Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Official Casebook Vol. 1

304 pages, black and white
Published by Del Rey

One of my favorite games for the Nintendo DS is the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series. In it, you control a flamboyantly goofy lawyer named Phoenix Wright, who always seems to be defending people whose case is nothing sort of hopeless. The game has a great sense of humor, as well lots of fun little character interactions. So the idea of a manga Phoenix Wright? This sounded right up my alleyway.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Official Casebook is set during all different points in the Phoenix Wright timeline; some stories are soon after the first game begun, others a little later on with characters like Franziska von Karma having entered the story. With twenty different stories, there’s certainly a lot of room for variety and inventiveness here.

Unfortunately, that’s certainly not what we get. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Official Casebook comes across as very amateurish and predictable in just about every single story. These seem less like professional creations, and much more like fan-created stories where the creators aren’t quite ready for prime-time just yet. It’s frustrating, because a detective series with quirky characters should be able to inspire so many different, good ideas. Instead, here, we not only get a lot of flat and slightly dull stories, but we actually get repetition of basic plot ideas. (Two different stories about a missing cat? Really?)

Each story exists in its own universe, the creators clearly not having any sort of interaction with one another. I’d have cheerfully tossed out half of these stories in favor of one long, more detailed story. Each case in the actual Phoenix Wright games has so much more depth and plot than any story in the Official Casebook, it’s a little startling to compare the two; if anything, most people probably would have expected the reverse to be true.

I love the Phoenix Wright games, and all this book really made me want to do was finally take the third game out of its shrink wrap and play it. That way, I could get a firm reminder about what makes the game so enjoyable, and how these stories missed out on that entirely. If you’ve been hearing good things about the originals and wanted to use this book by way of introduction… don’t. You’ll just be disappointed by this surprising misstep of a book.

Purchase Links: Amazon.com

6 comments to Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Official Casebook Vol. 1

  • Lawrence

    You’ve echoed my sentiments near exactly.

    I found the Official Casebook to be nothing but a colossal disappointment. Nearly every writer seemed to disregard the spirit and fundamentals of what makes Phoenix Wright such a compelling video game series.

  • […] off the shelf at Fujoshi Librarian. At Read About Comics, Greg McElhatton is not impressed by vol. 1 of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Official Casebook. Casey Brienza reviews vol. 3 of Tactics and Theron Martin looks at vol. 1 of Vampire Hunter D, the […]

  • […] off the shelf at Fujoshi Librarian. At Read About Comics, Greg McElhatton is not impressed by vol. 1 of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Official Casebook. Casey Brienza reviews vol. 3 of Tactics and Theron Martin looks at vol. 1 of Vampire Hunter D, the […]

  • I’ve only read the first few stories in the collection then paused out of fear for spoilers (I’m way behind on the games, just finishing up ‘Justice For All’ at the moment) but my impression was the same as yours – the stories are pure fanfic. It reads like a completely random series of creators were thrown a page allocation and told to create something about Phoenix Wright – and most of them are very tired short story ideas or incredibly minor character points. It’s such a bloody shame, as a ‘Case Closed’ type longer whodunnit would be fantastic. Very, very disappointing.

  • Franziska

    can i asked question? and please answer it nicely…

    who are your favorite characters in the game phoenix wright: ace attorney justice for all and trials and tribulations?

  • Iin keren

    @Franziska: Mia Fey
    nice lady and very sexy :D