The breakdown is a special, normally one-off animation that occurs when a witness, usually the true culprit of a case, realizes that they have been defeated. Alternatively, whenever a witness is faced with a revelation they're not ready to deal with properly. Such animations are normally quite long and over-the-top (possibly for comical effect), especially in the later games. In Dual Destinies and Spirit of Justice, some of the breakdowns are heavily implied to be psychological in nature, which are visibly represented to the player, as they contain occurrences which would be flat out impossible (such as Paul Atishon getting swallowed up by an endless abyss, and Marlon Rimes getting caught up in a storm as though the witness stand were on a pirate ship), followed by cutting to show the witness in a more distressed, yet "ordinary" state. Other breakdowns are present for non-culprits, for example April May.
Breakdowns are not to be confused with the damage animations which occur when a witness is briefly shocked, but soon recovers. Damage animations, unlike breakdowns, tend to occur frequently and often in quick succession, such as Trilo Quist's limbs exploding and firing across the courtroom, which occurs multiple times during his cross-examination.
A list of breakdowns in the Ace Attorney series follows.
- Frank Sahwit — Suddenly grabs his toupée and throws it at Phoenix Wright's face, which then slides off in a comical fashion to reveal Wright's unimpressed facial expression. After Sahwit is revealed as the true murderer, he begins to hyperventilate, frothing at the mouth before finally collapsing to the ground.
- Redd White — Lowers his head onto the witness stand, then rapidly lifts his head up in the air, screams, then suddenly slams his head down and twitches, possibly crying, face down on the stand.
- Dee Vasquez — Grimaces and clenches her pipe until it snaps in two, then quickly returns to her usual calm persona.
- Yanni Yogi — Falls over while shaking his fist. Later, when finally pinned for the murder of Robert Hammond, he suddenly transforms from his hunched and sleepy "Uncle" persona to his true self; upright and with a serious expression on his face, admitting defeat.
- Manfred von Karma — Pounds the desk and bellows "Edgeworth" while the events of the DL-6 Incident flash behind him. He then bangs his head off the courtroom wall, pauses, then resumes much faster than before, all the while cursing Miles Edgeworth and his father's names.
- Damon Gant — Starts laughing and clapping, starting slowly but gradually becoming faster and faster as he leans back, and slows down at the end of his breakdown. At his fastest, Gant is clapping once every 2 frames, or 30 times a second; this means that his animation is shifting on every single frame, which causes most emulators to lag, or if the emulator is using frame skipping, not every clap is shown.
- April May — Crosses her arms over her face while she roars and the hearts on her blouse spin rapidly. She then suddenly uncrosses her arms, causing her breasts to bounce 3 times as her facial expression becomes hideously aggressive-looking, with the heart buttons on her blouse inverted.
- Cody Hackins — Suddenly bursts into tears.
- Richard Wellington — When accused of murder, he laughs insanely while alternating between messing up his hair with his hands and squishing his face. After being found as the real murderer, he pulls on his scarf so tightly that he begins to lose air until his face turns blue and he passes out.
- Mimi Miney — Removes her beret, opens her eyes, and wipes away her tears with the aforementioned beret.
- Acro — Tears suddenly begin to stream down his still-smiling face as he admits his guilt, not letting his calm persona be altered by the outcome of the trial.
- Matt Engarde — When Wright confronts him as the true killer in the detention center, Engarde pushes back his fringe to reveal scars over his right eye, suddenly gets a glass of wine, and 'introduces' his real self. Later, after being told he has been found guilty, he screams the word over and over, scratching his face multiple times, not wanting to let his perfect image be stained by the sentence. Alternatively, if he is told he is not guilty, he realizes he will be hunted down by Shelly de Killer the very moment he leaves the courthouse, and as such he begs for the guilty sentence, again scratching new scars into his face while repeatedly yelling "GUILTY!"
- Regina Berry — Bursts into tears upon realizing that Acro's hatred for her over his brother's accident was what drove him to attempt to kill her, but instead kill her father by mistake.
- Franziska von Karma — Suddenly starts crying.
- Dahlia Hawthorne — When revealed to have killed Doug Swallow, she screams Mia Fey's name and turns to glare at her with glowing, demonic eyes, while the butterflies that usually surround her burst into flames. Later in the game, while she is being exorcised from Maya Fey's body after being discovered as Dahlia and not her similar-looking sister, Iris, she puts her head down on the desk, while her ghostly spirit appears behind Maya's body, pale with crimson hair and also holding her head and screaming. Her spirit then reappears with a demonic glint in her eye and her red hair flowing out fire-like in every direction behind her. A wave of blue fire suddenly engulfs her and ten balls of blue fire appear in the shape of a Magatama. After the Magatama has been shown, all the flames but the center one indicating the hole disappear, and the last remaining flame descends to the center of the screen while events of Dahlia's past play behind it. The final flame then disappears, and the barely conscious Maya Fey is seen standing, exhausted, at the witness stand before collapsing.
- Luke Atmey — Crosses his arms over his face while slowly rising up, then suddenly uncrosses his arms, laughs hysterically, while moving his head rapidly from side to side, and again begins to speak his verses very quickly. This happens twice, once when "revealed" to be Mask☆DeMasque and one when he's shown not to be DeMasque, but instead the murderer of Kane Bullard.
- Furio Tigre — Roars so loudly that the lights in the courtroom go out and images of the murder appear behind him, both Tigre and the events displayed only in black and white. When the light and color return to the scene, he stays frozen in place while the rest of the courtroom returns to normal.
- Godot — The screen around him slowly darkens, and suddenly, his visor explodes and he recoils backwards, screaming. Godot then returns to his normal self, and takes a sip of coffee, before a trickle of blood from his wound makes its way down his face from his visor as he confesses his guilt.
- Terry Fawles — After swallowing the poison in his hand, he begins coughing until a trickle of blood flows out of his mouth. After a while, he falls dead on the witness stand.
- Winston Payne — Brings his arm up with a shocked expression on his face while his hair is blown away. At this, he screams about his 'beautiful hair' flying off.
- Diego Armando — Grips his coffee mug so tightly that it shatters, causing his hand to bleed.
- Kristoph Gavin — When revealed to have killed Shadi Smith, he looks aside as the courtroom shakes around him. He then slowly raises his fist in the air while the courtroom continues to shake and the dishes and lobster Olga Orly was carrying in her disguise levitate behind him. Suddenly he slams his fist on the witness stand, making the levitating objects fall and the shaking cease. Finally, he clenches his fist on the stand. When he learns that the court will be using a Jurist System designed by Phoenix Wright to deliver the verdict for his second murder, he hunches over the witness stand, his mouth twitching. He once again raises his fist, while the courtroom shakes, before slamming it onto the witness stand, clenching it just like the previous time. He then crosses his arms in front of him, roars Wright's name, his glasses fly off and his hair billows above him. He then hunches over on the stand, arms crossed, and glares with a manic look in his eyes while his normally well-kept hair is now disheveled, his face twitching even more than before. Finally, after an innocent verdict was given for Vera Misham, Gavin cackles insanely with his hand over his face, and is taken away.
- Alita Tiala — When Justice reveals that Pal Meraktis tried to kill her, she screams while holding her head while the wings on the front of her dress flap wildly and feathers fly off. This is similar to her "damage" animation, but during her "breakdown," a drastically increased number of feathers fly off and the animation lasts much longer. It is the only breakdown to occur before a culprit has been fully exposed, rather than after, as Tiala doesn't react at all when Justice proves beyond any doubt that she killed Meraktis.
- Daryan Crescend — Starts calmly attempting to bargain with Machi Tobaye for his silence, making one bizarre offer after offer. He then calmly straightens his hair again, only to abruptly lose his cool and start desperately screaming for Machi not to talk, all the while flailing about madly with his pompadour slashing about like a sword. Afterwards, his hair is loose and disheveled, and he stands broken on the witness stand.
- Olga Orly — Yells then slowly falls backwards, while her dishes and the lobster fall down in order onto the witnesses stand. Later, she drops her timid Russian guise, swiftly pulling off the coat and hat to reveal a pirate-themed costume. When finally defeated, she yells while her camera goes off and the dishes and lobster fall slowly behind her.
- Wesley Stickler — Freezes while his cape billows and the pages of his book turn as if he were being blown by a strong gust of wind. He then drops his book and collapses on the stand.
- Wocky Kitaki — Keeps down his attitude briefly while showing a concerned look on his face.
- Jacques Portsman — Rapidly bites on the medal around his neck, causing golden dust to fall in the background. After a few seconds of this, it breaks off its chain and he swallows it. He then faints.
- Cammy Meele — When Edgeworth begins to figure out her involvement, she drops her usual sleepy act, pushing her long hair behind her ears and begins to blow bubbles. When defeated, she pauses, blowing one bubble, then suddenly blows many bubbles which then repeatedly pop around her, barraging her. It is also notable that during the barrage, her Mr. Ifly teddy bear can be seen grabbing onto its captain's hat, presumably in order to prevent it flying off.
- Lance Amano — Abruptly shatters the handcuffs around his wrists and suddenly begins to sob tears, apologizing for both the fake kidnapping and the murder.
- "Calisto Yew"/"Shih-na" — Begins laughing even more hysterically than usual, rocking backwards and forwards, tears in her eyes. She then pulls a gun on Edgeworth and escapes. When discovered later on as Shih-na, she laughs in the same hysterical way as she did as "Calisto". When she is finally defeated, she spreads her arms wide and cackles madly with fangs appearing in her mouth.
- Quercus Alba — When forced to drop his defenseless old man persona, he rises up to his full height and breaks his staff into pieces. When finally defeated, he screams Edgeworth's name while his skin cracks and is blown away by a strong gust of wind. He then screams again with the wind blowing his medals and hair upwards and spots of light appear above his head, the sound of a falling tree playing in the background. He then suddenly collapses into a hunched old man with an almost mummified face, with no eyes visible.
- Zinc Lablanc — A steadily increasing gust of wind blows right at him which forces his lips back to reveal his gums, as if he were in a centrifuge used for high-G training. The wind increases until he is blown over.
- Young Kay Faraday — She grasps her shirt, leans her head back, and begins to cry with tears streaming down her face.
- Horace Knightley — Bites down on his lip while spinning his gun faster than usual. He then starts tossing it back and forth before losing control and sending it up into the air, afterwards he starts spinning multiple random objects and throws them all up in the air (including a horseshoe, The Thinker, Mr. Ifly, a box of Samurai Dogs, Blue Badger doll, and a hammer) which all land on his head, knocking him into his neck brace, before his gun lands on his head and finally knocks him out. Though it likely was for a comedic purpose, he is the only person to be struck with The Thinker and survive. Ironically, he died soon after.
- Patricia Roland — Starts thinking about Sirhan Dogen and his theme plays. Then the prison alarm rings as she and her pet fox fluffs up in anger, and she proceeds to scream in horror. Her pet fox jumps off her neck, and her fur coat turns into a number of other foxes which similarly jump off, leaving her shivering, wearing a shirt designed to look like a prison outfit.
- Katherine Hall — When her attempt to murder Dane Gustavia is exposed, she holds one hand in front of her face, and sheds a tear. When Raymond Shields tells her that he shall defend her no matter what, she hides her face behind her fan, and reveals her face, crying comically exaggerated tears of joy,
- Dane Gustavia — Stays silent while his theme plays and starts to blow up the dough he's working with to a huge size, then carves it into a life-sized sculpture of himself by rapidly punching the statue with his bare fists, his punching becoming increasingly fast by the second. He examines his dough sculpture for a moment, then draws a baster and slices it in half, in a manner reminiscent of a samurai, which reveals its hollow insides.
- Blaise Debeste — His lighter sends up a huge plume of flame, burning his beard and hair clean off, revealing them to be fake and uncovering the burn mark on his chin from his earlier confrontation with his victim, Jill Crane. He then coughs out some smoke. When finally defeated in court by his own son, Sebastian Debeste, and Edgeworth, he screams his son's name while his lighter flares up like before and the screen fades to white.
- Simon Keyes — When confronted as the culprit, he snaps his fingers, causing his monkey, Money, to re-apply his clown makeup and two birds to fly down and rearrange his hair. When they fly away, two squirrels proceed to run up his arms and begin to brush his hair with miniature combs. Money and the squirrels then salutes Keyes and his expression suddenly turns stern, at which point Money and the two squirrels dive off of him. He opens his eyes and revealed his true, sinister self. When taunted on how he's exactly like his real father, Dane Gustavia, in terms of both methods and failures, he starts screaming with a shocked expression, just to suddenly stop and say, wickedly laughing, he was just kidding since they have no evidence to support their claim. When finally defeated, he protests as his animals begin to attack him fiercely as his leitmotif starts playing: first the birds strike his face while he was carrying a pair of rabbits, then Money the Monkey scratches his face, then the pig lets the cat jumps up by its nose and kicks Keyes' face, the squirrels pull strands of his hair apart so that a gorilla can punch his face, which sends him whirling until an elephant's trunk grabs the top of his head and pulls him off-screen as the sound of further brawling is heard.
- Di-Jun Huang (body double) — Roars mightily, letting all the air out of his body, leaving him flabby and disheveled.
- Jay Elbird — When one of his pieces in Logic Chess is destroyed, he removes the chains he wears. Later on, he reacts as though he were being punched, getting knocked back and forth until finally his mouth guard (and some teeth) fly out. His bear, Rocky, jumps off him and he collapses.
- Frank Sahwit — Throws his toupée at Edgeworth. Unlike Wright, Edgeworth shows a shocked expression instead. He gets his toupée back after a couple of minutes.
- Karin Jenson and Bonnie Young — Jenson begins slapping Young's hair bun back and forth extremely fast, causing it to pop open, knocking Young's glasses off and sending Jenson falling to the floor.
- Jeffrey Master — Starts crying while placing his hand on his chest.
- Kay Faraday — Puts her hands on her head and screams in agony as she starts to remember.
- Sebastian Debeste — Holds his head up and gets a determined expression, while still shedding a tear.
- Olivia Aldente — Yells out in fury and tries to chop off the head of the giant fish she has with a butcher knife. It dodges, spins, and knocks her to the ground with its tail.
- Darklaw — Clutches her head and writhes in denial as she starts to remember, while flashbacks of her past play behind her.
- Kira — Screams in horror and throws her flower basket high into the air. As the petals scatter all around and she continues to flail about, the basket comes back down and lands upside-down on her head, and she falls to the floor.
- Jean Greyerl — When she reveals that she is a girl, she pulls out the long hair that was tucked in her collar, letting it flow down. When she reads Belduke's suicide note, she puts her hand to her mouth and fights back tears.
- Espella Cantabella — Clutches her head in pain, screams, and falls to the floor. Later, when she becomes overwhelmed by guilt over blaming herself for everyone's suffering, she attempts suicide by throwing herself off the Bell Tower. Her attempt is interrupted by Darklaw, resulting in the two both falling together, before being saved from hitting the ground by Luke Triton.
- Vigilantes — Boistrum acts as though shot and falls forward, Lottalance, Balmung, Lyewood, Servius and Treddon do the same. Shakey collapses, Foxy rears back in shock, Dzibilchaltunchunchucmil falls off the stand and Wordsmith flies into the air.
- Flynch — Rears back in shock, causing his glasses to fly off his face. He scrabbles around desperately looking for them and slowly slides down beneath the prosecutors' bench out of sight.
- Ted Tonate — The music track "The Dark Age of the Law" plays as Tonate rants about how the bomb's time is running out and he can dismantle anything. He then bites and pulls the red wire on his model bomb repeatedly, eventually rearing back while his goggles extend to an absurd length. With his goggles still extended, he then snaps forward and smashes his extended goggles on the bomb, causing it to break with two seconds left. His goggles finally retract, but then overload, causing them to explode in his face. A screw from his exploded goggles falls onto his head, which causes him to fall too, and the model bomb reactivates and counts down to 0, announcing "GAME OVER - DISARMING ATTEMPT FAILED."
- Florent L'Belle — Begins threatening to kill Apollo Justice just as he did Rex Kyubi (thus confessing to his crime in the process) while spraying himself with cologne uncontrollably until a cloud of it has formed around his head. When it dissipates, his hair has returned to its natural white color and all of his makeup has been removed, revealing his prematurely aged face. He then weakly answers a series of calls on his cell phones and finds out that a project of his was canceled, he has lost his sponsors, has been fired as the mayor's aide, and had a $100 million stratospheric damages lawsuit filed against him. In response to the shocking revelations, he throws his notebook up into the air and collapses forward, laughing quietly to himself, saying he's "washed up" and "done".
- Aristotle Means — When Athena Cykes criticizes his educational philosophy, he angrily looks downwards, then proceeds to slam his staff to the ground, causing a chalkboard to roll behind him. He then stops it with his right hand, then shapes his hair into a style reminiscent of the plume on an ancient Greek helmet before looking up with an angry expression. When defeated, he tries to pitifully bargain his way out of a prison sentence by writing various proposals of increasingly less lenient "alternate punishments" (such as a 30% pay cut, bathroom detail, or dismissal) on his blackboard, while the gallery boos and throws chalk and other random objects at him each time. On his fifth and final try, he gives up and attempts to write the word "Guilty"; after writing the first letter (the first 3 lines of 有, the kanji that makes up the first part of the word 有罪 (guilty), in the Japanese version), his teeth shatter under the immense pressure, and he collapses onto the floor along with the blackboard, leaving behind a large chalk cloud.
- Phantom — First, after Simon Blackquill does his "sword" animation, the Phantom's serious "Fulbright" mask gets torn. This leads to him taking off masks one by one, first going to a Solomon Starbuck one, followed by one of Aristotle Means' face when Simon Blackquill points out that Starbuck couldn't be the phantom due to being on the HAT-1, and finally, when Wright tries get him using a small bit of the meteorite, a Phoenix Wright mask, mimicking each person seamlessly in pose and speech. Upon finally being proven guilty, he looks around in fright after being objected to thrice. The background darkens as he pulls at his mask of Phoenix Wright and shouts to the hidden, unknown shooter that he hasn't lost yet. Unsure of his own identity, he begins removing mask after mask, starting with the other culprits (Ted Tonate, Florent L'Belle and Aristotle Means) as debris falls and covers each transition. Afterwards, he turns into several other characters, such as Damian Tenma, Hugh O'Conner, Solomon Starbuck, Simon Blackquill, Jinxie Tenma, and even Aura Blackquill, and begins repeatedly flashing through the identities of the aforementioned killers, suspects, witnesses, and attorneys, with no debris to cover his face this time, all the while questioning who he is now that he has lost his own identity behind his masks. He starts flipping through disguises faster and faster, until all that is left is the torn and terrified visage of Bobby Fulbright. The Phantom subsequently gets shot by an unseen sniper, and as he falls his mask is torn away, leaving his true face hidden only by the darkness after he collapses.
- Marlon Rimes — When realizing he is cornered, Rimes grabs the barrel he holds and gulps down its contents. He tosses away the barrel and briefly wipes his mouth. Rimes then suddenly gets buffer, causing his shirt to rip open, his blue cap to fly away and his ID card hanging on his chain to flip to its other side showing a chain with his name written on it in gold. Rimes takes out his pirate hat and wears it and produces a giant marlin to hold with his left hand and proceeds to start rapping that he is ready for the showdown. When defeated, the background darkens around Rimes and the ground starts to sway around, as if it were part of a rocking ship. Rain starts to pour down as Rimes is befuddled and the ground sways hard enough for him to drop his fish and support himself by holding onto the witness stand. Lightning and wind appear and Rimes starts to hold onto his pirate hat but the wind blows hard enough for the hat to blow away. Eventually, the floor rocks hard enough for Rimes to fall over after he desperately holds onto the witness stand. As the storm ends, Rimes is seen crouched under the witness stand and holding onto its bars as if it were a jail cell.
- Jinxie Tenma — Keeps jolting herself back until her platter breaks.
- Damian Tenma — The seal on his forehead suddenly flies off, his eyes turns completely white, he raises his arms and acts as if he was Tenma Taro.
- Myriam Scuttlebutt — Throws her box upwards in surprise but manages to catch it in time to conceal her face. Pencils, protractors, and scissors fall out of the box and when her laptop falls, she throws her box in surprise and notices her face is now shown. She quickly covers her face until her box falls and covers her.
- Solomon Starbuck — Panics and accidentally activates his parachute, a strong gust of wind blowing him to the ceiling.
- Yuri Cosmos — Becomes dizzy and falls for a short moment then smashes and breaks the main button on his mini scooter; which malfunctions and causing it to zoom back and forth, crashing him around the courtroom, his stars flying all around him. After a while, he crashes though the main door, leaving an outlined hole of himself. The judge then sends the baliff on 'his steed' to go after the witness. It should be noted that, despite not being a culprit, Cosmos has the major breakdown of The Cosmic Turnabout. This is due to the fact that the episode ends without revealing the culprit, and the case continues into Turnabout for Tomorrow.
- Norma DePlume — Starts to sweat as the camera zooms into her face. The camera progressively zooms out and a gust of wind suddenly blows around her. The buttons of her coat pop off, and her top starts to flop open with the camera mercifully cutting to face her back from afar. The scene cuts to an exasperated Phoenix internally remarking about the wardrobe malfunction and the judge pounding his gavel and begging for her to cover up.
- Herman Crab — When accused of trying to kill Orla Shipley, he becomes completely enraged and starts kicking the witness stand with his right foot, scaring the courtroom.
- Apollo Justice — Collapses in the Defendant Lobby due to his injuries.
- Gaspen Payne — Suddenly becomes shocked and runs out of the courtroom. This happens twice; once after Ted Tonate threatens the court with his model bomb and once when he finds out that Edgeworth wishes to see him during the end credits.
- Athena Cykes — Whenever visualizing events from her childhood, Widget turns black as she stumbles back with her hands in front of her. Afterwards she looks down at the defense bench and cradles her arms around her, falling into a mental breakdown. After Aura Blackquill accuses her of her mother's murder, Widget darkens as she holds her hands over her ears, screaming and trembling in horror. After Simon Blackquill reveals the truth about what happened during the UR-1 Incident, she yells "NOOOOO!" and shakes her upper body in denial. Later in the Defendant Lobby after her verdict, she thanks Blackquill while letting out her tears with a smile.
- Aura Blackquill — While remotely controlling Clonco, her head flies up in surprise, detaching from her robot body. Her hands reach blindly for it until it lands back onto her neck. Later, when meeting with Simon in the Defendant Lobby and seeing him thank her sincerely for what she did, Aura looks away and holds her hand near her chest, holding back her crying.
- Jezail Brett — Bites her mask then after Naruhodō's pointing has a brief heart attack. After that the swan on her hat starts pulling her right and left, throwing little chicks all over the courtroom. Then she flies up in a praying pose.
- Nikomina Borschevic — After her identity is brought to light, she suddenly falls over, then stands up with scissors piercing her hat and removes her disguise. When the truth was finally revealed, she blows out in shock, screaming, and passes out. In the very end, she lowers her head into her hands and cries with regret.
- Cosney Megundal — When the possibility is laid open that Megundal is the murderer, he becomes enraged, wearing a twisted expression and pounding the witness bench so hard that he scares the other witnesses. At the end of the trial, after receiving his unjustified not guilty verdict, he laughs maniacally, slowly clapping hands while the courtroom breaks out in anger and confusion.
- Joan Garrideb — Drops her dishes in shock as she screams an apology, then faints. Her husband John attempts to catch her as she did for him in his breakdown, but she proves too heavy and they fall over backwards.
- Robert Crogley and Tobias Gregson — When Gregson finally concedes and admits to protecting and creating a false testimony for Crogley in exchange for the music discs, the latter becomes completely enraged and breaks his cane onto the witness stand, using it in an attempt to strangle the inspector who "betrayed" him, who spits out a chip afterwards. As Crogley confesses, his lowered head is lifted, showing his sad expression for his father's death.
- Taizou Uzukumaru — His baby son Kouzukumaru starts to fiercely stretch his moustache. While he is torning in pain, Kouzukumaru is imitating a horse rider, then lands on the witness stand and both do a salute. From there on Taizou's moustache is always twisted.
- John Garrideb — Calmly places his teacup and saucer on his wife Joan's plate, stands carefully, and then passes out in shock as he acknowledges Holmes' deductions. Joan in turn catches him before he hits the ground.
- Patrick O'Malley — Looks up, and breaks into tears.
- Taketsuchi Auchi — Kazuma Asōgi draws out his katana and slices the chonmage on the top of Auchi's hair, making it fall over into a haircut similar to Winston Payne's, his descendant, in Turnabout Trump.
- Gina Lestrade — After receiving her not guilty verdict in her trial, she takes off her hat, wiping the tears in her eyes, and then gives Ryūnosuke Naruhodō a smile, thanking him.
- Pees'lubn Andistan'dhin — When first cornered, he takes off the audio jack around his head and plugs it into his dahmalan, which causes two loudspeakers to appear, and he plays a heavy metal solo. Thenceforth, he speaks with an extremely deep voice. Once defeated, he plays a solo on his dahmalan while the loudspeakers behind him are on maximum volume. Then he raises his dahmalan, unplugging it from the loudspeakers, smashes them with the instrument, and, screaming, breaks it upon the witness stand, after which a broken piece of the dahmalan flies up in the air. It lands on his head, and he soon collapses.
- Roger Retinz — When first cornered, he rolls up his sleeves to reveal the scars he sustained during the trick that proved fatal to his career, and raises the brim of his hat, cracking a little smile. When defeated, after flipping a coin, he begins a theatrical performance, the background a red curtain, a spotlight shining on him. He reveals masks of Troupe Gramarye members under his cape, proceeding to burn each one in turn. When he attempts to burn a mask of Trucy Wright, he accidentally reveals a Mr. Reus mask instead. Shocked, he hides it and reveals another mask, only to find that it is, yet again, a mask of his true identity, albeit now bloodied. He shakes it off after it giggles at him, and he becomes scared. After he insists that he has done nothing wrong, multiple spotlights shine on him, blinding him, after which he collapses.
- Tahrust Inmee & Beh'leeb Inmee — Tahrust screams after his wife confesses to the accidental killing of Puhray Zeh'lot. Later, as Beh'leeb exorcises Tahrust from Maya's body, he gives her a nod and a smile as he departs. Beh'leeb then holds the Magatama of Parting close to her chest, bids farewell to her husband, and silently cries.
- Geiru Toneido — When initially cornered, she begins to twist her red balloon as normal when making a new animal or art piece. However, when she spins, her balloon instead becomes a yellow "sword" with a blue hilt, which she brandishes threateningly with a maniacal expression. When she is defeated, her balloons start popping in succession, starting with the cake, followed by the cat, the sword, the dog, her hat, and her red nose. Finally, she pulls up her suspenders and screams, snapping them down as they pop her breasts, which turn out to be balloons. The screen fades to white and returns to the courtroom to reveal that she, now crying, has removed her wig, revealing her natural hair and the bandage from the head wound she was hiding.
- Paul Atishon — Sweats nervously while holding his nameplate, but he stops once the scene changes to a television scene. Four henchmen show up, and he sees that a bar representing the number of votes for him has increased enough to ensure his election. Once he confirms it with the henchmen, he and his henchmen cheer happily, but he soon learns from an announcement that his electoral win has been taken away because of murder charges. The henchmen quickly disappear, the scene now back in the courtroom, and he shows confusion before falling into a black pit and screaming for his grandfather. He is then shown at the stand once more, frozen in a comical "falling" motion, his nameplate shattering to pieces. The screen turns black, and then the sound of his collapse is heard.
- Ga'ran Sigatar Khura'in — After she is accused and then challenged by Apollo Justice to channel the Holy Mother, the guards in the courtroom are blown away while Ga'ran reels back in shock. She then tries to perform the Dance of Devotion to channel the Holy Mother while the guards encourage her, only for it to fail. Her guards realize that she really has no spiritual powers of her own, so they aim their rifles at her. She pleads with them saying she was warming up and attempts the channeling again in Khura'inese, only for it to backfire, knock her unconscious, and cause her to fall backward into the Pool of Souls. She then lies on the pool, bemused.
- Pierce Nichody — When he is first cornered, the FXR-UPR mech on his right shoulder explodes, and he recoils to his left. He puts the machine on the stand and wears his handkerchief as a surgeon's mask. Then his hand braces fall off and reveal fully his surgeon's gloves, and the glass of his monocle goes back inside to cover his left eye. Afterward, he receives a screwdriver and starts operating on his mech, modifying it into a more menacing form with a red eye that resembles.his monocle and with spikes, half its golden casing missing to reveal its black interior. When he is defeated, the background turns into an electrocardiogram, showing a steady pulse. He resumes the operation on his mech, spilling some of the oil on one of his gloves and his surgical mask, likening it to cutting an artery. He throws away his monocle and continues as he asks for his equipment, only to realize nobody is here to help him. Frantically, he throws away his mask and resumes the operation. While doing so, the background changes to the last moments of Selena Sprocket, and the mech falls off the stand. While he despairs over having failed to save his fiancée, his heartbeat becomes progressively faster until a flat line is shown. Nichody, clutching his chest, falls. Later, as he confesses, Selena's pocket watch starts working again to his surprise and he sadly holds it close to his chest.
- Rayfa Padma Khura'in — Spins around and falls over whenever one of her Insights is disproved. The first time she attempts to summon Inga Karkhuul Khura'in's last vision, the stress that Ga'ran puts her under and her own grief cause her to have a panic attack. She pants heavily before fainting.
- Betty de Famme — When frustrated to the point where she decides to convince Athena Cykes of her sanity, she swings her parasol around and points it in front of her. The staff opens and reveals that, unlike her sister's, hers is decorated with bat designs. After she raises her umbrella, a lot of bats appear, and her face is covered in shadows, with demonic eyes and grin and bat-styled hair. When exposed, she calls out Bonny to perform an impromptu magic show. She teleports away from the stand before the lights turn off. Spotlights appear on the defense's and prosecutor's benches, revealing Bonny (who waves at the gallery) and Betty (who seductively crosses her legs) respectively, before teleporting away. Both of them appear back at the witness stand, and the gallery cheers.
- Uendo Toneido — After getting drunk, he staggers around, each of his three personalities passing out, as symbolized by his hair fans' falling out, until he completely passes out. He pulls himself back up to reveal his fourth personality, Owen. After Cykes points out that Owen remembers that the killer was wearing his favorite perfume, he passes out, falling off the pillows he was sitting on.
- Maya Fey — Cries while smiling when telling Apollo about Dhurke's final moments.
- Amara Sigatar Khura'in — As Nayna, her sleeves stretch out and rotate around her, forming a purple "cocoon". She then bursts out, revealing her true identity. After Apollo Justice proves her presence in the tomb, she opens her eyes and screams, tears and pink petals flying from her. Later, after Justice proves that she has been masquerading as Ga'ran, she holds her fingers around the mandala on her dress, flames appearing gradually before it shatters and reveals the burn scar on her chest from her assassination attempt. Finally, before she can admit to the whole truth, a gunshot is heard, fired by one of Ga'ran's royal guards in a bid to silence her; she sweats nervously and then jumps in shock, a bloodstain appearing on her stomach from the bullet's entry wound. She then falls to the ground and passes out.
- Sorin Sprocket — After finding out that his memories were being tampered with, he nervously thumbs through his notebook. He screams, and the pressure on his back air tanks goes up, their wings popping out, causing him to lift off before he falls back down and collapses.
- Gaspen Payne — Rears back in shock, causing his crown and toupée to fall off, revealing his completely bald head.
- Trucy Wright — When Apollo declares he will prove her innocence, she cries openly in front of him and thanks him for believing in her.
- Nahyuta Sahdmadhi — Pulls out his rosary and stretches it between his two hands, as normal when he becomes worried about his case, but pulls too far and breaks it, causing several beads to hit him in the face and knock him over. This happens whenever his case is defeated.
- Bucky Whet — When it's revealed that Taifu Toneido was holding onto the deed to Whet Soba for good reasons, his hairstyle comes undone, causing his hair to hang over his face like a bunch of wet noodles.
- Apollo Justice — When he finds out that Dhurke Sahdmadhi has been dead all along, he raises his head with his eyes shut, slams his forehead on the defense bench in despair, and screams "No!". Afterward, he holds himself slightly above the defense's bench with his two hair pieces falling in front of him, distraught. Memories of himself with Dhurke play on a dark screen as Apollo wonders what he was fighting for.
- Inga Karkhuul Khura'in — After shooting Dhurke three times and missing his fourth shot, he tries to fire a fifth bullet, but his gun clicks, empty. Inga suddenly gains a scared expression, dropping his stamp from his mouth. He walks back two steps, calling the still-living Dhurke a freak before turning around and running away.
- Heita Mamemomi — Swings his camera around his head wildly, until Haori Murasame grabs his arm and stops him. She and Susato Mikotoba proceed to toss him high into the air - the pair then stand side-by-side in a fighting stance.
- Viridian Green — When accusing her of attempting to murder Petenshy, Green falls down, taking her easel down with and on her. Later, after explaining her reasoning for attempting to murder Petenshy, she puts her hands together, smiling and about to cry, and bows towards Naruhodō after a conversation with him.
- William Petenshy — First, he looks down only to go back up to reveal a manic face and sways around. Then, confetti bursts from his chest, and a jewel on his chest is knocked off, and he proceeds to comically stumble left to right on the witness stand. Each time he comes to each end of the bench, he poses before another burst of confetti catches him off-guard and knocks another jewel off. He then jumps into the air, striking a final pose before another burst sends him flying to the ground and knocks off his remaining jewels.
- Courtney Sithe — Slams down on the witness stand, grimacing. She then bows her head.
- Seishirou Jigoku — Grips the bench with both hands and begins to shake violently remembering his own trial after the Professor Killings. He raises both hands and rapidly slams downwards, smashing the bench entirely. The remaining pieces of the broken stand fly up into the air. Jigoku slowly looks upwards from his hunched stance and announces that it is the end of him.
- Hart Vortex — When first cornered after Klimt's exposes him as his blackmailer, he stands up from the judge's bench, opening his arms outwards and screaming. After a pause, he claps, beginning slowly but gradually increasing the pace. Later, once Sherlock Holmes revealed he showed the whole trial to Queen Victoria, he continually hits the judge's bench with his cane until it snaps in half, at which point he topples over his bench, onto the empty juror's benches, and then to the courtroom's floor - this triggers six guilty "votes", which collect into the black scale. The sudden weight of the flares causes the scales to tip, then detach, and fall towards Vortex with a small explosion. As Vortex begins to pick himself up, the scales make another move towards him, lighting an enormous fire behind him. He screams as the courtroom burns.
- Enoch Drebber — Spreads his arms over his head then collapses.
- Everyday Mittlemont — As Hugh Boone, Maurice de Quilco and Marco di Gicho hold him down and force him out of his disguise. After remembering everything about the Professor case, the screen smashes like a window (representing his suicide attempt), he screams and faints, falling onto the floor.
- Taketsuchi Auchi — In a manner of Seppuku, he takes a knife and, after reciting a death poem with crying hesitation, cuts off the strand of hair on his forehead and lets it blow away.
- Masked Disciple — When he sees the Professor unmasked, he clutches his head screaming and removes his cloak, revealing hair similar to Asōgi.
- Kazuma Asōgi — Slams both fists on the stand then screams.
- Barok van Zieks — Quickly grabs his face and screams.
Recurring breakdowns throughout the series
- Phoenix Wright — Suddenly clutches his head with both hands in despair.
Uses in other games
- Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 — Phoenix Wright's Level 3 hyper combo, "Ace Attorney", has him accuse his opponent of committing a crime, which causes them to have a breakdown. Here, the opponent is stunned by Phoenix's finger point, is zapped by lightning akin to Damon Gant's damage animation as they are presented with evidence and finally collapse as an explosion goes off behind them.
- Project X Zone 2 — During one chapter, Phoenix confronts Saya, the main antagonist, and manages to reveal her true intentions. Saya lets out a loud scream whilst showing her shocked pose, akin to a breakdown, before coyly asking if that's how people normally respond. A similar conversation happens later between Phoenix and The Shadow, from Space Channel 5, although Shadow does not make a reaction after his "breakdown".