ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Department by Natsume Ono
The Kingdom of Dowa is subdivided into thirteen autonomous states, all of which coexist peacefully. Or do they? Jean Otus finds himself in the middle of a country-wide coup, and he doesn’t even know it. Or does he? And with all thirteen districts renowned for their unique snacks, only one food can reign supreme. Or can it?
Independent civilian agency ACCA keeps an eye on the workings of each section of Dowa’s kingdom. With an impending coronation assumed, a power struggle is bubbling just below the surface. As vice-chairman of the Inspection Department, basically internal affairs, Jean often travels for business, crisscrossing the thirteen territories. Gaining the nickname The Cigarette Peddler for his love of the now-extravagant luxury good, Jean finds himself in possession of many unique cigarettes over the course of the series, but just what is their significance? The Chief Officers of ACCA have their suspicions about Jean, but they also have their own agendas.
Jean seems to look at the world with an all-knowing gaze. He has a quiet charm with a dry sense of humor, is a thoughtful big brother, and has an appreciation for all types of bread. But he is also a character who plays his cards very close to the vest. Part of the fun of the series is trying to figure out just how much he actually knows. Which in turn makes me questioning whether I really know anything for sure, not because ACCA is confusing, but because it is quiet and subtle.
ACCA is a refreshing political thriller that seamlessly integrates cuisine and comedy among the intrigue. I am just as likely to remember the conspiracies, royal secrets, and double (triple?) agents, as I am the office politics, attentions paid to sandwich breads, and thwarted romances.