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?
This time Phoenix has to face new trials and tribulations, including a trial where Maya is initially the suspect again, the murder at the local circus and another incident involving the latest evolution of the Samauri series: the Nickel Samauri. These, of course, include all the colourful characters that come along with it and make a courtroom drama anime fun, fast-paced and hilarious.
Phoenix Wright (or Naruhodo Ryuuchi, whichever name you know him by) is back for a second season, reliving the trials set out for him in his second game. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was just as excited to watch this season as I was the first. There’s something about this anime that, whilst it stays true to the games and keeps things very similar – even using the date/time setup at the beginning of new scenes, it doesn’t really seem like a re-hash over old ground. Rather, I feel that it’s somewhat nostalgic. Though anime is often released as a means to promote new manga or games (not to say that this isn’t the case here), but it’s good to see familiar faces, actions and gameplay from the very beginning of the Phoenix Wright franchise.
The characters are still as great as ever and as amusing as ever. You can tell that a lot of work has gone into keeping things exactly the same as the games but at the same time fitting rather nicely into the twenty-odd minute format. This time around we have a few new characters, including Von Karma’s daughter as the new prosecutor in place of Edgeworth, who has mysteriously disappeared after his innocence was proven in a trial at the end of last season. She’s just as tenacious as Edgeworth and appears in court to defend her family name against the hotshot attorney that broke her father’s perfect record and landed him in jail.
What Phoenix Wright does well, and what might possibly go overlooked in some cases, is how they’ve taken static elements from within the games and made them more dynamic. In the game, there’s a lot of examining of scenes, selecting them and choosing what to speak to other characters about, but the anime has replaced this with more engaging scenes and animated comedy which works well to give some scenes some more streamlined dialogue and humour. It also features cameos from characters from earlier trials, which is great, because I am a huge fan of Oldbag and her swag.
The series makes the most of the gaming elements and uses them to their advantage to keep the trials tense and dramatic. The use of split screens to show character reactions, the giant OBJECTION that appears in the courtroom and, of course, the dramatic way witnesses flinch or are almost literally blown away when they are caught in a lie or the truth is exposed thanks to some last minute evidence.
I can’t help but continue to love this anime. Although it could be argued that the first two games were the peak of the Phoenix Wright heyday, I hope soon to see more of his face. And Edgeworth’s face. And all the colourful characters. Even if we see a return in the form of Apollo Justice. Remember him? Yeah, he wasn’t exactly Phoenix Wright, but I’d take him over nothing any day. A big super-fan that’s super-satisfied with this anime.