Turnabout Goodbyes is one of my absolute favorite cases, quite possibly tied with Farewell My Turnabout, but I need replay that one to say for certain. It’s hard to articulate why I love it so much, because the amount of greatness is so overwhelming it’s hard to know where to begin. It isn’t a case I come away from with new thoughts or observations, everything is played out so vividly, and I think that’s a testament of its quality that I can keep returning to it and get a thrill from it every time, even as I know how it’s going to play out.
There were a couple things I noticed on this play through that I hadn’t before, however! Larry is a really likable character in this game. Emphasis on “this game.” I may re-evaluate my assessment when I replay T&T, but I know by that point he’d been reduced to gags involving him hitting on any and every girl he’d seen, and it didn’t surprise me that Phoenix and Edgeworth didn’t even consider him a friend at that point. He returns to being likable again in Ace Attorney Investigations, then makes an almost completely superfluous, if harmless, return in AAI2. In the first game, however, he’s surprisingly well-rounded in terms of personality. He’s single-minded and ditzy, but also knows when to get serious, and shows capability of seeing things beyond rose-tinted glasses. It was this scene in particular that really gave me a different perspective on the character:
And speaking of new perspectives, this play through gave me a vastly different impression of Phoenix’s character. He’s the hardest character for me to assess because while he’s intended to come across as the naive idealist to contrast Edgeworth (even called a goody-two-shoes when he tells Larry and Edgeworth his reason he became a lawyer), he’s remarkably cynical and even curt for a majority of the game—and this wasn’t just limited to his bitterness involving Edgeworth. He has his moments of goofiness, but they’re far and in between, and if Maya wasn’t there—well, I’m not sure he’d have gotten as far as he had as a lawyer, for one thing, but I think he’d also be kind of a killjoy. These aren’t criticisms of his character, mind, but observations that make him a more interesting character than if he were this hyper-idealistic, happy-go-lucky fellow that he’s often presented to be.
And god, he can be unnerving when he gets passionate. He goes about much of the case dryly, I think I even recall him having light doubts of Edgeworth’s innocence, and then when Edgeworth tells him about his nightmare and fear of being a murderer his attitude suddenly takes a complete turnaround. He’s suddenly feeling deeply for Edgeworth, shutting others out and getting downright possessive of him—it’s really no wonder, whether you choose to ignore or acknowledge Rise from the Ashes (I’m getting to it, I promise!) that he turns into this deeply bitter person in JFA. It’s really a good thing his friend/rival/love interest knocks some sense into him by the end of JFA!
And MAYA. I was stunned at Phoenix constantly being at a loss of how she can be useful to the agency; I can’t necessarily blame him when channeling his mentor sort of overshadows the grandness of her other accomplishments (and I’m taking screenshots of every moment Maya is helpful, of which Phoenix lacks the privilege of, being a character in a video game), but even when she wasn’t in her insecure, try-hard state she was amazingly resourceful throughout. I know it’s a common complaint that Maya never really reaches her full potential as a medium in the trilogy, but it’s one of the things I like about her, and why she’s my favorite of the assistants. I don’t want to imply the other assistants were gimmicky (especially not Athena, who I love), but I really liked the fact that Maya wasn’t wholly dependent on a gimmick (channeling her sister, connecting with the dead) but used clever, thoughtful thinking to help you out. I like that most of her resourcefulness comes from her character, in other words. (Still want to see—or better yet, play as her as a full-fledged Kurain Master dealing with the dead.)
I’ve rambled this long and I haven’t even discussed my favorite parts of this case yet! Manfred von Karma is a fantastic villain, far and away my favorite of the series, and one of my all-time favorite villains in general. He’s hammy and hilarious, but also dignified when it comes to accepting defeat, even after his breakdown. And it’s not so much the character himself, as it is his relations with others that are endlessly fascinating. He comes up with these deeply twisted plans and knows how to find a weakness in a person and exploit it, but he also has a family, and seeing himself reflected through his family in these unique ways is really interesting.
The relationship between Manfred and Edgeworth is one of the most fascinating things in the series to me, in terms of what’s presented, what’s up for speculation, and the more subtle things in between. On a surface level, it’s just fascinating (and creepy) to see a man so bent on revenge, ensuring that he’ll get away with the perfect crime, and harboring such a deep grudge that he decides to take in the child of the person he murdered, mold him into another version of himself, and eventually plan on getting him the death sentence by way of being framed for the first murder in the case, or the murder of his own father. It still blows my mind, seven years later, just how many glorious levels of fucked up it is. Manfred’s breakdown ranting about how Edgeworth and his father are his curse and he’ll bury him with his bare hands just seals it.
But then there’s even more to be said beyond just that. I think, possibly even more fascinating than Manfred’s twisted revenge scheme, is Edgeworth’s complete, utter respect—I’d even go as far as to call it “worship,” given the number of times he refers to him as a god—for him, and just how much control that gives Manfred has over him. Edgeworth shows no shock or anger over his own teacher and foster father prosecuting against him, he just accepts it. Partly out of guilt for sincerely believing that he’d murdered his father, but also, I believe, partly out of utmost respect for his teacher.
I also believe he suffered a co-dependency problem from it, much like Adrian Andrews in JFA, and I think one scene almost implicitly confirms it, but I suppose I’ll discuss that when I reach the case.
Interestingly, that brings me to why I’m skipping Rise from the Ashes this time around! This is mostly so I can see the game’s story as it was originally presented when released on GBA (where the bonus case didn’t exist), and see how he events feel when they transpire after Turnabout Goodbyes. I’ve already sort of made up my mind that, while I enjoy Rise from the Ashes, I much prefer Turnabout Goodbyes as both the ending to the game and a lead-in to JFA. I think, given the events of Turnabout Goodbyes, it’d make sense for Edgeworth to take a leave of absence and even make a declaration of death—at the end of the case, he’s uncertain and clearly uncomfortable about the fact that he became a prosecutor, something he isn’t given any reassurance or closure for, on top of being confronted by a childhood friend and having to re-examine his methods and morals that he once firmly believed in, reliving the memories of the DL-6 incident, learning that his foster father was using him and exploiting his nightmare for the last 15 years, and—and this is what I believe really made his decision—the implied death sentence given to said foster father who, while despicable, was still someone he’d idolized for years. And I like that it’s not all spelled out—it makes Phoenix’s bitterness at him in JFA all the more understandable since it came out of nowhere and Edgeworth never expressed anything that would indicate he was ready to drive himself to suicide. And..it’s just so much more interesting to speculate about than the hand-fed “He was using forged evidence and never knew about it!” explanation Rise from the Ashes gave.
I do intend on replaying Rise from the Ashes, however! But not until I’ve finished the the three games.
In conclusion, it was a really good idea to replay this because I completely forgot about facts as vital as the Steel Samurai got cancelled for good with only 13 episodes produced.