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  -Part 1 :: [06.15.07]
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"'They call me Gato, I have metal joints, beat me up and earn 15 Silver Points!' he sings as I try to stop laughing at how ridiculous he looks. It's a damn good thing the point of the game is to beat on his ass, because 1) he's so annoying he's just asking to be smacked, and 2) I don't know if I could take the shame of losing a real mini-game to a gigantic rapping robot named Gato."
     -Ryan, Chrono Trigger Part 1




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Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney : Part 9
By Sam
Posted 06.27.13
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : 5 : 6 : 7 : 8 : 9 : 10 : 11
In the exciting conclusion of The Case of Miles Edgeworth's Magic Bullet, we learned that Phoenix views his childhood as an even gayer version of A Separate Peace. But instead of reflecting on the old days when they jumped out of a tree together, Phoenix went to law school because Edgeworth ignored his increasingly desperate, emoji-filled texts. It would have been fitting to end the game with Phoenix successfully defending his lover in court and fixing every problem in Edgeworth's life by solving the incredibly stupid DL-6 case. But alas, the game designers decided that more is better and added a fifth case to this game.

A couple technical notes before we begin. First, for those of you who don't know the history of the series, this case was added to the game's DS re-release in Japan, which was itself pretty much a promotional stunt pimping the first DS game in the series, Anal Attorney: Apollo Justice. This means two things: 1) there are some, shall we say, inconsistencies within the series timeline as a result; and 2) in fitting with the later installments, all the witnesses have to be WACKY! I know, I know, Yanni Yogi the demented pasta peddler was hardly a down-to-Earth character. But just wait and see. As for the first issue, Jeanne and I intend to keep our nitpicking of the series continuity issues to a minimum, because wow, you guys, there are so many other things to nitpick in this case. So many.

Second, we'll be recapping this case using the iPad HD version of the game, and will be continuing with those versions for the second and third games, you know, in fifty years or so. Assuming there are no newer versions out by then--after all, it's taken us so damn long to recap this game that we're already on our third version. I'll probably have an ocular implant of the court record by the time we get to the third game.

Now, to business! The game gets right down to showing off the graphical powerhouse that is the DS with a dramatic video reenactment of the crime--or crimes, because more is better!--at the heart of this case. From a moving train, we emerge from a tunnel and take in the skyline of, ahem, Los Angeles, on a dark and stormy night. In the darkness, the bright point of a knife is raised dramatically, and then the camera pulls back to reveal the wielder of this knife as a shadow against a stark white background. But then, an overdramatic MIDI straight out of the Miami Vice NES game kicks in as the shadow of this mystery assassin separates into two identical shadows, and the camera pulls back further to show them brandishing their deadly weapons in completely different buildings.

But before this apparently eagle-eyed passenger can spot anything else, the train plunges erotically into another tunnel. By the time it comes out into the rain again, the action has progressed into a rapid succession of imagery, from a knife flying end-over-end through the air to shatter a clay jar, to a Blue Badger doll sitting on a shelf as lightning flashes, to a woman with long hair and Dick Gumshoe's spare trenchcoat gripping a fuchsia-handled knife after she's stabbed it into something offscreen. Are you confused and overwhelmed yet? Don't worry--not one frame of this video will make sense by the end of the case.

Some dolls just want to watch the world burn.
 

With that bizarre introduction out of the way, it's time to see how our favorite spiky-haired attorney is doing. Not great, it turns out. Over a black screen and the Wrists-Slitting Theme, Phoenix tells us it's been two months since Maya left. "Two months without a single trial," he adds. "I've had offers... But none I took." I'm choosing to believe this is because, without Maya, Phoenix couldn't figure out how to return phone calls. "That is..." Phoenix says, trying to sound all hard-boiled in his narrative, "until the day that girl showed up." That must have been the day he squealed, locked the door, and became a shut-in agoraphobe.

We leave the Black Screen of Phoenix's Pity Party and emerge in Wright and Co. Law Offices, where Phoenix is still feeling all kinds of sorry for himself, blue-fonting that he doesn't know why he bothers to come to the office. I don't know, to pay rent? Then again, maybe he's given up on his own career and is now Edgeworth's house boy and mink coat chauffeur, like in Behind the Candelabra. But someone labeled "???" yells at him, "There you are! Finally!" The mystery guest shows herself to be a frowning teenage girl with pink-tinted goggles resting atop her long brown hair, wearing a white lab coat over a cute high school uniform. (All the kids wear those in Los Angeles!) Goggle Girl balls up her fists and shouts, "My sister's trial is tomorrow!" Oh, more ladies, just what Phoenix is looking for in life.

Phoenix is like, "I don't care, and also who the fuck are you?" to which Goggle Girl shouts again, "It doesn't matter who I am! It only matters who YOU are! You're the famous defense attorney, Mia Fey!" The goofball music that was bopping along in the background stops dead at this proclamation, as if giving me time to stop laughing. Now, knowing Phoenix, it's possible that he's been too lazy or preoccupied with Edgeworth's penis to bother changing the sign on the door. But this is supposed to be our first of many, many clues that Goggle Girl, despite her claims, is not very perceptive. After exchanging ellipses with Phoenix, GG puts her hand over her mouth, realizing even the worst parents don't name their sons Mia. Phoenix just says Mia doesn't work there anymore, since going, "She bled to death! Right through that door!" is a little insensitive. "So you are...?" GG asks brightly. "The coffee boy?" Don't be silly, Goggle Girl! Phoenix cannot be trusted with hot pots of coffee. Edgeworth does not want his dick scalded fuchsia.

 
Is that a blowjob merit badge?

When Phoenix introduces himself, GG has another epiphany, but this one is somehow even dumber. "Wright...Wright... Wait! You're THE Phoenix Wright!? The Phoenix Wright from the Edgeworth murder case!?" Phoenix blue-fonts that Edgeworth wasn't the one murdered, like that's the big problem area in her statement. She didn't know about Mia's murder, but she does know about Edgeworth's trial? Did her newspaper subscription skip a week? Anyway, GG is pleased because Mia's coffee boy is "better than nobody," maybe the best description of Phoenix Wright ever. He should put that on his business cards. But Phoenix still doesn't want to take any cases, because he's soooooooo saaaaaaaad without Maya or whatever. Eventually, GG cries out, "Please, you have to help! I-it's my sister!" And for a brief moment, Phoenix sees Maya standing there giving him puppydog eyes, and flashes back to her sobbing over Mia's dead body. "Maya...? Could it be...?" Phoenix thinks to himself. What? No. Phoenix, that is not Maya. Are you feeling okay, buddy? Did Edgeworth jar something loose in your head last night?

Oddly, thinking Maya is wearing this girl like a suit is just the thing Phoenix needs to break through his malaise, and he agrees to at least hear her out. "R-really!? Thank you so much!" GG responds. She introduces herself as, "Ema, Ema Skye. I'm a scientific investigator." Phoenix is like "Whuh?" at this and decides to ask her about it. When Ema asks if he's got some kind of problem with it, he says, "No, it's just, you seem kind of, er, jumpy. Or maybe just...young?" Says the 24-year-old ace attorney with a flop sweat problem. Ema replies that she'll turn 16 this year, which sounds like she's 15, but both Phoenix and the court record decide that means she's 16. Whatever. "I'm set to be formally assigned to Forensics in three more years," Ema goes on. "My work is becoming quite well known... At my age, no less!" This is basically bullshit--Ema is delusional as well as unobservant. Phoenix finally gets out of her that her official job title right now is "Eleventh Grader." Uh huh. "Great, another future professional in training..." Phoenix bitches to himself. Hey, she's got a couple things in common with Maya! Do you get it yet?

This opens up a new conversational option to discuss Ema's career goal of scientific investigation, and those are awfully big words for Phoenix, so he could probably use a high school-level explanation of them. After Phoenix inadvertently refers to her as a child so she can get all huffy, Ema explains that she thinks all investigations should be done scientifically. She is going to hate working with Phoenix, then. "If this case is handled scientifically, I'm sure my sister's name will be cleared!" she declares. Well, if she can at least keep Phoenix from stuffing evidence into his pockets and coating it with a layer of dried semen and hair gel, that'll be an improvement. Spoiler: she will fail in this endeavor.

That's probably more than he's ever gotten in legal fees.
 

Well, Phoenix still knows nothing about scientific investigation, so he changes the subject to Ema's sister. "My sister didn't do it!" Ema insists. "She wouldn't stab someone with a knife! She wouldn't!" Phoenix "deduces" from this that he's dealing with a murder case. There's that steel trap of a brain at work! Ema plows forward, fists balled up again, "I don't care if there's a witness who saw her do it! She didn't do it! I know she didn't do it! It's a scientific fact!" And Phoenix figures out from this that there was a witness. God, how does he do it? Ema's like, "Stop being a sarcastic dick for five minutes and go talk to her about it," though she is concerned, since she promised her sister she'd bring Mia Fey. Phoenix is starting to wonder if he's taken on the defense of Mia's lesbian lover. Is the elder Skye expecting a conjugal visit?

On the subject of how the other Skye sister knows Mia, Ema says her sister asked for Mia specifically, because they were a few years apart at the same law school. Right. I'm sure they spent long nights at the law library, gently prising open books and delving deep into the secret knowledge found within. I'm talking about vaginas. "She always told me to go to Mia if I ever needed a defense attorney..." Ema adds, shedding a little more light on this. "And, well...I need one." It's obvious that Ema and her sister probably aren't that close if they don't talk often enough to update the ol' emergency contact portfolio. But Phoenix doesn't pick up on this, and says they must be close if Ema's helping her out. Because it takes special closeness to not want a sibling convicted of murder. "Well..." Ema mutters. "Actually, when she gets like she is now, I kind of hate her." And she clearly means real hate, not teenage girl hate. Ouch.

"But... But she's my only family," Ema says, gripping her bag full of beakers and looking despondent. Hey, another similarity with the Fey sisters: dead parents! Ema's died in a car crash, she says, which is just code for "They're dead and you're not supposed to think it's a big deal." Then again, we never seem to meet anyone's parents in this series. I'm having a hard time coming up with a major character who is for sure not an orphan. Phoenix's parents must be out of the picture, since no self-respecting parent would let their kid go to law school just to reunite with his fourth-grade boyfriend.

Ema has nothing else to talk about, so it's time to meet her sister at the detention center. But Ema gets all quiet and emo-looking as soon as they arrive, and soon it's clear why. Another "???" says offscreen, "Guard...I thought I told you I didn't want visitors." The poor guard in the background, who barely ever gets any speaking lines, stutters incoherently and calls her "ma'am," so this is our first clue that Ema's sister is someone important. Only the best clients for Phoenix Wright! All that fucking his way through law school has paid off! Ema's sister carries on, "No excuses! Or did you not want a raise this year, hmm?" If this ends up being Edgeworth in drag, Phoenix is going to have so many questions.

 
He's not talking about the badge.

Ema says hello, and we finally see her sister, who is standing with her back to the glass. Like Ema, she has long brown hair. She's also obviously the woman holding the fuchsia-handled dagger in the opening movie. "Funny," she says tersely, her back still to Ema and Phoenix. "I seem to remember specifically telling you NOT to come here. Perhaps my memory is failing?" Ice cold. She really must be Edgeworth in drag. Or Lana is another spirit medium channeling him, after he died in Phoenix's bed like Mr. Pamuk on Downton Abbey, and he can't stand to let Phoenix see him with boobs. Anyway, Ema wasn't eager for this visit either, but she had to show up since her sister still has no attorney. The older Skye basically tells her that her attorney is Noneya, Noneya Business. But at this, she turns around and acknowledges "Mr. Wright," who is relieved that Edgeworth's face isn't sitting on her body. Also, the elder Skye sister is wearing a dark brown, double-breasted coat--gold-tasseled shoulder pads and gold medals aside, Edgeworth would never dress this drably. She does have a conspicuous red scarf, though, so at least she recognizes she needs to create a color barrier between her coat and her hair.

Phoenix's first question, because he's an idiot, is how this woman knows who he is. "Mia mentioned you," she replies. "I've heard...quite a bit." Oh dear. Trying not to think about all the times he pinned Larry against Charley the houseplant when he thought they were alone, Phoenix asks, "Er, I'm sorry. What exactly is it that you do...?" Ema's sister introduces herself as Lana Skye, and adds, "I'm Chief Prosecutor for this district." Phoenix already knew Lana was a law student, so I don't know why he's so surprised, but he is. "Two sisters...one a lawyer," he blue-fonts. "Could this be a coincidence?" YES, PHOENIX, IT COULD BE. Oh my God, man. He is trying so hard to make this happen.

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