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Entry updated 15 November 2021. Tagged: TV.

Japanese animated tv series (2017). Madhouse Productions. Director: Shingo Natsume. Writers: Natsume Ono and Tomohiro Suzuki. Voice cast includes Mamoru Miyano, Hiro Shimono, Atsuko Tanaka and Kōji Yusa. Twelve 24-minute episodes. Colour.

Based on the Manga AKKA: Jūsan-ku Kansatsu-ka ["ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept"] by Natsume Ono, this Anime is set in the Kingdom of Dowa, a bird-shaped continent comprising thirteen states managed by the local offices of a centralized agency called ACCA, set up a century ago to maintain stability after a period of violent unrest. Dowa is a constitutional monarchy, with real power held by ACCA's "Five Chief Officers", who are concerned about rumours of a planned coup d'état (see Politics). These fears are not unfounded: the much-loved King is old and the only male heir is Prince Schwann (Miyano), a spoilt brat, who wants to turn Dowa into an absolute monarchy by closing ACCA; the prospect of Prince Schwann as King leads others to consider revolution.

The story centres on the steadfastly impassive Jean Otus (Shimono), second-in-command of ACCA's Inspection Department, which audits the local offices for corruption. Jean is touring the states and notices that he seems to be the centre of attention both locally and centrally, which baffles him – he considers himself a comparative nobody (though, save for the death of his parents in a train crash, his life seems to have been well-favoured). Mauve (Tanaka), the Director-General of ACCA, discovers that Jean is the true heir to the throne [for Hidden Monarch see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]: Prince Schwann also learns he is no longer first in line and tries to provoke Jean's assassination, but the attempt fails.

Mauve finds that Lilium (Yusa) – one of the Five Chief Officers – plans to use Jean's ascension to enable his home state, Furawau, to politically dominate Dowa. Just as the coup is on the brink of succeeding, Mauve calmly nips it in the bud (with Jean's compliance), getting the deflated Prince Schwann to confirm ACCA will continue to run the country, leaving him a figurehead and allowing Jean to retain his preferred anonymity. The Five Chief Officers resign, acknowledging Mauve's superiority, making her head of ACCA.

Each state is different, often with a recognizable inspiration such as Middle-East, Native American or New York; variations include Suitsu, where nobles enforce a nineteenth-century French culture; Jumōku, where the average height is 2.15 metres and crops are giant too; Kororē is a matriarchy (see Feminism) and in Pranetta everyone lives Underground in an immense cavern – the heat is such that is the population only go outside at dusk. How such diverse societies in such close proximity fail to blend implies a degree of Cultural Engineering on the part of ACCA.

Despite pacing problems ACCA is an interesting, atypical anime, focusing on political intrigue and travelogue. Those looking for the excitement usually generated by romance or action have to make do with the passions displayed for food, most characters being infatuated with breads and cake. An OVA film, ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept. – Regards (2020), was later released.[SP]


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