These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Critical Research Failure: Three words: statute of limitations. It's used as a major plot point in several instances and always incorrectly. Even if you assume Like Reality Unless Noted, there's the fact that cases 1-4 and 1-5 drop the statute of limitations from 15 years to 2. And then change the rules of evidence. It's a pretty glaring error given that the statute of limitations is used to galvanise a character who is also an attorney and should know that it's not the statute that's the problem.
In Case 1-4, the statute of limitations has no bearing on DL-6, as Yogi was put on trial and found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity. The case is not "unsolved," but an instance of "I don't believe the resolution," which is an entirely different problem. In order to establish that someone else killed Gregory Edgeworth, Yogi's conviction would have to be vacated and a new defendant put on trial.
In Case 1-5, SL-9 repeats the above, speeds up the death penalty process, and shaves 13 years off the statute's clock, while most nations exempt murder from the statute of limitations. Overturning a conviction is a lengthy, painful, expensive, and incredibly difficult process — ask The Innocence Project — and, in the United States, innocence alone is not sufficient grounds for an appeal, meaning a confession from a newly-discovered guilty party won't save the wrongfully convicted.
This also extends beyond statute of limitations, as the game is very frivilous towards false accusations and contempt of court. While discrediting a testimony against your client is a fundamental requirement of the game, Phoenix/Apollo has a habit of instigating an entire Courtroom Antic, sometimes with an Empty Cop Threat; often they drag out some form of Wrongful Accusation Insurance (e.g. a witness giving lying to build a false alibi, when they were really doing something questionable or illegal elsewhere), but characters never get reprimanded for making accusations of murder and major crimes at witnesses to get the truth from them.
In a recent popularity poll, Miles ranked second-behind Apollo due to how well-received he was in Dual Destinies.
Don't forget Gumshoe, pal!
Ema Skye. Could have easily been a Replacement Scrappy, but is instead a favorite of the whole series. She replaced fan favourite Maya for a case, and Gumshoe for an entire game; she was even the original protagonist of what eventually became Investigations.
As far as prosecutors go, Godot takes the cake. Unlike others, he has his reasons to hate Phoenix "Trite", his theme is goddamn awesome, and he is so suave his animations include catching sliding coffee that comes from nowhere. Bonus points for turning out as one of the final case Big Bads, for attending court despite hiding a severe wound, being one of the (very rare) sympathetic villains.
Throughout case 1-5, the detective working on the computer in the background of the police station can be overheard writing a rather awful mystery novel. One of his twists involves the use of a tape recorder, which he's particularly proud of because "no one would expect it in this day and age!" Eight years later, an audio tape was used with a straight face as a critical clue in case 5-3.
In Case 3-1, Grossberg says that his hemorrhoids were doing the Harlem Shake from 1981. Case 3-1 is set in April 2013, just two months after the Harlem Shake internet meme started.
Ho Yay: Phoenix Wright and The Rival Miles Edgeworth certainly have some rather... intense... feelings about each other. On the flip side, there's Mia and Lana's "intellectual attraction" and the various weirdness surrounding Adrian Andrews and her co-dependency. The fourth game seems to toy with this more than most with Apollo and Klavier. For example, upon meeting Apollo, Klavier says, "I must say I'm used to being inspected by the ladies... But this is the first time I've felt this way with a man." Capcom is definitely aware of the implications, and love to be as vague about it as possible.
Also, some of the concept art for Investigations, especially the one of Edgeworth and Gumshoe sharing an umbrella.
Not to mention Gumshoe's constant fawning over Edgeworth and his complete refusal to hear anything bad said about him. Hell, Phoenix's immediate thought upon seeing how tall Edgeworth's (who's afraid of heights) bookshelves are is that Gumshoe hangs around his office to get them down for him.
Edgeworth and Shi-Long Lang on Investigations. The later have a penchant on calling Edgeworth a pretty boy and getting on his personal space since the beginning, not to mention the banter between the two have certain... tension.
Well, there is this◊ pic as well. Some fans have joked that it would have been more blatant in a good way if Maya wasn't in that picture. (But of course whether if Maya's presence make the pic even better or worse is of course up to you.)
Klavier can be a little, ah, chummy with Apollo sometimes.
Well the name series was to be "Phoenix Wright", Ace Attorney was the subtitle of the first game, when the English localizers came to known that not all games were centered on Phoenix (Apollo Justice and later, Miles Edgeworth), they promoted the "Ace Attorney" subtitle to tittle since the second game.
Iron Woobie: Pretty much all of the sidekicks in their own way, most notably Maya. All chirpy and active, but each of them lose their parents at a young age, and have to deal with various other amounts of angst.
In an interesting case, the main male characters(namely Phoenix, Edgeworth, Godot/Diego) in general tend to be in "this" fandom. The Boys Love fandom instead go for Apollo, Klavier and Kristoph.
Magnificent Bastard: Manfred von Karma and Damon Gant in the first game, Matt Engarde in the second game, Luke Atmey in the third, Kristoph Gavin in the fourth, Phantom/Fulbright in the fifth, Quercus Alba in Investigations, and Sota Sarushiro in Investigations 2. Notice how most of them are the big bads of their games? Averted, however, with the Big Bad of the third game, Dahlia Hawthorne, whose plans never went right, and resulted in a great deal of unintended collateral damage.
Winston Payne's feminine-sounding Objection is a sign that a smug and likely faulty retort is coming your way that the Judge will agree with.
ANY proseuctor's objection in general, especially if the prosecutor is shooting down the defense's points.
Franziska's whip, whenever it's hitting the player character.
Mike Meekins' megaphone feedback. WEEEEEEEEEN!
The cross-examination music continuing to play after selecting evidence to present, which means you presented the wrong evidence or at the wrong statement and you're about to take a penalty.
The explosion that comes with your Life Meter going down.
Furio Tigre's roar, every time hes annoyed he growls angrily, loudly, and crackly.
Most Wonderful Sound: Inverted when you present the correct evidence in a cross-examination, which is signaled by the background music stopping.
One-Scene Wonder: Ema Skye's appearance in AAI was hyped up quite a bit in promotional materials, and there are rumors that the game was originally planned to star her as the player character. In the end, we get about five minutes of actual dialogue from her in a brief and somewhat tacked-on cameo that was more or less just there to establish an investigation technique that never appeared again. She does have a larger role in the sequel, however.
Porting Disaster: The original trilogy was initially ported over to the iOS with many gamebreaking bugs. Character animations were slower and missing several frames, music would not loop properly, Pearl's theme was missing and the second and third games used the lower quality GBA soundtrack. Finally, Emma Skye's tutorial in the first game was completely omitted. A HD remake released some years later fixed most of these issues.
Then, when iOS 7 came out, it broke the HD version to the point that the app simply would not launch, and it took Capcom nearly two months to fix the problem.
Pretty much all the witnesses in Case 2-3 except for Arco.
Tear Jerker: From Case 2 of the manga after the killer is revealed, he explains that he was motivated by revenge and asks the victim's daughter if she felt the same way. Her response, "Does that mean I get to kill you now? I hated him for what he did, but I still loved him because he was my daddy. Revenge... doesn't make anyone feel better."
Many consider Moe's cross-examination to be a real pain in the ass, since one wrong press will get you penalized, and culminates with his last testimony, in which any pressing will cause you to instantly lose. At least the Judge gives you some warning. The Turnabout Big Top case as a whole, in which the cross-examination with Moe occurs, is generally the least liked case in the entire series, due to having no connection to the main storyline and being chock full of annoying, unlikable characters and Guide Dang It puzzles.
Luke Atmey's final testimony is 11 statements long, with nothing in the Court Record proving a contradiction, and pressing any statement but the right one will instantly net you a game over.
Several cases are built upon expensive medical bills. In countries where healthcare is free at the point of service this seems very strange.
In one case Shi-Long mentions that guns are 'very hard to obtain in this country' and uses this as evidence to accuse a policeman. In the localization the game is set in Los Angeles, where this is very untrue. Then again, California does have some of the strictest gun laws in the U.S.
And then of course, there's the entire court system which is a satirization of the Japanese court system which itself looks alien and unjust to Americans familiar with the adversarial system and with the deeply enshrined principle of "innocent until proven guilty."