. Still, once the show introduces the problem to Moriarty, himself, you start learning more about the situation. The show begins to slow-drip clues to you. It starts with him learning about Michelle and her hatred of nobles. So you can already guess she’s going to be involved somehow.

Then it gives you the hint about the heart medicine and the viscount’s heart trouble. Almost instantly you can figure out that whatever Moriarty does, it’s going to revolve around this heart trouble.

Naturally, your mind starts racing. “Is he going to have Michelle steal the heart medicine?” “Is he going to have Michelle poison the heart medicine?”

It’s an all-out attack on your curiosity. And it doesn’t stop there! They immediately get into the nobleman’s hobby of horticulture. At first watch, you might think it’s purely a way to introduce Moriarty and his brothers to the gardener – other “client” of the episode – Michelle’s husband, Burton.

But if you know anything about mystery, then you know that nothing is ever that simple. In a good mystery, every drop of information is important. Never convenient.

The episode does take a break for a little character drama between the grieving parents. And it does establish just how far gone Michelle is becoming. But even this is a brilliant play. It paints the picture that this mother – who lost her only child in a completely preventable manner – is going insane.

You start to suspect that she might throw a wrench in the whole plan when you compare her with her husband. Who’s obviously as angry as she is about the whole thing, but still hangs on to his sense of reason.

That’s when Moriarty meets Burton. So you get the impression that he is the client. They never show you the actual planning stage, so you have no real clue what happens next.

From there it’s off to the tea party! And there you get another piece of information. Moriarty’s gift. Grapefruit!

It’s another one of those details they give that’s just weirdly specific. It’s sus of them to even call attention to it. So you know it’s going to factor in, somehow. And that’s basically the last real clue.

Next they show you that Burton and Michelle are both there, preparing the grapefruit juice. And – uh-oh! – Michelle has a knife and they’re playing ominous music!

Everything after that is what brings it all together. It. Is. Excellent. Michelle attacks the viscount and Burton jumps to restrain her, making you think she might’ve just messed things up for herself and whatever the plot was.

Buuut, not quite. Oh no no. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

All according to keikaku.

But how does that work?

It’s Elementary, my dear viewers. Moriarty reveals to the noble that grapefruit, when mixed with the heart medicine, actually makes heart complications worse.

Admittedly, it’s the one stray detail the ordinary person likely wouldn’t know. And yet you can probably still figure it out with enough thought on your own, just based on all the other information you’re given.

During that monologue, it’s revealed that Michelle was supposed to basically cause the viscount a heart attack. What seemed like a bad thing for the plot actually turned out to be worked fully into it. A master stroke of writing, if I’ve ever seen one.

And that is how Episode 4 of Moriarty the Patriot turns the process of reverse engineering the mystery into a mystery, itself.

It’s honestly amazing, and just one example of how smart this show is. I genuinely wish more people were talking about it.

So let’s try to fix that! What do you think of Moriarty the Patriot?

Drop a comment below and give that like button a zap while you’re down there.

Don’t forget to subscribe and ring that bell so you don’t miss our next episode, when we jump from the mystery side-

To something more… romantic.

And cute! ‘Til then, I’m Rila, signing off!

I’m Riley, bowin’ out.

Thanks for watching!

Keep up the Awesome! And-

Stay Toon’d!


Rila – Mocha Vampire

Riley – AxusX
also on AstroPill

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