A century ago, the 13 states of Dowa arose in a widespread revolt against their King. After extended conflict, the two parties established peace, with the King offering an organization known as ACCA to provide public service to the people and help keep the bureaucracy in line.
Now, one of the senior officials in charge of operating ACCA, a man named Jean Otus, is tasked with performing a kingdom-wide inspection of the 13 states. What he discovers on his journey will have a long-lasting impact on the kingdom that he has served for his entire adult life, possibly igniting the flames of revolution once again!
I like to think that I have a pretty well-balanced palette when it comes to my tastes in anime. I love high-octane, action-packed series like Gurren Lagann & Kill La Kill. I’ve stayed current with epic shonen series like One Piece, and enjoyed a nice cup of tea while meditating on series like Mushishi and Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu. I find that ACCA lands more in the latter category – a slower moving, contemplative series with a good amount of political tension bubbling just under the surface.
There’s nobody in this series with supernatural powers. In fact, there’s very little combat or physical conflict at all. Instead, ACCA channels its tension and drama in the political maneuverings of a skilled government employee. Remember Joker Game? There are definitely elements of that here. Like with Joker Game, the scarcity of fighting has no real impact on the weight of the plot, which begins thickening properly around episodes 5-6. Once it picks up the pace, the story is interesting, if not familiar. My main issue with the plot as it reached its conclusion was that some of the characters, namely the antagonists, appeared to abandon their course for no real reason.
As for the animation – it can be hit or miss throughout ACCA. One moment you’re appreciating well-established watercolor scenery, the other, you’re looking at a character sideways because something’s a bit…off. The give-and-take of quality makes it difficult to just relax and soak it in, because you are sometimes met by a jarringly-drawn character that brings you back down to earth.
Probably one of the most challenging parts of ACCA is really investing your energy into any of the other characters. Jean is an interesting protagonist, but I couldn’t really say he’s a compelling one. So, when he’s surrounded by less interesting, and certainly less compelling characters, it’s easy for them to all sort of fade into the background. You come out on the other side of an episode struggling to piece together anyone else who was significant, except for Nino, a close friend of Jean’s and occasionally Mauve, Jean’s intermittent crush.
I can appreciate the “slow-burn” approach in building drama and engaging an audience. For the most part, I think ACCA does a pretty good job of utilizing this, which is one of the main reasons why fans of the series are so captivated by it. However, it sometimes relies on this mechanic a bit too heavily, resulting in some sluggish scenes that could have benefitted from a bit more urgency.
Overall, ACCA does a good enough job of conveying an engaging political plot through some great writing and character interactions, even if ultimately those same characters are less than memorable. You can find the series on Crunchyroll, and if you really like it, pick up a copy of the blu-ray from Funimation! Speaking of which…
There’s not too much to say about the ACCA release besides the fact that it does include a mini-featurette recapping and commenting on episodes 1-6.
No digital copy on this release, unfortunately. Though, with it streaming on Crunchyroll I can understand holding that back. The case features some cool art of Jean and Nino, with your standard DVD & Blu-Ray combo within.
We’ve got some limited edition releases coming soon of other series, including Re: Zero. For now, it looks like the releases are going to be pretty bare-bones for now. Until next time!
Note: Funimation provided us with a review copy of ACCA in exchange for our honest review.
ACCA - 13 Territory Inspection Department
- A welcome departure from your typical action-packed, frantic series
- The world that ACCA constructs is interesting and believable
- Unique animation/presentation
- Characters can feel a bit one-dimensional. Even our protagonist, Jean, suffers from this occasionally.
- At times it feels like it's moving at a snails pace without establishing atmosphere
- Some character motivations are perplexing and unresolved by the series end