Thursday, May 10, 2018

Ace Attorney and the Lion Lilies: Parental Bonds #1

This article will spoil just about everything there is to spoil about the Ace Attorney series, including Ace Attorney Investigations 2. If you haven't played them yet, I strongly recommend that you do so first. I will be using names from AAI2's unofficial fan translation for this article.

Back in 2011, Capcom released Gyakuten Kenji 2, also known as Ace Attorney Investigations 2: Prosecutor's Path. Though it never got an official English release, people who played the game or its fan translation quickly came to agree that it was one of the series' best. 

The bond between parents and their children was a prevalent theme in Ace Attorney Investigations 2. This inspired me to look into just how present the theme really is in the game as well as the games that came before it. I'm going to start with the latter and build towards AAI2. Let's go on a quick journey through the series and pay homage to the moms and dads of Ace Attorney.

The Misty Circumstances of DL-6

The DL-6 incident is a pivotal moment for the Ace Attorney series, the ramifications of which are felt throughout the entire series. The theme of parental bonds is strongly present in this case, most obviously because it is the case in which Miles Edgeworth's father, Gregory Edgeworth, was killed. The killer, Manfred von Karma, then takes Miles under his wing and raises him to stray from his father's path. Gregory Edgeworth was a righteous defense attorney who sought the truth, but Manfred von Karma raises Miles to be a prosecutor whose main goal is to achieve 'guilty' verdicts.

This part of Miles Edgeworth's story is a very important factor in understanding the brilliance of AAI2, but another part of DL-6 isn't talked about as much: The involvement of Misty Fey, Maya's mother. Just as Miles inherits his father's final case in The Inherited Turnabout, Maya - in a sense - inherits DL-6 from her mother.

Misty Fey channeled Gregory Edgeworth, but the person she then accused of his murder turned out to be innocent. This failure is what caused the Fey family to lose much its reputation and caused Misty to go into hiding, leaving Maya to pick up the pieces. And she does indeed, getting herself held in contempt of court just to save Edgeworth and stealing the final piece of evidence back from Von Karma.

In supporting Phoenix, she succeeds where her mother failed. Maya's support is so impactful that, according to Gumshoe, it made Edgeworth's lip tremble.

I think it's very powerful that Maya gets to finish what her mother once started by wrapping up DL-6 for the better.

Morgan Fey, Worst Mother Ever 

The Fey family is shown to be quite dysfunctional, and Morgan Fey the clearest example. She tries to frame Maya for a murder to establish her daugher, Pearl, as the new Master of the Kurain Channeling Technique. If we did top 10 lists on this blog, Morgan Fey would easily earn the top spot in a 'top 10 bad parents.' One of her children ends up as a serial killer and is executed, another becomes an accomplice to murder and is arrested and she very nearly makes a murderer of Pearl as well. Her attempt to use Pearl as a tool to get back at Misty is what sets the events of Bridge to the Turnabout in motion and leads to the untimely death of Maya's mother. 

The difference between Morgan and Misty is quite apparent. Misty came out of hiding to protect her daughter and her niece, and ends up dying to achieve that end. Morgan used her daughter as tool to channel her other deceased daughter in an effort to kill her niece for completely selfish reasons. 

Maya and her mother had become estranged, but at the very end, it's revealed that the talisman Misty always carried - the thing that gave her strength - was a picture of her two daughters when they were young.

And the Rest

The Fey family plays an important part in the series' overarching storyline, but there are many more parental figures on a smaller scale. They don't impact Ace Attorney Investigations 2, so I'll keep this short and sweet.

- Turnabout Big Top's Russell Berry is Regina Berry's father as well as a father figure to Acro and Bat. He dies by walking into a trap intended for his daughter.

- Viola Cadaverini, a minor character in Recipe for Turnabout, is considered a threat by Furio Tigre due to her doting grandfather Bruto. Her grandfather throwing his weight around is the only reason Furio pays for her life saving surgery.

- Zak Gramarye is Trucy's father and an all around terrible person. He abandons her, leaving Phoenix to raise her instead.

- Lamiroir is Apollo and Trucy's mother, but she has lost her memory. As of yet, Phoenix still hasn't revealed this fact to Apollo and Trucy.

- Drew and Vera Misham are forgers, though Vera does most of the work. They are both poisoned, but only Vera survives. 

- Similarly, Wocky Kitaki's parents from Turnabout Corner ask Apollo to defend him. Interestingly, Wocky also needs life saving surgery.

Hidden in Plain View

And that ultimately brings us to Ace Attorney Investigations 2.

Ace Attorney Investigations 2's theme of the bond between parent and child is presented in an interesting way. To those who have finished the game, it should be obvious that such a theme was prevalent throughout the whole game, yet someone experiencing the game for the first time might not realize it until they reach the final case. The story focuses mainly on Edgeworth's struggle on the Prosecutor's Path, which his father's position as a defense attorney plays a major role in, but other characters' bonds between their children or parents are only discussed later.

In Ace Attorney Investigations 2's fifth and final case, 'The Grand Turnabout,' all unsolved affairs and out-of-place elements from past cases are suddenly revealed to be significant. This is in no small part because it reveals many parent-child relationships that had been hidden thus far, like Justine's adopted son John. It really solidifies the presence of this theme by introducing a flower, the Lion Lilies, which are explicitly stated to represent the bond between parent and child.

source: ZSlyzer on YouTube

But I want to start from the beginning of the game to really explain just how well AAI2 plays with this theme that has long been present in the series. Please join me in the next part when we examine the theme of parental bond in Ace Attorney Investigations 2, case by case.

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