First Impressions: Ace Attorney

Ryūichi Naruhodō, or as some of us better know him as, Phoenix Wright, has finally received his own anime. If, like me, you’ve been following along with the games, the manga, the musicals and the movie, then, clearly, you were eagerly awaiting the next exciting instalment to the Ace Attorney Saga; but has A-1 Pictures produced something worthy to bear the series name?

First of all, if this anime is your first experience with the series and you’re interested in seeing where it goes, then I highly recommend that you play the games. The feeling of accomplishment and frustration as you work through each case, providing seemingly irrelevant evidence to sometimes unrelated contradictions in the Ace Attorney visual novels plays a crucial role in enjoyment of the story. If nothing else, finding an online playthrough with witty voice acting and an entertaining host would make an adequate alternative for people without the time or patience for the antics of Phoenix Wright. That being said, after watching the first episode, I personally look forward to the rest of the series.

In a world with swift trials and a surplus of murderers, we join fledgling defence attorney Phoenix Wright on his first case, followed closely by his chief and mentor Mia Fey. With chair gripping action and overdramatic flair, we are left to wonder whether our hero Phoenix Wright (never wrong) can decipher the contradictions laid out by “witness” Frank Sawhit.

For some, including myself, the pacing of the first episode may seem a tad too fast. Keeping in mind that this episode is an adaptation of what is, more or less, the tutorial for the game, the show started off as pronounced as it could, without taking up too much time with an episode based on a tutorial. Unfortunately, the only character we really got decent sense of was the defendant, Larry Butz, who was portrayed being the correct amount of pathetic. For a series featuring so many vibrant characters I can only hope that most central characters get at least as much development as Larry did in this first episode.


I praise the creators in their ambition to adapt the source material as candidly as they can into the anime format, where many game mechanics are forgone for plot progression. The first episode is not so much a whodunit as it is an unfolding of inevitable events, filled with silly references and fanservice. Though true to the game, I don’t feel that this first episode is indicative of what the rest of the show will entail.

While I cry OBJECTION to this introduction not effectively reaching out to people new to the series, I pray that you HOLD IT before casting judgement and TAKE THAT seat over there as you watch a show that I expect to be a wild ride.