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Every character in the series has a Meaningful Name that is usually also a Punny Name of sorts - most of the names describe disposition or occupation, or give you a few hints as to the character's true nature. This is true of both the Japanese and the English versions, thanks to some Woolseyisms.

However, to denote these, spoilers are unmarked. Proceed with caution!

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     Original Trilogy 
  • Phoenix Wright (成歩堂龍一, Naruhodou Ryuuichi) is appropriately named after the bird, as someone who rises from the ashes and flies. Comes back from the dead. Has turnabout trials, and is nearly defeated seventy-three times every trial. His Japanese surname, Naruhodo, is a play on a phrase that means "Yes, I see." His Japanese given name is likely a homage to a musician Takumi liked (Ryuuichi Sakamoto of the Yellow Magic Orchestra), but it also plays nicely with Furio Tigre listed below as well.
  • Mia Fey (綾里千尋, Ayasato Chihiro) has an original given name that means 'thousand questions'. Miles even states that The Perry Mason Method and constantly questioning the prosecution's reasoning is her signature technique. The second kanji in her name, 尋, is the same that is used in 'cross examination'. Her English name is also an abbreviation - the Fey that's MIA.
  • Frank Sahwit (山野 星雄, Yamano Hoshio) not only saw it, he did it. This is lampshaded in the game, that he should be called 'Frank Didit'. His Japanese name is a homophone for the culprit.
  • Detective Dick Gumshoe (糸鋸圭介, Itonokogiri Keisuke). As Edgeworth himself puts it, he's as troublesome as a gum in your shoe. "(Private) Dick" and "Gumshoe" are also old terms for detective. His Japanese name has a Running Gag attached to it for it being so long. 'Keisuke' can be chosen for 'keiji', 'detective'.
  • Winston Payne (亜内 武文, Auchi Takefumi) winced in pain, ouch! His brother Gaspen Payne similarly gasped in pain.
  • Maya Fey (綾里真宵, Ayasato Mayoi) is named after the Buddhist concept of the illusion. Another reference can be found in the Maya of Greek mythology, the oldest and most beautiful of the Pleiads. Her Japanese name literally means 'true night' which the developers found fitting seen the initial circumstances of her debut case, but it is also homophonous for the word for 'lost' - complementing Mia's original name. Her family name is not that meaningful in Japanese (it simply sounds old-fashioned), but the word 'Fey' means "Having or displaying an otherworldly, magical, or fairylike aspect or quality.", or 'Close to death'.
  • Miles Edgeworth (御剣怜侍 Mitsurugi Reiji)'s both names are references to the character's rapier wit and confrontational, sharp nature. 'Miles' not only means 'warrior', but also 'Servant' in some languages, which was his treatment under von Karma. "Honorable blade" is also a hint at his Character Development, and his given name means 'clever samurai'.
  • His father Gregory Edgeworth had an English name that referred to To Kill A Mockingbird and a Japanese name that means 'sword of truth'
  • Redd White is the CEO of Blue Corp. Both his and his secretary April May's original name consist of the words for 'large, medium, small'.
  • Wendy Oldbag, which is a wordplay on Old Windbag. Her Japanese name is similarly a play on 'annoying grandma'.
  • Manfred von Karma (狩魔豪, Karuma Gou), named after the Red Baron. They were both brought down by a single bullet. You could say that karma came back to bite him in the ass, fifteen years later. "Manfred" also means "one who brings peace," which is appropriate for a prosecutor and, in a twisted way, for a murderer as well. His Japanese name is written with the kanji for "hunt", "demon" and "great" - a very appropriate name for a villain.
  • In contrast to that, Franziska von Karma (狩魔冥, Karuma Mei) has an original name that means 'darkness'. It shows how she's the unknown side of the family and the bitterness that is inside her as a result of Manfred raising her.
  • Pearl Fey (綾里春美, Ayasato Harumi) is named after the Creepy Child daughter of the protagonist in The Scarlet Letter written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Just like the character, there is something off about this young prodigy - and it is not only the way she uses extremely polite speech. Her Japanese name means 'spring beauty' and denotes her cuteness.
  • The clown Moe, whose real name is Lawrence Curls, as a Shout-Out to The Three Stooges.
  • Adrian Andrews (華宮 霧緒, Kirio Kamiya) is a name that is commonly assumed to belonging to a male-identifying individual. This is an important plot point to show that Shelly never met Adrian in person. She shares a name with Kamiya Hideki, Takumi’s colleague at Capcom at the time. But interestingly, the kanji in her name can be interpreted as a story: 'kami’, written as 上, can mean “beginning” or "top", and 'ya’ can be “arrow”. 'kiri’, written as 切り, can mean “end”, and 'o’ can be “cord”. Putting them all together, it is 'in the beginning, straight and pointed as an arrow; by the end, coiled and attached like a cord'. 'Adrian' means 'the dark one', which can refer to her clothing switch to black later, but also denotes her dark past.
  • Matt Engarde (王都楼 真吾, Outorou Shingo)'s name seems a little off (he's a very easy-going person) until you realize that he's actually the man who hired a professional killer to murder the victim of the case in which he's introduced, and the gentle personality was an act. His Japanese family name is both homophonous for 'outlaw' and a certain portion of tuna, expressing him being the Foil to Will Powers. His Japanese given name means 'true self', which the unassuming player will find out about until it is too late. 'Matt' means 'gift from God' and his initials are M.E, which certainly fits with his true nature. It is also thought to be derived from 'Mathuin' meaning 'bear', tying him to Corrida. 'Matt' is the German word for 'checkmate' (matching with him considering others simply as pawns in his game) and the Luxembourgish word for 'moth' that not only denotes his attaction to the 'spotlight' and his facade as camouflage, but also ties him to Dahlia below.
  • Trying to count the meanings in Dahlia Hawthorne (美柳 ちなみ, Miyanagi Chinami)'s name would surely take a while, but the most important ones are the murder mystery The Black Dahlia, Rappacchini's Daughter and the Hawthorne Effect (of which she's a perfect example). It also sounds like 'Delilah'. On top of that, in the language of flowers, red dahlias represent treachery. Word of God said her name was supposed to sound like one of those Names to Trust Immediately.
  • To make it even more perfect, her sister's name, Iris, is, in fact, a direct translation from her Japanese name, so the whole flower-thing was partly a coincidence, which just happened to fit.
  • Furio Tigre is the tiger to Phoenix/Ryuuichi's dragon, and his Japanese name literally means 'Tiger Boy'.
     Apollo Justice 
  • Apollo Justice (王泥喜法介, Oudoroki Housuke). Apollo was the Greek god of the sun, truth and music (which is foreshadowing his mother and father being musicians), and in the Orestheia, Apollo was the first one who defended (for matricide, no less), setting up a 12-person jury while at it. His Japanese name essentially means 'A surprising man of law'.
  • Trucy Wright/Gramarye (成歩堂みぬき, Naruhodou Minuki) is 'see through', which is what the Perceive system does. In fact, the Japanese name of the Perceive feature bears the verb form of her name (her name is a verb made into a name).
     Dual Destinies 
  • Athena Cykes. Her namesake was the goddess of the clear sky, but especially of defence, wisdom and arts; pretty fitting for an intelligent defense attorney who knows martial arts. Her Japanese name consists of the words 'Hope Moon' (foreshadowing that her moon earring brings down the Big Bad of Dual Destinies) and 'Heart Sound' (which references her ability to listen to people's hearts, or rather, their hidden emotions).
     Spirit of Justice 
     Investigations 
  • Calisto Yew—Calisto is a butterfly, yew is a kind of poisonous plant, referring to the butterfly/flower symbols of Cohdopia. Also, 'Callous to you'.
  • Quercus Alba's name in the Japanese version, Carnage Onred. His English name ties in to the one of Colias Palaeno, as 'Quercus Alba' is an old oak, while 'Colias Palaeno' is a butterfly.
  • Byrne Faraday. Byrne? Gaelic for raven... fitting for a man who was part of the Yatagarasu, a thief group whose symbol was a raven.
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  • Luke Atmey (look at me) wants to be seen.
  • Case three of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney features a fictional disease named "Incuritis" that is incurable. Well, save for an extremely hard to get drug that can only be brought into the country illegally.
  • In Investigations 2, you have two chemicals. Normallium is in normal everyday things such as paints and washing detergants and is not deadly at all on its own. The other, Fatallium, is only found in very select things such as powerful and fatal pesticides that aren't sold to the general public. Combining the two results in a chemical reason that forms a deadly poisonous gas.
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