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"The room, presumably a bottomless chasm, is constructed of hard wood, with undulating penis vines sticking out of the walls. Some are of the ouchy, spined variety, but in the distance, Twink can see some of the helpful platform penises wiggling about. In addition, his current platform contains several round nuts. Best of all, no vagina flowers in sight! Score!"
     -Jeanne, Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker Part 12

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Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney : Part 4
By Sam
Posted 05.10.11
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : 5
"Whatever, l4m3rs!" he retorts. "How can j00 not know the great Sal Manella?" Oh, writers. You've done it again. It's apt, too--I'm sure everyone who comes into contact with him feels a sudden need to wash their hands. Anyway, he is still talking: "I make teh L33T SH0WZ! The Steel Samurai? Mine! RTFC! (Read The Film Credits!)" This is very annoying to transcribe.

Phoenix is probably rolling his eyes so hard that they're not even in his head anymore, but Maya has a different reaction: she immediately recognizes his name and apologizes for doubting his greatness on account of his horrible, off-putting appearance. He assures her it's fine, since even he must know that he is disgusting. But now that he's paying attention to her, he sees that Maya is, well, I'll just let him say it: "Mmm... Yeah... Hot! Hot! Hot! *slobber*" His tongue is now sticking out and waggling around, which makes me want to throw my DS into a bucket of Clorox. "Hey, do j00 do a lot of 'cosplay,' coz that costume r0x0rz!... *drool*" This is seriously the worst thing I've ever had to recap. Shion could be naked and riding a mechanical bull that talks in Navi's voice and it would not be any worse.

Kill me.

I should also point out that the annoying Steel Samurai theme has been playing since our heroes stepped into the room, so I'd like to jam steak knives into my ears as well as my eyes.

Maya has no idea what to make of this person. He is still making gross sounds at her, but he directs her favorite show. Dilemma! Her reaction to meeting WP and seeing the hairy reality under the Steel Samurai suit was similar, except that WP clearly never intended to cut off her feet and keep them in a dresser drawer in his basement. Meanwhile, Sal has, in his "words," had his "CR34T1V3 P0W3RZ" triggered by Maya. At least he didn't say "creative juices," er, "CR34T1V3 J00S3Z," or I would have vomited all over my keyboard. Sal unveils his idea for a Maya-inspired show, "Pink Princess: Warrior of Little Olde Tokyo!" If you really need to know, it's like the Steel Samurai but all in pink and with hooters. Edgeworth loves 50 percent of this idea.

That bitch is totally a murderer.

Weirdly, Maya is offended by Sal's brainchild, not because it's mind searingly stupid, but because she thinks "Little Olde Tokyo" is not as cool as "Neo Olde Tokyo" and seems to think her show gets the lame setting because she's a girl. Phoenix and I are equally perplexed on this one, because we're both "old" and out of touch.

Phoenix asks Sal about the day of the murder, and whether he noticed anything "unusual." I suppose he means something other than one of the actors being brutally murdered. Sal puts together that Phoenix and Maya, or "j00 d00dz" (kill me), are the lawyer types that Oldbag warned him about. She must think a lot of Phoenix to warn every single person at the studio not to talk to him. More than most people think of him, anyway. Sal says that they were doing a run-through of a scene that morning, like WP mentioned, before his meeting with the producer and some executives over lunch at the Studio Two Trailer. "Heh," he says, "I was so busy I didn't even get a chance to eat lunch! :(" I'm not sure how you say a frowny face and I'm not going to bother putting any thought into it. The important thing is we already know Sal here is full of it, since those plates at the trailer were distinctly used. He claims to have been at Studio Two from noon to 4:00, which, as Phoenix feels the need to point out to himself, gives him an alibi for the murder.

Included in his alibi is the producer, whom he will actually name. Her name is Dee Vasquez and he calls her a genius with "m4d sk1llz." I hate that my first thought upon reading this was that it was inconsistent with his other leetspeak. Whatever kind of skills she has, Vasquez apparently saved the studio from going belly-up with her brilliant ideas for kids' shows and made it possible for this walking stereotype to create the Steel Samurai. Mostly because the Steel Samurai theme is still chugging along, I now think this bitch is totally the murderer and want her to rot in prison forever.

It means a certain prosecutor was too rough last night.

Phoenix asks about the "bigwigs" who were also at the meeting, and Sal clarifies that they were representatives from the network and the show's sponsors, which Phoenix thinks means they will be "reliable witnesses." Because I'm sure these rich, busy executives who were trying to cover up even being present will surely talk to you, Phoenix. Didn't he learn anything from Redd White? They'll just hole up in their offices, behind their naked dude mahogany desks, and refuse to let him past their burly, shirtless security guards.

Since Sal talked at length about the meeting at Studio Two, maybe the Gods of Arbitrary Investigation Chronology will allow me to find someone there now. When Phoenix and Maya get back to the trailer, a loud crash from inside lets them know someone is there. Maya wants to bust in there and make a citizen's arrest, but Phoenix rains on her parade when he realizes the door is locked. Back to the main gate to see if Penny will lend our heroes a key.

Or not. Oldbag is back, iris-less with rage and breathing hard like she just ran all the way here from the police station (and maybe she did). Oldbag recounts having to put on a Steel Samurai costume for the police--apparently they are dumb enough to think her skinny, ancient self could have filled that thing out. "I guess that would rule out her being the murderer," says Phoenix's inner monologue. Get over it, Phoenix--she's not going to steal your man.

Oldbag has no desire to talk to Phoenix or help him in any way, not that this is new. But she is somewhat willing to talk about the bratty kid she can't catch, or rather, to go apopletic in the face again and screech about "taking him down." Her rage transfers to Sal Manella as well, which really makes sense since the otaku kid will probably look a lot like Sal when he's 30. Anyway, she also stymies Phoenix from touching anything at the guard station, so no key for now. He and Maya head back to the Employee Area, just to get away from Oldbag's scary eyes.

Our heroes haven't so much as stepped past the dirty plates when they're accosted by a grouchy looking youth with way too much lime green in his wardrobe. (But if you guessed that his accent color of choice is hot pink, you win a gold fuchsia star.) He darts around like a tiny ninja while Maya ostensibly tries to grab him by the scruff of his neck, but finally comes to a stop to glower at the adults and randomly snap pictures on his camera. He, too, has a warrior's topknot, but it's poking out of the hole in his trucker hat on the correct side of his head. So that's something. For no reason, he also has cherubic spots of hot pink on his cheeks, so either a) he's supposed to be an apple-cheeked, precious little child; or b) Edgeworth came on his face.

While Phoenix ruminates that this kid totally came in through the grate they vandalized, Maya tries to talk to the "kiddy-o." Maya, calling a glaring child "sport" is usually not the way to get through. Sure enough, he takes offense to her pandering, and Maya gets counter-offended that he'd want to be addressed in any other way. This is so dumb. The kid, named Cody Hackins, doesn't consider Maya, or "hippie fashion chick," to be his elder or better in any sense, and I'd say he's got a point.

"So you're a fan of the Steel Samurai?" Phoenix asks, trying to relate to this monstrous child in some way. "How dare you utter that name, evildoer!" Cody shrieks back. Maya insists she and Phoenix are on the Steel Samurai's side, which just makes the kid go wild-eyed like Oldbag and pull a fucking sword out of the scabbard on his back. Jesus. I can only hope that Maya and Cody fight to the death right here, for the honor of the Steel Samurai, so Phoenix can move on with his life, by which I mean he can retire and take up his rightful place as Edgeworth's stay-at-home husband.

What a terrible show.

Instead of killing each other--sigh--the children shout Steel Samurai trivia at each other until each is satisfied that the other is devoted enough to the cause. It's like watching a live performance of a message board. Now that he's being reasonably cooperative, Phoenix asks what Cody saw when he was here on the day of the murder. Cody clams up for a moment, until he finally blurts out: "He...he... He...always... The Steel Samurai always wins! Always!" And now he's fingering the sword again. "Yeah, I saw 'em! I saw everything!" But he still doesn't want to say what it is that he saw, and bolts. I really wish witnesses would stop running away. Does Phoenix smell bad?

Maya picks something up that fell off the table when Cody ran off. It's an empty bottle that once contained sleeping pills. It was apparently sitting right next to the plates with the T-bones. I can't help but think of the killer drugging Powers the same way you'd give medicine to a dog--stuff the pills in a raw steak and chuck it at his head. Except dogs always seem to know when you've done this, and manage to eat around the pills and look at you reproachfully afterward. Apparently Powers had no such suspicions.

Conveniently enough, Cody taking off across the lot alerted Oldbag--she's off chasing him and trying to blow him up with Acme products, leaving her post empty and the key to Studio Two unguarded. Phoenix, ninny that he is, feels like a thief for swiping the key. Phoenix, you need to be a man, or it's going to ruin Jeanne's theory about you being the top and Edgeworth being the bottom.

Is it? Is it really?

Let's skip all the idiocy from our heroes regarding whether the key will work on the trailer door, because it makes me sad. Phoenix and Maya enter the trailer, a faux wood-paneled affair with old samurai TV show posters all over the walls. Of course, Maya recognizes every single show. They all also star Jack Hammer, which is--I hate myself--a clue about as subtle as a jackhammer that the victim's past is a big part of this case.

The just-used look of the table and folding chairs, and the nonsensical doodling on the white board, indicate that there was a meeting here like Sal Manella said. As they're taking this in, Phoenix and Maya are immediately accosted by a rather odd woman. She looks like a middle-aged prostitute who won't accept that she's gotten old and undesirable. She's wearing a lot of ugly gold jewelry, including a giant butterfly brooch pinned to her scarf, and she's smoking a long-stemmed pipe like she's a tarted-up hobbit. After they make with the introductions with the mysterious producer, Phoenix thinks to himself that Dee Vasquez is "quite beautiful." He's totally going to borrow that outfit and role-play as a chain-smoking flapper for Edgeworth.

Dee Vasquez: Whore Producer has a number of conversational options available, but she refuses to answer any questions in any meaningful way until Phoenix and Maya procure a script for her--specifically, the script for Steel Samurai Episode 13. She has a dire need to read this script, even though it can't be much more than the Steel Samurai and the Evil Magistrate wrestling and quoting Sailor Moon at each other. Nonetheless, the lady won't talk until she has it. She hands Phoenix a memo for Sal Manella, which reads "Bring me the script for Episode 13." Well, Ms. Vasquez doesn't fuck around--she's probably a good enough judge of character to know how mangled that simple message will be if she ferries it through these two. "Are all people in the entertainment business this...weird?" the spastic girl in the bright purple priestess outfit asks. "It's starting to look like it," her friend with aerodynamically tapered hair replies.

Hey, his love for that horse was PURE.

Phoenix and Maya book it out of the trailer and return to WP's dressing room to talk to Sal again. Ugh. Sal manages to restrain himself from his stupid leetspeak, mostly out of fright that Vasquez will kill him if he doesn't find that script. "My ass is p0wned if I don't find it..." he adds. Never mind, then. And "p0wned"? It's "pwn3d," stupid. Do I have to do everything around here?

When it becomes clear that Sal doesn't remember where the script is, Maya figures they should look for it themselves. I could make up some crap about how Phoenix thinks it through and decides the most likely location is the set where they were filming the episode (i.e., the crime scene at Studio One), but I don't think you guys would believe me. This is Phoenix we're talking about. Nonetheless, we're off to the crime scene.

Once there, it's plain as fucking day that the script is sitting in Sal's director's chair. (I don't even want to think about the ass crack contact that chair has absorbed.) But upon inspecting the chair, Phoenix drools for a bit and then is all "I just thought of something!" and asks Maya to "take a look around that chair." I see he's at least smart enough to not want to touch it himself. Sure enough, Maya "takes a look around the chair" and sees the giant manuscript sitting on it. Perceptive. Just to make me yell at him more, Phoenix adds, "You remember the script the director was talking about? Didn't he say he'd left it somewhere?" Jesus, Phoenix, how do you dress yourself in the morning? Oh, right. Edgeworth does that. With his teeth.

The script looks like it has...stains on it. Just throwing that out there.

Back to Vasquez. She takes the script and thumbs through it, telling Phoenix not to interrupt her while she's reading. Lady, it's not fucking War and Peace, it's a script for a shitty kids' show. How much concentration does it require? Maya flips out at her. "Just you hold on!" she bellows. "What's the big idea!? Who do you think you are, anyway!? And, and do you even know who we are!?" I'm pretty sure she does, since you introduced yourselves as "WP's lawyers" earlier, Maya. Vasquez is all, "We just had this conversation, get your panties unwadded." Maya doesn't even have the sack to say Vasquez is a suspect, but even so, the producer points out that she has an alibi. Not only was she in a meeting in this very trailer that afternoon, but she adds, "It was impossible for us to leave." The path was, as we already knew, blocked by the freakish monkey Pokémon head. According to Vasquez, poor "Mr. Monkey" (even Phoenix thinks that's uncreative) was decapitated by the wind. "They didn't start moving the head out of the way until after 3:00," she adds, as we get an overview shot of the head completely blocking the road. Thus, she, Sal and the nameless executives were stuck at Studio Two until around 4:00. Never mind that any dipshit could jump a hedge and walk through a few trees to get around--this is an airtight alibi, folks.

Rather than pointing out that you can still use your legs and move places even if you're not on a paved path, Phoenix says that their alibi is bunk if the head fell after 2:30. Vasquez basically says, "Come, morons," and escorts them back to the scene of Mr. Monkey's demise. She points out that Mr. Monkey "ooks" the time when he's working properly, and just like the fucking "Thinker" clock, we know what time the head fell because its clock stopped at 2:15. With that, Vasquez heads back to her trailer, leaving Phoenix and Maya with no viable leads and no possible suspects other than their client. Spirits low, they death march back to Phoenix's office.

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