[Meta context: First published on July 6th 2017, this post…has its context explained in the header. It is edited slightly for consistency. You can find it on Tumblr here.]
WordPress is the one place that’s been getting me off my lazy butt in writing these longer articles, and after bringing this up with Scott from Mechanical Anime Reviews, here’s a rundown of why ACCA doesn’t fit the exact space of Kado and vice versa.
Note: there are some allusions to events in both shows, but there are no actual spoilers.
It’s a fairly obvious comparison that a sci-fi political show can’t match a more dramatic political show due to the divergence of focus.
Another obvious point. Kado’s use of Houdini, Maya and Unity to create an otherworldly effect is something that cannot be done by hand. On the other hand, things like the ACCA ED wouldn’t be possible in CGI.
Again, an obvious point. The world of ACCA is one we don’t know but based on a world we do know, but the world of Kado is one we do know…until we step into the world of the anisotropic.
Suspense and Rise/Fall of Action
Kado has a lot of end of episode (or even mid-episode!) hooks that make you bite at the bit for the next ep. I do recall two of the end-of-episode hooks were fairly similar and ep 0 bleeds straight into ep 1, to the point of recycled content. However, ACCA spends so much time world building, it could count as almost a navel gazing state – regardless of how pretty it is, you can only tell there are stakes starting at around episode 4 and then you don’t see them much until ep 11 (although lack of musical cues may have biased me there).
ACCA’s use of mostly browns and yellows tend to contrast Kado’s more varied use of colour. Think of any given shot in ACCA and chances are you’ll get a “warm” main colour while Kado often uses the contrast between dull ordinary colours like blue-grey and bright maroon-red to attract attention to the latter. The latter is of course, one of zaShunina’s associated colours.
Foreshadowing and Pacing
Regardless of what you think of Kado’s ending, you have to admit by the standards of storytelling, Kado did do a good job of foreshadowing everything properly enough. An example of this would be the king from the storybook, which inspires zaShunina’s “too many belts” outfit.
Aside from some of the pacing points mentioned in the “action” section above, it was noted by Scott the first episode of Kado was so perfect, the writing would be hard to maintain. Noting episode 9 and everything past that, he was right. In comparison, the way ACCA ended (in particular) seemed poorly paced compared to the rest of the show, which could be attributed to anywhere along the anime production line. However, the twist in the middle of ACCA was foreshadowed by the absence of Jean and Lotta’s parents, as well as Nino’s constant actions that seemed to go against his position as Jean’s friend.
Both originally were seen as “high-pedigree” anime due to their staff/studios (Natsume Shingo and Madhouse on ACCA, Toei Animation and Kazuya Murata on Kado – those are probably the biggest examples), but Kado’s episode 9 twist means that people now call it somewhere between “average” (if they believed it to be greatness) to “a big pile of disappointment” (if they thought it to be average or worse).
ACCA, however, did manage to be more consistent in how it was received, judging from the places I’ve checked. It did have a twist in the middle, but while that did change the course of the plot’s actions, regardless of whether people saw the twist coming or not, ACCA’s atmosphere of constant plotting behind the scenes made sure that it handled the twist better than Kado did.
At their core, ACCA and Kado are political anime and the more their differences are pointed out, the more similar they seem to become, which is why this list was much harder to type than it should have been. Then again, that’s why shows should be judged on their merits, not merely on comparisons to one another.
If you’ve seen the two shows, what do you think about how they were handled? Sound off in the comments.