「悪友の名はニーノ」 (Tomo no na wa Nīno)
“The Partner in Crime’s Name Is Nino”
Seriously, all this food. ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka sports a fairly simple, almost pastel art style, but when it comes to the food it suddenly has detail to spare. Let’s not even talk about the closeups. Look at this bakery. Look at the different loaves of bread. Someone had to go out of their way to draw all that bread. Maybe even design all that bread. Is that what one would expect from the mind behind a bureaucratic intrigue like ACCA? A passion for bread? Sure, why not.
There must be some reason behind this focus on food, besides a constantly peckish mangaka. I suspect that it’s to build a contrast between the generally wholesome nutrition and all the unhealthy distrust and betrayal that goes on within the government. Food seems to be the only thing anyone gets genuine joy from in this world. Consider Jean, doesn’t ever seem to get to participate in the snack-time fun with his subordinates. Note how much of the meal he had with Nino went unfinished. Instead, he smokes. Constantly. He may seem like a chill guy, but that’s not the behaviour of a well-adjusted adult. It can’t be good for him, in more ways than one.
Food, I suppose, also serves to show of the culture of each of the districts, or at least their specialties. After Jean visited Iowa in the pilot I guess he’s going to tour the country until he hits all the other ones. Basically, more introductions, of this world, its history (via convenient exposition, again), and its governance. In particular, the whims of the 5 Chief Officers were on display once again. They can dissolve and un-dissolve the ACCA Inspection Bureau at the drop of a dime, pull officers off investigations as they please, run their own internal spy ring, and now some of them are gunning for Jean, and that can’t be good news for him. But… maybe they’re right? Who knows? Because the other important things we’re learning in this introductory phase are about character, their backgrounds, and their motivations, and there’s a lot going on with Jean that we aren’t privy to. He says that he has neither money nor connections, but that sure sounds like a lie when he’s rubbing shoulders with the top executives of the country, getting bunked in nice hotels, and, of course, still smoking like a chimney. Maybe he is staging a coup, who knows?. Good luck explaining ‘coup d’état’ to a bunch of primary-schoolers, by the way.
Certainly, everything is very grey here. I thought the cop, at least, would be the upstanding, rigid, Inspector Javert type, but it seems that he’s possessed of his own brand of loose ethics as well. Well, that’s all fine with me. The grey areas is where things get complicated and depth can be found. And the general moral greyness is very noir, and I love that. Wouldn’t want all grey, though, because then it wouldn’t be interested. Even in the most hardboiled noir, the protagonist usually knows what’s right and what’s wrong. And he generally wants to do the right thing. It’s just that he fails, and that’s conflict. Much more interesting, at least, than him simply not caring.
And that may be where all the food comes in. Their simple wholesomeness represent the ‘light’ side of the spectrum. How far does the ‘dark’ side go, then? I think we have yet to see.