Jen Wang (Miyagi, 2008-09) is a lab tech in Dallas and a staff writer for the Japanese music website Purple SKY. Her love of cosplay and her junior high school students inspired the name for her own Japanese pop culture blog, Hibari-sensei’s Classroom.
Ace Attorney (known as Gyakuten Saiban in Japan) made its Texas debut at the 2012 Asian Film Festival of Dallas. Unlike most of my fellow audience members at the sold-out closing night screening, I was neither a fan of the Phoenix Wright video games nor a fan of director Takashi Miike. I was, however, curious about the franchise that spawned hoards of cosplayers shouting “Objection!” across a con floor and a huge fan of the movie’s two stars: Hiroki Narimiya and Takumi Saito. The trailer promised an intense, over-the-top courtroom drama. What I didn’t expect was to be laughing for the majority of the film as well.
Ace Attorney takes place in the “near future”, in which people have anime hair and punny names and courtrooms employ Stark Industries holographic technology. Court cases must be settled in three days in a reality TV-like format. Phoenix Wright (Narimiya) is a rookie defense attorney who after nearly choking on his first trial, finds himself entangled in two big cases. The first deals with the murder of his mentor Mia Fey (Rei Dan) and the wrongful accusal of her sister Maya (Mirei Kiritani). Wright battles—and that is the best term to describe the courtroom showdown—Miles Edgeworth (Saitoh), a prosecutor whose ruthless tactics have won him admiration but not a lot of allies. Edgeworth is later framed for murder, and Wright has to not only solve the mystery but face the undefeated Manfred von Karma (Ryo Ishibashi).
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