Sunday, September 5, 2021

REVIEW: ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept.: The Complete Series (anime TV series)

ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept. is a political thriller that feels like a slice-of-life story, or occasionally even like a strange comedy. It was an impulse purchase during a Right Stuf sale. I hadn't heard anything about it and wasn't expecting much from it, so it was a pleasant surprise when it turned out to be really good.

That said, I spent a good portion of the beginning of the series with no clue what kind of show I was watching. ACCA takes place on an island composed of 13 territories, each with a vastly different culture and way of life. ACCA is an organization that was originally created to protect the kingdom's peace and guard against the threat of a coup d'etat. Jean Otus, a member of ACCA's Inspection Department, travels to each of the 13 territories and attempts to figure out whether there's really a coup brewing in this seemingly peaceful land. What he doesn't initially realize, however, is that his actions are being interpreted by nearly everyone around him as signs that he's involved in the supposed coup.

Was the coup real, or a paranoid bureaucratic fantasy? Was I watching some kind of absurdist comedy or an actual political thriller that just happened to contain frequent snack breaks?

It was fun watching the story's various threads gradually come together: Nino, Jean's mysterious friend; the planning and plotting of the five heads of ACCA; the elderly king and his foolish grandson; Director-General Mauve and her suspicions; the source of Jean's seemingly endless supply of cigarettes in a world where cigarettes are a luxury; and probably more I'm forgetting. It's the kind of show that's rewarding to rewatch, because you can see all the things in the earlier episodes that hinted at later revelations. Like Jean himself, the show proceeds at a relaxed pace but has a lot hidden under the surface.

I wish there had been a bit more time for some of the characters to sit, decompress, and talk things through at the end. Viewers got a few brief glimpses, and the 6 extra clips included in the special features were nice for winding down, but I'd have liked a bit more. The series' final revelations were a lot to take in.

All in all, this was an excellent show that deserves to be more popular than it seems to be. It's only 12 episodes long, but it makes very effective use of its time.


Six "special featurettes" that are actually a series of brief OVAs that take place during unspecified times throughout the original series. You don't miss out on anything vital if you don't watch them, but I thought they worked well as a nice "farewell" to the characters. Some were better than others - I really liked the one in which Jean and Nino had an argument, but the one in which Grossular made various puns was just weird. The one in which Nino talked to Grossular on the phone was completely out-of-the-blue fanservice (Nino, somewhat drunk and getting undressed), considering that the show was otherwise fanservice-free.

Also, a textless opening and closing. I really liked the opening song and animation.

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