SPOILER WARNING: this review contains light spoilers
Phoenix (Nick) and Maya have a rather special client in the episode Turnabout Samurai – 1st Trial. Anyone who has played the Ace Attorney games is familiar with the Steel Samurai. He is a character in a “live-action” show within the world of the Ace Attorney franchise who is beloved by many children and a few special grown-ups. Episode 5 opens, not with a crime or with Phoenix’s office, but with a clip of the samurai show. The opening feels every bit as epic as it was intended, plus with a little bit of sarcasm thrown in.
Maya is a fan of the Steel Samurai series and blushes at the mere thought of the character. She, like unsuspecting audience members, is in shock when seeing the actor behind the mask. Will Powers, who plays the samurai on the TV show and is a hero to many children, has been accused of killing his co-star Jack Hammer. Will is a not-so-handsome guy who tends to cry quite a lot. Jack played the Evil Magistrate and was found murdered with the samurai spear embedded in him on the show’s studio lot. Sadly, Will was sleeping in his dressing room and has no solid alibi to prove his innocence. But this setback won’t stop Phoenix and Maya from beating Miles Edgeworth and seeking out the truth in this Turnabout Samurai story-arc!
There was a small moment after the opening song finished playing between Maya and Phoenix that reveals some insight into their friendship. Maya is watching Steel Samurai and is engrossed in the idealized hero while Phoenix fondly remembers his childhood days of hero worship. It would have been even better if the scene was extended a bit but the relationship between the two partners, in truth, is shown bit by bit in this episode.
Comical and terrifying Wendy Oldbag makes her grand entrance to the anime from the games as she scares the two protagonists at the scene of the crime. Oldbag claims that the picture captured by the security camera is all the evidence needed to indite Will and yet again Miles is too inclined to agree. Maya encourages Phoenix to stall the trial so they can find out the truth. After Lady Oldbag has revealed a surprising detail about the crime scene, even the cool-headed Miles is in shock.
So far, this is the best episode in the series with the Steel Samurai opening scene and playfulness between Phoenix and Maya. The comical scenes of Wendy Oldbag fawning over Miles and his response of being embarrassed is almost too much to handle. The writers and animators did an excellent job of conveying the jokes and funny faces from the game and into the anime. If the series continues to pick up as it has in this episode, this very well could be a memorable title to add to recommended lists. You can follow along and watch the Ace Attorney anime as each episode’s review is published by watching it on Crunchyroll.