Phoenix Wright has become a successful video game franchise. Having spawned multiple sequels, a live action movie in Japan, a crossover title with Professor Layton, a musical, and now its own anime. The games have plenty of material that can be used in a TV show but how well does Ace Attorney translate from the video game realm into animation? Only one way to find out.
The story centers around our spikey-haired, rookie attorney Phoenix Wright trying his best to defend his accused clients in court, prove them innocent, and find the true perpetrator. Along with his assistant Maya Faye, a young spirit medium in training and sister of his mentor, he searches for clues, finds contradictions in testimonies and goes up against rival prosecutors like Miles Edgeworth whose goals are to punish the accused Phoenix is protecting.
I can safely say that the show does a marvelous job at taking the story of Phoenix Wright and converting it to anime form. They faithfully follow the story line from the first game and also successfully add certain attributes from the gaming experience, such as:
- Displaying a text box set up with the time and place of new locations.
- Confetti raining down from the ceiling whenever Phoenix wins a case.
- And finally, giving each witness their own unique mannerisms over the type reactions that they use in game.
One thing I can say that was quite different was the fact that they used the Japanese names rather then the English ones. Example: Larry Butz is now being referred to as Masashi Yahari. A small adjustment that will take some getting used to if you’re more familiar with the English games.
Over all the story is really well done and at times it does a great job at keeping you at the edge of your proverbial seat during the intense scenes. There is intensive dramatization, and the court room can sometimes feel like a battleground. This ideal is expressed by having people getting knocked back by powerful, logical claims made during a trial.
It portrays itself as the equivalent of a sports anime, where the actions and movements made by the characters are over exaggerated to make everything look more epic.
One issue that I had with the show was that strong foreshadowing wasn’t its forte. Subtly is very important when revealing clues in a story regarding a mystery, however in Ace Attorney it is made very clear who the true culprits are early on in the story arc. Additionally this is one of those shows where we never really see the protagonist lose or fail but it is still presented in a compelling way that keeps you coming back for more.
If you have yet to play to the Phoenix Wright games and this is your first time being introduced to the Ace Attorney franchise, then I think you will be pleased with what the show has to offer. It manages to balance humor and drama through the character interactions that take place in and out of the court room. The art in this show retains the same art style of the game and is fabulous to look at while watching Phoenix fight to prove his client innocent.