English names will be used in this review to coincide with the familiarity of the English game text.
Capcom’s detective DS and 3DS game franchise Ace Attorney has been adapted into an anime. So far in the anime series, the storyline has followed the game’s story exactly. Precious little has been added to the character’s personalities and story that was not originally included in the games. The plus side to this fact is that the anime is staying true to the original content, but the negative is that there is no exploration of the characters or fun surprises for Ace Attorney fans.
In Episode 6: “Turnabout Samurai 2nd Trial“, Phoenix and Maya are working hard trying to prove Will Powers’ innocence in the murder of his co-star Jack Hammer. Will plays the beloved Steel Samurai on the children’s television program and is looked up to by hundreds of children… and a few grown-ups. One fateful day Jack, who played the show’s villain, is found brutally murdered with the Samurai Spear by someone dressed as the Steel Samurai. Miles Edgeworth is working towards a quick end to the trial and for condemning the kind-hearted Will. In the last episode, Wendy Oldbag announces in court that other people were on the studio lot on the day of the murder. This news throws the entire trial around for everyone involved. Phoenix gains an extension and revisits the studio to find new evidence.
Steel Samurai is part of a studio owned by the secretive Dee Vasquez, whom the director worships (out of fear mostly). Dee and Director Sal were in an abandoned studio holding a meeting during the murder. This information was supposed to be kept quiet. Wendy’s outburst at court has thrown the balance of the trial into chaos. The mysteries of the Ace Attorney anime series are the same well-composed ones of the games. There is little to complain of the mystery portion of the plot. Evidence is revealed overtime and there is enough clues for viewers to create their own conclusions. Characters from the show are extremely colorful, lovable and memorable. Even the ones who are annoying are fondly portrayed as their true forms from the original DS games.
The elusive director from the Steel Samurai show makes a sweaty appearance as he runs into Maya and Phoenix. The anime writers and artists did a job well done for displaying Sal as a pushover and, frankly, a creep. When he visualizes little Maya as the “Pink Princess” for the Steel Samurai show, it revealed everything about his character in a brief few seconds. Wendy Oldbag is portrayed as her energetic and boy-crazy self. Yet a touching moment was added in showing her looking at a photograph and pondering if she should reveal info from an old incident. Seeing her not screaming angrily or fangirling over an actor, or Miles, was a nice break. Who would have thought that Crazy Security Guard Oldbag really does have a heart?
Most likely to keep the anime from lagging, the writers omitted the second day at the trial and is already having Producer Dee summoned to court at the end of Turnabout Samurai 2nd Trial. Detective Gumshoe appears on the scene just in time to save Maya and Phoenix from a darkening situation. Yet his “save the day” moment lacked the heroic imposing force it needed. Instead, Gumshoe looked confused and his presence seemed more of a coincidence. Still, this episode flowed nicely and the omitted parts are hardly missed. The real star of Turnabout Samurai 2nd Trial is Cody, the sneaky and adorable fan who holds one of the keys to save Will from being falsely accused. His faith and trust in the Steel Samurai hero is memorable. Even when witnessing the loss of a battle, Cody still loves his idol.
Turnabout Samurai 2nd Trial is the best episode in the Ace Attorney series so far. The characters are leaping off the screen and the Japanese voice acting contains all of the emotions the characters go through. I recommend this series for fans of the games and those who admire mystery-based anime. It’s also a great opportunity to experience all of the Ace Attorney mysteries if you missed some of the games. Tune in next week to read my review of Ace Attorney Episode 7!
You can follow along by watching Ace Attorney on Crunchyroll.