Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
|Name:||Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney|
逆転裁判 Gyakuten Saiban (JP title)
"Turnabout Courtroom" (translation)
|Abbreviation(s):||PW, AA, GS|
|Date(s):||2001 - present|
|Medium:||Video game (Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, PC, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, cell phones)|
|Country of Origin:||Japan|
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The Ace Attorney (Gyakuten Saiban) series, beginning with Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, is a series of Nintendo DS/3DS visual novel games focusing on lawyers, murder mysteries and courtroom drama with a distinctive touch of zany humor.
The first three games in the series were originally published only in Japan for Game Boy Advance, starting in 2001 with the original Gyakuten Saiban. Later their Nintendo DS remakes in 2005 met with great commercial success in the US and worldwide, leading Capcom to produce a fourth game (Apollo Justice) and follow up with a spin-off about popular character Miles Edgeworth (Ace Attorney Investigations), and its sequel (Gyakuten Kenji 2, still not localized outside Japan as of 2015). In 2013 Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies was released, the fifth in the main series. In 2012-14 Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney went on sale, a crossover with Professor Layton.
In 2015 The Great Ace Attorney: The Adventures of Ryunosuke Naruhodou went on sale in Japan. Gameplay takes place near the end of the 19th century and characters include Sherlock Holmes. Including crossovers and spin-offs, it is the ninth Ace Attorney game. Unfortunately, this game has yet to be released outside of Japan, much to the disappointment of fans. A sequel to Ryunosuke's adventures, Dai Gyakuten Saiban 2: Naruhodō Ryūnosuke no Kakugo was released in Japan in early August of 2017.
2016 saw the release of the 6th main-series game, Spirit of Justice.
Phoenix Wright is a rookie defense attorney who lives in California, in a just-slightly-in-the-future world where new regulations have simplified and streamlined the US court system. Over the course of three games Phoenix meets a huge and colorful cast of characters, makes friends, finds a surrogate family, and works toward his goal of becoming a competent and successful lawyer, all while saving his clients from going behind bars in a number of messy legal mysteries. The first three games are referred to as the Trilogy, following the growth of Phoenix as a lawyer and his relationships with those around him.
In the fourth game, Phoenix hands over the baton to newcomer Apollo Justice, a new young lawyer who has his work cut out for him in establishing a practice and figuring out the mystery of what happened to a few people closer to him than he might believe. This game addresses why Phoenix is no longer an attorney and lets the player experience a flashback to how he lost his badge.
The fifth game sees Phoenix returning to the courtroom after re-taking the bar exam and getting his badge back. Apollo returns in this game, paired with a rookie lawyer named Athena Cykes. The game is the first M-rated title in the series and is much darker than the previous four, including fully animated scenes involving blood and the act of murder, as well as addressing the darkness that has taken over the legal field for the past seven years.
The sixth game, released in 2016, takes Phoenix to a new setting, a kingdom where defense attorneys are so hated that badmouthing them is practically a requirement in daily life. This game is also quite dark in tone, and a case taking place back in the game's home setting revisits the Gramarye magician troupe from the 4th game as well as shedding more light on Apollo Justice's backstory.
Investigations: Miles Edgeworth
The Investigations duology takes place between the final case of the Trilogy and Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney.
The first game centers on Edgeworth, his detective partner Dick Gumshoe, and his adoptive sister Franziska working to dismantle an international smuggling ring. He is forced to contend with Agent Lang, a conceited man who hates prosecutors, and is reunited with a young girl named Kay whom he met as a child ten years ago.
The second game focuses on a "Prosecutor Purge" and Edgeworth struggling to determine the true meaning of his path in life. The game delves deeper into the "DL-6" incident that destroyed his life as a child and ties into a string of recent cases that Edgeworth must unravel and determine the truth of.
The many names of the canon
The Japanese title of the series, translating approximately to "Turnabout Courtroom" or "Turnabout Trial", has never incorporated the name of any main character; however, when exported to the US and worldwide, the DS version of the first game was retitled with protagonist Phoenix's name. This caused some difficulty for Capcom USA when the fourth game in the series debuted with a main character other than Phoenix -- because of this problem, translations of subsequent installments used the subtitle Ace Attorney much more prominently on game boxes and in advertising material, and official sources generally refer to it as the Ace Attorney series. By the time this decision was made, however, a sizable fandom had developed around the series which was already collectively used to referring to the games as "Phoenix Wright", and a significant subset of fans referred to all Ace Attorney titles not yet released outside Japan with their original Japanese titles -- for example, before its English release as Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations, the third game in the series was generally referred to by the fandom as Gyakuten Saiban 3 or GS3. These behaviors have persisted and intermingled within the fandom such that all three series names are still in common use.
Ace Attorney is a widely dispersed fandom that has been around since at least 2005. Some of the places fans gather to talk and create fanworks include forums such as Court Records, blogs and journaling services such as Tumblr, LiveJournal and Dreamwidth, tagging sites such as Pinterest, Delicious and Plurk, archives such as Archive of Our Own, art sites such as Pixiv, tegaki and DeviantArt and social network sites such as Facebook and twitter.
In the early days, the fandom had a strong presence on LiveJournal, but much of the activity that was once hosted there has moved to Tumblr and Dreamwidth.
It bills itself as the longest running kink meme on the internet, continually running since 0ctober 31 2007, and is very possibly the largest kink meme in existence. As of 2015 it is on its 28th part. The kink meme's daily newsletter, anon_press, reports on all new fills, prompts and discussions. A Delicious account, pwkinksearch, helps users locate stories and art from the meme although it is less often updated. pwkinkarchive lists prompts from 2009 and earlier.
How it works: Previously, anyone could anonymously request a pairing and a kink. Nowadays, any prompt is allowable. For each request they make, prompters are encouraged to post one response in the form of fic, artwork or any other kind of fanwork. Since the meme is open to all possible subject matter (apart from sexual scenes involving animals or children) and is entirely anonymous, it's both fascinatingly eclectic and fairly impossible to search through with any success.
The kink meme developed its own memes and unofficial "canon" over the years. Highlights include Edgeworth's secretary Hannah Fright, Godot either being homeless or driving an ugly wreck of a car, the Judge being immortal, Phoenix being a porn star during his unemployment years, and the fictional show Steel Samurai having its own kink meme frequented by the characters. These memes became so popular that fans would employ them as part of their own fic 'verses.
Pairings and genfic
The most popular pairing is Phoenix/Edgeworth, otherwise known by Narumitsu, the portmanteau of their original Japanese names. Roughly a quarter of all works for the fandoms involve this pairing.  The so-called "Big Three" pairings also include Klavier/Apollo and Simon/Athena although these are not necessarily the pairings with the most fandom works created for them. Due to the large numbers of characters in the original games, there are a huge number of potential pairings. On Archive of Our Own, there are over 300 pairings tags alone for this fandom. About a third of Ace Attorney fanfic on that site is labelled gen.
Other popular pairings include:
- Phoenix/Maya (also termed Narumayo or Phaya)
- Apollo/Athena (Justicykes)
- Franziska/Adrian (Fradrian)
- Klavier/Ema (Klema)
- Trucy/Pearl (TruPearl)
- The bi-annual Wrightathon on the Phoenix Wright Kink Meme, when prompting is frozen to concentrate on fills.
- The Ace Attorney Big Bang, running since 2011, a challenge for fics over 10,000 words. Unlike many Big Bangs, it accepts not just new fics, but also works in progress, visual novels and conversions of roleplaying logs. Art and/or fanmixes accompany the fanfics.
- On tumblr, fanwork exchanges in 2014 included Feystivus, Secret Lawyers and AA Secret Santa 14.
In 2007, a group of fans of the series began collaborating online to write a musical based on the games. In 2010, the head of the project announced that they had received recognition by Capcom who had agreed to license them. The paperwork is still currently being processed.
"Turnabout Musical" is a completely fan-made musical play that retells the story of the original game "Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney," by Capcom. This unique fan-made production features 30 original songs, though references are made to the in-game music. Many wonderfully talented people are devoted to the production of this musical, and soon the first official cast recording will be available for release.
- Court Records - A central hub of AA fandom featuring extensive information and news, multimedia, fanworks, and an extremely active message board.
- Turnabout Musical - The website for the 100% fanmade musical project.
Communities on Dreamwidth
- The Phoenix Wright Kink Meme - not just for kink.
- Anon Press - the daily newsletter for the kink meme.
Communities on LiveJournal
- Gyakuten Saiban/Ace Attorney @ LJ - A general-interest community for the series.
- Igiari! - A community for NC-17 fanworks.
- Narumitsu - General community for the pairing of Phoenix/Edgeworth.
- Mitsumayoi - General community for the pairing of Edgeworth/Maya.
There are also hundreds of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney blogs and groups on tumblr, Facebook, DeviantArt and elsewhere.
- Ace Attorney entry on Wikipedia
- Eurogamer article confirming English language name of The Great Ace Attorney, due out 2015.
- The kink meme banner, which reads: "Phoenix Wright Kink Meme, the longest runnning on the internet, since 2007!"
- First post of the Phoenix Wright Kink Meme on LiveJournal, dated October 31 2007
- The Phoenix Wright Kink meme on Dreamwidth.
- WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEME/CANON FROM THE PW KINK MEME?
- Ace Attorney fics on archiveofourourown.org. As of 2/22/2015, out of 2244 fics posted 568 were tagged Phoenix/Edgeworth and 730 were tagged gen.
- Link to discussion thread on the Phoenix Wright Kink Meme about rarepairs versus the Big Three.
- Link to Archive of Our own. As of 2/22/2015, there were over 340 pairing tags there for the Ace Attorney fandom.