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Nightmare Fuel / Ace Attorney

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Watch out, Edgeworth!
"It's a comedy of errors, with the violence of Macbeth,
so cute and charming, murder zany, wacky, jokey death!"

Ace Attorney may be an over-the-top series about lawyers, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have its share of creepy and nightmare-inducing moments...

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  • Because the series is entirely driven by Always Murder cases, it's almost inevitable that the cause of death of certain victims may make players uncomfortable, especially if the victim in question was said to be nice and likable when alive. The fact that photos of their corpses are present in almost every case as evidence doesn't help.
  • Depending on how sensitive you are to scary stuff, many witnesses can start to become this as they get more and more upset.
    • It's especially jarring when the last witness' freak-out was actually pretty funny, and then the next witness goes absolutely insane. It just goes to show that it's not just the perpetrators who can fall victim to a breakdown.
  • A special mention must go to the film, where you're treated to the scene of Yanni Yogi burning off his fingerprints in acid.
  • Think about the many corrupt and amoral prosecutors you've seen in the game and to what lengths they'll go to secure their victories, even if it means innocent lives being sent to death row. This makes these prosecutors indirect murderers. Then comes the "Dark Age of the Law" brought up in Dual Destinies, where "win at all costs" becomes not only a tactic, but an entire philosophy (more exactly, "the end justifies the means"), advocated by Themis Legal Academy instructor Aristotle Means...who is a defense attorney, showing that both sides are willing to go to extremes.
    • The police system isn't trustworthy either. For at least two years, the corrupt Chief of Police kept the Chief Prosecutor under his thumb via blackmail and (it's strongly implied) used her to fire or depose anyone he disliked, even if it meant forging evidence. (Edgeworth in particular nearly goes into a Heroic BSoD when he realizes that he scored at least one conviction on false evidence.) Before them, we had Blaise Debeste, an Amoral Attorney as bad as they come, as the Chief Prosecutor. Then in Dual Destinies, the Big Bad kills and replaces a detective, with no one the wiser; Phoenix and Edgeworth only discover him because Edgeworth was running a long game to expose the spy.
    • Even before the Dark Age of the Law, the entire justice system is in dire need of help. The crime rate is so high, trials can only afford to run for three days. The concept of perjury is a myth, and oftentimes members of the court will encourage people to patch up their testimonies. The police, while well-intentioned, are full of hotheaded fools at best, and corrupt murderers at worst. Prosecutioners are more than willing to send innocents to the gallows for their success rate, and many defense attornies can only hope to minimize the damage. Honest men and women can help to change the above, but their careers and personal lives are typically marred by tragedy and loss to the point where even mentioning it can send them into a Heroic BSoD. That anyone is even close to a sane and moral person in this world is a damn miracle.
    • The worst thing? Prosecutors obsessively caring for their perfect win streak, defendants already having confessed to the crime before trial starts, defense attorneys having the odds so stacked against them, and the negative view on the police are all more or less Truth in Television when it comes to the legal system of Japan. It has a scary reputation of having one of the highest conviction rates of all legal systems, regardless if the one who is convicted was actually guilty of the crime or not. A story in the link tells about a innocent man who was basically forced into confessing he murdered children, and spent years in prison as a result until a DNA test way later would fully prove his innocence. While this is eerily reminiscent of the in-universe case of Simon Blackquill, it is all the more creepy that this is real and it is something still happening in our world.
      Forum 90, a Japanese anti-death penalty group, conducted a survey of 900 ex-judges. Over 80 percent believed, that under the current system, miscarriages of justice were inevitable. Take the case of Toshikazu Sugaya. He matched the profile and blood type of a child murderer, but the police lacked any evidence. "They barged in and told me to sit down," recalls Sugaya. "Then they kept saying, 'You killed that kid, didn't you?' I said 'No, no,' but they didn't believe me." After a 13 hour interrogation without food, water, or a lawyer, Sugaya confessed.
  • While some defendants end up having more ties to the murder than they originally admitted (though still innocent of the act of killing), plenty of them are simply people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and/or were blissfully unaware of the fact that someone else wanted to frame them for a crime. Consider Will Powers, who was sleeping the whole time and woke up to find himself accused of murdering his costar. The idea of being sent to death row despite having no connection to the real crime is chilling.

     Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney 
  • Perceiving in general. The creepy slower-than-usual music, the swirling background and the flickering eyeball at the bottom is usually enough to scare anyone off playing the game entirely. It's reminiscent of the final boss battle of Earthbound.
    • Apparently Apollo's eyes are bugging out completely as he stares down the witnesses with such intensity. Imagine how creepy that would be for anyone just watching him perceive something.
  • Kristoph Gavin might be one of the scariest characters in the series. His reasons for destroying so many lives and getting Phoenix Wright disbarred was because he was fired from defending someone for losing a card game. Also, he is the only murderer in the series who actually could have gotten away with his crimes if it was not for the test of the jurist system, because there was not a single legal way to prove his guilt. He's just that intelligent and Crazy-Prepared.
    • Perceiving him is scary enough, but when you see his nervous habit—namely, his hand tensing and a combination of his finger bones and the scar on his hand forming a demonic face, you may need to take a break from the game and move on.
    • His eyes. It doesn't help that they're hidden behind Scary Shiny Glasses when he testifies... After he has his second Villainous Breakdown, his eyes begin to look twitchy and unhinged, and they're staring murderously right at you.
    • His black Psyche-Locks. Assuming the player has played the previous Ace Attorney games, this is the first time you see anything like them, so they immediately stand out, a fact Phoenix himself notes. And what's more? Phoenix is right; you never unlock them, because you can't. He'll never tell the truth, and he'll do anything, anything to protect his secret, and will do it with infinite coldness. Poisoning adults, children, lying, murdering people in cold blood... he's actually done all of this. Just imagine what that sick bastard would have done to Trucy, Apollo and Phoenix had he got out free.
      • With the release of Dual Destinies, we finally learn their true meaning: the desire to protect their secret is so deep, it goes beyond conscious desire and is hard etched into their psyche & unconscious mind. If brute force is used, they could potentially harm the person's heart/soul, but even so they are near impossible to break by conventional means. This means the answer to the question which brought them up, "Why did you kill Shadi Enigmar?", is so deeply ingrained in his self, it utterly consumed him and lead to his extreme actions.
    • There's also the fact that beneath his calm, kind exterior, he's actually a raging narcissist and Attention Whore who thinks only two things belong in the courtroom: "Me, and the law!" When Klavier brings up the experimental jurist system, Kristoph scoffs at the very idea of trials being overseen by a "mindless, emotional mob of irrational mouth-breathers". He thinks that highly of himself.
    • His two Villainous Breakdowns when exposed: The first one has him angrily slamming his fist on the defendant/witness stand. But the second one, which is spectacular by Ace Attorney standards, happens after he learns that Phoenix Wright was responsible for creating the Jurist System - Kristoph is so angry that the very courtroom begins to shake, and he screams Phoenix's name as his hair blows upward. The next scene has him hunched over, his meticulously groomed hair an outright mess, with a snarling mouth and a seriously twitchy and unhinged Death Glare as the courts and his own brother give him his verdict.
    • And finally, when Vera is found innocent by the jury, Kristoph breaks down into an extremely creepy psychotic laugh. Apollo's words on the situation really serve to drive home how creepy Kristoph's laugh truly is.
      Apollo: The record will show... that when the verdict was announced, special witness Kristoph Gavin... laughed. A laugh louder than any ever heard before... or since. A laugh that echoed in the halls of justice, lingering for what seemed like hours.
  • The moment when Magnifi's diary is presented. When it showed up, this player felt a sinking feeling in his gut as he realized that this is the moment when Phoenix Wright's career is destroyed, that this was the only available option: present the obvious forgery, or lose. Truly a terrifying moment.
  • Neither of them are nice people but the image of Pal Meraktis trying to strangle Alita Tiala with a lamp cord is pretty cold since it looks chillingly like domestic abuse.
  • During the MASON System simulation in the fourth case, a conversation becomes unnerving and creepy when the discussing party mention feeling like they've been watched for some quite time.
     Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth 
  • From Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, ladies and gentlemen, we give you the Proto Badger (pictured). Whether he's ever-so-slowly sneaking up behind you, a sword in hand or popping out of the ground staring directly at the player, this azure abomination will frighten the pants off of you, more than any murder in this game. Pleasant dreams indeed...
  • Case 4: Calisto pointing a gun at Edgeworth. In a series where the player character is rarely put under threat of death by another character, this can make the player's heart jump. To make things worse, Calisto shoots, and Edgeworth barely dodges it.
    • It's painful for him to reminisce about because he had to deal with that all the way back in the fourth case of the first game.
  • Case 5: That Shih-na is a psychopath.note . In addition, the psychotic laughter and Slasher Smile involved in that Villainous Breakdown, and the lopsided Psychotic Smirk that increasingly replaces her normal expression as time goes on just gets more and more unsettling.
  • Quercus Alba gets his own Objection! clip, despite not being an attorney. It is fairly harsh on the ears, and the fact that it's an audible Objection shows you just how powerful he is within the context of the law.
    • On an Adult Fear level, Alba is a corrupt diplomat who is also the head of a major smuggling ring and uses his power to keep his name clear, whose dealings resulted in the death of an innocent witness and the catastrophic damage of the economy of an entire country with counterfeit bills. Scandalous ambassadors and other people in positions of political power who use their power to subvert justice unfortunately exist in real life. And worse still, many of them, like Alba, will stop at nothing to escape responsibility for what they've done.
    • There's also Quercus Alba's breakdown, where his skin begins to chip away and is blown off, leaving only his mummified-looking husk.

     Ace Attorney Investigations 2 
  • In Case 1, Edgeworth, Kay, and Gumshoe are inside an enclosed space with Shelly de Killer and a hostage. Then the lights go out... He doesn't kill anyone, but it's abundantly clear that he could. Easily.
  • Investigations 2 has the second case's introduction, which features Knightley lying dead in a dank, eerily-lit prison, bleeding heavily from a neck wound inflicted by a hound with a bloodied snout...
    • When you question Sahwit about Knightley's death, he'll provide a graphic description of how he was supposedly killed by the dog in question, which freaks Kay and Ray out.
  • Case 2's Villainous Breakdown. The killer yells that they didn't do anything wrong, and the real bad guy is Sirhan Dogen the assassin, as images of him appear on a black background and his bell rings. The rings get more and more frequent, as she starts covering her ears (implying she's hearing the sound in her head, as we are) until they blur and turn into an emergency siren as she screams. In short, you're basically watching her Sanity Slippage, caused by the imprisoned assassin repeatedly reminding her he has agents who can go after her family at any time. Probably one of the most disturbing breakdowns in the series on a psychological level. You later find out Dogen had a good reason for going after her, but at the time you're led to believe he was doing it all For the Evulz, which makes you wish he was guilty.
    • How about the first time you encounter Dogen in person? Between the creepy music and the fact that he looks like he's looking at you despite being blind, some players find him to be something of a Jump Scare.
    • In the very least it's Paranoia Fuel but the description of Dogen's method can leave you unnerved. The charming sound of a little bell could mean you've actually been marked for death. And he doesn't do it with a rifle or anything uncivil like that, oh no, he will come right up and do the job hands-on with a knife.
  • In the 5th case, 14-year-old Simon Keyes's drawing of what he witnessed happened in SS-5. Especially at how he draws Sirhan Dogen the assassin.
    • In general the setting of the SS-5 Incident is unsettling. Using an orphanage as the site of a presidential assassination (followed by murdering a witness at the scene) is pretty dark (not to mention Huang's pleading just to see his son before he's killed, making it all the more depressing). The fact the orphanage director was in on it and they buried his body on the grounds where children play is even worse. Furthermore, the fact the murder of the president was covered up so thoroughly in the aftermath gives you a chilling look at how influential and vile Blaise Debeste is.
  • Blaise Debeste is practically Nightmare Fuel personified. The very idea of a 68-year-old Psychopathic Manchild is incredibly disturbing in itself, and almost from his first appearance he's horribly verbally abusing his own son. And it only gets worse as you learn more of what he did... holding a foreign president for ransom and having him assassinated anyway, auctioning off evidence from past cases, brutally murdering another person who found out, forging evidence in the past and using that fact to blackmail the coroner who helped him, and her family, later on, kidnapping the judge's son to manipulate his own trial... and then you remember that this guy was Chief Prosecutor for who knows how long, and that he's had a lot of people "disappeared" during that time (implied to be getting them sentenced to life in prison on false charges). Including his own wife. And to make matters worse, he has a voiced Objection, and it somehow manages to be worse than von Karma's and Alba's combined. If von Karma was a demon, Blaise is the Devil himself. He also gave von Karma the only penalty during his entire career which set the DL-6 incident in motion, making him the Greater-Scope Villain in the entire series.
    • His determination to get Kay falsely convicted for Jill Crane's murder is extremely disturbing, especially when he shows up to an at-the-time self-resigned and imprisoned Edgeworth during his Darkest Hour and makes a mockery of his logic and search for the truth right to his face, claiming that because Blaise is the one on top, he can do as he pleases and have his actions remain just and absolute. He even enunciates Kay's "guilt" so strongly later on in the case that it is emphasized the same way as the series' dreaded guilty verdicts.
  • How about the Big Bad of all of AAI2? Simon Keyes is one of the most fiendish final bosses in the franchise. Why? Because he was responsible for a majority of the murders in the game...and didn't lift a finger for any but the last. He was able to easily manipulate everyone, even getting Edgeworth into bailing him out of suspicion in Case 2. He had nearly everything under control, the only slip-up until Case 5 was his aforementioned issues in Case 2. The only reason he was even caught was due to an utter Spanner in the Works in Justine Courtney who brought the fake Huang to the roof on April 4th. Had she not done so, everyone would be none the wiser, AND even if they had, he would have had no direct hands in any murder, and gotten away with EVERYTHING! The only bright spot is that all his targets were true Asshole Victims.
    • And, unlike every other villain, he actually accomplished everything he intended to do. He took down all his enemies. He will be able to plea justified self-defense and beat his murder charge, as the body double was trying to kill him in earnest with a gun, and he had no way to flee, as he would have been shot out of the sky if he tried. And while he will do some time, he'll be with his assassin father figure, and likely be an amazing assassin himself once he gets out of prison, and no one will be able to do a thing to him. If you anger him, he will destroy you, either by getting someone else to murder you, or by getting you to willingly murder someone else and then leaving you at the mercy of Miles Edgeworth. And yet he's sympathetic...
  • Despite being an overall sympathetic figure, the Big Bad 's misanthropy can be downright chilling at times, especially one of his dialogues for presenting wrong evidence, which has him asking Justine to prove Edgeworth wrong in his stead just so he can laugh at Edgeworth being betrayed by his friends. The fact that he's dressed as a clown at the time doesn't help. He could very well be a sympathetic version of The Joker or Kefka.
  • Something about amnesiac Kay clutching her head and screaming without any sound to go with it (other than the usual 'beep-de-beep' effects) is unnerving (since the visualization is less like memories returning and more like being haunted by demonic voices that won't leave her head). Even the idle version with her grit teeth and erratic, eye-twitching stare is unusually deranged for this series.
  • In the flashback of Case 3, Jeff Master was subjected to an all-night questioning session that caused his hair to turn white, during which time he was not allowed to see his defense attorney. Apparently, this went on for months until Master falsely confessed. The entire episode leaves hardened detective Badd disturbed, and gives a chilling indication of how awful it is to be wrongfully accused in the Ace Attorney universe.

     The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures 
  • The real murder method of the first case: a rare poison that is absorbed through the bloodstream. It works by causing total body paralysis, including breathing, resulting in death by suffocation as the victim is helpless to do anything, unable to call out or get any help as they slowly die. This poison is totally unknown in the game's version of Japan, making the cause of death completely untraceable there, were it not for a Spanner in the Works. Made even worse by the fact that the first case's victim is John Wilson himself. And even worse? This poison is REAL, and its effects in the game are no exaggeration.
  • The horrifying tales of the prosecutor Barok van Zieks more than qualify. With every single case he prosecuted before the events of Case 3, each defendant, guilty or not, ended up dying, either by natural means (according to Herlock Sholmes) or by machinations set up by the Big Bad. It's no wonder that he got the nickname "Reaper of the Bailey" and practically every defense attorney in the UK was frightened by him.
  • Case 3 features death by being locked inside a burning carriage and slowly burning to death. Even though the victim is the Big Bad who got away with his original crime that is not a pleasant way to go.
  • The final villain's breakdown has him try to break his cane on the witness stand and strangling Inspector Gregson with it while on the stand.
    • Before that, he pulls out a revolver after Sholmes' Logic and Reasoning Spectacular and points it at Ryunosuke as Graydon makes a threat to hand the music box disk to him at once, saying that he would hate to have to see Ryunosuke "return to [his] native land in a box". No matter which option Runo chooses, Pop Windibank interjects with a "Hold it!" and threatens to shoot himself, making a bad situation worse. Leave it to Inspector Gregson to save the day.

     The Great Ace Attorney 2: Resolve 
  • The Masked Man's true Leitmotif is a downright disturbing Dark Reprise of Kazuma Asogi's theme. Listen here. (Beware of major spoilers)
  • In the second case, after you reveal that William Shamspeare is an escaped convict desperately trying to get into a death-row inmate's old apartment to find a treasure he was promised, the normally comical character suddenly becomes a deranged lunatic (spoilers in the link, obviously). Made worse by his being in some of his normal poses, but now sporting a really disturbing Un-Smile and accompanied by slightly off-key sound effects. The unsettling music doesn't help either. Even the jurors are horrified in-universe!
  • Genshin Asogi's death, at first glance. Imagine being sentenced to death by hanging, said execution getting botched, having a metal mask placed over your head, being placed in a sealed coffin, and after how many hours pass by, when you come to and try to come out of your coffin, you get shot out of nowhere. As it turns out, the seemingly-botched execution was planned, but it's still a terrifying thought.
    • Related, Madame Tusspells, the wax sculptor's testimony in Case 3's trial, which involves her describing how hard it is to make a mold out of a dead body's face before rigor mortis sets in, in vivid detail. And she talks about it in a way that implies "The Professor" isn't the first dead body she's done this to. Not helped by her theme playing through this sequence.
  • Daley Vigil remembering his past. The flashback shows him in Barry's office, thinking about how badly he screwed up by allowing the Professor to escape, and deciding to kill himself by jumping out of the window. Then the screen shatters back to the present as Daley screams for several text boxes, his eyes turn white, and he passes out.
  • The entire premise of the game's backstory. Someone relatively high-up in the British judicial system caught a Serial Killer in the act and blackmailed him into becoming his personal hitman, using him to kill his way to the top. Then, he coerces several key figures in both Britain and Japan into a massive conspiracy cleaning up every loose end. Part of this involved setting up Van Zieks' "Reaper" reputation by killing everyone he prosecuted, another part involved taking advantage of international extradition treaties to assassinate key targets without fear of retribution. At least part of both countries' governments were in on this. Paranoia Fuel sets in when you find out the Japanese judge, someone you probably never suspected for a moment, is a killer working for the Big Bad. Imagine being caught in the middle of all this.

     Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice 
  • Before the game even launched, the description of the Kingdom of Khura'in's handling of defense attorneys in the animated prologue to the game is unsettling. They made being a defense attorney a capital crime. It is literally punishable by death to claim someone isn't guilty when the water mirror has already said otherwise. The courts are referred to as "the court of despair" because so many guilty verdicts are handed out without any sort of objection. One defendant is even dragged out of the courtroom tearfully pleading for a defense attorney but it goes unheeded.
    • The sheer hatred of defense attorneys in Khura'in is beyond crazy. The only other notable time Phoenix himself faced such an antagonistic courtroom? It was Labyrinthia's Witch Trials. The main difference between the two? Labyrinthia is a fake city with no actual casualties. Khura'in is far worse because of its government ever since Ga'ran came into power. Because of the DC Act, defense attorneys are scarce in Khura'in and that led to cases that led to the deaths of many innocents because of the lack of actual interpretation of the Divination Seance. Both of these created an infamous reputation that created the "Courts of Despair".
  • The web demo can cause a chill to run your spine when you first see the images projected by the water mirror. You see Ahlbi raise something above his head and his terrified expression is upsetting (since he's only 9). Then he brings it down harshly and everything goes black followed by text reading "PAIN" in big red letters appearing in the lower left. It implies the victim suffered before they died but since you're only told it hurts, it can be disconcerting (plus, again, without more facts you're basically seeing a 9-year old boy kill another person, which doesn't sit well).
    • It can get uncomfortable during the trial when the audience gets whipped up in saying Ahlbi (along with Phoenix) deserves the death penalty, just based on the hazy visions of the Pool of Souls. For one thing, Ahlbi is just a scared kid on the stand who thinks he has no recourse, quivering and comforting himself by talking to the dog in his bag while the entire room is demanding he be hanged (Gaspen is pretty bad too in this regard, gleefully labeling Ahlbi a traitor and a murderer). Then there's Phoenix, who is just trying to do the right thing and not only being ridiculed but having the Sword of Damocles (or rather the judgment of the Holy Mother, as it would be in this case) hanging over his head the entire time. It really ratchets up the tension for the player and makes getting a "Guilty" verdict one of the more Fridge Horror-laden moments in the series history.
  • The Divination Seance music (especially the Scare Chord). It certainly reinforces the tone of being stalked by someone (or something) about to strike.
  • While he's still very much the smug blowhard of a bully that he was in Dual Destinies, Gaspen Payne's career choice as Khura'in's Chief Prosecutor is quite disturbing when one thinks about it. Because he was shooed out of the prosecutor's office by Edgeworth (and rightfully so), he decided to prosecute in a country where defense attorneys are basically extinct and has sentenced an untold amount of people to death for the sake of starting fresh with a perfect record. And he is disturbingly smug about the prospect of sending an innocent nine-year-old boy to his death, along with Phoenix when he takes his place in Ahlbi's corner. He basically went from Winston Payne 2.0 to a less intelligent and more incompetent Manfred von Karma, which really says a lot about the type of person Gaspen is.
  • Case 2 brings us Roger Retinz, a.k.a The Great Mr. Reus, a former magician with a grudge against Troupe Gramarye. The sheer amount of loathing that man has running through his veins, and the sheer cackling insanity he shows when taunting Magnifi Gramarye from beyond the grave can be downright chilling-especially given his "taunting Magnifi" pose, where he looks like the freaking Devil admiring his own Hellfire while laughing at the soul caught therein. The Villainous Breakdown is quite creepy: He puts on one final "show" for the court, making creepy masks of each member of the troupe appear in his cloak, them making them vanish in flames while proclaiming how he'll see them all burn. Then he gets to Trucy, except when he opens his cloak, it's his mask inside. He freaks out for a bit, then tries the trick again, only to have his face show up a second time, this time bloody and laughing. He then starts panicking, yelling that he's not to blame (in a manner that echoes "Hellfire" from The Hunchback of Notre Dame), as multiple spotlights shine in his face as the camera slowly zooms in. It's implied that a large amount of this might just be happening in his head, showing just how deluded and insane he's become.
  • Tahrust Inmee's Divination Seance. Just imagine seeing a cloaked figure wearing a creepy mask suddenly hovering towards you in the darkness and ended up killing you at the end. Not helping that it is one of the most challenging seances to crack down, so you get the privilege of seeing the scene over and over again.]]
  • The end of Case 3's first trial, especially to those savvy about the series conventions. The witness turns out to be a complete dead end, and Phoenix has nothing. The judge feels there's no further need to prolong the trial, and so declares Maya and Phoenix GUILTY. would be the time for the obligatory Big Damn Heroes moment, right? Naturally, the bailiff runs in. Phew, the trial is saved... wait, he came to say another murder has occurred, and Maya looks guilty of that one too? And now the prosecution officially accuses Maya of not just one murder, but of being a vigilante serial killer who's been operating for the past 2 years?! He's suspending the trial to ensure she gets a worse sentence?! When it's implied she was already getting the death penalty?!? And no, the guilty verdict is NOT overturned. In a rare moment in the series, a day 1 trial ends in a decisive victory for the prosecution, and Phoenix is, as Rayfa points out, a dead man walking.
  • Case 3 has Phoenix entering a possible rebel hideout alone... and inevitably being knocked out and waking up in an old, dilapidated room with the recently-escaped Datz Are'bal. The sense of dread is defused when Datz is revealed to be a pretty jovial guy for a rebel, but it comes right back when he "tests" Phoenix by pretending to want to leave the rebellion, and when he "passes" reveals he was fully prepared to stab him to death right there if he turned out to be an agent of the queen. Remember, Datz is ex-military, so he would've made good on that threat. It's a good thing Phoenix was smart enough to talk his way out of that one because Datz is clearly someone whose bad side you do not want to be on. The whole situation makes the rest of the investigation extremely tense as Phoenix can't reveal anything he learned there to anyone, as if it got out he'd been speaking with someone essentially considered a terrorist... well given the Exact Words of the DCA, he'd be considered one himself.
  • You thought that Dual Destinies's Final case was really that dark? Well, the final case of Spirit of Justice makes it look like a rainbow story full of joy. It features the death of not one, not two, but FOUR PEOPLE IN ONE SINGLE CASE, with one of them being Apollo's father! It's like a deadlier version of Turnabout Goodbyes!
    • The Divination Seance showing Inga's last moments is downright haunting before Apollo can make sense of it. It isn't too bad to start with until Inga is stabbed in the back. Seeing "Pain" flash up on the screen is practically a Jump Scare here. In the final seconds before Inga's vision fades to black, he sees what appears to be a faceless Dhurke Sahdmadhi who seemingly laughs at him when the screen cuts to black before Inga succumbs to his injury. It's even worse for poor Rayfa, who initially has a very realistic-looking panic attack from having to process it.
    • We also get to see the pleasant scene of Dhurke getting shot thrice. With the 3D models. You also get to see Amara get shot in the stomach while testifying in court and then being told she only has a 50% chance of surviving.
    • The way Dhurke Sahdmadhi dies, first he gets shot in the chest thrice by Justice Minister Inga, and considering that Dhurke did not die almost immediately, the bullets probably penetrated his lung or lungs and not his heart, how long he stayed alive after being mortally wounded and if his cause of death is either blood loss or suffocation is unknown. But since Dhurke Sahdmadhi was shot, not only would he have labored breathing and dyspnea, it probably hurt for him to even breathe until he died. He PROBABLY had the worst way to die out of any Ace Attorney Victim, since it was a lingering death, and not only did he lose a lot of blood and it was hard for him to breathe but it also hurt for him to even breathe as he was dying.
    • One witness late into the trial has a "damage" animation that's practically a Jump Scare. Namely, a sudden lightning flash coming from behind Amara, scaring off her animals and showing her as a terrifying glowing-eyed silhouette for a split second. It's a good thing she's actually not evil, or it could've gotten even worse.
    • The last moments of the trial deserve special mention. It's one of the few times someone's life is threatened in court as the queen calls in the royal guard. Yes, for the last part of the trial PHOENIX AND APOLLO are held at gunpoint!
    • The low, droning music track that plays when you have to present The Reveal that Dhurke was Dead All Along. It sounds more like something out of a Survival Horror game, and perfectly captures the moment: both Apollo and the player know exactly what the solution to this contradiction is, but desperately don't want to believe it. And instead of a Take That when you present it, you get a Scare Chord.
    • Jove Justice's Divination Seance is a huge example of Adult Fear. Imagine being a parent who is caught in a fire with your baby, desperately trying to escape with you and your child's lives until you're floored by a blow to the head. You drop your child to the ground, and in your final moments desperately try to reach out to your baby before your vision goes dark and the fire consumes you, with your last thoughts being that your child is going to burn to death and there's nothing you can do about it. This was exactly what happened to Jove Justice during the last moments of his life.
  • Apollo nearly drowns. It's hard not to come out of that part feeling like Apollo did at that moment because of the way it's written and the speed the dialogue appears at. It's hard not to feel like you yourself are drowning while it's going on, since the scene drags out and makes you feel a sense of desperation and fear like nothing before in the series. No matter how aware you are that they won't kill Apollo here, the scene is terrifying and, on a second play or when talking about it with someone who's not as far in the game as you, can stir up feelings of anxiety. This one part of the game is traumatic.
  • The Final Boss is without a doubt the most frightening Ace Attorney villain yet. This is a woman who, out of petty jealousy, framed her sister's husband for murder, used her own niece as a blackmailing tool to keep her sister and nephew in line so she could legally kill them later, and left an infant to die in a fire without batting an eye. This is a woman who is responsible for Khura'in's downright toxic and putrid legal system which has killed many lawyers and innocent people alike and makes it impossible for those accused of a crime to have a shot in court, almost leading to 9-year-old Ahlbi's death as well as being the reason why Beh'leeb and Ta'hrust have to resort to framing Maya for Ze'loht's accidental death. This is a woman who is not afraid of rewriting the laws in court to suit her needs, including making standing up to her punishable by death. This is Ga'ran Sigatar Khura'in, a ruthless and sadistic dictator who comes dangerously close to getting away with all of her crimes if not for Apollo's quick thinking.
    • The moment she reveals what she's really like. Forget the fact that she looks like some kind of Evil Sorceress straight out of Dark Fantasy. It's also at that point that she decides to reveal she's completely fucking insane, changing the laws of Khura'in on a whim not only out of the desire to win the case to legally kill her own nephew but also out of raw sadism and mentally torturing her own family out of nothing but spite for her sister. Even the tone of her theme changes from intimidating but regal to discordant and shrill. as if the music itself were slowly losing its mind.
    • And if you needed proof of how frothing-at-the-mouth bloodthirsty she is, her second line as a prosecutor absolutely sells it.
      Ga'ran: Woe to you, O enemies of Khura'in, for I shall personally slice, dice, and grind you up into hog feed!
    • Let's not forget about her breakdown. She desperately tried to commune with the dead even when she knows she can't, and when she tried so hard and failed miserably she collapsed. When she woke up she was convinced that she was the Holy Mother whom she tried to channel. She essentially had a Sanity Slippage.
  • Case 5 has Maya being held hostage for several days. While this has happened before, this time she actually has to be hospitalized and put on an IV drip when she's recovered. One can only imagine how much distress Phoenix felt at having to go through this all over again. Sure, it's revealed she was rescued earlier than was first thought, but that doesn't make it any less horrifying.
    • Speaking of flashbacks to 2-4, anyone suddenly start to have those when you realized that you are unknowingly condemning Maya to death with ease, just like Edgeworth? Or maybe you got those flashbacks earlier because you picked up on the fact that Phoenix was not acting like himself, and you went through all of that knowing why Phoenix would be acting so peculiar? It really doesn't help that, just like back then, his opponent, Apollo this time, has extremely good arguments that deftly shoot down his own just like Edgeworth's back then, while Phoenix's, by comparison, are weak and desperate and more than once, Apollo's skill forces Phoenix to play dirty, just like before.
  • Dhurke's final request before expiring was for Maya to channel his spirit. He dies and Maya channels his spirit right then. Leaving aside how unnerving it must have been to watch someone die than try to channel them right afterward (Maya is only accustomed to channeling the deceased after some time had passed since their death), there's the matter that Dhurke was channeled right after he died, meaning the first thing he got to see was his own body lying on the ground, dead. Imagine having an out-of-body experience on an operating table but it's 100% real and you know that the only link you have left to the living world is the spirit medium channeling you at that moment. It's enough to drive a person mad but Dhurke perseveres on because he has Unfinished Business.

     2016 Anime 
  • In the anime adaptation, we get to see animated interpretations of the crimes as they happened. This also applies to the false testimonies of what say, the real suspect, claims to have seen. For example, the First Turnabout shows Frank Sahwit actively seeing Larry exit Cindy's room after the murder and deciding to call the police, when we already know that's not how it happened. That's all fine and dandy, but then we get to the cases where one of the heroes is the defendant; in other words, we get to see the lovely image of Maya, and later Phoenix himself, murdering Mia.
  • The portrayal of the "murder" of Robert Hammond at the beginning of the first Turnabout Goodbyes gives a very eerie atmosphere to it. The dark night and leafless trees make the murder lifted straight out of a horror movie.
  • Redd White's Nightmare Face when he kills Mia is quite unsettling and doubles as a Jump Scare.
  • Manfred von Karma's depiction in the Turnabout Goodbyes episodes is far more chilling than the game counterpart. Here, he shows a great level of intelligence and fear towards anyone who stands in his way. This is shown in greater detail with episode 10, in which instead of meeting Phoenix and Maya in the files room regarding the DL-6 incident and tasing them to get the evidence, he gets it right when Phoenix and Maya arrive, showing how well he knows about the clues that might lead to the murder of Robert Hammond. Lastly, when Karma taunts Phoenix about the usage of evidence of court at the moment where the guilty verdict is given, he ends his taunt by calling him an amateur and, unlike the other episodes, where a dramatic pointing results in someone being blown away, Manfred does it by SLAMMING his fist on the table. The episodes make von Karma truly live up to his reputation as a "demon" prosecutor.
    • He certainly sounds like a demon too, especially in the English dub. You thought he was terrifying already? Try listening to his dub VA channeling his inner Tony Jay every time he speaks!
  • During the arc, we also get to see Phoenix's flashback of the class trial as a child. On top of the children accusing him of stealing the money, we're also treated to seeing the teacher trying to goad him to confess to an incident he wasn't responsible for with a twisted take of a smile. Even if you assume that the teacher is probably just trying to get through the day without a hitch, the studio put the effort into making sure you're seeing it through the eyes of a child being scapegoated understandably feeling that everyone is against him.
  • The moment Maya reveals that she found the bullet that killed Gregory Edgeworth hidden in Manfred von Karma's office gives a close-up on von Karma's face: his irises have shrunken and his gums start showing as he clutches his shoulder, where the second DL-6 bullet is located. His eyes keep bugging out all the time, and then he lets out the scream that haunted Edgeworth for 15 years. The moment in his testimony when he describes picking up Yanni Yogi's pistol is just as unsettling. His voice gets all raspy and he mimics holding a pistol with both hands as he says that he "knew it was destiny". As he gets off the witness stand he looks frail, barely kept standing by his walking cane that is shattered by Phoenix's outburst.
  • Morgan Fey's sprite where her pupils seem to be missing are adapted in this version into Glowing Eyes of Doom. There's also a more sinister air surrounding her this time around, and the calm demeanor as she talks to Ini (Mimi) about getting her off the hook is enough to send shivers down your spine. let alone when she chillingly talks to a portrait of Misty Fey.
  • We all know how scary Ini (actually Mimi) is when she starts to show her true colors, but in the Anime version, we can get to hear her nasty demeanor towards the defense and it's quite unnerving to listen to her threatening voice in the latter half.
  • Unlike in the games, Franziska getting shot is actually shown, and it seems to be worse than the injury she sustained in the games since she actually seems to have fainted. Further, while in the original games, her shooting might have been a Kick the Son of a Bitch, a Kick the Dog, or a Take That, Scrappy! (depending on your opinion of her), but since the anime toned down her bad demeanor, it also gives her a more sympathetic P.O.V..
  • Matt Engarde's reveal of his true self is even creepier in the anime. Why? Because he does it while giving out a burst of very disturbing laughter that can be unnerving for many people, especially that the original material wasn't voiced. It also shows that this is pretty much a nightmare in-life to Phoenix, because at this point, he was begging that Engarde being the culprit was a lie, he wanted to believe in the goodness of his client... until that reveal slams him down that he's working for an evil bastard this time.
    • Then comes his breakdown, where he scratches bleeding lines into his face with his nails. Think the anime wouldn't show something like that? It does. Twice.
  • Dahlia's demon face is shown in full, and it will send shivers down your spine.

Alternative Title(s): Ace Attorney Investigations Miles Edgeworth


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