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YMMV / Ace Attorney

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This page is for the entire Ace Attorney visual novels and its supplementary material.

For other such moments in the series, see the appropriate subpages:

  • Adorkable:
    • Apollo. While Phoenix pretty much resigns himself to be the punching bag of others, Apollo tries his hardest to be taken seriously, only to look ridiculous as a result. Also, his childhood dream was to become a lawyer which he still treats with boyish enthusiasm into his twenties.
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    • Athena. When you fangirl over an aquarium and show persistence in trying to get a penguin's attention, you know you're this. This is also exemplified with her portrait where she's stroking her ponytail with both hands while having an "Awww, shucks!" face.
    • Ema. During "Rise from the Ashes", she often says things that aren't actually scientifically valid but blissfully plods on, even though Phoenix monologues that she's not on the right track. She also accidentally insults Edgeworth a few times, only to realize her goof after the fact.

  • Americans Hate Tingle: Wendy Oldbag is one of the most popular characters of the series in the franchise's home country, Japan. This netted her reappearances in later games. In America however, not so much.
  • Angst? What Angst?: A common criticism of the series. In general, people tend to rapidly get over the shock of encountering bodies that have suffered rather violent murders.
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  • Arc Fatigue: Most likely the reason 3-Day Trials stopped showing up after the first game. This also allowed trials, which are the meat of the games, to be longer and more elaborate (the first game often had entire trial days dedicated solely to one witness. A rarity in later games).
  • Broken Base: Ace Attorney's fanbase has become steadily more broken ever since Apollo Justice was announced. Popular topics of "discussion" include:
    • Whether or not the series should've kept Phoenix as the main character (something even Shu Takumi has mixed feelings about). Some feel like he already had a perfectly good character arc across the original trilogy and ought to have been completely retired afterward, while others see him as too iconic to dispose of and feel that any other main character would fall short of his greatness.
    • Whether the post-original trilogy development of certain characters was good or bad, especially Phoenix as stated above.
    • Whether the series should've kept going after Takumi's original trilogy, and if any of the games made afterwards are up to par with those first three, if not better than them.
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    • The agency's treatment of Apollo is one. Are they just teasing and messing with him out of love? Or is it just meanspirited bullying that grows tasteless game after game?
  • Catharsis Factor:
    • Watching those smug bastards you've successfully proven to be guilty break down in the courtroom is always satisfying. Of note is case 2-4, where you get to choose whether to plead guilty like Engarde deserves, or plead not guilty knowing that he'll choose prison over being assassinated the moment he's out of custody.
    • While Larry Butz is not evil, he's also known for giving everyone investigating a hard time with his obsessions over his latest girlfriend or whatever, resulting in evidence that doesn't seem to get the case anywhere. So watching Franziska whip him unconscious in case 3-5 and I-5 can be pretty refreshing especially since it's someone besides the player attorney/prosecutor getting whipped this time. I-5 in particular has a cutscene of Franziska doing this as the generic "sorry, presenting this evidence isn't helpful" response, and even in-universe Edgeworth says in his internal monologue that he feels catharsis in watching this.
  • Complete Monster: See the respective YMMV pages, or see here.
  • Creepy Awesome: The Blue Badger, especially when it turns psycho in Investigations.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Attempted with Franziska Von Karma repeatedly whipping people and getting off scot free per Rule of Funny. However, some players find it too mean spirited to see it as funny, especially when she whips Phoenix while he's still suffering a cold.
  • Designated Villain: Winston Payne. Unlike practically every other prosecutor in the series (with the obvious exceptions of Klavier and post Heel–Face Turn Edgeworth), he never uses any dirty tactics in court, to say nothing of not assaulting the defense with whips or cups of coffee like Franziska and Godot, or bullying witnesses like his brother Gaspen. Winston is just doing his job, and has even been known to defend witnesses at certain points. The only thing that you can really hold against him is the fact that he is smug and sometimes enjoys taunting the defense attorneys that face him.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • The biggest example of this is probably Ema Skye, who substituted for Maya in one case and could have easily been a Replacement Scrappy if the fans didn't absolutely adore her. Her popularity netted her a major role in Apollo Justice and appearances in the Investigations series as well as Spirit of Justice. In fact, the Investigations games were originally going to have her as the protagonist.
    • Some side characters/witnesses are also rather popular: Larry Butz, Penny Nichols, Max Galactica, Acro, Regina Berry, Adrian Andrews, Shelly de Killer, Desiree DeLite, Luke Atmey, Viola Cadaverini, Lisa Basil, and even the Judge.
    • From the Investigations games, the ensemble darkhorse is looking to be The Proto Badger.
    • Colias Palaeno from the first Investigations game is particularly well-liked and remembered as being one of the most useful, honest and cooperative witnesses along with being just a really Nice Guy. Considering the line-up of witnesses that you have to break down and press in order to get them to admit the truth, this guy was a huge breath of fresh air.
    • From the Investigations series, Agent Shi-Long Lang. He's remembered for being a pretty solid and street-wise rival to the more academic and proper Edgeworth with an actually interesting backstory (that's only sadly expanded on in the second game of the spin-off), being a very fiercely devoted and good boss to his men, having a pretty damn good theme, his feats of badassery particularly in the final case of the first game, and finally just having an overall attractive and appealing design.
    • Damon Gant, thanks to the Memetic Mutation lightning rod hair, his stare, and his breakdown.
    • Bobby Fulbright thanks to his obsession with JUSTICE and his true identity and actions as the overarching villain.
  • Evil Is Cool: The likely reason some characters, like professional killer Shelly de Killer, become Ensemble Darkhorses.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: A number of fans prefer to ignore the main series games after Trials & Tribulations, due to the concept of Phoenix getting disbarred for 7 years.
  • First Installment Wins:
    • There's a reason why many people call the entire franchise "Phoenix Wright" instead of Ace Attorney. The first game's title (Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney) contributes a lot to this. Additionally, the most popular lawyer-assistant duo is Phoenix and Maya, and as great as Franziska and Godot are, most fans greatly prefer to see Phoenix and Edgeworth duke it out in court.
    • To an extent, the entire original trilogy might be considered this. Capcom themselves seem to pay a lot of attention to these three games, even over a decade after their release. After the overseas DS port, the trilogy was released on the Wii, the iOS platform, the 3DS, PC, and 8th generation consoles. It even has its own film and anime.
  • Growing the Beard: The first game was a little rough around the edges in some aspects, and Justice for All had a few glaring issues which have caused many to see it as a Sophomore Slump. Trials & Tribulations, however, ironed out all the issues of the first two games and is still near-universally seen as the pinnacle of the series, with almost all the games that followed tending to somehow copy its story structure.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Throughout case 1-5, the detective working on the computer in the background of the police station can be overheard writing a rather awful mystery novel. One of his twists involves the use of a tape recorder, which he's particularly proud of because "no one would expect it in this day and age!" Eight years later, an audio tape was used with a straight face as a critical clue in case 5-3. And the fourth case of Investigations involves falsified evidence with the use of a VCR.
    • At one point in 1-5, Lana Skye says the line "Contradictions? In my testimony?". You're forgiven if you expected Phoenix to reply with "It's more likely than you think".
    • In Case 3-1, Grossberg says that his hemorrhoids were doing the Harlem Shake (from 1981). Case 3-1 is set in April 2013, just two months after the Harlem Shake internet meme started. Keep in mind that the game came out years before this.
    • Phoenix's anime voice actor, Yuki Kaji, is also playing Koichi Hirose during the Spring 2016 anime court. Both characters end up getting wrapped up in murder cases, and are prone to screaming and sweating dramatically at the sight of them.
    • In Case 1-4, there's the infamous scene where Phoenix cross-examines a parrot. Guess what happened later in real life? To make this even better, this news report happened in 2016, the year that the first game takes place in canon.
    • In case 2-2, Phoenix reacts with shock when Ini asks if Pearl is his daughter — "how old do you think I am?" Two years later, Phoenix adopts Trucy, who is of an age with Pearl, and Apollo assumes that Phoenix was a young father.
    • It's also hard to ignore the fact that Godot is voiced by Hiroaki Hirata, the same guy who voiced Kotetsu T. Kaburagi in Tiger & Bunny, whose civilian appearance is nearly identical to Godot's, minus the visor of course.
  • Ho Yay: See this page.
  • Iconic Character, Forgotten Title: The series as a whole is often referred to as Phoenix Wright instead of the actual title, Ace Attorney, even when referring to games in which Phoenix isn't the protagonist or doesn't even show up. This is actually a bit of a justified example, as the series was originally going to be titled Phoenix Wright in the west, with Ace Attorney just being the subtitle of the first game. This was changed when it became obvious that Phoenix wouldn't be the main protagonist of the fourth game.
  • Iron Woobie:
    • Pretty much all of the sidekicks in their own way, most notably Maya. All chirpy and active, but each of them lose their parents at a young age, and have to deal with various other amounts of angst.
    • Phoenix in Apollo Justice loses his badge due to an unwitting case of presenting forged evidence, though he seems to take it in stride after adopting Trucy and going on a 7-year campaign that gets the one responsible for the fake evidence what they deserve, before finally reclaiming his badge by Dual Destinies.
  • Jerkass Dissonance: Miles Edgeworth owes his popularity to this trope. He was originally conceived as a character who was still tragic, but thoroughly unlikable. However, the tragedy of his backstory combined with his polished, suave demeanor and generally awesome moments in court endeared him to the fans. In response to this, the second and third games gave him Character Development away from being a Jerkass and the rest is history.
  • LGBT Fanbase:
    • The Bara Genre fandom really likes Dick Gumshoe.
    • In an interesting case, the main male characters (namely Phoenix, Edgeworth, Godot/Diego) in general tend to be in this fandom, due to their lack of bishi-ness. The Yaoi Genre fandom instead go for Apollo, Klavier, and Kristoph.
  • Magnificent Bastard: See them here.
  • Memetic Badass: Klavier Gavin, Godot, Edgeworth, and Detective Badd.
  • Memetic Molester:
    • Gourdy, the Gourd Lake Monster, gets quite a bit of play in kink meme fills and requests.
    • Damon Gant would like to take you swimming.
  • Memetic Mutation: Has its own page.
  • Moe: Any of your female assistants could count. Young? Check. Innocent? Check. Upbeat? Check. Cute? Very check.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • The "Pursuit" music. Normally, when you make a good point in cross-examination, "Objection" plays; when this song plays, it means you're very, very close to the conclusion, and gets you hyped up.
    • Hearing the sound of your life meter refilling after you successfully broken all of the witness's psyche-locks.
    • Hearing the crowd cheering when you finally get that Not Guilty verdict. There is one exception, however, in Case 4 of Justice for All.
    • An inversion: the music stopping when presenting correct evidence during a cross-examination is extremely satisfying, especially if it's a part you've been struggling with.
  • Never Live It Down: Due to Memetic Mutation, Edgeworth is associated with updating autopsies reports at any given time in court just to screw with Phoenix. This only happened once, in his introduction in the first game before his Character Development.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Ema Skye's appearance in Investigations was hyped up quite a bit in promotional materials, and there are rumors that the game was originally planned to star her as the player character. In the end, we get about five minutes of actual dialogue from her in a brief and somewhat tacked-on cameo that was more or less just there to establish an investigation technique that never appeared again. She does have a larger role in the sequel, however.
    • Several sprites which are only used once or twice in Investigations, particularly those used in a character's Villainous Breakdown, are among the most widely utilized in fanmade videos and games.
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: Starting with Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney, Shu Takumi (the series creator and director of the numbered titles up to that point) and Takeshi Yamazaki (the director for the Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth series) switched roles, with Yamazaki going on to direct the main-series games and Takumi working on spinoff games like the Dai Gyakuten Saiban: Naruhodou Ryuunosuke no Bouken spinoff series. This, combined with the main series getting easily localized by virtue of being numbered titles and the latter falling into No Export for You, angered the faction of fans who pass off Yamazaki's games as inferior B-Team Sequels and believe that Takumi as series creator is the only one who can do it.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Pretty much all the witnesses in Case 2-3 except for Acro, although he is certainly divisive. Especially Moe the clown, who laughs at his own terrible jokes and Phoenix gets punished if he does it in court, but the Judge eventually gets tired of Moe's shenanigans and calls him out for being a completely unreliable and unhelpful witness.
    • Marvin Grossberg in the third game. He just will not shut up about his hemorrhoids.
    • Mike Meekins. That megaphone of his...
    • Spark Brushel gets a lot of hate because of his Non-Standard Character Design and rather gross tendencies such as sweating up a storm when he's nervous or using his own saliva to brush his glasses clean.
    • Zinc Lablanc from AAI is one of the most unlikable characters in the entire series due to how much of a heartless, pompous man he is.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop:
    • In Investigations. In nearly every situation Edgeworth's inner monologue would make it clear even to Gumshoe what you're supposed to do next. Not to mention that, save for a few instances, penalties in the game always take off 10% of your life bar, giving you twice the chances of Ace Attorney. The penalties are beefed up to 20% when Alba gets annoyed at one point by your constant time wasting with your questioning. The sequel does it again with Souta Sarushiro/Simon Keyes, who bumps them up to 50% near the end for similar reasons, with the addition of him just being a Troll.
    • In Dual Destinies. While we get new features like a cursor that tells you what you can and what you have already investigated and the ability to tap your partner for assistance during cross-examinations, the game is all too ready to throw the player a bone when the dialogue itself is filled with helping hands and thinking aloud that makes the experience less challenging and frustrating.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: Spirit of Justice brings the difficulty back up by giving more vague hints and bringing back the "increase the penalty because the judge/antagonist is sick of your shit" mechanic.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Iris from the last case of the third game is introduced as Phoenix's Love Interest as well as Pearl's sister and Maya's cousin. Instead of becoming a more regular character she's completely forgotten after the original trilogy.
  • Unfortunate Character Design: One of Luke Atmey's character sprites is of him laughing crazily, but due to his left arm moving in a back-and-forth motion accompanied by a happy look on his face, more than a few gamers have said that it looks more like he's, erm... pleasuring himself.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • The entire court system is a satirization of the Japanese court system, which itself looks alien and unjust to Americans familiar with the adversarial system and the principle of "innocent until proven guilty". Due to the necessities of localization, it's probably best to liberally apply the MST3K Mantra about "how could America dump the right to jury trial when it's in the Constitution", but....
    • To be more specific, Japan – like most of the world other than America and the Commonwealthnote  – uses Civil Law with an inquisitorial court system. Under this setup, Judges are tasked with finding facts rather than simply prosecuting cases. They do not act as impartial referees but instead dominate trials; they can (and often do) directly question witnesses; they hand down verdicts and sentences. As a result, juries are not guaranteed (and in countries like Japan, are rare or nonexistent). It would technically require an Amendment to switch to the system in Ace Attorney (and "in order to speed up the court docket" would not be a reason likely to clear the massive hurdles required to do so).note  Also, there's no such thing as a plea under this system. On the other hand, inquisitorial Judges do not have to take a confession at face value if there is evidence that the person didn't actually do it.
    • Japan in particular uses a "public procurator" to both investigate and prosecute a crime – Miles Edgeworth is one of these.
    • Japan has one of the highest conviction rates of any legal system in the world – around 99%. Part of this is the unwillingness of prosecutors to push a case unless they're sure of a conviction, but a darker reason is that, historically, judges were part of the nobility; since procurators were (and are) hired by judges, they were considered social betters as well, but counsel for the accused was not. As a result, there is an ingrained bias against defense counsel.
    • More Values Dissonance regarding sentencing. Japan and the United States are the only members of the G7 to retain the death penalty. To fans in Canada, Europe, Latin America, and Australasia (which have outlawed capital punishment), the outcomes to certain cases can come off as barbaric. Even to Americans, it can seem this way, as executions in the Ace Attorney-verse are by hanging, as in Japan (in the U.S., only two states allow execution by hanging, and there have only been three cases since 1965, with the last in 1996). Execution methods in the U.S. vary by state (as does the legality of the death penalty), but the most common is lethal injection, followed by electrocution, with the only other method used since the turn of the millennium being firing squad (the gas chamber used to be a more common method, but it's fallen out of favor).
  • The Woobie: Has its own page.
  • Woolseyism: While consensus opinions have shifted about strict fidelity to the original story and script since the first Ace Attorney game dropped in America, especially about whether or not shifting the setting to the United States was a good idea, no one ever denies that the localization team puts their heart and soul into each new title. In a series where every character has some combination of a Meaningful Name and a Punny Name, they manage to keep both intact, with sometimes elegant results. ("Edgeworth" is a really good translation of "Mitsurugi," for example.) And the results speak for themselves, with the series' persistent, international popularity.

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