Copyright: sherlock hound (series)
Early 80s saturday morning "funny animal" cartoon adaption of the Sherlock Holmes novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Somewhat notable for being co-directed by a pre-Studio-Ghibli Hayao Miyazaki (needs no introduction) and Kyosuke Mikuriya (later producer of Ulysses 31) to script ideas and adaptions by Marco Pagot. The show combines many recognisable Miyazaki trademarks (not least the lush animation, casual feminism, and scads of machinery-porn), a dollop of Ulysses' zaniness, enough of the original novels for each story to be recognisable even without the title (despite being ruthlessly abridged to fit a 23 minute runtime), a loose attitude to keeping track of just what decade it is, looney-tunes-level cartoon physics, questionably accurate but effective British accents, possibly "Magic Roundabout"ed english scripts, and some somewhat drunkenly-outlined cartoon dogs.
All in all it's like both the Basil Rathbone and Robert Downey Jr versions of Sherlock crashing into each other on a mossy clifftop, collecting Wacky Races, Samurai Pizza Cats, Team Rocket, Dogtanian, and everything Studio Ghibli ever made into a big ball of awesome as they roll downhill. One of the better kept secrets of the 1980s, after a slightly dull start it opens up into a predictable episodic package of a good mystery, satisfyingly mental villains, action, gumshoery, random laughs, occasional "it could never get made today" reactions to particular events, and a guaranteed happy ending.
Sherlock Hound, the titular gentleman detective, unsuccessful amateur chemist, pipe smoker and vintage automobile enthusiast; appears to be an Irish Setter with some natty suits, a clipped Oxford accent, and an occasionally exercised background in martial arts. He is also the only one whose name gets changed.
His friend and housemate Dr John Watson, ex soldier, now private doctor of some reknown with his best fighting days behind him physically but not mentally; a black haired scots Terrier with a rougher but still home counties accent and some considerable mechanical skills. His detection prowess is actually half decent, and he can but useful, but still tends to get relegated.
The Widow Mrs Hudson their housekeeper, who everyone seems to shyly want a piece of but will never get; slim, prim, kind-natured, with a voice so upper class it becomes hard to understand at times; a whiz both in the kitchen and with housework, but with an unhappy history and a habit of kicking down into typical Miyazaki Heroine Mode when the scene calls for it, which seems quite out of place for a blonde poodle.
Inspector LeStrade of Scotland yard, a well meaning but gruff, blinkered and terminally unlucky Bulldog chief of police, who tries his damnedest but never actually gets his man; a canine Zenigata, pretty much. The policemen he commands don't have it much better.
Professor Moriarty, a white suited, cape and top hat wearing, bemonacled purple wolf, and a certified maniac, verging on total bastard, like Dick Dastardly turned up to 11, and genuinely dangerous; adversary and later nemesis of Sherlock Hound, his schemes are actually pretty clever and come within a hair of success, usually foiled only by his own cruelty, overzealousness, arrogance, or just plain bad luck (in one case, he had not one but THREE contingency plans); voicewise, he's every crazy cartoon villain you've ever heard rolled together, spiky, manic, and given to bursts of Maniacal Laughter. Oddly his name isn't changed, though some of the bit-part characters do pronounce it strangely.
Todd and Smiley, his minions, mutts of indeterminate heritage. Somewhat dimwitted and greedy (and in Smiley's case, maybe not actually cut out for a criminal life), they are nevertheless usually quite effective unless they suffer a run of bad luck or Moriarty's neglect of their welfare leaves them unable to perform; vocally they fit the usual comic relief henchmen mould, with Todd being the gangster from somewhere between new york and chicago, and Smiley being a squealy, hyuk-ing, bubbly yokel.
The last three altogether form a motley team rocket sort of band, given to slightly hairbrained schemes when a simpler one would have got the job done more easily, serial failure, crossdressing, gluttony, bad jokes, and being thrown through the sky by some kind of explosion, either to never be seen again until next episode, or into a body of water for a soft landing.
The final character is Hound's car, a classic lounge-seat town runabout of indeterminate make (presumably a Baby Peugeot) with remarkable power and range for something of its age (as they happily cover 100+ mile treks through mountains on it) and a distinctive hand-spun flywheel starting action. It has been completely destroyed and rebuilt at least twice, which is more than can be said for Moriarty's steam tank which was blown up and stayed that way.
The general setting is a couple decades on from Conan-Doyle's original, sort of late nineteen-teens to early 1920s, instead of 1880/90s, presumably for ease of scripting and condensing rather than anything else. Driving and flying characters can get more done in 20 minutes than walking and sailing ones. However, overall, it remains a gaslamp fantasy; electricity and radio seem to be almost completely unknown. Also, cartoon physics are in full effect - if anyone actually gets hurt or dies, you can be absolutely sure that the story demanded it and couldn't have gone on otherwise.