The Ace Attorney Case Continues – Otaku Review
Playing catch up is probably the worst part of each anime season. There is always going to be that one series that you stick with, letting the others fall by the wayside. This leaves a number of titles to binge-watch in order to catch up.
Otaku Review will cover the series we stuck around with from Otaku Digest. While we play catch-up on the spring season we can take a look at the main series that I stuck with week by week which was Ace Attorney.
The Ace Attorney anime, or Gyakuten Saiban: Sono ‘Shinjitsu’, Igiari! as it is known as in Japan, first aired on April 2. For those who may be unfamiliar with the game series this anime is a drama, mystery, comedy and police anime. We are transported straight into the world of our protagonist, Phoenix Wright, who is a newly appointed defence attorney. We meet him as he takes on his first ever case where he must defend his childhood friend against a homicide charge. Phoenix is taking a risk to his career in taking this case as his first, but luckily his chief Mia Fey is standing over him ready to help.
The anime continues through the many cases that Phoenix and the Fey family are involved in. This spans from the case of the Silver Samurai to the DL-6 Incident which is now one of the most iconic cases from the game series. Each case is unique, yet there are connections running through the entire series just like in the games. We see Phoenix get in over his head but still manage to find the lies and contradictions in the testimony while going head to head with top tier prosecutors.
I never hid the fact that I was happy we were finally getting an anime adaptation of the Ace Attorney game series. It did not seem like there would be much trouble in adapting it; the game itself was very linear with a story that flowed brilliantly.
Looking at the story, it really does not veer away from the first game narrative. It follows the cases of the game exactly, which for those of us who played the games means there was nothing too new in terms of story. This could have been a turn off for viewers but, thankfully, even though the story is the same, it was the characters and animation that carried the anime. We see a more in-depth look into the different cases, in particular the investigation stage. This is mainly played out through the interactions of the individual characters whether it is our main characters or the guest characters.
That leads us to what really made this series, the characters. There is no point trying to go into details for each character since there are just so many. Thankfully, the series does focus mainly on our protagonists Phoenix Wright and Maya Fey (Mia Fey’s sister) as well as Miles Edgeworth. Where the game focuses on the story and investigation side of things, the anime really does focus in on the characters.
Phoenix is just as innocent and hopeful in the games but they managed to develop him even further. He is slightly clumsy and I would even say a bit more naïve in this version. He takes on cases at face value where he believes the client is innocent and does everything he can to get that innocence verdict. I will say he does seem to need help from those around him more so in the anime than in the game.
In terms of the more minor characters, the anime took the same approach, there has been no massive changes to their personalities or contributions to the story. Maya is the same carefree girl with childlike wonder about her and I like how they sort of played up the medium aspect to the series. It does play a big part but it was made more understandable to a newer audience. It is the relationship between Phoenix and Maya that truly sold this series for me; their witty banter in each episode makes the episodes enjoyable since there are some heavy moments in the story. They just lighten the mood.
Then we have Miles Edgeworth, who they really did not change at all except for shroud him in a little more mystery than even the games did. For newer viewers, you do not know anything about Edgeworth until his own ark in the story comes into play. A great use of a great character. Lastly, I have to mention my favourite detective! Gumshoe is perfectly adapted into the anime, giving him even slightly more time on screen then he might have in the game. He never fails to bring a laugh to the episode even if it is at his own expense.
This series has been adapted so well from an already very loved game series to an anime, and both can be enjoyed by players of the game and completely new viewers. The story is brilliant with the episodes cut into parts of the case but it is the characters that make the series. I would recommend this series to the hardened fan and a newbie who just wants something fun. Don’t agree with me? Objection!