Miss Sherlock: Sherlock and Wato-san in modern-day Tokyo (Full series)
September 2, 2018 10:09 AM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

At first report, Miss Sherlock sounds like yet another rehash of the Holmes/Watson stories, but I'd urge taking a look at this one. For one thing, the leads are two WOC (played by Yuko Takeuchi and Shihori Kanjiya, respectively), the crimes are increasingly bizarre as the season progresses (it's not a spoiler to reveal that the first victim is killed in the opening scene of the series by having a bomb explode in his stomach), and the undeniable style and irascibility of Takeuchi's Sherlock ("So, do you still hate children?" "Yes") are a treat to watch. Screenrant calls it "a clever reimagining", while tumblr is losing its collective mind under the hashtag #watolock.

I found this on youtube, but it should also be available on HBO for subscribers as of yesterday (it was originally an HBO Asia production, in conjunction with Hulu).

"Sherlock" is a nickname, although we never hear the lead's real name, while the damaged doctor is Doctor Wato (sometimes called Wato-san). Their odd and awkward relationship has spawned a buttload of tumblr fanfic (look under #watolock), though as of episode four, they still officially can't stand each other.
posted by Mogur (27 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I forgot to mention my favorite supporting character, the intensely chill Inspector Reimon (Kenichi Takito), who seems to spend most of his time handing case files over to Miss Sherlock and then wandering off until the crime is wrapped up, leaving the dedicated but increasingly frustrated Sergeant Shibata (Tamoyo Nakamura) to run errands . ("Sergeant, you keep an eye on the house, I'm going for my physical." "What?" "One's health is important, Sergeant.")
posted by Mogur at 10:14 AM on September 2, 2018 [4 favorites]

Also, as of episode 6, I am starting to think that Sherlock is high about half the time she heads off on a new case.
posted by Mogur at 6:56 PM on September 2, 2018

I am so excited that this is on HBO now. I watched it as it came out, and to be completely honest, Miss Sherlock talked too fast for me to understand her--thank god for Wato-san and the other sidekicks who would repeat the main points slowly.

Also, "Wato-san" is both the best pun and the worst. And I'm a little disappointed to see that the police detective's name is "Reimon" not "Lemon".

This series is what I wanted BBC Sherlock to be: modern updates of the original stories.
posted by betweenthebars at 8:54 AM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

@betweenthebars, I'm very curious to hear what a regular watcher of Japanese TV make of it - I'd love to know how much of the show is informed by the conventions of Japanese television shows, and how much by this particular show's updating of Sherlock Holmes. What regular tropes are employed? What parts of the story do they tell? Which ones are being subverted?

And are sweet-potato parties a real thing?
posted by Mogur at 9:54 AM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

For example, Wato-san's jobhopping in the early episodes - is that a trope of "directionless youth" meant to be played for laughs, or is it intended to hint at her PTSD (in that she can't do medicine anymore but also can't seem to stick with any one task) and be tragic?
posted by Mogur at 10:17 AM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think the main differences between Miss Sherlock and other Japanese detective shows that I've seen are that the cases are based directly on ACD, and the main character is allowed to stay weird. There are so many dramas that are all about an eccentric woman learning to conform, so it was refreshing to see that Sherlock continues to be strange even after learning a lesson about friendship.

Wato-san's jobhopping is supposed to be both funny and sad. The Japanese media likes to run articles on how kids these days don't go into corporate jobs like they used to, but in dramas, characters like Wato-san do tend to start out aimless and then their career issues are resolved over the course of the show, either by finding the right career or the right man (or both).

As for the sweet potatoes, which episode was it? Eating sweet potatoes is part of the mid-autumn festival, which is definitely a real and delicious thing.
posted by betweenthebars at 12:23 PM on September 4, 2018 [3 favorites]

Interesting! Thanks for that. That gives me new reasons to appreciate the show.

The sweet potatoes were a gift from Mrs Hatano, who had found herself with a couple of extra crates. Wato used the occasion to bring her boyfriend and her therapist over to meet Sherlock, who promptly tested them for psychopathy. Not sure if it's because she had people in the house, or because she had these particular people in the house, but Sherlock looked really uncomfortable throughout the party.

On a semi-related note: HBO Asia apparently ships them too.
posted by Mogur at 3:08 PM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thanks for posting this! I hadn't heard about this show until reading this post. I've watched four episodes so far, and I'm really loving it. It's basically what I hoped the BBC Sherlock series would be, with the added bonus of female Holmes and Watson. I especially love this version of the Sherlock character, but all of the characters are great so far.

Quick question: How do we feel about discussing the original Sherlock canon here? I wanted to comment on the ties to the Arthur Conan Doyle series, but I'm not sure if we want to keep this purely a show only post.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:24 PM on September 4, 2018

I’m fine with discussing ties to the stories, in fact, I appreciated that they referenced some of the less popular stories.
posted by betweenthebars at 9:56 PM on September 4, 2018

Also, this is a full-season thread, so spoilers are okay, but...am I reading it right, that at the end of episode eight, Mrs. Hatano's question of "Are you going to follow Sherlock?" is actually "Are you going to commit suicide?", and she accepts Wato's nod. If so, I'm pretty sure that Reimon and Shibata *don't* know that, because they'd have stopped her instead of just idly speculating about whether or not to tell her the autopsy results. I'm not sure why she took her suitcase, though, except that the scene of tiny Wato dragging that big stupid suitcase through the streets looking for a bridge to jump off is both a callback to episode one and incredibly sad. I don't speak Japanese, so I'm relying on the English captions here.
posted by Mogur at 7:27 AM on September 5, 2018

I had to sneak around the internet when this was airing in order to watch it. I will pretty much give any version of Sherlock & Watson a try.

I really enjoyed it, but would have liked a bit more time spent on Wato-san's brainwashing. Maybe some flashback scenes to show the beginning steps taken to prepare her.

I loved Sherlock's relationship with her brother Kento. I had assumed Wato-san's job issues were a result of her PTSD, but betweenthebars has added a new dimension for me regarding current cultural themes in Japan. Thank you.

I'm looking forward to a second season. I think Yuko Takeuchi made a wonderful Sherlock.
posted by Julnyes at 8:38 AM on September 5, 2018

Thinking back, I remember now that Irikawa gave Wato tea at almost every counseling session. Lord knows what was in the tea.

Ohhh, and now I am remembering when Sherlock actually complimented Shibata about something. "I took your gun because I knew you would never give up." - and thanked him for his help. Wato is *good* for Sherlock.
posted by Mogur at 9:47 AM on September 5, 2018

Just finished watching the eighth episode.

am I reading it right, that at the end of episode eight, Mrs. Hatano's question of "Are you going to follow Sherlock?"

I don't speak any Japanese, so I'm also just going off the English subtitles, but in the version I watched, according to the subtitles, Mrs. Hatano says, "You're going with Sherlock." I wasn't clear exactly how to interpret it either, but I thought it might have simply been a reference to the fact that Wato was taking that blood stained green Hermes coat with her, so the coat is the stand in for "Sherlock." But I'd be interested to here from anyone who actually understands Japanese.
posted by litera scripta manet at 5:23 PM on September 5, 2018

Ah, right, I misremembered the statement as a question. You're right. Mrs. Hatano knows what Wato is going to do, whatever that is, and just says it.
posted by Mogur at 7:04 AM on September 6, 2018

I thought it might have simply been a reference to the fact that Wato was taking that blood stained green Hermes coat with her, so the coat is the stand in for "Sherlock."

That's what I thought she meant. She says, "Sherlockと一緒に行くのね." The "no ne" at the end could be translated as a tag question (You're going with Sherlock, aren't you?), but it isn't a "real" question.

The one part of this series that bothered me was the way it portrayed mental health issues. At the very beginning, there was a moment when I thought, oh good, it's showing that PTSD is something that happens and it is okay to get treatment, and then I realized that the therapist was going to be the final boss. I was hoping they weren't going to go that way, but they did.
posted by betweenthebars at 8:16 AM on September 6, 2018

Do we know if this show has been approved for a second season? If they do come back for another season, I'm curious to see if they decide to adapt the Irene Adler character/stories, and if so, how they do it. I wonder if they will they gender flip Irene Adler, although I kind of hope they don't.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:04 PM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

There's nothing on imdb or HBO Asia about season 2, but I'll keep looking (fingers crossed!).

In the meantime, I've started going through it again. This time: I'm struck (in episode 1) by the times when Sherlock notices Wato. Sherlock is doing her usual Sherlock thing of zipping around the scene and/or ignoring everything around her, but then Wato says something and Sherlock just turns around and pays 100% attention to her, like she has never seen her before. So far I've counted four or five times in episode 1, and I'm thinking about what Wato said or did to get Sherlock's attention each time.
posted by Mogur at 5:57 AM on September 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm up through episode 4 (so I'm commenting before reading the thread because spoilers, not that y'all shouldn't talk freely but I know the possibilities in a full season thread, but apologies for repeating any points made already) and I'm loving this. I really appreciate the depth of the characters, especially Wato's PTSD.

There's shades of the current popular Sherlock show with how Miss Sherlock acts and behaves, like a genderbent Cumberbatch, but not much, just enough to draw comparison. The details on screen though is even more comparable, with the quick cutout of a scene to zoom in on a thing, layered with the heavy bass sound effect. Also the floating thoughts like during the password figuring scene in episode 3.

I need to tell everyone I know to watch this asap.
posted by numaner at 7:37 PM on September 9, 2018

posted by numaner at 8:22 PM on September 9, 2018

The forensics lab in episode 6 is quite amusing, but can anyone explain why the techs were so quiet? Is it just a cultural thing or a professional etiquette thing that they're so quiet? And I thought they seemed like they're afraid of the ear, but as forensic techs surely they've seen some gnarly things?
posted by numaner at 9:04 PM on September 9, 2018

My impression about the quiet techs was learned behavior from their boss - she may not be neurotypical but is certainly easily startled. My headcanon is that they learned to stay quiet around her but are too polite to tell visitors to do the same. So loud visitors freak them out.

Unless it's some Japanese TV trope? Are "lab rats" typically shown as being weird and/or social recluses on Japanese TV/film?
posted by Mogur at 4:27 AM on September 10, 2018

This was really good. I thought I was completely burnt out on all things Holmes, but I got totally caught up in this. The two part finale dragged a bit, but other than that it was a lot of fun. And the whole thing is on YouTube, which is convenient. Thanks for recommending it, Mogur.

my favorite supporting character, the intensely chill Inspector Reimon (Kenichi Takito), who seems to spend most of his time handing case files over to Miss Sherlock and then wandering off until the crime is wrapped up

Am I the only one who thinks he resembles Alan Cummings?
posted by homunculus at 11:55 AM on September 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

It seems I discovered this one a little late.

Inspector Reimon just seems so perma-baked I start laughing as soon as he shows up. So much of what I liked about the Cumberbatch Sherlock and none of what I hated about it (the show itself).

This Sherlock dresses like a William Gibson character and it’s perfect.
posted by hototogisu at 3:13 AM on November 8, 2021

I'm not sure anyone will ever re-visit this thread to see this, but while googling to see if this show ever got a second season, I came across the very sad news that the actress who played Sherlock, Yuko Takeuchi, died last year (suspected suicide). One of the articles mentions she recently gave birth, which makes me wonder about postpartum depression. Incredibly sad news either way.

(Maybe some of you already heard about this since it was more than a year ago.)
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:47 AM on January 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

posted by Mogur at 12:47 PM on January 2, 2022

posted by dogstoevski at 1:20 PM on February 15, 2022

posted by Julnyes at 1:52 PM on February 22, 2022

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