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MANGA REVIEW | "Moriarty the Patriot" - Volume Fifteen

MANGA REVIEW | "Moriarty the Patriot" - Volume Fifteen

What happens when an adaptation of a beloved detective series runs out of the main source material? That question rang through my head at the end of the fourteenth volume of Moriarty the Patriot. The climax of the narrative had reached its peak, with the fate of both hero and villain seemingly in the cards. So where to now? Does the story end, or do we play a game of what-if with these characters?

Considering how big of a hit Moriarty the Patriot has been, it’d be difficult to close the book on it. So naturally, it’s all up to the imagination of series adaptor Ryosuke Takeuchi and illustrator Hikaru Miyoshi. But now it all comes down to this question: is it still in the spirit of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? As of now, that answer is still up in the air.

For now, the next chapter of Moriarty the Patriot — entitled “The Adventure of the Empty Hearts” — commences. It is a play on Doyle’s “The Adventure of the Empty House”, which he wrote after the Holmes fandom pressured him to keep the detective’s stories going. But other than one certain reveal, everything else is different about this adaptation. Louis, now the head of MI6, is keeping a watch on Ronald Adair, who may be selling sensitive materials to enemy governments.

That’s when the plan goes down a chaotic route. Adair is assassinated, with bullets only one man is capable of owning. Some sleuthing occurs, with members of MI6 attempting to tie everything together to their key suspect. Alas, not even Mycroft Holmes has the skills of his brother, as a few pieces of this puzzle appear to be missing.

Here, we see why no one could outwit someone like Sherlock Holmes. As the previous volume showed, he and William James Moriarty were of equal minds. Both had their own sense of justice, with Moriarty using more criminal tactics and Holmes being a man of the law. It’s this level of intelligence that we see lacking in Mycroft, Louis, James, and the rest of the MI6 gang, resulting in a crime that boggles everyone’s minds.

But then, the shocker. The detective returns, even going so far as to reveal that he’s known James’s true identity all along. He tells the team what happened after that fateful night, which has its own twists and turns. Perhaps the most fun of these moments involves the man who saved both Holmes and Moriarty, a certain gunslinger whose history of crime is one for the history books.

Even if there’s a crime to be solved here, Moriarty the Patriot is taking its time with it. Instead, Holmes is brought back up to speed on what’s been happening these past three years. He even gets a day with Irene Adler, although this reunion is sadly short-lived. Meanwhile, more about Adair’s death is unraveled, but MI6 is nowhere close to finding the truth about everything.

In a sense, this volume of Moriarty the Patriot is a prime example of why both Holmes and Moriarty are needed for the betterment of Britain. MI6 is something of a mess when it comes to fighting crime, and even Holmes’s return isn’t as focused without William by his side. Perhaps the Lord of Crime needs to heal up a bit more before he can reenter the picture, but his absence — save for a cameo — is felt greatly. Volume Fifteen is by no means a flub, but it goes to show why Moriarty the Patriot can’t get into full gear without its titular character at the wheel.


Promotional consideration provided by Chantelle Sturt of VIZ Media.

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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)