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branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
[personal profile] branchandroot
Now that the Winter anime season is completed, it's time to recommend things! My biggest winner from the past season is ACCA.

ACCA is, first of all, a single-season show, so the plotting is very tight and moves along briskly, and, most importantly, does not leave you hanging with ep 12 howling "what do you /mean/ I have to wait a year for the resolve?!".

It's also gratifyingly subtle. It starts out looking a little like a police procedural, but takes an immediate turn into complex mystery and politics. The setting is a country (or, more accurately, a federation) divided into twelve districts with country-type autonomy. The regulatory body that keeps an eye on government and trade in this situation, is ACCA, of which our protagonist is a member.

There's plenty of lovely world-building, and there are times you might wonder if the story is getting lost in an exploration of the twelve (very distinct) districts, but all of that exploration turns out to tie smoothly right back into the plot. Which is that there is a plot afoot! There is, we hear, a coup detat in the offing. Who is behind it, who is participating, and exactly what our protagonist's part in all this is, is revealed only slowly.

The reveals are actually my favorite part of this show. Every time, there are red herrings that lead you to the wrong conclusion, but there are also clues provided just enough in advance for you to figure it out and have the pleasure of having guessed right when the truth comes out. In addition, each truth, while feeling solid and satisfying, only reveals another layer of the plotting.

My next favorite part is probably the romance. Because, while there's quite a bit of romance floating around, every single romantic relationship is either torpedoed by revealed genetic relationships or else explicitly identified as one-sided. You know the thing a lot of manga and anime do, where the epilogue is years later and shows you the romantic relationships neatly tied up in marriages? ACCA flips that. The last episode features several romantic pairs saying in so many words to one another "I know it's one sided, don't worry" or words to that effect. I grinned for a /week/ on the power of that alone.

By contrast, the most obvious slash pairing ends with significant hand contact, which did make my heart go pitter pat a bit, because really, you barely need your slash colored goggles with these two. My word, romantic pairings should /hope/ to see that kind of devotion.

And, of course, my thoroughgoing favorite thing is our protagonist, who is mild and unassuming and who you really, really do not want to make angry because he will, calmly and quietly and without collateral damage, raze your entire life's work, social standing, and political capital down to the ground. Such a delightful boy. One of the best twists of the whole story revolves around his nature, and it's his nature that makes the red herring so convincing. Wonderful writing.

This is definitely one I recommend watching, ideally on a weekend when you can marathon the whole series and delight in the unfolding of it all.
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