「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.