English Dub Review: Ace Attorney “Sound the Turnabout Melody”

And now for something completely different.

Overview (Spoilers Below)

Maia and Nick are trying to drum up business for their law office by making a TV ad. After finishing up their filming, the two get a bite to eat at a diner, where Phoenix starts talking about his past and his passion for samurai TV shows. Cue the flashback, and a middle-school aged Phoenix hangs out with his good buddy Larry Butz. The two discuss Edgeworth, who transferred out of school when his father and only living relative was murdered.

Edgeworth, meanwhile, is staying at the Von Karma residence, where he spends time with his adopted sister, Franziska, who’s a whole lot less menacing in her younger years. Their bonding is interrupted when Manfred Von Karma returns and the three of them have dinner. Phoenix and Larry, back at school, find a radio they can use to potentially communicate with Edgeworth.

At court, Manfred wins another case, and takes Edgeworth and Franziska out shopping, where Edgeworth comes across a radio just like Phoenix and Larry’s. While listening, Edgeworth hears the “Signal Samurai” theme song and has visions of his past with Phoenix and Larry. Edgeworth begins to question his path in life, wondering if he should pursue the life of a defense attorney like his father. At the end of the song, Edgeworth hears the message of friendship Larry and Phoenix gave to the radio announcer. Edgeworth them comes across a lost dog, seemingly belonging to an affluent middle-aged woman named Goldie.

Edgeworth is suspicious, because the dog, named Napalm, barks and growls at Goldie. Edgeworth presses Goldie to prove that she’s the dog owner, and Goldie submits that there’s a heart-shaped bald patch on Napalm’s stomach. It turns out this is true, but Edgeworth continues to press Goldie when she starts humming the Signal Samurai theme song. Edgeworth realizes that Goldie must have heard the song on the radio when the DJ was advertising the lost dog worth 5,000 dollars earlier. Edgeworth continues to attack Goldie with his objections, and eventually breaks Goldie. She prepares to just take the dog from Edgeworth, but Manfred and Franziska arrive at the last minute and scare her away. Edgeworth then decides to donate the reward money to the local animal shelter, and realizes his life path is to become a prosecutor.

Our Take:

This week’s episode of Ace Attorney is a cute little filler adventure that gives the main story a little breathing room with which the show can pad out the season. Instead of focusing on the big boy troubles of Phoenix and friends, we go back in time to see an episode focusing on a young Edgeworth, a character who hasn’t been in the series since this season began. As far as episodes of Ace Attorney go, I was actually rather pleased at how everything went. I’m usually quite critical of this series for being a poor retelling of the canon cases in the games, but by having a one-off filler like this, we’re able to enjoy an original story that is much better suited to the format of anime. If more of the episodes were like this, the series would be much better overall, but as it stands, I’ll congratulate this one for its successes.

By taking a look at a tender time in Edgeworth’s life, we get to see a pivotal moment in his development that turns him towards the life of a prosecutor. Essentially, its the birth of the cold, intelligent Edgeworth that we know and love. There is a tragedy here, knowing how Edgworth’s life with Von Karma turns out having seen the first season, and that follows the entire episode as Edgeworth tries to prove himself to his mentor. In addition, seeing Franziska as a little girl also gives her character some much needed pathos; she wasn’t always the domineering jerk who whips around poor, underpaid detectives. For a brief moment, there is a semblance of an actual family present here, and that tugs on the heartstrings a good bit. Furthermore, by focusing just on Edgeworth’s struggle, (And to a lesser extent, Phoenix’s) the story doesn’t get bogged down in the awkward mysteries we usually have to endure in these episodes. It’s an honest and true character story, which is what we really need in this series.

The worst part would definitely have to be the cheesy, silly confrontation between Edgeworth and Goldie. The fact that she’s modeled to look like a cow makes things feel way too cartooney, especially when juxtaposed next to the grim demeanor of the Von Karma family. Not to mention, any viewer with two working brain cells is going to figure out that Goldie is a crook from the beginning, and watching Edgeworth solve such a simple mystery isn’t terribly entertaining to watch. Overall, though, the episode is solid; probably the best one in the season so far.

Score
7/10

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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