Okay, quick detour, but before we get into the nitty gritty of this, can we take a moment to appreciate just how great this opening is?
From the visuals to the music, everything just syncs up so pleasingly, I can’t help but love it. Hell, if the entire show had just been garbage after this, I would have been upset sure, but I could have gotten over it if only for the existence of this OP.
Luckily, I don’t have to get over anything, because this show is really good, with the potential to be great.
ACCA 13 takes place in the fictional country of Dowa, which just so happens to be shaped like a bird. (and isn’t that just adorable) The show focuses on Jean Otus, the Second in Command of, what essentially, seems to be an Internal Affairs office that covers all facets of the Dowa government.
The challenge here, one needs to assume, is in how it goes about establishing its world, and for the first 2 minutes, it does such a good job. Little tidbits are simply mentioned as asides, Jean’s title as “Cigarette Peddler Jean” and a random citizen making note that smoking is a rich person past time as Jean lights up in the middle of a crowd. It’s all really organic, and then it shoots itself in the foot by dropping the line “As you know…”
Plenty of people before me have railed against the “As you know” method of exposition, and I’m hardly original in the statement that it’s an absolutely godawful way of giving your audience information, but regardless, the show picks itself back up after the fall and continues on to be a really damn charming watch.
And as charming as the rest of this show is, which is not something I thought I’d ever be saying about a show focussing on an Internal Affairs focussed show, that initial exposition dump is disappointing because everything else has show of the season painted about it, but off of this one episode, I can’t reasonably say that. You know what I can say though? This show has some great character design, cribbing from the Fullmetal Alchemist school of character design, even the background characters have a striking (If not memorable) appearance, which helps really drive home just how good the main and supporting cast looks.
Also the cinematography is really well done, although I suppose that’s to be expected being that this is Studio Madhouse, and if there’s one thing Madhouse knows how to do well, it’s setting a shot. Two in particular really stand out, the first is a slow pan off of our main dude, Jean, talking to one of the Section Chiefs during an audit. He’s opened a briefcase to show off a whole bunch of catalogues to this guy, and I guess that the internet is used completely differently in this universe as it seems these catalogues are to be a gift.
But while these two are talking, the camera slowly pulls back from the two, through the clear glass of the bosses office to reveal his own Second in Command looking into the office just as baffled as we are, and I really, really dig that kind of shit.
With zero dialogue, the show establishes that no, this isn’t just a quirk of the universe, a gag for the sake of having a gag, everyone else finds this just as weird as you do and its more involved in character building than in anything else. Which I just love.
The second is a lot more simple, Jean gets home and goes to light up a cigarette, at which point his sister says to go outside and smoke.
So he goes up to the roof, lights up and while the shot is simply him centred in the shot, with a grey sky above him. Nothing too impressive, but its the fact that for as long as they keep him on the roof, he’s wearing a poncho and for the majority of the 10 second scene, its mostly wide shots, showing Jean at a distance, and the poncho is meticulously animated in each shot. Even when they go in for the single close shot, they keep the animation going on the poncho and it’s just, the best thing.
Although I want to gush a little harder about everything in this show, I don’t particularly want to spoil it, because I do think that this is one of the better shows on offer this season and a strong contender for show of the season if it stays as strong as it did outside of that god awful exposition dump at the beginning.
Did I mention the gorgeous animation? Because daddy, yes! 8/10, We would have been looking at my first 9/10 for the season if not for that exposition dump.
C’mon Episode 2, Be Better, Please.