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.
And then we have Manfred von Karma from case 1-4. To summarize: For having his perfect record a bit dented by Gregory Edgeworth and then getting accidentally shot by a misfiring gun, he kills Gregory and manipulates Miles Edgeworth into becoming a prosecutor instead of a defense lawyer like his father was. Yes, the man who killed his father became his mentor and steered him away from the morals he had at a younger age (but thankfully reclaims later). But that's not the real kicker; Karma's plan was to get Edgeworth framed for murder so he would be locked up/executed for it, and if that was to fail, he knew Edgeworth would think that he had killed his father and confess to that instead. The lengths he went to wreck Edgeworth's life for the small things his father did is staggering.
Crazy Awesome: Many characters have their moments. One of the best example is Manfred von Karma who retrains a parrot. No, he doesn't want to lose.
Ear Worm: Some of the music will get put on repeat in your head. Jake Marshall's theme, for example.
Fanon Discontinuity: Some people ignore the fifth case of the first game (which was not part of the original Japanese GBA game but instead added in as a bonus for the DS remake) because, despite providing us with Memetic Badass Damon Gant, it actually subtly retcons the backstory of the game: Most of the rumors about Edgeworth being a Well-Intentioned Extremist are false and he never intentionally used fake evidence. This, to many people, effectively makes a good portion of the first game pointless.
Interestingly enough, when Phoenix sees Edgeworth again in 2-4, he assumes Edgeworth quit because his perfect win record was tarnished, when actually, in 1-5, particularly on the third day of investigations and the last trial segment, Edgeworth is already questioning himself and admits shame over his Amoral Attorney past and fear that he might become like Manfred Von Karma and Damon Gant in the future.
Well, to be fair, the backstory supposedly being retconed has a possible explanation in that, while Edgeworth might not have intentionally forged evidence, but he probably used all of vonKarma's other dirty tactics like witness manipulation and illegal searches. No idea for the point right above this, though, as you'd think Phoenix would be a bit more understanding of Edgey after 1-4 at least, even if 1-5 wouldn't have happened...
It's a bit difficult to disregard 1-5 considering that Ema Skye is a major character in Apollo Justice, which is very much canon. I guess the same people who take issue with the supposed retcon do not view that game as canon, either. Or they just pretend that AJ marks her first appearance.
But then that brings up the question of Where did Phoenix get the fingerprint powder?
"Funny Aneurysm" Moment: When you show Lana Skye the Attorney's Badge, she comments that the gold plating will flake off in a few years, then we'll see the real Phoenix. The conversation ends like this:
Lana Skye: "Give it three years. Then we'll see what you've become."
Phoenix is disbarred approximately three years later in-game — for unwittingly using falsified evidence, the same thing she made Edgeworth do.
That could have been deliberate foreshadowing.
Mia also says something similar in her phone call to Maya in 1-2.
Or they could have been foreshadowing the ending of Trials and Tribulations, where Phoenix is able to stand on his own...
Hilarious in Hindsight: Redd White murdered Mia Fey in the first game. In the third game, an important fact is Godot being unable to see red on white. Additionally, Godot/Diego Armando cared for Mia Fey in the past and was resentful of Wright of doing nothing to prevent her murder.
Case 1-3 is the first case that makes it clear that the American version takes place somewhere similar to Los Angeles. Three of the characters are William, Hammer, and Penny.
Speaking of Redd White, there's this exchange when he tries to get out of testifying:
Moral Event Horizon: Gant was genuinely an honest cop until he murdered Neil Marshall and frames two people for it: Joe Darke to get him convicted once and for all, and fourteen-year-old Ema Skye to make her sister Lana one of his pawns.
Player Punch: Having to prove towards the end of 1-5 that Ema, who's been your sidekick for the whole case, accidentally killed Neil Marshall two years ago.
That One Boss: The first half of the first day of the trial in 1-5 is one of the hardest parts in the game, especially since much of it consists of finding subtle flaws in Angel Starr's testimony, mainly concerning the point from which she supposedly saw Lana stab Goodman.
Unintentionally Sympathetic: Edgeworth in this installment, as Shu Takumi noted that he was supposed to be tragic, yet unlikable. The "unintentionally" part fades over time.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All
Alternative Character Interpretation: There's no question that Juan Corrida is an Asshole Victim, but just how bad is he really? According to Adrian Andrews, he's a Complete Monster, but that's hardly an unbiased source. We do know that he was petty, a Ted Baxter, and bitterly Always Second Best to Matt Engarde. He caused Celeste's suicide when he broke off their engagement due to jealous and wounded pride. He then hid her suicide note, which he planned to use at the most devastating moment for his rival. However, in the flashback to Celeste's suicide, he looks genuinely shocked and horrified, and his plans for revenge could easily be fueled as much by regret for the consequences of angry words he never got the chance to take back. Were his subsequent actions just part of their "game," or was it really personal for him?
There's also the issue of whether "Ini Miney", aka Mimi Miney, or Turner Gray was the one at fault of malpractice incident. If Mimi was to be the one telling the truth, then Turner Gray is a Complete Monster who overworked Mimi into the accident or drugged her to keep her quiet. However, Grey had a point in that he had no real motivation for doing so and was in fact trying to bring her ghost back to clear his name, which would probably be a bad idea if she'd just accuse him of her murder instead. Also, she seemed to kill him because he was about to reveal that she was still alive, not out of any apparent desire for revenge. But Grey is an Unreliable Narrator about himself. Why did he have an (illegal in Japan) gun with him? Why did he expect to get Mimi's ghost to sign a confession that utterly blackens her name and exonerates her former Bad Boss? It seems likely he intended to force her to sign it at gunpoint (with the medium's life on the line), and if that's the case, then just how far would he go in anger?
Anticlimax Boss: Breaking Wendy Oldbag's psyche-locks in 2-4. It's the first time you have to deal with 4 locks at once, but if you show her Juan's autograph, all four of them break at the same time.
Well, given how it's Wendy Oldbag we're talking about here, who is very dramatic, they probably did that on purpose. She also states what she wants from the beginning, perhaps making it easier but also making it less of a climactic confrontation.
Maya, despite being cleared of all charges, laments at the end of Case 2-2 that every time something like this happens, she loses someone close to her. In the next game, she loses her long-lost mother
Gumshoe's testimony in case 2-1, once you realize that he's had a secret crush on Maggey Byrde for a long time. The real punch is when he's asked to describe Maggey and Dustin's relationship — how they were close to getting married and how Maggey even came to Gumshoe for advice on what to get her boyfriend for his birthday. That hangdog expression of his isn't just because he's testifying against a subordinate.
Most Annoying Sound: Franziska's whip will have you wanting to strangle her with it by the time those two cases are over.
Player Punch: Pretty much all of the last case, starting right at the beginning when Maya gets kidnapped to blackmail Nick, and just getting worse when you find out the client is guilty as sin.
Squick: In Justice for All, Pearl gives us this gem:
"Let's go let her whip us, Mr. Nick!"
Also, "Director Hotti" implies that he'd like to "research" the crime scene photos if you show them to him in 2-2.
Even worse when you remember that it's Ini/Mimi in the pictures, and he'd been going on about how she was a favorite patient...
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations
Alternative Character Interpretation: In an odd example, a couple gets this. The DeLites are either a Happily Married couple of a man who isn't above stealing for the happiness of his wife and a woman who likes strong emotions, and authentically loves her husband for many factors besides money, or a Happily Married couple of a crook and a gold digger.
Then there's the question of Terry Fawles' mental state. If he's mentally healthy, then he's an ephebophile, but if he suffers from mental problems or learning difficulties, then it's possible that he just doesn't understand the implications of a relationship with such an age gap. At least in the American version of the game (where Word Of God claims takes place in California), the question is one of whether or not he was knowingly skirting the line with 14-year-old Dahlia, as the local age of consent is 18.
Iris can be subject to this based on your interpretation of her statement that the plot to poison Phoenix's cold medicine was the first time that Dahlia didn't tell her about a plot in advance. Does this mean that she knew about things like Diego's impending poisoning and let them happen? Does she deserve to be punished as an accessory to all of Dahlia's crimes?
Godot. A mysterious, badass prosecutor with a cool design and sympathetic, tragic past, or an overhyped sexist scumbag who's never brought to account for all his bad choices?
Anticlimax Boss: Sister Bikini's five Psyche-locks come off with two presentations of evidence. Most other unlocking sequences require, on average, one or two pieces of evidence per lock.
Breather Boss: In Case 3-3, Gumshoe's Psyche-lock regarding the lottery. Most likely Played for Laughs, given that Gumshoe ends up telling Phoenix crucial information about his cases without meaning to do so.
Complete Monster: The Big Bad, Dahlia Hawthorne. She ruined—or tried to—the lives of pretty much every single human being she could for utterly petty reasons. Her solution to almost every problem she faces seems to involving murdering someone. The Case Files manga once refers to her as the "most evil woman in Ace Attorney".
Fridge Horror: Dahlia calls Mia a spinster out of spite, which would normally just be insulting had she not been the one who poisoned Mia's boyfriend.
"Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Phoenix's behavior in case 3-1 gains a whole new dimension when it turns out that the woman he dated for six months and the one that tried to kill him are not the same, and that his insistence on her innocence wasn't a result of him grabbing the Idiot Ball. Perhaps it also counts as a bit of foreshadowing...
Phoenix's comment in 3-3 that the only way to win a phony case is with phony evidence becomes a lot harsher after the events of Apollo Justice, where he loses his badge due to evidence forgery.
When Godot reveals that he drinks much more coffee than any healthy person ought to, the judge conscientiously rebukes him saying, “You’re going to ruin your health, my friend.” Well, as you figure out his backstory towards the end... his health has long been ruined, and coffee might be the only thing keeping him alive. Might be a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment depending on how you took the judge’s reaction.
Mia's random comedic assaults on Grossberg in case 3-1 every time Phoenix says something adoring about Dahlia become much less funny when you realize that it's not just low tolerance for sappy, saccharine gushing — it's because she's bottling up a lot of hate for Dahlia and with very good reason.
There's also the possibility that it's related to the fact that she knows Grossberg is responsible for leaking the information on her mother, and her mother's resulting disappearance.
Jerkass Woobie: Dahlia in Iris's perspective, although most likely not the player's. Both sisters were separated from their mother and received no love from their father, and while Iris had a mother figure in Sister Bikini. Dahlia had no one. Iris realizes Dahlia has done many unforgivable things, but still cares for her and wants to help her because of what she's been through (including recovering the necklace so she won't commit any more crimes).
Godot could be considered as one, but only to Phoenix, whom he refused to acknowledge for the greater part of the game. He seems to be pretty nice to everyone else.
Magnificent Bastard: While not being a Big Bad, Luke Atmey from the third game certainly counts. He uses a guilty verdict as his alibi for a murder, and this same verdict makes him look like a genius thief smarter than everyone, while giving him what he wants the most from others, their attention.
Only the reactions of Mia and Diego are played for laughs. The relationship itself is portrayed as unhealthy, although less because of the age than because Dahlia was very obviously using the mentally disabled Terry.
No, let's count those too. She fell from the ninth story of a building when 6 months old and has been hit by multiple vehicles but suffers no visible injury or handicap from a series of potentially fatal or crippling accidents. She does not give up. She is Made. Of. Iron.
Internet Backdraft: Get into any location that contains Phoenix/Maya and Phoenix/ Iris shippers and ask whether Maya is too young for Phoenix.
The Woobie: Pearl. Oh, you poor kid. Her role as The Woobie is most significant in Justice for All, where in case 2-4, she lays out all the bad stuff that's happened to her when you talk to her in your office after Maya's kidnapping, particularly when she says Maya is the only family she has left. And then there's her role in case 3-5, where she's used once again by her mother to try to kill the girl who is her remaining closest family. While her time with Larry in the "Loser's Shack" is mostly played for laughs (Larry's involved after all), it's hard to see her so down when she's convinced she's losing her powers on top of everything else.
Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The Blue Badger stops the Judge from delivering a verdict by shoving his hand under the gavel. Then he falls to the floor and the head rolls off the suit, revealing...no one. No one seems to notice or care, and the mystery of the haunted mascot suit is never touched upon for the rest of the movie.