This one has been a long time coming.
Let’s talk about the Vegeta to Phoenix’s Goku.
The story of Miles Edgeworth is long and sordid. There is a lifetime of anguish and revelation beneath his proud and stoic exterior. Let’s begin in the same place the story did - his formal introduction.
Before we meet Edgeworth, all we know is what Phoenix tells us. That is two things. One: He’s a cold, emotionless machine that would do anything for a guilty verdict. Two: There are countless yet unproven rumors of forged evidence, deals with witnesses, and other shady cheating.
This paints a certain image in your head. One of perhaps Edgeworth’s initial concept art:
Yet what do we see when we get there?
“The prosecution is ready, Your Honor.” That’s it. Where is this vile madman we had described to us? He’s not cackling, twisting a mustache, going into long-winded speeches, or even regarding the defense in the slightest. He simply states that he is ready because this is something he has done a million times before.
Edgeworth is calmly preparing to do his day job, roll over the defense as per usual and move on. It’s a very understated introduction and it works wonders. It tells us Phoenix’s mental depiction of him is born from something else. That something else started 15 years ago.
This picture right here set the entire series into motion. By defending a young Phoenix in the face of the entire classroom, he gave our protagonist the ideals by which he stands. "Stand up for others who don’t have anyone else on their side.“
Edgeworth went on to talk about his beloved defense attorney father and how he wanted to be just like him. Of course, we all know what happened next.
Enraged at the scars on his perfect record and perfect shoulder, Manfred von Karma murdered Gregory Edgeworth and took the man’s son as his own. In Germany, Miles Edgeworth was shaped to be a prosecutor and, more than that, a Von Karma.
Criminals took his father away from him and so all criminals must be put in prison. There is no telling what defendant is telling the truth and so a guilty verdict must be sought regardless. Those are the simple rules he followed. Perfection and victory were all that mattered. He would obtain them through any means necessary. The media jumped on it and the name "Demon Prosecutor” was born.
Yet there was an emotional wound beneath this. For 15 years, Edgeworth suffered the same nightmare of him throwing the gun that killed his father. For 15 years he dared not face the idea that he was the true killer and so he clung to the Von Karma methods. Phoenix described the “real Edgeworth” as being in pain and he had no idea how right he was.
We see this real Edgeworth begin to show at the end of Turnabout Samurai. Vasquez has all but gotten away when our enemy, the Demon Prosecutor, objects. Edgeworth had his chance to avenge the clear fluke of Turnabout Sisters and crush Phoenix Wright’s undeserved ego to dust… but he hesitates. In fact, he turns the case around for the defense and feeds himself his second loss.
This leads to that (in)famous exchange:
No, fangirls, he’s not expressing love. Stop that. He’s actually expressing exactly what he said: unease and uncertainty. For 15 years he’s had perfection and pursuit of guilty verdicts drilled into him. For five years he has achieved that at every turn. Now he has suffered loss and, as far as he’s concerned, the end of his career. Why, then, did he ensure his first official losing streak?
There’s troubling change brewing within him at this point. The seven-year-old Edgeworth who seeks the protection of the innocent is wanting to step into the light but the 24-year-old Demon Prosecutor seeks the darkness in which he dwells. The two sides wage a war inside him and he views it as only shameful. He cannot afford such burdening doubts. Edgeworth’s pride is a constant factor no matter his stance on the law.
Later on, while in prison for the murder of Robert Hammond, he comes to a conclusion. He will accept his guilty verdict and put an end to his inner turmoils once and for all. If he really did kill his father, then he feels he deserves it. If he truly has sent innocent people to their deaths, then his own is only a fraction of the penance. He turns away Phoenix’s help and awaits his judgment.
Yet that’s not what happens, is it? That’s not the end of the Ballad of Miles Edgeworth. Phoenix does what he does best and defends someone who doesn’t even want his help. The fog over DL-6 is lifted and Yanni Yogi is exposed as Hammond’s murderer. What’s more, the mastermind behind it was none other than Edgeworth’s own mentor. The crazy train still doesn’t stop there. Manfred von Karma murdered Gregory Edgeworth. Little Miles held blame for nothing. His conscience was cleared and the nightmares could stop. He could even put his past behind him and step forward as a new man, fighting for the truth the way he said he would as a child.
…Or could he? This is where I feel Rise From the Ashes really excelled.
By introducing Damon Gant, someone with direct power over Edgeworth, they can really heap more woes onto his mind as he tries to recover from past problems. Throughout the case you constantly see Edgeworth paying for what he has done. Lana admits to handing him forged evidence in years prior, he’s investigated by his own office, and he’s even publicly chastised by the chief of police during court.
The climb out of the hole he dug is a hard one, but this is the first time (chronologically) he actually works with Phoenix to achieve a proper verdict. Working with the enemy is one more new and confusing thing for him. Now add to this everything Gant tells him. Edgeworth is left wondering if he truly is no different. Would he again stoop to who he was? Would he fall victim to wanton corruption? Was that glimmer of hope just a spark lost to the darkness?
He left to find himself and, in his worst move to date, made it look like a suicide. Perhaps he planned for it to be. We know he sought his death penalty in Turnabout Goodbyes. Maybe he was simply “as good as dead” as Franziska felt at the end of JFA. A Von Karma that has lost is dead, after all. Whatever the case, he was not gone forever. During that hiatus he discovered what being a lawyer really meant to him.
So what was that holy grail of knowledge? It was the truth; nothing more, nothing less. It seems like such a simple concept, doesn’t it? Just tell the truth. Just whittle away lies to the actuality. Yet there’s so much more to it than that.
This is the harsh face of truth. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t kind. It was actually quite a despicable thing to do. Yet the truth had to come out, didn’t it? This is the creed Edgeworth found overseas. No matter the case, there is one underlying truth to find.
That’s really his entire spiel in Investigations. Truth this, truth that, he even has Kay at his side going on about being a Great Thief of Truth. Brutal honesty is his one outstanding principle, even if it means exposing a humiliating and shameful past or just breaking a lady’s heart by insulting her design sense. He will not bend from this stance.
So we know what makes him a lawyer now. But what makes him a person? Who is Miles Edgeworth? He’s a genius with a dry wit, that much is obvious. Yet he’s not without personal flaws that don’t involve his dark past as the Demon Prosecutor.
Being raised as an emotionless law machine since nine years of age, Edgeworth did not get much experience when dealing with others. After leaving the States, it’s doubtful he had many, if any, friends. The closest he had would have been his foster sister, Franziska. Even then, she’s hardly the friendly sort, not to mention her seething jealousy of his natural ability. Of course, Franzy is an essay for a later date.
This asocial upbringing is extremely apparent in most of his interactions. His completely oblivious reaction to flirtatious women and utter disinterest in romance all together is the most obvious, but even simple small talk is difficult for him. Heck, he can barely express genuine care for a person’s well being.
Yet his true colors show during Bridge to the Turnabout. When Larry in all his hysteria phones Edgeworth in the middle of the night and proclaims Phoenix to be on his deathbed, that prosecutor is back in the States by the next day. After learning what was really going on, he even illegally stands in as a defense attorney for a day. It isn’t so much that he has no emotion, it’s that he has trouble expressing himself. Ironic, considering how eloquent he is in court (besides a variety of funny noises). He’s simply too proud to speak of such matters and sees no need to.
To describe him simply, Edgeworth is a man with a good heart and a solid sense of responsibility and loyalty. However, unlike his more animated friends, he keeps his beneath a veneer of sophistication and pride. His past is troubled but his present keeps him looking to a future of redemption. Many might view him as a role model, but he would not see himself as such. He only seeks to do his job and do it correctly. Perhaps that’s what makes him so worth looking up to.
In conclusion, I guess there’s really only one thing left to say:
I… I feel foolish.
Dear Anonymous Followers,
You asked for it and now you get it.
Essays go under the cut. That’s one of my rules.
Diego Armando is one of the most conflicted and human characters in the series. He begins his life as an arrogant hot shot. He has every reason, you know. He’s the finest lawyer at Grossberg Law Offices and a handsome, charming man who makes all the kittens weak kneed with a cock of his eyebrow. This brings me to the biggest debate over him.
A lot of people call him a chauvinist because of his pet names for women and one particular instance I’ll get to later. To an extent I can see it, but that’s not entirely true. You get the impression he started off as a playboy of sorts but his entanglement with Mia is where I feel he diverged from that path. She impressed him. In his own words, she “moved” him. There was no other woman for whom he’d rise from the dead.
I feel he treats women in more of a traditional, chivalrous kind of way. He’d open doors and be “the protector” in the relationship. Now I’m not about to enter into some feminism debate, but you have to remember he nurtured Mia’s career in law. He pushed her to break the binds of those traditional standards all the while nursing her battered courage after Fawles’s suicide. That’s more than chivalry. That’s respect. Perhaps that’s why there is debate on this subject. He crossed the line into both camps.
That’s why I call him human. People aren’t pigeonholed into a single belief and seemingly contradict themselves all the time. Perhaps Diego himself would look at this very topic, smirk, and utter something more profound than I can say.
His words of wisdom display a man who can detach himself from the moment. Much like how Edgeworth can push emotion to the side and calmly see the logic in any scenario, Diego can sum things up in a turn of phrase or one of his infamous rules. He observes life like an outsider because, in his eyes, that’s what he became.
Imagine going to bed with everything and waking up with nothing. It’s a cliche phrase but to Diego, it’s exactly what happened. He had the perfect woman, a successful career, and even an important short time goal of pinning down Dahlia Hawthorne. When he woke up from that coma, Mia was dead, Dahlia was caught, and his eyes were blind. He truly had nothing. To him, Diego Armando was dead. Fitted with a visor that doubled as a mask, the newly dubbed Godot rose up with an aimless desire to set things right.
Diego’s smarmy charm lingered like smoke around this new, bitter and brooding man but his wisdom grew darker and his former teasing became sharp and personal. He saw Phoenix Wright as the man who loved Dahlia and let Mia die. The player knows what really happened, yes, but perhaps so did Diego. He knew it all along, that Phoenix couldn’t have done or known a thing, but he needed someone to blame. Just like how he needed to save Maya to save himself, he had to punish Phoenix to punish himself. Everything he once knew was finished without him and he was left raw and incomplete.
This is where I get back to that “specific instance” I mentioned early on. Godot seemed to take great offense to Franziska’s very existence. He told her to shut her mouth, know her role, and head home. Wow. Was it simple chauvinism as some would suggest, a desire to get her out of the way so he could face Phoenix, or even his distaste for Von Karmas from his days as an attorney? More than anything, I think it was seeing a young, sharp tongued woman like Franziska. The last one he met put him into a coma. His body wasn’t the only thing ruined. His mind was a mess of static and regret waiting to lash out.
Does that excuse his reaction? Not at all. But as I’ve said, flaws make a character. Godot was horribly flawed. His old life was taken from him and he was given a new one he didn’t even want and he just couldn’t deal with it. So he’s a fantastic character, but what makes him so likable? Many say his tragic love story. Personally, I’ll forever love his mannerisms, way of speech, unflappable cool, and swanky theme song. But is he a good person?
…He was. Maybe with time he could be again. There’s another debate about him regarding whether or not he would receive the death penalty for killing Misty Fey. I say no. He ran her through to protect Maya and himself. Dahlia did slash him across the face with a knife, after all. He took a life, covered things up, lied in court, and made Iris into an accomplice, but he didn’t murder anyone.
So there he sits, waiting for his poison soaked body to finally shut down. In the time he has left, I’d like to think he makes his peace. There’s someone waiting for him.