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March 20, 2017

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney (Part 3)

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Part 1 Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney - Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5

Please stop, Lamiroir, you're making me feel hungry with
all those symbols of goats and fish!
I could do without the cockroach, though.
Two cases complete, and we’re now on the third one. Location: Sunshine Coliseum. It’s a concert by the Gavinners, Klavier Gavin’s rock band. Oh good, because calling a band by the name of its frontman is totally not a sign of egotism. I suppose Law Enforcers was too on-the-nose? I mean, Gavin does say his band is composed of other people with daily work related to the law. Apollo and Trucy have been given backstage access (not free; 20% off). Trucy is ecstatic, Apollo doesn't care much. During the second set of the night, Klavier is on stage with famous singer Lamiroir. We meet Lamiroir, and then her manager, Romein LeTouse, who is also her translator. Yeah, she speaks Hieroglyph. Undecipherable language if there ever was one. Although, she did practice to speak English, if only for that song. Lamiroir is accompanied of Machi Tobaye, her pianist, a blind child. No, that’s not three different characters. Machi is a blind kid playing piano for her.

We get a beautiful animated sequence when Lamiroir, Klavier and Machi interpret the song The Guitar’s Serenade. It uses a vanishing magic trick. Strangely though, Klavier’s guitar catches fire mid-song. Hey, I knew some riffs could be hot, but that’s exaggerated. That didn’t seem to be a part of the show, either. While Trucy fangirls in the crowd, backstage, Apollo meets Ema Skye again. She’s assuring security, and doesn’t seem pleased with the situation. Not talkative at all tonight, even when Apollo has questions for her. You know, Ema, I know you don’t like my questions, and you can toss at me all the Snackoos you want; but if you keep this up, in an hour, I’ll still have my questions, and you’ll be out of Snackoos.

Apollo, witness to a crime! Surely not a conflict of interest
that will prevent him from defending someone for this.
During the final set, Apollo and Ema hear a gunshot, and Apollo runs inside Lamiroir’s dressing room, to discover Romein LeTouse on the floor, wounded. He says that there was a witness – “Siren” – and then he dies. Concert is stopped. Quick note, I can’t believe I only now caught the “Romaine Lettuce” pun in the victim’s name. And I’ve had this game since 2011! Anyway, we study the body and the strange spill of blood around LeTouse, we find a set of keys in the man’s hand, then we learn that the firearm used has such great recoil that it could dislocate the shoulder of someone who isn’t used to those weapons.

That hair alone is capable of making criminals confess.
They're afraid of being poked in the eye by it.
We have a random encounter of a guy dressed like a magician, and then we meet Klavier and his band’s guitarist, Daryan Crescend, on the stage. Daryan wasn’t playing very well during that third set. Oh, by the way, the guy is also a detective. But, the most impressive thing about him is his, ahem, very impressive and uncomfortably phallic haircut. I would consider making inappropriate puns about this, but for the moment I’ll nickname him Head Zeppelin, that’s more fitting. Klavier is angry because someone on stage missed a cue, and he teaches Apollo how to use a mixing board to figure out who did. Turns out, it’s Daryan. Also, yay, free mixing board. Last we learn that Klavier’s keys had been stolen earlier that day – and we present to him the set of keys found in LeTouse’s hand. And many events from that evening were predicted in the lyrics of “The Guitar’s Serenade”, too. Those are too many coincidences, something’s up.

I don't know, one thing for sure is that we're gonna try
to catch the real killer. It certainly cannot be the frail,
scrawny little blind kid that travels with you.
And then, when we question Lamiroir, it turns out she can, actually, speak perfect English. Machi can’t, though. We learn that calling Lamiroir “The siren of the ballad” was LeTouse’s idea, and Apollo connects the dots; he was saying that Lamiroir saw the crime happen! But when she’s told about this, she refuses to answer to any more questions. Oh, that’s just great. Why is everybody like this? Is it ‘Be Unhelpful To The Attorneys’ Day again? My calendar didn’t tell me! And because that’s still not enough, LeTouse’s body goes missing. Just great. On stage, a platform has been raised, the platform Gavin was on during his duet with Lamiroir. And on it, we find LeTouse’s body, with Daryan’s guitar, and Machi. Guess who is accused of the crime? Yup. The frail, blind Machi Tobaye. And of course, Apollo becomes his defense attorney.

Okay, so this case is one of the most despised in Ace Attorney history, because it’s set-up for what comes next in the overarching storyline of this game, and because it makes a lot of people look stupid. Really? Machi could have fired that gun that can dislocate the shoulder of a grown man? Really? He was able to carry LeTouse, the guitar, onto the raised platform? It’s nonsense, and yet, everybody rolls with it because he was accused. Even though it’s blatantly obvious that Machi is innocent. But the problem is that there seems to be insufficient proof to logically determine that he, in fact, didn’t do it. That’s a major issue of the system in Ace Attorney games: You must prove out of all doubt that the defendant is innocent, AND you need to figure out the actual murderer. Even if the solution is bloody obvious, if you lack the required evidence, you’re getting nowhere.

Good work Ema, you might condemn a child for murder
with this one line...
Cut to court on the next day. Before trial starts, the Judge confesses that he’ll be visiting the Chief Justice’s son, who is terminally ill. Okay, I don’t see how that ties to the case… Anyway, the first witness is… Ema, of course. How bad of a conflict of interest it would have been, had Apollo been the witness on the stand. Her testimony is solid, and she says Machi’s fingerprints were found over the grid of the air vent, the only other exit from the suite aside from the door. That looks bad. Thankfully, Apollo calls Lamiroir to the stand. First grand revelation: Lamiroir is not her real name, it was given to her after she was found, suffering from amnesia.

Her testimony doesn’t say much at first, but then she says he had to go backstage for a moment, and she gulps at her mention of LeTouse – and later, wonders why he was shot, even though she was testifying that she had heard no details about the crime! Further contradictions reveal that she saw the crime from another location than the suite’s door. In the next cross-examination, she states that she saw the crime from the small window in her suite, and that she saw the killer: an adult man. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough yet, so we bring Ema back on the stand.

I suppose Bond was too obvious a codename.
From her testimony, Apollo brings the theory that the killer could see, and we prove it by showing the weird blurry blood drawing from LeTouse, implying the killer saw something important being written there and tried to erase it. And thenn, the prosecution bomb: Klavier Gavin reveals that Machi is not blind, it’s a publicity trick for Lamiroir's fame. He actually can see rather well. But wait, was LeTouse writing his killer’s name in blood? Thanks to Ema’s tools, we analyze the blood and it reveals a code of letters and numbers. Klavier recognizes it as an Interpol ID number, and calls Crescend to check who it refers to.

The prosecutor drops another surprise revelation: Lamiroir is the one who’s actually blind. And as she testifies, she has been blind as long as she can remember. So, it may have been caused by the same event that gave her amnesia. And though she’s blind, she did witness the murder, by hearing it. Daryan Crescend shows up with news: The Interpol ID was LeTouse’s, and so was the weapon. He was on an undercover mission. Why? We need to find this out. Although, after he says this, Lamiroir shows up again, saying she recognizes Daryan’s voice… as the one she heard when she witnessed the murder! Descended in utter chaos, the trial is suspended until the next day. Phew! So many details! Okay, time to investigate some more.

VHS? Really? Why not Betamax while you're at it?
At Wright Anything Agency, Phoenix is still nowhere to be seen, off on a very secret mission. We do, however, meet the mysterious magician. He presents himself as Trucy’s uncle, Valant Gramarye, part of the Gramarye Troupe, which also included a man named Zak Gramarye – Trucy’s real father. We get a videotape of the concert… In 2026? Puh-lease. On a CD, perhaps, or on a USB Key maybe, but a videotape? Seriously? Anyway, it shows the Guitar’s Serenade section again. This includes the magic trick from Lamiroir, which Valant helped create. Yep, as it turns out, more of the case lies on that trick than we’d expect at first glance. But since the crime happened afterwards, he won’t explain his trick. Later, we speak to Lamiroir, then meet Valant again on the stage, where Apollo figures out that the magic trick may have been done thanks to a secret passageway. Checking the piano later, we find a remote stuck in the cords, triggering when one particular key is pressed.

Yeah, while you were on that stage. But do you have an
alibi for any other part of the show?
In Lamiroir’s dressing room, we meet Ema, who has found an odd device… one that catches fire when we press the button on the switch. It’s a transmitter! Outside the coliseum, we meet Daryan, who’s pretty angry about the accusation from Lamiroir, but it’s okay, he has an alibi: The shooting happened during the third set, when he was playing on the stage with the Gavinners! I mean, he’s got a point, his alibi is as hard as his haircut. By the way, how much gel does it take to make it look the way it looks? Is your budget for hair gel in the four digits every month?

In Klavier Gavin’s office, we meet him – by the way, other conflict of interest, he shouldn’t be prosecuting a case he was a part of, even if he was on stage when it happened. From him, we learn that the newspapers of Lamiroir and Machi’s country of origin, Borginia, are already reporting on the case. As for his burnt guitar, it was investigated, and a small item like a container was found in it (we get a replica). Apparently that’s what LeTouse was seeking, or protecting, either way. The guitar, which was given to him by Lamiroir, contained also a second igniter.

It's never funny to see a kidlike Elton John in pain.
Showing her the container to Lamiroir, she says it’s a Borginian Cocoon. She doesn’t know much about it, aside from the fact that they’re not to be taken out of Borginia, and that whoever smuggles one out will suffer a death sentence by under Borginian law. Geez, they’re not laughing! No wonder Interpol was involved! What the Hell can these things do that would lead to such drastic measures? And judging by Machi’s face when we show him the replica, he was indeed involved. The cocoon’s special silk apparently contains the ingredients for a cure, a cure for an illness known as “Incuritis”. Okay, I know the series likes its puns, but this one was obvious, it’s like Avatar calling its precious material Unobtanium. It’s so easy. Come on, some effort, people. Anyway, this means Machi cannot go back, or he’ll be sentenced to death…

Hm.... Nope. Still not funny.
With these grim revelations, we get to court on the next day. Apollo calls Machi to the stand, with Lamiroir interpreting his words. He was her eyes, she’ll be his voice, aww. There is something oddly motherly in her relationship with him. He comes to the stand, but his testimony – and his uncertainty – let Apollo find out that Machi actually does understand and speak some English. Next, Lamiroir testifies by herself, and she remembers the killer – who she still believes to be Crescend – saying a strange sentence about pressing a switch. From there, we bring, in rapid succession, the remote trigger itself, and then the igniter, one of which was in Klavier’s guitar.

Ah, it's always great to see our attorney regain confidence
and turn the whole case around based on a couple of
statements and pieces of evidence!
Klavier brings up that his guitar burning during the Serenade happened during the second set of the night, while everyone is certain that the crime took place during the third set. Apollo connects the dots and states that the crime must have actually happened on the second set, during the ballad! The criminal was trying to misdirect everyone; no witness saw the actual murder – and Ema and Apollo only saw LeTouse when they burst into the dressing room. And if someone went through the trouble of hiding so many things, and if the murder happened on the second set, then the killer has an alibi for the third set perhaps, but not for the second! And,  when Lamiroir claimed to hear the voice, it was from the air vents… Why was she there in the first place? Simple: That’s how she did the magic trick in the middle of the show. Her teleportation had her moving from one stage to the other through the air vents!

I take it Shu Takumi was very proud of that sequence, since we’ve been forced to watch it nearly six times now. Anyway, it becomes needed again to show that Lamiroir was indeed the one to run to the other side, for the magic trick. This confirms that the murder took place during her song, in the second set, while Lamiroir was in the vents and Daryan was not on the stage (due to the song not needing a second guitar).

He can call it secret all he wants, we're still gonna know
everything about it before the end of the game.

Quick break before Crescend, we see Phoenix and he says that taking down that detective will be difficult, especially with the current court system. Please man, your foreshadowing is so blatant you could as well be flashing an “I AM ON A MISSION TO CHANGE THIS SYSTEM” T-shirt. And he’s right, we lack definitive proof to pin down Crescend even if we bring enough doubt; it’s still not enough for a confession! Phoenix gives a last bit of evidence (burnt fragments of an igniter), then leaves.

Nope. P.S. Your hair is dangling.
I can already tell that Crescend will be a tough nut to crack. And hostile, too! Perhaps I should call him what the fanbase already calls him: Dickhead. But, we use the new evidence, explaining that an igniter catching fire made the same sound as a gunshot. As for proving that the real gunshot happened on the second set? It was picked up by the soundboard, among Lamiroir’s vocals, since she was singing when she heard the gunshot. And it’s heard perfectly, too. And as was mentioned, the weapon could hurt its user, since it’s so heavy, but Crescend is used to wielding weapons. But we still lack the evidence.

Daryan says he has no motive, but we present the replica of the Borginian cocoon. We’re finally told why the cocoons are forbidden outside of Borginia: Sure, one can make a potent cure for “Incuritis” out of it, but a slight change in the recipe can create a deadly poison, of the kind that would be part of cases solved in this kind of game. I’d believe that, except a scary number of people can already make deadly poisons. That’s why meth labs are so horribly omnipresent. (But, yeah, methamphetamines may not be a subject to touch on in Ace Attorney…)

I don't know, I could probably arrest you for gross
indecency with that thing out and pointing all the time.
Why would Darian smuggle a cocoon, then? Well, to cure a victim of “Incuritis”… AKA, the son of the Chief Justice, who was mentioned all the way at the start of this case’s trials. And how did the cocoon get to America? Hidden in Klavier’s guitar, the one that burned, which went through the customs untouched thanks to Klavier’s prosecutor status. Oh, and let’s not forget the second igniter also found in that guitar! Crescend knows what’s being discussed, his hair is left dangling, like a deflated… Urgh, I gotta stop bringing that joke south. As for how that stuff got in the guitar? Daryan had to have an accomplice. And who? Machi. Yep, he’s not the killer, but he’s not completely innocent either. He did understand English, after all… And the remote switch? It was found in Machi's piano!

I still have no clue what's going on there during this

It's implied he wanted the money so that he could pay
for Lamiroir's eye operation. Awwwwwww~!
And Machi's partition did have a moment where he played with only one hand, too, as we prove thanks to the mixing board. As if his other hand was doing something else. Comparing two parts of the piano partition, we figure out that Machi did have both hands playing at first, and then only one for a moment, shortly afterwards. Yup. And when we’re told to bring decisive evidence, which we don’t have… and without which this justice system won’t be convinced enough to arrest Crescend… Aw, for fuck’s sake! well, instead, Apollo calls Machi back to the stand. Machi admits to pressing the switch, after being told by Daryan, sealing Crescend’s fate. His freakout… er… is one of the weirdest out there. Machi: Declared Not Guilty. Lamiroir thanks us, and things end on a bittersweet but positive note. I am finally done with this goddamn case, and I am certain you’re tired of hearing me talk about it, too. Can’t wait for Case 4, the final one of the game, thus the… longest…

Okay, fine. Whatever. I’ll be happy discussing Case 4, as long as I don’t hear The Guitar’s Serenade ever again. So tired of that damn song.

For Christ’s sake, this thing took forever.