Phoenix’s journey through the anime adaption of Capcom’s video game series, Ace Attorney, has been rocky. The pacing changes throughout every episode and hardly anything has been added to the story in the anime. Although the anime lacks an in-depth backstory for the main cast, the characterization of everyone is almost perfect. The Japanese voice acting holds up the original character personalities well as does the emotional exaggerations. The last story-arc of the anime: Farewell, My Turnabout 1st Trial, brings back the more predominate characters into a mysteriously fun reunion.
Ace Attorney Episode 21: Farewell, My Turnabout 1st Trial opens with the Hero of Heroes banquet. Larry (who has replaced Lottie from the original game in this case) now works for a trashy magazine and is at the banquet as a member of the press. Nickel Samurai, played by Matt Engarde wins the award after showing off some Power Ranger-esque moves. He beats Jammin Ninja, played by Juan Corrida from winning the Hero of Heroes award. According to Ace Attorney logic that means a murder will take place.
Maya and Phoenix are enjoying themselves until an announcement is made proclaiming the anticipated confession by the Nickel Samurai has been canceled. They quickly find out that Juan has been murdered. But this alone is not good enough to make this mystery hyped up, on top of learning a murder has been committed, Phoenix learns that Maya is kidnapped! The kidnapping makes the stakes of finding the truth a personal problem for Phoenix. Larry calms down long enough to help out a bit and most likely will aid his old friend in the last two episodes. Larry’s personality is still very much loud and child-like despite working a “regular” job. The decision to replace Lottie from the game with Larry in this particular case was a wise decision. He comes through much more fun than Lottie’s original writing did. Plus, the nostalgia of Phoenix’s old friend being with him for the anime’s last few episodes makes it so much more special.
Mrs. Oldbag naturally makes an appearance to let the world know she has a new fandom: Jammin Ninja. For an undisclosed reason, she is dressed up like an awkward astronaut. The ridiculousness of the game series easily shines through this adaption. However, the missed opportunity of creating and presenting backstories of the characters is not easily forgiven. Mrs. Oldbag is always brushed off as a worker or just an annoying fan. It works fine in the games because their main purpose is to solve a mystery in court. The anime adaption of any game is a perfect opportunity to dive further in the game franchise’s story. Since the audience does not need to do participate, there is more room to add character backgrounds and even new comedy bits.
Despite this disappointment throughout the entire series, every once in awhile something will make it worth watching. Maya’s kidnapping is beautifully remade in this episode. The scene in the game’s counterpart is poorly written, Maya’s intelligence is upgraded in the anime. This time she is kidnapped without being duped so easily. It’s a small but necessary touch that improves upon the original writing. With Maya being in captivity, the urging pursuit for the truth behind the murder of Juan is intensified tenfold. Phoenix is concerned about clearing Matt to save Maya from the kidnapper who seems to wield some influence over others.
Farewell, My Turnabout 1st Trial is the most enjoyable story arc from this adaption. It feels very much a finale. The reunion of characters feels both sad and nostalgic, no doubt the effect A-1 Studios wanted. The suspense of why De Killer is setting up this elaborate stunt is presented well. Who is this mystery man and why does he want Matt Engarde cleared for murder? The answers are kept hidden until the next episode.
You can watch the Ace Attorney anime adaption through Crunchyroll.