Ace Attorney 03 – Pink Clothes Appreciation

It’s time for another installment of Ace Attorney. What kind of ‘turnabouts’ will we see this week?screenshot-from-2016-10-12-16-14-45

Maya looks super distressed at the start of her trial. I suppose this makes sense though, I’d imagine anyone would be concerned if they were charged with murder, especially if they were innocent. I believe that in this fictional country, the death penalty is a possible sentence for convicted murderers as well, making the trial extra high stakes.

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Waste of government money

Is there really any need for the court system to have TV screens which slide out of some folding panels? Couldn’t these funds be used for something more practical (justice system reform would be high on my personal list).

We have some evidence presented by the prosecution, Maya’s name written on the back of a receipt, and it seems like the legal profession here doesn’t spend a bunch of time reading detective novels where this is one of the most common ways to frame someone; writing their name in the victim’s blood. Using physical evidence alone to convict a killer is very Sherlock Holmes and in more modern investigations, they tend to look beyond scrawled names and dropped cigar ashes.

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Maybe you need to think a bit further before you open your mouth. Sometimes I think it’s frustrating seeing the police played as being so incompetent to show off the genius of a private investigator or in this case a defense lawyer. They may not see everything, but police in real life work hard as a team and would be mostly good at collecting the facts. I have no idea why the ‘incompetent policeman’ trope gained so much traction in mystery fiction. I like seeing shows and reading books where the official police act with integrity and get it right. Private individuals and investigators obviously have more latitude in certain situations and it can be interesting to see their stories, but I don’t especially enjoy seeing the police being made to look like total fools to make them shine. A private individual merely not being bound by bureaucracy should be a sufficient advantage to make their characters interesting in mystery fiction. As an aside, if people are familiar with the alignment system used in D&D, I’m so strongly lawful good that if I did an alignment quiz and didn’t get lawful good I’d assume the quiz was broken.

As the trial progresses it seems that Phoenix doesn’t have the most updated information as prepared by the police. Shouldn’t both the prosecution and the defence have the same information available to them in order to have a fair trial? The conventions of the legal system in this world make my head spin.

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Miles must have put a lot of starch in his jabot in order to have it stand away from the rest of his body when he bends over. I’d always imagined that these sorts of things are kept soft and not starchy, although I am certainly no jabot expert. I think very starchy neckwear would be uncomfortable.

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Clothes don’t do that

So this is April May. She’s very… colourful. I don’t know what sort of bizarre tailoring she’s had done on her jacket because clothing does not naturally fold over your cleavage and there’s no sort of darts in her jacket to suggest hers would. I realise that it’s a general anime character design thing, but it still bothers me every time I see it. Her character design in combination with her voice gives off the impression that she’s vapid, based on what you’d expect from anime/cartoons, but I know in Phoenix Wright people are not always what they seem, so I wonder if her character will ‘turnabout’.

It seems like during this case, for every objection Phoenix comes up with, Miles is one step ahead of him and has anticipated his actions. They don’t call him a prosecutor prodigy for nothing. He also plays it up with an enjoyable amount of smugness for someone who is supposed to be an antagonist. I can feel some of Phoenix’s frustration every time Miles counters with a new piece of information or a different way of looking at things.

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Often anime reaction faces are really dynamic and expressive, but unfortunately, Miles just looks awkwardly off-model when confronted with evidence which he was previously unaware. I think that perhaps a large sweat-drop or the facial shadow which is common for characters reacting to a stressful situation would have been appropriate in this situation. I’m constantly reminded of despite how enjoyable the story is for me as someone who is not familiar with the source material, that the visuals and sound design just don’t seem to do it justice.

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Here we can see April’s ‘turnabout’. She’s dropped the vapid facade and now just looks enraged. Even the button on her jacket seems to have turned. I suppose it should have gone without saying considering the conventions of the Phoenix Wright series that she would be implicated in this crime somehow.

The trial is adjourned and Phoenix receives a visit from Grossberg, Mia’s mentor who we met in the previous episode. He’s reconsidered his previous position somewhat and suggests that Phoenix investigate a particular man Redd White who bears a striking resemblance to the mysterious stranger seen in episode two, right down to the pink suit and cuff links. His suit looks well-fitting but extremely garish, I can’t imagine a lot of people wearing a pink suit with jeweled cuff links on a regular basis.

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Phoenix does a bit of digging on his own, and finds out not only that the relevant files which Mia may have had on Redd are missing, but also that he checked into the hotel across the road from the law offices with April. Maybe they were there for some kind of pink clothes appreciation meeting.

Phoenix goes to visit Redd White’s apartment and we are treated to some unusual interior decoration, along with some really outlandish English voice acting on the part of Redd. It seems like his voice actor is enjoying free reign hamming it up.

After some conversation with Phoenix, Redd White decides that he’ll testify at the trial tomorrow. I wonder what evidence he’ll bring to the table and what he’ll say he’s seen. As it’s likely that he’s the killer, it’s very convenient considering the legal system here that he’ll show up as without another culprit, Maya is unlikely to be cleared of her charges.

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The petals being caught in the spider’s web is obviously symbolic, but hardly subtle. I keep getting the feeling that there’s been a lot of wasted opportunities when it comes to the visual direction of this show. I know that adaptions of video games to anime seem to struggle with getting the balance of accuracy of source material with something which is interesting in the chosen medium, but it doesn’t mean I can’t hope for something more interesting.

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The episode closes with Maya’s release and Phoenix’s incarceration. If Phoenix has been imprisoned, is he going to be allowed to represent himself or is someone else going to have to be his defense lawyer? It seems they’ve timed the episodes to constantly end on a cliffhanger. I’m definitely feeling curious enough to see how Phoenix gets out of this particular scrape. My feelings about the series are pretty similar as they were after concluding the first and second episodes. I’m enjoying the story, but I’m finding the visuals and the sound really lacklustre.

I guess starting a blog is a learning experience for everyone. While I’m not minding watching this show so much, it’s not proving very fun to write about on an episodic basis. Maybe it needs more jabots and other historical neckwear? I’m wondering if there’s something else I can put in this space as writing about Ace Attorney for nearly another 6 months doesn’t feel like it will be very interesting and enjoyable for me. I definitely plan to complete the series and do a series review, but I may put something else in place for my second regular post of the week. I’m not quite sure what, but I’ll definitely give it some thought.

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