English names will be used in this review to coincide with the familiarity of the English-edition games.
Some spoilers are in this review.
The second episode of the anime adaptation of Capcom’s Ace Attorney game series is a vast improvement from the first episode. The anime series follows the game franchise rather closely. In fact, it is practically a full anime edition of the games, minus the ability to play as Phoenix or Miles. The last episode opened with Phoenix taking on his first case: his best friend from elementary school is accused of murder and Phoenix proves his friend’s innocence within the courtroom. Under the guidance of his mentor and boss, Mia Fey, the new attorney at law is learning the ropes of his profession.
Ace Attorney as an anime got off to a poor start with generic artwork, forgettable music and a fast-paced plot. The music still blends completely with the show and doesn’t stand out. Although truth be told, I’m not watching Ace Attorney for the music and art, my sole purpose is to see how the mysteries and trials are translated into a show. This time the story is being expanded over more than one episode and the mystery is being given more time to be explored. Mia is murdered the very night her sister and Phoenix are supposed to meet together for a relaxing dinner. Maya is suspected as the killer by the lovable and loyal Detective Dick Gumshoe.
Finally, the show takes place in more than one scene. The audience is treated to the emotions of Maya and Phoenix as they both agree to work together to find Mia’s killer. Phoenix’s flashbacks about being accused of stealing as a young student reminds him of the pain an innocent feels during false accusations. The eye expressions reflect the sorrow Maya feels for losing her sister. Her initial expression of shock and fear is clouded over quickly by the accusation. With the few brief moments of seeing Maya in jail, her movements are hollow and the animators did an excellent job of drawing her body language. Hopefully, the other characters in the series will be given just as much treatment.
Maya’s grieving over her sister is now overshadowed by her own struggle for freedom. Aside from knowing Maya’s role in the series as a whole, it is refreshing to see her character being given extra time to develop within the one episode time frame. Mia’s untimely death is also a major blow to Phoenix, but his personal memories with his boss are limited to the first episode. Perhaps more flashbacks showing the mentor-student relationship will be shown in the third Ace Attorney episode to give the audience a better idea of how Phoenix feels about losing his boss.
The anime is more enjoyable with the plot taking its time to be revealed for Phoenix’s second case. Giving the characters more screen time makes the story seem less rushed. Although, the second episode “Turnabout Sisters” is an improvement from the last one, it is too early to tell if Ace Attorney should be added to a “must-watch” list. Tune in next week for my review of the third episode.
You can watch the Ace Attorney anime through Crunchyroll.