“Where the Bird Flies”
The Five chiefs decide to begin the coup during the ACCA centennial celebration, hoping to use the occasion to arrest Prince Schwann. Though they want to force Schwann’s abdication shortly after arresting him, Jean requests a small change to the plan. Will he follow Lilium, or does he intend to carry out his own agenda?
Over the course of the season, ACCA became a rather intricate show. It strung along threads like Dowa’s succession, Lilium’s plans for control, ACCA’s future place, and Jean’s true motives, with such careful tedium that viewers couldn’t be sure until the end how these questions could be answered. It’s fortunate then, and impressive, that this episode so masterfully laid it all to rest.
The direction taken in the main twist during Schwann’s speech was surprising, but when considering everything at stake it was perhaps the only way things could be resolved in such a concise yet complete way. Removal of the Prince would have caused an upheaval no matter what form it took, and understanding how Jean would have handled the throne would be difficult to cover in half an episode. It would certainly demand an exploration beyond a closing shot of him with the crown.
I had mentioned to someone on WordPress that this could take several different directions, including Jean throwing his support behind Schwann, but I had no idea at the time how likely that was. In the end, keeping the status quo (or close enough to it) was the most practical approach, and our cool inspector is nothing if not practical.
Of course, an ending like this also reflects the way this show has presented itself all throughout the season. An embittered policeman is quietly let off the hook for theft. An uprising in an oppressed district ends without a single casualty on either side. In a world where guns exist, we only see one person get shot. It stands to reason then that turning Lilium’s devious game against him goes off without any dramatic flair (but not without theatrics!).
The only price for such an elegant ending was Schwann’s somewhat forced declaration that he supports ACCA’s continued operation. When every plot that the organization took part in was predicated on the rumor that they would be disbanded, this was an all too easy out to resolve their major challenge. Still, Mauve’s speech was designed to earn his trust do that he could be poised to earn theirs, and I respect the spirit of that.
Aside from this one point, all the small things they did to tie this series together gave it the satisfying feelings viewers hoped for from its conclusion. From Lotta’s continued friendship with Magie and Scwann, to the reveal of who Abend was, and of course the reunion between Nino and Jean. ACCA didn’t need to be the story of a daring coup designed to put one man on the throne to be riveting. It was exciting enough to see the path that he took, and how he managed to safeguard everything he valued despite the pressures placed on him.
– A complete and satisfying conclusion. I couldn’t have asked for better from this series.
– Abend’s reveal was great. I never suspected him, though Kimmie did!
– The animation in this show was never excellent, and the heavy reliance on sparsely detailed still shots are uncharacteristic of a finale.
In keeping with the gradual pace displayed all season, it isn’t too surprising that the finale unfolded in the same slow, but steady tone. To be fair, ACCA didn’t need to rely on blood pumping action to execute a thrilling narrative. Carefully timed reveals and intricately woven plot threads culminated into a suspenseful series that kept the audience engaged until the very end.
After enduring Lilium’s pompous behavior and scheming, degrading ways, witnessing his meticulous plan unravel just as he was about to take center stage (literally) was pure satisfaction. It is also revealed that Mauve and Jean were planning to align ACCA with Schwan (and thus keep him on the throne) from the moment she revealed Jean’s royal bloodline. Well played!
For what it’s worth, ACCA achieved something that far too many series fail to do– it wraps up any loose story threads. After losing any hope of leveraging their resources against the kingdom, Lilium, and the Furawau district retaliates against the failed coup by withdrawing from the united districts.
Jean and Lotta’s royal bloodline remained secreted from the public, allowing them to continue their low-key existence. Speaking of royal bloodlines, while I found Lotta’s willingness to forgive her aunt’s murder plot a stretch, it is befitting of her innocent nature. The epilogue even goes so far as to show the two royal cousins (Schwan and Lotta) sharing pastries together. How sweet (pun intended).
Viewers also witness what becomes of the poorer districts of Pranetta and Suitsu, as they begin to thrive under the combined leadership of Prince Schwan and ACCA. Oh and remember Biscuit? He is running to be the District rep of Suitsu!
With district representation nixed, Mauve takes over as the singular, unified voice for the remaining 12 factions. Oh! The Otus family benefactor is finally revealed. Turns out Abend is mustache (Oulu)! He dyed his hair, grew a fancy facial accessory and tada! I called it!
With an engaging cast of characters and intriguing narrative, ACCA is the type of anime that will leave viewers in suspense until the end. Though the slow pacing and the “soft” resolution isn’t for everyone, the carefully planned execution and intriguing plot twists made the series worthwhile for me.
– Absolutely brilliant in both pacing and reveals. Truly engaging until the very end.
– Mauve represents a powerful, intelligent, positive female role model in anime; sans gender stereotypes and fanservice.
– Especially for being the finale, the animation was stagnant at times.
This post is part of our seasonal episodic review series. To view all the posts in this series, click the following link: Viewing Part