A lot of people today don’t know about the famous Japanese animated series called Sherlock Hound (or Meitantei Hōmuzu in Japanese). It was first released in Italy and Japan in 1984, but it took over two years before it made its way to the United States. Despite how the show started out, Sherlock Hound has been praised by many critics as one of the best anime programs created at that time, mostly because of its unique twist on classic detective stories.

The Japanese detective story

Over a century ago, there was a great detective in England whose name was Arthur Conan Doyle. He wrote stories about his great character, Sherlock Holmes. These stories became popular among many children in Great Britain, and have continued to be loved by generations of children around the world ever since. But what is it that makes these stories so exciting? Many people point to their interesting plot twists and well-developed characters as key components for their success.

How Sherlock Hound Changed the Way Kids Viewed Detective Stories
How Sherlock Hound Changed the Way Kids Viewed Detective Stories

The birth of Sherlock Hound

Though we remember few details about our early school years, some of us may have watched a show called Sherlock Hound or read a book or two that contained short stories about a very intelligent detective named Sherlock Holmes. These shows and books were written by an English writer named Arthur Conan Doyle in 1890s.

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Why Sherlock Hound was so popular

The show had a few factors going for it. First, it was part of Rai’s Superquark programming block and aired at 5:00 pm, which was considered prime time among Italian kids of that generation. Second, it had a great dub.

How did it change children’s perception of detective stories?

This animated series broke records at that time. During its run, in Italy and Japan, it was even more popular than Doraemon (another famous Japanese anime and manga series), which is saying something. At first, parents were a bit unsure about allowing their children to watch a detective drama show since there were many violent scenes of murder and other traumatic happenings, but eventually they gave into their kids’ pleas.

The lasting legacy of Sherlock Hound

Sherlock Hound changed how many kids viewed detective stories. Prior to Holmes, detectives were largely seen as bad guys who would try to outsmart their victims and eventually kill them. They were not considered good guys in any way; they were just criminals with better skills than average. With Sherlock Hound, however, he is respected by all and is an integral part of his community, rather than being a cold killer like other detectives of that time period.

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Sherlock Hound, the Cartoon that Started it All

Sherlock Hound was the first successful adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories into anime, and its success helped to popularize the genre in Japan.

The Art Style

This cartoon was a masterpiece in its art style. The characters were all animal based and had funny faces to match their personalities. The backgrounds where very nicely drawn and you could tell everything about them just by looking at them for a short period of time. The real magic though came from all of the scenery. They made each one look unique so no matter where they went it never felt like they had been there before, even though a lot of times that couldn’t be farther from reality.

The Story

Sherlock Hound (known as Shin Tantei Rin in Japan), is a cartoon series created by Hayao Miyazaki in 1984. For most American viewers, they’re probably unfamiliar with it. In addition to producing some of Studio Ghibli’s biggest classics (Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle), Miyazaki was an animator on Sherlock Hound before he started his own studio.

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