The kingdom of Dowa, which is subdivided into 13 states, is celebrating its monarch's 99th birthday. These 13 states have many agencies that are controlled by the giant organization known as ACCA. Within ACCA, Jean Otus is the second-in-command of the inspection agency. His agency has ten people placed in each of the 13 states, with a central office in the capital city. They keep track of all the activities of ACCA across the kingdom, and keep data on each state's ACCA office flowing toward the central office. Jean also often has business trips from the capital to the other districts to check on the situation and personnel there.
In a world polluted with otaku-targeted shows, ACCA:13 feels like a breath of fresh air and stands out through its intriguing plot and character cast.
From the beginning of this anime season I looked forward to watching ACCA:13, a show that conveys a delicate theme through an interesting, slow-burning plot accompanied by characters with intriguing personalities.
The animation worked in tandem with the sound department and offered an immersive experience in which I could really enjoy the show to its fullest.
The kingdom of Dowa, which is subdivided into 13 autonomous states, has many agencies that are controlled by the giant organization known as
The plot revolves around Jean Otus, the second-in-command of the ACCA inspection agency which is tasked with overseeing and monitoring the rest of the ACCA branch agencies. Jean often has business trips from the agency headquarters in the capital to the other 12 districts in order to review the situation and personnel there.
As the series begins, we are introduced to the protagonist who is tasked with auditing other ACCA agency branches and we witness his skills in uncovering even the smallest misdoings but we are also introduced to the “main” plot, the coup d'etat.
The first couple of episodes may be a tad bit boring because they focus on describing the world, introducing the characters and their relations but that is only to be expected of the first few episodes and in my opinion they did a good job.
ACCA does not have a particular selling point and it can be easily overlooked by the casual viewer due to its passive nature but in truth, ACCA is quite engaging and thought provoking.
The plot progresses at a slow and methodical pace, carefully and subtly revealing information that will later be necessary.
The show is mainly focused on presenting the characteristics, people and atmosphere of the districts, most episodes are built around the protagonist taking a business trip to one of the districts where he will audit, make observations and meet people that will describe the district.
At times, the show may feel episodic but the coup d'etat plot will bring all those pieces together in a way that progresses the plot in a firm yet delicate manner that feels fluid.
Unfortunately the majority of the large character cast lacks zest, most of them being “dry” and used for decor but there are some fairly original characters who definitely had intriguing features that aroused my interest.
With that in mind, the characters do a great job, they work well together and give an immersive watching experience.
Jean Otus is the second-in-command of the ACCA inspection agency, a small branch that monitors the other branches. He is a compulsive smoker, always carrying around his trademark cigarette case, earning him the title of "cigarette peddler". He is also absent minded, often forgetting arranged plans or even his lighter despite his smoking habit.
The first episode shows Jean on a regular weekday and we witness his skills in uncovering even the smallest misdoings, easily and cleverly exposing the corrupt worker.
Jean maintains a dull uninterested demeanor, but has proven himself to be rather intelligent and sharp on more than one occasion.
He is not an easy to read character, he is enigmatic. Jean doesn’t offer his opinions but rather controls the flaw of the discussion, he doesn’t make statements but rather observations, he is calm, honest and has a rational way of thinking.
Nino is a close friend of Jean’s, an old friend he can be comfortable around and talk about his problems and worries but as the story unfolds, we find out Nino is more than just a good friend. Certain episodes will reveal Nino’s true role but in the end, Nino has always respected the friendship he shares with Jean.
There are some other characters worth mentioning such as Lotta (stress reliever), Mauve and the prince but they are not very interesting.
The animation is consistently good with nice character design and background art. The color palette fits the tone of the show, giving an overall pleasant watching experience.
The opening theme is great and the ending theme was good, the background music was very well suited for the show, offering an immersive experience. The voice actors perfectly interpreted the characters and perfectly blended with the chill tone of the show.
I found ACCA:13 to be a highly entertaining show that kept me pressing the “next”button. I liked the plot and I think the characters were very good too.
A surprisingly good show that I highly enjoyed. If you are looking for flashy fight scenes and hyped up moments, this is not the show you want, but in case you are lseeking a thought provoking show, I recommend giving ACCA:13 a try.
Ever feel like you just want to slouch on your couch and savor the taste of vintage fine wine? That's what the suave, stylistic ACCA feels like. It has a very sweet, but calming taste, it's never sharp, and is striking because of it. And on top of keeping such a presentation the show offers a perspective of many cultures and how they affect society. It's a road trip in aesthetic, but extremely political in essence. If raw exposition about political power moves and stances are not to you liking, then you won't like this show. To keep perspectives as they are, it is very
impartial to all of them, and therefore very monotone. The most emotional engagement aside from a dry coup d'État intrigue plot, is the cute little sister with little screen time. And that's fine by me!
ACCA doesn't have an obvious selling point. It is what it says on the tin. Our protagonist goes to other districts to check up if they are doing everything within regulations. It's all about absorbing each district's unique flavor and atmosphere, how it has affected people's lifestyles and behaviours. How it softens them, how it hardens them with different resolves and different priorities.
The coup d'État plotline is merely used as an overarching subtext to have all these pieces come together into one who at the end. And it's all done through exposition dialogue that feels as natural as it can be. Everyone is an adult who is keenly aware of their situation, as much as the viewer at least, and slowly, people start revealing their hands and desires behind the masks of courtesy.
The characters are rather dry unfortunately. They are professionals and each one of them has a specific role to play.
Our protagonist, Jean embodies this as well. His seemingly apathetic attitude is to give a grounding for the viewer, so we can intimately share his perspective. He doesn't offer his opinions much, he asks for them instead. Just like the viewer, he's absorbing the culture he's visiting. He doesn't want to influence it in any way. He's given a few badass points for being damn good at his job and sharp on the clues that are given to us. We know how the state of things are as he does, along with the twists and turns.
Nino serves as a shadow of Jean, an old, reliable buddy he can always be comfortable with and share his worries and troubles without any reprehension. Nino also plays a big role in the story, but he's always a loyal friend to Jean first and foremost.
Lotte is the cute girl that fills any scene with happiness and fluffiness. She relieves whatever tension there is from the coup d'État plot and its developments.
All the other characters are very much background dressing, and they are so many. Showing the show's commitment to its own fiction, giving it a face, a grounding for us to see people as they are, not as just human resources on a paper.
At worst, Jean and a few other characters are impenetrable, meaning, they don't emote, they simply fulfil their roles with little qualms or reaction. Due to that monotony of exposition dumps with small emotional subtext, it gets frustrating that there's seemingly nothing happening to anyone, no one is troubled, no one seems overly concerned to build some kind of actual tension or a motive you can get behind. And all the revelations are reserved until the latter half of the show.
Presentation is what truly holds the show together. The chill atmosphere, the slender character designs animated in a softer fashion. The watercolor backgrounds giving a very surreal, yet enamouring aesthetic from the urban district to the desert district. Again, all to underline the show's confidence in its own setting and writing. The character animations give them quite a bit more life and personality than usual, everyone has a certain movement, a tell to who they are and what they represent, besides their looks, or their roles.
Audio directing is on point throughout the show. Music helps set the mood of each scene and district, while the sound effects still provide for an immersive setting. The voice acting is monotone on purpose, but for once it feels like actual adults just exchanging daily words, keeping things professional, if impartial. Oh and let's not forget the smokin' OP. The ED is a good relief for a chill show that just went by with no effort, yet all the cerebral engagement of how every piece fits in the jigsaw puzzle that is the coup.
At the end, ACCA is a pure cerebral experience, held by its chill attitude and suave aesthetic. It doesn't offer much in terms of emotional engagement, but it's not a bad price to pay for a show that is mentally engaging, yet weirdly comfy. It's very easy to appreciate its commitment to world building and an intrigue narrative. And I loved every second of this experience.
The concept of a coup de’tat, in which a plot is developed to overthrow a populace’s own government, has been around for centuries. In fact, the history goes back as far as 870 B.C. in which an Israeli commander Zimri killed his own king to commandeer the throne for himself (he later committed suicide due to talks of being overthrown by his own subordinate- karma’s a bitch, eh?). Most recently, our Lord and Savior, Studio Madhouse adapted a little known manga, ACCA, which primarily centers itself around this historical theme. With rather mixed impressions, ACCA attempts to overthrow anime stereotypes with its atypical approach while
also looking to become a future cult classic.
The story follows Jean Otus, an inspector for ACCA, an organization created after an ugly coup de’tat dismantled the previous country Dowa’s authority. He's tasked with performing a short-cycled audit of each of the countries 13 regions, recognized for his supreme skill to uncover even the faintest trace of malpractice. Jean has to deal with the stress of auditing in addition to lofty rumors that he may be involved with some deep rooted plotting of his own. What follows is a slow burning story of politics, royalty, deception and secrecy. ACCA is most certainly an anime to be overlooked by the casual viewer, due to its passive nature. But underneath the political rhetoric and lack of action is a gripping plot to note. It has a marked plot twist, which caught me completely off guard without being unfounded. The characters have deeper agendas not worn on their sleeves, and nobody is who they appear to be. I thoroughly enjoyed dissecting the intricate details of each scene looking for clues to the next story turn.
Although I personally enjoyed the approach, many will be quick to disregard the series based on its slow, methodical episodes. Not a lot seems to be purposeful on the first pass through, but the copious amounts of foreshadowing and allusion to other events make it worthwhile in the end. It's an anime best watched in one big chunk like an extended film rather than week to week, one of its greatest downfalls. In addition to the pacing, if you're looking for action for this Winter season past a stern one way conversation… I'd advise you look to Youjo Senki or Kobayashi Dragon Maid to get your fix. ACCA, as previously mentioned, is a slow burning anime putting the cerebral first, while flashy, fast-paced scenes take a firm backseat.
The parallels to modern day government and royalty can be easily made, however the setting for ACCA appears to be entirely unique to our world. Some normal commodities in our countries (cigarettes, sweets) are quite rare in Jean’s world, and being deemed as “the cigarette pedeller”, he finds himself the topic of much scrutiny wherever he travels. Having previously served in the military myself, I could sympathize with a lot of the procedural and inspection-based lingo present within the more militant scenes. The writers also did a rather accurate job of emulating the true feel of exhaustion emoted by Jean as he traveled through the many regions to perform his duties. Often turning to drink despite his inability to hold his liquor, Jean’s languid nature is catalyzed when alcohol is involved. His best friend Niino, whose association is a mystery, often keeps Jean company amidst his various endeavors.
Jean Otus as a main protagonist is rather uninteresting. He doesn't get excited about much, his appearance is rather plain and he doesn't have many friends. He's your typical introvert, who would rather spend a weekend at home in tranquility than trek around bars with his coworkers (I can totally relate to this). His parents died in a tragic train accident several years ago, and was obligated to be the primary caretaker for his younger sister Lotto, due mostly to her much younger age and maturity level. Much like you would expect from a hermit like Jean, his feelings are shown rather than told to the viewers, resulting in a higher difficulty to relate on an emotional level to him throughout the anime. Although I won't give too much away, there may be a deeper reason the writers chose Lotto is flighty and carefree, often subdued by the appearance of a doughy pastry or cake, but she stands by Jean’s side despite their stark differences.
The side characters, though not fully explored due to a lack of air time, have their fair share of mysteries as well. Whether it's the secret meetings Jean undergoes with the Director-General or the convenient “business trips” Niino travels to, each episode unveils another small piece of the pie. I do wish some more time would've been spent on the side characters in order to fully understand the story, but I'm often overexpectant in 12 episode anime. Nothing new here.
I will say that I like the art style Madhouse had the freedom to use in ACCA. Though not “great” by modern anime standards, the animation is consistent, which is more than I can say for some other action oriented shows out there. And even though I normally despise this comment, “it stayed true to the manga”. The character designs, including the incorporation of the military uniforms were reminiscent of my younger years. Unique, but familiar enough to invoke some slight nostalgia.
The OP might be my favorite of the season. It incorporates a jazzy beat with a powerful and catchy chorus. The added collage of vivid images almost tells us a story of how the anime unfolds. I would imagine that Mother’s Basement guy from YouTube would get his jollies from interpreting this opening. The ED is pretty standard and delicate, and I often found found myself skipping it altogether. The background music had some serious Speed Grapher/Bebop vibes, and were certainly better placed than the first of those anime. Seiyus did a decent job providing some convincing in their portrayals, but really no breakout performances here.
I feel like I'm in the minority when it comes to my enjoyment of ACCA. Modern anime is laden with goofy, bombastic characters, glitzy action and panty shots galore. The best part? ACCA has none of these. So, if you're looking for a show that breaks the mold in almost every possible way, or are growing tired of the gimmicky cash grabs pilfered at anime fans, I'd recommend checking it out. It is a great candidate for a “hidden gem” if given the proper care while watching it, and a series I'm glad I picked up this season. As always, thanks for reading and be sure to check out my other Winter ‘17 reviews!
ACCA was a nice change of pace from the usual. It was slow, but interesting. You can chill and watch, but if you chill too much, you might miss out on all the little details.
Story isn't complex or anything, but it still keeps you guessing. You at times wonder where the story is going and who to trust and who not to trust. What is this guy planning? What about that guy? As a viewer, I felt like Tony Soprano at the end of The Sopranos. Paranoid as fuck and kept yelling at the screen,"No, don't trust that guy!" and then when it
turns out my guess was wrong, I'd turn to the next character and be like,"Oh, hell no! Definitely don't trust that guy!" This anime felt like something that could of happened irl and I enjoyed it.
The animation is pretty consistently well done. I like the character designs and etc. Nothing else to really say, but if you're not convinced, it's animated by Madhouse.
There were quite a few good openings this season, but this one was just so damn catchy! The osts and everything. Even the ending song. Every sound this anime made got my ears attention. This anime had the best sound out of any anime I've heard this season. I put the volume way higher whenever I came back to this anime weekly.
There's quite a few characters that were interesting. Like Jean, Niino.. Actually, there's quite a lot of characters that had interesting traits. Jean's not give a fuck attitude, Niino had the is he best friend or just a job thing going on, a lot of people were schemers, and a lot of people liked bread lol. But with such a huge cast of characters and the focus always shifting to Jean, I tend to forget some characters.
It was slow, but the sound, guesses on what's what, relaxing type anime really made me enjoy this anime for what it was.
This is the type of anime where I probably wouldn't watch again because guessing what would happen is a huge chunk of the fun, but for a first watch it was pretty damn fun.