Ace Attorney 02 – Miso ramen and burgers

 

I’m back for the second episode of Ace Attorney. I’m really enjoying seeing the story develop so far despite some of the other problems in the production of this series which seem to continue into this episode.

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Right at the start of this episode, we’re introduced to a new character, Mia’s younger sister, Maya. It looks like the clock statuette from the previous episode’s trial has been filled with important evidence and Maya has offered to hold onto it for her sister to keep it safe. I wonder what sort of evidence this is and how it will end up affecting Phoenix?

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I love puns, so this is totally top-notch. It works in Japanese and English too.

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I think that’s much too late to meet someone for dinner. Unless it was second dinner. I’d be starving by then, especially when you consider that it takes time to go to a restaurant, study the menu, take orders and get your food prepared and it didn’t seem like they were going to eat at the office. I guess that we’re all different though and maybe this is part of the big city life.

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Another new character enters the scene; Miles Edgeworth. I think that his jabot (the bit of ruffly fabric tied around his neck) is interesting. I’m not an expert on historical menswear (I’m a bit better informed about historical womenswear), but it seems like old fashion plates imply that these were mostly made of a single piece of fabric maybe with decorative lace edging sewn on, and were pinned to the edges of the shirt. I’d love to know where the style similar to Miles’ with the three ruffles has come from, which looks more similar to the cheap Ebay costumes. If there’s any people who are knowledgeable on this subject who’d like to drop me a comment on this, I’d be very grateful!

It looks like the police have gone entirely on circumstantial evidence and locked up Maya after her sister Mia’s murder, as she was found on the scene with her name written in blood on a receipt. I do worry about the state of investigation and police procedure in this town. Having your name written somewhere in blood is certainly suspicious but there’s more to consider to find out if the accused did it or not. Thanks Detective Gumshoe. Maybe I’m so deeply entrenched in the conventions of the mystery story as to automatically write off names written in blood as nothing other than a device to frame an innocent person.

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It’s interesting seeing Maya and Phoenix getting to know each other a little. I imagine it must be stressful for both of them meeting under these circumstances, but Phoenix offers to go and contact the lawyer who trained Mia; Grossberg. After the meeting with Grossberg who seems very friendly and helpful, he’s contacted by a mysterious stranger. I’m sure that this doesn’t bode well.

Phoenix has gone back to the office and found Maya’s phone, and hears the recorded phone conversation. While I’m all for the names in this well-known franchise being localised, I’m not so sure about this food thing. Ramen is not burgers. While I mentioned that having the names localised makes sense, I think that localising the food names is confusing, especially if we end up seeing images of the aforementioned food at some point during the series. I guess the poor translation team can’t win.

Seriously, the legal system here is weird. I understand it’s part of the conventions of the game, and was perhaps even done partially as a commentary on Japan’s legal system which strongly favours the prosecution (although not to this extent), but I would think to have a fair trial that both the prosecution and defence should have access to the same information.

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It looks like Miles’ mentor is wearing a cravat, which seems more physically possible than Miles’ odd neckwear.

After extracting a little information from Detective Gumshoe, Phoenix has his first encounter with April May and you can see he’s really embarrassed by how forward she is. He also finds some bits and pieces which look like they may be important evidence in the trial. I guess this is how the show is depicting the evidence gathering phase of the game.

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It comes as no surprise that Grossberg has refused to defend Maya. The call from the mysterious stranger definitely implied that this would happen. I wonder how much this stranger is going to affect the case? It’s definitely stacking the odds against Phoenix.

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It looks like all the animation budget was spent on making moving cherry blossoms. I’m continually surprised at how dull and static the characters look and how lively and detailed the backgrounds are in comparison.

We get to see another flashback into the incident in Phoenix’s past which inspired him to become a lawyer. It definitely seems to be driving his decision-making now. I wonder how long it will be until all the details play out? You can’t tell much just from everyone pointing their finger at him and accusing him of being guilty.

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As you would expect, Phoenix offers to defend Maya. I actually like the use of the soundtrack here which hasn’t excited me that much so far with the exception of the use of in-game music. There’s some soaring instrumentals with an increasing tempo which build the drama of this moment.

You can see the contrast between the prosecution and defence as you see the two lawyers drive to the courthouse; Miles in his red sports car, and Phoenix on his bicycle. It definitely makes me want to cheer a little for underdog Phoenix. Also, Miles’ jabot still troubles me.

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As the episode finale, we discover that Miles and Phoenix already know each other, but it definitely seems that Miles is surprised to see Phoenix there.

This episode has been building up to the trial and has helped the viewer get to know the characters a little better. I find myself wanting to see what happens and cheering for Phoenix in spite of the awkward animation and pacing of the show. While it’s the sort of show where you know the outcome in advance because of the adaptation from well-known source material and the conventions of this sort of story, it should still be interesting to see exactly how it plays out. I guess it’s similar to how I really enjoy mystery shows even when I’ve seen them previously or they show the culprit at the start of the show.

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