I’m glad Ace Attorney took a one-week break before season 2 started, but my review for the latest episode still ended up late. First Impressions and packing to move overseas will do that to you.
Naruhodou gets a strange request from a doctor named Kirisaki – he has to accompany him to a seance in Kurain Village – home of the Ayasato school of spirit channeling. His appointed channeler is Mayoi – who apparently requested that Naruhodou be there. The reason for the channeling? There has been a massive scandal lately in which a nurse at Kirisaki’s hospital allegedly caused the death of a number of patients through malpractice – and died in a car crash shortly after. Tabloids are abuzz with rumours that Kirisaki was the real cause of the malpractice and that he had murdered the nurse to silence her. Therefore, the only logical solution to clear his name is to summon her dead spirit and get her to confess that it really was her fault. Look, it’s Ace Attorney, ok?
But because it’s Ace Attorney, this doesn’t go well – shortly after the channeling begins, gunshots are heard. Kirisaki is found dead and Mayoi with a gun in her hand, speaking in the voice of the chanelled spirit. Since it was a sealed chamber that only the client -Kirisaki – and the spirit medium – Mayoi – were allowed to enter, Mayoi is immediately arrested for murder for the second time in her life. But does Mayoi really count as the murderer if she was possessed…? Or was it maybe not the spirit that caused the murder at all?
Naruhodou is immediately on the case and has three potential witnesses and/or suspects present: Mayoi’s aunt Kimiko, Kimiko’s daughter and Mayoi’s cousin Harumi (AKA ‘Pearl’), a student staying as a guest in the temple’s annex and also the sister of the deceased nurse – Nodoka Hanaka, and everyone’s favourite camera-weilding bumpkin Natsumi.
I’m really glad that Ace Attorney has done well enough ratings-wise to secure itself a second cour! It looks like it’s managed to get itself some slightly better production values this time too. The new opening alone is definitely a lot crisper and more vibrant than the old one (as well as being loads of fun), and while the animation is still nothing fantastic, it’s not outright awful, which is a step up. Not only that but the second game just has so many moments and characters I’m eager to see animated, and I hope we end up with the trilogy at the very least.
Anyway, a lot of people complained that the anime has skipped the first case of the second game and gone straight to the second. This is good and bad – the first case is a tutorial case after all, but it is better than the one in the first game and it also has one of my favourite recurring characters. It might still show up later on, we’ll just have to wait and see. I do think chapter 2’s story is a lot more exciting though.
As with other episodes, there’s some additional parts that work well – showing Naruhodou and Kirisaki travelling to Kurain village by train, for example, is a nice way to frame their conversation rather than the static ‘standing in office’ the game had, and Harumi spying on them from the bushes was really cute. The scenes with Mayoi – some of which were new – had this real sense of suspenseful foreboding that I really liked. It was interesting that they showed a bunch of other girls at the temple too, though – as none of those are present in the game – but it does make sense, and possibly the only reason they aren’t in the game is because of the limited cartridge space it had.
Another difference I didn’t notice till after when someone pointed it out is that Naruhodou does not acquire the ‘magetama’, which was crucial in being able to talk to Harumi, who is far too shy at first in the game. The ‘magetama’ is a special stone that allows Naruhodou to see when characters are hiding secrets, represented as giant locks. I definitely understand if they want to get rid of these super gamey mechanics as its hard to make it not look too video gamey in anime form, and I’m kind of thankful they’re not going the DanganRonpa route there, but it does make me wonder how they’re going to show Naruhodou realising who is hiding things without it. I’m worried it will make him seem too ‘smart’, which isn’t really him. We’ll see.