Why the Phoenix Wright Characters Will Die Alone

A look at why the three main Phoenix Wright characters will be forever dateless.

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Recently, The GameCola Podcast recorded a three-hour interview with the cast of Turnabout Musical. The interview was a lot of fun, even though it will probably take months before we edit it all. However, when we discussed the GCPC’s favorite joke topic—romantic relationships in the Phoenix Wright series—I couldn’t help but notice that the Turnabout Musical people took the topic seriously.

As in, very seriously. I thought they might hurt me if I didn’t agree with what they said. If the actors playing police officers didn’t arrest me, the actors playing lawyers would sue me for slander. I tried my best to keep my mouth shut the whole time.

After the recording, though, I got to thinking. When you take a really serious look at the Phoenix Wright characters, it becomes kind of obvious that they’re all destined to be dateless for the rest of their lives. Just like the people who buy from Silver Dollar Games. Zing! No, but seriously, I can’t see any of these characters being an ideal boyfriend or girlfriend. And so, without further ado, I present to you my report, which explains…

Why the Phoenix Wright Characters Will Die Alone

#1. Phoenix Wright


Why will Phoenix never get a girlfriend? Reason #1 is the pink sweater.

Phoenix has only had one girlfriend in his life: Dahlia Hawthorne. And that was basically the textbook definition of “unhealthy relationship.” Phoenix became dangerously obsessed with her, she tried to kill him, and he was secretly in love with her sister the whole time. Not the best relationship ever, by any standards.

Once their doomed relationship failed, Phoenix went into extreme denial and never dated again. Eventually, the experience with Dahlia caused Phoenix to develop a misguided hero complex. Now he risks his life over and over again in an attempt to protect every person he meets, especially girls who remind him of Dahlia. And as long as Phoenix sees every woman as a damsel in distress, it’s going to be hard for him to get a girlfriend.

But can Phoenix ever find true love? The ending to the third Phoenix Wright game left this question open, but it strongly hinted that Phoenix worked through his Dahlia issues, and he’s finally able to move on and start a relationship with someone else. Good for Phoenix. But then, in the next game, this minor cliffhanger was completely forgotten, as Phoenix cut off all contact with his friends, became a drunken hobo, and adopted a girl he didn’t know. So…yeah. I don’t think he moved on with his life.

#2. Maya Fey


Now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure that the main goal of the Phoenix Wright series is not to entertain gamers, but to force Maya to undergo severe psychological trauma. Think about it. She saw her sister and mother die right in front of her own eyes, she was held hostage by a serial killer, she was abandoned by her parents at age two and forced to live with an abusive aunt, she’s been falsely accused of murder three times, and she’s spoken to Larry Butz for more than two minutes. None of these are good things.

All the trauma Maya has suffered explains why she’s so obsessed with children’s TV shows, like The Steel Samurai. Sure, that may seem like a quirky character trait, but it’s really a cry for help! She’s trying to regress to her youth, to before all the bad things happened to her. Her immaturity betrays her deep psychological issues, and this poor girl needs help, NOW!

…Either that, or she just likes to watch violent kids shows. I’m not sure.

Using my finely-tuned psychology background–

Mandatory Disclaimer: Michael has no psychology background. He got a “D” on his final paper for Psychology in high school, and he hasn’t touched the field since.

*AHEM*. Using my finely-tuned psychology background, I can safely say that Maya’s friendship with Phoenix is an example of transference. Maya doesn’t become friends with Phoenix because she likes him; she becomes friends with Phoenix because she wants a replacement for the recently-departed Mia. After all, Phoenix and Mia are a lot alike. They’re both defense lawyers, they both live in LA, and…OK, that’s all they have in common, but still! It’s totally an example of transference. Maya only made friends with Phoenix because she needed a new big sister. End of story!

So will Maya ever get a boyfriend? Well, she’s definitely not going to date her big sister Phoenix. And it’s been established that there are no men in her hometown. And she’s high maintenance. And she’s really immature. And she’s kind of weird. And she—you know what, I’m just going to stop there. The answer is “no.” Maya will most likely not get a boyfriend, but the good news is that she’s totally fine with that.

#3. Miles Edgeworth


Edgeworth is a psychological mess, too. He has two main traumas in his life. First, he’s traumatized by the death of his father. He has recurring nightmares about this event, and he still faints whenever there is an earthquake. The second trauma is his failure to live up to Manfred Von Karma’s perfect win record, an impossibly high standard that he has been burdened with all his life.

OK, so the Turnabout Musical people made a good point in the podcast recording. Edgeworth is socially awkward whenever he talks to Phoenix in the first game. But that doesn’t mean Edgeworth is always socially awkward! It just means he’s awkward around Phoenix. Edgeworth does just fine when he’s talking to people who aren’t actively trying to clean out the skeletons in his closet, thank you very much.

No, social awkwardness won’t prevent Edgeworth from getting a girlfriend. What’s going to ruin Edgeworth’s chances at romance is…well, Edgeworth himself. Sure, women seem interested in his dashing good looks, manly cologne and elegant speech. But consider this: Edgeworth is unable to listen to any girl for more than five minutes without trying to cross-examine her. That’s fine in the courtroom, but on a date? Not so much.

Also, Edgeworth is really bad when it comes to communicating, which is a problem for any relationship. Remember the second game, where he wrote the suicide note “Miles Edgeworth chooses death”? It turned out that what he meant to write was “Hey, dudes, I’m going on vacation to Europe for a few months! See you later!” Edgeworth’s major communication issues are probably the main reason why he can’t get a girlfriend.

That, and Edgeworth has the fashion sense of a man born two centuries ago. Don’t get me wrong: Edgeworth is still awesome, albeit to a lesser degree when he plays the second fiddle in Kay Faraday: Ace Attorney: Investigations. It’s just that Edgeworth isn’t dating material. He could probably get a few dates, to be sure, but he’d have a really hard time finding a woman who fits his high standards and is willing to settle down with him.

So there you have it, everyone. Our favorite Phoenix Wright characters aren’t going to find romance in their futures any time soon. Fortunately, they’re all best friends who spend a lot of time with each other, so none of them will die lonely. They’ll just die alone. Big difference.

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About the Contributor

From 2007 to 2016

Michael Gray is a staff writer for GameCola, who focuses on adventure games, videos and writing videogame walkthroughs.


  1. I have to agree with Nick’s future (mostly because I don’t have evidence to counter it). But Maya’s obsession with the steel samurai is not a cry for help because a lot of people in the series like it. For example there’s Penny, Gumshoe, Kay, and EDGEWORTH!! Speaking of which, I honestly think that he and Franziska MIGHT make a good couple, looks past the whole sibling rivalry thing.

  2. Everyone ever will be forever alone.

    Hey, we do not take shipping seriously! Except for Larry/Franzy. We at TM firmly believe in the canon-osityifitensy of these two.

    Great article though. XD I got home from work and had project people linking this to me all “Maya is going to be forever alone, and so will you”. Ahahahaha.

  3. But doesn’t Maya consider Phoenix her best friend? (/blatant NaruMayo shipper)
    As a big sister, I wouldn’t cross a burning bridge. Especially when I’m scared of heights.

  4. This made me laugh. Being an Edgeworth fangirl, I don’t think he’ll find romance anywhere but an OC, haha. Phoenix and Maya…could be cute together but it’s iffy. Thanks Michael! Can’t wait for the podcast! 🙂

  5. Wowsers, four comments? And here, I cut the article short, because Paul thought I should stop at three characters.

    There’s more that you can say about Maya. I think, like Pearl, she has misconstrued ideas about what romantic relationships look like, because she grew up in Kurain under Morgan Fey. Also, she is completely oblivious whenever a guy–usually Larry Butz–flirts with her. Both of these things hurt her chances of finding romance.

    The Franziska and Larry relationship is doomed to failure, because eventually he’ll get accused of murder again. Franziska will be named the prosecutor, and she’ll be forced to choose between her boyfriend and her legal career. It’ll be super-dramatic, and heartbreaking as the two of them break up in Defendant Lobby 3 during the aftermath of the case.

  6. It’s not all doom and gloom for everyone. At least Ron and Desirée DeLite can still live happily ever after, hell, Ron even managed to get away with multiple theft!

  7. Tch, no way. Franzy will make sure Edgeworth takes the case against Larry and make herself a cardboard defense attorney badge to go against him. Therefor both saving her boyfriend AND defeating Edgeworth at last at the same time! She’ll go home and have a crazy victory celebration with her boyfriend, not break up with him.

    Edgeworth, on the other hand, will need years of therapy to get over walking in on their intense make out session in the defense lobby.

  8. Franziska would NEVER play defense attorney! Even when she gets accused of murder in Ace Attorney Investigations, she refuses to defend herself. That’s just so directly opposed to the Von Karma code that she’d never even consider it. I say that she would be a true Von Karma and sacrifice anything–including love–for the sake of a perfect victory. Nope, Larry’s relationship with Franziska is doomed to failure, just like every other relationship he gets into.

    Besides, April May is more Larry’s type.

    But I’ll agree to disagree, on the condition that either Larry or Franziska drops the cheesy line “I find you guilty…of stealing my heart” during one of their dates.

  9. No, no, she chooses to play defense attorney TO get a win. Not for love. Love is just a perk. She finally gets to defeat Miles Edgeworth!

    And I refuse to acknowledge anything in AA:I as canon.

    And Larry drops all the cheesy lines. Including “You say you’re married to your job, babe? That’s law, right? Dude! Larry is short for LAWrence! Eh? Eh? Baby? OH GOD THE WHIP!!!”

  10. I can kind of see that working. Edgeworth would want to prosecute Larry, if Larry’s been fooling around with Edgeworth’s sister. But the problem is that whenever Larry gets in trouble, it’s almost always because of a girl. Franziska would never stand for that. Never. Which would ruin the relationship, because Larry’s got a perpetual case of wandering eyes.

    What is Phoenix’s role in this whole scenario, may I ask? Franziska’s co-council?

    You would disregard the canonicity of AAI, even though that’s the game where Larry flirts with Franziska? Because clearly, in the third Phoenix Wright game, Larry only has eyes for Iris. And in that game, Franziska kind of hates him because he’s a bad witness.

  11. I definitly agree with you. The all cast of this game are neutral character, they can’t have a date, it will be… just WRONG! xD
    And Maya and Phoenix have definitly a sibling relationship… Brrr, I’m so happy, the Turnabout Musical realise that it would have been… AWKARD!

  12. This article was hilarious!

    Whilst I agree about Edgeworth, I do think that Phoenix and Maya can find love, separately.

    Maya is pretty damn mature CONSIDERING what happened to her, I mean she was only 17 when she was still into Steel Samurai!
    Phoenix may eventually want to settle down and make Trucy happy.

    I just want more Ace Attorney games lol

  13. I believe it is stated in-game that Miles Edgeworth doesn’t even have an interest in settling down. (Dating, marriage, etc) He practically took himself off of the list.

  14. *coff-coff* WRIGHTWORTH *coff-coff*
    No but seriously, there are countless hints that Phoenix and Edgeworth could be a gay couple.
    First of all, edgworth never showed interest in a woman watsoever, and is indeed very ankward around Phoenix right? Also Phoenix could well be BI. Add some “unnecessary feelings” (quoting edgeworth from the first game) and the fact that Phoenix LITERALLY became a lawyer JUST so he could meet edgeworth again. That’s some serious shit right there… also remember how Phoenix acted when he tought that edgeworth was dead in the second game, and then after he met him again he was furios at Edgeworth as if he let him down… plus a ton of other stuff that it would be too long to mention here.
    No but like, in Capcom’s official twitter they even posted Phoenix x Edgeworth stuff, and the official Mangaka of the series made art of them as a friggin MARRIED COUPLE. Even the official voice actors of the new animated series ships them.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if they pull a “Dumbledore” there very soon.
    Maybe before it would had been too soon to comfirm lgbt material on a game aimed to a wider audience, but now that we are in 2019, it would make perfect sense to do so.

  15. the people who worked on the trilogy themselves stated multiple times online and in interviews that edgeworth and wright should end up together. hell, even the official twitter/facebook shares wrightworth art. it’s literally all right there, look it up. and for me, maya and wright honestly have almost a sibling dynamic, but i think that’s just cultural/societal differences between people. there’s a crap ton of proof online and on https://shipping.fandom.com/wiki/NaruMitsu (but take it with a grain of salt). i genuinely think that wrightworth has the highest chance of becoming canon, though.

  16. not to dunk on a nine year old post but like.
    you fail to acknowledge the fact that there is no heterosexual explanation as to why phoenix and edgeworth ALWAYS end up within eachothers vicinity. there is no heterosexual explanation as to why their connection runs so deep and continues to thrive. these bitches are GAY.
    send edgeworth to some therapy first and youre SET

  17. interesting points! personally for me i feel like trilogy phoenix is WAY different to aa6 phoenix in terms of how he’s matured and grown. i know this article came out before then, but you mentioned trucy’s adoption which i feel is what kickstarted him to become a better person. yeah sure, in aa4 he was jaded and weird (i don’t blame him really, seven years of his life had just been spent trying to get justice on a murderer who ruined his career) – but trucy still set in motion the process of him maturing and becoming imo someone very lovable. maybe maya and edgeworth will be happy single (if narumitsu remains not canon, lol) but phoenix is at a point in his life now where i can totally see him settling down.

  18. okay, but consider: gay.
    they’re all so gay it’s ridiculous,, and i know this is a nine year old article but this is so forcefully hetero,, huh-
    i don’t think i need to explain narumitsu, that’s obvious, but i’m a dedicated franmaya shipper. don’t ask me why. i just consume the content.

  19. Edgeworth is confirmed to not want a girlfriend. Hes either aro-ace or gay. (or attracted to other genders, but i highly doubt it)

    Maya gives off pansexual vibes, and I think her and Franziska would be a good couple

    Phoenix is bisexual, no joke. It may not be officially stated, but its highly implied throughout the entire series.

    Being straight isnt the only sexuality

  20. Micheal you foolish fool, Maya Fey is far from alone, even without any romantic relationships. Though I’ll say Miss Fey is a lovely girlfriend.

  21. cant believe this comment section went from larry and franziska shippers and phoenix maya shippers in 2011 to wrightworth and franmaya shippers in 2021

  22. I understand the Wrightworth ship, it makes sense. There’s a good deal of reason to take it into account when determining potential ships for the two.

    However, I have a real difficult time understanding FranMaya. Without any major spoilers, could anyone tell me why FranMaya is a thing? They don’t seem to have much in common.

  23. I think Maya will eventually get married and have kids since she’s the only one left in the main family bloodline.

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