Phoenix, Apollo, and Athena. All of them are names from ancient mythology: the phoenix is an immortal bird that burst into flames and resurrects itself from the ashes, much like Phoenix has done in many of his trials; Apollo was the god of justice, and in one story essentially became the world's first defence attorney; Athena is the name of the Greek goddess of wisdom (and, for extra points, her mother's name was Metis: the name of the original goddess of wisdom and mother of the mythological Athena).
It has been argued that the goddess Athena was responsible for inventing the Judiciary system in the first place. Quite fitting since her Defense Attorney namesake has the theme song of The Courtroom Revolutionnaire.
Miles Edgeworth. His first name is "soldier" in Latin, representing his new philosophy of fighting for the truth and his seven-year long crusade to end the Dark Age of the Law.
Franziska von Karma's name can be translated into meaning "free of bad karma". Despite her father's teaching, she is eventually able to escape his shadow and follow her own path- thus being unaffected by the bad karma invoked by her father's actions.
Obviously, Phoenix Wright and Miles Edgeworth as inverse Red Oni, Blue Oni counterparts; Phoenix as the Red Oni, who jumps into things without thinking sometimes and is outwardly passionate about his job, yet wears blue- and Miles as Blue Oni, cool tempered and initially callous, but wears red. Not only reflects their difference in personality, but sets them up more strongly as rivals in the beginning which later becomes something more along the lines of them being two sides of the same coin, as they begin to work together in court, especially during Matt Engarde's trial.
After being disbarred, Phoenix wears darker clothes, as seen in Apollo Justice, representing how far he seems to have fallen from the man he used to be, and how much darker and more underhand his approach and attitude is now. However, the hat he wears is the same bright blue shade as his old suit, and the writing the same colour as his tie, telling us that the old Phoenix is still here, just deferring to this more badass version of himself for now. The hat is likely a gift from his daughter (it does say "Papa"), and representing Trucy as a bright spot in his life who reminds him who he's doing this for.
Don't forget Trucy. She wears a similar outfit to her father Zak Gramarye and has followed in his footsteps as a magician- but she wears blue with a red scarf, much like her adopted daddy's former court wear.
Trucy is literally wearing her mother's stage costume from when she was still with the Gramarye troupe.
The von Karmas both wear a colour scheme of blue, white, slate grey and the occasional flash of gold; cold colours reflecting the cold and harsh way they operate and/or were raised, with a hint of grandeur. Also note that Franziska's colours are significantly lighter than her father's, and Phoenix's blue is a far warmer shade than both.
As mentioned above, Edgeworth subtly opposes both von Karmas in that respect in that he wears red, highlighting their subtle differences in practice once he gets his act together and starts pursuing the truth rather than the ideal of perfection.
Also, thanks to AAI:2, we know that Gregory Edgeworth's tie is the exact same shade of his son's suit when he becomes a prosecutor. Seems like even after becoming a 'disciple of von Karma', even if it was only subconsciously, Miles Edgeworth firmly remained his father's son.
In Dual Destinies when he returns as the now-Chief Prosecutor, his suit has additional hints of gold, representing his high rank.
The trio of lawyers at the Wright Anything Agency, as the three primary colours. Phoenix is blue, representing his role as mentor and the balance in the agency, with his red tie hinting at his reckless and emotionally-driven streak and the gold of his locket chain representing the hope he still holds onto, years after he became a lawyer. Apollo is red, representing his loud and brash attitude at the start of his game and his tendency to be driven by emotion at times, with his blue tie hinting at the sorrows he would also face. Athena is yellow, representing stubborn hope and happiness, matching her determined personality, with her blue tie hinting at the trauma of her past.
Winston Payne has had three different colours now. Why? Well, grey for when he was dull as dishwater and just a warm up for the real challenge, some sort of sickly yellow when he starts getting all cocky again and has delusions of fame and notability, and green during Mia Fey's time because he was the Rookie Killer- and a slang phrase for an amateur is green. That, or the designers really didn't care...
Maya and all of the other Fey acolytes wear purple, a colour traditionally associated with magic, the supernatural and royalty. And the Feys were considered highly respected before DL-6.
Morgan Fey, however, wears a black kimono with a hint of red in her sash, which symbolizes her less-than-sweet intentions for her niece. Her sister Misty, when she reappears, also wears black – but in this case it symbolizes secrecy more than malevolence, and has additional hints of purple, showing how much stronger her spiritual power was over Morgan's.
The Gavins. Kristoph wears dusky blue, which seems to almost be a recurring thing for defence attorneys, and highlights his kinship and friendship with Phoenix, as well as his renowned 'Coolest Defence in the West' demeanour. But notice that he wears a black waistcoat underneath. And it is really black. Represents the terrifying, malevolent darkness he's been hiding under a benevolent smile. Then take his little brother, Klavier, who wears a purple jacket – a colour of decadence and pride, very suitable for a relaxed rock-star prosecutor – along with a lot of black, which screams 'arrogant rival and not to be trusted'. However, Klavier is genuinely a nice guy who wants the right verdict to be given, rather than be obsessed with winning the way Kristoph is. The fact that he wears the black more openly makes him all that much more of a Foil to his brother – both of their appearances are deceptive at first glance.
Simon Blackquill and Bobby Fulbright have colour schemes of black and white, respectively, showing their stark contrast in personality and practice. However, the initial expectations from this are completely reversed by the end of the final case: Simon, while putting up a front of a malicious, remorseless criminal – hence his primarily black colour scheme – is actually honourable, kind, and fiercely loyal. "Bobby Fulbright", the phantom, wears white but is secretly a sociopathic spy who is willing to murder innocents indiscriminately. This can actually be translated as a clever metaphor: Simon hides his true self in darkness, knowing that most people will be too intimidated to delve any deeper. However, the phantom hides using light – like shining a bright light into someone's eyes, most people are too dazzled by his apparent dedication to justice that they can't see past it to his true self.
Taken Up to Eleven in Dual Destinies, where invariably one of the murderer's Villainous Breakdown scenes involves their appearance changing to reflect what's going on Beneath the Mask. Ted Tonate's goggles explode as he goes completely Ax-Crazy from his previous stoic smugness; Florent L'Belle loses his makeup and artificial hair coloring, developing a shabbier as how truly ass-deep in debt he now is occurs to him; Aristotle Means restyles his hair to be far more warlike when he decides to stop playing games and reveal himself for the Knight Templar he really is, then loses the teeth he flashes when he's disagreeing with someone as his arguments break down; and Phantom's Phoenix mask becomes a little loose fitting as he feels fear for the first time in a while, then begins to randomly switch when he has a full identity crisis. The only exception is Yuri Cosmos, who isn't a villain, but even his breakdown is an example – he messes up the controls on his segway, showing how he's utterly lost control of the situation and failed to prevent the explosion he was afraid of.
Of course von Karma grips his shoulder whenever Phoenix deals a blow to his logic. That's where nine year old Miles Edgeworth unknowingly/accidentally shot him during DL-6 – Miles Edgeworth, the son of the man who repeatedly dealt blows to his case during IS-7, and caused the penalty that ruined his perfect record. Every time someone points out a flaw in his ideas, especially defence attorneys, it reminds him of Gregory Edgeworth and IS-7/DL-6!
More like Fridge Logic, but during The Inherited Turnabout during AAI:2, von Karma's shocked sprite doesn't grip his shoulder. Of course – he hasn't been shot there yet.
And where does Franziska Von Karma get shot in the last case of Justice for All? The shoulder.
It's very common for the Cultural Translation of relocating the setting to Los Angeles to be mocked, considering all the obviously Japanese elements in the series, like Kurain Village and the Kitaki family. But Los Angeles is one of the best places to choose in the United States for the setting to make sense, considering it has the largest population of Japanese Americans in the country, and contains an entire Japanese cultural district.
Also, even with California's infamous car culture, LA does have a train station that does see a fair bit of use. And there are indeed mountains within two hours of the city.
There's a pretty neat Musical Spoiler that is this trope: Try listening to Florent L'Belle's theme, then listen to Luke Atmey's theme. They sound rather similar, no? Well, that makes sense; they're both self-centered, Ted Baxter-ish Large Ham characters. But how about this? Compare Atmey's theme to Masque*DeMasque/Ron DeLite's theme. Atmey's theme is based on DeMasque's, and Atmey at one point claims to be DeMasque, having disguised himself thusly to provide an alibi for the murder he committed. DeMasque, as played by Atmey, is a murderous thieving blackmailer who hid his identity behind a mask, a famous identity, that wasn't his. What was L'Belle again? Ah, yes. A murderous blackmailer and attempted thief who hid his identity behind the famous mask of another man. WHO it should be noted, is the one who actually does own the mask, which was the person they were blackmailing. How's THAT for a good case of Not So Different?
Now, this one is probably unintentional but Franziska von Karma, as we all know, likes to refer to people she meets, particularly the defence, as fools. This is pretty brilliant when you realise that she's also possibly referring to them as amateurish. Amateurs would, of course, be Fresh Out Of Law School.
An example from case 5 of the first game. The trophy given to those who receive the title of Prosecutor of the Year used to consist of a broken knife and a broken shield, with the story behind it being a variation of the legend about a merchant claiming to have both a shield that can repel any spear, and a spear that can destroy any shield. In effect, it was intended to serve as a reminder that no prosecutor is invincible. However, an incident in which Neil Marshall was murdered lead to the broken knife being removed, thus leaving only the broken shield. As such, the trophy goes on to take an entirely different (and much simpler) meaning; the broken shield representing that it's a prosecutor's job to win at all costs, by breaking through the lawyer's defense.
It has a second, much brighter, meaning. The sword and shield on the prosecutor's award also can represent the prosecution (the halberd), and the defence (the shield). It works great as an analogy for Edgeworth's later choices to think more like a defence attorney (and the fact that during his own games, he acts as one), as the thing representing the prosecution is gone from the prosecutor's shield. Yet he is still a prosecutor, just as the shield is still an award given to prosecutors. There's a third one, too; the two items representing the influences Edgeworth had in his life. First, the halberd representing influences like Manfred von Karma, and the shield representing people like Gregory Edgeworth or Phoenix Wright. Removing the halberd is like removing the influence of von Karma from him, allowing him to act more like his father or best friend.
The reason Phoenix and Edgeworth don't face off as much after the first game to is due in part to Edgeworth's Heel-Face Turn. Phoenix refuses to defend guilty clients on principle, and the magatama usually lets him tell when his client is hiding something (Matt Engarde being the only exception so-far). And post-JFA Edgeworth does his best to ensure that whoever he prosecutes is actually guilty (to the point of defending those who have been accused by less scrupulous prosecutors, as in T&T and Investigations 2). If Edgeworth does his job right, Phoenix's defense isn't necessary.
In Dual Destinies, the "phantom" is always referred to a specific way in the text: name uncapitalized, save when it is part of evidence names in the Court Record. Considering what this person is, this unique way of rendering their name makes perfect sense. Considering the "phantom" doesn't even know his own name anymore, even capitalizing his alias/nickname would be like conceding he had a name at all.
So Dual Destinies has Phoenix back in Waistcoat of Style. Now this logic may only work in the West but the image of an attorney wearing a three-piece suit and pocket watch brings to mind Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, a character regarded as one of the most heroic and morally good defense attorneys in storytelling. By wearing that waistcoat it's being communicated visually that Phoenix has reached the pinnacle of courtroom defense through the similarity.
He wouldn't be the first reference in the series to Atticus Finch. That would be Gregory Edgeworth, the man who (indirectly) inspired Phoenix to become a defense attorney in the first place.
In the second part of Case 5-4, Blackquill gets very angry with Starbuck even after it's become clear that he wasn't responsible for the bombing or the murder. After Case 5-5, it becomes clear why: Blackquill must have thought for a moment that Starbuck was the Phantom, since he was present at the space center for both the UR-1 incident and the current bombing. And when we confront the actual Phantom later on, it turns out he has a Starbuck mask, which means that Blackquill's lashing out at the real Starbuck wasn't entirely unjustified.
There was a missed moment of brilliance in Case 2-3. So, Acro sets up an elaborate trap to kill someone without having to visually confirm where they were. Phoenix works out how the box setup was used to solve the issue of aiming. However, nobody every brings up the problem of timing when to drop the bust. How did Acro know exactly the moment that his victim's head was in the right spot? What if he had covered the top of the box in pepper? The target leans down to pick up or open the box, sneezes, Acro drops the bust. This would also have been a great moment of karmic retribution for the prank that took away his brother.
After Maya leaves Phoenix after Case 1-4 to train more as a spirit medium, Phoenix gets depressed and refuses to take any cases (except 1-5) until case 2-2... months later! How many innocent people did he neglect to help?!!
Actually, he resumed taking cases after 1-5 (see the ending again). Plus, there are other defense attorneys out there. It's not like Phoenix is the only one.
In the fourth case of the second game, when you visit Matt Engarde's mansion, in the living room you can see a door with a small cat hole. Unfortunately, it's locked. You know from playing as a kidnapped Maya earlier that she's being held behind that door.
The Steel Samurai continues to be referenced throughout the games, but nobody ever mentions the Nickel Samurai spinoff. Probably because the Nickel Samurai turned out to be a raging sociopath who hired an assassin to take out his competition. Not surprising that Phoenix, Maya, Edgeworth and the like couldn't watch the Nickel Samurai after Case 2-4.
More a Fridge Tear Jerker, but if you take into account his blindness and recently comatose status, it's not really a stretch to think that Godot is basically dying from the effects of Dahlia's poison and might not live very long after he is jailed.
Also, wasn't Godot slashed with a dagger in the face the day before, without receiving medical treatment? He could have been dying of blood loss.
Not to mention the sheer amount of caffeine that man ingests. Also, the portraits Larry drew (which we see during the epilogue of Trials and Tribulations) seem to suggest that he has, in fact, passed away.)
On the subject of Fridge Tear Jerker, it's established that when people in the ''Ace Attorney'-verse die, they linger in some form as a spirit and thus can be channeled by spirit mediums. It also seems that they can watch what goes on with the living. So it's possible that Gregory Edgeworth spent fifteen years watching his son blame himself for committing patricide, being raised by von Karma, and eventually giving up on his ideals and goals in life. And there's nothing that could be done about it.
In the first game's second case, Gumshoe recognizes Phoenix as Larry's attorney from the first case, and constantly refers to Larry as "the killer". As a defense attorney, Phoenix is sometimes treated with mistrust and derision. Between this treatment and Gumshoe's (a veteran, if simple, detective) name calling, criminals in Ace Attorney are pretty much judged before they ever reach trial. Given the rapidity of trials in the game, it makes you wonder how many innocent people are in prison or were executed simply due to the legal system's bias against the accused.
It's actually explicitly stated in the opening of that first game that the criminal system is set up as "guilty until proven innocent", with a limited amount of time allowed in each case, and several other statutes that basically are designed to end the cases as quickly as possible.
Furthermore, the Ace Attorney system originated as an indictment of Japan's legal system, where 'guilty until proven innocent' is the norm, and defence lawyers are vilified for defending suspects whether they're guilty or not and it's not rare for one to never win a case in his career.
Although it should be noted that in Japan the court proceedings are rarely even started before the prosecution can put together a waterproof case. A prosecutor who starts up a case against a person who turns out to be innocent will soon find himself in trouble.
On that note, you know how Gant controlled the legal system via Lana for the two years before the first game? How many innocent people did he get put in jail or get executed? And how much trouble did he cause Phoenix in his cases before Rise From The Ashes?
It's not even just Gant. Think about all the prosecutors (except Godot, because he was only one for a very short time, and lost all his cases, and Klavier who is most definitely not an Amoral Attorney) and how much you like them (except Manfred and Payne). How many innocent lives have Edgeworth and Franziska destroy before they began to reform themselves after being defeated by Phoenix? And let's not get started with Manfred von Karma, who manipulated his way to victory over the course of 40 years, without a single defeat until Phoenix kicked his ass twice in court. Many tropers haven't even been alive for 40 years! And since the death penalty for murder does exist in the game, that most likely means that, indirectly, Manfred has the largest death toll in the series. And he doesn't fucking care.
Franziska prosecuted in Germany before coming into the game's country. Germany's law system is, of course, vastly different from the game's and Japan's system. She might not have destroyed as many lives as one might think.
In the original Japanese, though, the Von Karma family is American. It's not as much of a stretch to believe Manny and Franny were messing up people's lives in America. Plus, the law is obviously a bit different in-universe, so we don't know if the German legal system is any different in the games.
Also a Fridge Tear Jerker, with a horrifying psychological element. In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Prosecutor Klavier Gavin proves himself a Big Damn Hero by pointing out the loophole which allows his big brother, Kristoph Gavin, to be brought to justice. Previous games in the series have made it clear that those who commit premeditated murder face capital punishment (in itself a bit of a Fridge Horror if you don't believe in capital punishment), eg. Dahlia Hawthorne in T&T, who describes her hanging when she's channeled in the final case. So here we have a guy, in a series where sibling relationships consistently have a high value placed on them, knowingly condemning his own brother to death. To make it worse, this case occurs shortly after he had to condemn his long-time best friend, bandmate and colleague to life imprisonment, not long after finding out his brother was a murderer in the first place. Even, as Ace Attorney goes, that's quite a stomping to give one character's mental state over a short period.
Meanwhile Apollo, once an orphan, finds his lost sister and mother, gains Phoenix as a sort of surrogate father/mentor, uncovers his special power... everything goes great for him and crap for Klavier, they're more foil to each-other than they first appear. Somewhat Fride Logic-y.
Also, Trucy. When she's little, her dad is forced to flee the country because Kristoph fucking Gavin got his attorney disbarred; when he comes back seven years later, Kristoph murders him while he plays poker with Phoenix. It's later revealed that teenaged Trucy hangs out in the poker den with Phoenix and helps him cheat at games using her magical power of perception — was she there that night?
Dahlia Hawthorne was (unfortunately) never proven guilty for her first murder. In fact, this is one of the very few times what happens to the killers is explicitly discussed. So the idea that two murders is a guaranteed execution can't be proven. Somehow, I don't think Damon Gant got the death penalty (but that's just speculation on my part).
To the above, while Dahlia was not proven guilty of her murder of Valerie, she WAS proven guilty of the murder of Doug Swallow and the poisoning of Diego Armando, which at the time, if I'm not mistaken, was thought to be a murder.
In Ace Attorney Investigations 2, similar to what Gant is speculated to have done Ema, Bansai does something very similar to Yumihiko. When Yumihiko finally confronts him in court during the final case, Bansai actually leaves the witness stand to approach him, suggesting Yumihiko wants to "play" and that the two of them should go home. He's trembling and is TERRIFIED when his father says this with Yumihiko's actual moving sprite going backwards. Bansai's sprite even approaches him when Yumihiko tries to weakly fight back. If it weren't for Edgeworth demanding that he get back on the witness stand so the trial could continue, Yumihiko might have broken down again, but the implication is very obvious.
While it was very heartwarming to find out that Iris really did love Phoenix during the time she was dating him, she did it in order to help Dahlia get away with attempted murder and didn't explain the deception for over half a decade... even when Phoenix was being put on trial for a different murder that was committed while the real perpetrator was preparing to murder him and would have been executed if he wasn't proven innocent. Her almost overwhelming guilt at the end is very well earned.
In the case "Turnabout Beginnings" in Trials and Tribulations Terry Fawles mentions that his kidnapping of Dahlia Hawthorne was staged and that she was his girlfriend. It is important to note that she was 14 years old at the time, while a quick bit of subtraction shows that he was 20 years old. He was a 20 year old man with a 14 year old girlfriend.
Moreover, he met her because he was her tutor, and from there she became his girlfriend.
Likely Dahlia lied about that part. It's hard to image her father keeping someone of Terry's mental state as his daughter's tutor.
On the flipside, Terry was heavily implied to be mentally handicapped in some way. Dahlia took advantage of that to basically brainwash him into believing whatever she wanted him to including getting him to agree to a suicide pact. Look back to when Terry and Dahlia are put in courtroom together for the first time, and Mia tries to get Terry to realize that he hadn't really killed Dahlia, and she'd just let him take the fall for her "death" for years. He point-blank refuses to believe it, at first, even though she's right in front of him. Makes you wonder what other things she talked him into, or planned to get him to do.
The games become a lot less whimsical when you realize that Japan's court system is pretty much exactly like how it is presented in the games, not to mention the fact that Phoenix and others really would be social pariahs for being defense attorneys.
It's Fridge Horror all around the world, thanks to the fact that Reality Is Unrealistic and for every "that could never happen", there's a contradicting incident of something that improbable, unrealistic, unlawful, or just plain horrifying happening.
In both the second and third games, the "penalty" bar is the same as the bar used for cracking Psyche-Locks. If the bar runs out when cracking Psyche-Locks, a spirit (who may be trapped in the Magatama) warns Phoenix or Edgeworth that if he continues, his soul will shatter. Considering that the game uses the same bar in the courtroom, does that mean that every penalty is literally a jab at the defense's soul?
Dual Destinies Huge SPOILER Warning: What organization or government is Phantom working for and who shot him during his Villainous Breakdown?
Even better than that, How long was the sniper there?
And another one: Phantom killing and replacing Bobby Fulbright had to be prompted by something. The two bigger possibilities are 1: Bobby was killed because he was investigating one of Phantom's previous crimes, which, when we consider who Phantom is, was almost certainly a major felony, or 2: He knew his crimes would get him in trouble, so he murdered him just so he could replace him and throw off any trails on him from inside the system. So either he has an even bigger body count, or he's even more of a hyperprepared sociopath. If he didn't just decide to kill two birds with one stone.
Here's another possibility for the Kill and Replace: the Phantom knew two things. One was that Edgeworth's machinations were ensuring that Simon could prosecute again, even as a convict, and Bobby would be assigned as Simon's guard. Two was that Simon still had that psych profile, one of only two things that could possibly prove who the Phantom was. The Phantom could well have hatched the plot to replace Bobby and get close to Simon in the role as guard, and then get the psych profile back (that part he failed in). Which begs the question, what was he going to so with Simon, who was the last obstacle between the Phantom and the profile? Could he have killed our poor prosecutor at any time during the game without anyone truly realising who did it or why? Or was the Phantom playing a long game of KEEPING the profile on Simon until his execution, then taking it with no-one ever being any the wiser?
Let's look at one other aspect of the character: during the end of his breakdown, he reveals that he is wearing a multitude of other disguises under the Fulbright one, including Starbuck, Means, L'Belle, Tenma, Tonate, and even Phoenix Wright himself. Now ask yourself this: why? Why would he not only have masks available to impersonate all of these people, but have actually put all of them on at some point? And doesn't this raise questions about previous cases and the possibility of previously unconsidered frame jobs or false alibis?
Not really. Being a detective, Fulbright would have been expected to be around at all times. Someone would've noticed if the lead detective on a case was no where to be found when he was supposed to be doing his job, and he wouldn't really have time to be switching around identities during cases while simultaneously making sure he didn't run into the person he was impersonating, and making sure that no one else caught on to anything strange. There's probably a reason the real Bobby Fulbright is dead, after all. There's way too much of a risk in getting caught doing that, and it wouldn't really benefit him in any way. But on the other hand, it is very disconcerting to know that this guy can impersonate anyone he wants with such amazing accuracy...
Quite a shocking one from the first game, although there's no evidence to support it. While interrogating Polly the parrot, Phoenix points out their possible relation to Yanni Yogi. Of course, von Karma objects, saying "Bah! A mere coincidence, that's all! My granddaughter has a dog she calls "Phoenix". Well, Mr. Phoenix Wright? Does this make you my granddaughter's fiancee!? She's only seven years old!!!" Now, this is a bit of an offhand statement, until you consider von Karma's 'children'. He only really has Edgeworth and Franziska, and Edgeworth isn't actually his son. So unless there's another mystery child, the mother of the supposed grand-daughter could only be Fraziska. Since she's 18 in Justice for all, she would be 17 in this game, making her a mother at 10 years old. Frightening.