[As originally posted on Japanator]
Hold it! I know you’re scrolling past this review because it means you’ve got to do a lot of reading, but where will you get in life with that attitude? The poor house. That’s where. Do you want to end up in the gutter, robbing people to get food? No, you want to read this review, and have it serve as an inspiration to become a lawyer, just like Phoenix Wright.
Capcom’s wildly successful Phoenix Wright series got a series of manga chapters compiled by various writers and artists in order to promote the series in 2006. And so finally, Del Rey Manga (with its collection of swanky bow ties) licensed the manga and has recently put out this collection of Phoenix Wright stories, with two more volumes to come, if memory serves me right.
Without further ado, let’s head after the jump and find out why it’s objectionable to pass this title up.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Official Casebook Vol. 1: The Phoenix Wright Files
Translated by Alethea Nibley and Athena Nibley
Published by Del Rey Manga
Originally released in September 2008
The Phoneix Wright Files is a collection of 23 different stories meant to flesh out the backstory of everyone’s favorite defense attorney, Phoenix Wright. So, the stories range from Phoenix’s relationship with Pearl and Maya to a recreation of the trial where Edgeworth defended Phoenix in the classroom. As the characters often say throughout the different stories, Phoenix doesn’t have much of a personality — so it’s up to the stories contained within to flesh out Phoenix into a more well-rounded character.
Since this is a compilation, the stories vary greatly in tone, art style, and quality. Some stories are dramatic courtroom scenes, while others are lighthearted romps, such as Maya wanting to keep a cat in the office. Since none of the chapters can build upon each other, courtroom scenes become meaningless montages, and oftentimes we’re left to simple comedy gags. Which, once you get past the fact that nothing serious can be effectively told, it’s fine.
See, my personal draw into the Phoenix Wright series isn’t the simple gags or jokes that they throw around every so often, it’s the joy of figuring out the case, of putting together all the pieces, and then at the right moment, turning the whole thing around and putting the bad guy behind bars. Since that’s not really what I’m getting here, I’ve had to shift my expectations. By the second half of the volume, I was in the swing of things and enjoying the jokes they were telling, as childish as they might have been.
To go through and comment on each and every story collected in here would be dragging this thing on to unreasonable lengths, but there’s a bit of something for everyone. The authors and artists tried to provide a good variety of characters, and it helped add to the life of Phoenix Wright. The next volume is set to focus on the trials and tribulations of Miles Edgeworth, so I’m excited to see how that turns out — probably even more than the Phoenix Wright volume. It seems as though the authors themselves had trouble creating an identity for Phoenix, and many were itching to focus on specific characters with a more well-defined personality.
If you’re a Phoenix Wright fan, drop the $15 on this title — it’ll be well worth a read, and will likely inspire you to go ahead and pick up one of the games again, just for the memories.