By Yuma Ando and Yuki Sato. Released in Japan as “Tanteiken Sherdock” by Kodansha, serialized in the magazine Weekly Shonen Magazine. Released in North America by Kodansha Comics.
It’s a rather odd time here in North America, where we have had a series of Sherlock Holmes adaptations of various stripes over the last couple of years. JManga had a Holmes volume up that was sort of supernatural horror with bishonen Holmes. Young Miss Holmes pays close attention to the canon even as it welds in a precocious niece. And now we have Sherlock Bones, where Sherlock is reincarnated as a dog in modern-day Japan, and fights crime with the help of a young boy who gets to be his Doctor Watson. As you can imagine, this one is geared more towards younger readers, but certainly it’s not juvenile. We’re dealing with murders here.
The author is used to this type of detective mystery, of course, being the creator of Kindaichi Case Files under another pseudonym. The story is the important thing here, and Sherlock’s presence is merely a vehicle for it (as well as for a few weak “Sherlock is a dog now” jokes). Unlike Young Miss Holmes, so far the creators seems to have very little use for the Watson canon, only using the broadest strokes such as Sherlock’s pipe. As for Watson, or rather Takeru Wajima, he’s a typical shonen protagonist, bieng fairly normal but with a stubborn stick-to-it-ivness that will serve him well in dealing with Sherlock’s whims.
The book starts us off with a fairly easy attempted murder where the clues are all laid out in the open, before moving on to the main story involving a crime where the murderer is fairly obvious, but we have to figure out motive, means, etc. Indeed, motive proves to be the key here, as we learn that the culprit isn’t just evil like that but has a deeply tragic reason for committing the crime. It helps that the victim isn’t that nice a kid – but he’s still a KID, so there’s not that much sympathy.
This runs in Shonen Magazine, so the mysteries aren’t meant to be all that hard to solve, and you can usually come up with the solution at the same time as Sherlock does. Of course, since it does run in Shonen Magazine, there’s also a bit of fanservice focus on boobs ‘n butts, though certainly less than you’d see in Fairy Tail or Negima. In the end, this is a mystery anthology series along the lines of Case Closed or Kindaichi, with “Sherlock Holmes is a dog” as the gimmick. We do see a girl who’s meant to be a love interest of some sort, though given the nature of the series she could easily be killed off in Volume 2 for all I know. But for the most part I expect this to be episodic, which makes it a good series to dip in and out of without worrying too much about missing anything. It’s cute and fun, if not all that gripping.