Ace Attorney – Preview
Original Air Dates: April 2nd, 2016 – ???
Synopsis: Based upon the popular video game franchise, Ace Attorney, the series follows rookie lawyer Naruhodo Ryuuichi (Known as Pheonix Wright in the west) as he steps into the court of law for the first time. With limited evidence, and the pressures of the court barring down on him, Naruhodo must always turn the case around and save his innocent clients from wrongful prosecution.
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: The first thing you’ll notice when you start up Ace Attorney is all the game like pop ups and visual effects used to display information and reactions to what’s happening on screen. As someone who has never played a single Ace Attorney game, it was quite a unique experience and made me feel like i was watching a playthrough on youtube rather than an actual anime episode.
Tom: As some who has played Ace Attorney this was one of the oddest experiences I’ve had watching a video game to anime adaptation. The first episode is a near one to one recreation of the game’s first case. Everything from the way events unfold, to the visual depictions feels like it was animated right out of the game itself. It almost makes me wonder what the point of watching the anime adaptation even is. With no real dramatic license taken, it feels just as Linny described, like a youtube lets play of the game. As ever the very first case is quirky, setting up the mood of Ace Attorney, and quick. Ace Attorney makes sure even from the beginning you shouldn’t think too hard about the law, which is in fitting with the games themselves.
Linny: It just feels all so silly, ESPECIALLY if you aren’t a fan/are unaware of the games ; confetti suddenly being showered in a courtroom when the case is won, each huge accusation resulting in a huge gust of wind, evil villains chuckling with sinister glee WHILE STILL ON THE STAND AS A WITNESS, etc. Tom has told me that this is how the games are, and that’s all well and good for fans of the series. But as a newcomer, it all felt a little too weird to take a lawyer/case seriously with all the antics occurring onscreen.
Tom: As characters go, everyone from the first game’s opening case is rendered here faithfully, from the silly personas to the recognizable artwork. Nothing deviates from the games, besides the westernization differences which are, of course, absent from this translation. Because the translation is so much more faithful, series fans who are unaware of this might be thrown off slightly, but otherwise the personalities match, so beyond names there isn’t much else to add to the potential confusion.
Linny: Ace comes off as an okay guy, your young protagonist starting off into the big and stressful world of crimes and trials. Even his co-worker comes off as a likable, albeit bland, character. Everyone else’s personality seemed like they were hammed up and comical to the max in true retro style.
Tom: As far as the animation goes, it’s nothing impressive. Everything looks a little sloppy, lacking greater detail. It’s got the right idea for adapting the game’s artwork, and is clearly very reminiscent of it, but again lacks the finer details that made the art truly memorable. When it comes to the games’ ludicrous style, the anime adds a few nice touches, like dozens of police officers, more than you’d ever need, rushing the court room to secure the true criminal at the end of the episode. Music has also been lifted and recreated straight from the game, only hammering home the one to one faithfulness of the adaptation.
Linny: The animation is definitely not impressive but maybe it was the studio’s decision to pay homage by literally sticking to the aesthetics of the original game. If you’re a newbie to all of this as I am, be prepared for exclamations and what not’s bursting all over your screen, increasing in aggressiveness and frequency as the episode progresses.
Tom: As adaptations go, I never thought I’d say this, but it’s honestly too faithful. With the games still available, and across multiple devices, why watch this when you could be playing it? When the episode finished I wasn’t anticipating episode two, but instead wondering where my DS copy of the game was, and contemplating purchasing the second game.
Linny: The over the top portrayal and faithful rendition of the game makes the show seem like a good pick for those craving a nostalgia rush, or maybe people who enjoy watching playthroughs. For everyone else, it might be a bit much or an annoying form of deja vu.
Tom: I struggle to wonder who Ace Attorney is for. It seems like only something that’ll appeal to the die hard fans, as it remains too close to its source material to really grow as an entity all its own. The creators need to pull further away from the games, not to a point where things are drastically changed, but that it feels more like an anime TV show and less like a youtube lets play.
Ace Attorney is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com