English Dub Review: Ace Attorney “Bridge to the Turnabout-5th Trial”

Let’s burn some bridges.

Overview (Spoilers Below)

The next day of the trial begins with Phoenix resuming his rightful place as the defense. Fittingly enough, Franziska has been replaced with Prosecutor Godot for the remainder of the trial as well, with Franziska having stayed back at the cavern to try and undo the trick locks that are keeping Maya trapped inside.

The trial opens with Iris taking the stance, but much to Phoenix’s surprise, she is there to make her own confession to being an accomplice in the crime. Phoenix is blown away by this, having talked to Iris the night before without complication, but remains determined to find the contradictions in her witness testimony to keep her from being wrongly convicted of anything.

Phoenix’s objections are swift and thorough, pinning down Iris in all of the lies she tries to peddle for reasons unknown. He manages to present the sword within the staff belonging to Misty Fey to object to the murder weapon being concluded as a knife and uses the weather report to object to speculation about the snow on the ground surrounding the murder site. However, the most powerful objection is Phoenix’s conclusions about the picture Larry made two episodes back. He reasons that the picture Larry painted is actually accurate, but needs to be flipped upside down to get the full picture. He argues that the body didn’t fly over the bridge, but was swung underneath it using a loose cable.

This means that the murderer had an accomplice, someone who was able to receive the body on the other side of the bridge. Phoenix names the accomplice to be none other than the deceased Dahlia Hawthorne, being channeled through the body of Maya Fey. He goes on to say that the person before them now isn’t Iris, but Maya Fey again, who came out of her prison within the cavern yesterday during the earthquake. The court is suspicious, but their skepticism is pushed aside when Dahlia actually reveals herself to the judge, throwing everyone for a loop and adding a new, spiritual dimension to this case.

Our Take:

The latest chapter of Ace Attorney has left me in a state of confusion. We’re reaching the endgame of this pivotal chapter in the Ace Attorney saga, and I find myself caught in the middle in regards to how good or bad it really is. There’s a lot I love about the “Ace Attorney ” games and their plot, especially some of the major twists in this particular case. Yet, despite that, I think the Ace Attorney anime has decided to reveal these twists and turns in the flattest way possible. It’s one of those rare cases where the content is so much greater than the execution. It speaks to the level of quality found in the original games that the big reveal in this case still hold some water even when the anime has been so deficient in bringing them to life. I have to conclude then that, objectively, there is some good to this episode in terms of bringing the story of this case closer to its dramatic finale. However, that’s really more of a technicality. It’s not great anime, but it is a good story.

If you want a back-and-forth courtroom sequence, you’re going to find it here, but it’s really only so-so to watch. There are a couple of exciting moments for sure, but too much of the story is told through matter-of-fact exposition than naturally through the dialogue. There could have been a much stronger interrogative aspect to Iris’s testimony, something that yielded more clues to the viewer about who she really was. Of course, this would mean that the anime would have to go “Off script”, in a sense, deviating from the original games, but if it makes a better show then that’s what you gotta do. There needs to be some raw emotion here, not just from the voice actors’ performance, but in the writing and direction too. This is the final case of the “Ace Attorney” canon, and if you’re not going to pull out all the stops here, then when are you?

Ultimately, whatever goodwill I can give to the straight-up story of this episode buckles under the weight of the lazy direction that has ruined what could have been a perfectly good show since the beginning. It’s nothing new, of course, but when you have these moments that are supposed to keep you on the edge of your seat, the failings of the production become that much more noticeable. I would say I’m disappointed, but that would require me to have some expectations first.

Erich Hau

Erich is a northern California based writer on the front lines of the nerd frontier. When he's not burning the midnight oil he enjoys musicals, smooth jazz, and a good cup of dark roast. Cream and sugar not included.

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