Great Scott, the last few posts were heavy. I feel like I need to lighten the mood before this blog descends into an abyss of negativity. Space Funeral and Yume Nikki can wait, because we’re jumping into the exciting world of LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.
The Ace Attorney series remains as one of my favorite game franchises of all time. As rookie defense attorney Phoenix Wright, the player must save their clients from being convicted of murders they didn’t commit. To do so, they must present evidence that contradicts the witness’s testimonies. Despite the serious subject matter, the games are surprisingly light and entertaining. It’s not a particularly accurate legal simulation, but the franchise has become quite popular due to its eclectic cast, over-the-top courtroom battles, and Shu Takumi’s ability to make all of the details just “fit”.
Speaking of characters, part of what makes the games so dramatic and intense is the prosecutors the player has to duel with. They will typically do anything to get a guilty verdict. They’re all pretty cool in their own ways (Godot stands out in particular) but none of them compare to the main prosecutor introduced in the first game, Miles Edgeworth.
Known by many as “the Demon Attorney”, Miles Edgeworth has been Phoenix’s rival from the very beginning. He’s an excellent example of a character that goes through a lot of development, and the way he’s explored through the first game is the reason why it’s my favorite out of the series. Let’s discuss him, shall we?
If you have no objections to massive spoilers, go ahead and click the link to proceed.
Phoenix Wright first encounters this handsome devil in Case 2: Turnabout Sisters. After being so helpful and supportive during Phoenix’s first trial, his boss and mentor, Mia Fey, is tragically murdered in their office. Because her name was found written in blood next to the body, Maya Fey, Mia’s little sister, is suspected of committing this crime. Thankfully, Phoenix spots a crucial contradiction: the autopsy report mentions that Mia died instantly, so she wouldn’t be able to write the note. The case would likely be over at that point if not for Miles Edgeworth.
Edgeworth reveals that the autopsy report is actually outdated. He presents the updated version (which he conveniently requested in the morning) , which says the victim lived for a couple seconds longer, and therefore could write the killer’s name. This is the first of many instances when Miles Edgeworth hides information from the court. Later during that same trial, he covers up the presence of another possible witness, Redd White, from the court, which thankfully is exposed by Phoenix Wright.
In a conversation before the trial continues. Edgeworth speaks to Phoenix for the first time out of court. He outlines the reason that he resorts to such cheap tactics. Since nobody ever knows for sure if someone is guilty or innocent, he aims to get all of them declared guilty so that the criminal can never escape justice. This misguided belief is actually the complete opposite of Phoenix’s, who wants to protect the innocent when they’re in danger.
Both ideals are tested as the game progresses. Near the end of Case 3, Edgeworth begins to realize that one of the witnesses, Dee Vasquez might have been the one committing the murder, and in a remarkable change of heart he decides to ask her more questions so that Phoenix can fully cross-examine her. After the trial, he expresses that he’s been saddled with “unnecessary feelings” ever since Phoenix Wright had shown up, and warns him to stay away.
Then along comes Case 4, which is actually my favorite one out of all the games I’ve played so far. The finale of the original Ace Attorney, this case is more serious than anything the player has faced thus far. Miles Edgeworth is accused of murder, and Phoenix has to defend his greatest rival. Edgeworth can’t find anyone else to defend him, because he destroyed all the previous attorneys he came across.
Since Edgeworth can’t prosecute himself, (because why on earth would he do that) his former mentor, Manfred von Karma, takes his place as Phoenix’s adversary. This intense man has never lost a case in his 40-year career, and proves to be an incredible final challenge. If Edgeworth is the Demon Attorney, von Karma is Satan himself. All of Edgeworth’s questionable actions are nothing compared to the stuff von Karma gets away with in court. He throws out objections to nearly all of Phoenix’s attempts to cross-examine, claiming everything that would help lead to the truth as irrelevant. He’s concerned only with himself, and essentially commands the judge to deliver his verdict. Von Karma helps put Edgeworth in perspective: at least he’s doing this for justice and not for his own benefit.
If contending with this fearsome prosecutor wasn’t difficult enough, Edgeworth has a pretty obvious motive for murder. The victim, Robert Hammond, was involved with Edgeworth in an infamous case 15 years ago known as the “DL-6 Incident”. After a trial, Edgeworth, his father, Gregory, and the court bailiff, Yanni Yogi, got trapped in an elevator. They were stuck for hours, and for some reason, Gregory was shot and killed. The obvious suspect was Yanni Yogi, but his defense attorney, Robert Hammond, told him to plead temporary insanity to escape a guilty verdict. What actually happened on that day remained a mystery, but since then Edgeworth has had nightmares that he threw the gun that shot his own father.
Gregory’s death had a profound effect on Edgeworth. When he was younger, he wanted to become a great defense attorney like his father. In fourth grade, he defended the young Phoenix Wright when he was accused of stealing lunch money. Phoenix was deeply affected by this incident, and Edgeworth inspired him to become a defense attorney so that he could protect the innocent. But after Gregory was killed and Yanni Yogi was declared not guilty, Edgeworth’s views on justice were considerably warped. Although Hammond managed to get Yogi innocent, his actions ruined the bailiff’s career, and Edgeworth started to believe that defense attorneys were monsters that only cared about their clients. This led to him becoming a prosecutor instead of following his childhood dream.
Phoenix Wright reminds him why he wanted to be a defense attorney in the first place when he manages to prove that Yanni Yogi was the one who killed Robert Hammond, out of revenge for ruining his life. Although he was acquitted, Edgeworth suddenly announces that he was the one who killed his father 15 years ago. He’s so obsessed with justice that he doesn’t care whether his father’s death was accidental in nature. All signs point to Edgeworth, but Phoenix’s belief in his client’s innocence allows him to prove that there was another person who could have committed the crime-Manfred von Karma. In truth, the man who taught him to hate defense attorneys was the monster that Edgeworth despised all along.
After DL-6 is finally closed for good, Edgeworth basically goes to travel the world to rethink his views on justice. Although he appears in future games, he never seems quite the same. I’m incredibly curious what he’s going to be like in his spin-off game, Ace Attorney: Investigations. Will he remain as the crooked prosecutor he once was? Or will he have been shown to become a more friendly person? Quite frankly, I have no idea. It doesn’t really matter right now anyway. I have to get through Apollo Justice first!
(Photo Credits: aceattorney.wikia.com, capcom.wikia.com, awesomefantasynews.blogspot.com, )