Follow TV Tropes


Visual Novel / Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations

Go To
From the past to the present, the truth will finally be brought to light...
"It's only natural for living creatures to fight to protect their own lives. But what makes us human is that we fight for others. But who do you fight for? How hard must you fight...? That's the true measure of what human life is worth. We defense attorneys are warriors who are constantly challenged by that question. Even when the battle is over, and the bonds that connect us are severed... We always return... Time and time again. "
Phoenix Wright, Case 3-5: "Bridge to the Turnabout"

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations is the third game in the Ace Attorney visual novel franchise, following Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All. It was initially released for the Game Boy Advance in 2004, then for the Nintendo DS in 2007.

Like its two predecessors, the game follows Phoenix Wright, a kind and intelligent yet hapless defense attorney who works to save innocent clients from guilty verdicts. By his side are his loyal assistant, Maya Fey and her cousin Pearl, who are capable of channeling his deceased mentor, Maya's older sister Mia. On the opposite side of the courtroom this time is the mysterious coffee-guzzling prosecutor Godot, who bears a grudge against Phoenix for unknown reasons. Meanwhile, the enigmatic beauty Dahlia Hawthorne seems to recur in the pasts of Phoenix, Edgeworth, and the Feys. The fate of the Fey family hangs in the balance as the last aftershocks of the DL-6 case finally play out.

Initially the Grand Finale of Phoenix's arc, the game was chronologically followed by Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, which stars a new cast but with Phoenix in a surprising mentor role.

The Phoenix trilogy as a whole has been compiled and updated for rerelease (including HD art and smoother animations) for multiple systemsnote  as the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy.

Trials and Tribulations was adapted as the second season of the franchise's anime adaptation in 2018.

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

  • Accidental Misnaming: In the finale's first day of investigation, Edgeworth refers to Psyche-Locks as "psycholocks".
  • 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?
    • From 3-5, 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.
  • 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 and add an attorney's badge to his lapel.
  • Ambiguously Human: Lisa Basil from 3-3. She uses computer-based terminology for everything, her movements are stiff and unnatural, and she describes personality flaws as "bugs." The court record even says she's "definitely not a robot."
  • Anachronic Order: Chronologically, the case order goes 4, 1, 2, 3, 5. 3-1 and 3-4 are set during Mia's time as an attorney, with 3-4 being her first case, where she first learns about Dahlia Hawthorne, and 3-1 being her second (a year later, after the ending of 3-4 traumatized her) where she defends Phoenix and puts Dahlia away for good. The Framing Device for 3-4 and 3-1 is also set in the middle of 3-5; while in the hospital after falling off the bridge, Phoenix recalls 3-1 and checks Mia's old files for 3-4.
  • 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 defendant 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.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Edgeworth is initially totally unwilling to acknowledge that the paranormal exists at the start of 3-5, even after using the Magatama. He outright calls himself out on this.
  • Arc Welding: The finale connects Morgan's plot to overthrow Maya so Pearl becomes the head of the Fey Clan, previously seen in Justice For All; the quarrel between Mia and Dahlia, which was shown in this game's first and fourth cases; and Godot's projected grudge against Phoenix. All of these plotlines converge into a Gambit Pileup. Furthermore, Dahlia's Dark and Troubled Past is also indirectly connected to the DL-6 incident, which was That One Case throughout the main story of the first game.
  • Artistic License – Art: In "The Stolen Turnabout", a throwaway line near the start has Maya comment on how cold it is in the basement, with Phoenix responding that it is because the space is air conditioned to protect the art being stored there. Temperature control is indeed an important part of art preservation, but in reality the ideal temperature for that purpose is around normal room temperature, not cold like what Maya suggests.
  • 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).
  • Back for the Finale: Edgeworth and Franziska both return to play major roles in Case 3-5, the original trilogy's grand finale. Edgeworth is even briefly Promoted to Playable.
  • 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!"
  • Balking Summoned Spirit: Played for Laughs. Mia is aghast when she learns that Maya had summoned her spirit in order to invoke Male Gaze from a witness that Phoenix was interrogating.
  • 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 Duumvirate: Dahlia serves as the main Big Bad of this game and is teamed up with Morgan Fey, a Greater-Scope Villain. Dahlia is also another Greater-Scope Villain since her evil against Diego Armando prompted his Face–Heel Turn into Godot, another Big Bad who seeks misguided vengeance against Phoenix, and Godot's actions that are unrelated to the Fey clan are proof that she is a Greater-Scope Villain.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Dahlia Hawthorne and Godot are two Big Bads that fight each other. Dahlia's murderous ways that drive several of the cases and caused the other Big Bad into evil make her both a Big Bad and a Greater-Scope Villain. Godot's attempts to get misguided revenge by prosecuting only cases which Phoenix defends makes him another Big Bad.
  • 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: While the script has less overt editing compared to the last, the number of overt translation errors are far more egrigious. In particular, the final trial of the game is filled with multiple lines which aren't just nothing like the Japanese, but actively create entirely new plot points by complete accident:
    • During the final investigation, Iris (or, rather, Dahlia impersonating Iris) states that she was involved in planning out the diamond theft plot from the backstory, but got cold feet and abandoned it. The Japanese however states she agreed to help, not actively planned out, and specifies that it was an older version of the plan than the one seen in flashbacks, explaining why her supposed involvement was never mentioned beforehand.
    • During her cross-examination, Dahlia claims that her mother was originally to kill her as well, despite Dahlia already being on death row. The Japanese is actually a sardonic remark about how Morgan was so heartless as to incorporate her own daughter's execution into her Evil Plan from the very start.
    • When explaining his efforts to stop Maya's assassination, Godot states that he got Iris involved so she could be the Fall Guy if he and Misty failed to stop Pearl. This is the complete opposite of what the Japanese says, which is that he got her involved because she was Morgan and Dahlia's intended scapegoat for the murder, as stated by Dahlia herself earlier in the same case.
  • A Bloody Mess: In the third case, a large ketchup stain on Maggey's apron was mistaken for blood by Phoenix and the Judge.
  • Bluffing the Murderer: In 3-3, Phoenix catches the killer by presenting the wrong bottle as the poison used in the murder, subsequently tricking the culprit into revealing that he knew what the actual bottle looked like.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: When attempting to deduce who Ms. Deauxnim is, Phoenix borrows Luke Atmey's "Zvarri!" catchphrase. He has about as much luck as Atmey did at making such impressive deductions on the fly.
  • 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, "Cornering the Culprit", 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.
  • Call-Forward: The first and fourth cases, being set in the past, include some references to events that happened in earlier games (which are chronologically set after them):
    • In the first case, Phoenix mentions that, apart from Art, he's studying Law to save a friend (who is Edgeworth).
    • In the fourth case, Edgeworth attempts to counter one of Mia's arguments by stating the Dusky Bridge map is outdated (just as he'd later do in Case 1-2 against Phoenix, involving an autopsy report). Later on, he shows he knew of "Melissa Foster" actually being Dahlia Hawthorne despite his previous attempts to excuse that there's no way to check her identity, not unlike what Manfred von Karma would do with Yanni Yogi in Case 1-4.
  • 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 Call-Back: During the first two games, several characters have noted on Phoenix's tendency of presenting everything he has to others, particularly his Attorney's Badge. In Case 1, that very tendency makes Dahlia want to murder him because he wouldn't stop presenting the "gift" she gave him, which was actually a poison vial that she had already used to get rid of two people.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Justice For All had Pearl be all Shipper on Deck for Phoenix and Maya, and it's nothing but Played for Laughs. 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.
    • The comedic third case is built on the fact that security is so lax that a guy with a laughably obvious fake badge was able to pass himself off as a defense attorney. At the time, it's played entirely for laughs, but it becomes convenient in the finale when Edgeworth borrows Phoenix's badge while the latter is out of commission, in order to fill in as the defense for the first day of trial. Albeit it begs the question of why stricter measures haven't been implemented in the meantime.
    • Pearl being unable to spell "gravely" and "roast" comes back later when it turns out she was given instructions by her mother with those words and misinterpreted 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 as a very minor event, 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.
  • The Con: The fourth case is about how a cop's sister is kidnapped by her boyfriend, asking for a ransom of an expensive diamond of their father's at a mountain river. It was all staged in order to sell the diamond and split the millions of dollars amongst themselves. However, all of THAT was a scam; the sister planned this all along and jumped into a river with the diamond, keeping it for herself. (Until it was lost in the river, leaving her with nothing but a criminal background and a lot of karma to hit her over the head later.)
  • 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.
    • The first game has Phoenix recalling the class trial where Larry and Edgeworth stood up for him as an example of him being wrongfully accused of a crime he didn’t commit, which is why he can relate to Maya when she’s accused of Mia’s murder. This game shows that Phoenix himself was also framed for murder at some prior point, and met Mia when she defended him from that accusation. It is a bit odd in hindsight that Phoenix’s point of reference for understanding Maya’s first false murder accusation is the lunch money incident from childhood rather than the actual murder trial he went through.
  • 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.
  • Correction Bait: How Furio Tigre ends up incriminating himself, combined with I Never Said It Was Poison. Phoenix presents a green plastic bottle containing the victim's ear medicine, and falsely claims it contained the poison used to commit the murder. Tigre immediately points out that the actual poison bottle was made of brown glass, something he shouldn't have known unless he was the one who used the poison.
  • 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 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: Technically, the only crime Dahlia Hawthorne had the full intention to commit (before execution, that is) was the false kidnapping to steal a very expensive gem. Every other crime afterwards is to cover potentially dangerous tracks.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Adrian Andrews, after allowing herself to pursue her own personality.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Case 3-5 serves as one for Edgeworth, who takes over as the protagonist for a while when Phoenix is incapacitated.
  • 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'.
  • Developer's Foresight: By this point in the series it's been well established that presenting correct evidence causes any music playing at the time to stop, while incorrect evidence lets the music keep running with whomever you're presenting the evidence to shrug it off. Anyone who used this for save scumming are in for a rude awakening when the final presentation of evidence, an instant game over if you're wrong, deliberately ignores this and behaves as if you've presented the wrong piece of evidence with the music still playing and Godot having the same dialogue no matter what, only deviating after he's done talking if you're correct.
  • 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. However, she is the true villain, since Godot was trying to stop her plan.
    • 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.
  • The Don: Bruto Cadaverini never appears personally, but he's often referenced as a terrifying mob boss who scares even the police, and nobody in the underworld dares cross him. So when he forces Furio to pay his granddaughter Viola's hefty medical bills, Furio is left scrambling for the money and eventually resorts to murder.
  • Doomed by Canon: "Turnabout Beginnings" has Mia going up against Miles Edgeworth on his first case as prosecutor, and it's been established previously that Edgeworth had a perfect record before the events of the first game. This doesn't leave much room for defendant Terry Fawles to be vindicated. Terry ends up committing suicide via poison while on the witness stand, leaving the case with no conclusion and thus not affecting Edgeworth's record.
  • Downer Ending: Case 4: Mia Fey was that close to proving Terry Fawles' innocence in 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, traumatizing both Mia and Edgeworth, and allowing the true culprit to get away.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Pearl inadvertently gets her aunt killed because she's too innocent to understand Kurain family politics. So when her mother told her to do something "for the good of the Fey Clan", she does it thinking it's going to help her beloved cousin Maya... because she doesn't realize that Morgan was actually plotting to kill Maya so her branch family (what she meant by "the Fey clan") could become the main family.
  • 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.
    • In response to Dahlia's gushing about Phoenix, Mia scoffs that to the rest of the world, he's "a dime a dozen". This is several years before Phoenix saves her sister's life, and probably the only time in the series that Mia is wrong about anything.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: In Case 2, when Godot first comes up, Atmey states that Edgeworth personally named him the best prosecutor in the country, yet, in Case 5, not only have the two not met, but Edgeworth states he's never even heard of him. This is the result of a translation error - the Japanese line is supposed to be a metaphorical remark stating Godot was now the "strongest" prosecutor with Edgeworth having left the country. However, this could still be interpreted as Atmey lying to intimidate Phoenix.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Larry Butz warning Phoenix that trying to cross Dusky Bridge while it's on fire is a bad idea. He's also very quick to call for help after Phoenix falls in, which even Edgeworth concedes probably saved Phoenix's life.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: This is the first game in the series where you play as more than one character,note  but the game only has one objection theme, which plays regardless of who the player character currently is. Later main series entries would have separate objection themes for each playable character.
  • Embarrassing Alibi: Invoked, and also doubles as Fake Alibi. In case 2, Luke Atmey frames himself for stealing a sacred urn at the time of a murder he committed in order to establish an alibi for the latter, as well as to invoke double jeopardy for the murder charge.
  • 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.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Back in Case 3-4, Edgeworth was in full "Demon Prosecutor" mode, but when he sees that the defendant has been poisoned, he immediately calls for the trial to be stopped. Mia's ending narration also states that he was just as traumatized as she was by how everything turned out.
  • 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 Versus Evil: Case 5 is driven via Gambit Pileup between Dahlia Hawthorne and Godot.
  • Exact Words:
    • Godot's introduction as yet another undefeated prosecutor:
      Judge: Yes, your reputation precedes you. What kind of cases have you dealt with so far?
      Godot: Ha...! None.
      Judge: What did you say...?
      Godot: I've never prosecuted a case before.
      Judge: N-Never? But you said you've never lost before.
      Godot: ...Exactly. I've never lost. I've never won before either.
    • The fourth case. Some players might remember that Edgeworth had never lost a trial before the events of the first game, and thus draw the conclusion that he's going to win here. Which makes it a genuinely surprising twist when the defendant dies in court, leaving the trial with no verdict. Edgeworth didn't lose, but he also didn't win.
  • 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.
  • Fake Alibi: Episode two has the murderer attempt to Confess to a Lesser Crime to be at a different location at the time of the crime. He's using time manipulation via evidence tampering to make it work.
  • 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:
    • The opening cutscene of 3-3 shows Phoenix Wright having lost a case to Winston Payne, as well as his client being declared guilty. After what looks to be a Game Over sequence, the game then cuts to Wright & Co Law Offices.
    • In 3-5, Presenting the correct piece of evidence at the end of 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.
    • Also in Case 1, Mia suddenly feels the urge to hit something (Grossberg) whenever Dahlia is discussed. Mia has met Dahlia in the chronologically earlier Case 4, and Dahlia both stole a win from her and tricked an innocent man into killing himself in front of her (traumatizing Mia), and got away scot-free. Mia has a very good reason to be angry at Dahlia.
    • 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 Eohp, 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.
      • If you check your Profiles for this case, you're inexplicably given a profile of Phoenix, which is odd as previous cases didn't include the profile of the current playable character. Sure enough, you're required to present his profile as a response for who you want to have their fingerprints tested for on the Sacred Urn, as he touched it by accident while searching Atmey's office and his fingerprints proved it was there as Adrian cleaned it completely prior to its theft.
      • If you present Mask☆DeMasque's calling card to Ron DeLite, he'll immediately recognize it even though it's supposed to be a secret hidden from the public. It's a very early hint that Ron is the actual Phantom Thief.
      • Godot mentions that when he finds evidence he picks it up and puts it in his pocket, very much like Phoenix does. And as it just so happens, Case 4 reveals Godot was originally a defense attorney.
    • 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. This serves as a Call-Back to Case 1 (where Phoenix was nearly betrayed and poisoned), but it also references 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.
      • If you look closely at the same image of Phoenix at his computer, you can see an IV bag behind his bed, showing that he's in the hospital. We found out how he got there in the prelude to the next case.
      • During the trial, Diego comments that "men always seem to get stabbed in the back" before Mia points out that the victim in their case (killed by a knife wound to the back) was a woman. A man does get backstabbed during the trial, as Dahlia convinces Terry Fawles to go along with a Suicide Pact, only to not follow through on her end.
      • 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 Integration: Case 3-4 is Edgeworth's first case. As such, Manfred Von Karma's influence on him is still extremely apparent; not only does he pursue his 'win at any cost' philosophy, he also mimics Manfred's mannerisms and wears a red version of Manfred's jacket.
  • 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.
  • Glass-Shattering Sound: Implied at the end of 3-3. The culprit's Villainous Breakdown involves him screaming loudly enough to cause a blackout in the courtroom, presumably because the light bulbs shattered.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Internal Reveal: In the fourth case, when Melissa Foster appears on screen, the player already knows she's actually Dahlia Hawthorne, because she also appeared in the first case, which is set a year later. However, the characters only figure this out later in the trial, and the story treats it as a major twist.
  • 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.
  • 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 between Ryuuichi and Furio Tigre is lost in the English translation because of Ryuuichi's name change to Phoenix.
    • An important plot detail lost completely in the localization was that of Morgan's fate. While the reference to her early in Case 2 just states that she is serving a prison term in isolation in the English script, the Japanese directly translates to "...In a solitary cell, she waits for her punishment to be carried out..." ("‥‥刑務所の独房で、 刑の執行を待っている‥‥"), a description which heavily implies she is actually on death row awaiting execution. This causes her single scene in Case 5 to lose much of its meaning, as the mention of her "last wish" for Pearl to become Master coupled with the text turning red strongly insinuates these are her final thoughts before her death. In the ENG, Morgan instead seemingly vanishes from the story entirely despite being the direct instigator of the cases events.
    • The explanation of Dahlia's Freudian Excuse is somewhat clearer in the Japanese. In the ENG, Iris says that "She was abandoned by our mother and never got any love from our father either." In the Japanese, however, the verb Iris uses is [見捨てられて], which more closely means "thrown away and neglected", in reference to Morgan's treatment of the twins after they were found to be powerless. This frames Dahlia's actions as the result of prolonged Parental Neglect negatively affecting her personality over time rather than being the result of her parents' divorce, which makes Iris' continued sympathy for her come off as more believable.
  • 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.
  • May It Never Happen Again: After Dahlia Hawthorne is exorcised near the end of the final trial, everyone present agrees that Dahlia must never be summoned again.
  • 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.
  • Mob Debt: Glen Eleg, genius programmer, got murdered when a Loan Shark wanted to collect on his gambling debt. The deal was to produce a dangerous virus to pay off the debt. The deal went sour when he won the lottery and thus didn't need to hand over the goods.
  • Motifs: All five cases, even the ones not directly connected to the Myth Arc, have one or more characters engaging in impersonation:
    • 3-1: This seems Averted at the start, but at the end of 3-5 it's revealed that the "Dahlia Hawthorne" Phoenix knew as his girlfriend was actually her twin sister Iris, except for the time they first met in the courthouse and the day of the murder of Doug Swallow.
    • 3-2: Luke Atmey impersonates Mask☆DeMasque in order to create an alibi for himself.
    • 3-3: Furio Tigre impersonated Phoenix in court, as well as the victim after the real murder had occurred (while Viola Cadaverini played the role of Maggey Byrde) to create a false witness.
    • 3-4: Dahlia Hawthorne impersonated the victim at the scene of the crime, and later pretends to be an innocent foreign student in court.
    • 3-5: Dahlia (once again), first channeled by Misty Fey and then by Maya, remains under disguise as her twin Iris both during the night of the murder and the second day in court.
  • 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. Thug begins a court case where Phoenix has to prove that his defendant is Mask☆DeMasque when the previous day he had just disproved it.
  • Obsolete Occupation: One of the witnesses in "Recipe for Turnabout" is Victor Kudo, the last of a family of kimono embroiderers due to kimonos either falling out of fashion (in the Japanese version) or never being in fashion to begin with (in the US version).
  • One-Hit Kill: Verbally. In the final cross examination in Bridge to Turnabout, Godot enforces the "unlimited penalty", in which presenting the wrong evidence results in a game over since it will destroy an entire full health bar.
  • One-Way Visor: Godot's mask. The fact that it glows and can't see red on white both become important plot-points.
  • 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 by clearing Gumshoe's name.
  • 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. Justified, as the two are twins.
  • 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.
  • Plot Hole: After the final trial, it's explained that Maya channelled Dahlia's spirit because Mia instructed her to, knowing that it would keep her safe until she could be saved. Except Mia has no way of knowing this, since she has no way about knowing about Morgan and Dahlia's plan to kill Maya, that Dahlia had a connection to the Fey Clan which would justify her involvement, or that she was even dead, and Maya never saw her attacker before she was saved by Godot. From the perspective of the Fey sisters, literally all that happened was that someone attempted to kill Maya, was killed by a third-party who rescued Maya, and the crime scene was cleaned up after the fact.
    • However, it is heavily implied in all three games that Mia is "looking over" Maya and Phoenix (even appearing in pictures, albeit mostly for the player's benefit, and "summoning herself" into Maya when she feels they need her, with the knowledge of their current situation at the ready) and thus her knowledge isn't limited to what she experiences while being channelled. With Godot being her boyfriend, it also makes sense she might've been "checking in" on him after he woke up from his coma as well, thus learning of both Morgan's plan and Godot's counter-plan.
  • 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.
  • Propping Up Their Patsy: The third case sees Phoenix Wright called in to defend Maggie Byrd (who was the tutorial defendant in the last game), who was apparently tried and found guilty...with an imposter posing as Wright. The imposter turns out to be Furio Tigre, the real killer.
  • 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.
  • Reclusive Artist: In-Universe. Elise Deauxnim is said to be a popular children's book author, but is so reclusive and mysterious that even the police have a hard time finding out any info on her. Turns out she's Misty Fey.
  • Recorded Audio Alibi: Luke Atmey uses a captured surveillance photo of himself asMask☆DeMasque stealing the Kurain Sacred Urn to establish an alibi for the murder of Kane Bullard. It turns out that the photo was actually taken days in advance and the time stamp was manipulated by Atmey, who was responsible for setting up the security measures at the museum.
  • Red Herring:
    • At the start of 3-5, Gumshoe speculates that Godot is MIA because he heard that Phoenix won't be the defense attorney and thus lost interest. While this is completely reasonable based on what the player knows of the situation, it's really a smokescreen to prevent the player from suspecting Godot too early.
    • The note written for Iris in the same case. While it initially seems like it'll part of a hugely important detail later on, since it asks Iris to come to Heavenly Hall unless she wants a secret to be revealed, it turns out it was actually written by Larry Butz, and he was under the false impression Iris was madly in love with him, which was the "secret". Plus, Iris never actually ended up going.
  • Reverse Whodunnit: The first game in the series where the first case is not this, presumably because they didn't really need to assure players that the protagonist was innocent (and in a flashback no less). That said, the third case makes it very obvious through silouette early on that the fake Phoenix imposter is also the murderer, playing this more straight.
  • Rule of Three: Unsurprisingly, this trope reoccurs several times in what is the third game in the series:
    • You play as three defense attorneys over the course of the game: Phoenix (in cases 3-2, 3-3, and the second half of 3-5), Mia Fey (in the flashback cases 3-1 and 3-4), and Edgeworth (in the first half of 3-5).
    • The second and last trial day of 3-5 takes place over three parts (instead of the usual 1 or 2).
    • In the final trial segment, you have to present Godot's profile three times.
    • The plan to murder Maya Fey which gives way to the events of 3-5 involves three conspirators: Morgan Fey, the mastermind; Pearl Fey, the Unwitting Pawn; and the spirit of Dahlia Hawthorne, the intended material executor. Likewise, they are thwarted by three accomplices: Godot, Misty Fey, and Iris.
  • Running Gag: This game introduces one for the entire franchise, which is that of the playable characters having an odd frequency of being caught cleaning the toilet. Phoenix does it for the first time in the second case.
  • 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 blatant. 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.
  • 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.
  • Smokescreen Crime: In Case 3-2, Luke Atmey steals an urn while disguised as Mask?De Masque in order to establish an alibi for a murder he committed during the robbery. His goal is to invoke double jeopardy through a larceny conviction.
  • 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. Lampshaded by Phoenix in his internal monologue.
    Phoenix: So he neither "descended" nor "danced"...
  • Suppressed Rage: Diego Armando keeps smiling after Dahlia gets away with murder, but he also crushes his coffee cup in his hand.
  • 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.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Victor Kudo, unfortunately, has to proven to be a senile old man that can't be accurate in what he a court of law, effectively making him look like an idiot in front of several people despite the guy actually telling the truth in what he saw but was tricked in order to be a witness to Elg's fake murder. He also says that he's considered an annoyance at home. During the ending, the poor guy reveals that his grandchildren threw him a birthday party that made him so happy that he cried.
  • 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: Phoenix lampshades this while breaking Lisa Basil's Psyche-Locks, saying that "Blue Screens, Inc."note  is not a great name for a computer company.
  • Uniqueness Decay: In the previous game, "Search ~ Core 2002" was only used for a major reveal in Case 4. Here, that theme gets a lot more mileage, being used in more Plot Twist situations, roughly as much as "Search ~ Core 2001".
  • 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 Hardly Knew Ye: Poor Elise Deauxnim is hit especially hard with this trope. Not only does she have the dubious honor of being the only victim in this game who appears alive before her murder, her true identity as Misty Fey is enormously important to the trilogy's overarching plot.
  • 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:
    • Just when it looks like Case 2 is wrapping up, Godot throws a wrench into proceedings:
    Godot: Early this morning... the body of Kane Bullard was discovered. [...] The estimated time of death was 1 AM on October 12th.
    • Edgeworth calls a witness to the court who introduces herself as 'Melissa Foster'. The characters all buy it because it's the first time they've seen this person, but the audience, who saw Mia's next case before this one, knows that she's lying and her name is Dahlia Hawthorne, which is an immediate tip-off that something's wrong with the trial.
    • Iris calling Phoenix by his surname, even though Phoenix never revealed it to her.
    • During a conversation with Edgeworth in the second investigation day:
    Edgeworth: Like I said, Dahlia isn't connected with this case.
    Phoenix: Why are you so sure about that?
    Edgeworth: It's simple. Dahlia Hawthorne is dead.
    • Bikini delivers one, which even manages to shock Phoenix:
    Bikini: So I guess you already know that Iris is Morgan Fey's daughter.
    • During the first half of the second trial day, Phoenix comes to a realization when cross-examining Iris.
    Phoenix: "In fact, it'd be impossible for you to be clueless about this whole thing... unless you're not really Iris to begin with."
    • At the end of the game, Iris gets off one last big one that flips her and her sister's relationship with Phoenix on its head, revealing that Phoenix had actually been dating Iris back in college.
    Iris: You and my sister... you only met twice.
  • 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 second investigation day of case 5 places Edgeworth in the driver's seat to substitute for Phoenix while he was recovering in the hospital. Also In-Universe for Edgeworth when he sees the Psyche-Locks for the first time when questioning Iris since he was holding the Magatama at the time.
    • 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.
    • The sight of Iris with Dahlia's hair-stroking animation, serving as final proof that the two pulled off one last Twin Switch.
  • 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.
    • Edgeworth and Franziska are notably absent from the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, despite almost every major and supporting character from the trilogy (at least, the ones allied with Phoenix) getting a few lines tying up their stories.
      • Franziska is at least mentioned in Adrian Andrews' outro, suggesting they've been spending some time together while Franziska was back in the country. Edgeworth isn't even referenced in the ending, leaving his final appearance in the trilogy as a fairly banal conversation with Phoenix about dinner plans.
  • "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.
  • 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 Shouldn't Know This Already: When trying to break "Iris"'s Psyche-Locks in the second investigation day of Case 5, what you have to present to break the last lock is a person that could have passed off as a second Iris when the murder happened. Even when Bikini tells Phoenix that Iris had a twin sister (that the player can quickly assume is Dahlia Hawthorne, and that the player can also assume she's already dead because they already know someone was channeled at the time of the crime), presenting the twin sister's profile will incur in a penalty until Edgeworth tells Phoenix that Dahlia is dead.
  • 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 (outside of specific use-cases) since around 2007 in our world.


Recipe for Turnabout


How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / INeverSaidItWasPoison

Media sources: