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Reviewby Allen Divers, Mar 18th 2002
Sherlock Hound DVD
Case File 1
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's great detective takes on a new form in the guise of Sherlock Hound. Much like the fictional Holmes, Hound and his assistant encounter many mysteries.
Dr. Watson meets the great detective, Sherlock Hound, when the ship he is on encounters pirates. These two team up to protect the passengers and thwart the pirates. Later, Dr. Watson joins Hound on a permanent basis, as the two must solve the mystery of the missing Crown of Mazalin. Then the two are hired by a young girl to find her missing cat. This leads them to an even greater mystery involving Hound's nemesis, Dr. Moriarty. Dr. Moriarty continues to come at odds with Hound and Watson as he kidnaps their housekeeper, then later steals the Blue Carbuncle.
Sherlock Hound Case File 1 presents this classic Japanese/Italian series in English. In 1981, Italian and Japanese producers joined up to create this unique reinterpretation of the great detectives tales. Despite its age, the stories remain fresh and entertaining for all ages.
Originally produced in English, because of the ease of translating later to Japanese and Italian, this series was not initially well received. After 4 episodes, the series was canceled. Later, a showing of two of its episodes led to the creation of 20 more episodes in 1984.
In 2001, both the Japanese and English video masters were restored. This DVD is unique in the fact that it is a dual side DVD (DVD-10) with the Japanese video on one side and the English on the other. The reason for this is simple; the English version contains an extra minute of footage for each episode than the Japanese. To avoid timing problems with the 2 audio tracks, it was decided to present them in this dual sided manner.
The original concept and art design rest with the Italian producers. This explains the very un-anime feel to the artwork. The Japanese, giving the show a solid foundation in Japanese story telling, controlled the scripts and the animation. The animation shows its age, but the recent restoration brings out the brilliant colors used. The film looks crisp and clean, surprising for a near 20-year-old show. There is some inconsistency with the coloring of the characters from episode to episode, but no glaring mistakes in terms of design.
The soundtrack is a pretty standard mono mix with the Japanese soundtrack being remastered from its original 16mm magnetic tape. The English voices seem to be similar in tone, with no real variety when it comes to different characters. Considering the original audience was children, this is hardly a hindrance. Since this was originally produced for an Italian audience it is interesting that the Italian track is not included as well. This would have made a nice extra more for hardcore animation fans than casual fans of the show.
The show itself is a liberal retelling of the classic Sherlock Holmes mythos. Targeting children, the stories are simple tales of adventure, rather than true mysteries. The tales remain light in nature, and move quickly through the 20 minutes standard for an episode. The nature of the characters is also kept simple, with Good characters being obviously good and bad characters being nastily bad. The English version of the show chooses to call the main hero Sherlock Hound. Whether this was done to avoid any copyright infringement is unknown. It could have simply been an attempt to appeal to children since the Japanese version refers to the hero as Sherlock Holmes.
Overall Sherlock Hound is an amusing adventure for all ages. Children will enjoy the simple adventures and slapstick comedy involved, where adults can enjoy the good story telling of the adventures. The remastering done to restore this show goes a long way to help bring this wonderful story into the present.
Overall (dub) : B
Overall (sub) : B
Story : B
Animation : B
Art : B
Music : B
+ Imaginative stories that will entertain all ages
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