Ace Attorney (film)

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Ace Attorney
Directed by Takashi Miike
Written by Takeharu Sakurai
Sachiko Ōguchi
Based on Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney 
by Shu Takumi
Starring Hiroki Narimiya
Mirei Kiritani
Takumi Saito
Music by Kōji Endō
Cinematography Masakazu Oka
Distributed by Toho
Release dates
  • 11 February 2012 (2012-02-11) (Japan)
Running time
135 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Box office US$6,145,000

Ace Attorney (逆転裁判 Gyakuten Saiban?, lit. "Turnabout Trial") is a 2012 Japanese courtroom drama and comedy film, directed by Takashi Miike and based on the Capcom video game Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.[1] The film stars Hiroki Narimiya, Mirei Kiritani, and Takumi Saito. It made its premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam on 1 February 2012 and was released in Japanese cinemas on 11 February 2012. The US premiere was made at the Hawaii International Film Festival in April 2012. Miike has stated there are plans for an international release with both dubbing and subtitles available for each specific region.[2]


The court system, burdened by the massive amount of crimes being committed, introduces a new trial system: The Bench Trial System. Both prosecution and defense face each other in open court, and have three days to make their case before the judge renders a verdict.

Rookie defense attorney Phoenix Wright is thrust into the limelight after the murder of his mentor, Mia Fey. The accused murderer is Mia's younger sister, Maya Fey, who comes from a family line of spirit mediums. Wright faces off with childhood friend and rival prosecutor Miles Edgeworth on the case. The case hinges on the testimony of a witness (Redd White), who claims to have seen Mia being killed by Maya after the latter comes to Mia's office one night. However, White's testimony is put into doubt after Wright points out inconsistencies in his testimony and proves he is the murderer via a lamp purchase Mia made earlier that day that couldn't have been known by the witness. Maya is subsequently found Not Guilty of the crime.

After getting Maya acquitted of the crime, Wright helps to defend Miles Edgeworth after he is accused of the murder of an attorney (Robert Hammond) at a lake. Evidence and witness testimony (mostly from a mysterious boat renter) suggests that Miles Edgeworth is the killer of Hammond. But the case takes an unexpected turn as Wright unravels a related 15-year-old mystery concerning the DL-6 case, which focuses on Miles' father Gregory Edgeworth. Gregory was found murdered in the court's basement evidence locker room; Yanni Yogi, a Court Bailiff, is initially accused of murdering Gregory Edgeworth after discovering Gregory allegedly tampering with a gun used as evidence in a case. He is coerced into pleading not guilty by reason of insanity by Hammond in killing Gregory with the gun. The DL-6 case destroys Yogi's life to the point where his wife commits suicide and he reverts to living as a hermit renting out boats on a lake. One day, Yogi receives a package, and is prompted to take revenge on those that destroyed his life, namely Robert Hammond and the son of Gregory Edgeworth, Miles Edgeworth. He sets up the ruse by luring both Hammond and Miles to the lake where he kills Hammond and frames Miles for the crime. Yogi confesses to the ruse in open court, but Miles surprisingly admits in open court he murdered his father, not Yogi. Miles at the time was a young child, and he claims that he saw his father tampering with the gun, but blanked out during the confrontation with Yogi and Gregory thinking he shot his father.

The admission by Miles focuses new attention on the DL-6 case. Wright manages to prove in court that Miles did not kill his father and uncovers evidence that Prosecutor Manfred von Karma had committed perjury and killed Gregory Edgeworth. However, key evidence in the form of the gun that Gregory Edgeworth thought was tampered with and killed with is missing to prove this theory. Mia Fey's notes on the DL-6 case and a timely discovery of the bullet that killed Gregory Edgeworth hidden in a clock statue of The Thinker, which was used to kill Mia after she took the bullet evidence, help proves von Karma's crime and unravels the mystery.

Gregory Edgeworth was defeated in a case against von Karma due to bullet evidence which proved a 100% match. Not satisfied with the result, Gregory breaks into the evidence room to inspect the gun, which had two remaining bullets. Yogi discovers Gregory holding the gun and thinking he was tampering with evidence, scuffles with the attorney for the gun. Miles, following his father, tries to break up the fight by biting Yogi in the arm and throwing the gun to his father, but is knocked unconscious after he is sent crashing into some nearby shelving. von Karma, looking on from the evidence room door, is hit by a stray bullet from the gun that was thrown by Miles, which lodges into his shoulder. Gregory manages to subdue Yogi, but is shot by von Karma in the back. Wright, using a metal detector, proves that there is a bullet lodged in von Karma's shoulder and surmises that the bullet used to kill Gregory will match the bullet in von Karma's shoulder and prove the bullet evidence in the original case was fake. von Karma becomes incredulous at the accusation and reveals his desire to maintaining a perfect conviction record, which he will take any measures to attain. He reveals his setup of Miles in taking the fall for the death of Hammond, using Yogi and White to help him attain the ruse. He is subsequently arrested for the crime of murdering Gregory Edgeworth.

On the 4th day of the trial, Miles Edgeworth is found not guilty of all crimes. Wright vows to help defend Yanni Yogi of his crimes, while Maya returns home.

A sideplot in the film covers the childhood between friends Wright, Edgeworth, and Larry Butz. When Wright is accused of stealing classroom money, Edgeworth rises to defend him, along with Butz. This event is cited by Wright to Maya as the reason why he became a lawyer. However, the case remains unsolved for many years until a timely prodding by Maya near the end of the film reveals Butz stole the money to buy a plastic model.


  • Hiroki Narimiya as Ryuichi Naruhodo (成歩堂 龍一 Naruhodō Ryūichi?)/Phoenix Wright
  • Mirei Kiritani as Mayoi Ayasato (綾里 真宵 Ayasato Mayoi?)/Maya Fey
  • Takumi Saito as Reiji Mitsurugi (御剣 怜侍 Mitsurugi Reiji?)/Miles Edgeworth
  • Rei Dan as Chihiro Ayasato (綾里 千尋 Ayasato Chihiro?)/Mia Fey
  • Shunsuke Daito as Keisuke Itonokogiri (糸鋸 圭介 Itonokogiri Keisuke?)/Dick Gumshoe
  • Akiyoshi Nakao as Masashi Yahari (矢張 政志 Yahari Masashi?)/Larry Butz
  • Ryo Ishibashi as Go Karma (狩魔 豪 Karuma Gō?)/Manfred von Karma
  • Akira Emoto as The Judge (裁判長 Saibanchō?)/The Judge
  • Mitsuki Tanimura as Natsumi Oosawagi (大沢木 ナツミ Ōsawagi Natsumi?)/Lotta Hart
  • Takehiro Hira as Shin Mitsurugi (御剣 信 Mitsurugi Shin?)/Gregory Edgeworth
  • Eisuke Sasai as Yukio Namakura (生倉雪夫 Namakura Yukio?)/Robert Hammond
  • Makoto Ayukawa as Masaru Konaka (小中 大 Konaka Masaru?)/Redd White
  • Kimiko Yo as Maiko Ayasato (綾里 舞子 Ayasato Maiko?)/Misty Fey
  • Fumiyo Kohinata as Kotaro Haine (灰根 高太郎 Haine Kōtarō?)/Yanni Yogi


The music for Ace Attorney was composed by Kōji Endō (ja), known for scoring other films by Takashi Miike. For the soundtrack, Endō chose to utilize various themes by Masakazu Sugimori from the original video game and re-arranged them for an ensemble consisting of strings, oboe, clarinet, horn, trumpet, and a choir. Additional background music was also newly composed. The soundtrack was later released on CD to tie in with the movie.[3] The film's theme song, "2012Spark", was composed and performed by the Japanese male rock group Porno Graffitti.[4]


The movie made its world premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam on 1 February 2012[5] with a release in Japanese cinemas on 11 February 2012.[1] The film made its US premiere at the Hawaii International Film Festival in April 2012.[6][7]


The movie earned over US$1,547,000 in its opening weekend, grossing over US$6,145,000 during its theatrical run.[8]

Reviews have been mixed to positive. Richard Eisenbeis of Kotaku praised the movie, calling it "the best video game movie ever."[9] Jay Weissberg of Variety referred to the film as a "dull production" that was "criminally long and generally lacking in [Miike's] playful visual hyperbole."[10] Wilma Jandoc of the Honolulu Star Advertiser lamented that the film could not easily translate the sillier aspects of the game into the movie, but contended that a viewer not privy to the video game series could be entertained if they focused on the more mystery/crime side of the movie and ignored the sillier parts.[11]

Home video[edit]

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 22 August 2012 in Japan,[12] and on 17 April 2013 in Australia.[13] In Germany, the film was released by Koch Media on DVD and Blu-ray on 14 June 2013.[14]


External links[edit]