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First Impressions: Ace Attorney

I’ve been a huge fan of the Ace Attorney visual novel series ever since it was ported to the Nintendo DS over a decade ago. Fellow gamers would know the familiar cries of ‘Objection’, ‘Hold it’ and ‘Take that’ along with the gripping soundtrack that accompanied each title.

Heck, I even bought a compilation of the first three games for my iPhone along with Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Dual Destinies, the latest entry in the main series. So, imagine my reaction when I found out that Phoenix Wright and friends were going to have an anime that covered the first two games.

The first episode started on the right foot, faithfully adapting the very first trial that served as a tutorial for new players. It followed the same sequence of events, revealing a snippet of the crime along with the culprit and victim. The adaptation was so faithful that it even captured the culprit breaking down after being exposed for his crime.

For viewers worried about the lack of suspense in later episodes, fret not. The culprit becomes more ambiguous in the following cases and the cases themselves take several in-game days to solve. Do continue watching as the cast grows, including more madcap characters, be it in the form of Phoenix’s allies, the various witnesses or even the Judge himself.

However, the anime isn’t without its flaws. Animation quality was lacking, with the characters looking like fan-drawn versions of themselves. Even the Judge looks like a shadow of his majestic self in the games. I can only hope that this won’t be a trend through the course of the next 20 odd episodes, especially with the cases themselves becoming lengthier and more thrilling.

The soundtrack has been hit-and-miss as well, but then again, having listened to the more familiar in-game tunes for over a decade, I do appreciate the studio’s bold move in inserting brand new background music. However, I’m glad that they kept the familiar ‘Objection’ theme that we all know and love, even adding their own spin to it.

All in all, I’ve been impressed with the Ace Attorney anime adaption so far, bar the poor animation quality and forgettable soundtrack. Fans also have the subtitles to thank for inserting the many jokes and localisation changes present in the English version of the game, with the most obvious one being Phoenix Wright's name (Naruhodo Ryuichi) in the native Japanese version.

Written by ET

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