Franziska von Karma
|Franziska von Karma|
|Ace Attorney character|
Franziska von Karma, as she appears in Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth.
|First game||Gyakuten Saiban 2 (Remade as Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All for the Nintendo DS)|
|Voiced by||Janet Hsu|
Franziska von Karma, known as Mei Karuma (狩魔 冥 Karuma Mei ) in Japan, is a fictional character in the Ace Attorney series. She is a prosecuting attorney, first appearing in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All. She later appears in the sequel Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations and the spin-off, Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth. She is the daughter of Manfred von Karma, an antagonist from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. She wears regal clothing, notably wielding a whip which she uses frequently in and out of court on other characters. The producer of Justice for All described her as a "cute girl" and as a "shocking character," while Janet Hsu, a member of the localization team for the series and her voice actress, commented that she was one of her favourite characters to write for, commenting that she "has a lot more depth than people give her credit for."
Since appearing in Justice for All, Franziska has received mixed reception. While Game Informer described her as one of the "series' mainstays" and GamesRadar praised her as one of the most attractive females in video games from 2000 to 2010, she has been criticized for her personality and behaviour. She has also been considered humorous by UGO Networks.
Minae Matsukawa, producer of Justice for All, described Franziska as a "cute girl" and a "shocking character." One of the localization team members, Janet Hsu, who also voiced her in English, commented that Franziska was one of her favourite characters to write, commenting that she "has a lot more depth than people give her credit for." She has short, silver hair, and pale white skin. She wears regal clothing, including a bow and a dress suit. She also wears nylons, small boots, gloves, and earrings. She wields a brown whip, which she periodically uses on other characters in response to becoming frustrated by them.
Franziska first appears in Justice for All as an antagonist to protagonist Phoenix Wright, specifically in the second episode. She is a prodigy prosecuting attorney, becoming an attorney in Germany at the age of 13, going undefeated until she was 18. She seeks to get revenge on Phoenix, who presumes this to be because he defeated her father, Manfred von Karma. She is typically seen holding a whip and using it on others, in and out of court. She tends to use the word "fool" to describe others, and has a cold personality. He defeats her in two trials, causing her great frustration. In the original Japanese version of the game, she lived in the United States rather than Germany.
She is incapacitated during episode four, preventing her from presiding over the trial. When Edgeworth returns, it is revealed that her motive for defeating Phoenix was to shame Edgeworth, by defeating someone that he could not. However, near the end, she aides in the trial by bringing in a crucial piece of evidence that helps convict Phoenix's client, who was blackmailing Phoenix into getting himself acquitted. She becomes angry that Phoenix is glad with the events of the trial even though he lost, which Edgeworth criticizes her for. As a result, she storms out, leaving her whip behind. When Edgeworth returns it, she breaks down into tears.
She appears in the final episode of Trials and Tribulations, assisting both Phoenix and Edgeworth. She appeared in Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, initially acting antagonistically towards Edgeworth. The game also shows events occurring seven years prior to the events of Ace Attorney Investigations where she is accompanied by Miles Edgeworth and Manfred von Karma. In the final episode, she acts as the head of embassy security detail at a foreign embassy, where she and Edgeworth work together to unravel a criminal organization and a 10-year old mystery. So, as the general story progresses, she makes the transition from antagonist to protagonist, though her attitude and personality remain much the same.
She was slated to appear in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars along with Phoenix Wright. However, they had trouble with one of the signature attacks, which was to yell "Igiari!" ("Objection!" in English). The letters would be used to attack opponents; however, when translated into English, it would require that it be changed into a nine-letter word from a four-letter word, and unbalance the game. In discussing her possibilities as a fighting game character in general, Takeshi Yamazaki, director of Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, commented that Franziska would be easy to include in a fighting game if they used her whip. She also appears as a card in SNK vs. Capcom Card Fighters DS and in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3's Heroes and Heralds Mode along with a costume for Maya Fey based on her outfit.
Since appearing in Justice for All, Franziska von Karma has received mixed reception. Game Informer called her one of the "series mainstays." GamesRadar named Franziska "Miss 2007", calling her one of the sexiest new video game characters from 2000-2009. They commented that while her aggressive, cruel attitude is sexy for sadomasochists, the vulnerability of her character is what made her so alluring. They cite her young age, as well as her viciousness, stemming from her desire to "prove her worth in the legal profession and to avenge her formerly famous, now disgraced father." They also called her one of the top 20 overlooked game babes, again citing her "S&M overtones" as well as a "Star Trek bouffant" for why she may be overlooked. GamesRadar editor Mikel Reparaz commented that Franziska was a "cool addition - at least at first." He adds that as she progresses, she becomes "more obnoxious as her unyielding 'I am perfect' schtick plays out." Matthew Castle of NGamer UK agreed, commenting that fellow series prosecutor Godot was a "breath of fresh air" compared to Franziska, calling her actions "rather tiresome whip-cracking theatrics." Nintendo World Report editor Michael Cole similarly preferred Godot to Franziska, stating that Godot's "rugged, confident attitude and biting retorts" were "far more satisfying" than her "shallow ramblings." UGO Networks editor Mitchell Saltzman commented that Franziska's whip "will lead to many hilarious moments whenever you do something stupid or particularly damaging to her case." Eurogamer editor John Walker commented that both Franziska and her father are "deeply sinister."
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