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Anime Review – Ace Attorney

If you’ve ever played the Phoenix Wright games, then there’s no doubt that you’d suspect the Ace Attorney anime series to pick up perfectly from where the games leave off, or they’d be a faithful retelling of the franchise. Join Timlah as we have a look at Ace Attorney with an objective eye.

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Ace Attorney is a video game series by Capcom, whereas the anime was created by A-1 Pictures. The first episode came out on April 2nd 2016 and has been doing a weekly episode ever since, over in Japan. Thankfully, the people at Crunchyroll were able to get a hold of the rights to the anime and have been airing the episodes as soon as they came out. But, we’re here today to discuss the good and the bad of this new series.

Review

Story

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At the moment, the Ace Attorney anime is following the story of the first game. Episode 1 is what this review will focus on, where our protagonist, Phoenix Wright, discusses a little bit about why he became an attorney and defends his very first case. As his first case, he is defending one of his good, long time friends, Larry Butz. Larry is being accused of the murder of his girlfriend and it is up to Phoenix to defend his friend and client.

During the course of the story, Phoenix begins to uncover facts about the case. The victim left behind some valuable clues for the case, along with conflicting information being presented in the court room, Phoenix in his first ever defense not only manages to explain how the murder actually went down, but who did it too. But, after a night of presumable celebrations, Phoenix’s mentor, Mia, is also found dead in her appartment after the case. Who done it?! Find out by watching the rest of the series.

The story follows the DS title very faithfully, which is good. It’s nice seeing that they got the personalities of the characters on point: from Phoenix’s little screw ups, to Larry’s hyperactive vocalism. They really focused on building the characters from an early going, which is a good thing! The series is entirely dependent on the characters, as this series is entirely around conversations in the courtrooms. The banter between characters were on par to the games, with Phoenix occasionally being goofy and the Judge being as forgetful as he usually is. One thing I will certainly praise the anime for: The characters gasping at facts! It makes the whole thing feel more silly, just like the game series. I’ll be intrigued to see how it handles the darker cases.

Artwork and Animation

Art is important in an anime and this is no different. As always, I believe that art and graphics are a very subjective thing, so check out the screenshots I took during the first episode. One thing I will say, is that the art is absolutely on point… Unlike the animation.

 

The animation feels really lazy and clunky, which is the first time I’ve been able to say that in a very long time. It’s downright not good. It’s not fun to watch a character basically bobbing up and down rather than doing a full walking animation. Most of the animation seems to have been spent on making the courtroom look as good as possible. It’s bizarre, as the rest of the series is actually pretty good. The stories are literally just a retelling of the first story at the moment… However, at least the stories are pretty good!

Audio

I’m happy with the audio in the anime, with all of the characters having great voices. Having only heard it in Japanese, I like the pitch of Phoenix’s voice. I especially liked the voice actor they used for Larry Butz. He was hyperactive and on-key. The judge felt a little off, as I expected him to sound a little bit more senile. I wanted him to be a bit mad, a little barmy, but he came off as relatively wisened, which was counter-intuitive to the character himself. Nevermind the one very slight hicup, the actual voices are superb.

However, let me very quickly talk about the opening theme tune. It’s great, it’s fun… And maybe this is just the Crunchyroll cut… But the opening is cut off incredibly abruptly. I don’t know if this is due to the theme itself, or if it’s the way the episode was put together, but it just felt like a weird thing to hear. Still, the theme itself was really good!

Overall

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I’m torn. As a fan of Phoenix Wright and the Ace Attorney franchise, I’m torn as to whether or not I like this. I was upset at the really poor animation quality, but I was happy at how true-to-the-characters the series have been. The stories were already written, so just adapting them to anime isn’t too big of a deal either. One of the core features of the series is missing however: the sense of involvement.

I’m not sure if this series has translated as well as everyone would have hoped it would have. However, if there was one thing that could be said, the stories are well told and preserved properly. So if animation itself isn’t an issue for you in an anime, then I’d recommend having a look at this series, if just for the great story telling. But now it’s over to you: have you seen the Ace Attorney anime? Are you happy with it, or do you think the animaiton is lacking like I do? Do you enjoy the characters? Let me know in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.

4 responses

  1. Shame about the lazy animation. A-1 have made some good looking shows in the past, I guess that they weren’t given much of a budget. Companies expect video game adaptations to sell on the name alone so they don’t invest much into the project.

    Like

    May 4, 2016 at 7:45 am

    • Its REALLY disappointing and I know I am not the only one to notice it. Heck, I would much rather watch a motion tween animation!

      Regardless, if you like the Ace Attorney stories and dont want to play it out, then the anime is great. Otherwise, play the games :P Would be interested on your take if you ever get to watching it :)

      Liked by 1 person

      May 4, 2016 at 7:54 am

  2. I’ve not played the games, but I found the first episode of the anime one of the worst of the season – very bland characters, pretty boring case for an introductory episode, and weird noises throughout that (while they probably worked in-game) felt very out of place in an animated series. Plus the animation issues, you can tell A-1 Pictures prioritized their Gakusen Toushi Asterisk sequel over this. A shame really, as there aren’t many good anime series with a courtroom setting…

    Liked by 1 person

    May 4, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    • It certainly didn’t play out very well as an introductory episode. You, I think, are the exact person they were targeting too: Someone into anime who doesn’t necessarily know of the games stories etc.

      Let me tell you now: The noises weren’t in the games. “Objection!” “Hold it!” “Take that!” were really the only “noises” in the games… For some reason, they went the full she-bang of adding in a billion “OOOH!” noises at what is effective nothing.

      A crying shame: I’m a big Phoenix Wright fan… but certainly not of the anime. I’m glad you agree the animation was off: I wondered if I was being too critical, but I expected more.

      Like

      May 4, 2016 at 10:06 pm

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