Luke Atmey should really get some acting lessons.
Overview (Spoilers Below)
The last day of Ron’s trial is here, and its do or die for Phoenix to prove that Ron isn’t the murderer of Kane Bullard, but actually just an innocent phantom thief. Phoenix’s first goal is to get Atmey back on the stand, which he does by explaining the evidence he found at KB Security. By demonstrating that there was a panic button in Bullard’s office and that Ron DeLite was there but passed out after being attacked in his costume, the court finds it possible that there is more information to be gleaned from Atmey, and he is soon summoned to the court.
This is just in time, too, since Atmey was about to have his guilty verdict handed down. Once he gets Atmey on the stand, Phoenix explains that Atmey had set up the security photo to make himself look like Mask de Masque stealing the Kurain urn. Its a solid theory, but Godot demands that Phoenix prevent proof, which he doesn’t have. Atmey begins to rant about how smart he is, making fun of Ron but lets some important testimony slip. Maia, while channeling Mia, reminds Phoenix to rethink things, and the Ace Attorney soon realizes that Atmey accidentally said he knew that Ron was dressed up as Mask de Masque at KB Security.
Phoenix objects and explains that the only way Atmey could know that was if he was at the scene of the crime since that information was only revealed during this trial. That last bit of evidence cinches it and Atmey breaks down, explaining that he had murdered Kane Bullard since Bullard had begun blackmailing him after catching him stealing a valuable ruby. With Atmey’s confession, Ron is declared innocent and reunites with his lovely wife, who is surprisingly proud that Ron was such a brazen thief.
I’m amazed at the breakneck speed that this show goes in shoving the plot of these trials forward. This is only the fourth episode in the “Mask de Masque” Arc and it’s already the finale to the case. Four episodes can be a long time, but Ace Attorney stories are mysteries, and mysteries need a little bit more time to draw out and explain themselves for the viewer. Especially in the world of Ace Attorney, where things tend to veer into the realm of the absurd. I understand that the producers of this show can’t spend an entire season on one case, but if one is going to do an anime adaptation, they should do it properly or not do it all.
That being said, the episode is at least functional in conveying what happened in the case. With only 22 minutes to do an entire trial and wrap everything up, they manage to have everything make sense while keeping a decent dramatic pace to everything. Though, things do feel somewhat awkward when Phoenix summons Atmey to the stand. Phoenix calling the Ace Detective up doesn’t have the same kind of impact that it did in the games. It just sort of…happens and everyone goes along with it. Unfortunately, that’s how a lot of the dramatic moments go in this show, which never seems to capture the feel of the original. Having Phoenix regurgitate all the necessary information for the case doesn’t make for great dialogue either. This is where script changes would have been necessary to make things flow better in the show, but unfortunately, this episode doesn’t quite get there.
I’d also like to make a note of saying that the soundtrack is heavily underutilized in this episode. When doing a climactic legal battle like this, a good score could really make the investigative sequencing more interesting to watch, which is why the games have such a moving and intense musical score. Sadly, it’s not present in this case or in this show, a truly criminal failing of the episode.
Surprising nobody, this lukewarm arc has a tepid conclusion. It’s unfortunate that despite all the flashy effects and full animation of the story that this show has, it still falls short when compared to the dramatic intensity of the original. On its own, it’s too comically driven and strange to satisfy a mystery craving, and it falls too short compared to the original to be a fun adaptation for the fans.