Why, yes, bartender. I would like my drink only slightly shaken, with far more stirring than necessary. Also, I request a fair amount of bread. Not any bread, but bread that would look so nice that it distracts from the rest of the scenery. No, this is not for a bake sale I just need really nice-looking bread. Don’t look at me as if my priorities are obscene! I’m simply following orders. Do not waste my time any further.
Here we have an example of “slow, but steady.” An anime that takes its time saying what it wants to say and, in the end, not saying much. Never once does it inspire with the length of passion as one Martin Luther King, or, on a more negative perspective, Adolf Hitler. Though intriguing as it may be intrinsically to the mature or level-headed mind, it lacks the emotional triumph that many within the same field incorporate to make the experience more worthwhile. In the most simplest of phrases, ACCA is political drama (a term used loosely) for the sake of political drama. Because anime really needs more political dramas, yes?
First real issue throughout its run is the incorporation of its episodic approach, featuring one or two normally recurring characters traveling around various parts of their country. A number of different perspectives and characters are shown, though the one of most dire importance is Jean Otus, a cool, quiet man in his thirties (a rarity in anime). His travels initiated by the peace-bringing corporation he works for are a very valid
excuse reasoning for the world-building present within the anime. His job requires him to audit the neighboring countries and peek into their worldviews and daily lives. Should people care to take this at face value, the show should appeal to a much broader audience, but only in that circumstance. I, for one, could hardly bother to remember the drivel by the next episode.
Characters themselves vary in importance, but manage to make the most out of an important prospect of the genre by remaining consistently tolerable. Jean, and perhaps his friend Nino, are cause for most of the entertainment. Despite his aloof nature, he makes for a relatable “knows more than he shows” persona, one that has him stand out without showing off. Though different as it may be, he’s not one that will enthrall all, as he’s fairly one-dimensional, saying hardly a thing without being directly spoken to. His gazes and quick actions are what bring his character to life, always suspecting and investigating the things most wouldn’t think to notice. Nino brings out a tad more of his human side, complete with fuzzy emotions and friendly banter. His presence within the show is distilled in mystery, which may prove more fascinating than his character, but there’s more to him than meets the eye.
That’s all that can be said, however, as most other characters serve their point within the narrative and nothing more. Should they happen to fall within the audience’s preferred model of personality, they’re watchable, and only such. Most are simply used as plot devices, or foreshadowing, or to further cement an established theme. Notable examples are Jean’s younger sister, high-ranking members of ACCA, and the “fool” prince. The prince wishes to disband ACCA, because reasons. High-ranking members of ACCA obviously don’t want this because it puts them out of a job and may cause an uproar within the country. Jean’s little sister has no importance to anything. Even someone who eventually reveals themselves as an antagonist is handled with such a relaxed pace that it can’t help but feel like a mere nuisance.
Remember Kill la Kill? Remember Kyousou Giga? Shows that tell stories, but also prioritize the “oomph” of the characters to carry the viewer along and never give an opportunity for boredom? ACCA is the complete opposite of this. It tells a story, one that is paced and developed well enough, without having the characters provide any sort of spectacle to keep the viewer thoroughly entertained. This is why, despite my own positive impressions, I find ACCA to be rather dull in its entirety. This isn’t to say non-dull things transpire, only the way they’re followed up or built-up to carries the same moderate temperament as damn near everything else.
To some extent, the art and animation of ACCA is a mixed bag. It features a gracefully simplistic style of drawing that makes the show feel correct for its tone and genre. It also allows for food to look splendid. The opening paragraph was not some random gibberish; ACCA adores showing food in a more heavenly light than its characters. As an overweight individual trying to attain a certain skinniness, this didn’t help me much. Unfortunately, ACCA seems to take simplicity to the bank, as I found a number of shortcuts that relished a sort of lazy atmosphere that could only be found in such gems as Lamune. Characters no longer having faces from far away, backgrounds having no distinct detail, and characters’ extremities appearing out of nowhere into a frame. These are but some of the animated issues that plague the anime, particularly within its second-half. A strange correlation with the decreased amount of orgasmic-looking food.
Points received for trying something relatively new and going through with the plan of slow and steady winning the race. ACCA has potential as a riveting political drama with an emphasis on world building and a dry sense of perspective. It feels real in the sense that not a lot of blatant outrage or unrest results from those only harboring small ounces of resistance from the monarchy. Thing is, with characters being about as charming as paper and not a lot of distinguishing characteristics compared to, dare I say, live-action political dramas, the anime finds itself within a deep hole of its own device. Plenty of ore and valuable treasures lie within, just without the means of escaping with anything in-hand.
The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.