Yeah, I know. I said I wasn’t gonna be doing OP reviews anymore. But, damn, when a good one comes along, a good one comes along. Besides, as TWWK pointed in the comments for my review of ACCA on Monday, this really is a great OP.
Yes, I read the comments. It’s finding time to reply that’s the obstacle. I love my tablet for allowing me to stay connected anywhere, but I’m old, so typing with the virtual keyboard is really hard for me. I also don’t like to text. I’m a writer. I like a physical keyboard, that makes clicking sounds, and has that tactile feel of the keys being depressed.
Also, yes, I am getting really old. Kinda sucks, actually. Can’t do anything about it, but point out modern music mostly sucks ass, and remind people I use to play in an actual sandbox, not one in a video game.
That is going nowhere anyone care about, because you’re all probably younger than me, and have started calling me grandpa, so let’s move on to the thing that is interesting, this excellent OP.
One of the things I love about a really good OP, for those who have forgotten me saying it on a weekly basis for over a year, is how it sells the show in a way that makes you excited to watch it. More than reminding you who the characters are by flashing them across the screen, a good OP needs to engage as a thematic teaser to the concept of the series.
Which, ACCA does really, really well.
Right away, there’s that clever slide from a castle, to a modern city skyline, that sets the stage for the various cultural differences between the districts. It flows nicely into a scene of Jean, Nino, and Lotta, establishing one of the most important character dynamics in the series.
It also takes a moment to point out that baked goods are super important to the people in this series. Like, this is a thing that people get into. Damizelle knows what I’m talking about here. Baked goods, and sweets, are a major thing in the world of ACCA. I dunno why, but it is, and that does serve as sort of a cross cultural tie. In any district, baking is a thing, and it gives people, no matter where they are from, a common bond, that serves to build friendships, and alliances, that do become a major aspect of the story.
We get told that jet aircraft and modern vehicles are a thing in this world, as well as that cigarettes are going to play a major role in the plot, which they absolutely do. We also get some pretty interesting visuals that allow us to know a bit about the various major characters in the show. Nino’s motorcycle and camera, the latter of which is an incredibly important aspect of his character. The five senior officers, and how their district, and their culture, influences them, and their personalities in a major way. All of which matters.
Mauve and the acca bird is a favorite piece of mine. She gains so much information through the show by listening to what ‘little birds’ tell her, and her dedication to ACCA, named for a bird species, both play to this in a really clever visual.
Some more well designed character stills, that flow really nicely from one to the next, leading to a scene of Jean running, as Nino’s glasses fall past him. That… damn, that’s just a clever piece of visual work. It always seemed neat to me until the full story of Nino is revealed, and then it just becomes a brilliant tease.
Also like the drop of water forming the crown. Another nice tease that works to the rather odd nature of the Dowo family, and how Jean is involved in the coup. It’s visually interesting, and is a major spoiler, but it doesn’t actually say anything. As soon as you know there’s a plot for a coup, it seems to tie back to that, which is also a nice bit of misdirection.
Honestly, though, the painting, almost art deco style of character stills, that the camera pans through so seamlessly, is probably my absolute favorite thing about this. It subtly states that not everyone is who they seem, and suggests that these people all have connections we don’t know yet, while also being just an amazing piece of animation. I love this so much. I watched the OP every episode for this.
Then, after all the brilliant use of color through the whole thing,a black and white bit of Jean lighting up, and joining Nino and Lotta. The absence of color here says so much. Jean sees things in black and white terms, and that is something he is going to have to deal with if he’s going to protect his friends, and family. It is very much his biggest weakness, and his greatest strength. What’s good for the people, is ACCA, but ACCA itself has corruption running through it, and in this chess game, he’s a pawn, that doesn’t know he’s a pawn. Once he figures it out, he’s still a pawn, but he has a chance to checkmate the game.
It really is just a brilliant OP, and does some great things with visuals, color use, and camera work. Of course, the music is every bit as brilliant, and the perfect song to carry you into this show.
Shadow And Truth, by One III Note, has this awesome jazz feel to it, but mixes that with some fresh hip hop lyrics, before transiting into a what I can only describe as swing, and it feels really classic. Japanese musicians have been playing around with fusion music for a while now, some to forgettable results, but other to really spectacular ends, and this one, I have to call great.
I never would have thought hip hop and swing could mix so well, but here, they do. What makes it work for ACCA, is that the show is big on cultural identity, but also how cultures do mix and mingle, to produce something new. Using Shadow And Truth for the theme song sells this, as well, and while we all know many anime studios are paid to promote whoever is big on the music scene these days, seeing something blend this well is just beautiful. It actively speaks to the nature of the series, balances perfectly to the visuals, and creates a little mini-movie all on it’s own.
That’s just amazing. Kudos to Madhouse for really nailing this one.
Like I said, when something great comes along, well, I can’t help but revive a an old trend here to talk about it. I’m nostalgic that way. Check out the OP for ACCA below, while I go play in my sandbox.