The vicious Prosecutor Karuma promises to show no mercy in court, even when the defendant is his foster son Mitsurugi. The first testimony, Detective Keisuke’s, seems decisively in Karuma’s favor. Naruhodou gives a poor showing, revealing a lack of knowledge about ballistic markings on bullets.
Next, Natsumi gives her eyewitness testimony. Her photograph seems to close the case, having apparently captured the moment of the murder. Karuma backs Naruhodou into a corner, allowing him to ask only a single question during his cross-examination. His question is deemed worthless, and Karuma attempts to end the trial. Surprisingly, Mayoi objects, pointing out that Natsumi’s testimony is full of holes. Karuma holds Mayoi in contempt of court, but Naruhodou is allowed to continue his cross-examination as Natsumi had given new information in her response to his question.
Naruhodou gets Natsumi to admit that she didn’t actually see the boat herself, as she was busy looking for the creature “Hyosshi”. She claims that an enlargement of her photograph proves her testimony correct, but Karuma is strangely resistant to allowing the enlargement to be shown. Surprisingly, the judge overrules him. Naruhodou quickly points out the contradiction in the enlarged photograph: the prints on the gun are from Mitsurugi’s right hand, but the man in the photo is shooting with his left. Due to the new evidence, the judge suspends the trial for the day.
Naruhodou visits the lake again to find Detective Keisuke scanning with a metal detector. He gives it to Mayoi. While she “investigates,” Naruhodou encounters Natsumi, who apologizes for her behavior in court. Working together, Naruhodou, Mayoi and Natsumi discover that “Hyosshi” was actually a runaway Steel Samurai balloon which Yahari was trying to inflate with an air tank. Her big scoop ruined, Natsumi sets off, determined to find another story to chase. Before she leaves, she gives Naruhodou the other picture her camera took the night of the murder, which shows only the empty lake. She also encourages them to question the owner of the boat rental facility, a seemingly senile old man with a rather….unique pet parrot.
One thing I can say for this episode is that it accurately captures the feeling of playing through this chunk of trial in the game: that is, UTTER AND COMPLETE FRUSTRATION. From Karuma objecting at every turn to his basically-stranglehold over the judge to the awful “single question cross-examination,” this is one of the most downright annoying trials to play in the entire series – and, surprisingly, the anime pulled it off very well. It’s easy to sympathize with Naruhodou as his expression grows more and more defeated. Facing Karuma is an entirely different experience than facing Mitsurugi, and this adaptation does a great job of portraying that. And Mayoi standing up to Karuma is such a wonderful moment – I’m so glad it was kept in!
Unfortunately, this episode did also showcase a downfall of the anime. Because it has less time in which to introduce all the evidence in a given case, sometimes the pieces that end up being important/decisive are hammily over-emphasized. I felt that this happened a couple of times in this episode, especially when the judge is forced to explain the concept of ballistic markings to Naruhodou. I mean, I know he’s supposed to be a rookie lawyer, but it’s hard believe someone who earned a lawyer’s badge and won several trials really doesn’t know what ballistic markings are. The explanation seemed very shoehorned in for the audience’s sake. Might as well have had a THIS WILL BE IMPORTANT LATER sign flashing on the screen.
Lastly, I will definitely commend the show for its handling of Natsumi. Like Ooba, she’s one of the more over-the-top witnesses, and it can come across as a little too much as the two characters appear in subsequent cases. However, by making Natsumi more straightforward and less abrasive (while certainly still goofy!) she actually came across as a mildly sympathetic character, especially when the existence of “Hyosshi” was debunked. She felt less like padding to fill out the case and more like a genuine character who had some great interactions with our dynamic lawyer duo. As she becomes a bit of a recurring character later, I’m glad the show made that decision.
Overall, a solid episode that did a particular exceptional job at translating the concept of “increased game difficulty” on screen. While next episode does head right back to court, I’m actually quite looking forward to it – we’re getting close to one of the most memorable cross-examinations in Ace Attorney history.
Out of 5 Dios: