Follow TV Tropes


Visual Novel / Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney

Go To
A bold new hero has claimed the defense's bench!

"The law is the end product of many years of history... The fruit of human knowledge! Like a gem, polished through trials... and errors. It is this fruit we receive, and pass on, and face it in our time. And it is always changing, growing. Nurturing it is our task as human beings."
The Judge, "Turnabout Succession"

The fourth game of the Ace Attorney series (Japanese title 逆転裁判 4, Gyakuten Saiban 4; lit. "Turnabout Trial 4") and the first installment made specifically for the Nintendo DS.

Set seven years after the events of Trials and Tribulations, the story follows a young and eager Hot-Blooded lawyer called Apollo Justice. Apollo idolizes the famous "turnabout attorney" Phoenix Wright... but Phoenix has fallen on hard times, having been disbarred following a shady scandal involving forged evidence.

Initially, Apollo enters the legal world working for his mentor, Kristoph Gavin. After a turbulent début at court, Apollo ends up working at Phoenix's law office/talent agency alongside aspiring magician Trucy Wright, Phoenix's adopted daughter. To Apollo's mounting exasperation he is coerced into accepting a series of increasingly-bizarre cases, and finds a new courtroom rival in gifted prosecutor (and best-selling rock star), Kristoph’s brother Klavier Gavin.

The gameplay mostly follows the same pattern as the previous games, with one major addition: Perceive. With this power, Apollo can notice the involuntary "tells" that result from a lie or deception, and use them to make progress in his cross-examinations.

After this game the series continued on the DS with two spinoff games; Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth and its sequel. The core series would not continue for another six years, finally resuming in 2013 with Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies on the Nintendo 3DS.

An Updated Re-release with higher-resolution artwork, in much the same style as that of the trilogy package of the prior three games, was announced for iOS and Android in October 2016, and released the following December. A Nintendo 3DS port, featuring similar enhancements, was released in November 2017.

A character sheet for the whole series can be found here.

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney contains examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    # - G 
  • Accuse the Witness:
    • Subverted in the flashback trial. Phoenix accuses Valant because Valant tampered with the crime scene in a bid to frame Zak, but it ultimately turns out that Magnifi's death was a suicide — Valant acted out of biterness and jealousy.
    • Subverted in the second case, when you accuse Wesley Stickler, but of panty-snatching rather than murder.
    • Inverted in the first case, where Kristoph accuses Olga for the murder to keep himself from being suspect while also defending Phoenix.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal:
    • During the second case, when Apollo can examine the DVD cases stacked around Phoenix's hospital bed.
      Apollo: It's a swaying, spiraling stack of DVD cases. Better stay away or it'll become a crashing, cascading cavalcade of DVD cases.
    • Trucy gives this advice: "Prior planning prevents poor performance!".
    • Valant Gramarye frequently laces his dialogue with alliteration, in keeping with his stage-presence persona.

  • Affectionate Parody: Apollo Justice often pokes fun at the very series it belongs to, most noticeably when Apollo spends the start of his first trial gearing himself up to bellow the series Catchphrase ("Objection!") and then gets reprimanded when he finally does so for yelling in court.
  • Air Guitar: Klavier's gimmick; it even sounds like a real guitar when he does it.
    Trucy: I swear I could see the guitar for a second!
  • All There in the Manual: It's implied that Klavier's theme has lyrics to them simply because it makes a cameo appearance in-game as one of the songs sung by the Gavinners in "Turnabout Serenade". In the case of Defictionalization, the song was eventually released as part of an event in Japan, and the lyrics for the song finally became available to the public.
  • Always Murder: It's Ace Attorney, what did you expect? (In a particular example, the second case starts off with three seemingly unrelated cases, before they all come together in, you guessed it, a murder case.)
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: The background during Perceive segments is psychedelicly red and purple. The color waves move back to front.
  • Amnesiac Resonance: Even after losing her memory, Lamiroir still mostly does the exact same idle pose she did as Thalassa Gramarye, which is featured on an in-universe TV promo for Valant's comeback and the commemorative stamp. She also performs a magic trick with Valant extrememly well.
  • Amoral Attorney: Kristoph Gavin. Given the series tradition for them, it was a surprise when Klavier Gavin appeared and he actually didn't follow this trope.
  • Anachronic Order: The last case takes you back seven years to Phoenix's last trial, and makes you jump between the present and seven years ago in a "game" of sorts, even bringing evidence from the future into the past. Possibly justified since Phoenix programmed the MASON system based on his own investigations and added liberties to help the jury see where the evidence ties into the plot.
  • An Aesop: The law is built to serve the people, not the other way around.
  • Anime Hair: Daryan has a 'do that's oddly suggestive, Drew Misham's looks like half of its hair was frozen at an angle from its head in the shape of a painting brush, and the Gavin brothers' hair forms a G at the side while the lower part forms a drill. This trope also gets subverted in the case of Apollo's hairstyle: Apollo himself actually said that he used hair gel when Olga refused to testify due to being scared by his 'demonic horns'.
  • Anti-Hero: Uniquely among the series so far, every one of the game's defendants is guilty of some crime, just not murder:
    • In the first case, Phoenix tampers with a crime scene and knowingly supplies Apollo with forged evidence.
    • In the second case, Wocky Kitaki at the very least attempted to assassinate a rival gangster, even if it went horribly wrong and nearly ended in his own death, would likely have killed Pal Meraktis if Alita Tiala hadn't gotten to him first, and probably committed other, minor crimes as well.
    • In the third case, Machi Tobaye was an accomplice in Daryan Crescend's plot to smuggle a Borginian coccoon into the country. Note that Machi is the only defendant who actually suffers any legal consequences for their crime, and even then it's implied that he'll get a slap on the wrist in exchange for him ratting out Daryan.
    • In the fourth case, Vera Misham created an untold number of forgeries, albeit with her father really being the brains of their operation.
    • In the flashback segment of the fourth case, Zak Gramarye actually wasn't guilty of any crimes prior to his court case (unless you count his part in covering up Thalassa's apparent death), but he subsequently became a fugitive when he was about to be declared guilty.
  • Apron Matron: Plum Kitaki.
  • Arc Words: Any variation on "seven years ago". Seven years ago, an infamous murder trial led to Phoenix getting disbarred for presenting forged evidence and the defendant vanished. This case caused most of the conflict arising in the present starting with Kristoph Gavin cleaning up loose ends through manipulation and murdering said defendant in order to hide the fact that he actually created said false evidence and pinned it on Phoenix once he lost the chance to actually use it himself.
  • Art Evolution: With the Nintendo DS's improved graphics hardware and larger cartridge side compared to the Game Boy Advance, the quality of the in-game graphics and animation improves noticeably, and also makes it possible to include full-motion video sequences.
  • Art Shift:
    • While everything is drawn using the new art style (especially the courtroom), the Judge's, Director Hotti/Hickfield's and Winston Payne's sprites are recycled from the Phoenix Wright trilogy, making them stand out more. The HD version makes it less apparent, as the aforementioned characters are cleaned to fit with the rest of the cast.
    • The graphics get poorer in the flashback case, as sprites of new characters such as Klavier and Zak stand out against the old courtroom style and sprites of characters such as Phoenix and Gumshoe. This is even more grating in the HD version, where the old characters did get cleaned up but they are strangely smaller compared to the new characters..
  • Artistic License – Law: In the final case, the jury members are referred to as jurists, which is a term for experts in the law. The correct term for a jury member would be juror.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Done in Case 4 where you end up playing as Phoenix in his last trial. After that you play as a juror playing out Phoenix's seven year investigation through the MASON system, later revealed to be Lamiroir aka Thalassa Gramarye.
  • And the Adventure Continues: In the end, Apollo continues his career at the Wright Anything Agency. Phoenix starts considering retaking the bar exam due to his mission complete as intended and lousy piano playing, and Vera Misham closes off the evidence forgery business to pursue a legitimate art career and to willingly go outside for references.
    Apollo: ...And that's pretty much the end of my story. For now, anyway. I've still got a long way to go. And this power of mine... well, it needs some work. But... there's hope now. We'd lost it, but somehow, we found it again. That's why people are smiling again... Hope. Yeah, I think I'll keep at this lawyer thing for a while. Oops, training time. Gotta go. Chords of Steel... here comes Justice!
  • Anti-Frustration Features: When Perceiving Lamioir in Case 3, her tell is swallowing when she says a trigger phrase, but due to how minor this looks, an alternate, more-obvious tell for this is her lips moving less and slower, which when identified, acts as if you picked the main one, but can still be a bit hard to notice since tells usually omit the mouth due to it obviously moving during testimonies.
  • Aside Glance: Towards the end of the final case, when Apollo mentions that the jurists are watching everything by video camera, Apollo, Trucy, and Klavier turn their heads to face the screen. Notable in that, when the whole courtroom is shown, the only sprites to move are usually those of the audience.
  • Asshole Victim: Practically every victim in the game:
    • Shadi Smith in the first case tried to cheat in a card game, then when the plan backfired he physically attacked the woman he hired to help him cheat. Even more pronounced when it turns out that he's actually Zak Gramarye, who had no problem sacrificing Phoenix's legal career.
    • Pal Meraktis in the second case. He was in league with the mob, drove his rival Dr. Eldoon out of business For the Evulz, and lied about having saved Wocky Kitaki's life after he was severely wounded in a shoot-out as well as strangling Alita and then tried to dispose of her "body".
    • Romein LeTouse in the third case is the game's only aversion to this trope, with everything suggesting he was a genuinely decent person. In fact, he's the most helpful victim in the series as he held out long enough to tell Apollo about a witness to his shooting, wrote out his Interpol ID number to clue in the investigation that he wasn't killed as a manager and something else is going on, and fought with Daryan which although wasn't enough to prevent the shooting, it did cause Daryan to mess up his stance and dislocate his shoulder from the recoil, which provides a hint later on.
    • Drew Misham in the fourth case may have been a well-meaning man who truly cared for his daughter but he had no problems using her talents to forge evidence for major criminal trials, doubtless helping secure many false convictions and also helping guilty people get away with their crimes.
    • Magnifi Gramarye in the flashback segment of the fourth case skirts this trope. He wasn't an evil person by a long shot, but at the same time he was quite happy to use his daughter's "death" as a hold over his students Zak and Valant, and enforce punishing work schedules on them both.
    • Nonfatal example: Big Bad Kristoph Gavin himself, also in the first case, kills the aforementioned Smith seemingly just For the Evulz (actually because He Knows Too Much about Phoenix's disbarment-related case), then tries to frame Phoenix and/or Olga Orly for it. But Phoenix ends up invoking Pay Evil unto Evil via forged evidence, thus Out-Gambitting Kristoph. Even more fitting once it's revealed that he's the one responsible for said disbarment via similar evidence.
  • Back for the Finale: Kristoph Gavin gets called as a special witness in the final trial.
  • Badass Arm-Fold:
    • Apollo does this when he's feeling confident.
    • Kristoph has his arms crossed the majority of the time.
  • Batman Gambit: During the final case, it is revealed that Phoenix has been working on the same case for the last seven years, manipulating Apollo into using forged evidence as well as getting Kristoph arrested, and then setting up the entire Jurist System in order to make sure Kristoph finally gets implicated for the forgeries and the murder of Drew Misham. It could be argued that this resulted in an inverted case of Hijacked by Ganon from Phoenix.
  • Beat: Played for Drama during the flashback case in Case 4, where a longer-than-usual pause precedes Klavier's reveal that Phoenix has just presented forged evidence.
  • Beyond the Impossible: Phoenix gets hit by a speeding car in the second case, flies 30 feet in the air and stops when he hits his head on a lamp post. His only injury? A sprained ankle.
  • Big Bad: Kristoph Gavin.
  • Bigger Is Better: Averted in the first casee as a plot point. It is believed that Phoenix's motive for murder was due to being defeated. The poker chip amounts on the table led the prosecution to believe that the large grey chips on the victim's side were worth 1,000 points compared to the small red ones which they though were worth 100 points. Apollo does some math and realizes that the point total on the table would've been 10,600 instead of the default 7,000, meaning that the red ones that Phoenix had a majority of were worth 1,000.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family:
    • The Gramarye family. To the point where the Gramaryes covered up Thalassa's accident after she was shot (and she would eventually wake from a coma with her memory lost and a new identity); Valant framed Zak for murdering Magnifi after Magnifi committed suicide; and Thalassa's first son happens to be none other than the protagonist.
    • The Kitakis, too, though Big Wins tries to pull out of the business at the end of Wocky's trial, citing his misdoings for his son's near-death.
    • It is hinted that the Gavins are like this.
  • Black Comedy: In the second case, Alita Tiala gives you a Letter of Request on Wocky Kitaki's behalf. It at first appears to use the stock documents in an envelope design, but Examining it or giving it to the proper authority reveals it actually says "Hit Request" on the back in black messy letters, which Apollo guesses was due to Alita borrowing the Kitaki's stationery to make it.
  • Blind People Wear Sunglasses: While Machi Tobaye is a Blind Musician who wears sunglasses to emphasize this, he turns out to not really be blind. The actual Blind Musician, Lamiroir, doesn't wear sunglasses.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Ema Skye also seems to have a bottomless bag of snacks. Humorously subverted at one point, when Apollo tries questioning her. An annoyed Ema threatens to bean him with more snacks, but he reminds her that she'd eventually run out. Ema concedes the point and answers his questions.
  • Born Lucky:
    • Completely averted in Case 4: the "crucial evidence" that Phoenix thinks will help him win his case actually proves to be forged and gets him disbarred for fraud.
    • Phoenix gets hit by a speeding car early in Case 2, flies 30 feet, crashes into a lamppost headfirst, and walks away with nothing more than a sprained ankle.
  • Breaking Old Trends: This is the first game in the series in which the second, third, and fourth cases all share the same prosecutor.
  • Brick Joke: In the first case, any time you expose a contradiction in Olga Orly's testimony, the bowl she holds flies up in the air and she moves to catch each individual piece, including the lobster it contains. The last time you do this after she reveals what's Beneath the Mask, they all fall to the ground. Later that case, you finally corner Kristoph Gavin inescapably, and his freakout animation is so powerful it summons the bowl and lobster back upwards momentarily.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: During the introduction of the Jurist System, Kristoph objects, wanting to keep the "riff-raff" out. After a pull back to behind the witness stand, everybody looks at the camera. Justified as Apollo says it's actually the jurors watching.
    • The entire fourth case is actually told in the perspective of the fourth game.
  • Broken Aesop: A central theme of the Ace Attorney games is the flaws of a judicial system where the letter of the law is absolute. The final case introduces an experimental Jurist System as an alternative, permitting a jury to use common sense in reaching a verdict. The game strongly suggests that this is a more fair solution. However, the trial where it debuts is possibly more biased than any other in the entire series.
    • The most fundamental problem is that the person responsible for the creation of the Jurist System, Phoenix Wright, has a multifaceted personal stake in the first case handled by it — it's made abundantly clear that he introduced the new system for the specific purpose of altering the outcome. He actively gathers evidence in support of the defense, who technically works for him. A related case resulted in the loss of his job and an orphaned child left in his care. Then, in another related case, he was framed for murder by a person he considered a friend. This same person gives instructions and interprets the law for the jury.
      • Moreover, the MASON System itself (the interface by which the jurors participate in the trial) also skews favor towards the desired outcome by introducing facts and evidence that are presented only within the MASON System, meaning it was hand-chosen by the individual who designed it. The MASON System presents situations and information that aren't a part of the trial but still crucial towards coming to the verdict. Everything contained within it is true, yes, but it's unquestionably partial in nature.
    • Juror Number Six. She is Apollo's mother. Before learning this, Apollo successfully defended her close friend against murder charges. She's also a tangentially related, yet important figure in the events leading up to the current case, and the witness Apollo paints as the killer was convicted of murdering her husband. She even suggests that she shouldn't be on the jury, but Phoenix uses the letter of the law to justify her presence.
  • But Thou Must!: Just to rub it in during the flashback trial in case 4, not only do you have to present the forged evidence when it comes time to do so in order to progress the flashback, but if you try to present anything else in hopes of penalizing yourself into oblivion, there is no penalty. Enjoy your Foregone Conclusion!
  • Call-Back:
    • In 4-1 Phoenix makes a point of refusing to testify and says he hasn't forgotten everything about the law. He could be thinking of the last case from Justice For All in which a witness's refusal to testify was a key factor in the progress of the case.
    • Case 4 has several references to Running Gags from the original trilogy, such as Mia's collection of law books or Phoenix not knowing which movie the poster in his office depicts (only for him to finally discover which movie it was... and forget when he starts considering having Trucy watch it when she's older).
    • If you examine the couch in the defendant lobby in Case 4, Phoenix mentions that he once fell asleep in it, and never let defendants sit on it. This references Case 2-1, where Phoenix fell asleep in that couch and briefly suffered from amnesia after being hit on the head.
  • Character Tics: Actually a gameplay element, as Apollo has the ability to "Perceive" character tics that reveal when a witness is obfuscating the truth.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The object that proved a man guilty of theft a thirdway through and finally proved who the real murderer was at the end of the second case was a pair of panties. Your 15-year old sidekick's panties, no less. (For the record, these are oversized prop bloomers from which she pulls random items in her magic act). This is suitably lampshaded: "Panties! Again?!"
    • The reason he stole them wasn't because he was a pervert (or so he says. They weren't the only panties he stole). It was because he wanted to know how she did it. As he put it: FOR SCIENCE!
  • Chekhov's Classroom: During Case 2, Klavier's motorcycle breaks down, causing him to offhandedly mutter about a common problem between cars and motorbikes, which you will need to remember later. He even tells you to recall everything you've heard in the past few days.
    Klavier: Cars, motorbikes, they're all the same. Just clog up the exhaust and they won't run.
  • The Chessmaster: Phoenix Wright, of all people. The increase in his competence and intelligence when free from the control of the player is staggering. And even during the flashback case, he's noticeably more calm and confident than he used to be.
  • Child Prodigy: Phoenix accurately describes his daughter Trucy as such. Trucy is an exceptionally bright, sharp-witted girl, often deducing the truth behind Apollo's cases well before he does. She's also a first-rate illusionist despite her young age, and even displays an aptitude for business management in the day-to-day operations of the Wright Anything Agency.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Maya, Edgeworth and Pearl don't appear in this game. We do get a reference to either Maya or Pearl in Case 2 Reference , but they never get even mentioned by name or appear on-screen. Guy Eldoon does note that Phoenix and "his assistant" loved to frequent his noodle bar before the incident seven years ago.
  • Chunky Updraft: Part of the first Freak Out sequence, but with a lobster instead of the usual chunks of rock.
  • Clothing-Concealed Injury: In "Turnabout Corner", Apollo notices the witness Alita Tiala's habit of pulling on her scarf as she testifies about her meeting with the victim, Pal Meraktis. Apollo points out that a table lamp with a stained cord was found at the victim's office, meaning that the meeting wasn't friendly. He asks Alita to remove her scarf, and sure enough, there is a red mark around her neck from when the victim used the lamp cord to choke her unconscious. Alita claims to be a victim in the whole manner, but Prosecutor Gavin points out Meraktis wouldn't leave the witness be after he strangled her. Indeed, Meraktis loaded the unconscious Alita on top of a ramen stand (It Makes Sense in Context) with the intent of dumping her body in a nearby river. However, Apollo's client, Wocky Kitaki, appeared to threaten Meraktis over the botched operation to remove a bullet in Wocky's body. Meraktis was about to confess when back in the stand, Alita regained consciousness, and shot Meraktis before he could reveal Alita's role in the operation.
  • Colbert Bump: Subverted In-Universe: Klavier will angrily shoot down any accusations against him for orchastrating the events of Case 3 just to promote his songs which according to him, would be redundant as his band and songs are already extremely popular.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Spark Brushel uses his journalistic lingo to say a "Star falls", Trucy interprets it literally by pointing out that there's no gravity in space, and she finds it hard to believe that a star could fall. Apollo lampshades this by asking if that's really the point here.
  • Completely Unnecessary Translator: Lamiroir didn't need LeTouse's help understanding English, though he also accompanied her in other countries where she didn't speak the language. Also Machi, although he isn't completely fluent in English.
  • Conlang: Subverted for the Borginian text depicted on Thalassa's postcard and the Borginian Daily Bugle. It's actually written in Tamil.
  • Continuity Nod: The flashback sequence in Case 4 uses music, backgrounds, and character models from the first three Ace Attorney games. If you present incorrect evidence, Phoenix will even use the slightly mistranslated "I must be on the wrong track...?" which was fixed for Apollo Justice (he uses the same phrase, but without the erroneous question mark).
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • Case 4 as a whole. Vera had put her special stamp into a frame to keep it as a souvenir of her favorite magician group. So despite Kristoph's intentions in sending her the stamp, his plan was basically put on hold by her inability to part with it. Fast forward seven years later, where not only has this stamp remained in its frame but Kristoph now sits in prison on a murder conviction. Then one day, Drew Misham has to contact Kristoph and can't find a he takes Vera's special stamp, licks it, and winds up dead. By this random event that even Kristoph himself admits to being unable to plan, Phoenix Wright's plot to finally get back at Kristoph once and for all comes to fruition, despite the fact that he already manipulated one trial to put him in prison in the first place. The entire justice system had been rewritten in an effort to deliver just desserts and it all rested on an occurrence that began when Drew Misham forgot to buy a stamp. The culminating trial that Phoenix had played out in his mind for the past seven years winds up happening only because of something that no one could possibly have predicted.
    • Also the entire meta-plot of Lamiroir/Thalassa being long-lost mother to both Apollo and Trucy. All them just ended up coming together due to happenstance. There was some very light string-pulling going on with Phoenix but even he didn't know what was really up until Shadi Smith paid him a visit (and it still required that final bit of circumstance of Lamioir being involved in the murder in the third case to finally pull the whole tangled web together).
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: In the third case, there is some smeared blood next to Romein LeTouse's body. Contrary to the series's fashion, the victim did actually write it. However, it's not the murderer's identity, but LeTouse's own Interpol agent number. The fact it's smeared proves three things: one, that the one who killed LeTouse was not blind (And Machi isn't, so he's not acquitted for that), that the murderer knew the number could be linked to his motive (LeTouse finding out the murderer was involved in Borginian cocoon smuggling) and that the murderer knew about Interpol agent numbers, and this knowledge is mostly restricted to people who work with the police. (However, this last point is not brought up in the case, and it's hardly definitive; it's entirely possible that the killer decided such a message was likely to mean something to someone, even if it wasn't them.)
  • Cynical Mentor: Phoenix to Apollo. Given his predicament, it isn't a huge surprise that the former acts so jaded.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Apollo Trilogy started by this game and followed in Dual Destinies and Spirit of Justice are substantially darker than the previous three games. The story is much more grounded and excises a few of the supernatural elements like Maya and Pearls spirit medium abilities, replacing them with Apollo's perception abilities. The major Myth Arc of the game revolves around Phoenix and Kristoph Gavin's personal vendetta against each other, and the story covers topics that are much more realistic for a courtroom drama such as blackmail, evidence forgery, and the manipulation of the law. While the subsequent two games would later be Denser and Wackier and bring back many of the sillier elements of the series, it remains true that this game is probably the single grimmest and most down-to-earth game in the franchise.
  • The Darkness Before Death: Subverted. The victim of the third chapter, Romein LeTouse, is able to say a few things to Apollo before dying. Among them is "Can't see" which Apollo interprets as him saying that he has lost his vision. During the trial, Klavier points out that LeTouse was actually referring to the witness, Lamiroir, and not himself.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The "incuritis" article has a headline and sub-headline. They are identical.
  • Depending on the Writer: Technically more Depending on the Translator, but this game's English translation was handled by Alexander O. Smith, who had translated the first game, as regular series translator Janet Hsu was working on the English version of Trials and Tribulations (the two's U.S. releases were only a few months apart). This results in the Punny Names generally being a bit more obscure, and Phoenix and Gumshoe's personalities in the flashback trial reverting to the ones they had in the first game, where Phoenix was more snarky and short-tempered, and Gumshoe more arrogant.
  • Disability Alibi: Defied in the third case, where a young boy is charged with shooting a man. The gun in question had a strong recoil, and usually only heavily trained police officers are capable of using it without breaking something, so it was unlikely the defendant (who was a pianist and likely never held a gun in his life) could shoot it properly. However, when Apollo brings this up, the prosecution points out that the recoil could be why the gun was fired twice, and the argument isn't brought up again.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The whole debacle started because after news that Zak Gramayare was looking for a defense attorney broke out, acclaimed defense attorney Kristoph Gavin eagerly wanted the prestigious role since whoever could get him acquitted would receive huge amounts of fame. He even commissioned some forged evidence to secure a Not Guilty verdict... until he lost to Zak at a card game and was subsequently fired, leaving Zak to instead employ Phoenix Wright after losing a card game against him instead. Now with a lesser-known defense attorney about to grab the fame he wanted along with a huge sum of money wasted on forged evidence he can't even use himself, Kristoph decides to frame Phoenix for the forged evidence, burn his career down and kill the defendant seven years later as well as try to then kill the forger he commissioned as well as her father, which he succeeds at the latter.
  • Doing It for the Art: In-Universe, Exploited and Deconstructed. Case 3 has an unusual circumstance where several events during the day of the concert seems to coincide with the lyrics of Lamioir and Klavier's new song "The Guitar's Serenade". According to the lyrics, Klavier's guitar set on fire during the concert's second set and Apollo and Ema report hearing gunshots and finding the dying victim during the third set. This keeps burning a hole in the defense's case. Eventually Apollo realises something and points out to the court how stupid and impractical accurately orchestrating a murder to song lyrics would be since the killer created the "follow the lyrics" theory by carrying the victim's body onto the stage's moving platform along with a guitar and the unconscious Machi Tobaye like the final lyrics without anyone noticing and without any benefit if that was the case. Instead, the victim was shot before Klavier's guitar set on fire during the second set in order to create his own alibi for the third set when the victim was supposedly shot and to lead the court on a wild goose chase.
  • The Don: "Big Wins" Kitaki —he even looks like Don Corleone.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: The "Oh really, Ms. Orly?" joke was milked for all its worth.
  • Dramatic Irony: Phoenix must screw up the flashback segment of case 4. He's actually got a pretty clear grip on things but then the diary shows up and it all goes to pieces. You're even thrust into a Stupidity Is the Only Option situation to ensure this happens because Klavier says you're not able to reuse the diary to help your case despite the fact there is something you could say about it without having to resort to "that" piece of evidence.
  • Dramatic Pause: In the flashback in Case 4 to Phoenix's career-ending trial, when he presents the forged diary page, there's a longer-than-usual pause between when Klavier slams the wall behind him and when he reveals that Phoenix just presented forged evidence.
  • Driving Question: What happened seven years ago?
  • Eccentric Mentor: Phoenix Wright, of all people. His level-upped competence after the Phoenix Trilogy Arc and the track of things he has is freaking astounding. The same could be said for his eccentric nature, however.
  • Eloquent in My Native Tongue: An important plot point in Case 3: Although Lamiroir is seemingly almost-fluent in English, she has a tendency to mix up certain phrases due to not knowing the language well, which by when referring to the air vent she was in as a "small window", this sent the prosecution into chasing the actual, soundproof closed small window behind the victim.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The second murder involved an unsympathetic culprit and an Asshole Victim trying to kill each other, with the former succeeding.
  • Exact Words:
    • Phoenix isn't above using this. For example, he testified under oath that he wore a locket with a picture of his daughter inside — perfectly true, even though technically it wasn't his locket.
    • The Jurist rules dictate that no one directly related to the development of the case are allowed to serve as a juror for it. Phoenix specifically and is allowed to pick Lamiroir as a juror as while her previous identity as Thalassa Gramarye was the root of nearly all of the events leading up to it, her current identity as Lamiroir is a completely different person.
  • Expressive Hair:
    • Apollo Justice's hair sags if he's feeling annoyed or depressed.
    • invokedKristoph Gavin's hairdo does quite a spectacular number (specifically, OVER NINE THOOOOUUUUUUSAAAAAAAND! when he finally goes down for the count in the last chapter).
    • Daryan Crescend wears his hair in a long, torpedo-like pompadour that bounces when he laughs, droops when he's nervous, flails madly like a ricocheting bullet when he snaps, and takes on the appearance of a wet skunk when his brain is finally broken upon being exposed as a killer by Apollo.
  • Five-Aces Cheater: Shadi Smith conspired with crooked dealer Olga Orly to ruin Phoenix Wright's reputation as an undefeated poker player by planting a card on his person, then having Olga Orly deal five aces during one of their hands. The idea was to make it look like Phoenix had swapped out one of his cards for an ace, making him look like a cheater and thereby casting doubt on his previous wins. However, Phoenix managed to find the card planted on him and hid it in a grape juice bottle, so the plan failed.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the final case, pretty much as soon as Vera Misham is taken up to the witness stand, she starts staring at Klavier's face. Especially when everyone starts questioning her on who gave her the poisoned stamp that killed her father. It wasn't Klavier, but it was someone with a Strong Family Resemblance.
    • During Ema's first testimony in the third case, Klavier delivers the line "Love, slow-acting and new. Atroquinine... is waiting for you." Forward to case four, and the other Gavin brother (Kristoph) uses Atroquinine to kill a friend of his and tries to use it to kill the friend's daughter (which fails).
    • In case three, Klavier chides Daryan for playing a particular riff in Guilty Love worse than usual, even for Daryan's skill with the guitar. This is around the time you find out that the shot from the murder weapon tends to dislocate the shoulder due to its powerful recoil. This gives off a hint as to the fact that he's the true murderer of the case.
    • Phoenix is fully well aware of Apollo's ability to perceive when someone is lying in the first case. Then it turns out that Trucy has a similar ability. This ability comes from the fact that they are half siblings and Phoenix knows this.
    • The introduction of the first scene depicts a painter drawing a scene of a poker game, which is where the first case's events happen. Pay attention to the signature. The painter is Drew Misham.
    • Lamiroir says she never forgets a voice. She also pays a lot of attention to sounds in general. This foreshadows the fact that she's blind, and in fact needs to be guided by her hearing.
    • If you present Valant Gramayare with the Revolver, it triggers a humorous optional reaction where he thinks you're trying to mug him with it. Apollo notes that he has an adverse reaction aside from the obvious, implying that he has bad memories of a gun similar to this. A magic trick with a similar gun went horribly wrong years ago with him involved and possibly responsible.
    • Apollo finds the Brooch in Case 3 really familiar somehow. While in actuality, he saw Lamiroir wear it earlier that day, it's almost identical to Trucy's, save for her one having spikes on the tips.
    • When Apollo Perceives Lamiroir for the second time in Case 3, she says she's feeling tension in Apollo. Her words make a lot more sense when it's revealed she's the amnesiac Thalassa Gramarye, who has the same abilities as Apollo.
    • Trucy is very rarely seen without her hat, but without it, there are two very interesting sprigs of Idiot Hair, which look like a smaller version of Apollo's hair horns. Turns out they're half siblings.
    • In Case 1, Olga Orly presents a photo of Phoenix and the victim prior to the fatal poker game, apparently having a very lengthy conversation. The final case reveals exactly what they were talking about.
    • In the introduction video of Case 2, take a look at the final part, especifically on where the gunshot comes from. It foreshadows that the murderer was within the noodle stand when they fired the gun.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • The victim of Case 2 would've been Alita Tiala instead of Pal Meraktis hadn't Wesley Stickler snuck into the clinic's garage, panicked and stuffed Trucy's panties into Meraktis' car's exhaust pipe, rendering it inoperable and giving Alita enough time to recover, enabling her to kill Meraktis.
    • Kristoph would've gotten away with poisoning the Mishams if he sent Drew an ordinary stamp laced with poison instead of a commemorative one featuring Vera's idols which she kept and framed for seven years. He also wasn't banking on Phoenix to start and successfully run a jury on the same case, which rendered the "Evidence is Everything" rule he was banking on null.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Kristoph Gavin definitely qualifies.
  • Framing Device: Somewhat unclear how much is actually framed by it but it can be assumed much of the fourth case is taking place inside of Phoenix Wright's MASON System technology, with any trial segments being what's happening live.
  • Friendly Enemy: Klavier, who takes this to the point where he's almost more friend than enemy.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Subverted. The first case has "grape juice" being drunk out of what are clearly wine bottles. One would think it's wine in the Japanese version... but it's not. It's grape juice in Japan, too. (Series creator Shu Takami loves grape juice and apparently did this as a gag.) This is the beginning of the Running Gag of grape juice showing up every time characters would be drinking wine, on both sides of the Pacific.
  • Full-Body Disguise: In order for his teleportation illusion to work, Valant Gramarye had to disguise himself as Lamiroir, which worked very effectively.
  • Full Motion Video: The first game in the series to have FMV cutscenes, due to not being ported from the Game Boy Advance. Also, there's an extended regular sprite, fully animated, of Klavier playing the air guitar for no logical reason.
  • Funny Background Event: The Guitar's Serenade has Klavier desperately trying to put out his burning guitar and seems to throw up his hands in despair before fading out.
  • Gambit Roulette: Subverted: The final case initially appears to rely on Kristoph being able to predict the exact time that someone would lick a poisoned postage stamp seven years in advance. Kristoph actually uses the ridiculous nature of events as a defence, stating that no-one would have that much insight. He's right... but Klavier raises the counter-point that even though it was impossible for Kristoph to predict the chain of events, there was no reason why they couldn't have occurred through pure chance.
    • It may also double as, weirdly, a Broken Aesop with regard to the law being absolute. Short form:intent follows the bullet. Whomever laced the items with poison did so with the intent to murder the recipients. The time-elapse and the fact that Drew Misham was the one to lick the stamp is irrelevant (transferred intent). On the issue of intent, the law is; if not absolute, certainly very clear with no room for debate. It wouldn't be exciting gameplay to track down an invoice for the specific poison and connect it to Kristoph, but that would be more useful evidence.
  • Good Versus Good: Apollo vs. Klavier in the courtroom. Neither of them are interested in twisting the justice system to their favor, and seek nothing more than the truth behind every case; they simply have contrasting jobs that complement each other more than oppose them. In fact, outside of the courtroom, the two of them are on very amicable terms with each other.
  • Good Lawyers, Good Clients: Played with, each of your clients in the game is innocent of the murder they're being accused of; but they're all guilty of something. To wit:
    • The client in case 1 helps you win the case by using a piece of forged evidence.
    • The client in case 2 is a loudmouthed, rude, ungrateful boy who is involved in gang activity and sincerely wants to be found guilty and did come at the murder victim with a knife.
    • The client in case 3 aided a corrupt police detective in smuggling an illegal cocoon that could be used to make a deadly poison, and assisted in covering up a murder.
    • The client in case 4 made a living by creating forgeries on demand.
    • The client in Phoenix 's last trial took part in a dangerous magic trick where his wife got shot. He then committed more crimes by way of escaping custody, physical assault, and cheating at cards.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: A rare realistic example in that the victim of Case 1 was struck in the head with a bottle, which did not break and resulted in the victim's death. In addition, a bottle was also used to knock out a woman shortly beforehand, her being struck in the neck. Again, the bottle did not break.
  • Guilty Until Someone Else Is Guilty: Case 3 has Machi, a frail fourteen-year-old, being suspected of killing Romein LeTouse with a 45-caliber pistol, the recoil from which should be enough to dislocate the shoulder of a grown man, never mind a teenager. Even though this fact is enough to prove Machi didn't kill Romein, the court only gets convinced of Machi's innocence once Daryan's breakdown exposes him as the killer.

    H - Z 
  • Happily Adopted: Played completely straight with Trucy and Phoenix. "Daddy" indeed!
  • Happy Ending Override: The beginning of the game is quite the buzzkill for anyone who was happy about the triumphant note on which the original trilogy ended. To make matters worse, you get to play the specific case that overrides this happy ending — the case that got Phoenix disbarred.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In-Universe example during Turnabout Succession. One of the first things Gumshoe says to Phoenix in his last trial is "Today's the day, pal. Today, I win, and you lose!". May also cross over with Foreshadowing.
  • Hero Antagonist: Klavier is the first main prosecutor to be a perfectly nice guy from the start.
  • Hidden Purpose Test: For seven years, Kristoph Gavin thought he was fired as Zak Gramarye's defense attorney because he was put into a test via a poker game and he lost. What he didn't know, though, is that Zak was less interested in the card game itself and more on the way Kristoph was playing, and deemed him untrustworthy.
  • Hiding the Handicap: Machi was made to feign blindness for marketing purposes and to better accompany Lamiroir, seeing as she's the one who's actually blind.
  • Hikikomori: Drew Misham and his daughter Vera.
  • If Only You Knew: During the credits roll, Trucy says that Apollo staying in the agency feels like meeting a lost brother. He's actually her half-brother, though only Phoenix is aware of this.
  • I Have Many Names: Trucy's gone by three different last names. In order of when the player encounters them: Wright (adopted father's last name), Enigmar (real father's real last name), and Gramarye (real father's stage last name/mother's real last name.
  • I'm Cold... So Cold...: Apollo actually watches someone die... and the victim says 'I'm cold... so cold' as he tells Apollo who the witness is.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: The killer in the first case has three screw-ups that allow Phoenix to point him as the real murderer. To sum them up:
    • When Phoenix calls him about the victim being murdered, the killer makes a reference to the victim's bald head, when Shadi had his hat on until he died, so the culprit shouldn't have known about that fact. This makes Phoenix cast his suspicions on him.
    • Early into the trial, the perp describes the poker game between Phoenix and Shadi and makes an offhand mention that the poker cards had a blue back. However, the only (at that moment) photo shown that had the cards was in black and white, the poker deck that was actually used in the last hand had red backs and the card that was put in place of the bloody ace had a blue back. This inevitably places him at the crime scene at some point after the murder and before Phoenix manipulated the crime scene.
    • The final nail in his coffin is that, when Apollo presents the bloody ace, the killer immediately (and angrily) points the fact that the bloody ace is forged, instead of merely showing doubts about such a convenient piece of evidence. While he's right in that it's a forgery, the way he reacted proves the fact he knew about the real bloody ace, that he took it away from the crime scene, and that he really is the murderer.
  • Innocent Innuendo: "Turnabout Corner" centers, in part, on Trucy's "Magic Panties" trick, leading to her saying a lot of things that definitely sound dirtier than ought to be allowed coming from a 15 year-old girl. The "innocent" part may be in question, however - Trucy is hardly a naïve girl, and at times seems quite aware of how uncomfortable others are with hearing her talk about her panties.
  • It Makes Sense in Context: A significant portion of the second case requires you to search for a 15 year-old girl's panties, and later an old gangster wife's bloomers.
  • Ironic Echo: Only becomes apparent on subsequent playthroughs but (which probably means it falls under Futureshadowing as well): the way Apollo receives his "trump card" evidence mirrors the way Phoenix was handed the fraudulent diary page that sealed his career, both hand-delivered by Trucy out of the blue and both forged.
  • Jerkass: Zak Gramarye, while very polite and friendly, repeatedly behaves throughout the story in utterly incomprehensible ways that ruin (or risk ruining) the lives of nearly everyone around him. He withholds evidence from Phoenix that would have allowed Phoenix to get him found not guilty with ease (and would have prevented Phoenix from being disbarred), has his daughter Trucy help him escape from the courtroom and then abandons her while he goes on the run for 7 years, and then comes back those 7 years later to frame Phoenix (the man who fought to defend him in court, is taking care of his daughter, and moments ago helped him pass the rights to the Gramarye magic tricks to her) for cheating at cards and thereby destroy his livelihood and sole method of supporting himself and Zak's own daughter. He has... quite the reputation for this among the fanbase.
  • Jive Turkey: If Wocky Kitaki opens his mouth, this is what you're going to be reading. Incidentally, he's supposed to be a gangster but mixes it up with "gangsta".
  • Just Eat Gilligan: In the third case a murder weapon is a Hand Cannon which would dislocate the shoulder of anyone who'd fire it without proper training(which is a plot point). Which means the guilt or innocence of the defendant could be proven by simple health check to see if his shoulder is indeed dislocated. Not to mention that he wasn't wearing gloves and simply fingerprinting the murder weapon would answer a lot of questions(which was somehow never done, even though it logicaly should be the first thing to do).
  • Last-Second Ending Choice: In a first for the series, there is a bad ending that is not an exact Non Standard Game Over: playing as Jurist No. 6, the player is given the choice to declare the defendant guilty or not guilty. Choosing "Guilty" leads to the bad ending, while choosing "Not Guilty" leads to the good ending.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Capcom seems somewhat intent on avoiding this with Kristoph. For instance this promotional image, released for the 10th anniversary of the series (and about four years after Gyakuten Saiban 4 was released in Japan), shows him standing with all the other protagonists of the series.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • If you select "Refresher course, please!" when Kristoph Gavin asks if you want a refresher on cross-examinations, Apollo will think "Better safe than sorry, especially this early in the game!".
    • In the final case it turns out that the jurors are watching the trial from the same cameras you are.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again:
    Trucy: I can still remember that moment... You brandished those bloomers on high, and shouted... "Objection!"
    Apollo: ...Here's what I want you to do, Trucy. Take that memory, gently lock it away deep in your heart, and never speak of it.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Apollo and Trucy. And turns out they are, literally... Half-siblings, to be precise.
    Trucy: A lot of people come just to see my panties, you know!
    Apollo: You... might not want to advertise it like that.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Case 3 has the Chief Justice's son, who is suffering what appears to be an incurable disease called "Incuritis" and is on the point of death. It turns out that the only way to cure it is a Panacea in the form of a Borginian Cocoon, and a certain Borginian who has been framed for murder is the only one who has it via smuggling, which is punishable by death in his native land.
  • Living Lie Detector: Apollo and the rest of the Gramarye family have the ability to sense tension in other people when they lie. The bracelet helps him concentrate.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father:
    • Lamiroir is revealed to be Thalassa Gramarye, being both Apollo's and Trucy's mother.
    • Played for Laughs after Apollo finds out Drew Misham had been making sketches of his past 3 cases. Ema asks if Drew is Apollo's father, which he immediately writes off.
  • Luxury Prison Suite: Kristoph has a gigantic full bookshelf in his cell, a classy chair and an extraordinarily expensive nail polish. He receives a lot of mail, too.
  • Made of Iron: Played straight and lampshaded at the beginning of the second case: Phoenix gets hit by a speeding car, flies thirty feet, hits his head on a pole and only suffers a sprained ankle. This is not left unmentioned.
  • Magic Feather: Zig-Zagged. Apollo's ability to hyperfocus is innate — two other members of his family have it — and not something caused by his bracelet. However, the bracelet helps him know when to start focusing (it feels tighter when he subconsciously notices something and gets tense), so it's a massive help.
  • Magic Realism: Apollo and Trucy have pretty much what could be described as a "mutant power".
  • Master Forger: Drew Misham made and sold forged paintings on the black market and sometimes even forged evidence. Phoenix lost his license when he was tricked into presenting one of Misham's works in court. In actuality, Misham was just the seller. The true forger was his daughter Vera, who copied the paintings while her father sold them to keep them financially solvent. This ended in Drew's murder and Vera's attempted murder when the true culprit behind the forged evidence sought to cover his tracks.
  • Meanwhile, in the Future…: Part of the final case.
  • Medium Awareness: Happens in Case 3 when an item is added to the inventory, and Trucy notices the message being told to the player.
    *Headset attached to Trucy.*
    Trucy: "Attached?" I'm not some kind of robot, Apollo!
  • Meta Twist: Previously, the culprit of each game's first case is invariably the main witness, who is easy to cross-examine as they quickly crack under pressure. This game seemingly follows suit, with Olga Orly lying about the events of the murder and hiding her true personality behind a Shrinking Violet facade. Instead, she turns out to be innocent, and the real culprit is Kristoph Gavin, Apollo's co-counsel.
  • Morton's Fork: Phoenix catches the first case's killer in one of these. When the ace of spades with the blood-drop on it is presented, the perp starts to point out that it shouldn't be possible to have that evidence and that it must be forged. Phoenix points out, however, that only the person who took the real evidence from the scene could declare that. Thus, the killer can either decry the evidence as forged, and incriminate himself, or he can remain silent and get convicted by the forged evidence anyways.
  • Motor Mouth: Wesley Stickler. He's much slower than Wendy Oldbag, but just like her, once he starts, he does not stop.
  • Musical Nod: At one point the "Pursuit" theme hits a breakdown section that sounds a lot like the 2001 "Pursuit" theme from the original game.
  • Mythology Gag: In Case 4, you can examine the defendant lobby. Phoenix realizes he never really paid attention to how the place looked. This is a reference to the fact that, in no prior game (or future game except for Investigations), the defendant lobbies cannot be examined.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Kristoph Gavin's plan to cover up his poisoning plot required the court's reliance of evidence to prove theories, which worked completely and would've gotten him off scot-free aside from being stuck in a Luxury Prison Suite for a conviction of a separate murder. However, the Jury introduced by Phoenix manages to nail him otherwise, if Thalassa voted Not Guilty for Vera Misham. Otherwise, it results in a hung jury and due to the trial being postponed for a day, Vera dies in custody and the case becomes forever unsolved.
  • Never Found the Body: Valant alludes to the fact that Thalassa's body was never seen, before it is revealed at the very end that she became Lamiroir.
  • Never Suicide: Averted with Magnifi Gramarye.
  • Non Standard Game Over: In case 4, the verdict is completely your own choice. Voting guilty results in a hung jury, and the defendant dies.
  • Not as You Know Them:
    • The much more bitter and grouchy Ema Skye, compared to the bright eyed schoolgirl in her first appearance. This is because she's stuck in a job she hates... yet the bright eyed schoolgirl is still under there if you manage to get her talking about something she likes.
    • Phoenix Wright is much more cynic, laid-back and carefree than in the three previous games. He likes to confuse Apollo for his own amusement and talks in a rather patronising manner to his daughter but, when we get to play as him again, and do some detective work (which Phoenix obviously hasn't been doing nearly as much lately), his speech and thoughts sound a lot more like his lawyer self.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: One part of the MASON segment in Case 4 has Phoenix Wright ask Kristoph Gavin in his cell about his motive for murdering Zak Gramarye. Said prompt triggers Phoenix's Magatama and displays five psyche-locks. Black ones. After returning back to the cell upon clearing all other MASON segments, Phoenix examines a yellow envelope, taking advantage of Kristoph's absence, which ends up being the last item needed to complete the roster. Kristoph immediately confronts Phoenix and chastizes him for searching his cell without permission. The MASON segment comes to an abrupt end. The explanation behind the black psyche-locks is never revealed in the game nor does Phoenix/Apollo ever get a chance at unlocking them, though the next entry in the series, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, suggests that they represent a secret the character hides even from themselves.
  • Not Proven: It always comes close to this in the franchise, but this game really emphasizes this flaw of the legal system. Two cases exemplify it the best, if not outright exploit it:
    • In the third case, Apollo knows who to accuse but his case hits a wall when he lacks anything concrete enough to get the guilty party to admit to their guilt. The only way he can slam the book on the actual culprit is by having the defendant admit to his own culpability in a different but related crime. The other crime carries a harsh sentence in his homeland but not in Apollo's country, which makes it advantageous to him to confess now instead of being found guilty at a later time. In doing so, the murderer would be revealed as the two were co-conspirators on the latter crime. After threatening to blow the lid on the whole affair, the real guilty party loses it and breaks down.
    • In the final case, the murderer has covered his tracks well enough to leave no direct evidence linking himself to the crime, but all the other facts at hand point quite definitively at him. The problem is, the existing court system in place in the series' universe requires either evidence, a confession, or incredibly strong testimony...which is why Phoenix has spent the past seven years working towards the re-establishment of a jury system.
  • Not So Stoic: Kristoph Gavin, the so-called "Coolest Defense in the West", is portrayed as a very calm and level-headed person. Where many other Ace Attorney villains would react to incriminating evidence and inconsistencies being pointed out in their testimony with flamboyant, over-the-top Wild Takes, Kristoph responds mostly with annoyed frowns, eye-twitches and adjusting his glasses to make them reflect light in creepy ways. Even his first Villainous Breakdown is tame compared to others in the series, as he just pounds his fist on the desk in frustration rather than, say, strangling himself with his scarf or repeatedly banging his head on the wall. He maintains his calm demeanor until the end of the game, when he learns that a jury will be deciding the verdict of the trial he is testifying for (and is the true guilty party of). This REALLY pisses him off, and he goes off the handle about how their inferior minds cannot make judgments in a court of law. When Apollo reveals that the one responsible for getting a jury assigned to this trial was Phoenix Wright, he completely flips out, screaming Wright's name as his hair flies up in a torrent of fury and he is reduced to a twitching, disheveled, seething wreck, a far cry from the composed man seen just minutes before. After the Not Guilty verdict is declared, he just starts laughing insanely.
  • Oddball in the Series: Has been left as this for numerous reasons, including being the only game in the franchise not to be directed by either Shu Takumi or Takeshi Yamazaki (though they did both work on the game in other capacities), the only main-series game to be specifically designed for the DS, the only game in the franchise in which Phoenix Wright has a prominent role but is not the main player character, a very different soundtrack style to any of the other games, and an emphasis on "scientific investigation" minigames that was massively toned down in all the entries that followed. Lessened a little after the release of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice, which gave Apollo near-equal prominence to Phoenix, had this game's composer come back to do some work on the soundtrack, and added in a few more scientific investigation segments (though less than in this game).
  • Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: One of the Steel Samurai sequels is named The Zappy Samurai: Electric Bugaboo.
  • Off with His Head!: The killer in the third case frustrates Apollo so much that he wishes for his head on a stick.
    Apollo: (Grr! Screw cool! I want this guy's head on a stick!)
  • Only Sane Man: Apollo inherits the "sarcastic inner monologue of Lampshade Hanging" from Phoenix.
  • Out-Gambitted: Kristoph Gavin gets out-gambitted by Phoenix in the final case. Kristoph sets up a huge gambit to poison two people and not get caught. But Phoenix manages to overhaul the entire legal system just to ensure Kristoph gets convicted.
  • Panty Thief: Case 2 features Trucy's magic panties being stolen. When the real panty thief is caught, he claims he did it For Science!.
  • Police Are Useless: Two instances in Case 3. First, no one questions the fact that it was physically impossible for the defendant to fire the murder weapon. Second, the guards at the detention center allow a known suspect of the crime to be brought near the current defendant, despite the fact that the police had taken him off the case after Lamiroir had accused him of the murder.
  • Posthumous Character: Unusually for the series, only two victims are outright examples of this in the game, namely Pal Meraktis and Magnifi Gramarye. A further two (Shadi Smith/Zak Gramarye and Drew Misham) zig-zag the trope by being dead the first time they're mentioned in the story's present, but later showing up and interacting with Phoenix during the flashback segments of Case 4. Finally, not only is Romein LeTouse interacted with before his death, but to date he's the only character in the series whose moment of death is shown as it happens, and witnessed by the main characters.
  • Press X to Die: Near the end of Case 4, the game puts you in control of Jurist No. 6. The obviously correct choice is to press "Not Guilty", but if you decide to press "Guilty", a bad ending ensues where a hung jury happens and Vera dies of her poisoning in the hospital, thus "postponing the verdict for eternity."
  • Propping Up Their Patsy:
    • Alita Tiala hires Apollo as a defense attorney when her fiancé is accused of the murder she committed.
    • Kristoph Gavin planted a fake diary page on Phoenix to get him disbarred for presenting forged evidence. In order to avoid suspicion, he voted against disbarring Phoenix, the only member of the Bar Association to do so. Seven years later, he serves as co-counsel to Phoenix when he's accused of a murder committed by Kristoph.
  • Punny Name:
    • According to Olga Orly, the Hydeout was previously run by former notorious gangster Badgai.
    • In "Turnabout Corner", Phoenix also has a second piano gig at an Indochine restaurant called Alden Tae's. Additionally, the Kitaki family were heavy rivals with the Rivales family.
  • Red Herring:
    • The rivalry between Guy Eldoon and Dr. Meraktis doesn't figure into Meraktis stealing Eldoon's noodle cart for the sake of transporting what he thought was a corpse.
    • In the third case, the killer appears to follow the Guitar's Serenade lyrics, in their murder plan, but it's eventually revealed that it was all a coincidence until the culprit realized the investigators thought they were following it on purpose and finished the song to distract from their actual motive.
    • Director Hotti, the pervert "director" from the second and third games, makes a brief return when you first visit Phoenix Wright in the Hickfield Clinic. During this appearance, he begins making blatantly subjective remarks towards Trucy Wrightnote . He even gets a profile, and eventually following his appearance. This is the same case in which involves the serial panty snatcher, whose latest victim was Trucy. He isn't the panty snatcher however, and this brief scene is his only appearance.
  • Repetitive Name: In Japanese, Wocky Kitaki and Alita Tiala were named Kitaki Takita and Minami Namina, respectively. Put the first and last names together, and you get Kitakitakita and Minaminamina. Incidentally, "Kita" is the Japanese word for 'north' and "Minami" is 'south'.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • Replaying Case 1 infers that Apollo didn't react at all to Phoenix's testimony despite all the contradictions, as due to liberal use of Exact Words, he was telling the truth most of the time, with the reasons why contradictions occured was due to information he wasn't asked about or Kristoph's own meddling with the crime scene which made Phoenix's claim that he "didn't touch the murder weapon" contradictory at first since it was actually from the empty stash underneath the piano upstairs and the bottle he put the planted card in which was used to hit Olga wasn't used in a murder.
    • Similarly, when Apollo is told that Olga Orly has a habit of touching the back of her head due to Shadi hitting her with a bottle, she does in fact do this every time she references the bottle in her testimony, even before she reveals her true colors.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: The diary page that Phoenix was given (which was forged) makes it look like Magnifi was going to kill himself. He did so, but he didn't write it down. That text was just the forger's doing, unaware of Magnifi's intentions.
  • Rockers Smash Guitars: Klavier destroys his guitar after it sets on fire during his live performance in Case 3. He later notes that he would never smash one for fun, as they're expensive.
  • Rogue Juror: It is possible for the player and by extension, Thalassa/Lamiroir to be this during the final verdict. If the player chooses "Guilty", the jury is hung and the defendant dies. If the player chooses "Not Guilty", the defendant is exonerated and survives.
  • Same Character, But Different: Phoenix provides the page image. That said, he's not too far off the lovably dorky Crusading Lawyer we all know and love, just fixated on clearing his name and embittered by the injustice of seven years ago.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Kristoph Gavin. During one Perceive session, you get a close-up view of the glasses that allows you to see through the reflection and into the hidden eyes: There's a reason he was hiding them.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: Whether or not Vera survives her atroquinine poisoning is determined by the verdict of the final case, despite there being no logical correlation. If she's declared not guilty, she survives; if the jury is hung, she dies.
  • Secret Test of Character: Deconstructed, as Zak never revealing that the poker game was actually such a thing led to Kristoph's descent into becoming a murderer.
  • Shout-Out: See here.
  • Show, Don't Tell: The third trial drops some hints that Daryan was using his authority as a detective to interfere with the investigation(at least before Lamiroir accuses him of murder and has him taken off the case), but this is never explicitly spelled out in the dialogue, resulting in many players not realizing this. As a result, this ends up being a cautionary tale on the downsides of this trope.
  • Shrinking Violet: Vera Misham is very shy and quiet until you talk about magic. It gets so bad, she doesn't even want to leave her house unless absolutely necessary (like being tried in court). Her fear of going outside is justified, though: she was almost kidnapped when she was very little.
  • Shy Blue-Haired Girl: Vera Misham.
  • "Silly Me" Gesture: One of Trucy Wright's trademark gestures.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Unlike all prosecutors before him (and after) Klavier is, from the start, clean and more interested in getting a truthful verdict than a guilty one. Apollo's beef with him is Klavier's laid back attitude in court rubbing Apollo the wrong way.
  • Sink or Swim Mentor: Phoenix apparently decided to follow this approach when it comes to Apollo: he only offers real aid when things are truly hopeless, and even then it's usually just a vague piece of advice (though an extremely useful one).
  • Something-itis: The third case features a fictional disease called "incuritis". The name only makes reference to the fact that it has no cure or treatment save for a single substance, which can be extracted from a Borginian cocoon.
  • Spin-Offspring: Phoenix’s adopted daughter Trucy is introduced in this game as the new assistant.
  • Spoiler Opening: the Opening to the final case, Turnabout Succession shows that Vera collapses at some point in the trial and that Kristoph Gavin is likely the Culprit.
  • Springtime for Hitler: Alita Tiala tried to get her (ahem) beloved Wocky guilty of a murder she committed — by hiring a rookie attorney. His name? Apollo Justice. She bitterly laments her mistake at the end of the trial.
  • Spy Cam: The funny face badge on Phoenix's hat has a secret camera.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Subverted repeatedly with magician Valant Gramarye whenever he leaves a room:
    Apollo: (And with a whirl of his cloak and a wink of his eye... he turned and walked through the door... Normally.)
  • Stoic Spectacles: Kristoph Gavin's glasses are quite stoic... er, make that, Kristoph Gavin is quite stoic and has glasses. Glasses that you use to hide your Kubrick Stare by reflecting light off them are best described as stoically sinister.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • In the early stages of the first case, Apollo repeatedly mentions his "Chords of Steel" and how he's been practicing them for weeks. The first time he objects, he proudly puts them to use... and promptly gets rebuked by the judge and Kristoph for shouting too much. In the trial version of the game, Apollo outright loses his voice.
    • Apollo pursues the truth in his first case and gets his boss Kristoph found guilty of murder. Without a boss, he's out of a job.
    • The real killer in case 3 points out that there's no definitive evidence to prove that he did it. Apollo is able to piece together exactly what happened, and why he must be the killer... only to be reminded that without evidence he still can't prove any of it. But Machi can. This also proves that the current legal system is in desperate need of an overhaul.
    • Phoenix is given a piece of evidence before a trial without any explanation or context and, like many times before in his previous cases, doesn't question its origins and presents it in court when it looks like the perfect evidence to prove his client's innocence. It turns out to be forged, which ruins his career.
    • The rival prosecutor, Klavier Gavin, is a Nice Guy who doesn't care about a perfect win record or beating Apollo, only with finding the true killer. As long as Apollo can build a solid case that shows the defendant didn't commit the crime, Klavier has no problem ceding to his arguments.
    • Many witnesses have certain tics that Apollo catches on and allows them to point out inconsistencies in their testimony. However, as they are subconscious tics, some characters continue making use of said tics even after pointed out.
  • Suspect Existence Failure: The final case had the prime suspect of a poisoning case collapse while on the witness stand, having somehow ingested the same type of poison that killed the victim. This does not absolve her of guilt, as the prosecution claims that she attempted suicide out of remorse. As the suspect was still alive but in critical condition following the collapse, the prosecution insists that they finish the trial and come to a verdict before the suspect actually dies, since a verdict can't be assigned to a dead person.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The game has a few.
    • Apollo, for Phoenix. Even though Phoenix is still in the game, his personality is nothing like it used to be. Instead, his Deadpan Snarker and Only Sane Man aspects are now taken up by Apollo.
    • Trucy, for Maya (and Ema from the first game), filling the role of the Sidekick, the Genki Girl, and The Ditz, while also inheriting Maya's tendency to Comically Miss the Point
    • Notably averted with Klavier Gavin, compared to the rest of his prosecutor kin. After a string of prosecutors who want to win at all costs, even going so far as to employ questionable tactics in doing so, Klavier is a laid back, mostly easy-going foe who is far more interested in seeing justice done than winning.
    • Inverted for Ema Skye in comparison to Dick Gumshoe. Gumshoe was a dimwitted detective who was fiercely loyal to the prosecutor, prone to giving away evidence to the defence though blundering. Ema is an intelligent detective who is full of venom for the prosecutor and gives evidence to the defense on purpose.
  • Take That!:
    • "Who's gonna name a band the Police?"
    • Apollo names the Gavinners' red badger guitar "Emo", because "who associates rock music with crying?"
  • The Tell: When a witness is nervous while testifying, they'll perform some sort of habitual action that you have to zoom in on.
  • Thinly-Veiled Dub Country Change: Actually downplayed compared to the previous two games, with the only thing that really hints at the game's original Japanese setting being that the Kitakis dress up like stereotypical Yakuza members. This is partly due to Depending on the Artist, and partly because this was the first full game in the series produced in the knowledge that it would have a western release.
  • Time Skip: The game is predominantly set in 2026, seven years after Trials & Tribulations (2019). You do get to go back to the final trial of Phoenix Wright's career, which is set in 2019, however.
    • There's also a minor (about 3 months) time skip between Case 3 and 4.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: The last investigation of the game has you moving between various moments in past and present as Phoenix, occasionally using the evidence from the "future" to crack the Psyche-Locks of witnesses in the past. Justified, as Phoenix tells the Jurists that it's an approximation of the events set in a Visual Novel form for them to study.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Both the Judge and the prosecutor of the game explain outright that Good is always the right choice over Lawful, because the law is always changing... and that we have a responsibility to stand up and work to change the law if the law is wrong, for the sake of anyone else who might have to face that law.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Phoenix himself, in the seven years between this game and Trials and Tribulations. He goes from "object first, then think" to an infuriating (could anyone be less helpful?!), manipulative (AJ case 1) near-genius who is responsible for getting Kristoph implicated in the murder of Drew Misham by implementing a court system which wouldn't allow him to get away scot-free due to his careful elimination of the evidence. Even the flashback to Phoenix's final case shows Phoenix as nearly hyper-competent (comparatively, that is) up to the fateful moment.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Ema Skye, who went from being Maya 2.0 in case 1-5 to now randomly throwing Snackoos at your face. Failing an exam after years of study for can make someone a tad bitter, as well as finding out your hero had fallen on very hard times. Word of God states it's because they needed another Gumshoe, and Maya 3.0 is already filled in by Trucy.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Ema Skye and her Snackoos.
  • Trickster Mentor: Phoenix to Apollo. He gives the poor kid almost everything except a straight answer, but it's all in the name of helping him realize what's really going on.
    Phoenix: Sometimes, the straightest path to the truth isn't the best one...
  • Uncertain Doom: It's never stated what happened to the Chief Justice's son after Case 3, after the Borginian Cocoon scandal was revealed in a ploy to smuggle a cure to him for Incuritis.
  • The Watson: Unsurprisingly, the Judge isn't much more intelligent than he was in the first three games.
  • Wham Episode: The first case. The ultimate revelation that Kristoph, your mentor, is the responsible party and how you arrive to that conclusion can slap you as hard as any final case in the rest of the series.
  • Wham Line:
    • At the start of the first trial with the introduction of the defendant, the Judge bitterly recognises the unnamed, yet strangely-familiar hobo who is your client, as Phoenix Wright.
    • About a quarter into the first trial, a locket Phoenix is wearing catches the interest of the court. His explanation for it reveals a shocking new aspect of him:
    Phoenix: Yes, it's a locket. A locket with a photo inside. A photo... of my daughter.
    • Midway through the first case, you're thinking you've caught this year's inept Starter Villain... when Phoenix butts in and insists on his "fourth person". After goading Apollo to see if he can figure out who he's referring to, he utters this line.
    Phoenix: Kristoph Gavin. You were the fourth person that night.
    • In the third trial's first day, turns out the victim wrote a message in blood which the killer tried to rub out. Upon luminol examination however, it's not the killer's name, but a strange string of letters and numbers. Klavier recognises what it is right away, putting the victim under a new light:
    Klavier: Ah hah! I have it! I thought those letters "IPXX" looked familiar. This is an Interpol ID number.
    • At the end of the third trial's first day, Lamiroir accuses Daryan Crescend of the murder, having recognized his voice, throwing the courtroom into chaos and causing the trial to be suspended. As it turns out, she's right.
    Lamiroir: It was him. I am sure of it.
    • In the last case of the game, Spark Brushel reveals a surprising tidbit about Thalassa Gramarye.
    Brushel: "Thalassa Has Another Child Besides Trucy", end quote.
  • Wham Shot:
    • After the player is done with the MASON System, the camera zooms out to reveal that that funny looking button on Wright's cap actually had a little camera hidden inside it.
    • Near the end of Case 3's first investigation, Apollo goes up a ladder to reach a lifted platform in the stage. And there he finds... LeTouse's corpse (which went missing), Machi (who went missing too and was unconscious) and Daryan's guitar.
    • At the end of Case 4, you briefly take control of a certain juror who shows hesitancy due to her connection to the case. Eventually, it shows Lamiroir's reflection as you're about to cast her vote, and as she casts it, Thalassa's bracelet, which is the same as Apollo's, making her Apollo and Trucy's mother.
  • Who's on First?: Apollo's first exchange with Phoenix in the first case:
    Phoenix: So, you're..
    Apollo: (nervously) Fine! I-I'm fine!
    Phoenix: Ah...Mr. Fine, is it?
  • Yakuza: The Kitaki family and their rivals the Rivales family. Although Winfred, the Kitaki patriarch, is trying to go legit.
  • You Can Always Tell a Liar: Apollo is able to see the tells that witnesses give off and use them to expose lies.

Alternative Title(s): Apollo Justice