Hayao Miyazaki's Sherlock Hound, Discs 2 & 3

You're nothin' but a hound dog too

Might add some of the non-Miyazaki episodes on disc 2 in particular are worth watching--The Green Balloon, for one has an interesting procedural where Hound tracks down the owner of a lost balloon, and The Sacred Image has a group of spunkily inventive kids.

Where Did the Sovereigns Go (Disc 3) is interesting in the way it characterized Hound's latest client as the real villain. Superb characterization; we get to know the man long before we even lay eyes on him, from the grindingly poor village at the foot of his castle (and their reaction on learning Hound and Watson are his guests) to the castle itself, high up a hill and beautiful and throwing a constant glare (the sun's reflection from his giant gold statue) down at the people in the valley. The statue itself is a Goldberg wonder, and for one surreal moment the man himself appears to Hound as if made of gold (nicely done Midas reference). Moriarity makes a belated appearance as a convenient alibi (the putative villain, so to speak).

Treasure Under the Sea (Disc 2) is easily the most spectacular episode in the series--could be more in the succeeding episodes, which were done without Miyazaki, but would it have the same level of complex, detailed motion? Again, the putative client seems to be the real villain--not one but two power-mongers (they're brothers), one greedy for machineries of war, the other greedy for (beautifully drawn) treasure. Really fast-paced, with a climactic deathtrap that seems more impressive than usual.

The White Cliffs of Dover (Disc 2) combines two Miyazaki specialties: a strong heroine and aeroplanes. Here it's again Mrs. Hudson who comes to fore, not the motherly way she did in the episode where Moriarity kidnapped her, but as genuine action heroine.

When the postal plane--the first of its kind--crashes near their Baker Street apartment, for example, she rushes inside while Hound and Watson rush out, and we think she's going for shelter; yet she's right back out again and not just catching up but outrunning Hound. She reaches the plane, and we learn why she went indoors first: to fetch an ax for chopping away the plane's twisted wreckage from the pilot (she not only got there before Hound, she knew exactly what to bring and do).

Then a lovely little moment: the pilot is safely on the ground, the plane has harmlessly exploded, and we're looking at Watson full-face, who breaths a sigh of relief. Camera pans left to the pilot, who looks in concern to the left of him (camera following), past Hound to Mrs. Watson; she faints. Cut to a shot from Mrs. Watson's POV, and the pilot's suddenly anxious face: he calls her "Marie?"--from the two others' reactions, a hitherto unknown name, to either Hound or Watson--and steps forward. But to the left of the frame is Hound, making sidelong glances, and as the pilot steps forward, Hound accidently knocks him aside. Lovely bit of 'staging' (they are, after all, drawings and not solid human beings--which makes all this all the more impressive), and even lovelier bit of revealed character: Hound, who has never shown any interest in Mrs. Hudson, is possibly possessive, even jealous.

The rest of the episode is a real thriller, with wonderful examples of Miyazaki going all-out animated-actionwise (love the odd bits of knowledge we learn, about the numberless ways a plane might be sabotaged, or how they might have fixed said planes in mid-flight), and Mrs. Hudson again going into the rescue with everyone else gaping in disbelief. Between this and The Kidnapping of Mrs. Hudson, it's hard to choose a clear favorite.

Oh, and Moriarity's fried fish are a wide-eyed delight.

My thoughts on disc 1, and the series as a whole, here

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