ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept. is continuing its deeply intricate mystery spiral, with more levels of intrigue every episode. Let us take a step back and try to look at the broader picture here.
ACCA is supposed to be an agency designed to keep the thirteen regions of the Dowa kingdom under check, and protect the stability of the nation. In other words, its mission is to “keep the peace.”
But what does “peace” mean in this context?
[This article contain major spoilers for ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept.]
As the deputy head of the inspection agency ACCA, Jean Otus is currently undergoing a tour of each of the thirteen localities. It soon becomes apparent that tensions are building in each of the districts.
The role of the ACCA is generally to keep the peace, but each episode really tries to push the nuance that “peace” simply means “the status quo.” A number of rumors for various coups d’etat are floating around and some are even quashed and kept secret from the headquarters.
It is a testament to how a surveillance state can be so full of paranoia: The watchers are being watched, and the tension in the air is palpable. At first glance, everything seems peaceful and normal. Storekeepers and market stall owners go about their business as usual, bakers prepare bread–apparently the staple food of the thirteen regions–and cakes for their clientele, et cetera; life goes on. However, various rumors abound that there is an imminent coup d’etat in the brewing.
The peace is a delicate thing hanging by a thin thread ready to snap at any moment. Some examples of quasi-conspiracies are beginning to paint a picture of a nation which is silently approaching boiling-point.
To begin with, we have the internal machinations within ACCA itself. Jean Otus, the vice-chairman of the inspections department at ACCA headquarters, is himself seen as a target by a faction of the higher-ups within the ACCA organization. Some, like Grossular, believe that Jean is involved in a potential coup, and while not everyone seems to agree, they keep him under close watch.
In spite of this, ACCA General Manager Mauve takes Jean to one side and tells him about the possibility of a separate potential coup d’etat, asking him to report his findings on his travels directly to her, all off the record.
Next, you have the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Dowa, Prince Schwan, who is biding his time for a power grab of his own. Prince Schwan expected the King to announce his abdication of the throne, thus making him the de-facto leader of the Kingdom, and he would use that opportunity to disband ACCA as one of his first orders in power. However, the King made no such allusions and remained in power, much to the Prince’s chagrin. That does not dissuade him much, however, and he sends out his assistant to investigate Jean’s sister, Lotte, apparently out of interest, but perhaps something more.
Image source: TVアニメ『ACCA13区監察課』公式 on Twitter
Lastly, the territory of Suitsu, reminiscent of an Amish community in the sense that it has apparently remained mostly outside of the sphere of influence of the industrial revolution, with very little modern technology incorporated into society. The people are staging a coup of their own and plan to revolt with the help of some ACCA members who are sympathetic to their cause. Jean is captured and learns of this but chooses not to report it to the higher-ups.
With every journey, he (and we, the viewers) grows more aware of restlessness and quiet anxiety under the guise of stability.
Image source: TVアニメ『ACCA13区監察課』公式 on Twitter
What we have here, then, is a hodgepodge of various regions with some apparent gaps in the framework of regional stability with regards to balances of power and economic interdependence. The region of Suitsu in particular, with its tight restrictions, is clearly bound by a form of isolationist policy that some may view as a necessary implementation to protect regional cultural traditions. Others, however, may see this as the cause behind stagnation, allowing the area to fall into poverty, and one way out of this mire is to embrace their unique culture and own rules, inciting the feeling that they have every right to be an independent country. Rifts then begin to escalate due to this difference in ideology.
At the end of the day, we are coming to the realization that the “peace” that ACCA is meant to protect is not much more than a stabilization measure, a careful holding pattern meant to maintain the status quo. It is not a peaceful or an ideal society; it is not a well-governed utopia. It is instead, a complex interwoven system of mutually-agreed concessions. I refrain from making specific real-world analogies, but of course, many areas around the world are struggling with similar political turmoil. ACCA can perhaps help us see these in a more objective light, instead of choosing sides.
ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept. is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.