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This page covers the first three games. Take general series tropes to Ace Attorney, and take tropes specific to Apollo Justice or Investigations to those pages, please.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

  • Awesome Music: Has its own page
  • Complete Monster:
    • Redd White from 1-2.
      • Well, Redd White kinda did have an excuse. Mia was keeping tabs on him. She was tracking all of the horrible things he had done such as how he blackmailed numerous people. Throughout the years, Mia was slowly gathering evidence. She wanted to take him down after what he did to her mother. Redd, however, caught on to this and killed Mia.
      • No. Redd White is a complete monster. He punches Phoenix in the gut, and then challenges him to file a lawsuit, knowing full well that he has every judge and laywer on his side, and could get him convicted in a heartbeat.
      • Phoenix KNEW he was the murderer. Redd White had the power to convict Phoenix of murder and thus get him off his back. That's not Complete Monster material, that's just...normal.
        • ...Whether that sort of thing is "normal" or not, he still blackmailed a very large number of people, driving quite a few of them to suicide and ruining the lives of the rest of them, and killed the person who was trying to expose that villainy.
        • Does trying convict someone you know is innocent after blackmailing countless people really sound like a "normal" thing to do?
    • And then we have Manfred von Karma from case 1-4. To summarize: For having his perfect record a bit dented by Gregory Edgeworth and then getting accidentally shot by a misfiring gun, he kills Gregory and manipulates Miles Edgeworth into becoming a prosecutor instead of a defense lawyer like his father was. Yes, the man who killed his father became his mentor and steered him away from the morals he had at a younger age (but thankfully reclaims later). But that's not the real kicker; Karma's plan was to get Edgeworth framed for murder so he would be locked up/executed for it, and if that was to fail, he knew Edgeworth would think that he had killed his father and confess to that instead. The lengths he went to wreck Edgeworth's life for the small things his father did is staggering.
  • Crazy Awesome: Many characters have their moments. One of the best example is Manfred von Karma who retrains a parrot. No, he doesn't want to lose.
  • Ear Worm: Some of the music will get put on repeat in your head. Jake Marshall's theme, for example.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Some people ignore the fifth case of the first game (which was not part of the original Japanese GBA game but instead added in as a bonus for the DS remake) because, despite providing us with Memetic Badass Damon Gant, it actually subtly retcons the backstory of the game: Most of the rumors about Edgeworth being a Well-Intentioned Extremist are false and he never intentionally used fake evidence. This, to many people, effectively makes a good portion of the first game pointless.
    • Interestingly enough, when Phoenix sees Edgeworth again in 2-4, he assumes Edgeworth quit because his perfect win record was tarnished, when actually, in 1-5, particularly on the third day of investigations and the last trial segment, Edgeworth is already questioning himself and admits shame over his Amoral Attorney past and fear that he might become like Manfred Von Karma and Damon Gant in the future.
    • Well, to be fair, the backstory supposedly being retconed has a possible explanation in that, while Edgeworth might not have intentionally forged evidence, but he probably used all of vonKarma's other dirty tactics like witness manipulation and illegal searches. No idea for the point right above this, though, as you'd think Phoenix would be a bit more understanding of Edgey after 1-4 at least, even if 1-5 wouldn't have happened...
  • Funny Aneurysm Moment: When you show Lana Skye the Attorney's Badge, she comments that the gold plating will flake off in a few years, then we'll see the real Phoenix. The conversation ends like this:

  Lana Skye: "Give it three years. Then we'll see what you've become."

    • Phoenix is disbarred approximately three years later in-game.
      • That could have been deliberate foreshadowing.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Manfred von Karma's villainous objections.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Redd White murdered Mia Fey in the first game. In the third game, an important fact is Godot being unable to see red on white. Additionally, Godot/Diego Armando cared for Mia Fey in the past and was resentful of Wright of doing nothing to prevent her murder.
    • Case 1-3 is the first case that makes it clear that the American version takes place somewhere similar to Los Angeles. Three of the characters are William, Hammer, and Penny.
  • Memetic Molester: Damon Gant.
  • Memetic Mutation: Damon Gant--in spades. He will RAEP you, indeed. Also, Phoenix Wrong.
  • Most Annoying Sound: Manfred's frequent, demonic Objection!s in 1-4.
    • Speaking to Mike Meekins in case 5; that megaphone...!
    • Oh God, Manfred's fingersnaps. They might just be worse than his Objections. Stop doing that.
  • Nightmare Fuel: In case 1-4, running into von Karma in the police station and getting tased by him promptly thereafter.
  • Player Punch: Having to prove towards the end of 1-5 that Ema, who's been your sidekick for the whole case, accidentally killed Neil Marshall two years ago.
  • That One Boss: The first half of the first day of the trial in 1-5 is one of the hardest parts in the game, especially since much of it consists of finding subtle flaws in Angel Starr's testimony, mainly concerning the point from which she supposedly saw Lana stab Goodman.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All

  • Anticlimax Boss: Breaking Wendy Oldbag's psyche-locks in 2-4. It's the first time you have to deal with 4 locks at once, but if you show her Juan's autograph, all four of them break at the same time.
    • Well, given how it's Wendy Oldbag we're talking about here, who is very dramatic, they probably did that on purpose.
  • Base Breaker: Case 2-3 (Turnabout Big Top).
  • Complete Monster: The killer of Case 2-4, Matt Engarde. Especially what was done to Celeste and Juan, over extremely petty things.
    • By the same token, Juan Corrida is implied to have been just as heinous as Engarde was, especially concerning Adrian and Celeste. When Matt revealed that Corrida was dating Matt's sloppy seconds, he called off his wedding with Celeste, directly causing her suicide. As revenge, Corrida forged a suicide note detailing all of Matt's misdeeds and hid it from the authorities, waiting until the opportune time, so he bring him down when it hurt the most. He may have even hid a legitimate suicide note, considering that traces of ink where found on Celeste's hands. In other words, Corrida used a suicide of his lover that he caused to further his rivalry with Matt Engarde. If Engarde had this kind of dirt on Corrida, he may very well have hired Shelly de Killer instead.
    • Oh yeah, and how about that Morgan Fey? Tried to kill her own niece just to get her daughter to become Master, indirectly caused her own sister's death, and then there's how she plans to use Pearl... It's also explicitly mentioned that the reason she planned to set up Pearl as the Kurain heiress is not for her young daughter's well-being or benefit, but instead to revive a shred of her petty prideful dignity in assuring that she is the mother of the ruling line of the Kurain. She seriously did not give half a damn about her eight year old daughter's feelings on the matter.
      • She's even worse when you consider that, in case 3-5, it's mentioned that Pearl would not have wanted to go along with Morgan's plan if she had known that Maya would die. It's bad enough that she was going to use Pearl for her own benefits, but the fact that she deliberately lied to manipulate Pearl's devotion to her is even more awful.
  • Ending Fatigue: The last trial eventually boils down to just stalling for time.
    • Canonically!
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Maya, despite being cleared of all charges, laments at the end of Case 2-2 that every time something like this happens, she loses someone close to her. In the next game, she loses her long-lost mother
  • Most Annoying Sound: Franziska's whip will have you wanting to strangle her with it by the time those two cases are over.
  • Player Punch: Pretty much all of the last case, starting right at the beginning when Maya gets kidnapped to blackmail Nick, and just getting worse when you find out the client is guilty as sin.
  • Squick: In Justice for All, Pearl gives us this gem:

 "Let's go let her whip us, Mr. Nick!"

    • Also, "Director Hotti" implies that he'd like to "research" the crime scene photos if you show them to him in 2-2.
      • Even worse when you remember that it's Ini/Mimi in the pictures, and he'd been going on about how she was a favorite patient...

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: In an odd example, a couple gets this. The DeLites are either a Happily Married couple of a man who isn't above stealing for the happiness of his wife and a woman who likes strong emotions, and authentically loves her husband for many factors besides money, or a Happily Married couple of a crook and a gold digger.
    • No reason they can't be both.
    • At least they are Happily Married either interpretation.
    • Then there's the question of Terry Fawles' mental state. If he's mentally healthy, then he's an ephebophile, but if he suffers from mental problems or learning difficulties, then it's possible that he just doesn't understand the implications of a relationship with such an age gap. At least in the American version of the game (where Word of God claims takes place in California), the question is one of whether or not he was knowingly skirting the line with 14-year-old Dahlia, as the local age of consent is 18.
    • Iris can be subject to this based on your interpretation of her statement that the plot to poison Phoenix's cold medicine was the first time that Dahlia didn't tell her about a plot in advance. Does this mean that she knew about things like Diego's impending poisoning and let them happen? Does she deserve to be punished as an accessory to all of Dahlia's crimes?
  • Base Breaker: Godot.
  • Complete Monster: The Big Bad, Dahlia Hawthorne. She ruined--or tried to--the lives of pretty much every single human being she could for utterly petty reasons. Her solution to almost every problem she faces seems to involving murdering someone. The Case Files manga once refers to her as the "most evil woman in Ace Attorney".
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Godot. There's a pretty big difference between sympathetic murderer and absolving him of all his crimes and bad decisions. Then again, the writers could have arguably been doing the same thing.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Dahlia Hawthorne.
  • Fridge Horror: Dahlia calls Mia a spinster out of spite, which would normally just be insulting had she not been the one who poisoned Mia's boyfriend.
  • Funny Aneurysm Moment: Phoenix's behavior in case 3-1 gains a whole new dimension when it turns out that the woman he dated for six months and the one that tried to kill him are not the same, and that his insistence on her innocence wasn't a result of him grabbing the Idiot Ball.
    • Perhaps it also counts as a bit of foreshadowing...
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Phoenix's comment in 3-3 that the only way to win a phony case is with phony evidence becomes a lot harsher after the events of Apollo Justice, where he loses his badge due to evidence forgery.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: 3-5 has one when you examine the incinerator. "A fight between a lawyer and an overgrown boiler? Who'd want to see that?"
  • Jerkass Woobie: Dahlia in Iris's perspective, although most likely not the player's. Both sisters were separated from their mother and received no love from their father, and while Iris had a mother figure in Sister Bikini. Dahlia had no one. Iris realizes Dahlia has done many unforgivable things, but still cares for her and wants to help her because of what she's been through (including recovering the necklace so she won't commit any more crimes).
    • Godot could be considered as one, but only to Phoenix, whom he refused to acknowledge for the greater part of the game. He seems to be pretty nice to everyone else.
  • Magnificent Bastard: While not being a Big Bad, Luke Atmey from the third game certainly counts. He uses a guilty verdict as his alibi for a murder, and this same verdict makes him look like a genius thief smarter than everyone, while giving him what he wants the most from others, their attention.
    • There's only one reason! One as obvious as Jean Armstrong in a thong on the Riviera!
  • Values Dissonance: 3-4 gives us a 20 year old man in a relationship with a 14 year old girl (quite a heated one too) - the mention of the age gap is Played for Laughs.
    • Only the reactions of Mia and Diego are played for laughs. The relationship itself is portrayed as unhealthy, although less because of the age than because Dahlia was very obviously using the mentally disabled Terry.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Ron DeLite.

Multiple games

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