If there’s one thing that Capcom has for better or for worse been known to do in a positive light, it’s to keep their best franchises alive and well, which can especially be said for the Phoenix Wright/Ace Attorney series. In over a decade, not only have they produced seven games, there has also been a crossover game with Professor Layton, original stories produced in manga books, orchestral adaptations of the soundtrack, a live-action movie, and even Phoenix himself was included in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 as a playable character. With so much popularity riding on Ace Attorney, it’s about time to look at another lady that serves up her own brand of justice in the Turnabout Trials. She’s ruthless, headstrong, and anyone who opposes her would be nothing less than a fool to her. So if you enjoy courtroom drama and whips excite you, then all rise for Franziska Von Karma.
Franziska was introduced in the second Ace Attorney game “Justice for All” on the Nintendo DS as the daughter of Prosecutor Manfred Von Karma. She is highly intelligent, having passed the bar exam at only 13 years old. Very much like her late father, she is very cold and arrogant, sharing her father’s need to be perfect and the tendency to grip her sleeve while presiding over a trial. When Manfred was arrested and supposedly executed for murder and attempting to pin the crime on his prodigy and Ace Attorney mainstay Miles Edgeworth, Franziska stepped up to become a Prosecutor in an act of “revenge.” While Franziska is no killer like her father was, she had other ways of making people suffer.
Her trademark has been the whip she is hardly ever seen without, lashing it across her bench with a loud crack to get her point across. What’s more, she will use it on anybody and everybody who she feels deserves it, not above punishing the people ahead of her in rank. She’s used it on Phoenix Wright, Edgeworth, the Judge, Detective Gumshoe, witnesses and criminals, no one is safe when her whip goes flying. It’s as if nobody can stop her even when she hits people with it. But considering the amount of murders that occur throughout all of Ace Attorney, a crack from Franziska’s whip is the LEAST of people’s worries.
When Franziska opposed Phoenix Wright in two murder trials during “Justice for All,” she had lost to him both times despite her cheap tactics of withholding facts and evidence. When she was set for a third time in court, she was shot in the shoulder and forced to withdraw. In a surprising turn, Edgeworth then managed to best Phoenix in the trial that was under unusual circumstances, which angered Von Karma, nearly causing her to run back to Germany. It turned out her “revenge” wasn’t against Phoenix for putting her father in jail, but towards Edgeworth, wanting to prove she could best his greatest rival in court to make him pay for always “leaving her behind,” including when he had taken a shore leave from prosecuting after the first game. However, Edgeworth caught up with her and convinced her to continue being a prosecutor, causing her to break down into tears with the vow of being better than him someday. So underneath all her cold, calculated demeanor, even Franziska has her sensitive side that she would otherwise never show in court.
Franziska has gone on to make countless other appearances, having a temporary battle of wits in “Trials and Tribulations,” this time with Edgeworth ironically playing defense while Von Karma settled back into her role as prosecutor. Even though she once again could not earn a guilty verdict, she quickly turned around to help the investigation that would aid Phoenix Wright in finding the real killers. Franziska was also an integral part of Edgeworth’s spin-off game, “Ace Attorney Investigations,” again rivaling Edgeworth at certain points but sticking to finding the truth in murder cases that happened in front of them. Players even saw how Franziska appeared at a younger age to witness Edgeworth’s first prosecution trial that was cut off due to another murder, to which she made a game to see who between them would find the killer. Both her competitive nature and her knack for whipping people (with a mere riding clop at this point in time) were still present, but remotely fresh in terms of a timeline.
Much like many others who were made famous in Phoenix Wright’s main story, she was also very much absent when Apollo Justice came around, marking her time in the two “Investigation” games her most recent appearances. But recently, Capcom announced that “Phoenix Wright 5” will be making a comeback/debut on the Nintendo 3DS with the major details still to be determined. However, it’s been rumored that Edgeworth would be making his long-awaited return following the seven-year gap between the last two games. With Phoenix’s long-time rival reemerging, could Franziska be not too far behind? There’s no evidence that says she will, but none say she won’t either. But until the truth is known, Franziska Von Karma has quite well to whip her fans into shape. There are many who find charm in her dark, devious attitude while others shy away from her whip-cracking mania. Regardless of opinion, Franziska stands to be the video game babe that commands both affection and fear that guilty or innocent, could be the best woman you see in court.
This is Greg P., examining video game babes for you and me.