The rising actions kicks off in ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Department (ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka) this week as plain as can be. Revelations abound, built up within the episode by stellar pacing and call backs that substantiate the vagueness of episodes past.
Before the opening theme even plays, we see Jean seated at his desk in Badōn, putting the pieces of ACCA’s puzzle together in his head. Who’s accusing him, why’d Grossular set Nino on his tail, and where he thinks he stands in the kerfuffle are all laid out from his perspective.
This recap-opening perfectly sets up the rest of the episode to strike his assumptions down. “Everything hinges on the Dōwā royal family,” he says.
Past the opening theme, we get a tease of brand new information: something happened to the Dōwā royal family 33 years ago. Royal officials reference a ship that sank and emphasize the importance of Maggie staying by Prince Schwann’s side while King Falke goes out for cakes. The scene is hazy enough that it’s doesn’t give everything away, but its contents are so prescient given Jeans introductory setup, that it’s hard not to hang on every word.
Something happened to the Dōwā royal family 33 years ago
King Falke coincidentally runs into Jean and Nino in a pastry shop, and Jean’s respectful but unfazed attitude in the face of royalty sees them enjoying some cakes together.
When the King returns home, Schwann coldly asks him which picture in his art hall is his favourite, all the while boring his eyes through a portrait of a girl that looks exactly like Lotta. A royal princess, possibly his mother, who died 33-years ago. Schwann starts digging around the resemblance to cover the bases of his royal ascension.
Lotta has so far been substantially removed from the real machinations of ACCA’s plot, yet in every episode, we see a bit of her bubbly persona. Whether she’s waking up dreaming of deserts like in this episode, or she’s subtle interacting with family and shop owners, ACCA made a point of putting her in the spotlight so much that I even suspected her as a potential coup leader. This suspicion felt especially natural, given that Jean’s schedule finds him away from home so often.
Jean’s audit path (which, in retrospect, is an incredible narrative conceit to force him to travel all over ACCA’s exciting world) takes him to Kororē this week, a district that doesn’t look all that different to Badōn, apart from an abundance of female officers in executive positions. And along that line of thought, it’s no surprise that General Mauve hails from this district.
It’s no surprise that General Mauve hails from Kororē
What is surprising is her sudden ambush of Jean on the streets after we see her in a Badōn office seconds earlier in the episode.
Mauve delivers what is probably the biggest ‘oh shit’ moment of the show, subverting the expectations internal to this episode, those of Jean, and those of the show as a whole.
And yet, Jean’s nonchalant behaviour still persists throughout these plot bombs. The king asks to share some ACCA Twinkies? No big deal to Jean. He thinks Mauve suspects him of heading the coup? “I wonder if I’ll get a chance to explain myself to her,” he muses absentmindedly. And when Mauve drops the biggest reveal, whispered into his left ear so that passersby don’t overhear, his breath catches in his throat, but he hardly even blinks.
Jean has royal blood in him.
Again, he literally takes things in stride as he and Mauve start walking around Kororē to discuss specifics undetected. Other than the details of her knowledge, Jean doesn’t ask about where he precisely fits into everything, which leaves a giant pile of questions for us to chase in the next few episodes. It’s an excellent refocussing effort by ACCA that deftly leverages most of the questions the anime posed in the last six episodes. The timing doesn’t feel a step out of line either.
The big reveal’s timing doesn’t feel a step out of line
By my count, Jean has visited eight of 13 districts on his audit route (Kororē, Dōwā, Suitsu, Rokkusu, Jumōku, Hare, Famasu, and Birra) which leaves a manageable five others for ACCA to chew on as it builds towards its climax.
Knowing what we know now, the name you could put to Jean’s behaviour might be that of a stalwart royal. And as someone who knows how the system works, this week’s revelations colour the future of his actions significantly.
While it may have never been Jean’s original intention, ACCA suddenly shifts from a coup investigation show, to a follow-drama where our protagonist very likely could be the righteous successor to the throne. Jean may be able to use the suspicions against him to fight against whatever injustices the kingdom faces.
“How much longer can King Falke retain the thrown” becomes the central question behind ACCA’s upcoming conflict, and I can’t wait to get the answer.
Somewhere in all this is also the fact that Nino not only knew of Jean’s royal bloodline, but he was also reporting to multiple masters. We already knew of Grossular, but now a contact within the royal privy council surfaces as his boss.
This, like many of the loose threads that ACCA teased in earlier episodes, is beginning to weave the show’s plot into a very strong rope. Who or what that rope will be used to hang is the payoff I’m eagerly looking forward to.