ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka – 09

If John le Carré and Rick Steves each took 10mg of Valium and made a show together, I bet they’d call it “ACCA”.

ACCA - 09 - 01It was pretty much a given that after the developments of the past two episodes, ACCA was going to ramp up the stakes big-time this week.  And it certainly did, but what I find really interesting is that even as it happened, the basic style of storytelling really didn’t change at all.  The characters are (mostly) still acting the same way – it’s just that now the matters at-hand concern life and death.  And through it all, still the ever-present food obsession – no matter what else is happening, there’s always time for food porn.

ACCA - 09 - 02The game is truly afoot now, both in Douwa and Badon.  I’d kind of half-convinced myself that Schwan wasn’t as much of a doofus and general douchebag as he was initially portrayed, but while I think I’ve been proved vigorously correct about the first it looks like the second was wishful thinking.  The baka prince is really no baka – he’s a devious little bastard.  And his visits to his aunt have been directed by a simple purpose – to get her to do his dirty work for him.  She has a daughter she wants to put on the throne (though I’m not sure exactly how that will work), and by spilling the beans that the Otus siblings are likely of royal blood, Schwan goads her into sending assassins after then.

ACCA - 09 - 03All this tells us a few things, the first of which is that Schwan considers Jean and Lotta a much greater threat than his aunt.  We can also deduce that Schwan’s hold on his retainers’ loyalty is not air-tight, because Magie – who rather bonded with Rail as fellow bread otaku and likely also has a crush on Lotta – tips Rail off that the assassins have been dispatched.  And it’s a good thing, too, because Jean is on yet another inspection trip (three provinces in succession this time), leaving Lotta unprotected in Badon (since Nino is, presumably, shadowing Jean).

ACCA - 09 - 04Jean is clever, make no mistake.  He’s asked the chief to take Lotta out for meals while he’s away because he was worried something like this might happen.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the Chief suspects the truth anyway, since rumors of Jean’s parentage have been floating around for months, and has been keeping a close eye on Lotta for that reason.  Rail arrives just before the assassins do, and while it’s clear he’s not exactly Jason Bourne his heart is in the right place.  He tries to protect Lotta the best he can, though admittedly that’s not all that “best”.  It’s only the arrival of the chief after Rail has blundered himself and Lotta into the assassins’ hands that prevents this from ending in tears.

ACCA - 09 - 05This is a “chase” sequence, but one as only ACCA would portray it.  There are no explosions or gunshots, and no one even raises their voice.  Lotta seems more concerned with protecting the windows and making sure she packs sweets and who’s going to join her for lunch than the fact that she’s just been told she’s a royal princess, and there are four (extremely polite) royal henchmen trying to kill her.  I respect ACCA for staying true to itself even as we get into the “serious” plot – that takes guts, and a certain measure of trust in the audience (which, if the inexplicable and frankly unbelievable Stalker numbers are to be believed, may not be entirely misplaced).

ACCA - 09 - 06Meanwhile, Jean is touring new (to us) districts, and has embraced his role as a stalking horse for a coup.  In Peshi (the province that refused responsibility for the train accident) he makes it clear to the director that the rumors are true, and extracts a pledge of support.  Afterwards it’s Yakkara (where “the guys are really nice, even though they’re all bums”), a stand-in for Vegas.  The seeds of what Grossular has done are being sown here – a great many people seem to suspect the truth about Jean, and that makes me wonder if Jean himself was in the dark about it for as long as he seemed to be.

ACCA - 09 - 07The nut of what’s happening here is pretty much as expected – Grossular has been preparing the ground for a coup, with the explicit understanding that Jean would take over as king and maintain ACCA’s role in society (which Schwan has pledged to abolish, apparently).  But ACCA drops one more big shoe on us, and it’s the reveal that Lillium (who I always found kind of suspicious) is the one pulling the strings.  There are two obvious questions begged here – the first being what Lillium has on Grossular to force him to obey (if indeed Grossular is Abend, maybe he’s threatening to expose the Otus’ siblings – but that’s not really much of a secret now).  The other and perhaps more critical question is just what Lillium’s endgame is here.  Is he likewise working for a pro-Ptus coup and just being Machiavellian, or does he have a goal of his own – perhaps abolishing the monarchy altogether and making ACCA the only true power center in Douwa, with him at its head?

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8 comments

  1. d

    All the sucking up to Jean made Lillium def suspicious ( and he has powerful corrupt family members in politics and if following the current French elections taught me one thing is that one is not far way from the other haha), but man, I did not expect him to be this scary. Poor Grossular seems terrified of this man o.O Lotta def proved herself to be a member of the Otus family; reacting so chill and barely with a shrug and a blink of an eye to a hit on her, life alternating news and all the stalking haha. I hope I will amass a quarter of the Otus family laid backness in my life time haha.I totally agree with u, I don’t know how this show can be this dark ( i take my words back on this series not being dark) and yet be so whimsical and quirky and make it feel so organic and smooth to the story.

  2. F

    Speaking of current politics, I was glad that there was some intelligent discussion about the topic of “privacy vs security” in last week comment section and it seems that this subject will be an important part of the news headlines in the upcoming weeks considering the upheaval from the new batch of Wikileaks reports. In ACCA’s universe though, security seems to be much less significant than sandwich bread (or for that matter any other type of food) so there’s not much to muse over here. BTW the assassins should have just asked a bystander to play a prank on Lotta in the form of putting a wet cloth on her face in exchange for some quality sweets, it appears to be a more surefire method than abducting someone in a ‘totally not suspicious’ way.

  3. B

    No matter what kind of conspiracy everyone is cooking, there is still time for chocolate and bread!

    I think the first princess is trying to set her grandchild up as the next successor. In her daughter’s photo, it looks like the daughter is pregnant. If the daughter gives birth to a son, the child could possibly have a claim to the throne.

    At least two of the mysteries within the series have now been solved: the cigarette Jean’s been getting in various districts (a signal indicating that the district heads support him and the coup), and an earlier scene in the series where Grossular stares at his phone and looks distraught (he’s probably waiting for/has received a call from Lilium). I like how they show you all that and the implication behind it instead of outright telling you what it all means.

  4. Those assassins are pretty useless. They go around dressed as trench coat mafia guys and then when they finally get their quarry in a car they let an old man outsmart them.

  5. Dude, the Chief is like 35, ROFL.

  6. R

    I’ve always liked ACCA’s laid back attitude even in the face of plot storms where in most series would mark a tone transition so major props from me that it stuck to its guns. Which I know is probably not for everyone, but there’s something succinctly different about the way it approaches the series reveals that I appreciate. Because if I wanted a ‘normal’ reaction, basically any other anime that has a plot twist would probably fill that need pretty well. But a series where there’s ALWAYS time for food porn amidst assassinations and royal machinations? Not as common.

  7. D

    That’s a hilarious opening description. ACCA does feel like watching Rick Steves sometimes. Very unique feeling for an anime. As a lover of travel and culture I have very much appreciated the emphasis on the differences between the districts.

  8. Finally caught up, and have to say that it seems the series is heading for a strong conclusion here – and while I have adored it from its first step out of the starting gate it is reallh nice to see (a few) more people clicking with it and becoming invested.

    Lilium generally came across as kinda scary at the end of this ep though … uwah.

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