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Visual Novel / Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

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"Why did I become a lawyer in the first place...? Because someone has to look out for the people who have no one on their side."
Phoenix Wright, "Turnabout Sisters"

The first game in the Ace Attorney series stars Phoenix Wright, a sympathetic, easily flustered Perry Mason-type with Anime Hair, who digs deeper into the mysteries surrounding his clients' cases (which always seem to involve murder), butts heads with a host of eccentric characters, discovers clues and evidence the police miss, and uses those clues in court to force the truth out of witnesses and discover the true perpetrators. He fights alongside his late mentor, Mia Fey, and her Genki Girl sister Maya Fey.

The game was originally developed for the Game Boy Advance, with the exception of the fifth case of the first game, "Rise From the Ashes", which was created for the Nintendo DS remake, known as Gyakuten Saiban: Yomigaeru Gyakuten (Turnabout Trial: The Revived Turnabout) in Japan. It plays out in a Visual Novel style through the perspective of Phoenix Wright during investigation sessions, where the player can talk to other characters, present evidence, and find clues to build up their case. Usually the next day, court begins, where the player cross-examines witnesses to find contradictions, eventually forcing the real culprit to confess. The bonus 5th case of the first game took advantage of the touch-screen and mic on the DS allowing for more in-depth investigations on evidence, which is used in later titles in the series that require a system with a touchscreen.

The second game, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All, was released in 2002. It introduces von Karma's prodigal daughter, Franziska von Karma, as well as other gameplay mechanics that would become franchise mainstays. The third game, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations, was released in 2004, starring a mysterious new prosecutor named Godot and a plot that greatly focuses on the Fey clan. All three were originally released for Game Boy Advance, and then ported to Nintendo DS and Japanese PC. They have since been compiled and rereleased as the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy and updated with new graphics and animations for several systems. note 

A live-action movie directed by Takashi Miike was released in theaters in Japan in February 2012 based mainly on the events of the second and fourth cases of the game. The game was also adapted into an anime in 2016.

A character sheet for the whole series can be found here, while franchise-wide tropes can be found here.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney provides examples of:

  • Absence of Evidence:
    • In the 4th case, Lotta has a seemingly-pointless photograph taken by her automatic camera which just depicts an empty lake. Phoenix uses this as a major clue in court- not for what it depicts, but because it meant that the camera, set to take pictures when a loud enough noise triggers it, heard a noise that didn't match up with the gunshots Lotta herself heard.
    • In the 5th case, Damon Gant has just pressured Phoenix into presenting a scrap of cloth with Ema Skye's fingerprints on it, which proves she was responsible (albeit unwittingly) for someone's death. Phoenix is quick to burst his bubble by comparing the cloth to a photo that had just been presented, which shows that the victim had been coughing up blood in the moments prior to his death. However, there is NO blood on the scrap of cloth, meaning it was cut out before the victim died. This is what finally sends Gant into his Villainous Breakdown.
  • Absurdly Short Level: The first case is far and away the shortest in the entire franchise. It has only a single witness and can be completed in under half an hour, while the average case is multiple hours long and even later tutorial cases are generally over an hour.
  • Achey Scars: Manfred von Karma has a very noticeable Character Tic of grabbing his right shoulder. You don't learn until the climax of Case Four that he's had a bullet buried in it for fifteen years.
  • Affably Evil: Damon Gant seems like a nice guy who's always laughing and smiling, but actually he's a murderer. His façade is dropped the instant you discover the dirty evidence proving his meddling in a past case.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: In Japan, the game's cover is the same as the rest of the series (including in North America, starting with the second game): Four portraits of the main characters in a row. In the US though, the cover is a picture of Phoenix pointing angrily, with Maya standing behind him and Edgeworth evilly overlooking them.
  • Animation Bump: Since "Rise From The Ashes" was made with the Nintendo DS in mind, it takes advantage of both 3D models and fully-animated scenes, two things both lacking from the GBA cases.
  • Arc Words: "DL-6" throughout the first four cases; "DL-6" and "fifteen years ago" in the fourth case; "SL-9" and "two years ago" in the fifth case.
  • Artistic Licence – Physics: In the final case, von Karma threatens and then attacks Phoenix and Maya with a taser capable of firing "600,000 volts". It's completely likely von Karma is just being hyperbolic, but your average stun gun will fire about a tenth of that.
  • Ascended Meme: The 3DS re-release added a line referencing the popular "Boot to the Head" fan video.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Robert Hammond is an Amoral Attorney who doesn't particularly care if his client is innocent; he just wants to win his case.
    • Jack Hammer. He doesn't seem like an inherently bad person, but he does try to murder Dee Vasquez, who had been blackmailing him over an accidental death on set five years ago, and he does dress up in the Steel Samurai costume so his co-star, Will Powers, will get the blame.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Played for laughs in the side-comic for Case 4.
  • Backstory: The DL-6 case provides a lot of context for case 1-2 and is the main focus of case 1-4.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The DS version seems as if it'll end exactly like the original GBA version as the credits nearly finish...until Phoenix yells "Hold it!" and the main menu is pulled up to reveal a brand new chapter - Rise From the Ashes.
  • Bath of Poverty: At the start of "Turnabout Goodbyes", Phoenix suggests that Maya could take a cold shower as a substitute for Meditating Under a Waterfall. She accepts the suggestion, but comes back complaining that their shower's water pressure is non-existent.
  • Berserk Button: Don't ever come between Manfred von Karma and his perfect record. Berserk Button doesn't even begin to describe the consequences you will suffer if you do.
  • Beware the Honest Ones: Edgeworth derails a case twice because of a sudden conviction about the truly guilty party, even though both of those moments hurt his case. In "Turnabout Samurai", he objects to a testimony that otherwise would have given him the win, because he suspects that the witness is the actual murderer. In "Turnabout Goodbyes", he breaks under the weight of his assumed guilt and confesses to the murder of his own father, forcing Phoenix (who had just acquitted him for a different murder) to defend him again.
  • Big Bad: Manfred von Karma for the main game, Damon Gant for Case 5.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In case 5, Edgeworth tells the history of the Prosecutor's Trophy with a Chinese word for "contradiction", using the characters for "halberd" and "shield". Anyone who's studied the Chinese language will know that the word for "contradiction" is "máodùn" (矛盾), with the word "máo" (矛) meaning "spear" or "halberd", and the word "dùn" (盾) meaning "shield".
  • Boss-Only Level: The first case consists of a single trial with no investigation where the culprit is the only person you cross-examine.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In Case 3, Sal Manella gets an idea to make a sequel to Steel Samurai called Pink Princess after looking at Maya. At the end of the case, he's managed to get it produced and becomes a hit.
    • In Case 5, Gumshoe mentions that he forgot to put an off switch on the Blue Badger animatronic he built, meaning that it's constantly dancing until the batteries die. In the credits, it falls over due to the batteries dying.
  • Buxom Beauty Standard:
  • Call-Back: After April May is arrested, Phoenix visits her in detention in the hope that he can get some information out of her. April May opens the conversation by asking if he's there to laugh at her. In case 4, when Phoenix visits Edgeworth at the detention center for the first time, he asks if Phoenix has come to laugh at him, using almost the exact same wording Miss May used.
    April May: Have you come to laugh? Yes, laugh at the fallen Miss May!
    Edgeworth: So, you've come to laugh at the fallen attorney? Then laugh, laugh!
    Edgeworth: Well? Why aren't you laughing?
  • Call-Forward: Case 5 being a bonus case that was added after the first three games were released, it has a few references to the next games (see Foreshadowing).
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Rise from the Ashes, while still having comedic moments, is noticeably much darker and more intense than the rest of the game.
  • Characterization Marches On: Compared to later games in the series, Phoenix is more snarky and short-tempered, Gumshoe has more of an air of authority about him and is far less of a Butt-Monkey, while the Judge isn't quite the Cloud Cuckoolander that he would later become. Depending on the Writer is at work here as well, as this game's English localisation was overseen by Alexander O. Smith, whereas all the subsequent games were handled by Janet Hsu (except for Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, where Smith did the job again).
  • Chekhov's Boomerang:
    • The metal detector in case 4. It's used to hunt for a (fake) lake monster in a seemingly random gag, and then turns out that Phoenix was still carrying it to court, and uses it to discover a bullet in von Karma's shoulder.
    • Case 5 has the security camera video, which comes up four times, and the Unstable Jar, which was used at least 3 or 4 times too.
  • Chekhov's Classroom: In Case 5, Evidence Law comes up early during the first day of trial:
    • "Rule 1: No evidence shall be shown without the approval of the Police Department." Angel Starr gets a blood test done on the victim's shoe and determines that the two blood types likely belong to the victim and the defendant. Edgeworth tries to claim that it was illegal because of Rule 1, until it was confirmed by a "boyfriend" in the Police Department. This comes back to bite Damon Gant in the ass, since the Police Chief himself ordering Phoenix to show something specific technically counts as "approval". He also uses Lana's photo of Neil Marshall impaled on a sword to prove a point, unaware that she had smuggled that in the "Evidence Law" book she lent to Phoenix and had only come to light a few minutes ago, destroying his own damage control attempt by claiming the piece of cloth was illegal all along.
    • "Rule 2: Unregistered evidence presented must be relevant to the case in trial." Because Edgeworth refused the report about the apparent death of the exact same victim in the Police Department's evidence room, it legally was regarded as unrelated and the victim's exact identity couldn't be revealed until Phoenix proved that the victim was the same man in both cases. A lengthy amount of Evil Gloating about the above evidence by Damon Gant also gives it some obvious connection to SL-9, making it legal for Phoenix to use against him.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • In "Turnabout Sisters", there is a note that has Maya's name written in blood. This was a receipt for the lamp that would help out late in the second trial. Additionally, a seemingly-unrelated photo in Grossberg's office of a woman reappears in 1-4, revealed to be Misty Fey, whose involvement in DL-6 created most of the conflict for the Fey clan onwards.
    • In "Turnabout Samurai", Phoenix can note a dangerous-looking fence early in the second day of investigation. Then, on the third day of the trial, it's revealed that this fence was the real murder weapon.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Larry Butz, seemingly a blockhead doofus who's just at the wrong place at the wrong time appears out of freaking nowhere and 180's the entire fourth case. Prior to this he was only the defendant of your very first trial and in the fourth case he had only appeared selling hot dogs and unintentionally spawning a controversy about a rumoured monster in the lake.
    • At one point in the second case, it's mentioned that someone else is staying with April. This is not touched upon until late in the case, when it's revealed to be Redd White, the same guy who "ruined" the mother of the Fey sisters, and is a very important part of the case.
  • Clock King: Manfred von Karma in the fourth case. Edgeworth specifically (though not by name) suggests Xanatos Speed Chess as a method of combating him.
  • Contrived Coincidence: In Case 3, turns out that Cody Hackins was carrying an ultra-rare Steel Samurai trading card that he's willing to give away due to already having one. Meanwhile nearby, Penny Nichols also collects them, and said ultra-rare trading card happens to be the last one she needs for her complete set. She's willing to trade an ultra-rare-premium card for it, which also happens to be the exact same one Cody needs for his own set.
  • Covers Always Lie: See that woman, on the far left in the trope image (the game's cover)? She dies in the second trial. In the original, she only makes a few more brief appearances when being summoned by her sister.
    • It also makes the Judge out to be an imposing and distant figure of arbitration (he is not) and Edgeworth out to be a sinister, unflappable Smug Snake (he also is not). Hilariously, it does pretty much tell you everything you need to know about Maya's role.
  • Cowboy Cop: Played literally with Jake Marshall, the justification being that he's from west L.A. And that he once watched a report in TV about Texas.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Let's see... Cross-examining a parrot, running on a hunch that a 15-year-old bullet is still inside the murderer, and using a metal detector inside the courtroom on said murderer, who happens to be the main prosecutor. That's Phoenix alright.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Manfred von Karma practically defines this trope; he forges evidence, retrains a parrot, and prepares his witnesses perhaps even more than he prepares himself to get a guilty verdict.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The ending of Case 5. Fingerprint dust is automatically applied and blown away to reveal the names, and during each character's part of the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, said dust can be applied and blown off manually to reveal their picture.note  The credits end with one final piece of "evidence" that needs examining; the book that Lana gave Ema at the end of the case, inside of which is a photo of the two sisters when they were younger.
  • Crime After Crime: Joe Darke's backstory in case 5. It ends with him killing at least five people. Jake Marshall's brother, however, was killed by Damon Gant.
  • Darkhorse Victory: Just about every victory Phoenix manages to get in this game qualifies. He's a rookie defense attorney in a country with an over 99% conviction rate, going up against feared prosecutors with massive win streaks who would do anything to win, all while taking cases that seem to have massive amounts of evidence piled on against the client...and winning every single time.
  • The Day the Music Lied: At one point, Edgeworth brings up an "Objection!", Pursuit~Cornered starts up... then he realizes he has nothing to say. The music kinda deflates. Then it starts up again when he does think of something.
  • Dead Man's Chest: In case 1-5, Gant needed to stash the body of the detective he killed. He achieved this by summoning Edgeworth to the precinct over a trivial matter and stuffing the body in his car trunk. Lana was supposed to retrieve the body and presumably dispose of it entirely once Edgeworth returned to the prosecutor's office, but unfortunately for Gant, she was spotted and accused of the murder instead.
  • The Dead Guy Did It: In Turnabout Samurai, Jack Hammer was presumed to be an ordinary and innocent murder victim. Phoenix later uncovers that he's not only the person who drugged and impersonated Will Powers, but that his murder was actually an act of self-defense on the part of Dee Vasquez, who Hammer was going to kill.
  • A Deadly Affair: In the first case, prosecutor Payne tells the defendant, Larry Buttz, that the victim, his girlfriend Cindy Stone, had been seeing other men, her Sugar Daddies. Buttz's furious outburst is accepted as proof that he had a motive to murder Stone.
  • Death Glare:
    • The Big Bad of case 5, Damon Gant, has a pretty unsettling one.
    • Angel Starr's burning hatred for prosecutors in general makes her glares pretty nasty.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: Phoenix goes up against two prosecutors with perfect records... and defeats them both on the first try. Manfred had kept his record for fourty years until then.
    • Damon Gant is not only runs the police department, but by abuse of the law, has gotten away with murder perfectly to the point that two detectives and a prosecutor had no idea, and yet Phoenix manages to destroy his perfect crime despite Gant having the ability to functionally ruin everything Phoenix can use since he runs the law in this precinct.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • The "press" button in cross-examinations is available for use during The First Turnabout even though not only is it not needed to progress at this point in the game, storywise, Phoenix wouldn't know that he could do this in an attempt to find a contradiction in the witness's testimony. Press it anyway during Frank Sahwit's testimonies, and you'll find out there are scripted responses specifically tailored to pressing at his statements.
    • While examining the evidence room video, if you try to outsmart the game and point out something other that what the game's asking you, (for example: try to present the white cloth to the far left when you're supposed to present the light above Goodman's locker) the game will flat-out tell you "that IS strange, but that's not what you're looking for right now".
    • In the last day of 1-5, Gant at one point testifies that he had nothing to do with the forgery that took place. The correct contradicting evidence is the evidence list or the unstable jar that you found in his office the day before. However, if you present the piece of cloth, which you also found there, the game will tell you that evidence is not relevant yet. This is because it's part of Gant's Kaizo Trap; being able to present it early (before Gant is ready for it) would break the plot.
    • A running gag across the series, starting with this entry, is that Phoenix has a penchant for flashing his attorney badge to everyone he meets, which most characters either fail to recognize or respond to with incredulity. Because this is optional however, it's possible for players to not ever pick up on this character trait, which becomes dicey when a Case 4 witness recognizing the badge gets lampshaded by him and eventually turns out to be an important story point. To circumvent this issue, Case 4 has an earlier instance where you're required to show the badge to someone who doesn't recognize it in order to advance the story.
  • Did I Mention It's Christmas?: The murder of Case 4 takes place on Christmas and the trial is in the days after. The only effect this has is that one character hears a radio DJ say "It's almost Christmas!", which is critical to establishing a timeline of events during the trial.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Yanni Yogi in the fourth case. He did kill Hammond, but after his confession, Edgeworth decides to confess to killing his father, which leads to the case's final villain being Manfred von Karma.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: After Gregory Edgeworth managed to at least dent Manfred von Karma's perfect record with a penalty despite his last trial ending on a Guilty verdict, Manfred finds an unconscious Gregory by chance and kills him, then proceeds to take in his son and raise him to be the sort of prosecutor that Gregory would loathe and disapprove of, then get Miles convicted of murder one way or another.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: This game tends to lampshade the Punny Names. Someone on the writing team must have figured out how unneeded this was, because it stopped happening.
  • Downloadable Content: "Rise from the Ashes" in the Wiiware port.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: In Case 5, at one point, the testimony reads 'The man raised up his knife, and... and stabbed Mr. Marshall in the chest...!'. You possess an autopsy report stating that he was 'Stabbed in the back'. This is never explained. The player may think it's a contradiction meant for them to point out, but presenting the autopsy report here will net a penalty.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Sort of. Since the English localization/DS port included an extra case not originally from the Game Boy Advance trilogy, the end credits of that case includes a scene where Maya (who didn't appear at all during the case) is standing at a bus stop in front of a Japanese-style manor, a background that was never used anywhere in the case or game. This is because the scene is of Kurain Village, a locale that wouldn't be visited until the sequel. However, in Japan this is just a nod to the next game, which had already come out years before on GBA (the Blue Badger also has a similar story, originally appearing on Maggey's shirt in 2-1 for Japanese audiences but appearing first in global territories in 1-5, which changes its context for those audiences). There are several other nods to future installments in 1-5 as well that would have no context for non-Japanese players until later (such as the coat hanging in Edgeworth's office or a bug-sweeping device in the evidence room).
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • This game features a different health system, with a "five strikes" rule rather than the lifebar and variable penalties given out in the latter titles. The trials also take place over three days, which was changed to two days in subsequent games after complaints that the frequent shifts between the trial and investigations phases ruined the game's pacing. The five strike system would subsequently return in the crossover Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles and the main series itself in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice.
    • Notably, the first game has much less focus on and spends less time in the investigation phase, excluding "Rise from the Ashes."
    • In-Universe, the "three day rule" (all trials must conclude in three days) is still in effect for the rest of the series. It's only for gameplay's sake that they all happen to wrap up in two.
    • No magatama, and by extension no Psyche-Locks to crack open. Aside from legitimate spirit channelling being part of the plot, this is pretty much one of the most ordinary and down-to-earth entries in the series.
    • Phoenix also cannot present Profiles as evidence or in response to questions. This is only in comparison to the rest of the original trilogy though, as Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney and all the subsequent games dropped it.
    • The first game is also the only one in the series until Spirit of Justice to feature no playable flashback cases or Anachronic Order of any sort.
    • The character and background designs in this game are, for the most part, much more generic than those in the games that followed. The subsequent games would go on to have much more themed, bizarre character designs, and the backgrounds embraced Japanese culture and iconography a lot more, leading to the "Japanifornia" nickname for the game's English-language setting.
    • In this game, there are some points where pressing a statement reveals important information that is referenced later, yet pressing that statement is not mandatory to continue, potentially resulting in flashbacks to conversations that never happened. This oversight was eliminated in later installments, with testimonies structured to give all necessary information without optional pressing.
    • The Villainous Breakdown that the series is known for is incredibly tame here compared to later on, with some of the killers not even having specific "breakdown" animations at all, and just having longer versions of their "damage" animations. Likewise, motives of the killers and their method of carrying out the crimes were more basic compared to the more complex and outlandish ones later on.
    • The very first case only has a single witness to cross examine and each statement from him contains an obvious contradiction that you can jump on right away. Later games would make their first cases longer by having at least two witnesses to cross examine and teaching players to press witnesses, requiring them to press statements in order to advance.
    • The culprits of each case in the first game are of far greater power and influence than what is to follow. After the tutorial case, Phoenix gets to take down a Corrupt Corporate Executive who bribes his way out of any legal trouble he faces, a Mafia Princess, a veteran prosecutor who maintains his perfect win record through ruthless corruption, and the chief of police himself. After Phoenix has dealt with all of that in his first few cases as a lawyer, later games can feel like a bit of a step down when he's back to largely dealing with relatively mundane culprits until the final case or two.
      • Phoenix is way more willing to confront the actual culprits before the trial phases than during it, mostly because he generally gets enough clues to figure who did it by then (later games are more willing to have him figure things out at the defense's bench while in mid-trial). von Karma is perhaps the only exception, but only because Phoenix was not expecting to resolve the DL-6 Incident outright in court and he ends up assaulted by von Karma in the evidence room anyway.
    • The game's soundtrack is much sparser compared to the following ones, with most of the tracks being location-specific, and the only characters who get their own themes (outside of "Rise from the Ashes", which was scored more like the later entries in the series) being Maya and Gumshoe. The second game would add in a few more character-specific themes — namely for Pearl, Edgeworth, and Shelly de Killer, and would also give Lotta Heart a Bootstrapped Leitmotif recycled from the first game, — but it wouldn't be until Noriyuki Iwadare became the series' regular composer with the third game that the soundtracks switched to focusing on giving each key character their own leitmotif, with a common set of "investigation" themes shared across all the cases.
    • Progression in the investigation becomes non-linear at one point. In Turnabout Sisters, Phoenix has the option to pressure April May into telling him about Bluecorp by using the bellboy's affidavit. If Phoenix chooses not to pile more pressure on her, she refuses to talk, and Phoenix is forced to talk to Grossberg for the info instead. Later games have conversation choices follow the same event flow.
    • This is the only game where Maya is in a safe position during the game's (original) final case. All other games with Maya have her separated from Phoenix and co. during their final cases for almost the entirety of the case's duration with her in trouble.
    • The localized logo for this game emphasizes Phoenix's name, with "Ace Attorney" in smaller-point font. Subsequent games would use a larger font for "Ace Attorney" to emphasize that it's the name of the series, once it became known that games after the third would star different protagonists.
    • The French translation of this game translates the word "prosecutor" to "avocat de l'accusation" (accusation attorney). In later games' French translations, "prosecutor" is translated to "procureur" (a literal translation).
  • Easter Egg: You can use the Luminol Spray on the cactus at the Guard Station and in front of Edgeworth's desk in his office in "Rise From the Ashes" to find some unrelated blood. The first was apparently from a prior accident where someone tripped and landed on the cactus and the second is guessed by Phoenix to be Gumshoe's nosebleed after apparently being slapped by Edgeworth.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: In Case 4, Phoenix finds a way to continue the third trial when von Karma suggests cross-examining a parrot.
    • Edgeworth achieves a similar feat in Case 5, dissuading the judge's concerns over potential misconduct from the prosecutor by letting Phoenix, and by extension the player, call any future witnesses.
      Phoenix: (thinking) Unbelievable! Edgeworth has found a way to let the trial continue!
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Bellboy, a.k.a. "The Bellboy Who Swore An Affadavit".
  • Everyone Hates Fruit Cakes: Discussed. Wright's internal monologue has him calling Corrupt Corporate Executive Redd White a "fruitcake".
  • Evil Overlooker: Edgeworth, main antagonist until case 4, watches over the promotional art.
  • Exact Words: When vaguely pressured by Damon Gant to present the piece of cloth from his safe, Phoenix simply denies having any evidence to present at this time due to Evidence Law prohibiting him from doing so. This angers Gant, causing him to directly order him to show it, enabling Phoenix to legally present it after a lengthy amount of Evil Gloating that explains its material relevance to the case, as he, being the Chief of Police, inadvertently both approved it as evidence and established foundation to use it against him.
  • Expressive Hair: Most memorably Angel Starr. Depending on which eye her bangs cover, she can be sweet as a lollipop, or sour as a lemon.
  • Faint in Shock:
    • In the case "Turnabout Sisters," Phoenix faints once he sees Mia, who is dead and is the victim in the case. It's really Maya channeling Mia for the first time. Upon waking up and seeing her once more, he faints again. Lampshaded by Mia: "'GACK?!' Is that any way to treat your boss, Nick?"
    • Miles Edgeworth loses consciousness a few times due to his extreme seismophobia. He developed a fear of earthquakes after a traumatic experience in his past that resulted in the murder of his father.
    • Happens twice to Ema Skye, once as she witnessed what she thought was a Serial Killer stabbing another man, and then two years later, when she realizes that she may have accidentally killed said man.
  • Fake Alibi: Turnabout Samurai has a large broken head of the mascot block the normal path between the two studios, which would make it harder for them to travel within the suspected timeline.
  • Fanservice: April May, full stop (though it's later revealed that she deliberately invokes this for a number of reasons, such as giving herself an ironclad alibi for the time of the murder).
  • Filler Arc: "Turnabout Samurai" is the only case in the game not linked to the overarching storyline regarding the DL-6 Incident. Its main contribution to the story is allowing time for Character Development, most notably from Edgeworth, who willingly cooperates with Phoenix rather than letting a clearly-guilty party go free.
  • First-Episode Twist: Mia is murdered at the beginning of case 2, roughly 30 minutes into your first playthrough of the game. Her dead state plays a huge role from then on.
  • First Injury Reaction: Part of the backstory is that von Karma took his first, and only, vacation to recuperate after being given his first penalty. And a stray gunshot to his shoulder, which he's still feeling all the way to the present.
  • Fission Mailed:
    • In 1-2, telling Maya that you will go home instead of defending her results in what would be a Downer Ending... Until it's revealed to be an Imagine Spot by Phoenix and that you must select the second option in order for the game to proceed.
    • In the middle of 1-4, the Judge finds Edgeworth guilty in an identical manner to losing via draining the penalty bar. Then Larry arrives.
    • Downplayed in 1-5, where the Judge admonishes Phoenix for wasting everyone's time by accusing the Chief of Police for murder and corruption, causing the penalty bar to roll up as if he's going knock a point off it (and create a game over if the player only has one point left), only for Edgeworth to stop him and suggest someone else to testify.
  • Food as Bribe: Lunch lady witness Angel Starr in Rise From the Ashes is fond of offering people lunches to get them on her side. In the first trial, she offers the judge a triple-decker bento if he allows her to testify one more time. He agrees without a second thought.
  • A Fool for a Client: Phoenix winds up representing himself for the last trial of case two. In fairness, it's pretty much stated outright that he doesn't have a better option—thanks to the culprit's meddling, no other defense attorney will take the case, and taking a state-appointed attorney will practically ensure him being found guilty. This is a bit of a carryover from the original pitch for game, where Pheonix was actually a detective who got arrested after discovering a dead body at his client's office, then had to take up his own case due to his state-assigned lawyer being incompetent.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • An odd example in the first case. You can erroneously name Mia Fey as the victim in the case when the judge is questioning Phoenix on how well he's prepared to defend the case. Doing so makes her grow indignant (since she's obviously standing right next to you). However one case later and things don't seem so facetious anymore...
    • In Case 2, you can pick up a photo of Misty Fey from Marvin Grossberg's office. You don't need it to progress; it's simply there. Said photo shows up again in Case 4 which is now relevant to the plot and two and a half games later, Misty Fey appears in person as the victim in 3-5.
    • Also in Case 2, you learn about DL-6, an "unusual murder" that remains unsolved to this day and resulted in Redd White ruining the Fey clan's reputation. Then in Case 4, you learn that the case was ultimately caused by the events of DL-6 and must work out what really happened before the statute of limitations runs out.
    • Also in Case 2, April May off-handedly mentions how she likes "men with big... vocabulary". This statement makes a lot more sense when you consider the kind of words her boss likes tossing around.
    • In Case 3, when you first investigate Studio 2, you might notice a bent spike on the flowerbox fence - the real murder weapon both now and from five years ago. Given that two people have fallen on it, it makes sense.
      • The intro cutscene to "Turnabout Samurai" has another example. Following a fight between the Steel Samurai and the Evil Magistrate on the TV show, the show narrator states, "One has fallen! But who? Only the moon knows!" This is an early hint that the "murderer" in this case was actually the victim, contrary to what everyone assumed.
    • In Case 4, upon talking with Maya about how Larry started the myth about Gourdy living in Gourd lake with his Steel Samurai inflatable Maya says "someone should whip that Butz into shape". Guess what whip-toting prosecutor comes in next game? And in the third game she does whip Larry. A lot.
    • Manfred von Karma has a Character Tic of grabbing his right shoulder when upset (which you'll see him do when you ask for the boat shop owner to testify). When DL-6 is brought to court and Phoenix proposes that the true murderer got shot, an image is shown of the culprit being shot in his right shoulder. Turns out, Manfred was the one who was shot, the bullet hit his right shoulder, and it's still there. No wonder stress causes his shoulder to hurt...
    • "Rise from the Ashes" is filled to the brim with references to future events, since it was added for the DS version, and was written after the rest of the original trilogy.
      • Upon presenting your badge to Lana...
      • Chief Gant's safe is a KB Security product.
      • Examining a bunch of junk in the evidence room can give you a glimpse of the homemade bug sweeper Gumshoe uses in 2-4.
      • Gumshoe writes a message to Edgeworth on the back of a Trés Bien flyer.
      • Ema takes note of the fancy jacket Edgeworth has framed in his office, wondering what's the story behind it. Turns out it's the jacket from his tragic court debut in 3-4.
      • Gumshoe has a picture of Maggey Byrde inside his locker.
      • In the first court day, Angel at one point mentions that she never thought someone could mistake ketchup for blood. Guess what happens in 3-3.
      • After getting fired, Gumshoe asks Phoenix if he can work at his office. He ends up doing exactly that in 2-4.
    • Upon a (horrific) introduction to the Blue Badger animatronic outside of the police station, Ema recalls seeing it before. By sheer coincidence, she drew a picture of the silhouette of Gant's unstable jar during SL-9 years ago, which from a certain angle, looks like the head of the Blue Badger.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • Phoenix was late coming in to the office the night of Mia Fey's murder. If he had been there on time, he might have been able to save her life.
    • The DL-6 murder was caused due to an earthquake which trapped the Edgeworths and Yanni Yogi in the same elevator, and the ensuing fight led to Miles throwing a dropped pistol at them in an attempt to stop them. However, Manfred von Karma happened to be standing outside of the same elevator and gets shot in the shoulder by sheer chance. Once the doors opened, he took his chance to shoot Gregory.
  • Frame-Up: While standard for the series, Case 5 provides the sole instance where the frame-up is defied, as it's strongly implied that, were it not for Angel Starr witnessing Lana stabbing Goodman's lifeless body, Edgeworth would have been framed for it, as the stabbing was done in the trunk of his car, with a knife he owned.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: In the backstory of Case 5, Joe Darke was indeed a murderer who killed five people: the first by accident, and the latter four in order to Leave No Witnesses. However, the detectives and prosecutor trying to bring him to justice for it didn't have sufficient evidence to convict him. Damon Gant, the Chief Detective, took matters into his own hands by killing the prosecutor, Neil Marshall, and framing Darke for it by forging evidence and forcing Lana to help him, which led to Darke's conviction for Neil's murder and receiving the death penalty.
  • Franchise-Driven Retitling: Well, not so much a "retitling" as a shifting of emphasis. Initially, the plan was for the localized title of the series to be "Phoenix Wright", with "Ace Attorney" being the subtitle of the first game. When it became clear that the fourth game would not feature Phoenix as the protagonist, the series as a whole was rebranded as "Ace Attorney". This change is most readily apparent when comparing the first game's logo to the second game's logo.
  • Freudian Excuse: It can be a bit jarring to finish the other games, replay this one, and notice just how much of a jerk Edgeworth is, with the loss of his father, and replacement of his father with a colossal jerkass being revealed as an excuse. Even in his first case against Phoenix, an old friend, Edgeworth is snide, condescending, rude, dishonest, and manipulative. Fortunately, his Excuse was upgraded into Character Development over the course of the three games.
  • Gambit Pileup: Damon Gant from 1-5 has a freaking plethora of gambits in motion throughout the trial. Right up to the last minute, everything is going more or less how he planned it. Phoenix finally manages to out gambit him by postponing a piece of evidence until the former demands Phoenix present it, as otherwise it would be rendered illegal evidence. This is particularly ironic, given the culprit's own fixation on evidence law: had he not lost his patience, he might still have been able to worm his way out of trouble, since Phoenix would have been unable to present the critical evidence.
  • Gonk: Sal Manella, the sweaty otaku TV director.
  • Graceful Loser: The murderer in case 3 remains calm even when uncovered, as does Yanni Yogi in the 4th.
  • Hammerspace: Case 4 establishes that Phoenix has carried a full-sized metal detector around with him for several hours.
  • Have You Come to Gloat?:
    • When Edgeworth has been framed for murder, he assumes Phoenix and Maya have come to "laugh at the fallen attorney."
    • Earlier, after her arrest for tapping Mia's phone, Miss May asks Phoenix if he's come to laugh at her in detention, using almost the exact same wording as Edgeworth.
  • Headdesk: Manfred von Karma pulls one of these against the wall as a Villainous Breakdown.
  • Heinousness Retcon: The storyline implies Miles Edgeworth frequently used forged evidence in his days as an "undefeated" prosecutor. The bonus case, "Rise from the Ashes", which was added to re-releases made after Edgeworth's Heel–Face Turn in later games, has Edgeworth state he never willingly forged evidence, it was all just rumors.
  • Hell Is That Noise: There's von Karma's scream, which is so terrifying that it traumatizes Edgeworth for fifteen years.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Damon Gant, Lana Skye, and most likely Manfred von Karma. Gant throws this plus "Not So Different" Remark at Edgeworth as a parting shot, and it hits home because he'd known for a while it was a temptation for him. Lana gently counters it with the reminder that this is only a real danger for people who fight alone.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • The only reason Redd White is convicted is because he decided to testify to Phoenix's guilt in court.
    • Damon Gant, as part of his Xanatos Gambit and Phoenix's counter-gambit in Case 5. The cloth with Ema's handprint on it was Gant's insurance policy, and the reason he could not be found guilty as the murderer since at face value it implicates Ema herself (it was also never verified as evidence by the police, which meant it was illegal evidence and couldn't be used without approval - which Gant would make sure would never happen, or without material relevance to the case at hand). Phoenix had a chance near the end of the trial to present it, but doing it at that point would result in his own co-counsel becoming a murder suspect, falling straight into the culprit's trap and resulting in a Non-Standard Game Over. However, by announcing his inability to present it, Phoenix sidestepped the trap. Gant became incensed since he knew Phoenix had it, and demanded that he present it by explaining what it is and where Phoenix found it... which made it legal to present since the culprit (the Chief of Police) gave his "approval" by demanding it be presented, laid the foundation for its relevance by establishing the chain of custody, and then proceeded to accidentally tie himself directly to the piece of evidence. By doing this, he not only admits it into legal evidence, but it becomes the very proof that ultimately destroys him as only he could possibly have placed it where it was found. Phoenix was then free to present the evidence without repercussions, breaking Gant's trap and sealing his fate.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • When Dee Vasquez complains about Phoenix slamming his desk, Edgeworth slams his desk, chimes in "Yeah! Mr. Wright...!" then realizes his mistake and says "Oops".
    • Cody Hackins chides Maya for calling him a kid. Later, he chides Wright for yelling at him, because he's only a kid.
  • I Can't Do This by Myself: After the 5th case, the player is called upon to show the prosecutor, Edgeworth a piece of evidence from the case that neither he nor Phoenix Wright could have put together without the other's help. More of an "I couldn't do this by myself", but still...
  • If Only You Knew: In 1-3, after Phoenix proves that Jack Hammer was wearing the Steel Samurai outfit before he died, Edgeworth asks whether that suggests "he did so to cover up the details of his own murder". As it turns out, via a different defenition of "his own murder", yes.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • Both the fictional and apparently true fate of the victim of case 1-3, who died by being shoved onto a spiked fence. Plus the irony factor of him having killed someone else the exact same way years before his own death.
    • In Case 5, Damon Gant impales Neil Marshall on a sword held by a suit of armor. While he's still alive.
      • Furthermore, in that same case, the present victim died after being stabbed...and then was stabbed again during the process of attempting to cover up certain elements of the crime.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog: If the player gets the first question of the game wrong, Mia tries to excuse herself from Larry Butz's trial by claiming she's "expecting a delivery."
  • Insanity Defense: Deconstructed Trope. The defendant of DL-6 pled insanity under the excuse that he had suffered brain damage from oxygen deprivation after being trapped in an elevator for hours. The defendant was not only sane, he was legitimately innocent. But being declared insane and having to keep up Obfuscating Insanity to support the insanity plea utterly ruined Yanni Yogi's life, to the point that even 15 years later, he's willing to kill his lawyer for pressuring him to take the plea.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Case 3 relies on the fact that no one could get past the fallen statue blocking Studio 2, despite the fact that there's nothing preventing anyone from walking through the woods around it (and the camera watching the path) or climbing over it. However, Cody Hackins wanders through the woods just fine.
  • I Was Just Joking: In 1-4, Von Karma mockingly suggests cross-examining the witness's pet parrot. Wright, desperate and running out of leads, takes him up on this proposal. It turns out that Von Karma had actually retrained the parrot the day before in case he tried this, but Pheonix manages to use it to turn the case around anyway.
  • Jumpscare: In Case 1-4, Manfred taunts Phoenix over the fact that he doesn't know where the alleged second bullet from the DL-6 case went. Suddenly, the screen cuts to a black void with an untitled dialog box, then Mia appears for a split second, struggling to tell Phoenix that the bullet was taken by the murderer, but without any intention in a very broken and cryptic fashion. This happens a few more times over the next few minutes, and is very startling if the player isn't prepared for it.
    • Near the end of Case 1-5 during the start of Lana's cross-examination about the actual crime scene of the SL-9 Incident, Gant suddenly interjects with his own "Hold it!". Since the gameplay during the trial segments hasn't been interrupted this way up until now (or even afterwards), it can easily catch the player off-guard.
  • Justified Tutorial: The beginning case, "The First Turnabout," is stated to be Nick's first day in court. He's naturally quite nervous, so Mia walks him through the proceedings (read: explains the basic game systems).
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Edgeworth, especially in "Rise from the Ashes." As soon as he changes his ways and starts to seek the honest verdict, everything he did as the Demon Prosecutor comes back to haunt him. By the end of the first game he's clearly mentally and emotionally exhausted, not to mention consumed with self-doubt and self-disgust over what he's done.
  • Kaizo Trap: Damon Gant sets one for you at the end of "Rise From the Ashes". You've all but proven his guilt, and all that's left is to present the final piece of evidence and bask in your victory. But present that evidence too soon, and you'll get in trouble for not only presenting it illegally, thanks to the culprit's familiarity with evidence law, but also implicating the culprit’s scapegoat, resulting in an innocent person being convicted of a crime they didn't commit and the real culprit getting off scot-free. To defuse the trap, you instead have to claim you can't present the evidence yet the first time you're asked. The culprit will get angry and demand that you present said evidence by confessing to every other crime he committed short of the murder itself, thus making it both legal to present and giving it the final bit of context needed to implicate him as the killer, sealing his own fate.
  • Laughing Mad: Damon Gant does this during his Villainous Breakdown in "Rise from the Ashes".
  • Last-Second Word Swap:
    Maya: Wow! It's dusty.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When Dee Vasquez admits that Phoenix's theory about the actual cause of Hammer's death is true, she said it made for "good writing".
  • Leet Lingo: Sal Manella's speech is heavily written in this manner to reflect his nerdy personality.
  • Lucky Seven: During Case 5, a mysterious ID number shows up, being "7777777", which is lampshaded by Jake Marshall. However, the ID number can't be investigated due to numbers being that high are held by high-ranking members of the police unless they can be connected to the crime. It belongs to Damon Gant, who uses it as his safe code.
  • Magic Is Feminine: Only the women of the Fey Clan can channel the dead. Phoenix's perky female sidekicks Maya and Pearl tag along because they can channel his dead mentor Mia. Phoenix's lie detector ability is even gained from Maya giving him a Magatama from the family home.
  • Make the Dog Testify: Phoenix calls a parrot as a witness in the fourth case. Said parrot completely turns the case around. This actually isn't as crazy as it sounds, since during his investigation he learned that a certain question would cause the parrot to repeat an incriminating phrase, " Don't forget DL-6". Granted Manfred actually took the time to retrain the parrot not to respond to the trigger phrase, but Phoenix manages to turn the case around using other seemingly trivial phrases that the parrot was taught to repeat.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Maya taking Mia's physical appearance when channeling her is ambigously treated as possibly just the audience seeing it through Phoenix's eyes; no character other than Phoenix seems to recognize Mia when she's being channeled, although their reactions indicate they can tell some sort of change has occurred. From the second game onward, physical appearance changing during channeling is unambiguously real in-universe.
  • Meditating Under a Waterfall: Maya talks about wanting to do this as part of her spirit medium training at the beginning of Case 4 (Phoenix suggests a cold shower and then asking the fire department to hit her with their hose- Maya takes him seriously and gets refused), and it gets a few more mentions over the course of the case.
  • Meta Twist: Edgeworth being innocent of the murder in "Turnabout Goodbyes", despite The Teaser implicating him pretty convincingly, works thanks to the fact that the game's first two cases were both genuine Reverse Whodunnits.
  • Metal Detector Puzzle: Used in the fourth case.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: In Case 1-4, the caretaker of the Boat Rental shack has a bunch of fishing sketches on his wall. Maya is impressed by them until she realises that they're saltwater fish, while Gourd Lake is freshwater. Although the caretaker does have a screw loose, so it's likely he made a few mistakes. This serves as a hint that he's faking his identity.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Manfred von Karma. And if the name itself isn't badass enough, it's also seemingly a reference to Manfred von Richthofen, better known as the Red Baron.
  • The Nicknamer: Damon Gant (e.g. "Wrighto" for Phoenix, "Udgey" for the Judge, and "Worthy" for Edgeworth).
  • Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: Ema's picture of Joe Darke assaulting Neil Marshall. Justified, as it was used in lieu of her testimony of witnessing what would lead to Neil's death. It happened to be drawn on the back of the SL-9 Evidence List, which also included the silhouette of Damon's jar flying through the air, and it actually was depicting Neil about to stab Joe with the King of Prosecutor's Award's broken halberd.
  • Non-Standard Game Over:
    • If you present a certain piece of evidence too early in 1-5 (the cloth with Ema's fingerprints), you are later told the trial was unwinnable from the time you presented it because without proper context it seems to implicate Ema, falling into Gant's trap. The screen then goes black with a "Guilty" verdict.
    • Before most testimonies you have the option not to cross-examine, but this usually just results in your assistant calling you an idiot and making you go ahead with the cross-examination anyway. However, in 1-4, if you choose not to cross-examine the witness after Maya is arrested for contempt of court and dragged off to prison then Phoenix really will decline the opportunity to do so, which results in an instant "Guilty" verdict.
  • Noodle Incident: The mysterious closed "AI-16" case mentioned in Case 5, which involved a blue screwdriver. Ema asks Edgeworth what case it was, which he doesn't want to divulge, but he assures her that the events of that case has nothing to do with the current events. Even Phoenix is curious on what happened that time. Except that Gant used said screwdriver as an excuse for Edgeworth to take it, his car and the body to the Prosecutor's Office.
  • Obfuscating Postmortem Wounds: The victim of Case 5 was stabbed in the chest, and the defendant was caught stabbing the victim with a knife from the trunk of the car where the body was found. The culprit had forced the defendant to stab the corpse after it was transported to the crime scene to frame her for the murder.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Yanni Yogi, the Boat Rental owner. He pretends to be a senile old man who thinks Phoenix and Maya are his children until Phoenix reveals his true identity, at which point he drops the act and confesses.
  • Odd Name Out: "Rise from the Ashes" is the only case amongst the mainline entries (not counting The Great Ace Attorney) to not use "Turnabout" in the name. However, this is only the case in the English localization, as the case is translated to "Turnabout Rebirth" in Japanese, averting this trope.
  • Old Save Bonus: Putting the original Gyakuten Saiban in the GBA slot while playing the JP DS version unlocks every episode, presumably to allow players who'd already played through the whole game on the GBA to get straight to the new bonus case rather than having to replay the rest of the game.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: While Gant's Leitmotif doesn't use pipe organ in-game, he himself plays one and his leitmotif was arranged for organ for the Villain Medley in the 2008 Gyakuten Meets Orchestra concert.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Manfred Von Karma spent 15 years with a bullet in his shoulder to conceal his crime.
  • Palm-Fist Tap: Mike Meekins does this, then flinches since he does it with his bandaged hand and hurts himself.
  • Parental Bonus: April May says at one point in "Turnabout Sisters" that she likes men with a big... vocabulary. This possibly foreshadows and lampshades Redd White's splendiforusly huge vocabulary.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish":
    • Manfred von Karma has his ATM PIN set to 0001 because he's "number one" — and openly highlights this during a trial.
    • Damon Gant's safe combination is the same as his ID card number: 7777777.
  • Player Nudge:
    • After Gumshoe's testimony in case 2, Maya throws a paper at Phoenix telling the player about blindly pressing every testimony.
    • In Case 5, when Ema's drawing of the brawl between Neil Marshall and Joe Darke is brought up in court, Edgeworth reaffirms that the evidence list he received for that case and still has with him didn't contain a picture since there wasn't one filed as evidence and listed on the printed side, in case the player didn't check the other list found in Damon Gant's office yet and discovered that it's a 3D piece of evidence and that the drawing is on the blank side.
  • Polly Wants a Microphone: Although Polly doesn't say anything on her own, she does repeat certain phrases in response to a question, which comes in very handy.
  • Power Dynamics Kink: Implied during the third chapter, where the perpetually-lustful Steel Samurai director Sal Manella is a complete doormat for his producer, Dee Vasquez. Wendy Oldbag describes their relationship as, "She treats him like dirt, but I think he likes it." Official art depicts Dee sitting on Sal while he slobbers and sweats.
  • Power Trio: Phoenix, Edgeworth, and Larry, when they were childhood friends.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The live-action film focused specifically on DL-6 and its connection to the Fey sisters, so naturally, quite a few changes were made. For example, Cases 1 and 3 are instead made into two separate cases going at the same time (Phoenix and Mia successfully defend Larry, while Edgeworth gets Dee Vasquez convicted).
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Case 4 opens with what appears to be one, with the shooter saying "Merry Christmas" right before firing the gun. Subverted in that this event doesn't show the actual murder, but rather the staged shooting meant to implicate Edgeworth.
  • Put on a Bus: Maya leaves the city at the end of case 4 to train in Kurain Village. Phoenix remains to take up on Lana Skye's case two months later.
  • "Rear Window" Witness: April May in the second case is initially set up as one. But it turns out she knows a lot more about the crime than a mere 'witness' should...
  • Red-plica Baron: One of the characters is named Manfred von Karma. Like the Red Baron, he is known for having a perfect career. He also receives his comeuppance from a single bullet.
  • Reverse Whodunnit: Both "The First Turnabout" and "Turnabout Sisters" reveal who the killer is in The Teaser. "Turnabout Goodbyes" seemingly does the same, but it turns out to be a case of Not What It Looks Like, starting a long trend of the series both playing the trope straight and as a Red Herring in equal measure.
  • Revisiting the Cold Case:
    • The fourth chapter involves a new development that leads to Phoenix reinvestigating the 15-year-old murder of Miles Edgeworth's father and solving the case just before the statute of limitations runs out.
    • The fifth chapter is directly tied to a closed case from two years prior, with some characters feeling that it wasn't truly closed and trying to continue investigating it, some characters repressing memories from it, and some characters trying to keep it covered up. It gets very complicated.
  • Rivals Team Up: Downplayed at first. Miles Edgeworth and Phoenix Wright wind up cooperating to unveil the truth in "Turnabout Samurai," to the extent that the individual being questioned calls Edgeworth out on it. Come "Turnabout Goodbyes," the two of them wind up actively cooperating, since Phoenix is now representing Edgeworth as his defense attorney.
  • Running Gag:
    • Gumshoe excitedly barging in on Phoenix and co., finding them all depressed, and then trying to excuse himself happens three times throughout Case 5, with almost the exact same dialogue each time.
    • Edgeworth's inability to get witnesses to state their name and occupation when asked.
  • Sequel Hook: An odd example happens at the end of Case 5, in that it ties into the plot of Justice for All, which had already been released by that point. During the credits, the bellboy enters Edgeworth's office, finding a note on his desk. Justice for All reveals this to be Edgeworth's "suicide note".
  • Similar Squad: In case 1-5, Phoenix remarks at how similar Ema and Lana Skye are to Maya and Mia Fey, respectively. Lana is a hyper-competent expert attorney and her sister Ema is a chipper assistant, just like Mia and Maya. The difference is Lana is a prosecutor while Mia was an attorney; Ema's interest is science while Maya's interest is spirituality.
  • 6 Is 9: In the fifth case, a piece of evidence contains a note that reads "6-7S 12/2." However, the note was written upside down on pre-printed stationery with the victim's name on the header and it actually reads "2/21 SL-9", tying it to another case altogether.
  • Smug Snake: Redd White counts on his testimony and influence to get Phoenix declared guilty of Mia's murder, but his flimsy lies are quickly exposed and White soon runs out of excuses. He would've lost pretty badly if it weren't for Edgeworth's fast mind.
  • Snot Bubble: Yanni Yogi gets one when he falls asleep, when you first meet him in Case 4.
  • Spanner in the Works: Case 1-4 is almost lost... and then Larry Butz barges in with critical evidence that helps Phoenix exonerate Edgeworth. Egdeworth lampshades it by noting that this is probably the first time Manfred von Karma has had to deal with an unexpected witness.
  • Speaking Up for Another: As a young boy, Phoenix was accused of stealing lunch money from his classmate Edgeworth. When the entire class ganged up on him demanding he confess to the deed, Edgeworth intervened to defend Phoenix, as did fellow classmate Larry Butz. Their actions, coupled with Edgeworth's later mysterious career choice as a criminal prosecutor, prompted Phoenix to pursue a career as a defense attorney in the hope of crossing path with Edgeworth and figuring out what had led him down the path he took.
  • Spikes of Doom: In Case 3, the victim's actual cause of death was being accidentally pushed onto a spiked fence.
  • Stealth Pun: An Ace is a pilot who has taken down 5 or more enemies. Phoenix in the first game indeed took down five enemies by solving 5 cases, thus becoming an Ace Attorney.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option:
    • In Case 2, you have to present the evidence proving the killer's guilt to the man himself. This gets Phoenix arrested for the murder he was investigating instead because of the perp's influence on the police.
    • In Case 3 you have to present incriminating evidence to the perp. What does this person do? Call the Yakuza and tell them to "erase" Phoenix and Maya. Luckily, Detective Gumshoe butts in to save the day.
    • In Case 4, the only way to progress the plot is to have Phoenix show the evidence that would convict von Karma to the man himself, despite the fact it's obvious he would do anything to destroy it like all the other evidence he just stole from the police. And then when von Karma tazes both Phoenix and Maya to steal it, Phoenix still doesn't just report the assault and the theft to the police, even though they're already at the police department. However, Maya was able to take a piece of evidence from Manfred during the struggle because of this, which would later prove him the true culprit of DL-6. Otherwise with Phoenix in possession of the note, they could only prove that Manfred masterminded the Robert Hammond murder which would leave DL-6 unsolved.
    • In Case 2 you're never given the option of looking at what the receipt with Maya's name written on it is actually for, and need to wait for Mia to come back from the dead and tell you about it.
    • In Case 3 Phoenix somehow doesn't pick up on the killer indicating that she already knew the victim was dead before the body was discovered, so that Edgeworth can point it out instead.
    • Cases 3 and 5 involve people getting impaled. There are heavy pointy objects obviously visible in the background, but Phoenix can't even examine them. In Case 3, one part is obviously bent. The most that happens is Wright noting that it looks dangerous and should be avoided.
  • Stunned Silence: Due to the Courtroom Drama nature of the game, these are common. However, the most significant one is the stunned silence following Phoenix Wright accusing Manfred von Karma of killing Gregory Edgeworth.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Redd White may be a very good blackmailer, but he is not any kind of legal professional. Not even having the Judge and Edgeworth in his pocket is enough to stop Phoenix, an actual lawyer, from totally steamrolling him in court.
  • Suspend Save: The original had them, but they were replaced with regular saves on the DS. The iOS port, added them as a convenience on top of the main saves so that if the app was shut down, the player could chose to resume from the quick save file rather than losing unsaved progress.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Ema Skye in the bonus chapter is very similar to Maya. Phoenix lampshades the similarities between her and Maya both having older sisters, and Lana happened to know Mia. Ema resembling Maya is even part of the reason why he took the case.
  • Taking the Heat: April May refuses to willingly provide information that might incriminate Redd White in wiretapping or murder, and Lana is doing this for Gant, as a result of being blackmailed.
  • That Was Objectionable: Edgeworth gives us a priceless line in Case 2's first trial, which would name the trope later on:
    Edgeworth: I object! That was... objectionable!
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Quadruple subverted in case 1-3, when Edgeworth voices an objection to the usual heroic fanfare... which dies when he admits that he has nothing to say. The judge tries to move on, and Edgeworth objects again, and the music starts back up when he asks the witness to testify once more. The music runs a little farther this time, when the witness asks what exactly there is left to discuss. The music dies, Edgeworth stalls for time with the memorable "Indeed! Verily I say... Ergo!" and the music kicks back in when he finds something to focus the testimony on.
  • Theme Naming: All of the chapter names (save for the DS-exclusive chapter, "Rise From the Ashes"--and even then, only in English) have the word "Turnabout" in them.
  • There Are No Therapists: It's strongly implied that Robert Hammond's dirty lawyering solely caused Yanni Yogi's "not guilty by reason of insanity" to stand. He was never given a chance to prove that he was legally competent at the time of the murder... though this may have been justified, considering the prosecutor might have been so hellbent on securing some kind of deal that implied guilt that he didn't bother to care.
  • They Died Because of You:
    • Manfred von Karma tries to convince Miles Edgeworth that he (accidentally) killed his father, Gregory Edgeworth, by getting angry and throwing a gun that went off and hit him. It hits home because Edgeworth had been having a recurring Past Experience Nightmare about the incident ever since it happened, and he believed he really had done it.
    • Used again in Chapter 5, involving Ema.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: Neil Marshall's death was caused by Ema panicking during his brawl against Joe Darke, where the former was about to defeat Darke, only to get shoved to the floor by Ema and knocked out, since she thought that Darke was about to kill Marshall due to the power outage obscuring their faces. This would give Gant the chance to create blackmail against the Skyes after coming across the scene first, by setting up Marshall's fake accidental murder.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Phoenix presents damning evidence to the person he's trying to convict, alone with no witnesses, no less than three times. Predictably, it ends badly every single time.
  • 20 Minutes in the Future: Not emphasized by any means, especially given the lack of the usual trappings, but it's there. The incident that the first game's entire Myth Arc was built around happened fifteen years ago, and the date was explicitly 2001. This could actually account for the nutty court system, as the game makes it clear that it's new.
  • Title Drop: A subtle example, but still... the full name of the DS re-release of the first GBA game is Gyakuten Saiban: Yomigaeru Gyakuten. "Yomigaeru Gyakuten" is the name of the 5th case of the DS version of the game (and its literal translation is "The Revived Turnabout"). This 5th case was then localized as "Rise from the Ashes".
  • Unfortunate Names: Detective Gumshoe always mistakes Phoenix for Larry; the only problem is, he always calls him Harry Butz. Also applied when Phoenix tells us that in school, the kids had a saying... "When something smells, it's usually the Butz."
  • Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object: Discussed in Case 5. Edgeworth tells the tale of the unstoppable halberd and the unbreakable shield, and how it was pointed out that both claims contradict one another. In reference to this story, the King of Prosecutors trophy he received is shaped like a broken sword and shield.
  • Valley Girl: April May.
  • Vanilla Edition: An odd inversion. The Wii edition of the first game does not include the fifth case, which must be purchased for an extra 100 Wii points ($1 U.S.) Said case was not released until May 2010, four months after the game itself became available for purchase. (Presumably this is because the DS-specific Waggle mechanics in Case 5 took longer to adapt for the Wii than the rest of the game, because of the case-unique evidence examination mini-games.)
  • Viewers Are Goldfish: Regardless of how recently it occured, if a character brings up something that someone else did or said in the game's present day, there is a good chance that a redundent flashback will appear to remind the player that the referenced thing happened.
  • We Need a Distraction: While investigating Edgeworth's office in Rise From the Ashes, Ema and Phoenix try to distract Edgeworth in order to see what's written on a crumpled note. Considering that Edgeworth is standing right next to them, Phoenix is a terrible liar, and Ema conspicuously crawls on the floor near Edgeworth's feet, this doesn't work out too well.
  • Wham Line: Near the end of Case 3, Dee Vasquez is about to be let off the stand, even though most of the facts point to her being the culprit, but without decisive proof. Then Edgeworth yells Objection! and refuses to let her leave and take his win, instead choosing to help the defense and manages to trip her on a major contradiction through testimony he requested from her.
    • Another smaller example from that same case:
    Phoenix: It was Mr. Hammer who was out for blood! All Ms. Vasquez did was push him off the stairs... in self defense!
  • Wham Shot: In 1-5, going through the possible fingerprint matches for the piece of cloth in Damon Gant's safe and realizing that they match up to Ema Skye's.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess:
    • The killer of 1-5 sets up two separate framings in the brief time between Joe Darke's escape and recapture. First, he arranged the room to look like Ema accidentally killed Neil. This involved impaling Neil on the statue, writing on the jar, breaking the jar, and stashing the critical evidence in his safe. Then, once Lana arrived, he "agreed" to help her fake the evidence needed to arrest Joe Darke. This is extremely fast work, manipulating both people and evidence.
    • Phoenix himself excels at this—his strategy in court boils down to pointing out contradictions between testimony and evidence, or pressing witnesses until they reveal something they hadn't said before, and then adapting his strategy based on the new information. He then repeats this process until they run out of excuses or he has enough information to put together what really happened. This is heavily implied to be the reason he can hold his own against Chessmasters like Miles Edgeworth and Manfred von Karma, who struggle to cope when his insistent pursuit of the truth leads him to information they weren't prepared for.
    • Edgeworth himself is quite good at adapting his plan on the fly, though this doesn't come to the forefront until "Rise from the Ashes", when he simultaneously finds ways to fend off concerns about corruption and misconduct to prevent a mistrial while working with Phoenix to bring down Damon Gant.
  • Yakuza: Dee Vazquez has ties to the yakuza, but Phoenix, always one to search for the whole truth, confronts her anyway.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: It takes Maya channeling Mia to take the bloody receipt she allegedly wrote on... and turn it over to reveal a damning part about it. In a similar vein, it takes Ema teaching Phoenix her "scientific approach" to examine things in 3D, allowing him to get more information from pieces of evidence such as anything on the reverse side.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Phoenix Wright Trilogy, Phoenix Wright



Tim just laughing his head off for a good two minutes at Polly taking the stand.

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Main / Corpsing

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