Turnabout Design (Introduction)

This is a repost from my Tumblr blog from 2016. I intend to clean up these posts.

Forgive me if I may start with a sort of controversial statement here: The Gyakuten Saiban games, or Ace Attorney for the Japanifornians, are pretty great games. In fact, I would probably put the series as one of my favorite franchises in video games. Ever since taking a chance with Justice for All back on the DS, Shu Takumi’s take on being a lawyer in some very strange and harrowing cases has stolen my heart. The series hasn’t disappointed me yet…Aside from the games that won’t be coming out in the west.

I feel ya.

The series has been a solid run of drama, humor, charm and character, with stories and mysteries that have surprised me for years. The first trilogy has been a success on the Nintendo DS and was considered one of the must-have games to own for the system. For a lot of people, it was their first introduction into the world of visual novels and even adventure games. Since then it’s had a few sequels here and there, a few HD rereleases, and even ended up on the Wii at some point.

Since originally making this post, the original trilogy is intending to go to PC for the first time early 2019, as well as ports to the PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch! If you haven’t gotten a chance to try them out, I implore you to give them a go. The trilogy will no doubt be insanely cheap for the amount of content inside.

It’s a series that’s been around since the Game Boy Advance days in Japan, and with that you have a lot of ground that’s already been covered. A lot of varied opinions about it, a lot of interviews, a lot of theory, and all that. However, I wanted to talk about an aspect of the game that has been one of my absolute favorite aspects over the past few years, and that is its character design.

Source: court-records.net

So first off, a bit of a disclaimer.

I am, by all accounts, a pretty mediocre artist. One of the things that I struggle with constantly, aside from a solid foundation for drawing in general, is character design, which also happens to be one of the biggest things I need to learn. Funny thing, that.

A lot of what I’m going to talk about is probably going to either seem rudimentary or incredibly obvious. If you’re going to go into this expecting me to have definitive answers, then I’m probably not going to be able to give them. I am here as a fan making posts about a concept of this series I adore and hope to gleam something out of thinking about it in-depth along with common character design rules.I hope that my learning about design while going through the series is something that will be good content to read!

I yearn to create characters with a look that is both striking and fun to draw while also being designed with simplicity when needed. While I know that will be something that comes with practice, I also know that nothing’s better for practice than study.

And what better thing to study than something you love?

I will warn you beforehand, there will be some spoilers on many games in the series, from the oldest to the newest, as some design aspects involve personality and possibly criminal intent, but I’ll be sure to mark them as such.

I’ll probably be referring to characters by the English version whenever I can, solely because that’s how I always see them. I hope that this isn’t a huge problem!

I intend on playing through the series again and possibly touching on games I haven’t had the chance of playing before. Since making this post in 2016, I have played through Spirit of Justice and I’ve seen that Dai Gyakuten Saiban has had good progress in a fan-translation to accompany Ace Attorney Investigations 2’s fandub.

Finally, a lot of the images I end up using will probably be sourced from Court Records. They’re a fantastic Ace Attorney fansite that has been my favorite spot for AA content for years. If I end up finding images in other locations, I’ll try to source as I can. Otherwise, assume I found them on there

If you have any recommendations for me as I go along, let me know! As far as spur-of-the-moment projects go, this is one of my more daunting ones. Ever since making the first post back in 2016, I got feedback that I intend to work with and I hope I can gleam even more from it. I hope I can keep up with this project with a more consistent rate. It helped me realize a few things to focus on and it’s always good to get a refresher. In the end, I’m going in this to learn something, and I hope my learning something will help you learn, too!

Or at the very least, you can read the ramblings of someone who really loves a lawyer game and understand why I love it

Thanks for reading! I’ll update this with links as I go along!

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