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The fourth game of the Ace Attorney series, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney shifts the focus from Phoenix Wright to Apollo Justice, a lawyer with his own quirks and an obsession with following in Phoenix's footsteps. The setting also moved ahead roughly seven years, dumping the previous cast members and introducing new ones such as Trucy Wright, Phoenix's adopted daughter and Apollo's assistant. It proved to be as critically and commercially successful as the earlier games, which are now unofficially dubbed the "Phoenix Arc" by series' fans.
A character sheet for the whole series can be found here.
- Affectionate Parody: Apollo Justice often pokes fun at the very series it belongs to, most noticeably when Apollo spends the start of his first trial gearing himself up to bellow the series Catch Phrase ("Objection!") and then gets reprimanded when he finally does so for yelling in court.
- Air Guitar: Klavier's gimmick; it even sounds like a real guitar when he does it.
- "For a second, I could SEE the guitar!"
- Alliteration: During the second case, when Apollo can examine the DVD cases stacked around Phoenix's hospital bed.
Apollo: It's a swaying, spiraling stack of DVD cases. Better stay away or it'll become a crashing, cascading cavalcade of DVD cases.
- Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: During Perceive segments.
- Amoral Attorney: Kristoph Gavin. Given the series tradition for them, it was a surprise when Klavier Gavin appeared and he actually didn't follow this trope.
- Anachronic Order: The last case takes you back seven years to Phoenix's last trial, and makes you jump between the present and seven years ago in a "game" of sorts.
- And the Adventure Continues...:
Apollo: ...And that's pretty much the end of my story. For now, anyway. I've still got a long way to go. And this power of mine... well, it needs some work. But... there's hope now. We'd lost it, but somehow, we found it again. That's why people are smiling again... Hope. Yeah, I think I'll keep at this lawyer thing for a while. Oops, training time. Gotta go. Chords of Steel... here comes Justice!
- Anime Hair: Daryan has a 'do that's oddly suggestive (Fan Nickname: Dickhead), Drew Misham's looks like half of its hair was frozen at an angle from its head in the shape of a painting brush, and the Gavin brothers' hair forms a G at the side while the lower part forms a drill. This trope also gets subverted in the case of Apollo's hairstyle: Apollo himself actually said that he used hair gel when Olga refused to testify due to being scared by his 'demonic horns'.
- Apron Matron: Plum Kitaki.
- Arc Words: Any variation on "seven years ago". Apollo even lampshades how often it comes up.
- Asshole Victim: Pal Meraktis from Case 2.
- Zak Gramarye — see Jerkass, below.
- Back for the Finale: Kristoph.
- Batman Gambit: During the final case, it is revealed that Phoenix has been working on the same case for the last seven years, manipulating Apollo into using forged evidence as well as getting Kristoph arrested, and then setting up the entire Jurist System in order to make sure Kristoph finally gets implicated for the forgeries and the murder of Drew Misham. It could be argued that this resulted in an inverted case of Hijacked by Ganon from Phoenix.
- Big Bad: Kristoph.
- Big Screwed-Up Family: The Gramarye family.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: Kristoph Gavin, period.
- Averted with Klavier Gavin.
- Born Lucky: Completely averted in Case 4: the "crucial evidence" that Phoenix thinks will help him win his case actually proves to be forged and gets him disbarred for fraud.
- Then again, he gets hit by a SPEEDING CAR in 4-2, flies THIRTY FEET, crashed into a lamppost, and walked away with nothing more than a sprained ankle.
- Bottomless Magazines: Ema Skye also seems to have a bottomless bag of snacks. Humorously subverted at one point, when Apollo tries questioning her. An annoyed Ema threatens to bean him with more snacks, but he reminds her that she'd eventually run out. Ema concedes the point and answers his questions.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: During the introduction of the Jurist System, Kristoph objects, wanting to keep the "riff-raff" out. After a pull back to behind the witness stand, everybody looks at the camera. Justified as Apollo says it's actually the jurors watching.
- Brick Joke: In the first case, any time you expose a contradiction in Olga Orly's testimony, the bowl she holds flies up in the air, and she moves to catch each individual piece, including the lobster it contains. The last time you do this after she reveals her True Colors, they all fall to the ground. Later that case, you finally corner Kristoph Gavin inescapably, and his freakout animation is so powerful it summons the bowl and lobster back upwards momentarily.
- Character Tics: Actually a gameplay element, as Apollo has the ability to "Perceive" character tics that reveal when a witness is obfuscating the truth.
- Chekhov's Boomerang: The object that proved a man guilty of theft a thirdway through and finally proved who the real murderer was at the end of the second case was a pair of panties. Your 15-year old sidekick's panties, no less. To avoid the squick, we shall note she does not wear them as they are far too large for her and are used as a prop in her magic acts where she produces items like a frozen turkey or a broom from them. This is suitably lampshaded: "Panties! Again?!"
- The reason he stole them wasn't because he was a pervert (or so he says). It was because he wanted to know how she did it. As he put it: For Science!
- The Chessmaster: Phoenix Wright, of all people. The increase in his competence and intelligence when free from the control of the player is staggering.
- It's not necessarily an increase in competence, but the fact that he's spent seven years on the same case gives him incredible insight into what actually happened. He just can't do anything about it, and has to pass it over to Apollo without simply giving him the answer.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Arguably Edgeworth and Pearl.
- Maya also fits here for the same reason, though it does hint at her in the second case when Phoenix mentions that this "kid" he knows keeps sending him children's action hero shows.
- Chunky Updraft: Part of the first Freak-Out sequence, but with a lobster instead of the usual chunks of rock.
- Comically Missing the Point: When Spark Brushel uses his journalistic lingo to say a "Star falls", Trucy interprets it literally by pointing out that there's no gravity in space, and she finds it hard to believe that a star could fall. Apollo lampshades this by asking if that's really the point here.
- Completely Unnecessary Translator: Lamiroir didn't need the help.
- Also, Machi. Although he isn't completely fluent in English.
- Continuity Nod: Look closely at every scene. You'll see subtle references to old characters. In Case 2, you can see Wendy Oldbag trying to climb over the fence to get into the closed park. It's never said, but it so something she would do. Also in Nick's hospital room, you see a bunch of Steel Samurai DVDs sent to him by a 'kid' - almost certainly Maya.
- In the cases where you can see the outside of the Sunshine Stadium, you can see Larry in the background. In one scene, he's on a picnic blanket with what appears to be another girlfriend. In another scene, he's in his "Laurice Deauxnim" attire. His sprite's very small, being in the background, but it's almost unmistakable.
- Dandere: Vera Misham is very shy and quiet until you talk about magic.
- Department of Redundancy Department: The "incuritis" article has a headline and sub-headline. They are identical.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Hire some lucky asshole over me because you beat me at cards, will you!? Then I'll ruin his career and kill everybody else connected to this case!
- The Don: "Big Wins" Kitaki; he even looks like Don Corleone.
- Don't Explain the Joke: The "Oh really, Ms. Orly?" joke was milked for all its worth.
- Eccentric Mentor: Phoenix Wright, of all people. His level upped competence after the Phoenix Trilogy Arc and the track of things he has is freaking astounding. The same could be said for his eccentric nature, however.
- Expressive Hair:
- Apollo Justice's hair sags if he's feeling annoyed or depressed.
- Kristoph Gavin's hairdo does quite a spectacular number (specifically, OVER NINE THOOOOUUUUUUSAAAAAAAND! when he finally goes down for the count in the last chapter).
- Daryan Crescend wears his hair in a long, torpedo-like (described in other ways among more dirty-minded fans) pompadour that bounces when he laughs, droops when he's nervous, flails madly like a ricocheting bullet when he snaps, and takes on the appearance of a wet skunk when his brain is finally broken upon being exposed as a killer by Apollo.
- Expy: Klavier is basically Dante if he took up law and rock music instead of demon hunting and was German. He even admits to the party getting crazy at one point.
- Friendly Enemy: Klavier, who takes this to the point where he's almost more friend than enemy.
- Full Motion Video: The first game in the series to have FMV cutscenes, due to not being ported from the Game Boy Advance. Also, there's an extended regular sprite, fully animated, of Klavier playing the air guitar for no logical reason.
- Funny Background Event: The Guitar's Serenade has Klavier desperately trying to put out his burning guitar and seems to throw up his hands in despair before fading out.
- Gambit Roulette: Subverted: the final case initially appears to rely on Kristoph being able to predict the exact time that someone would lick a poisoned postage stamp seven years in advance. Kristoph actually uses the ridiculous nature of events as a defence, stating that no-one would have that much insight. He's right... but Klavier raises the counter-point that, even though it was impossible for Kristoph to predict the chain of events, there was no reason why they couldn't have occurred through pure chance.
- Harsher in Hindsight: In-universe example during Turnabout Succession. One of the first things Gumshoe says to Phoenix in his last trial is "Today's the day, pal. Today, I win, and you lose!" May also crossover with Foreshadowing.
- Hikikomori: Drew Misham and his daughter Vera.
- Hot Mom: Thalassa Gramarye a.k.a. Lamiroir.
- It Makes Sense in Context: A significant portion of the second case of the fourth game requires you to search for a 15-year old girl's panties.
- Jerkass: Zak Gramarye Is A Jerk.
- Jive Turkey: Wocky Kitaki.
- Lamarck Was Right: Apollo and Trucy's Perceive ability.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: If you select "Refresher course, please!" when Kristoph Gavin asks if you want a refresher on cross-examinations, Justice will think "Better safe than sorry, especially this early in the game!".
- Like Brother and Sister: Apollo and Trucy. Which turns out to be not that far from the truth.
Trucy: A lot of people come just to see my panties, you know!
- Living Lie Detector: Apollo and the rest of the Gramarye family.
- Lost Him in a Card Game: This is apparently how Zak Gramarye hires his attorneys.
- Actually, it's not a matter of winning or losing, especially since Zak claims to have only lost twice. At one point, he says that you really get to know a man when you compete with him, so the reason he fired Kristoph after the card game was not because he lost, but because that game was enough for Zak to realize that he was a Complete Monster.
- However, it is somewhat odd that Zak states this fact as though he'd needed an attorney multiple times beforehand...
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Lamiroir is revealed to be Thalassa Gramarye, being both Apollo's and Trucy's mother.
- Played for Laughs after Apollo finds out Drew Misham had been making sketches of his past 3 cases. Ema asks if Drew is Apollo's father, which he immediately writes off.
- Luxury Prison Suite: Kristoph's provides the page picture.
- Made of Iron: Played straight and lampshaded at the beginning of the second case: Phoenix gets hit by a speeding car, flies thirty feet, hits his head on a pole and only suffers a sprained ankle. This is not left unmentioned!
- Magic Realism: Apollo and Trucy have pretty much what could be described as a "mutant power".
- Meanwhile in the Future: Part of the final case.
- Medium Awareness: Happens in Case 3 when an item is added to the inventory, and Trucy notices the message being told to the player.
*Headset attached to Trucy.*
- Motor Mouth: Wesley Stickler.
- Never Suicide: Averted with Magnifi Gramarye.
- Nonstandard Game Over: In Case 4, the verdict is completely your own choice. Voting guilty results in a hung jury, and the defendant dies.
- Not as You Know Them: Phoenix Wright. And to a lesser extent, the much more bitter and grouchy Ema Skye, compared to the bright eyed schoolgirl in her first appearance. With her though, it's just a case of being stuck in a job she hates... the bright eyed schoolgirl is still under there if you manage to get her talking about something she likes.
- Not Proven: Apollo Justice has this, but it was close before.
- Off with His Head: Daryan Crescend frustrates Apollo so much that he wishes for his head on a stick.
- Out-Gambitted: Kristoph Gavin gets out-gambitted by Phoenix. Kristoph sets up a huge gambit to poison two people and not get caught. But Phoenix manages to overhaul the entire legal system just to ensure Kristoph gets convicted.
- Panty Thief: Apollo's not the thief, actually.
Phoenix: Good job. But as a father, I have to wonder why you're still carrying around Trucy's panties in your pocket.
- When the real panty thief is caught, he claims he did it For Science!
- Repetitive Name: In Japanese, Wocky Kitaki and Alita Tiala were named Kitaki Takita and Minami Namina, respectively. Put the first and last names together, and you get Kitakitakita and Minaminamina. Incidentally, "Kita" is the Japanese word for 'north', and "Minami" is 'south'.
- Rockers Smash Guitars: Discussed Trope.
- She's All Grown Up: Ema returns in this game, but the events during the ten year gap between her appearances have given her a really bad attitude. She is very crabby about her job and Klavier Gavin unless you ask her about forensics stuff.
- Ship Sinking: Before the game was released, many of the series' fans were shipping Apollo and Trucy. But considering the plot, that ship is unfortunately doomed, as they turn out to be siblings.
- Although this hasn't discouraged some fans from shipping the two regardless. Ew.
- Shout-Out: In the case where you encounter Valant for the first time, he goes to you before entering court for the last time. Apollo thinks to himself that Valant used the door like an average muggle.
- Trucy tells Apollo that her magic cabinet (and panties) is bigger on the inside than the outside. Which reminds Apollo of a science-fiction show he used to watch.
- Shy Blue-Haired Girl: Vera Misham.
- "Silly Me" Gesture: One of Trucy Wright's trademark gestures.
- Sink or Swim Mentor: Phoenix apparently decided to follow this approach when it comes to Apollo: he only offers real aid when things are truly hopeless, and even then, it's usually just a vague piece of advice (though an extremely useful one).
- Springtime for Hitler: Alita Tiala tried to get her (ahem) beloved Wocky guilty of a murder she commited - by hiring a rookie attorney. His name? Apollo Justice.
- As if she didn't make it obvious enough by writing the attorney request on "hit request" stationary.
- The Tell: When a witness is nervous while testifying, they'll perform some sort of habitual action that you have to zoom in on.
- Took a Level in Badass: Phoenix himself, in the seven years between this game and Trials and Tribulations. He goes from "object first, then think" to an infuriating (could anyone be less helpful?!), manipulative (Apollo Justice Case 1) near-genius who is responsible for getting Kristoph implicated in the murder of Drew Misham by implementing a court system which wouldn't allow him to get away scot-free due to his careful elimination of the evidence.
- Even the flashback to Phoenix's final case shows Phoenix as nearly hyper-competent (comparatively, that is) up to the fateful moment.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Ema Skye, who went from being Maya 2.0 in Case 1-5 to now randomly throwing Snackoos at your face. Failing an exam after years of study for can make someone a tad bitter. Word of God states it's because they needed another Gumshoe, and Maya 3.0 is already filled in by Trucy.
- Timey-Wimey Ball: The investigation as shown in the Mason System segment would be impossible unless Phoenix Wright could actually travel through time, rather than this just being a convenience for the Jurists. He uses items and information he gained in the present in the past... and items and information from events that were later in the same time period in earlier events.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Ema Skye and her Snackoos.
- You Keep Using That Word: There is a disease called "incuritis". It's not clear what part of the body is the "incur" or how it gets inflamed.
- Even better, a newspaper describes it as being a syndrome. A syndrome is not a disease, but rather the group of symptoms indicative of a particular disease or disorder.