Ace Attorney is a video game series set in Japan or California depending on what language you’re playing. The famous original trilogy focuses on Phoenix Wright as he starts his career as a defence attorney. It’s since gone on to have three more main games, two spin-offs, and two prequels.
The series is inspired by detective shows like Columbo and Sherlock Holmes. The premise in most of the games is where you have to represent a defendant in homicide cases and prove them innocent.
What makes the series so unique is its colourful characters, witty dialogue and overarching stories that bring the game to life. As the franchise itself is over 20 years old, there is strong history and memories attached to the game.
One guess who Herlock Sholmes is inspired by
Herlock Sholmes is inspired by nobody else but the beloved detective that lives on Baker Street. In the Japanese version of the games, he is still called Sherlock Holmes. The initials were swapped in the English version to avoid possible trademark and copyright claims from the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Capcom released perfumes themed on the main attorneys and their rival prosecutors
This is something that I have only found out recently during an eBay search. It is natural for celebrities to put their name on perfumes to increase their brand portfolio. In video games, this is not common. The perfumes were only available through the Capcom Cafes in Japan, but you might be able to find some of these perfumes on eBay.
There was an old fan theory that Damon Gant was Apollo Justice’s biological father
As ridiculous as it sounds, it has solid ground on a series as crazy as Ace Attorney. There is nothing fandoms love more than an outrageous theory with solid proof. This one had quite a lot of support when I saw it on forums. The base of this theory is that Apollo and his mother, Thalassa have names that originate from Greek mythology. In Greek mythology, Thalassa is a sea god. Damon Gant also makes his love for swimming very prominent. Gant’s physical appearance also appears to be inspired by Zeus with his lightning bolt fringe.
This theory has now been outdated and debunked with Apollo’s father and Thalassa’s first husband being revealed in Dual Destinies. However, it’s still a fun theory.
Janet Hsu provided Franziska von Karma’s voice in the French and English localisations
The team assigned to the games were a small team. Many of the staff behind the games also provided the small bits of voice acting. Janet Hsu who worked on localising and translating the games provided Franziska’s voice. Franziska is also one of Janet’s favourite characters, so I feel she must have been honoured giving her a voice.
Gyakuten Saiban was originally intended to be a stand-alone for the Gameboy Colour
Gyakuten Saiban (literal translation: turnabout trial) was originally intended to be just a stand-alone game for the Gameboy Colour. Once the developers saw the upcoming Gameboy Advance, they were so impressed with it they decided to make the game for the upcoming console. The game was officially released in Japan on the 13th of October in 2001. Producer Atsushi Inaba was so impressed with the first game, he suggested it become a trilogy.
Miles Edgeworth was voted the most popular character in a Famitsu poll
Ever since the conception of the games, Miles Edgeworth has always been a standout character. Whether it’s his fantastic character development over the series or his classy fashion choices, the games give you plenty of reasons to like him. Miles Edgeworth becomes the main character in the two spin-off games; Ace Attorney Investigations and its sequel. Ace Attorney Investigations 2 is the only Ace Attorney game to my knowledge without an official English translation, but there is a fan-made translation readily available.
Nintendo Life ranked Trials & Tribulations as the best Ace Attorney game
The concluding game of the trilogy is one that many will never forget. Whilst the Ace Attorney anime merged the first two games into one series, the second series had Trials & Tribulations as its focus. It’s got unforgettable characters like Godot, Dahlia Hawthorne and the much-beloved characters from the last two games. We learn a lot about Maya’s family and the brutal culture of her clan that almost makes Game of Thrones’ Lannister family look like pussy cats. Everything ties up wonderfully together in the trilogy’s final game.
Turnabout Big Top isn’t a favourite among fans, but it’s one of Shu Takumi’s favourites
Turnabout Big Top is a theatrical case where the ringmaster of a circus is murdered. Some of the characters in the case can come across as annoying or borderline idiotic which is one of the reasons why it’s not a well-loved case between the fandom. Despite that, it is the creator, Shu Takumi’s favourite case because he was able to add elements that he could only do in a video game.
The themes of mystery are very apparent, but the theme of getting a broken team back together again. In a post where he talks about this case, it’s this quote that gets to me:
I like people who can pour their all into one thing. Believing in one’s path, going all the way until the end and then die… That’s awesome. However, an almost painful purity can also sometimes seem ridiculous. And that’s precisely Tommy’s way of life. The dried-up old gags he uses, and the many objects lying around in his room… As I wrote the scenario, I felt sad for a reason, and tears appeared in my eyes. But I’m probably the only one who did that. — Shu Takumi
These elements included references to his personal and creative life. The circus setting is the perfect background for it. Despite pouring his heart and soul into this episode, fans in the west didn’t quite see it. It’s a shame really.
The games have had several adaptations
The Ace Attorney anime is one of the most famous adaptions, but not everybody knows about the other adaptions which include musicals, live-action movies and even manga books. Ever since the trilogy was released, fans wondered if there would ever be an anime series. In 2016, the anime was officially released which had Shu Takumi take the role as script supervisor.
At one point, The Ace Attorney Kink Meme was one of the biggest on the internet
A kink meme is an anonymous fandom space where users can request and fulfil fan fiction requests. Requests can range from anything from erotic thrills and a slice-of-life stories. Most of these kink meme spaces from other fandoms have since died out. Ace Attorney’s kink meme was one of the most popular and active ones on the internet around a decade ago. Whilst nowhere near as active as it once was, it still has the occasional boost in activity when new games are released.
The Ace Attorney kink meme started off on a user named Teagueful’s personal Livejournal. The founder has since changed their LJ name to Bluhavens. The kink meme started on Halloween 2007. Although the founder is no longer active on Livejournal, his kink meme lived on through Dreamwidth with regular updates and everything published on Livejournal is also archived on Dreamwidth.
Anything goes with these kink memes. I have no idea how Capcom would react if they had stumbled onto this. But I think the Phoenix Wright kink meme is a wonderful reflection of its fandom history and I am pleased it is being preserved the way it has been.
FranMaya is one of the most popular ships in the fandom, despite little interactions
In a lot of fan fiction, FranMaya is used as a side pair to the popular Miles/Edgeworth pairing. There's a few where they are the main feature. When I first joined the fandom in 2009, there was little FranMaya content, but now there are lots. Franziska and Maya are both popular characters from a rising franchise, and women like me can relate to them.
In the original trilogy, they are the only two living women that make a huge contribution throughout the series. In many ways, they follow the opposites attract trope. Franziska boasts about perfection and uses the word fool a lot. She comes across as cold. Maya is somebody who just wants to have fun but also cares for others.
Further in the trilogy, you start to realise that they have more in common than just their age. Both women are lonely and carry heavy burdens. For Franziska, it’s losing the father whose footsteps she followed with devout faith. On top of that, the disappearance of the man she considered her brother. In Justice For All, she must also learn how to lose and that’s okay not to be perfect all the time.
As for Maya, being accused of murder multiple times is traumatic. Maya goes through a lot of painful things like losing her sister, but she is still happy to help others whenever she can.
So why is FranMaya so popular now? I believe the Ace Attorney anime helped in some ways. But at the same time, it’s hard to explain. It’s the what-ifs and scenarios in fanworks that make the ship so unique.
The legal system in Ace Attorney is dystopian and corrupt
Our final fact for the games I would like to share is just how dystopian and corrupt the legal system in this universe is. Judges are shown to be incompetent and gullible. Detective Gumshoe has to live on instant noodles because they keep docking his salary. Prosecutors seem to live a life of luxury.
Prosecutors even bring weapons to the court and nobody bats an eyelid. They’ve had a parrot as a witness to a trial. In the second case, Maya is arrested for killing her sister because her name is written in blood. They don’t even come up with a motive as to why Maya would kill her sister. They just assume she was there so she must have done it.
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