Ace Attorney – Season 3

Ace Attorney – Season 3

Adapted from the popular video game franchise, Ace Attorney follows rookie lawyer Naruhodo Ryuuichi (Phoenix Wright) and his assistant Mayoi (Maya) as he defends his clients in a court of law. With limited evidence and logic as his only weapon, can Naruhodo turn the case around when all the odds are stacked against him?

A third season of Phoenix, Maya and friends and the trials and tribulations they undergo as they try to get to the bottom of mysterious criminal cases inside and outside of the courtroom. One of the first cases looked at this season is the theft of the Kurain Village sacred urn from a department store by the renowned phantom thief, Mask DeMasque, and where we see the first instance of the mysterious coffee-loving prosecutor Godot replacing Edgeworth on the opposite stand.

This anime follows the same structure as the games, with a scene-setting opening and a lead-up to the crime, with the viewer being show important information and potential evidence that could help them reach a conclusion before the victim is revealed. Then we have up to three days of courtroom drama and investigation as Phoenix seeks to achieve that elusive Not Guilty verdict for his client before he runs out of time.

This time, things take a different turn as the stories divert from the ones featured in the game. We have both a short and long original anime episode giving us some original content, allowing the anime to provide some extra background to Edgeworth’s childhood (through a short story named ‘Sound the Turnabout Melody’) and the longer episode, I would imagine, is there so we can have a story take outside the courtroom in order to shake the format up a bit, although the premise does feel a little sillier and illegitimate (of all the Phoenix Wright cases, I’m not sure that this one would hold up as a real case, but let’s not pull at that particular thread).

This story, entitled the ‘Northward, Turnabout Express’ has a definite ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ feel to it, with Phoenix, Maya, Gumshoe and the Judge just happening to be hoarding the same journey as one another on an opulent train named the Silver Star. A fugitive, Hubley Richnande, then hijacks the train to demand a retrial of his murder verdict in America, causing him to be extradited to Japan. It just so happens that all the required players are available to create a makeshift courtroom in the train’s dining cart, and so Phoenix must attempt to defend another man who thinks he has been wrongfully accused.

This season of Phoenix Wright didn’t have much of a nostalgic ring to it as the previous season’s did. I think the non-game filler content did a bit to dilute the excitement for me this time, which I think was included so that they can pad the Trials and Tribulations game content out for another season. Even so, the stories were enjoyable and I always enjoy the adventures of Phoenix and company (particularly because I am currently revisiting the games on my 3DS and enjoying them immensely). Some people may be annoyed at the filler episodes, as some people always will be, but not all filler is awful – it’s a chance to include more exposition and character development that may have been lacking in other mediums and give something extra that the games couldn’t provide.