Shows with clever protagonists tread a thin line, and more often than not, live and die by just how intelligent the character is overall. If it’s done right, the lead character could not only be particularly insightful, but also serve as a way to delicately explore the world in which they live in. However, should such a story make the character too smart, it’ll most likely be the case that the narrative will be boring based on the element of predictability. The way to keep this in check is to have the character have a glaring weakness of some sort. Thankfully, ACCA is a show that realizes this issue, with this episode focusing largely on setting up the context for Jean’s weakness as we discover just what makes him take tick.
ACCA continues constructing a world deeply rooted in cynicism, beginning the episode with the explanation of the Dowa Kingdom’s tumultuous past. In the past, twelve districts united and attempted a coup d’etat. The old king was a peaceful man, so he held talks with district officials, which inevitably led to the autonomy of each district to successfully weatherthe storm that was on the horizon. Strangely enough, we learn that ACCA is the name of some bird considered to be the symbol of peace that has long since been extinct, quite clearly hinting at the impending unrest that will inevitably befall this story. This explanation takes backstage to the events that are unraveling around Jean. And to be honest, I’m far more interested in Jean than the actual world itself. While it’s important to know the history of the world, that’s not what makes the show interesting for me. Jean could be living in a potato world for all I care. I’m more invested in figuring out his emotional state and perception of the world around him, which is proof to just how well ACCA has done so far in making him an interesting character. Nonetheless, Jean’s mind was in another place during the opening bits of the episode. For some reason or another, he was very visibly distraught by something.
As Jean talks to one of his coworkers, he discovered a tobacco store has been robbed leading him to investigate what exactly happened. Jean runs into Agent Rail, who beat him to the punch. Not only that, he ends up taking the tobacco from the robber for himself, carelessly smoking away as Jean arrives to the scene. Now, there’s something to be said about this scene all together. While Jean already reveals what we know about his character in that he’s quite smart, we also see that Agent Rail has the capacity to be just as adept at his surroundings. Jean pieces everything together, realizing that Rail has taken his lighter to possibly set him up as an arsonist. Much like Jean, Agent Rail has a glaring weakness in that his immaturity and thirst for progression gets the best of him. In actuality, Agent Rail had the potential to go far, but after being burned a few times, he’s decided to get his petty revenge on the upper-class who control him. Agent Rail tells us his sob story about how he was forced into a department he didn’t like because of higher ups, explaining his resentment. For someone who so desperately wanted it all and failed, he views Jean as his mortal enemy. He believes Jean to be the symbol of everything he’s ever wanted. However, Jean reveals how much of a fool he is for thinking so. He corrects Agent Rail by telling him just how much he isn’t well off, citing poor wages and lack of connections.
This series seems to have quite the clever cast of characters, with everyone attempting to get some sort of leverage on each other. The Chief Officers, Nino, Jean, and Agent Rail are all playing at some sort of cat and mouse game with each other. This leads us to uncovering what makes Jean tick, with his visible agitation when he can’t piece things together. He doesn’t like loose ends and he won’t feel at ease until he ties it all together. Eventually, Jean realizes he’s being followed and divulges the information to his only reliable friend, Nino. This is when things get specifically complicated, revealing Jean’s blind spot. There’s a lot more going on in the background. The Chief Officers are keeping tabs on Jean. Much like Jean doesn’t trust his subordinates, the Chief Officers don’t trust him. And ironically, for how skeptical he is, it seems as though he lets his guard down for those closest to him. The Chief Officers are very aware of this, with Grossular using Nino as an insider to spy on Jean. I do have a hard time believing someone as smart as Jean is completely unsuspicious. After all, this guy has pieced together clues from trivial things such as a 5-minute discrepancy in a log. There’s just no way he doesn’t have any idea. We’ll have to see how things play out.
The episode itself is interesting, but we still have yet to really see what the Chief Officer Grossular’s deal is with Jean. Even so, we get just enough information to keep us engaged. Also, while it’s good that Jean has some sort of character flaw, I find it hard to believe that someone of the intellectual capacity of Jean’s would foolishly let his guard down, especially considering he devotes his life to seeking objective truths. We’ll have to see if Jean knows more than he lets on. Nonetheless, I’m excited to see what comes next. It’s worth noting, there were a lot of pretty, vibrant scenes in this one. The flashback into Jean’s past when meeting Nino stood out in particular. It felt almost Shaft-esque with the blue contour lines against the equally blue background.
— Palpable (`･ω･´)