With the many action, romance, and comedy anime showcased every season, sometimes it’s just nice to watch a pretty chill show that offers a different plot than what we usually see. And even among these kinds of series, real gems are a bit hard to find! Breaking from the mold is quite risky since most people may or may not like it. That’s why I’m truly delighted to have discovered one of these gems this winter season: ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka!
The peaceful kingdom of Dōwā is divided into thirteen autonomous districts. To keep things in order, different agencies are placed within each of these districts, all governed by the huge organization, ACCA. One of these agencies is the Inspection Agency, where our protagonist, Jean Otus, is the vice-chairman. He has been tasked to conduct audits throughout all the regions, where he may slowly find something brewing that could disturb the 100-year-long peace of the nation.
Some people might have been turned off by the slow start of this show, but, to be honest, that slow start was kind of the only breather we got after everything gradually went nuts. Soon, questions upon questions and information upon information were popping up in every episode, which made you wonder when and if everything would be solved properly! The good thing is, they did! All the loose ends got tied up neatly, which is one of the most wonderful things this show has to offer. A lot of shows build up towards an amazing finale, only to fall flat. But the author, Ono Natsume, did such a marvelous job wrapping up her story with an unconventional resolution, sticking to the overall theme and feeling that’s as smooth as silk!
There were a few episodes that suffered because of the arrangement of the content, though, and I kind of understand why. I felt like they were preparing on how all twelve episodes should go, but they either needed more content or were forced to cram everything just so the next episodes would be good to go. And boy were they good! Guess sometimes you need to make sacrifices to make the whole project spectacular.
Speaking of spectacular, the way ACCA:13 handled the plot twists and hidden elements was so mind-blowing! Like I mentioned, there were new clues and questions in every episode, but the thing is, some of those hints cleverly misled the viewers into thinking they’ve got the correct answer when in fact they were far from it! I was a victim! It was genius! And they brought up this information in such a natural way that you’d never guess it was an important clue until the answer’s already right in front of your face.
Last, a story wouldn’t be considered brilliant if the characters weren’t, right? They were actually terrific! None of them were one-dimensional; they all had their own quirks, motives, and ambitions, each one shaped by their respective situation. You could clearly see this with the main characters and some supporting ones, which made them quite likable! There were also a lot of side characters, but sadly they were just that, side characters. Most felt like they were just there to show their different perspectives and how diverse the districts in Dōwā are. It can’t be helped, I guess. They can’t do away with these side characters because the show would feel incredibly bland, nor can they go out of their way to give them all background stories because that would be pointless. At least their character designs and what bit of personality they had were all unique and memorable.
Art & Music
Once again, Madhouse gave no less than their best when it came to the visual aesthetics! The distinct art style matched with the beautiful backgrounds and made the already classy story even more exquisite! There’s just a certain air of maturity coming from it all! Plus, they did a good job establishing the different cultures and geographies of the thirteen districts, from the sceneries up to how people dress. Even the flashback episode had its own gorgeous charm that made it stand out! The best part is that not once did the quality stumble; week in and week out you’d rarely see a drawing out of place, or a movement weirdly animated.
I believe another reason why the show was so interesting to watch was because of how the scenes were directed! They did such a good job putting things into place; letting the red herrings successfully mislead us and successfully concealed the subtle hints. The emotions in certain scenes were super moving too, because of the lighting, the acting of the characters, and the staging! Overall, the visuals were a masterpiece! I don’t think I could ask for more!
Putting the cherry on top of this delightful piece of work are the awesome music and voice acting! Shadow and Truth by ONE III NOTES opened every episode by giving you a preview of the classiness of the whole show, while Pale Moon ga Yureteru by Aira Yuuki ended it with a sweet, soothing song. The background music in each scene delivered the necessary ambiance or heightened the emotion it wanted you to feel, partnered with the impressive voice-acting of each characters’ seiyuu.
Themes & Trivia
Politics: It’s one of the aspects that makes this show unique. Some people were trying to gain power by using other people and putting up a face, while others were just diligently trying to do their job but still getting caught up in the thick of it. We’ve even got royalty trying to lay claim to the throne! It can’t get any more political than that, can it?
Coup d’état: This is what the story revolves around, as rumors of a coup have circulated throughout the ACCA branches in the whole kingdom, which is worrisome because ACCA was founded just after Dōwā quelled a rebellion and gained peace 100 years ago. The biggest mystery, though, is who’s behind it and what their actual goal is.
Friendship and Loyalty: Don’t even get me started on Jean and Nino’s friendship! It’s one of the best things in this show, and one of the most at risk. A huge part of the heartbreak I’ve gotten was because of Nino’s loyalty to his job versus his friendship with Jean. Magie also displayed an amazing loyalty to Schwan, despite nagging him at times, or even disagreeing with most of what his liege decides on. Another example is Abend, who, up until the end, was incredibly devoted to Princess Schnee and the royal family.
I. Loved. This. Show! I really appreciate these kind of stories that tackle relevant topics while still keeping the entertainment value high. Plus, I’m such a sucker for mysteries and plot twists, which it delivered amazingly! There were a few hiccups in terms of storytelling, but the end result is what matters to me, as well as how the series as a whole made me feel. So, to anyone who wants something different from the cliché stories we often see every season, you should definitely watch this gem!
Smooth and casual storytelling hiding some deep secrets
The art and music are just so classy!
Unexpected and unconventional resolution
Ample time for the epilogue
Many characters were likeable and admirable!
Some episodes suffered a bit because of the cramped content
Wish I knew more about the side characters
That’s it for my series review of ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka! Did you guys enjoy it as much as I did? Do tell me what aspects of the show made you love it or hate it! I’m super excited to read your opinions and insights!
Now, as much as I’d hate to part with this beautiful and memorable anime, the winter season is over and it’s off to the Spring 2017 line-up for all us! Check out what anime we’ll review next here on MANGA.TOKYO, and stick around to reading what we’ve got for you guys then!