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- "Blackquill" redirects here; you may be looking for Aura Blackquill, this character's older sister who is a robotics engineer at the Cosmos Space Center, or for the family itself. "Simon" also redirects here; you may be looking for "Simon Keyes", the name given to Sōta Sarushiro in the unofficial English fan patch for Gyakuten Kenji 2.
|...............Hmph. ......Enough jabbering. Get on with it, already.|
Simon Blackquill is a prosecutor who was convicted in the aftermath of the UR-1 Incident. Seven years later, he was called to serve as a prosecutor despite serving his murder sentence. Blackquill is known for his use of psychological manipulation in court, as well as his pet hawk Taka, to intimidate others and bend them to his will. His conviction and tactics in court earned him the nickname of the "Twisted Samurai".
To gain an edge in court, Simon learned analytical psychology from Metis Cykes, who worked at the Cosmos Space Center alongside his older sister Aura. Through this working relationship, he also met Metis's daughter Athena. During his early career as a prosecutor, Simon pursued an international spy only known as "the phantom". One day, he finally obtained a lead: a faint voice recording of his target. He sent this to Metis for analysis, in order to build a psychological profile on the spy.
He was also well acquainted with Whet Soba, his favorite restaurant for soba noodles. It was at Whet Soba that Simon first met Bucky Whet, and through Whet Soba that he also came to know the Toneido School of rakugo performers.
- Main article: UR-1 Incident
On October 7, 2020, during one of Simon's visits to the Space Center, he stumbled upon a horrific scene in the robotics lab. Metis was lying on the robot repair bench, dead from a stab wound in her chest. Athena was standing next to the body and explained that she intended to use the repair bench to take Metis apart and fix her. Simon thought that there must have been some kind of mistake, but he feared the worst for Athena and decided to cover for her while protecting the psychological profile that Metis had generated.
Simon dismantled the nearby robot Ponco with the katana that had been used as the murder weapon, since she was a witness. As he was doing this, a visiting journalist caught a photo of him with the blood-stained katana. Simon then put Ponco into a rolling case, picked up the blood-covered Athena in his arms, and took both robot and little girl out of the lab, being caught on security camera as he left (although Athena was positioned in his arms in such a way as to be hidden from the camera's line of sight). He dropped Athena off at the Cykes family residence and disposed of Ponco in the garbage chute at Boarding Lounge 1. Eventually, a Space Center staff member and two police officers discovered Metis's body, and Simon was arrested hours after the crime.
Simon pleaded guilty to murdering Metis, knowing that going to prison was the best way to protect both Athena and the psychological profile. Athena tried to explain that he was innocent, but her cries fell on deaf ears and the prosecutor was found guilty and sentenced to death. He was later blamed for sabotaging the launch of the Space Center's HAT-1 rocket. In prison, Simon kept the psychological profile hidden with the help of his pet hawk Taka, and spread rumors among his fellow inmates to keep the phantom guessing. He would later tell stories about the various inmates that he met in jail.
Metis's murder was given the police designation of "the UR-1 Incident". This incident, along with the disbarment of veteran defense attorney Phoenix Wright, heralded a so-called dark age of the law, in which corruption on both sides of the bench became the norm. Aura tried repeatedly to have a retrial done for her brother, but without new evidence, her pleas were ignored. Simon also refused her efforts, knowing that he had to stay in prison until the right moment, even if it meant that he would be executed.
Permission to prosecute
Return to court
- Main article: The Monstrous Turnabout
Seven years after the UR-1 Incident, Chief Prosecutor Miles Edgeworth gave Simon his law license back and had him begin prosecuting again in hopes of luring out the phantom, with Detective Bobby Fulbright being assigned to assist and keep an eye on him. His first trial back pitted him against Apollo Justice, who was defending Damian Tenma, mayor of Tenma Town, for the murder of Rex Kyubi, alderman of Nine-Tails Vale. Assisting him was Athena Cykes, who had become an attorney to try to save Simon. Although Simon put the full force of his psychological tactics on display, Justice managed to pull off a spirited defense of his client, defeating Simon and proving Damian Tenma's innocence.
- Main article: Turnabout Reclaimed
Simon would continue to encounter the members of the Wright Anything Agency as his opponents. When Phoenix Wright regained his badge, he arranged a trial for an orca named Ora "Orla" Shipley, who had allegedly killed her owner, Jack Shipley. He convinced Simon to take the case by finding evidence of a human killer, though Simon was still reluctant to participate in such a bizarre trial. Although Wright was successful in acquitting Orla, his arguments led Simon to indict her trainer, Sasha Buckler, instead.
When Wright took Buckler's case, Simon was confused as to why he would go so far to try to get both Orla and Buckler acquitted. He suggested that Wright was simply offering his services as an act to benefit from the publicity that the trial brought. To his surprise, Wright not only succeeded in his defense, but also fought for the true culprit, revealing that Jack Shipley's death had actually been an accident. This act proved to Simon that Wright actually cared about others, and was not just taking on cases to win like other attorneys were.
- Main article: Turnabout Academy
Months later, Simon faced off against Athena in the murder trial of her friend Juniper Woods, who was accused of murdering a teacher at Themis Legal Academy. He used this case to challenge her, to make sure she was worthy of her badge, and see how hard she would work if she truly wished to save him from his fate. He withheld a crucial piece of evidence in order for her to give her best effort, before presenting the evidence, nullifying her case entirely. However, she pushed through and, during her investigation of the alleged crime scene, was able to discredit Simon's key piece of evidence.
Eventually, Athena called Prof. Aristotle Means to the stand as a suspect for the murder. At this time, Simon acted like a misbehaving student by falling asleep and not waking up during a recording of Means's speech, not saying "here" when Means did his "roll call", and walking out of the court without permission due to boredom. Means proved a formidable adversary for Athena, and eventually got into her head and caused her to begin to have flashbacks to her feelings of helplessness during Simon's trial, thus causing her to start to have a mental breakdown. Simon helped pull Athena out of her despair by telling her to remember why she had become a lawyer, and that she would not want to disappoint "you-know-who", referring to himself. With the help of Simon, Justice, Woods, and her friends, Athena pulled herself together and brought the last pieces of her defense together, bringing Means to justice.
Return to the Cosmos Space Center
- Main article: The Cosmic Turnabout
A few months later, as Simon's execution date approached, the launch of the HAT-2 rocket from the Cosmos Space Center was interrupted by a bombing, which left Clay Terran, one of the passengers, murdered. Simon was running out of time, and he saw his chance to capture the phantom. He indicted the other passenger, Solomon Starbuck, and was relentless in his attempts to convict him. Justice, his opponent, was equally relentless in his defense. However, the trial was soon interrupted by the reactivation and detonation of a bomb that was to be used as evidence, leaving Courtroom No. 4 in ruins.
Although Justice recovered, he abandoned the case, leaving Wright to take his place. Wright managed to build an alternative to the prosecution's argument, but Simon refused to accept it without evidence. To Simon's surprise, Fulbright presented evidence in Wright's favor, claiming that he was worried that Simon was losing his objectivity. The evidence that he had was a blood-stained lighter that several witnesses had seen the killer using, and the fingerprints on it did not belong to Starbuck. To everyone's shock, however, the fingerprints belonged to Athena, who was arrested on the spot.
- Main article: Turnabout for Tomorrow
With only one day left before his execution, Simon was determined to protect Athena to the end, despite one last effort by Aura to convince him to fight for a retrial. In a last-ditch effort to save her brother, Aura used the Space Center robots to hold several visitors hostage in exchange for a retrial of the UR-1 Incident. She indicted Athena rather than Simon, and had Edgeworth take the prosecutor's bench against Wright. Edgeworth initially maintained an advantage, but Simon once again attested that he was the true criminal, and gave counterarguments to Edgeworth's assertions.
Simon testified on the occurrences of that day, claiming that Metis was a cruel person who used Athena in experiments. He testified that he had killed Metis in order to protect Athena from her. Using Athena's Mood Matrix, Wright found contradictions between his emotions and his claims, causing him to continue to lie to make his testimony more believable. Eventually, Wright caught him on a logical contradiction and identified Athena as the source of his raging emotions, forcing him to admit to what he had really seen. Simon bitterly told Wright off for forcing him to reveal the truth, but Wright went on to prove that neither he nor Athena was responsible for the murder. Even when Justice entered the courtroom to indict Athena for Terran's murder, Wright managed to prove the influence of the phantom in both cases. Even more shockingly, Wright then accused Fulbright of being the phantom. The man Simon had been seeking for all those years had been right under his nose.
In the aftermath of Wright's statement, Edgeworth declared Simon a free man and unlocked his shackles for good. Simon thanked Aura and apologized for the trouble he had caused, properly expressing his gratitude for the first time in years. Edgeworth then granted him special permission to take over as prosecutor against Fulbright. Simon also entrusted Wright with the phantom's psychological profile.
During the trial, it was eventually revealed that the phantom had taken the identity of the real Fulbright, who had died a year ago. Although the phantom managed to steal and destroy the profile on him, Wright was still able to prove his guilt as the one responsible for both murders, the sabotage of both the HAT-1 and the HAT-2 rockets, and the courtroom bombing. With his cover blown, the phantom's facade crumbled, a sniper shot suddenly rang out, and the spy fell to the floor. However, he managed to survive the attempt on his life and Simon had him placed under the custody and protection of the prosecutor's office.
After the case was resolved, Simon visited the Wright Anything Agency to ask them to represent Aura in court. Although none of the legal team were present, he did meet an individual who was looking to have Athena defend their father. With a grin, Simon told the visitor that they could very well meet again in court. Simon was also among those who witnessed the launch of the HAT-3 rocket.
Life after prison
- Main article: Turnabout Storyteller
In early May 2028, Simon visited rakugo master Taifu Toneido at Kurukuru Tei, having received an invitation for a performance commemorating disciple Uendo Toneido's naming ceremony. At the theater, Simon attempted to greet Taifu, but stopped short of entering the room upon hearing rakugo lines being recited, and opted to wait outside. During this, he witnessed Geiru Toneido, Taifu's other disciple, feed her dog Jugemu a surprisingly large amount of dumplings, the remainder of which Jugemu buried in the yard. Simon and Geiru later saw Bucky Whet, an old friend of Simon's and proprietor of a soba shop, visit Taifu to deliver soba-making supplies. After ten minutes, during which Whet was heard shouting angrily, Whet stormed out of the room. Uendo shortly entered the room and screamed, discovering that Taifu had been murdered. Whet was subsequently arrested for the crime. Upon Simon's request, the Wright Anything Agency took Whet's case, although he was somewhat dismayed to discover that only Athena was available, as neither Wright (being in Khura'in at the time) nor Justice (who was busy helping Trucy Wright with a magic show) were around. After being called as a witness to testify about discovering the body, Simon moved to the defense's bench to assist Athena as her co-counsel, finding the tactics of Prosecutor Nahyuta Sahdmadhi in undermining Athena's case disagreeable. When Athena came close to losing all faith in Whet and her ability to defend him, Simon shook her vigorously by the shoulders, reminding her of her duty to her client. Simon's assistance and testimony eventually proved instrumental in proving Geiru's guilt, as she had murdered Taifu by suffocating him with udon dough and attempted to get rid of the evidence by making the dough into dumplings, which Simon witnessed her feeding to Jugemu.
Simon is known for his use of psychological manipulation in court. Among his tricks are flattery, suggestive persuasion, and implicit death threats. The latter especially comes in various forms, but one of his favorites is his use of iaijutsu with his fingers, causing a "slicing" effect that has been seen to slice a feather in half, and was even able to cut off a piece of Wright's hair. Although these threats are usually idle, they are part of a larger persona that he has built for himself, based off of his reputation as a ruthless convict on death row. This allows him to instill fear and uneasiness in others, including his prior primary target, the phantom.
A highly disciplined and focused man, Simon was capable of maintaining his false persona for seven years. Although his hands were in shackles, he could break them at any time, despite being fitted with stronger shackles every time he did so. His false testimony concerning killing Metis withstood several attacks by Phoenix Wright and Miles Edgeworth without skipping a beat. However, underneath this act is a kind, lawful man who, despite his somewhat intimidating appearance, deeply cares about Athena, to the point of maintaining his guilt to the bitter end in order to protect her and keep the phantom guessing. When forced to testify about what he had really seen, he exhibited a raging whirlpool of emotions with Athena as the source. After the final resolution of the UR-1 Incident, he maintained many of his behavioral habits but finally showed his caring self again, thanking Aura for her efforts and apologizing for the suffering that he had caused her. However, despite caring about and believing in her, Simon isn't adverse to teasing Athena about her skill level and general lack of experience compared to her co-workers and himself. He also doesn't indulge in her occasional moments where her lack of confidence gets the better of her, preferring to instead make a good-natured snarky comment or directly telling her to pull herself together. The feeling is mutual, as Athena also cares significantly for Simon's wellbeing but also throws snark at his direction and pokes fun at his expense at times. Overall his approach can be best described as strict and akin to tough love, letting Athena work her way in and step in only when it is absolutely necessary for him to do so.
Simon has a dark and somewhat mischievous sense of humor that he mixes in with his intimidation tactics. He often tells larger-than-life stories of prisoners he has met, such as a surgeon or a captured ninja, usually to make a point. He also gives unflattering nicknames to just about everyone other than his rival attorneys, whom he addresses using the Japanese honorific "-dono". However, he has little patience for what he perceives as ridiculous, largely dismissing the many supernatural claims in the trial of Damian Tenma, being very reluctant to allow Wright to cross-examine the orca Orla and even leaving the courtroom after one witness gave a testimony he deemed "rubbish". Simon was also annoyed by Nahyuta Sahdmadhi's self-professed moral standing centered on his religion. Interestingly, he despised being called a panda.
For all his dangerous persona, Simon follows a code of honor. He believes trials to be duels in which prosecutors and defense attorneys wield "blades" to prove their respective cases, frequently preparing his finger iaijutsu while pressing the defense to present their arguments, further adding to his samurai moniker. He doesn't engage in illicit tactics contrary to his public reputation as a dangerous criminal, and his intimidation tactics, although questionable, are largely not deemed as underhanded. Conversely, he's disgusted by tactics he deems as cowardly or "cheap". For example, Sahdmadhi attempted to use Athena's emotional perception against her, both by swaying the gallery's opinion to break her morale, and by hiding vital information under the pretense of "witness privacy". Another was Professor Means's verbal harassment meant to inject insecurity and panic. In both instances, he actively sided with the defense to prove the opposing party wrong.
His pet hawk Taka plays many roles for him. As part of Simon's intimidation game, he sics Taka on attorneys and witnesses alike whom he perceives to be lying, cheating (such as with Apollo Justice's bracelet), annoying him, or otherwise obstructing the proceedings. Taka is also used to deliver evidence to other parties and keep the phantom's psychological profile safe. Simon appears to like birds in general, stating that he believes that penguins are the top attraction at aquariums, and becoming angry when Dr. Herman Crab belittled Rifle the penguin.
He seemed to have a low initial opinion of defense attorneys. During Justice's first case against him, Simon suggested that Justice might fabricate evidence if the trial were extended, casually inviting Justice to stay in prison to prove his honesty. He later suggested that Wright had only taken both Orla's and Sasha Buckler's cases for the publicity, and informed Buckler that Wright would likely abandon her after she was arrested in Orla's stead. However, Simon seems to have changed his mind in the aftermath of the phantom's arrest, as he would go on to approach the Wright Anything Agency for help in defending his sister and Bucky Whet.
Simon has an affinity for Japanese culture, much like his mentor, Metis. He enjoys soba noodles and rakugo, a very traditional form of Japanese storytelling. His extensive knowledge on such subjects lead him to question whether or not Prosecutor Sahdmadhi was capable of taking on a case which revolved around both subjects.
- His Japanese surname is a homonym of the word "yugami" (歪み) meaning "a warp/distortion", while his given name "Jin" (迅) means "swiftness".
- His English given name "Simon" comes from the Classical Hebrew "שִׁמְעוֹן" (shim'ón), meaning "hearkening" or "he has heard", but is more likely a reference to his psychological manipulation, which other characters have compared to the children's game "Simon Says". Another possibility is a reference to the bestselling psychology author George K. Simon, who published a book about manipulation titled "In Sheep's Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People".
- "Blackquill" is a combination of "black" and "quill", both references to the black-and-white colors and feather motif in his character design.
- Simon has the unique speech bubble "Silence!", which he uses in court. In the Japanese version, this is "Damari nā!" (黙りなァ!; lit. "Shut up!"). This made him the first "rival" character in the main series to have multiple voiced speech bubbles whilst fulfilling the rival role. Miles Edgeworth had previously had multiple voiced speech bubbles, but only while acting as a playable protagonist.
- The concept for his character is that of a contradiction: a prosecutor who is also a criminal. His initial designs focused on the criminal element, but for the final design this was switched more towards the prosecutor side, with only some small bearings of his criminal background (his shackles, color scheme, and ragged hair). His use of a hawk is to reflect a samurai vibe, since falconry was a sport conducted by samurai.
- As shown in his concept art, he initially wielded a sword that interacted with his shackles. However, this was dropped as "too unrealistic", as swords are illegal for the general public to own in Japan, let alone for a convicted criminal. However, the general idea did survive in his finger-based iaijutsu strike. The initial concept is referenced in Turnabout Revolution, where Justice calls him a "ridiculous prosecutor who wields a samurai sword".
- During his initial concept, he was the one who had Athena's ability to read emotions, as shown by his wearing headphones in an early draft. This trait was eventually given to Athena, while Simon was instead given the ability to manipulate people. Likewise, Blackquill was also planned to be the one who had just recently returned from America (changed to Europe in the localization), which was also given to Athena in the end.
- His speech style in the original Japanese version uses an old dialect of Japanese that sounds rough and slightly rude. In the English version, this is represented with a combination of British English and the Japanese honorific suffix "-dono".
- Although Simon has voice clips for "Objection!" and "Silence!", he is the only character voiced in such a manner to appear during in-game anime cutscenes in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies and have no speaking lines. In fact, the only voiced anime cutscene appearance he has made to date was during the special promotional anime prologue released for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Spirit of Justice, although since the events of said prologue conflict with those in-game, it is unclear whether or not it is canonical.
- Simon is the only returning lawyer character in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Spirit of Justice to lack a new cross-examination cut-in sprite (including Klavier Gavin, who only has a brief cameo in the main game and a prosecuting role in the non-canonical Apollo Justice: Asinine Attorney DLC case); this is because he plays the role of Athena's co-counsel in his sole appearance, instead of being the prosecutor.
- Before he was given his final Japanese name, Blackquill was known simply as "Prisoner No. 12", and also had the code-name of "Noise". During the extremely early stages of his development he was known by the simple placeholder name, "Convict-kun".
- At one point in his development Blackquill was going to have an apple obsession. As indicated by his concept art, he would eat apples during trials, spin them on his finger, crush them, and throw them at the defense. This is notably similar to Godot and his coffee obsession.
- Blackquill's early concept designs depict him suspended by shackles. Several ideas for how Blackquill could be "tortured" as a means of discipline were thought up, including his shackles being used for "quartering". Blackquill being occasionally electrocuted via his modified-shackles by Fulbright was likely the end result of this.
- During the beginning of development several ideas for a "contradictory prosecutor" were originally proposed. Among these ideas was an "immortal prosecutor" who had supposedly been prosecuting for hundreds of years.
- Blackquill was the first prosecutor since Edgeworth to have a reading document animation.