Miyazaki’s Forgotten Gem:Sherlock Hound
Sherlock Hound, as it’s known in the West (in Japan it’s simply “Meitantei Holmes,” or Famous Detective Holmes) doesn’t have all that much to do with Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories. The whole setting is really just a framework to create a fast-paced adventure show, with slapstick comedy bits piled onto spectacular car chases. In other words, it’s a terrific piece of animation that was end of an era for Miyazaki’s before his film work began fully.
Sherlock Hound was started in 1981 at animation studio Telecom, with Miyazaki at the helm, and an amazing amount of talent; chief among these include Yoshifumi Kondo (animation director), Kazuhide Tomonaga, Tsukasa Tannai, Nobuo Tomizawa, Masako Shinohara, Koichi Maruyama, and Atsuko Tanaka. The great Yasuo Otsuka even makes an uncredited cameo for one episode. This series was clearly homage to Animal Treasure Island, the 1971 Toei film that largely cements the “Miyazaki Style.” The Telecom staff was thrilled at the opportunity to create something with the same boyant energy, and it shows in nearly every frame. This is the perfect example of just how effective animation, hand-drawn animation, can be in the right hands as simply they are such joyful little stories each one that is a case of its own.
I would say Sherlock Hound is a show that you can instantly watch anytime and get into its story any one of its episodes and enjoy it without being lost at all. Its very light weighted that marks it as the end of an era.
Miyazaki’s worldview was becoming more clouded, more complicated, as middle age approached. Future Boy Conan carried serious, somber undertones just under the surface; by the time Nausicaa made its way to the big screen in 1984, that darker side was taking over. His inner conflict is something that defines the Ghibli era, that battle between youthful idealism and adult cynicism; note for example the third acts of Castle in the Sky and My Neighbor Totoro, and the crises of identity in Kiki’s Delivery Service and Porco Rosso as see she how htis man grew form such charming simple tales to such deep and interesting stories that are able break trough barriers and tell us a classic story.
Now on to the history lesson. Six episodes were created at Telecom before the series was put on hiatus. As far as I understand, this was due to conflicts with the Conan Doyle estate, who apparently weren’t too pleased with this unorthodox treatment of the Sherlock Holmes characters. The series was shelved, until Miyazaki refashioned two of the episodes as the opening short film for Nausicaa in 1984. The public was enthralled, so the series was revived, with 20 new episodes set in production. However, these new episodes were not created by Telecom nor any of the principle players (apart from the actors), but at another Japanese studio, and the difference shows. The original six episodes were integrated into the TV series as follows:
Episode 3 – A Small Client
Episode 4 – Mrs. Hudson is Taken Hostage
Episode 5 – The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
Episode 9 – Treasure Under the Sea
Episode 10 – The White Cliffs of Dover
Episode 11 – The Sovereign Gold Coins
In 1984, Tomonaga, along with Kondo (director), Tomizawa, Tanaka and Nizu created the famous Nemo pilot, which is one of the greatest pieces of Japanese animation ever devised. This was Tomonaga’s baby, and he masterfully packs all the excitement of Sherlock Hound into a four-minute action classic. It’s just another example of the amazing talent at that time. If only their version of Nemo was the one that finally made it to the screen it would been such a marvelous classic that may have been such a gem that people would say that nemo flim was simply amazing. If only they made more Sherlock hound i think we would had such tales able to really charm us better then shows like ducktales. Sherlock Hound is simply a must see classic that you should see today.