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.
Broken Base: Ace Attorney's fanbase has become steadily more broken pretty much since Apollo Justice was announced. Popular topics of "discussion" include whether or not ditching Phoenix as the main character was a good idea, whether the development of certain characters (Phoenix, Emma, Pearl) was good or bad, whether the series should shift away from Apollo and back to Phoenix or continue with Apollo's story, and whether the series going digital-exclusive is a good or bad thing.
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 galvanize 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 frivolous 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.
The concept of "Perjury" appears to be lost on the Phoenix Wright universe. With only a handful of exceptions, lying (oftentimes repeatedly) while under oath seemingly carries no punishment beyond the judge shaking his head disappointedly at you.
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.
Hilarious a second time, as the fourth case of Investigations involves falsified evidence with the use of a VCR.
Also from case 1-5, at one point Lana Skye says the line "Contradictions? In my testimony?" You're forgiven if you expected Phoenix to reply with "It's more likely than you think."
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. Keep in mind that the game came out years before this.
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, due to their lack of bishi-ness. 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 Gyakuten Kenji 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 high-pitched Objection! is a sign that a smug and likely faulty retort is coming your way that the Judge will agree with.
ANY prosecutor's Objection, 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 he's annoyed he growls angrily, loudly, and in a crackly way.
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 Investigations 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 game breaking 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, but 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.
The HD version is still considered a Porting Disaster by many fans. Choppy animations, missing music and bugs resulting from a lack of Beta Testing. Fans were really annoyed by Capcom's iOS port to the point that there is a fan patch in the works to fix the problems AND upgrade the music to Gyakuten Saiban Sound Box versions.
Pretty much all the witnesses in Case 2-3 except for Acro.
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."
The backstories of pretty much every young girl associated with Kurain Village, for myriad reasons (explained on their respective character pages). Special mention goes to Pearl Fey. Poor kid is easily the sweetest, most innocent thing in the entire series, and gets manipulated every which way as a result.
Athena's backstory. Dear lord. Not going to spoil it here; read her character page (or don't, since it's spoileriffic).
Angel Starr's cross-examination in the first day of trial in 1-5, for giving very vague testimonies that only has a subtle connection to the evidences handed to you. It is generally regarded as the most difficult part of the game, to the point of rivaling Dahlia Hawthorne for being as discreet as possible when testifying to the court.
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. Fans have taken to calling this case in general "Turnabout Big Flop".
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. It also PUNISHES Save Scumming with a nasty Interface Screw – usually in these games, once you've done something right in a testimony that lets you advance, the music will stop playing. Not so with this one. What's more, right or wrong, the first few lines of dialogue after the press are always the same.
They Just Didn't Care: If one looks at a compilation of the different angles the Fey and Co. Law Offices/Wright Anything Agency◊, they'd see that none of the angles of the office match up to one another, meaning the office cannot exist and be accurate to every single angle shown. For instance, the shot of the door; the light from the window is coming from the west and the door is on the northern wall, meaning that both the door is in the wrong place for the floor plans (from the same case, mind) and the Agency, and the window is in the wrong place for any other shot of the office. Notable, because every image of the office pre-AJ comes from Case 1-2.
Values Dissonance: The entire court system is a satirization of the Japanese court system, which itself looks alien and unjust to Americans familiar with the adversarial system and the principle of "innocent until proven guilty".
To be more specific, Japan – like most of the world other than America and the Commonwealthnote Britain and most of its former empire use Common Law. "Pure" examples of Common Law countries include the United Kingdom itself (except Scotland), Ireland, the United States (except Louisiana), Canada (except Quebec), Australia & New Zealand, most non-Islamic former British possessions in Africa (except South Africa), Belize, Guyana, India, Pakistan, Burma, Liberia, Singapore, and Hong Kong. – uses Civil Law with an inquisitorial court system. Under this setup, Judges are tasked with finding facts rather than simply prosecuting cases. They do not act as impartial referees but instead dominate trials; they can (and often do) directly question witnesses; they hand down verdicts and sentences. As a result, juries are not guaranteed (and in countries like Japan, are rare or nonexistent). Also, there's no such thing as a plea under this system. On the other hand, inquisitorial Judges do not have to take a confession at face value if there is evidence that the person didn't actually do it.
Japan in particular uses a "public procurator" to both investigate and prosecute a crime – Miles Edgeworth is one of these.
Japan has one of the highest conviction rates of any legal system in the world – around 95%. Part of this is the unwillingness of prosecutors to push a case unless they're sure of a conviction, but a darker reason is that, historically, judges were part of the nobility; since procurators were (and are) hired by judges, they were considered social betters as well, but counsel for the accused was not. As a result, there is a ingrained bias against defense counsel.
More Values Dissonance regarding sentencing. Japan and the United States are the only members of the G7 to retain the death penalty. To fans in Canada, Europe, Latin America, and Australasia (which have outlawed capital punishment), the outcomes to certain cases can come off as barbaric. Even to Americans, it can seem this way, as executions in the Ace Attorney-verse are by hanging, as in Japan (the last officially-sanctioned [that is, not a lynching] hanging in the USA was in 1938).