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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 three games in the Ace Attorney series star 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. They were 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. The game 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 eponymous first game of the series chronicles Phoenix's first cases, Mia's death, and Phoenix's first battles with prosecutor Miles Edgeworth and his abhorrent tactics, culminating in a fierce face-off with Edgeworth's mentor, the legendary Manfred von Karma. The aforementioned extra case, Rise From the Ashes, ties the plot with the second series together. In 2010, it gained a U.S. iOS port. 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. An anime adaptation began on April 2, 2016 that focuses on the first two games of the series, with a second season in 2018 adapting the third.

The second game, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice for All, introduces von Karma's prodigal daughter, Franziska von Karma, out for revenge after the events of the first game. Phoenix must defend an array of new and wacky clients, including chronically unlucky cop Maggey Byrde and famous yet dim TV star Matt Engarde. The game features a new element known as Psyche-Locks, where the player is able to break characters' metaphorical "locks" that enshroud secrets that they hide. The game also replaces the five-strike system for a virtual health bar where the amount of health lost varies based on the seriousness of the error the player makes. Plus, the player can present profiles in addition to evidence. Near the end, the game also highlights the nature of the relationship between Phoenix and Edgeworth. (No, not like that...)


The third game, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations, excitingly culminates the series by further exploring the background of Mia, Maya, and Phoenix by way of the mysterious coffee-guzzling prosecutor Godot. The Kurain Channeling Technique, which was given less attention in the previous games, becomes the focus of the entire plot as the entire series ties together for an epic climax. The game also features two flashback cases where the player character is Mia, while Phoenix is a mere college student dating the sweet and demure Dahlia Hawthorne. And, for a portion of the last case, Miles Edgeworth steps into Phoenix's shoes.

The games were originally released for Game Boy Advance, and then ported to Nintendo DS and Japanese PC. DS versions were then ported to the Wii as downloadable titles on WiiWare, featuring a modified, Wii-specific control scheme that permits the use of hand gestures with the remote. A further Updated Re-release featuring all three games was released for iOS and Android in February 2012 Japan and May 30, 2013 in all other regions, targeted primarily at the iPad and replacing the pixel art in the GBA and DS games with scanned versions of the original character drawings (entitled Gyakuten Saiban 123 HD in Japan and Phoenix Wright; Ace Attorney Trilogy HD in English). Another compilation of the three games for the Nintendo 3DS (featuring the crisper sprites from the iOS version with improved animations and corrected music as well as some mild 3D effects) was released in Japan April 17, 2014, in NTSC countries December 9th, 2014, and in PAL countries December 11th, 2014 (entitled Gyakuten Saiban 123: Naruhodou Selection in Japan and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy in English). The compilation was released for non-Nintendo consoles for the first time in 2019, as it made its way to the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC (this time worldwide) via Steam.

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

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    General Tropes 

All three games provide examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Oldbag. Poor, poor Edgeworth.
  • Absolute Cleavage: Mia. Especially when she's channeled by Pearl, whose clothes are... small.
  • Accidental Pun: Localization likely wasn't thinking about Phoenix and Houston both being southwestern metropola when it came to "(Uh oh... Phoenix, we have a problem...)"
  • All Love Is Unrequited:
    • The blatantly obvious example of Oldbag's affection for Edgeworth (and all of her other crushes).
    • Larry. Poor, poor, Larry. Then again, he does write a blackmail letter to one of his crushes.
  • All Psychology Is Freudian:
    • Every villain in the series has some sort of ulterior, complicated motive for planning out his or her attack.
    • Averted with Richard Wellington, who killed Dustin Prince due to his irrational paranoia.
    • Maybe even Godot, who was (quite literally) blinded with rage when he committed his crime.
  • Allegedly Free Game: The iOS port of the first three games. It's free to download and gives you the first two chapters of the first game for free. The remaining chapters must be purchased in packs (one pack contains a full game) for US$5.99 per pack. However, to be fair, it's still way cheaper than trying to get all three games brand new for the DS.
  • Alliterative Family: In the first game, Misty Fey and her daughters Mia and Maya. Misty's sister's name is Morgan, but she didn't follow the M-theme naming with her own offspring.
  • Always Murder: Even the one case that started off as a theft ended up with a murder anyway. The nearest to a complete aversion comes in Case 1-3, and even that started out as a murder attempt which ended up with the intended victim accidentally killing the attacker.
  • Amoral Attorney:
    • Miles Edgeworth and Manfred von Karma set the series tradition for these types of prosecutors with Franziska von Karma in the second game and Godot in the third game.
    • Robert Hammond from the fourth case of the first game was murdered for being one. In an interesting subversion for the Ace Attorney series, he was a defence attorney.
  • Angrish: Whenever you catch someone in a lie, they will generally lose control momentarily and spout gibberish. Taken Up to Eleven whenever it appears during a culprit's breakdown.
  • Anime Hair:
    • Phoenix possesses what could be classified as "hedgehog hair", with spikes that protrude behind his head. His wannabe double, Furio Tigre, has similar spikes on his head.
      Phoenix: (Is my hair really that weird-looking?)
    • Pearl has a big pretzel on the top of her head, and her mother Morgan sports a massive shapeless bun that can only be held together by antigravity.
    • Ron DeLite has a pair of cinnamon buns (that are oddly shaped like a certain princess's hair) on the side of his head that spring outward when he's upset (which often happens).
    • Detective Luke Atmey's hair looks like he shaved his head, broke a plate, took the biggest piece, spray-painted it bright yellow, and glued it to his head.
    • Redd White and April May both have unnatural hair colors: dark blue-lavender and bright pink, respectively.
    • Gumshoe's pointy hair cannot be contained by and sticks through the bandages on his head at the end of the final case in Justice For All.
  • Arc Words: In the third game, "The only time a lawyer can cry is when it's all over" .
  • Armor-Piercing Slap:
    • Pearl gives a hard one to Phoenix whenever she believes Phoenix has wronged "Mystic Maya" in any (in)significant way, like blushing when an attractive woman praises him for his good defense (Desirée DeLite, mainly).
    • Franziska, throughout her appearance in the third game, very rarely hits Edgeworth with her whip even in court, choosing to hit other people instead of him. When she does smack him, it's to shake him out of his deep depression over losing Iris when his fear of earthquakes caused him to pass out while he was guarding her. Also, if you ask the wrong question to Sister Bikini during that trial, it is possible to make Franzy Whip It Good. And in Investigations, she'll whip him a good number of times in required scenes, more if you press certain things or present the wrong evidence. Edgeworth and Gumshoe are also her victims-by-proxy whenever she doesn't want to whip the person who wronged her.
    • Whenever Phoenix Wright gets too sappy talking about Dahlia, Mia subconsciously attacks Grossberg to vent.
  • Asshole Victim: Happens throughout the entire series. In game one: Jack Hammer was killed in self-defence while trying to murder somebody (and pin the blame on his co-star), while Robert Hammond was a selfish attorney who cared more about getting not-guilty verdicts than his clients. In game two, Turner Grey is an uncaring boss who caused one of his workers to die from falling asleep at the wheel and Juan Corrida tries to ruin his rival's career using his fiancee's suicide note. In game three, Kane Bullard used his security agency to blackmail customers, and Glen Elg meets this halfway in that, while he's not an asshole, the characters have no problem calling him a loser after his death. If you don't count Glen Elg, that's still 6 out of 14 murders in the first three games. And Valerie Hawthorne (case 3-4) plays with it a bit: she helped Dahlia get Terry arrested, but she later felt bad and tried to clear things up with him.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The DS support functions for the microphone and touch screen were tacked on to all three of the remakes. While it is cool to press the Y button to turn on the mic and yell "Objection!" and "Hold it!", it's far easier to press the shoulder buttons instead. The touch screen is rarely ever required for any of the games either, though it does make investigating easier.
    • The WiiWare ports let you swing the Wii Remote as if you were making Phoenix's trademark "Objection!" pose. Fun, but ultimately it's easier to just press the minus button.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Though civilians have pretty average names, anyone in the legal system is pretty much required to have a ridiculous name. The only exception is Robert Hammond.
  • Back for the Finale: Larry in the first game, Edgeworth in the second, Franziska and Edgeworth in the third.
  • Back from the Dead: Mia Fey is channeled throughout the series after her death.
  • Backup from Otherworld: Mia's role following her death. Whenever Phoenix is in a jam and can't find a solution, Maya or Pearl will channel Mia to help him.
  • Bash Brothers: If there's a legal version of this trope, Phoenix and Edgeworth are definitely it. Edgeworth wants to get the guilty into jail, Phoenix wants to keep the innocent out. If Phoenix has a definite lead in court that points to his client being innocent, Edgeworth will pick up on it and do everything in his power to help Phoenix, as long as it is within his ability and duty as a prosecutor. The way they take down Damon Gant, in particular, shows how much criminals should quake in fear if both of them are on the same case.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • From "Rise from the Ashes": Gant kills Neil Marshall in a fit of hunger for power, and then tampers with the crime scene so it looks like Ema killed Neil. He knew that Lana would ask for his help to manipulate the crime scene again so it doesn't look like Ema did it... which would give Gant a sure way to blackmail her from that day on. Control the future Chief Prosecutor; control all investigations.
    • From "Bridge to the Turnabout": Morgan Fey manipulates her daughter, Pearl, into unwittingly channeling Dahlia Hawthorne. Morgan knew that Dahlia, who has a grudge against Mia, would try to kill an unsuspecting Maya, who would be enraptured in her meditation. This was done all so that Pearl could become the next Kurain Channeling Master, a power struggle within the Fey family that has existed for centuries. She doesn't count on Godot trying to stop the murder from occurring, however, nor did she think of Mia interfering with the plan. Or of Maya working out that something might be wrong and deliberately channeling Mia to ask for her help, which ends up with Mia revealing all of Dahlia's schemes.
  • Be as Unhelpful as Possible: Almost every witness is this, either intentionally or unintentionally. Some are simply too wrapped up in their own doings to spare time for him, while others are openly mistrustful or even hostile. In almost every instance, this ends with the witness refusing to talk to Phoenix until he can persuade them to listen—or, in more extreme cases, until he drags the truth out of them in court.
  • Berserk Button:
    • One of the lighter examples, but in 1-4, when you talk to Gumshoe about Gourdy and say that you're looking for him, Gumshoe flips out. Of course, Phoenix didn't have the common sense to tell him beforehand that they had to give information about Gourdy to Lotta for the investigation.
      Gumshoe: You have time to go wild monster hunting!? Why not do a little questioning for me then!?
    • Do not under any circumstances accuse the judge of murder, or else you will face a penalty that will make any following penalties cause an instant game over.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Master of Kurain Channeling Technique is a position of pride and authority. Only the oldest daughter of the main family may become the master, which causes sisters and close relatives to turn against each other, even going so far as to kill in their attempts to usurp the title. One really wonders if the Fey clan's ancestors deliberately structured their clan's hierarchy to promote hatred, jealousy, infighting, and backstabbing so that only the strongest daughter may even hope to survive to adulthood, let alone claim the prize.
  • Bittersweet Ending: A few of the cases end on a fairly bittersweet note:
    • In case 1-1, Larry is proven innocent, but the fact remains that his girlfriend (the victim of the case) is dead and the clock that he gave to Mia would be her murder weapon.
    • In case 1-5, Lana is cleared of her murder charges and is finally able to act like her old self again, and Gant is convicted for not one, but two murders... the first of which he had convinced Lana that her younger sister had (accidentally) committed, and the second of which he was blackmailing Lana into taking the blame for. However, Lana will still have to answer for several other crimes she committed under blackmail, and will, in all likelihood, still end up having to serve some jail-time, leaving Ema alone regardless.
    • Edgeworth in particular embodies this: he spends almost the entire trial as a Butt-Monkey on top of going through a Trauma Conga Line of revelations involving everything from being publicly called out for overlooking an important piece of evidence to learning he unknowingly convicted a suspect with forged evidence, culminating in Damon Gant's Not So Different speech after his breakdown and confession. Even the satisfaction of knowing the real culprit was caught and Lana's reassurances can't lift his mood, and he's visibly downcast throughout the conclusion of the case.
    • In case 2-3, the murderer hits the wrong target, killing the girl's father (the circus Ringmaster, who for bonus points was effectively his adoptive father) instead of his daughter (who accidentally sent his brother into a coma and crippled him through a horrific series of accidental events), seems truly sorry for acting out of emotions, and everyone is torn up at the end of the case, though determined to pull each other together.
    • In case 3-5, Iris is declared innocent of murder, but she has to serve time in jail for tampering with the crime scene and the victim, even if she did it for noble purposes.
  • Born Lucky: Many characters accuse Phoenix of winning his cases with mostly pure luck, though they are not far from the truth considering something ALWAYS comes up in the last minute that can help Phoenix win.

    Then in "Bridge to the Turnabout", Phoenix falls through a burning bridge, into a river that has previously been established as having a horrifically strong current, in the middle of winter, and survives even when it's been reported people die in the river all the time. Granted, he gets a cold and spends a night in the hospital, and recovers solely because he's dedicated to proving his client not guilty, but that seems a little light compared to cold death. This gets lampshaded by Franziska, who says that she's unsure whether Phoenix is lucky or unlucky.

    In the long run, he isn't even that lucky. He gets handed some pretty horrible cards on each of his cases, most clients are unresponsive and hard to work with, and the true culprits won't confess so easily. Then there's the fact that he takes most of his cases pro bono. It's a wonder he can still pay rent, let alone eat. He can refute every last piece of evidence against his client, but due to the corrupt, guilty-before-innocent court system, he cannot produce decisive evidence to truly get his client off the hook without the real murderer confessing.

    Overall, whenever something truly bad would happen to Phoenix, he gets the best result... but if something terrific would happen to him, he gets the worst result instead.
  • Brick Joke:
    • A possibly unintentional example in Justice for All. One of the cases introduces Ini and Mimi Miney. About a case later, we're introduced to the clown Lawrence Curls, who goes by the name of Moe.
    • In the first game, on the fourth case (the last one in the original GBA game) Maya tries to teach Edgeworth to be more expressive, something that, after being tried, ends up embarrassing him. In the credits, this comes back with Gumshoe telling the player that Edgeworth came to say "Happy New Year" and how he left the precinct with his head down. This comes yet again a whole game later when, at the end, Edgeworth tells her calmly, but still obviously struggling to express himself, how he's happy that she's fine after being kidnapped. She then comments on how "he's improving". He then grabs his arm in embarrassment in the same pose he did in the first game.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Detective Gumshoe, the not-very-bright and insecure police detective who always seems to be the officer responding to cases where Phoenix gets involved. Whenever he misses something, the prosecutor berates him and promises a pay cut, to the point of him paying with instant ramen. In the second game, Franziska whips him good.
    • Larry Butz, Phoenix and Miles' childhood friend. Unlike his friends, he doesn't have much going for him, and is easily bullied in the courtroom.
    • Phoenix himself comes across as being rather unlucky, what with him being surrounded by lunatics and idiots in a justice system that's ridiculously stacked against him. He's also repeatedly injured and assaulted, be it from being hit by a car, knocked into a river, or getting shocked by a tazer. This becomes really apparent when you play as Edgeworth for a portion of a case in the third game: witnesses and detectives are actually helpful rather than directly or indirectly hindering and undermining you, the judge comes off as being slightly more reasonable, and the prosecutors don't assault you! Edgeworth does, however, mention that he begins to suspect that there may, in fact, be a "Kick me" sign on the defense bench in the court.
    • The judge's younger brother tries to be serious, but has moments of this in case 3-5.
    • Maggey Byrde has an extreme run of bad luck her entire life, most of it told through backstory. When Maggey and Phoenix's first cross paths, their bad luck combines and Phoenix gets hit on the head, ending up forgetting all the rules of the court right before defending her. He still wins.
    • Edgeworth gets his share of moments, especially in case 1-5, where many jokes are made at his expense.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: As this image can show you, all characters are unique in design. The designers go out of their way to make sure no two characters are like, with some pretty crazy results.
  • Catchphrase: Edgeworth's "Ergo!", used whenever he's describing a train of thought.
  • The Cavalry: Just about the only thing Detective Gumshoe does right is coming to rescue Phoenix. Mia, despite being dead and buried, also has a knack for this thanks to spirit channeling. And yes, it's lampshaded by Godot.
    Godot: (To Phoenix) Some beautiful woman always seems to come dashing in at the last minute to save you.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Getting poisoned by coffee is quite the recurring theme in Trials and Tribulations. It's the method of death for Terry Fawles (suicide) and Glen Elg (homicide). It's also what puts Diego Armando/Godot on the shelf for five years and gives him his white hair and visor.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Larry Butz, Butt-Monkey extraordinaire, manages to save the day three times in the whole series' run.
      • During 1-4, Phoenix has run out of testimony to cross-examine and contradictions to expose. The judge announces a guilty verdict...and then Larry bursts into the courtroom and reveals that he was also a witness to the murder, resulting in the judge rescinding the verdict so he can hear Larry's testimony. And sure enough, the new information Larry provides gives Phoenix the information he needs to finally deduce what really happened.
    • Misty Fey is first seen in a photo Phoenix can "borrow" from Marvin Grossberg's office during case 1-2. Then, in case 3-5, she appears in person as the murder victim.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Despite being in court, so much as presenting evidence prompts a Take that!. Pressing statements elicits a Hold it!, and pointing out a contradiction (or simply interrupting the opposing attorney's train of thought) is worthy of an Objection! These statements are always delivered at top volume, regardless of whether the circumstances actually warrant it.
  • The Clan: The Feys, a family of spirit mediums. Mia Fey, the elder daughter of the current generation, is Phoenix's mentor; after her murder, her younger sister Maya joins Phoenix as an assistant. Other members of the clan are also important characters, and the clan as a whole is a central part of the Phoenix Wright universe.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In Justice for All, Shelly de Killer has apparently been paying attention to the previous cases and decided to go in for a symbolic gesture, as when he shoots Franziska, he does so in the right shoulder, just like her father had been.
    • Franziska von Karma shares some animations with her father, as does a young Edgeworth (the younger Edgeworth also wears a blue vest reminiscent of Manfred's, with matching trim on the suit jacket).
  • Contrived Coincidence: A common theme through the series is Good Lawyers, Good Clients; that is as long as the protagonist believes in their client's innocence, the truth will always bear itself out and there will always be a contradiction or piece of evidence to exonerate them. However, in several cases, the trial reaches a point (particularly moments that require proof of very unusual circumstances that almost defy logic) where the case against the defendant would have been irrefutable if not for a piece of evidence that shouldn't logically exist (an early example can be found in case 1-2, where Phoenix uses a recorded conversation from Maya's cell phone to disprove April May's claim that the clock spoke the time upon the moment of death; people don't usually record casual conversations, especially with loved ones. Furthermore, the police do not thoroughly check the contents of Maya's phone and simply give it back to Phoenix when he asks for it the next day).
  • Colon: Cancer: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All.
  • Courtroom Antic: The games do not attempt to represent trials realistically in any way whatsoever. The judge accepts being bullied, the defense lawyer and prosecutor have shouting matches, witnesses stray off-topic, evidence is produced arbitrarily, and so on. The trials as shown are closer to sports games than legal proceedings.
  • Cultural Translation: Maya's favorite food got changed from ramen to burgers for the English localization.
  • Determinator:
    • Phoenix, the main character. The odds are so stacked against him, most lawyers would simply accept a Guilty verdict, forget their doomed client and move on. Not Phoenix, not ever. He will prove the innocence of his clients, no matter the personal cost or the odds. And when they aren't innocent, he'll put them away for good.
    • Maggey Byrde has pretty much lived her entire life spitting in the face of her horrible luck. No matter what happens, Maggey keeps on moving with a positive attitude. She's a tough old byrde.
  • Devil's Advocate: The rival prosecutors sometimes become this, rather than your true opponent. Once he warms up to Phoenix, Edgeworth isn't acting as a prosecutor because he wants you to fail, but because he wants all the holes in the logic of the case to be filled satisfactorily.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?:
    • Almost nobody likes Phoenix at the start of the series, except for a token few, and even after he pulls off his first win, Mia still has some doubts. Even his "friends" Edgeworth and Larry don't give him much respect despite him having a 100% success rate. And that doesn't change after it becomes 'almost' 100%.

      This is very much due to the Japanese legal system (and the culture surrounding it) of which the gameplay is based. Because the legal system is built on an inquisitorial system, in which the court has an active role in the case (whereas the adversarial system in the West reduces the role of the court to a form of referee), Japan has an incredibly high conviction rate. Furthermore, only in 2009 did Japan re-institute a form of jury system after revoking it in World War II. As a consequence, people generally view prosecutors and defense attorneys with adoration and contempt, respectively. That Phoenix Wright has such a success rate is nothing short of unprecedented: defense attorneys in Japan are lucky if they score an acquittal in their entire career.

      By the end of the third game, however, this trope is averted. Edgeworth, Franziska, the Judge, and even Godot respect Phoenix for his commitment to justice. Each game ends with a celebration, and the number of people in attendance grows each game — and none of Phoenix's former clients have a bad word to say about him either save Engarde, whom we never see again, and Maggey, thanks to the imposter. That doesn't stop Phoenix's friends from teasing him relentlessly, but that goes both ways. Phoenix even undergoes spiritual training despite being theoretically banned from doing so because he has no powers.
    • While Phoenix himself suffers both inside and outside the courtroom, pretty much anyone leading the defense tends to suffer extremely abusive treatment from everyone in the courthouse for most of the trial. Edgeworth, after suffering under the same circumstances during his one trial as a defense attorney in 3-5, engages in a bit of Lampshade Hanging when he wonders if the defense's bench has a "Kick Me" sign on it.
    • In case 3-3, Maya channels Mia just to get a Dirty Old Man to speak. Mia says that she can't believe her sister channelled her for that, even though she did the same with a pervert kid in 1-3 and didn't complain.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Franziska's habit of whipping every male who displeases her and Pearl armor-piercing slapping Phoenix when she thinks he's cheating on Maya are both played for laughs.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Every finale case is this. Phoenix and company really get put through the wringer before reaching a happy ending.
  • Economy Cast: You'll be seeing the same characters over and over again in the same circumstances. Detective Gumshoe and the Judge, for the most part. Other characters in those positions appear only when absolutely required by the plot — and in the judge's case, when a second judge is required by the plot, it is always his almost identical brother. Strangely, in an interview it's been commented that the first game (in GBA form) had filled its cart to the brim, so much that one character (Grossberg) had to have animations cut. This doesn't seem to be a problem with the later games, so having an Economy Cast only really makes sense for plot reasons (plus the occasional Lampshade Hanging).
  • Exact Words: The Magatama has a problem with this. Depending on how the question Phoenix asks is formulated, there may be no Psyche-Locks appearing because the character may not really have something to hide about that specific point. In case 2-4, Phoenix at first believes Matt Engarde to be innocent because he asked him if he killed anyone and Engarde says no, he never killed anyone; and no Psyche-Locks appear. But that didn't mean that he didn't hire a killer to do it for him.
  • Expressive Health Bar: This game has the health bar explode when you take a penalty.
  • Fainting: A lot of the mysteries depend on a witness being out cold at a crucial moment and missing a key detail. For example, Maggey fainted out of shock and kid Edgeworth was oxygen-deprived while Ron DeLite got a Tap on the Head.
  • Fangirl:
    • Pearl is an in-universe Phoenix/Maya shipper.
    • Maya is a huge fangirl of the Steel Samurai show.
    • Ema Skye goes absolutely nuts over Edgeworth, to the point of worshipping him even though he prosecutes her sister in 1-5.
  • Figure It Out Yourself: By the time Mia becomes Phoenix's Spirit Advisor, she clearly knows a lot more than she did as a living person, but she restricts her advice to encouragement and cryptic hints. What fun would it be if she outright told you the solution? Justified in-universe as well; she may be dead, but Mia is still Phoenix's mentor. She wants him to learn to fight his own battles, which he can't do if she simply tells him how to proceed every time he gets stuck and asks for her advice.
  • First-Person Smartass:
    • Phoenix often makes sarcastic remarks in his head, only a few of which he says aloud. This is to compensate for his rather Extreme Doormat behavior towards wacky and Jerkass people.
    • Edgeworth is very abrasive in his playable segment, both in his head and out of it.
    • Mia reacts to every crazy thing in her trials by snarking at the judge, the witness and the prosecutor in her head, usually accompanied by some male shaming (not without reason, considering the reactions Dahlia causes in them).
  • Foreshadowing: Oh so many.
    • In case 1-2, Mia says that Phoenix would be more likely to get Maya a guilty sentence rather than an acquittal, and that she should wait three years. Three years later, Phoenix finally stands on his own in the last case of the trilogy, without someone else coming in with new evidence, or objecting for him. He still has help along the way, but he finally finishes a case on his own terms.
    • At the very end of 2-2, while locked in solitary confinement, Morgan Fey rambles to herself about how Pearl's time will come to replace Maya as the master of the Fey family and the Kurain Channeling Technique. Case 3-5 revolves around Phoenix foiling this second attempt and finally putting an end to the Fey's bloody history.
    • In case 3-5, Pearl asks Nick if he would "walk over hot coals" for Maya. Later in the case he runs across a burning bridge for her.
    • A subtle bit in 3-2. Godot says "Colour...? I'm not much for discussing colour myself..." Later, it's revealed that due to his visor, Godot is unable to distinguish certain colours - specifically, he can't see red on white.
  • Franchise-Driven Retitling: The sequels all carried the "Ace Attorney" name, since some of the sequels (namely Apollo Justice and Ace Attorney Investigations) don't actually star Phoenix Wright.
  • Gainaxing: Some of April May's animations make her massive breasts bounce. For example, when she breaks down or when she's flirting (making this instance an Invoked Trope).
  • George Jetson Job Security: Gumshoe appears to have this, in some part due to Edgeworth's influence. He's only kept around because he's an old friend to Edgeworth and helped out in so many cases.
  • Going for the Big Scoop: Lotta Hart does this in three separate cases. One time she goes crazy and starts going after the crime scene Laughing Mad. Even Wright doesn't know which is scarier after that: the ghosts or Lotta.
  • Good Lawyers, Good Clients:
    • Phoenix always seems to get the innocent clients. There are two reasons for this:

      The first one is the nature of the Japanese Justice system. The primary motivation for prosecutors is to secure a conviction due to it being a point of pride and status. Since they have a great deal of control over who is eventually put on trial this is almost definitely a suggestion that in these cases, the prosecutors were more concerned with who they could convict than making sure that justice is served.

      The second one is justified in-universe. Phoenix (and Mia) always ask the clients if they are truly innocent, and only will defend them if they believe the answer. As of the second game, Phoenix backs this up with the magatama. If there's no psyche lock, he assumes they are truly innocent. This comes back to bite him in case 2-4.
    • Subverted with the final defendant of the second game, Matt Engarde. He's actually guilty.
    • Ron DeLite from Trials and Tribulations subverts it. True, he didn't murder anyone, but Phoenix still successfully got Mask☆DeMasque off the hook for larceny... albeit with Luke Atmey's help.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Later cases tend to up the tension with back and forth objections.
  • Hand-Hiding Sleeves: The "cute" variant is used by Larry Butz. His "happy" animation has him pull his hand into his sleeve and let the sleeve droop down as he waves his hand back and forth. This is always accompanied by a Blush Sticker.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • In 3-4, Edgeworth presents a photograph of two people meeting on a bridge but can't deduce which person arrived first, even with one half of the bridge out.
    • Franziska doesn't notice that a seven-bladed sword with blood only on its tip could not possibly be seamlessly removed after a stabbing, nevermind that the lack of blood further down the sword indicates that it was never inserted to the hilt to begin with in 3-5.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Most of the cases have the word "Turnabout" in their titles. In fact, in the Japanese versions, they all do.
  • Indy Ploy: Phoenix's courtroom methods alternate between this and Xanatos Speed Chess. Usually, he at least has a general idea of what he's trying to do. However, he almost invariably reaches a point where he must give up on planning and simply do whatever it takes to keep the trial going until he finds a solid lead.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Wendy Oldbag claims this, but we only have her word for it. However, one of the stories in the first volume of Official Casebook (a collection of Ace Attorney doujinshi), we get to see how her identical grandmother (!) looked as a young lady, and she was quite attractive.
  • Joke Item: Phoenix's attorney's badge is always in the evidence section. It's never used as evidence in court, and it only rarely gets used in investigations. It's practically never used after the first game, although there are comments about a counterfeit badge being used by one of the criminals.
  • Kubrick Stare:
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Well, he's not really the last. Officer Mike Meekins, one of the last new characters to appear in 1-5, appears far more cartoony than the rest of the cast. While still similar to the realistic anime-esque art style the rest of the characters are drawn in, his expressions are noticeably more exaggerated than anyone else's.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The events of case 1-4 and Edgeworth's eventual return to the legal system are pretty much spelled out in his own spin-off series.
  • Laughing at Your Own Jokes: Lawrence Curls, aka Moe the Clown, does this and it's definitely a sign of someone who isn't as funny as he thinks he is.
  • The Mentor: Mia. Dead mentor? Check. Comes in at the most desperate times? Check.
  • Metal Detector Puzzle: One in all three games.
  • Mistaken for Romance: Maya and Phoenix go through this a few times, first with Larry Butz assuming Maya is Phoenix's partner in more way than one, then with Turner Grey, and subsequently many, many times with Pearl. And in 3-5, pressing Iris at one point yields the following exchange:
    Iris: Mystic Maya... She's your girlfriend, isn't she? Spoiler 
    Phoenix: ...!
  • Motor Mouth: Wendy Oldbag.
    Oldbag: *rambling*
    * Edgeworth objects*
    Edgeworth: O-objection! I... object to the witness's taltakiveness.
    Judge: Objection sustained! The witness will refrain from rambling on the stand.
  • My Sibling Will Live Through Me: Mia, through Maya (and Pearl), far more literally than in most cases of this trope thanks to spirit channeling.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: The first game takes place in 2016. Almost nothing has changed, except the court system. They use 90s-style cell phones and VHS tapes, though the latter is Truth in Television as some places still use tapes for security cameras.
  • The Nicknamer:
    • Franziska invariably calls Gumshoe "Scruffy".
    • Damon Gant has "Udgey" for the Judge, "Worthy" for Edgeworth, and "Wrighto" for Phoenix.
  • No Badge? No Problem!: Phoenix does this constantly, and often swipes evidence from the scene of the crime. However, it's implied that the law in his world differs from real-world law on this point; on several occasions he's shown receiving assistance from the police during his on-scene investigations. There's a very odd line late in game 1 where Phoenix says that he's not supposed to do that. Really? Because it didn't seem to cause you any trouble with the police all the previous times you did it. Quite often, he even ends up doing their work. Especially including using the nifty gadgets for them.
  • Oblivious Mockery: A museum worker says that any intelligent person would think that the writing on an urn belonging to a clan whose founder was Ami Fey would say "Ami", and would reassemble the urn to say that if they broke it. Unknown to her, a little girl who broke the urn and is standing with her reassembled it incorrectly such that the name was spelled wrong.
  • Perpetual Poverty:
    • Gumshoe is at the point where even instant ramen is a luxury, and he's on the verge of having to pay to do his job.
    • Despite his success as a defense attorney for several high-profile clients, Phoenix seems to suffer from this. This can be puzzling if you play the second game and think "Didn't he successfully solve a fifteen-year-old murder his client had confessed to, and then went on to expose corruption in the police department and prosecutor's office, all within his first year as a lawyer?". He has a better record than Johnny Cochrane.

      But the truth is, while it's obviously exaggerated, the poverty of Phoenix Wright compared to the relative wealth of the various prosecutors is a definite prod at the fact that a similar gap exists in the actual Japanese criminal justice system due to the lack of respect the role of defense attorney is given societally.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Phoenix and Maya. Despite being very close, they never show any signs of romantic attraction toward each other.
  • Power of Trust: Phoenix and Edgeworth, in pretty much everything from midway through their second case together and beyond. It works because Phoenix knows that Miles will expose the truly guilty and Edgeworth knows that Wright will protect the genuinely innocent, so justice will always be served.
  • Priceless Ming Vase: The Fey clan's greatest treasure is the Sacred Urn, said to house the soul of the clan's founder. It gets broken and put back together again at least three times over the course of the trilogy. At the very end, a picture is shown of a very young Maya and Mia restoring the vase, implying that it happened a lot before.
  • Promotion to Parent: Pearl regards Maya as an older sister, but their relationship is closer to mother and daughter, and Phoenix also steps up as a parental figure. Pearl lives in fear of disappointing the two of them, tries to hide minor infractions behind Psyche-Locks for fear of being punished, and generally treats the two of them as guardians more than sibling-figures. The end of Justice For All shows the three of them reunited in a hug. Regardless of shipping preference, it's clear that when it comes to Pearl, Nick and Maya act in tandem to do what's best for her, with Maya even spelling it out for Nick: Pearl hasn't seen many happy couples and never knew her father, which is why she believes in "Mr. Nick" with the same devotion young children have for their fathers — as the hero who can always save the day.
  • Punny Name: Dear God, where to begin? Phoenix's habit of rising up out of the ashes of his cases, Mia Fey (me, a fey), the detective Dick Gumshoe (both slang for detectives), and those are just the main characters. Everyone else? Frank Sahwit (the witness, who saw it), Luke Atmey ("look at me"), Redd White (of Blue Corporation), Will Powers, Jack Hammer (action stars), Penny Nichols, Wendy Oldbag (very verbose), Lotta Hart, Lawrence 'Moe' Curls (a clown)...
  • Raised by Rival: When the defense attorney Gregory Edgeworth was murdered, Manfred von Karma, a prosecutor he faced in court, took his son under his wing and trained him to become a ruthless prosecutor like himself. Manfred murdered Gregory for coming close to defeating him in court and giving him a penalty, but his revenge didn't stop there. By raising Miles to be more like himself than his own father, he almost twisted him into everything his father would have hated.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: One is tempted when playing the games to believe that the court system is completely made up. Unfortunately, aside from the antics, the exceedingly tolerant judge, and the accelerated pace of investigation and trials, it is disturbingly close to reality in Japan, where prosecution success rates around 100% and defense attorneys without a single acquittal are the norm and juries were absent from World War 2 through 2009.
  • Running Gag:
    • Examining a stepladder almost always results in a conversation where Phoenix explains the distinction between an ordinary ladder and a stepladder to Maya, which Maya brushes off on the grounds that they're still both ladders. This trend is continued by Trucy and Apollo and Miles and Kay.
    • Ema gets in on the action in 1-5, and another variation occurs in 3-2 with Maya confusing a fireplace for a hearth.
    • Gumshoe also gets in on it in case 3-5.
    • Also, people appearing to fly in photographs appears often, with of course someone eventually commenting that it is impossible to fly.
    • Edgeworth cannot get his witnesses to state their names and occupations.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: These games get progressively tougher and more complicated as they go on.
    • In the first game, things are rather relaxed: investigations are pretty straightforward, with relatively few points where you can get lost, and cross-examinations are rather easy. Finding contradictions doesn't go beyond pressing until the witness revises a statement, then presenting evidence there. Plus, you can take up to five penalties before losing, and (with a single exception during the first trial segment of 1-4) you'll only be penalized for presenting incorrect evidence or selecting certain incorrect dialogue options in court.
    • Justice For All is where the developers really started getting sneaky. Cross-examinations are tougher, since now witnesses can add revised statements that aren't contradictory, or add different statements depending on what you choose to ask a witness. There are also a few points were you have to backtrack while pressing, press statements in a certain order, or even press the same statement twice! Not to mention now you can get penalized simply by pressing - though the Judge does warn you beforehand. Contradictions now require the player to remember previous testimony, and to think them through more. And you also sometimes need to "unlock" new testimony to make other statements contradictory (ex: the contradiction with the ring in 2-3). Unlike the first game, now sometimes you have to say you "can't present evidence yet" or that a witness's statement "was not important" to progress. Investigations also got harder: now there are points where you have to present evidence to the same person that gave you that evidence seconds ago, and the addition of profiles also makes it easier to miss presenting something. But probably the biggest step-up in difficulty is the penalty bar. This green bar allows the developers to hit you with bigger penalties when screwing up. In some points in the last case, you can get either a 100% penalty or a bad ending for presenting incorrect evidence. And this bar (which counts both for psyche-locks and court penalites) does not refill when saving, so it's possible to go into court with low health.
    • It seems the developers focused more on writing the Myth Arc than in making player's existence harder while making Trials and Tribulations, since there are few new tricks here compared to JFA. While there's not a bad ending in this game, the two "one-chance" moments (one of which is an 11-statement, press-only testimony) are designed to punish Save Scumming, since both the "right" and "wrong" conversations start with the same few lines of text, and the music doesn't stop to indicate whether you got it right or not. Also, there's a couple of testimonies where you have to "mine" for information. In other words, if at the end of a press Phoenix thinks "I'd better come back to this later", that means you have to gather information by pressing other statements, then return to press the statement Phoenix pointed out. In addition, "Turnabout Memories" ups the difficulty in comparison to the previous first cases, with a difficult witness right off the bat and a cunning culprit who easily manipulates most of the courtroom.
    • Rise from the Ashes, the fifth case added to the first game's Updated Re Release on the DS, was written after the rest of the original trilogy, so it makes use of most of the tricks seen in JFA and T&T. (Though it doesn't implement any variable penalties, since it still uses the first game's five-strike system.) The only new trick is that there are a couple spots where you have to present several pieces of evidence to one person to unlock a new talk topic.
  • 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.
  • Spirit Advisor: Mia Fey fills this role, and even though she appears to be omniscient (since she's dead and all), she seems to have varying levels of this (such as in the third case of the first game where even she doesn't know what happened until Phoenix does).
  • Statute of Limitations: Comes up a few times; it's mentioned to be three days long in case 1-3, and that it was actually shortened from the 15 year long statute for murder cases in 1-4, which is why Hammond's murder was committed when it was, because von Karma wanted Edgeworth to be convicted for it, or at least for the DL-6 incident. A key point in 1-5 is that the evidence for a case two years prior was going to be "put to rest", officially closing an old case that its investigators felt wasn't complete.
    • Kind of an Acceptable Break From Reality to be used for the Rule of Drama. In the US, there has never been a Statute of Limitations for murder, while in Japan there has. However, between the time the games were made and 2016 (the time the first game takes place) Japan has officially removed all Statutes of Limitations for murders.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Subverted with Mia Fey. When she's murdered at the beginning of the second case, it seems like a standard cliche — female character close to the protagonist is killed solely so that avenging her can serve as his heroic motivation. In fact, though, Mia avenges herself from beyond the grave in the most literal way possible. Furthermore, even in the third game, it's Mia, not Phoenix, who is Dahlia Hawthorne's ultimate nemesis. While a male character does set himself to avenge Mia, his short-sighted anger leads to more tragedy, and he admits later that he should have asked for Phoenix's help instead of blaming him.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: Often there is a glaring piece of evidence or a major hole in the witness's testimony, but you can't point it out until the game decides it's relevant.
    • In the first game, there comes a point where the only way to advance the plot is to show incriminating evidence to the person responsible for the crime it's related to. This happens three times in three separate cases. Needless to say, it never ends well for Phoenix.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: There tends to be at least one in each game, sometimes going hand-in-hand with Asshole Victim, and sometimes not. The most notable are Yanni Yogi, Acro, and Godot.
  • Take Up My Sword: When Mia dies, Phoenix takes over her law firm despite having only won two cases. Maya or Pearl still summon Mia throughout the trilogy whenever Phoenix needs help. However in the very last trial of the Phoenix trilogy, Mia only comes to help Wright solve the whole dilemma regarding Maya's whereabouts and Dahlia's return from the dead. Once the trial goes back to what it was originally about, a murder case, Mia refuses to help Phoenix, leaving him completely on his own for the first time. However, when Phoenix finally figures out the source, the real murderer and presents the final piece of incriminating evidence that the player will ever present, Mia's spirit appears beside Phoenix, mimicking Wright's final presentation (in slow-motion, no less). Godot, who would never accept Phoenix and never forgive him for Mia's death, became so shocked that his visor blew up.
  • That One Case: The unsolved DL-6 case figures into the backstory of nearly every major character save Phoenix (and it still indirectly influenced his desire to be a lawyer), and has ramifications across the entire trilogy even after its resolution.
  • There Can Be Only One: The brutal system of succession in the Fey clan of women.
  • They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!: Parodied with Detective Dick Gumshoe.
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
    • Maya and her burgers (Ramen in Japanese).
    • Gumshoe and his instant noodles (which is about all he can afford on his salary).
    • Godot and his many coffee blends. He takes 17 cups a trial!
  • Two Decades Behind: The games take place in 2016-2019 but seem to be stuck somewhere around 1995-2000, with their non-smartphone cellphones, black-and-white photographs, and VHS tapes. They even have phone booths! Understandable, though, because the technology present in the games matches with the tech at the time the games were made. (2001-2005).
  • Villainous Breakdown: When you finally put forth the final piece of evidence that proves who the real culprit is, expect the guilty party to completely lose it before engaging in a long winded speech.
  • When It All Began: The majority of the cases in the game have some event before that gives the true killer their motive.
  • War Has Never Been So Much Fun: Who would have guessed that a series centering around premeditated murder for very materialistic motives could be so funny and upbeat?
  • Working the Same Case: If you ever have to investigate more than one thing at a time, or if the name of an old case is brought up, rest assured it will be relevant to the main mystery.
  • You Keep Using That Word:
    • From the first game: "Accidental murder is still murder". True to the Japanese legal system which the games are based on, in which even an accidental killing is technically counted as murder.
    • "Objection" is primarily used in this series to point out when the witness's testimony has a contradiction in it, and is very seldom used for its real-life purpose of calling out the other lawyer when they seem to be breaking the rules of court. Then there are a few (admittedly awesome) moments where Phoenix and Edgeworth "object" in turn simply to finish the other's train of thought.

    Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney 

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney provides examples of:

  • Absence of Evidence: In the 5th case (MAJOR spoiler): 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.
  • Absolute Cleavage: April May and Angel Starr.
  • 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.
  • Adult Fear:
    • There's the set-up for the DL-6 Incident. Gregory Edgeworth and his son Miles, who at the time was nine, are trapped in an elevator, in the dark, and with the oxygen supply running out. And then the other person in the elevator, who has a gun in his possession, starts panicking and acting violently.
    • Dee Vasquez has ties to The Mafia. Towards the end of the last investigation day, when Phoenix and Maya uncover some critical evidence, Vasquez summons her Mafia goons and orders them "erased"—a cruel reminder of how terrifying organized crime can be. Only a Big Damn Heroes moment by Gumshoe prevents a premature end to Phoenix's and Maya's lives.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Chekhov's Boomerang:
    • The metal detector in case 4.
    • 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 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.
    • In "Rise From The Ashes", "Rule 1: No evidence shall be shown without the approval of the Police Department". This comes back to bite Damon Gant in the ass, since the Police Chief himself taunting Phoenix to show something technically counts as "approval"...
  • 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.
  • The Day the Music Lied: At one point, Edgeworth brings up an "Objection!", his awesome theme music 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Deus ex Machina: After Gumshoe's testimony in case 2, Maya throws a paper at Phoenix telling the player about blindly pressing every testimony. It's somewhat justified by the fact that she could have picked that trick up from her older sister, but it's still awfully convenient that she just happened to think to remind Phoenix about it at a moment where the player was likely to get stuck without some kind of hint.
  • Developers' 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 tesifies that he had nothing to do with the forgery that took place. The correct contradicintg 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.
  • 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: "How dare that Gregory Edgeworth so much as scratch my perfect record? I swear, if he crosses me once more, I'll kill him, raise his son to be a prosecutor (the antithesis of everything Gregory stood for), and then frame said son for his own father's murder...!"
  • 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.
  • 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. Ace Attorney, Dai Gyakuten Saiban: Naruhodou Ryuunosuke no Bouken 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.
    • 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. 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.
  • 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 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".
  • Evil Overlooker: Edgeworth, main antagonist until case 4, watches over the promotional art.
  • Exact Words: When 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 present it, enabling Phoenix to legally present it after a lengthy amount of Evil Gloating, as he, being the Chief of Police, inadvertently approved it as evidence.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Fission Mailed:
  • 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.
  • 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. 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.
    • 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.
    • On the second day of case 1-4, if you insist on cross-examining the boat shop owner - which you have to do to proceed - von Karma will throw a little tantrumnote  and grab his right shoulder. On the third day of case 1-4, Phoenix realizes that von Karma has had a bullet embedded in that shoulder for fifteen years, which proves he murdered Edgeworth's father. When he makes this accusation, von Karma grabs his shoulder again.
    • "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.
  • Freudian Excuse: It can be a bit jarring when after finishing the other games and notice just how much of a jerk Edgeworth was, with the loss of his father, and replacement of his father with a colossal jerk 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.
  • Gag Boobs:
  • 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 lot 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.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • After you get April May's wiretap in case 2:
      Phoenix: I'll get to this woman's bottom! Wait... I mean... you know what I mean.
    • In the first trial of that same case:
      Bellboy: It's French for "kiss", but not a French kiss, sir.
    • In Case 3, while questioning Ms. Vasquez:
      Phoenix: (If she's guilty, I'll catch her with her pants down... So to speak.)
  • Gonk: Sal Manella, the sweaty otaku TV director.
  • Graceful Loser: The murderer in case 3 remains calm even when uncovered.
  • 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.
  • 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 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: 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 (it was 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). Phoenix had a chance near the end of the trial to present it, but doing it at that point would count as an attempt to convict someone with illegal evidence, 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...which made it legal to present since the culprit (the Chief of Police) gave his "approval" by demanding it and then proceeded to accidentally tie himself directly to the piece of evidence (a detail he does explain away if you do present it earlier). By doing both, 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. Pleading insanity makes Yanni Yogi a social outcast and drives his wife to suicide.
  • 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.
  • 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, it can easily catch the player off-guard.
  • 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 presenting it illegally, thanks to the culprit's familiarity with evidence law, 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, thus making it legal to present and 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.
  • L33t L1ng0: Sal Manella's speech is heavily written in this manner to reflect his nerdy personality.
  • Make the Dog Testify: As seen in the page image, Phoenix calls a parrot as a witness. 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.
  • Meditating Under a Waterfall: Maya talks about wanting to do this as part of her spirit medium training at the beginning of Case 4, 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.
  • 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 it was illegal and by presenting it you invalidated your entire case, 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. A particularly irritating example because you may think it's a contradiction meant for you to point out, but presenting the autopsy report here will get you a penalty.
  • 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 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.
  • Reality Ensues: The DL-6 incident is quite a realistic take on the obviously fantastical idea of using a medium for Interrogating the Dead: the dead person being channeled is effectively nothing more than an eyewitness, just as biased, unreliable and/or prone to Be as Unhelpful as Possible as a living witness.
  • 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".
  • 6 Is 9: In the fifth case, a piece of evidence contains a note that reads "6-7S 12/2." However, the note was apparently written upside down 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.
  • Shout-Out: See here.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Twenty 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Gotta Have Blue Hair: Redd White's hair is lilac. And it sparkles.
  • 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.

    Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice for All 

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice for All provides examples of:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Franziska's "You huffy, puffy, loosey-goosey excuse for a whimpering whining wuss of a witness", with some good ol' rhyming added for good measure.
  • Adult Fear:
    • Celeste Inpax gets burned by two different people because of this and kills herself over it, and Juan would have found out that Adrian was just using him if he hadn't gotten killed (though plenty would argue that he was worse than her.
    • It's sort of averted when you find out in the third case that Regina getting Bat "killed" was an accident.
    • Case 4. The scenario of defending a client who is clearly guilty and having your dear friend and assistant's life depend on his acquittal is terrifying. Just ask real attorneys, who will most likely find themselves defending a guy like Matt at some point. The scary and sad part comes when the miracle most likely won't ever happen for them.
  • Anachronic Order: The second case is set before the first case.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: Once Shelley reveals his new plans to target Matt Engarde for his betrayal and releases Maya, pretty much both sides of the courtroom then proceed to verbally beat the crap out of him.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In the aftermath of 2-1, Maggey details some examples of how bad her luck has been during her life, including: getting food poisoning from almost every kind of food, being subjected to almost every kind of natural disaster — and never, ever having won a game of tic-tac-toe.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • As mentioned elsewhere, Dr. Grey. While there is a degree of Jerkass Has a Point (as Mimi DID cause the malpractice), he still has a large degree of responsibility since he overworked her to the point of exhaustion in the first place. That's not even mentioning his reason for the channeling, which is to force Mimi's spirit to admit full responsibility for the malpractice to clear his own reputation.
    • Juan Corrida. By all accounts, he wasn't a very nice person. We never get the chance to see if he was nearly as bad as The Rival Matt Engarde, but at the very least, he was willing to break it off with his (emotionally insecure) fiancee for the sole reason of her being Engarde's ex, then use her resulting suicide as a tool to try to tank Engarde's reputation.
  • Avenging the Villain: Phoenix wonders if Franziska von Karma wants to avenge her father Manfred, who was put in jail thanks to Phoenix. Subverted in that she eventually reveals that she didn't give a crap about her father's downfall; the entire rivalry was simply for satisfying her ego by besting Phoenix when Edgeworth couldn't. The Freudian Excuse was that she wanted to defeat Edgeworth all along.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: Franziska is all set to enact her revenge on you in the final case until de Killer shoots her and Edgeworth makes a dramatic return, taking up the case.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: The opening scene and first 10 or so minutes of "Farewell, My Turnabout" purposely mislead the player into thinking that this case will be like the first game's "Turnabout Samurai" (even featuring Will Powers and Wendy Oldbag, two characters from that case), so that Maya's kidnapping and everything else that follows hits the player hard.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Juan Corrida is strongly associated with bears (most likely due to a PR move) and his room is full of nearly every bear-related object known to man. The whole reason he is killed is because Matt discovered Juan had a fake suicide note written by "Celeste" that would have ruined his image. The note was hidden in a bear which was to be given to Matt after Juan was murdered. And the camera hidden inside of the bear's eye ends up an incredibly crucial piece of evidence, because it recorded the murder as it happened to potentially blackmail the killer.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Matt Engarde appears both innocent and good-looking. In reality, there's a hidden disfiguring scar and a concealed guilt.
  • Beneath the Mask: Everyone in the fourth case except Wendy Oldbag is hiding a big part of their personality:
    • Adrian was initially shown to be a confident, capable manager, before she is outed to be a dependent woman who latches onto others' words as though they are her own.
    • Matt was shown to be a ditzy actor with a "refreshing like a spring breeze" persona, whereupon he proves to be a misanthropic killer who trusts no one. He even literally masks the side of his face for half of the case.
    • Juan, a popular kids' show actor who probably destroyed Celeste's suicide note and forged a new one implicating Matt Engarde, and was going to present it under Matt's disguise.
    • The bellboy is Shelly de Killer, a professional murderer hired by your client to finish Corrida. He's calm and polite no matter the situation, though.
    • We see that under her cold, merciless, reckless, smug, and arrogant nature, Franziska von Karma clearly has a huge Inferiority Superiority Complex.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Whatever you do, don't accuse the Judge of being the murderer. The results won't be pretty.
      Judge: GWWWWAAAAHHHH!!
      Judge: WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY TO ME!? THAT'S A PENALTY!! (45% penalty)
      Phoenix: Arrrgghhh!
      Judge: WHAT'S THAT!? YOU WANT A DOUBLE!? HERE YA GO!! (50% penalty)
      Phoenix: Double arrrggghhh!! note 
    • Franziska doesn't react too kindly to getting accused of being the murderer. Fortunately, you only get a standard penalty if you do that, but you also get the mother of all whippings to go with it.
  • Big Bad: Franziska von Karma, although she never goes to the same underhanded lengths her father did.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Although any good mystery story requires some criminals who don't seem like criminals at first, such as Miss Miney, the crowning example is Matt Engarde.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The English translation of this game was riddled with typos, such as "surly" for "surely" and "alter" for "altar." It also included the infamous, memetic bad ending line "The miracle never happen". The iOS port is even worse, at one point calling a piece of evidence a "Hotel Guidernap."
  • Book-Ends: The first and last days in court overall both open with Phoenix having the same nightmare (of a monstrous Judge declaring him unfit for his attorney's badge, before crushing him with a giant gavel). The first time, it is seemingly caused by a menacing ringtone. The second time adds some more relevant context: Phoenix knows his client is guilty, but he has no choice but to obtain a verdict of "not guilty" in order to save his friend. As such, he feels he is no longer worthy of his badge.
    • Both the first and last trial days involve a romantic relationship with no actual romance, a meaningful gift that ends up being key evidence, the male party dying and his crime scene tampered with, and some writing from the deceased that turns out to be a forgery. Even the way the final witnesses of those trials are introduced in a similar manner, despite two different prosecutors giving the same warning about two very different witnesses.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • In 2-3, Moe the Clown brings the ultra-sheltered Regina to court on the day Acro is to be revealed as the true criminal specifically for this purpose, so that she can understand both the truth of her father's death and her own responsibility for Acro and Bat's injuries. She cries at the end of the trial and realizes some hard truths, but the fact that during the credits she seems to think Zimbabwe is full of talking bunnies and castles made out of cake, it seems uncertain that the change stuck.
    • In 2-4, Adrian Andrews applies. Not to mention Maya Fey, who gets accused of murder once per game, along with getting kidnapped in this case, and many other things throughout the series.
    • It seems the whole game was this for Franziska von Karma, whose worldview and obsession with perfection are not only challenged by two losses, but by Phoenix willingly and happily accepting his first defeat in court.
  • Brick Joke: During case 2-2, when Phoenix breaks down the door to the Channeling Chamber, he tells Morgan Fey she can bill the Wright & Co. Law Offices. Later in the episode, when she is cross-examined, she tells him that she has sent the repair bill to his office.
  • Camp Straight:
    • Maximilian Galactica has bright pink hair, sequinned makeup, calls everyone (including Phoenix) sweetie, has the Catchphrase "Fabulous!"... and is totally in love with the very Moe Regina Berry. Although his metro-persona seems to be a mask to hide his Deep South, Good Ol' Boy past.
    • Maya refers to the ringmaster as metrosexual after getting a glimpse at his makeup collection...
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The scrap of paper in the ringmaster's coat in 2-3. Maya spots it the first time she sees the coat, but Phoenix tells her to quit snooping around in other people's things. The next day, it turns out to be an important piece of evidence.
    • Franziska reveals to Phoenix in Case. that she placed a tracking device on Gumshoe to keep an eye on him (and to whip him as soon as possible). When Gumshoe gets in a serious car crash while carrying crucial evidence and breaks his phone in the process without any conventional way of finding him, Phoenix asks to get Franziska out of the hospital so she can use the tracking device to find him.
    • The Big Berry Circus tent becomes a huge plot point in the final case as Maya as Mia spots it from Shelley's new hideout and gives the search party a basic idea on where Maya is based on other descriptions. Even though they don't find her as Shelley ran away with Maya again, they do find three pieces of evidence he left behind in a hurry, one of which is practically Matt's death warrant.
  • Circus Episode: The third case is about a murder at the Berry Big Circus.
  • Clean Dub Name: Juan Corrida's last name is Spanish slang for... male ejaculation. That's probably why it was changed to Rivera in the Spanish translation.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Three of them make Phoenix's case harder (and reinforce Maggey's Butt-Monkey status) in Case 2-1: Maggey and Richard having the same exact eyeglass prescription (which leads to Maggey being accused of murder when Richard's glasses are found underneath the victim), Phoenix and Richard having the same exact phone model and color (leading to Richard accidentally swiping Phoenix's phone after he attacks him when he meant to grab his own), and Maggey happening to accidentally step on her glasses and break them around the same time the pair of broken glasses was found underneath the victim.
  • Cry Cute: Franziska von Karma in the post-credit epilogue of the good ending, finally accepting defeat to Phoenix, but vowing to return.
  • The Cutie: Regina, to a ridiculous extent.
  • Cycle of Revenge: Case 2-4 is one springing from a cycle of petty one-upsmanship between two actors that catches some bystanders up in it as collateral damage. Matt reveals to Juan that his fiance is Matt's ex. Juan breaks it off with her, which causes her to commit suicide. Juan then forges a suicide note detailing Matt's wrong-doing, which Juan hides to use later. Her protegee, Adrian, begins seeing Juan to get close to him to find the note and burn it to save her further disgrace. Juan plans to publish the note as payback, but Matt has him killed first, and Adrian tries to frame Matt directly for the murder his assassin carried out, to make sure he doesn't get away.
  • Deadly Delivery: In case 4, Shelly de Killer, the murderer of Juan Corrida, disguises himself as a hotel bellboy delivering tomato juice to get into his target's room.
  • Dead Man's Chest: An unusual version of this trope occurs in the second case when Mimi locks Maya in the chest and then proceeds to frame her for the murder, using the same chest to hide herself when Maya first enters and when Nick and Lotta bust in.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Ini Miney is actually dead — the one you meet in the game is her sister, Mimi Miney, who took over her identity when both were involved in a car wreck that killed Ini and injured Mimi so badly as to require reconstructive surgery.
  • Debate and Switch: "Reunion and Turnabout" starts to explore the intriguing possibility of whether a spirit medium channeling a spirit can be convicted for what the spirit does. Then the actual culprit turns out to be a living person who can be prosecuted and punished like everyone else.
  • Demonic Dummy: Trilo. Not actually demonic, but may as well be.
  • Demoted to Extra: Maya spends most of the game sidelined in favor of Pearl — and, for part of the first case, Maggey Byrde — and only really takes much of a part in the third case. Not to say that she doesn't play much of a role in the overall storyline, though, she just spends most of it in the background (to the point where she doesn't even appear on the game's cover art; Pearl takes her spot instead). Then horribly averted in the final case.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Franziska von Karma is quite fond with the word "fool". In the original, "baka" takes its place (which is basically the same thing).
  • Diagonal Cut: During an awards ceremony, the Nickel Samurai does this with the moon.
  • The Ditz: Ini Miney in the second case acts like a silly Valley Girl. It can be amusing or annoying depending on who you ask.
  • Dirty Coward: Richard Wellington deliberately caused Phoenix Wright's amnesia in the first case and also murdered Dustin Prince to prevent being exposed as a con artist. Ironically, by doing so he sealed his own fate by stealing the wrong phone. A better example would be Matt Engarde by holding Maya hostage to force Phoenix to try to get a Not Guilty verdict.
  • Do Well, but Not Perfect: Can occur in the final case depending on Phoenix choosing if Matt Engarde gets a Guilty verdict after Shelley de Killer is pissed off at the latter. Sure, that means his apparent 100% victory rate comes to an end, but Maya is now safe and the whole court is free to whale on Engarde.
  • Dramatic Irony: In case 4, while investigating his client's house to feed his cat, Phoenix and Pearl are completely unaware that — as the player would know by an earlier scene — that this house is where his assistant, Maya, is/was being held hostage. Also, the bellboy the player speaks to in the house is unknown by Wright to be (but known by the player to be) the real hitman hired by Engarde to kill Corrida that took Maya hostage.
  • Dr. Jerk: Dr. Turner Grey, who makes Gregory House seem like a well-adjusted person, although he turns out to be right about Mimi being responsible for the malpractice.
  • Dueling Shows: In-Universe. The Nickel Samurai and Jammin' Ninja even air at the same time on Sunday Mornings, though the former is much more popular.
  • Exact Words: This screws Phoenix over in case 4. He has a magical item called the "Magatama", which will reveal "Psyche Locks" around a person if that person is lying or directly covering up something important. So before he takes Matt Engarde's case, he asks Matt Engarde whether or not he killed Juan Corrida. Matt says he didn't kill anyone, and that he was napping in his room at the time of the crime and thus must have been framed. No Psyche Locks appear, because technically Matt was telling the truth...he hired someone else to kill Juan, rather than doing it himself, and he was napping in his room at the time of the crime (secure in the knowledge that the assassin was doing his dirty work), and he was framed (by Adrian Andrews, who genuinely thought it was him but doubted that he'd be convicted otherwise). But Phoenix finds all this out too late, since he asked the wrong question and thus got an answer that was exactly true but not what he was looking for.
  • Expressive Shirt: Moe's hat reflects his emotions.
  • Figure It Out Yourself: Edgeworth consistently refuses to give Phoenix advice or tell him exactly what he thinks Phoenix needs to learn. Probably wise, since the intended lesson is "Fight for the truth, not because you want to 'save' someone" — something Phoenix would reject outright if he didn't realize it for himself; doubly so given that revealing the truth under the current circumstances means someone dear to him will be killed.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Getting through the Matt Engarde case and recovering Maya is what finally rekindles Phoenix and Edgeworth's old friendship and forges their new (unofficial) partnership.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the second case, pay close attention to the cutscene of the car accident. Specifically, the hair of the survivor. Now look at the Miney sisters' profile pics.
    • Why is the fourth case called "Farewell, My Turnabout"? Because it's the first case that Phoenix loses, and he's saying farewell to his perfect record of "turnabouts" — and that's a good thing, since the defendant turns out to be the killer.
    • There's an easy to miss example during "Turnabout Big Top". If you examine the photos at the top of the wall in the Ringmaster's room, Maya mentions they should make a gallery of all the clients Phoenix has had. Phoenix then asks about the guilty ones. On the first play through, this is laughable, and is just Maya and Phoenix being themselves. Aaaaand then Farewell, My Turnabout happens.
  • Found the Killer, Lost the Murderer: There's a complete inversion during case 4 in which the this trope is turned around. At first the killing seems like a straightforward murder. However, the killer was a hired assassin. The one who ordered the hit is declared guilty of murder, but the killer himself gets away clean.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Acro has birds that fly around him. Subverted, as he turns out to be a murderer, then double-subverted: as Maya points out at the end, there were no bad people in that case.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Adrian Andrews is a woman, which becomes a key factor in figuring out she wasn't the one who ordered the hit on Juan — since Shelly de Killer never met her in person, he thought Adrian was a man.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • "Mr. Wellington loves large bananas!"
    • Phoenix has an interest in Max's bust.
      Phoenix: I wouldn't mind hearing more about Max's bust... Not that I'm into that sorta thing...
    • In case 2-4, Maya almost gets away with making a certain reference to Pearl in order to force Phoenix to let them go investigate.
      Maya: So listen to this, Pearly. This one time at lawyer camp, Nick...
      Phoenix: O-ok! I get it! Let's go take a look.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: In case 4, Matt Engarde has a decidedly evil scar on the side of his face that he covers with his hair to make himself look more innocent.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: In Case 4, Matt Engarde's fate when determining whether he's guilty or not. Even if acquitted, he still loses.
  • Highly Visible Ninja: A Show Within a Show example is the Jammin' Ninja. He has a bright blue suit, a golden shuriken on his forehead, and wields a bright red guitar. Justified in that the Jammin' Ninja is less about ninjitsu and more about music. Doubly justified in that he's supposed to be a Shout-Out to another Capcom series character, Mega Man 3's Shadow Man.
  • Hitler Ate Sugar: Inverted in an equally illogical manner, oddly enough. In 2-4, Will Powers' testimony mentions some rather incriminating observations about a certain bellboy, who Phoenix knows very well is actually an assassin hired by the defendant, whom he is being blackmailed into getting a acquittal for, namely the bellboy's unusual pattern of stitches and his non-uniform leather gloves. Phoenix's objections to each respectively are "Baseballs have stitches! Are you saying all baseballs are suspicious?!" and "Footballs are made of leather! Are you saying all footballs are suspicious?!".
  • Hitman with a Heart: Shelly de Killer shows signs of this, which is pointed out by Phoenix on occasion.
  • Hold the Line: When Gumshoe's search party for Maya kicks off when Shelley ran off to another location Phoenix has to keep the trial going as long as possible without Matt getting suspicious and telling Shelley to kill Maya.
  • Homemade Inventions: After getting kicked from the force barred him from borrowing a professional-quality bug sweeper from the police for Phoenix in the final case, Gumshoe goes home to pick up one he built at school years ago. Despite it treating everything that emits signals as suspicious, they find what they're looking for and even Edgeworth manages to use it without hassle.
  • The Hyena: Laurence "Moe" Curls, the clown, is always laughing. Except when a very serious topic comes up.
  • In Another Man's Shoes: Phoenix spends the game raging against prosecutors, particularly Edgeworth, believing that they care only about winning and nothing about truth or justice. Then he's put in a position where he's forced to defend a murderer.
  • Infinite Supplies: Adrian Andrews with her many many many pairs of glasses that are fragile enough to be broken by nerves and shock.
  • The Ingenue: Deconstructed with Regina. Growing up in the circus sheltered by her dad meant that she has no idea what's real or normal, including the concept that people die. So when she accidentally kills Bat, she feels absolutely no responsibility for her actions. And she actually breaks down in tears when she figures out what her actions led to, at the end of the case.
  • Insistent Terminology: Morgan demands that Phoenix refer to Maya as "Mystic Maya."
  • Ironic Echo: Fransizka promising to end Phoenix's perfect record at their first meeting.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: If you lose in case 4, you get the line "The miracle never happen".
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In case 2, Dr. Grey was right and Mimi Miney was at fault for the malpractice. Not that he isn't entirely blameless either...
  • Just Giving Orders: Phoenix's assistant Maya gets kidnapped close to the beginning of the final case as ransom to get you to defend a famous film star, Matt Engarde, in a murder trial. Phoenix happens to have a magical lie detector and when he asks Engarde if he did it, he responds that he never killed anyone. It later turns out that Engarde actually hired an assassin, and he reveals his dim-witted laid-back personality was all a facade by reintroducing himself. "How do you do, Mister Lawyer? I'm Matt Engarde". The lie detector didn't work because he didn't personally kill the victim; the assassin he hired to do it did.
  • Karma Houdini: Shelly de Killer. He's an assassin who killed Juan Corrida and presumably many others. At the end of the game, he gets off scot-free and he even sends a cheerful transceiver message saying that he's leaving the country but you can give him a call anytime.
  • Keep It Foreign: In an odd example the car from 2-2, seeing as in Japan the car was American (And the Japanese have the steering wheel on the right, like the British) so in order to keep Mimi's story consistent on which seat she sat, they made the car British in the American version.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: In Case 2-2:
    Phoenix: With this, the trial will be in the b...
    * looks over to see Franziska still smiling*
    Phoenix: ...blast radius of disaster.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Edgeworth has his own spinoff, so the early-game Red Herring of his death doesn't really take. The whole plotline smacks of Like You Would Really Do It anyway, but it's particularly ineffective since Edgeworth has been advertised in so many sequels. He's even on the box art of the DS version.
  • Locked Room Mystery: In case 2, the victim is murdered in a guarded chamber where only he and the defendant were. The prosecutor suggests that you claim self-defense, but Phoenix will, of course, say the defendant is innocent.
  • Loss of Identity: Edgeworth spends the majority of the game in a foreign country while trying to figure out his identity after both reliving the trauma of the DL-6 case while being framed for another murder and being reminded of the tragedies he caused with his corruption during the SL-9 incident.
  • Lost in Translation: It's a plot point that Pearl can't read — and you wouldn't be alone in thinking that the concept of an eight year-old, even one who lives in an isolated village of ascetics, who can't read a three-letter word borders on the absurd. However, in the Japanese script, the problem is that she can't read kanji in particular, which is perfectly realistic — even native Japanese speakers have problems with kanji, and they're the main factor in why achievement of literacy is considered to coincide with high school graduation.
  • Love at First Punch: "Director Hotti" reacts quite... happily... to being whipped by Franziska.
  • Lying in the Dirt Together: Oldbag fantasizes that this happened to Juan Corrida with the bear he supposedly fought, then made friends with.
    Oldbag: Look, it's just like in those young people's dramas. I can see those two tuckered out, down by a river going, "Heh... You... You sure can fight..." "You too, bub. You too."
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Obscure, but in the Nickel Samurai, all three ninja brothers fall for the evil Strawberry Clan leader's daughter.
  • Marathon Boss: In a rarity for the series, the culprit of case 3 takes an entire trial day to take down. There's even a save point in the middle of his testimonies.
  • Meta Twist: The whole series plays Good Lawyers, Good Clients very straight for the most part. Farewell, My Turnabout is a major exception, as Matt Engarde turns out not only to be guilty, but is also holding Maya hostage as a way of forcing Phoenix to fight for a not guilty verdict regardless.
  • Moral Dilemma: Justice for All teaches us that "Justice" does not always mean "Not Guilty" with case 4.
    Edgeworth: It doesn't matter how many dirty, underhanded tactics you use in court. The truth will always find a way to make itself known.
  • Morton's Fork: In "Farewell, My Turnabout", this is the situation Nick is in. Either he gets a Not Guilty verdict for the culprit, or he never sees Maya again. Done again at the end of the same case as the method by which you finally take down Engarde, informing his hitman that he's pure scum, and making Engarde's choices either jail or being hunted down by said hitman.
  • Mundane Fantastic: In case 2, Maya is photographed while channeling a spirit, which physically changes her to look like the spirit. Nobody is interested in the fact that Franziska captured psychic powers on camera, it's just another bit of evidence in the case which she admits is completely illegal and doesn't submit it to the Court Record, but because the Judge saw it as per her intentions, he now knows that it's plausible.
  • Murder by Mistake: Acro in case 3. He didn't mean to kill the ringmaster. He did, however, mean to kill his daughter.
  • Mystical 108: Subverted. While in the mystical, Japanese-inspired Kurain Village, Phoenix can inspect an ancient tapestry, which has a list of 108 ways to make money. Then Phoenix thinks of two more, and they're immediately put on queue to be added to the tapestry.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Averted by Turner Grey in Justice For All, who continues to talk about how much of a failure his subordinate Mimi was after her death, even going so far as to want to get a spirit medium to summon Mimi for the express purpose of making her take responsibility.
  • Never Suicide: Averted with Celeste Inpax.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Something of an odd clash of this and inverted Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! on the villain's end in 2-4. De Killer thinks he's doing Phoenix a favor by shooting Franziska, thinking to get a mistrial or at least an easy acquittal for Matt Engarde when an unprepared prosecutor takes her place. True, Franziska had a very systematic plan for getting her victory but the person who replaces her is Edgeworth, who realizes midway through the first session that something is wrong and teams up with Phoenix to save Maya. So basically, the villain succeeds in helping Phoenix only too well.
    • This also ends up being Phoenix's saving grace in the third case. Thanks to the search on Acro's room, he didn't have the mobility to leave the room nor the means to dispose of the murder weapon, so he did the only thing he could think of: He hid the weapon under his wheelchair and wore a blanket over his lap the whole time. Franziska was so proud of turning the room upside-down for evidence that she didn't know she had accidentally brought a witness to the courtroom with the murder weapon still on him, and once she realizes this, she is beside herself furious. Everyone congratulates her for doing so, believing it was a deliberate method to expose the murderer while she mutters to herself in anger and asks why she executed the surprise search. Made more hilarious when you realize Gumshoe had given her the idea, and that Edgeworth gave the idea to Gumshoe, so the idea to execute a surprise search wasn't her own, but she was so caught up in winning the case she did it anyways.
  • Nightmare Sequence: The dream where the shade of the Judge brings a gigantic gavel down on Phoenix, telling him, "You are no longer worthy of your title!" in the opening of the first case. Reappears in the fourth and final case, when Phoenix is deeply conflicted about Maya's kidnapping and the defense of Matt Engarde.
  • No Badge? No Problem!: During the third case, Gumshoe says he won't let Phoenix into a crime scene simply because he flashed his attorney's badge again. Maya states that he would if they were to show a Steel Samurai badge. Gumshoe's response implies that yes, it would indeed work. "Crime scene security" obviously doesn't exist in the Ace Attorney world.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Juan Corrida in the second game looks like not one but several Toku heroes in the 80s, especially the ones in the first Kamen Rider series.
  • No Sympathy: At one point Edgeworth basically tells Adrian Andrews it's not his problem if she decides to commit suicide. That is just damn cold, to the point of being out of character.
  • Noble Demon: Shelly de Killer. He always kills without harming anyone else, is very patient with his client's demands, but values trust above all else.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Happens in 2-4, if you don't present the right piece of evidence to the right person near the end of the case. However, instead of getting a "Guilty" verdict, it's a "Not Guilty" verdict for the guilty-as-hell defendant. As a result, Adrian Andrews is wrongfully convicted for Juan Corrida's murder. Phoenix gives up being a lawyer out of shame and guilt and he never sees Maya again.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Mimi Miney and Matt Engarde.
  • Oh, Crap!: After finalizing the cross-examination on Adrian Andrews midway in the final case, Edgeworth asks her about the card she was playing with the whole time. He gets a better look at it and freaks out on the drawing on it, since now a professional assassin the police have been chasing is now involved, since that's his Calling Card.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D minor" plays during the opening cutscene. Which becomes a Chekhov's Gun later in 2-1, as this is Richard Wellington's ringtone.
  • Police Are Useless: The police never seem to question the notion that a man wrote his girlfriend's name in the sand after taking a hard fall despite the autopsy report stating he died instantly!
  • Reality Ensues: In the final case, Gumshoe steals evidence and takes his personal car to deliver it to the courthouse as soon as possible, promising to run all red lights to do so. He then gets in a car crash because of that.
  • Red Herring: At the beginning of Case 2-4, the rivalry between two film studios is discussed at length. What does this have to do with the case? Nothing. The rivalry between individual people working at those studios is relevant, but the studio rivalry means nothing to the case.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Morgan and Pearl. In 1-2, Maya says that she's been living completely on her own since Mia's departure from the village, while 2-2 reveals that her aunt's been acting as her guardian, and she has a younger cousin by the same aunt.
  • The Reveal: Matt Engarde's legendary Obfuscating Stupidity revelation in 2-4.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: In Case 2-4, Wendy Oldbag is absolutely convinced that Matt Engarde is, in her words, "an evil, evil man." How she reached this (completely correct) conclusion? She thinks he ordered his manager to get close to Juan Corrida in order to cause a scandal. Not so correct.
  • The Runaway: Case 3 contains a shockingly tragic inversion of the classic "Circus Runaway" variety. Instead of Acro and Bat running away to join the circus, it was their parents who ran away, and it was the circus that came to them and took them in.
  • Sadistic Choice: In case 4. Get your guilty-as-hell client Matt Engarde acquitted to spare Maya (Engarde has her held hostage by an assassin), or sacrifice Maya to give him the verdict he deserves. On the plus side, turning the case around (by proving Engarde has blackmail material on the assassin and thus plans to betray him) gives Engarde his own Sadistic Choice: plead guilty to murder, or plead not guilty...and be targeted by that very same assassin the moment he's out of custody.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Gumshoe puts the law on hold multiple times in case 4, due largely to Maya's kidnapping. He allows Phoenix free access to the crime scene, costing him his job in the process, attempts to sneak a bug sweeper out of the police department to aid with the investigation, and steals evidence in order to get it to court before the verdict is read, stating he intends to run every red light in order to get there on time.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike:
    • A slight, but noticeable example thanks to the new health system. In addition to the fact that you can now get penalties that wipe out all or most of your health bar in one go, your health bar doesn't get refilled at any point during the trial, which can become a major problem in the last case. While you can refill your bar during the investigation phase by correctly unlocking Psyche-Locks, making incorrect guesses also reduces your health bar, and fully solving the locks only restores half the bar, making it possible to really screw up and end up with only half of your health at the start of the trial day.

      This is changed in the iOS version, where the life bar is refilled in every break. Meaning it's possible to get a full refill in the middle of a trial, sometimes multiple times. The 3DS Trilogy version, however, reverts it back — you can only heal by breaking Psyche-Locks.
    • Additionally, whereas in the first game you would only get penalized for either presenting incorrect evidence in a cross-examination or screwing up a critical question, here virtually every occasion where you're asked to either make a dialogue choice or present evidence will carry a penalty if you get it wrong. They're usually smallish in the first two cases, but start getting bigger in the third, and become extremely punishing in the fourth.
  • Sequel Hook: Two of them, one of which has not been picked up on yet.
    • Case 2 ends with Morgan announcing she will wait for her next opportunity to get Maya out of the picture and make Pearl the next Master of Kurain. This would come to fruition in the final case of Trials and Tribulations.
    • Case 4 ends with Franziska saying she will eventually give Phoenix the last piece of evidence which never reached him (the card Maya drew a picture on). This has not happened yet.
  • Shipper on Deck: Pearl is absolutely convinced that Phoenix is Maya's "special someone", and nothing either of the supposed lovebirds can say will change her mind.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Case 4. Right at the start of the case, Maya gets kidnapped, instantly raising the stakes. As the case progresses, the other comedic characters become significantly less prominent; Lotta and Oldbag don't show up on the second trial day, Gumshoe gets dangerous, and Engarde turns out to be the culprit. As a result, this case is easily one of the darkest in the entire franchise.
  • Shout-Out: See here.
  • "Silly Me" Gesture: One of Ini Miney's regular gestures.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": In case 1, this is one of the big mistakes Richard Wellington makes when framing Maggey with her boyfriend's murder: he makes it seem like he wrote "Maggie" on the dirt before he died.
  • Spy Cam: The last case has a large stuffed bear with a camera in its right eye found at the case's crime scene. It would become important evidence for a murder conviction.
  • Stage Mom: Morgan Fey is a particularly venomous version; it's clear she's not happy about being passed over as head of the Kurain legacy, and she attempts to frame Maya for murder so that Pearl will become the next head of the Fey family, effectively putting Morgan in charge for the next decade, if not longer. Her attitude towards Maya is particularly tragic considering that Pearl herself idolizes Maya and hangs on her every word.
  • Stars Are Souls: Discussed in 2-3. A ringmaster uses this as an euphemism for death for his innocent daughter (in the Japanese version, he says that the dead are sleeping). Unfortunately, she interprets this to mean that death is nothing serious, and unwittingly causes a tragedy as a result.
  • Stealth Mentor: Edgeworth first takes this role for Phoenix in this game (and continues it to some extent for the rest of the series).
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: Played straight in 2-4 when Phoenix's client is actually guilty (but Maya is being held hostage by someone who needs to get the man acquitted). Phoenix (and Edgeworth, when he realizes what is going on) have to stall the verdict in order to buy time for Gumshoe to find and rescue Maya, even though the only way to "defend" the scumbag is to point the finger at an innocent woman instead.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Edgeworth takes a year-long leave of absence between the first and second games and is able to step in as an emergency substitute prosecutor with no hassle, even after leaving what looked like a suicide note behind. Is Japanifornia really that short of prosecutors?
  • Undisclosed Funds: Maximilian Galactica's salary is never stated, only that it's a lot for a magician.
  • Valley Girl: Ini Miney, who makes Elle Woods look articulate by comparison. Although we only see a copycat of her.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: 2-1 requires the player to know enough about baseball to realize that a baseball player wears his glove on his non-dominant hand, and 2-2 requires the player to know that the driver sits on the right in British automobiles. If you don't already know this, you'll have to hope you don't miss the in-game hints.
  • Wham Line: In Case 2-2, Phoenix figures out a massive secret and asks an Armor-Piercing Question:
    The Judge: B-but, you just said... The witness, Ms. Ini Miney, was the one in the driver's seat!
    Phoenix: Which leads us to the next question! Who is the person standing at the witness stand right now?
  • Yellow Snow: A throw-away gag in case 2-3 when you examine the closed concessions stand at the circus entrance. Maya wants snow cones; Phoenix points out the snow all around them (it's December). Maya gripes that there's no flavored syrup; Phoenix just hopes she doesn't notice the discolored snow in the corner.
  • You Can't Get Ye Flask:
    • 2-1 revolves around a murder where the victim was pushed from a ledge and died of a broken neck upon impact. The defendant is accused because the victim wrote her name in the sand with his finger before expiring. You are not allowed to argue that it wouldn't have been possible for someone with a shattered neck to write a name, even if he didn't die immediately.
    • 2-3 has the scrap of paper in the ringmaster's coat. You can't get it until the second day, after showing the top half of the note to Max, because Phoenix suddenly takes exception to rifling through other people's stuff in that specific case (in spite of the fact that you take a copy of Max's salary negotiations from the same room, and Maya steals a poster off the wall).

    Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations 

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations provides examples of:

  • Acquitted Too Late: Terry Fawles kills himself on the stand before Dahlia Hawthorne can be proven guilty of Valerie's murder. Mia states that this case had no winner, only losers, and Edgeworth later describes the case as his "worst nightmare."
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: From 3-2.
    Luke Atmey: Motive, Mr. Wright! Motive! Might you my merry murderous motive manifest?
  • Adult Fear: Doug, Phoenix, and Terry all suffer when they fail to spot the major Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. Viola is far from a saint, but she also has to go through the pain of realizing that all the bad things done to help Furio Tigre were for a very sincere, yet fully unrequited love. Desirée has to find out that her husband Ron, who saved her from criminals, is a criminal himself, something she generally despises. Family members of Dahlia and Morgan also have to go through this for a different sort of love, with the biggest example being Dahlia's twin sister Iris and Morgan's youngest daughter/Dahlia and Iris's baby half-sister Pearl.
    • Furio Tigre is a gangster and also, almost erased Phoenix (again saved only by an opportune entrance of Gumshoe).
  • Always Murder: Double subverted with case 3-2, which starts off with a grand larceny trial only for your client to get charged with murder after acquittal for the theft.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: In case 3-5, when Edgeworth becomes acting defense attorney. Downplayed somewhat, because while the animations were flipped without accounting for handedness, the sprites were redrawn to keep the buttons on his vest/jacket facing the right way.
  • Anachronic Order: The first and fourth cases are set five and six years before the second, respectively. The Framing Device of the fourth case is set early into the fifth case, roughly the day prior to the first day of court.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Case 3-5 has two trial days. There isn't a single prosecutor, lawyer, judge, witness, or even defendant who is present on both days until the final cross-examination.
    • On a smaller scale, you play as Mia in cases 1 and 4 rather than Phoenix.
  • Anti-Hero: Much like Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, almost every defendent is guilty of some crime, just not murder:
    • In the first case, Phoenix commits perjury right off the bat, and later is guilty of attempted destruction of evidence by swallowing Dahlia's necklace.
    • In the second case, Ron DeLite actually does turn out to have been Mask DeMasque all along, albeit he was the Unwitting Pawn of Luke Atmey. It's also justified why he never faces any consequences for this, as he gets acquitted of grand larceny during the case's first trial, meaning he can't be re-tried due to double jeopardy laws.
    • Averted in the third case; Maggey Byrde really didn't commit any crimes whatsoever.
    • In the fourth case, Terry Fawles wasn't guilty of murdering Dahlia or Valerie Hawthorne, as it turns out the former wasn't dead at all, and later killed Valerie herself. However, Terry was guilty of attempted extortion, breaking out of jail, and grand theft auto.
    • In the fifth case, Iris is complicit in helping Godot cover up his killing of Elise Deuxnim/Misty Fey, which she gets tried and jailed for after the case.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Either Diego Armando has a first and middle name but not a surname or the translator actually thinks that Armando is a surname.
  • Asshole Victim: Played with in Valerie Hawthorne's case: she is murdered precisely because she decided to atone for her misdeeds.
  • Back for the Dead: Misty Fey, who has a strong role in the back story of the series and is killed fifteen minutes into the only case she appears in person in.
  • Back from the Dead: Godot (actually Back From A Coma, although he himself refers to it as being raised from the dead) and Dahlia Hawthorne (being channelled).
  • Badass Boast: Mia gives ones to Dahlia. "I think you finally understand, Dahlia Hawthorne. You will never defeat me. Whether you're alive, dead, or somewhere in between, you will never defeat me. As long as I'm around, you're destined to lose for all of eternity!"
  • Becoming the Mask: Iris. She originally only posed as Dahlia in order to spare Phoenix and prevent Dahlia from adding another crime to her name, but over the course of the months they dated, she fell in love with him for real.
  • Berserk Button: Don't ever poison or betray someone when Phoenix Wright is involved. Love wounds run deep. Especially when said betrayal is part of a grand scheme to eliminate a family head.
  • Big Bad: Morgan and Dahlia serve as the Big Bad of this game and arguably of the original Phoenix arc.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • In the third case, in two occasions: first, Gumshoe enters in a fight against Don Tigre and Armstrong so Phoenix would keep a piece of evidence; second, Gumshoe bursts into the court with "Decisive Evidence" at the last minute! ...Which turns out to be fingerprints that became irrelevant no more than 2 minutes ago. Though it still serves to be the evidence that breaks the case.
    • Lampshaded and then played straight in the fifth case when Phoenix runs across a burning bridge to try and save Maya.
  • Big "NO!": Edgeworth after breaking three of Larry's "psycho-locks," only to see five more pop up. It easily qualifies as a Funny Moment.
    Edgeworth: D-Does this mean I have to do it all over again?
  • Bilingual Bonus: They do explain that "Trés Bien" means "very good," but if you remember that, it makes the "Trés Bien Floor Plans" a really funny piece of evidence. Very good floor plan! There's also the fact that the accent in the name is wrong (it should be "très"), hinting that Jean Armstrong isn't actually French.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The main villain of the game manages to pass Beneath Suspicion by keeping up a front of demure sweetness.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Not as bad as the previous game, but one extremely unfortunate typo stands out (emphasis ours):
    Mia: Your Honour. When you were in a child, this is what was on your report card every year.
  • A Bloody Mess: In the third case, a large ketchup stain on Maggey's apron was mistaken for blood by Phoenix and the Judge.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Victor Kudo in Trials and Tribulations pelts Phoenix with an endless supply of birdseed when he gets angry. Phoenix even questions if Victor has an infinite ammo code on.
  • Brain Bleach:
    • Referenced in Case 3. At one point, Phoenix comments that a witness only saw the waitress from the back and "Even I could have been in that uniform!"; the judge asks that he refrain from putting those images in their heads. Later, Phoenix's response to seeing Jean Armstrong rub oil on himself (the player just sees a generic animation, thank God): "M-My eyes! My EYES!"
    • And in case 5, Sister Bikini. There's a good chance she actually does it on purpose.
  • Brick Joke: In the final case of Trials and Tribulations, Phoenix has a conversation with Edgeworth where he feels much stronger, as if he had literally passed on his cold to someone else. In the next scene, we find that the judge who looked over the first half of the trial suddenly developed a cold and couldn't make it.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Phoenix, when Furio Tigre is on the stand.
    Phoenix: *gulp* (Maybe I should've brought a diaper with me today...)
  • Butt-Monkey: Mia uses Grossberg as a random punching bag during 3-1. 3-4 shows exactly why Mia is acting the way she does.
  • Call-Back:
    • A remix of the first game's "Pursuit" theme, "Cornered", plays when you're presenting evidence against Godot, and a remix of said theme's "Variation" plays after the epic finger point.
    • When Larry first shows the sketch of Iris flying over the bridge in Case 3-5, the judge claims that it's impossible. Franziska says that there's actually a precedent for it — she's referring to the "flying defendant" from Turnabout Big Top in the last game, Max Galactica. Of course, that was a cape attached to a statue, but still.
    • During an earlier case, the lights go out. The scene is played comedically and all you can see is Phoenix's eyes and Godot's visor. During the final case, Phoenix has the bailiff shut the lights off to prove a point about why the murderer could be seen so well in the dark, and look at whose visor is lighting the courtroom in the dark. This time played seriously.
  • Camp Gay: Chef Jean Armstrong. He dresses completely in pink, has very campy mannerisms, and his whole attitude and character just scream "I'm gay!".
  • Cerebus Retcon: Justice for All had Pearl be all Shipper on Deck for Phoenix and Maya. Trials and Tribulations reveals why: the women-centered culture of Kurain Village has led to men ending their marriages once they feel sidelined in the village's affairs. Even Pearl's father left Kurain when she was very young, so Pearl is very invested in Maya having a happy relationship.
  • Character Shilling: Right after the first trial in Case 2 ends, Phoenix declares that Godot is the most dangerous adversary he's ever faced... even though Godot doesn't do anything particularly remarkable when it comes to running the case — heck, both Edgeworth and Franziska employed a lot more in the way of underhanded tricks during their first trials against Phoenix, to say nothing of Manfred von Karma — and by his own admission had never prosecuted a case (much less successfully prosecuted one) before that day. About the only way he stands out as being especially dangerous at that point in the game is that he throws mugs of coffee at Phoenix when he gets annoyed.
    • Subverted when Edgeworth returns in Case 5 and has no idea who Godot is.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The 'Double Jeopardy' rule in 'The Stolen Turnabout' (the Mask☆DeMasque case) when it gets Ron DeLite off the hook for the many thefts he committed
    • Pearl being unable to spell "gravely" and "roast" comes back later when she's given instructions by her mother with those words and misinterprets them.
    • Godot's visor glows in the dark. This is only brought up once, and is easily overlooked. It's used to pin the murder of Misty Fey on him two cases later.
    • Godot's inability to see red on a white surface comes up in the third case, and returns in the final one as a means to prove that he was Misty's killer.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Going back two games, even! If you were paying very close attention in 1-2, you might remember Misty Fey's face, which makes the real identity of Elise Deauxnim clear immediately.
    • From the last game, there's Morgan Fey's vow to strike again.
  • Clothing-Concealed Injury: In the climax, Phoenix figured out the real killer himself was attacked with a knife and therefore should have a wound on his body. However, at first glance, his suspect doesn't have any wounds. Not only that, he was still wearing the same clothes he wore during the murder, and they are still intact. Phoenix then realizes that the wound is under the killer's mask, a special prosthetic the killer always wears to see due to his damaged vision. At this point, Prosecutor Godot finally admits defeat upon being unmasked as the real culprit.
  • Confess to a Lesser Crime: A variant. Luke Atmey wants to get convicted for stealing the Sacred Urn of Kurain to establish a strong alibi for a murder. Ron DeLite does the same thing, although his situation is a bit different—he isn't the murderer, but evidence places him at the crime scene, so he needs a non-murder explanation as to why.
  • Continuity Drift: When Phoenix first meets Grossberg in the first game, they don't appear to know each other, but in this game, Grossberg was Mia's aide when she defended Phoenix. Even so, Grossberg doesn't appear to have the best memory anyway, since later in this same game, he has once again forgotten Phoenix and Maya's relation to Mia. Still odd that Phoenix does not recognize him.
  • Continuity Porn: Case 3-5, let us count the ways. It brings back two criminals, one from an earlier case and one from an earlier game, and both of the main prosecutors from the first two games. It manages to incorporate the entire Fey family, and that goes for the main family, the branch family, the living, and the dead. And yes, tragically, that includes Misty Fey. Even the DL-6 incident is tangentially relevant, as is Edgeworth's fear of earthquakes. Franziska references a previous case when she says there's a precedent for a flying defendant; remember Max Galactica from 2-3, who allegedly flew away after killing someone? And, on top of all of that, Gumshoe brings out the same metal detector Phoenix used in case 1-4 to convict Manfred von Karma, and the mechanics change so that it works the same way as Gumshoe's bug sweeper in case 2-4. Phew! Fitting for the conclusion of the trilogy.
  • Costumes Change Your Size: Apparently, Luke Atmey's giant nose can fit under Mask☆DeMasque's... mask.
  • Cover Identity Anomaly: An impersonator doesn't know that the person he's imitating recently suffered an injury that made him unable to hear out of his left ear. When a witness who was fooled by the imitation testifies that the person was wearing an earpiece in his left ear, Phoenix has to point out that it makes no sense.
  • Cowardly Lion: Ron DeLite, who despite being a neurotic, fussy, and perpetually fearful is a Gentleman Thief by trade and met his Biker Babe wife by attacking multiple armed men that were threatening her.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Luke Atmey is only one of about two people in the world crazy enough to use a guilty verdict as an alibi. It just so happened that the other person that would do that was Ron DeLite.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Morgan Fey In the second game she tried to pin a murder on Maya. After that failed, she's almost immediately made a backup plan that would come in action a whole year later.
  • Crime After Crime: Dahlia Hawthorne's looooooooong list of murders to cover up the previous ones.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Adrian Andrews, after allowing herself to pursue her own personality.
  • Deadly Euphemism: Viola's "coffee" is strongly implied to be poisoned.
  • Dead Man's Chest: In Case 3-2, Ron DeLite stumbles into the same situation when he goes to meet the CEO, gets knocked out by the real murderer, and wakes up to find the CEO's body. To try and prevent himself from being accused, he hides the body in a safe in the office, where it isn't found for several hours.
  • Death Glare:
    • Mia gives a particularly nasty one to Payne in the first case.
    • Then, of course, there is Dahlia's.
    • Edgeworth remarks on how his glare scares people. You can't see his in-game sprite while he's saying that, but if you think about the sprite while reading that, it makes sense.
    • At the very end of the game, Maya gives one of these to Franziska after she insults Larry's portrait of her. It actually manages to get her to pay him a compliment, sort of.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: Lampshaded with Godot, who is described as undefeatable — until you actually meet him and he brags that he's never lost because it's only his first case as a prosecutor.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: As Phoenix points out, Mask☆DeMasque literally means 'Mask the Mask'.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Ron DeLite hiding Kane Bullard's body in his safe only incriminates himself even more, because he's one of the few people who knew how to open the safe. Not to mention the fact that he just moseyed on into a security company's headquarters wearing his Mask☆DeMasque outfit without even thinking once that someone might have been suspicious.
    • Similarly, he got away from his first heist by hiding his Mask☆DeMasque costume in a trash can.
  • Dirty Old Man: Victor Kudo. The man will throw birdseed at poor Phoenix, but the moment Maya channels Mia in the skimpy waitress outfit, he'll be eating it out of her hand.
  • Disc-One Final Boss:
    • Dahlia Hawthorne in the fifth case. Despite all the buildup, the culprit of the case ends up being Godot.
    • In the second case, Luke Atmey is both the Disc One Final Boss and the actual villain of the case due to his plan to get himself convicted for theft to avoid a murder charge.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: After Larry admits that, instead of reporting the burning bridge, he was sketching an impression of it, Franziska whips him for sketching in a notebook instead of a sketchpad. Even The Judge isn't sure what to think about it.
  • Downer Ending: Case 4: Mia Fey was THAT close to proving Terry Fawles' innocence for both the current murder and the events five years earlier but instead of continuing his testimony he commits suicide in front of the entire courtroom.
  • Dramatic Irony: 3-4 has this in spades, due to it taking place before any other case up to that point in the series (including 3-1). Thanks to info about Edgeworth's perfect record in the first game, Dahlia's appearance in 3-1, and Mia's trauma about the case, we know something bad is going to happen, no matter how hopeful things might seem along the way.
  • Everyone Can See It: Phoenix and Iris with varying reactions. Maya goes in full Shipper on Deck mode, Edgeworth is mildly supportive but mostly treats it matter-of-factly, Laurice is pissed, Pearl is pissed for different reason.
  • Evil Overlooker: There is a poster for this game with Godot as the overlooker. Subverted in that while he is The Rival (as well as the Final Boss), Dahlia Hawthorne is the Big Bad (as well as an Eviler Than Thou Sociopath in contrast to his Anti-Villain status).
  • Evil Redhead: Dahlia Hawthorne. This is the only physical difference between her and her 'good' twin sister Iris.
  • Evil Twin:
    • Dahlia and Iris, twins who are evil and good, respectively, and both wind up impersonating the other at certain points in time.
    • Spoofed in the third case with the Phoenix look-a-like Furio Tigre, whom Maya refers to as Xin Eohp, and she wonders if she has her own evil twin whom she names Ayam.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Case 5 is driven via Gambit Pileup between Dahlia Hawthorne and Godot.
  • Expressive Hair: Ron DeLite's twisted-up buns start swirling whenever he breaks out into panic (which is often).
  • Failed a Spot Check: Furio Tigre manages to fool the entire court into thinking he's Phoenix Wright. This despite the fact that he's probably half-again Wright's weight, acts nothing like him and, oh yes, has bright red skin. But what was enough to fool the court, including the prosecutor, the judge, and the defendant (all of whom had met Wright multiple times)? Tigre wore a blue suit, made a fake badge for himself out of cardboard, and has the same hairstyle as Phoenix.
  • Fallen Hero: Godot. He was a brilliant defense attorney dating Mia until he was poisoned by Dahlia Hawthorne five years prior to the game's events. He entered a coma, and when he woke up, Mia was already dead. He also lost his hair color and vision (though he amends the latter thing by wearing, according to himself, horrible goggles). When he found out that Phoenix could have saved Mia if he had appeared in time at the crime scene, he decided to make his life a hell in court.
  • Famous-Named Foreigner: Diego Armando is only missing the Maradona.
  • Fission Mailed: Presenting the correct piece of evidence at the end of 3-5 has Godot deliver the exact same dialogue as if the player picked the wrong piece of evidence. Until the camera pans to Phoenix.
  • Flashback: Cases 1 and 4 are playable flashbacks from Mia's point of view. Curiously, the latter takes place earlier than the former, chronologically.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Shortly before the trial starts in 3-1, Mia mentioned she had worked a case one year earlier, and it traumatized her so much that she never set foot in a courtroom until now. In addition, Edgeworth's spotless win record before 1-2 is mentioned in the first game. So the audience knows that 3-4, which is both of their first cases, won't end very well...
  • Foreshadowing:
    • At the end of case 1, Phoenix says that he doesn't believe the Dahlia he saw during the trial is the one that he knew, Mia thinks that he's delusional. Then it's revealed in the ending of the final case of the game that she really wasn't the Dahlia he knew, but her twin sister Iris, who was a genuinely nice girl.
    • In case 2:
      • Desirée DeLite talks about how Ron saved her life when they fell in love. Maya then asks Phoenix if he would ever risk his life for her. In 3-5 Phoenix believes Maya's life is in danger while a murderer is on the loose and chases after her across a burning bridge
      • Pearl cheerfully says that if Phoenix worked hard, he would have copycats of his own. Guess what happens on the very next case.
      • Maya asks what Phoenix would think if she came in calling herself Ayam (which is both the backward spelling of her name and a homophone of "I am"). Early in case 3, when it turns out that someone is impersonating Phoenix, who Maya calls Xin Eoph, Maya asks, "I wonder if Ayam will make an appearance?". Later, we see that Phoenix's impostor also has an assistant from a messed up family who looks a teensy bit like Maya, although the person said assistant impersonated wasn't Maya.
      • The culprit, Luke Atmey, is finally caught after giving away a piece of information he definitely couldn't know unless he was at the crime scene, as he was in a different trial when that detail was disclosed. The culprit of case 3, Furio Tigre, is caught under similar circumstances.
      • Possibly unintentional, as the indicator that a character is lying turns the background negative, which also makes the green ceremonial sword turn red at a certain point. It's later a possible murder weapon.
      • Maya discusses how the culture of Kurain has led to failed marriages, including the one between Pearl's father and Morgan. As it turns out Pearl's father was Morgan's second husband. Morgan's first husband left her shortly after the DL-6 incident painted Kurain's spirit channeling techniques as fradulent, taking Dalhia and Iris with him.
      • If you present Godot's profile to Mrs. DeLite, she'll mention that she doesn't like him. Now remember that she doesn't like criminals either... Sure enough, Godot is the final criminal in the game.
    • In case 3:
      • Upset with Viola's misguided affection, Phoenix mentions that poisoning and betrayal —the marks of a coward— are things he considers unforgivable. Cue case 4, where Dahlia Hawthorne convinces Terry Fawles to commit suicide, and also betrayed him five years earlier when she and her sister sold him to the police.
      • It only takes a blue suit, Anime Hair and attorney badge for people to recognize Phoenix. Cue Apollo Justice, where Phoenix looks nothing like himself due to not wearing his suit and hides his hair, not to mention about his attorney career at that time...
      • Godot presents Maggey's stained apron as evidence... and even though he's the one who presented it, he's as shocked as everyone else to hear that there's blood on it. It turns out to be just a ketchup stain, but it does foreshadow Godot's inability to see the colour red on a white background.
      • The case is about a murder involving poisoned coffee. Just like Godot's backstory, except Godot didn't die and the poisoner wasn't after money; instead, she tried to kill him because he was investigating her criminal past.
      • Furio Tigre's Villainous Breakdown destroys the courtroom lights and reveals Godot's visor-based Red Eyes, Take Warning. In Case 5, this is the first piece of evidence that puts him at the place and time of the respective murder — despite it occurring in complete darkness.
    • Case 4:
      • While narrating the Whole Episode Flashback, Phoenix is in a dark room and illuminated via blue glow from his computer. Case 5's killer, Godot, is revealed by turning the courtroom lights off and emphasizing the red glow from his visor.
      • After Dahlia Hawthorne's The Bad Guy Wins, Diego Armando invokes quite a bit of Suppressed Rage. In Case 5, he — as Godot now — finally snaps and kills her in anger (but unfortunately, because it's now just her already-dead spirit being channeled by Mia and Maya's mother, the latter dies as well).
    • Case 5:
      • Maya, upon looking at a scroll in the Inner Temple, realizes she could not recognize her mother without the help of the Master's Crest. And indeed she couldn't, as "Elise Deauxnim" was actually her mother, and Maya didn't realize until after Misty died.
      • Being heavily involved with spirit mediums and channeling, it throws a pretty good bit of foreshadowing at you. After Dahlia (being channeled by Maya) switches places with her sister Iris, the person who Phoenix believes to be Iris starts using a lot of Dahlia's reaction poses and animations, albeit without the parasol. She also uses some of Maya's poses and her signature sneaky smile, further hinting that it was Maya channeling Dahlia and not Iris.
  • Framing Device: Case 4 is a case Mia worked six years before that Phoenix is researching for his more current predicament, which makes up the bulk of the following case.
  • Freudian Slip: A non-sexual example. Phoenix figures out that Sister Bikini knows more about Elise Deauxnim than she's letting on because she and Iris keep calling her Mystic Elise.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Dahlia has butterflies. Subverted, since she turns out to be a killer — when she sheds her facade the butterflies burst into flame.
  • Fun with Palindromes: The third case has Blue Screens Inc., a computer firm where all of the employees have palindromes for names.
  • Futureshadowing: The first case is Mia Fey's second case. The fourth case of the same game is Mia's first case. The former contains a few allusions to the latter, including Mia and Dahlia Hawthorne commenting that they know one another and references to the poisoning of Diego Armando.
  • Gambit Pileup: The final case. If it wasn't entirely resolved in the first two games, it's resolved here. Good grief. By the end of it, the player feels quite a bit like Phoenix, as they try to comprehend the following: the victim was actually Misty Fey, the result of her, Godot, and Iris' gambit to save Maya's life. Knowing that Morgan would try to take revenge, Godot listened in on her visits with Pearl, then tracked down Misty and set everything up. On top of Morgan's attempt (since JFA!) to kill Maya, lovely Miss Dahlia is running her own separate campaign to destroy Mia (who is already dead, but she doesn't care). And then, while all of this is being dropped on the player, Godot enacts his own mini-gambit in order to steer the trial to get himself convicted.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Despite the Judge declaring that he will allow only one piece of evidence to be presented, screwing up at the end of "Turnabout Memories" just results in a slightly-larger-than-normal penalty.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • First case:
    Mia: That "P" on his chest doesn't stand for Phoenix anyways!

    Dahlia: The pharmacology students love their drugs...
    • Vitamin Square from the third case has two oranges/persimmons with a banana in the middle that resemble a man's parts from the player's perspective. See it here.
    • Fifth case:
      • A mix of Curse Cut Short and Last-Second Word Swap happens in the first trial, and it's said between three people: "Are... you... high! She's really high up there!".
      • When the judge in the second trial misinterprets one of Godot's obtuse coffee metaphors: "Cafe o' Lay? Is that even legal?".
  • Gold Digger: Subverted. Desirée seems like this for Ron in 3-2, frequently going on expensive shopping sprees and clocking the speed limit on her motorbike, but she genuinely does love him.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars. Terry Fawles from 3-4 has a series of plus-shaped scars going across his face, and he's probably one of the sweetest guys despite his deteriorated intelligence... which makes his ultimate fate of poisoning himself just before he can be proven not guilty even more tragic.
  • Grand Finale: 3-5 neatly wraps up the trilogy.
  • Guide Dang It!: Accusing Godot of killing Misty Fey, seeing as, until then, there's been no hints whatsoever that he's was anywhere near the crime scene when the murder took place. You have only two things to go on: a single moment that happened at least two cases ago, and process of elimination, as the game makes it clear that the one you're looking for is a man by that point, and there are only four men in the Court Record, three of whom have alibis.
  • Guilty Until Someone Else Is Guilty: In the final case, it's possible for Iris to get declared guilty if the player gets a game over due to penalties, even after Phoenix proves that only Maya or Godot could've killed Elise Deauxnim, who was revealed to actually be Misty Fey. Iris only gets a "Not Guilty" verdict after Godot is exposed as the murderer.
  • Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Winston Payne has his hair obliterated by Mia's legal judo at the end of the tutorial case. In five words... "My... hair... is... flying... away!". The judge notes that Payne has lost his spirit along with his hair very soon after. It's mostly true, though he keeps more of his general ineffectiveness than he regains his self-confidence...
  • Hannibal Lecture + Humiliation Conga: How Phoenix and a channeled Mia expel Dahlia's spirit from Maya.
  • Headdesk: Gumshoe pulls a wall bang (offscreen) when Phoenix and Maya tell him that Maggey hates him for betraying her.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: The trial of the theft of the Sacred Urn is this for the prosecution (and Luke Atmey). Either way, Ron is in serious trouble since he's either guilty of stealing the urn or the prime suspect for the murder of his former boss, Kane Bullard, as it was impossible to clear charges for one of those crimes without implicating him in the other one.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Used very cleverly by Maya Fey in the final trial. To avoid being killed by Dahlia Hawthorne, Maya channels her. Dahlia mistakenly believes she's being channeled by Pearl, but Phoenix points out that by process of elimination, Maya is the only one who could've channeled her. Pearl had failed to channel Dahlia and Misty was already dead. Dahlia is extremely unamused when she finds out that her plot to kill Maya was foiled so spectacularly.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Franziska in case 5:
      Franziska: Listen, Phoenix Wright! It's impertinent to call people by their full name!
      Phoenix: I was only copying you.
    • Edgeworth in case 4:
      Edgeworth: Young people these days simply don't know how to respect their elders.
      Mia: (Why you...! You're even younger than me, you hypocrite!)
    • Godot in case 5:
      Godot: As they say... "A cornered fox is more dangerous than a jackal."
      Phoenix: I believe the correct description of a cornered fox is "scared and petrified."
      Godot: ... Your animal analogies have grown tiresome!
      Phoenix: (You were the one who started it!)
  • Identical Stranger: Wright's doppelganger is a complete subversion. Aside from the hair they don't even have the same skin color or accent.
  • Impossibly Delicious Food: "Dollie"'s mini-omlettes are described as "magically delicious".
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Two of the culprits in this game are finally caught when they mention a piece of information they could only have known if they were watching the trial... except they weren't:
    • Case 2: In his final testimony, Luke Atmey says there were no fingerprints in the buzzer because Ron DeLite was in his Mask DeMasque costume. Problem is, the fact he was in costume was only mentioned during the trial for the murder of Kane Bullard, which was at the same time Atmey was being on trial for stealing the Sacred Urn. That inevitably points out Atmey was the murderer.
    • Case 3: Phoenix lies to Furio Tigre, telling him that Glen Elg's medicine bottle contained the potassium cyanide used to murder him. Tigre angrily responds that the actual potassium cyanide bottle doesn't look anything like that, and even describes the bottle in detail, implicating him as he shouldn't have known what the bottle looked like in the first place.
  • I Never Told You My Name: In case 5, Iris says Phoenix's surname when talking to him, even though he never revealed it to her. When confronted about it, five Psyche Locks appear before her and the issue has to be dropped. It's not explained until the very end of the game. The fact that you can't ask her about the subject later actually foreshadows the fact that the Iris that you talk to and the Iris that had the Psyche-Locks are actually two different people.
  • Infinite Supplies:
    • Victor Kudo with his box of birdseed (lampshaded with ''infinite ammo code'').
    • Godot has an apparently unlimited supply of coffee mugs. Rather than simply refill his empty mug, it disappears without explanation (always while the camera is elsewhere) and a brand-new mug comes sliding across the bench into his hand from off-screen. This is patently impossible, as there is never anyone besides Godot standing anywhere near the bench. That doesn't stop him from doing it several dozen times per trial. Presumably a bailiff could be getting these, but that's still a lot of coffee...
  • Informed Ability
    • Ron DeLite wears a vivid green jacket/vest with a cape-like back. It has large, very dramatic cuffs near the hands. There are a large number of bright, gold-colored leaves going down the front of his costume. He keeps his very red hair in Princess Leia hair buns that occasionally spiral outward. He has a baby face and an effeminate appearance that would be considered attractive by Bishōnen standards. Even by animated character standards, he has a very expressive face that moves between expressions that show surprise/determination, uncertainty, and pouting/fear. He frequently shrieks loudly at people to get their attention. And we're supposed to believe that he has a hard time getting people to notice him.
    • The notoriety of Eagle River's swift current claiming anyone who falls into it. Through the course of the game, we find two people who ended up in the river (Dahlia Hawthorne and Phoenix Wright) and both of them lived to tell the tale (Dahlia emerges five years later after being in hiding and Phoenix simply ends up with a cold and minor bruising, enough to see him out of the hospital just a couple of days later).
  • Innocuously Important Episode: "Turnabout Memories" seems like a standard tutorial case on the first playthrough: relatively simple with little explicit bearing on the overall plot. Later on, it is revealed to be much more significant as it heavily foreshadows the events of case four and its aftermath.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • In the beginning of Recipe for Turnabout, the first time Phoenix meets Jean Armstrong, after several topics of conversation, Psyche-Locks appear...and Phoenix notices the Magatama is missing. However, since evidence had to be presented to Armstrong to get to this point in the conversation, the player may have already noticed that it was missing from the Court Record.
    • If you haven't already figured out her identity through Foreshadowing, once Elise Deauxnim's charm is stored in the Court Record as Kurain Master's Talisman it's pretty obvious that she's Misty Fey.
    • Case 3-2 is the only case in the entire series where you can present the profile of the attorney you're playing as. As such, you may figure out that you have to present that profile at one point.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • Dahlia declaring she was going to make Mia suffer in the afterlife. In the end, Dahlia was the punished one for eternity.
    • Luke Atmey delivers the following line twice, with a completely different meaning on each occasion: "Take a good look, everyone! Unable to find a rival worthy of my genius, I was forced to create one by myself! Here I am! The tragic clown...".
  • Jerkass Ball: Franziska gets an even bigger one than usual in case 3-5 when she whips Phoenix while he's still suffering from a cold.
  • Kaizo Trap: Godot sets up one in the first trial segment of Case 3-2. Managed to prove Ron DeLite couldn't have stolen the Sacred Urn by giving him a solid alibi? Good. Now you have invalidated his other alibi for a murder that happened to take place in the time and place Ron's alibi placed him in, something Godot clearly explained to Phoenix as he had Ron arrested while they were celebrating the acquittal. Ron knew that very well, which is why he wanted to be declared guilty of the theft he didn't commit to avoid being tried for a murder he didn't commit.
  • Kansai Regional Accent: Furio Tigre in the Japanese version (hence his Brooklyn accent in the English version).
  • Kissing In A Tree: Maya teases Phoenix this way about Iris.
  • Large Ham: Luke Atmey is one of the most blatant examples of overdramatic characters in Ace Attorney. He constantly remarks how he's an "Ace detective", reminds Phoenix of the good deeds he's done, and basically tries to invoke the trope Mundane Made Awesome every chance he gets.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Whenever you present relevant evidence to Basil, she'll shift over and gesture to its picture on the screen, as if she knows where it is, and then shift back when it goes away.
    • Godot's ringtone is his own theme song, and Phoenix calls him out on it.
  • Lethal Chef: Jean Armstrong again, along with Viola Cadaverini in the same case. Two different types, though; Armstrong is just a terrible cook, while Viola at least implies that poison is a key ingredient in her 'cooking'.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: "Elegy of the Captured".
  • Lost in Translation: The Tiger vs. Dragon theme going on between Ryuuichi and Furio Tigre is lost in the English translation with Ryuuichi's name change to Phoenix.
  • Lucky Charms Title: Mask☆DeMasque. Ron DeLite will be sure to correct you if you don't include the ☆.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Elise Deauxnim is revealed to be Misty Fey, Mia's and Maya's mother.
  • Made of Iron: Phoenix chews up a glass bottle with poison residue with no ill effects, and later runs across an old, burning bridge and tumbles into the freezing cold rapids in February and only catches a cold. He also is repeatedly whipped by Franziska and has scalding hot (and one cold) coffee thrown on him by Godot, though both of these are Played for Laughs. It's a possible allusion to his extreme luck, both in and out of court.
  • Meaningful Name: Almost every character has a punny and/or meaningful name. Most of the examples are on the TV Tropes Ace Attorney character sheets.
    • The Fey family's surname. The definitions of the word "fey" include: "appearing to be under a spell; marked by an apprehension of death, calamity, or evil" and "supernatural; unreal; enchanted."
    • Mask☆DeMasque. He wears a mask and Ron DeLite just put masks over his name!
  • Medication Tampering: Dahlia Hawthorne poisons Phoenix's cold medicine so that she can retrieve a necklace she used for a past poisoning. However, she abandons that plan after deciding that another man needed to be killed off more than Phoenix and the poisoned cold medicine ends up being the decisive evidence that proves her guilt.
  • Meido: The Trés Bien restaurant has waitresses dressed as maids. The food is terrible and overpriced, so the only regulars that aren't mobsters are perverts.
  • Musical Nod: The first game's Pursuit theme plays during the last confrontation with Godot.
  • Never Found the Body: Dahlia jumped off Dusky Bridge prior to the game's events and was declared dead, but they never found her corpse. This comes to bite their ass later on when she commits a series of murders.
  • New Old Flame: Two: Dahlia or rather Iris for Phoenix and Godot for Mia.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: At the beginning of case 3-2, Phoenix easily gets Ron DeLite off a larceny charge by proving he was somewhere else... only for Godot to come up to him afterward, say there was a murder committed there, and haul Ron off into custody again. What, you thought it wouldn't be Always Murder? He was the thief in general, but not in that particular instance. He turned himself in to ensure he could have an alibi for the aforementioned murder. Phoenix was defending him because his wife told Nick he was a delusional fanboy.
  • Only Six Faces: Referenced when Furio Tigre passes off as Phoenix by way of his hair... and a cardboard cut-out badge.
  • Out of the Frying Pan: Case 2, which is more like "Out of the Larceny Charge and into the Murder Charge." Phoenix gets Ron acquitted of larceny...which unfortunately leaves him with no alibi for a murder that took place at the same time as the theft, sending Ron back into custody. The second half of the case is spent trying to get Ron acquitted of this murder as well.
  • Overrated and Underleveled: 20-year-old Edgeworth is already considered quite the prosecutor, even though this is his first case. Justified (and explained) in Investigations, where he solves a double murder in the courthouse on an earlier day that was supposed to be his court debut, earning Gumshoe's Undying Loyalty in the process.
  • Palette Swap: Iris and Dahlia's court record pictures and a majority of their own sprites are exactly the same except for the hair color.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": Discussed in this chat:
    Maya: SuPer-Admin Restricted Desktop Access password-protected?! This is madness!
    Phoenix: No, Maya, that is SPARDA. She won't tell us unless we say the right code word.
    A code word? Hmm... ... Sesame!
    Basil: ...
    Maya: If it's not "sesame", then it must be her mother's maiden name. That's how it always is.
    Phoenix: There's no point in having a password if it's always the same thing, Maya.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Iris is sweet, kind-hearted and selfless. She wants to protect Phoenix. Dahlia is evil, cruel and selfish. She wants to kill Phoenix.
  • Police Are Useless: The police chief would rather watch Chinese soap operas off the internet rather than aid in the investigations.
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: Phoenix and Mia have managed to prove that Dahlia's plan had failed and exorcised her spirit from Maya's body, Iris has been recovered from her imprisonment in the sacred cavern, and the judge is about to deliver his verdict...when Godot raises an objection to remind the court that the true killer's identity has not been determined yet.
  • Present Absence: Phoenix is hospitalized for the first half of 3-5, but he comes up constantly in the dialogue. Even Miles Edgeworth, the player character, wonders several times how Phoenix would do things or if this is what Nick's life is like.
  • Punny Name: Luke Atmey's name sounds like "Look at me". Quite fitting, because he likes to be the center of attention.
  • Rage Quit: Edgeworth gives up on investigating after breaking three "Psycholocks" on Larry, only to have five pop up in their place.
  • Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: Larry actually wrote "Salutation here" at the top of a letter.
  • Running Gag: Phoenix cleaning the toilet in 3-2.
  • Sand In My Eyes: Inverted. After being revealed as the true murderer of Elise Deauxnim (A.K.A. Misty Fey) at the end of case 3-5, Godot starts bleeding from behind his mask due to the stab wound he sustained from Dahlia, but he insists that it's tears because he can't see red.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: All of them in case 3:
    • Maya insists on referring to Phoenix's imposter in 3-3 as "Xin Eohp". Furio Tigre is less than impressed the one time he hears her say this.
      Maya: Ah! It's Xin Eohp!
      Tigre: Who you callin' "Zinnee Ooooope"!?
      Maya: Aaaaah!
      Phoenix: (Come out from under the table already, Maya!)
    • Maya asks whether they'll find her doppelganger, "Ayam". As it turns out, they do, sort of, but the person they impersonate isn't Maya.
    • Glen Elg, Lisa Basil (his boss) and Adam Mada (another Blue Screens employee) all have palindrome names.
  • Series Fauxnale: The Ace Attorney series was originally meant to be a closed trilogy, with "Bridge to the Turnabout" being the Grand Finale, but Executive Meddling forced Apollo Justice to be a continuation on Phoenix's story.
  • She Is All Grown Up: Invoked in 3-3. A recalcitrant witness is titillated by waitress outfits like the one Maya is wearing, but since Maya is small and looks young he has no interest in her. Mia then takes over Maya's body, which changes it to Mia's rather... ample form. The witness becomes much more helpful.
  • Sherlock Scan: Parodied with Luke Atmey: he boasts about his deductive ability, but all he does is observe the obvious and figure out the obvious. For example, he deduces that Phoenix is a lawyer because he wears an attorney's badge. And the others are impressed.
  • Ship Sinking: Phoenix/Maya. From Maya's side if her declaration that she sees him as brother didn't do it, then shipping him with Iris did. From Phoenix' side there are his pretty obvious feelings for Iris as well as openly declaring that Pearl is wrong about him and Maya.
  • Shout-Out: See here.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Phoenix plays one half of the equation. The other side only looks like she shares this, though... Maybe she does. Or better said, her twin sister does.
  • Sissy Villain: Subverted in case 3-3. Jean Armstrong is very much a sissy, and has a criminal record, a motive, an opportunity, and the means to commit murder, but is not the culprit.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The investigation phases of Bridge to the Turnabout take place in a snowy mountain area.
  • Snow Means Death: Someone becomes a victim of homicide in a snowy mountain area in Bridge to the Turnabout.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Two music tracks reused from the previous game:
    • Reminiscence ~ Steel Samurai's Ballad, the sad theme that played when Adrian Andrews talked about her pain regarding Celeste's suicide, as well as the bad ending, now plays when she confesses to breaking the Sacred Urn.
    • Investigation ~ Core 2002 was quite an impactful track in JFA as it first played when Matt Engarde shows his true colors. In this game, it plays much more frequently in rather mundane moments (in comparison to its use in JFA), like when Mia mentions the poisoning in case 1, when it's revealed Phoenix has a phony in case 3, and when Larry's sketch is revealed in case 5.
  • Spit Take: Played straight by Godot, but occasionally spoofed where he, upon having his witness discredited by Phoenix, grabs a coffee mug, brings it to his mouth, takes a sniff, takes a sip and THEN finally spits it out.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • The English subtitle of the third game in the series; Trials and Tribulations.
    • Dahlia Hawthorne's most famous murder was committed using poison.
    • Terry Fawles doesn't seem to have a Punny Name unless you consider that Terry is short for Walter. Making him Walter Fawles.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Both Luke Atmey and Ron DeLite describe a thief's appearance at a crime scene as him "dancingly descending". From the entrance.
    Phoenix: So he neither "descended" nor "danced"...
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Gumshoe doesn't have feelings for Maggey Byrde, pal!
  • Tears of Blood: Armando at the end of the final case.
    'Armando (with blood running from his eyes)'' These must be... my tears.
  • Thief Bag: Mask☆DeMasque uses the Japanese-green-and-white-swirl variety. Occasionally, Gumshoe will bring evidence in a similar, smaller version.
  • Tiger Versus Dragon: Furio Tigre and Phoenix Wright. It makes more sense in the Japanese version as Phoenix represents a dragon.
  • Title Drop:
    • In the English localization, Luke Atmey calls himself the "Ace Detective", which prompts Phoenix to introduce himself: "I am Phoenix Wright... Ace Attorney".
    • In the original Japanese version, the fifth and final case of Trials and Tribulations, "Bridge to Turnabout", was instead named 'Magnificent Turnabout(華麗なる逆転)', which is a pun on the word 'curry', which then is a reference to a clue in the case. But it's also a reference to Phoenix's line when he makes a Badass Boast to the killer, telling him that he will present the one piece of evidence that will take him down.
      Phoenix: I'm going to bring your magnificent vengeance to your fruition, just as you want it.
  • Too Dumb to Live: While investigating a murder involving a man who was killed after drinking poisoned coffee, Phoenix and Maya are offered coffee by a creepy woman who might have ties to the murder. And they actually drink it. This particular coffee isn't poisoned, however, so too dumb to live or not, they do in fact live.
  • Tragic Villain: Godot. His plan to kill Misty Fey could have been entirely avoided had he just gone to Phoenix for help. But he hated both Phoenix and himself for failing to protect a woman in their lives. Godot's desire for revenge nearly gets Maya killed, and required Godot to kill Misty Fey to get what he wanted. Godot even admits his faults when Phoenix exposes his crimes.
  • Try Everything: What Franziska resorts to on the 3 puzzle locks on the chamber Maya is supposedly in. Each lock has an extreme amount of possible combinations. Franziska decides to try all of them, which she eventually succeeds at.
  • Twin Switch: Phoenix thought he was dating Dahlia (who, unbeknownst to him, wanted to kill him). It turns out he was dating Dahlia's sister, Iris, who asked Dahlia to take her place so she could retrieve a trinket that Phoenix had without Dahlia killing Phoenix.
  • Unfortunate Names: Blue Screens, Inc. is another one. Few people want to see a Blue Screen of Death on their computer because it means that Windows has crashed so hard that it must reboot.
  • Weapons-Grade Vocabulary: Particularly clever counterpoints apparently have the ability to hit opposing attorneys like a gale-force wind, throwing them back, making them flinch and, in one particularly devastating case, tearing all the hair off a person's head, leaving him mostly bald.
  • 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 Episode: Two of them, actually! Case 4 introduces you to the real Godot and his interaction with Mia, shows the first murder of Dahlia Hawthorne, and sets up the setting of the next case, "Bridge to the Turnabout". This latter case is even more wham, with insane reveals left and right, resolution of the Dahlia x Phoenix relationship, resolution of the loose ends of DL-6 and Case 4, and old characters returning for the grand finale of the trilogy.
  • Wham Line:
    • Dahlia Hawthorne saying in case 4 that her name is Melissa Foster. This is a case of Blatant Lies because the player already knows her true name, even though the characters don't, thanks to the story being presented in Anachronic Order.
    • Iris calling Phoenix by his surname, even though Phoenix never revealed it to her.
    • At the end of the game, Iris says that the girl Phoenix used to date in college wasn't Dahlia, but Iris herself.
  • Wham Shot:
    • In the very first cutscene of the game, we see a person next to a corpse, saying he didn't kill him... and the person speaking is Phoenix Wright himself.
    • Case 3 opens with a trial ending with a guilty verdict. And the lawyer is a sweating Phoenix against Payne of all people. It only takes two minutes until you find out that guy wasn't Phoenix, though.
    • Godot and Edgeworth popping up in Case 4, which is a flashback from Mia's point of view, when she was alive.
    • The photo of the Occult New Year's Issue at the beginning of "Bridge to the Turnabout" (which shows none other than Iris, who looks identical to her twin sister Dahlia).
    • The final investigation day of Case 5 has "Kurain Master's Talisman has been added to the Court Record". It had been two in-game days since the meaning of the symbol in the charm had been discussed, so while Phoenix had certainly not forgotten it, the players most likely did, shocking them with the reveal that Elise Deauxnim was Misty Fey.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Minor, but curious. At the end of Justice for All, Franziska von Karma says that she'll give the card with Maya's drawing of Phoenix to him the next time they meet. She doesn't. To be fair, however, the next time Phoenix and Franziska meet, it's during an extended emergency during which someone might or might not have died in a cold and snowy cave. It's possible the card simply slipped Franziska's mind during the chaos and confusion. She certainly wouldn't be the first person in the world who forgot something really important out of being overwhelmed by events.
    • Despite being introduced as Phoenix's love interest, Iris is never mentioned again in the franchise.
    • The fate of the Hawthorne family's diamond is never revealed.
    • You never find "The Stolen Turnabout"'s murder weapon, or even learn what it was.
  • "X" Makes Anything Cool: Cold Killer X, a medicine introduced in Case 1.
  • Yakuza: Furio Tigre, a.k.a. the "Phony Phoenix Wright". The English version changes it to The Mafia.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko:
    • Played straight with Iris from Hazakura Temple.
    • Subverted with Dahlia Hawthorne. Being delicate and innocent is just a façade so she can gain sympathy from the court.
  • Yandere: Dahlia Hawthorne, though twisted with hate for Mia rather than love for anyone. Maybe Viola Cadaverini as well.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!:
    • You get your client innocent of larceny in case 2 in one single trial... but Godot immediately lets you know that he's going to accuse your client of murder the next day, forcing a second investigation and a second trial.
    • In the final case, after a long and arduous battle, Dahlia Hawthorne is exposed for the failure she is and the case seems to be resolved... but then Godot chimes in, pointing out that it still hasn't been established who actually did the stabbing. Thus, there's one final gameplay segment over which Phoenix eventually proves that Godot himself is responsible.
  • You Watch Too Much X: In "Bridge to the Turnabout", Gumshoe pops up and objects to Larry Butz's machinations... outside court.
    Edgeworth: I think you've watched too many trials, Detective.
  • Zeerust: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney takes place in 2016, and it shows many computers with CRT monitors. CRT monitors have been obsolete since around 2007 in our world.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Justice For All, Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Trials And Tribulations, Phoenix Wright Trilogy, Phoenix Wright



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

How well does it match the trope?

4.79 (28 votes)

Example of:

Main / Corpsing

Media sources:

Main / Corpsing