「城にただよう噂の煙」 (Shiro ni Tadayou Uwasa no Kemuri)
“The Swirling Smoke of Rumours in the Castle”

In theory, monarchy isn’t that bad of an idea. Power is centralised for swift decision making. Everybody knows the guy to listen to is the one with the fancy hat. An entrenched royal lineage produces leaders who are groomed from birth to command the nation and can devote all efforts to preparing for that role. Plato envisioned the enlightened rule of philosopher kings. Machiavelli wrote of the brutal effectiveness of the prince. In practice, though, relying on the lottery of birth does not always work out. Every few generations you just know one of the heirs is going to turn out to be an arrogant fop, and then the whole country goes south. Even the best-intentioned of rulers are still mere mortals (as much as some historical monarchs have tried to claim otherwise) and can be swayed by whims and emotions. And what about that royal lineage? Clear heir or not, there’s always those who wish to defy the rules of succession to get the top job. The messy civil wars actually lead to the Ottoman empire adopting a bonus rule: once a clear heir is chosen, all his siblings are promptly murdered. No more fights. Yeah, that’s what it took.

More on the subject of good governance later, I’m sure. It’s just something to think about as we watch the political intrigue unfold in ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka, and rumours of a potential coup swirls.

Three episodes in, I can safely say that ACCA is definitely the kind of show for me. But I love political intrigues. I love watching all the little schemes hatch and eventually collide, I love rooting out the complex motives behind every subtle action, and love the feeling of mystery and suspicion around every corner. Okay, ACCA may not be quite so intense, but it sure is fascinating. Nobody is actually evil or villainous, not even the crown prince who wishes to dismantle ACCA. His buffoonery aside, it is a familiar conflict, of a ‘visionary’ who feels confined by the machinery of government, of leadership against bureaucracy, of the court against the mandarins. As for the rest of the players? Even though there is this rumour of a coup, and nobody seems to want one, they are all fighting for control in their own way, and ironically it’s that fight, in the midst of an invented coup, that may ultimately destabilise the country.

Meanwhile, the king, seemingly just a kindly old man, seems only concerned whether everyone is eating well. Always, the food.

And so the general gist of the story is laid bare. Our protagonist, Jean, is uniquely positioned in the middle of the great web, being the one charged with keeping the country honest, being able to travel everywhere and meet everyone. Sure, he claims to have no interest, and to know nothing, and have no connections, but perhaps we shouldn’t take his word for it. He’s shown himself to be sharp enough, and influential enough, and important enough. And once more: who’s sending him all those cigarettes?


  1. There are a few details from the manga that were cut out for this anime episode that I thought were interesting points to also consider. Granted, I give them credit for managing to pack content from 2 full manga volumes in just 3 episodes without things becoming too disjointed/cut off. Clothing/uniforms is a major theme for this episode but was not elaborated on greatly compared to the manga. In the initial scene where people arrived at the castle, one can notice that everybody seems to be wearing a variety of uniforms (ex. a sailor’s type, a cowboy like uniform, etc). These are all uniforms of ACCA and they differ by each respective district and tends to include some trait representing their district of origin. The black uniform that Jean and other ACCA characters are seen wearing is the uniform for those who are from ACCA headquarters. Lotta comments to Nino that having such a variety of uniform designs for ACCA members makes ACCA not look like a unified organization.

    In the scene where everyone is gathered and the king gives his speech, all the men from ACCA are shown wearing the same suit design. This scene is not the animators taking a break from coming up with clothing designs. The suits they are wearing are considered as Dowa Kingdom’s official formal wear. The ACCA uniforms would normally suffice in a formal setting if it were not for the last minute change to the dress code.

  2. Monarchy, even in the modern world has it’s advantages. Both the last king of Morocco and of Jordan had approval ratings above 80% when they died. Even popular Presidents do not break into the 80% and it fairly rare that democratic leader make the 70%(exception in US might be George Washington but no polling back then) In part due to the completion from democracy I believe royal families really got the training the young down. (family actually for Europe they are all related) But even before that a Monarchy is superior to dictatorships most of the time because of the family and society imprinting the things expected of Monarch’s even on the young. Thanks to having two greats in their leaders, and others who did well, Russians do tend to prefer one man rule. The greats being Peter and Catherine, and they are great the massive improvements to Russia made Russia a world power from a backwater what we would call a third world country today. But yes the succession problem is the down fall, democratic leaders cannot normally reach the lows that a bad king can.

    I love this type of story, too bad the action cravers make this type of story rare at least in video form. Everyone is slinking around you can almost envision a dagger hidden behind their backs. And done well it does take some slow periods at the start where your just being introduced to the characters.

    1. Indeed, monarchies have produced many ‘great’ leaders, but also their share of stinkers. It’s an average case thing, I suppose; democracies are relatively more stable because they spread the power around. They have their own set of problems, of course, but at least it’s not usually one guy bringing the entire thing down.

    2. Competence is one thing, but much more important is the alignment of interests. A monarch can be very competent, but it will be of no use if he put his efforts in selfish projects. Also keep in mind that a monarch will not rule alone, he needs the support of the administrative elite. In a democracy the composition of elites will be much more dynamic and the process of elite building more meritocratic.

  3. It is getting more and more interesting! The fact that everyone is so suspicious of Jean furthers my doubts that Jean is somehow a member of the royal family (I’m not accepting Lilium’s theory, smells too much like a red herring). After all, why would someone watch over Jean for 30 years unless he was a threat since his birth?

    I keep looking over everything Jean does, with hopes of seeing his plans, but he just remains an enigma. Still, the end of the OP song makes me fear that whatever he is doing will eventually lead to a tragedy where he loses both his best friend and his sister… and this ep shows what might be behind him losing his sister 🙁

    Lord Nayrael
  4. I think I’ve convinced myself to watch this. And I may just convince someone else too with all that food porn.

    I’m getting hyped for the story, the only females in this show are looking great, that familiar voice actor of a king better not die just yet, and we might just see great conclusion for this show. I hear the manga has ended last year.

  5. Okay, my comment here will likely be hilarious to anyone familiar with the source, as I am not familiar with the source. But hey, I wanna throw in a nice little prediction:

    My prediction is that everyone is wrong about Jean within the show, that he’s not the one planning the coup… But that he’s definitely in shady business and he’s definitely scheming something behind everyone’s backs. But… just nothing close to what people think.

    El Huesudo II
  6. Shaping up to be a good “mystery” type show with all the political wrangling, but damn does it like its food p0rn. O.o

    Liked the twist on the (very) old king not turning over the throne to the young idiot prince yet. Too early to have what is sure to be a confrontation with the announcement he planned, effectively throwing out the peace settlement from 99(?) years ago. That’s not gonna go over well.

    Looks like the prince has a thing for Lotta. Not sure how I feel about going down that road since there’s a lot of gears moving already. Have to see how it plays out.

    Liked how Mauve knows that Nino is Crow (sure seem that way). Wonder if she’ll keep that to herself or tell Jean (who seems to be clueless about that).

    So yeah, all in all shaping up to be an interesting watch with all the political machinations. Show’s doing a good job of keeping it hard to tell who’s really on which side, who’s lying and who’s not, etc. I trust no one! LOL

  7. Wow, all that palace intrigue. When it comes to stable monarchies (competent/respected monarch), coup d’états tend to be about a relative trying to take the throne or power struggles ala Thailand. From what I can see here, the persons most likely to instigate one are the prince and Grossular. One wants to create an absolute monarchy. While the other wants some pseudo federal republic that masks a dictatorship (Remember, he wanted to get rid of the inspection department). Everyone else seem contempt with the current situation in the country.

    The thing about Jean is that he is in a position of power. He maybe just a deputy section chief, but he has the skills to back it up. Any coup attempt must get past his notice either accidentally or on purpose. I think everyone in the room knows that (except the prince perhaps), that’s why he’s getting all that attention. I also think Mauve and Lilium are playing the right cards, whatever Jeans motives are, getting close to him is a good move.

    Can’t help but notice.
    The kings name also starts with an F, he smoked a lot too.

    One final thought. Poor inspector what’s his name, now he has to compete with an egotistic prince. He just doesn’t have any luck.

  8. Umm…before i go fully on worshipping Mauve, can anybody tell me a simple summary about what the whole coup and rumors all about and why Jean is “deem” important and why is he being suspected?

    Sorry its been ep.3 already but i still dont understand the internal affairs about ACCA…im just here to enjoy Madhouse’s unique anime and character designs XD

    onion warrior
    1. I’ve read the whole series so I might be a bit vague to avoid spoilers. Basically, there have been rumors of a possible coup floating around which hold a lot more credibility now than it would in the past because the king is a pretty ripe old age at 99 and Prince Schwan, who is recognized as an “idiot prince” and first in line to the throne, has recently reached adult age. His disdain towards ACCA is fairly apparent (ex. dress code change) and one can imagine that those wary of the prince in general might want to strike at him first before he strikes them down leading to chaos in the country which is what Mauve is afraid might happen (restaurant conversation).

      Jean’s name is being brought up as a possible participant and even if there is basis for this accusation or not, the upper ranks of ACCA have to be extra cautious if Jean might be involved given his position/role. Brief explanation of the Investigation Dept from manga extras: ACCA has headquarters in Badon district as well as 13 branch offices (1 for each district including Badon itself). Investigation Dept sends 10 members from HQ to each branch office who get divided up into Supervisor, Vice Supervisor of the branch, and then the rest split in pairs for the north, east, south, west areas. They keep records and data of Communications, Transportation, Police, Firefighters, Health sections and send them to HQ Investigation Dept at a specific time every day. As the vice head of the Investigation Dept, Jean has to travel to all the branch offices for random checks to make sure the department members at the branches are doing their jobs properly. Jean has access to a lot of important information and he’s traveling around the country as part of his job. If he is a member the coup, he would be a very valuable member which is why the 5 Chief Officers have to be all the more guarded.

      1. So its like:

        – Someone is planning to start a coup but the agent is somewhere in ACCA 13

        – They suspected the person might gonna work togdther with the Prince to destroy ACCA from within

        – Jean is the prime suspect because he easily finish most of his assignmemts with the districts under him have no trouble at all

        – In the end every division is suspecting each other and wanted Jean who appeared to be “neutral” to spy each other’s divisions

        Am i getting this right?

        onion warrior
    2. Reply doesn’t work for your 2nd comment so I’ll respond here.

      – Someone is planning to start a coup but the agent is somewhere in ACCA 13
      Agent could be in ACCA, could be elsewhere. We don’t know at this point.

      – They suspected the person might gonna work togdther with the Prince to destroy ACCA from within
      Uh, no. My wording might not have been clear enough. The prince mentioned his plans to disband ACCA on day 1 of his rule to Magie. He has the authority and power to pull it off if he wants to when he becomes king. He does not need to sneak around and make secret plans with others to disband ACCA. The coup’s final goal could be anything. Ex: citizens destroy ACCA, overthrow the monarchy etc. If the prince disbands ACCA which includes important workers like the police, firefighters, and those working in the medical field, the country will fall to chaos. If people try to overthrow the monarchy, that will also lead to great conflict and chaos. Either future is a possibility which leads to current tensions among those who recognize and acknowledge the current situation. Not enough is revealed right now to decide whether the coup is being concocted by ordinary citizens, ACCA members, or other people.

      – Jean is the prime suspect because he easily finish most of his assignmemts with the districts under him have no trouble at all
      Jean’s name being brought up is not directly related to the performance of his department. (Nothing indicates this so far) His name is brought up as a possible suspect and rumors have spread fast and far so he has a lot of attention towards him right now. One reason he is being scrutinized extra carefully is due to his position which has him in charge of a lot of information and potential connections to authority figures like the police if he chooses to actively form them and participate in the coup. Another reason for scrutiny is that his mandatory constant travel all around the country would be the perfect and most convenient cover/chance to communicate with other coup members nationwide and not be suspected. (Pointed out in meeting of the 5 Chief Officers) Also, it is normal for districts to not have trouble. The Investigation Dept shuffles around members assigned to district branches every 2 years to prevent growing connections between Investigation members and other people in the district which could lead to possible corruption. (Minor manga fact, might be mentioned later in anime) And if there was trouble, Jean would report it as part of his job as he did in ep 1.

      – In the end every division is suspecting each other and wanted Jean who appeared to be “neutral” to spy each other’s divisions
      That may be a possibility. But the only one shown to have actually outright requested Jean to spy and report back is Mauve at this point.

  9. With this episode we start to see the web surrounding the country, Jean is of course in the center, with reporter/spy(Nino), director-general(Mauve), and one of Five Chief Officer(Lilium) around him. but Lotta looks like gonna be in the center of a different web, with the police officer and the prince seems to have interest in her. I expect that she will be the ‘unexpected’ factor somewhere and that her web will link to Jean’s.

    Also interested if Jean will talk about his work with Mauve to Lilium, probably not though. Since we don’t know if Mauve’s and Lilium’s objective are one and the same.


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