First Impressions – ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka

Welcome to Dowa

One country, thirteen districts, one man, one job and a pack of cigarettes….let’s go…
I’m not sure what I was expecting with this one, but it was really fun regardless!

ACCA is an interesting series to say the least. While both a police and a drama series with even an air of mystery thrown in, it feels as laid back and relaxed as a Sunday afternoon SoL. Why is that? Well, I think that’s mostly due to the main characters we have so far. Our main character of Jean Otus, is one of the most laid back MCs you will probably ever meet, bar Tanaka-kun from a couple of season’s ago. However, unlike our listless, lazy friend, Jean does seem to actually want to do what’s best for his job and he does his job well.

We are introduced to the country of Dowa which is similar to most larger countries in how it is a mish mash of different climates, environments, and cultures, and the people that are from those sections are also different social, economically, and culturally based on those different environments. Now, the differences from region to region can very minutely or vastly depending on the nation. It’s basically like the difference between the huge diversity and variety that makes up the amalgamation of the USA, to the much smaller cultural variations of a more universal country like Japan. We have 13 districts to this bird-shaped nation, and from what we’ve seen of that colorful, jazzy OP, they range from urban cityscapes, to brutal deserts and everything in between. And like these different sections, we will be meeting different section of the ACCA police force in each district as the series continues. Jean, the simple, but wily and intelligent second-in-command of what amounts to the internal affairs section of ACCA has been burdened with the exasperating task of visiting all 13 for our own viewing pleasure–as well as the plot.

I have to say that I enjoyed everything I saw in this premiere, from the simple, yet quietly complex Jean, to all of the many side characters around him. This series may seem to be starting off quite slowly, with not much really going on. And yet, I can’t find this at all boring like many others claim. It’s obvious from first watch that this is a series that’s going to have a really slow burn. It’s building to something. Just like the fires that are mentioned at least thrice in this episode alone (thank you Hitchcock), you know they are going to later come into play in the bigger over all plot. And that in and of itself is fascinating to me. The mystery of what is really going on with all these bigwigs in this supposedly peaceful kingdom…

It’s a well known fact that anytime it is said that it is now so peaceful that whatever it was that brought that peace to fruition is no longer needed, it’s only an omen that those peaceful times are about to come to an end. A deterrent is there for a reason. While it might not seem to be doing anything after a time, it’s only because the deterrent is very good at accomplishing its job. If you take it away, you are only inviting trouble. And that is what seems to be happening here. Thankfully Jean’s internal affairs department doesn’t get shuttered but instead he is sent out on a mission, all the while being watched himself. What’s going to happen in the times to come? Well, no one seems to know the answer to that just yet.

Jean seems pretty laid back for a main character, but he’s obviously also highly intelligent as shown by his observation skills. I can’t really say much about his character so far though, since his talents were only hinted at so far. The entire show seems kind of laid back as far as this first episode went. The corruption that Jean found that ended up saving his department was pretty small and tame considering where most other anime (like Psycho-Pass for example) go with corruption within an organization. Though the 5 men running the organization might be playing some kind of larger plot (or maybe even just a few of them). The move of shutting down an agency section that’s supposed to prevent corruption is kind of like inviting corruption in again, since the threat of having anyone monitoring your integrity is gone. Or maybe it really is that they just didn’t consider small things like black market deals because like they stated, the original purpose of ACCA was for the country’s instability. Time will tell, I guess.

Since the plot of the episode was kind of slow, I guess what was really engaging in ACCA was just the kind of world that Dowa is set up to be. The anime didn’t really get to show a lot yet, but how well established the Dowa itself is as a fantasy country was hinted at. There were mentions of how each district is pretty unique, and small details like how smoking is considered a luxury. Just from that country side location Jean visited, and learning about customs there, you get the feeling like there’s so much more in Dowa’s culture (or cultures is maybe the better term, since they did mention that every district is pretty different) that will be explored now that Jean has to travel the country. The art style for the anime helped give a really distinct impression about the world as well and it’s cute how the country uses Japanese, but seems to write in romaji.

I’ve enjoyed this premiere so far. Not the best of the new season, but it has intrigued me thus far. I’m willing to see where it goes from here as both the main and supporting cast seems to be a fascinating set of characters. Jean and his sister are cute, and I swear the man in charge of his department is his father or older brother, as all three characters all look the same only with slight alterations. I enjoyed seeing Jean solve puzzles, though not really fond of his smoking addiction antics. The land of Dowa is rather cute, and I can’t wait to see the rest of it. I wonder, what other corruption can be found within, hiding right beneath the surface?

Despite being a little slow, I really liked this first episode. I can’t say much about Jean or ACCA yet, and maybe there’s something way bigger going on that will be introduced, but I feel like I could be entertained an entire season just from watching Jean travel around and solve small problems (“oh no, the interns lost the tax returns!”, etc) like he did in this episode. Though of course, if something bigger is going to happen, then I’m all for that too. Jean is laid back in an interesting way, and I’m sure there’s way more to his character than what was shown to us in this episode alone.

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2 Responses to “First Impressions – ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka”

  1. zztop says:

    ACCA’s mangaka is Ono Natsume, creator of works such as House of 5 Leaves and Ristorante Paradiso.

    I’m guessing the anime will fully adapt the manga, which spans 6 volumes and ended in October 2016.

  2. skylion says:

    I don’t want to come off as abusively critical, but I will use some colorful language to describe the flavors I got from this cup of tea.

    First the off-aroma of “As You Already Know” exposition that more or less front-ended the show. Now, not only did it fill my nostrils once, but twice, and both within the space of minutes. It kinda gives me the feeling that the tea blender was rushed, or felt a rush was enough of an excuse to basically read the show’s Wikipedia entry at me instead of showing me something about the characters and situation that would grab my interest. I got maybe a dozen characters that I can’t identify with in that space of time along with a country that I don’t have any sort of hook on. This made the initial taste more unexpectedly sour that I would have liked. I don’t know if I’ll finish the cup at this point…and oh my goodness I’m going to drop the faux-pretentious attitude.

    …relaxed as a Sunday afternoon SoL. Why is that? Well, I think that’s mostly due to the main characters we have so far. Our main character of Jean Otus, is one of the most laid back MCs you will probably ever meet, bar Tanaka-kun

    Tanaka-kun literally gave off more charm sleeping than this snoozer of a character did awake. I was thinking “If some shoved a sawfish up his….ahem…personal space, would he even register?.

    All in all, Madhouse did not brew me a good cuppa…I see where it has a great deal of potential, but this was a pretty clumsy start.

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