I bet you thought I’d run out of Ace Attorney lists – well think again! I’ve ranked the characters in the Danganronpa series, so I thought I’d give the Ace Attorney series a go.
Now, it’s a little trickier doing Ace Attorney compared to Danganronpa – there are hundreds of characters, most of whom you only meet once or twice, so to have any hope of ever finishing this list I have to focus on the “major” characters only.
How do I decide who the major characters are? Well, it’s a very subjective thing as it turns out. A ground rule I’ve set myself is that they had to have appeared in more than one case (so no Damon Gant!), and they have to be memorable enough for me to know who they are – this is just off the top of my head after all, so hopefully I haven’t missed any.
Also, a quick disclaimer – I haven’t finished the DGS games yet, so I can’t include any of those characters unfortunately. How would I rank all the *major* characters in the Ace Attorney franchise?
You can check out some of my related lists below:
31 – Wendy Oldbag
To be honest, I don’t think any of the recurring characters in the series are that bad – they all bring something unique to the table, and at the bear minimum there’s that rush of satisfaction when a favourite character returns.
Oldbag, however, is not a favourite character of mine, and her appearances bring me little to no satisfaction. Other than the hilarious back-and-forth between her and Edgeworth at times, 90% of her screen time is more annoying than anything. In terms of the major characters, she’s easily the worst. Worst of the best?
30 – Officer Meekins (Mike Meekins)
I was this close to omitting Meekins completely – he’s far from a major character at all, but with my “more than one case” rule I realised he had to qualify.
He’s quite a fun character to interact with, but my goodness is he useless at his job. His role in “Rise From The Ashes” was purely to complicate things, which instantly knocks him down a few places in my rankings.
29 – Maggey Byrde
Sure, Maggey Byrde and Gumshoe’s dynamic is adorable as heck … but that’s pretty much the only interesting aspect of this character.
She’s usually just a plot device / expositional dump in any of her cases, and she could realistically be replaced by another character in every single appearance and nothing would be detracted.
28 – Adrian Andrews
There’s a large group of stans that think Adrian Andrews is the most underrated character, and certified waifu material.
Yes, she does have some interesting ties to the plots of both of her cases … but is she really that memorable? I’d argue no.
27 – Larry Butz
Larry Butz is in a similar league to Oldbag in terms of “characters that were fun at first but now have been overused to death” but … it’s Larry, y’know?
He’s probably a “Meh” tier character objectively speaking, but he’s such a nugget of purity and silliness that I can’t help but be won over by his goofy charm. Still annoying as heck though.
26 – Will Powers
A little Larry-esque at times, but instead of annoying outbursts its just insecurities and goofy faces.
He works fine in the cases that he appears in, but he isn’t exactly a character to write home about.
25 – Lotta Heart
Yet another character that appeared far more often then she probably should have done, but darn tootin’ she’s a sassy lady that brings a new dynamic to the table.
When she’s lying on the witness stand it gets a bit annoying, but she’s got a heart of gold and I can respect her for that.
24 – Kristoph Gavin
Of all the major Ace Attorney antagonists, Kristoph has to be my least favourite. He never seems that imposing or villainous, and instead gets outshone by his much cooler brother on every turn.
Still, he has his moments, and finally being able to catch him out at the end of Apollo Justice was one of the most euphoric showdowns in the series
23 – Justine Courtney
Justine was a very late addition to my list – she’s a fairly memorable character with a decent arc, but I don’t consider her very “major”.
Rules are rules, however, and she makes loads of appearances in Investigations 2. She isn’t the most stand-out character in the world, but she’s important in the grand scheme of things.
22 – Shelley de Killer
I can’t think of any other Ace Attorney killer that got away with their crimes, and especially none that looked this cool while doing it.
Every time Shelley makes an appearance it turns that case into one of the greatest ever, and I think the fact that he’ll never be caught adds another layer of tension to the gaming experience.
21 – Blaise Debeste
What an evil bastard, I absolutely loathe the guy.
His neglect of his son and lack of a moral compass makes him one of the most truly despicable characters in the series, and I just love to hate him.
20 – Ema Skye
She’s taken a more prominent role in the recent Ace Attorney games, but it all started back in “Rise From The Ashes”, where a scared and vulnerable girl was just trying to save her sister.
Ema is one of the purest characters in the series, and her crime scene investigatory prowess is much appreciated.
19 – Morgan Fey
We don’t really have an overarching baddie in the Ace Attorney series, but it certainly felt like Morgan was pulling all the strings in the original trilogy.
She doesn’t make that many appearances, and it’s a shame most of her plans involve someone else doing the dirty work otherwise she would have ranked higher.
18 – Gregory Edgeworth
“Hey!” I hear you cry, “Gregory was only in one case, how come you’ve including him in you ‘major’ characters list?!?”
This might be a little bit of a spoiler, but Gregory Edgeworth also appears in the third case of Investigations 2, so he’s eligible for my list.
If we were just looking at his appearance in the original trilogy then he would have ranked way lower, but his commanding screen presence and determination to uncover the truth is what makes him a memorable addition to the Investigations games.
17 – Trucy Wright
Whilst never being the centre-piece of any case (I guess 6-2 is kinda about her, but other than that) Trucy always does a great job of injecting energy into a story.
I suppose she’s the recent set of games’ answer to Maya Fey, that kind of plucky and adorable assistant to help you solve the case.
16 – Raymond “Ray” Shields
We don’t get many cases with Ray, but he made such an impression on me in Investigations 2 that he somehow crawled his way up to the top half of the list – and he doesn’t really do anything other than just be awesome!
My favourite aspect of his character was how you could see him change from the Gregory to the Miles Edgeworth days, and his two selfies with father and son is one of the highlights of the entire series to me.
15 – Kay Faraday
Some may call Kay a second-rate Maya, a character that just rips off the OG goober of a companion, but I think Kay is a very decent character in her own right.
She’s the Yin to Edgeworth’s Yang, and it’s about damn time that he got a companion of his own. It also helps that she actually has a lot to do in the Investigations games, from her uses as a great thief to her heart-breaking condition in Investigations 2-4.
14 – Apollo Justice
I have a feeling this might be the most controversial placement of the bunch – especially when compared to a few of the characters I’ve rated above him – but I think we haven’t seen the best of Apollo yet.
I’ve never felt that the story knows what to do with him – he’s quite a standard character in his own game, he’s almost too mysterious and moody in Dual Destinies, but Spirit of Justice was a step in the right direction.
Part of me wishes he could be the main protagonist in the recent games instead of playing second-fiddle to Phoenix, but I know that would never happen (but AA7 isn’t out yet, so who knows?)
13 – Sebastian Debeste
Sebastian is one of the most interesting characters in the entire franchise. When you first load up Investigations 2, it’s pretty clear that Sebastian was going to be the trademark annoying character of the game – but as the cases and the stories progressed, you start to peer into the soul of this deeply flawed individual.
Part of the reason I loathed Blaise Debeste so much was the treatment of his son; Sebastian was eager to learn all about the work of a Prosecutor, but his father labelled him and idiot and the neglect turned him into the flawed character he is. As you progress through the game, and as Sebastian absorbed some of Edgeworth’s teachings, I began to respect him a lot more as a character that wanted to improve on a fundamental level.
12 – Pearl Fey
Never has an Ace Attorney character been so adorable, and Pearl even gives Maya a run for her money as a helpful sidekick.
What could have been an annoying child character actually ends up being endearing and amusing, and Pearl’s unique perspective on the world and Phoenix’s cases are a welcome addition.
11 – Franziska von Karma
Franziska is in an unfortunate underdog situation for two reasons: she’s the daughter of Manfred von Karma, the most intimidating antagonist in the Ace Attorney series, and she’s also the follow-up prosecutor to Edgeworth, the fan-favourite and arguably best character in the series.
For these reasons I could never truly warm to Franziska during Justice For All, but through all of her subsequent appearances I started to appreciate her contributions to the narrative.
10 – Mia Fey
There’s a strong argument to be made that Mia serves more as a plot device than an actual character, but my goodness is she important to the story and riveting to watch.
She is the only attorney who seems to know what’s going on, and her calmness and decisiveness is refreshing in hindsight. Her various appearances helping Phoenix and putting Dahlia back in her place is what makes her so great.
Granted, her Deus Ex Spirit Channelling can get very tedious and repetitive throughout the series, and if it wasn’t for that she would have ranked even higher.
9 – Klavier Gavin
Infinitely cooler than his brother Kristoph, Klavier became one of my favourite prosecutors – and characters in general – during the trials of Apollo Justice.
He’s one of the rare prosecutors that doesn’t seem corrupted in any way, and he’s similar to Phoenix in a way in the professionalism and determination he brings to the court.
8 – Dick Gumshoe
He was never the sharpest tool in the shed, but if anyone has a heart of gold it would have to be Dick Gumshoe.
Always helpful and hilarious during the crime scene investigation phase, it’s no exaggeration to say that this series wouldn’t be the same without him. It’s a shame he doesn’t turn up in the recent games – I wonder why that is?
7 – The Judge
Ah … Judge. The character that seems to weasel his way into every Ace Attorney game, and yet he’s still hilarious enough to be a major player in every court case.
His little bits of dialogue and all-round goofy persona are fun to watch, but it has it’s limits. There are some moments where he’s too infuriatingly incompetent, a caricature of himself, and it seems a bit unbelievable that he’s still in a job.
6 – Manfred von Karma
You might think von Karma wouldn’t be classed as a major character under my set of rules, but (without delving into spoilers) he does make another appearance later in the series, so you’re damn straight I’m gonna include him!
When I think of an antagonist in this series, I think of Manfred – he made such an impression on me during my playthrough of the original trilogy, and his borderline psychotic approach to law is what makes him such a formidable foe. Defeating him while “Cornered” plays has to be the most satisfying gaming moment ever!
5 – Dahlia Hawthorne
Whilst Manfred von Karma was possibly the most villainous character in the series, Dahlia is by far the most evil – and possibly the most hateable as well, she grinds my gears in the best way possible.
Her conflict with both Mia and Phoenix is partly why I consider “Trials & Tribulations” to have the strongest and most compelling story of the lot, and her manipulation of everyone constantly makes her truly loathsome.
4 – Maya Fey
The Goober herself, Maya brings all of the charm and childhood innocence to the original trilogy – the cases would be waaaay heavier and unnecessarily dreary if she hadn’t been there for comic relief.
She’s not quite as iconic to me as the characters coming up, but she’s just as important to the success of the series at large. Also, she’s been convicted of murder so many times that I just find it hilarious by this point, and that has to earn bonus points.
3 – Phoenix Wright
Even though he isn’t necessarily my favourite character in the series, it would be foolish not to appreciate how iconic Phoenix Wright is, both in the series and pop culture at large. His trademark design and catchphrase is partly why Ace Attorney has succeeded for as long as it has, and watching him solve the case is like watching a master craftsman at work.
If he’s so iconic, why is he only in 3rd? He’s the perfect bare-bones protagonist for the player to find contradictions with, but he’s nothing more than a vessel for the story if we’re being totally honest. Does he have a distinct personality? A noticeable arc? Not really, but I still love him to bits and consider him one of the greatest videogame characters of all time.
2 – Diego Armando / Godot
When I cast my mind back to my original playthrough of Trials & Tribulations, I don’t think I gave Godot much thought. He had just the right amount of sass and grit to make him a great opponent in court, but nothing more.
After the final few cases stacked with emotional moments and shocking revelations, I can never look at Godot the same way. The whole backstory of Diego Armando and his tragic transformation into Godot will stick with me forever, and the final confrontation in “Bridge To The Turnabout” rivals “Turnabout Goodbyes” as my favourite Ace Attorney moment ever.
Also, bonus points for having the coolest and yet most melancholic theme song ever.
1 – Miles Edgeworth
It might be a bit cliché and predictable to put Edgeworth at the top of one of these lists, but I genuinely believe him to be the best character of the lot. His dialogue and exchanges with the other characters is captivating at worst and outright genius at best, and his incredible intellect and command of the situation is truly a sight to behold.
On top of all that, however, is possibly the greatest character arc in the series as well – Edgeworth has wrestled with morality and what it means to be a prosecutor for what feels like 10 games now, and yet it never feels stale. He truly wants to become his best self whilst ridding the world of heinous criminals, and I find that extremely admirable. He’s the greatest character, bar none, and that’ll never change.
Aaaaaand that’s my list. You can check out my latest blog posts below:
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