Watch Sherlock Hound: Hayao Miyazaki’s Animated, Steampunk Take on Sherlock Holmes

With such majes­tic, painstak­ing­ly craft­ed films as Nau­si­caä of the Val­ley of the Wind, My Neigh­bor Totoro, and Princess Mononoke, Hayao Miyaza­ki has made his name as Japan­ese ani­ma­tion’s pre­em­i­nent artis­tic vision­ary — and quite pos­si­bly ani­ma­tion’s pre­em­i­nent artis­tic vision­ary as well. But before he co-found­ed Stu­dio Ghi­b­li, the house that has become syn­ony­mous with Miyaza­k­i’s kind of lush, uni­ver­sal­ly appeal­ing, and award-win­ning films, he worked on var­i­ous kinds of ani­ma­tion, for dif­fer­ent media and pitched at dif­fer­ent lev­els of seri­ous­ness. One of the most notable projects of the end of that chap­ter of his career trans­posed the adven­tures of Sher­lock Holmes into a world of anthro­po­mor­phic dogs.

The Ital­ian-Japan­ese co-pro­duc­tion Sher­lock Hound aired as a tele­vi­sion series between 1984 and 1985. Of its 26 episodes, which sent the cor­gi Sher­lock Hound and ter­ri­er Doc­tor Wat­son after a vari­ety of thieves and on all sorts of adven­tures across a steam­punk Lon­don, Miyaza­ki direct­ed six.

In the Miyaza­ki-direct­ed episode “Trea­sure Under the Sea” at the top of the post, for instance, the detect­ing duo go after a sub­ma­rine pur­loined by recur­ring antag­o­nist of both Holmes and Hound, Pro­fes­sor Mori­ar­ty, who here takes the form of a wolf.

“The Sov­er­eign Gold Coins” finds Hound and Wat­son in pur­suit of that seem­ing­ly more tra­di­tion­al stripe of crim­i­nal known as a safe­crack­er, and in “Mrs. Hud­son is Tak­en Hostage,” their land­la­dy (who seems con­sid­er­ably more youth­ful in Miyaza­k­i’s vision than the matron in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s) goes miss­ing, though her kid­nap­per bad­ly under­es­ti­mates the dif­fi­cul­ty of pulling off his plan under Hound’s watch. Miyaza­ki would direct three more episodes (“The Stormy Get­away,” “The Crown of Maza­lin,” and “The Four Sig­na­tures”) before a rights dis­pute with Conan Doyle’s estate threw a wrench into pro­duc­tion. The show lat­er went on under oth­er cre­ators, and U.S. view­ers can see the whole, still-delight­ful run on Hulu, but Miyaza­ki did­n’t look back — and see­ing as Nau­si­caä had come out that same year, he did­n’t need to.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch John Cleese as Sher­lock Holmes in The Strange Case of the End of Civ­i­liza­tion as We Know It

Down­load the Com­plete Sher­lock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle’s Mas­ter­piece

Arthur Conan Doyle Dis­cuss­es Sher­lock Holmes and Psy­chics in a Rare Filmed Inter­view (1927)

Hear the Voice of Arthur Conan Doyle After His Death

Col­in Mar­shall writes on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, and the video series The City in Cin­e­maFol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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