The first three games in the Ace Attorney series star Phoenix Wright, a sympathetic, easily flustered Perry Mason with Anime Hair, who digs deeper into the mysteries surrounding his client's cases (which always seem to involve murder), butts heads with a host of eccentric characters, discovers clues and evidence the police miss, and uses those clues in court to force the truth out of witnesses and discover the true perpetrators. He fights alongside his latementor, Mia Fey, and her Genki Girl sister Maya Fey. They were originally developed for the Game Boy Advance, with the exception of the fifth case of the first game, "Rise From the Ashes", which was exclusive to the Nintendo DS remake, known as Gyakuten Saiban: Yomigaeru Gyakuten (Turnabout Trials: The Revived Turnabout) in Japan. The game plays out in a Visual Novel style through the perspective of Phoenix Wright during investigation sessions, where the player can talk to other characters, present evidence, and find clues to build up their case. Usually the next day, court begins, where the player cross-examines witnesses to find contradictions, eventually forcing the real culprit to confess. The bonus 5th case of the first game took advantage of the touch-screen and mic on the DS allowing for more in-depth investigations on evidence, which is used in later, DS-only titles in the series.The eponymous first game of the series chronicles Phoenix's first cases, Mia's death, and Phoenix's first battles with prosecutor Miles Edgeworth and his abhorrent tactics, culminating in a fierce face-off with Edgeworth's mentor, the legendary Manfred von Karma. The aforementioned extra case, Rise From The Ashes, ties the plot with the second series together. In 2010 it gained a U.S. iPhoneport. A live action movie directed by Takashi Miike was released in theaters in Japan in February 2012 based mainly on the events of the second and fourth cases of the game.The second game, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All, introduces von Karma's prodigal daughter, Franziska von Karma, out for revenge after the events of the first game. The game features a new element known as Psyche-Locks, where the player is able to break characters' metaphorical "locks" that enshroud secrets that they hide. The game also replaces the five-strike system for a virtual health bar where the amount of health lost varies based on the seriousness of the error the player makes. Plus, the player can present profiles in addition to evidence. Near the end, the game also highlights the nature of the relationship between Phoenix and Edgeworth. (No, not like that...)The third game, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations, excitingly culminates the series by further exploring the background of Mia, Maya, and Phoenix by way of the mysterious coffee-guzzling prosecutor Godot. The Kurain Channeling Technique, which was given less attention in the previous games, becomes the focus of the entire plot as the entire series ties together for an epic climax. The game features two flashback cases as Mia, and at one point, the player steps in Miles Edgeworth's shoes.The Nintendo DS games were ported to the Wii as downloadable titles on WiiWare, featuring a modified, Wii-specific control scheme that permits the use of hand gestures with the remote. A further Updated Re-release featuring all three games was released for iOS in February 2012 Japan and May 30, 2013 in all other regions, targeted primarily at the iPad and replacing the pixel art in the GBA and DS games with scanned versions of the original character drawings (entitled Gyakuten Saiban 123 HD in Japan and Phoenix Wright; Ace Attorney Trilogy HD in English). Another compilation of the three games for the Nintendo 3DS (featuring the crisper sprites from the iOS version with improved animations and corrected music as well as some mild 3D effects) was released in Japan April 17, 2014 and slated for release in English territories sometime in the fall/winter of 2014 (entitled Gyakuten Saiban 123: Naruhodou Selection in Japan and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy in English).The fourth game, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, features a new, fresh lawyer seven years after the events of the third game.A spin-off series called Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth primarily features the eponymous character in a more investigation-themed setting.A fifth game, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies , takes place a year after Apollo Justice and features Phoenix back in a central role. Watch the trailer here.A character sheet for the whole series can be found here.
Every villain in the series as some sort of ulterior, complicated motive for planning out his or her attack.
Averted with Richard Wellington, who suffered from a mental disorder and killed Dustin Prince due to his paranoia.
Maybe even Godot, who was ( quite literally) blinded with rage and committed his crime.
Always Murder: Even the one case that started off as a theft ended up with a murder anyway. The nearest to a complete aversion comes in Case 1-3, and even that started out as a murder attempt which ended up with the intended victim accidentally killing the attacker.
Then the trope is completely smashed to further degrees in Dual Destinies with Turnabout Reclaimed. The victim's death was literally no one's fault, at all. He just tripped and fell into a deep orca pool that happened to have its water drained at the time. It was just a freak accident. The water wasn't even drained for that reason. The "real culprit" is only guilty of trying to kill an orca, and trying to blame the victim's death onto someone. No type of killing what so ever took place, let alone murder.
Amoral Attorney: Miles Edgeworth and Manfred Von Karma set the series tradition for these types of prosecutors with Franziska von Karma in the second game and Godot in the third game.
Robert Hammond from the fourth case of the first game was murdered for being one.
Angrish: Whenever you catch someone in a lie, they will generally lose control momentarily and spout gibberish.
Pearl has a big pretzel on the top of her head, and her mother Morgan sports a massive shapeless bun that can only be held together by antigravity. Ron DeLite has a pair of cinnamon buns (that are oddly shaped like a certain princess's hair) on the side of his head that spring outward when he's upset (which often happens). Detective Luke Atmey's hair looks like he shaved his head, broke a plate, took the biggest piece, spray-painted it bright yellow, and glued it to his head. Redd White and April May both have unnatural hair colors—dark blue-lavender and bright pink, respectively.
Both Maya's and Phoenix's hair is lampshaded frequently throughout all games. ("...Is my hair too spiky? Not spiky enough?" Phoenix says this when Pearl starts crying.)
Ace Detective Luke Atmey, if presented with Phoenix's profile, deducts that Phoenix must be a defense attorney because his hair shows that he's constantly taking blows from his enemies.
Pearl, whenever she believes Phoenix has wronged "Mystic Maya" in any (in)significant way.
Franziska, throughout her appearance in the third game, very rarely hits Edgeworth with her whip even in court, choosing to hit other people instead of him. When she does smack him, its to shake him out of his deep depression over losing Iris when his fear of earthquakes caused him to pass out while he was guarding her. Also, if you ask the wrong question to Sister Bikini during that trial, it is possible to make Franzy Whip It Good.
She makes up for it in Investigations however. She'll whip him a good number of times in required scenes, more if you press certain things or present the wrong evidence. Edgeworth and Gumshoe are also her victims-by-proxy whenever she doesn't want to whip the person who wronged her.
Whenever Phoenix Wright gets too sappy talking about Dahlia, Mia subconsciously attacks Grossberg to vent.
Artistic License - Law: Barely follows the rules of the criminal justice system. Given how memetic it is, most notably is the series doing things like having lawyers object directly to witness testimony in the first place, as well as objecting successfully for reasons like not wanting the things being revealed to be said, even if it is perfectly legal. For instance, there is not even a Grand Jury to review evidence for the trial before hand, and defendants don't receive a trial by jury. Real life trials take weeks of cross examining evidence and witness testimony, with plenty of time for the defense to review all the evidence out of court. Granted, Japan's court system had trials with only one judge and no jury until 2009, when a system incorporating a group of judges was implemented. Makes use of many common subtropes.
This trope is later subverted in Apollo Justice, when Phoenix fights for the installment of a grand jury to review a certain trial, much to the chagrin of Kristoph Gavin.
Asshole Victim: Extremely common throughout the entire series. In game one: Jack Hammer tried to murder somebody, while Robert Hammond was a selfish attorney who didn't care about his clients. In game two, Turner Gray is an uncaring boss who caused one of his workers to die from falling asleep at the wheel and Juan Corrida tries to ruin an "innocent" man's career. In game three, Kane Bullard used his security ageny to blackmail customers, and Glen Elg meets this halfway in that, while he's not an asshole, the characters have no problem calling him a loser after his death. If you don't count Glen Elg, that's still 6 out of 14 murders in the first three games.
Valerie Hawthorne (3-5) plays with it a bit: she helped Dahlia get Terry arrested, but she later felt bad and tried to clear things up with him.
The DS support functions for the microphone and touch screen were tacked on to all three of the remakes. While it is cool to press the Y button to turn on the mic and yell "OBJECTION!" and "HOLD IT!", it's far easier to press the shoulder buttons instead. The touch screen is rarely ever required for any of the games either.
The Wii remakes let you swing the Wiimote as if you were making Phoenix's trademark 'Objection!' pose. Fun, but ultimately it's easier to just press the minus button.
Awesome McCoolname: Though civilians have pretty average names, anyone in the legal system is pretty much required to have a ridiculous name.
Back for the Finale: Larry in the first game, Edgeworth in the second, Franziska and Edgeworth in the third.
Bash Brothers: If there's a legal version of this trope, Phoenix and Edgeworth are definitely it. Edgeworth wants to get the guilty into jail, Phoenix wants to keep the innocent out. If Phoenix has a definite lead in court that points to his client being innocent, Edgeworth will pick up on it and do everything in his power to help Phoenix, as long as it is within his ability and duty as a prosecutor. The way they took down Damon Gant, in particular, shows how much criminals should quake in fear if both of them are on the same case.
They worked together to take down Matt Engarde and Godot as well. If the two are working together on any case after 1-4, they will find and take down the true criminal.
After being shot in the arm by a stray bullet, Manfred von Karma shoots Gregory Edgeworth in an elevator that Miles Edgeworth, Gregory's son, and Yanni Yogi, a bailiff, were in. The police acquire the help of Misty Fey, a spirit medium, to channel the victim, who implicates Yanni Yogi for the crime; after the DL-6 case, when Yanni is proven not guilty due to insanity, von Karma adopts Edgeworth to raise the boy as a prosecutor. In addition, he pays Redd White to slander the Fey clan as frauds. Fifteen years later, when the statute of limitations for the murder approaches, von Karma orders Yogi to murder Robert Hammond, Yogi's defense lawyer for the case, and to frame Miles Edgeworth. Yogi happily obliges, because after the verdict was announced, the public branded him as a retard, and his wife consequently committed suicide.
von Karma then tries to erase all evidence in the DL-6 case, but fails to destroy the bullet that killed Gregory, which is able to be linked to the bullet in his shoulder.
Gant kills Neil Marshall in a fit of hunger for power, and then convinces Lana that Ema killed the detective so that Lana and Gant could implicate Joe Darke. Darke, then, is falsely convicted and executed for murder after SL-9. Gant demotes all the investigators involved in SL-9 when he becomes Chief to keep them from pursuing the case- except for Lana, whom he promotes in order to use as a puppet for insurance so that he would not be convicted, and so his actions would largely remain unchecked by pulling her strings.
However, Gant does not demote Bruce Goodman, a detective involved in the case, to prevent himself from looking suspicious for demoting all those involved in SL-9. Goodman then decides to pursue the case two years after the fact, and Gant is forced to silence the good detective, setting up Lana to take the fall. Gant's actions bring his crime to light.
Matt Engarde videotapes his own assassin, Shelly de Killer, killing his requested target, Juan Corrida, to blackmail him for future purposes. Unexpectedly, however, Adrian Andrews, Engarde's manager, unwittingly finds the body and tries to implicate the actor for the murder. Engarde then tells de Killer to kidnap Phoenix's assistant, Maya, to blackmail Phoenix into implicating Adrian, who, Engarde knows, is a docile, insecure woman and a bad liar. Essentially, he manipulates everyone, including Phoenix Wright.
He then tells de Killer to shoot Franziska so that a worse prosecutor would be put on the case (to help Phoenix win), although this backfires when Edgeworth is revealed to lead the prosecution. Edgeworth and Phoenix then team together to stop Engarde while still saving Maya.
Luke Atmey, a detective, blackmails Ron Delite by anonymously ordering him to steal priceless artifacts under the guise of a thief named Mask☆DeMasque. Atmey, then, would "lead" fraud investigations of Mask☆DeMasque by diverting attention away from Delite, all while maintaining his own credibility by "recovering" the artifacts from the thief. Kane Bullard, Delite's former boss, figures out the truth, and blackmails Atmey by sending him a message to show up for a rendezvous in Bullard's office on a certain date. Atmey, then, sends Bullard's letter to Delite, tricking him to show up for the meeting in Bullard's office. On the night of the meeting, Atmey sets up a scene in a department store such that it would look as though he stole an urn that night, therefore giving him an alibi for thievery instead of murder. Finally, Atmey kills Bullard, frames Delite for the murder, and owns up to being Mask☆DeMasque, and confirms that he committed the theft of the urn and all of the other thefts Delite committed in order to prevent from being convicted of murder.
He didn't account for the fact that the scene of the theft would change in two weeks (thanks to the sloppy work of Adrian Andrews), and a large number of inconsistencies would put him under great suspicion.
Morgan Fey manipulates her daughter, Pearl, into unwittingly channeling Dahlia Hawthorne. Dahlia, who bears a grudge on Mia, would try to kill an unsuspecting Maya, who would be enraptured in her meditation. This was done all so that Pearl could become the next Kurain Channeling Master, a power struggle within the Fey family that has existed for centuries.
She doesn't count on Godot, however, to try to stop the murder from occurring, nor did she think of Mia interfering with the plan.
Berserk Button: One of the lighter examples, but in 1-4 when you talk to Gumshoe about Gourdy and say that you're looking for him, Gumshoe flips out. Of course, Phoenix didn't have the common sense to tell him beforehand that they had to give information about Gourdy to Lotta for the investigation.
Gumshoe: You have time to go wild monster hunting!? Why not do a little questioning for me then!?
Big Damn Heroes: Just about the only thing Detective Gumshoe does right. Mia, despite being dead and buried, also has a knack for this. And yes, it's lampshaded by Godot.
Godot: (To Phoenix) "Some beautiful woman always seems to come dashing in at the last minute to save you."
Big Screwed-Up Family: One really wonders if the Fey clan's ancestors deliberately structured their clan's hierarchy to promote hatred, jealousy, infighting, and backstabbing so that only the strongest daughter may even hope to survive to adulthood, let alone claim the prize.
Bittersweet Ending: A few of the cases end on a fairly bittersweet note. One example being case 1-5, where Lana is cleared of her murder charges, and is finally able to act like her old self again, and Gant is convicted for not one, but two murders... the first of which he had convinced Lana that her younger sister had (accidentally) committed, and the second of which he was blackmailing Lana into taking the blame. However, Lana will still have to answer for several other crimes she committed under blackmail, and will, in all likelihood, still end up having to serve some jail-time, leaving Ema alone regardless. A more straightforward example occurs in the very first case. Larry is proven innocent, but the fact remains that his girlfriend (the victim of the case) is dead and the clock that he gave to Mia would be her murder weapon.
Born Lucky: Many characters accuse Phoenix of winning his cases with mostly pure luck, though they are not far from the truth considering something ALWAYS comes up in the last minute that can help Phoenix win.
Phoenix falls through a burning bridge, into a river that has previously been established as having a horrifically strong current, in the middle of winter, and survives even when it's been reported people die from the river all the time. Granted, he gets a cold and a night in the hospital, and recovers solely because he's dedicated to proving his client not guilty, but that seems a little light compared to cold death. This gets Lampshaded by Franziska, who says that she's unsure whether Phoenix is lucky or unlucky.
Phoenix, in the long run, isn't even that lucky. He gets handed some pretty horrible cards on each of his cases, most clients are unresponsive and hard to work with, and the true culprits won't confess so easily.
Then there's the fact that he takes most of his cases pro bono. It's a wonder he can still pay rent, let alone eat.
Phoenix is a good lawyer in his own right. He can refute every last piece of evidence against his client, but due to the corrupt, guilty-before-innocent court system, Phoenix cannot produce decisive evidence to truly get his client off the hook without the murderer confessing.
Overall, whenever something truly bad would happen to Phoenix, he gets the best result... but if someone terrific would happen to him, he gets the worst result instead.
Brick Joke: A possibly unintentional example in Justice for All. One of the cases introduces Ini and MimiMiney. About a case later, we're introduced to the clown Lawrence Curls, who goes by the name of Moe.
To make it a real stretch, Trials and Tribulations lets us catch a "tigre" by the toe... A joke that is actually made in-game!
In the first game, on the fourth case (the last one in the original GBA game) Maya tries to teach Edgeworth to be more expressive, something that, after being tried, ends up embarrassing him. On the credits, this comes back with Gumshoe telling the player that Edgeworth came to say "Happy New Year" and how he left the precinct with his head down. This comes yet again a whole game later when, at the end, Edgeworth tells her calmly, but still obviously hard for him to express himself, how he's happy that she's fine after being kidnapped, she then comments how "he's improving". He then grabs his arm in embarrassment in the same pose he did in the first game.
Detective Gumshoe, the not-very-bright and insecure police detective who always seems to be the officer responding to cases where Phoenix gets involved. Whenever he misses something, the prosecutor berates him and promises a pay cut.
Larry Butz, Phoenix and Miles' childhood friend. Unlike his friends, he doesn't have much going for him, and is easily bullied in the courtroom.
Phoenix himself comes across as being rather unlucky, what with him being surrounded by lunatics and idiots in a justice system that's ridiculously stacked against him. He's also repeatedly injured and assaulted, be it from being hit by a car, knocked into a river, or getting shocked by a tazer. This becomes really apparent when you play as Edgeworth for a portion of a case in the third game: witnesses and detectives are actually helpful rather than directly or indirectly hindering and undermining you, the judge comes off as being slightly more reasonable, and the prosecutors don't assault you! Edgeworth does, however, mention that he begins to suspect that there may, in fact, be a "Kick me" sign on the defense bench in the court.
Maggey Byrde has an extreme run of bad luck her entire life, most of it told through backstory. When Maggey and Phoenix's first cross paths, their bad luck combines and Phoenix gets hit on the head, ending up forgetting all the rules of the court right before defending her. He still wins.
Catch Phrase: Edgeworth's "Ergo!", used whenever he's describing a train of thought.
Chewing the Scenery: Despite being in court, so much as presenting evidence prompts a TAKE THAT!
The Clan: The Feys, a family of spirit mediums. Mia Fey, the elder daughter of the current generation, is Phoenix's mentor; after her murder, her younger sister Maya joins Phoenix as an assistant. Other members of the clan are also important characters, and the clan as a whole is a central part of the Phoenix Wright universe.
Every case in Phoenix's trilogy is referenced by some other case in the series. This even includes an instance where the bonus case in the first game had a reference to the only non-referenced case by way of a flyer for the restaurant there. This made sense in Japan, where the third game had been out for years and this case had been made for a special edition released a few years later. However, to gamers outside Japan that are unaware of the series history on the GBA, it just came off as a strange instance of foreshadowing.
Also in the DS-exclusive 5th case of the first game. Look at the safe Chief Gant has closely, you can see the logo for KB Security, yet another future nod to the third game.
In Justice for All, Shelly de Killer has apparently been paying attention to the previous cases and decided to go in for a symbolic gesture, as when he shoots Franziska, he does so in the right shoulder, just like her father had been.
Getting poisoned by coffee is quite the reoccurring theme in Trials and Tribulations. It's the method of death for Terry Fawles (suicide) and Glen Elg (homicide). It's also what puts Diego Armando/Godot on the shelf for five years and gives him his white hair and visor. Furthermore, it's initially believed in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney that Drew Misham was poisoned by a coffee mug, but he actually left the poison on the coffee mug when he drank from it after being poisoned.
Additionally, Franziska von Karma shares some animations with her father, as does a young Edgeworth. (The younger Edgeworth also wears a blue vest reminiscent of Manfred's, with matching trim on the suit jacket.)
The DS-only final title of the first game, "Rise from the Ashes", features the characters going to the restaurant "Très Bien", a restaurant where a murder takes place in the third game.
Colon Cancer: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All.
Courtroom Antic: The games do not attempt to represent trials realistically in an way whatsoever. The judge accepts being bullied, the defense lawyer and prosecutor have shouting matches, witnesses stray off-topic, evidence is produced arbitrarily, and so on. The trials as shown are closer to sports games than legal proceedings.
Phoenix, the main character. The odds are so stacked against him, most lawyers would simply accept a Guilty verdict, forget their doomed client and move on. Not Phoenix, not ever. He will prove the innocence of his clients, no matter the personal cost or the odds. And when they aren't innocent, he'll put them away for good.
Maggey Byrde has pretty much lived her entire life spitting in the face of her horrible luck. No matter what happens, Maggey keeps on moving with a positive attitude. She's a tough old byrde.
Devil's Advocate: The rival prosecutors sometimes become this, rather than your true opponent. Once he warms up to Phoenix, Edgeworth isn't acting as a prosecutor because he wants you to fail, but because he wants all the holes in the logic of the case to be filled satisfactorily.
Almost nobody likes Phoenix at the start of the series, except for a token few, and even after he pulls off his first win, Mia still has some doubts. Even his "friends" Edgeworth and Larry don't give him much respect despite him having a 100% success rate. And that doesn't change after it becomes 'almost' 100%.
While Phoenix himself suffers both inside and outside the courtroom, pretty much anyone leading the defense tends to suffer extremely abusive treatment from everyone in the courthouse for most of the trial. Edgeworth, after suffering under the same circumstances during his one trial as a defense attorney in 3-5, engages in a bit of Lampshade Hanging when he wonders if the defense's bench has a target painted on it.
At the end of the conversation referenced in the Dirty Old Man entry under the third game, Mia says that she can't believe that Maya channelled her for that.
By the end of the third game, this trope is fully subverted. Edgeworth, Franziska, the Judge, and even Godot respect Phoenix for his commitment to justice. Each game ends with a celebration, and the number of people in attendance grows each game — and none of Phoenix's former clients have a bad word to say about him either save Engarde, whom we never see again, and Maggey, thanks to the imposter. That doesn't stop Phoenix's friends from teasing him relentlessly, but that goes both ways. Phoenix even undergoes spiritual training despite being theoretically banned from doing so because he has no powers.
This is very much due to the Japanese legal system (and the culture surrounding it) of which the gameplay is based. Because the legal system is built on an inquisitorial system, in which the court has an active role in the case (whereas the adversarial system in the West reduces the role of the court to a form of referee), Japan has an incredibly high conviction rate. Furthermore, only in 2009 did Japan re-institute a form of jury system after revoking it in World War II. As a consequence, how people view prosecutors and defense attorneys is reflected as one of adoration and contempt, respectively. That Phoenix Wright has such a success rate is nothing short of unprecedented: Defense attorneys in Japan are lucky if they score an acquittal in their entire career.
Economy Cast: Detective Gumshoe and the Judge, for the most part. Other characters in those positions appear only when absolutely required by the plot — and in the judge's case, when a second judge is required by the plot, it is always his almost identical brother. Strangely, in an interview it's been commented that the first game (in GBA form) had filled its cart to the brim, so much that one character (Grossberg) had to have animations cut. This doesn't seem to be a problem with the later games, so having an Economy Cast only really makes sense for plot reasons (plus the occasional Lampshade Hanging).
Exact Words: The Magatama has a problem with this. Depending on how the question Phoenix asks is formulated, there may be no Psyche-Locks appearing because the character may not really have something to hide about that specific point. In case 2-4, Phoenix at first believes Matt Engarde to be innocent because he asked him if he killed anyone and Engarde says no, he never killed anyone; and no Psyche-Locks appear. But that didn't imply that he didn't hire a killer to do it for him.
Fainting: A lot of the mysteries depend on a witness being out cold at a crucial moment and missing a key detail. For example, Maggey fainted out of shock and young Edgeworth was oxygen-deprived while Ron DeLite got a Tap on the Head.
Fangirl: Pearl is an in-universe Phoenix/Maya shipper, and Maya is also a huge fangirl of the Steel Samurai. Trucy becomes a belated fangirl of the Gavinners, and Apollo used to be a Phoenix Wright fanboy (before he actually met him). In Investigations, the extent of Edgeworth's Fan Boy attitude towards the Steel Samurai is revealed!
First-Person Smartass: Phoenix, on occasion. Edgeworth somewhat more so in his playable segment, though he snarks aloud plenty.
In case 1-2, Mia says that Phoenix would be more likely to get Maya a guilty sentence rather than an acquittal, and that she should wait three years. Three years later, Phoenix finally stands on his own in the last case of the trilogy, without someone else coming in with new evidence, or objecting for him. He still has help along the way, but he finally finishes a case on his own terms.
At the very end of 2-2 while locked in solitary confinement Morgan Fey rambles to herself about how Pearl's time will come to replace Maya as the master of the Fey family and the Kurain Channeling Technique. Case 3-5 revolves around Phoenix foiling this second attempt and finally putting an end to the Fey's bloody history.
There's one in case 3-5:
Pearl: You'd walk over hot coals for Mystic Maya, wouldn't you, Mr. Nick?
Later in the case he runs across a burning bridge for her.
Gainaxing: Many of April May's animations show this.
Going for the Big Scoop: Lotta Hart does this in three separate cases, one time she goes crazy and starts going after the crime scene Laughing Mad. Even Wright doesn't know which is scarier after that, the ghosts or Lotta.
Good Lawyers, Good Clients: Phoenix always seems to get the innocent clients, leading one to wonder just how competent the investigators are if they arrest innocent people that often...
This can be attributed to the nature of the Japanese Justice system. The primary motivation for prosecutors is to secure a conviction due to it being a point of pride and status. Since they have a great deal of control over who is eventually put on trial this is almost definitely a suggestion that in these cases, the prosecutors were more concerned with who they could convict than making sure that justice is served.
Well if they're all like Gumshoe...
However, this is subverted with the final defendant of the second game, Matt Engarde.
Ron DeLite subverts it, too. True, he didn't murder anyone, but Phoenix still successfully got Mask☆DeMasque off the hook for larceny... albeit with Luke Atmey's help.
This trait is actually justified in-universe. Phoenix (and Mia) always ask the clients if they are truly innocent, and only will defend them if they believe the answer. As of the second game, Phoenix backs this up with the magatama. If there's no psyche lock, he assumes they are truly innocent. This comes back to bite him in case 2-4.
Ham-to-Ham Combat: Later cases tend to up the tension with back and fourth objections.
Hand-Hiding Sleeves: The "cute" variant is used by Larry Butz. His "happy" animation has him pull his hand into his sleeve and let the sleeve droop down as he waves his hand back and forth. This is always accompanied by a Blush Sticker.
In 3-4, Edgeworth presents a photograph of two people meeting on a bridge but can't deduce which person arrived first, even with one half of the bridge out.
Franziska doesn't notice that a seven-bladed sword with blood only on its tip could not possibly be seamlessly removed after a stabbing, nevermind that the lack of blood further down the sword indicates that it was never inserted to the hilt to begin with in 3-5.
Edgeworth doesn't think to check the other side of the receipt in 1-2, which would have saved everyone a lot of time and the false Game Over — but then it brings up the question of whether he seriously never checked the other side of his most crucial piece of evidence and would have convicted you without so much as a cursory look.
In 1-5, Edgeworth looks positively shocked when he sees the other drawing on the other side of the evidence list that had been in his own possession up until then. Did he really not notice that there was something on the back of that piece of paper?
Phoenix decides that stealing is bad and refuses to search the Ringmaster's coat in 2-3, which would have turned up a clue much sooner and saved everyone quite a bit of time.
Indy Ploy: Usually, Phoenix has no idea what he's going to reveal when he presses someone.
I Was Quite a Looker: Wendy Oldbag claims this, but we only have her word for it. However, one of stories in the first volume of Official Casebook (a collection of Ace Attorney doujinshi), we get to see how her identical grandmother (!) looked as a young lady, and she was quite attractive.
Japanese Pronouns: In the Japanese version, Matt Engarde uses boku when he displays his flaky outer persona and ore when he reverts to his sociopathic true self, further indicating the difference between the two.
Kubrick Stare: Phoenix is especially good at this, or at least his sprite suggests so.
Next Sunday A.D.: The first game takes place in 2016. Almost nothing has changed, except the court system. They use 90s-style cell phones and VHS tapes, though the latter is Truth in Television as some places still use tapes for security cameras.
The Nicknamer: Maya, as well as Franziska (who invariably calls Gumshoe "Scruffy") and Wendy Oldbag.
No Badge? No Problem!: Phoenix does this constantly, and often swipesevidence from the scene of the crime. However, it's implied that the law in his world differs from real-world law on this point; on several occasions he's shown receiving assistance from the police during his on-scene investigations. There's a very odd line late in game 1 where Phoenix says that he's not supposed to do that. Really? Because it didn't seem to cause you any trouble with the police all the previous times you did it. Quite often, he even ends up doing their work. Especially including using the nifty gadgets for them.
Oblivious Mockery: A museum worker says that any intelligent person would think that the writing on an urn belonging to a clan whose founder was Ami Fey would say "Ami," and would reassemble the urn to say that if they broke it. Unknown to her, a little girl who broke the urn and is standing with her reassembled it incorrectly such that the name was spelled wrong.
Passing the Torch/Take Up My Sword: When Mia dies, Phoenix takes over her law firm having only won two cases. Maya or Pearl still summon Mia throughout the trilogy whenever Phoenix needs help. However in the very last trial of the Phoenix trilogy, Mia only comes to help Wright solve the whole dilemma regarding Maya's whereabouts and Dahlia's return from the dead. Once the trial goes back to what it was originally about, a murder case, Mia refuses to help Phoenix, rendering him for the first time without assistance. However, when Phoenix finally figures out the source, the real murderer and presents the final piece of incriminating evidence that the player will ever present, Mia's spirit appears beside Phoenix, mimicking Wright's final presentation (in slow-motion, no less). Godot who would never accept Phoenix and never forgive him for Mia's death became so shocked that his visor blew up.
Gumshoe is at the point where even instant ramen is a luxury, and he's on the verge of having to pay to do his job.
Despite his success as a defense attorney for several high-profile clients, Phoenix also seems to suffer from this, albeit to a lesser degree. This can be puzzling if you play the second game and think "Didn't he successfully solve a fifteen-year-old murder his client had confessed to, and then went on to expose corruption in the police department and prosecutor's office, all within his first year as a lawyer?" He has a better record than Johnny Cochrane. It's implied that Phoenix's clients don't pay him, and Maya's burger addiction probably has something to do with it, too.
While it's obviously exaggerated, the poverty of Phoenix Wright compared to the relative wealth of the various prosecutors is a definite prod at the fact that a similar gap exists in the actual Japanese criminal justice system due to the lack of respect the role of defense attorney is given socially.
Power of Trust: Phoenix and Edgeworth, in pretty much everything from midway through their second case together and beyond. Which is a very interesting display of trust, considering the fact that one of them will have to lose whenever they're in court together.
Although later on Edgeworth realises that there's a lot more to being a prosecutor than just winning or losing.
Promotion to Parent: Pearl regards Maya as an older sister, but their relationship is closer to mother and daughter, and Phoenix also steps up as a parental figure. Pearl lives in fear of disappointing the two of them, tries to hide minor infractions behind Psyche-Locks for fear of being punished, and generally treats the two of them as guardians more than sibling-figures. The end of Justice For Allshows the three of them reunited in a hug. Regardless of shipping preference, it's clear that when it comes to Pearl, Nick and Maya act in tandem to do what's best for her, with Maya even spelling it out for Nick: Pearl hasn't seen many happy couples and never knew her father, which is why she believes in "Mr. Nick" with the same devotion young children have for their fathers — as the hero who can always save the day.
Punnyyet Meaningful Name: Dear God, where to begin? Phoenix's habit of rising up out of the ashes of his cases, Mia Fey (me, a fey), the detective Dick Gumshoe (both slang for detectives), and those are just the main characters. Everyone else? Frank Sahwit (the witness, who saw it), Redd White (of Blue Corporation), Will Powers, Jack Hammer (action stars), Penny Nichols, Wendy Oldbag (very verbose), Lotta Hart, Lawrence 'Moe' Curls (a clown)..
Pretty much every name in every game, with only a few exceptions.
The Feys are also Arthurian Theme Naming, after Morgan le Fay (with altered spelling), evidenced by Misty Fey (after the Mists of Avalon). The tradition continues into Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney with the Gramarye family, named after Merlin's island.
Running Gag: Maya appears to have trouble understanding the concept of a stepladder. Examining one almost always yields a conversation in which Phoenix has to explain to her what a stepladder is. This is continued by Trucy and Apollo and Miles and Kay.
Ema gets in on the action in 1-5, and another variation occurs in 3-2 with Maya confusing a fireplace for a hearth.
She Is Not My Girlfriend: Maya and Phoenix go through this a few times, first with Larry Butz assuming Maya is Phoenix's partner in more way than one, and subsequently several times with Pearl.
...though in 3-5, pressing the fake Iris at one point yields the following exchange:
"Iris": Mystic Maya... She's your girlfriend, isn't she?
Phoenix: ...!note To be clear, Phoenix doesn't correct them.
Spirit Advisor: Mia Fey fills this role, and even though she appears to be omniscient (since she's dead and all), she seems to have varying levels of this (such as in the third case of the first game where even she doesn't know what happened until Phoenix does).
Stuffed into the Fridge: Subverted with Mia Fey. When she's murdered at the beginning of the second case, it seems like a standard cliche - female character close to the protagonist is killed solely so that avenging her can serve as his heroic motivation. In fact, though, Phoenix is unable to convict her killer on his own, and it's Mia who avenges herself from beyond the grave in the most literal way possible. Furthermore, even in the third game, it's still Mia, not Phoenix, who is Dahlia Hawthorne's ultimate nemesis.
Stupidity Is the Only Option: Often there is a glaring piece of evidence or a major hole in the witness's testimony, but you can't point it out yet.
Trademark Favorite Food: Maya and her burgers (Ramen in Japanese), and to a lesser extent Gumshoe and his instant noodles (which is about all he can afford on his salary).
Plus Godot and his coffee.
Two Decades Behind: The games take place in 2016 but seem to be stuck somewhere between 1980 and 1990, with their non-smartphone cellphones, polaroid and film cameras instead of digital ones and black-and-white photographs. They even have Phone Booths!
Villainous Breakdown: When you finally put forth the final piece of evidence that proves who the real culprit is, expect the guilty party to completely lose it before engaging in a long winded speech.
When It All Began: The majority of the cases in the game have some event before that gives the true killer their motive.
Working the Same Case: If you ever have to investigate more than one thing at a time, or if the name of an old case is brought up, rest assured it will be relevant to the main mystery.
You Keep Using That Word: From the first game: "Accidental murder is still murder.". True to the Japanese legal system which the games are based on, in which even an accidental killing is technically counted as murder.
For that matter, "Objection" is primarily used in this series to point out when the witness' testimony has a contradiction in it, and is very seldom used for its real-life purpose of calling out the other lawyer when they seem to be breaking the rules of court. Then there are a few (admittedly awesome) moments where Phoenix and Edgeworth "object" in turn simply to finish the other's train of thought.
Absence of Evidence: In the 5th case (MAJOR spoiler): Damon Gant has just proved Ema Skye pushed the victim to his death using a fingerprint-laden piece of cloth he personally cut from the victim's vest. However, Phoenix notes that while the victim died of a pierced lung and was coughing up blood on himself for a while before death, the piece of cloth has NO blood on it. Since this proves the cloth was cut BEFORE the victim was killed, Gant is a bit unnerved.
There's the set-up for the DL-6 Incident. Gregory Edgeworth and his son Miles, who at the time was nine, are trapped in an elevator, in the dark, and with the oxygen supply running out. And then the other person in the elevator, who has a gun in his possession, starts panicking and acting violently.
Dee Vasquez, who has ties to The Mafia. Towards the end of the last investigation day, when Phoenix and Maya uncover some critical evidence, Vasquez summons her Mafia goons and orders them "erased"—a cruel reminder of how terrifying organized crime can be. Only a Big Damn Heroes moment by Gumshoe prevents a premature end to Phoenix's and Maya's lives.
Awesome, but Impractical: The DS support functions for the microphone and touch screen were tacked on to all three of the remakes. While it is cool to press the Y button to turn on the mic and yell "OBJECTION!" and "HOLD IT!", it's far easier to press the shoulder buttons instead. The touch screen is rarely ever required for any of the games either.
Bara Genre: Will Powers. In fact, Gumshoe and Powers are often a bara couple in fanart.
Berserk Button Don't ever come between Manfred von Karma and his perfect record. Berserk Button doesn't even begin to describe the consequences you will suffer if you do.
Big Bad: Manfred von Karma for the main game, Damon Gant for Case 5.
In the Mia Fey murder case, there is a note that has Maya's name written in blood. This was a receipt for the lamp that would help out late in the second trial.
In Rise From The Ashes, "Rule 1: no evidence shall be shown without the approval of the Police Department!" This comes back to bite Damon Gant in the ass, since the Police Chief himself taunting Phoenix to show something technically counts as "approval"...
Chekhov's Gunman: Larry Butz, seemingly a blockhead doofus who's just at the wrong place at the wrong time appears out of freaking nowhere and 180's the entire fourth case. Prior to this he was only the defendant of your very first trial and in the fourth case he had only appeared selling hot dogs and unintentionally spawning lake controversy about a rumoured monster in the lake.
At one point in the second case, it's mentioned that someone else is staying with April. This is not touched upon until late in the case, when it's revealed to be Redd White, the same guy who "ruined" the mother of the Fey sisters, and is a very important part of the case.
Clock King: Manfred von Karma in the fourth case. Edgeworth specifically (though not by name) suggests Xanatos Speed Chess as a method of combating him.
Covers Always Lie: See that woman, on the far left in the trope image (the game's cover)? She dies in the second trial. In the original, she only makes a few more brief appearances when being summoned by her sister.
Cowboy Cop: Played literally with Jake Marshall, the justification being that he's from west L.A.
Crime After Crime: Joe Darke's backstory in case 5. It ends with him killing at least five people. Jake Marshall's brother, however was killed by Damon Gant.
The Day The Music Lied: At one point, Edgeworth brings up an OBJECTION!, his awesome theme music starts up... then he realizes he has nothing to say. The music kinda deflates. Then it starts up again when he does think of something.
Dead Man's Chest: In case 1-5, Gant needed to stash the body of the detective he killed and got Lana Skye to do it. Unfortunately for him, Lana was spotted—which led to her being accused of the murder instead.
Death Glare: The big bad of case 5, Damon Gant. In the same case, Angel Starr's burning hatred for prosecutors in general makes her glares pretty nasty as well.
Disproportionate Retribution: How dare that Gregory Edgeworth so much as scratch my perfect record? I swear, if he crosses me once more, I'll kill him, raise his son to be a prosecutor, and then frame him for murder...!
Early-Installment Weirdness: This game features a different health system, with a "five strikes" rule rather than the lifebar and variable penalties given out in the latter titles. The trials also take place over three days, which was changed to two days in subsequent games after complaints that the frequent shifts between the trial and investigations phases ruined the game's pacing.
Notably, the first game has much less dialogue and fewer time for the investigation phase, excluding "Rise from the Ashes."
In-Universe, the "three day rule" (all trials must conclude in three days) is still in effect for the rest of the series. Or at least it still is in the second game where the Judge at a few points tries to suspend the 2-4 trial to a third day. It's only for gameplay's sake that they all happen to wrap up in two.
A Fool for a Client: Phoenix winds up representing himself for the last trial of case two. In fairness, it's pretty much stated outright that he doesn't have a better option—no other defense attorney will take the case, and taking a state-appointed attorney will practically ensure him being found guilty.
Foreshadowing: It's possible there was some collaboration between the English script writers and Takumi. In Case 5, upon presenting your badge to Lana...
Lana: Give it three years. Then we'll see what you have become.
Strangely inverted by Mia, though. In her phone conversation with Maya, she says to give him 3 years unless she wants a guilty verdict. Guess what happens three years later? Phoenix loses his badge.
"Rise From The Ashes" actually manages to foreshadow things in Ace Attorney Investigations! Mainly how Ema thinks that Edgeworth's framed jacket has a story, a cop suggesting that the gunshot someone heard was a recording, and how Edgeworth will one day be forced to see the limitations of the law while trying to find the truth.
In Case 4 it actually, although subtly, foreshadows Justice For All! Upon talking with Maya about how Larry started the myth about Gourdy living in Gourd lake with his Steel Samurai inflatable Maya says "someone should whip that Butz into shape". Guess what whip-toting prosecutor comes in next game?
While defending Maya, Phoenix asks Gumshoe the likelihood of a victim writing their murder's name in their blood. In this case, that didn't happen. Later in the game, the unstable jar does have the murders' name written in blood, although we later find out its another forgery.
In Case 3, when you first investigate Studio 2, you might notice a bent spike on the flowerbox fence - the real murder weapon both now and from five years ago. Given that two people have fallen on it, it makes sense.
An odd example in the first case. You can erroneously name Mia Fey as the victim in the case when the judge is questioning Phoenix on how well he's prepared to defend the case. Doing so makes her grow indignant (since she's obviously standing right next to you). However one case later and things don't seem so facetious anymore...
On the second day of case 1-4, if you insist on cross-examining the boat shop owner - which you have to do to proceed - von Karma will throw a little tantrum and grab his right shoulder. On the third day of case 1-4, Phoenix realizes that von Karma has had a bullet embedded in that shoulder for fifteen years, which proves he murdered Edgeworth's father. When he makes this accusation, von Karma grabs his shoulder again.
Freudian Excuse: It can be a bit jarring when after finishing the other games and notice just how much of a jerk Edgeworth was, with the loss of his father, and replacement of his father with a colossal jerk being revealed as an excuse. Even in his first case against Phoenix, an old friend, Edgeworth is snide, condescending, rude, dishonest, and manipulative. Fortunately, his Excuse was upgraded into Character Development over the course of the three games.
Gag Boobs: April May takes it Up to Eleven, and the bellhop of the Gatewater Hotel even makes mention of how she's unmistakable because of "them" with a HUGE blush.
Gambit Pileup: Damon Gant from 1-5 has a freaking plethora of gambits all going on at once and literally everything in the entire case went the way he had predicted and wanted it to be. The only way Phoenix could out gambit him was by postponing a piece of evidence for a few minutes until Gant persuaded him to present it, as otherwise it would be rendered illegal evidence.
It's a bit ironic in the fact that Gant dug his own grave in the process of persuading Phoenix into presenting the critical evidence.
Hell Is That Noise: There's von Karma's scream, which is so terrifying that it traumatizes Edgeworth for fifteen years.
Hoist by His Own Petard: Damon Gant, as part of Phoenix's counter-gambit in 5. The cloth with Ema's handprint on it was Gant's insurance policy, and the reason he could not be found guilty as the murderer. Phoenix had one chance near the end of the trial to present it, but doing it at that point would count as an attempt to convict someone with illegal evidence as the cloth had nothing to do with the case at hand, resulting in a Nonstandard Game Over further on at the end of the trial. However by delaying the inevitable with a few seconds space after he was persuaded by Gant to present it, Phoenix eventually presented it since the evidence would authentically be legal as it was shown after being allowed clearance by the lead Police Chief, which was Gant.
Hypocritical Humor: When Dee Vasquez complains about Phoenix slamming his desk, Edgeworth slams his desk, chimes in "Yeah! Mr. Wright...!" then realizes his mistake and says "Oops".
Also earlier in the case, Cody Hackins chides Maya for calling him a kid. Later, he chides Wright for yelling at him, because he's only a kid.
I Can't Do This by Myself: After the 5th case, the player is called upon to show the prosecutor Edgeworth a piece of evidence from the case that neither he nor Phoenix Wright could have put together without the other's help. More of an "I couldn't do this by myself", but still...
PWAA: Both the fictional and apparently true fate of the victim of case 1-3, who died by being shoved onto a spiked fence. Plus the irony factor of him having killed someone else the exact same way years before his own death.
And don't forget in Case 5, Damon Gant impales Neil Marshall on the suit of armour. While he was still alive.
Insurmountable Waist High Fence: Case 1-3 relies on the fact that no one could get past the fallen statue blocking Studio 2, despite the fact that there's nothing preventing anyone from walking through the woods around it (and the camera watching the path) or climbing over it. However, Cody Hackins wanders through the woods just fine.
Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Manfred von Karma. And if the name itself isn't badass enough, it's also seemingly a reference to Manfred von Richthofen, better known as the Red Baron.
The Nicknamer: Damon Gant (e.g. "Wrighto" for Phoenix, "Udgey" for the Judge, and "Worthy" for Edgeworth).
Nonstandard Game Over: If you present a certain piece of evidence too early in 5 (the cloth with Ema's fingerprints), you are later told the trial was unwinnable from the time you presented it. The screen then goes black with a "Guilty" verdict.
Before most testimonies you have the option not to cross-examine, but this usually just results in your assistant calling you an idiot and making you go ahead with the cross-examination anyway. However, in 1-4, if you choose not to cross-examine the witness after Maya is arrested for contempt of court and dragged off to prison then Phoenix really will decline the opportunity to do so, which results in an instant "Guilty" verdict.
Obfuscating Stupidity: Yanni Yogi, the Boat Rental owner. He pretends to be a senile old man who thinks Phoenix and Maya are his children until Phoenix reveals his true identity, at which point he confesses.
Ominous Pipe Organ: While Gant's leitmotif doesn't use pipe organ in-game, he himself plays one and his leitmotif was arranged for organ for the Villain Medley in the 2008 Gyakuten Meets Orchestra concert.
This technically foreshadows and possibly lampshades Redd White's splendiforusly huge vocabulary.
The Password Is Always Swordfish: Manfred von Karma has his ATM PIN set to 0001 because he's "number one"—and openly highlights this during a trial. Damon Gant's safe combination is the same as his ID card number: 7777777.
Polly Wants a Microphone: Although Polly can't talk with a mind of her own, she is useful in that she can be taught to say certain words in response to a question.
Pragmatic Adaptation: The live-action film focused specifically on DL-6 and it's connection to the Fey sisters, so naturally, quite a few changes were made. For example, Cases 1 and 3 are instead made into two separate cases going at the same time (Phoenix and Mia successfully defend Larry, while Edgeworth gets Dee Vasquez convicted).
Rear Window Witness: April May in the second case is initially set up as one. But it turns out she knows a lot more about the crime than a mere 'witness' should...
Running Gag: Gumshoe excitedly barging in on Phoenix and co., finding them all depressed, and then trying to excuse himself happens three times throughout Case 5, with almost the exact same dialogue each time.
Edgeworth's inability to get witnesses to state their name and occupation when asked.
Six Is Nine: In the fifth case, a piece of evidence contains a note that reads "6-7S 12/2." However, the note was apparently written upside down and it actually reads "2/21 SL-9," tying it to another case altogether.
Snot Bubble: Yanni Yogi gets one when he falls asleep, when you first meet him in Case 4.
Shout-Out: Ema suggests there should be letters in the detective's I Ds if you examine Goodman's ID card and suggests a possible ID.
Phoenix: A name and ID number are written here. "Detective Bruce Goodman, ID# 5842189". Ema: I wonder why they only use numbers for IDs. Phoenix: What else would they use? Ema: Letters, silly! They're the reason we have a written language in the first place! Phoenix: True... Ema: "Detective Bruce Goodman, ID: YABADAB". See? Wouldn't it be better? Phoenix: "YABADAB"? Well, it does have a certain ring to it... Ema: Exactly my point! Tee-hee! Phoenix: (It doesn't take much to amuse her.)
In the same case, there's this chat upon examining the Parking Lot B Block:
Phoenix: "B Block" is through there. That's where visitors park. Ema: I can see the Lunchland car over there... far in the distance. Phoenix: Hey, you're right. I like the cute design on the door. (I can see... a cartoon cow munching down on a juicy looking steak.) Ema: ... Doesn't that strike you as a little... creepy? Phoenix:Just don't think too deeply about it and you'll be fine.
Actually having Phoenix give the evidence that would convict von Karma to the man himself, despite the fact its obvious he's just going to destroy it like all the other evidence he just stole from the police. And then Phoenix still doesn't just report the assault and the theft to the police, even though they're already at the police department.
This is painfully prevalent in this game—you have to confront Redd White and Dee Vasquez with their guilt as well, though the results aren't quite so devastating to your case as with Von Karma.
Also, in case 1-2 you're never given the option of looking at what the receipt with Maya's name written on it is actually for, and need to wait for Mia to come back from the dead and tell you about it.
In 1-3 Phoenix somehow doesn't pick up on the killer indicating that she already knew the victim was dead before the body was discovered, so that Edgeworth can point it out instead.
Cases 1-3 and 1-5 involve people getting impaled. There are heavy pointy objects obviously visible in the background, but Phoenix can't even examine them. In Case 1-3, one part is obviously bent. The most that happens is Wright noting that it looks dangerous and should be avoided.
Suspend Save: Added to the iOS port so that if the app was shut down, the player could chose to resume from the quick save file rather than losing unsaved progress.
Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Ema Skye in the bonus chapter is very similar to Maya. Phoenix lampshades the similarities between her and Maya both having older sisters, and Lana happened to know Mia. Ema resembling Maya is even part of the reason why he took the case.
Taking the Heat: April May refuses to willingly provide information that might incriminate Redd White in wiretapping or murder, and Lana is doing this for Gant, as a result of being blackmailed.
Theme Music Power-Up: Double subverted in case 1-3, when Edgeworth voices an objection to the usual heroic fanfare... which dies when he admits that he has nothing to say. Seconds later, he objects again, and the music starts back up when he realizes that he does have something to say.
They Died Because of You: Manfred von Karma tries to convince Miles Edgeworth that he (accidentally) killed his father, Gregory Edgeworth, by getting angry and throwing a gun that went off and hit him.
Twenty Minutes In The Future: Not emphasized by any means, especially given the lack of the usual trappings, but it's there. The incident that the first game's entire Myth Arc was built around happened fifteen years ago, and the date was explicitly 2001. This could actually account for the nutty court system, as the game makes it clear that it's new.
Title Drop: A subtle example, but still... the full name of the DS re-release of the first GBA game is Gyakuten Saiban: Yomigaeru Gyakuten. "Yomigaeru Gyakuten" is the name of the 5th case of the DS version of the game (and its literal translation is "The Revived Turnabout"). This 5th case was then localized as "Rise from the Ashes".
A less subtle one appears in the english release of Trials and Tribulations. Luke Atmey introduces himself to Nick as "Luke Atmey: Ace Detective," Nick responds by (awkwardly) introducing himself as "Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney."
Vanilla Edition: An odd inversion. The Wii edition of the first game does not include the fifth case, which must be purchased for an extra 100 Wii points ($1 U.S.) Said case was not released until May 2010, four months after the game itself became available for purchase. (Presumably this is because the DS-specific Waggle mechanics in Case 5 took longer to adapt for the Wii than the rest of the game, because of the case-unique evidence examination mini-games.)
Xanatos Speed Chess: The killer of 1-5 sets up two separate framings in the brief time between Joe Darke's escape and recapture. First, he arranged the room to look like Ema killed Neil. This involved impaling Neil's body on the statue, writing on the jar, breaking the jar, and stashing the critical evidence in his safe. Then, once Lana arrived, he persuaded her to fake the evidence needed to arrest Joe Darke. This is extremely fast work, manipulating both people and evidence.
Celeste Inpax gets burned by two different people because of this and kills herself over it, and Juan would have found out that Adrian was just using him if he hadn't gotten killed (though plenty would argue that he was worse than her.
It's sort of averted when you find out that Regina getting Bat "killed" was an accident.
Case 4. So I heard you like defending a client who is clearly evil and having your dear friend and assistant's life depend on his acquittal.
Just ask real attorneys, who will most likely find themselves defending a guy like Matt. The scary and sad part comes when the miracle most likely won't ever happen for them.
Affably Evil: Shelly de Killer is incredibly polite for a hired assassin (unless you push his buttons), and will not consider a job done until any and all suspicion is drawn away from his client.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In the aftermath of 2-1, Maggey details some examples of how bad her luck has been during her life, including: getting food poisoning from almost every kind of food, being subjected to almost every kind of natural disaster—and never, ever having won a game of tic-tac-toe.
Avenging the Villain: Franziska von Karma. Subverted. She eventually reveals that she didn't give a crap about her father's downfall; the entire rivalry was simply for satisfying her ego by besting Phoenix when Edgeworth couldn't. The Freudian Excuse was that she wanted to defeat Edgeworth all along.
Bait-and-Switch Boss: Franziska is all set to enact her revenge on you in the final case until... De Killer shoots her and Edgeworth makes a dramatic return, taking up the case.
Juan Corrida is strongly associated with bears (most likely due to a PR move) and his room is full of nearly every bear related object known to man. The whole reason he is killed is because Matt discovered Juan had a fake suicide note written by "Celeste" that would have ruined his image. The note was hidden in a bear which was to be given to Matt after Juan was murdered.
Not to mention the camera hidden inside of the bear's eye, which ends up an incredibly crucial piece of evidence.
Berserk Button: Whatever you do, don't accuse the Judge of being the murderer. The results won't be pretty.
Judge: GWWWWAAAAHHHH!! Judge: WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY TO ME!? THAT'S A PENALTY!! (45% penalty) Phoenix: Arrrgghhh! Judge: WHAT'S THAT!? YOU WANT A DOUBLE!? HERE YA GO!! (50% penalty) Phoenix: Double arrrggghhh!!note Note that this is a total of a 95% penalty. If you've taken any damage at all in the case to this point it's an instant game over.
Franziska doesn't react too kindly to getting accused of being the murderer, either. Fortunately you only get a standard penalty if you do that, but you also get the mother of all whippings to go with it.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Although any good mystery story requires some criminals who don't seem like criminals at first, such as Miss Miney, the crowning example is Matt Engarde.
"Blind Idiot" Translation: The English translation of this game was riddled with typos, such as "surly" for "surely" and "alter" for "altar." It also included the infamous, memetic bad ending line "the miracle never happen."
The iOS port is even worse, at one point calling a piece of evidence a "Hotel Guidernap."
Break the Cutie: In 2-3, Moe the Clown brings the ultra-sheltered Pollyanna Regina to court on the day Acro is to be revealed as the true criminal specifically for this purpose, so that she can understand both the truth of her father's death and her own responsibility for Acro and Bat's injuries. She cries at the end of the trial and realizes some hard truths, but the fact that during the credits she seems to think Zimbabwe is full of talking bunnies and castles made out of cake, it seems uncertain that the change stuck.
In 2-4, Adrian Andrews applies too. Not to mention Maya Fey, who gets accused of murder once per game, along with getting kidnapped in 2-4, and many other things throughout the series. Finally, we learn in the third game that Mia Fey's first trial ends in an innocent man committing suicide on the stand and having the real killer go free. She even later gets murdered by Redd White. It seems like all the Feys have horrible luck.
Going off of Cry Cute, below: As is revealed in the closing credits, it seems the whole game was this for Franziska von Karma, whose worldview and obsession with perfection are not only challenged by two losses, but by Phoenix willingly and happily accepting his first defeat in court.
Camp Straight: Maximilian Galactica has bright pink hair, sequinned makeup, calls everyone (including Phoenix) sweetie, has the Catch Phrase "Fabulous!"... and is totally in love with the very Moe Moe Regina Berry. Although his metro-persona seems to be a mask to hide his Deep South, Good Ol' Boy past.
In that same case, Maya refers to the ringmaster as metrosexual after getting a glimpse at his makeup collection...
Contrived Coincidence: Two of them in Case 2-1: Maggey and Richard having the same exact eyeglass prescription (which leads to Maggey being accused of murder when Richard's glasses are found underneath the victim) and Phoenix and Richard having the same exact phone model and color (leading to Richard accidentally swiping Phoenix's phone after he attacks him when he meant to grab his own.)
Also, Maggey just happens to accidentally step on her glasses and break them around the same time the pair of broken glasses was found underneath the victim.
Possible Hand Wave in the fact that it never states Maggey or Richard's exact prescriptions, just that Richard is near-sighted, and that Maggey is wearing a spare pair at the moment (which could have a slightly older prescription on them than her normal pair), so their prescriptions could be actually different. It's still pretty dang convenient that they're both apparently near-sighted and still must have at least fairly similar prescriptions, though.
Cry Cute: Franziska von Karma in the post-credit epilogue of the good ending.
Cycle of Revenge: Case 2-4 is one springing from a cycle of petty one-upsmanship between two actors that catches some bystanders up in it as collateral damage. Matt reveals to Juan that his fiance is Matt's ex. Juan breaks it off with her, which causes her to commit suicide. She leaves a note behind details Matt's wrong-doing, which Juan hides to use later. Her protegee, Adrian, begins seeing Juan to get close to him to find the note and burn it to save her further disgrace. Juan plans to publish the note as payback, but Matt kills him first, and Adrian tries to frame Matt for the murder to make sure he doesn't get away.
Dead Man's Chest: An unusual version of this trope occurs in the second game when Mimi locks Maya in the chest and then proceeds to frame her for the murder, using the same chest to hide herself when Maya first enters and when Nick and Lotta bust in.
Dead Person Impersonation: Ini Miney is actually dead—the one you meet in the game is her sister, Mimi Miney, who took over her identity when both were involved in a car wreck that killed Ini and injured Mimi so badly as to require reconstructive surgery.
Demoted to Extra: Maya spends most of the game sidelined in favor of Pearl — and, for part of the first case, Maggey Byrde — and only really takes much of a part in the third case. Not to say that she doesn't play much of a role in the overall storyline, though, she just spends most of it in the background (to the point where she doesn't even appear on the game's cover art; Pearl takes her spot instead).
Dramatic Irony: In case 4, while investigating his client's house to feed his cat, Phoenix and Pearl are completely unaware that — as the player would know by an earlier scene — that this house is where his assistant, Maya, is/was being held hostage. Also, the bellboy the player speaks to in the house is unknown by Wright to be (but known by the player to be) the real hitman hired by Engarde to kill Corrida that took Maya hostage.
Dueling Shows: In-Universe. The Nickel Samurai and Jammin' Ninja even air at the same time on Sunday Mornings, though the former is much more popular.
Exact Words: This screws Phoenix over in case 4. He has a magical item called the "Magatama", which will reveal "Psyche Locks" around a person if that person is lying or directly covering up something important. So before he takes Matt Engarde's case, he asks Matt Engarde whether or not he killed Juan Corrida. Matt says he didn't kill anyone, and that he was napping in his room at the time of the crime and thus must have been framed. No Psyche Locks appear, because technically Matt was telling the truth...he hired someone else to kill Juan, rather than doing it himself, and he was napping in his room at the time of the crime (secure in the knowledge that the assassin was doing his dirty work), and he was framed (by Adrian Andrews, who genuinely thought it was him but doubted that he'd be convicted otherwise). But Phoenix finds all this out too late, since he asked the wrong question and thus got an answer that was exactly true but not what he was looking for.
Foreshadowing: In 2-2, pay close attention to the cutscene of the car accident. Specifically, the hair of the survivor. Now look at the Miney sisters' profile pics. Now drop a brick.
Why is the fourth case called Farewell, My Turnabout? because it's the first case that Phoenix loses, and he's saying farewell to his perfect record of "turnabouts" - and that's a good thing, since the defendant turns out to be the killer.
There's an easy to miss example during Turnabout Big Top. If you examine the photos at the top of the wall in the Ringmaster's room, Maya mentions they should make a gallery of all the clients Phoenix has had. Phoenix then asks about the guilty ones. On the first play through, this is laughable, and is just Maya and Phoenix being themselves. Aaaaand then Farewell, My Turnabout happens.
Friend to All Living Things: Acro has birds that fly around him. Subverted, as he turns out to be a murderer, then double-subverted: as Maya points out at the end, there were no bad people in that case.
Good Scars, Evil Scars: Matt Engarde has a decidedly evil scar on the side of his face that he covers with his hair to make him look more innocent.
Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: In Case 2-4, Matt Engarde's fate when determining whether he's guilty or not. Even if acquitted, he still loses.
Highly-Visible Ninja: A Show Within a Show example is the Jammin' Ninja. He has a bright blue suit, a golden shuriken on his forehead, and wields a bright red guitar. Justified in that the Jammin' Ninja is less about ninjitsu and more about music.
Hitler Ate Sugar: Inverted in an equally illogical manner, oddly enough. In 2-4, Will Powers' testimony mentions some rather incriminating observations about a certain bellboy, who Phoenix knows very well is actually an assassin hired by the defendant, whom he is being blackmailed into getting a acquittal for, namely the bellboy's unusual pattern of stitches and his non-uniform leather gloves. Phoenix's objections to each respectively are
"Baseballs have stitches! Are you saying all baseballs are suspicious?!" and
"Footballs are made of leather! Are you saying all footballs are suspicious?!"
Hitman with a Heart: Shelly deKiller shows signs of this, which is pointed out by Phoenix on occasion.
Infinite Supplies: Adrian Andrews with her many many many pairs of glasses that are fragile enough to be broken by nerves and shock.
The Ingenue: Deconstructed with Regina. Growing up in the circus sheltered by her dad meant that she has no idea what's real or normal, including the concept that people die. So when she accidentally kills Bat, she feels absolutely no responsibility for her actions.
Karma Houdini: Shelly de Killer. He's an assasin who killed Juan Corrida and presumable many others. At the end of the game, he gets off scott free and he even sends a cheerful transceiver message saying that he's leaving the country but you can give him a call anytime.
Keep It Foreign: In an odd example the car from 2-2, seeing as in Japan the car was American (And the Japanese have the steering wheel on the right, like the British) so in order to keep Mimi's story consistent on which seat she sat, they made the car British in the American version.
Phoenix: With this, the trial will be in the b... * looks over to see Franziska still smiling* Phoenix: ...blast radius of disaster.
Late-Arrival Spoiler: Edgeworth has his own spinoff now, so the early-game red herring of his death doesn't really take. The whole plotline smacks of Like You Would Really Do It anyway, but it's particularly ineffective since Edgeworth has been advertised in so many sequels.
Lost in Translation: It's a plot point that Pearl can't read—and you wouldn't be alone in thinking that the concept of an eight year-old, even one who lives in an isolated village of ascetics, who can't read a three-letter word borders on the absurd. However, in the Japanese script, the problem is that she can't read kanji in particular, which is perfectly realistic—even native Japanese speakers have problems with kanji, and they're the main factor in why achievement of literacy is considered to coincide with high school graduation.
Edgeworth:It doesn't matter how many dirty, underhanded tactics you use in court. The truth will always find a way to make itself known.
Mundane Fantastic: In case 2, Maya is photographed while channeling a spirit, which physically changes her to look like the spirit. Nobody is interested in the fact that Franziska captured psychic powers on camera, it's just another bit of evidence in the case.
Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Averted by Turner Grey in Justice For All, who continues to talk about how much of a failure his subordinate Mimi was after her death, even going so far as to want to get a spirit medium to summon Mimi for the express purpose of making her take responsibility.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Something of an odd clash of this and inverting Nice Job Breaking It, Hero on the villain's end in 2-4. De Killer thinks he's doing Phoenix a favor by taking Franziska out of the trial and ensuring he's going to get an easy acquittal for Matt Engarde when an unprepared prosecutor takes her place. True, taking out Franziska basically screwed up everything for the prosecution because she had a very systematic plan for running the trial but the person who replaces her is Edgeworth, who's just as competent but without the knowledge she had on how to run the trial (and the morals not to play dirty). So this ends up making it easy for Phoenix to finger Adrian, which might not have been possible if things played out Franziska's way, but also muddies the waters and forces the trial to move into day 2. So basically, the villain's attempt to help Phoenix only sets up a situation where his stipulation can't be met.
Nightmare Sequence: The dream where the shade of the Judge brings a gigantic gavel down on Phoenix, telling him, "You are no longer worthy of your title!" in the opening of the first case. Reappears in the fourth and final case, when Phoenix is deeply conflicted about Maya's kidnapping and the defense of Matt Engarde.
No Badge? No Problem!: During the third case, Gumshoe says he won't let Phoenix into a crime scene simply because he flashed his attorney's badge again. Maya states that he would if they were to show a Steel Samurai badge. Gumshoe's response implies that yes, it would indeed work. "Crime scene security" obviously doesn't exist in the Ace Attorney world.
Nonstandard Game Over: Happens in 2-4, if you don't present the right piece of evidence to the right person near the end of the case. However, instead of getting a "Guilty" verdict, it's a "Not Guilty" verdict for the guilty-as-hell defendant.
Which becomes a Chekhov's Gun later in 2-1, as this is Richard Wellington's ringtone.
108: Subverted. Phoenix can inspect an ancient Kurain tapestry, which has a list of 108 ways to make money. Then Phoenix thinks of two more, and they're immediately put on queue to be added to the tapestry.
Police Are Useless: The police never seem to question the notion that a man wrote his girlfriend's name in the sand after taking a hard fall despite the autopsy report stating he died instantly!
Red Herring: At the beginning of Case 2-4, the rivalry between two film studios is discussed at length. What does this have to do with the case? Nothing. The rivalry between individual people working at those studios is relevant, but the studio rivalry means nothing to the case.
Right for the Wrong Reasons: In Case 2-4, Wendy Oldbag is absolutely convinced that Matt Engarde is, in her words, "an evil, evil man." How she reached this (completely correct) conclusion? She thinks he ordered his manager to get close to Juan Corrida in order to cause a scandal. Not so correct.
Sadistic Choice: In case 4. Get your guilty-as-hell client Matt Engarde acquitted to spare Maya, or sacrifice Maya to give him the verdict he deserves. On the plus side, turning the case around gives Engarde his own Sadistic Choice: Plead guilty to murder, or plead not guilty and be assassinated by the one he blackmailed the moment he's out of custody.
Sequel Difficulty Spike: A slight, but noticeable example thanks to the new health system. In addition to the fact that you can now get penalties that wipe out all or most of your health bar in one go, your health bar doesn't get refilled at any point during the trial, which can become a major problem in the last case. While you can refill your bar during the investigation phase by correctly unlocking Psyche-Locks, making incorrect guesses also reduces your health bar, and fully solving the locks only restores half the bar, making it possible to really screw up and end up with only half of your health at the start of the trial day.
This is changed in the iOS version, where the life bar is refilled in every break. Meaning it's possible to get a full refill in the middle of a trial, sometimes multiple times.
Shipper on Deck: Pearl is absolutely convinced that Phoenix is Maya's "special someone", and nothing either of the supposed lovebirds can say will change her mind.
Stage Mom: Morgan Fey is a particularly venomous version; it's clear she's not happy about being passed over as head of the Kurain legacy, and she attempts to frame Maya for murder so that Pearl will become the next head of the Fey family, effectively putting Morgan in charge for the next decade, if not longer. Her attitude towards Maya is particularly tragic considering that Pearl herself idolizes Maya and hangs on her every word.
Stars Are Souls: Discussed in Justice For All. A ringmaster uses this as an euphemism for death for his animal tamer daughter. (In the Japanese version, the ringmaster says the dead are sleeping.) Problem is, the daughter truly believes in this, and in a roundabout way, leads to a murder.
Stupidity Is the Only Option: Played straight in the last case when Phoenix finds out that his client Matt Engarde is truly guilty since he hired an assassin to kill Juan, but the assassin is holding Maya hostage in exchange for a not guilty verdict on Matt, which would mean Adrian will be blamed and sent to jail. Phoenix pretends that he doesn't know anything (eventually, Edgeworth learns about situation and plays along with Phoenix during the trial) in order to buy time and wait until Gumshoe finds and rescues poor Maya, so that Matt can get the guilty verdict he deserves.
Ultimate Job Security: Edgeworth apparently can leave the prosecutor's office for a year, with no explanation other than what appears to be a suicide note, and immediately reclaim his position on his return when his sort-of-sister is shot and unable to prosecute. Must be a serious shortage of prosecutors in Tokyo/Los Angeles (despite the fact that in this universe they are better paid than highly successful defense attorneys!), which would explain the government's willingness to allow teenagers to be prosecutors.
Viewers Are Geniuses: Sort of, anyway. 2-1 requires the player to know enough about baseball to realize that a catcher wears his mitt on his off-hand, and 2-2 requires the player to know that the driver sits on the right in British automobiles..
Well, for 2-2, if you don't know which side the driver's seat is on in a British car, you can press one of the statements and Phoenix will make a comment about it.
Similarly, since 2-1 is the first case of the game, Maggey will all but tell you what you were supposed to deduce if you take too long.
Yellow Snow: A throw-away gag in case 2-3 when you examine the closed concessions stand at the circus entrance. Maya wants snow cones; Phoenix points out the snow all around them. (It's December.) Maya gripes that there's no flavored syrup; Phoenix just hopes she doesn't notice the discolored snow in the corner.
2-1 revolves around a murder where the victim was pushed from a ledge and died of a broken neck upon impact. The defendant is accused because the victim wrote her name in the sand with his finger before expiring. You are not allowed to argue that it wouldn't have been possible for someone with a shattered neck to write a name, even if he didn't die immediately.
Possible Call Back to 1-2, where arguing that the victim couldn't have written the killer's name due to expiring immediately fails because the prosecutor shows evidence that they might have survived long enough to.
2-3 has the scrap of paper in the ringmaster's coat. You can't get it until the second day, after showing the top half of the note to Max, because Phoenix suddenly takes exception to rifling through other people's stuff in that specific case. (In spite of the fact that you take a copy of Max's salary negotiations from the same room, and Maya steals a poster off the wall.)
Adult Fear: Doug, Phoenix, and Terryall suffer when they fail to spot the major Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. Viola is far from a saint, but she also has to go through the pain of realizing that all the bad things done to help [ Furio Tigre were for a very sincere, yet fully unrequited love. Desiree has to find out that her husband Ron, who saved her from criminals, is a criminal himself, something she generally despises. Family members of Dahlia and Morgan also have to go through this for a different sort of love, with the biggest example being Dahlia's twin sister Iris and Morgan's youngest daughter/Dahlia and Iris's baby half-sister Pearlie.
Furio Tigre is a gangster and also, almost erased Phoenix (again saved only by an opportunistic entrance of Gumshoe).
Always Murder: Double subverted with case 3-2, which starts off with a grand larceny trial only for your client to get charged with murder after acquittal for the theft.
Ambidextrous Sprite: In case 3-5, Edgeworth plays defense attorney, and instead of using his left hand for pointing, he uses his right.
Anachronic Order: The first and fourth cases are set five and six years before the second, respectively.
The Framing Device of the fourth case is set early into the fifth case, roughly the day prior to the first day of court.
And Now for Someone Completely Different: Case 3-5 has two trial days. There isn't a single prosecutor, lawyer, judge, witness, or even defendant who is present on both days until the final cross-examination.
On a smaller scale, you play as Mia in cases 1 and 4 rather than Phoenix.
As Longas It Sounds Foreign: Either, Diego Armando has a first an middle name but not a surname or the translator actually thinks that Armando is a surname.
Asshole Victim: Played with in Valerie Hawthorne's case: she is murdered precisely because she decided to atone for her misdeeds.
Back for the Dead: Misty Fey, who has a strong role in the back story of the series and is killed fifteen minutes into the only case she appears in person in.
Back from the Dead: Godot (actually Back From A Coma, although he himself refers to it as being raised from the dead) and Dahlia Hawthorne (being channelled).
Also Violetta Cadaverini
Becoming the Mask: Iris. She originally only posed as Dahlia in order to spare Phoenix and prevent Dahlia from adding another crime to her name, but over the course of the months they dated, she fell in love with him for real.
Berserk Button: Don't ever poison or betray someone when Phoenix Wright is involved. Love wounds run deep.
Big Bad: Morgan and Dahlia serve as the Big Bad of this game and arguably of the original Phoenix arc.
Big Damn Heroes: In 3-3, in two occasions: first, Gumshoe enters in a fight against Don Tigre and Armstrong so Phoenix would keep a piece of evidence; second, Gumshoe bursts into the court with "Decisive Evidence" at the last minute! ...Which turns out to be fingerprints that became irrelevant no more than 2 minutes ago. Though it still serves to be the evidence that breaks the case.
Brain Bleach: Referenced in Case 3. At one point, Phoenix comments that a witness only saw the waitress from the back and "Even I could have been in that uniform!"; the judge asks that he refrain from putting those images in their heads. Later, Phoenix's response to seeing Jean Armstrong rub oil on himself (the player just sees a generic animation, thank God): "M-My eyes! My EYES!"
And in case 5 of the same game, Sister Bikini. There's a good chance she actually does it on purpose.
Brick Joke: In the final case of Trials and Tribulations, Phoenix has a conversation with Edgeworth where he feels much stronger, as if he had literally passed on his cold to someone else. In the next scene, we find that the judge who looked over the first half of the trial suddenly developed a cold and couldn't make it.
A variant. Luke Atmey wants to get convicted for stealing the Sacred Urn of Kurain to avoid being convicted for murder.
Ron DeLite does the same thing, except he wasn't the killer. He was, however, at the scene of the crime when it happened.
Continuity Porn: Case 3-5, let us count the ways. It brings back two criminals, one from an earlier case and one from an earlier game, and both of the main prosecutors from the first two games. It manages to incorporate the entire Fey family, and that goes for the main family, the branch family, the living, and the dead. And yes, tragically, that includes Misty Fey. Even the DL-6 incident is tangentially relevant, as is Edgeworth's fear of earthquakes. Franziska references a previous case when she says there's a precedent for a flying defendant; remember Max Galactica from 2-3, who allegedly flew away after killing someone? And, on top of all of that, Gumshoe brings out the same metal detector Phoenix used in case 1-4 to convict Manfred von Karma, and the mechanics change so that it works the same way as Gumshoe's bug sweeper in case 2-4. Phew! Fitting for the conclusion of the trilogy.
Cover Identity Anomaly: An impersonator doesn't know that the person he's imitating recently suffered an injury that made him unable to hear out of his left ear. When a witness who was fooled by the imitation testifies that the person was wearing an earpiece in his left ear, Phoenix has to point out that it makes no sense.
Cowardly Lion: Ron DeLite, who despite being a neurotic, fussy, and perpetually fearful is a Gentleman Thief by trade and met his Biker Babe wife by attacking multiple armed men that were threatening her.
Crazy-Prepared: Luke Atmey is only one of about two people in the world crazy enough to use a guilty verdict as an alibi. It just so happened that the other person that would do that was Ron DeLite. Morgan Fey also counts. In the second game she tried to pin a murder on Maya. After that failed, she's almost immediately made a backup plan that would come in action a whole year later.
Crime After Crime: Dahlia Hawthorne's looooooooong list of murders to cover up the previous ones.
Dead Man's Chest: In Case 3-2, Ron DeLite stumbles into the same situation when he goes to meet the CEO, gets knocked out by the real murderer, and wakes up to find the CEO's body. To try and prevent himself from being accused, he hides the body in a safe in the office, where it isn't found for several hours.
Death Glare: Mia gives a particularily nasty one to Payne in the first trial of Trials and Tribulations.
Downer Ending: Case 4: Mia Fey was THAT close to proving Terry Fawles' innocence for both the current murder and the events five years earlier but instead of continuing his testimony he commitssuicide in front of the entire courtroom.
Dramatic Irony: 3-4 has this in spades, due to it taking place before any other case up to that point in the series (including 3-1). Thanks to info about Edgeworth's perfect record in the first game, Dahlia's appearance in 3-1, and Mia's trauma about the case, we know something bad is going to happen, no matter how hopeful things might seem along the way.
Evil Overlooker: There is a poster for this game with Godot as the overlooker.
Evil Redhead: Dahlia Hawthorne. This is the only physical difference between her and her 'good' twin sister Iris.
Evil Twin: Trials and Tribulations: Dahlia and Iris, twins who are evil and good, respectively, and both wind up impersonating the other at certain points in time. Also spoofed in the third trial of Trials and Tribulations with the Phoenix look-a-like Furio Tigre, whom Maya refers to as Xin Eohp, and she wonders if she has her own evil twin whom she names Ayam.
Expressive Hair: Ron DeLite's twisted-up buns start swirling whenever he breaks out into panic (which is often).
Failed a Spot Check: And how. Furio Tigre manages to fool the entire court into thinking he's Phoenix Wright. This despite the fact that he's probably half-again Wright's weight, acts nothing like him and, oh yes, has bright red skin. But what was enough to fool the court, including the prosecutor, the judge, and the defendant (all of whom had met Wright multiple times)? Tigre wore a blue suit, made a fake badge for himself out of cardboard, and has the same hairstyle as Phoenix.
Shortly before the trial starts in 3-1, Mia mentioned she had worked a case one year earlier, and it traumatized her so much that she never set foot in a court room until now. So come 3-4, which is said to be Mia's first case, you know that things won't end well.
3-4 is also Edgeworth's first case; since he had a perfect win record in the first game, this is another indicator that Mia won't win.
In the ending of case 3-1, Phoenix says that he doesn't believe the Dahlia he saw during the trial is the one that he knew, Mia thinks that he's delusional. Then it's revealed in the ending of the final case of the game that she really wasn't the Dahlia he knew.
Another case has Desiree DeLite talking about how Ron saved her life when they fell in love. Maya then asks Phoenix if he would ever risk his life for her. In 3-5 Phoenix believes Maya's life is in danger while a murderer is on the loose and chases after her across a burning bridge
Don't forget how Pearl asks whether Phoenix would run across hot coals for Maya.
In 3-2, Pearl cheerfully says that if Phoenix worked hard, he would have copycats of his own. Guess what happens ontheverynextcase.
In 3-2, Maya asks what Phoenix would think if she came in calling herself Ayam (which is both the backward spelling of her name and a homophone of "I am.") Early in case 3-3, when it turns out that someone is impersonating Phoenix, who Maya calls Xin Eoph, Maya asks, "I wonder if Ayam will make an appearance?" Later, we see that Phoenix's impostor also has an assistant from a messed up family who looks a teensy bit like Maya, although the person said assistant impersonated wasn't Maya.
In case 3-3, upset with Viola's misguided affection, Phoenix mentions that poisoning and betrayal - the marks of a coward - are things he considers unforgivable. Cue case 3-4...
Case 3-3 again, this time concerning how it only takes a blue suit, Anime Hair and attorney badge for people to recognize Phoenix. Cue Apollo Justice, where Phoenix looks nothing like himself due to not wearing his suit and hides his hair, not to mention about his attorney career at that time...
Also in case 3-3, Godot presents Maggey's stained apron as evidence...and even though he's the one who presented it, he's as shocked as everyone else to hear that there's blood on it. It turns out to be just a ketchup stain, but it does foreshadow Godot's inability to see the colour red on a white background.
Case 3-5, being heavily involved with spirit mediums and channeling, throws a pretty good bit of foreshadowing at you. After Dahlia (being channeled by Maya) switches places with her sister Iris, the person who Phoenix believes to be Iris starts using a lot of Dahlia's reaction poses and animations, albeit without the parasol.
She also uses some of Maya's poses and her signature sneaky◊ smile◊, further hinting that it was Maya channeling Dahlia and not Iris.
Framing Device: Case 4 is a case Mia worked six years before that Phoenix is researching for his more current predicament, which makes up the bulk of the following case.
Friend to All Living Things: Dahlia has butterflies. Subverted, since she turns out to be a killer - when she sheds her facade the butterflies burst into flame.
Fun With Palindromes: The third case has Blue Screens Inc., a computer firm where all of the employees have palindromes for names.
Gambit Pileup: The final case. If it wasn't entirely resolved in the first two games, it's resolved here. Good grief. By the end of it, the player feels quite a bit like Phoenix, as he/she tries to comprehend the following: the victim was actually Misty Fey, the result of her, Godot, and Iris' gambit to save Maya's life. Knowing that Morgan would try to take revenge, Godot listened in on her visits with Pearl, then tracked down Misty and set everything up. On top of Morgan's attempt (since JFA!) to kill Maya, lovely Miss Dahlia is running her own separate campaign to destroy Mia (who is already dead, but she doesn't care). And then, while all of this is being dropped on the player, Godot enacts his own mini-gambit in order to steer the trial to get himself convicted.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: Despite the Judge declaring that he will allow only one piece of evidence to be presented, screwing up at the end of "Turnabout Memories" just results in a slightly-larger-than-normal penalty.
Edgeworth: Are... Franziska: You... Judge('s brother): High! [She's] really high up [there]!
And when they judge misinterprets one of Godot's obtuse coffee metaphors: "Cafe o' Lay? Is that even legal?"
Gold Digger: Subverted. Desiree seems like this for Ron in 3-2, frequently going on expensive shopping sprees and clocking the speed limit on her motorbike, but she genuinely does love him.
Good Scars, Evil Scars. Terry Fawles from 3-4 has a series of plus-shaped scars going across his face, and he's probably one of the sweetest guys despite his deteriorated intelligence... which makes his ultimate fate of poisoning himself just before he can be proven not guilty even more tragic.
At one point, you've got your target on the ropes but one final, massive testimony gets unloaded on your lap (at least ten different phrases to press). This testimony is also an instant-lose condition: press the wrong phrase and it is an automatic game over, which defies the standard procedure of gameplay. Finally, unlike other times where the game is very immediate about giving feedback, every phrase you press will generate a universal reply at first, preventing you from simply brute-forcing your way through all the testimony by restarting the game with each failed press (the correct phrase will only change the outcome after a few sentences have been spoken). If you're astute, the solution will be apparent but it's probably one of the most difficult moments in any installment.
Another big one is accusing Godot of killing Misty Fey, seeing as, until then, there's been no hints whatsoever that he's was anywhere near the crime scene when the murder took place, and what you use to pin the blame on him is a single moment that happened at least two cases ago.
Hair Today Gone Tomorrow: Winston Payne (In five words... "My... hair... is... flying... away!"). The judge notes that Payne has lost his spirit along with his hair very soon after. It's mostly true, though he keeps more of his general ineffectiveness than he regains his self-confidence...
Identical Stranger: Wright's doppelganger is a complete subversion. Aside from the hair they don't even have the same skin color or accent.
I Never Told You My Name: Iris to Phoenix in the last case. When confronted about it, five psyche-locks appear before her and the issue has to be dropped. It's not explained until the very end of the game. The fact that you can't ask her about the subject later actually foreshadows the fact that the Iris that you talk to and the Iris that had the psyche-locks are actually two different people.
Godot has an apparently unlimited supply of coffee mugs. Rather than simply refill his empty mug, it disappears without explanation (always while the camera is elsewhere) and a brand-new mug comes sliding across the bench into his hand from off-screen. This is patently impossible, as there is never anyone besides Godot standing anywhere near the bench. That doesn't stop him from doing it several dozen times per trial. Presumably a bailiff could be getting these, but that's still a lot of coffee...
Informed Ability: Ron Delite wears a vivid green jacket/vest with a cape-like back. It has large, very dramatic cuffs near the hands. There are a large number of bright, gold-colored leaves going down the front of his costume. He keeps his very red hair in Princess Leia hair buns that occasionally spiral outward. He has a baby face and an effeminate appearance that would be considered attractive by bishonen standards. Even by animated character standards, he has a very expressive face that moves between expressions that show surprise/determination, uncertainty, and pouting/fear. He frequently shrieks loudly at people to get their attention. And we're supposed to believe that he has a hard time getting people to notice him.
Ron makes a degree of sense when you remember that he probably doesn't dress like that all the time since it would be like wearing a giant, flashy sign that says "arrest me I'm the thief shown in the papers all the time" and that in the real world, appearance doesn't factor into someone's level of invisibility, as pretty, unattractive, and plain people alike can be deemed invisible. During the case, Phoenix and Maya get used to seeing him dressed like that so he just becomes like everyone else. While it's odd, it makes perfect sense.
The notoriety of Eagle River's swift current claiming anyone who falls into it. Through the course of the game, we find two people who ended up in the river (Dahlia Hawthorne and Phoenix Wright) and both of them lived to tell the tale (Dahlia emerges five years later after being in hiding and Phoenixsimply ends up with a cold and minor bruising, enough to see him out of the hospital just a couple of days later).
Interface Spoiler: In the beginning of Recipe for Turnabout, the first time Phoenix meets Jean Armstrong, after several topics of conversation, Psyche-Locks appear...and Phoenix notices the Magatama is missing. However, since evidence had to be presented to Armstrong to get to this point in the conversation, the player may have already noticed that it was missing from the Court Record.
If you haven't already figured out her identity through Foreshadowing, once Elise Deauxnim's charm is stored in the Court Record as Kurain Master's Talisman it's pretty obvious that she's Misty Fey.
Ironic Echo: Dahlia declaring she was going to make Mia suffer in the afterlife.
Luke Atmey delivers the following line twice, with a completely different meaning on each occasion:
Atmey: Take a good look, everyone! Unable to find a rival worthy of my genius, I was forced to create one by myself! Here I am! The tragic clown...
Kansai Regional Accent: Furio Tigre in the Japanese version (hence his Brooklyn accent in the English adaptation).
Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Whenever you present relevant evidence to Basil, she'll shift over and gesture to its picture on the screen, as if she knows where it is, and then shift back when it goes away.
Godot's ringtone is his own theme song, and Phoenix calls him out on it.
Lethal Chef: Jean Armstrong again, along with Viola Cadaverini in the same case. Two different types, though; Armstrong is just a terrible cook, while Viola at least implies that poison is a key ingredient in her 'cooking'.
Licensed Sexist: Despite being clearly chauvinistic, even embarrassing Franziska, Godot is still treated as a Tragic Hero who failed to protect his love. Why, exactly, Mia Fey would want him is unclear.
It's a possible allusion to his extreme luck, both in and out of court.
Meaningful Name: Almost every character has a punny and/or meaningful name. Most of the examples are on the tvtropes Ace Attorney character sheets.
The Fey family's surname. The definitions of the word "fey" include: "appearing to be under a spell; marked by an apprehension of death, calamity, or evil" and "supernatural; unreal; enchanted."
Mask☆DeMasque. He wears a mask and Ron DeLite just put masks over his name!
Meido: The Tres Bien cafe. The food is terrible and over-priced—hence the only regulars that aren't mobsters are perverts.
Musical Nod: The first game's Cornered theme plays during the last confrontation with Godot.
Musical Spoiler: Subverted for the final piece of evidence in the last case; the music keeps going either way, tricking you into believing that you failed.
Mythology Gag: When Larry first shows the sketch of Iris flying over the bridge in Case 3-5, the judge claims that it's impossible. Franziska says that there's actually a precedent for it - she's referring to the "flying defendant" from Turnabout Big Top in the last game, Max Galactica. Of course, that was a cape attached to a statue, but still.
New Old Flame: Two: Dahlia or rather Iris for Phoenix and Godot for Mia.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: At the beginning of case 3-2, Phoenix easily gets Ron DeLite off a larceny charge by proving he was somewhere else... only for Godot to come up to him afterward, say there was a murder committed there, and haul Ron off into custody again. What, you thought it wouldn't be Always Murder? Made worse by the fact that he was the thief and turned himself in out of guilt. Phoenix was defending him because his wife told Nick he was a delusional fanboy.
He was the thief in general, but not in that particular instance. He turned himself in to ensure he could have an alibi for the aforementioned murder.
No Export for You: Despite EVERY other game being released and despite even getting a few prerelease reviews in gaming magazines, Trials and Tribulations was never released in Australia. No reason was ever given (although it may be related to the fact that its release was delayed in Europe over ratings complications, causing Apollo Justice to come out before it).
The WiiWare version of Trials and Tribulations was released in Australia, at least.
Reality Is Unrealistic: One is tempted when playing the games to believe that the court system is completely made up. Unfortunately, aside from the antics, the exceedingly tolerant judge, and the accelerated pace of investigation and trials, it is disturbingly close to reality in Japan, where prosecution success rates around 100% and defense attorneys without a single acquittal are the norm and juries were absent from World War 2 through 2009.
Sdrawkcab Name: Maya insists on referring to Phoenix's imposter in 3-3 as "Xin Eohp". Furio Tigre is less than impressed the one time he hears her say this.
Maya: Ah! It's Xin Eohp!
Tigre: Who you callin' "Zinnee Oooope"!?
Phoenix: (Come out from under the table already, Maya!)
In the same case, Maya asks whether they'll find her doppelganger, "Ayam." As it turns out, they do, sort of, but the person they impersonate isn't Maya.
Glen Elg, his boss, Lisa Basil and another Blue Screens employee, Adam Mada all have palindrome names.
She Is All Grown Up: Invoked in 3-3. A recalcitrant witness is titillated by waitress outfits like the one Maya is wearing, but since Maya is small and looks young he has no interest in her. Mia then takes over Maya's body, which changes it to Mia's rather... ample form. The witness becomes much more helpful.
Larry Butz's last two girlfriends before the game were "Bennifer" and "Katty Tom," a reference to 2000's celebrity couples Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez and Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes (both of whom have subsequently broken up).
The Spanish translation even gives a couple of Spanish-only references:
Jean Armstrong says "¡Tú eres muy malo! ¡Siempre negativo, nunca positivo!" (You're very bad! Always negative, never positive!), a phrase made famous by a press conference by F.C. Barcelona's former coach Louis Van Gaal.
Miles Edgeworth says to himself "Pero qué público más tonto tengo" (What a stupid audience I have), a song by seminal early 80s band Kaka de Luxe.
Gumshoe's Bob Marley shout out in the English script is changed to a Camarón de la Isla shout out (he references both "Volando voy" and "Soy Gitano").
Spit Take: Played straight by Godot, but occasionally spoofed where he, upon having his witness discredited by Phoenix, grabs a coffee mug, brings it to his mouth, takes a sniff, takes a sip and THEN finally spits it out.
Stealth Pun: DAHLIA Hawthorne's most famous murder was committed using poison.
Terry Fawles doesn't seem to have a Punny Name unless you consider that Terry is short for Walter. Making him Walter Fawles.
Strange Minds Think Alike: Both Luke Atmey and Ron DeLite describe a thief's appearance at a crime scene as him "dancingly descending". From the entrance.
Phoenix: So he neither "descended" nor "danced"...
Thief Bag: Mask☆DeMasque uses the Japanese-green-and-white-swirl variety.
Occasionally, Gumshoe will bring evidence in a similar, smaller version.
Tiger Versus Dragon: Furio Tigre and Phoenix Wright. It makes more sense in the Japanese version as Phoenix represents a dragon.
Title Drop: Luke Atmey calling himself the "Ace Detective" prompts Phoenix to introduce himself, "I am Phoenix Wright...Ace Attorney."
Too Dumb to Live: Phoenix and Maya are investigating a murder that was apparently committed in a restaurant and carried out through poisoned coffee. Meanwhile, Phoenix hears that his client was apparently fooled by a Phoenix impersonator who shares Phoenix's spiky hair. During the first day of trial, there is a witness who says he saw the defendant, a petite dark-haired young woman, put something in the coffee. After asking the witness to describe who he saw in more detail, Phoenix suggests to the court that the witness only saw the woman from behind. At some point, Phoenix and Maya go into the restaurant's kitchen and find the restaurant owner, who is deeply in debt, being confronted by a petite, dark-haried young woman who acts as though she is mentally unstable and threatens to burn down the restaurant if he doesn't repay what he owes. When they inquire about this, the owner tells them that the woman threatening him worked for a loan shark called "the Tiger" who has spiky hair like Phoenix's and gives them the lender's address. When they go there, they meet the same young woman who threatened to burn down the restaurant. She's giggling creepily like she was before. Phoenix and Maya are offered coffee. They actually drink it! This particular coffee isn't poisoned, however, so too dumb to live or not, they do in fact live.
Twin Switch: Phoenix thought he was dating Dahlia (who, unbeknownst to him, wanted to kill him). It turns out he was dating Dahlia's sister, Iris, who asked Dahlia to take her place so she could retrieve a trinket that Phoenix had without Dahlia killing Phoenix.
Unfortunate Names: Detective Gumshoe always mistakes Phoenix for Larry; the only problem is, he always calls him Harry Butz. Also applied when Phoenix tells us that in school, the kids had a saying... "When something smells, it's usually theButz."
Weapons-Grade Vocabulary: Particularly clever counterpoints apparently have the ability to hit opposing attorneys like a gale-force wind, throwing them back, making them flinch and, in one particularly devastating case, tearing all the hair off a person's head, leaving him mostly bald.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Minor, but curious. At the end of Justice for All, Franziska von Karma says that she'll give the card with Maya's drawing of Phoenix to him the next time they meet. She doesn't. To be fair, however, the next time Phoenix and Franziska meet, it's during an extended emergency during which someone might or might not have died in a cold and snowy cave. It's possible the card simply slipped Franziska's mind during the chaos and confusion. She certainly wouldn't be the first person in the world who forgot something really important out of being overwhelmed by events.
The fate of the Hawthorne family's diamond is never revealed.
Presumably, it's still at the bottom of the river.
Or Dahlia took it. She was apparently living under her real name for 14 months in between case 4 and case 1. It seems unlikely that Ivy University would give her a free ride or that her father would pay for her tuition.
Yandere: Dahlia Hawthorne, though twisted with hate for Mia rather than love for anyone. Maybe, Viola Cadaverini as well.
Your Princess Is in Another Castle: In the final case, after a long and arduous battle, Dahlia Hawthorne is exposed for the failure she is and the case seems to be resolved... but then Godot chimes in, pointing out that it still hasn't been established who actually did the stabbing. Thus, there's one final gameplay segment over which Phoenix eventually proves that Godot himself is responsible.