Tear Jerker / Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
aka: Phoenix Wright

"In my world, the color red doesn't exist. These must be...my tears."
Prosecutor Godot, Trials and Tribulations — Case 5: Bridge to the Turnabout

Examples here are entirely for the Phoenix Wright Trilogy; moments specific to Apollo Justice, Investigations, Dual Destinies or the 2016 anime can be found on their own pages.

Please note that Trials and Tribulations is ten years old as of this edit, and the page previously looked like swiss cheese for all the spoiler tags. As a result, all spoilers inside folders will be unmarked on this page. This is your only warning.
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    Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney 
The First Turnabout
  • Even though Cindy Stone was no saint, she DID love Larry, or at least held him in high regard. Her death left a big impact on him, who even wanted to be declared guilty and given the death penalty. True, Larry loves to exaggerate and to overreact, and yes, he got better; but it's still quite sad to see him that broken and to know someone who actually appreciated his art just died.

Turnabout Sisters
  • The first major one in the series is, of course, the death of Mia Fey.
    • On a related note, in the new web musical being made for Ace Attorney, one of the songs ("I'll Be There") turns a funny moment into a pretty sad one. In the game, Maya tells Nick about the note Mia left for him, which says to take care of Phoenix if anything happens to Mia. Phoenix is puzzled, but then Maya laughs and states that Mia meant the office. The music at that point is really depressing and Maya and Phoenix sound so heartbroken.
  • In the first game's second case, when the time for Maya to pick a defence attorney before the state assigns her one is up, the player is given a choice - "Defend Maya" or "Go home". If the player selects "Go home", Phoenix narrates about finding out about her guilty verdict in the newspaper a little later, the high possibility of never seeing Maya again, and asking Mia if he made the right choice. He then falls silent, before angrily announcing that he won't let it happen, and the game picks up from the "Defend Maya" option.

Turnabout Samurai
  • The Cornered theme is playing, the deductions are brilliant, and it was absolutely necessary to save an innocent man, but there's just something not right about making a second grader relive seeing his hero (who never loses EVER) die. The Ocular Gushers actually make it feel worse.
  • It's a bit of contentious topic, but some think that Dee Vasquez's story is a major Tearjerker. The man she loved was killed by a coworker, who claimed it was an accident. She doubted that, and set about ruining his life as revenge, dedicating her life to the studio. Then he tries to murder her and frame Will Powers for it. She freaks out and kills him in self-defense, and hastily tries hiding the evidence, accidently framing Powers even further. She never wished Will any ill will, and honestly considering what we've seen of Jack Hammer (the fact he was so jealous of Will his response was to frame his murder on him), the idea that Manuel's death wasn't an accident looks pretty likely.
  • Will Powers is a big teddy bear of a man, and he honestly looks devestated that he got involved with this situation. Sure he has the Face of a Thug, but he's a nice guy who wants kids to have a hero to look up too and wears the mask to be that hero. He's only looking out for the kids with this role, and he is crying his eyes out when he asks how the kids will feel about it. I am not sure that there has been an actor that dedicated to a role in a long time and thinks about the fans first.
  • Oldbag of all people actually gets one during the third investigation day, when you prove beyond all doubt that Hammer drugged Powers, stole the Steel Samurai costume and tried to kill Vasquez. She's initially gives out her usual hair-trigger temper as her first response, which slowly fades to a sad resignation as she comes to accept that her beloved idol had committed some serious misdeeds, and subsequently spills the beans on the secrets that she's been keeping under wraps at Vasquez's bequest. It's probably the only time in the series when she seems genuinely human, instead of cartoonishly curmudgeonly or a Stalker with a Crush.
    Oldbag: ...I see. Poor, poor Hammer. You did wrong, Hammer, rest your soul. Okay, you win. I'll talk. I'm tired, see...Tired of holding it all in.

Turnabout Goodbyes
  • Miles Edgeworth's backstory: as a kid, he wanted to be a defence attorney just like his father, and defended Phoenix passionately in his class trial, believing strongly in the protection of the innocent and the pursuit of justice. Then his beloved father was murdered, the killer was never caught, and he grew up with an unnatural hatred for criminals (and a crippling phobia of earthquakes and, probably, elevators). He was raised and mentored by his father's rival, who demanded absolute perfection and a guilty verdict for every case, and later becomes a genius prosecutor with a terrifying reputation. And for fifteen years he is haunted by a nightmare that makes him believe he killed his father. And then, when he is accused of murder, he initially refuses Phoenix's- his childhood best friend's- help. Even when you finally prove him innocent, he confesses to the murder of his father fifteen years ago. This would be a brutal case of Break the Haughty, but he was broken a long time ago.
    • When you see Edgeworth in the Detention Center, the first time he holds his arm and looks away with that extremely troubled look on his face is really quite sad. Up to that point, pretty much the only emotions he has shown are boredom, smug confidence, and anger.
    • This one piece of dialogue in case 1-4, when he's discussing the nightmare:
    Maya: But...it's just a dream, right?
    Edgeworth: That thought has been the only thing keeping me sane for these past fifteen years. But what if I'm wrong? What if it was real?
    • The only thing stopping him from breaking down for good was the fact that he could convince himself that his dream was just a dream. Just think about that for a moment.
    • And add this to your list of horrors. At some point after being taken in by von Karma, at some age when he'd lived there long enough to trust the man but was still young enough to want comfort, he must have told him about the nightmares he was having every night. At the very moment a very scared little boy was looking for help, his 'mentor' was filing that away as a weapon he could use later if he needed to.
  • Yanni Yogi's story. He was the suspect in the DL-6 incident, where Edgeworth's father was killed. Hammond, his lawyer and a man who cared not for his defendents, ordered him to fake brain damage in order to win the case. Following his orders, Yogi lost his job, his social life, and his fiancee, who committed suicide. All he could do was sit in hatred for 15 years, with nothing but a parrot by his side. For a crime he didn't even commit!
    • If you thought that was heartbreaking, watch the story's depiction in live action movie. Although many of the details stay the same, you see from his eyes how truly cold-hearted Hammond was, how badly the trial destroyed his life through the vandalism of his home, leading to Polly hanging herself. If that wasn't enough, the final scene with Yogi ends with him seeing the spirit of his wife telling him that she still loves him and he breaks down crying.
    • It's even more tragic than that. Parrots have a tendency to repeat sounds or phrases in response to another sound or phrase that they've come to associate with it. Like saying "Hello?" in their master's voice when they hear a phone ring. Now, with that in mind, think about what this exchange must mean:
      "I'm sorry, Polly..."
      "I love you, Yogi."
      • This parrot remembers a lot of conversations he and Polly had that went like this. Yogi probably had a tendency to blame himself for troubles. His fiancee's response? Not "That's okay," not "I forgive you," just simply "I love you." I've already forgiven you, because I love you, and nothing will change that. "I love you, Yanni Yogi." Then one day he gets caught up in a murder case, and only escapes punishment by convincing the world he's gone insane. Then Polly kills herself. Could she not forgive him this time? Yogi must have blamed himself. He's regretted it every day of his life, wishing he could tell her how sorry he is. And every time he says "I'm sorry, Polly," the parrot says "I love you, Yogi." In her voice. It's the only thing that's kept him going.
    • When asked to identify himself in the game, he reveals that he is indeed Yanni Yogi and is stoic throughout the entire scene, saying that he is indeed the same person who stood in court 15 years ago and doesn't regret his actions. In the movie, however, he lacks the composure of his game counterpart. When asked the same questions, he yells "I didn't do it! I didn't kill Mr. Edgeworth!" The viewer can feel all the pain and sorrow he's dealt with for over 15 year with just those four words even before the flashback begins.
  • The classroom trial. The fact that it doubles as a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming for Edgeworth and Larry doesn't quite erase the heartbreak of what happened of poor little Nick.
  • After Phoenix and Maya get tazed. When Maya says she wishes she hadn't woken up at all after giving a short speech about why she sucks.
  • Maya's departure. She certainly couldn't hold back the tears.
  • The 'final photo'. Not just because it has the main cast of the game- Phoenix, Maya, Edgeworth, Gumshoe, Larry and even Mia in spirit form, but particularly, Edgeworth's face. For the first time in the game, he's smiling. Not the trollish smirk kind he does in court, but actually smiling. Plus with the 'FREEDOM' banner...
  • The ending to 1-4.
    And so my story ends. Time to turn a new page... and say goodbye to the novice defense attorney that I once was... Now a new story begins... With the same old crazy cast of characters...
  • From the movie, there's Edgeworth's flashback to seeing his dad in the Evidence room. Not only does he see his dad seemingly steal inconvenient evidence to destroy it, but then he watches Yani Yogi beat his dad up. And when Edgeworth steps out, his dad has this horrified look, like he desperately doesn't want his kid seeing this. And unlike in the game, Gregory actually sees Edgeworth pointing a gun, which makes his lying from the afterlife to protect Edgeworth even more tragic.

Rise from the Ashes
  • Remember Lana, everyone's favorite Defrosting Ice Queen? She finally smiles. "It's been a long time, your honor."
    • Lana and Ema hug at the end. Their relationship was so touching throughout the entire case.
  • If you present Lana your attorney's badge when first seeing her at the beginning of the case, Phoenix comments on how he polishes his badge every day. She says, "In a few years, the gold plating will flake off. Then we'll see the real you. [...] Give it three years. Then we'll see what you have become." Given what would eventually happen to Phoenix several years later and what it did to his reputation as a lawyer...
  • More like Fridge tearjerker, but, replaying the case a second time, when interviewing her older sister at the detention center, Ema accuses Lana of only thinking about herself. When you find out what she did, it kind of becomes a cruel Ironic Echo.
  • And earlier in that case, as the realization hits as to exactly what the evidence in Gant's safe implicates, and why Lana has acted the way she has: Neil Marshall appears not to have been killed by Joe Darke at all, but in a tragic accident was pushed to his death by her own sister. Lana has spent two years taking the fall for Gant to protect her sister from this knowledge. And then Phoenix has to make the accusation in court to prove Lana innocent. It somehow becomes even more heartwrenching when Ema was willing to accept this truth if it could save Lana. Just... no. Of course, it all turns out to be a plot by the real murderer, Damon Gant, to gain control over the Prosecutor's Office. Exposing Gant as the real murderer is very satisfying.
    • Also, when Ema tells you that she became a budding scientific investigator to give the police lots of evidence so Lana wouldn't have to forge it. D'awwww...
    • There's a reason everybody remembers the SL-9 case with a mix of sadness and anger. Ultimately, it caused the deaths of two good police officers and send several people into prison or at least caused them to lose their jobs, which most of them seemed to be greatly dedicated to. Not to mention all the emotional suffering it caused for all the various participants. The worst case of Fridge Tragedy, is about Damon Gant. As much as he's an evil Manipulative Bastard with a stare of death, it's noticeable that, after his big breakdown, he doesn't act like a sore loser at all. Plus, he once WAS the ace of the police force. The judge also remembers him as a different person. While he doesn't get any Freudian Excuse, just the implication that Gant may actually be a bit of a Fallen Hero makes the thing a whole lot sadder because the reasons he went evil are so simple, pointless and banal. This gives the whole thing a feel that it all could've been avoided so easily...
  • The first game's credit's theme has a feeling of "The show's over, but there's more to come!" 1-5 has a spy-like feel to it. Justice For All has a moving piece. Then there's the credits theme to Trials and Tribulations, which will hopefully make you feel (mostly) satisfied with the Phoenix Wright trilogy.
  • Detective Gumshoe, having gone through a lengthy series of pay-cuts throughout the game, feels betrayed in 1-5, when allowing Phoenix and Ema into Gant's office gets him fired. The guy never gets a break, despite doing everything he possibly can to support the prosecution and catch criminals.

    Justice for All 
The Lost Turnabout
  • While the case was fairly simple to win (as a Training Stage should be), it doesn't change the fact that a good man and a good police officer was murdered for doing his job, and that his girlfriend was being accused of said murder.
    • Not even for doing his job. He was killed all because he didn't take five minutes to change out of his uniform, which makes it even worse.
  • Maggey Byrde's life is pretty much filled with sadness and accidents. And she believes it was her fault her boyfriend died because she thinks her legendary bad luck rubbed off on him. It is pretty awful to blame yourself for the death of a loved one.

Reunion, and Turnabout
  • Mimi Miney's story. She caused the death of 14 patients? Yes, but if her version of the story is correct, her mixing up the meds was only a result of Grey overworking her. She fell asleep while driving due to being investigated about the malpractice incident? True, it was an accident. She said she took her purse and got out of the car as fast as she could? True, though with the panic she might have mistakenly grabbed Ini's. Really, it's quite possible that a mistake while getting out of the fiery car led to the doctors making a terrible mistake, and giving her Ini's face instead. And finally, did she take the place of her sister? Yes, she did. But she had no other choice, her previous life was destroyed by the malpractice incident. And it's not like she liked doing it, either. After being exposed, she breaks up in tears when talking about how much she hates the occult and living as Ini in general. With good reason, too. Spending a whole year doing something you hate, without being able to complain because you're "supposed" to love it? Yeah, no wonder she was miserable.
  • When Maya is arrested for the murder of Dr. Grey, she's convinced that she is the one who killed him, and emphatically tells Phoenix that he can't take her case, because she's a murderer and he'll lose. Phoenix tells her "Stop it!", making it clear that he will not abandon her. That's when she breaks down into tears.
    Maya: ...
    Maya: ...Help me...
    Maya: Nick, help me... I'm scared...

Turnabout Big Top
  • Though many loathe the case, the end of Turnabout Big Top where Acro bursts into tears during his Motive Rant almost makes the player do the same.
    • For context, almost every culprit in the game will engage in a comically over-the-top Villainous Breakdown once they're exposed. Acro just sits there and lets tears stream from his eyes as he comes to terms with the fact that, in the eyes of the law, he's nothing more than a murderer.
  • The story as a whole:
    • Russell Berry, beloved ringmaster, dies. Before this, his wife died, he was a single father to Regina, adopted Acro and Bat, treated the whole circus like his family, and was an all-around good man. Then he died accidentally, and he wasn't even the intended victim. The characters you will meet and some of the stuff you will see will remind you non-stop about what a great man he was.
    • Acro and his brother were abandoned by their parents, he lost his brother because of an accident, was paralyzed because of that same accident, and killed his father figure in another stupid accident. No wonder he broke down...
    • Max Galactica got framed for murder and had to endure the trials. And beforehand, he was already unpopular between the majority of the crews when all he wanted was for the others to also bask in the glory he received when winning the Grand Prix by his own efforts, so he was being framed by the people he was trying to improve.
    • Moe had to endure verbal and physical abuse during the trials because of his childish behavior and his jokes are not very popular. He also was forced by Phoenix tell the truth about Acro.
    • Regina lost her boyfriend because of an accident involving pepper she unwillingly caused. Lost a beloved pet friend because of that. Lied to by her father to protect her from the truth about death (or rather, she wanted to believe that her boyfriend was now a star because she needed a way to cope with the pain, not too different from what Edgeworth did concerning his father). Is secretly hated by many despite (and partially due to) her ignorance about it and her good will and was targeted for murder. Caused the death of her father by another accident. And to top it all off, Moe drags her to the courtroom to have the whole truth slap her across the face, not by talking to her or by having others talking to her, but by making her see with her eyes how much pain she caused without wanting to and how much Acro hated her despite everything she did for him.. Break the Cutie does not even begin to describe this case. And its quite a surprise she took it so well after the whole thing was revealed.

Farewell, My Turnabout
  • Again, the story of the case. Maya's kidnapping, the near conviction of the innocent Adrian Andrews, trying to prove the guilty-as-hell Engarde innocent, the gallery's reactions, the multiple close calls on Maya's situation, the Sadistic Choice where there is little hope for Taking a Third Option, and the Bad Ending. One of the best cases, but definitively one of the most heartbreaking of them.
    • In the middle of this stressful case, you're on the verge of rescuing Maya only to discover that you're too late and the villain has made his getaway. All that's left is a message from Maya, bravely telling you to forget about her safety and get the scumbag convicted. And as you're reading it, Maya's face appears on the screen in a visual voiceover, and then the slow version of her theme starts up.
    • Accusing the Witness takes a decidedly non-comedic turn in this case, where you are forced to accuse Adrian Andrews, who by this point is The Woobie, just to buy time. If that's not bad enough, you know full well that you're buying time to defend a bastard so magnificent that he produced a glass of cognac from Hammerspace just to swirl it in your face as he taunts you, the player. The game also forces you to press the button yourself, a la the end of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, to increase your complicity that much more.
    • Worse yet, the gallery boos at you for daring to defend someone who is by now obviously guilty. Phoenix is already in deep shit, and the crowd ganging up on him just makes it worse, ignorance of Maya's kidnapping aside.
    • If Phoenix holds his head down on the defense bench, you know someone's heart just got strangled. In this case, the case comes to an end on the first day before Phoenix could get a complete acquittal. Phoenix sits there, even when the judge has left the court, believing Maya to be murdered.
    • Adrian Andrews' and Celeste Inpax's tragic past is one big tearjerker: after being discarded like a napkin by Matt, Celeste fell in love with Juan... and Matt, asshole that he is, told him all about his former relationship with Celeste so he'd abandon her over his neverending feud with Matt, driving her to suicide. The shock was so great that Adrian tried to kill herself as well. You've got to wonder what it's like to be the manager of the nasty bully that led to your mentor's suicide.
    • The Bad Ending: If Phoenix Wright fails to pick the one evidence (the videotape) and witness (Shelly de Killer) to convince Matt Engarde a Guilty verdict, the judge finds Matt Engarde Not Guilty. Although Maya Fey is no longer a hostage, Phoenix never sees her again, Adrian Andrews later gets tried and found guilty, and this failure is eating Phoenix so much that he quits being a lawyer.
    • What really makes accusing Adrian hurt so much is after de Killer claims that she's his client, and the Judge is about to declare Engarde Not Guilty, she panics and starts telling everyone that she didn't do it, even looking at Phoenix for help.
      • Hell, even long before discovering that Matt Engarde is the culprit all along, pushing and coercing Adrian who initially appears to be the true culprit, into breaking point in the first trial doesn't feel as satisfying as many other witnesses in other cases, due to the entire scenario plays out as bullying an emotionally ill and mentally vulnerable woman into breaking point.
    • This case is not only full of tears, but nerves too. Just playing through the first trial, knowing you have to finish it in a day, and then failing to do so, we get to see Wright's head-in-hands sprite for the first time, and it's just soul-crushing, because you know just how freaked out and worried he is for Maya, and the first time he gets called by De Killer and finds out she's kidnapped, he freaks out, almost passes out, is willing to pay anything. You can just imagine him screaming at the phone every time he gets a call.
  • At the end of Justice for All, when Franziska breaks down in tears after Edgeworth returns her whip.
    • Hell, Franziska in general once Fridge Horror kicks in. Her beauty mark is under her eye, which in Japan is meant to imply her as a tragic character, someone who has a lot of deep internal sadness, as the beauty mark under her eye represents a tear. Note that Mia's beauty mark is on her chin, despite Mia being the one who dies. When you realise Franziska is probably an extremely lonely person who also just lost her father recently, it gets quite depressing.
  • Simply this line from Edgeworth, where the entire screen has gone black and all you can see is his sprite and the text box: "And if you don't...you cannot change the ending of this story." It doesn't seem like he's talking to Phoenix, but rather you, the player. It's your decision now. You're the one who has to save Maya's life for Phoenix and get Matt Engarde convicted. YOU must change the outcome of this story if you want a happy ending. That line just makes you go "Woah"...
    • As for Edgeworth himself, he helps Phoenix stall for as long as he can, even though he knows that Engarde is guilty and suspicion will fall on an innocent woman as a result. He demonstrates his newfound commitment to the truth (not just to a guilty verdict) by flat-out telling a crying, suicidal woman that he'll push her over the edge if he has to, so long as he finds out what really happened — but when the assassin is seconds from taking Maya's life if the trial stalls any further, even Edgeworth breaks down. He rests his case and then stands there looking agonized, knowing he's dropped it all on Phoenix but also knowing he can't make Nick's decision for him.
  • Pearl's crying animation. That was all the inspiration needed to make Phoenix do his thing.
  • When you are investigating Corrida's Hotel Room with a bug sweeper, you have the option to check an alarm clock. When you do that, this line of dialogue occurs;
    Pearl: What's wrong? Why do you look so troubled? ...
    Nick: I just can't imagine the listening device being inside this alarm clock. It just, um, sort of reminded me of something that happened a long time ago...
    Pearl: Oh...
    • If you have played through Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, you know that Nick is referring to the Turnabout Sisters case where he lost his friend and mentor, Mia. You can imagine his feelings as he is now on the verge of losing his friend/ assistant Maya as well. He must also be weighted down by the fact that he fails to take care of Maya in Mia's steed. He experiences all this while having to put on a false facade of having things under control to cheer Pearl up. Just imagine how hard it must be for Phoenix in that situation.
  • As if the Sadistic Choice near the end of the case wasn't difficult enough, immediately after making your choice, Phoenix's thoughts make you feel even worse: "Maya... I'm sorry..." This thought has that effect no matter what you pick. If you choose "guilty", Phoenix is apologizing for being unable to save Maya and putting the law first. If you choose "not guilty", he's apologizing for being unable to give Engarde his just deserts and putting her life first. Either way, Phoenix is truly devastated by his decision, which makes Franziska's timely arrival all the sweeter.

    Trials and Tribulations 
Turnabout Memories
  • A younger Phoenix is on trial for murdering his beloved girlfriend's ex only to find his precious love was the one who did it. Even worse finding that she never really did love him. When the truth about his girlfriend, Dahlia, is revealed, he refuses to believe it and eats the gift Dahlia bestowed onto him the first day they met.
    • Becomes even worse once you realize that, considering the entire Iris/Dahlia situation, Phoenix wasn't just being a naive, lovestruck kid who was easily tricked by a manipulative bitch - the "Dollie" he knew was the loving girlfriend he thought she was that whole time. Imagine someone who's genuinely sweet, kind, and loving to you... suddenly turning cold, wicked, and being proven a murderer who only ever used you to cover up their crimes, and having no logical explanation as to why besides them truly being a psychopath the whole time and not finding out until years later. It's a miracle poor Phoenix isn't totally crushed by the reveal.
      Phoenix (after being proven not guilty): It-it can't be true...

The Stolen Turnabout
  • Adrian Andrews from the last game returns and it shows things are looking up for her. Only for another disaster to occur and Adrian becoming a nervous wreck due to her last little incident.

Recipe for Turnabout

Turnabout Beginnings
  • In retrospect to Ace Attorney, it becomes apparent the attorney Mia wanted Maya to go to if she got into trouble wasn't Grossberg but Diego Armando, but Diego was already in a coma at that point, and Mia knew it. This possibly makes it even sadder, in that she almost certainly would have wanted to leave Maya in Diego's care, but she can't.
  • The end of Case 4 in which Terry Fawles kills himself.
    Fawles: Mister... Armando... Thanks for... the... coffee...
    • The worst part is why he did it: Dahlia, bitch that she is, manipulated Terry into making a Suicide Pact should they cease to have faith in each other... all just to get away with murder. It's pretty much her Moral Event Horizon.
    • There's also this speech by Diego Armando, given if you cycle to the end of Terry's testimony, that details how tragic the situation is, and indicates just why Mia blames herself.
    Armando: I know it's obvious, but he's clearly lying. He's been cursed... by Dahlia Hawthorne. He'll probably go to his grave still believing in her. Even if you can show he's lying, the poor guy will still be cursed. You'll still have to point out the contradiction anyway.

Bridge to the Turnabout
  • While the last two cases of Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations have a number of tragic moments, there's one line in particular: "I'm the assistant manager at Wright & Co. Law Offices." To elaborate, this is the profession stated by Maya on the witness stand after finding out about the death of her mother. Note the complete lack of the phrase "spirit medium" much less the "new Master of Kurain".
  • In the last part of 3-5 at the sudden, awful realization of what really happened at Hazakura as soon as Maya says she saw a man in the darkness. Godot carries on the trial to convict himself and finally, there's the big reveal of Godot's past. "I hope you remember... my name is Diego Armando." Then they throw the tears of blood at you.
  • Iris confessing that she, not Dahlia, was the one whom Phoenix dated for six months. Does Phoenix, having been deceived all that time, react with anger? No - instead, he tells her, "You really are the person I always thought you were. Even after Dahlia Hawthorne was found guilty... I still believed in you." Iris' response: "Thank you", with tears in her eyes. Only made better by this line being the exact cue for the Trial theme to start.
  • Also, the whole scene involving the Master's talisman in the end. Also a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
    Phoenix: "She'll always be with me, until the day I die", huh...
    Maya: ...?
    Phoenix: There's a rule or something all Masters are to follow, isn't there? To never take the charm off until the day you die... .
    Pearl: Th-That's the Master's Talisman...
    Phoenix: The thing that Misty kept by her heart and would never take off...
    Phoenix: It wasn't the container that was important. Rather, it was the contents.
    The talisman is opened to reveal something inside
    Bikini: Th-That's...!
    Pearl: A photo?
    Maya: Ah...! M...Mother...
    [The photo is revealed to be a childhood photo of Maya as a toddler, and Mia as a kid, trying to fix the broken sacred urn, with Maya bawling on one side and Mia with a shocked look on her face at getting caught red handed. Misty carried this around with her for her whole life.]
    • And the scene that followed, with Turnabout Sisters' Ballad playing once more and with the whole 'Maya Fey is much stronger than we think' and telling Franziska who Maya is being strong for. Going with that, the implications that Franziska doesn't understand love or anything like that, owing to the implication that she felt never earned her own father's love due to being second best to Miles all the time since she was just two.
  • And just when you think the game's going to let up, the ending credits include a shot of Mia, Misty, and Diego looking happy together... in heaven, it is heavily implied. Also a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, even more so when you realize that it's a shot of Larry's sketchbook.
    • The sketch as a whole. it has every main character of the Ace Attorney series up to that point, plus Misty. Phoenix, Maya, Pearl, Edgeworth, Gumshoe, Franziska, Mia, Godot and Misty. And every single one of them has an expression that simply says 'Peace at last...' You know that this is the end of the Phoenix trilogy. You look at that photo, you're reminded of what you played through, and you can now move on to Apollo Justice.
  • Case 3-5, at the very end. He evidently started crying just moments before, and that he said the exact same to Mia earlier in the game.
    Godot/Diego: You'd do well to remember this. The only time a lawyer can cry is when it's all over.
  • One that doesn't strike until you've replayed the game is the first encounter with Elise Deauxnim. Once you realize who she is and why she's on the mountain, the first time you run into her with Maya can be rather sad. She has to keep her facade up as Elise even though this is the first time she's seen her daughter, who is now 19, since she was two.
  • The notion that the usually selfish and icy Franziska decides not to prosecute Iris's case, even though she greatly desires to defeat Phoenix in court. Instead, she stays out with Sister Bikini at the Inner Temple. She works without sleep to break five nigh-impossible locks and rescue Maya, on a freezing cold mountain, all to rescue someone she barely knows. Her Character Development is phenomenal.
  • In 3-5, when Dahlia taunts Phoenix (and the player) by suggesting that Maya, stricken with guilt from killing her own mother, killed herself. The aforementioned "Phoenix holding his head down on the bench" sprite from 2-4 comes into play again. Fortunately, Maya didn't kill Misty nor did she off herself, but Phoenix hasn't come to that conclusion yet.
  • Godot blaming Phoenix for the deaths of Mia and Maya. Even if you know it's not true, Phoenix still thinks he's responsible for what happened to them both. And then as it turns out, Godot was just outwardly blaming Phoenix to hide the fact that deep down inside, he's blaming himself, even though neither him nor Phoenix could've stopped her death from happening (Phoenix was out and about and had no idea about the whole incident, while Godot was still in a coma). He may be a wise-cracking coffee addict who fearlessly looks a Mafia/yakuza thug in the eye, but he's one of the most tragic characters in the game.
  • Edgeworth panicking and fainting during the earthquake, letting Iris slip away and trade places with Maya channeling Dahlia in the Sacred Cavern. He kicks himself for the rest of the day over something he really couldn't have prevented. Then Phoenix has to bring it up in court.
    Phoenix: (I'm sorry. I know you didn't mean to do it. It's not your fault.)

The only time a lawyer can cry is when it's all over.