How The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles portrays the immigrant experience

Six years after its original Japanese release, I spent the summer savouring The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles. There’s an enormous amount to marvel at, from fantastic localisation to wonderfully expressive characters, to thrilling courtroom turnabouts and revelations I’ll try to avoid spoiling here. But what struck me most was how, in charting accidental student lawyer Ryunosuke Naruhodo’s journey from Meiji Japan to Victorian England, this is a rare game that captures the immigrant experience.

The premise of many games do, of course, involve journeying to new worlds. But even in the realms of fantasy or sci-fi, they can almost always be read from a Western, borderline colonialist, perspective. The term ‘immigrant’ itself comes loaded with connotations, especially considering Westerners who move abroad are referred to as expats instead.

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