by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 8 of
Ace Attorney ?
It's finally here. One of the most gripping cases in the entire Ace Attorney franchise, which reveals serious backstory for all of our favorite characters—Phoenix Wright, Miles Edgeworth, the entire Fey family, and oh yeah, Larry Butz. Turnabout Goodbyes unpacks some serious emotional baggage, but will it translate over to an anime format?
So far, the answer to that question is “meh.” There's a lot to take in so to cover it all, this episode turns into a major information dump that will have even fans reeling. This trial, which covers both a recent murder and one that occurred 15 years ago, requires a lot of background reading in not a lot of time. While episode eight may have a few charming moments, they're all but lost in the midst of this information overload.
Phoenix Wright owes Miles Edgeworth a debt spanning back to their childhoods that he can never repay. Or so he thought, until Edgeworth was marked as the prime suspect for murder with no lawyer to defend him. Edgeworth is initially reluctant, but comes around after he learns how much Maya and Phoenix have deduced in “just a few hours.” It's not just Edgeworth who should be surprised, but the viewer—this whirlwind of an investigation has managed to pack in at least an hour of gameplay into about 20 minutes of animation. There's Santa Larry. There's Lotta Hart, hailing from Kansai/The South depending on your language track. There's a more gregarious, loyal side to Gumshoe, a preview of the Blue Badger's creepy eyes, Gourdy, a reprise of Grossberg, and a summary of the whole DL-6 incident. Whew!
It's a lot to take in, but fans can hold out hope for little glimmers of the story's quirky personality. The best parts are the self-referential ones. Did you catch that ad for the Big Berry Circus in the newspaper? What about Phoenix's grape juice (and since it's so clearly labeled, does that mean that calling it “grape juice” in the English version wasn't a kid-friendly localization)? The faces are also incredible—from Nick and Maya during her waterfall meditation all the way to Von Karma's twisted expression at the conclusion. It's hard to imagine that people who haven't played the games would get the same enjoyment out of these moments, which aren't original jokes per se, but dependent on the viewer's prior knowledge.
And if you are a fan, you might still not like this episode's choices. In the interest of time, it had Grossberg confessing his betrayal to the Fey family directly to Maya. It also eliminated Edgeworth's fear of earthquakes, a key clue to the DL-6 incident fifteen years before. The latter might find its way into the story later, but the former twist is irrecoverably changed. It changes Grossberg's character for the better since he makes amends for his crime, but it also adds to the endless info dump that mires down this episode.
The story of Turnabout Goodbyes is far from over, and it will likely get more episodes than Turnabout Sisters and Turnabout Samurai (three episodes each). The question now is whether the gravity and charm of this particular arc will shine through its already speedy pace.
Ace Attorney is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist
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