Edgeworth makes a damn good defense attorney.
Overview (Spoilers Below)
Larry Butz is on the stand, giving his witness testimony of the night the murder took place. His shenanigans are in constant contrast with Edgeworth’s cool, stuffy demeanor. Still, Edgeworth is running out of options, so he needs to find something in Larry’s testimony that keeps Sister Iris from a guilty verdict for another day.
Larry testifies how he was in his little cabin at the bottom of the ravine that the bridge was strung over. He’s not terribly forthcoming, but Edgeworth is able to pull out a vital piece of testimony. Larry believes that he saw Iris flying across the burning bridge that night. Everyone is aghast at such a ludicrous piece of testimony, but Larry has something in the way of proof to show what he’s seen: a painting he made of what he saw.
Edgeworth and Franziska go at it a bit, with Edgeworth trying to defend Larry’s testimony and Franziska continuing her relentless approach of pressing the witness. Larry then reveals that he knows it was Iris because of a purple ball he recovered underneath the bridge, a ball he believes to be a part of Iris’s outfit. However, Edgeworth keenly points out that this ball is actually a piece of Elise’s staff, lost from the scene. Therefore, he concludes that what Larry saw could not have been Iris flying, but was most likely the body of the victim, Elise, being moved across the ravine somehow.
With that, Edgeworth has been able to manage enough doubt in the case that the court needs another day to keep the case going. This is all that Phoenix needs, and he’s able to continue his investigation of the case while Edgeworth goes on his merry way. He goes to the temple where Maya is locked inside the training area. He takes a look at some of the evidence there and runs into Godot, who gives Phoenix some cryptic clues about what happened. He explains to Phoenix a little more about his past, and how he was “killed” before, and intends to do battle with Phoenix once more in court. What’s more, he blames Phoenix for Mia’s death and yells at Phoenix for letting Maya fall into this situation as well. Phoenix is desperate and needs to find a piece of evidence to help him understand what’s going on.
The trial continues, and Edgeworth’s time as a defense attorney comes to a close. This chapter in the story has ended, and we’re left to continue the story as it delves deeper into the mysterious past of Maya, Mia, and Godot. Now that the dust has settled, I’m pleased to say that this episode finishing the Edgeworth part of the case wasn’t too bad to watch. Sure it suffers from all the same issues that the rest of the show had; rest assured, that will never, ever change, but it was a good deal more watchable than what we usually get in the show. The Edgeworth, Franziska is ripe for conflict and throwing Larry into the mix actually gives a sort of slapdash interrogation element to the whole thing. Furthermore, it’s able to end well on a dramatic note that gets to the core of Phoenix’s character, without wasting on time on needless faff and dumb jokes.
The major success of this episode is tone, the way that the episode feels. Problems with tone come about when episodes can’t decide what kind of subject matter or presentation they want to consistently go with. Ace Attorney loves to ruin its tone with bad jokes and stupid shenanigans that just make me feel like my time is being wasted, but here they’re able to restore a solid tone to the episode that remains strong enough throughout the whole episode. Surprisingly, it’s Larry that’s able to make this work. His brand of silliness contrasts well with Edgeworth and Franziska, forcing them to up their investigative prowess to discover the truth, resulting in a sequence that is actually pretty intense.
Of course, this is all just the ending to Edgeworth’s story, the best part actually comes in at the last seven minutes of the episode, where Phoenix faces both Godot and himself. There’s no secret here, no trick the episode does to make this scene strong, it just plays it straight, which this show almost never does. Godot’s anger and emotion are real, and not buried beneath stupid coffee puns. When Phoenix breaks down in the snow, we feel that pain, and so we become emotionally invested in the scene. It’s not rocket science; if your show takes itself and its plot seriously, reflected in the writing, then the audience will find something to bring them into the anime’s world.