As the Ace Attorney anime adaption continues, the inconsistent quality of story telling is jarring for a fan of the game franchise to watch. Yet, the want of finding out how the anime series turns out is what keeps the audience coming back for more episodes. Phoenix and Maya find themselves literally in the middle of a circus. Maya, a fan of the “great” magician Max Galactica, pleaded with Phoenix to help clear Max’s name in the murder of the circus’ ringmaster. Russell Berry of the Berry Big Circus was found dead lying upon a wooden crate outside on the circus property. No other footprints other than his own could be found and the only suspect is Max who is known to fly through the air in his act. “Turnabout Big Top 2nd Trial” reveals a bit of vital information among confusing clues making the nineteenth episode one of the best in the series.
The courtroom we have so often seen has become much like a circus itself. Fan girls of Max are in the audience and scream to support Max. The first witness called to the stand is Lawrence Curls, also called Moe, who is the clown of Berry Big Circus company. He does his best to tell jokes, which all happen to fall flat, until the dangerous prosecutor Franziska von Karma uses her whip to stop him. Moe claims that he saw Max fly through the air above the murder scene. Franziska insists on the Judge sentencing Max for the murder. Usually this unnamed judge agrees to the more stupid statements pronounced in the courtroom, yet this time he insists of Franziska proving Max’s guilt with hard-core evidence. This is one moment that makes the trial seem more realistic.
Phoenix tends to find himself in strange cases and in these mysteries his purpose of finding the truth is always a challenge. Adding to this challenge is the need to convince the gullible judge. Judge tends to fall for whatever the prosecutor declares. Refreshingly, in Turnabout Big Top 2nd Trial, Judge declares almost instantly that speculating Max’s involvement is not enough. After announcing the last trial will take place the next day, Phoenix and Maya head back to the circus grounds to search for clues. This type of investigating needs to be more paramount in the anime series. Often the mysteries are sold mostly in court instead of at the crime scene. Seeing the Ace Attorney characters in a setting other than the courthouse is much more enjoyable to witness.
The overall plot of Ace Attorney is usually missing from the anime’s episodes. However, episode nineteen includes a continuation of Phoenix and Miles’ journey as lawyers. Usually each game in the Ace Attorney series has it’s own story that has the capability of being thread together to form one long story. With the announcement of the anime adaption, like many other fans, I was under the assumption the anime would be an in-depth version of the long Ace Attorney plot. Sadly, only a few small scenes and dialogue are actually part of the overall plot. Finally, the audience learns of Miles’ disappearance from Franziska in episode nineteen. The DL-6 Incident had a major impact on Miles’ childhood and young adult life. Franziska brings it up to Maya and states that Miles’ letter he left behind proclaims he “chooses death.” What this declaration means is a mystery in itself and one that will hopefully addressed in great detail.
The inconstant story quality of each episode is difficult to watch. The mystery of the ringmaster’s death deepens with the confusing salt vial clue found in the wooden box at the crime scene. Acro, one of the two acrobats of Berry Big Circus, was injured along with his brother six months ago. This accident is directly connected to Russel’s death despite the fact that Acro hasn’t been able to use his legs. Phoenix suspects him of murdering Berry because of Acro’s brother is still in a coma from the six-month old accident. The layers to the Turnabout Big Top story arc is much more engaging than the previous story arcs. Instead of being able to see a clear villain or murderer, this mystery is nearly impossible to visualize the ending. As great as this episode was and how entertaining the Turnabout Big Top story arc has become, the overall series is disappointing.
You can follow along with my review series by watching the Ace Attorney anime through Crunchyroll.