Fan made stuff is probably one of the best things of any fandom out there. It’s a way to both represent your love for something and to show your appreciation to those who work on it. It’s a kind of flattery that rivals with that of naming a street or a square after a rock band or a movie star, and nowadays more than ever before we have a much bigger outlet to showcase this fan made productions, thanks to the internet. However, regardless of the good intentions behind the fanart, the fanfics, the fan music or other craft, these are not absent of flaws, so they are far from perfect (you know, just like every sort of media, including the show that we all love so much). Coming down on reviewing them or even criticize them ends up with either or both parties, the reviewer and the reviewed, feeling very awkward and inappropriate; and if worse comes to worst one of those parties is going to get butthurt enough to throw a tantrum about it.
So try and keep this in mind while I review “Turnabout Storm”, a fan made crossover mini-series that puts the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic in the same cauldron and mixes it to see what comes out. What did I think of it? Well, there is only one way for you to find out, isn’t it?
For starters I must warn everybody that this review requires that you have watched the series before hand. I am not going to follow my classic structure of analyzing every single scene and every single moment. This series goes on for over 8 hours, and if I sit down and do my usual review style this article will last for way longer than it should. Instead I will talk about the good aspects of it and what I consider to be its biggest flaws, and I will openly talk about plot points, twists and character interactions, which of course will reveal massive spoilers for those who haven’t watched it yet. So I am putting another Spoilers Dashie here for good measure.
Okay, let’s go balls deep into Turnabout Storm: Ace Attorney meets My Little Pony.
It’s impossible not to talk about a fan made crossover without talking about the nature of the crossovers themselves. Crossovers are something that fans both love to see but at the same time dread, because they know better than anyone that one of the elements present in it is going to be shunned and pushed aside in favor of the other. Let me pick an easy target so you all understand what I’m talking about. In “Aliens VS Predator” we have a movie that takes place inside an ancient pyramid located under the ice of Antarctica, which in itself it’s a really Alien-esche location. We also have the presence of the Alien Queen, a handful of Xenomorph aliens, and a strong female protagonist that, by the end of the movie, ends up being completely alone. As for the Predators, we have three of them, two of which get axed pretty early in the movie, and a very short fragment of background to their mythology and culture. It’s fairly clear that the movie ended up tilting on the side of the Alien franchise, and this comes from a movie that wasn't all that bad to begin with. This is something that happens with almost all crossovers out there. They end up falling more for one side than the other, probably because the favored side was more interesting or maybe because the makers didn’t know how to work with the side that got ignored. It really is something when the only really good crossovers I can think of right now are “Who framed Roger Rabbit?” and “Marvel’s The Avengers”, and that’s because they both had dedicated teams of writers and producers that worked hard to give the fans something they could really enjoy without feeling insulted or betrayed. For every good crossover that we get we end up with a pile that are absolute rubbish, and not just in movies but also in videogames and comics.
|Yeah, crossovers usually flop so hard they leave a crater where a person used to be.|
Now let’s look at its virtues and flaws of Turnabout Storm so we can find out whether this fan made crossover falls on the pedestal of good ones, on the basket of alright ones, or on the worryingly increasing pile of horrible ones. We are going to see the good stuff first, so we ease into the things that are not all that good, in the hopes to soften the blow that I’m probably going to get from the fans who might consider it spotless (forewarning: it’s not).
First of all, I think the voice acting is perfect. I know this fandom has a massive obsession with saying how good the acting is in both the TV show and everything the fans made (“Button’s Adventures”, “Snowdrop”, The “.MOV series") and there is nothing I can do but adding my opinion to the bunch. The voice acting in this mini-series is really good. There are two types of voice acting in this fandom; the voice acting that tries its best to mimic the one on the show, and the voice acting that tries to stay away from what the show does and does its own thing instead. Turnabout Storm does its own thing, bringing a different voice tone and performance to each character but still getting their personalities through. I can’t think of any character whose voice didn’t sound spot on and well acted.
|Even the smallest roles are well voiced.|
Two of the voices in particular get me as the most talented ones of the bunch. One of them is Twilight Sparkle, voiced by Shiroi Usagine, and she brings a really kindhearted, concerned and strong willed performance to our favorite adorkable pony. While Tara Strong makes Twilight sound more like, well, like a cartoon with a shade of real life person, Shiroi gives Twilight a more real life feel to her while skipping the cartoon part. She sounds very human, without losing that dorky side obsessed with data, studies and books. Not only can she be analytical in many moments, but she can also be really emotional, and it feels genuine when she gets excited, sad, surprised, happy, or heartbroken. This is made more evident in “Chapter 3/4: Twilight” that follows her and Applebloom during their investigation of Ponyville, probably my favorite episode in the entire series. This was the point where I realized that the voice actors weren't trying to copy those of the TV show, but they were doing their own thing instead, and I couldn't approve more of this approach.
The other voice that I think deserves an award is Nowacking, who voices Gilda in “Chapter 4/4”, and who is also known as the default fan voice for Vinyl Scratch. When I first heard the voice of Gilda and the way she was performed I groaned and rolled my eyes, thinking they were going with the typical interpretation that she is a hardass and a jerk, and has no likable traits to her whatsoever. But then comes the scene where she finally breaks, confessing that she tampered with the crime scene, and her entire façade falls apart to reveal a remorseful, guilty and shattered personality that feels way worse for trying to take revenge over her friend instead of just telling the truth. And Nowacking nails it right in the head with her performance. It’s probably the strongest moment in the entire series, especially because of how her voice cracks when talking about her friendship with Rainbow Dash. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nowacking was crying when performing this scene, it is really strong and says so much about Gilda and her friendship with Rainbow Dash. I am not ashamed to admit it did put me to tears at one point, and of course it's beautifully turned around thanks to a very funny and very in-character exit scene.
Every other actor does a really good job too, even characters whose voices I have never heard before in English sound great and spot on, like Phoenix Wright and The Judge. Phoenix, voiced by TheGoldCrow, sounds young and upbeat, as well as naive and passionate. You can feel the determination in his voice when he finds a vital clue, and the defeat when he reaches a dead end and can’t go any further to defend his client. The Judge is just unbelievable. He is voiced by Zaki Hughes, and he falls in that category of character that you either love or hate. He sounds authoritative and strong when he is delivering justice and being fair in court, but he can also sound wide-eyed and fascinated, and all of this without it feeling forced or hammed up. Personally I love his performance. He reminds me too much of my grandfather not to like him. Other memorable voices are Tomoyo Ichijouji as Fluttershy, being an even more fragile but also even more determined meek yellow pegasus; the always likable Baldumborat as Derpy Hooves; and Jane Doe as a most adorable Applebloom the fandom has ever seen.
Another really good thing about this series are its Original Characters. I have gone on record once and again to say that I am a big fan of OCs, since I really like to see what fans can come up with when it comes to design, personality and back story, and I will never get tired of saying that this fandom has an endless stream of creativity when it comes to create them.
|Yes, even alicorns with seven wings, black bodies, firey red manes and dragon eyes. Maybe they really like to grow flowers and make shrubberies!|
Well, I am really happy to say that this series has probably some of the best OCs in this fandom. There are four of them that are important in this story, and they all have really good voices, really good back stories, really good dialogue, and really good presentations. This is quite interesting because these characters are not introduced up until the second half of the series with “Chapter 3/4: Phoenix” and “Chapter 3/4: Twilight”, but they are very well weaved into the story and their presence in a world that mixes both Equestria and Ace Attorney feels really organic.
One particular character that feels like the offspring of both licenses is Cruise Control. He is a panicky and rather zany pegasus pony that shouts and talks to himself all of the time, but that’s only a facade to match up with the loser persona he is forced to maintain. He is funny, he is endearing, somewhat relatable and strangely likable, especially when you find out what horrible things have happened to him. You end up feeling sorry for the guy, which is exactly the point the story is trying to make.
|All the way down to the facial expressions, this guy is awesome!|
Another character is Lenora, a female gryphon that only appears a couple of times and that feels like the complete opposite of Gilda. While Gilda was loud, angry, prone to threats and incredibly soft in her very core, Lenora has nothing to hide, is very forward, gentle, nice and somewhat clumsy in her own way. Maybe her design looks a little weird, and she kind of sticks out like a sore thumb when compared to the other characters, but when you only have two other gryphons to work with from the show (Gilda and Gustav le Grande) it’s understandable that making a gryphon OC is quite a feat. But they compensate an odd design with really good characterization.
|Well, she has a bandanna. It looks kind of cute on her.|
And finally we have a unicorn named Sonata, and to be honest with you, she is my favorite character in this entire series. I don’t mean just out of all the OCs that they had to offer, but in general, including Twilight, Phoenix, The Judge, Rainbow Dash, and every other. I think she is the best because she is the one that took me through the biggest emotional roller coaster. She is the ex-manager of Ace Swift, the pegasus pony that got murdered in the Everfree Forest, and who was also part of the blackmailing ploy to win all the races they would take part into. When we first meet her she seems to be the typical stuck up bitch, bitter and loathsome, who is angry after Ace’s death and who’s prone to interfere with the investigation at all cost just to defend her partner’s reputation. But then, during “Chapter 5/4”, we find out that she too was a victim of Swift, that he tried to kill her and she acted in pure self-defense. The thing that I liked the most out of this character was the acting. I didn’t mention this before, but I really like what Aderu Moro does with this character, especially when she is in trouble and rising her voice in fear or desperation. That moment when she screams “NO!” in the stand after it’s revealed that she was part of the blackmailing conspiracy says so much about what the agony she’s going through. It sounds not just desperate but remorseful and painful. Sonata is the type of character that makes me feel bad for judging way too quickly. It’s really interesting how the narrative takes you through her story so you realize all the hell she have to go through to get where she is. Her character engaged me and stuck with me even after I was done watching this series, and it will be there for a very long time. It’s a bit of a shame that the scene that exists her out of the story is rather weak, considering that Gilda comes out of nowhere to interrupt her, but everything else around her is as solid as iron.
|She also has a thankfully simple design, yet she is recognizable. Good work!|
Regarding the OCs there is also the already mentioned Ace Swift, though his only purpose is to serve as the McGuffin that gets murdered so the story can begin, and he has nothing to him besides being an unlikable douchebag who was willing to blackmail, threat, cheat and kill just to get in the first position. But, with that said, he was really good at doing that and I personally think that getting electrocuted to death is the best way to kill off such an insufferable motherfucker.
|Yeah, pretty much what I think of this guy.|
So there is no denying that the voice acting and the OCs are the strongest points in this series. They show dedication from the creators, and careful planning and understanding of how each franchise they are combining works. Now, how do they work with characterization of the canon characters in each franchise, and how do they work in the story itself?
Well, I know next to nothing about Phoenix Wright, but I have played the first two games, Miles Edgeworth Investigations, and I have watched the live action Ace Attorney movie directed by Takashi Miike, so what little I know of the franchise leads me to believe that both Phoenix Wright and The Judge are very well portrayed and act in character. Phoenix speaks like how he’d speak, he will reach his conclusions at the speed and pace he’d reach them, and the Judge will have his moments of stupidity, clueless realization, and somewhat badass justice delivery. One thing that kind of works against this though is that they are way too in character. This is not bad for someone who knows the franchise and has been a fan for a while, but for those who know next to nothing about Ace Attorney should either get a good friend who knows about it, or keep the Wikipedia entry on the series at hand. There are a couple of references that will fly over people’s heads, like that one imaginary flashback where the character of Edgeworth is loving being in the world of My Little Pony, or any time Phoenix Wright confuses a pony character with a character from his universe. It’s obvious that these little nods are something fans of Ace Attorney will enjoy, but those of us who are kind of unfamiliar with it will feel undoubtedly lost. Thankfully I have a friend who knows a lot about it so I could ask him any doubt I’d had, but what about those people who don’t?
|Get here, otherwise there’s no hope for you.|
There is, however, an element that is actually pretty well explained, and that’s the Psyche locks that Phoenix Wright can see around people’s minds thanks to his magic artifact, the Magatama. At first I had no idea what was going on, or how in the world the whole thing worked, so I had to turn to my friend and ask him what was up with that magic trinket. Thankfully though, for those who don’t have someone to turn to or time to check Wikipedia, this whole element is explained in depth within the series and it doesn’t feel contrived or poorly handled. A concept as silly as this could look out of place, but when the story involves a world full of magical cartoon horses it fits quite well.
As for how the My Little Pony universe is presented the team behind this project was a lot more forgiving. Being Phoenix Wright a newcomer to Equestria he is the frame of reference for those who know nothing about it. They explain to him how pegasus ponies, unicorns and earth ponies work, who is the ruler, who is each character, what motivates them, and what do they want to accomplish with their lives. All of the Mane Six are, thankfully, really well written and in character. Rainbow Dash was boisterous and straight forward, but also panicky and surprisingly fragile. Applejack was adorable but also endearing and impossibly likable. And Rarity threw the funniest bipolar tantrum in the entire thing, being gentle and educate at first and then losing her mind when recreating her hellish visit to the post office. But, by far, the best portrayal of the entire canon cast must go to Pinkie Pie. Oh my God, this Pinkie Pie is perfect. Once more, they didn’t just keep her how she is in the show, but they buffed up the comedy with her and shamelessly introduced a bunch of fourth wall breaking jokes that are so out there and random that they work really well. From Pinkie Pie breaking character and saying that she knows what the next scene is because she read it in the script, to the uncalled for “Cupcakes” reference. Other characters are also well written too. I already mentioned how good Gilda and Twilight are. Applebloom is adorable, and she proves herself to be useful to move the story and help out the main characters. Big Macintosh has a very memorable short appearance, as well as including a fairly funny final speech. Lyra has a hilariously short cameo, and I personally can’t have enough of the hand obsessed unicorn. Derpy Hooves also has a fairly long part in it, always really well voiced by Baldumborat, and comes up with the running gag of Derpy changing her name over and over again to the point that the ridiculous is so big it feels less like My Little Pony and more like watching a Monty Python routine. This is, of course, something really good.
|It's already about to turn into that "Meaning of Life" segment about organ transplants.|
So this goes to prove that this series might not be the best way to get into the Ace Attorney games, as they leave a lot of things up in the air and don’t really delve deep enough in the workings of Phoenix Wright’s universe, but it does it well enough that it motivated me to search for the games again, and replay some of them, and even look for the live action movie! So, it can be confusing but from its confusion comes curiosity, and that’s always a good thing. However, it is a fairly good way to get into My Little Pony. The universe is well explained that it’s possible to catch the interest of those who knew next to nothing about it. I’m pretty sure this series gave us a bunch of new bronies just for this alone.
On the technical side it also shines with positive points. It has a really good selection of music and themes from all Phoenix Wright games, and it combines fully animated segments with the most stiff frame-by-frame animated sections very well. The whole inventory feel is a welcoming addition that increases the immersion in the universe, and the editing is good and has a really well planned out timing. If I have a complain maybe the sound levels in “Chapter 5/4” are a bit out of balance, and in many occasions the music eats up the dialogue. It’s a good thing the whole story is subtitled, which is a very smart way to allow everyone to enjoy this, from those who are hearing impaired to those of us (like me) who aren’t English native speakers and who might get lost when characters pronounce certain words.
But then, we now have to talk about the problems.
Just to clarify, I don’t have any problem with the series to be announced as 4 chapters, with 1 chapter divided into two, and then they went and added an extra chapter with “Chapter 5/4”. I know some people complained, and I personally spent five minutes shouting “Fuck you” at my PC screen, but when you think about it this series is a lot larger than what even the creators planned. It has a lot of story, and it needs to be well timed, it needs room to breathe and grow, so I personally think the decision to expand it up to an extra chapter is reasonable. Any responsible storyteller would do the same thing.
|It didn't save it from my rage, and the rage of quite a few others though.|
However, like any other thing, whether it’s made by the show runners or the fans, there are problems that need to be addressed and they go from how you translate the video game's game play into the narrative and the story, to how this affects the characters. This is what happens when you try to combine elements of two universes in a scenario where they would never ever mix.
One of these elements is the Equestrian Law System, which apparently is based off of the Justice system used by the humans on the other side of the sea, and that is exactly the same as the system used in Phoenix Wright’s universe. The Trials last for three days, and there is no way to appeal against the verdict delivered. Each trial consists in a defense attorney and a prosecutor throwing evidence to each other until one of them is proved wrong and thus a verdict is given to the accused regarding which one of the lawyers wins. This brings up two big problems for me. The first one is that every time there is a question about a new element introduced in the world of Equestria it’s quickly pinned on “it's based on the law system humans have over have overseas”, and never further expanded upon. I know it’s an easy way to get the point across and that I should roll with it, but I only say it’s the focus of half of the series! Out of the six chapters, we spend three of them in the court room, and I couldn't shake off how forced this whole thing is to the point where I could see the seams falling apart in the narrative.
Also, apparently Princess Celestia doesn’t control the law system, but instead something called The High Council has control over the whole thing. With all due respect, but fuck that idea. That is some “Shadowy council of people who talk in darkly lit rooms” bullshit, and I am not going to have it. To even suggest that there is an external group of ponies that have an even bigger control over the justice system than Princess Celestia herself is absolute, contrived and manipulated bullshit. This is here for the one and only reason to justify having the Judge from Ace Attorney, and it nags the shit out of me. There are much better ways to write the Judge into the universe of Equestria without having to bring in a High Council. They could have left it at “Princess Celestia stepped down so the verdict wouldn't be biased, and instead asked Twilight to summon a human judge instead”, but no, they had to add an explanation that the council was the one who decided this instead of the Princess. This is even more annoying because, you guessed it, this Council is never developed or brought up again for the rest of the series! Fuck that shit.
|This was bullshit even when Marvel's The Avengers did it!|
This whole system of justice ended up turning into the second problem that I have, because why would anyone adapt such a faulty system as the Three Days Trials present in the Ace Attorney games? The reason why there are trials like this in the games is to give a sense of urgency and justify the game play system of presenting evidence, investigate, interrogate, and open new pathways. If this was a videogame it would work, but as a non-interactive media it really falls flat on its nose and presents a lot of issues. Why are the lawyers analyzing the evidence and reaching to conclusions in the court room? Why don’t they let the investigators develop their own theories based on scientific and empirical data? Apparently there is a team of investigators coming from Canterlot, but all they do is give vague reports to the prosecution that are then taken down by the defense. Why is it so easy to blame witnesses of being guilty of the crime that’s being investigated and within the same trial? Why is the Judge so easily convinced with an explanation that either the prosecution or the defense just pulled out of their ass? And of course, they leave the door open to situations where it’s perfectly fine to cast suspicion on other characters for the one and only reason to artificially extend the drama of the situation, like when Phoenix proposed that the real killer was Fluttershy instead of Rainbow Dash. The trials in the Ace Attorney games are an absolute mess of a free-for-all, where everyone can intervene and object, and verdicts are held back when characters that the audience has forgotten appear out of nowhere just to create a false sense of tension and surprise. The three days trial system is the most useless, impractical system one could have imagined, and to think that the Equestrian society has adapted it like this is too much for my suspension of disbelief to handle. Also, the punishment being banished to the Sun is fucking ridiculous. Yes, Princess Celestia banished her sister to the Moon but she was trying to take over the land using the power of creating eternal night. That’s not as bad as killing someone, especially when the evidence is as fickle as the evidence in this case. It’s okay to use it as a joke, but when they start talking about it seriously, with the pretension to make you take it seriously, it stops being funny and it becomes insulting.
Also, speaking of insulting, there is an overdose of insults and name calling in this series that goes beyond anything I would expect in a fan production. This is another point where Ace Attorney influences My Little Pony, for bad instead of good, unfortunately. It’s a tradition within the Ace Attorney series that each character is presented in the most bizarre way possible, thus granting the other characters to make fun of them and calling them names. It’s high school playground levels of childish, but it works within the game. However, it really doesn’t work when characters from My Little Pony do it. It feels out of place and forced, like making a character from Othello repeat the ending speech of “Blade Runner”. Yeah, they both might sound ominous and epic, but one’s a drama and the other is an overrated science fiction movie. They don’t go well with each other.
You must be thinking these must be my biggest issues with the series. After all they are pretty big. Personally I wouldn't have minded the insults, the name calling, the High Council bullshit, the Three Days Trials System, or that invisible human society that we never really expand upon, if it wasn't for one problem. I am talking about the biggest red light in the entire series, the one thing that actually makes me cringe every single time it appears on screen and that severely diminishes my enjoyment from the whole production.
|And the Award for Worst thing in the entire Series goes to...|
The character of Trixie and how she is portrayed.
Yeah, I’m pretty sure you noticed how I haven’t brought her up or talked about her at any point until now. I already said in my previous editorial how I enjoy her character, and how I see her as one of the most interesting characters the show has to offer, and before I start spewing vile out of my mouth I will say that her voice acting is on par with the voice acting of the rest of the cast. She sounds like how I imagine Trixie would sound in the universe of this series, and KissofJudas does a great job at doing her own thing instead of copying Kathleen Barr’s performance.
With that said, I think this is the biggest, most vile-filled, bitter, disgusting, repulsive, obnoxious, over the top, horrible, insane, obsessed, stupid, loathsome, unlikable, offensive, psychopathic and sociopathic portrayal of Trixie I have ever seen in this fandom. I have already mentioned how we seem to rebel in joy by accentuating her worst traits and focusing only in what makes her evil, because we see her as Twilight’s antagonist and nothing more. She is usually portrayed as villainous, but here she is so absolutely butt-fuck fucking evil, that I feel Emperor Palpatin from Star Wars would step down from his Death Star to tell her to calm down before she bursts an artery.
|I just wanted order in the Galaxy, this bitch be crazy yo!|
First off, her motivations are impossible to fathom. She wants revenge on Twilight Sparkle, but not just for the Ursa Minor incident. We are suggested through some very badly handled flashbacks that it can be related to how Twilight got into Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns and Trixie couldn't, or maybe it’s because Twilight has friends and is super popular and everypony loves her, or maybe because Twilight has the power of The Elements of Harmony and a lot of friends, and the friendships she has are really strong. This would be a passable motivation, if it wasn't because it’s handled like shit. Any time the narrative tries to explain what motivates her to act so rabidly furious against Twilight, Trixie shuts down and doesn’t explain shit. No internal monologue, no extra episode, nothing. She is evil just because, and if you don’t like it then you can go eat that wizard hat. Revenge is a really weak motivation when you get down to it, especially when the motives aren't well explained. Trixie is not exactly Gerard Butler in “Law Abiding Citizen” here, she is just evil! Discord had much better motivations than her. He wanted to have fun and create chaos. Chrysalis had a much better motivation; she wanted to save her kind and feed them. Hell, even King Sombra had much clear motives. He wanted to invade the Crystal Empire because he liked Crystals. That I can understand, goddammit, Spain invaded America because we liked Gold! In this regard Trixie is more fucking evil than Hernan Cortés!
|Hernan Cortés still wins in the ridiculousness department, though.|
Also, her plan to take revenge over Twilight is stupid, contrived, and raises all sorts of questions. She wants to banish Rainbow Dash into the Sun, and to do so she takes care of the prosecution. Why is Trixie a prosecutor in this series? Well, because she is a Canterlot pony and Canterlot ponies have a lot of jobs to cover all their expertise in magic talents. Yeah, no, I am calling bullshit on this one. So Trixie, who is a show-mare and a very poor loudmouth of a magician, is also a prosecutor; but Twilight, who is the number one student of Princess Celestia, knows next to nothing about the Equestrian law system. Yeah, right, no. My suspension of disbelief just dropped its coffee and went home. This is the most contrived excuse to have Trixie as the prosecutor in this story just for the sake of making her face off against Twilight, especially when we have a much better antagonist in the character of Sonata. Wouldn't it make a lot more sense to have Sonata as the prosecutor who wants to prove Rainbow Dash killed Ace Swift? Wouldn't her motivations be stronger? No, apparently. We needed to have Trixie involved somehow, so her characterization could take one in the ass.
|More like jumping the shark.|
Here is another problem. This entire portrayal wouldn't have given me so much grief if it would have followed on the Trixie from the TV Show. However, in the same way that the Three Days Trial System is shoehorned in Equestria, Trixie’s portrayal feels like it has been mixed with one of the worst elements in the Ace Attorney games: its Prosecutors. I never took the game series as realistic (like I said before, in many aspects it’s just complete and utter bullshit) but one thing nobody can deny is that out of all the prosecutors it has had, there are only two or three that you can almost sympathize with (Miles Edgeworth, Goddot, and probably Francisca von Karma). The rest are a handful of hateful, annoying, one-dimensional assholes who behave like a villain from Captain Planet. So, when you take this type of character, and you mix it with Trixie (a character that already walks the line between good and evil) what you get is a purely evil and frustratingly unsympathetic villain.
The ending of the trial in “Chapter 4/4” shows this problem better than any other part. This is probably one of the most despicable things I have ever seen a fictitious character do in my life, and I have seen some horrible things in fiction. When the judge declares Rainbow Dash guilty, Trixie is not only loving it, but she palates every single second of the scene, rubbing it on Twilight’s face, savoring every word the Judge says, and mocking Twilight with so much despise that I think The Grinch will shake his head in disapproval. Her quote can’t carry enough hate.
|Her spite is so corrosive she could melt the monitor.|
“So how much does it sting, Twilight? Knowing you are going to lose one of your friends and you are powerless to stop it? Oh! I know! How about you use your “Fwiendship” to save Rainbow Trash? That’ll work.”
Does that sound like Trixie to you? That quote doesn’t say Trixie, it says psychopath. It says heartless and soulless husk of a sentient being, and right after the Judge backtracks on his verdict she gets so angry she starts slamming her hoof on her stand completely taken by the rage. This is not how a character from My Little Pony would act, this is how a badly written Ace Attorney villain acts. Von Karma had a lot more dignity than this!
Alright, so we have a villain whose motivations I can’t understand, her revenge plan is a contrived mess, her behavior is absolutely erratic, has anger fits and accesses of rage and who acts more like a poorly written bad guy from a universe it doesn’t even belong to. This is pretty bad, isn't it? Well, it doesn’t end there, there’s more.
|And it's all hidden behind black locks made of bullshit.|
We are supposed to feel sorry for Trixie. Yes, and the way this is handled is so poor I feel like throwing some change at it. During “Chapter 3/4: Twilight” we see that Twilight Sparkle has copied the power of Phoenix’s Magatama, and she too can see Psyche locks on other ponies. When she meets with Trixie again we see that she has black Psyche locks around her, which means that whatever she is keeping inside is a horrible, life-shattering secret than can never be brought up or else she’ll be broken forever. It’s a secret so powerful it makes Twilight tear up. This feels like the writers are telling us: “Oh, look at those black locks on her memories, filled with anger, depression, and sadness, so much sadness. Cry now! CRY! Feel sorry for this horribly written character! Cry at once or else we will slap you in the face with more sappy bullshit!” And right when this oh-so-dramatic-background couldn't get any more insufferable, when Trixie finally cracks, we see black and white pictures of her crying in the middle of a rainy forest, or her being laughed at in Canterlot. What the hell does this mean? Or how about when she storms out of the Justice building, and Phoenix catches up to her only to congratulate her on how well she did in the courtroom. Are you fucking with me!? You are fucking with me now, aren't you!? She didn’t do good! She didn’t show any talent at all! All she did was snake, lie, force testimonies, insult, manipulate, control and spew vile at every single character in that room during the duration of the trial! She was taking revenge for something so pointless and unimportant nobody else but her remembers about it!!! And Phoenix goes and congratulates her. And what’s worse, convinces her to hang out after the trial is over and do a magic number at Twilight’s house! I don’t know who should I slap, Phoenix or Trixie. Or what about the ending, when Phoenix gives Trixie all that money and she just replies being angry and ungrateful, making faces and insulting left and right? Is it really necessary for her to keep that fake persona that doesn’t care about having friends and prefers to be left alone!?
|Hell, The Borg Queen is way more likable than she is!|
But, you know what is the absolute, most unforgivable thing about all this? I could have taken the insults, the anti-social behavior, the revenge plot, the rage accesses, the out of character characterization, the forced drama, if it wasn't for one major mistake. There is nothing fun about it. There is no comedy, no joy, no jokes, nothing funny on it. Trixie is, ultimately, a buffoon. She is a buffoon in Friendship is Magic, and her acts are as clumsy as one could imagine. She is one of the funniest characters in the entire show, and to see how they sucked the joy and comedy out of her in this, to think that somebody considers this character the same as the character from the show just makes me sick to my stomach.
I know what they were going for with this portrayal, believe me I do. They wanted to portray Trixie as a character that doesn’t want to reveal that she desperately wants to have friends, because her stubbornness and feeling of self-worth won’t allow her to. I hate people like that, people that can’t even be honest with themselves. This Trixie shows no remorse, no signs of assuming she was wrong in taking revenge over Twilight. She doesn’t even say sorry! There is no possible redemption for her; no pathos, no redeeming qualities or even a hint of having learnt anything from this experience. She enters the scene being a weaselly little shit and she leaves the scene being a wealthier weaselly shit, thanks Wright’s money, after she almost ruined everyone’s lives by forcing one of the Elements of Harmony to be banished to the Sun! Yeah, didn't think of that, didn't you genius? You almost leave Equestria without one of its means of defense. You are a fucking horrible pony! And you tell us that we are supposed to care for this fucking sociopathic psychopathic bitch!?
|I left this scene on loop for 30 minutes. Her breakdown was so unsatisfying I needed to see it over and over again.|
I am one of those people who doesn’t let fanon interpretations ruin canon characters, but in the case of Trixie she is portrayed so bad in Turnabout Storm that I don’t consider her to be the same character. She is Trixie’s evil twin sister, Eixirt, who hangs out with Wobniar, Rainbow Dash’s evil twin sister.
But enough about Trixie. You guys got the point already, I guess this is where I explain how much of a deal breaker this is for me. Well, considering that Trixie is very loud, very obnoxious, and that she appears in 4 of the 6 chapters of this series, I’d say it’s a very big issue that I have to deal with in order for me to enjoy the good parts that I really liked. It’s not fair to condemn all the good things that I genuinely enjoyed just because one element in particular was poor enough for me to dedicate almost half of the entire review to it.
|Let's get back on track with an adorable and very well done animation.|
I won’t give my verdict on it just based on one element in particular. That wouldn't be fair. There is still a lot of effort put in every other aspect, and it spawned the length of two years to finish the entire series, and for a fan made project this is far better than what other companies are producing at the moment. This series is engaging, it’s interesting, and it keeps you guessing and thinking. It has great acting, good writing and excellent characterization (except you know where), memorable OCs, good choice of music, and it does a good job at representing the two franchises it’s combining. It ties all loose ends too, and leaves all questions answered with very satisfying explanations (except, once again, you know where). Remember when I talked at the start how when combining two licenses it usually ends up with the balance turning in favor of one or the other? I think this crossover ended up tilting more towards the Friendship is Magic side, but it did an effort in adding elements from Ace Attorney to compensate and, even though some of them failed catastrophically, there is no denial in the effort and work put into weaving them into the story.
|Credit where credit is due, this was a big effort and really paid off in the end.|
So, overall, it’s definitely worth your time. It’s a good series that’s definitely going to keep you interested, and I am really glad I watched it. I feel like I got exactly what I was expecting: A good crossover of two of the most outrageously different things in the planet. It’s moving, it’s engaging, it’s funny, it has really likable characters, spotless voice acting and characterization (again, except on some parts), and it shows that fan made projects can be completed successfully and reach a satisfactory conclusion. I was invested in the story and the characters because it feels like the ones behind it were invested in it. I have watched every chapter at least five times, and I’d totally watch them all in a row until I can repeat all the lines by memory.
As far as crossovers go, this is probably one of the best ones ever produced by this fandom.
Now all I have to do is sit down and wait for those who will come to complain at me after what I said about Trixie, regardless of how much I praised everything else.