ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka -10

ACCA - 10 - 01The word “coup” has taken on a rather more immediate meaning in the United States in recent weeks.  Like warfare on our own soil it’s something we Americans don’t have much experience with – something we read about in history books or see happening in other places on the news, but something remote to our own experience.  As the depth of what’s happened in this country becomes clear, causing some to recoil in horror while others bury their heads in the sand and try to deny it, one truth is inescapable – it really can happen here.  The proof is that it did, and it’s still happening right now.

ACCA - 10 - 02I find that colors my experience when watching ACCA, which has become more and more centered on the idea of political upheaval in a seemingly stable country.  And I find myself wondering just how much Jean knew and when he knew it.  Clearly, this is a very smart young man – it’s in his genes, and it’s reflected in the way he conducts himself.  The hints have certainly been there for quite a while, all the more so once the cigarettes started being exchanged.  Has he really been in the dark this whole time?  It’s possible, but it seems more likely to me that he’s suspected pieces of the truth, if perhaps not the whole of it.  And I think that helps explain the rather haunted expression that so often crosses his kind and sardonic visage.

ACCA - 10 - 03Leave it to ACCA to deliver up what was for all intents and purposes a very low-key episode, two eps from the end and right after what was (for this series) a rather intense one.  But be that as it may, there was a rather strong sense of foreboding in the air this time – a weight, for lack of a better word.  And I think that’s actually a pretty good word, because as he travels through his next-to-last round of district audits Jean seems very much as if a weight is increasing on his shoulders.  However much he knew before, what he knows now is causing him to realize he has a great responsibility.  This ACCA and this country he loves could very much be at risk, and he might just be the only one that could save it from descending into chaos.  That’s a lot to take in for anybody.

ACCA - 10 - 04First this time is Yakkara, the Las Vegas of Douwa, where the district chief makes it very clear that the locals are gamblers and they consider Jean to be holding a pretty good hand.  But much more interesting is Pranetta, perhaps the most visually arresting of all the districts we’ve visited with Jean.  A parched desert where the folks live inside a giant cavern to escape the heat, entertained only by TV and seeing the sky only at dusk when the weather is tolerable.  These are poor people used to hardship, and they’ve declined to join the coup because they have nothing to protect.  But the old district chief makes it clear that when it comes to justice, they believe it’s on Jean’s side.  I found the moment when he bummed a cigarette off Jean, only so that he could symbolically offer it back to him, one of the most emotionally powerful of the series.  It was then, in the face of that quiet endorsement of decency by a humble local official, where Jean seemed to fully realize for the first time the burden he carries.

ACCA - 10 - 05The great wild card in all this remains Lilium, and his district of Furawau is the last Jean will be visiting.  Whatever Lilium is planning he’s surely after more than just a coup for the sake of the nation, and his hold over Grossular is one of the more unsettling remaining mysteries.  The king has fallen ill, too – rather suspiciously, as it’s on the eve of the centennial celebrations – and the ACCA hierarchy is in an uproar over what to do next.  Lilium is about to pounce, and Jean is about to walk straight into the lion’s den.  One suspects that ACCA is about to take its darkest turn.

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6 comments

  1. F

    I really liked this episode since it portrayed so well that sense of intangible unease of the impending coup that permeates the whole world of ACCA and I do agree that it is somewhat similar to the feeling that I get after browsing through the RL news headlines.

    The moment when the district chief offered the borrowed cigarette back to Jean was executed very well and it communicated the humility of the average commoner citizen of the state (or at least the Pranetta district) with remarkable artistry. I always thought that the absence of the commoners’ viewpoint made this series a bit detached and dispassionate but that scene made up for this claim partly.

  2. d

    I didn’t see a lot of political commentary in the beginning in ACCA, mainly because there were no concrete portrayal of political philosophies, govenmental systems/styles, clashing or not, and after so many episodes in, I still don’t know what kind of country Douwa is ( free market? foreign policy? distribution of taxes? religion(s)? is it a welfare state? how do they deal with cultural clashes since Douwa does seem like a multicultural society? social mobility? how wide and big is the gap between poor and rich exactly? etc…) except that it is a federation with districts that could be just as well sovereign countries.

    (I have a feeling that ACCA is going to pull a ‘Together, We Are Stronger’ kind of thing with the districts, but I’m not sure -.-)

    Yet, there is something very true what ACCA is saying. In that no matter how strong a political system is or seems to be or how much it works for the majority for the people, there are always going to be a few individuals in power wanting an even bigger slice of the cake and abusing their power for their own gains.

    à propos, I’m not sure whether it is appropriate to leave this comment on your blog ( absolutely delete my comment if it is inappropriate) but I feel u about the current global political situation. The first exit polls of the elections in Netherlands (my birth country, but not the country I’m currently living) just came in and it’s even more terrifying than ever. At least for me, excuse my big wording.

  3. Really? Wilders is doing worse that predicted, maybe 20 seats. Looks like another yawner center-right government.

  4. d

    Yeah, I def overreacted haha. The first exit polls were al like; WILDERS CLOSE SECOND and considering his past election records and the political climate in Europe for the past years…And even knowing that no political party is going to form a coalition with Wilders, i still feel my stomach churning. Honestly, I rather have a yawner center right gov atm. I have no idea whether you can attribute it to Rutte’s gov or whether it’s going to be for the long term, but atm Netherlands does have the most stable economical situation and it is growing steadily. And err, maybe it’s because I don’t live there anymore( but I do visit as often as I can) and can’t read every bill that’s passed or economical trade deal they made, or see daily micro agression towards certain minority groups, but err, Netherlands doesn’t sound or look bad compared to some other European countries -.-‘. Thx for indulging my political thingy rant 😉

  5. s

    That was a nicely animated episode of ACCA! I noticed that aside from doing lots of reflective thinking, Jean smiled a lot this episode too. As ACCA becomes more emotionally colorful, so does Jean, and yet everything is as subtle and unhurried as ever. This anime is so consistent with its storytelling style.

    I find Pranetta very interesting. They are poor because they are pursuing a seemingly impossible dream – but when they work hard and are still happy, who has the heart to tell them to stop? And I really like that Pranetta ACCA officer’s warning is so spot on – if they do find riches below ground, other districts will come to claim them – and it might drastically change the culture of the district too. ACCA is taking notes from history and globalization courses I see.

    I agree that personal experience influences how viewers feel ACCA. While the coup itself is not surprising for me, I find the seemingly low levels of corruption in ACCA pretty striking. So ACCA is a hybrid of health, police, transportation, and fire department…plus postal services…and they actually work pretty effectively? Now /that/ is unusual. And it might just be me but I found potential villain Lilium and Furawau District’s coding as Middle Eastern (?) sort of disturbing…

  6. d

    I find it very interesting how ACCA and all its departments works well in ALL of the very distinctive districts and nobody seems to be fighting over budget haha. I hope we get to see a more fair portrayal of Furawau ( def reminds me of the United Arab Emirates) and its citizens too ( in the style of Suitsu, with only a few higher ups/ people in power being corrupt)

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