Sherlock Holmes Volume 1

Sherlock Holmes Volume 1 by Toya Ataka
One volume available on

This shonen mystery manga creates a breezy and fun mash-up of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries combined with fantasy fighting elements. I was pleasntly surprised by the Sherlock Holmes adventures in this manga, which were made more entertaining by a genuinely creepy mystery and an irreverent approach in portraying the classic characters of Holmes and Watson. Here, Watson is an alarmingly competent and somewhat sarcastic tall drink of water, who affects a checkered eye patch that goes well with the checkered accents on his vest. Holmes is a tiny teenage whiz kid with a mystical shadow power that provides him with heightened powers of perception. Poor Holmes is also unable to control his tendency to blush. The first case the duo is tasked to solve hooks the reader effectively. A popular actress dies after giving a performance, with her teeth mysteriously disappearing before she drops dead in front of her audience. There are no witnesses to the crime, and Watson and Holmes have to piece together what happened as they interview the actresses patron and stumble across a creepy piece of jewelry.

Part of the fun of this manga for me was seeing the roles of Holmes and Watson swapped so effectively. Watson is worldly and sarcastic, taking the lead on the cases but having Holmes use his mystical powers to aid in the investigation. While Holmes is young and inexperienced, he’s still powerful and doesn’t hang back from taking initiative. Holmes’ shadow powers are illustrated effectively as his eyes turn into photo negative images when he calls on his shadow. Having mystical fight scenes take the place of more cerebral detection is only to be expected in a shonen version of Sherlock Holmes, but I found the entire volume entertaining. I’ll be on the lookout for the second volume.

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