Okay to start things off I should say I’ve never played the Phoenix Wright games and I’ve only caught My Little Pony with my niece. So I think the real question we should all be asking is why did I spend close to nine hours of my life watching…………..
The plot, such as it is, is simple Rainbow Dash ‘the pony’ stands accused of murder. She has motive, was seen as the scene of the crime and the murder weapon has her “hoof” prints on it. Her friends though well meaning and powered with the magic of friendship are not equipped to defend her in court so they must summon the greatest defence attorney in all creation to defend her. That being Phoenix Wright, not the star of a cutsey pony based cartoon show and line of toys but a video game star from the only line of law based serials less connected to the actual law than CSI, though I am going to assume that this anime based fantastical series has more of a grip on reality and technology than most law procedurals. For those of you who don’t know the games Phoenix is a bit like Judge Dredd, though rather than being Judge, Jury and Executioner, he is prosecutor, detective and pathologist. Fortunately the same rules of the law apply in his world as the world of Equestria and after a bit of catching up to speed on the notion of a planet of talking ponies he is off to ‘wright‘ the course of justice through attention to detail, a sound logical mind and of course friendship.
Now I will try to avoid going too deep into the story, this is a murder mystery after all and even I don’t want to tell you who dunnit. As for going too far into the series, while I imagine a smattering of knowledge for both series will help I managed to get through just fine without an open tab to wikipedia and this is because of decent writing and a solid use of the two franchises. Don’t know how something works on equestria then don’t worry because neither does Phoenix and if it’s important to the case he will ask it, for his benefit as well as ours. This also goes the other way with magic psyche evaluations and the such being bought up and gone into as much detail as we need to follow the show. I could see this being a hindrance to the hardcore fan base who knows all this stuff and must wade through an already lengthy plot to get to the bits we want but if you were gonna trim it then there are other places that need looking at first. And it does need a trim. At over eight hours you’ve probably got almost enough time to watch every version of Murder on the Orient express back to back or actually read the book. That alone means that this isn’t one for the young kids watching MLP but one for the Bronies. Now fortunately this isn’t one of them long rambling fan-fics you find on the net which are the longest piece of literature in the English language despite being a Disney / Final Fantasy crossover with a few original characters thrown in or a Nintendo cross over based around a fighting game.
For while it is long it is animated and acted. This is done in the style of a Phoenix Wright game, with static backgrounds and images, a few pieces of music and some mouth work for rough lip syncing in the more grandiose scenes. It’s nothing too flashy but then I guess it doesn’t need to be though the quality does improve a bit toward the end with a few original scores thrown in and one or two bits of fully fleshed out animation. The voice actors all do a decent enough job with decent enough dialogue which establishes the characters though it does at time make them feel a little one note or Flanderized much like Ash did in the Evil Dead comics I’ve reviewed. There is the nagging sense that there is a little more to these characters then what the fans have taken away. That shouldn’t be seen as a major strike against the production however and I think it’s interesting that a few of the ‘mane six’ are mostly absent from the series due to not having much to do. While this might get a few grumbles from fans who miss their fave I think it’s better than forcing them into places they don’t fit.
While the crime is fairly easy to follow and everyone has a decent enough motivation for doing what they did, from Rainbow Dash and her “pictures” which I’m sure are nothing compared to some of the stuff already on Deviant Art to some of the new characters here to flesh out the tale. Though they are all fairly decent some of them do seem to come in rather late in the tale. In a good murder mystery it seems that you have all the facts on page one with the suspects and motives already fairly laid out for you and you are just using the rest of the book to check up on them or cross them off your list. However here it feels more like your running on the assumption that Rainbow Dash didn’t do it for a little too long before new suspects and bits of information are brought into the picture that might prove her innocence. As I said I don’t know the Phoenix Wright games too well so maybe this is a stable of the series but introducing new characters, twists and turns so late in the game felt a little cheap.
In conclusion no this didn’t turn me into a brony, yes I may try one of the Phoenix Wright games one day, they need to trim the fan wank, at least break it into more manageable chunks instead of movies of varying length, restructure the start and they’d have a much better series. Though I did like it, honest.