「閉ざされた『国』のくすぶり」 (Tozasareta “Kuni” no Kusuburi)
“Smoldering Embers in an Isolated ‘Nation'”
I was, like some other characters in ACCA, wondering where all this talk of a coup came from in a country where the elite seem to be doing pretty well yet the class resentment appears to be minimal. After all, most of the fiefdoms we’ve see thus far have been peaceful breadbaskets, defined more by their produce than by any grand societal struggle. We’re also told, though, that this is but a veneer of contentment, and at last we are shown a a proper counterpoint to all the happy little agrarian states Jean has been to so far: Suitsu.
Now, Suitsu is a place I can imagine a coup going down. It is definitely not doing well. For those of you who know a bit of English history, imagine if the Puritans managed to stick around in power for much longer than they deserved. That’s Suitsu, and it’s ripe for revolution. Why did the Puritans fall out of favour, anyway? I’m thinking because they were stuffy and boring, and insisted everyone else must be too. At least a king, no matter how decadent or corrupt, knows how to party. So, time to overthrow the guy you used to like. It’s not the kind of coup I would have expected—not an insidious plot within the ruling class, or a military intervention—but just a simple peasants rebellion, armed with nothing but sticks and harsh language. In hindsight, that makes sense. Who would actually want to overthrow the old king? Does he even do anything? With each state largely free to run themselves into the ground, most unhappy people will probably look to take their frustrations out closer to home.
And in the same way most of these peasants would care little for the overarching machinery of he federal bureaucracy, Jean also would never have really known of their little regional grievances in his capacity as deputy inspector-general, until he was unwittingly embroiled in their ill-fated revolution. He may have never realised it too, and neither may have we without this episode of character development. One may think that Jean would have a very clear perspective on the direction of the country, being charged with inspecting every single state ACCA department. But Jean only audits the books, not the mood of the populace. His job requires the numbers to add up, not the people to be happy.
There are two clear halves to this country. There are the power players, the movers and the shakers. And below them, oblivious, are simple folk who just want to eat well. Jean sits neatly in between. He doesn’t engage in the food metaphor quite as much, but he still wants his carbs and has his own indulgent vices—in particular the cigarettes. He does not seem to be invested in the politics, but still manages to peddle influence. As always, he’s an intriguing one.
Meanwhile, intrigue brews in the rest of ACCA as well. But Nino, I think, has the most to answer for. Where do his loyalties really lie? Does he answer to more than the one master? I love all the seeds ACCA has been sowing. It’s definitely going to get better as it goes.
“Extreme isolationism and populism in the name of preserving the glories of a bygone era? That could never happen.” LOL good one.
At least the soldiers are actually using a musket, without bayonet and shooting over people’s heads. Interesting that so far a social contract of hand to hand only with little killing is holding. Not allowing his troops to fire cost the King of France his life. Interesting that both the French and Russian revolutions succeeded because of enlightenment views infecting the monarchy resulting in leaders who would not go bloody at the start when it might have worked.
Yes who is doing what really drives this. I wonder if sending gifts to your boss with the records is a Japanese thing?
Well, the guy the soldiers would need to protect isn’t even home, so nobody’s going to lose their heads yet, except figuratively. And this kind of uprising apparently happens all the time in Suitsu. Maybe this is just their routine.
OMG, I had no idea that dude was Nino.. didn’t even think about it.
This episode is a bit of a let down. Unless I am mistaken or misled (and I truly hope so), it hints too strongly that Nino was sent by the king to protect the two siblings, and Jean is simply a good man who gets caught in a conspiracy. If these implications are true, this episode has just revealed the plot too early, killed the suspense and wasted the intriguing possibility that our main character is the ringleader of a coup.
But why the king would want to protect Jean and Lotta? Why?
I don’t think it’s him (but it may be).
I at least think that it’s clear that the owner of the building where Jean and Lotta loves is the true master of Nino and that Jean is not all innocent? The apparent building where he loves have so cool residents that want to do business in other districts and he helps them in good will? Seriously? He just goes with his suitcase full, leaving it in his room in the hotel and gets his cigarettes? Bullshit, he is at least irresponsible with his “I don’t care” attitude.
He must be hiding something.
Jean and Lotta may have royal blood.
In episode 2, Jean recalled that he had known Nino for fifteen years, but after Nino talked to Grossular about the surveillance, Nino murmured that he had known Jean for thirty years. Assuming that the subtitles are correct, there may be something unusual about Jean’s ancestry, and the natural guess is that he is a prince.
The subtitles may not have captured the ambiguity in Nino’s comment. What Nino says could also be translated as “[he wouldn’t see me] even if it’s for 30 years”.
I may have missed something, since I didn’t notice any hints about the king it this episode. What are you referring to there?
As to Jean himself, we have now seen him steer local events directly. When he saw that ACCA’s man on the ground was on good standing with the people, with a local sweetheart even, he cancelled plans to bring the guy back to headquarters. I.e. he ensured that ACCA continues to have a direct line into the populace. Or maybe he’s not really acting for ACCA in this regard; he could be building up his own power network and just using his position with ACCA for convenience.
Nino’s line is strictly: “Jean has never been able to notice me watching him. Not once in 30 years.” Interpret that as you wish.
I think the King and the Prime Minister are the two people running everything with their phone calls. Nino works for the King I am almost certain. Which means the Prime Minister is leading the anti-Jean faction. The question I have is wither they are working at cross purposes or if the whole thing is just a setup.
I mean it’s a lot easier to put a bastard on the throne if he is a hero who has saved the country from a civil war.
The Big O. That’s what this art style reminds me of.
Big O, it’s showtime! *awesome music kicks in*
Tall classy men, yup I can see the resemblance.
Puritans? Hm. I’d say the Suitsu nobility in this episode are more like a Charles I who’ve overstayed their welcome. But it was 19th century France rather than 17th century Britain that came to my mind while watching this episode; e.g., Les Miserables and the Paris Uprising of 1832.
Well, they didn’t all die in this one so… yay!
Well, that was an interesting episode. Have to say that I did not expect a “technology time-stop” district. The old-timey telephone set against modern computers is a nice visual contrast to illustrate that on top of horse drawn carriages, etc. Not sure about the firearms. Maybe muskets, but if so, why wouldn’t you want at least your military/police force to ramp up somewhat if not fully keep technological pace? Minor detail I suppose. Still, in terms of military power this district has to fall well short of the others. Also, are the hospitals still using leeches or has medicine been modernized? Same question with fire dept. I guess modernized if ACCA is in charge of such things(?)
The fact that there was a coup d’etat in this district was no surprise whatsoever. Question I have is what power does Beurre have in the congress to affect any change in an “independent”/”autonomous” district? Don’t the nobles have power within the district plus the whole “independent”/”autonomous” deal anyway? So how can its representative to congress do anything? Incite other districts to put pressure on Suitsu? O.o Frankly, I’m not 100% sure what the central congress does. I assume some form of legislative function.
The overall political structure is still something I struggle with this series more than I’d like. For example, I’m not sure if the the king has any control over the ACCA or not. The young prince wants to do away with it, so I would think not, but can’t say for sure. Again, how are the five chief directors appointed? Vote from districts nobility/rulers? We’re getting bits and pieces of exposition which does have the benefit of spreading out exposition, but OTOH, it’s difficult (for me at least) to have a good grasp of the stakes, who has what power, etc. which matters for this type of political story. Bit frustrating.
Was surprised that the one of the five chiefs just blurted out that he’s Jean’s ally. Wonder if there’s a hidden tactic behind that. Maybe lure someone into doing something?
I guess “comedy”, but really? “The desert was so yummy, I just had to finish it”. >_> This is a fairly serious show and that’s a bit jarring. Can’t go with ye old “had to use the toilet” excuse or something? The prince doesn’t seem like someone who’s going to take “but the desserts are really good” as an excuse. Just in general, the consistent food focus is getting a bit much.
I’ve only ever considered ACCA to be a half-serious show, by way of deliberate contrast. Only the political elite are invested in all the intrigue. Take Jean’s subordinates as well. All they care about is teatime at 10:00, and that makes their day.
Well, I wrote “fairly serious” for that reason. It’s definitely not 100% serious all the time. That being said, personally given the plot and the presentation general I’d say it’s more serious than not even with some scattered light-hearted food based SOL moments. The “political elite” have a lot more screen time (for good reason) than say Jean’s snack oriented subordinates. This isn’t uber grim-dark totally serious, but it’s not much of a light, comedy driven romp either (which is fine – works better this way for the story).
Commenting on ACCA itself structure wise, the Five Chief Officers are the top leaders of ACCA, followed shortly by Mauve who holds the next highest position as Director-General. Logistically, she works under the Five Chief Officers. The appointment system of the Five Chief Officers is not covered in the main series but is touched on slightly in the spinoff P.S. series (currently running series).
From what I know, most of the Chief Officers made their way up the ACCA ladder through their work achievements and were the ACCA heads/leaders of their respective districts of origin before becoming a Chief Officer. (Comparing to the US since there are states like ACCA has districts, I suppose you can think of it as being state governor before reaching this high federal post). However, it seems to not be the only way to rise up to the post of Chief Officer as one of them is revealed in the spinoff beginning to have had a more unique career path in becoming a Chief Officer.
@Kay: Thanks. That helps some. IDK. Maybe I’m being a bit obtuse here, but the structure isn’t clear to me. For example, if you want to use the US states vs. federal government, AFAIK states can’t restrict interstate commerce and travel like was shown in this episode. Federal government may not run every aspect of state governance – there are “state rights”, but the federal government does have power over the states. They are not truly “independent” and “autonomous” which is how the show keeps suggesting the districts are. I honestly do not have a good sense of how much power the monarchy has in this story which matters (at least to me).
I get the analogy of paying your dues at a state level before federal position, but a lot of federal positions are appointed. So are the five chief directors appointed by the king? Again, how much authority over the ACCA does the crown have, or is the ACCA independent of the crown? Frankly, I’m not sure how much power ACCA HQ has over the district branches beyond any auditing.
I suppose I can just roll with all this, but it would be nice to have a clearer understanding of the political structure, who has what power, etc. given the political machinations plot line.