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|When you get to where I am, you can just create your own truths. Anytime you want.|
Bansai Ichiyanagi was a prosecutor who served as Chief Prosecutor and Chair of the Prosecutorial Investigation Committee during his career. He is the father of prosecutor Yumihiko Ichiyanagi. In 2019, he was found to have abused his power for the purpose of various criminal activities and disposing of those who defied him. His actions had far-reaching consequences, especially for the many people affected by the IS-7, DL-6, and SS-5 Incidents.
Black market auction
Bansai held secret auctions of evidence from various past cases. He provided auction participants with masks with voice-changers attached in order to conceal their identities. Bansai usually wore a wig, but took it off when conducting auctions so as not to be recognizable (although he still wore a mask like the other participants). However, taking off the wig would reveal a burn scar, which only a few people knew about. His dealings eventually attracted the attention of photojournalist Ryūji Kamei, who conducted a secret investigation on him.
During Bansai's time as Chief Prosecutor, Detective Wataru Shirase reported to him about the IS-7 Incident, which occurred on December 23, 2000, in particular the disappearance of the victim's body. Bansai neglected to tell this to the prosecutor in charge of the case, Manfred von Karma, who indicted Issei Tenkai after believing that an autopsy report was going to be given to him. Von Karma eventually found out about the missing body, but it was too late to back out of the indictment. Bansai coerced Otome Itami into forging an autopsy report, allowing von Karma to take a fabricated case to court against defense attorney Gregory Edgeworth.
Edgeworth was able to deduce that the body had gone missing, and that the autopsy report had been made up. Von Karma was able to use his influence on the police force to discredit the accusations, but Edgeworth managed to prove that the prosecutor had had Shirase coerce Tenkai into confessing to being an accomplice to the murder. Von Karma still won the case, but Bansai penalized him for his mistake. The rest of the blame fell on Shirase for the false confession. His involvement in the falsified autopsy report would go undiscovered for many years.
- Main article: SS-5 Incident
In 2007, a body double of President Teikun Ō of Zheng Fa approached Bansai for assistance in covering up a planned assassination of his employer. The plan was to hire assassin Ryōken Hōinbō to kill the real president so that the body double could replace him. Bansai bribed Marī Miwa, the owner of the Happy Family Home orphanage, into helping them, as the body double had learned that Ō was planning to go there in secret to meet his son, Shimon Aizawa, at midnight on February 10. Bansai stalked Ami Aizawa, Shimon's mother, but Ami realized that she was being watched and returned home. Meanwhile, the assassin encountered the president at the appointed time and killed him.
Bansai and Miwa arrived to dispose of the body. They planned on killing Hōinbō as well, but a boy at the orphanage started a fire, distracting them long enough for the assassin to escape. Kamei then arrived at the scene. Believing that the president was being kidnapped, he called his girlfriend, Tsubasa Kagome, to tell her about it. While he was leaving a voicemail message, the body double struck him from behind with a brick, killing him. The three conspirators decided to run with the kidnapping ruse and staged a photo showing the body double apparently being threatened by an unknown assailant, played by Miwa, outside the orphanage grounds. Kamei's body was moved inside the orphanage grounds, and his own photos were replaced by the staged one they had created.
In the days that followed, Miwa ruthlessly interrogated the child who had set the fire, while the government of Zheng Fa paid the "kidnapper's" ransom to return the "president". Dai-Long Lang, a police officer and close friend of the president, took responsibility for not preventing the "kidnapping" and was demoted. However, he continued to investigate Kamei's death and eventually arrested Marī Miwa as the only possible suspect. Bansai took charge of the prosecution, manipulating evidence so that Ō's blood would be presented as Kamei's, and using the forged photo to claim that there was no connection between the kidnapping and the orphanage. This ensured Miwa's acquittal, and Lang subsequently resigned in shame. Meanwhile, the boy ran away from the orphanage, and though Bansai had his henchmen search for him, he was never found. Bansai had the SS-5 Incident files sealed so that no one would be able to figure out the truth.
Bansai later left the post of Chief Prosecutor and became the Chair of the Prosecutorial Investigation Committee (P.I.C.). He also arranged to have Miwa assigned as the warden of the local prison, with Hōinbō being eventually caught and sent to that very prison. Hōinbō told Miwa that he knew about the existence of the real president's son, and could thus prove that the "President Ō" who had been returned to Zheng Fa was a fake. Hōinbō used this knowledge to blackmail Miwa into doing favors for him and the other prisoners, such as obtaining items from outside.
When the Big Tower was built in 2018 at the former site of the Happy Family Home, the black market auctions took place in the meeting room of the P.I.C. on the 50th floor. The floor right above it was rendered inaccessible by normal means and was used as a warehouse to store the goods. By this time, Tsubasa Kagome had become a member of the P.I.C., with the aim of seeking revenge for Kamei's death. She eventually found out about Bansai's illegal activities.
Attempts to stymie Edgeworth
On March 25, 2019, the body double became involved in a fake assassination incident that resulted in the death of one of his bodyguards. Thanks to the efforts of prosecutor Miles Edgeworth, another bodyguard, called Manosuke Naitō, was revealed to be the culprit and was arrested for the murder. Bansai agreed to help cover up the incident for the body double by making it seem as if Naitō had tried to really assassinate the president, instead of the plan actually being a scheme by the president and Naitō to boost flagging approval ratings back in Zheng Fa. Naitō was sent to Miwa's prison.
Two days later, Miwa reported to Bansai about her suspicion that Naitō was in league with Hōinbō, as well as telling him to dig up the real president's body, as it could be discovered due to construction in the area. Naitō was found dead hours later, and Bansai sent P.I.C. member Hakari Mikagami and his own son Yumihiko to take over the ensuing investigation and prevent Miles Edgeworth from participating. Although Miwa intended to frame Hōinbō for the murder, Mikagami and Yumihiko went after Sōta Sarushiro. However, Edgeworth returned as an assistant to Sarushiro's hired defense attorney, Tateyuki Shigaraki, and successfully had Miwa indicted for the murder. Yumihiko gave the evidence for the case to his father for safekeeping, but Bansai, intending on ensuring an acquittal for his former co-conspirator, threw the evidence away.
On April 2, an incident at Issei Tenkai's old mansion brought the IS-7 Incident back to the forefront. Under Bansai's orders, Mikagami again tried to take over the investigation and replace Edgeworth with Yumihiko. However, the victim's body was discovered, proving that the autopsy report from the IS-7 Incident really had been faked all along, and Mikagami allowed Edgeworth and Shigaraki to investigate, since they had been Gregory Edgeworth's son and investigative partner, respectively. They eventually had Yutaka Kazami arrested as the culprit. Seeing Edgeworth as a threat, Bansai scheduled a hearing at the P.I.C. to have Edgeworth dismissed.
- Main article: The Forgotten Turnabout
|If you play with fire, you're gonna get burned, Edgeworth... Juuust kidding, I always wanted to say that, y'know.|
On the night of April 4, 2019, Bansai held another auction. He had learned from an anonymous source that Kagome was planning on killing him, so he prepared a countermeasure ahead of time. He blackmailed Itami's granddaughter, Tōko Mutō, into serving as an accomplice. When Kagome won one of the items, she and Bansai went to the warehouse to arrange payment. Kagome confronted Bansai, saying that she recognized his burn, only for the latter to mortally strike her with his auction gavel.
Bansai had Mutō take Kagome's place, and provided a wig for her so that she could blend in perfectly due to her similar physique. The body was stored in a costume trunk, which Mutō was instructed to buy. When the two returned for the trunk, they found that Kagome had climbed up to the viewing platform before succumbing to her wound, with an unconscious Kay Faraday on the warehouse floor. Bansai discovered letters that had apparently been exchanged between Kagome and Faraday. He believed that Faraday and Kagome had collaborated to steal back Faraday's promise notebook (given to her as a child by her father but seized as evidence after his murder) and decided to pin the murder on her.
Both Faraday and Kagome were locked in the trunk until the next day. Bansai lowered Kagome's body to the meeting room, where she would later be found, and planted one of the letters on her. He also planted incriminating evidence on Faraday and had Mutō take her outside, where she woke up with amnesia. Mutō "found" Faraday and took her to Miles Edgeworth, as his business card was on her.
Edgeworth decided to investigate the cause of Faraday's amnesia, leading him to the fake crime scene. Bansai tried to arrest Faraday for Kagome's murder, but Edgeworth defied him to the point of giving up his prosecutor's badge and conducting his own investigation in secret with Faraday, eventually discovering the hidden warehouse. Bansai had him arrested for conducting an illegal investigation and aiding and abetting a criminal suspect, pending his hearing, which was postponed for the next day.
- Main article: The Grand Turnabout
With Edgeworth and Faraday taken care of, Bansai went to the place where the flowerbeds had been on the orphanage grounds. He knew that the body had been buried under one of the three flowerbeds on the left side from the entrance, but he did not know which one. This area was being used as a temporary film lot, and had been designated for a construction project soon afterward, so Bansai broke in and started digging using his mechanic's gloves and some tools from his house. When he was about to leave with the body, however, Shimon Aizawa, who had been adopted by Mikagami and had become an actor, entered the lot to practice by himself. Bansai hid inside a costume and waited until Aizawa left.
|Y'know, Yumihiko. If you weren't even able to notice something like that...you're really not worthy of being called my son.|
The next day, Bansai visited Edgeworth at the holding cell and ended up engaging in a battle of wits with him. Bansai discovered that Edgeworth was immune to his intimidation tactics and was forced to admit that he was trying to frame Faraday. During his hearing, Edgeworth accused Bansai of being the auction conductor. As time went on, he lost the rhetorical vicegrip that he had on everyone: first Faraday, then Mutō, then lead investigator Franziska von Karma. Even Mikagami turned on him, revealing that she had been trying to take Bansai down the whole time she was in the P.I.C. Eventually, even Yumihiko figured out that Bansai was the killer. Bansai chased Yumihiko away by revealing that he had bribed the teachers at Yumihiko's school into giving him his top marks, but it was too late for him as Edgeworth proved his guilt.
Right before Miwa's trial, Bansai had his underlings kidnap Aizawa and blackmailed Mikagami into trying to get Miwa acquitted. However, his subordinates accidentally abducted Yumihiko instead. Edgeworth found Yumihiko and helped him regain the courage to face his father in court. Edgeworth also soon deduced the true location of Aizawa, who was promptly rescued by detective Dick Gumshoe. Thus, Bansai lost his influence over Mikagami.
Yumihiko had gone to the dump to find the evidence that Bansai had thrown away, only to find a single piece of newspaper containing one of Hōinbō's bells. However, the newspaper itself had a handprint made of motor oil that was matched with Bansai's gloves, successfully proving that Bansai had thrown away the evidence. Bansai broke down in court, screaming Yumihiko's name. Yumihiko was still grateful for all that his father had done for him, even if Bansai hated him. This event stripped Bansai of his authority, allowing the secret SS-5 files to be unsealed. Edgeworth went on to solve the SS-5 Incident, and the last of Bansai Ichiyanagi's schemes was laid bare.
Bansai Ichiyanagi was extremely selfish and controlling. He loved to use and abuse his power to destroy anyone who challenged or defied him. He used his influence to manipulate cases and cause people to "disappear", including his own wife and a rival detective. At least some of these "disappearances" involved being jailed indefinitely for made-up crimes. He also deceived Manfred von Karma and then robbed him of his perfect record when he was caught using a forced confession and falsified evidence he is responsible. Exerting control over everyone else was almost a compulsive need for him, and he was easily angered when he lost control.
His corruption was matched only by his sheer arrogance. He took every opportunity to gloat and humiliate other people. For example, he greeted Franziska von Karma in front of everyone else during a murder investigation in a very embarrassing manner by talking about how she used to sit on his lap as a child. Bansai would even treat his own son this way, constantly calling him an idiot, though Yumihiko seemed used to it. When revealed to be a murderous criminal, Bansai told his son, in the cruelest manner possible, that he had only received all of the good grades and awards he was so proud of thanks to his personal connections and influence.
He had a tendency to play with his lighter, which flared up when he became nervous. When it accidentally set his fake beard on fire, he would use the tears trapped in his goggles to put it out. His goggles were often filled with tears, as he would often cry to make himself appear sensitive. Bansai would also tend to tug on his beard when nervous.
Bansai owned a motorcycle and red biker gloves with a skull motif and the word "DEATH" written on the fingertips.
- His given name "Bansai" is a Japanese expression of celebration or cheering, but also means "ten thousand years". Combined with his surname "Ichiryuu", which means "first class", his full name could be translated as "forever number one" - a reference to his superior attitude. Additionally, the first syllables from his given and family names (Ichiyanagi Bansai), if combined together, can be read as Ichiban (一番) which means "first" or "number one".
- His English name in the fan translation patch is "Blaise Debeste". "Blaise" is presumably a pun on "blaze", a word used to refer to a fiercely burning fire. This is likely a reference to his lighter, which spews out a massive torrent of flame during his breakdown. "Debeste" is a play on "the best". "Blaise" may also be a pun on "bless" or "praise", which when combined with "Debeste", alludes to the meaning of his Japanese name. Additionally, if only the initial for his given is used alongside his full surname, his name can be shortened into "B. Debeste", which could be read as "be the best".
- He, along with his son, are the only prosecutors in the series to date who actually openly wear their prosecutor's badges. In fact, along with his own prosecutor's badge pinned on his red jacket, there are many other prosecutor's badges arranged in the manner of military medals. He acquired these from other prosecutors who were deprived of them by the Prosecutorial Investigation Committee. Along with his aviator-like biker goggles, this serves to give him a military-like appearance.
- In-game, when a character is speaking, the noise used as the text appears on the screen usually differs depending on the gender of the speaker; deeper if male and higher pitched if female. Oddly, the tone used for the unseen Chief Prosecutor during Manfred von Karma's flashback to receiving his penalty in Turnabout Goodbyes is the higher pitch, despite clearly being referred to by von Karma as "Mr Chief Prosecutor" and it being made clear that Bansai Ichiyanagi was that individual in Gyakuten Kenji 2.
- Despite his age, Bansai refers to himself as "boku", a first-person pronoun usually reserved for young men. Combined with his playful manner of speech, it has the effect of making him sound disturbingly childish and cute.
- Bansai is one of only two Ace Attorney characters to alluded to in a game prior to being given a name and face, with the other being Jove Justice.