Winter 2017 First Impressions: ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept. – Episode 01 Review

The ACCA organisation spans across all thirteen districts of the Dowa Kingdom.  Jean Otus, the vice chairman of ACCA’s Inspection Department, has the responsibility of travelling across the republic to make sure that everything is running smoothly and stamp out corruption.  However, not everybody within the organisation is so happy about the continued existence of the Inspection Department.  Will the coming intrigue and turmoil be enough make Jean’s job less tedious?

It’s hard to get a clear idea of how this series is going to shake out from the first episode alone.  We meet a lot of characters, each with their own hidden agenda, which gives me hopes that there will be some political and ideological intrigue coming up.  Due to the nature of Jean’s job it is likely that we will get to see more of the thirteen districts as well – this excites me because I felt that Jean’s travels were one of the more interesting aspects of the episode due to the added potential for varied settings.  However, there wasn’t a lot of overarching plot mapped out here which could be a concern if it isn’t addressed in the second episode either.

As fascinated as I am by the world that ACCA: 13 Territory Inspection Dept. is set in, it’s apparent that some of the worldbuilding in this episode was a bit clunky.  There are times, especially during the first half of the episode, where exposition is delivered in a clunky, “as you know…” style, which is an unimaginative way of communicating information to the viewer at the best of times.  In some ways it’s a necessary evil if they wanted to avoid an info-dump during the first few minutes but I hope that we will see more subtlety in later episodes.

I’m most impressed by the show’s strong visual style.  Based on a manga by Natsume Ono, the series has a distinct art style that sets it apart from other anime that are currently airing.  I’m a big fan of the character designs; the unique eyes especially stand out to me and all of the characters look appealing.  The production values are generally high and Madhouse are clearly putting plenty of effort in to make sure that ACCA will be a visual treat.

Although we don’t know a lot about the characters yet I’m excited to see how they develop as the series progresses.  I’m a fan of Jean as a protagonist – he’s hypercompetent, yes, but his boredom and dissatisfaction with how his life is going is very relatable flaw to me.  I too have been stuck in a tedious and repetitive job – one that I was very good at, but one that didn’t stretch me mentally all the same, and I stuck with it for longer than I should have.  Although the rest of the cast haven’t had a lot of time to shine yet I’m confident for now that they will be handled well.

Ultimately it’s hard to rate this first episode.  There’s so much that we don’t know yet and can’t guess at.  There is one distinct advantage that ACCA has though: its source material is already completed, so it’s likely that we will get a whole story rather than being left with hanging threads at the end of the season, waiting for a sequel that will never come.  So far I have enjoyed what I’ve seen and am excited to see more – hopefully the show won’t let me down.

8/10

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