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 (Japanese: 逆転裁判 Hepburn: 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.

Shortly after winning his first case, proving his best friend Larry Butz innocent of murder, 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. After some cross examination of a witness and interpretation of evidence at the crime scene, Maya is subsequently found not guilty of the crime.

Wright explains to Maya that he became a lawyer because Edgeworth and Butz defended him when he was accused of stealing money as a child, and offers to defend Edgeworth when he is accused of the murder of attorney Robert Hammond at a lake, with Edgeworth's mentor Manfred von Karma acting as prosecutor. 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 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 ultimately destroys Yogi's life, where he resorts to living as a hermit. A package arrives to egg Yogi to take revenge, namely setting up the murder of Hammond by Miles. Yogi confesses to the ruse in open court, but Miles admits he murdered his father, not Yogi.

The admission by Edgeworth focuses new attention on the DL-6 case. Wright manages to prove in court that Edgeworth did not kill his father, and he uncovers evidence that von Karma had committed perjury and killed Gregory. However, key evidence in the form of the gun that Gregory 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 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. Von Karma has a breakdown in court and is subsequently arrested for the crime of murdering Gregory, and Miles is acquitted of all crimes. Wright vows to help defend Yogi of his crimes, while Butz admits to stealing the money when they were children and Maya returns home.



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 use various themes by Masakazu Sugimori from the original video game and re-arranged them for an ensemble consisting of a string orchestra, an oboe, a clarinet, two French horns, a 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]


  1. ^ a b 逆転裁判. (in Japanese). Retrieved 27 May 2011. 
  2. ^ Fletcher, JC. "Miike: Ace Attorney movie being localized for worldwide release". Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  3. ^ "Gyakuten Saiban Movie Original Soundtrack". Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  4. ^ "Porno Graffitti to Perform Ace Attorney Theme Song". Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  5. ^ "Director Miike: Ace Attorney Film Will See Int'l Release". Anime News Network. 
  6. ^ "Hawaiian Film Festival Screens Ace Attorney, Always: Sunset on Third Street '64 Films". Anime News Network. 
  7. ^ "ACE ATTORNEY - 2012 Spring Showcase". Hawaii International Film Festival. 
  8. ^ "Gyakuten saiban (Ace Attorney) (2012)". Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  9. ^ Richard Eisenbeis. "Ace Attorney Is the Best Video Game Movie Ever (Take That, Hollywood!)". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  10. ^ Weissberg, Jay (29 January 2012). "Ace Attorney". Variety. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  11. ^ Jandoc, Wilma (13 April 2012). ""Ace Attorney," the review: Turnabout perception". Honolulu Star Advertiser. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Ace Attorney". Madman Entertainment. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  14. ^ "Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (Blu-Ray)". Retrieved 16 June 2013. 

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