The series was a joint project between Japan's Tokyo Movie Shinsha and the Italian public broadcasting corporation RAI. Six episodes were directed by Hayao Miyazaki in 1981 until problems with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's estate led to a suspension in production. By the time the issues were resolved Miyazaki had turned to other projects, and thus the remaining episodes were directed by Kyosuke Mikuriya. The show was finally aired in 1984. The same year a film version edited together of two of the episodes directed by Miyazaki (The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle and Treasure Under the Sea) was released alongside Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind in Japanese theaters, entitled Meitantei Hōmuzu Gekijouban.
Two pieces of theme music are used for the Japanese version: The opening theme is "Sora Kara Koboreta Story" (lit. "Story Spilled From the Sky") and the ending theme is "Thames Gawa no Dance" (lit. "Dance of the Thames River"), both performed by the Japanese duo, Da Capo. The series' international versions had a single piece of theme music for the opening and ending credits. The frequent soloists are Joe Farrell on soprano, tenor and alto saxophones and flute (in his final recording) and Milt Jackson on vibes. This English theme does not exist on the UK DVD's from Manga, instead instrumentals of both the Japanese opening and ending themes were used.
Just like his original incarnation, he has a genius intellect and is extremely knowledgeable in multiple fields. He keeps a cool and logical head despite the situation. Unlike his original incarnation, his only drug habit is smoking a tobacco pipe. He keeps his apartment a mess and is regularly conducting chemical experiments that lead to clouds of noxious fumes. He also seems to have feelings for Mrs. Hudson, as does the rest of the male cast. He resembles a red fox.
Hound's loyal companion, he is a trained doctor who returned to England shortly before meeting Hound. He tries his best to help Hound as he can, but has difficulty at times keeping up with Hound, both mentally and physically, being a bit overweight. Watson is a Scottish terrier.
Hound and Watson's landlady. In most adaptations, Holmes' long-suffering landlady is shown as middle-aged or older, but in this version she is a widow in her 20s and a love interest of many, including Holmes and Moriarty (mostly Holmes), and given the first name Marie (マリー,Marī?). Her late husband Jim was a pilot and Hound finds her contacts in the world of aviation useful. She can also be quite quick and resourceful when need be, and she also appears to be a crack shot with a revolver. Miyazaki actually wanted to present her as the real brains of Baker Street, running rings around both Hound and his enemy Moriarty, but he was overruled. Like many people in Hound's world, Mrs. Hudson is a golden retriever.
Unlike the rarely appearing mafiadonnish Moriarty in the books, this Moriarty is portrayed as working personally on his plans without any sort of support network and frequently encountering Hound and his allies, being the antagonist in the majority of the episodes. Still an intellectual, he is a master inventor, often the one responsible for the steam punk technology seen in the show, including his personal "steam car", a tractor and tank combination rather than a car. His plans can occasionally be very complex or outlandish that rely on one questioning or linking together unusual acts, which is often how Hound figures out what Moriarty is up to. Sometimes he acts as a mercenary to other criminals who are after what he normally wouldn't steal. In this version, Moriarty resembles a gray wolf.
One of Moriarty's henchmen, created for the show. Smiley is tall, lanky, has something of a limited intellect, a thick Cockney accent and a positive attitude. In the episodes directed by Hayao Miyazaki, he is colored a pea green, while in other episodes, he's medium brown. Before working for Moriarty, he and George/Todd were members of the Bengal Pirates that appeared in the first episode, though they escaped being arrested with the rest of the crew.
One of Moriarty's henchmen, created for the show George/Todd is small and squat, has a negative outlook on the situation, and is usually the first to criticize Moriarty or his plans. He is inconsistently called either George or Todd, sometimes within a single episode, early in the series, eventually settling on Todd. The two are often used for comic relief. Before they worked for Moriarty, he, along with Smiley, was a member of the Bengal Pirates that appeared in the first episode, though they escaped being arrested with the rest of the crew.
As Hound's go-to guy in the police force, he's also the first to call on Hound for assistance on a case. Though he is a well-meaning and passionate police officer, he's not the most attentive of people, and he also has a hotheaded and impulsive nature as well. He is usually assisted by several policemen in trying to catch and arrest Moriarty, but they always fail at trying to catch him and they seem to always end up landing themselves into comedic situations similar to that of the Keystone Cops. Lestrade is a bull dog.
In 2002, Geneon released the series on Laserdisc (Region 1, NTSC format). 6 volumes or 'Case Files' were released. Each disk was double sided with the Japanese version on one side and the English dubbed version on the other side.
On 1 February 2010, Manga Entertainment released the complete series on DVD (Region 2, PAL format) in the United Kingdom as a HMV exclusive set. It has since become available in other outlets. It only contains the English dubbed version. This release also lacks the episode title cards, though the episodes are listed on the DVD case and menus.
Discotek Media released the series in a complete, unabridged DVD box set with English and Japanese versions on September 30, 2014.
Note: B = episode number by broadcast order, Y = episode number by YouTube order. The Original air date listed is that of Japan, the first country to air the show.
Title / Original air date
"The Four Signatures" "He's the Famous Detective" (彼がうわさの名探偵)
November 6, 1984
Hound is returning to England, but while crossing the English Channel, the ship he's on is attacked by pirates who are after one of the passengers. With the aid of another passenger, Dr. John Watson, Hound attempts to save the day.
"The Crown of Mazalin" "The Evil Genius, Professor Moriarty" (悪の天才モリアーティ教授)
November 13, 1984
An aristocrat's son is the main suspect after a crown on loan from the Queen goes missing. Hound is asked to investigate, not knowing Professor Moriarty has been watching the location.
"A Small Client" "Little Martha's Big Mystery!?" (小さなマーサの大事件!?)
November 20, 1984
Holmes suspects Professor Moriarty for the rising counterfeit money problem in London, but is unable to find any leads until a little girl comes asking Hound to help her find her father. (Directed by Miyazaki)
"Mrs. Hudson is Taken Hostage" "The Mrs. Hudson Kidnapping Case" (ミセス·ハドソン人質事件)
November 27, 1984
Professor Moriarty thinks he has found a weakness in Hound, his land lady Mrs. Hudson, and so sets about kidnapping her, but things don't go as he planned. (Directed by Miyazaki)
"The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" "The Blue Ruby" (青い紅玉)
December 4, 1984
A little girl named Polly pickpockets a gem Professor Moriarty has just stolen, and he is determined to stop at no end to get it back. (Directed by Miyazaki)
"The Green Balloon" "Solve the Mystery of the Green Balloon!" (緑の風船の謎をとけ!)
December 11, 1984
A mysterious green balloon lands in Hound's backyard, with a message asking for help as the sender is being held prisoner on Dolphin Island.
"A Sacred Image Disappears" "The Great Chase of the Little Detectives" (大追跡!ちびっこ探偵団)
December 18, 1984
Moriarty succeeds in stealing a large goldstatue, but Hound is able to track his escape, learning that Moriarty hid it somewhere by the docks, and must find it before Moriarty returns.
"The Speckled Band" "The Speckled Band" (まだらのひも)
January 8, 1985
A young girl returns to England after several years in America and finds her uncle is not quite who she remembers.
"Treasure Under the Sea" "Treasures of the Seabed" (海底の財宝)
January 15, 1985
The Royal Navy asks Hound and Watson to help them recover a submarine stolen by Professor Moriarty. (Directed by Miyazaki)
"The White Cliffs of Dover" "The Air Battle Over Dover!" (ドーバー海峡の大空中戦!)
January 22, 1985
Someone has been sabotaging England's new Air Mail postal service to Europe, and it's up to Hound, Watson and Mrs. Hudson to find out who. (Directed by Miyazaki)
"The Sovereign Gold Coins" "The Targeted Giant Coin Bank" (ねらわれた巨大貯金箱)
January 29, 1985
Sherlock Hound and Doctor Watson are asked to investigate the disappearance of twenty Sovereign Gold Coins from a specially constructed safe. (Directed by Miyazaki)
"The Stormy Getaway" "The Professor's Big Failure in the Storm" (教授 嵐の大失敗!!)
February 5, 1985
A large shipment of cash is being taken by carriage across the country, and due to sabotage the police are unable to escort the shipment, and so Hound is asked to shadow the shipment to ensure it arrives at its destination.
"The Runaway Freight Car" "Missing Freight Car!? The Professor's Big Magic Trick" (貨車が消えた!? 教授の大魔術)
"The Golden Statue of the Great Burglar" "Look! The Shining Thief" (見たか!ピカピカの大どろぼう)
February 26, 1985
When a bank's entire collection of gold is stolen the same night a sculptor disappears, Moriarty becomes the first suspect when sketches of a gold statue in his likeness are found at the sculptor's house.
"The Secret of the Sacred Cross Sword" "The Magic Castle! Holmes, Dead or Alive?" (魔城!ホームズ 生か死か?)
March 5, 1985
Holmes and Watson are invited to the first unveiling of "The Sacred Sword of the Wizards" in decades, but when the safe containing it is broken into and the sword isn't even touched, it's up to Holmes to figure out why.
"The Adventure of the Thames Monster" "The Monster of the Thames River" (テムズ川の怪物)
March 12, 1985
A sea monster seems to be attacking ships on the River Thames and devouring them whole, and after a passenger goes missing in one of the attacks and no body can be found, Holmes is called in to find him.
"The Adventure of the Three Students" "Blundered Operation at Loch Ness!" (ネスコに散ったドジ作戦!)
March 19, 1985
Holmes must find three art students on holiday in London from France who have gone missing, while Inspector Lestrade tries to figure out why someone would steal artwork reproductions.
"The Rosetta Stone" "The Soseki Kite Battle Over London!" (漱石·ロンドン凧合戦!)
"The White Silver Getaway!" "Chase the Airship White Silver!" (飛行船しろがね号を追え!)
April 2, 1985
Moriarty and his gang manage to steal a shipment of gold, but Inspector Lestrade's investigation is making it difficult for the gang to get the gold out of London. Meanwhile, Holmes and Watson investigates an odd break-in and robbery at a company making a new blimp.
"The Disappearance of the Splendid Royal Horse" "Buzz Buzz! The Fly Fly Mecha Operation" (ブンブン!はえはえメカ作戦)
April 9, 1985
There's a new thief in London, one that puts Moriarty to shame, and their next target appears to be the Queen's favorite horse.
"Disturbance, The World Flight Championship!" "Grand Flight Championship of Chaos!?" (ハチャメチャ飛行機大レース!?)
April 16, 1985
Moriarty enters a prestigious airplane race, with the intent of sabotaging his way into first place, including stealing parts from other entrants to make his plane the best. Mrs. Hudson, Holmes and Watson enter the race in hopes of stopping him.
"The Secret of the Parrot" "Game of Wits! Parrot vs Professor" (知恵くらべ!オウム対教授)
April 23, 1985
When Moriarty goes to great lengths to steal a parrot off a train, Holmes takes up the case to find out what's so special about this parrot.
"The Bell of Big Ben" "Listen! The Tribute to Moriarty" (聞け!モリアーティ讃歌)
May 7, 1985
Big Ben's bell has been burglarized, but bureaucrats beseech Holmes to keep that bit buried while they search, so as to burke blemishing England's dignity.
"The Priceless French Doll" "Chaos! The Doll Swap Case" (大混乱!人形すりかえ事件)
May 14, 1985
Moriarty is after a large diamond, but after hiding it in a doll, he ends up with more than he bargained for.
"The Missing Bride Affair" "Goodbye Holmes! The Last Case" (さよならホームズ!最後の事件)
May 21, 1985
A bride vanishes moments before she is to walk down the aisle, and the couples' families come to Holmes for help, but when secrets from the bride's past come to light Holmes has to weigh his options.