One of the biggest things that always had Ace Attorney in my head during the times I never even played one were the characters designs. I remember seeing Phoenix Wright for the first time in Marvel VS Capcom 3 and when looking into the other characters I was simply amazed how many designs caught my eye. Ace Attorney works with a unique trait of designs which I feel only one other franchise uses the same style, which would be Pokemon. Their character designs go with basic clothes, but find a nice way to make them pop. This not only makes them easy to look relatable as it also makes the eyes focus on the part that stands out. It even leads to many cosplays which even I am guilty of as I was Miles Edgeworth and still have that outfit around. So it is time to start pointing fingers at the many innocent and guilty characters of this franchise.
Phoenix Wright actually has three designs in total as I will save his second design for later. I want to focus on his original look and his most current look as of now. Now these two looks keep what makes Phoenix Wright stand out as a main character. One thing is for sure is when looking at these two they do give off different vibes on who they are. Young Phoenix Wright is just starting out and so his demeanor is not that serious as of the current one. Both do clench their fists in this art, but the current look holds way more seriousness to it. How current Phoenix is looking you straight into the eyes with that look so gives off that he means business. Dual Destinies did great with giving Phoenix this new serious look as it even comes across as more studious as well. Phoenix is no rookie anymore and to show that they opened his shirt up and even messed his hair a bit. Phoenix’s hair is easily his most stand out trait since how much hair gel would that take to be that spiky? Everything about Phoenix is pointy and no doubt his finger will be pointing too which is why I think they gave him this hair style. I do love how his hair has this one spike drooping down, but to me it looks like it is ready to come up and point at me. This little detail to the hair points you to his eyes which again current Wright is staring you down. This is simply a great transition from a rookie to a professional, but even then barely anyone wants to mess with Phoenix Wright. Now if you are being defended by him that blue suit is simply going to make you feel relaxed as it even establishes trust which is what any good defense lawyer should have with his clients.
Just like with Phoenix, Edgeworth does have more than two designs, but I am sticking with the first and current look as of now. With husbando over here, there are actually some great changes to his design. The first thing would be that Edgeworth wears glasses in his newer look even though he does take them off in the courtroom. Personally I wish he kept them on in the courtroom since I mentioned Phoenix looking a bit more studious before, well Edgeworth beats him in that category. Just look at all those buttons Edgeworth has on his current suit and they stick out way more with them being gold. You can even see Edgeworth having actual cuffs on his suit this time. The length of their coats is also different as the current look is longer. To me I can just imagine that thing flowing as his walks into the courtroom and seeing that sway with his arms would make me think this guy means business. Either way the biggest thing about Miles is that his proper look makes him look serious no matter what, young or old. The biggest indicator of this would be the color suit he is wearing. It is easy to just say red, but it is more like burgundy or maroon. Either way this dark shade of red shows off that Edgeworth is intense with his work. It shows off that he is strong and passionate and this color even represents the truth. So Edgeworth is easily more on the impactful side of the truth and I cannot lie that look made me feel powerful too when I wore his outfit.
The spirit channeler in training also came a long way just like the previous two as it was shocking to not see Maya for a while. In the main franchise her last appearance was the third game, but she was also in the Layton crossover. Maya’s channler outfit stays pretty much intact. The newer design simply adds more clothing compared to Maya’s short skirt in the original look. One thing that is interesting is that the magatama does change colors and this even happened before the new design. The original one was red, but it was changed to yellow in the concept art later on. I would guess they went with yellow because it is a positive color and Maya has learned to stay positive along with Phoenix during some tough times. With Maya’s main color being purple being a mixture of blue and red it is funny that she does share character traits between Wright and Edgeworth. She is a calming person, but can be quite excitable and passionate on what she loves. Purple even shows off her royalty aspect and if you know her story she is to become the next master in her village. Her color even works with magic which that spiriting aspect can get wacky! Then adding on white to her design shows off perfection as when Maya is older she gets more in touch with her powers. Maya is probably one of the best examples of how colors work so well with these designs since it really showcases everything about her character.
I am so shocked that Gumshoe has not appeared in a current Ace Attorney game. His last appearances were the Edgeworth games and the second one never even got released here! One thing for sure is that Gumshoe looks like a dick (by that I mean detective, dirty minds). His large body with that green coat makes me feel that this is no ordinary person. The scruffiness with this character too even shows a hard-working officer. One thing for sure about Gumshoe is that he is a character that took some time to grow which is what green showcases. It even shows money which Gumshoe barely gets any, but that just goes right to his ambition. He did also have a tan coat on which was revealed in the first Edgeworth game which the trait that fits Gumshoe the most with a brown like color would be honesty. I would have to say that Gumshoe’s big trait would be his size and surprisingly he does not come off across like a cruel man. He is a gentle giant and the colors he showcases works well with that and that little bandage on his cheek does well to show he is rather clumsy. Overall, Gumshoe is probably the most simplest designs of the franchise, which is not a bad thing at all because his character really comes across well because of it.
Can I just say that the prosecutors have the best designs. Sure there are wimps like the Payne brothers, but even their designs say so much about who they are. Godot is that one character that really jumps out the most with that large visor of his. Unlike previous designs, his clothing is really classic gentleman style. His coat is not big at all as there are no flaps with his. The lines it has makes your eyes go up and down and really notice how calming this man is. Again the outlier to that calming look would be the visor and it even glows red. I mentioned about green and tan before with Gumshoe and those traits work so well with Godot as well. This time the green shows the renewal of Godot since this man has one interesting story to tell. The tan shows off his honesty and reliability and then there is the red that glows from his visor. The bits of white are for perfection as Godot was the man who finally got Phoenix Wright to move on his own and this professional gave him an important lesson to learn. Red is an intense color as the three most intense emotions are passion, love, and desire. Godot easily hides those emotions well with his clothes, but that visor is hiding yet also showcasing how he is like many others and falls into other emotions. Godot is easily one of the best characters of the franchise and his design so speaks true to that since he only had one game and still to this day fans talk so much about him which is thanks to good story telling and designing.
Franziska Von Karma
Along with Godot, I feel Franziska simply has one of the best designs in this franchise. It is amazing how they such a dominating character with calming colors. The two calming colors are white and blue and even her hair is a light blue. She even has that fancy look like Edgeworth and yet she comes across as abusive. One factor is clearly the whip which I have no problem with at all, I feel whips are underappreciated. The black leather gloves, high heels, and those stockings just scream dominatrix, which again I am fine with. I will admit I do love me some dominating ladies and along with that Franziska even has some the best animations in the original trilogy. There is a nice use of yellow lines which showcases that she is still young and while the yellow showcases how happy Maya is, yellow for Franzy here showcases her cowardice. Then with the whole black she wears that can come off with negative vibes and comes with elegance too. This design impresses me so much. There are bright colors mixed with dark colors and it just perfectly shows her off. It is this fusion of youth, elegance, negativity, and dominance. So many traits in one design and it does not come off as confusing at all.
Now onto one of my favorite characters in the whole franchise, Trucy was a huge surprise when she was revealed in the fourth game of the series. Knowing that she is Phoenix’s daughter even if she was adopted because of circumstances was still shocking. Of course, Trucy discarded her pink outfit for Phoenix’s blue, but these colors do have meaning. Pink deals with sweet, feminine, playful, and little girls. To note that her actual father had a pink outfit on is meaningful too since the color can have a romantic angle to it. With Trucy wearing pink it is clearly showing her youth off even more and a magician does need to be playful. Trucy then moving onto blue is a calming color and for any professional magician, a calm mind is needed to perform tricks. I will also say that I love the cloak she has on her outfit. The little gold tips makes me think of a jester’s hat and seeing the symbols makes me think of playing cards so the jester picture I am getting is clearly the joker. Out of all the shapes, diamonds appear the most as she has golden buttons, earing, and a brooch that are in that shape. Hell even her hair band has diamond shapes on it. I also got to say that I love how playful she looks, Trucy is extremely cute and I am happy that and not just make it a sexy outfit. Slap on some white for her gloves and boots you get some nice idea of perfection mixed in. Overall her outfit is extremely cute and calming to look at while being simple and easy to understand.
Larry Butz is one entertaining character. He is the first man Phoenix defended in court and he has been a constant character in the series. He was seen in the original three games, in both the Edgeworth games, and finally made an appearance in the current titles with Spirit of Justice. Larry goes through some outfits, but these two would be his best ones. The original look is nice and simple with using orange to describe him since he can become happily quite easily,surprisingly creative, and is determined to get with the ladies. Larry becomes quite fascinated with women quite easily. I also like his shirt with those square faces looking confused. I feel like the shirt itself is confused on how Larry acts at times. Now his second design was him pretty much wearing a pink smock, but his most recent design gave more into his artistic side. The beret just screams art along with those glasses. Even his shirt has some wacky patterns on it which keeps some orange and even adds some yellow (probably him trying to feel young as he did back then). The heart logo all around him is his own character and man what a perfect way to represent this love-sick fool, a bunch of hearts struck with an arrow, that’s Larry Butz for you! Even if he does look a bit more well dressed, he is still casual with how he presents that. His tie not being on perfectly shows that, but he does cover his legs and has better shoes as well. No matter how you spin Larry’s design, he is going to be Larry and whenever something smells, its got to be the Butz.
Ema’s design is probably the one that went through the most changes. Her original design was when she was 17-18 and her next appearance being in Apollo Justice means she has aged quite a bit since then. She even had appearances in the Edgeworth games and that design even has some interesting changes. It is like looking at an evolution chart on this one since the second design carries on some of the first and then the third design has aspects of the second design. Ema’s hair constantly changes as she has the top knot like Maya at first, wears a hat with her hair straight down, then finally has it in a messy ponytail. Ema’s footwear changed all three times too, the first one has normal shoes, the second one goes with boots, and then sports some heels with some lovely straps. The first design goes with a skirt, while the second design goes with shorts and leggings, and the last design just goes with longer pants. Ema’s bow tie from the first to the third design have some slight changes, while the second design goes with a tie. Ema’s bag is not stuffed with test tubes in the second design, but the first and third have those. The amount of badges Ema wears starts to vanish around the second design and then just gone by her oldest look. She always keeps her lab coat on, but the shirt underneath it has some slight changes. The first one looks like it blends with the skirt and completely covers Ema up. The second one you can tell she is wearing an undershirt. The third one then carries both of those ideas, but changes the color to green. Even the glasses change by the end of her design as they become more like ladies sunglasses. It looks like she keeps the same watch over the years which is interesting. Ema’s changes are the most interesting aspect about her which each one having distinct qualities, which is surprising considering how character design progression really build up on the past ones. Ema really is scientific that she even experiments with her clothes. Alright for the next and final two characters there will be spoilers so be warned!
The last two characters I want to talk about are ones that switch their personalities and yet keep the same design. What is shocking is that the design works no matter what. With Matt Engarde the big change is how he has his hair. When Matt is acting dumb and cheerful the outfit makes him look like a man-child in many ways. With the hair covering his eyes he has a sense of innocence to him. Even if he is wearing red it does not come off as aggressive at all. The big thing is that he is a superhero actor so that jacket easily fits the bill. The red starts screaming at you though when he slicks his hair back and you see that big scar on his face. I still do wonder how he got that scar. When Matt switches personalilites like this even his body language changes. The cool superhero jacket easily makes me think he became a flashy bond villain. The man even has a glass of alcohol on him during this change, this man owns a cat too! Matt easily shows off the power of red when he is scary because not only is he a dangerous man he has some strength to him. The crime he committed was extremely clever and the scapegoats he had in mind is amazing. It is shocking how one big design change just tells you a whole different story about a character.
This man is my all time favorite foe in the franchise and how he pulled his tricks were fantastic. Roger felt like an end game villain. Just like Trucy he is a magician and was well-known back then. After being kicked out of the troupe, the same one that Trucy now continues, he started to think of a revenge plan to take the troupe down. For most of his time he worked in the television business and was a major scumbag with that character. I mean just look at him, he is holding that cup of coffee with his shirt untucked and those pants are so odd. How he wears his hat and sunglasses just make him look like a total tool. What is amazing though is that his magic side is hidden within these clothes. He has the sleeves hide his scar, the frills of those sleeves are also quite stylish too. The sweater he ties around his body soon becomes a cape. Then with his collar being popped out and with a simple adjustment of his hat, he comes off as a total professional. He even sports some really gaudy rings. What originally comes off as arrogance in a slimy way soon becomes in a way that is forceful and cunning. Roger was a complete surprise and also he does oddly looks like Johnny Depp and Robert Downey Jr got blended together.
Well that is the end of part one of looking into lawyers, cops, victims, magicians, and murderers. As next time I will probably look more into more reoccurring characters and probably more victims. Either way these post are still some of my favorites to do since there is so much work being put into these designs that I simply want to poke at the creative process being done here. Hope you guys are enjoying these, high chance I will be looking into a recent franchise I have been quite digging lately for the next design post.