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Barok van Zieks
Those eyes please me. ...Nipponese. They shroud your fear, your doubt, your trepidation... They run wild, clinging to some phantom notion of courage. The quintessential look...of a sacrificial lamb.

Barok van Zieks was a legendary British prosecutor. He was known as the "Reaper of the Bailey" due to the fact that all defendants that he had prosecuted would always wind up dying some way or another, regardless of their innocence or guilt, save for only three notable exceptions. This "curse" eventually led to a five-year leave of absence. Upon Ryunosuke Naruhodo's arrival in London, he returned to prosecute trials against him.

Early life[]

Barok was the second-born son of the van Zieks family, and was the family's "little darling". He looked up to his older brother, Klint, to the point of becoming a prosecutor just like him. During his university years, he befriended science student Albert Harebrayne, and the two were on a first-name basis despite Barok being a noble.

The Professor[]

Main article: Professor Killings
Prosecutor van Zieks

In a celebratory photograph with Klint van Zieks and Tobias Gregson upon becoming a prosecutor.

When Barok van Zieks first became a prosecutor, Klint was already chief prosecutor. Barok was attacked by thugs multiple times for being the younger brother of a noble, high-ranking prosecutor. Once, he was attacked in the alleys of London late at night with a Japanese exchange student named Genshin Asogi. Although the thugs were really after Genshin, the Japanese man saved Barok and they became good friends. But all that changed when he seemed to betray Barok by being convicted for supposedly being The Professor.

Genshin and Barok

Facing a band of thugs in an alley alongside Genshin Asogi.

The Professor, who was believed to be Genshin at the time, used a huge hound dog to kill people of noble ranking. The fifth and final victim of the killings was Barok's brother, Klint van Zieks. Barok had suspected his brother to be the Professor, since Klint wasn't acting like himself, and had a history of being damaged greatly when fellow nobles would use the public to only strengthen their position. The Professor's third victim was the chief justice at the time, whom prosecutor Mael Stronghart took the place of. The victim had been Klint's mentor and benefactor, so Barok discarded his suspicions of Klint being the Professor, as he 'knew his brother would never kill someone like that.' The Professor case had shook the whole of London, and the trial was held in secret under orders from the Queen to avoid war. Barok, who wanted revenge for the death of his brother, pleaded Stronghart multiple times to be allowed to prosecute the case. Eventually, he was granted permission to prosecute Genshin, and Stronghart provided him assistance in court. This was Barok's first ever case, which he won by securing a guilty verdict for Genshin. He lost his second where his defendant was Seishiro Jigoku who smashed the witness stand trying to plead Genshin's innocence. Barok would come to wear his late brother's prosecutor's badge.

Barok lost his next case as a prosecutor after the defendant, Chalan Musgrave, threatened the jury into giving him a not guilty verdict. Three days later, he died after being crushed by a concrete block under a construction site. Since then, Barok was labelled as the Reaper of the Bailey. Following that trial, all of the not guilty defendants had died under mysterious circumstances. In response, the people of London spread the rumor that the Grim Reaper, the force said to be causing the deaths, was actually the ghost of Klint van Zieks attached to Barok. It was said he was bringing down justice where his younger brother couldn't. Because of this "curse", Barok was frequently attacked by underlings of victims of the Reaper. Eventually, he stopped taking cases, unable to bear the burden and pressure that came with being labelled as the Reaper.

Encounters with Naruhodo[]

Return to the courtroom[]

Main article: The Adventure of the Runaway Room
Burning Omnibus

Witnessing the demise of Magnus McGilded.

After a five-year absence, van Zieks returned to prosecuting. He prosecuted Magnus McGilded, who was accused of murdering Mason Milverton, against Japanese defense attorney Ryunosuke Naruhodo. Despite pressing his case, van Zieks lost, and McGilded received an unjust acquittal due to forged evidence. However, McGilded was killed in a fire shortly afterward, provoking the "Reaper of the Bailey" curse once again.

Natsume's first trial[]

Main article: The Adventure of the Clouded Kokoro

Soon after McGilded's trial, van Zieks prosecuted Soseki Natsume, who was accused of the attempted murder of Olive Green. Van Zieks again faced off against Naruhodo in the trial. Although van Zieks lost this case as well, justice was served, as Joan Garrideb, one of the case's jurors, was revealed to have accidentally stabbed Green in the back after getting into a fierce argument with her husband. This makes Natsume the very first defendant of van Zieks to go free and not perish after.

Natsume's second trial[]

Main article: The Memoirs of the Clouded Kokoro

However, the following day, Soseki Natsume was put on trial again, this time for the attempted murder of his fellow lodger, William Shamspeare. Van Zieks prosecuted this case against Naruhodo, and, once again, lost. In a shocking turn of events, it was revealed that Olive Green was actually Shamspeare's attempted murderer. However, Shamspeare wasn't innocent either, as it turned out he accidentally killed Green's fiancé, Duncan Ross, in an attempt to get 1000 British pounds of loot in the lodgings previously occupied by a convict named Selden. The loot was actually the collar of Klint's hunting dog Balmung, which Selden had stolen. After Soseki went back to Japan, van Zieks kept tabs on him to ensure his safety. Discovering he hadn't perished, van Zieks concluded that the "curse" only affected acquitted defendants if they stayed on British soil.

Lestrade's trial[]

Main article: The Adventure of the Unspeakable Story

About two months later, van Zieks prosecuted Gina Lestrade, who was accused of murdering Pop Windibank. Again, van Zieks went against Naruhodo and lost, after it was revealed that Windibank was murdered by Ashley Graydon. Here, it was revealed that McGilded's death was caused by a fake bailiff paid by Graydon. Afterwards, the prosecutor told Graydon that he was no better than McGilded.

Prosecuting an old friend[]

Main article: The Return of the Great Departed Soul
Death Bringer Newspaper

A newspaper article about the Masked Apprentice and an attack by Asman's thugs.

Six months after Lestrade's trial, van Zieks prosecuted yet another case against Naruhodo. The scientist and his own former fellow university student, Albert Harebrayne, was accused of murdering his volunteer, Odie Asman. The victim was also prosecuted by van Zieks a month prior, but he bribed the jury to get acquitted. The criminal organization led by the victim attacked van Zieks with guns, but he was not harmed. Once again, despite the assistance of his "Masked Apprentice," van Zieks lost after it was revealed that a former grave robber named Enoch Drebber conspired with coroner Courtney Sithe to kill Asman. van Zieks then sent Harebrayne back to Germany so his alleged 'curse' wouldn't harm him. After the trial, he decided to show Naruhodo and Susato the face beneath the Professor's mask, Genshin Asogi, to explain his hatred of Japanese people. When the Professor's face was revealed, van Zieks' apprentice regained his memories and revealed himself to be Kazuma Asogi, the son of Genshin.

The Reaper's reckoning[]

Main articles: Twisted Karma and His Last Bow & The Resolve of Ryunosuke Naruhodo

By this time, Barok had lost twenty trials, and sixteen of the acquitted defendants had died afterward within the span of months. The remaining four who had survived were Seishiro Jigoku, Soseki Natsume, Gina Lestrade, and Albert Harebrayne. His spies at Scotland Yard informed him of a notebook kept in Gregson's office, which contained names and details concerning Barok's acquitted defendants, including the name of the assassin Asa Shinn and the times and locations of the defendants' deaths. This was clear proof that Gregson was the tactician of the Reaper organisation, who would plan the assassinations of the defendants. The notebook contained one final hit assignment at a location identified only as "The Grouse" on October 31. Barok determined this to be a gentlemen's club by that name and paid it a visit, but never saw Gregson there.

The following day, he headed to a meeting place written down in the notebook, which specified a 5 p.m. meeting time, presumably for a post-assassination briefing. The place was a dark, empty apartment on Fresno Street just outside of London. He headed for a desk, but suddenly heard a sound like a gunshot. It was then that three pedlars came in from the street and mistook Barok as Gregson's killer. After "Boone" knocked over a board by the door, van Zieks found the detective's corpse. When someone went to find a patrolman, Barok picked up a gun on the ground without thinking; he was then arrested when the police arrived on the scene.

Barok initially rejected any attorneys that offered to help his case. However, he later came to trust Naruhodo after he showed him a photo that Gregson left on his table. The photo was taken back when Barok was an assistant prosecutor and his brother was still alive. The picture reminded him of Gregson's loyalty, which convinced Barok to allow Naruhodo to serve as his defense. With Kazuma Asogi prosecuting the secret trial, it was revealed that Gregson's killer was actually Seishiro Jigoku.

Eventually, the truth behind the Professor killings is revealed following Barok's initial trial. He is visibly shaken when he learns that his brother, Klint, really had been the true identity of the Professor (after Naruhodo suggested that Klint's confession of being the Professor was said to be Genshin's "final weapon"). But after discovering Klint's will, it was revealed that Mael Stronghart blackmailed him into killing three nobles, including the previous Chief Justice. It was also revealed that Barok's own Grim Reaper curse was indeed a conspiracy led by Stronghart, who then ordered Gregson and Asa Shinn kill all the Not Guilty defendants. He also forced John Wilson, and later Courtney Sithe, to forge the autopsy records of those killed by the Reaper. Gregson and Wilson only accepted these orders on the condition that Barok would not be held responsible for these ‘Reaper killings'. Stronghart created the rumor that the "Reaper" was actually Barok's brother Klint handing out justice to criminals who bribed their way to a 'not guilty' verdict. Stronghart had taken advantage of Barok's strong attachment for his older brother, knowing that Barok would willingly accept the curse to feel as if his brother was by his side, even if it was only a rumor being spread around. However, the people of London readily believed the rumor.

Barok van Zieks decided to let go of his brother's ghost for good after these truths were revealed, and move on like his "foreign friend" told him to. He also invited Albert Harebrayne back to England and promised to give him a tour once he finished his work.

Personality[]

Barok van Zieks
...Pray forgive the discourtesy of filling my hallowed chalice whilst I stand accused of murder.
Barok van Zieks mugshot

Mugshot.

van Zieks was most well known for the "curse" that befell everyone whom he prosecuted. At least some of the deaths were due to natural causes (according to Herlock Sholmes) or the machinations of others unrelated to van Zieks. Among his defendants, Soseki Natsume, Gina Lestrade, and Albert Harebrayne are not known to have died shortly after their trials, all of whom had Ryunosuke Naruhodo as their defense attorney and two of them left Britain before the "curse" took effect.

van Zieks's bench attitude was dominated by a contradictory mix of imperturbable refinement and theatrics. He was extremely unflappable, rarely showing any sign of distress until late in a trial, and even then his reactions were quite muted. Though interested more in finding the truth than his win record, he did not cut the defense any slack. He had a wry sense of humor and often used snark at the expense of the defense, their assistants, and any other witnesses he found bothersome. He became notably upset when someone he trusted betrayed him, such as when he expressed his frustration towards Gregson for striking a deal with Ashley Graydon to suppress the truth. He did appear to have some sort of soft spot, as he personally ensured that a witness who had tampered with a crime scene to make an anniversary date kept his job.

van Zieks often got away with outrageous actions at the bench, though this was tempered by a semblance of social grace. Aberrant behavior such as slamming the desk with his boot to object was frequently followed up by an apology for the behavior. Such apologies were obvious lip service, as he did not make any actual effort to moderate his actions or mocking. Prominent among his bizarre bench behavior was his habit of bringing wine, though he only rarely actually drank from the chalices that he poured into. Instead, he smashed them wantonly to intimidate the defense and emphasize his points. When the court proceedings required van Zieks to change tacks, he would fling his bottle into the gallery behind him with little regard to whom it might hit. Over three cases that he prosecuted against Naruhodo, at least three bottles and nineteen glasses were broken. Despite all this, the prosecution's bench and van Zieks's clothes would remain immaculate.

Genshin Asogi's supposed betrayal of van Zieks deeply wounded him, causing the prosecutor to develop a resentment for all Japanese people. This was seen in his treatment of Naruhodo, never using his name in court as a sign of disrespect, instead calling him his "learned Nipponese friend". Eventually, however, Naruhodo's attitude and dedication to the truth intrigued van Zieks. While van Zieks had preference for prosecuting particularly heinous criminals, he broke habit in order to have the opportunity to match up against Naruhodo once more. It appears van Zieks was something of a celebrity figure, because many tabloids posted speculation columns on why he was taking on a seemingly ordinary case.

van Zieks was more familiar with Herlock Sholmes and his stories than he was willing to openly admit, but he mistrusted the detective's tricky antics and inventions as far as courtroom proceedings went.

One of Barok's few weaknesses is his deceased brother, Klint. He is always shown grabbing his badge when shocked and when talking about the Professor case. This has a different meaning, however, when it's revealed that the badge actually belonged to Klint. During the final case of this second game, he was shown to be quite shaken while uncovering the mysteries behind the Professor, eventually leading to him screaming in shock when Naruhodo reveals that the actual serial killer was in fact his own brother instead of being his last victim like he thought.

Before Klint's death, he was known for his pleasant and gentlemanly personality, even willingly befriending people who was from a lower class or country than him.

Name[]

  • Japanese/English - Barokku Banjīkusu (バロック・バンジークス)/Barok van Zieks:
    • van Zieks's name was at first conceived as "Prosecutor Rival", but this was quickly dropped due to it being too obvious. Shu Takumi has stated that there is an origin behind Barok's name, however he considers it too embarrassing to talk about.[4] His surname "van Zieks" may be a pun on the term "banjikyūsu" (万事休す) meaning "there is nothing more that can be done; it's all over". van Zieks is reminiscent of the Dutch word "ziek", meaning "sick" ("van" meaning "of"), possibly if unintentionally referencing the Grim Reaper's emergence as a psychopomp during the Black Plague; such fits well with van Zieks' "god of death" persona.
    • "Barok" comes from the Dutch word for and the Japanese reading of the word "Baroque," a style of European architecture, music, and art of the 17th and 18th centuries that followed mannerism and is characterized by ornate detail.

Unofficial[]

  • Brazilian Portuguese - Barok van Piers: [5]
    • An adaptation of the original name.
    • "Barok" is reminiscent of "barão" (baron) and is akin to "barroco" (baroque), a 17th-century artistic style characterized by ornate detailing.
    • "van Piers" is a medieval surname derived from Pedro. Refers to "vampire", a reference to his aura and personality.

Development[]

Barok has short, somewhat messy purple hair, blue-gray eyes, and a scar on his face. He wears a black justacorp outlined with gold stripes and gold buttons. He wears a white dress shirt underneath, gold epaulettes, a white sash with a red stripe, grey pants, black boots, a white jabot pinned on with a gold crest, white gloves, and Klint's prosecutor's badge. Occasionally, he wears a black cape he takes off when he gets serious. He carries a sword with him at all times worn on his right side, suggesting he's left handed.

  • Shu Takumi conceived of Barok van Zieks as a prosecutor who could make sure that his defendants could not escape, even under a 19th-century jury trial setting. To fulfill this concept, Takumi came up with the "curse" and subsequent "god of death" persona.[6]
  • In order to make him seem more "English", van Zieks has a unique design for his speech bubbles that is blue and white and written in NeuAltisch-esque font, rather than the usual red and gold of the other speech bubbles in The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles.[4]
  • Kazuya Nuri incorporated themes of vampires, werewolves and fallen angels in van Zieks's design to illustrate the theme of a god of death and an upper-class character.[7] The fallen angel theme is shown most explicitly in a cross-shaped scar across the bridge of his nose, as well as in a post-Nintendo Direct trailer of The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures, which briefly depicts black wings behind van Zieks as he is introduced. Moreover, compared to other characters in the game, his movements are slower, emphasizing the refined upper-class theme.
  • The animation of van Zieks performing a desk slam with his foot was originally conceived for Godot.[8]
  • Van Zieks' sabre was designed to contrast with Ryunosuke's katana, bringing out the difference between East and West.
  • The jackets of Barok and Klint were given their respective colours of navy blue and red in reference to the colours of the traditional uniforms of the Queen's Guard.
  • Van Zieks' scar resembles the gleam in the Great Ace Attorney logos.
  • The details around the midriff of van Zieks' jacket are intended to resemble a ribcage.
  • Van Zieks is the only prosecutor in the series to date who was unable to convict a defendant guilty of murder in an onscreen trial. However, said defendant's acquittal was rendered meaningless when he perished minutes after the trial's end.

References[]

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