ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka – 08

I think the other shoe just dropped into a puddle of shit, which splashed up and hit the fan.

ACCA - 08 - 01Well, that was certainly eight episodes of serious, hardcore ACCA content crammed into one episode.  It strikes me that plots are a lot like earthquakes – and I don’t mean “plotquakes”.  If you have little developments constantly, some of the pressure on the main fault is relieved and you don’t get major temblors.  But if almost nothing happens but setup for a long time, all that pressure on the fault just grows and grows as the plot plates grind against each other, barely moving – and when it’s finally released, you get the big one.  And in plot terms, this week was ACCA Magnitude 8.0.

ACCA - 08 - 02Obviously, this was the most important (and I think most beautifully animated) episode of ACCA so far because it connected all (or at least most) of the dots with the story.  But that wasn’t all it connected.  For me, this was the ep where ACCA finally closed the circuit that hadn’t been firing these last two months – it finally took all that intrigue and bemusement and connected it to emotion.  Why?  Simple – because this episode wasn’t so much about the “what” in the story – though there’ was plenty of it – but the “why”.  At long last, we have a sense of the human motivations that brought us to this point, why these people have done the things they’ve done.  And for me, that makes a big difference.

ACCA - 08 - 03The broad picture I’d formed in my mind several weeks ago – that Jean and Lotta were members of the royal family – was effectively confirmed last week.  The details that emerged this week were fairly close to what I’d imagined, too.  The king had indeed sent his daughter, Princess Schnee, away from the capitol, and she is indeed the Otus’ mother.  The reasoning is interesting – as Kuvarum states it, she was becoming a “shadow” on the kingdom.  As a girl, she can never ascend the throne, but she has a curious and adept mind, and a desire to understand the country her family rules.  She’s unhappy being in a gilded cage, and as her interests become more broadly known and there continues to be no male heir, it creates increasing unease around her presence.

ACCA - 08 - 04It seems best for everyone that Schnee be erased from the family registry, but there’s no legal means for that – and it’s not as if the king will allow her to be killed or something, as he seemingly loves her best among his daughters.  The solution?  Kuvarum hatches a plan where Schnee with go on a trip with her servant Abend, and the two of them will “drown” in a small boat and then disappear in the bustling city of Badon.  Abend is given a choice, but it’s clear it’s not a real choice.  And he asks to take his servant with him, though it means the man will have to leave his small son behind in Douwa.  Both of them agree at once, despite the personal price – but the son has other ideas.

ACCA - 08 - 05Almost all the loose ends of the plot are tied up here, but what’s most interesting is the actions of the characters themselves.  Everything we see in this episode is driven by a sort of love.  Abend and his servant leave their homes behind out of love for their king and country (and something more, in Abend’s case).  The king lets his daughter go out of love.  The boy, who turns out to be Nino (played as a child by Mei) insists on coming along out of love for his father – despite the fact that his father was willing to leave him behind.  And at some point he follows Jean not out of duty, but out of love for a friend.

ACCA - 08 - 06Interestingly, it’s not Abend (whose location in the present day remains one of ACCA’s big hanging threads) who ends up becoming Schnee’s shadow, but his servant.  He watches her daily as Abend fades into the shadows – and eventually the man enlists his son to assist in the pursuit.  All this for the purposes of sending back reports to the king – though whether simply to satisfy his concern for Schnee or as part of a larger plan is hard to say.  That’s not all – when Schnee falls in love with a commoner, Abend arranges for the apartment complex to be built so that he’ll have a job and the family a place to live.  I kind of suspected that – and that it was Kuvarum that Nino was reporting to.

ACCA - 08 - 07We’re certainly not free and clear of mysteries here.  Though Jean has no legal claim on the throne at this point, if his parentage were revealed he could certainly stake one – he’s a decade older than Schwan.  Just what is the king plotting here, where Jean and Lotta are concerned?  Just who is the Otus’ father?  Was the train accident truly an accident, and what is Grossular’s role in all this?  As ever with ACCA all that is fascinating, but the real difference now is that we finally know who these characters truly are – and I don’t mean their names and parentage.  ACCA is, at last, a human story – and as I’ve long said, a series that seems to have a chance to finish on a very high note.

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22 comments

  1. Z

    Poor Nino! The “kid” had to go to the scene of his own father’s death, remove evidence, and then act like nothing was wrong around Jean.

  2. Between following ACCA and rewatching both Rahxephon and the Akatsuki no Yona OVA, I’m starting to appreciate Shimono’s serious roles again.

  3. Yeah, he’s really good here – it’s nice to see him stretch for a change. Rahxephon was basically his first major role of course, so he hadn’t been typecast then.

  4. s

    “You’re starting to look like mom.” The expression on Jean’s face was characteristically subdued, but still so sad it touched my heart. So did Nino’s gesture, the little caress of his father’s camera at the accident site. ACCA excels at small moments like these.

  5. This was some elite Madhouse animation here (Kojima Keisuke was the E.D. and A.D.) but not in the flashy H x H, OPM sense. Wonderful subtle details on expression and character movement. This sequence was especially beautiful: http://lostinanime.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/ACCA-08-15.jpg

  6. F

    I’m quite unsatisfied that we didn’t get to know that which is the best chocolate shop in Korore. That was a thrilling cliffhanger last week and it was just simply brushed off this episode.

    Jokes aside, I also think that this was the best episode of ACCA so far, though the silver medal for my seasonal ranking still goes to AnE, since that show is more interesting and overall more coherently executed than ACCA.

    I’m kind of pissed off for how all the creepy stalking stuff that Nino and his father did (does) is taken so light-heartedly but I hold off my judgment since it’s possible that there are extenuating circumstances for the king’s actions. I’m surprised that there’s no fan reaction on this front, like when almost the same situation happened in RElife, a lot of people were aggravated and now the majority of the viewers feel sorry for Nino (who, by the way, also seems to be the consumer of RElife products)

  7. I don’t read it that way at all, TBH. I think they’re under orders from the king to keep an eye on his daughter and her family, plain and simple. These are unusual circumstances and for the king, having family members out there where he can’t protect (and control) them is unnatural and stressful. So this, for him, is the best he can do to try and make sure they’re not in any trouble.

  8. d

    @Faolin Eye I didn’t particulary like the reveal either, however and how much they foreshadowed it. It’s just creepy and the dynamics between Nino and Jean are just off now, no matter how much they’ve come to care and love each other now. Although, I have to say that I do feel sympathy and sorry for Nino. The poor guy almost didn’t have a choice but to be a stalker/bodyguard for the Otus family; he’s practically groomed to be just that by both his father and Abend. Oh well, like you said, we can only wait and see how it unfolds over the next course of the series ;).

  9. d

    Sorry to spam your thread @Guardian Enzo ( didnt see your post) , while I do understand the need to protect and monitor the princess and people close to her, I think the King should have made it more clear to the princess that she needs surveillance for her own sake but also for others, she might have not liked it in the beginning but I think she would have understood eventually that a completely normal life wouldn’t be in the cards for her; what with so many factions all fighting for power and positions, all with different motivations.

    She might have been able to pick her own security team and made the conditions clear to the security team, the Douwa family and her own family, so that everyone knew what they were getting into. Secrecy is important and all and the fewer the people know, the better, but not knowing anything like Karl? and Jean is kind of tricky too. It was implied that Jean always gets caught up in things, without him knowing why and what for. If all the parties agreed it would have been best to have some sort of communication between the princess and the Douwa family; she would have probably turned to Abend to assemble her security team and he probably would have picked Nino’s father for her and so so and on. The relationship between Nino and Jean would have been more rockier and distant in the beginning, but more honest and equal in the long run. Or maybe there wouldn’t be a friendship at all, but at least it wouldn’t have started with all this secrecy and baggage and it would have been a choice for the both of them to be friends. I don’t know, maybe if the relationship between Nino and Jean was depicted as romantic, the inequality would be more noticeable? Like Nino was practically uprooted from his surrounding and relatives as a young kid for the sake of the princess, then got heavily involved in all the surveilling on the Otus family then being instructed to act as his friend and finally his father( the only person who really knew who he was) literally died in line of his work. Of course Nino is going to continue that line of work. Meanwhile Jean is living his life unaware of who his mother was ( and what might mean for his own life) and not knowing why his best and only friend is his friend. It just yeah,..I know this series doesn’t take itself too seriously and therefore we probably shoudn’t too, 😉 and it’s still ongoing so, who knows what’s going to happen?

  10. Honestly, my assumption is that the princess knew full well she was constantly being watched. I think it’s naive to believe otherwise.

    Now, presumably she never told any of her family – the kids certainly didn’t know who she was, and it seems likely (though not certain) that her husband didn’t either.

  11. d

    That’s my question though, the show does imply she knew it would happen ,so why not take matters a bit more in her own hands ( sounds a lot better than not knowing what is exactly being reported and documented to her father, national security or not, I would have liked to have a bit of privacy haha) and not knowing exactly who (nino’s father) is watching her and what it might imply for all the people charged for her safety doesn’t exactly sound fair either. But oh well, like I said I don’t think this series takes itself that serious and so far we haven’t seen what’s exactly at stakes for all the people involved and the protagonists don’t seem to be in mortal danger or something, so meh, it’s just me being nit-pickey haha.

  12. The thing is, we don’t really know if they ARE in mortal danger. So far, despite the plot being revealed at breakneck pacing, the mood of the story has been kept relatively calm so far, but it may not be so for long.

    And I don’t just say it because the next episode is called “A Charming Snake Shows Its Fangs”, but so far everything has implied that beyond the facade of peace that the show lets us see, there’s shit about to hit the fan. The recurrent fires in the capital, the uprising in Suitsu, the derailment of the train the princess and the royal family’s informant traveled in (and the fact that at least one district thought the incident was not an accident and required a formal investigation – which was in progress when Nino went to retrieve the camera).

    And, well, you can’t really expect things to end well when at least 2 and possibly 4 parties want to overthrow the King, of which 3 are actively scapegoating Jean and one will surely want to move in for the kill. If it turns out that removing the princess from the royal family records is part of his coup plan, then Jean and Lotta might have a chance for reinstatement, whether they want to or not – something that Schwan probably won’t like one bit.

  13. Errata: I meant to say “If it turns out removing the princess from the royal family records was part of Qualm’s coup plan…”

  14. F

    @dreamyklutz Thank you for replying and you pretty much elaborated my own thoughts on this topic. I think this whole subject of surveillance is important to the story because, as Enzo pointed it out in his post, the emotional backbone of ACCA relies heavily on the relationship between Jean, Nino and Lotta. I always found it a bit strange that the opening starts and ends with the group shot of the aforementioned three, but after this episode it kind of makes sense, since the really significant persons for Jean (and for the show, since most of the times we view the events through his perspective) are his sister and his best friend. I feel that while the internal affairs of the kingdom and possible coups may not excite him much when his personal relations are on the stakes, Jean will play a more active role in the political struggle surrounding him.

  15. Z

    Following the same logic, you should also be smack talking Jean, because he is pulling the same “not going to tell” shit on Lotta.

  16. Y

    I think you forget that Abend and Nino’s father were clearly given choices, even though it was clear from the get-go that the people asking them to perform these roles knew they will definitely say yes despite knowing the sacrifices they will make. Also, I don’t think the Princess knows fully what the contract between Abend and the king entails. She probably suspects her family is watched, but she did ask Abend to live freely.

    I think the main point is the fact that even though the princess is removed from the family registry to live as a citizen, the familial bond is watched over and maintained by Nino and his father (who lives through the lives of the Otus family, clearly sharing in their joys and the little things). It’s a case of willing guardians…Abend chooses to remain as the Princess’ guardian, Nino’s father (through his loyalty to Abend and the royal family) serves as his proxy, and Nino chooses to be by his father’s side out of love (and unwittingly becomes his father’s guardian and later takes over his position). Also, unlike RElife, Nino and his father rarely interfere. They merely watch and record.

    What is presented as disturbing is the fact that despite her plans to live as a citizen, Schnee still lived like royalty (in a nice pent-house surrounded by rich merchants with few worries). I think Jean is disturbed by the fact that under his carefree life of comfort, there was a lot of sacrifice and protection coming from a source unknown to him.

  17. One point on this – Abend clearly tells Kuvarum that he will “compel” Nino’s father to leave, if necessary.

    I would argue that Schnee did “live freely” as her observers did little to interfere in her life. And honestly, having the apartment building built and all that is really no different than what typically happens with rich kids – their parents provide them places to live and jobs and they have no financial worries.

    I just don’t see the ReLIFE comparison here at all. To me the two situations are so different as to be pointless to compare.

  18. The King clearly can see his next in line for the throne is a pompous scheming dandy. Bet he wishes they never took his daughter’s name off the registry now.

  19. d

    Ugh…I’ve been debating whether I should run my mouth again or just keep my opinions to myself and, err I’m sorry but apparently my need for self justification is just too damn strong -.-. Okay, here we go:

    1: I hope I haven’t spoiled the fun for anyone by expressing my opinion on this twist ( omg I sound so self-aggrandising here -.-) please enjoy the show and all the twists however you want.

    Just to clarify: I enjoy this show a lot. It’s thought through. The political structure is logical enough to be the backdrop for all the political power struggles. I like all the mysteries, the shimmering unrest and corruption and unease, the intricate dynamics between all the players in the story , the dubious motivations and schemes and all that. And the food. And Mauve. I also really like the theme of Who You Are In Public And How You Are Perceived can be very different than Who You Really Are. Like e.g Jean at this point does not seem to be interested at all in the throne or all the politics, but just by being royalty and just by doing his paid job, he’s being used and manipulated and perceived as a potential danger by others. And err, despite how I came off, I do care about the Jean-Nino-Lotta relationship, but my radars went up the moment the show revealed the ‘Nino is spying on Jean’ twist.The particular twist of HOW Nino became Jean’s protector is slightly discomfortable for me ( but obviously the three of them all love and care about each other very much) but is not a detriment to my enjoyment for this show and its characters. And on a grand scheme, this show is obviously NOT the Most Problematic Thing Ever.

    @Zilla, you’re right. I do not like the Characters Do Not Tell Important Stuff To Their Loved Ones, Because Plot Trope, but honestly I don’t blame Nino for not telling. He’s under someone else’s orders since he was 10. His father died for his job. Heck, he had to go through HS twice. It’s kind of hard to break that kind of commitment. I did roll my eyes at Jean, but a) he just heard some heavy stuff, b) Lotta asked him the why and we never heard his reply back, so maybe he did tell her? and c) at this point, all the pieces are set for all the reveals, we have 4 epis to go, Jean is now almost fully in the know about all the heavy shit he’s in and Lotta has three guys spying ( that we know of)on her atm. I think it’s save to say she’s gonna find out.

    @Yuki, I’m so sorry I’m so damn long winded, but Enzo’s comment is spot on what I was trying to say. Schnee wanted to live freely and independently and she wanted to understand the nation and its citizens better.That means she had to take responsibilities for her choices. She knew she wasn’t going to have a completely normal life, so why not take matters in her own hands? Assemble your own security team, thank them for their service and sacrifices make the conditions clear for her and them. She has a say in what’s going to be reported and Nino’s little family has their right to live and enjoy a life that doesn’t concern serving others. (And err, look for a job herself and her husband and slowly build a career on your own, but i can cut her some slack for that because her dad is king and kings in general don’t like their kids to be poor) In the end though she was cuddled and provided for and it came at the expense of commoners, the very people she wanted to serve. Thematically, her character arc doesn’t really work out. But oh well, it’s a minor detail.

    Again, I like the show. what it is doing and all it entails in general, just not this twist. Sorry for my horrible English -.-

    Sorry to post such a long winded post people. I hope I make sense now and especially sorry to Enzo for spamming your comment thread with this. Have a nice day everyone 😉

  20. M

    Don’t tell me… I have a theory that’s probably very obvious and on the back of everyone’s mind but…

    Abend could possibly be Grossular? Surely it could be too obvious but then again, ACCA never really hid much.
    He did after all take control of the rail network straight after the incident and he has his eye on Jean.
    Also he is a potential (almost confirmed) candidate (if going by his comment on Jean’s naivety is anything to go by) for ‘mastermind’ of a coup on the next prince with Jean being ‘set up’.

    Either way, the relationships in ACCA with the different chief officers, Mauve, district officers, the king and his advisor, etc and how they play out from here really intrigues me. There’s so much going on…

  21. Yes, that seems to be a popular sentiment, to the point where I’ve seen some people just assuming it’s the case. It obviously occurred to me, but I don’t know – it doesn’t add up to that for me, yet.

  22. R

    I fully admit my heart broke a little when the scene cut to Nino watching the news about the trainwreck. The way it was handled too really made an impact. I love that way the soft background song was playing throughout Nino’s flashback, from meeting Jean to getting homemade bread from Schnee. And rather than stopping on a natural rest in the score, it gets suddenly, almost brutally cut off right in the middle of the melody when the scene cold cuts to the crash.

    I’m reminded of in Mulan, the song A Girl Worth Fighting For does the same thing where the jovial nature is basically ground to a halt immediately, mid-sentence. I dunno, it really stuck out to me.

    Also the animation was extra pretty this weak, though I’d argue that ACCA has been largely consistent with animation (and those shots of the scenery and food always look gorgeous).

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