And it only starts there. The final case in Trials and Tribulations was filled with it. Like when an earthquake threatens to collapse the freezing cavern Maya's trapped in, and all Wright can think about is how Edgeworth (who, to be fair, has a crippling phobia of earthquakes) is doing at the time. Or when he follows Edgeworth into the garden afterwards to "hug it out with him."
To say nothing of suggesting that Phoenix let Franziska, a whip-wielding female prosecutor, take her frustrations out on him while Edgeworth watches, saying that it would make a good souvenir of his visit.
Not to mention how an official art released by Capcom showed Edgeworth in a pink apron helping Maya make a Valentine's Day chocolate statue of Phoenix, using a picture of Phoenix for reference. Proof here,◊ and Phoenix is even shirtless in the picture.
And Phoenix appears a tad wet. With a towel. Kinda makes you wonder how Edgeworth got that picture...
The fact that, in Justice For All, the item you give Miles at the end is supposed to be a whip, to...express his feelings for Edgeworth.
That instance in Trials and Tribulations where Edgeworth calls Phoenix his 'partner'. Even in the Japanese, the term used was ambiguous.
And then there's the simple fact that Phoenix has essentially based his entire life and career around Miles Edgeworth. After knowing him for only one year. In grade four. Although Phoenix manages to avoid being a Stalker with a Crush because he doesn't actually try to hunt Edgeworth down until he reads an article about the 'Demon Prosecutor' and decides that his purpose in life is to save Edgeworth from what Edgeworth has become.
After Edgeworth vanishes at the end of 1-5, poor, bereft Phoenix can't even stand to hear the briefest mention of his name. As far as Phoenix is concerned, this is apparently a tragedy on par with the end of the world.
Maya: "It was always back and forth with them. But when you're rivals for life..."
Phoenix: "Maya! Please don't mention that name ever again..."
Maya: "Huh...? But why, Nick?"
Phoenix: "I'm... I'm sorry, Maya. I forgot you don't know..."
Phoenix: "He... He's... He's gone... And he's not coming back..."
To be fair, the note did sounds more like a suicide note than anything else.
By Trials and Tribulations, the writers and translators, having noticed their large fanbase, seemed to go out of their way to insert homoerotic Double Entendres in otherwise unremarkable scenes. Pretty much every scene with Gumshoe in it, for instance, ends up with at least one jab at someone's sexuality.
In Investigations, Edgeworth catches himself using the word "contradiction," resulting in the following internal monologue:
Edgeworth: (Did I say "contradiction"? He must be rubbing off on me. I'm starting to sound like him...)
Apparently the Ho Yay's memetic enough for it to show up when Phoenix and Edgeworth make cameos in Marvel VS Capcom 3. In She-Hulk's ending, the two are scared enough of the green-skinned woman that they start holding each other out of fear.
In Justice For All's fourth case, "Farewell, My Turnabout", there's a part in which you have to pick between two choices to explain why Matt Engarde's Nickel Samurai costume was in the Jammin' Ninja's guitar case, the two choices being "Juan stole the costume" and "it was a spare". If you pick the wrong choice, you get this bit:
Edgeworth: "Maybe YOU should be the one to strip naked and run around for disgracing the court!"
Edgeworth is only present for one chapter of Dual Destinies, but the game more than pulled its weight in bringing up the age old "At what point does it stop being subtext?" question.
Well before Edgeworth ever appears in person, Phoenix alludes to periodically traveling to Europe to assist Edgeworth in legal matters during his time disbarred. It's then that he met Athena.
Apparently Edgeworth has gone to at least one of Trucy's magic acts with Phoenix. Despite it being brought up in court in a way that debunked one of his points, Phoenix remembers that day fondly. The implied domesticity is mind boggling.
Edgeworth: I realize bluffing in court is practically your calling card... But your credibility phoned just now and told me to tell you to "put a sock in it."
Phoenix: Y-yes, Daddy...
And then there's the fact that Phoenix returned to being a lawyer because Edgeworth asked him to return, to help him prove Blackquill's innocence and put an end to the "dark age of the law", meaning that, for the second time in his life, Phoenix became an attorney for Edgeworth.
The Dual Destinies trial itself is full of characters making quips about how close the two lawyers are. Even Fulbright, an emotionless killer, comments that they exemplify the phrase "close enough to argue." Later, Phoenix needles Edgeworth about his aesthetic sense weakening along with his eyesight (Edgey now wears glasses), which Edgeworth is not amused by. The Judge steps in to smooth things over, assuring Edgeworth that the defence is only concerned about his ocular health. And when the trial is over, Athena comments on their "love-hate" relationship. Add it all up, and it seems that quite a few people in-game seem to regard the face-off between the two lawyers as a marital spat.
While the infamous "unnecessary feelings" line is absent, the acting and framing in this movie makes already subtext-heavy scenes a thousand times more so, especially on Edgeworth's side. It helps that Edgeworth, for the most part, is played as less malicious and smug compared to how he is in the first game, and is a bit more clearly broken and woobie-ish, and has more apparent shame in Phoenix seeing him as he is now. Special mention goes to the second time Phoenix visits Edgeworth at the detention center, and gets his chance to explain that he wants to save Edgeworth in return for Edgeworth saving him in the class trial. Edgeworth's response is to say Phoenix's name in a tone that can best be described as "the actual sounding of an ice king's heart defrosting rapidly."
Don't forget after Edgeworth's trial, when he gently holds out his hand for Phoenix to take, while thanking Phoenix for saving him. Or the utterly adorable and shy smiles he and Phoenix give one another when they meet in court during the credits. Just...wow.
Even after Godot arrests and prosecutes him for murder Ron DeLite has an adoring interest in the coffee fiend. He admits fully to having a lifelong fascination with "mysteriousmasked men" and Godot refers to him as a 'kitten', a term he usually reserves for attractive women.
There's also the Guy Love vibe from Gumshoe and Edgeworth, especially the way Gumshoe is almost always around Edgeworth and becomes incredibly defensive when anyone badmouths Edgeworth even in the slightest. Heck, Phoenix's immediate thought upon seeing how tall Edgeworth's (who's afraid of heights) bookshelves are is that Gumshoe hangs around his office to get them down for him.
It's just as easily interpreted as one-sided puppy love. Gumshoe is all happy and excited to see Edgeworth (until being scolded, in which case he cringes); if anyone insults Edgeworth, he does the human equivalent of growling and snapping at them; and no matter how many times he's kicked ("Detective, isn't your salary review coming up soon?") he keeps on coming back — and he's still always happy to see Edgeworth. There's also the total devotion thing.
In the fifth episode of the DS port of the first game, Les Yay and Ho Yay reside happily. Attracted to Mia intellectually, Lana. While you went to college together. Right...
There's also how (engaged to someone else) Max Galactica refers to both Phoenix and Maya with terms of endearment, although this may well be part of his stage persona, given that his act is very much being a visual kei/glam rock-styled illusionist.
Adrian/Franziska fanart seems to be gaining steam lately, thanks in no small part to Adrian's ending in the third game where she tells Phoenix that she got a chance to meet Franziska in her home country, and learned how to use a whip. Wonder what kind of lessons she learned there, hmm?
There's also the fact that by the end of the third game, it's clear that Franzie's starting to soften up... but just to other females.
There's also Adrian's tendency to get close to and imitate other women...
Adrian's relationship with Celeste (her boss) was really...strong. To the point Adrian tried to kill herself when she discovered Celeste was killed. Sure, Adrian has an illness that makes her dependent on other people, but that only adds more Les Yay with Franziska, since Adrian fully trusted her during the trial. Also, Adrian is the only character in the game Franziska talks politely and never gets angry, and let's not forget that she had absolutely no reason to befriend Adrian after the trial, even more considering Adrian stayed in jail for months for tampering with evidence. Did Franziska wait in America just to see her again? Adrian probably got dependent on her by the third game. They barely interact ingame but it's still much more than Franziska ever did to Edgeworth or Phoenix.
Klavier and Apollo have those vibes in Apollo Justice, especially with Klavier's line about Apollo inspecting him the same way the ladies do.
In the last case Trucy tells Apollo, in regards to Klavier, "I know it's hard for you but he's a handsome guy." to which Apollo replies, "What's 'hard'?"
Heck, at one point, Apollo outright thinks that, "I'll wipe that smile off your pretty face, Gavin!"
Apollo's internal monologue also goes on and on about how cool Klavier is when he's prosecuting and how distracting it is.
Their very first meeeting, Klavier says to Apollo that "I've never felt this way towards a man before".
At the end of 4-3, Apollo's internal monologue remarks that "Prosecutor Gavin's even more dazzling to look at now".
And then in Dual Destinies, we get this moment of hilarity.
When examining a poster for a live show, Apollo mentions that there will be a band playing the Gavinners' songs. Phoenix then proceeds to taunt Apollo, calling Klavier "Herr Forehead's eternal rival". Apollo gets flustered over Phoenix calling him Herr Forehead as well, and declares that "the only one who is allowed to call him Herr Forehead is Klavier". Sure, he backs off and says that he doesn't like Klavier calling him that, but there's the fact that he said this in impulse, and it was implied that Klavier heard him.
Later, Klavier and Apollo pair up themselves to solve some of the quiz cards. In another conversation after Apollo answers a quiz correctly, Klavier suggests to sing The Guitar's Serenade to him, and it just so happens that The Guitar's Serenade is a romantic song.
The tip of the iceberg, however, is when Apollo and Klavier examine the reception of the space station.
Apollo: "Itís the reception. It seems that if five or more people come (to the space station) and play, they will get presents. The members in the agency, including me, are four people, so... One more person...
Klavier: "Did you call for me? Herr Forehead."
Apollo: "Prosecutor Gavin! Youíre just in time! Please introduce me to one of your acquaintances!"
(Klavier gets angry at this.)
Apollo: "Aah! More importantly! Thereís a card here!"
Klavier: (angry face still remaining) "Thereís a lot of things that I donít accept, but letís solve the quiz for now."
Franziska: "And you there, Ms. Yew! Continue with your testimony. If you fail to do so, I shall whip you into shape!"
Calisto: "Ha ha ha... That's nice. Sounds kind of fun actually."
If you ask Larry about Ron DeLite, he thinks you're trying to hook them up. Larry also thinks this would be a step up from his womanizing ways.
In Dual Destinies, Aura Blackquill's love for Metis Cykes is barely subtext. To elaborate a bit:
The robots they jointly created previously referred them both as Mama.
Much of Aura's malice and obvious dislike towards Athena is because she's convinced that Athena killed Metis. It's also somewhat implied that she saw Athena as competition for Metis.
Apollo's remark that Metis appears to have loved the robots they created as much as her own daughter Athena...and Aura.
And, of course, Aura's outburst in court, by which point it's more or less text.
Aura: "Shut up, Simon! You know exactly how I felt about her! Her respect as a co-worker wasn't all that I wanted!"
At which point the judge asks what exactly it was, to which Phoenix, with an incredibly nervous face, quips "You did NOT just go there." Phoenix himself, at the very least, seems to have picked up on it.
And then there's Simon Blackquill's comment at the end of case 2 where he invites Apollo to spend the night with him in the clink. His intentions are to keep the defense from creating forged evidence, but still.