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- "Benjamin" redirects here; for other characters referred to as "Benjamin", please see Benjamin (disambiguation).
Benjamin Woodman, usually referred to by his stage name Ben, is a ventriloquist at the Berry Big Circus who testified as a witness to the events leading to the murder of circus ringleader Russell Berry. A shy man, Woodman uses his ventriloquist's dummy Trilo Quist, which he has given a completely opposite personality, to express himself and even to testify in court. At the time of the murder, Woodman had been at the circus for around four years.
A circus love triangle[edit | edit source]
|That uppity snob kept getting in the way!|
|Uppity Snob!? He couldn't possibly be talking about me... Maximillion Galactica! When I get a hold of him, I'm gonna saw his wood block in half... And not with magic!!|
While working at the circus, Woodman fell in love with the ringmaster's daughter, Regina Berry. Unable to express himself properly, owing to his crippling shyness, Woodman used his dummy, Trilo Quist, to profess his love for her. Unfortunately for him, Regina, being quite childlike in her understanding of the world, thought that Trilo was the one in love with her and did not seem to understand that Trilo was a dummy, which "Trilo" went along with.
"Trilo" was not alone in his admiration of Regina, however. Max Galactica, the circus's resident magician, also took a shine to her and even professed his love for her on the same day that "Trilo" did. The rivalry between the two reached a head in the circus's cafeteria when a fight broke out between them. The argument ended in violence when Galactica, goaded by Woodman via Trilo (who called him a "no-good talentless hack of a fast food magician"), grabbed a glass juice bottle and brought it down on the ventriloquist's head. Galactica was later called to the ringmaster's room to talk about the incident.
Circus accident[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Turnabout Big Top
|Let me lay it all out for you... The pay sucks... The clown sucks... And my partner has his hand up my pants.|
On the night that Russell Berry was murdered, "Trilo" repeatedly tried to propose to Regina during circus practice, using an engagement ring he had spent three months pay on, however Galactica kept getting in the way. When Moe became exhausted, Woodman walked with the clown back to the circus entrance. He then "ditched" the "stooge" in order to wait for Regina to return to the lodging house in order to propose to her.
Although Regina didn't appear, after five minutes of waiting Woodman was surprised to see a man, whom he at first thought to be Russell Berry, pass by him on his way to the lodging house plaza, and was annoyed when, even after wishing him "good evening", the man did not even acknowledge that he was there. Woodman second-guessed himself about the man's identity, believing him to instead be Max Galactica, since he was wearing the trademark hat, cape and white roses of the magician.
Just after this mysterious figure passed by, Money, the kleptomaniac circus monkey, appeared and jumped onto the hapless ventriloquist, stealing the engagement ring intended for Regina. Woodman immediately gave chase, but not being particularly fit, he lost the monkey after about five minutes.
The ringmaster was later found dead at the plaza and Max Galactica was arrested as the main suspect. Since the figure he had seen was the only person Woodman saw heading towards the plaza that night and since he was competing with the magician for Regina's affection, "Trilo" was hardly unhappy to see "magic boy" being arrested by the police. However, before Galactica was taken away, the magician managed to somehow take Trilo away from Woodman and hide the puppet.
Galactica's defense attorney, Phoenix Wright, investigated the circus to clear his client. Wright, along with his assistant Maya Fey, eventually came across Woodman at the circus entrance. Since Woodman was without his puppet he was nervous and agitated; it took some time for Wright and Fey to convince the man to even admit to who he was. Wright eventually found Trilo and returned him to the ventriloquist. The pair were shocked when the puppet began to speak with a completely opposite personality to that of Woodman. "Trilo" was aggressive, outspoken, overconfident, quick to take offense, and abrasive. "Trilo" revealed to Wright his plans to marry Regina and the fact that "he" and Woodman knew something about the murder. The pair then left to put themselves forward as a witness to get rid of "that pesky magician".
Woodman was indeed called as a witness during Galactica's trial. He testified, via Trilo, about what he had seen at the entrance, but Wright was able to work out that the man Woodman had seen was not Galactica at all, but actually Russell Berry in disguise.
Upon the resolution of the murder, Moe took over as the ringmaster and the circus went on a worldwide tour.
Personality[edit | edit source]
|If Ben doesn't have his ventriloquist's puppet, you'll barely get a word outta him.|
Woodman is extremely quiet and shy, preferring to channel all semblance of extroversion through his puppet Trilo Quist. Without Trilo, Woodman is very nervous around other people. When Wright met him, Woodman was never seen making eye contact with anyone.
He gives Trilo a very loud and obnoxious personality that talks very quickly, which is such a contrast to Ben's personality that he almost seems to be a living, intelligent person separate from Woodman. Woodman secretly wishes for stardom and expresses this desire through the fame-hungry Trilo that gets "annoyed" when Woodman makes a mistake. Even in court, Woodman used Trilo to testify.
He tried to use Trilo to woo Regina and try to convince her to marry him, although a combination of Woodman's quiet personality being overshadowed by Trilo's brash one, along with Regina's naïve nature, meant that Regina thought that Trilo was the one in love with her and that Woodman was just someone who hung around him. "Trilo" made no attempt to correct this.
Despite relying so heavily on his puppet for communication, Woodman is not actually a very skilled ventriloquist, as his lips can be seen moving when Trilo "talks" except in the HD iOS port, where Ben's moving lips while Trilo is made to talk are cut.
Name[edit | edit source]
- The Japanese names "Ben" and "Rilo" come from the word "ventriloquism".
- The combination of "Ben" and "Trilo Quist" is a pun on "ventriloquist".
- The surname "Woodman" is a pun on his wooden ventriloquist dummy. It may be a pun on Woodman's personality without Trilo; wooden and nearly speechless. Possibly unintentionally, his full name also bears a striking resemblance to that of the famous jazz clarinetist Benny Goodman, which would be suitable given his entertainment-related profession.
- Possibly unintentionally, his puppet's English surname, "Quist", is, in fact, a common Swedish surname and suffix of Swedish surnames derived from the word "kvist", meaning "twig" or "small branch" (wood being a common material for making puppets).
- His French name, "Michael Heurtarive", comes from "mais à quelle heure t'arrives?" which means "when will you arrive?" "Yvan Triloque" comes from the French word for ventriloquist.
Development[edit | edit source]
- The shy ventriloquist with a loud-mouthed ventriloquist's dummy is a common one in popular culture. This can often take a sinister turn, such as in the 1978 psychological horror film Magic, in which the main character is a shy ventriloquist with multiple personality disorder who uses a foul-mouthed doll to channel what he really wants to say and is eventually "persuaded" by the dummy to commit murder.
- When Trilo is meant to be speaking, the tone of the voice blips used for him are those otherwise reserved for females, although Woodman himself speaks with the expected "male" version. This, along with the green text used when the "puppet" is talking, could be meant to convey that Woodman is speaking with an affected voice when making Trilo talk.
Relationship with a minor[edit | edit source]
A significant aspect of the narrative of Turnabout Big Top is that the 16-year-old Regina Berry attracts the affections of three different adults, including Benjamin Woodman. There is very little detail about the specific nature of these relationships, even though a serious romantic relationship between Regina and any of these adults would qualify as pedophilia. Even without a romantic or sexual component, these relationships are examples of Regina being sheltered from the rest of the world and being taken advantage of as a result.