by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 10 of
Ace Attorney ?
In the midst of a very strong season, I doubt many people are still watching Ace Attorney. With its lackluster art and passable animation, it's not the fanciest show around. But as a fan of the games, I'll be watching this show to its finish. Today was a great example of how even when the anime adaptation is just OK, the original story and music carry the episode home.
It may not always feel like it to them, but Nick and Maya are slowly but surely closing the knot around the culprit. This pair is luckier than they will ever know, casually convincing a parrot to give them the combination to the safe! They're certain that the DL-6 incident that Edgeworth was involved in 15 years ago is tied to this case, but they don't know how. And due to the backwards way the adaptation has introduced the facts of Turnabout Goodbyes, I don't exactly remember either. This episode doesn't ask us to think or put the facts together, scrolling by quickly like so much roadside scenery. Instead, we're taken along for the ride while Phoenix puts the pieces of the puzzle together before anyone has to ponder them.
Of course, it doesn't feel like Phoenix has all the answers. There's a lot of manufactured tension here. I remember how shocking it was when I played the game for the first time, and Von Karma convinced the judge to hand out a “guilty” verdict for Edgeworth halfway through the trial! And of all the people who could possibly present a turning point in a tough situation, Larry is definitely the funniest. Frankly, there's not a lot of animation this episode. Most of the key scenes from the night of the murder are still images. When there is animation, it's repetitive—the boat rental witness constantly falls asleep with the same movements, Von Karma snaps his fingers, the peanut gallery waits in line outside the courtroom and talks amongst themselves the same as always. But the greatness of the underlying story still takes center stage. The most powerful part of the episode comes when Phoenix has a moment of clarity brought on by Larry's inanity, carrying us through a new take on the murder.
The music is also extremely powerful. Even though I know the story pretty well, it's hard not to get engrossed in the episode when the soundtrack is so good. The best parts are when the courtroom theme slowly amps up to a faster and faster tempo, as Phoenix goes from completely hopeless about his prospects to fairly certain he's cracked the case. Honestly, the music is what keeps us on track. With Edgeworth's apparent indifference, unhelpful witnesses, and Von Karma's attempts to set the trial to his own pace, the music reminds us where we really stand.
Adapting the Ace Attorney story to anime didn't make it any better, but it didn't make it any worse, either. This episode reminds us that even when the adaptation is just OK, the original story and music are still quality enough to keep my attention.
Ace Attorney is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist
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