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Heartwarming / Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

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This page covers the first three games specifically. Take moments outside of that over to the specific Apollo Justice, Investigations, Dual Destinies, or the 2016 anime subpages please.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

Case 1-1

  • At the end of the trial, Phoenix points out to Larry that the late Cindy Stone did have feelings for him after all. How so? The clock statue of "The Thinker" that Larry gave her. It's quite heavy for a clock, yet she took it overseas with her anyway. Think about why she would do that.

Case 1-2

  • The opening sequence is a call between Mia and her little sister Maya and the way they converse hints at a close relationship. Unfortunately the whole thing swerves into Tear Jerker territory almost immediately after.

Case 1-3

  • Will Powers really cares about the fans of the Steel Samurai, and loves what he does. He refuses to be seen in public without being in costume because he doesn't want to destroy the illusion!
  • In the 3rd day of trail, Edgeworth spots something off with Dee's testimony and points it out to the court, helping Phoenix. He further stalls the trial by asking Dee to testify about when the body was found, after suspecting that Powers wasn't really the killer. The fact that Edgeworth stuck his neck out for Phoenix multiple times during end of the trial makes a pretty big impression on Phoenix, and shows his progression towards finding the truth.

Case 1-4

  • Phoenix and Maya's goodbye scene at the end of the case. There was just a strange quiet poignancy about it. They haven't even known each other for six months at this point, but they have obviously formed a deep attachment to each other nevertheless.
    Maya: Nick...
    Phoenix: Thanks, Maya. I couldn't have done it without you.
    Maya: ...
    Maya: ...
    Maya: I'll be back soon.
    Phoenix: Huh?
    Maya: I'm going to complete my training, and come back!
    Phoenix: ...Okay. I'll be waiting.
    Maya: (cue her perky theme as she grins) Of course you will. You can't run that office by yourself! You're hopeless!
  • The part at the end, where Gumshoe informs you that the previously awkward, repressed Edgeworth, who had treated him poorly throughout the game, stopped by the police station to wish him a happy new year.
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  • When Larry Butz stops a Fission Mailed and makes his speech about how 'it's not right that they prosecute Edgey.'
  • Also having to do with Edgeworth, when Maya gets held in contempt for her outburst, pressing Lotta on whether she clearly saw Edgeworth fire the pistol on the lake. After that part of the trial ends, you talk to Edgeworth for a bit and tell him you're going to visit Maya at the Detention Center. Before you go, he says, "Tell her something for me. Tell... Tell her to watch what she says in court." SO CLOSE to an actual thank you, even though it seemed to go right over Phoenix's head. To top it off, later Gumshoe remarks that Edgeworth was so moved by what Maya did that, IN COURT, Edgeworth's LIP TREMBLED.
    • Made even more heartwarming when we find out that he quietly paid Maya's bail (and we're not told how much, but it was probably steep) because he knows she kept his case alive. And as 2-4 and 3-5 shows, he's held Maya very dear in his thoughts ever since. He'll probably never forget what she did for him.
  • Discovering the truth on why Phoenix became a defense attorney. He was accused by his class of stealing a classmate's lunch money and Edgeworth defended him, despite being the one whose money was stolen and Larry joining in on the defense. It's still cute even after we learn that Larry was the culprit (which Edgeworth knew all along, which may be why he defended Phoenix.)
  • Just the fact that, despite all of his faults, Edgeworth has three people who believe in him without reservations — Phoenix, Maya, and Gumshoe are all firmly in his corner through the entire trial, even though Maya barely knows him and Gumshoe's always putting up with Edgeworth's sub-par treatment of him.
  • The judge closing the book on DL-6 for good and finally letting Edgeworth rest easy knowing that he didn't accidentally kill his father, ending his years of guilt and endless nightmares.
    The Judge: You were innocent. You are innocent.
    Edgeworth: ...
    The Judge: As you said, it was all a 'nightmare.'

Case 1-5

  • Edgeworth doting on Ema by encouraging her scientific investigation and spirit, and then giving her a fingerprinting kit and files to help with the case. Particularly since it's, you know, Edgeworth. Phoenix goes to thank him, and Edgeworth tries to shrug it off.
  • Later on, in court, Ema interrupts just as a verdict is about to be handed down. She begs to be heard. Edgeworth agrees to it: "You want a minute? I'll give you three." He didn't need to do that, but he's generous enough to let her speak.
  • It's even nicer when you consider how pretty much every previous trial had Edgeworth fighting tooth-and-nail to get a guilty verdict as quickly as possible. Letting Ema speak not only prolonged the trial, but let Phoenix begin to uncover the evidence needed to get a "not guilty" verdict for Lana. Edgeworth must have known both would happen, but let Ema speak anyway, because he wanted to hear everything to help him make an informed decision.
  • Lana smiles for the first time in years.
    • A bit of a Tear Jerker, as well, but definitely in a happy sort of way.
  • Ema's reunion with Lana at the end, that could very well be their first hug since SL-9, especially considering Lana's coldness until then. Coupled with Phoenix's touching monologue.
    Phoenix: As for the sisters...I have faith. Faith that their lives... have only just begun. And as for me... I think it's time I started on a new journey of my own. A journey to rediscover myself.
  • The final scene at the end of case where Edgeworth had made everyone else think he had killed himself when he was really Walking the Earth. The one person in the world he called up to let them know he was still alive? Gumshoe. To let him know that he was okay and to water his plants for him.
    • The amount of trust between Edgeworth and Gumshoe. Considering no-one else knew that Edgeworth was even still alive, he must have asked or told Gumshoe not to tell anyone. And Gumshoe kept it secret and told no-one, not even Phoenix. Edgeworth trusted Gumshoe enough to let him be the only one to know that he was still alive, and Gumshoe trusted Edgeworth enough to assume that he knew best.
  • The Judge makes a point of not saying that Ema 'murdered' Neil Marshall, he even explains that it's not the right word to use, given it was clearly self defense. He also seems shocked and saddened by the revelation.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All

Case 2-1

Case 2-2

  • Maya finally gets to see her dead sister, Mia, again via Pearl channeling the spirit. Cut to a scene of Maya and Mia hugging each other as Maya cries out of joy.
  • The description on Mia's profile certainly counts as well
    Maya's older sister. She was a top notch lawyer and my mentor and friend forever.

Case 2-3

  • Max mentions at one point, nervous before the first trial, that he can't go onstage without having a glass of milk first. All Phoenix and Maya can do is assure him that all he has to do is sit down in the defendant's chair and wait. However, before the second trial, Regina shows up with a glass of milk for him... as does Moe, who seemingly was anywhere from neutral to hostile towards Max. And then during a recess, a care package from the rest of the circus shows up, containing loads of milk, implying that despite his attitude, Max isn't universally hated at the circus after all.
    • His reaction could be taken as one of Oh, Crap! considering how much milk he now has... or it could be Tears of Joy. You decide.
    • Later on, when (a very tired) Detective Gumshoe shows up to give them some evidence behind Franziska's back, he's at first not noticed, and grumbles about deciding to just go home. Maya cheers him up by offering him some of the milk, and Max offers to show him a card trick, which suitably cheers up the long-suffering detective.
  • Despite his rather pompous attitude in the beginning and the way he apparently looks down on the other members of the circus, during the second day of investigation, when Phoenix and Maya are visiting him in the detention centre, he initially starts off again about his fellow troupe members all lack ambition and how performers must always aim for the top, but when questioned further, he recalls how the moment when he won the Magicians Grand Prix by performing his flying act for the very first time was the happiest moment of his life. This leads into his true reason for trying to push his troupe to aim higher; he wants them to experience that same feeling of pure joy that he did.
    Max: I think everyone who is a performer should get to experience that feeling. I just wish I could explain that to the other people in the circus!

Case 2-4

  • Everything about the good ending, but especially Edgeworth and Franziska's conversation at the airport, where Franziska suddenly bursts into tears, and the discovery of what the fourth piece of evidence was.
  • Crossing over as a Moment of Awesome, the whole Power of Trust thing going on between Nick and Edgeworth during. All it takes for Edgeworth to catch on to the fact that Maya had been kidnapped and that something was SERIOUSLY wrong with the whole thing was one accidental comment made on Phoenix's part. What does he do? He immediately realizes that you need the trial to go on longer and he steps in to help you, even though he doesn't know what's wrong yet. He just knows something's not right, and he doesn't even hesitate to help Nick, even though it's hurting his own case. The revelation Nick has later on that he trusts Edgeworth, even though he's on the other side, is just sweet.
  • A What Happened to the Mouse? moment at the end. It was revealed at the end that Gumshoe snagged FOUR pieces of evidence, not just three and that Maya drew a picture while in captivity.]] It goes on for a while without anyone knowing what that piece was until the very end of the credits. It's Shelly de Killer's business card, but with Nick's face drawn on it. Meaning that even in the worst possible time of her life, She's still thinking about him and knows that he won't fail to rescue her. There's also the fact that after Franziska finds it, she keeps it.
  • That one moment at the end when Maya stops joking about dying and food for a second to thank "Nick" for saving her, with a small smile on her face.
  • Small one, but if you present Will Powers' profile to him, you get this exchange.
    Powers: Hey, is my face really all that scary? Kids won't come anywhere near me... But when I cover my face, they're all shocked because then they figure out who I am.
    Maya: Hmm, well I don't think you look scary.
    Pearl: Me either. I think your face makes you look like a very kind person!
    Powers: ...!
    Phoenix: (Aww... those two are making Mr. Powers tear up...)
  • Phoenix bringing Franziska flowers at the hospital.
    • Also, Edgeworth's incredibly obvious concern when he shows up at the hospital, too.
  • Maya, Phoenix, and Pearl's big reunion at the end. That wonderfully drawn scene of them going for a group hug is exceptionally heartwarming, considering the hell they've all been through over the last couple of days (Maya especially. DAMN.
  • There's a slight bit of exposition at the start of the first trial day explaining that Phoenix and Pearl were escorted home by Gumshoe the previous night (with Phoenix implying neither of them were in any condition to make the trip on their own). Considering that Pearl was completely (and understandably) losing her mind about Maya's kidnapping, the image of Gumshoe - in the game's words - "gently leading her by the hand the whole way" home make for a big "Awwww..." moment.
  • In a letter written by Maya on one of de Killer's calling cards, Maya tells Phoenix that she will not be very pleased with Phoenix if Engarde doesn't get proven guilty, even though her life hinges on Phoenix getting an acquittal, implying that she's willing to die for the sake of a slimy bastard getting what he deserves.
  • When Adrian smiles. Really smiles.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations

Case 3-2

  • Adrian Andrews is back and far more cheerful. It's nice to know that she got better after the events of Case 2-4.
  • The entire reason that Ron became a thief was to support his wife's spending habit, terrified that she was going to leave him if she found out he was running out of money. After he's arrested for theft, he is also terrified Desiree will leave him because of her hatred for criminals. If you present the Kurain Urn to him after the trial, Desiree shows up to congratulate Ron on being declared innocent. Maya asks if she's going to leave him.
    Desiree: (as the Mask☆DeMasque theme kicks in) Why would I want to leave such a wonderful man?
  • How utterly adorable the story of Ron and Desiree's meeting was. Desiree was held hostage by two thugs, and Ron, despite being positively terrified out of his mind, shaking, and with tears streaming down his face, still did not hesitate to shout at them and charge them, successfully scaring them away from her. Just knowing how timid Ron is and how heart-wrenchingly afraid he was and how it still didn't stop him from being an absolute hero.
  • In general the relationship between Ron and Desiree is cute. While on the surface they seem totally wrong for each other (with the characters asking "What Does She See in Him?") and Desiree's rampant spending coming off as being a Gold Digger, their clashing personalities just make the genuinely happy marriage that exists underneath that much more special.
  • A rather sweet meta one for Luke Atmey: his Japanese name translates to something along the lines of "I just want love." Because of this, several Japanese fans sent chocolate for the character to Capcom on Valentine's Day.

Case 3-3

  • When Phoenix gets info by having Mia wearing Maya's waitress outfit interrogate him, Victor Kudo's surprisingly sweet. Yes, he's perving over her in his outfit, but he is utterly infatuated, calling her "my dear" and offering to replace anything Armstrong might steal from her, if he can afford it (and keep in mind, this guy's dirt poor).
  • After Phoenix and Maya finally get Viola to talk about the circumstances surrounding her injury, they're ready to continue their investigation... as soon as they finish their espresso. Before this point, they'd been reluctant to eat or drink anything she served them due to her creepy behavior.

Case 3-5

  • When Phoenix discovers that his former first love, whom he had thought was just using him, was actually someone else... someone who really cared for him. And that person was his evil ex-girlfriend's twin sister, who actually pulled a Twin Switch with her.
    Iris: I hope one day you can forgive me... (blushes) Feenie.
    Phoenix: You really are the person I always thought you were. Even after Dahlia Hawthorne was found guilty, I still believed in you.
    Iris: (tearing up) ...Thank you.
  • Godot's "tears", especially since Godot is really Mia Fey's mentor Diego. After all, "The only time a lawyer can cry is when it's all over," and this is technically the last game in the series' arc.
  • Same trial—every last bit of Maya's testimony. The way she's just so torn is adorable and sweet.
  • The very end of the trial. Is there any better way to give closure to Godot's story?
    Godot: How many cups of darkness have I drank over the years? Even I don't know. The only thing I do know is... Right now, this one here is the greatest cup I think I've ever had. Don't you think so... Phoenix Wright?
    Phoenix: (holding a mug of coffee and drinking as well) Yeah. I think you're right.
  • When Phoenix recovers from his cold and regains the reigns on the case, one of the first things he discovers is that both of the Fey girls are missing. Charming, sophisticated, adorable little Pearl has disappeared amongst a ton of calamity. To make matters worse, his former opponent Franziska von Karma has decided to follow him around. Eventually the two cross the repaired bridge and run into none other than Pearl. After being completely deserted on this freezing, unfamiliar, ominous, extremely high mountain cliff, Pearl finally sees a friendly face. Cue the waterworks, from both her AND the player.
  • Despite how much they care for each other, it's not very easy to find such moments for Phoenix and Edgeworth, seeing how they bury their concern under awkward silences and so on. But the bit where Edgeworth decides to take the risk of impersonating a defense attorney, and his sole condition for doing so is that Iris tell the truth to Phoenix to let him "truly recover" from his pain...
    • Also, when an earthquake occurs later on, the first person that Phoenix thinks about is Edgeworth, instead of anyone else.
    • Edgeworth was evidently on Franziska's mind, too, given that she immediately can guess why Phoenix reacted the way he did.
    • And later, once everyone's back in court, Edgeworth wishes Nick good luck and calls him "partner" with a fond smile. At the end of the trial, he even manages to congratulate Nick on his win without being awkward about it!
    • There's something cute and sweet in how Edgeworth, who doesn't show many emotions (though clearly understands them far better than his emotionally clueless sister), is a bit of a Shipper on Deck for Iris and Phoenix. It's sweet because for the most part up until it really clicks in his head what's probably going on with Iris and Phoenix, it was clear he was defending Iris mostly against his will and solely as a favour to Wright. Yet once he breaks Iris' "Psycholocks" he stops thinking these things or saying them and cracks down on investigating because he's figured out that Iris and Phoenix mean a great deal to each other.
    • Once Edgeworth goes to the Detention Center to accept Iris as his client, Iris's immediate reaction is to ask if Phoenix is alright.
  • And from the same case (the heartwarming quality is reduced by Edgeworth's inability to say "thank you", but still quite touching):
    Edgeworth: Is that your attorney's badge? Interesting. I never imagined I'd ever see you wearing one of these, Wright.]]
    Phoenix: It's because of you that I became one, Edgeworth.
    Phoenix: Not that I have any regrets. I really don't.
  • In the epilogue, the characters open the talisman locket owned by Maya's mother. It's a special treasure, that the Master of the Kurain Tradition is never meant to remove until the day she dies. So, now that it's all over, Maya is able to open the locket, and do you know what was inside? What her mother carried next to her heart until the day she died? A photograph of Mia and Maya. Even when she vanished for 17 years, she always had her daughters with her. Always. What's even more heartwarming is the fact that the urn was broken before Pearl broke it, supposedly, the first time. Proves that you really can fix anything that's broken...]]
    • The fact that the photograph in question, depicting a young Mia and a toddler-aged Maya being caught in the act of fixing the broken urn is completely adorable just seals the deal.
  • Edgeworth referring to Phoenix as his "partner." Shipping reasons aside, this is utterly squee-inducing: their strong bond, the near-absolute trust between them, and their shared destiny summed up in one word, from emotionally-repressed Edgey no less!
  • Despite spending most of his time being a rude, Dirty Old Man, Victor Kudo actually gets a Heartwarming moment in which he states that his grandkids threw him a birthday party during the end credits, in which he cried like a baby. You get the feeling that that was the first time in a long time he had been happy.
  • Edgeworth shows great concern for Maya's condition, and says he could never face Phoenix again if something happened to her. This is while Phoenix is in hospital, and Edgeworth is filling in for him.
  • Edgeworth is very upset about fainting during an earthquake, so that Iris got away for a second. When Phoenix tries to talk to him, Edgeworth won't listen. Cue Franziska whipping him, telling him to get some air, and relax. It works, too. The entire relationship between the three of them, having mellowed to that point, is quite endearing.
    • Phoenix has to bring up Edgeworth's fainting spell in court later to prove that Iris was briefly unsupervised and could have switched places with Dahlia. It's one of those case-clinching moments, but Phoenix feels genuinely bad about mentioning it because he knows how guilty Edgeworth must be feeling.
      Phoenix: (I'm sorry, I know you didn't mean to...It wasn't your fault...)
  • The conversation about earthquakes immediately after this is also kind of sweet and sad in equal measure. One right after the other, we get these two comments:
    Edgeworth: I'm sorry, Wright. After you chose to become a lawyer for my sake...and after you saved me...
    Phoenix: (thinking)'re stronger than you think, so no more of this self-pity, OK?
  • During the last day of trial, Godot is revealed to be the prosecutor, and that Franziska will not be prosecuting. She stays out all night at Hazakura Temple to help Sister Bikini break the locks and rescue Maya. The fact that stone-cold tsundere Franziska stayed out at a freezing mountain cavern in the dead of winter all night long to try and undo a series of nigh-impossible locks with literally a thousand possible combinations to save someone she barely even knows, presumably without even being asked to do so by anyone else is utterly sweet, especially for Franziska. Most of Franziska's behaviour in this case, or any case where she's not actually prosecuting for (shown slightly in 2-4 with her rushing to get the evidence to the court in time), ends up being rather heartwarming, though it might only be in hindsight. There's also the fact that she very willingly helps with the investigation and is genuinely helpful to Phoenix, despite her less-than-fond feelings of him.
  • The very last scene. Larry first starts talking about how he is meant to be an artist, and we see his latest masterpiece: Phoenix, Edgeworth, Franziska, Gumshoe, Maya, and Pearl all together, smiling and laughing. And as the scene ends, we see that is the bottom page of the sketchbook, and the top is Mia, Misty, and Godot, looking down on them.]]
  • Slightly earlier in the sequence, Larry asks if he can join Phoenix, Maya, Edgeworth, and Franziska's group hug.
  • It's subtle and easy to miss for what it is, but it's really heartwarming how Edgeworth picked Franziska, his younger sister, to prosecute. His younger sister who has always felt she lived in his shadow, always felt like The Un-Favourite compared to him, and always had a need to defeat him to prove herself, even after the person whose approval she so desperately sought was gone. And Edgeworth gave her the first fair, equal chance to beat him. In court, attorney to attorney. Granted, it was BECAUSE of this that he knew she wouldn't expose him (and indeed, she did not, even though she could have damaged his reputation or even cost him his job).
  • Not really as big as other moments in the case, but upon learning that Phoenix fell into Eagle River, Franziska shows genuine concern.
  • The revelation that Mia didn't just become a lawyer so that she could find her mother, but so that she and Maya wouldn't have to compete over the Master title, like their mother and aunt did.
  • After the case concludes, Pearl has an offscreen My God, What Have I Done? moment when she realised exactly how badly she'd been played and what her actions had caused. She runs off to the monastery, presumably as a self-imposed exile, too ashamed/horrified to face Phoenix and Maya. They go off to retrieve her and the resulting conversation is a major "Aww..." moment.
  • A minor example in that Phoenix humors Larry (sometimes) by referring to him as Laurice Deauxnim like he requests, while nobody else bothers.

The 2012 movie

  • While defending Edgeworth near the end, the case takes a turn that makes it look like a not guilty verdict will be impossible. In the midst of freaking out, trying to get his head together, Phoenix still assures Edgeworth "Don't worry! As your defense attorney, I'll believe in you until the end." It's especially sweet when compared to the Robert Hammond scene, where he flat-out ignores any possibility that Yogi was innocent.
  • After winning Edgeworth's trial, Phoenix says that he thinks he'll take Yogi as his next client. High time Yanni Yogi had a good defense attorney.
  • In the scene after Edgeworth's trial is over, we just see Phoenix, Edgeworth, and Maya quietly sitting in the empty court room. Maya worries that her mother did get the channeling of Edgeworth's father wrong, but Edgeworth assures her that Misty did everything perfectly. His father's spirit was the one who lied. Phoenix then adds that since the last thing Gregory Edgeworth saw before dying was Miles point the gun, he no doubt lied to protect him.
  • The last scene before the credits roll is Maya, Edgeworth, Phoenix and Larry out in the street, when Maya asks a question: Who was the real culprit of the classroom trial?. Fans of the games would know, but Larry stole Edgeworth's money to pay for something he wanted at the time in the movie. The end conversation is hilarious and heartwarming in that even if they're all 24 years old, when in each other's company they can act like kids.
    Larry: Well, I was a thousand yen short, and I really wanted it at the time...]]
    Phoenix:Are you serious?! You stole it?! Why did I study Law then!?]]
    Larry:Oh come on, was 15 years ago...isn't there a Statue of Literation or something on that?]]
    Phoenix:Come on, my foot! *starts chasing Larry around* When's the Statute of Limitations on our friendship?!
  • The scene that plays during the credits, where Edgeworth and Phoenix meet for their next trial. As they look at each other before going into the courtroom, Edgeworth gives a small smile, which Phoenix returns. Aw!

Example of: