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 appears as the prosecutor in the initial investigation in episode four, but is incapacitated after being shot in the shoulder by assassin Shelly De Killer (an unsolicited "favor" to Wright), preventing her from presiding over the trial. When Edgeworth returns and replaces her as the prosecution, 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 Phoenix convict his own client (who was blackmailing Phoenix into getting himself acquitted) while also saving Maya Fey's life . 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. When Wright was hospitalized after falling off of a bridge (and with Godot no where to be found), Edgeworth was convinced to take on Phoenix's role, arranging for Franziska to be prosecutor in the process. Though Franziska was glad for the opportunity to defeat Edgeworth, she was unable to and was replaced by Godot on the second day of the trial. Nevertheless, she continued to provide on-and-off assistance in the investigation, spending many hours working on puzzle locks to free Iris (believed at the time to be Maya) from a cave. Franziska appeared in the second episode of Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth working with Interpol, initially acting antagonistically towards Edgeworth, as he had been accused of murdering an Interpol agent she was supposed to meet with. 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 at the age of 13. 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 massive smuggling ring. At one point, Edgeworth temporarily becomes her subordinate in order to get access to a crime scene, a position she relishes. Later, Interpol agent Shi-Long Lang accuses Franziska of murder in order to allow Edgeworth a second chance to investigate Ambassador Quercus Alba's office. Though offended, Franziska acknowledges the necessity of Lang's actions and helps Lang and Edgeworth in their final confrontation, completing her series-long transition from antagonist to protagonist, (though her attitude and personality remain much the same). She also appeared in the final two cases of the sequel, "Gyakuten Kenji 2" first investigating rumors of a black market auction selling evidence from old cases. She later ends up prosecuting the case against the murderer of the second episode, Marī Miwa, and supports Edgeworth in his final confrontation of the game.
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." Janet Hsu, a member of Justice for All 's localization team, enjoyed writing Franziska's dialogue the most (along with Adrian Andrews') and said that she had "more depth than people give her credit for." Senior Microsoft Editor for GamesRadar Charlie Barratt stated that his "current gaming crush" was Franziska. Kotaku's Richard Eisenbeis called Franziska's performer in the musical Ace Attorney 2: Truth Resurrected Again the "breakout star" due to her mastery of the whip.
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