“Smoldering Embers in an Isolated Nation”
Jean’s audit schedule has him traveling to the District of Suitsu, a region removed from the rest of Dōwā kingdom for the benefit of preserving tradition. After being captured by a growing resistance movement, who accuse him of overhearing vital information, Jean learns that a coup is forming in Suitsu in outrage over being denied modern conveniences and restrictions on travel.
Started as yet another routine audit, Jean’s visit to Suitsu was a bit of a change of pace from the normal fare in ACCA, from both a visual and content standpoint. Cut off from the rest of the country as a matter of policy, Suitsu’s tendency to seem like a whole different country adds to the self contained feeling of this episode. Talk of the coup which was so prevalent before, as well as Jean’s involvement in it, is barely brought up aside from a few small moments throughout the episode. Doing so lets the show to assure us that it hasn’t forgotten the overarching story, but at the same time explore another facet of it without feeling too far outside the established direction.
Like most branch leads facing an audit, Warbler has no fondness for Jean, but through conversation we learn that he has been in Suitsu for quite some time. His long assignment, though unorthodox, is seen as necessary given the district’s unique need for a strong relationship with the locals. These facts, along with his thinly veiled resentment toward Jean were a good setup to show why Warbler might be concerned about an audit.
If Jean is a quiet genius, he does a good job of hiding it as he falls, seemingly unwittingly, into the middle of the district’s own coup. His nonchalant handling of the situation when he’s captured is something to be admired, as Jean quickly determines the that the people don’t wish to harm him in their quest to reform the district. Repaying their consideration after the coup fails by seeing that rebels are released conveys diplomatic tact in giving the people and Suitsu’s leadership what they want, if only by compromising his duties a little.
As well as the story about Suitsu’s politics captures the viewer’s attention, small developments in the ‘main’ story may be missed. The quick exchange at the beginning of the episode between Nino and Lotta reveals that the person who owns the building Jean acts as the landlord of may be Nino’s secret contact. Additionally, the possible source of Jean’s cigarettes and the Prince’s interest in Lotta make for plenty of intriguing material to take the series forward.
– Suitsu serves as a sort of alternate Dōwā, modelling the way things might proceed outside if the coup is to take place
– Jeans personality seems more charming this time, as his detached nature gives way to subdued empathy.
– I don’t find anything substantial to complain about this week
This week Jean travels to the tiny district of Suitsu to continue his rigorous audit schedule. The old fashioned culture maintained in Suitsu stands in stark contrast to the splendid Dōwā palace and surrounding area. Despite the picturesque village Suitsu is painted as, their citizens live in poverty. As expected, the villagers are enraged from being denied modern conveniences and banned from traveling outside the region.
A coup has risen up against the current congressman over the Suitsu district, Beurre. Viewers learn that Beurre was once a commoner who managed to reach a position of power through vowing to enact change in Suitsu. Once elected, however, he left the area and rarely returns. The coup is led by an ACCA supervisor, Warbler, who has been posted in Suitsu for four years. If there was ever a notion that Dōwā is a relatively peaceful kingdom, this destroys it.
When I first realized that ACCA 13 had added a second coup to the plot, I was concerned that the multilayered political aspects would become overwhelming. This series, however, seems to consistently find ways to handle the complex details in a sensible, relevant way. For example, instead of being forced to follow two separate threads involving uprisings against superiors, the secondary coup was quashed by end of this episode. It doesn’t mean that the activities of this secondary coup will not contribute to the main plot arc. After all, Suitsu’s congressman, Beurre, deserves some sort of comeuppance for keeping his people in poverty, while enjoying a comfortable lifestyle.
On a more positive note, if there was ambiguity surrounding Jean’s moral character before, this episode puts those reservations to rest. While Jean is in a position to report the coup activities to his superiors, he decides to remain silent. He negotiates with Suitsu’s chief director to see that the revolutionaries detained from the uprising are released and manipulates some details to allow Warbler to remain at his post in Suitsu.
Despite my initial hesitation, ACCA 13 appears to be getting better with each episode. I’m intrigued to see how Jean will handle the rest of the activities surrounding the coup. The fact that this reserved, monotone inspector silently threatens people with his mere presence is fascinating. Even the military leader of Suitsu remarked, “You don’t want to make Jean Otus mad..” Seriously, what sort of secret James Bond superhero are we dealing with?
– Jean is basically James Bond wrapped in the most plain packaging ever.
– Development of supporting characters
– Pacing of series may not be for everyone
This post is part of our seasonal episodic review series. To view all the posts in this series, click the following link: Viewing Part