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Fridge / Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations

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    Fridge Brilliance 

  • The overarching plot is dealt with in the first, fourth and fifth cases, while the middle two ("Recipe for Turnabout" and "The Stolen Turnabout") seemed irrelevant. However, they foreshadowed major events in the metaplot. In Case 2, the true killer is Luke Atmey, a man whose name alone shows what he wants. He's an incredibly arrogant criminal who wants to be the centre of attention and commits crimes to cover up his other crimes. Just like Dahlia Hawthorne. You could also read Ron DeLite as being a representation of young Phoenix from case 1, or Terry Fawles as all were wrongly accused and victims of the plan of the real killer.
    • In the third case the victim's coffee cup is poisoned as he manages to finally escape his debt with Furio Tigre. Like Diego Armando was poisoned by Dahlia Hawthorne just as he looked set to get case breaking evidence to implicate her for the murder of her sister, the theft of the diamond, creating a false identity, causing the death of Terry Fawles and tampering with evidence. Those aren't the only parallels that could be found.
    • The Très Bien case contains a fake murder in which a witness who is sex-minded and older than most Ace Attorney characters says that they saw the actual murder. This is similar to Bikini and the removal of the Shichishito from Elise' body.
    • Furio Tigre looks like Phoenix. In this case Furio is the murderer and even parallels Dahlia's poisoning of Diego. this makes sense as to Godot, Phoenix is the villain who got Mia killed and Furio reflects that.
      • It goes one step further: Furio is literally red(dish). And what colour can't Godot see? What was the name of the man who murdered Mia?
    • There's a triple parallel in both cases with the theme of false identities and impersonation. Much like with Tigre/Nick and Iris/Dahlia, a major breakthrough came when it was realized that there were actually two Mask☆DeMasques running around, Luke and Ron. As well, the ridiculous efforts of Ron to keep his wife happy and the awkward romantic fumblings of Gumshoe for Maggey are writ large with Godot's attempts to protect Maya and destroy Dahlia for Mia's sake.
      • The Ron/Desiree thing resembles the relationship between Terry Fawles and Dahlia Hawthorne a little bit. Everything that was problematic between Ron and Desiree is made worse with the nightmare that is Terry x Dahlia.
    • Viola actually admits that what Furio was doing to collect on his debts was "evil," but that she was helping him with it because he pretends to care about her and she wants to believe that he does. This reflects things in the main story.
    • Also, 3-3 features a criminal who pretends to be someone way more trustworthy than themselves in order to frame an innocent party. Just like Dahlia pretending to be Iris in the last case — only with Dahlia, the framing isn't as important as the crime itself. (Also, with Dahlia, the player doesn't see it coming from a mile away.) Since Tigre turns out to be a bit of a coward (trying to feebly persuade the court that 'it was probably someone else' when everything's against him), the contrast is perfect — Dahlia puts up an innocent front, but is a heartless monster who will do anything to hurt those she wants to hurt, stating that she doesn't care because she's already dead. Tigre puts up an aggressive, intimidating front, but is very cautious to make sure blame doesn't get pinned on him, even recreating the entirety of the murder of Glen Elg with changed guilty parties.
    • There's also an additional party that takes no participation in the murder itself, but is manipulated in some other way to carry out a plan. Luke Atmey recommends his services to Adrian Andrews to execute a decoy crime and Jean Armstrong is coerced into faking a crime scene by Furio Tigre and Viola Cadaverini along with hiding crucial evidence, which play a miscellaneous role just like using Doug Swallow's access to chemicals, Valerie Hawthorne being an accomplice to Dahlia's extortion, and Iris faking another crime scene to help Godot.
  • In case 3-3, you come across a CD labelled "MC Bomber". Despite talking to someone in the computer field, Phoenix never simply pops it into a PC to see what it is. Given that it turns out to be a really, really bad computer virus, that would've been a bad idea.
  • When Godot keeps talking about coffee being "dark and bitter"? He's talking about himself.
  • Phoenix is an ersatz member of the Fey family. Mia is his mentor, and Maya and Pearls are like his little sisters. That much is obvious, but what isn't so obvious is that Edgeworth is the same thing for the Von Karmas. Maya and Franzy are even the same age, and, like their "big brothers", have opposite personalities. Maya is warm, a bit ditzy, and wears her heart on her sleeve, while Fran is cold, intelligent, condescending, and likes to use her whip to get in touch with people, since she has difficulty empathizing. Also, the parental figures in both are absent through most of the series. Mia is killed, and Manfred is sent to jail for murder, later referred to as "gone". In the third game, Misty Fey herself returns after a long absence, only to be killed.
  • The Karma Houdini of Viola Cadaverini doesn't make a lot of sense at first. Phoenix even proved that person's involvement since they were a key player in creating the illusion that Maggey Byrde poisoned Glen Elg's coffee and people have been arrested for evidence tampering before in the game. However, it makes sense once you think back to Gumshoe's claim that nobody can touch the Cadaverinis. Of course Viola didn't go to jail, her grandfather is a mob boss. As for why the Cadaverinis didn't try to protect Furio Tigre as well? He was, for all his bluster, just a single loan shark operating in their turf. And more to the point, he was the main reason that Viola was injured so badly in the first place. He may have paid up his "compensation", but that didn't mean the Family would forget what happened. By doing nothing, they both got a large sum of money and indirect revenge against Tigre.
  • It seems strange that Dahlia in 3-5 failed to realize that she was being channeled by Maya (who has dark hair), which should have given away that she wasn't being channeled by Pearl (who has lighter hair), and furthermore, that she would rely on being able to impersonate Iris (who also has dark hair) while being channeled by Pearl. This just seemed like an arbitrary deviation from how spirit channeling is usually shown to work in the series. However, then after ages Fridge Brilliance struck: Dahlia probably had no idea what color Pearl's hair was. In fact, almost the entire rest of the Fey family — Iris, presumably Dahlia herself (though she dyes it), Misty, Morgan, Maya — has dark hair. Why didn't Morgan tell her Pearl's hair color while hatching the plan? Because Dahlia was supposed to be wearing a demon-warding hood anyway to impersonate Iris, which would conceal her hair color. Dahlia had no reason to find it strange her hair would be dark when she was channeled — she'd just assume Pearl's hair was the same color as her mother's, and go on to figure she can impersonate Iris even without a hood.
    • The entire case of 3-5 also presents a hefty amount of fridge logic in regards to the clothing of the various spirit mediums. Iris and Maya's clothes are similar, but completely distinguishable, yet Maya even appears to be wearing Iris's exact clothing when Dahila's spirit is forced out of her. And if she had been channeled by Pearl there's no way someone would fail to notice her adult body stuffed into the clothes of a nine year old.
      • It's assumed that Maya changed into the Hazakurain uniform for the advanced training. And Dahlia most likely assumed that Pearl would have changed clothes following her mother's instructions and/or didn't notice that she was still wearing the same type of uniform that Misty/Elise was wearing when she "died".
  • In case 3-3, Tigre's breakdown causing a blackout in the courtroom just seems like it's Played for Laughs. But as we later find out, it was really important. When the lights go out, we see the glowing red lights on Godot's visor. This is later used to identify Mystic Misty's real killer in case 3-5.
  • In case 3-2, the safe in Kane Bullard's office is the same as the one that Gumshoe opens at the beginning of the case. This not only means that Bullard's company provided the safe that guarded the jewel, it also means that the jewel thief probably had inside knowledge of how to open it based on having worked for the company that made it.
  • There are some interesting visual things relating to Dahlia Hawthorne. When her eyes turn white in the first case, it looks a lot like what happens with Morgan Fey in case 2-2 when she gets angry. Dahlia looks like she has horns.
  • For that matter, one may notice that Dahlia-as-Iris blushes exactly once during the final case, while the real Iris blushes a lot. Dahlia has no sense of shame or guilt about anything she does, so it's only logical that she seldom blushes.
    • Dahlia-as-Iris's line while blushing was something similar to, "I think (Phoenix) finally understands. Thank goodness." If anything, Dahlia was probably getting more and more upset with Phoenix, hence her face turning red.
    • In a similar vein to the Dahlia and Morgan connection, look at Iris's sprite in which she faces forward. Not only is this in contrast with how Iris isn't one to put up an act, it looks very similar to her half-sister Pearl's normal sprite.
  • Dahlia and Iris are both names for flowering plants. So is "Hawthorne."
  • It's easy to notice that Glen Elg was a palindrome and that the name of his replacement, Adam Mada, is also a palindrome. However, it's easier to miss that Lisa Basil also had a palindrome name. This is one of the many name-related jokes/symbols of the series and happens to be one that not everyone catches at first.
  • At first, it seems like Lisa Basil is reluctant to talk about Glen Elg's problems because she doesn't want to speak ill of her deceased employee, doesn't want to help the man defending her employee's supposed murderer, or is embarrassed that things like gambling addiction and virus creation went on at her company. However, there's another possibility. Basil could have contributed to creating M.C. Bomber! Or at least teaching Elg how to make viruses.
  • In the first playthrough, it is made pretty clear that Godot has a grudge against Phoenix for not preventing Mia's death. However, on a second playthrough of case 5, the conversation in the cave shows another likely grudge. Phoenix was the Unwitting Pawn who helped Dahlia hide the evidence that she had poisoned Godot.
    • It is actually mentioned that there are two reasons he didn't like Phoenix and that one of them is how Phoenix carried the necklace, but it's only mentioned once.
  • The conversation with "Iris" in the cavern toward the very end of the last day of investigations for the last case feels very different on a second play through. You notice things you may have missed the first time. This is, of course, because you know that she's actually Dahlia.
    • "Iris" promises to do everything she can to help solve the locks, but is probably insincere.
    • Even though it had been pointed out the previous day, "Iris" doesn't seem to know about the contradiction between her testimony and Bikini's until you "remind" her. "Iris" also doesn't remember giving you the hood until you mention it. She seems to determine where she was before lights out through logic rather than memory.
    • During the magatama unlock sequence, "Iris" makes underhanded insults (of the kind where it seems like she didn't mean for it to be offensive, but she did) if you get the wrong answers. One response, where she says something like "I feel sorry for you and your confusion because you can't figure anything out," leaves Phoenix thinking "I didn't know she could be so harsh!" Her sarcastic comments asking you to "show me something you are 100 percent sure about, okay" if you show her the silhouette profile are just like her sarcasm when Mia cross-examines her.
    • After the psyche-unlock, the part where she says "my sister [Dahlia] always does the right thing" is even more laughable once you know that it's a stealth boast rather than naïveté. The part where she tearfully admits to betraying her sister is actually a harsh accusation that Iris betrayed her - which the hypocrite may be using as her internal justification for having just locked her sister inside a freezing and unstable cavern. When she tells her sob story about how after the diamond theft, Dahlia was "destined" to be trapped into doing the things that lead to her execution (even though Dahlia actually had several times when she could have limited bloodshed without putting herself in much danger), it's her 100th attempt at winning sympathy. When she talks about how Dahlia stole the diamond for revenge because their dad treated their mom badly, she's explaining and trying to justify herself.
    • Finally, when Phoenix asks "Iris" if Dahlia ever talked about her college boyfriend, "Iris" replies, "she told me she hated his guts." This is Dahlia taking a snipe shot at Phoenix's heart while pretending that she's only repeating something she heard without realizing that it referred to him.
      • Dahlia, as Iris, asks Phoenix if Maya is his girlfriend if you press one of her statements. Putting a Ship Tease moment aside, Dahlia seems to be stealthily insulting Phoenix, in that his "girlfriend" is dead, and Iris, in that the man Iris fell in love with had moved on.
    • A funny moment occurs when Phoenix presents Larry's sketch to the courtroom Proving how Misty Fey's body was moved from the crime scene. While presenting it, Phoenix calls Larry, aka Laurice Deauxnim, Misty's "Brilliant, highly-gifted apprentice." The Judge, in disbelief, asks, "Brilliant?" Godot, also in disbelief, asks "Highly Gifted?" Dahlia, posing as Iris, asks, "Apprentice?" with a surprised look on her face. Dahlia never met Larry.
      • On a similar vein, when Phoenix points out that "Iris" could not have used the Dusky Bridge to carry Misty's body because the bridge had already been burned out. Normally, a malicious witness would try to fix their testimony, but "Iris" reacts as if she was genuinely unaware of that fact. And that's because she is unaware, as Dahlia never saw the bridge burning. This also happens when Phoenix explains that Misty Fey would not throw her staff away to pick up a dagger when the staff was actually a hidden sword - "Iris"'s reaction is more of Dahlia realizing she had made a mistake in throwing the staff away while pursuing Maya.
    • Pay attention to her poses and sprites. Most of them are, obviously, all but a Palette Swap of Dahlia's, plus a few others- in addition to the sweet smile, teary eyes, shy look to the side, and "sweating under pressure" sprites, she has sprites for wide-eyed surprise, blushing, and looking straight at the camera with a serious expression. Dahlia-as-Iris barely uses these alternate expressions at all, and reverts to tears far more quickly than the real Iris ever does, thanks to her near-constant reliance on the Wounded Gazelle Gambit. And, well, you know that if Dahlia could blush on command, she would have milked it the way she does the crying, so it's no wonder she doesn't use that one, period.
      • It's noticeable, too that Iris has a very slightly different speech pattern (in the English version no less) that makes some of the things Iris says feel slightly... off. Also, as discussed directly above this, the sprite usage also changes the tone of her voice when saying things.
  • In the first case, "Turnabout Memories", at one point Dahlia says that, "(She and Phoenix) are so lovey-wuvey, we literally make people sick!" Considering Phoenix was actually dating Iris, Dahlia is likely talking about herself here. It helps with a line in "Bridge to the Turnabout", in which Iris thinks that Dahlia must have noticed Iris's feelings for Phoenix and decided to act on her own volition without consulting Iris.
    • Actually, Phoenix said that. He yelled it at the end of Dahlia's testimony, though unless you notice the name in the dialogue box change (which you might not, since the last several were all Dahlia, and she remains onscreen), you'd easily think Dahlia said it.
  • Remember Luke Atmey's speech? ("Unable to find a rival worthy of my genius, I was forced to create one by myself!") The first time, it referred to Mask☆DeMasque, implying that he was using the DeMasque persona to steal treasures, and his "Ace Detective" one to get even more fame. The second time, it referred to Ron DeLite and Phoenix himself. Why? First, he blackmailed Ron, giving him the heist plans in exchange for the treasures he stole and the fame he would have got as "Ace Detective". Second, Atmey's plan hinged on getting accused of stealing the Urn, in order to have an alibi for the murder. He made Wright his enemy on purpose, only for Wright to discover all the truth.
  • Exactly how much Larry Butz knew about what went on that night. Remember why he was called to the stand: because he went wandering around that night, and therefore he might have seen a snowmobile. Now, we know what actually happened that night: Iris went to the bridge in the snowmobile to retrieve Misty Fey's corpse. And we know that Larry Butz was nearby, since he saw Misty's "flight" and found the crystal from her staff. Well, Butz kept stammering when asked about the "s-snowmobile", so there's a good chance he saw one. Which means he must have at least seen Iris along with it, which is probably why he thought she was the one who flew across the bridge.
    • More amazing than this is how he concealed this knowledge. Edgeworth was starting to unravel his "carefully" constructed wall of obfuscation, so what does the Butz do? He invites everyone into "The World of Laurice Deauxnim!", which completely derails the entire trial from that point forward. Notice that after this, the snowmobile is never mentioned again (in that day's trial). He basically dropped the picture like a grenade so that he could get off the stand without telling anyone that he saw Iris on a snowmobile, possibly carrying a corpse.
  • In Case 3-2, while it's purely aesthetic, Phoenix can choose whether or not to defend Ron DeLite in court, indicating he's not entirely certain of his innocence. This is a very rare, if not unique, occurrence. Ron is actually guilty of being Mask DeMasque, so Phoenix's gut is somewhat going against him.
    • In fact, Phoenix was doubtful at one point last game too, though rather than being given a choice, Phoenix double-checked with the magatama. Again, turns out the client he did this for, Matt Engarde, was guilty.
  • When Bikini learned that Phoenix have met Morgan's daughter she assumes he already knows that Iris is another one. Of course that's what she thinks. She thinks that Morgan has two daughters, Iris and Dahlia, and if Phoenix have met Dahlia he'd know that Iris is the other one being her twin.
  • Bikini immediately assuming that Phoenix is looking for a girlfriend when he asks about Iris looks pretty weird, even with her naughtiness. But Iris said that she would never hide anything from her, meaning she probably knew about Iris and Phoenix. Obviously Bikini haven't met Phoenix before, but when a guy around Iris' age came to the temple and started asking about her she figured out who he is.
  • In the second case, Godot hid crucial evidence from Gumshoe. Narratively, this was rule of drama, but it also makes sense for the character- he used to be a defense attorney, so he’s probably used to hiding evidence from detectives.
  • Dahlia's hairstyle makes more sense after a first glance and her actions in the game are assessed. At first those fancy braids may refer to her prissy elegant appearance, but they can also resemble curved-forward horns (made more obvious with her red hair), something that's usually associated with demons.
  • Much has been made of the juxtaposition between Furio Tigre and Phoenix Wright as a cocky tiger and a righteous dragon (which is more obvious in Japanese, where Phoenix has a dragon hidden in his name — Ryuuichi). What's less obvious is how Godot relates to this: his real given name in Japanese is Soryuu — which also makes him a rival of Tigre's, and in fact he helps Phoenix take him down.
    • Godot's green shirt and tan vest could also have connections to a turtle, in addition to his slow, calm way of speaking, fitting him into the Genbu section of the The Four Gods.
    • What Godot's name would also imply, if we further consider the "four heavenly beasts" symbology , is that Mia — his lover and partner, passionate about justice and compassion for her clients who has a way to help from beyond the grave — is... the original phoenix.
  • Pearl being angry at Franziska over her attitude towards Maya in Case 2-2 instead of thankful over her actions in Case 2-4 makes sense once one remembers that she spent the near entirety of the two trial days channeling Mia. She may have missed some details.
  • Armstrong makes delicious-looking food that tastes so badly that most customers that come there never come back, except for those wanting to ogle women in the waitress uniform. Why does his food taste so bad? Something you find out is that Armstrong believes in aromatherapy and tries to sell them to people, even having a case of scents in the kitchen. It might not be that Armstrong is a poor chef, but that having aromatherapy scents makes the food taste bad due to the smells interacting with the food.

    Fridge Horror 

  • In 3-5, as if Phoenix attempting to run across the burning bridge isn't tear-jerking enough, remember his and Maya's conversations when they first crossed the suspension bridge. He was terrified of heights.
  • 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. The same boyfriend who is standing in the same room as them.
  • One that doesn't hit you on the first playthrough. Iris gets a chance to see Phoenix after years and after she's arrested Larry tells her that he's horribly injured. When you know that she's in love with him such news are pretty devastating on it's own, now add the fact that he ran across the bridge because he suspected Maya might be in danger after finding Elise's body. Which he wouldn't have if Iris didn't tamper with it. Given Iris's Guilt Complex one can only imagine how hellish these few hours were for her before she found out that he'll be fine.
  • It may be small, but it's still there. Iris explicitly claims Dahlia and Phoenix only met twice - on the day when she pushed the pendant onto him and then on the day Doug Swallow was killed. But as we know from 3-1, they also met at a later date for the trial on Doug Swallow's death, actually making that a third time. So taken literally, it would mean it was the good twin Iris who went through that trial and was put on the death row... Though the game clearly enough doesn't mean it.