After the first series aired with its numerous problems, not many of us had any expectations for the continuation. Rough work on the pacing, narration and execution was detrimental to the final work. However, CloverWorks worked on some of the core problems the prequel had and it brought forth a much acceptable result.
The theme of the anime remains pretty much the same with Phoenix (Naruhodo) going through a few cases, but this time there is much more attention to the pacing, leaving enough time for a case to unfold in a more natural way than rush through everything. There were 23 episodes to animate only 1 game, which meant there was plenty of time for everything and indeed, they gave the final case the space it needed which made the series shine in the end with some great moments and a most well done climax, unlike the prequel.
Of course, this does not make everything great, as things still may be fast and there are various fillers that are just really boring (albeit some being on point!), but the changes have been welcome and it makes the experience much better for people who may have not played the games. It is still pretty far away from a perfect narration of a mystery (but that is not really the anime’s fault), but combined with the intricate story the 3rd game has, which involves our main characters deeply and has a span of many years, and the better storytelling, we have a series we can at least be happy about this time.
Character-wise, there is not much change other than the inclusion of Godot, who is by far the best character in the franchise, and Dahlia (Chinami), who is surprisingly very good at what she does. The downside of the characters is that the franchise itself is peculiar in ways that just do not make sense with characters acting so unnaturally sometimes, ignoring the obvious thing or somehow making the most absurd (yet right) assumptions, etc, so this happens in this series as well. It all comes down to how much you can like them and ignore such things, but of course it is not a good thing either way. Thankfully, there is a touching story involving a lot of characters this time and the more we learn, the better it gets.
Unfortunately, the art and animation have a lot of problems to the point that even in some close-up stills, the anatomy is pretty terrible which is astounding. I still consider it an upgrade though, because the opening/ending sequences were much better this time around and with better songs and I found myself rewinding to check some specific scenes created solely for the OP/ED. But that is all the positive feedback I can give to it, since the animation seems very simple most of the time and I was not a fan of some of the special effects used. However, they really tried bringing to life some of the game’s animations, which was welcome. Sound-wise, there was nothing impressive, but the voice actors were good (especially Godot, even though I didn’t like Hiroaki Hirata as a choice at first) and the OST is decent, with the 2nd OP being a weakness of mine.
Summing up, this is still not a great anime, but CloverWorks fixed to a big extent the problems that were there before and offered us an enjoyable watch, at least. If you are a fan of the game, you should definitely watch this. And if you are not, this deserves a chance someday!
As someone who's never even held a copy of the games, I legitimately didn't think that the Ace Attorney series could have anything even resembling an overarching narrative. A strange surprise, but certainly a welcome one.
More cases, more peculiar murders, and one suspicious woman that seems to keep popping up in everything that's going on, the follow up to Naruhodo Ryuuichi's start in his career as a defense attorney has him tackle more of these cases, this time with a lot more backstory and a lot more quirks to be had.
Noted as an adaptation from the third game of the Ace Attorney series, a lot doesn't really change from the story aside from continuing to adapt cases from the source material, doing a sort of 'animated tutorial' with a hundred percent less trial and error hoping that you just 'happen' on the right answer since Naruhodo is a lot smarter of a defense attorney than (apparently) most people give him credit for. The quality of the show varies on a literal case by case basis as some of the defense cases are more interesting than others, so the overall story flow fluctuates depending on who or what is getting their time in the spotlight.
The one differing aspect from S2's story this time around is the fact that the show has a set narrative regarding the past and presents of Naruhodo and his friends from the Ayasato clan, which by in large made the show a lot more interesting than should be given credit for since it surprisingly enough ties a number of things together in ways I didn't think needed to be done, and actually for once engrossed me in the story and the eventual reveal and unveiling of everything since Season 1 was a series that I found either fun or exhausting to watch depending on who was slated to be put in the slammer. Really if it hadn't been for three cases this time around all revolving around the same cast of characters and painting a full story within the lore of Ace Attorney, I probably wouldn't have batted much of an eye at the whole thing.
The staying factors of Naruhodo and Mayoi haven't really changed much beyond the explorations of their characters through their backstories. Since a massive chunk of this season is devoted to focusing on a select few cases that all revolve around the same cast, most of where their characters shine happens here where they're at the forefront of the topic at hand due to their heavy involvement with the accused, culprits, and witnesses during these trials. It's a nice change of pace since now Naruhodo has to put aside his personal ties in order to do his job, adding a nice bit of conflict to the usual zany cases that I'm sure would make any self respecting defense attorney want to take up the bottle due to the kinds of clues and convoluted plans these cases entail.
The rest of the recurring cast like the judge and Chief Itono don't really shift all that much since their roles are primarily comedic fodder that also serves as the legal/civil team that helps with the investigations of these cases. The only major changes here exist in Mitsurugi's role largely being pushed to the side with only one episode really dedicated to him, and the mysterious prosecutor Godot, who I would really think should be dead after ingesting so much black coffee in such a short amount of time.
As for the side characters who serve as the show's 'main attraction', most if not all come back to be the series's usual, quirky side cast that does their best at being (usually) hair pullingly annoying with varying mileage on my tolerance towards them depending on the case. Primarily one and done characters where solving the case/convicting the right person finishes their involvement with the series, a few that appear in the middle of the series show up to bring about that overarching narrative that I've been mentioning a few times. Strangely enough, the characters involved with THOSE cases feel a lot more like real people rather than oddities of society, making at the very least some of their actions seem plausible and a lot more interesting due to the results of their actions.
With CloverWorks picking up the slack from A-1's work from Season 1, personally I don't really see a difference with the artwork. Maybe a little more saturated than the shiny and bright polish that A-1 did when the series was in their hands, but the series largely looks the same, and that's a lot better than what I was expecting since I usually expect a show that changes hands to boast an equally dramatic shift in art quality as well.
Likewise, the show still did its best to keep the little 'quirks' with everyone at the podium, animating replications of all the sprite movements that admittedly were a lot more annoying than I initially remember them being since I'm positive the they were just trying to fill up time with how often they were using them.
Personally I didn't find much of many of the songs to be much of interest this time. At most I'd probably give Tomohisa Yamashita's songs "Never Lose" and "Reason" credit for being an interesting pieces to listen to with their more mellow and modern beats, which while somehow really out of place with Ace Attorney, were definitely interesting choices that work well as songs to listen to on their own.
I honestly thought that this season would just be the 'obligatory' watching continuation of a series that I decided to watch on a whim and would continue doing so because I typically don't like leaving series unfinished when there's more material to watch. And for once I'm glad that I put time into watching it this time around because I had significantly more enjoyment this time around with the series.
While a number of the early cases in the season weren't really all that stellar, it's the last few that really made the series feel like it was worth watching beyond the quirky and borderline illegal murder court cases. I'm pretty sure a lot of what's happening in that court room is a felony in and of itself. The fact that I felt engrossed watching the show when I previously didn't really bat much of an eye towards Season 1 due to it seeming just average is a monumental improvement over what my expectations had initially put this series at. Man, people were right in saying that last case is their favorite. In context to everything, I can see why.
If you're an Ace Attorney fan, you're probably the one I would recommend this series to. While I typically relate the adaptation in closeness to the original source material, I'm not really qualified to say how close it is to the games. But at the very least I can say from the perspective of someone who has no idea what goes on in this series that this was a surprisingly fun series that had my eyes gunning for the next episode despite my apprehensions at the beginning.