|Motive, opportunity, and an injury to his forehead -- Is that all it takes for you to stop believing in your client?! Tell me again, who are you to Bucky?!|
Episode 4: Turnabout Storyteller is the fourth and penultimate episode of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Spirit of Justice. Athena Cykes takes on the case of Bucky Whet, a soba shop worker and an acquaintance of Simon Blackquill, who is accused of murdering Taifu Toneido at a yose, a theatre for performing rakugo. Since Apollo Justice is busy helping Trucy Wright's magic act and Phoenix Wright is still out of the country, she is alone on the defense's bench, at least at first. Similarly to the episode Turnabout Beginnings, it is a trial-only case with no investigation chapters.
Turnabout Storyteller is unique in the Ace Attorney series in that it is almost entirely disconnected from the overall narrative of the rest of the game, despite not being a Special Episode, outside of Nahyuta Sahdmadhi being the prosecutor and making off-hand comments about knowing Athena Cykes. Even Phoenix Wright does not appear in any form, the only time this has happened in the main series. Although many other episodes have stand-alone narratives, they tend to contain story elements that are loosely tied to the overall narrative.
During the midday, inside a theater, an elderly man was practicing his rakugo performance. Behind him, a shadowed figure walked up to him, grinning. Later, a man and a woman discovered the body face-first in a bowl of noodles. The woman wondered if "he" was responsible, and the man panicked on what they should do. The woman replied that she had an idea.
- 9:45 AM
The Wright Anything Agency was hastily called to handle a murder case. Athena Cykes ended up hurrying to Defendant Lobby No. 6 at the last minute, alone. Simon Blackquill arrived afterward and was shocked to find out that both Apollo Justice and Phoenix Wright were too busy to handle the trial. Cykes tried to reassure him that she was perfectly capable of doing the job, to no avail.
Blackquill had brought the defendant, Bucky Whet, who appeared to be drunk. He managed to pull himself together and introduced himself as the fourth-generation head chef of Whet Soba. Whet had been arrested for the murder of master rakugo storyteller Taifu Toneido, with whom Whet didn't have the best relationship, as Taifu always critiqued his soba harshly. This animosity was the motive in his arrest. Cykes assured that she would defend Whet to the very end. Though she suggested for Whet to rest, he protested that he was not like udon dough but like soba dough, which was supposed to be prepared while fresh, and not made to rest. Nonetheless, he blacked out, having to be brought to the court's infirmary as the trial began.
- 9:50 AM
Cykes found herself once again in the newly restored Courtroom No. 4. Prosecutor Nahyuta Sahdmadhi was on the opposite bench, at the request of Chief Prosecutor Miles Edgeworth. For his opening statement, Sadhmadhi explained that the victim, Taifu Toneido, had been found dead in the dressing room at Kurukuru Tei, a rakugo theater. The estimated time of death was between 2 PM and 5 PM, and the cause was suffocation, but the means and murder weapon had yet to be found, and nothing unusual had been found in the victim's lungs or stomach. Nonetheless, Whet was the only one with opportunity and motive, the motive being that the victim had the title deed to Whet Soba, which was supposed to belong to Whet. Sahdmadhi's first witness was Blackquill himself, who questioned if Sahdmadhi had enough knowledge of rakugo to adequately handle this case. To prove the fruits of his research on the subject, Sahdmadhi proceeded to give a long-winded primer about the basics of rakugo.
Blackquill testified that he had arrived at the theater around 4 PM, having been invited to a special show to commemorate Taifu's junior disciple's promotion and name succession. The invitation held a brief letter and the performance schedule. Blackquill had never actually met up with the victim prior to the murder, due to hearing rakugo being performed within the dressing room and not wanting to disturb a rehearsal. Afterwards, Whet had entered the room, but had had an argument with the victim, and stormed out around ten minutes later. Soon after, Taifu's junior disciple, Uendo, entered the room, and after a few minutes, let out a loud scream, causing Blackquill and another witness to rush into the room to see the body. Sahdmadhi judged that Blackquill was sympathizing with the defense despite his testimony, and dismissed him to summon the other witness.
Geiru Toneido was the victim's senior disciple and a balloon artist, whose father had also been a rakugo performer. She evidently was not on good terms with the defendant and was glad to see Whet arrested for the crime. Geiru told the court that Whet would always yell at her, saying that her perfume would get caught in the soba, ruining it.
Geiru testified that she had been in the hallway with Blackquill between 4 PM and 4:20 PM, and that Whet had been the only one to enter the dressing room prior to the discovery of the body. Geiru also mentioned that her dog, Jugemu, was barking loudly, so she had gone into the yard to feed him. Blackquill corroborated this statement, though he noted that she had given the dog a large amount of what looked like dumplings, far too many for him to handle. Geiru claimed that she had had a clear view of the hallway from the yard, but Cykes examined a diagram of the area and pointed out that the door to the yard would have blocked her view. Along with the fact that Blackquill could not see the dressing room door from his position, Cykes concluded that someone else could have entered the room without being noticed.
Sahdmadhi argued that Geiru was simply not remembering things correctly due to her grief over Taifu's death. He accused Cykes of being too harsh on the witness, and exploited the fact that she could hear the emotions of the people in the gallery to discourage her further. Claiming that Cykes's resolve could be broken with a single push, he presented a photo of karuta cards that had been found at the crime scene, which spelled out "WHET NO 4", clearly implicating the defendant. In response, Blackquill appeared at the defense's bench, calling out Sahdmadhi for using such cheap manipulation tactics for a supposed holy man and the gallery for believing in said tricks. He claimed that he had grown bored from watching in the stands, and was not willing to let Cykes lose his favorite soba shop. Undeterred, Sahdmadhi called Geiru down from the stand, and called his next witness, Uendo Toneido, the aforementioned junior disciple. Uendo had a peculiar habit of switching between his normal persona and two of his characters that he would use for his rakugo performances.
Uendo testified that he had seen Taifu's message right away, saying that his master must have left it as he was being drowned in the soba broth. Cykes pointed out that the victim had nothing usual in his lungs, so his face must have been thrust into the bowl after his murder, after which the broth had spilled onto the cards. Sahdmadhi argued that whoever had done this must have held a great contempt towards the victim, someone like the defendant. Blackquill retorted that this did not explain why Whet had not done anything about the incriminating message. With Uendo unable to shed much light on the matter, Sahdmadhi decided to present a photo of the cards as found at the crime scene.
Blackquill and Cykes noticed that the soba broth stains on the cards did not match up with the larger stain on the table. The cards were rearranged to fix this, resulting in a different message, "OWEN 4TH." Uendo denied any knowledge of this "Owen", but even so, the cards no longer pointed to Whet as the culprit. Cykes and Blackquill suggested Uendo had rearranged the cards, during the few minutes alone Uendo had had with the body prior to screaming. Sahdmadhi told Uendo to plead his right to remain silent, but Blackquill appealed to the showman inside Uendo, getting the gallery to join along in convincing him to testify.
"Uendo's Mood Matrix"
Uendo testified that he had gone to visit Taifu after his performance, calling out from outside the room to no reply. Upon entering the room, Uendo had noticed his master slumped over the table, motionless. Sensing discord in Uendo's emotions, Cykes fired up her Mood Matrix and noticed that no shock was registered at the last statement, as if Uendo had anticipated what he had found. Uendo claimed that he had initially thought the victim was just sleeping, due to a note that read, "Resting. Do not disturb."
Uendo continued that he had noticed that something was off and rushed toward Taifu. Cykes noticed a hint of anger at this statement, to which Uendo explained that he had stubbed his toe. Cykes said that he must have stubbed his toe on a CRT TV in the room, and saw in the photo that the TV had been dragged through the floor from the doorway to the back wall, as revealed by tracks in the flour scattered all over the floor. Uendo explained that it must have been so that Taifu could watch him perform, stating that the TV broadcasts performances onstage. Uendo had moved the TV back, bumping into the table in the process and realizing that Taifu was dead.
Cykes then noticed that Uendo exhibited even more shock after the initial shock of learning that Taifu was dead. Struggling to explain himself, Uendo's emotions began to overload. In an unprecedented reaction, the dominant emotion would change whenever Uendo switched characters during his testimony. Cykes concluded from this development that the message on the karuta cards must mean something to Uendo, and that he had dissociative identity disorder. Uendo admitted that his characters were actually separate personalities called Patches the jester and Kisegawa the courtesan, both of whom shared his memories. However, when Cykes suggested the existence of a secret fourth personality named Owen, Uendo denied it.
Regardless of this revelation, Uendo had a compelling alibi, since he had been on stage performing during the murder. He had performed horribly and received no applause, despite it being such a special day for him. Cykes found this suspicious and asked about what he had performed, to which he replied that he had performed the show "Tokisoba" or "Time Soba." However, the schedule listed Uendo performing "Soba Glutton," while the victim was to perform "Time Soba."
Cykes accused Uendo of trying to obfuscate the time of the victim's death. Uendo had used the TV broadcast of his performance to trick Blackquill and Geiru into believing that the victim was practicing so that they wouldn't enter when, in reality, he had already died. He had intentionally performed awfully so that the audience would remain silent to pull off this act of trickery. Uendo admitted to doing all this but refused to explain why.
With Cykes having no motive for Uendo, Sahdmadhi revealed that Whet had also visited the crime scene prior to 4 PM to make soba with the victim. Whet, who had entered the courtroom, explained that Taifu had ordered uncooked soba because he had only one serving left. Whet had arrived outside the dressing room to confirm his delivery, but Taifu had continued practicing rakugo, ignoring Whet completely, causing him to become frustrated and storm away. Whet subsequently passed out and was sent to the infirmary once more, and Sahdmadhi dismissed his testimony as dubious. Cykes wondered what had happened to Taifu's remaining soba stock.
Blackquill and Cykes decided to pursue "Owen" as a possible culprit. Patches denied knowing any "Owen", but Blackquill convinced him to plead silence instead, which only made him seem more suspicious, forcing him to elaborate on the matter. He explained that the alternate personalities were always aware of one another. Cykes posited that perhaps Owen would emerge if the other personalities had been rendered unconscious, such as via the bottle of saké at the crime scene.
Uendo responded that he did not drink saké due to being extremely weak to alcohol, and that he had only eaten a sweet manju bun at the time. However, Cykes noted that Taifu's note bore the same brand logo as the wrapping on the box of manju buns, as well as the bottle of saké. This particular "Camel" brand of manju bun was specially prepared to retain as much alcoholic content as possible, even when steamed. Uendo denied being so weak to alcohol as to pass out from an alcoholic bun, but nonetheless, in order to test the theory, Blackquill sent Taka to retrieve some Camel-brand manju buns, and court went into recess until he returned.
"The Fourth One"
Court soon resumed with a helping of alcoholic sweet buns for all. Surely enough, Uendo Toneido consumed the sweet bun, passed out, and reemerged as a five-year-old child personality named Owen. Since he was clearly incapable of murder, the killer must have been the one who had laid out the karuta cards in the first place to frame him. Owen said that he had witnessed the murder, and testified that he had seen Taifu holding a knife in his hand, with blood dripping onto his face. Owen was overwhelmed with fear while recounting this experience, and Cykes guessed that the blood was the source of this emotion. She was stumped as to how the blood had gotten there, before concluding that both Owen and Taifu must have been lying on the floor. With this, Owen remembered seeing someone sitting on top of Taifu, who had fought back against his assailant. Sahdmadhi remarked that such an encounter would have left an injury on the attacker's face, around the forehead, and pointed to Whet's newly-bandaged wound, incriminating him even further on top of the established motive and opportunity.
Cykes lost her resolve due to her findings being continually used against her. Blackquill reminded her of her promise to Whet that she would believe in him to the bitter end. Cykes continued to flounder, so Blackquill pulled her close, asking her if these setbacks really were all that it took for her to stop believing in her client. He reminded her that she was his lawyer, and that she needed to see her duty through.
Realizing that Blackquill was right, Cykes allowed Owen to continue. Owen testified to seeing the attacker pressing something into the victim's face, which Cykes identified as unprepared soba dough. Sahdmadhi continued his assault, theorizing that the defendant, after murdering the victim with the dough, had cut it into noodles and used the broth to wipe away the blood. As for the karuta cards, he suggested that perhaps Taifu had spelled out Owen's name in jest and the message held no special meaning. Cykes pleaded with Owen to see if he could remember more, and he stated that the killer had stood over him after the murder, after which he had passed out, unable to remember the assailant's face. Cykes detected a feeling of relief from Owen, to which he explained that the killed had given off a pleasant smell of perfume. Upon trying to remember the perfume, however, Owen passed out.
Sahdmadhi once again tried to explain the smell away as possibly coming from hair product used by the defendant, but Whet defiantly denied this, saying that he would never wear scents that could get into the soba. To prove his point, he delivered to the court dishes of soba, which were deemed perfume-free by the members of the court. His nausea soon set in once more, and he was sent to the infirmary again. Cykes then remembered that Geiru Toneido wore strong perfume, and convinced the judge to call her back to the stand.
"The Final Cross-Examination"
As Geiru returned to the stand, denying any involvement in the case beyond her original testimony, Blackquill exposed her forehead, revealing it to be bandaged. Cykes indicted her, noting that Geiru had no alibi prior to 4 PM. She also pointed out that Geiru had absolutely no eye for balloon art, to which Geiru got angry and admitted that she wanted to be a rakugo performer instead. Brandishing a balloon like a sword, Geiru accepted Cykes's challenge, saying that one of them would surely "go 'pop'" in the end.
Geiru explained the perfume scent as originating from a courtesy call that she had made to Taifu after her performance. She had found him and Owen fast asleep, and left after seeing Taifu's note not to disturb him. Cykes questioned where she had found the note, but Geiru did not remember, as she had not noticed anything out of the ordinary. Cykes pointed out the karuta cards and argued that Geiru was the only one who could have arranged the karuta cards to spell out the "OWEN 4TH" message. At this, Sahdmadhi revealed that Geiru had an allergy to buckwheat, the main ingredient in soba, so it was impossible for her to have murdered Taifu with the soba dough. Geiru confirmed that even the slightest amount could make her swell up or send her into shock.
Remembering her boss's words about smiling even during the worst of times, Cykes thought about how Geiru could have remained in the room despite her allergy. She realized that Taifu's note had been misinterpreted this whole time, and had been referring to the dough in the room. She recalled Whet saying that soba dough was not supposed to be made to rest, and concluded that Taifu had been making udon, not soba. However, Sahdmadhi pointed out that the noodle bowl still contained soba, so soba dough still must have been the murder weapon. Cykes realized that the soba must have come from Taifu's soba stock, and that Geiru must have used the soba to hide the fact that udon had been prepared.
Cykes concluded that the true murder weapon was not the soba dough as previously thought, but rather, the udon dough, and that it must have been disposed of somehow. According to Owen, the culprit had bled onto the dough, making it conclusive evidence of the real killer. Cykes remembered Blackquill's statements about Geiru feeding her dog too many dumplings, and deduced these dumplings must be the udon dough with her blood on it. Some of the dumplings would still be buried in the yard around the dog's house, laying bare the killer's identity. Defeated, Geiru's balloons all popped, revealing the woman underneath as she removed her wig.
Starting to cry, Geiru explained that becoming a rakugo artist like her father was everything to her. She had known that she was not a particularly skilled performer, but she had felt that her goal could still be reached if she continued to do her balloon art like Taifu wanted. However, her father's stage name had been given to someone else, causing her to plan revenge against them both during the naming ceremony, by murdering Taifu and attempting to frame Uendo. She had not known that Taifu had been making udon, but had gone through with the plan even after seeing the soba-making tools, too focused on her murderous intent to think about her allergy. Cykes understood Geiru's feelings about inheriting her father's name, but told her that she should have inherited her father's heart instead of obsessing over his stage name. As the not guilty verdict was about to be read, Sahdmadhi told Cykes that he would remember her name, finally respecting her as an attorney.
- 11:55 AM
It turned out later that Uendo's plan to frame Whet had been spur-of-the-moment. Whet also revealed that Taifu had not wanted Geiru to be bound by her father's stage name, and had wanted her to find her own calling in life. The fact that he had been preparing udon despite preferring soba was proof of this. Cykes also pointed out that the title deed to Whet was still under his name. Taifu's "theft" had been a trick to get Whet to show that he cared about his shop.
Inspired anew, Whet decided to head back to his shop. Before he left, Cykes ordered a bowl of udon to be delivered to Geiru on behalf of Taifu. She and Blackquill then left for some soba themselves, bantering along the way. She, too, had a ways to go to catch up to her mentors and predecessors, but was confident in getting there someday, having inherited their passion for the courts and the law.
- The story Tokisoba and rakugo in general being featured prominently in this case is based on a Japanese pun where 感情 (emotions) and 勘定 (counting/calculations) have the same pronunciation (kanjou). The former is a reference to Cykes' ability to hear emotions. This is referenced in the Japanese version of the case, where Cykes states that there's something interesting about Tokisoba and that she and Blackquill will find out in her therapy session. She chides Blackquill for not entering in with his line, to which he questions why he would do that. Cykes states that they can't leave it up to kanjou (emotions or calculation). In the Western version this was translated as a "seven ate nine" joke, to keep in line with the food-based theme of the joke.
- This case's art has been changed several times. In the original Japanese 3DS game, the art depicting karuta cards of Whet, Uendo, Geiru, and Kurukuru Tei include the first character for their hiragana names in the red bubbles, as well as kanji characters on the back of Whet's jacket. In the English 3DS art, the hiragana on the karuta are translated into the first letter of each name (B, U, G, and K, respectively), however the back of Whet's jacket was left unchanged. In the iOS/Android art, Whet's jacket was translated accordingly.
References to other cases
- If incorrect evidence is presented during a cross-examination, the Judge notes learning the phrase "reckgiven" once. This was originally said by Lotta Hart in Turnabout Goodbyes.
- This case shares many key similarities with Turnabout from Heaven, a case from the Phoenix Wright manga published by Kodansha. Both cases revolve around a particular company's noodle products, both victims' deaths are related to ingredients used in preparing noodles, a soba/buckwheat allergy becomes a major factor in both cases, both cases involve a person or person(s) whose existences are called into question (Diana Wheatley's "deceased" mother in Turnabout from Heaven and Owen in Turnabout Storyteller), and the murder weapon is even hidden some manner by a family pet (the flour in Chocolan's fur in Turnabout from Heaven and Geiru's dog Jugemu burying the udon dough in Turnabout Storyteller).
- This case also bears some similarities with Turnabout Big Top. Both cases revolve around a form of entertainment, and both involve a murder weapon that was previously hidden by the culprit of the case. Said murder weapons were also transported between the culprit and an animal at one point (prior to the murder in Turnabout Big Top and after the murder in Turnabout Storyteller).
References to popular culture
- In the defendant lobby at the beginning of the case, Widget says "He's late, he's late, for a very important date!" when talking about Whet. This is a reference to the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland.
- When presenting wrong evidence during Blackquill's testimony, Cykes will ask Widget, "Et tu, Widget?" This is a reference to the phrase "Et tu, Brute?," a line from the Shakespeare play Julius Caesar.
- After Geiru makes the balloon cake, Cykes compares her balloon art to a Rorschach test, a psychological test.
- After Uendo first gives his testimony disproving Owen's existence, Blackquill tells Athena to "screw your courage to the sticking place and attack their testimony head-on!" This is a reference to Shakespeare's Macbeth.
- Sahdmadhi, upon pointing out a flaw in Athena's reasoning, says, "Allow me... to cut that holy thread from the heavens, and bring you back down to earth." This is reference to the short story "The Spider's Thread" by Ryunosuke Akutagawa in which a man in hell is given a tiny spider's thread to be saved and escape to heaven, but eventually it breaks and he falls back down.
- Various popular rakugo stories are referenced in this case, including: Jugemu, a story about a boy with an overly-long name; Tokisoba, a story about a man tricking a soba vendor by using the time; and Soba Sei, or Soba Glutton.
- The difference in time between the end of The Rite of Turnabout and the start of Turnabout Storyteller (roughly 33-34 hours) is the shortest amount of time between two unrelated cases within the main series of the game.
- In the localized version of this episode, Bucky is an underage alcoholic, as the legal drinking age in the United States is 21. In Japan, the drinking age is 20, making him a legal drinker. Incidentally, during the trial everyone is seemingly fine with allowing Cykes to consume alcohol, despite being underage in both the Japanese and English versions (albeit, it was only an alcoholic bun).
- Japanese - 逆転寄席 (Gyakuten Yose; lit. "Turnabout Vaudeville Theatre")
- Hsu, Janet. One Grand Finale – Weddings, Rakugo, and Succession. Retrieved 2016, October 5.