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ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka – 01

OP Sequence

OP: 「Shadow and Truth」 by ONE III NOTES

「もらいタバコのジーン」 (Morai Tabako no Jīn)
“Jean the Tobacco Peddler”

I make no secret of my fondness for stylish period pieces. Like Joker Game, which I absolutely swooned over. I’m especially thrilled if there’s an opportunity for a noir edge, snazzy hats, femme fatale, and jazz. I guess I just, now and again, wish for my anime to be cool and classy. Along comes ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka this season, with its smooth soundtrack and a cast completely decked in crisp uniforms, and I just knew this was my fix. Yeah, sure, ACCA is not actually a period piece, but it certainly has the feel of one. It’s a blend of sci-fi and fantasy, at once both an uncanny future and and unfamiliar alternative universe, but the setting is certainly more than just the country of Dowa. The entire time period, fictional though it may be, seems to have a character of its very own, and the story and the cast are born from it.

Yeah, history fascinates me, even if it’s made-up history of a made-up country. So just the understated yet ever-present setting was enough to pull my attention from the get go. That’s a good thing, because ACCA is starting slow and demands that we soak it in rather than huff it straight. This pilot is, for the most part, exposition, by convenient newscasts or outright lectures, explaning the mechanics of Dowa. There is some to plot when ACCA is tragically shuttered immediately after introduction, only to be promptly un-shuttered before the end of the episode. Turns out, that was no plot-hook, but actually more exposition, an excuse to explain the whims of the ruling class of this country. ACCA is serious about its introductory episode, all right. Basically everything is dedicated to that purpose in in some way.

The lack of an explicit plot hook, though, is sort of the strength of ACCA. It seems to be prefer to be subtle, simply content with laying things out for now instead of diving into a plot, and in doing so it sets up the potential for dozens of plots. The lure is not what the story is, but all the things that the story could be. As we learn more and more details, contradictions build up, and we start searching for answers to our questions ourselves. This is especially evident in the central character, Jean Otis (Shimono Hiro), who is a fascinating man. He’s an anti-corruption watchdog, yet he’s framed as the actual corrupt element in his government. He purports to make less than the regional police, but somehow has an access to endless supply of expensive luxuries. It doesn’t seem like he should care much for the integrity of his work, yet he’s a meticulous auditor. He claims to not have much attachment to or trust in his staff, but his staff all seem to like him. He’s the coolest of customers, but he oversees a bunch of goofballs. It’s these contrasts and juxtapositions that build an air of mystery around Jean, and also keeps the mood of the show balanced, despite the politics and the intrigue.

For now, I expect ACCA to continue introduction mode for now, especially as Jean tours the fiefdoms of Dowa and shows us more of the world. Still mostly slow, that is, and perhaps that’s not the pace everyone is looking for. But considering all the potential ACCA is baking into its setting and its cast, I’m going to wager it’s going to be more than worth it. As I mentioned in the preview, this ACCA‘s going to great. I’m still sure of it. Hold onto this one.

 

ED Sequence

ED: 「ペールムーンがゆれてる」 (Pale Moon ga Yureteru) by 結城アイラ (Yuuki Aira)

Preview

January 11, 2017 at 4:05 am
21 comments »
  • January 11, 2017 at 4:57 amSilva

    I am very excited to follow Acca! The show has a nice slow pacing (love the emphasis on the food) and the characters are all quite handsome. Especially the five head officers, if you like mysterious men look no further. And Jean is also a really nice character to have for a lead. Also this series has now already some wonderful undertones of dread: watch the increasing in fires in town. I wonder how it will all play out in this seemingly “peaceful” country.

  • January 11, 2017 at 5:24 amKaineng

    Besides animation quality, everything is good about this show. I’ll watch it. Just listening to the theme songs every episode is enough for me.

    (Damn Jean, he’s got enough smoke to get lung cancer twice already lol)

  • January 11, 2017 at 5:26 amGray.

    I like how the made-up country has the shape of a bird. XD
    That opening is so freaking awesome!
    Really liked the first episode.
    AOTS!

  • January 11, 2017 at 5:45 amYukie

    I don’t get why so many people consider this first episode slow. This episode packs much more compared to some of the flashier premieres out already, and a lot of plot threads and intrigue are laid down.

    I’m also a sucker for anime that have well-built or interesting worlds (such as Kekkai Sensen). And really, anything that’s not set in a high school these days is worth following for me.

  • January 11, 2017 at 6:56 amSol

    This was pretty good. Measured pacing, quirky setting, characters who smoke, a classic Mini. Decent overall.

  • January 11, 2017 at 7:14 amPanino Manino

    I like the style.
    No plot? No hook?
    Seriously?
    I felt that this episode actually managed to plant the seeds for a loooot of happenings.
    I’m the only one who thinks that Jean is suspect? He seems to have some dirty little secrets…

    • January 11, 2017 at 7:30 amtheirs

      Don’t worry, Grossular suspect him too.

      • January 12, 2017 at 1:15 pmEnan84

        I suspect Grossular.

    • January 11, 2017 at 1:35 pmPasserby

      I suppose I should have worded it as no ‘central’ plot hook. That’s why the episode may seem ‘slow’, because, it doesn’t immediately throw out a demon lord or something that a hero must defeat. Instead, as I talk about in the post, it sets up a lot of potential.

      • January 12, 2017 at 1:49 pmPanino Manino

        Oh, I was not referring to you.

  • January 11, 2017 at 7:40 amtheirs

    It’s drawing me in so far. Really have to ask though, what is the ACCA? Didn’t that fire engine have an ACCA logo on it?

    • January 12, 2017 at 6:47 pmkay

      ACCA is Dowa Kingdom’s overall government/civilian organization which includes the police, firefighters, health sector, etc. Jean’s Investigation Division is in charge of making sure the other divisions are doing their jobs properly in each respective district.

      There is an official series of mini introduction videos to the world and structure of ACCA if interested:
      http://acca-anime.com/world/accakun.php

  • January 11, 2017 at 9:38 amiknowwhereyoulive

    A tad annoying with this fixation with cigarettes. We get it, Jean “Try-hard” Otis, we get it.

    Can’t help thinking that some things seemed a bit too convenient and contrived (“A five minute delay, you say?” – How did you even come to the conclusion that it was corruption, Jean?). To be fair, paid hardly any attention to that particular scene, could’ve been something more to it.

    • January 11, 2017 at 2:35 pmArthur

      They did show a scene, where he explains that the report from the day before contained a notice about that anonymous tip, but was nowhere to be found in the report that was delayed by 5min. So it seems like he first noticed the 5min delay and then compared the records from the other days and found that some data was removed just for that one day.

    • January 14, 2017 at 7:43 amSherrisLok

      Yeah, too much smoking for my liking… Rather weird that they have advanced technology (computers, mobile phones), yet noone seems concerned about the health side of second-hand smoking. Was the anime sponsored by cigarette companies?

      • January 14, 2017 at 8:14 amkay

        In the world of ACCA, the taxes on the cigarette industry are so high and heavy that cigarettes are barely produced (I think this gets mentioned later?). Cigarettes have now become a luxury item so expensive that only truly wealthy people can afford to smoke. Jean gets a lot of attention from others when he’s smoking in the street because it’s really uncommon.

  • January 11, 2017 at 12:16 pmGoukaRyuu

    This was slower than many probably liked but I liked the build up of atmosphere and intrigue. I think this will be an interesting show. Fact that the manga is over and we will probably get a full adaptation is also nice.

  • January 11, 2017 at 7:54 pmaprub

    I miss that kind of opening… Cowboy bebop feel(almost)

  • January 12, 2017 at 1:16 pmEnan84

    A bit to slow for me, but the world building is promising.

  • January 12, 2017 at 3:46 pmdaikama

    Wasn’t sure about this one, but some preseason hype so thought I’d check it out. Thought it was pretty good – better than expected given the bureaucracy foundation. Lot of exposition though. So…much… exposition (and I’m usually OK with heavy exposition). Agree it was a tad slow at times, but seems like things will pick up.

    The “plot” of the Inspection Dept. shutting down was a bit wonky IMO for the reasoning of sustained peace/no political unrest. Well, for now at least, but there are still inefficiencies, general oversight, and as shown potential corruption. Thus, had a hard time buying into the given reason of sustained peace. OTOH, it might be political corruption maneuvering. Get rid of it because easier to do nefarious deeds without the Inspection Department. Eh, in the end it’s still around so not a big deal.

    One thing I hope doesn’t happen, but pretty sure will is that Rail (? – guy who is obsessed/hates Jean) will frame Jean for arson thanks to Jean’s plot convenient, forgotten distinct lighter. It’s too obvious IMO. Meh.

    Still not entirely sure so 3 episode rule right now.

    • January 14, 2017 at 7:45 amSherrisLok

      Apparently, they don’t have the technology to visualise fingerprints either?

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