by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 11 of
Ace Attorney ?
Community score: 3.2
It finally happened: an Ace Attorney episode so needlessly sloppy that even the “Cornered” theme couldn't fix it. Over the last few episodes, my Ace Attorney experience has been teetering on the edge of unwatchability, but it's always managed to right itself with great music, a fantastic story, and memorable characters. This episode, however, practically butchered one of my favorite stories with a dire lack of animation, art so bad it was practically comedic, and as the final nail in the coffin: an unnecessarily disjointed and confusing narrative.
Part of the fun of the Ace Attorney games is trying to figure out the answers for yourself. The anime has never let you do that, mainly because it's been too quickly paced. And I've been OK with that until this frustratingly awkward reveal of the DL-6 incident. It's unveiled in a very different order here than in the game. This has made previous reveals more suspenseful, like when the parrot knew to say “DL-6.” But it's also made just about everything else foggier. There's no way viewers who haven't played the games could guess that the boat rental guy might possibly be Yanni Yogi—because we are told that name far too late. It's also left in the dark what exactly happened to Edgeworth. The dream he had in prison is the very first time we see the DL-6 incident from his perspective, and it was honestly hard to tell it even took place in an elevator. Without the games, I would have hardly known what was up with this dream, and Grossberg's exposition leaves a lot to be desired.
It's also disappointing how this story is told in still images, with very little animation. It's hard to say what has more movement—this episode or the respective part of the Gameboy Advance game. Other than physical tics (like Yanni's snoozing snot bubble), there isn't much. When we do get animation, it's when they're trying to kill time, like when Phoenix and Maya try to topple Gumshoe (and that slight exposition above the norm was one of my favorite parts)! Most of this episode features completely motionless characters save for their lip flaps. The drawings themselves continue to be downright special—pause your episode at a random moment and more often than not, you'll capture Phoenix's crumpled hand, Maya's lumpy face, or Edgeworth's total lack of human expression. Filters—a pastel overlay on Phoenix's past, and a black-and-white grain over Edgeworth's—are executed with the barest amount of effort.
You'd think that an episode with such an entertainingly absurd plot point as a parrot being put on the witness stand would be a lot more rewarding. But between two fantastic cliffhangers—one that concludes at the beginning, and one that sets us up for the pivotal twelfth episode—there's a lot of confusing, nonsensical fluff that cushions the usual resonance of Phoenix's deductions and Von Karma's ire. Come on, Ace Attorney. With such great music, characters and story, you don't have to try very hard. Just a little harder than this.
Ace Attorney is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist
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