The Protect List: Top 5 Ace Attorney Characters I Will Keep Safe Forever

One day on a particularly long car ride, the topic of “the list” came up between my wife and me. You know the one: the list of celebrities or otherwise famous individuals that you get a free pass to bang if the opportunity somehow ever comes up (as seen on television shows such as Friends or CW’s The Flash). I don’t remember how exactly we got on the topic, but we were talking not about who would be on our lists, but why we don’t like the idea of keeping one. As a monogamous couple, having a list of other people we want to sleep with seems…counterproductive. However, discussing the list led to some interesting conversations about how, for us, a lot of the “famous people” we have crushes on are actually fictional characters.

As we began talking about characters that we like or think are cute or whatever, we started to notice a trend with my wife’s selections: she kept talking about characters that she wanted to protect from danger. Take Luigi, for example, the eternal player two to his brother Mario’s player one status. Luigi is in constant danger from the things he fears most, and when playing as him in a game (particularly Luigi’s Mansion), Destiny wants to protect him from being scared or hurt. As more and more of these types of characters popped up, she got in a habit of saying “put him on the list.” No, not the list from the beginning of the post – a new one that we devised over the course of our car ride. This list was: The Protect List.

In the recent Super Smash Bros Ultimate Direct, one of the members of Destiny’s protect list met an unfortunate demise at the hands of Death from Castlevania. Poor Luigi had his soul ripped violently from his body, and while Nintendo says he’s okay, I felt obligated to let Destiny know that someone on her protect list was having a rough time of it. And that got me thinking – who would be on my protect list? If I had to choose some video game characters to whom I want to see no harm come, who would they be? Yet as I struggled to choose a top five, I realized that this might be a much easier subject to think about if I narrowed it down by series. So today, I’ll focus on the Ace Attorney franchise and the top five characters I want to protect!

Oh hey, before we jump in, though – this article is gonna have lots of lovely unmarked spoilers for the Ace Attorney series. So if you’re in the middle of one of them or you are planning to play them and don’t want to know what happens, bookmark this bad boy and come back later!

Will Powers Thinking

The Steel Samurai is the most celebrated children’s show in the Ace Attorney universe, so cool and captivating that many of the adults in the show are secret fans. Phoenix uses the Steel Samurai theme as his ringtone after the events of the first game, and even the classy Edgeworth has a secret side which lives firmly in the Steel Samurai fandom. But while the Steel Samurai himself may be a mighty warrior with great popularity, the guy who plays him is this meek, hairy actor: Will Powers. He’s the kind of guy whose appearance immediately draws mistrust and suspicion, and it’s because of this that he’s accused of a murder he clearly did not commit during the events of the first Ace Attorney.

While everyone sees a big, meaty dude and immediately thinks of Will Powers as scary, in reality he’s a huge teddy bear. Perhaps this contributes to why I feel the need to protect him – I myself am a pretty big guy, kind of quiet with a sullen demeanor and tend to be methodical in conversation. I’ve been told by a lot of people that they were intimidated by me at first blush, so I can empathize with Powers and the way that people jump to conclusions based on his outward expression. So naturally, when the time came to defend him I put Phoenix to work to make sure Powers was protected!

While I certainly cared more about protecting Powers than I have some of the other characters in the Ace Attorney universe, he’s not higher on the list because ultimately he has one case to worry about, and his role in the series is not particularly significant. The other folks on this list are recurring characters – or characters so significant in the individual game in which they appear that they leave a much stronger impression.

Edgeworth Gasp

The ultimate prosecution to Phoenix Wright’s ultimate defense, the combination of Edgeworth and Wright are the best method of finding the truth behind a case. So seeing Edgeworth on a list of people who need to be protected may seem a bit odd! He’s competent, logical, and always seems to be one step ahead of the bumbling Phoenix. Of the two, Edgeworth certainly seems a lot more likely to be able to take care of himself. However, he makes the list thanks largely to the game which introduced him to the series: the very first Ace Attorney title.

In the final case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (or the penultimate case, if you’re playing later versions of the game), Miles Edgeworth is arrested and tried for the murder of a key figure in a very significant past case – the murder of Edgeworth’s own father. He is the obvious choice for the killer – he and the victim were alone together on a boat in the deep of the night, and Edgeworth’s fingerprints were found on the murder weapon which was confirmed as having been fired. As the case goes on and we learn more details about the past, Edgeworth plunges further and further into self-doubt, to the point where his wicked prosecutor-and-ex-mentor convinces the man that he is guilty of murdering his own father.

During these moments where we see the mighty Edgeworth brought to his lowest point, who didn’t feel the need to protect him? There’s no way this guy can be guilty, right? We HAVE to save him! And by golly if that desire doesn’t push you through dealing with one of the most irritating prosecutors in the entire series. While Edgeworth has not been someone who has needed protecting since then, those early moments in the series where he stands trial, where he questions the validity of his own memory and ponders the possibility that he is the very thing he has fought so long against – that earns him a spot at number four on the list.

Iris Hawthorne

Trials and Tribulations is easily my favorite game in the original Ace Attorney trilogy and definitely a top competitor for favorite in the series. The way each case in that game ties together so effectively, telling a grand story over years and building upon a number of established characters we’ve come to love, is amazing. It also introduces some excellent characters, though, and our next Protect List subject is my problematic fave, Iris.

Iris Hawthorne is twin sister to the game’s main villain, Dahlia, a wicked manipulatrix who haunts Phoenix and the Fey bloodline even in death. Unlike her twisted sister, Iris has a pure soul and wishes to live her life in cloistered peace. During the time in which Dahlia was manipulating Phoenix by “dating” him, Iris was actually serving as Dahlia’s stand-in. The woman that Phoenix loved – and the woman who truly loved him back – was actually Iris, unbeknownst to the budding attorney.

Simply by being related to Dahlia Hawthorne, Iris is in constant danger, and she becomes involved in a complicated plot by Prosecutor Godot and Misty Fey to destroy Dahlia once and for all. Throughout the final case of Trials and Tribulations, she is highly suspected and even Phoenix isn’t sure whether he can really trust her or not. While I think the basis of Phoenix and Iris’s relationship is pretty unhealthy and they probably shouldn’t end up together in the long run, she makes the Protect List because her storyline left me totally smitten – plus everyone within shouting distance of Dahlia Hawthorne probably needs an entire SWAT team with them at all times.


Pearl Fey Embarrassed


Cousin to Maya and member of the secondary family of the Fey bloodline, Pearl is a talented spirit medium and a regular companion of Phoenix throughout Justice for All and Trials and Tribulations. She’s also eight, which immediately turns my protect senses up over 9000. My wife has said that I was a dad long before I was a father, and it took me exactly five seconds of getting to know Pearl before I was ready to put Phoenix on the line for her.

And golly, does Pearl actually need protected. While there hasn’t ever really been a time in the series where she’s in much physical danger, Pearl regularly gets lost and her clumsiness has gotten her into some bad situations. Who can forget the incident with the sacred urn which holds the ashes of Ami Fey, the founder of the Khurain Channeling Technique? Protecting Pearl from the potential consequences of that mistake while also trying to utilize that valuable information to solve a case is a tricky balance to strike.

More than that, though, Pearl has to be protected from the vile machinations of her mother, Maya Fey’s aunt. Morgan Fey (talk about foreshadowing) has a desire for power that manifests as wanting her daughter to become the master of the Khurain technique. That means getting the main bloodline out of the way, so Morgan organizes a scenario which gets Maya Fey accused of murder to try and put Pearl in power. Pearl has no desire to be master and definitely wouldn’t hurt her cousin to make it happen – protecting her from being a pawn in Morgan’s sick plans is a key part of Justice for All. Still, while Pearl is tiny, adorable, and has an evil mother to contend with, there’s one person in the Ace Attorney series who lands even higher on my Protect List:

Dick Gumshoe Embarrassed

I KNOW YOU HEAR HIS MUSIC RIGHT NOW! Dick Gumshoe is the police detective who works most of the cases where Phoenix Wright is defending a client, and he is good and pure and just wants to help everybody. Sure, he’s kind of a klutz, not the brightest crayon in the box, and in all honesty he breaks a million rules by helping Phoenix do his thing, BUT HE TRIES DANG IT! Gumshoe makes it to number one on the Protect List because for some awful reason, everybody is mean to this guy.

Edgeworth, for whom Gumshoe has a ton of admiration and always willingly pushes himself to his limit, regularly docks the detective’s salary. Franziska von Karma whips him constantly and plants a tracking device on him to stalk him while he does casework. He’s been fired, demoted, run ragged, and put into countless situations where his neck is on the line for someone else’s mistakes or actions – mostly Phoenix. By the time Trials and Tribulations comes to a close, Gumshoe can barely afford a pack of ramen noodles.

Yet despite all of this, Gumshoe is a key asset in Phoenix’s arsenal. He may be bumbling most of the time, but as his Ace Attorney Investigations theme clearly says, “I can do it when it counts, pal!” Because the world is against him, someone has to be for him, and I for one am glad to take that responsibility upon myself. Gumshoe sits comfortably at the number one slot of my Ace Attorney protect list, and there he’ll stay until the other characters give him the appreciation he deserves!

Well adventurers, that’s gonna be it for me! Now I’d love to hear from you about your own Protect Lists. Who would you want to protect from the Ace Attorney series? Any characters from my list? Would you reorder them? Let me know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!

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