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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:

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  • Accidental Aesop:
    • Don't judge people by who their relatives are. There can be black sheep and white sheep in every family.
    • Don't Bowdlerise the world to children, hiding the harsh truths from them: they need to know how the world works to make good decisions and understand the consequences of their choices. In the case of Regina Berry, this led to her causing an accident that left a guy in coma and another permanently crippled, and being completely unapologetic, not out of malice but because she wasn't able to understand the harm she had done. In the case of Pearl Fey, this led her to go along her mother's plan to murder Maya, who Pearl clearly adores, because (having never been told of Morgan's previous attempt to frame Maya) she believed her mother to be a good person and thought said plan to be in Maya's benefit.
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    • Being a "prodigy" is not necessarily all it's cracked up to be and can lead to problems in its own right. Both Miles Edgeworth and Klavier Gavin gain reputations for being geniuses, with Edgeworth becoming a prosecutor at age twenty and Klavier at seventeen. And while they are skilled at their jobs, both of them wind up messing up big time early in their careers thanks in large part to being manipulated by older, more experienced people:
      • One of Edgeworth's first big cases was the SL-9 Incident, in which he successfully convicted Joe Darke for the murder of Neil Marshall. While Darke did indeed kill people, he wasn't Marshall's killer, and unbeknownst to Edgeworth, the evidence had been forged by the real murderer, Damon Gant.
      • Klavier's first trial ended with him accusing Phoenix Wright of forging evidence, effectively destroying Phoenix' career. Seven years later, Klavier discovered that the evidence was actually forged by his own brother.
  • Adorkable:
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    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Adrian Andrews, due to being extremely intelligent and very clumsy, especially in Trials and Tribulations. Her dependency can also put her here.
  • Alternate Self Shipping:
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • The 3DS version of the trilogy fixes many typos from the original English releases, while also removing some small contradictions and inaccuracies. Examples 
    • The HD version of the trilogy on consoles restores the vast majority of animations and frames that were missing in previous ports, which was a major source of criticism towards the iOS port and to a lesser extent, the 3DS port.
  • 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.
    • The agency's treatment of Apollo is one. Are they just teasing and messing with him out of love? Or is it just mean-spirited 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.
  • "Common Knowledge":
    • The idea that the exaggerated legal system depicted in the games is meant to be a satire of Japan's justice system is very widespread, but in truth Shu Takumi has admitted repeatedly to having known next to nothing about law at the time of working on the original games, and that his depiction of the system in the series was simply based on loose knowledge of Japan and America's court systems gleaned from fiction.
    • A very common misconception, built off a number of throwaway lines and the fact that generally culprits are never heard of again after their defeat, is that all the killers in the franchise receive the death penalty for their crimes. This is despite the fact that as early as the second case of the series is this proven false, as Redd White is pushed into pleading guilty for Mia's murder, explicitly because confessing to murder would be less fatal than whatever will happen to him should his extensive blackmail network be outed, and numerous instances since then have continued to show such an idea as untrue; for example, Frank Sahwit (whose murder of Cindy Stone during a burglary attempt was not premeditated) is seen again in prison in the second case of the second Ace Attorney Investigations, with the implication that he has a long sentence that can be shortened if he behaves himself. Additionally, the death penalty in Japan, while existent, is very much a Godzilla Threshold reserved for especially dangerous criminals without chance of rehabilitation, a fact reflected in the only specified cases in the trilogy of the penalty applied being Serial Killers and a man accused of kidnapping a child for ransom and then murdering her in cold blood. Even the line most commonly cited as being evidence of the idea, where the Judge claims murder is a "capital crime with capital punishment" is actually a minor mistranslation, as in the Japanese script he merely states that murder is a crime which carries the possibility of capital punishment, which is both entirely true and meant to act as Foreshadowing for events later in the game.
    • Despite it being near universally believed to be the case by English speaking fans, Edgeworth and Franziska are not adopted siblings in the game canon. Throughout all his appearances, Edgeworth only ever refers to the von Karmas as his mentor and mentor's daughter, and the word Franziska uses to describe him in the original Japanese script is actually more accurately "younger disciple" than "little brother", referring to them both being students of her father. There is a stronger case to be made for them being adopted siblings in the anime continuity due to Adaptation Expansion that does not contradict what is in the games, however.
  • Complete Monster: See the respective YMMV pages for the games, 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, Adrian Andrews, Shelly de Killer, Desirée 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 from Dual Destinies thanks to his obsession with JUSTICE and his true identity and actions as the overarching villain.
    • Also from Dual Destinies, prosecutor Simon Blackquill for his sleek design, accompaniment by Taka, unique status as being a prosecutor doing his job from the confines of prison, and his backstory of being a victim of the incident that, in addition to Phoenix getting disbarred, caused the Dark Age of Law.
    • Roger Retinz from Spirit of Justice for his comically sleazy TV producer persona and his true melodramatic magician self once his identity is revealed. "Sarge" the toy helicopter and the person piloting it are also fan favorites for their unique concept and the latter's Gadgeteer Genius.
  • Evil Is Cool: The likely reason some characters, like professional killer Shelly de Killer, become Ensemble Darkhorses.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • Phoenix in Apollo Justice is HoboPhoenix, Naruhobo, or Hobonix, due to undergoing a wardrobe change that fans have compared to a homeless man.
    • Daryan Crescend is "Dickhead" due to his Unfortunate Character Design kinda making his head look like...
    • 20-year-old Edgeworth, with the more elaborate jacket, is "Bratworth".
    • The country the game takes place in is called "Japanifornia", especially as later installments have made it really hard for the localization team to come up with Hand Waves as to why these increasingly Japanese characters and settings are actually totally in Los Angeles.
    • While the individual trials within each game are officially referred to as separate "episodes", fans have taken to calling them "cases" instead. For example, "Turnabout Sisters" is officially "episode 2" of the first game, but fans typically call it "case 2". Numbers stylized in same the way the Arknights stages are formatted are also common (i.e "2-4" for Farewell, My Turnabout as being the fourth case of the second game).
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Fans are much more likely to ship Phoenix with Miles Edgeworth or Maya Fey than they are with the closest thing he has to an implied canon Love Interest, Iris. The same goes for Apollo, who is far more commonly shipped with his first courtroom rival Klavier Gavin than with Juniper Woods, who is the only character to date to express explicitly romantic feelings toward him.
  • Fandom-Specific Plot: Switching Phoenix Wright and Miles Edgeworth's roles as defense attorney and prosecutor respectively is a popular concept that is frequently explored in fanworks.
  • 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.
  • Foe Yay Shipping:
    • Edgeworth and Phoenix. Phoenix becomes a defense attorney to reach out to and save Edgeworth, then later feels personally betrayed after Edgeworth's disappearance for much of the second game. After Edgeworth's Heel–Face Turn, relations between the two improve, but they're still rivals in court. It's not hard to understand what the shippers see in these two.
    • Edgeworth and Franziska to an extent, though AAI clarifies this into being a competitive sibling relationship.
  • Franchise Original Sin: The fact that the games generally don't reference previous games has caused problems in later installments, but it began as early as the Phoenix Wright trilogy, in which the fact that Miles Edgeworth's mentor is a murderer who killed Miles' father is never mentioned in the second and third games. Back then, it didn't cause all that many problems due to the relatively simple stories and the fact that the significance of the twists was made clear; for example, it was clear that Edgeworth rejected von Karma's ways by the time of his return in the second game. In later games, the refusal to spoil plot twists causes various plotlines to be dropped without explanation, as well as important events to never be spoken of again.
  • Friendly Fandoms: There's an overlap between Ace Attorney fans and Legally Blonde fans, largely due to the similarities between the main characters — Phoenix and Elle both being highly competent (though eccentric) lawyers who went to law school in the first place to chase after a boy. And of course, a number of fans love to apply "Gay or European?" from the latter's musical adaptation to Phoenix and Edgeworth.
  • 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.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The Dark Age of the Law. Over the first five games timeline-wise, Damon Gant was arrested and reformed the police department, Phoenix set a standard for attorneys to have genuine trust with their clients after getting Matt Engarde arrested, a decade-long feud between the Feys, the Hawthornes, and the Armandos was put to rest, and most importantly, Edgeworth got Blaise Debeste incarcerated to put a stop to corruption among prosecutors. However, these major accomplishments, especially the second and fourth ones in the way of attorneys and prosecutors, would end up being All for Nothing, as Kristoph Gavin getting Vera Misham to forge a diary page that would get Phoenix disbarred ruined the reputation of defense attorneys, while Simon Blackquill getting framed for the murder of Metis Cykes ruined the reputation of prosecutors. It speaks volumes to how much these past efforts were undone when it takes Edgeworth 6 years to become Chief Prosecutor, and even that doesn't put an end to the ruined reputation of the legal system.
  • 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, Yūki 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:
    • Maya Fey: Her sister got murdered, has been accussed of murder multiple times, got kidnapped in Justice for All and Spirit of Justice, saw the murder of her mother in front of her very own eyes in Trials and Tribulations and yet, despite all of this, she continues to smile through and remain a cheerful Genki Girl. This is even acknowledged In-Universe by Franziska near the end of 3-5, who expresses shock by how Maya can be so chipper despite having gone through so much.
    • Maggey Byrde, who fell from the ninth story of a building when 6 months old, has been hit by multiple vehicles, gets accused of murder three times over the course of the series- the first time she's accused of her boyfriend's murder and the second time she's convicted before Phoenix overturns the conviction- (and that's not even covering half the things that have happened to her) but does not give up, and remains plucky and optimistic throughout.
    • Phoenix Wright had his beloved mentor die, was framed for murder twice, nearly killed by the woman he loved, abused by nearly every single prosecutor and witness, is never in the Judge's favor, almost never gets a thank you from his clients, was bullied in school, and let's not get started on what he goes through in Apollo Justice. This cutie has been broken by then — even to the point of arguably overlapping with Jerkass Woobie via his consequent Unscrupulous Hero actions in retaliation against the one responsible.
    • Pearl Fey during Case 3-5. Despite her doubts about her powers and fear over Maya's safety, she still manages to Shut Up, Hannibal! at Franziska and makes Phoenix present solid evidence before her last psyche-lock breaks. Pearly is tough as nails.
  • 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.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: A sizable portion of fans were interested in the original trilogy primarily because of the Homoerotic Subtext between Phoenix and Miles. The same group of people tend to ignore the post-original trilogy games because of Miles Edgeworth's diminished presence.
  • LGBT Fanbase:
    • The franchise as a whole has a very strong one because of the copious amounts of Ambiguously Gay and Ambiguously Bi characters. Not to mention the fact that Phoenix Wright and Miles Edgeworth as a pairing is one of the most popular in the franchise.
    • 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 Loser:
    • Phoenix Wright. Canonically, he's intelligent, good at thinking on his feet, and has an almost perfectnote  win record in a court system biased toward the prosecution, even if he often has to bluff in order to buy time to gain information and is ignorant of many basic legal concepts due to having studied art in college. To many fans, especially those who make parodies, he's an Idiot Hero who can't remember basic details about the cases, does next to no preparation and wins solely because of luck.
    • Maya Fey gets this treatment as well; being arrested no less than five times during the series and personally connected to multiple murder incidents has led to the fan interpretation that she's a magnet for trauma whenever she isn't getting kidnapped or framed for murder.
    • In a meta example, Gyakuten Kenji 2/Ace Attorney Investigations 2. This game is often touted as the series' best installment, and is rather infamous for being a highly-desired example of No Export for You. For a while, Gyakuten Kenji 2 shared this position with The Great Ace Attorney games, but following the announcement of The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles bringing the games to the west, Gyakuten Kenji 2 now sits sorrowfully on the throne of being Ace Attorney's least favorite child, no matter how beloved it is by the fandom.
  • 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 The Great Ace Attorney spinoff series. This, combined with the main series getting easily localized by virtue of being numbered titles and the latter formerly falling into No Export for You before The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles was announced, 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.
  • Polished Port: The PC version of the Compilation Rerelease is considered really good, running at widescreen resolutions beyond the handheld originals, able to run at 60 FPS (and higher if you take the steps to disable the framerate locking VSYNC), and is basically three games for half the price of one.
  • Porting Disaster: The original trilogy was initially ported for a Compilation Rerelease over to the iOS, which released with many game breaking bugs and problems from a lack of beta testing and/or laziness: Slowdown was all over the place. Character animations, while better looking, were also choppy, missing several frames (half the characters didn't blink), or flat-out missing. Music would not loop properly, Pearl's theme was missing, and the second and third games used the lower quality GBA soundtrack. Ema Skye's fingerprinting tutorial in the first game was completely omitted, and several typos were ADDED. And when iOS 7 came out, it broke the HD version to the point that the app simply would not launch, and it took Capcom nearly two months to fix the problem. Thankfully, the 3DS version of the trilogy is miles better: correcting many typos, fixing every issue, and re-adding many animation frames, and the subsequent release for the PS4, Switch, and Xbox One would feature the best of both worlds, featuring the improved artwork in full HD resolution, and including the fixes from the 3DS port (on top of providing more fixes, including restoring the remaining animation frames).
  • The Scrappy:
    • Marvin Grossberg in the third game. He just will not shut up about his hemorrhoids.
    • Aristotle Means from Dual Destinies is immensely disliked due to constantly spouting out his "the ends justify the means" philosophy and not having much of a character beyond that, and for being a very weak and bland culprit.
    • Queen Ga'ran from Spirit of Justice, once she gets involved in the final case. Even fans of the sixth game reluctantly agree she's not great. Her prosecutor design is ridiculously over-the-top with long fingernails and a spider-shaped hairdo, her motivations are poorly cobbled together from three more popular villains (Von Karma, Morgan, and Blaise), and her stupidity for letting the trial go on as long as it should to get her arrested for murder when as the ruling queen of a country, she could've easily had Apollo and company executed on the spot.
  • 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:
    • Justice for All and Trials and Tribulations are significantly more difficult than the original game. The mysteries are significantly more complex, with Turnabout Memories being one of the most difficult first cases in the series. The penalties are stricter, generally being at least 20% of your health gauge, and there are several cases in which a single mistake will cause you to lose instantly.
    • 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.
  • Ship Mates: Phoenix/Edgeworth shippers are naturally on very good terms with Apollo/Klavier shippers and you'll be hard-pressed to not find shippers that don't ship both. There is also a great bit of overlap between Phoenix/Edgeworth shippers and Maya/Franziska shippers.
  • Ships That Pass in the Night: Maya and Franziska have very few interactions on-screen, but they are a popular ship in some spaces. Commonly cited reasons include their personalities make great foils to each other and the similar backstory of young girls burdened with their families' legacy. It helps that they make perfect Ship Mates with the extremely popular Phoenix x Edgeworth ship.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: The fights that can ensue between Phoenix/Edgeworth shippers and Phoenix/Maya shippers can often feel like court battles in the games with how intense and chaotic they can get, as both sides tend to frequently find ways and use what the slightest evidence there is for both ships to discount each other. That said, In spite of this, both sides have no problems teaming up against their shared foe, the Phoenix/Iris shippers, in which it tends to get even nastier.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Quite a few for many reasons detailed in their respective YMMV pages, but the most notable ones are Iris and Viola Cadaverini from Trials and Tribulations, Klavier Gavin from Apollo Justice, Clay Terran from Dual Destinies, Courtney Sithe from The Great Ace Attorney 2: Resolve, and Jove Justice from Spirit of Justice.
  • 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.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Canonically, the trilogy takes place from 2016 to 2019 (as proven by the date of the DL-6 Incident). However, the technology featured in them matches up with the tech that was around in the early 2000s, the time frame when the games were made. VHS tapes, black-and-white photos, and old cellphones are still in usenote , and digital cameras are still a new thing.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • The entire in-universe court system is mishmash of loose elements from the Japanese court system and its American equivalent, resulting in a system which 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....note 
    • 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 – over 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.
    • A standard element to shuttle the player into different parts of the investigation is to have the current defense attorney be unable to speak to that case's defendant until the player has progressed far enough in the investigation because "they're in questioning." In "Rise From The Ashes," Lana nonchalantly mentions having been questioned all night at the start of the trial's second day. In fact, during the third case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice, the guard interrupts one of Phoenix's visits to Maya to ask her questions, forcing Phoenix to come back later to resume the conversation. American defendants very specifically have the right to summon their lawyer whenever the police are asking them questions.
    • 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).
    • On a non-legal note, Phoenix not having a driver's license. In Japan, this isn't so unusual due to the extensive rail and public transportation infrastructure there. In America—and particularly Los Angeles, which is notorious for its terrible public transport—it is very difficult to get by without a driver's license, and adds to the impression of Phoenix as somewhat hapless and goofy (since someone his age would almost always have one unless they had some impairment that made it impossible).
  • 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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