Phoenix Wright and Miles Edgeworth as inverse Red Oni, Blue Oni counterparts; Phoenix as red, who jumps into things without thinking sometimes and is passionate about his job, yet wears blue- and Miles as blue, cool tempered and initially callous, but wears red. It not only reflects their difference in personality, but sets them up more strongly as rivals in the beginning which later becomes something more along the lines of them being two sides of the same coin, as they begin to work together in court, especially during Matt Engarde's trial.
After being disbarred, Phoenix wears darker clothes, as seen in Apollo Justice, representing how far he seems to have fallen from the man he used to be, and how much darker and more underhanded his approach and attitude is now. However, the hat he wears is the same bright blue shade as his old suit, and the writing the same colour as his tie- telling us that the old Phoenix is still here, just deferring to this more badass version of himself for now. The hat is likely a gift from his daughter (it does say "Papa"), and representing Trucy as a bright spot in his life. In Dual Destinies, he returns to his old colour scheme- complete with a hint of gold to represent his legendary status in the legal world, and as head of the Wright Anything Agency.
Trucy wears a similar outfit to her father Zak Gramarye and has followed in his footsteps as a magician- but she wears blue with a red scarf, much like her adopted daddy's former court wear.
Trucy is literally wearing her mother's stage costume from when she was still with the Gramarye troupe.
The von Karmas both wear a colour scheme of blue, white, slate grey and the occasional flash of gold: cold colours reflecting the cold and harsh way they operate and/or were raised, with a hint of grandeur. Also note that Franziska's colours are significantly lighter than her father's, and Phoenix's blue is a far warmer shade than both.
It seems slightly odd that Edgeworth doesn't wear the same colours as the von Karmas, seeing how he was mentored by Manfred, who essentially raised him to be a twisted image of everything Gregory Edgeworth stood for. However, then we have Ace Attorney Investigations 2, where we play as Gregory in a flashback: his tie is the exact same colour as his son's suit in the present day, acting as a retroactive sign that Miles really was always Gregory's son at heart.
Additionally, the suit jacket that Miles wore in 3-4 was very similar in style to Manfred's, but it his own unique color. So he was influenced by the von Karmas, but Edgeworth is still his own person with the potential to change from them.
The trio of lawyers at the Wright Anything Agency as the three primary colours. Phoenix is blue, representing his role as mentor and the balance in the agency, with his magenta tie hinting at his reckless and emotionally-driven streak and the gold of his locket chain representing the hope he still holds onto, years after he became a lawyer. Apollo is magenta, representing his loud and brash attitude at the start of his game and his tendency to be driven by emotion at times, with his blue tie hinting at the sorrows he would also face. Athena is yellow, representing stubborn hope and happiness, matching her determined personality, with her blue tie hinting at the trauma of her past.
Maya and all of the other Fey acolytes wear purple, a colour traditionally associated with magic, the supernatural and royalty. And the Feys were considered highly respected before DL-6.
Interestingly, purple is also associated with death in Asia; reflecting how 'Fey' means 'close to death'.
Morgan Fey, however, wears a black kimono with a hint of red from her sash/obi, which symbolizes her less-than-sweet intentions for her niece. Her sister Misty, when she reappears, also wears black- but in this case it symbolizes secrecy more than malevolence, and has additional hints of purple, showing how much stronger her spiritual power was, hence why she was named Master, rather than her older sister.
The Gavins. Kristoph wears dusky blue, which seems to almost be a recurring theme for defence attorneys, and highlights his kinship and friendship with Phoenix, as well as his renowned 'Coolest Defence in the West' demeanour. But notice that he wears a black waistcoat underneath. And it is really black. Represents the terrifying, malevolent darkness he's been hiding under a benevolent smile. Then take his little brother, Klavier, who wears a purple jacket- a colour of decadence and pride, very suitable for a relaxed rock-star prosecutor- along with a lot of black, which screams 'arrogant rival who is not to be trusted'. However, Klavier is genuinely a nice guy who wants the right verdict to be given, rather than be obsessed with winning the way Kristoph is. The fact that he wears the black more openly makes him all that much more of a Foil to his brother- both of their appearances are deceptive at first glance.
Simon Blackquill and Bobby Fulbright have colour schemes of black and white, respectively, showing their stark contrast in personality and practice. However, the initial expectations from this are completely reversed by the end of the final case: Simon, while putting up a front of a malicious, remorseless criminal- hence his primarily black colour scheme- is actually honourable, kind, and fiercely loyal, and entirely innocent of the murder he was convicted for. "Bobby Fulbright", the phantom, wears white but is secretly a sociopathic spy who is willing to murder innocents indiscriminately. This can actually be translated as a clever metaphor: Simon hides his true self in darkness, knowing that most people will be too intimidated to delve any deeper. However, the phantom hides using light- like shining a bright light into someone's eyes, most people are too dazzled by his apparent dedication to justice that they can't see past it to his true self.
And even after the revelations regarding their true character, the color schemes of Blackquill and Fake Fulbright/Phantom can still work, just in a different way. Blackquill is a terrifying, manipulative, and rather snarky prosecutor on the surface (black), but deep down he is still a good man, devoted to truth, justice, and the people he cares about (white), just like Phoenix, the Yang in Yin. Phantom, meanwhile, leaves no traces of his existence and is impersonating a dead man (much like a real ghost) (white), has a lot of blood on his hands (red), and is at his core a cold-hearted, murderous sociopath (blue), the Yin in Yang.
The visual implications are taken Up to Eleven in Dual Destinies, where invariably one of the murderer's Villainous Breakdown scenes involves their appearance changing to reflect what's going on Beneath the Mask. Ted Tonate's goggles explode as he goes completely Ax-Crazy from his previous stoic smugness; Florent L'Belle loses his makeup and artificial hair coloring, developing a shabbier as how truly ass-deep in debt he now is occurs to him; Aristotle Means restyles his hair to be far more warlike when he decides to stop playing games and reveal himself for the Knight Templar he really is, then loses the teeth he flashes when he's disagreeing with someone as his arguments break down; and Phantom's Phoenix mask becomes a little loose fitting as he feels fear for the first time in a while, then begins to randomly switch when he has a full identity crisis. The only exception is Yuri Cosmos, who isn't a villain, but even his breakdown is an example he messes up the controls on his segway, showing how he's utterly lost control of the situation and failed to prevent the explosion he was afraid of.
During the 4th case of Spirit of Justice, seeing Blackquill and Sahdmadhi in the same courtroom made me realize that, not only do they have opposite character designs, but they're both parallels in more ways than even that. Both have histories with Wright's two subordinates, Blackquill with Athena and Sahdmadhi with Apollo, and we eventually find out that both were friends with Athena and Apollo, respectively, and both needed their old friend to save them from something by the end of the game. Now let's look at their designs. Blackquill wears predominantly black, has long disheveled hair, which is also black for the most part, and in general has a intimidating appearance. However, parts of his hair and outfit are white. This perfectly reflects his personality and role in the fifth game. Blackquill was a prisoner and the convicted murderer of Metis Cykes, so he put on a dark, intimidating personality fit for a criminal, which is reflected in his predominately black outfit. He constantly refers to his time in prison during arguments, and he makes many intimidating threats, including slashing out at witnesses and the attorneys he's facing up against. However, the truth is he's innocent, and he made a selfless sacrifice to protect the daughter of his mentor, which shows that he's really a kind person at heart, something reflected by the streaks of white in his hair and outfit. Sahdmadhi, meanwhile, is predominantly clad in white, has neat white hair that has been meticulously braided, and has a calm, gentle appearance. Yet his glove and the Mark of the Dragon it covers is black. Once again, this conveys his personality. Sahdmadhi makes himself out to be a spiritual man who is loyal to the Queen of Khur'ain, placing himself on the moral and spiritual high ground in arguments and seemingly valuing his duty to the Queen more important than familial ties or his own desires. However beneath this is the same fiery revolutionary that he was under his father Dhurke, which he reveals fully when the Queen no longer has his hands tied and he's able to finally revolt against her. Both wind up being good people, swayed and manipulated along the way, but ultimately staying true to themselves in the very end, and fighting to protect the truth against those who try to obscure it for their own gain, mending their relationships with Athena and Apollo in the process, and becoming allies in the trials (both literally and figuratively) they'll face moving forwards.
Of course von Karma grips his shoulder whenever Phoenix deals a blow to his logic. That's where nine year old Miles Edgeworth unknowingly/accidentally shot him during DL-6 Miles Edgeworth, the son of the man who repeatedly dealt blows to his case during IS-7, and caused the penalty that ruined his perfect record. Every time someone points out a flaw in his ideas, especially defence attorneys, it reminds him of Gregory Edgeworth and IS-7/DL-6!
During The Inherited Turnabout during AAI:2, von Karma's shocked sprite doesn't grip his shoulder. Of course- he hasn't been shot there yet.
And where does Franziska Von Karma get shot in the last case of Justice for All? The shoulder. Apparently de Killer has been doing some reading on the von Karma family.
It's very common for the Cultural Translation of relocating the setting to Los Angeles to be mocked, considering all the obviously Japanese elements in the series, like Kurain Village and the Kitaki family. But Los Angeles is one of the best places to choose in the United States for the setting to make sense, considering it has the largest population of Japanese Americans in the country, and contains an entire Japanese cultural district.
In addition, whether intentional or not, it does tie nicely with another franchise about a LA defense attorney taking interesting cases and defending clients, Perry Mason.
There's a pretty neat Musical Spoiler that is this trope: try listening to Florent L'Belle's theme, then listen to Luke Atmey's theme. They sound rather similar, no? Well, that makes sense; they're both self-centered, Small Name, Big EgoLarge Ham characters. But how about this? Compare Atmey's theme to Masque*DeMasque/Ron DeLite's theme. Atmey's theme is based on DeMasque's, and Atmey at one point claims to be DeMasque, having disguised himself thusly to provide an alibi for the murder he committed. DeMasque, as played by Atmey, is a murderous thieving blackmailer who hid his identity behind a mask, a famous identity, that wasn't his. What was L'Belle again? Ah, yes. A murderous blackmailer and attempted thief who hid his identity behind the famous mask of another man. Who it should be noted, is the one who actually does own the mask, which was the person they were blackmailing. How's that for a good case of Not So Different?
Now, this one is probably unintentional but Franziska von Karma, as we all know, likes to refer to people she meets, particularly the defence, as fools. This is pretty brilliant when you realise that she's also possibly referring to them as amateurish. Amateurs would, of course, be Fresh Out Of Law School.
An example from case 5 of the first game. The trophy given to those who receive the title of Prosecutor of the Year used to consist of a broken knife and a broken shield, with the story behind it being a variation of the legend about a merchant claiming to have both a shield that can repel any spear, and a spear that can destroy any shield. In effect, it was intended to serve as a reminder that no prosecutor is invincible. However, an incident in which Neil Marshall was murdered lead to the broken knife being removed, thus leaving only the broken shield. As such, the trophy goes on to take an entirely different (and much simpler) meaning; the broken shield representing that it's a prosecutor's job to win at all costs, by breaking through the lawyer's defense.
It has a second, much brighter, meaning. The sword and shield on the prosecutor's award also can represent the prosecution (the halberd), and the defence (the shield). It works great as an analogy for Edgeworth's later choices to think more like a defence attorney (and the fact that during his own games, he acts as one), as the thing representing the prosecution is gone from the prosecutor's shield. Yet he is still a prosecutor, just as the shield is still an award given to prosecutors. There's a third one, too: the two items representing the influences Edgeworth had in his life. First, the halberd representing influences like Manfred von Karma, and the shield representing people like Gregory Edgeworth or Phoenix Wright. Removing the halberd is like removing the influence of von Karma from him, allowing him to act more like his father or best friend.
The reason Phoenix and Edgeworth don't face off as much after 2-4 is due in part to Edgeworth's HeelFace Turn. Phoenix refuses to defend guilty clients on principle, and the magatama usually lets him tell when his client is hiding something (Matt Engarde being the only exception so-far). And post-JFA Edgeworth does his best to ensure that whoever he prosecutes is actually guilty (to the point of defending those who have been accused by less scrupulous prosecutors, as in T&T and Investigations). So long as both of them do their jobs right, they'll never end up facing each other except for special cases like Turnabout for Tomorrow.
In Dual Destinies, the "phantom" is always referred to a specific way in the text: name uncapitalized, save when it is part of evidence names in the Court Record. Considering what this person is, this unique way of rendering their name makes perfect sense. Considering the "phantom" doesn't even know his own name anymore, even capitalizing his alias/nickname would be like conceding he had a name at all.
So Dual Destinies has Phoenix back in Waistcoat of Style. Now this logic may only work in the West but the image of an attorney wearing a three-piece suit and pocket watch brings to mind Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, a character regarded as one of the most heroic and morally good defense attorneys in storytelling. By wearing that waistcoat it's being communicated visually that Phoenix has reached the pinnacle of courtroom defense through the similarity.
He wouldn't be the first reference in the series to Atticus Finch. That would be Gregory Edgeworth, the man who (indirectly) inspired Phoenix to become a defense attorney in the first place.
In the second part of Case 5-4, Blackquill gets very angry with Starbuck even after it's become clear that he wasn't responsible for the bombing or the murder. After Case 5-5, it becomes clear why: Blackquill must have thought for a moment that Starbuck was the Phantom, since he was present at the space center for both the UR-1 incident and the current bombing. And when we confront the actual Phantom later on, it turns out he has a Starbuck mask, which means that Blackquill's lashing out at the real Starbuck wasn't entirely unjustified.
There was a missed moment of brilliance in Case 2-3. So, Acro sets up an elaborate trap to kill someone without having to visually confirm where they were. Phoenix works out how the box setup was used to solve the issue of aiming. However, nobody ever brings up the problem of timing when to drop the bust. How did Acro know exactly the moment that his victim's head was in the right spot? What if he had covered the top of the box in pepper? The target leans down to pick up or open the box, sneezes, Acro drops the bust. This would also have been a great moment of karmic retribution for the prank that took away his brother.
Except wouldn't the sound of Russell Berry sneezing have given away it was him standing there and not Regina?
Blackquill insulting Fulbright by calling him "Fool Bright" takes on a double meaning when we learn that much like "fool's gold", "Fulbright" is really the phantom mimicking the appearance of the real Fulbright (who is long dead). Of course, since Blackquill himself didn't know this, it was certainly unintentional on his part but may have been intentional on the developers' and/or translators'.
From the first game, although there's no evidence to support it, while interrogating Polly the parrot, Phoenix points out their possible relation to Yanni Yogi. Of course, von Karma objects, saying "Bah! A mere coincidence, that's all! My granddaughter has a dog she calls "Phoenix". Well, Mr. Phoenix Wright? Does this make you my granddaughter's fiancee!? She's only seven years old!!!" Now, this is a bit of an offhand statement, until you consider von Karma's children. It was all foreshadowing of the existence of another von Karma who is Fransizka's sibling who we have yet to meet.
Manfred von Karma's killing of Gregory Edgeworth as Revenge for his first penalty ever looks like an extreme case of Disproportionate Retribution, and it indeed is. However, his actions take a whole new meaning after playing the fourth case of Investigations 2- the whole reason von Karma was penalized was because the chief prosecutor was the one who forged evidence (von Karma was an Unwitting Pawn) and wanted to cover his tracks. He's still guilty of forcing witnesses into forcing false confessions, but his Disproportionate Retribution is not as disproportionate following that reveal: he just unleashed it on the wrong person.
For that matter, why does he wait to have Miles Edgeworth framed for murder until it's almost too late to prosecute anyone for the DL-6 incident? Because Miles had lost a case by then. He was no longer perfect. Von Karma already wasn't too thrilled about the idealistic streak he hadn't managed to kill off in his protege (to say nothing of the bullet wound), but he probably could have forgiven those if Miles had kept up a perfect record of convictions. Since he didn't, and proved himself imperfect, he become disposable.
Alternatively, Von Karma might've been waiting for Edgeworth to tarnish his perfect record. Edgeworth at the time had a perfect record. The same kind of perfect record that Von Karma once prided himself in before Gregory gave him the penalty that drove him to revenge in the first place. In other words, the son of the man who had tarnished Von Karma's perfect record was now standing in court with a perfect record of his own. If he had just gone in and framed Edgeworth right then, sure, Von Karma would always have to live with the thought that, had Edgeworth not been framed, he could've been a better prosecutor than Von Karma, perhaps with even a longer perfect streak. That kind of thinking would've eaten away at Von Karma, so he waited until Edgeworth lost a few trials first, ensuring Von Karma that Edgeworth was not a better prosecutor than him, and that he could proceed with his revenge.
When Blackquill breaks his restraints for the first time, Apollo and the Judge panic, only for Blackquill to quip that he doesn't kill cowards. After seeing the final case, it's very likely that he's never killedanyonebefore, having been definitively cleared of the UR-1 incident and no mention of him killing anyone while imprisoned. He's probably willing to make an exception for the Phantom, which is why he threatened to attack him when the latter tried to escape, but can you blame him?
In the climax of the final case of Dual Destinies, the phantom is sniped in the middle of his Villainous Breakdown. Considering how everyone was so afraid of Blackquill for the rest of the game, it seems strange how no one so much as jumps out of their seat at the sound of gunfire, and even the judge just calmly states that the police were dispatched after the sniper. However, assassins have figured into the story multiple times before, and they've made it very clear that they never harm anyone they don't target.
With the reveal that Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Spirit of Justice will take place in a country that relies on spirit mediums to give out verdicts on trials, many noted on Phoenix's role in pointing out the unreliability of such a method to how the DL-6 incident turned out to be - in that, sometimes, the victim has no idea who killed him. Except, there is a second, more recent example of this: Dahlia Hawthorne's testimony in Case 3-5. Disregarding the fact she was uncooperative and wanted to twist the truth for petty reasons, she also had no idea who killed Misty Fey while she was channeling Dahlia.
The anime adaptation premiered in 2016- the same year that the first game is supposed to take place.
Think about the childhood friend trio of Phoenix, Larry, and Edgeworth. At the class trial, Edgeworth stood up for Phoenix, and ended up being one of the inspirations for him to become a lawyer. But Larry stood up for Phoenix too- and, it turns out, he might have been more of an inspiration to Phoenix than is apparent. Larry grew up to become an artist- and Phoenix majored in art in college!
There are two major varieties the Telling The Truth themes come in - slow and calm (Trials and Tribulations and Apollo Justice) or much darker and confrontational (Justice For All and Dual Destinies). This demonstrates the two forms finding a hidden truth often takes; either it is a relief to finally find the truth after so much work or the truth you find is an Awful Truth.
Remember how Godot mentions that he can't see the color red on white? This is not only literal, there's a deeper meaning to it. He blames Phoenix for Mia Fey's death, despite him not actually being the culprit. Now, remember who actually murdered Mia in the said case? That's right, a man by the name of Redd White.
The three imperial regalia of Japan are the jewel (magatama), the sword, and the mirror. We have Phoenix Wright, an attorney who actually uses the magatama. We have Miles Edgeworth, a prosecutor whose (Western) name refers to the edge of a sword and whose other name refers to a samurai. And lastly, we have Justine Courtney, a Judge whose original name means 'water mirror'. This way, all three the regalia are represented in court.
Also, the magatama represents benevolence, the sword valor, and the mirror wisdom. The attorney has to be kind and benevolent to their clients to actually let them work for them and allowing to defend them, the prosecutor has to be a honorable person to do the job, and the judge has to be wise enough to decide the rightful verdict.
There may be something to the fact that every time Edgeworth gets a moment away from Phoenix Wright and the madness that follows him, he ends up butting heads against someone from Zheng Fa, or getting directly involved in the country's affairs. Zheng Fa is the "Land of the Phoenix", and uses the bird as its national symbol, plastered right on the flag. Edgeworth can't escape, no matter how hard he tries. Of course, in Japanese, Phoenix is a dragon, not a phoenix. But by this point in the series the developers have to know what he's called in English.
After Phoenix is disbarred, he goes on a personal quest to find out who set him up, which takes place before and during Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. Why didn't Phoenix ask Edgeworth, Maya, or anyone for help? It can come from two reasons; One, Phoenix feels responsible for presenting forged evidence in a trial, thus only he can fix his own mess. Two, Phoenix also mentions that he felt like someone was keeping tabs on him for the past seven years (Kristoph Gavin was keeping an eye on Phoenix the whole time to make sure he didn't learn the truth), thus he knew he couldn't go to anyone for help unless they were to be dragged into his mess.
We know about 4 Yakuza/Mafia families, Amano, Cadaverini, Kitaki, and the ones Vasques is involved with. Not only does it mean that the town is pretty dangerous, but the Amano son owes the Cadaverini daughter money. Which means that a mafia war could happen...
Maybe not. Both Ernest and Lance were arrested after being associated with Alba's smuggling ring and while it is true that the latter owes Viola some dough, it would be kinda pointless to try and kill him in prison (If that was the case, then her grandfather Bruto would of definitely went all Imprisoned Turnabout on Tigre by now.) Plus, it's implied that the Amanos lost their influence after they were arrested, so they wouldn't have the means to fight back anyways and it would be a pretty one-sided battle.
In the first game's final case, Damon Gant asks the 16-year-old Ema to stay in his office after he kicks Phoenix and Gumshoe out. Afterward, Ema seems... withdrawn. Very withdrawn. Um.
He was blackmailing Lana and could pretty much do anything he wanted with her. Ew.
Or Ema has withdrawn because she knows she's been called to testify about the worst moment of her life so far.
After Maya leaves Phoenix after Case 1-4 to train more as a spirit medium, Phoenix gets depressed and refuses to take any cases (except 1-5) until case 2-2... months later! How many innocent people did he neglect to help?!!
Actually, he resumed taking cases after 1-5 (see the ending again). Plus, there are other defense attorneys out there. It's not like Phoenix is the only one.
Indeed, at the very least there is still Marvin Grossberg and Raymond Shields working as defense attorneys at that time, so not everyone was neglected during Phoenix's Heroic BSoD.
Raymond says he was working in Europe for quite some time prior to Investigations 2, so he wasn't an option for those clients.
In the fourth case of the second game, when you visit Matt Engarde's mansion, in the living room you can see a door with a small cat hole. Unfortunately, it's locked. You know from playing as a kidnapped Maya earlier that she's being held behind that door.
The Steel Samurai continues to be referenced throughout the games, but nobody ever mentions the Nickel Samurai spinoff. Probably because the Nickel Samurai turned out to be a raging sociopath who hired an assassin to take out his competition. Not surprising that Phoenix, Maya, Edgeworth and the like couldn't watch the Nickel Samurai after Case 2-4.
More a Fridge Tear Jerker, but if you take into account his blindness and recently comatose status, it's not really a stretch to think that Godot is basically dying from the effects of Dahlia's poison and might not live very long after he is jailed.
Also, wasn't Godot slashed with a dagger in the face the day before, without receiving medical treatment? He could have been dying of blood loss.
Not to mention the sheer amount of caffeine that man ingests. Also, the portraits Larry drew (which we see during the epilogue of Trials and Tribulations) seem to suggest that he has, in fact, passed away.
On the subject of Fridge Tear Jerker, it's established that when people in the ''Ace Attorney'-verse die, they linger in some form as a spirit and thus can be channeled by spirit mediums. It also seems that they can watch what goes on with the living. So it's possible that Gregory Edgeworth spent fifteen years watching his son blame himself for committing patricide, being raised by von Karma, and eventually giving up on his ideals and goals in life. And there's nothing that could be done about it.
The aforementioned reveal from Spirit of Justice about the memory of a channelled spirit being cut off at the time of death is phrased in a somewhat vague way that could also allow for the interpretation that spirits are, in fact, conscious after death, but lose their memory of anything that happened during that time once they are channelled. With this interpretation, the above Fridge Tear Jerker still stands.
We actually have a whole game to use as reference, as it's been stated that Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective takes place in the same universe as Ace Attorney. According to that game, spirits of the deceased experience complete amnesia until they are reminded of who they are by an external party. This may be why the Kurain Channeling Technique requires the medium to know the face and true name of the spirit, to remind them of who they are so they can regain their memory and be of any help at all.
In the first game's second case, Gumshoe recognizes Phoenix as Larry's attorney from the first case, and constantly refers to Larry as "the killer". As a defense attorney, Phoenix is sometimes treated with mistrust and derision. Between this treatment and Gumshoe's (a veteran, if simple, detective) name calling, criminals in Ace Attorney are pretty much judged before they ever reach trial. Given the rapidity of trials in the game, it makes you wonder how many innocent people are in prison or were executed simply due to the legal system's bias against the accused.
It's actually explicitly stated in the opening of that first game that the criminal system is set up as "guilty until proven innocent", with a limited amount of time allowed in each case, and several other statutes that basically are designed to end the cases as quickly as possible.
Furthermore, the Ace Attorney system originated as an indictment of Japan's legal system, where 'guilty until proven innocent' is the norm, and defence lawyers are vilified for defending suspects whether they're guilty or not and it's not rare for one to never win a case in his career.
Although it should be noted that in Japan the court proceedings are rarely even started before the prosecution can put together a waterproof case. A prosecutor who starts up a case against a person who turns out to be innocent will soon find himself in trouble.
On that note, you know how Gant controlled the legal system via Lana for the two years before the first game? How many innocent people did he get put in jail or get executed? And how much trouble did he cause Phoenix in his cases before Rise From The Ashes?
It's not even just Gant. Think about all the prosecutors (except Godot, because he was only one for a very short time, and lost all his cases, and Klavier who is most definitely not an Amoral Attorney) and how much you like them (except Manfred and Payne). How many innocent lives have Edgeworth and Franziska destroy before they began to reform themselves after being defeated by Phoenix? And let's not get started with Manfred von Karma, who manipulated his way to victory over the course of 40 years, without a single defeat until Phoenix kicked his ass twice in court. Many tropers haven't even been alive for 40 years! And since the death penalty for murder does exist in the game, that most likely means that, indirectly, Manfred has the largest death toll in the series. And he doesn't fucking care.
Franziska prosecuted in Germany before coming into the game's country. Germany's law system is, of course, vastly different from the game's and Japan's system. She might not have destroyed as many lives as one might think.
In the original Japanese, though, the Von Karma family is American. It's not as much of a stretch to believe Manny and Franny were messing up people's lives in America. Plus, the law is obviously a bit different in-universe, so we don't know if the German legal system is any different in the games.
Considering that Franziska was able to come to America/Japan and with little to no legal adjustment be able to prosecute in homicide cases, it's clear that Germany/America legal system is either not different or not that different from America/Japan's in this universe.
OBJECTION! *double-handed desk slam* Ga'ran has definitely eclipsed Manfred von Karma's death toll because she committed genocide with the DC Act and now countless innocent people have been decapitated during her 23-year reign. Since people know about the Divination Séances, smarter murderers keep all incriminating evidence out of the views of their victims. Manfred's victims would probably have a higher probability of being the murderers than Ga'ran's victims.
OBJECTION! *one-handed desk slam* In a game where three player characters have truth-detecting items and cases are never solved until the dirty truths and emotional injuries have been dragged out into the light, the central theme can hardly be "keep it inside." A better case could be made for "the truth will tell" or "the truth will set you free." The pattern, set way back in 1-4, is that saying the truth out loud, no matter how horrible, is the necessary first step toward healing — and besides, there's no other way for Phoenix or another attorney of his school to get to work on it and start finding the contradictions. Edgeworth learned his lesson from that case, and from then on his mode has been to go straight for the Awful Truth, no matter what it is or who's trying to hide it or why, and get it said and out in the open because nothing will get done until that happens. Whether he does it knowing Phoenix can turn it around is ambiguous... but given the strong, unspoken bond of truth between them, he probably does.
Also a Fridge Tear Jerker, with a horrifying psychological element. In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Prosecutor Klavier Gavin proves himself a Big Damn Hero by pointing out the loophole which allows his big brother, Kristoph Gavin, to be brought to justice. Previous games in the series have made it clear that those who commit premeditated murder face capital punishment (in itself a bit of a Fridge Horror if you don't believe in capital punishment), eg. Dahlia Hawthorne in T&T, who describes her hanging when she's channeled in the final case. So here we have a guy, in a series where sibling relationships consistently have a high value placed on them, knowingly condemning his own brother to death. To make it worse, this case occurs shortly after he had to condemn his long-time best friend, bandmate and colleague to life imprisonment, not long after finding out his brother was a murderer in the first place. Even, as Ace Attorney goes, that's quite a stomping to give one character's mental state over a short period.
Meanwhile Apollo, once an orphan, finds his lost sister and mother, gains Phoenix as a sort of surrogate father/mentor, uncovers his special power... everything goes great for him and crap for Klavier, they're more foil to each-other than they first appear. Somewhat Fride Logic-y.
Also, Trucy. When she's little, her dad is forced to flee the country because Kristoph fucking Gavin got his attorney disbarred; when he comes back seven years later, Kristoph murders him while he plays poker with Phoenix. It's later revealed that teenaged Trucy hangs out in the poker den with Phoenix and helps him cheat at games using her magical power of perception — was she there that night?
We never find out how she knew all along that her biological father was already deceased. Is this how she found out?
Dahlia Hawthorne was (unfortunately) never proven guilty for her first murder. In fact, this is one of the very few times what happens to the killers is explicitly discussed. So the idea that two murders is a guaranteed execution can't be proven. Somehow, I don't think Damon Gant got the death penalty (but that's just speculation on my part).
To the above, while Dahlia was not proven guilty of her murder of Valerie, she WAS proven guilty of the murder of Doug Swallow and the poisoning of Diego Armando, which at the time, if I'm not mistaken, was thought to be a murder.
In Ace Attorney Investigations 2, similar to what Gant is speculated to have done Ema, Bansai/Blaise does something very similar to Yumihiko/Sebastian. When Yumihiko/Sebastian finally confronts him in court during the final case, Bansai/Blaise actually leaves the witness stand to approach him, suggesting Yumihiko/Sebastian wants to "play" and that the two of them should go home. He's trembling and is TERRIFIED when his father says this with Yumihiko's actual moving sprite going backwards. Bansai's sprite even approaches him when Yumihiko tries to weakly fight back. If it weren't for Edgeworth demanding that he get back on the witness stand so the trial could continue, Yumihiko might have broken down again, but the implication is very obvious.
In the case "Turnabout Beginnings" in Trials and Tribulations Terry Fawles mentions that his kidnapping of Dahlia Hawthorne was staged and that she was his girlfriend. It is important to note that she was 14 years old at the time, while a quick bit of subtraction shows that he was 20 years old. He was a 20 year old man with a 14 year old girlfriend.
Moreover, he met her because he was her tutor, and from there she became his girlfriend.
Likely Dahlia lied about that part. It's hard to image her father keeping someone of Terry's mental state as his daughter's tutor.
On the flipside, Terry was heavily implied to be mentally handicapped in some way. Dahlia took advantage of that to basically brainwash him into believing whatever she wanted him to including getting him to agree to a suicide pact. Look back to when Terry and Dahlia are put in courtroom together for the first time, and Mia tries to get Terry to realize that he hadn't really killed Dahlia, and she'd just let him take the fall for her "death" for years. He point-blank refuses to believe it, at first, even though she's right in front of him. Makes you wonder what other things she talked him into, or planned to get him to do.
However, it's very likely he could have gotten into that mental state in prison. Before the kidnapping, he was tutoring Dahlia, and in the flashback at the start of the case, he doesn't appear to have any difficulties talking. He went to jail on death row believing that he killed his girlfriend. That can't be good for your mind.
On the other hand Dahlia managed to get Phoenix basically into the same or at least a very similar state of mind. While he was much more naive then he is as a lawyer, Phoenix was a pretty normal guy at that time. So it is possible that Terry was brainwashed into killing himself by Dahlia.
The games become a lot less whimsical when you realize that Japan's court system is pretty much exactly like how it is presented in the games, not to mention the fact that Phoenix and others really would be social pariahs for being defense attorneys.
It's Fridge Horror all around the world, thanks to the fact that Reality Is Unrealistic and for every "that could never happen", there's a contradicting incident of something that improbable, unrealistic, unlawful, or just plain horrifying happening.
In both the second and third games, the "penalty" bar is the same as the bar used for cracking Psyche-Locks. If the bar runs out when cracking Psyche-Locks, a spirit (who may be trapped in the Magatama) warns Phoenix or Edgeworth that if he continues, his soul will shatter. Considering that the game uses the same bar in the courtroom, does that mean that every penalty is literally a jab at the defense's soul?
You're reading too much into it. But yes, it is a literal jab at the defense's will, to the point that when it's all gone, the defense's so weak willed that he/she doesn't even contest the verdict nor tries to gain back some face by any means, the defense has just given up.
Dual Destinies Huge SPOILER Warning: What organization or government is Phantom working for and who shot him during his Villainous Breakdown?
Even better than that, How long was the sniper there?
And another one: Phantom killing and replacing Bobby Fulbright had to be prompted by something. The two bigger possibilities are 1: Bobby was killed because he was investigating one of Phantom's previous crimes, which, when we consider who Phantom is, was almost certainly a major felony, or 2: He knew his crimes would get him in trouble, so he murdered him just so he could replace him and throw off any trails on him from inside the system. So either he has an even bigger body count, or he's even more of a hyperprepared sociopath. If he didn't just decide to kill two birds with one stone.
Here's another possibility for the Kill and Replace: the Phantom knew two things. One was that Edgeworth's machinations were ensuring that Simon could prosecute again, even as a convict, and Bobby would be assigned as Simon's guard. Two was that Simon still had that psych profile, one of only two things that could possibly prove who the Phantom was. The Phantom could well have hatched the plot to replace Bobby and get close to Simon in the role as guard, and then get the psych profile back (that part he failed in). Which begs the question, what was he going to so with Simon, who was the last obstacle between the Phantom and the profile? Could he have killed our poor prosecutor at any time during the game without anyone truly realising who did it or why? Or was the Phantom playing a long game of KEEPING the profile on Simon until his execution, then taking it with no-one ever being any the wiser?
Let's look at one other aspect of the character: during the end of his breakdown, he reveals that he is wearing a multitude of other disguises under the Fulbright one, including Starbuck, Means, L'Belle, Tenma, Tonate, and even Phoenix Wright himself. Now ask yourself this: why? Why would he not only have masks available to impersonate all of these people, but have actually put all of them on at some point? And doesn't this raise questions about previous cases and the possibility of previously unconsidered frame jobs or false alibis?
Not really. Being a detective, Fulbright would have been expected to be around at all times. Someone would've noticed if the lead detective on a case was no where to be found when he was supposed to be doing his job, and he wouldn't really have time to be switching around identities during cases while simultaneously making sure he didn't run into the person he was impersonating, and making sure that no one else caught on to anything strange. There's probably a reason the real Bobby Fulbright is dead, after all. There's way too much of a risk in getting caught doing that, and it wouldn't really benefit him in any way. But on the other hand, it is very disconcerting to know that this guy can impersonate anyone he wants with such amazing accuracy...
YMMV but when I was recently discussing the theme of each game ("No One is Above the Law", "Your Moral Beliefs V. Your Feelings", and "How Far People Will Go for Love" for the first three) I realized one valid interpretation of Apollo Justice's theme is "The universe hates you, everyone you know will turn on you, and happy endings don't exist."
In that case, Dual Destinies must mean that it's okay to take the blame for a crime you didn't commit because the daughter of your mentor will spend 9 years in europe to become a lawyer, repressing her true feelings, and with the posibility of a mental trauma, geez.
Dual Destinies could also be, "The Bonds of Loyalty, Friendship, and Love", given that each case has some tie to this — Athena defending Junie twice, the family bonds of Jinxie and her father, Blackquill's loyalty to his mentor, the group of friends at Themis, and the breakdown and rebuilding of Apollo's trust in Phoenix and Athena.
Similarly, for Apollo Justice, "Appearances Can Be Deceiving", if you take into account Phoenix being disbarred but still being very much on the ball and active in the legal world, Kristoph and Klavier's bandmate being evil, Lamiroir being blind rather than Machi, and the whole debacle with forged evidence.
More a fridge Tear Jerker, but as of Spirit of Justice, Maya is now 28...and is now older than her big sister, who died at 27.
On the other hand, it would've been even more horrific if Maya didn't outlive Mia. Considering everything else that happened to the Feys, it almost feels like a case of Throw the Dog a Bone.
The anime removes any instance of earthquakes, removing Edgeworth's seismophobia in the process. Bowdlerization? Not quite — Japan has enough earthquakes per year that those scenes would likely have caused PTSD in viewers that experienced a major one if they were left in.
In 2-3, the whole murder plot happened because Russell Berry told his daughter that people become stars after they die which led to her not taking Bat's coma seriously. This, in turn, led to Acro attempting to murder her; except, by pure accident, it's Russell who gets killed. So, in a way, he brought his death on himself.