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.