Sherlock Hound: Case File 1
Production on Sherlock Hound began in 1981 as a joint venture between the Tokyo Movie Shinsha of Japan and RAI of Italy under the direction of Hayao Miyazaki. The series is based on the adventures of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, though the inhabitants of Sherlock Hound are all dogs. However, after only four episodes were fully completed and two others partially finished, production of the series was cancelled. In 1984, production resumed after two episodes of Sherlock Hound (Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle and Treasure Under the Sea) were released in conjunction with Miyazaki's Kaze no Tani no Nausica, which brought new attention to the series. Afterwards, it began airing on TV, and Kyosuke Mikuriya was brought aboard to direct an additional twenty episodes, for a total of twenty-six in the series. In the first of six planned volumes, Case File 1 contains the first five episodes of the series.
Episode 1: The Four Signatures
On a ship bound for England, Sherlock Hound and Doctor Watson meet and team up for the first time when pirates threaten to capture the ship in their search for a fortune in gems.
Episode 2: The Crown of Mazalin
When the Crown of Mazalin, a priceless national treasure, is stolen from it's display at Mr. Sampton's house, the police have only one suspect – Dudley, Mr. Sampton's son! His girlfriend believes in his innocence and hires Sherlock Hound to solve the case.
Episode 3: A Small Client
Hired by a little girl to find her lost cat, Sherlock Hound also investigates the circulation of counterfeit coins that he believes is the work of his archenemy, Professor Moriarty!
Episode 4: Mrs. Hudson is Taken Hostage
In order to get back Mrs. Hudson, who has been kidnapped by Professor Moriarty, Sherlock Hound must steal the Mona Lisa for her safe return. However, Moriarty has also tipped off the police to his intentions, making Hound's job that much more difficult.
Episode 5: The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
After his successful heist of a priceless gem known as the Blue Carbuncle, Professor Moriarty's victory is fleeting, as a young pickpocket named Polly steals it from him. To get it back, Sherlock Hound must locate Polly, but will Moriarty find her first?
Sherlock Hound's presentation on DVD is a tad confusing. The series was originally produced in English, as translating Japanese to Italian was believed to be more difficult than translating English to either language. The Japanese language versions of the episodes were also cut for their release by about a minute per episode: the footage is included in the English language versions. Because of this, each language is given a separate side of the DVD. The Japanese episodes include episode previews, different title cards, as well as different episode titles (the English titles are above). Also, Sherlock Hound is only the English title for the character; in the Japanese episodes, he's Sherlock Holmes.
Having never seen the series before, but being a fan of Miyazaki, I was looking forward to watching Sherlock Hound. Though the series will probably appeal more to younger viewers, I enjoyed watching the included episodes. However, they were less detective-oriented than I expected: most of the episodes are rather straightforward.
Sherlock Hound is presented in 1.33:1 full frame. Both the Japanese and English sides were re-mastered from the original 35mm source and the Japanese side also benefited from digital enhancement and restoration. As such, the episodes in Japanese look more clean and crisp than their English counterparts. Both sets of episodes still display specks, marks, and general print wear, though these are less common in the Japanese episodes. Colors can seem a bit faded occasionally, though are generally bold and vibrant.
Sherlock Hound is presented in Dolby 2.0 Mono in English and Japanese, each on separate sides of the disc. Despite the show originally being in English, I actually preferred the Japanese dialogue, as the English voice actors were rather bland. Dialogue throughout both tracks is easy to understand, though some slight distortion is present. The film's score is adequately represented in both tracks as well. Optional subtitles are available in English on the Japanese side of the disc.
No extras are included.
Based on the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Hound is anime geared more towards the younger set, though should still appeal to viewers of almost any age, especially fans of Miyazaki. Recommended!