Since he was a child, Ryuuichi Naruhodou's dream was to become a defense attorney, protecting the innocent when no one else would. However, when the rookie lawyer finally takes on his first case under the guidance of his mentor Chihiro Ayasato, he realizes that the courtroom is a battlefield. In these fast paced trials, Ryuuichi is forced to think outside the box to uncover the truth of the crimes that have taken place in order to prove the innocence of his clients.
Gyakuten Saiban: Sono "Shinjitsu", Igi Ari! follows Ryuuichi as he tackles cases to absolve the falsely accused of the charges they face. It will not be easy—standing in his path is the ruthless Reiji Mitsurugi, a prosecutor who will stop at nothing to hand out guilty verdicts. With his back against the wall, the defense attorney must carefully examine both evidence and witness testimony, sifting through lies to solve the mystery behind each case. With a shout of "objection!," the battle in the courtroom begins!
" Judge....What are you doing!? Do your job! Bring an end to this miserable charade!" - Manfred Von Karma ( 2001 or 2005 if you live in America)
Very well. I'll bring this whole case to close my dear readers, because my magnificent vengeance...........eh well it still won't be satisfied after reviewing this. A lot of people may defend this anime, but they would be out of their mind, no sane man would. That's why I'll do my best to make sure this anime, gets the verdict it deserves. GUILTY!
know this season has been one disappoint after another, we got Berserk (2016) and now this, it's like all my favorite things are being ruined consecutively. So what's wrong with this show? What's right with this show? I could easily just sit here and tell you that it isn't like the video games, as easily as YOU the reader could easily either having played or not played the video games could say that it is an adaption give it some slack, but rather than argue with little reasoning, let's throw out some facts.
Why a company like A1 Pictures was ever a pick to adapt a franchise like Ace Attorney of all things is beyond me. A company that never seems to do the source material they are given justice and more often then not turns what should be an entertaining romp into a boring slog, isn't what my first choice would be for an Ace Attorney anime. The Ace Attorney anime isn't just a bad adaption, it just isn't a very good show.
It is actually quite hard to put into words as not only a fan of the games, but as someone who expected a fresh perspective on the series, my disappointment. Let me be blunt right of the bat, the pacing is just God-awful in every regard. The anime pretends to be doing the fans a service by adding in the time and date stamps for the video game, but its just a way to cheaply make scene transitions and even then they aren't good. What is worse is not only have things been edited to fit a 24 episode series, heavily butchering some of the important plot lines and moments that made Ace Attorney good, but entire cases have been cut including: Rise from the Ashes and the starting case from Justice for All. They aren't that integral to the story, but when you have a pointless filler episode for decade old content, makes their failure to appear all the more jarring.
While there are a lot of bad aspects about the series, I must hammer it in that pacing is by far the worst offender. Ace Attorney is a witty, quirky series with clever humor, but it seems A-1 will never understand WHY people love the series they so poorly adapt. The series is fast paced, but the failure to understand what makes the characters' personalities shine is why the humor falls so flat. Phoenix is so damn bland, instead of being a sarcastic yet vulnerable personality he always feels as though he's just some generic protagonist who pulls the right answer out of his ass. Maya is nowhere near as charming or as expressive as she once was. Miles Edgeworth is flanderized into being a complete tsundere and big sis Franziska...? Well she may actually be the only one improved, being less of a cold hearted always angry perfectionist to.....well a slightly more energetic cold hearted always confident perfectionist. Still annoying though.
The animation is a completely different story. If you have a hard time concentrating on both subtitles and what's happening at the same time, you may not catch it, but there are constant cheap cuts, animation errors, missing facial features, characters drawn at wrong heights, and so on. It absolutely boggles my mind to no end how the games being represented here, both of which being over a decade old have better animation in it's limited sprite work than a fully animated series in 2016.
From the bland intros that show how vague of an understanding A1 actually had of this series to the sad amount of little to no impact that each case should hold, clearly something went wrong here. The one positive I can give you that the soundtrack has fairly decent remixes and the opening song is actually good on its own. I guess another positive could be that they only touched the first two games in the series and hopefully will not get the chance to touch the remaining titles. Other than all that though? Just stay the hell away. Bad pacing, a cast that is constantly out of character, bad animation, typical of A1 pictures and a huge misrepresentation of the source material on every level makes for an unsatisfying experience that truly does justice for no one.
Ace Attorney, alongside Pokemon and JJBA, is one of my absolute favourite media franchises. I have spent countless hours playing the games over and over, producing fanworks, and discussing them at essay-length. So, as much as I appreciate the need to be objective and focused in my review, I feel that it needs to be said:
I hate this anime. I hate it so fucking much.
Sono "Shinjitsu" Igi Ari is an adaptation of the first two games in the series, and right off the bat we've hit a huge stumbling block. Each of these two games would be more fit to a full 24 episode anime
in their own right than being crammed into one cour each. Unsurprisingly, a lot of content was trimmed in the process of fitting both games, and what content survived the cull is rushed through at breakneck pace.
The dialogue is cut down the most, and being that the source material uses mostly text-based storytelling this is a huge blow. Losing so much dialogue not only robs the series of much of its charm, but also does serious damage to its characterisation. Phoenix in particular is characterised mostly through his constant snarky, quipping inner monologue, which is almost entirely absent here.
We barely get to know most of the characters, making it difficult to be invested in their character arcs - and that's just the ones whose arcs were actually shown in the anime instead of being skimmed over. Many characters are stripped down to the barest of plot relevance, and others are reduced to nothing more than a cameo appearance.
The bread and butter of Ace Attorney is its contradictions, the solving of which drives the murder mystery plots the series revolves around. Even these are changed, however, in the name of this streamlined approach. Twists are replaced with simplified, obvious alternatives that not only remove the satisfaction of seeing the more obtuse mysteries cracked, but also make you question the logic of everyone responsible for presenting these flawed arguments in the first place, making it much harder to take the prosecutors seriously as competent opponents.
The trimmed-down dialogue also cuts key context on evidence used throughout the series. One of the most important principles of good detective fiction is that all clues used to solve the mystery should be clearly shown - that the audience should have all the necessary tools to solve the mystery themselves. While the games did this by sheer necessity of the medium, the anime makes no such effort, making the resolutions often feel cheap and unearned.
This pacing severely damages the presentation of the anime, sacrificing any attempt to preserve the dramatic tension of the games - most contradictions are resolved almost as soon as they come up. And even outside of issues caused by the pacing, the presentation suffers. The quality of the art and animation here is appalling. The errors are constant and glaring. The animation is often comically sloppy. The character designs also stray from the original designs to their detriment, going with an oddly wide-faced look that gives the characters strange facial proportions. Also, they can never quite seem to get Phoenix's hair-spikes right, with them changing shape every time we see them. There is also an excessive overuse of CG animation to cut corners, most obviously in the CG court gallery that has, for whatever reason, been made so much more visible than it was in the source material, as if deliberately trying to highlight how poor the animation is.
The effects used for dramatic emphasis are cheesy, and adapt the tone of the games poorly - the more abstract effects of the source are replaced with literal auras and dramatic gusts of wind.
The voice cast is similarly poor, featuring many miscast or noticably inexperienced actors. The entire cast seems to either underact or overact with little middle ground. The only notable exception is Yuuki Aoi as Maya Fey, who seems intent on stealing every scene she is in.
The anime handles Maya well in general, especially in comparison to its treatment of many other characters. Not only is her character arc left more or less intact, but the animators emphasise her goofy and hyperactive nature far better than a set of 14 sprites ever could.
On the subject of things the anime did well, most of the anime-original content is quite good. Ignoring whatever logic lead A-1 to add anime-original content whilst also cutting game-canon content, the additional focus on Phoenix, Edgeworth, and Larry's shared backstory, and adding the Signal Samurai motif that represents their friendship (as well as giving some background to Edgeworth's secret love of Super Sentai series) enriches the dynamic these characters have.
The cuts made do sometimes work to the series' benefit, too. Turnabout Big Top, which is considered by many to be the worst case in the franchise (which it isn't, by the way - fight me nerds) benefits from reduced screentime on some of its more irritating supporting characters, such as Trilo Quist, or that fucking clown. There does seem to be a rule of inverse quality in this adaptation, though - the worst cases are the ones handled the best, whereas the cases that were the series highlight in the source suffer the most from these alterations.
It's hard to say what the point of this anime is. It was made by A-1's b-team (now CloverWorks, a seperate studio) with little care or attention put into it. At worst, this was a shoddy adaptation by a studio looking to make a quick buck. At best, this was a misguided attempt to adapt a great series by people who have a fundamental lack of understanding of what made these games so good in the first place.
One way or another, this is an awful adaptation that should only be watched by people who are already fans of the series, and are more interested in seeing another interpretation of the story than in seeing a competent adaptation - and even then, they should go in with low expectations.
Please don't let this be your introduction to the franchise.
Let's tackle this tightrope walk, called "Gyakuten Saiban: Sono "Shinjitsu", Igi Ari!"
I don't want to make any excuses for a bad adaptation because, for me, it didn't feel like one. Was it on the top of anime adaptations from other source material that I've seen so far? - No
Was it horrible enough to bring me to the edge of dropping the series? - Hell no
You see, the games themselves are complex in a way you wouldn't expect them to be when you look at a summary of what you basically do. To transfer this from a platform that allows you to do investigation yourself, finding
clues, and uncovering the truth, onto the screen were you're a passive watcher... that's no easy task.
To fairly judge the Ace Attorney anime you need to understand that it's not about copy and pasting the events on TV but that the producers had to neccessarily scrap some of the points they deemed too much for casual watchers who didn't play the game; but at the same time keeping the ones who knew the franchise beforehand at bay.
The pacing for the first two cases started off quite nice, I really enjoyed the introduction though they should have made it more clear that "casual watchers" couldn't expect a serious anime about the law. Because the games just aren't, let's be honest.
(They'd probably arrest you if you'd bring a whip to the prosecution stand.)
Midway through, from episode 4-10, the pacing got rushed and therefore the anime failed to really convince both sides, unfortunately. I know, it's hard when you've been given a limited number of episodes to fit into a season but if that's the case, maybe they should have just covered one of the games and not two of them.
Episode 13 was a very sweet addition though and I applaud them for giving us kid Naruhodo, Yahari und Mitsurugi.
The art and animation was overall fine, sometimes... "interesting" (if you want to call it that). Still, those blemishes every now and then didn't take the enjoyment away.
For me they were charmingly silly and made me laugh, rather than hating the series for not having a good style.
But that voice acting. Especially the last episode brought back the intense feeling I had when reaching the critical point of this particular case just because the seiyuu put their heart into it and really delivered some awesome performances.
The choices, in general, felt right; Kaji Yūki knows how to pull off great stuff and he made me love dorky Naruhodo even more. You can't like a series if you don't feel the main character, and he gave Naruhodo that rookie attorney gone wild vibe.
Overall, this isn't a masterpiece but it's surely not an anime made for the trash bin. If you want to have the full crazy experience, you better play the games because they offer detaisl you'll never find in a season anime that is made with 24 episodes in mind.
Nonetheless, I enjoyed my time with this series even though some of my favourite features were missing.
The courtroom is a wonderful place full of controversy and despair. Both the prosecution and defense have their own reasonings for choosing their sides, and the verdict in the end is never the most desired outcome. But we're not here to talk about everyone's right to a fair trial, we're here to talk about everyone's right to a fun trial with A-1's adaptation of the first two games of Ace Attorney. Put on your attorney's badge and get on your tiny bike. It's time for objections and nonsensical court cases!
Story: Naruhodo Ryuuichi is a new defense attorney who just got his
license. Upon entering the courtroom to deal with his first case, he finds himself defending his friend, Yahari in a court case against him on the accusation of MURDER!!! Against prosecutor Mitsurugi Eiji, the two fight for Yahari's verdict and in spark a court rivalry over the two over the rest of the series.
Taking the two first two games of the Phoenix Wright series, this adaptation...basically does what you would think it does, which is fully adapt all of the cases from the first two games of the series. (Big shocker, I know.) Because of this...there's not really much to say for the actual story of the series. The main plotline is basically: Get involved with a case usually involving murder, have Naruhodo defend the accused while Mitsurugi does his best to prove someone guilty and ultimately figure out through a long hair-brained stream of hairbrained and highly improbable events, what happened with each case and who truly is the person who is guilty.
Admittedly, the story for this series isn't really all that good. The show's pretty stagnant as to what'll happen and since it's basically an animated walkthrough of the games, you can guess what the end result for all of these cases are. Doesn't mean that they're not fun to watch, but don't expect things are pretty predictable. Apart from that, there's really not much to actually talk about. The problem is because the series is so focused on the gameplay aspect of the series that there's not really much left for anything else aside from the cases, even if they're all really fun to watch.
+ Stays true to the Capcom game series
- Doesn't really show anything besides the court cases
Characters: The characters for this series features a large and colorful cast of nutjobs and basket cases that come in only during the case in which they're important or needed in, as well as the more ordinary but still somewhat crazy main recurring characters that you'll probably never actually bore seeing. Probably.
First we have Naruhodo Ryuuichi, or in the localization, Phoenix Wright. Believing to stand up for the innocence as a defense attorney, Naruhodo doesn't really have much of a character beyond feeling a bit sick and tired of all of the crazy people he has to deal with from his hard to deal with clients and witnesses who bring their own brand of insanity into this joke of a courtroom, which is to be expected of a player character since it's easier to project onto them when they don't really have many character traits to them.
Then you have Mitsurugi Eiji, the prosecutor and rival of our main protagonist. Devoted to proving the accused as guilty, Mitsurugi plays as the 'villain' of the series and continuously spends his screentime to win against Naruhodo. His motives are pretty basic and the development that he gets later in the series is pretty paper thin, so similar to Naruhodo, there's not really much to say. The dynamic between the characters is pretty cool, but on their own, they don't work out all too well.
Aside from them, we have recurring characters like Mayoi (or Maya), Itonokogiri (or Gumshoe), and the nameless judge who apparently doesn't know a single thing that goes on in his courtroom despite being the person who puts down the final ruling. All of whom are on the same level as the rivaling characters in terms of development and actual character traits and really don't differ much from when they're introduced to when the series ends. Side characters on the other hand, aka the characters that pertain to one or two cases out of the entire series are amongst the reasons why this series is so entertaining. Every side character is so wacky, out there, and downright strange that it's extremely awkward to watch them, yet you can't look away. Sure they're one time characters, but making a really good and memorable impression of them far exceeds any other kind of impact that they would've had otherwise.
+ Strange yet memorable side characters
- Main and recurring characters are pretty paper thin
Art: Produced by A-1 pictures, the style and quality of the series is...standard fare at best. It doesn't really good nor does it look average or mediocre, so the only explanation for the way this series looks is...average. They do keep the funny looping idle animation and the character freakouts when you finally find the real culprit, so...good on you, A-1.
One problem that did arise upon watching this show was that the background characters, especially those who're in the seats in the courtroom were completely made in unnatural and lazy CGI, completely clashing with the rest of the series and the overall look when the entire court was panned out and shown. They don't do this too often, but shame on you, A-1 for that. Shame on you!
+ Standard art for this day and age
- Blatant and lazy usage of CGI
Sound: The sound both in the voice acting and the soundtrack of the series are average at best. There's not really much of anything to note when it comes to either of those, so...moving on.
Personal Enjoyment: Ace Attorney...really isn't all that good. It's not bad, it's not amazing, it just has something about it that doesn't really do well quality-wise. That being said, this show is a TON of fun to watch. Without thinking too hard and just following along with the completely out there cases, this adaptation is by far one of the most enjoyable watches that I've had in a while. Sure it's not the best thing, but quality and enjoyment are two completely separate ratings here. And if you have any objections, I'll be sure to give you a good cross-examination.
Did I like this series?
Oh, far too much.
What didn't I like about this series?
Some characters were a bit irritating, but aside from that, there's not really much to complain here.
Would I recommend this series?
Want a bit of fun? Want a couple of funny memes? Want to get through the first 2 Ace Attorney games without a real walkthrough on Youtube? Than this is the show for you.
Sure, you might love some of the more poorly received anime in this article, and you might not understand the fervor around the latest big hits. But this is what the general consensus is around the latest hits and misses of the Spring 2016 anime season for western anime fans.