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Manfred von Karma

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Manfred von Karma
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Manfred von Karma
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Manfred von Karma

Aliases/nicknames

Papa*
Sir*

One-off nicknames

"A god of prosecution"*
Occupation International prosecutor (1976 - Dec. 28, 2016)
Names in other languages
Japanese* 狩魔豪 (Gou Karuma)
French Manfred von Karma
German Manfred von Karma
Spanish Manfred von Karma
Italian Manfred von Karma
Biological information
Designated birth year(s)? 1951
Age 49*- 65*
Status* Deceased (sometime between Dec. 2016 and June 2017)
Eye color Dark green
Hair color Grey (previously silver-blue)
Height* 5'10"; 177 cm
Associates
Family An unnamed wife
An unnamed daughter*
An unnamed granddaughter
Phoenix (granddaughter's pet dog)
Franziska von Karma (daughter)
Miles Edgeworth (student and adopted son)
Friends Ernest Amano
Affiliates Bansai Ichiyanagi (superior)
Wataru Shirase (police detective assigned to at least one of his cases)
Tyrell Badd (police detective assigned to at least one of his cases)
Gregory Edgeworth (rival defense attorney and nemesis; deceased)
Byrne Faraday (fellow prosecutor; deceased)
Yanni Yogi (accomplice)
Phoenix Wright (rival defense attorney)
Actors
Japanese* Masakazu Sugimori
Film* Ryo Ishibashi
Miscellaneous
Debut episode Turnabout Goodbyes
Leitmotif "Great Revival ~ Franziska von Karma"*
Manfred von Karma
Wrong. There is only one thing you need to do here. You will slam down your gavel and say the word "guilty". That is your role!
Turnabout Goodbyes


Manfred von Karma was a renowned prosecutor who went undefeated for 40 years, earning him numerous "King of Prosecutors" awards, before finally meeting his match in Phoenix Wright. He was Miles Edgeworth's mentor, responsible for teaching him everything about prosecuting until 2016. He was also the father and mentor of Franziska von Karma. For all the cases he took on until Hammond's murder case, only one was left unsolved, and all of the defendants that he prosecuted were convicted.

The defiant attorneyEdit

Main article: The Inherited Turnabout
IS7missing

Discovering the melted ice sculptures.

On December 23, 2000, during a confectionery contest held by television pastry chef Issei Tenkai in his mansion, one of the finalists, Isaku Hyōdō, was murdered. Manfred von Karma was placed in charge of the case, which would later be known as the IS-7 Incident. As the body had been discovered in a room accessible only to Tenkai, he was arrested for the murder. Initially, Wataru Shirase was made the lead detective, but was soon replaced by Tyrell Badd, though Shirase would still be in charge of interrogations. Von Karma kept a tight grip on the investigation, causing him and Badd not to see eye to eye.

By the time von Karma had gotten to the mansion on Christmas Eve, the body had already been removed. He investigated the room containing the entry of another finalist, Delicy Scone: a castle made of cream. Along with finding out that she had cheated in the contest (in that her dessert was just a model covered with a layer of cream), von Karma also found the murder weapon, a rock salt lamp, inside the castle. He learned that Tenkai had disqualified Scone and confiscated some of the props that she had used, including the murder weapon.

As von Karma was leaving, he encountered the esteemed defense lawyer Gregory Edgeworth, who was representing Tenkai. He allowed Edgeworth to investigate Scone's room, knowing that he would not find anything that the prosecutor would not anticipate. After Edgeworth's investigation, he argued with von Karma over the facts of the case. To von Karma's surprise, Badd had allowed Edgeworth to investigate the crime scene, giving him the means to poke holes in von Karma's theory. The two decided to investigate the room containing Hyōdō's entry, a set of sculptures made of frozen sherbet, only to find that they had disappeared.

Von Karma hurriedly kicked Edgeworth out and tried to make sense of what had occurred. He learned from Tsukasa Oyashiki, Tenkai's adopted daughter, that she had seen Yutaka Kazami, the last finalist, entering Hyōdō's room. Von Karma questioned Kazami and learned that he and Hyōdō had secretly collaborated on each other's entries until the day before the finals, and that Kazami had entered Hyōdō's room to retrieve a photo of the two of them with their respective sons, fearing that it would implicate him. Von Karma then took all of the witnesses to the police department for further questioning.

Von Karma returned the next day, wondering why he had still not received an autopsy report. Edgeworth was there as well, investigating with Badd. An argument ensued, during which Edgeworth used forensic evidence from a fountain to suggest that the body had been taken by the killer, not the police. Von Karma was shocked and took Badd off the case for helping Edgeworth. Desiring to protect his perfect record more than anything, von Karma decided to leave and say no more until he could figure something out for the trial. It was then that coroner Otome Itami finally gave him an autopsy report.

During the trial, Edgeworth accused von Karma of hiding the fact that the body was missing, but the prosecutor presented the autopsy report, and the police vouched for its legitimacy. Nonetheless, the lack of evidence caused the trial to last a year. Finally, von Karma told Shirase to threaten Tenkai into confessing to being an accomplice for the murder, by saying that Oyashiki would be accused next if he refused. Tenkai thus confessed, but thanks to Badd, Edgeworth obtained a recording of the confession, proving that it had been coerced. Ultimately, the trial still ended in a guilty verdict, but Chief Prosecutor Bansai Ichiyanagi penalized von Karma and fired Shirase.

The perfect crimeEdit

Main article: DL-6 Incident
Manfred von Karma
You and your father are my curse! Your father shamed me with a penalty on my record! And you... you left a scar on my shoulder that would never fade! I... I'll bury you! I'll bury you with my bare hands! Death! Death!
Turnabout Goodbyes


Karmaenters

Von Karma enters the lift.

Von Karma was shocked beyond belief by the outcome of the trial, as he had never been penalized before. The one thing he valued above all else was his perfect record. Soon after receiving his penalty, an earthquake struck the courthouse, leaving von Karma wandering in the darkness. He felt his way to an elevator and tried to use it, but nothing happened. Suddenly, a gunshot rang out and von Karma was struck in the right shoulder, causing him to utter a terrible scream. Then, the power came back on, and the elevator doors opened. To his surprise, von Karma found a pistol at his feet, along with three people lying unconscious inside the elevator from oxygen deprivation: the court bailiff Yanni Yogi, a young boy, and the man who had ruined his perfect record, Gregory Edgeworth.

Von Karma picked up the gun and shot Edgeworth in the heart, killing him instantly. Von Karma left the gun and fled the scene, taking a "vacation" to heal his injury from the incident. Meanwhile, the case of Edgeworth's murder, known as the DL-6 Incident, was held against Yanni Yogi, who, at the insistence of his defense attorney Robert Hammond, plead temporary insanity to escape conviction. Six months later, von Karma returned and found that Tateyuki Shigaraki was appealing Tenkai's case. He decided to assign a different prosecutor to the case however, as he knew that the verdict would not change without new evidence.

Von Karma came to adopt the young boy from the elevator - Miles Edgeworth, Gregory's son - and trained the child to become a ruthless prosecutor like him. For the following 15 years, von Karma's almost-demonic scream from the DL-6 Incident would haunt Miles, and he would believe that he had shot his own father. Ten years later, Miles officially became a prosecutor. Soon afterward, von Karma showed him a copy of the case files from the IS-7 Incident, though he modified them so that it read that Tenkai had been convicted of killing the victim. Von Karma did this so that Miles would believe that his father's last case had been fully solved, and thus would not investigate it further.

The second KG-8 IncidentEdit

Main article: Turnabout Reminiscence
Manfred Smirk

Manfred von Karma in 2012.

Manfred and his daughter Franziska later accompanied Miles on what was to be his first trial. The defendant had accused the original prosecutor on the case, Byrne Faraday, of being the Great Thief Yatagarasu, and Miles had been selected to replace Faraday. Manfred quizzed Miles on the details of the case and then told him about a connection between the case at hand and another case, the KG-8 Incident, to which few in law enforcement were privy. However, the trial was canceled when Faraday and the defendant were found dead.

Manfred assigned Miles and his daughter to lead the subsequent investigation, overriding the protests of Detective Tyrell Badd. When another detective was arrested for the murders, Manfred decided to leave the District Court. Miles and Franziska asked him to allow them to continue their investigation, arguing that it would be good experience, and he reluctantly let them proceed. The pair eventually uncovered the true culprit, although she managed to escape.

Revenge plot and defeatEdit

Main article: Turnabout Goodbyes
Phoenix Wright
(The horrible aftertaste of the evil he force-fed me is something I'll never forget.)
Reunion, and Turnabout
Sprite-karma

Manfred von Karma in 2016.

Fifteen years after the DL-6 Incident, Manfred sent a letter to Yogi with a detailed plan to murder Hammond (whom Yogi blamed for ruining his life by making him plead temporary insanity) and frame Miles. He instructed Yogi to burn the letter after reading it, but Yogi chose to lock it in his safe. On the night of "revenge", Yogi called Hammond and Miles to Gourd Lake. Hammond arrived first, and Yogi proceeded to kill him. He then put on Hammond's coat and waited for Miles.

Once the prosecutor arrived, the two went out on a boat, where Yogi fired a pistol twice with his left hand, both bullets intentionally missing Miles, and then fell backwards into the lake, as if he had been shot. He then put the coat back on Hammond and threw the body into the lake. Meanwhile, back on the boat, Miles picked up the pistol in his right hand, in shock at what had happened. On the shore, Yogi called the police, claiming to have witnessed the murder, and Miles was arrested. Manfred had chosen this time to frame Miles because it would be his last chance to get Miles convicted of the DL-6 murder before the statute of limitations expired on the case.

Manfred was the prosecutor in the resulting trial of Miles Edgeworth. Like most of his other cases, he intended for this case to be a quick and clean guilty verdict, and laid his usual unbearable pressure on the presiding judge, as well as Miles's lawyer Phoenix Wright. However, quite unlike other the lawyers he had faced, Wright persevered through Manfred's increasingly desperate tactics with desperate tactics of his own.

Manfred later met Wright in the police department's Records Room, which contained the files on the DL-6 Incident. Wright had figured out most of what had happened and only needed the evidence to win his case. In desperation, Manfred took out a stun gun, used it on Wright, and stole all of the evidence save the bullet that had killed Gregory Edgeworth, which Wright's assistant Maya Fey had managed to grab before being shocked herself.

Eventually, Yogi was unmasked in court. However, after the not-guilty verdict was read, Miles immediately confessed to killing his own father in the DL-6 Incident. However, Wright soon proved Miles wrong, as Manfred had been the real killer. Wright knew that Manfred would have left the bullet Miles had shot in his body and suggested that a metal detector be used to prove that the bullet that had been fired when Miles had thrown the gun at Yogi all those years ago had really shot Manfred. At this, Manfred screamed the same scream Miles had heard before passing out during the DL-6 Incident.

His plans finally exposed, Manfred started banging his head against the wall of the court. He had suffered two defeats at Wright's hand, the only two he had ever received. He was arrested and died soon afterward.[1]

PersonalityEdit

Manfred von Karma
Decisive evidence. A decisive witness. What more is needed?
Turnabout Goodbyes
Manfred Mugshot

Manfred von Karma's mugshot.

Manfred von Karma was an intimidating prosecutor who held great sway over the courts. This was not just due to his long win record, but also thanks to his forbidding appearance complete with stoic glare and occasional sneering grin. He also had a distinctive deep, threatening voice, which manifested itself in the "horrible scream" Miles Edgeworth heard during the DL-6 Incident. His authority was enough to override those of veteran detectives such as Tyrell Badd, and he could assign his students to any trial of his choosing. He commanded respect from everyone, especially his students. Miles and Franziska address him as "sir" and "papa", respectively, and Miles has referred to him as "legendary" and a "god" among prosecutors, while Kay Faraday simply thought him "scary" when she met him.

Manfred was extremely arrogant, seeing defense attorneys as nothing more than annoying flies to be swatted. He would often almost take over the judges' jobs during trials (such as sustaining his own objections or overruling those of the opposing defense attorney), with the judges themselves being too terrified to attempt to reassert control. He had a habit of piercingly snapping his fingers when he wanted to help get his point across and took such great pride in considering himself as "number one" that he not only set his ATM card number to "0001", but also openly advertised that it was such in court.

Manfred von Karma's most prominent trait, however, was his obsession with perfection and nothing less. He would do whatever it took to win a case, even if it meant hiding undesired evidence, rigging witness testimonies - even going as far as retraining a parrot - and attacking Phoenix Wright and Maya Fey with a stun gun at one point. He also considered other prosecutors, such as Byrne Faraday, weak for failing to get defendants convicted. However, this "perfection" was also his greatest weakness. The small blemish on his previously-perfect record from the IS-7 trial led to a disproportionate response from Manfred: murdering the defense attorney, taking on Miles as his student, molding Miles to be more like his father's killer than his own father, and then framing him for murder.

Despite his dedication to convicting defendants, von Karma cared only about criminals who were brought to court. He claimed that there was no point in dealing with criminals who were "above the law" in one way or another, because such matters were outside the scope of a prosecutor's job. As he once told Miles Edgeworth, "A prosecutor is a guardian of the court; one with no obligations to outside matters".

It's evident from Manfred's prosecution of Miles that they had no true affection towards each other, and that Miles likely was nothing more than a tool for Manfred to get back at the man who had ruined his perfect record. Although Manfred pressured his children, much of the pressure that they felt was self-inflicted, especially with Franziska. Nonetheless, when Miles was to take his place as a prosecutor for the first time, Manfred seemed almost proud of his adopted son.

NameEdit

  • In pronunciation terms, his Japanese surname "Karuma" (狩魔) is the Japanese romanization for "karma". In kanji terms, "karu ma" (狩 魔) means "a demon who hunts".
  • His Japanese given name "Gou" (豪) may come from the word "gouka" (ゴウカ), which could mean "the effect of karma" or "fires of hell". "Gou" comes from "erai", which means "great" or "excellent".
  • "Manfred" means "man of peace" in German, which is somewhat ironic considering his crimes and his questionable career. Although it is a common German name, "Manfred" may have also have come from Manfred von Richthofen in particular, more widely known as the infamous World War I flying ace, the Red Baron. Both men were feared in their lines of work, highly skilled, and achieved an impressive number of victories. Both were also finally defeated by a single bullet and by an opponent far less famous than they themselves.
  • "Karma" likely comes from the bad karma he had built up over the years from his questionable tactics. "Von" is a German preposition which approximately means "of" or "from". Also, German names containing a "von" are usually names of aristocrats.
  • Alternatively, his full English name could be a play on "man freed from karma".

DevelopmentEdit

  • Manfred von Karma's character design was adapted from the original idea for Miles Edgeworth, that of an older rival prosecutor for Wright. Manfred's cravat also hints at the influence he had on Miles's upbringing.[2]
  • Both Manfred von Karma and Franziska von Karma lived and worked in the United States in the original Japanese versions of the games, as opposed to Germany in the North American localization.
  • Manfred von Karma gained an animation in the Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth series: during his appearance in Gyakuten Kenji 2, the game will sometimes show a "zoomed-in" sprite of him in the style generally reserved for protagonists and rivals. Further, his "shocked" sprite in Gyakuten Kenji 2 is a modification of the one seen in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney; he rears back in shock, but does not clutch his shoulder (likely as he has not yet been shot in that shoulder).

ReferencesEdit

  1. (He had a perfect win record for 40 long years... But now, he is gone from this world...) Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations. Capcom. Episode: Bridge to the Turnabout (in English). 2007.
  2. (2009). "The Art of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney". UDON. ISBN 1-897376-19-7.

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