The Dynamics of an Asteroid

hisui_icon_4040_round I try not to make my solo content for this blog nothing but Fate/Grand Order material. I’m going to make a little exception here because I’m really excited that one of the recently released servants perfect fits in with the (sometimes woefully neglected) detective theme of the blog. Type-Moon really made a Servants with some deep cut references while also putting a very Nasu styled twist on them.

When Sherlock Holmes is formally revealed as a Servant I will probably do a similar post. Right now the consulting detective has been introduced as an important character in the game but cannot be summoned. Yet. They are clearly building up hype for his eventual release.

Past this point, I’m going to spoil the identity of the Shinjuku Archer from Fate/Grand Order. While his identity is super easy to discover since it is supposed to be a surprise via the mechanics of the game I’m going to avoid just outright stating who is. 

They released the Napoleon of Crime, Professor James Moriarty himself, as a Servant in the game. He is damn cool. He is a bit of an odd duck as he is actually a mixture of James Moriarty and the Phantom Der Freischütz. Apparently, in the game, Moriarty purposefully orchestrated this so that he could have a better chance of assassinating Holmes with his scheme in the Shinjuku chapter. This is why he summoned as an Archer instead of a Caster. In fact, his whole role in the chapter is a series of schemes to pull off the ultimate crime and kill Sherlock Holmes with various layers within layers of plotting.

But what I really love is how much of the character is a series of loving tributes to the character in general. Let’s start with my favorite: His Noble Phantasm is The Dynamics of an Asteroid: Ultimate Crime. This combines both a reference to a book in the Sherlock Holmes story The Valley of Fear and a short story by Isaac Asimov about said book. In The Valley of Fear when Holmes is describing Moriarty to Watson he brings up the Professor’s book The Dynamics of an Asteroid as proof of his genius. Apparently, it is such a high level of mathematical genius that no one could criticize it because no one else could understand the exalted concepts it laid out. Over the years many fans of the series have mused on what exactly the contents of the book were since Holmes never really goes into any detail about the treatise. Isaac Asimov wrote a short story called The Ultimate Crime in which it turns out that The Dynamics of an Asteroid is actually his plan of how to destroy the earth with a meteor in the way that it is theorized that the Asteroid Belt is actually the remains of a planet hit by a sufficiently large asteroid. To top it all off his plan in the Shinjuku chapter is to enact the plan from the short story.

The next up is a simple fact that Moriarty as a Servant has a spider web theme. When Sherlock calls Moriarty the “Napoleon of Crime” he also makes an analogy where he compares the Professor to a spider sitting in the middle of a web of crime.

“He is the Napoleon of crime, Watson. He is the organizer of half that is evil and of nearly all that is undetected in this great city, He is a genius, a philosopher, an abstract thinker. He has a brain of the first order. He sits motionless, like a spider in the center of its web, but that web has a thousand radiations, and he knows well every quiver of each of them. He does little himself. He only plans.”
Arthur Conan Doyle, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

This has become one of defining descriptions of the character and almost always comes up in any adaptation of Moriarty. In the game, he has a skill called The Extremity of Spiderwebs that allows him to take in the stars that other characters in the party generate to fuel his abilities. He also has a skill called Charisma of Wicked Wisdom which increases the attack of the party with bonuses for all evil-aligned Servants. It is a wonderful way to represent his role as a mastermind who uses lesser wicked underlings to further his plans with him having to get his hands dirty.

While he mainly uses his Nicholas D. Wolfwood/Brandon Heat styled coffin gun he also has a cane with a hidden rifle in it. The story The Adventure of the Empty House Moriarty has a similar cane made and it is used by his henchman Colonel Moran in an attempt to kill Holmes. It makes sense that now that Moriarty is an Archer that he would use the cane himself.

But all of his characterization is not just serious business. When they introduced the character before the release of the chapter as the Shinjuku Archer they had his introductory quote be, “Were you expecting a beautiful young girl? Too bad, it’s a gentleman of around fifty!” Clearly, Type-Moon realizes that some people are a little worn out by the genderswapping of famous figures. No worries here. This version of the character is distinctly Jiji approved. Also, many of his lines to the player in his My Room interactions are pretty hysterical. He even offers to get you a deerstalker on your birthday. It should be clear that the hat he would give you as a gift would be a very specific hunter’s hat from a preferably very dead great detective.

I really like the way the combined Professor James Moriarty and Colonel Moran into one cool Servant. He every much feels like a tribute to the essence of the Arthur Conan Doyle character while still having that unique Type-Moon twist. It only makes me want to see how they roll out Sherlock Holmes even more.

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