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Visual Novel / The Great Ace Attorney
aka: Dai Gyakuten Saiban Naruhodou Ryuunosuke No Bouken

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A new age of law begins.

A prequel/spin-off duology of the Ace Attorney series of games, The Great Ace Attorney stars the Meiji-era defense attorney Ryunosuke Naruhodo, ancestor of Phoenix Wright. The main director and writer is series creator Shu Takumi instead of Takeshi Yamazaki, whose team was working on another Ace Attorney title at the same time.

It is the Meiji Restoration period of Japanese history (specifically, the beginning of the twentieth century AD); a time of great cultural shift towards a growing trend of westernization in Japanese lifestyle and architecture. Among those taking advantage of the new opportunities the era affords is one "Ryunosuke Naruhodo", a second-year student at the Imperial Yuumei University. Things suddenly change for the young man when he is accused of murdering a man in a restaurant. Forced to stand trial in the newly established court systems of the period, Ryunosuke begins a long journey of justice that will take him well beyond the shores of Japan and into the heart of one of Japan's foreign allies, The British Empire.


You can watch the original teaser trailer here and the Tokyo Game Show 2014 trailer here (both trailers contain English fan translations). A new five-minute trailer was released on April 1, 2015, which can be viewed here (trailer also contains subtitles).

The first game, Dai Gyakuten Saiban: Naruhodou Ryuunosuke No Boukennote  game was originally released on July 9, 2015 for the Nintendo 3DS. The sequel, Dai Gyakuten Saiban 2: Naruhodou Ryuunosuke no Kakugonote  was released on August 3rd, 2017. Following this both games have been released on mobile platforms with the first game in 2017, and the sequel in 2018. During all this time, the games were exclusive to Japan with no sign of a localized release, so the fangroup Scarlet Study worked on a Fan Translation for the Nintendo 3DS and Android versions of the games, with the first game completed and the second game in-progress. However, on 21st April, 2021, Capcom announced that the games would finally come to the West as The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures and The Great Ace Attorney 2: Resolve, under one package as The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles, to be released on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam on 27th July, 2021. The game will also be dubbed in English.


The games provide examples of:

  • Absence of Evidence: In the second case, the blank pages in report book suggest Stroganov was absent from his post.
    • McGilded gets a not guilty verdict partly because there's not enough evidence to tie him to the murder once Ryunosuke discredits both key witnesses. Case 5 reveals that the lack of evidence was due to him tampering extensively with both the crime scene and the case's witnesses.
    • In case 4 of the second game, Ryunosuke figures out that Gregson's time of death wasn't what was previously thought to be, due to his time of death being omitted from the autopsy report.
  • Alien Blood: In case 5 Ryunosuke and Iris use a chemical invented by Sholmes which changes the colour of bloodstains. When a vivid green stain is presented as evidence in court, Barok wonders if the defense is trying to prove that other species apart from humans were present at the crime scene.
    Barok van Zieks: What idiocy. Green blood? Are we meant to conclude that some lifeform other than a human is involved now?
  • Always Murder: Subverted in case 2, which turns out to be a case of accidental manslaughter, and completely averted for the first time in the series with case 4, as the crime is assault. And even then it turned out to be an accident. Double subverted in Case 2 of DGS 2 - while the trail itself is regarding an attempted poisoning, a past murder ends up being an important part of the case.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: As with Dual Destinies, you can go to any point on the map wherever you are instead of having to go to certain locations to get to others and during the investigation phases, items you already looked at are given a checkmark.
    • Susato will also provide commentary on the Move menu, and will mention if you haven't been somewhere in a while when the player has to move to a specific location to progress the story, removing the occasional need to move around blindly to find the next area you need to go to.
  • Beach Episode: Sort of - the crime of case 1 in the second game, The Adventure of the Blossoming Attorney, is a murder that took place in the changing hut on the beach side, though since it's a tutorial case the episode is court only.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: On one side, you have Magnus McGilded and Rubert Crogley leaking top secret British governmental information. On the other, you have Mael Stronghart's machinations and schemes that have placed him in power as Chief Justice of London and spread the rumor of the "curse" of the "Reaper", Barok van Zieks.
  • Big Word Shout: Ryunosuke only says "Yes!" ("Hai!") in episode 1 as he doesn't understand attorney terminology but comes to use the other terms later in the game.
  • Breather Episode: DGS 1-4, The Adventure of the Clouded Kokoro, is a considerably more lighthearted case than the two that came before it, is quite notably the first case in the whole Ace Attorney franchise to have no deaths involved whatsoever (even the victim is merely incapacitated and in a coma), and the overall story is lighter and doesn't have any connection to the overarching story of the game (aside from furthering Ryunosuke's character arc of being a lawyer).
  • Central Theme: Belief, in both yourself and others, is a major theme. Asogi believes wholeheartedly in both Ryunosuke's innocence and his potential as an attorney, and Ryunosuke himself spends most of the game trying to live up to the latter belief. The events of case 3 utterly shake Ryuunosuke's steadfast belief in his clients, and it takes until the end of the game for him to trust them completely again. Gina had previously spent her entire life lacking someone to believe in her and to believe in, but finds both in Ryunosuke. And Barok's animosity towards the Japanese stems from being betrayed by a Japanese friend he truly believed in.
  • Child Prodigy: Iris Wilson is 10 years old... and not only possesses a medical doctorate, but is also an accomplished novelist and inventor.
  • Completely Unnecessary Translator: Jezail didn't need one.
  • Couple Theme Naming: Patrick and Rola O'Malley are a patrol cop and his wife. Their one year anniversary turns out to be a plot point in the case.
  • Darker and Edgier: There's less comedy than in the main series, the characters are colder to one another and Naruhodo is a victim of racism.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Some of the Randst episodes the viewpoint is from Asogi and Barok. The second game allows you to play as Susato in the first case, and Yuujin in the final case. In addition, the DLC for the second game as two semi-canonical theatre segments that allow you to play as Asogi and Sholmes.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Several characters are openly racist towards the Japanese, and this would have been fairly normal at the time the game is set. Susato also faces sexism when she stands in the Japanese courts, and prosecutor Taketsuchi Auchi is a mild case of Politically Incorrect Villain. (for a certain definition of "villain")
    • Classism also plays a role in several incidental character motivations. Various characters assume Gina Lestrade, barely out of her childhood, irredeemable due to being a poor pickpocket orphan. Sholmes also explains to Ryuunosuke that having a maid is considered essential to avoid being marked as lower class. In particular, John Garrideb has his wife pretend to be a maid in order to keep up appearances as a middle class British vet.
  • Did Not Die That Way: Asogi was originally told that his father died of illness while overseas on an exchange program in London. He later learned of his father's involvement in the Professor Killings, and that led him to get involved in the assassination exchange program.
  • Downloadable Content: DLC includes character designs, short episodes, music and voice clips.
  • Dramatic Wind: Asogi's headband will flutter around even indoors.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • In the Western versions of the games, the names of Sherlock Holmes-related characters are changed to similar sounding names with the letters swapped around, likely due to the copyright reasons that many speculate kept the games from being localized in the first place. For example, Sherlock Holmes is now "Herlock Sholmes"note  and Iris Watson's surname is now "Wilson".
    • In addition, many of the non-Japanese characters (and some of the Japanese ones) have different names to make their Punny Names more understandable to western audiences, in typical Ace Attorney fashion.
    • Averted with the protagonist, who's still called Ryunosuke Naruhodo (instead of something like "Dragon Wright"). The rest of the main Japanese characters keep their names as well.
  • Easier Than Easy: The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles has a "Cinema Mode," which turns the game into a Kinetic Novel, removing the point and click gameplay for the ability to just kick back and enjoy the story.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: Just to really hammer home the point that Ryunosuke and Susato are in London now, the first thing they do upon their arrival is meet with Stronghart in his office, which appears to be inside Big Ben itself.
  • Exact Words: Several instances occur in case 5:
    • The judge decides to suspend the second Summation Examination in the wake of new revelations being brought to light during it. Later, after Barok refuses to accept Sholmes's coloured luminol test as proper evidence and is pressing for the trial to come to a close, Iris reminds the court that, technically, the suspended Summation Examination has yet to conclude. The jurors are then asked for their verdict, and the results are split enough that the judge orders the trial to continue.
    • The judge later suspends an ongoing cross examination so that the court can examine some recently found evidence. When said evidence (along with some new testimony from the witness being cross examined) causes the jurors to unanimously declare a guilty verdict, Ryunosuke demands that the suspended cross examination is allowed to continue instead of a verdict being handed down.
  • Expy: Ryunosuke Naruhodo looks like a mix of Phoenix and Apollo, might be on purpose though. With his hat on, he also bears a striking resemblance to Clay Terran.
    • Ryunosuke is also a combination of the Japanese first names of Phoenix (Ryuichi) and Apollo (Housuke).
  • First-Episode Twist: The early parts of the first game feature some big reveals that shape the plot to come.
    • Case 1: John Wilson is the victim.
    • Case 2: Kazuma Asogi is the victim.
  • A Fool for a Client: Ryunosuke originally asked Asogi to defend him against the charge of murdering John Wilson in the first case. Just before the trial begins, he learns that if he is found guilty, Asogi will forfeit his long-desired study abroad in London, so he suddenly announces at the start of the trial that he will defend himself.
  • Gender Flip: Gina Lestrade is one to Inspector Lestrade of the Arthur Conan Doyle novels, even down to having an antagonistic relationship with Sholmes. Despite all appearances, Iris Wilson is not one (to Watson) - she's revealed to be the daughter of John Wilson (renamed from John Watson). Except that she isn't even THAT either.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Iris Wilson has her hair braided into two curly pigtails with heart-shaped knots at the end.
  • Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: Ryunosuke doesn't quite get the hang of this in the first episode, simply raising his left hand when he has something to say and respectfully saying "Sir!" ("Hai!") to interject instead of the usual "Objection!" and "Hold it!" (the other characters use the terms). He also gently slaps the desk instead of pounding it and looking as though he didn't want to cause a disturbance. He adopts the iconic gesture (and starts performing the desk slam as case 1 goes on) in later cases when he has more confidence behind the bench.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: In the 3DS version of the game, Sholmes reminds us to turn up our 3D screens just before we see the first stereograph in case 5.
  • Historical Domain Character: Natsume Souseki as one of the defendants.
  • History Repeats: This isn't the last time that a Naruhodou/Wright stands accused of murdering their own mentor.
  • Hypothetical Fight Debate: Natsume and Petenshy argue over "who is stronger, Romeo or Juliet?" and even tussle in costume to decide the point.
  • Identical Grandson:
    • Series regulars would get no points for being able to guess who this fine gentleman would be related to in the modern era.
    • And, of course, Ryunosuke basically looks like Phoenix but with a more sensible haircut (and de-aged by about five years or so).
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Unlike the main series' use of "Turnabout" in all its case titles, here all the case titles include "The Adventure of..." The second game changes this up in that only the first case used the "The Adventure of..." title. Instead, they're named after the Sherlock Holmes short story compilations (The Adventures, The Memoirs, The Return, and His Last Bow), with the final episode being a Title Drop. The Switch compilation, along with it's English release renames all the cases in the duology to include "The Case of..." ('Jiken'/incident in the Japanese titles).
  • Karma Houdini: Jezail. Due to the treaty between Japan and England, Jezail can't be tried in Japan. At best, they would be sent to authorities in Shanghai where maybe they go to court.
  • Kid Sidekick: Iris Wilson to the great detective himself, and also to Ryunosuke in case 5 of the first game, and case 3 in the second.
  • Left Hanging: The plotpoints in the first game that weren't explained, most of which were answered by the second.
    • Jezail's motives for killing Wilson. In the second game, it's revealed that she was part of an assassination exchange plot to kill Wilson.
    • Why Yuujin knew to suspect the killer. Herlock had been eavesdropping on government telegraphs, and found the correspondence detailing the assassins and their targets, and most likely informed Yuujin that Wilson was targeted by an English person coming in around the time that Jezail arrived.
    • What Asogi's mission is. In the second game, it's revealed that he was supposed to be part of the assassination exchange plot (along with his desire to uncover the truth around his father's death), but ended up getting injured before he could do it.
    • Why Sholmes was on the steamship in the first place. In the second game, it's revealed that he listened in on messages sent from Great Britain to Japan, and, upon learning about the assassination exchange program, moved to stop it by boarding the steamship.
    • Barok:
      • Why he left the court. The mysterious deaths of the defendants in his cases got to him and he withdrew to see if the curse would stop.
      • Why he returned. He was informed by Stronghart that the upcoming exchange student from Japan was the son of the man who "killed" his brother and wished to face him in court.
      • The truth about his "curse". In the second game, it's revealed that it's part of a plot headed by Mael Stronghart.
      • Barok's traitorous friend and what exactly happened. In the second game, it's revealed that the friend was Kazuma Asogi's father, and that he was executed for the murder of Barok's brother, Klimt.
    • What was McGilded's plan with the government information? It was most likely to blackmail Stronghart, who had decided to increase his status with a higher government position.
    • Why can't The Hound of Baskervilles be published and why does Susato know the title despite it being unpublished. In the second game, it's revealed that The Hound of Baskervilles could contain the truth about Iris' parentage, which Herlock and Yuujin do not want her to know yet. Susato knows because Yuujin owned a copy of The Hound of Baskervilles and she's seen it.
    • The meaning of the message stored on the disk that Crogray tried to sell to McGilded. In the second game it's revealed to be part of an assassination exchange program, specifically, the killers and the victims.
      • Why it was so important to keep secret that Gregson broke the law to keep it secret. In the second game, it's revealed to be part of an assassination exchange program, which is strictly monitored by the people involved in it, including Gregson.
      • What the four names in said message mean, and the identity of the fourth name. In the second game, it's revealed to be part of an assassination exchange program, specifically, the names of the killers (A.Sasha and K.Asogi) and the victims (J.Wilson and T.Gregson). A.Sasha is actually Jezail Brett's real name. Wilson and Gregson were related to the Professor case and needed to be eliminated.
      • Why it was encoded using Japanese Morse code. In the second game, it's revealed to have been sent to Japan's Minister of Foreign Affairs Seishirou Jigoku, a co-conspirator who gained his position by working for Stronghart.
      • Who the recipient and sender were. In the second game, it's revealed to have been sent by Mael Stronghart to Japan's Minister of Foreign Affairs Seishirou Jigoku.
  • Locked Room Mystery: Most of the cases, but special mention goes to Case 2, in which the victim is found dead behind a bolted ship door. The whole case is a shout out to the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Speckled Band." But the solution is completely different.
  • Martial Arts Headband: The headband Kazuma Asogi wears resembles one.
  • Medium Awareness: In Unspeakable Story, there's a stereoscope in Hatch's pawn shop that the player can examine. In the 3DS version of the game, Herlock will address the player directly, advising them to "switch on the 3D for this part".
    • In the Android version, he'll instead tell Naruhodo (read: the player) to cross his eyes.
  • Memento MacGuffin: The sword Karuma turns out to have hidden Klimt van Zieks's confession at being serial killer known as the Professor, and how Mael Stronghart blackmailed him.
  • Public Domain Character: Sherlock Holmes appears in the game, along with a girl called Iris Watson, and the real Watson is the victim of the first case. In fact the duology is filled with nods and references to the original Holmes novels. Double subverted with Herlock Sholmes and Wilson, who, while renamed presumably to avoid lawsuits, are both named after their Arsène Lupin counterparts.
  • Reality Ensues: Double Subverted in the first DLC case. Just as Asogi is preparing to leave for London, Auchi presses charges against him for cutting off his topknot at the end of the first case, which had seemed like just a throwaway gag until now. Then Susato points out that Asogi obviously couldn't have cut Auchi's hair from all the way across the courtroom... to which Asogi protests that he absolutely could have, and even tries to make a demonstration!
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: It's Ace Attorney during Meiji Era Japan, in the first case, before becoming Ace Attorney in Victorian London.
  • Revive the Ancient Custom: Thanks to Susato using an old lawbook she finds a long forgotten practice in the court: the Summation Examination. They eventually concede that the defense has a right to do it, even if it hasn't been done in ages.
  • Running Gag: Witnesses assuming that the victim of case 4 is dead.
    • In Case 5, referring to Gregson as the third Tinpillar brother.
    • Mocking Ryunosuke's uniform.
    • A witness from Ryunosuke's previous case being on the panel of jurors in his current one.
  • Sadistic Choice: Ryunosuke is faced with one in the second game's third case. He has a lead that could prove the defendant innocent of the murder, but it requires exposing his teleportation experiment as just a magic trick. So either he proves his client's life's research is all a lie, or he goes to jail for a murder he didn't commit. No matter which choice you make Susato returns to give Ryunosuke a Get A Hold Of Yourself Man, via Susato Drop.
  • Sequel Hook: A lot of them. The first game has a lot of unresolved plot points and Foreshadowing, which is quite unusual for an AA game, and the writer of the game has even stated that they do, in fact, plan to make this a series. Almost every point is answered in the second game.
  • Sherlock Scan: Holmes retains his nigh-supernatural deductive abilities, but in an added twist, he is less than concerned about whether what he deduces is actually true. It falls to Naruhodo to consider the evidence and decide whether his deductions hold weight.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Herlock's dog design in Dog Gyakuten Saiban looks like a reference to Sherlock Hound.
    • The game itself is filled with reference to Sherlock Holmes canon, most notably in case 2 with the similar setup to the short story "The Adventure of the Speckled Band". A (not exhaustive) list of the many references can be seen here. Some examples not mentioned in the list include:
      • In Case 5, not only is Sholmes's (inaccurate) initial deduction of Crogley's plan and reason for coming into Windibank's pawnshop a play-by-play retelling of John Clay's scheme in "The Red-Headed League", Hatch Windibank himself is strikingly visually similar to Roger Hammond's portrayal of Jabez Wilson in the Granada series adaptation of said short story (he also shares a last name with James Windibank, the villain of "A Case of Identity").
      • As we learn in the same case, Crogley was the one who killed Magnus McGilded, specifically as revenge for McGilded's murder of his father, Mason Milverton. The naming here is rather ironic, as the character of McGilded himself is essentially a callback to Charles Augustus Milverton from the Holmesian canon, a Villain with Good Publicity whom the heroes find remarkably difficult to oppose, but who ends up murdered by the relation of a man whose death he had caused.
    • The omnibus in the third case is called the "Phoenix Wright Omnibus", which is a reference to the English name of Ryunosuke's descendant, and main character of the main series.
    • In the second game's fourth case, Red-Headed League members Marco and Maurice claim to be from Ashtar Boarding School, a reference to the Ashitaru meteor from Ghost Trick (localized into English as the Temsik meteor).
    • While this was partially to avoid copyright lawsuits, Sherlock Holmes has been renamed Herlock Sholmes, after the Arsène Lupin character (Arsene Lupin is in the public domain). Funnily enough, the Arsene Lupin character was named that way to avoid copyright infringement lawuits, too.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney, in that the game again features a defense attorney and his female assistant going to England and teaming up with an English gentleman and his young assistant. Naruhodou can cross examine multiple witnesses at once, just like that game. Even the box art is similar.
  • Story Difficulty Setting: The Compilation Re-release adds a "Story Mode", which automatically advances the dialogue and performs all the actual gameplay (cross-examinations, investigations, etc.) without any need for player input. While there isn't much gameplay to begin with due to the game being a Visual Novel, this effectively reduces player interactivity to the level of a Kinetic Novel.
  • "Strangers on a Train"-Plot Murder: A variation of this is a key part of the plot behind the duology. The "exchange program" is actually an assassin exchange, where the heads of the English and Japanese judicial systems send an assassin to kill a target in each other's country, and the judicial heads will claim immunity for the assassin if caught, forcing the country to send the assassin back without prosecution.
  • Translation Convention: It's presented as Japanese, but from case 2 and onward (barring some exceptions like the meeting with Souseki) the characters are speaking English. For the English localization, there are indications that the Japanese characters are actually speaking in their native language by the usage of Japanese Honorifics, vs using "Mr." and "Miss" when speaking English.
  • A True Story in My Universe: Iris Wilson is the author of The Adventures of Herlock Sholmes in this universe. Except not really, she just publishes the manuscripts, though it's implied she added her own embellishments to most of them. We're initially led to believe they were written by her father John Wilson, but the second game reveals their real author is Yuujin Mikotoba... who is the real Wilson from the stories, the discrepancy in names is due to a misunderstanding on Iris' part. And John Wilson isn't her father either.
  • Unconventional Food Usage: Some rice is used as glue to put a sticker on a closet.
  • Wham Episode: Case 3. The trial ends with a Not Guilty due to lack of evidence and without finding a killer. But by that point, it's heavily implied the defendant is the killer and he tampered with the omnibus/crime scene, however, neither Barok nor Ryunosuke is able to prove it. And then the case ends with the omnibus burning with somebody inside.
    • Case 3 of the second game as well. We learn about "The Professor", a serial killer who killed his victims with a hound (thus explaining why The Hound of the Baskervilles couldn't be published: it was about him), the last victim being Barok van Zeiks' brother. We find out Susato knew about The Hound of the Baskervilles because she found the unpublished manuscript in her father's study. We find out Asogi is alive, and working as van Zeiks' "masked disciple". The head coroner of Scotland Yard is the killer, and was involved in the Professor coverup. And the end of the case reveals that the Professor was not only a Japanese man, but Asogi's father. As we learn later, however, there is much more to this than it seems.
    • Case 1 of the second game too, while not as whammy as others it features the death of Jezail Brett, the culprit of the first case in the first game. Also at the end of the case, the true killer (Heita Mamemomi) tries to give more information to Susato however Jigoku immediately stops him. The case ends with us not knowing what Mamemomi was trying to tell us, why Yujin sent Susato back to Japan and why Jigoku stopped Mamemomi from talking All of these questions are answered later on, though.
  • Wham Line: The ending of Case 5, when the characters are wondering about the contents of the state secret Morse code message: "A... SO...U...GI..."
    • At the start of case 5, Susato drops one when she refers to Sholmes's unpublished manuscript - the Hound of the Baskervilles - by its full name.
    • In Case 3 of the second game, we have Enoch Drebber at the end of the second investigation day telling the group they "only stopped THAT time bomb" [the one in Drebber's room]. Cut to the crime scene, where a bomb explodes, destroying the defendant's machine and possibly killing several police officers.
    • At the end of Case 3 of the second game, when the Professor's face is revealed:
    Asogi: F...Father?
    • There's actually one more from case 3, when Susato first sees Asogi she says his name to which Asogi responds with because he doesn't remember his true name.
  • Wham Shot: The second game begins with one, where in the middle of Susato's monologue in the opening cutscene we see the return of Jezail a corpse.
    • Case 3 has two in a row at the very end, with the reveal of the face of The Professor's wax figure, revealing a Japanese man...followed by the Masked Disciple removing his cloak and mask, confirming that he is in fact Kazuma Asogi, alive and well.
    • Case 4 has the scene where Everyday Mittlemont attempts to commit suicide by jumping off a 5 story building, after getting fired.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Iris Wilson's hair is a strawberry shade of pink.
    • Considering Iris is a Van Zieks and Van Zieks hair is traditionally grey, it's possible Iris' hair is artificial

Alternative Title(s): Dai Gyakuten Saiban, Dai Gyakuten Saiban Naruhodou Ryuunosuke No Bouken


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