「空のない街に降る星」 (Sora no Nai Machi ni Furu Hoshi)
“Starfall in a City Without a Sky”
I love stoic episodes like this one. I think it’s because the true nature of ACCA really is ‘stoicism’. It seems like the only things people ever freak out about in this show are sweets. News about internal affairs secretly out to get someone? Ho hum. But popcorn?! Caramel and cheese! Wowzers!
In seriousness, the atmosphere is very much in the setting of the episode, in the blasted wastelands of Planetta. I’m a sucker for quiet tragedies like that of Planetta and its people—and this is in a series full of quiet tragedies. The thought of these folks who have nothing, who will probably never have anything, who despite all that just keep digging, fills one with a peculiar melancholy. There’s also rich metaphor to be had here—a people forced to live underground, having no entertainment but television, unable to see the sky most of the day. Having to borrow a cigarette before being able to offer one. Perhaps I just miss Mushishi; the quiet contemplation really spoke to me.
It’s a good opportunity for Jean to do some self-reflection too, which is notable because a key feature of his character for much of ACCA is that he doesn’t do much of that. Compare Jean of episode 01, the Jean who didn’t put thought into any of his personal circumstances, to the Jean of today. Jean has been receiving cigarettes for a long time, but I get the impression that it’s only now that he’s considering their significance. His trips around the country are, ostensibly, to get a read on what each district feels about him, but in reality it’s more that he needs to get a read on what he feels about himself. Without that, how was he supposed to understand what he meant to other people? And, in turn, what they meant to him?
So, is Jean going to support the coup? The coup meant to put him on the throne? Even Mauve is turned, with the ‘do what has to be done’ argument. And is Jean not shown, in each district, that peace is not to be taken for granted, that some things are worth fighting for, and that ACCA is needed? What will he do with all this support he has? Next episode should be a moment of truth. ACCA has been pretty good at keeping the audience one step ahead (we should have more or less figured out the importance of the cigarettes last week, so it lays out the entire game this week). I don’t think there can be much mystery left unplumbed. All that’s left, really, is Lilium. When discussing the coup, Grossular, and many like him, always talk of duty. But Lilium talks of ambition. What is his agenda? The answer, surely, lies in Furawau