So after starting with the girls all working on the same team, we’re now going back in time to find out how that happened? At least that’s how I see it. I wonder why they felt the need to do that though given this episode would have been fine as a first episode and been more than interesting enough as a start to the series.
Political intrigue, infiltration, murder, conspiracy, it’s all very interesting and while it isn’t quite as fast paced as episode 1, I feel much more at home with the characters this episode.
Review Episode 3:
I wonder if they’ll ever tell us what is with Ange and the whole planet of the black lizard thing? While it is a cute character quirk it would be nice to know if there was some deeper meaning behind it.
Primarily this episode focusses on Beatrice, or she of the squeaky voice. Which is odd considering that apparently her voice isn’t her voice so I wonder why she leaves it sounding like that and all, but anyway, minor nitpick. There’s some great character moments, some more secret spy business, and the group are becoming more cohesive. I guess we’ll soon find out how the other girl from the first episode joined the crew but I’m really enjoying this series so far.
Thanks for reading.
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ACCA tells the story of Jean Otus, an inspector who travels the 13 districts of the Kingdom of Dowa, who is about to get drawn into a whole lot of political intrigue. With rumours of a coup gathering momentum, what will Jean do? Probably smoke a cigarette.
I reviewed ACCA week to week so if you are interested in my episodic thoughts click here.
Those of you who followed my week to week reviews already know, I loved watching ACCA. It was a must watch every week and I couldn’t get enough of it. Watching it, talking to others about it, speculating about where it was all going. So, now that it is finished, what are my thoughts.
Unsurprisingly, I still think ACCA is truly an incredible story. I’ll go into detail later but, after getting to the end and thinking about it, I realise that the audience for ACCA is actually kind of small. The opening act moves almost terminally slow, the information is revealed as necessary during the second act but requires a lot of work on the part of the audience to put together, and by the third act the cards are on the table but for the final twist, which I found immensely satisfying but I can understand that many people out there my wonder what on earth the point of watching the show was.
So, I’m going to explain why I loved ACCA and why it is amazing. But I’ll also not be surprised if you tell me in the comments you dropped this early on, or it didn’t do much for you. This one is definitely a matter of whether you get into it or not, or whether you enjoy stories that slowly give out the details and allow you to fit them together numerous ways before it shows its hand.
First and foremost, the opening theme is perfect. While it isn’t the most striking anime theme music in history and nor does it pack much punch outside of the context of the show it perfectly sets the tone for the anime you are about to watch. Heavily influenced by jazz and yet not particularly fast paced the opening hints at a show that is laid back, just a little bit off-beat, but full of hidden intrigue, and that’s more or less exactly what it delivers. I must admit the opening theme was part of what made me so excited to start each episode.
Secondly, the characters really grabbed me. I know some people will disagree, but I found Jean Otus fascinating from start to finish. He is different from your usual anime protagonist being older, non-violent, no shouting of any sort, not a super genius or particularly amazing at anything, not incompetent, not the focus of a harem, etc, etc.
While some may dismiss him as bland, I found him to be a highly nuanced character and a lot of my enjoyment in the earlier episodes came from trying to figure out what was going on inside his head. Later in the series we get more of a look at him and there are moments where full and genuine expressions cross his face, and it all just works perfectly at fleshing out a character who feels very real.
However every character in this series, regardless of screen time (and some of them barely appear in two episodes) manage to feel like an individual. A character crafted with care and attention to detail. They fill the role they are given in the narrative but also add some truth to the world being constructed.
And that brings me to the third reason I loved this series. The small details. Everything in this story has purpose. Whether it is creating a distinction between one district and another, foreshadowing a later plot point, giving a character back story, every single detail is there for a reason. Some obviously carry more weight than others, but nothing is wasted. Even the excessive focus on food (do not watch this show hungry) serves the valuable purpose of clearly identifying districts and later creates links between characters who share a love of a particular type of food.
But my number one reason for loving my watch of ACCA is that at no point did I feel I was being talked down to by the narrative. They allow the audience time to process information and to put it together. Even when information is revealed they don’t feel the need to excessively explain how the new information fits in with the old. They just reveal it and move on expecting that the audience can and will make the connection themself. It’s been a long time since I’ve really found something that didn’t make me feel like they expected my memory was jettisoned every twenty seconds.
All that said, I do have to address a few minor criticisms because no matter how much I loved it there are definitely some criticisms that are needed. Spoilers coming.
The big one that actually really rocked me was after they formally acknowledge (by having a character say it) that Jean was royalty, suddenly every character was just talking about his bloodline like it had been common knowledge from the start. While it did help steer the narrative along it felt like a very sharp turn in the narrative that didn’t get quite enough time to develop.
The other criticism I have is Lotta, Jean’s sister. While she is certainly cute and loves her bread, and she does at times progress plot points, I kind of felt like her removal from the story wouldn’t have harmed it in the least at most points. Okay, they would have needed a different portrait to draw the link between the Otus’ and the royals, and the whole attempted assassination plot probably would have needed to be scrapped but it didn’t serve all that much purpose anyway.
The Rail being infatuated by her storyline also could have easily been swept away. That said, if they did that, then a lot of the air time of the series vanishes, so I guess they just needed to do more with her character to make her feel a little bit more needed. At the moment she just kind of feels there.
As I said at the start, I fully understand why this anime won’t appeal to everyone so I won’t tell you that you have to watch it or that I don’t understand why you didn’t like it. However, if you haven’t given it a go and you wouldn’t mind an anime that has a fairly clever story and some great writing, then its worth checking out. I had a blast with this during the 2017 Winter season and I wouldn’t mind seeing a few more shows like it.
Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime. Join the discussion in the comments. Karandi James
There’s no doubt ACCA has been an amazing watch so far and even this episode works very well and continuing the narrative and driving us ever closer to a climax that is definitely taking shape now.
The writing in ACCA Episode 10 has to be questioned. Now that Jean knows he is royalty it seems like every character in the entire show knows and just casually mentions it in passing like it is nothing. Previously cigarettes arrived in unmarked envelopes, now characters hand them to Jean with speeches about why they are betting on him to become the next King. Its weird and is probably the first major mis-step this show has taken.
Still, the end game of this show is far clearer now even as we anxiously await the final pieces to slot into place and all and all its been an outstanding ride. Let’s hope it makes it to the end without any more intrusive blunders.
If you haven’t watched ACCA Episode 7, spoilers ahead.
This show is a joy to watch. After weeks of holding off on giving us anything solid this week seems all about having characters just dropping major reveals casually like it is nothing into their everyday conversations. We don’t learn everything, and there is still the question of whether what we are being told now is absolutely correct, but it feels like things are coming together in a big way even while we still have quite a bit of story still to come.
Nino is out of sorts for a lot of this episode and I would have loved to have known what was going through his head while taking photos of Jean eating with the King. It was more or less at this point that I decided the royal connection was absolute rather than just a theory and I’m glad that the series decided to confirm that later this episode rather than dragging it out any further. There’s probably more to the story, but what we get this episode is quite a satisfying bit of intel.
Mauve finally talks to Jean again and doesn’t say what we would have suspected. In fact, she’s the one who clues Jean in on why so many people seem fixated on him.
Despite having so many reveals, this episode doesn’t seem to make the mistake of giving away the whole game. It is too early yet and once again ACCA proves it knows what it is doing with the pace of these reveals giving us just enough when we need it without throwing their whole hand on the table.
ACCA is fascinating. And ACCA episode 5 continues to keep me highly entertained.
Okay, the food obsession continues with the various people watching Lotta continually being distracted by eating, which is just kind of amusing but is hiding the more important question of whether or not the Prince’s infatuation with Lotta is actually of any significance or whether it is just one more plot thread that is being strung along.
Jean gets a hint about his watcher and that leads him to finally confronting Nino, only this doesn’t go the way most confrontations go. I guess when you are permanently laid back even the momentary shock that maybe a friend of yours betrayed you can quickly be rationalised, and what I like is that Jean thought through all of the other times he may have suspected Nino was involved and kind of put it all together. I also really liked Nino’s momentary despair when he realised Jean had noticed.
Other shows this season don’t get subtle. ACCA thrives on these small moments that show when a character is about to change their thinking or has suddenly experienced a set-back.
I am really starting to wonder if any coup exists or if this really is just a lot of political maneuvering but either way I’m keen to see where this show goes next.
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