Earlier this month, fans of the Ace Attorney video game series by Capcom were excited when they found out Crunchyroll, the popular online streaming website specializing in anime, would release the anime adaptation of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.
Though the anime is based on the video game that originally came out for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance in 2001, Ace Attorney fans still soaked it up because they receive less service from Capcom when it comes to the series in general. The Ace Attorney series is extremely popular in Japan, but when it comes to the series outside of that country, it is often delegated to a cult following. As a result, international fans miss out. For example, they were not given the chance to purchase a hard copy version of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney — Dual Destinies, which was only available as a purchasable download online. And if people think that’s bad, wait until they find out international fans did not even get any kind of port of Gyakuten Kenji 2 (most likely to be titled Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth 2) and Dai Gyakuten Saiban: Naruhodō Ryūnosuke no Bōken (literally translates to Great Turnabout Trial: The Adventure of Ryūnosuke Naruhodō).
Despite the fact anything pertaining to Ace Attorney video game series is few and far between, fans still want a quality product. With that in mind, did the new anime, Ace Attorney, live up to the popular video game by Capcom?
It should be noted that as of the publication of this article, two episodes of the Ace Attorney anime are available for viewing on Crunchyroll. However, we will use only the first episode, the one where Phoenix Wright’s childhood best friend, Larry Butz, is suspected of murder, for this comparison to the video game. In it, Larry is accused of murdering Cindy Stone, his ex-girlfriend, with a small statue of “The Thinker,” and it is up to Phoenix to prove him innocent. Along with Phoenix and Larry, this trial also introduces Phoenix’s mentor, who is also the lead attorney of the office he works for, Mia Fey. The Judge and prosecutor, Winston Payne, are also primary characters in the Ace Attorney series introduced in this episode.
Without spoiling the progression of the first trial, it is safe to say the anime isn’t as dynamic as the video game. The reason why is the video game was based on player interaction pertaining to the plot itself. However, by reducing said dynamism and slowing down progression, the animators were able to clean little issues within the plot itself that were in the video game. The quirkiness has also been toned down a bit. This includes Phoenix’s expressions to whatever choices he makes, either they be right on the money or way off mark. The same goes to witness reactions during times they are cornered during the cross examination phase (examples shown from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney — Dual Destinies in the video below). Finally, the English subtitles chose to keep the Japanese names of the characters. For example, whenever Phoenix Wright’s name is said, it reads Naruhodō Ryūichi instead of his English name in the English subtitles.
Overall, the anime adaptation of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney lives up to the video game really well. It concentrates on the characters and the actual plot, so some may find it kind of slow. Still, if viewers are able to get past that, they’ll find the animators behind Ace Attorney did a stellar job bringing the video game to anime life. We can also expect this anime to last awhile, pending popularity, just because there are a total of nine games (ten if one were to include the crossover title Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney) in the Ace Attorney video game series to utilize.
[Image via Capcom Promotions for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy HD]