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Turnabout Big Top

Shu Takumi
The trick is pretty stupid, and the characters are outrageous. But I think that with this episode, I have now seen the perfected form of a mystery story that is possible only because it happens in the world of Gyakuten Saiban.

Episode 3: Turnabout Big Top is the third and penultimate episode in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Justice for All. A famous magician hired at Berry Big Circus is suspected of murdering the circus's ringleader. Phoenix Wright and Maya Fey investigate the circus and its colorful cast of entertainers to defend Max against prosecutor Franziska von Karma. The episode is one of Shu Takumi's favorites in the series. He has described it as "basically perfect", in the sense of being able to develop the plot smoothly, getting the final product in line with what he had initially imagined. He has also said that he felt sad to the point of tears while writing the episode. At the time of the release of Justice for All, it was one of his two favorite episodes.[1]


All that can be seen is darkness. Suddenly, a drum roll starts and an announcer begins to speak:

Ladies and Gentlemen! Boys and Girls! Welcome to the show! Prepare to witness a man who has mastered the wonder of flight...

Lights come on to reveal a giant lion's head bathed in red light. The light turns from red to blue and jets of smoke blast up at the front of the mouth. The smoke disappears to reveal a man wearing a purple top hat and cape. The voice-over continues:

The World’s Greatest Magician... The one... The only... Maximillion Galactica!
Max close-up

Galactica in the spotlight.

Galactica then proceeds to fly up and out of the lion's mouth into the air. He soars across the circus arena and audience below before twirling on the spot, wrapping himself in his cape, then disappearing, leaving only his hat and cape which drop to the ground below to screams of appraisal and acclaim from the awed audience.

Dec. 26[]


The entrance to the Berry Big Circus when Wright, Maya and Pearl left.

At the Berry Big Circus Entrance, Phoenix Wright, Maya Fey and an awestruck Pearl Fey talked about the show that they had just seen. Maya took Pearl home on the last train with Wright promising to clean his office for the New Year. Pearl wished him a happy New Year and left.

Dec. 28[]


Two days later, a distraught Maya called Wright about an ongoing TV news report about a murder at the Berry Big Circus. Galactica had been arrested as the prime suspect. Wright arrived two hours later to find Maya insisting that Galactica would never kill anyone, and the magician applauded at her "fabulous" zeal. After some wooing of Maya involving a card trick, Galactica claimed that he had joined the "dinosaur" circus to revitalize it and that his act had made all the other circus performances obsolete.

Max's meeting

Max Galactica's meeting with the ringmaster.

Galactica told them that, during the previous night, Russell Berry, the circus ringmaster, had been been found slumped over after being smashed over the head. The police had brought Galactica in for thorough questioning, since he had been the last person to see the ringmaster before his murder. When asked about his meeting with the ringmaster, Galactica claimed that it was about a raise to his salary, but three Psyche-Locks appeared. He also didn't believe that they would actually arrest the "fabulous" Maximillion Galactica as a suspect, but he eventually caved to reality and reverted to his true self, that of "country bumpkin" Billy Bob Johns. He begged Wright to help him before composing himself again and apologizing for his sudden outburst. Wright eventually agreed to become his defense attorney and he and Maya left to begin their investigation.

The circus entrance was still swarming with police. At the lodging house plaza, the duo found Dick Gumshoe, who sounded uncharacteristically restrained and slightly fed up with his job. The detective mentioned that the prosecutor for the case was Franziska von Karma, and that Wright would definitely be losing this time. Maya took the opportunity to ask about Miles Edgeworth, but Wright angrily demanded that she not talk about the man, stating simply that he was gone.

Dead Russell

The crime scene photo.

Gumshoe began to return to his usual self, showing them a photograph of the crime scene and talking about the curious lack of any footprints from the killer. Galactica's silk hat, one of his three trademarks, had been recovered from the scene of the crime. Gumshoe also mentioned the magician's unpopularity with the rest of the circus performers and the presence of an eyewitness, though the blundering detective mistakenly implied that said witness was inside the lodging house, though Wright and Maya found no one inside the first floor.

At the Big Top, a tiger greeted the pair by leaping onto Wright. Suddenly, a girl commanded the tiger to heel and stay, and the big cat complied. The girl told them that the "cute tiger", named "Regent", hardly ever bites people. Wright and Maya quickly succumbed to her charm, agreeing to letting her try on Maya's clothing and that Wright was lucky to have had his encounter with the tiger.

The bubbly girl introduced herself as Regina Berry, the animal tamer. To Wright's and Maya's confusion, she seemed unperturbed by her father's death. She pointed them in the direction of the Ringmaster's room, where Russell and Galactica had their meeting. Regina also revealed that both Max Galactica and "a tenor who sings in the circus" named "Trilo" had professed their love to her on the same day. Not entirely surprised with Regina's popularity, Wright and Maya left to investigate the Ringmaster's room.

Max Poster

The poster of Galactica that Maya swiped.

Upon arriving at the office, Maya became excited at the sight of the many posters covering the walls of the room and asked Wright if she could take one, which he flatly refused. However, by that time she had already swiped one, much to Wright's frustration. They also found a paper detailing Galactica's salary negotiation and noticed (after some shock at the salary amount) that it was dated the previous week. Galactica was lying about his meeting with the ringmaster.

The duo returned to the circus entrance to find a man nearby wearing an oversized bow tie and looking quite nervous and absent-minded. Although denying being a circus performer despite his attire, the pair managed to learn that he was the circus's ventriloquist, Benjamin Woodman, or "Ben" for short. Woodman struggled to talk, stuttering only that Galactica wasn't very nice before complaining that his head hurt. Wright moved on before his empathy got to him.

Back at the lodging house, Moe the circus's clown greeted the duo excitedly in his room. To Wright's frustration, Moe kept telling awful jokes and terrible puns, though Maya quite enjoyed Moe's comedic style. However, the topic of the ringmaster's death caused the clown to become serious and even angry. Russell Berry had founded the circus 20 years prior and had been a good and decent man who would happily pay his employees out of his own pocket if needed.

Moe then admitted that he was the prosecution's eyewitness, confirming what Gumshoe had said earlier about Galactica's unpopularity. After having Wright tell a joke, Moe claimed that he had heard an incredibly loud "THUMP" noise from outside just before going to bed. He had jumped out of bed to see a shadowy figure towering over Russell Berry's corpse that, in Moe's mind, could only be Galactica. Additionally, in the circus cafeteria, the magician had hit Woodman over the head on the morning of the day in which Russell was murdered. Moe then gave the pair a map of the circus and told them that Woodman would be more talkative if he had his puppet Trilo. A quick inspection of the dirty cafeteria revealed a broken bottle on the floor, which Wright took. He then decided that it was time to pay Maximillion Galactica another visit.

At the detention center, when asked about his unpopularity, Galactica stated that the "dinosaurs" were just jealous of him and that only Regina understood. The magician went on to tell them that he had plans to marry her, although strangely Regina had never mentioned marriage. Galactica then told Wright that he had met with the ringmaster at 10 p.m. on the night of the murder. After practice was finished, he had headed straight to his room, although the ringmaster had stepped out to attend to something but never returned.

Wright finally decided to get to the bottom of this meeting. He firstly confronted Galactica with the papers proving that his salary had already been negotiated a week before, breaking one of the Psyche-Locks. Wright then presented the broken bottle that he had found in the cafeteria, which broke another lock, and finished by saying that Galactica had used the bottle to hit Woodman, breaking the final lock.

Arguing with a puppet

The fight between Regina's suitors.

Galactica finally admitted that he had been called to the ringmaster's office because of an incident that had happened at breakfast. He and Woodman had been arguing about Regina since the ventriloquist had also professed his love for her, and that had led to the bottle incident. In Russell's office, Galactica seized the opportunity to discuss his plans to marry his "sweetie pie". Apparently, Russell had replied, "Sounds good to me," which is why Galactica believed Regina to be his "sweetie pie" and no one else's. He had then angrily hidden Woodman's puppet "Trilo Quist" in the room. However, he decided that Woodman had suffered enough and asked Wright and Maya to return Trilo to the ventriloquist.

Finding Trilo shoved underneath a bookshelf and a nervous Woodman in the cafeteria, Wright and Maya reunited puppet and puppeteer. As they turned to leave, however, the puppet seemed to bark at them to talk to him. "Trilo" quickly turned out to have a rather abrasive personality different from Woodman's, and he angrily told Wright to address him, almost as if he were a different person entirely. He explained his plans to marry Regina before leaving for court to submit himself as a witness.

Returning to the Big Top, Wright was once again assaulted, this time by a circus monkey, who stole his attorney's badge. Regina told Wright that the monkey's name was Money and that Moe would probably know where it had gone. When asked about her potential suitors, Regina seemed oblivious to to the marriage proposals as well as Trilo really being a puppet. When they returned to Moe to ask about this, Moe replied that Regina lived in a dream world, having grown up around dancing animals and flying men and not knowing much about the real world. Moe then told them that Money had a different owner, Acro the acrobat, and showed them to his room on the third floor of the lodging house, though he seemed to be absent.

Wright and Maya set about searching through Money's horde of shiny objects to find a fork, a mirror, a cheap-looking wristwatch, a heavy trophy, and, finally, Wright's badge. Wright also found a ring with "From T to R" engraved on it. He then decided that it was time to wrap up their investigation for the day. Maya told him not to worry about Moe and Trilo since they had a magician on their side, but Wright felt that they "might need some magic tomorrow".

Dec. 29[]


Former session[]

In Defendant Lobby No. 5, Wright and Maya found a nervous Galactica, who apparently couldn't function on stage without a glass of milk. They talked about flying into the courtroom to lighten the mood before the judge opened the trial in Courtroom No. 2. The judge stalled, explaining that, having a grandchild who was a fan of Galactica, he had been surprised by Galactica's real name, and he decided that referring to the magician by his stage name would sound friendlier. Meanwhile, von Karma declared that she refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of Wright's win over her, before calling Gumshoe onto the stand.

The detective told the court that, on the night of the crime, snow had been falling until 9:40 p.m. making it extremely cold outside. All of the circus performers had gathered in the Big Top to practice their routines, breaking up at around 10 p.m. The murder had taken place in the plaza in front of the lodging house at 10:15 p.m. The victim was found bent over a wooden box, having been killed from blunt force trauma that snapped a vertebra in his neck. Gumshoe then submitted Russell Berry's autopsy report to the court. Wright led his initial cross-examination by asking about the wooden box that the victim was found with. It was revealed to be heavy, locked and containing only a single object: a small condiment bottle filled with pepper.

Shadow Max

Max Galactica?

Benjamin Woodman was the next witness. The judge became confused when "Trilo" began to answer his questions, but he was promptly whipped into moving on. Trilo testified that, after practice, he and Woodman had left with Moe but left him at the circus entrance. While at the entrance, he saw Galactica, and only Galactica, pass by him heading towards the plaza, so he had to be the killer. Trilo was sure it was the magician due to the trademark hat, cape and white roses that he had worn. When the judge wondered why Trilo wasn't a suspect, von Karma presented the silk hat found at the crime scene.

When Wright asked about the victim's absence from Trilo's testimony, von Karma said that the ringmaster and the magician had been in a meeting at the time, before the killer had arrived. Wright asked Trilo why he was waiting out in the cold for half an hour, and it became obvious that he was waiting for Regina Berry. Wright concluded that Trilo wouldn't have paid anyone else who walked by a second thought, and the puppet admitted this. He had planned to give an engagement ring to Regina that night while proposing, but since Regina didn't appear he still had it in his pocket.


The engagement ring.

To Trilo's shock, Wright revealed that he had found the ring in Money's treasure pile. After straightening out the judge, who thought people were slandering currency, Woodman told the court that Money had stolen the ring after Galactica showed up in the plaza. Woodman had given chase, but was unable to keep up with the nimble primate. Wright immediately pointed out that no one was watching the entrance to the plaza during this chase, and he also questioned Trilo's reliability due to his animosity towards Galactica. Nonetheless, the judge allowed him to testify once more.

Trilo again mentioned his supposed encounter with Galactica five minutes into his wait for Regina. Although he had wished the man "good evening", his presence was not even acknowledged. Wright found it unlikely that Trilo would have acted so cordially towards his fierce rival, and concluded that Trilo must have seen the victim. Trilo stammered that he had thought the figure was the ringmaster at first, but then assumed it was Galactica due to the symbols, and von Karma agreed to this, but Wright retorted even Russell Berry could have worn the trademarks. Von Karma was not finished, however; Wright had proven that only one person was seen entering the plaza, but the next witness would prove that this person was Max Galactica. The judge called for a ten minute recess for preparation of this witness.

Latter session[]

The defense team regrouped in the defendant lobby. Galactica suddenly remembered that he had gone to the ringmaster's room still dressed in his stage clothes. Wright thought that it was possible that Russell could have helped himself to them on his way out of their meeting. The magician wondered why the ringmaster would disguise himself in such a way. He also pointed out that only his silk hat was found at the crime scene with no sign of the cloak.

Court reconvened, and von Karma called Moe to the stand, though it took some whip-based "encouragement" for Moe to state his name and profession. At first, the nervous clown tried to tell some jokes, but he was the only one who laughed at them. He admitted that he had not made anyone laugh in ten years, instead meeting with vacant stares. Von Karma assured him that she would get one of her staff (Wright guessed Gumshoe) to listen to his story later, and then Moe began his real testimony.

After practice, Moe had returned to his room directly since he was exhausted. He had thought of going straight to sleep, but before he did he glanced out of the window to see two figures, only silhouettes due to the 30-foot distance. He was sure that they were the ringmaster and Galactica, who was wearing his cloak. As he watched, he saw Galactica suddenly strike Russell over the head. The judge and von Karma then warned Wright not to push this "off-kilter" witness too far through his questioning, and that he would be held responsible for any tangents that occurred.

Wright pointed out that, yesterday, Moe had said that a noise had made him look out of the window; Moe corrected his testimony to account for this. Wright then questioned whether Moe had seen the actual murder itself at all. Moe had just testified to hearing the "thump" of someone getting hit, which lead to him looking out of his window and seeing Galactica hitting the ringmaster over the head, a blatant contradiction.

After reciting the "C-Team theme" to jog his memory, Moe insisted that his testimony was correct, although the ringmaster was already face down in the snow when the clown had looked out of his window. Apparently, the prosecution had helped him "fill in the gaps" in his testimony. The judge pointed out that, although the witness had not seen the actual murder, he had seen the criminal. The clown was threatened with a night in a holding cell if he started telling jokes again before being allowed to testify again.

Although Moe's vision was obscured, in his mind the figure that he had seen could only have been Galactica because of the hat and cloak that he was wearing. The cloak itself was fluttering in the breeze, which made it impossible to see what he was carrying. Wright pointed out that Moe had not mentioned the white roses, and Moe admitted to not seeing them on the person. Von Karma tried to explain that the crime scene was dark or that Galactica had dropped the roses, but Wright replied that the witness had still been able to see the silhouette of the criminal's face, and that the white roses should have stood out. The police had not found any dropped white roses, either. This also contradicted Trilo's testimony that he had seen all three of Galactica's "uppity symbols". The judge mulled this evidence over in his mind before requesting another testimony from Moe.

Moe insisted that he definitely remembered seeing the figure wearing the hat the entire time he was at the crime scene. The judge gave Wright one opportunity to make his case, and Wright presented the silk hat to Moe, asking him repeatedly to confirm that this was the hat that Moe had seen. Wright then asked von Karma where the hat was found, and she frustratedly told him that it was found at the crime scene before understanding Wright's point. The hat was found at the crime but that the witness clearly testified otherwise.


What Moe saw.

The judge was by now very annoyed at Moe's poor testimony, but the clown continued to insist that Galactica had left the crime scene wearing his silk hat. Wright then asked how the killer had left the crime scene; Moe tried to refuse to answer and then lie that the killer had simply walked away, though no footprints had been found leaving the crime scene. Von Karma also attempted to stop Moe from telling the truth, but Moe stated that she had told him not to testify about this; an unrepentant von Karma warned that the court would soon know why. Moe then revealed what he had really seen: the suspect had left the crime scene by flight!

It became clear that no one believed Moe at this point. The judge felt that more investigation was needed and decided to suspend proceedings for the day, demanding that the mystery of the lack of footprints be solved. Back in Lobby No. 5, Galactica wondered what in the world was going on. He explained that his "flight" was all done on invisible wires that hoisted him through the air. Wright apologized to the distraught magician for having him break the magician's code, and he promised to catch this so-called flying criminal.


Later that afternoon, Wright and Maya discussed the case in Wright's office. Maya admitted to having no idea how magic tricks work, even being fooled by Pearl showing her a trick whereby her thumb appeared to detach. After amazing Maya by performing the same trick, Wright headed for the detention center, with his naïve assistant in tow. Galactica greeted his visitors cheerfully, but begged them to hurry up and get him out, explaining that some people from a local television station were planning on having him star in a TV special entitled "Maximillion Galactica: The Great Prison Escape". Galactica would soon be forced to choose between his legal obligations and his show-business ones.

The Magician's Grand Prix

The Grand Prix.

The magician repeated his alibi, saying that he couldn't actually fly at will. Maya then asked him to be friendlier toward his fellow employees, to which he replied that he had won the Magician's Grand Prix and felt that the other performers were "completely and utterly devoid of ambition", something that he could not tolerate. He showed them a photograph of his triumph, telling them about his flight over the audience and the screams of appraisal and acclaim he had received. In that moment, he felt that he could die a happy man. He believed that every performer should get to experience that feeling and he wished he could explain that to the others at the circus. He asked them to show the photo to the other circus performers and to tell them, "Watch and learn!"

At the circus entrance, Woodman and "Trilo" were working on a musical round of Row, Row, Row Your Boat, but it was not going well. After Maya returned their engagement ring, Woodman repeated what he had said earlier about his encounter with the figure. Trilo added about the wait that Regina knew nothing about love but he was more than willing to wait in the cold for her. As for their new routine, Trilo was convinced that it could take the ventriloquism world by storm, though he made clear that it would not be because of Galactica's attempts to encourage the other performers to "aim for the world".

At the lodging house plaza, Wright met an exhausted-looking Gumshoe. He really had been ordered to listen to Moe's life story, and Gumshoe relayed the excruciating experience to them. He also explained that it seemed like von Karma always had her eyes on her subordinates and appeared whenever he definitely didn't want her to. He then repeatedly muttered, "don't show up..." under his breath. Apparently, the prosecutor was investigating Acro's window to figure out Moe's claim. Knowing not to try to cross paths with her, Wright and Maya walked to the cafeteria to find Moe.

Moe repeated his surety over his testimony, although he felt that the killer had floated more than flown. The silhouette of the killer's face made Moe certain that it was Galactica. Wright noticed that no Psyche-Locks appeared at this statement, meaning that Moe must be telling the truth. When Wright showed the clown the picture of the Grand Prix, Moe despaired that they had been subjected to Galactica's bragging too, but stated that he had been shown not only the photograph, but the bust as well.

Max Bust

Max Galactica's bust.

Moe noted that the bust should have been on the small table labeled "MAX" in the cafeteria, but it had disappeared around five days earlier. He pointed to a photo of the bust on the cafeteria's bulletin board for Wright and Maya to see, which Galactica had placed there. Wright asked Moe if anything else had changed and was told that on the morning of the crime a torn piece of paper was placed in the center of the bulletin board. The only readable part left was the top which read, "To The Murderer!" The rest of the note had been ripped off and Moe had no idea who had posted it.

Note 1

The torn note.

When Wright and Maya asked Galactica about the note, he replied that his "heart skipped a beat" when he read it. On the morning of the murder, he had been enjoying his morning tea when the ringmaster and Regina had entered the room. When the ringmaster read the note, he had "turned an incredible bright red", suddenly torn it off the wall and stuffed it into the pocket of his tailcoat. Although Maya tried to ask what the note had said, Galactica didn't "want to steal the fun from [his] sweeties" and told them to find out on their own. Along with finding the note, the magician also suggested that they ask Regina about it as well.

Note 2

The completed note.

Returning to the ringmaster's room, Wright searched the pockets of the tailcoat on a stand and, sure enough, there was the other half of the note. Putting the two parts together, it now read: "To The Murderer! I have conclusive evidence of what took place. Meet at 10:00 PM tonight at the lodging house plaza." Wright and Maya were shocked to see the time of the murder mentioned on the note.

At the lodging house, Gumshoe had finished his investigation of the acrobat and was about to mention something about von Karma when he was suddenly interrupted by a strange beeping noise that was steadily growing louder. Gumshoe told them that whenever he heard that sound, von Karma was usually not far behind. The detective then fearfully ran, seemingly for his life, and Wright and Maya commented on his fear of a teenage girl before, surely enough, von Karma caught up with them. The young prosecutor admitted that the earlier trial had been quite the battle, but that tomorrow it would finally end with her victory, for she had secured "conclusive evidence" and a "conclusive witness".

Maya asked why von Karma was so preoccupied with revenge when nothing that she do would bring her father back. The prosecutor scoffed at this corrected her: her real reason was that she needed to see Miles Edgeworth again. Since her father had trained Edgeworth, she viewed him as her "little brother" (confusing Maya since Edgeworth was older than she was). Before Edgeworth disappeared, he had left a note that read: "Prosecutor Miles Edgeworth chooses death!" Von Karma felt that that her "little brother" was not dead, but that Wright had "killed" the prosecutor in him and muddied the good name of von Karma.

Maya tried to learn more out of Wright but was flatly reminded that she was never to mention that name to him again. He then angrily snapped that he had had enough of both von Karma and Edgeworth. Von Karma scoffed at this, telling that he was all bark and had already been defeated. She informed him that it would be an incredible battle in court tomorrow and left. Maya apologised for bringing Edgeworth up, but Wright just told her that they should go and talk to the acrobat.


Acro the acrobat.

On the third floor, a wheelchair-bound Acro awaited them in his room; Gumshoe had already warned him that Wright would eventually show up. His real name was Ken Dingling; his real parents had failed miserably at business and abandoned him as a child. The ringmaster was the only one willing to take his parents' place and took great care of him. In return, Acro devoted his life to finding a way to repay Russell for his kindness. He showed anger at his death, wondering whether the ringmaster was too kind, both to his performers and to his daughter. Maya noted that Regina seemed spoiled, and Acro asked her if being a princess was a good thing. At this, Wright felt that Acro may have some sort of a grudge against Regina.

When asked about his injury, Acro explained that he was unable to stand or even leave the building by himself, but he refused to reveal how the injury had happened, and three Psyche-Locks appeared. When asked where he was yesterday, Acro replied that he had been at the hospital all day for rehabilitation, but that the police had told him about before then. It wasn't until von Karma called him that he had realized that he had seen the murder. On the night of the murder, the acrobat had been in bed sleeping when he heard a huge sound coming from below his window, and he had looked out of his window and seen Maximillion Galactica flying up past his window. Wright was not surprised at this testimony and asked Acro to confirm that there was no doubt in his mind that Galactica was the killer.


Regent the tiger.

The duo returned to the Big Top, only to be pounced upon by Regent once again. Regina called the tiger off, explaining that she had intended that attack for Money. She still seemed happy despite losing her father, though she did admit to being lonely. Regina explained that when a lion named Léon had died, her father had told her "When someone dies, they just become a star in the heavens." In her eyes, this meant that her dad was looking down on her from the sky and so she loved the night because she could see everyone who's gone.

Regina's vest

The sparkly costume.

Maya then asked about Money, and Regina replied that he had stolen a stage costume with lots of spangles and asked Wright to get it back, which Wright happily agreed to do. He then showed Regina the note that he had found; she revealed that she had had it her pocket for while, but didn't notice it was there until around breakfast time when she had taken Acro to breakfast and disposed of the trash in his room. After that, she had gone to the cafeteria to eat her own breakfast. However, since she wasn't a murderer, she figured it belonged in someone else's pocket, so she stuck it up on the bulletin board in the cafeteria. Wright eventually cornered his adversary in Moe's room and managed to grab the dress while the monkey was distracted. Upon returning the costume back to Regina, she explained that it actually belonged to Léon. Her father had put the lion down six months ago for biting someone during practice.

They returned to the cafeteria to find Moe making burgers and thinking about the circus's future. He was pondering about taking over as the new ringmaster, but he felt that Galactica could still be a problem since he came off as a jerk but he had probably saved the circus. The only thing left to do would be "to see if everyone would get over the tragedy..." Wright jumped on this, and Moe quickly claimed that he was talking about the ringmaster's death, Wright pointed out that Moe had talked about it as if it had happened a long time ago. Soon enough, two Psyche-Locks appeared while Moe told them that it had just been a little accident six months ago.

Wright soon guessed that the cause of the accident had been the incident with Léon. Moe sadly revealed that he had told "them" so many times not to do dangerous performances like putting people's heads in lions' mouths. Unfortunately, Regina believed in Léon so strongly that the ringmaster went along with it. Though Moe wouldn't tell who had been bitten, Wright correctly guessed that Acro was involved in the incident.


Bat and the "smiling" Léon.

His locks broken, Moe finally told them all about the accident six months ago. The victim, Acro's brother and performing partner Sean "Bat" Dingling, had suffered massive brain damage and lapsed into a coma from which he would never recover. During practice, Bat, in love with Regina, had suddenly blurted out, "Let me perform with Léon!" The clown would never forget the moment that followed, particularly because when Bat put his head in the lion's mouth, Léon had a strange facial expression, as if he were smiling. They never told the police about the incident since the circus would have been shut down if they had. The day after the accident, the ringmaster took Léon out and shot him with a rifle. Moe then promptly returned to his normal goofy self and covered their burgers in pepper to make Maya sneeze. Moe complimented her sneeze, saying that only Regina had a cuter one. He told them that Bat used to tease Regina with pepper.

Wright returned to confront Acro with his newly-acquired information. Acro didn't seem surprised by the lawyer's reappearance and seemed to know that Wright had figured things out. Wright broke the first lock by guessing that Acro had damaged his legs not during acrobat practice, but due to an attack by Léon. Acro asked how an acrobat would have a run-in with a lion, and Wright replied that he had tried to rescue his brother Bat. The acrobat guessed that Moe must have told him and Wright replied that, although the clown hadn't directly stated that the accident had caused Acro's injuries, he had let slip that the two were "[c]ut down at the same time".

One lock now remained, and although Acro insisted that the accident was no one's fault, Wright felt that Acro had a grudge against Regina Berry and guessed that she had been involved. Wright wondered if Regent's earlier attacks were linked, but Acro retorted that Regent never learned a command to attack people, and that Regina wasn't capable of making such an order, especially against Bat. Despite all this, Wright pointed to the note that he had found in the cafeteria, saying that Acro had to have been the sender. Acro looked sadly away and admitted that he had.

Acro explained that Bat had an absurd dare with Regina: "If I can put my head inside of Léon's mouth like you do... You have to go to the movies with me on a date." Everyone thought he was being stupid, but the lion was very old to begin with and had countless experience in doing that very trick. Unfortunately, this one time Léon wasn't ready or willing. When Léon bit down, Acro jumped towards him only for the lion to then attack him and injure his legs. Bat had been in a coma ever since. Acro had visited him at the hospital the previous day and was still waiting for his eyes to open again, which was his reason for going on.

He went on to explain that Bat and Regina had been such great friends back then, then showed them the scarf that his brother was wearing when Léon attacked him, stained with blood. The scarf had been a present from Regina to Bat on the day of the accident. Acro then mentioned what Moe had witnessed during the accident, that Léon had looked like he was smiling when he bit Bat. Suddenly, Franziska von Karma had them hand over the scarf, telling them that she had heard everything and demanded that the scarf be handed over. The prosecutor then told Acro that he was to be her witness for the trial, and they both left. Maya was worried about how they would handle this tomorrow, and she was surprised to see Wright so confident and felt that her friend must have found something that he could use. Wright felt that things were starting to come together now.

Dec. 30[]


Former session[]

It was 9:41 a.m., in Defendant Lobby No. 5. This time, Regina had come with a glass of milk for an overjoyed Galactica. Regina explained that Moe had told her that she should come and watch the trial. She wondered if Galactica would be flying at the end of his performance, but the magician pointed out that it wasn't that kind of show. Wright and Galactica agreed that she seemed not to realize what was going on or even where she was. She told them that she was looking forward to it and would just be a member of the audience.

As she left, Moe energetically greeted them and offered Galactica some more milk, which the surprised magician graciously accepted. Wright told Moe that he had the feeling that he would be facing off against the real criminal soon. Moe knew that he was talking about Acro and warned him to be careful since the acrobat was used to literally putting his life on the line; he couldn't use his "usual psychological warfare" but would instead need to rely on evidence to get to the truth. Moe also wanted to make sure that Regina saw everything in the trial, so that she would finally have to deal with the reality of her father's death, and that there was more to death than becoming a star in the sky.

In Courtroom No. 2, the trial of Maximillion Galactica resumed. Franziska von Karma opened by stating her plan to present a new eyewitness, who had seen Galactica fly off from the crime scene, which the judge had had a feeling would happen. Von Karma explained that, the prosecution was now prepared to explain how the defendant flew that night, but would only do so if the need arose. In fact, Gumshoe had stayed up all night creating a mockup of the crime scene on her orders.

Outside the window

What Acro "saw".

Acro was then called to the stand. After giving his name and occupation, he explained that he was in his room on the night of the murder. Von Karma pointed out Acro's room to the court, saying that the crime scene was underneath his window. Acro then testified that, just after 10:00 p.m., he had been resting in his bed when he heard a large "THUMP" noise, followed by what looked like Max Galactica flying right by his window, though he had only seen the figure from behind. He thought that he must have been dreaming. All in all, it was similar to Moe's testimony.

Von Karma stated that little else needed to be added other than the defendant's method of escape, but Wright demanded a cross-examination. Von Karma replied that he should learn the proper timing for things, like his old friend Miles Edgeworth did, but the judge allowed the cross-examination as Wright insisted, "There's no way that actually happened!" Wright pressed Acro's statements until he testified to seeing Galactica's hat and cloak; as established the day before, the trademark, one-of-a-kind silk hat had been found at the scene of the crime. Wright then moved to accuse Acro of the murder.

At this, von Karma merely mocked Wright and directed the judge to a calm and collected Acro. Acro explained that he couldn't stand up by himself, or even leave the lodging house. The audience agreed: How could he have committed murder? Von Karma savoured the crowd turning on Wright, showed him a doctor's note confirming Acro's condition, and asked whether Wright believed that Acro had an accomplice. Wright refused to be suckered into that trap; Acro had committed the crime alone. The defense then added that Acro must have been in his own room when he killed the ringmaster.


Acro dropping the bust on the unsuspecting ringmaster's head.

Acro calmly asked how he could have killed Russell from his window, and to this Wright showed his picture of the life-sized bust of Max Galactica, which was heavy enough to drop from a third story window to kill Russell. Von Karma responded that it would be impossible to wheel a wheelchair with something so heavy. However, Wright explained that with Acro's history as an acrobat, he should have more than enough upper body strength. Acro then testified again that, while he indeed could have lifted something like the bust, it would have been impossible to look out of the window at the same time and know when to strike.

Wright realized that the killer had to guarantee that his victim would be in a specific spot. He turned the court's attention to the wooden box at the crime scene; since Woodman hadn't seen the ringmaster carrying such a box when he walked past, it had to have already been at the scene of the crime. The moment in which the bust fell onto the ringmaster's head was the same moment in which the victim leaned down to lift up the box. All Acro would have to do would be to drop it onto the point marked out by the wooden box. Acro had placed the box there himself by lowering it down with a rope. Von Karma retaliated that the ringmaster's head could have been anywhere, but Wright responded that the box's size meant that the victim had to squat down to pick it up.

Acro interrupted by reminding the "imaginative" Wright that the bust had been in the cafeteria. Von Karma repeated her question about the existence of an accomplice, and Wright corrected himself; Money had stolen the shiny bust on his own and brought it back home to Acro's room. Von Karma protested that most of the bust was made of bronze, but Wright told her to look at the court record every now and then before pointing out the bust's platinum cards. Wright then asked Acro if the monkey was strong enough to move the bust, and he was told that if Money wasn't able to handle something like that by himself, then Acro would be on the market for a new roommate.


The bust connects with the ringmaster's head.

When the judge asked von Karma where the bust was, she replied that it was still missing. Wright postulated that perhaps the bust wasn't necessarily intended as a murder weapon, but either way he had proven the possibility that Acro could have committed the murder, and the judge reluctantly agreed. However, von Karma reminded the court that Wright had yet to explain the flying magician figure that Moe had seen. Wright replied that Moe had seen the bust. Von Karma pointed out that the figure had been wearing a cloak, but Wright replied that a cloak could have coincidentally been attached or snagged onto the bust during the murder.

Wright recapped his story. Acro used a rope to lower the wooden box onto the scene and then dangled the bust out of his bedroom window with the rope, directly above the box. The ringmaster arrived at the crime scene from his meeting with Galactica and bent down to lift the box, and then Acro released the bust onto his head. Since the ringmaster was wearing Galactica's costume, the cloak became snagged onto the bust. Moe, having heard the sound of the impact, then looked out of his window to see the cloak snagged on the bust, and when Acro pulled up the murder weapon again, Moe saw the bust being raised with the cloak dangling from it, explaining the flying magician. This meant that the "silk hat" that Moe had seen was just a part of the bust. As for the disappearing white roses, if the cloak had become snagged on the bust, then the roses would have ended up on the back of the bust, obscuring them to Moe. Von Karma then pointed out that the witness, with his incredible feelings of gratitude towards the ringmaster, had no motive to kill him, but the judge decided that that would have to wait for a ten-minute recess.

Latter session[]

Back in the defendant lobby, Galactica and the defense team was shocked that Acro was the murderer since he had been the most straightforward of the group. While they discussed Acro's motive, an irate and sulking Gumshoe attempted several times to get their attention before finally being noticed. The others promptly apologized to calm Gumshoe down, and he gave them the scarf that von Karma had taken earlier. Gumshoe cryptically explained that everything in court up until that point had gone according to "our final plans", and that "the prosecutor" told him, "Judgment comes at the very last instant". Gumshoe then told them that there was a large care package of milk from the circus for the defendant. Galactica stood shocked at this sudden gesture from the circus.

When court reconvened, Acro testified about his relationship with victim and asked the defense what motive he would have to commit the crime. Acro told his story of his abandonment and his adoption by Russell, as well as his resulting debt of gratitude and respect. Wright was forced to agree that Acro couldn't have had a motive to kill Russell, but then he realized that that was the point. Acro had not planned to kill the ringmaster at all; his real target was Regina Berry.

Wright showed a furious von Karma the note that he had found inside the ringmaster's tailcoat pocket, explaining that Acro had written the note and placed it in Regina's pocket. However, Regina posted the note on the cafeteria bulletin board, not knowing what it was, eventually leading to Russell's murder. Wright recalled that Acro couldn't have looked outside his window during the murder. Maya remembered that Regina was listening from the audience, but Wright knew that things were only going to get harsher from that point on.


The "conclusive evidence".

The judge asked what the incident alluded to in the note was about and Wright began to explain about the incident six months prior that had given birth to the current case. The "conclusive evidence" mentioned in the note was the pepper shaker found inside the wooden box. This meant that Regina had somehow "killed" someone with a small bottle of pepper: Bat, Acro's younger brother. The prosecution objected that Bat wasn't dead, but nonetheless, Bat had been in a coma for six months and thus was as good as dead anyway. Von Karma, already knowing about the incident, pointed out that it couldn't have been intentional on Regina's or the lion's part because neither had it in them. Nonetheless, Regina was responsible for the accident, and Wright presented the bloody scarf that Gumshoe had given him.

Acro told the court that the scarf belonged to Bat and had been a present from Regina, and Wright revealed that there was pepper on the scarf as well, which Regina had put on and given to Bat to make him sneeze. As von Karma suddenly remembered that Léon had "smiled" prior to biting Bat, Wright told the court that, in reality, all the lion had done was sneeze due to the pepper. Since Acro had nearly lost his brother to this "joke", he had tried to get his revenge against Regina. Acro was impressed at this and admired Wright for treating the accident with the respect it deserved, but he asserted that Wright didn't have decisive evidence for his claims. The supposed murder weapon hadn't been found anywhere, and von Karma had already searched Acro's room yesterday to no avail. In fact, Gumshoe had executed the search by complete surprise and Acro had been taken to the prosecutor's office directly afterward.

As all seemed lost and the trial prepared to close, Maya demanded a few moments for the defense to organise its case and to figure out where the bust was, to even Wright's shock. Maya pointed out that acrobats always have their lives on the line and that was how Acro had lived his life up until that point. After a sudden realization, Wright apologetically asked Acro to take the blanket off his wheelchair. He pointed out that the acrobat was a pretty big guy and so had a pretty big wheelchair, so it would be really easy to hide, for instance, a bust under there. Acro laughed at this and told him that his penchant for humor once again hit him where it hurt. The surprise search that von Karma had conducted had presented him with a sticky situation, and so he was forced to hide the bust in the only place he could.

Acro cries

Acro breaks down on the stand.

Acro congratulated Wright and admitted that he had been beaten by a pro, before correcting himself and pointing out that von Karma had also had a hand in this. He had burned the cloak in his room and thrown the ashes away with the trash, but the bust couldn't be thrown away. He believed that von Karma had had things all figured out with the search and admitted to being completely sucked in by her calculated strategy. The judge and Maya were both amazed at von Karma's supposed forward-planning, but Wright wasn't quite so sure by looking at her furious expression across the room. The prosecutor pounded her bench in shock, wondering why she had gone through with the search that cost her the case.

Acro then formally admitted to killing Russell Berry. His brother had only wanted Regina to like him and so he'd tease her. Bat had at one time sprinkled some pepper on her and she began sneezing so hard that onlookers couldn't help but laugh. Regina then thought it would be funny to get him back in the same way. Acro knew that she had not wanted anything bad to happen, but he couldn't forgive her and he couldn't understand her. "Your brother became a star" was what she had told him, and she believed in that so purely that she would laugh innocently when she said it - too innocently in Acro's mind. No matter how hard Acro tried, he just couldn't stand it and made a plan to end it. The judge asked if he thought of himself as a victim in events too, but Acro stated that was not what he meant. Suddenly tears streamed down his face and he admitted that he was nothing but a murderer. At first he had thought about killing himself, then he thought about turning himself in, but he couldn't leave yet. That was why he had tried to pin the crime on Galactica and he apologized to him for doing so. He finished by repeating that he couldn't just up and leave.

The judge reflected on the strangeness of this case, almost like a reflection of the circus itself. Von Karma, on the other hand, was still thumping her desk and calling herself an idiot, unable to believe that Wright had beaten her again. The judge declared Max Galactica not guilty and court was adjourned.


Regina Breakdown

Regina finally realizing the gravity of everything that had transpired.

Back in the defendant lobby, Galactica was seemingly overjoyed, but then admitted that he couldn't really be too happy about the outcome. Maya wondered whether any of the people involved in the case were really bad people, and Galactica didn't know the answer. Moe then energetically congratulated Galactica and told Maya off for her gloomy look; "[If] you worry about people too much, then you'll be like this forever, and never be happy!" Meanwhile, Regina was crying uncontrollably and blaming herself for what had transpired. Although Galactica tried to comfort her, she bawled that Bat and Acro were never coming back and that everyone was now going to split up. Regina then asked Wright about what Acro had said about "just [not being able to] up and leave yet", and he assured her that Acro no longer desired revenge. He explained that Acro didn't want to get caught because he wanted to see his brother open his eyes again. Regina declared that she would stay by Bat's side for as long as it took for him to wake up and meet Acro again.

Moe apologized to Galactica for causing him so much trouble and offered to pay his fee and cancel his contract. Galactica thanked him, perhaps even intending to leave the following day, but he wondered what was going to happen to the circus now. The ringmaster had been a great guy so none of the staff or performers wanted to leave the circus, which was why Moe decided to become the new ringmaster and turn the circus into the best circus the world had ever seen. Upon hearing this, Galactica changed his mind; there was only one thing the best circus the world had ever seen needed: the world's best illusions from the best magician the world had ever seen, namely him. Together they would make their circus "SUPER FABULOUS!" Regina thought that the circus would probably be better off without her, but Moe told her that he had brought her to court for her sake, so that they could make the circus better than it had ever been. Galactica agreed that it couldn't be the Berry Big Circus without Regina Berry.

Wright felt that things were looking like they would turn out alright and Maya couldn't wait to see the best circus the world had ever seen. Galactica offered to save them the "most fabulous seats" and Moe told them that he was going to order special whoopee cushion seats before laughing uproariously.


Return of Edgey

Edgeworth returns.

Elsewhere, Gumshoe was having a phone conversation. He said that the search had really paid off, just like the caller on the other end had said it would. The detective asked if the other caller had had it all figured out yesterday, but was told it had just been a theory. If Acro really was the killer, that was the only way that things could have ended, especially if "he" was the defense attorney.

The other caller was at an airport, confirming Gumshoe's guess that he meant Wright. He then excused himself since his plane was about to leave. He asked Gumshoe not too be too harsh on Acro and told him that he planned on stopping by the Chief Prosecutor's office once he got back. Gumshoe eagerly told him that he'd be waiting and bid "Mr. Edgeworth" goodbye.


  • The team working on Justice for All actually went to a circus, and the trip served as inspiration for the design of the Big Top tent.[2]
  • The scenario was intended to have no truly evil people behind it.[2]
  • There were two alternate apparent murder methods proposed by Takumi, one in which Max Galactica would perform a trick of sawing someone in half and be accused of doing it for real, and another in which a magician would drown while locked inside a water basin. Both were rejected after Tatsuro Iwamoto pointed out that he had seen both scenarios before in other mystery works.[1]

References in other cases[]

Cultural references[]

  • In the English version of the game, Moe, upon being whipped by Franziska von Karma during his testimony, starts to recite a clown-themed version of the opening theme song for the 1990s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air ("In West Clownadelphia, born and raised..."). This is cut short when von Karma whips him again.
  • At another point, Moe once again panics, this time referencing the opening of the 1980's action/adventure show The A-Team, with a clown twist. For example, the name of the team is changed to the "C-Team" (which may be an actual in-game show since the judge seemed aware of it). Von Karma's whip once again cuts Moe's rambling short. Earlier in the game, Trilo states that that's "enough jibba jabba" with Wright before leaving to put himself forward as a witness. "Quit your jibba jabba!" was a catchphrase of B. A. Baracus, a character from The A-Team played by Mr. T. Another possible, albeit more subtle, A-Team reference is Max Galactica's liking for milk, which was also the preferred drink of B. A. Baracus.
  • When Wright asks Regina about Woodman, only to realize that she has no idea that "Trilo" and Woodman are the same person, he thinks: "Like sand through the hourglass, so are the Days of the Circus". "Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives" is the trademark voiceover used during the title sequence of the long-running daytime soap opera Days of our Lives.
  • When Wright returns to see Acro after finding out about Bat's accident, Maya says: "Well he did say 'I'll be back.' Wait... or was that someone else?" "I'll be back" is a catch phrase associated with Arnold Schwarzenegger, which he first used in his role as the title character from the 1984 science fiction thriller film The Terminator.
  • During his testimony about his physical health, Acro claims to be "stronger than the average bear". This is a paraphrase of the cartoon character Yogi Bear's catchphrase, who would often claim to be "smarter than the average bear".
  • The song that "Trilo" sings for Maya and Wright, implied to be the same one he sang to Regina, seems to be based upon the chorus of "I Want You To Want Me" by Cheap Trick.

Anime changes[]

Turnaboutbigtop anime
  • Pearl Fey is completely absent from the opening of the case.
  • When watching a show of the Big Berry Circus with Maya, Phoenix is seen wearing the heart sweater that he wore in Turnabout Memories.
  • While Max Galactica was arrested, the large cut-out of him at the circus entrance is smeared with black paint. After Galactica's acquittal, the cut-out is replaced with one featuring all prominent members of the Berry Big Circus.
  • In the anime, Phoenix and Maya meet a ring thrower, a knotter and a cook, the three believing that Max is guilty because of Max having a bad relationship with them. None of them appear in the game.
  • Money the Monkey appears earlier in the investigation, stealing Leon the Lion's old vest before Regent scares him off. However, like in the games, Phoenix and Maya are led into Acro's room due to Money's theft of his attorney's badge, rather than for the retrieval of Regina's stage costume.
  • The entirety of the love triangle subplot between Regina, Max, and Ben/Trilo has been removed. Trilo's ring to Regina is still present (having been stolen by Money), and remains a plot point to his and Ben's testimony, but otherwise has no bearing on the plot. In turn, the heated argument between Max and Trilo resulting in him assaulting Ben with a bottle has an unknown cause. It simply plays the role of being another example of the circus performers' disdain for Max.
  • Like in the game, Max is in Russell's office during the time of the murder, due having been called in for his abrasive behavior towards his fellow performers (specifically, his attack on Ben); in the game however, Max also took the occasion to ask for Russell's permission to marry Regina, which does not happen in the anime.
  • Trilo is seen with Ben since the beginning, and Max never hides him in Russell's office after their argument.
  • Trilo and Ben do not testify in court, instead giving their recollection of the evening's events directly to Phoenix and Maya outside of the big top.
  • Moe is much more cooperative as a witness in court, and while he does tell jokes, the childish behavior is absent and he gives an honest, serious testimony. As a result, Phoenix is never penalized for Moe's irritating behavior while pressing him. Moe as a whole takes on a much more mature characterization, though his comments on his tragic family life are absent.
  • In the anime, the Circus crew make a physical reenactment of the crime instead of any illustrations made to represent it like in the game.
  • In the anime, it is revealed that Max's request for a salary raise was intended to be distributed evenly among the circus performers and staff members in order to motivate them. In the game, the raise is never said to be for anyone other than himself for the sake of paying off his father's debt.
  • Instead of crying over the events in the lobby after the case is settled, Regina Berry apologizes to Acro directly as he's wheeled out of the courtroom, begging to take his place as the guilty party before breaking down in tears. Regina is also given a unique speech bubble with yellow-colored text: "待って!" ("Matte!")
  • In the game, it is the Judge who asks if Acro viewed himself as a victim; whereas in the anime Phoenix expresses belief that Acro was as much a victim as the others involved.
  • Max Galactica's announcement that he'll stay with the Berry Big Circus doesn't take place in the lobby. It happens at a show at the Berry Big Circus, where he announces his stay before the show ends to surprise Moe.


Rise from the Retcon[]

The case Rise from the Ashes, which was written and released after the original Japanese release of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Justice for All, contradicts a few statements made in Turnabout Big Top. For example, at one point Wright mentions that Miles Edgeworth's last appearance in court was during his own time as a defendant and that he had disappeared shortly afterward, which largely contradicts the current canon timeline.

This was corrected in the English version of the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy, which changed the following lines to more comfortably fit Rise from the Ashes into the games' timeline. Strangely, the Japanese remake never fixed these lines.

  • "(But after "that" case was over...)" became "(But a little after "that" case was over...)"
  • "After that case, Edgeworth was in a peculiar state, and he got worse everyday." became "Edgeworth was never quite the same after that case, and then, with the case after that one..."
  • "That was one year ago. It was right after you left to go back home." became "That was one year ago. It was a few months after you left to go back home."

Perplexing puppet[]

According to Max Galactica, on the night of the murder, he went directly from the rehearsal in the Big Top to the ringmaster's office to meet with Russell Berry. After the ringmaster left to meet Acro at the lodging house plaza, Galactica remained in the office, unaware that anything was wrong until the police arrived. However, he also claimed to have hidden Benjamin Woodman's puppet Trilo in the ringmaster's office at some point. This would have to have been after the ringmaster had left the office since Woodman had Trilo with him when he saw Russell enter the plaza. Therefore, Galactica would have had to have left the office in order to steal Trilo, contradicting his statement about never leaving the office.

Forgetting that the Magician's Code was forgotten?[]

At the end of Moe's testimony in court, he reveals that he saw Max Galactica flying away from the crime scene. When Maya Fey asks Galactica about whether he could have really flown away, he accidentally reveals the secret to his "flight". However, later that day Maya asks the magician in the detention center if he could teach her the trick behind his flight. Galactica responds that he does not reveal the secrets behind his magic tricks to the disappointment of Maya, despite him already revealing that exact secret to Maya earlier that same day.


Naruhodo A. Wrighto[]

If Max Galactica's profile is presented to Maya Fey at the Wright & Co. Law Offices, she despairs at his real name of Billy Bob Johns. She then declares that if a big star can do it then Phoenix Wright should pretend to be exotic too and suggests the name "Naruhodo A. Wrighto", with the "A" standing for "Attorney". The name "Naruhodo" is a reference to "Naruhodou Ryuuichi" (成歩堂 龍一), Phoenix Wright's name in the original Japanese version of the game.

Magician poster[]

If Phoenix Wright presents Max Galactica's poster to Maya Fey at the Wright & Co. Law Offices, they discuss about whether it would be better to replace the Steel Samurai's poster with it and later agree that it would be weird to have a magician's poster in a law office. Ironically, years later, the office would become a talent agency for Trucy Wright's magic shows.

Monkey music[]

This case contains one of the few instances in the Ace Attorney main series in which the "Pursuit" theme is used outside of the courtroom. This instance is during a humorous scene in which Wright corners Money in Moe's room in order to get Regina Berry's stage costume back and "[takes] on [the] monkey, attorney-style!" The player is then given the three choices of: "Give it back, monkey-brain!", "Stay!", or "Ooo-oo-ooh! *scratch, scratch*".

Accusing the judge[]

Uniquely in the series so far, this case allows Phoenix Wright to effectively accuse the judge of hiding the murder weapon, implying that he is either the murderer or an accomplice. Doing so results in a furious judge and two massive penalties equaling roughly 95% of the health bar; an instant Guilty verdict if Wright has taken any other penalties up to this point.

Accusing Franziska[]

In the same scene as the above one, Phoenix Wright can also effectively accuse Franziska and the judge initially suspects her as well. This causes Franziska to furiously whip the judge and Phoenix several times, to the point the latter not only falls unconscious but he almost gets amnesia as well. Unlike the above one however, Wright only gets the single 50% penalty if he does this.

Full sprite[]

During the finale of the trial, when Wright asks Acro to remove the blanket, the player's view pans down to show his lower half. Acro is the only character from the 2D games to be completely sprited up-close like this, unlike other characters who are only sprited for their upper halves. Although there are small full-body sprites in Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth and its sequel, and large full-body models in the Nintendo 3DS games, no other character has been sprited close-up in the same way as Acro.

Brazilian localization[]

In the unofficial Brazilian Portuguese fan-translation, the events of the series takes place in São Paulo, Brazil, during summer. As a consequence, the presence of snow would be impossible. To work around that, some characters mention that the snow seen in many locations throughout the case is synthetic. Moreover, instead of snowing, it is said that it rained at the night of the murder; and the footprints by the crime scene were made of mud rather than the marks of a person stepping onto actual snow.

Skipping a cross-examination[]

Turnabout Big Top is to date the only case in which an entire cross-examination, the one concerning Acro's testimony "About the Ringmaster", can be completely skipped over depending on the choice made, as it does not contain either new information or contradictions.


  • Right after the intro, Pearl says that there was a tiger that "jumped though a ring of fire" instead of "jumped through a ring of fire". Fixed for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy.
  • Right before meeting with Max, Wright tells Maya, "Maybe he used his magical skills to deal death with a slight of hand...", rather than "Maybe he used his magical skills to deal death with a sleight of hand..."
  • Upon meeting the cheery Regina for the first time, Wright says, "For someone who's father was just murdered, she seems awfully perky...", using a contraction ("who's") instead of a possessive pronoun ("whose"). Fixed for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy.
  • Presenting the Silk Hat to Maya causes her to suggest a hat for Wright, with the snark, "you'd probably bust a hole in the it" rather than "you'd probably bust a hole in it".
  • Examining a poster of Max Galactica on the wall of the Ringmaster's room causes Wright to comment: "Hmm... That's an intresting poster" instead of "Hmm... That's an interesting poster".
  • Upon being introduced to Woodman, Maya snickers as she says: "You're last name is Woodman?", using a contraction ("you are") instead of a possessive pronoun ("your"). Fixed for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy.
  • When talking to Max about Russell's actions on the night of the murder, he says "Yeah, I head about that... " instead of "Yeah, I heard about that..." Fixed for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy.
  • When Galactica tries to make an analogy for his father's debt using a very late video return, he says "You'd would have the biggest late fee known to man..." instead of "You'd have the biggest late fee known to man..." or "You would have the biggest late fee known to man..."
  • When Russell's profile is presented to Galactica, he says "He's wasn't a bad guy at all" instead of "He wasn't a bad guy at all".
  • When meeting Moe for the second time, he exclaims "How'd you know I put a whopee cushion on the chair!?" instead of "How'd you know I put a whoopee cushion on the chair!?"
  • During the beginning of the first day of the trial, when Gumshoe presents the autopsy report, the judge says "The court accept this into evidence", instead of "The court accepts this into evidence".
  • If Wright claims that Ben could not prove he saw Max, Trilo will retort "Lets say [Max's three symbols] all together now!" instead of "Let's say it all together now!"
  • If Wright lets Moe tell a joke in the first statement of his testimony, he thinks "This isn't funny at all... In more ways that one..." instead of "This isn't funny at all... In more ways than one..."
  • Before Moe's third cross-examination, Wright thinks "I've only got a single shot as this..." instead of "I've only got a single shot at this...".
  • When Moe grows angry at the Judge, he shouts "And no matter how old I get, I'll always be younger you!!" instead of "And no matter how old I get, I'll always be younger than you!!" Fixed for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy.
  • While talking about the note posted on the bulletin board, Moe says he "could see it's title" rather than "could see its title". Fixed for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy.
  • During the first part of the second trial day, Wright brings up the weight of the box only for Acro to not respond. At this point Wright refers to Acro as a "she". Fixed for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy.
  • When talking about Russell Berry, Acro says "The only person who was willing to take my parent's place was the Ringmaster." rather than "The only person who was willing to take my parents' place was the Ringmaster." Fixed for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy.
  • After his Psyche-Locks appear, Acro says "the doctor's say that I'll be able to recover and walk again." instead of "the doctors say that I'll be able to recover and walk again."
  • On the second trial day, Wright tells Max "You don't seem like you're usual sparkling self today." instead of "You don't seem like your usual sparkling self today." Fixed for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy.
  • On the second trial day, von Karma says "The prosecution would like to revise it's previous theory of events." rather than "The prosecution would like to revise its previous theory of events." Fixed for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy.
  • If Wright incorrectly presents evidence during Acro's first testimony, von Karma retorts "You're client looks to be ready to take off once again!" instead of "Your client looks ready to take off once again!"
  • During the second day of the trial, von Karma says, "Even a silver of common sense makes it clear that the accusation is ridiculous!" instead of "Even a sliver of common sense makes it clear that the accusation is ridiculous!" Fixed for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy.
  • During the second day of the trial, Wright objects to von Karma, saying "Au contraire mon frére!", instead of "Au contraire mon frère!".
  • During the second day of the trial, Wright says that the wooden box "was already placed at the scene crime" instead of "scene of the crime". Fixed for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy.
  • When Wright presents the note in court, he says "It's purpose was to call someone to the plaza at 10:00 PM." when it should have been "Its purpose was to call someone to the plaza at 10:00 PM." Fixed for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy.
  • Near the end of the trial, Maya demands time for the defense to "present it's lace" instead of "present its lace". Fixed for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy.
  • Maya later tells Wright "Acrobat's always have their lives on the lines" instead of "Acrobats always have their lives on the lines". Fixed for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy.
  • If Wright claims the bust is under the judge’s bench, the judge asks, “W-W-W-What!? Why you did you stop talking all of a sudden!?” instead of “...Why did you stop talking all of a sudden!?”
  • If Wright claims the bust is on the circus' stage, he asks, "Haven't you ever heard this the saying..." instead of "Haven't you ever heard this saying..." or "Haven't you ever heard the saying...". When the courtroom fails to respond, he says "Look's like it's time to give things some more thought." instead of "Looks like it's time to give things some more thought."
  • At the end of the trial, when Regina is asked whether she will help Galactica and Moe with the circus, she responds "Maybe the circus would be better of without me", as opposed to the correct "Maybe the circus would be better off without me". Fixed for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy.

Other languages[]

  • Chinese - 逆轉馬戲團 (Nìzhuǎn Mǎxìtuán; lit. "Turnabout Circus")
  • Portuguese - Reviravolta Circense (lit. "Turnabout from the Circus")
  • Russian - Дело под куполом (lit. "The case under the dome")