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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:


  • 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.
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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 latter games).
  • 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.
  • Complete Monster: See the respective YMMV pages, or see here.
  • Creepy Awesome: The Blue Badger, especially when it turns psycho in Investigations.
  • 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:
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    • 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.
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    • 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.
    • The Judge from the main games, for his increasingly bizarre and goofy commentary on all the cases.
  • 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 T&T, 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.
  • Internet Backdraft: The Ace Attorney presentation at TGS 2018 has become this. Despite Capcom boldly declaring 2018 would be the year for Ace Attorney, no significant news arrived for eight months. It only got worse as Capcom stated that its Ace Attorney TGS 2018 presentation would be "unmissable" by fans but it amounted to nothing but yet another port of the trilogy. This received such negative reception to the point for a while Ace Attorney was #3 trending on Twitter and the reason for this because so many fans openly voiced their disappointment for the presentation as well as making many memes mocking it.
  • 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.
  • 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: Damon Gant, once a legendary police officer, murders a prosecutor to pin the crime on a criminal and ensure his rise to chief of police. Gant also has his old partner installed as the head of the prosecutor's office, having clandestinely framed her sister as the murderer years ago, so he can control both the police and the prosecution, using blackmail on his old partner Lana. When a detective reopens the old case, Gant murders him and has Lana stab the corpse, resulting in her being framed, and Gant knowing she'll plead guilty to protect her sister. Despite his crimes, Gant operates with nothing short of whimsical good nature and accepts his defeat with good humor, claiming that at the end, he can leave the defense of the law to his rivals and one day they will understand the need to rise higher by any means to protect the law as a whole.
  • 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 Annoying Sound:
    • Winston Payne's high-pitched Objection! is a sign that a smug and likely faulty retort is coming your way that the Judge will agree with.
    • ANY prosecutor's Objection, especially if the prosecutor is shooting down the defense's points. Blackquill replaces it with Silence! sometimes.
      • Inverted whenever said prosecutor is your ally; Franziska's Big Damn Heroes moment at the end of 2-4 and Blackquill's Big Damn Heroes moment early in 6-4 particularly come to mind.
    • Franziska's whip, whenever it's hitting the player character, especially when she's angry from losing. Except in case 2-4, where it signals a Big Damn Heroes moment, as well as in cases 3-5 and I-5 where she's trying to get Larry to cooperate with the prosecution and the defense (who's equally as frustrated with him).
    • Mike Meekins' megaphone feedback. WEEEEEEEEEN!
    • The cross-examination music continuing to play after selecting evidence to present, which means you presented the wrong evidence or at the wrong statement and you're about to take a penalty.
      • Adding to this, the cross-examination music starts to get grating after a while when you still can't figure out what evidence to present. It just keeps going and going as you scrtach your head wondering what the heck you're supposed to present or what you have to press. Almost as if it's mocking you.
    • The explosion that comes with your Life Meter going down, In the second game, there's one instance where the judge will get so mad if you accuse him that it will drain you down 95%.
    • Furio Tigre's roar, every time he's annoyed he growls angrily, loudly, and in a crackly way.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • Inverted when you present the correct evidence in a cross-examination, which is signaled by the background music stopping. However, the game will often fake you out by prolonging the music a bit more.
    • Played straight with 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.
  • 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-game, 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. 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.
    • Florent L'Belle from Dual Destinies, for being so glaringly Stupid Evil.
  • Shipping Goggles: Pretty much every interaction between Phoenix and Maya is bound to be interpreted as a Ship Tease, even though the third game makes it clear that their friendship is very close but entirely platonic.
  • 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".
    • 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). 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 95%. 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). Incidentally, the usage of the death penalty is controversial even in the places where it is used (including the United States), so arguments regarding its morality should not be brought up here.
  • The Woobie: Has its own page.
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