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"My only option is to enter Mirumu Village, where I would be absolutely shocked to find weapon and armor upgrades, as well as an inn."
     -Jeanne, Grandia II Part 5

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Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney : Part 11
By Sam
Posted 02.17.14
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : 5 : 6 : 7 : 8 : 9 : 10 : 11 : 12 : 13 : 14 : 15 : 16 : 17 : 18 : 19 : 20 : 21 : 22
(Note: Jesus Christ, this is long. I am so sorry. Consider the length of this recap a visual reminder of how frustrating this case is, in that I needed ALL THESE WORDS to process it.)

In the trial of the People of Los Angeles vs. Lana Skye, day two, the crack defense team of Phoenix Wright and a teenage girl established the following crucial fact: getting stabbed on a security video does not prove you are guilty of murdering the dude who stabbed you. I know! Phoenix's law degree sure was put to the test there! And with that legal hornet's nest dealt with--thanks to Edgeworth "baiting" Phoenix into figuring it out, and Jeanne drinking herself to near-death--we are right back where we started, give or take a lot of blood in the evidence room and the looming specter of the SL-9 incident. But I'm sure those will both turn out to be unrelated.

Following the mass courtroom hysteria caused by Lana's admission of evidence tampering, Phoenix and Ema return to Wright and Co. Law Offices to recalibrate. "For now," Phoenix blue-fonts, "I guess I should do some Spring cleaning and reorganize the evidence." In other words, he's doing his very own evidence transferal, to the garbage can. Amazingly, nobody is murdered in the process, let alone twice. As he's cleaning out his pockets (fortuitously not throwing away seemingly useless evidence like the blue screwdriver), Ema grips the shoulder strap of her bag and apologizes "for what [her] sister said," which is mostly an excuse for Phoenix to insult me and flash back to Lana's remarks from two minutes ago.

But what Ema is really sorry about, I guess, is that she didn't realize until now that SL-9 referred to the "Joe Darke Killings." I don't know if she should apologize, but she should feel pretty stupid--as Jeanne pointed out, how many other big murder cases happened two years ago and involved the exact same personnel? "Sounds like everyone's heard about these killings but me..." Phoenix muses to himself. Except that the only time he's ever picked up the newspaper was to read about Demon (in the Sack) Prosecutor Miles Edgeworth, and even though it makes no sense because this is the most miserably executed retcon in history and has caused us endless timeline-related headaches, that article must have mentioned SL-9. I'm starting to think Phoenix can't read.

The Case of the Miserably Executed Retcon is a rabbit hole I cannot afford to jump into unless I want this recap to be a thousand pages long, so let's leave it at that. Ema is in the middle of telling Phoenix that Lana was desperate to nail Darke--not like that--and that "That's why she used me... That's why she used what happened to me." Oh Jesus. I don't think this game would get that dark--sorry--but I wouldn't put it past doujinshi artists. Phoenix asks what she means, and Ema infuriatingly responds, "It's all there in the file..." No. The file has a list of fucking names, not a profile of Joe Darke and his penchant for inappropriately touching teenage girls. But Ema clarifies for me: "Joe Darke's last victim was Prosecutor Neil Marshall. When he murdered Officer Marshall's brother, he left behind an incriminating piece of evidence." Phoenix still doesn't get it, even though Ema's name is on the witness list. She witnessed the murder, stupid! But it's worse than that: "On the night Prosecutor Neil Marshall was murdered," Ema chokes out, "Joe Darke...tried to kill me." Over a brief flash of Darke, knife in hand, looming over Marshall in front of a large picture window, Ema says the younger, deader Marshall brother died trying to save her life. A crude stabbing sound effect and a flash of red bring us back to the present, where Ema finally says, "I was a witness in the Joe Darke trial." I like how the thing that triggers the "New information!" porno synth is the one thing that is in the stupid case file.

Ema's 'God dammit, Mr. Wright' expression is solid.

I wish I didn't have to bother talking to Ema about this now, because her version of events is going to be so exhaustively picked apart later that this is basically pointless. But the cliffnotes version she gives Phoenix: a little over two years ago, while Ema was waiting for her sister in her office, Joe Darke burst in, screaming, and brandished his dick a knife at her. He "tried" to take her hostage, whatever that even means, but Neil Marshall found them and engaged Darke in what I'm sure was a very erotic wrestling match. "Lightning struck, and the lights went out," Ema recalls. "Suddenly...a bolt of lightning flashed outside the window, lighting up the office for an instant. What I saw then burned a permanent picture in my mind. I...I can still see it now..." What she can still see is that same image of the two men tussling and grunting in front of the window, and Darke getting ready to violate Marshall with a phallic object. But her poor brain--struggling to scientifically evaluate this scene, while avoiding the conclusion that Marshall and Darke were fucking--short-circuited and she passed out before the moment of the "murder."

Get a room, you two!

Since Ema was unconscious while Darke was enthusiastically "stabbing" Marshall, she tells Phoenix she was unable to testify about the actual murder. "That must be why Lana...why she 'made up' the crime," she says sadly. "Made it up?" Phoenix Shions. "You mean, provided bogus evidence?" What the hell else would she mean? Ema spells it out for Phoenix: "Lana forged the evidence, and Mr. Edgeworth used it..." Phoenix shouts, "Edgeworth!?" like this is brand-new information that they both didn't hear earlier in court. God. To put both their minds at ease, Ema says, "But I'm sure he didn't know anything about it!" I mean, Phoenix is the one who thinks he's a Demon Prosecutor or whatever, so I don't know why he's the one who's surprised. Ema even decides that, since SL-9 is apparently the source of all those awful rumors, it's her fault that people are so mean to poor Mr. Edgeworth. "If I could have just testified properly, none of this would have happened!" she wails. I respect Ema enough that I'm not going to accuse her of being all "MEEEEEEEEEEE" about this, but if that is her intent, Phoenix totally doesn't take her bait. He chooses instead to retreat into his own universe and blue-font, "Edgeworth really was involved in falsifying evidence!" Phoenix is going to be extra withholding tonight, but too passive-aggressive to tell Edgeworth why. "Lana was never the same," Ema is saying, like Phoenix has given his client a second thought in the last five minutes. "She became cold, like she is today." Phoenix internally decides Lana's icy demeanor is a façade to hide her guilt, just like another prosecutor he could name.

Sure don't!

Finally, since she brought it up, Phoenix asks, "What did you see in the instant the crime occurred?" I thought she already answered this, but then I realized I was assuming Phoenix could see her mental images, just like Ema can read his thoughts. That's on me. "...Darke knocked down Mr. Marshall and raised his knife," she says. Phoenix takes a fraction of a second to feel bad that Ema witnessed a grisly murder, though she again points out that she was unconscious when it actually happened. "When I came to, Lana was cradling me in her arms," she adds as another flashback illustrates this. Lana, in this still image, looks more animated than Phoenix has ever seen her. Her face almost looks like it's capable of movement!

After Phoenix throws out another token "Poor Ema" while checking his watch, Ema goes on, "I-I couldn't bring myself to testify about that instant. I tried, but the words just wouldn't come out." Wait, just now she said she couldn't testify about the murder because she didn't actually see the knife plunge in. Now it's because she was too traumatized? This won't even crack the top 100 dumbest things about that night, but it's worth noting now before I'm buried in an avalanche of nonsensical bullshit. Ema also drew a picture of what she saw, since words failed her, which sounds like something a five year old would be asked to do by a child psychologist, but Phoenix goes, "Two years ago... You must have been 14. That's understandable." I guess.

This was also the event that started Ema down the path to a career in forensics. "I want to be able to fight crime with my testimonies!" she says with just the saddest fucking face. Spoiler alert, Ema: all the Power of the Science in the world would not have helped you make sense of SL-9. She adds, smiling now, "And find the evidence to make an airtight case... That way, Lana would never have to forge any." Is she saying this is a motivation as of right now? Because she just found out that Lana forged evidence, right? Why am I even wasting my time getting confused about this? I'd say I have bigger fish to fry, but Angel Starr has put me off food-related figures of speech, maybe forever.

Slow down, Ema! Phoenix is taking notes.

Phoenix is still bothered by one thing, though: what the hell was Joe Darke, apparent serial murderer, doing busting into Lana's office? Being chased by a horny prosecutor, no less? "Oh, there's no mystery there," Ema replies, and I beg to fucking differ, but one thing at a time. "Joe Darke had been taken in for questioning that day." And after a lot of Shioning by Phoenix because he retained nothing from the fucking case file and thinks Lana was Chief Prosecutor two years ago, Ema finally helps the poor boy out. "Two years ago..." she says, "Lana was a detective. She was the best in the entire force!" Phoenix exclaims more strongly about this fact he already had access to than he did about Ema being targeted by a serial killer, and blue-fonts, "That's news to me!" Jesus Christ, Nick, it is way too late in the game for you to be acting like this. Ema adds, "After the Joe Darke case, she was transferred to the Prosecutor's Office and made Chief Prosecutor." Nothing weird about that, and I'm sure it was totally on the up and up. Anyway, this "discovery" makes Phoenix want to have another chat with Lana, so it's off to the detention center.

Unlike yesterday, when the police were trying in vain to interrogate her until this case made sense, Lana is out of questioning and available to chat. Phoenix first makes sure to wag his judgmental finger in her face about her heinous crime, and Lana has zero fucks to give about his opinion. In some kind of attempt to make her feel shitty about it, Phoenix goes, "Lana. Ema told me about you. About how you were a detective two years ago, and how the SL-9 Incident was the reason for your transfer to the Prosecutor's Office." That is not at all what Ema said. She only said that after the case Lana was transferred. I hate it when Phoenix asspulls details like this and then turns out to be exactly fucking right. Because he is, and Lana agrees to tell him about her career change.

'I...missed the Four Non Blondes reunion tour?'

First, Phoenix and Lana rehash the events of today's trial. "Evidence from that case was stolen..." Lana murmurs. "I expected as much. I know how obsessive Officer Marshall can be." But Marshall didn't even succeed in stealing that evidence, which he admitted in front of everyone. But enough about that, because nothing about the events in the evidence room managed to not be stupid. Ema laments that the Joe Darke trial wasn't "fair," and shouts, "I believed in you, Lana! I believed that no matter what happened, you'd always stick to the truth!" Ema had THE HEART THAT BELIEVES in her duplicitous bitch of a sister! Lana answers, just as melodramatically, "At that trial two years ago...I sold my soul." Even Phoenix, who loves him some melodrama, is all, "Whatever, Lady Macbeth, you still allegedly stabbed a guy." Lana refuses to comment on this, and it's getting sufficiently ridiculous that she won't talk to her own sister and lawyer about it that she finally has to admit, in the hopes that they will stop asking, "Ema... This doesn't involve just me." But who else could possibly be involved? I swear, Phoenix is this close to asking if she means Edgeworth.

Anyway, regarding Lana's career switch, she confirms she was a detective at the time of SL-9, and Ema gushes with a fervor she usually reserves for Edgeworth, "She was amazing! They still talk about all the cases she and Chief Gant cracked together!" This bombshell--only to Phoenix, of course--is accompanied by a glamour shot of the two detectives, each wearing slightly modified versions of their current ensembles. Gant's crucifix tie is missing, as are Lana's fancy shoulder pads. Phoenix is like, "DURRRR, you mean THAT Chief Gant?" Lana says he was "the Vice-Head of Criminal Affairs" back then, but he still worked cases. Marshall called Gant the "Chief Detective" in his testimony, so I guess this means Gant used to do the same job as the Head/Chief Detective who invented the Blue Badger. Something tells me their respective leadership styles are different. Also, sweet Jesus, does somebody need to rein in all these fucking titles. Damon Gant, first of his name, King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men!

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