15. Manfred von Karma
A certain someone might have dethroned you from the position of "PW's final boss," but they didn't have to face you in the courtroom.
Manfred is the best prosecutor in the series. His daughter, Edgeworth, Godot... none of them compare to the ironclad "holy ****" that is Manfred von Karma. Self-sustaining objections, the fingersnap of doom, his "I am the Devil" Objection. Manfred defines perfection in the court, and because of that is probably the most genuinely intimidating character in the series. (In a way, it sort of makes his daughter a bit more sympathetic, because she is trying to live up to an ideal that she never CAN--Manfred is beyond every other lawyer in the world of the games, bar none)
He's intimidating, evil, brilliant, and one of the few villains to actually deliver bodily harm to Phoenix in the form of DON'T TASE ME, BRO! Taking him down is one of the best moments in the series, and truly, truly satisfying. However, he's not higher because... while he's an amazing final boss, that's all he is. That's all he really COULD be, to be fair--if they'd tried to reuse him, it would have gotten old quite fast. And he's not really much of a character beyond that... but that's okay, because as a prosecutor and enemy he's goddamn amazing.
14th: Manfred Von Karma
Favorite Quote: "Ahem. I beg your pardon, you see, I rarely remember defense attorneys. They are like bugs to me. Needless things to be crushed."
Count Dracula himself. A few things actually bothered me about Von Karma. I mean, he was a great villain. But, I just didn't feel it like I did with some of the others. For one thing, he has a very brief appearance. As the god of prosecutors, I would have liked to see more things lead up to him. I'd liked to have seen him after Wright defeats Edgeworth for the first time. With a no longer perfect record, I'm sure Edgeworth had become an embarrassment to him. Yet, we don't see him before the only case he's in. I think he could've been intimidating and mysterious, and still have appeared before the fourth case of the game. It was sort of like he just showed up for the sake of showing up. Secondly, the way he handles his loss. Sure, he goes kind of crazy for a while, and his breakdown is like that of an old final fantasy villain. But the problem is, he doesn't seem to blame Wright. And eh takes it so easily. 40 years of being undefeated, taken down by a rookie defense attorney who has only 3 cases under his belt? And charged with the crime he was trying to put on Edgeworth? I mean sure it's obvious that Edgeworth was part to blame for that, but Phoenix Wright destroyed his unbeaten record like the Giants destroyed the Patriots unbeaten record. And most of it was Phoenix's doing. Edgeworth just confessed to a crime he didn't commit. It was Phoenix Wright and Maya Fey that proved that Edgeworth didn't kill his father. It was they who got Edgeworth off, when Von Karma was the prosecutor. They're the ones who ruined his perfect plan. Without Phoenix Wright and his darned spirit channeler, he would've gotten away with it. And those are the things that irked me about him. He shows up for a single case, without any prior mention. Not much lead up to him, to be completely honest with you. And I think that diminished his awesomeness. And how he doesn't blame Wright? The Rookie defense attorney who didn't just put a blemish on his record like Gregory Edgeworth, but actually beat him in court- and not once, but technically twice. Aside from that, there were many things I liked about Von Karma. His perfect record for one. That in itself was very impressive, especially for 40 years. That's longer than Nick's been alive. Then there was his actions in court. He practically controlled the judge with the flick of his wrist. He had an impressive hold over the court. It took Phoenix Wright to break that control. And of course Larry came in and helped out too. The unexpected witness made things turn for the worse for Von Karma, and brought about the Turnabout. He was a truly wicked man. The way he looked down on defense attorneys as he would bugs- was great. How he shocked Phoenix Wright, literally, was quite awesome. He stole the case information to cover up what he had done. He seemed to anticipate Nick's every move. He was certainly a worthy rival. But he was brought down kind of easy in my opinion. For someone who thought so far ahead of everybody else, to even retrain a parrot, he should've went down fighting a lot harder than he did. He just refused to allow a metal detector scan his body. Then they did it anyway, and he came up with a pretty poor lie. And then Phoenix has him cornered. That brings on a pretty epic breakdown. Banging his head against the wall? He was driven insane by what Phoenix Wright would do. Of course he just blames Edgeworth. I think his strive for perfection was done very well. He was so concerned with it, that he killed Gregory Edgeworth for putting a blemish on his record. Revenge for something so small. It's almost insane. One had to wonder just how many innocent people he got put in jail, and how many guilty people went free because he only cared about winning.
A great villain, but I think he needed a much better lead up. Being undefeated for 40 years is VERY impressive. Controlling the judge is incredible. A great character, and certainly one of the best villains out there. He was cunning. Having Yogi kill Hammond was a great move. Of course he should've made sure the letter was burned himself. But he couldn't do that. So there were holes in his plans, but they were few and far between. He had a brilliant mind. But again, it would've been interesting to see more on him.
8. Manfred von Karma
He doesn't inspire as much hatred as Dahlia, nor does he do so much to affect you like Engarde. What puts him over those other two is that you actually get to face off against him in the courtroom. As far as the prosecutors you face go, he's definitely the best. He always has a counter to any of your HOLD ITs and OBJECTIONs, and he kicks your ass for 95% of the case before you nail him in the end. It's great stuff. Von Karma's attitude, his commitment to being perfect, is another thing I love about him. For Engarde and Dahlia, their criminal tendencies are mostly about their own selfish motives. Von Karma cares more about his perfect record than anything else, whichI suppose is a bit ridiculous, but I think it's a cooler and more interesting character trait than just Engarde and Dahlia's motives.
So yeah, for those two big reasons he's the #1 PW villain in my view.
8. Manfred von Karma
Case(s): DL-6, 1-4
Oh man. Manfred von Karma...the first ever "real" murderer. All the other murderers before this were simple and easy. Sahwit was nothing. REDD WHITE OF BLUECORP was intimidating...that's it. Dee...not even a murderer. Yanni...he was taking instructions. But...von Karma? Hell, even in Trial 1 and 2, he was probably more evil than anyone else before him. <_< I mean, seriously. Let's see...where to begin...well, trial 1 would be where you first meet him. There's a lot of hype about von Karma...Edgeworth telling you that he was his mentor. The fact that von Karma has been prosecuting for 40 years and haven't lost a single case. Yeah. Then, you actually meet him in court. And holy damn. He is completely insane and annoying. He is easily the hardest prosecutor in the entire series. He just objects to everything you say. You can't make a single argument. And hell, even his OBJECTION will take you down. You're just going along and BAM. This demonic sounding OBJECTION. You're just completely scared, thinking what the hell just came out of your DS. It turns out to be von Karma's voice. Yeah. It's the perfect voice. The voice that pretty much comes from the demon himself.
Seriously, Lotta's testimony isn't so bad...but with von Karma around? Yeah. He will just completely rip you apart. Hell, if von Karma was the prosecutor for 1-1, it would be incredibly difficult to win. It will definitely be longer than only one trial day, that's for sure. Yeah. von Karma just has complete control the entire trial. von Karma even manages to get Edgeworth the Guilty verdict for a few seconds...until Maya comes out to save you. That was great moment, with Maya's outburst. Seriously. Then...comes Trial 2. von Karma says the trial will end in 3 minutes...and he almost gets Edgeworth the Guilty verdict...again. But Larry saves the day instead of Maya this time. Really not much to say in Trial 2...same deal with Trial 1. von Karma shoots down every point you make until Phoenix manages to prolong the trial for another day. Then comes Investigation 3. Here, von Karma gets a bit more backstory. That von Karma fought Gregory Edgeworth in court...right before DL-6 happened. And that Gregory got von Karma his only penalty in his entire career. Also...it turns out that von Karma was also the person who wrote to Yanni about the murder plans. Then...
That's when it happens...when von Karma faces Phoenix finally...outside of court. This sets the scene for a pretty epic moment. Phoenix and von Karma try to chat about everything going on about the case, but von Karma doesn't talk. Eventually, once you show the letter to von Karma...he pulls out a taser. Yeah, that's right. Phoenix is, like, "DON'T TAZE ME, BRO", while von Karma has that sinister smirk on his face. He zaps both Maya and Phoenix...yeah. Just to get that letter. I mena, seriously. You don't get more awesome than that. Don't mess with von Karma in court or else your case just completely falls apart and your client will be declared guilty. Don't mess with von Karma out of court or else you'll get zapped.
Trial 3 of Case 1-4. I just may very well call this the best trial day ever. I mean, let's see...Polly's cross-examination...solving DL-6...and finally nailing von Karma. But the main thing here is von Karma, so let's focus on that. von Karma just sorta sits back in this trial day. He even offers Phoenix to cross-examine Polly. Eventually, Edgeworth is finally declared Not Guilty...only for Edgeworth to confess he did DL-6. Yeah...this is all going according to von Karma's plan. He wasn't able to take down Edgeworth in Case 1-4, but he's going to try once more for DL-6. And he's going to go all out...after all, he was the one who did the murder. But it doesn't hit Phoenix and Maya that he did the murder until later on. Once they did realize...yeah. That was just...whoa. Of course, von Karma is completely fine at the accusation. In fact, he just simply laughs it off. However...once you pull out the metal detector...yeah. That's the beginning of the end for von Karma. You can tell, as this the first time he begins to sweat. You finally get von Karma to go the defensive...that's a great feeling. And this is followed by...the epic headbang. This still remains as one of the best moments in Phoenix Wright history. 3 days to hold off von Karma...and it's the damn toughest 3 days there is. And then you finally manage to take him down. He just bangs his head against the wall as you feel a great surge of satisfaction. Yeah...von Karma is one of the best villains.
So...a summary of why von Karma is so great. Easily the most toughest opponent in court, thus making the case very difficult. Everything about von Karma is intimidating, even his OBJECTION. The taser moment and all of 1-4 Trial 3...just complete excellence from von Karma. He may have a had a stupid reason for murder...after all, the only thing Gregory did was score a penalty on his record. But yeah. von Karma is just a completely excellent villain as a whole. He's just...wow. Completely great. And yet...there's 7 characters who are better than him. Yeah...PW's cast is just that damn awesome.
5. Manfred von Karma
- the first time I played 1-4, I hated von Karma. he was annoying, he objected at everything, he was just a huge nuisance.
- replaying it, though? he's the greatest lawyer the game has ever seen. you could fuse Phoenix, Edgeworth and Franziska and you still wouldn't be able to touch von Karma. he is absolutely perfect, right down to the point where it seems like he's won the case even without any real evidence.
- von Karma puts the fear of god into Phoenix moreso than any other prosecutor. he basically won a Guilty sentence, and useless Maya of all people was the only thing keeping Edgeworth alive. he's just a perfect lawyer. he doesn't even so much as sweat until you present the metal detector.
- as a "last boss", von Karma is absolutely perfect. there's nothing more thrilling than taking this guy down in Phoenix Wright -- no, in gaming period. I don't particularly like the guy, but as far as an antagonist goes, no one's close in the PW series.
4. Manfred von Karma
Holy. ****ing. Cow. Dahlia may have her backstory, and all her deep, intricate connections to every single character in the PW universe, and may have all those nice, finer, subtle yet provocative details that make a great villain, but she can’t hold an audience like Manfred von Karma.
And just like that, this guy has your undivided attention. You fear for YOUR LIFE, when just looking at this guy. His evil smile, his finger snaps, his fast slam, his thundering OBJECTION… If Dahlia is truly a person to fear, I wouldn’t want to be in the same country as von Karma. One word can sum up this guy, and I think you know what it all is.
Manfred von Karma is perfect, and he will not accept anything shorter. Now, going through all this, yes there is no doubt that von Karma is the more “typical” style villain, being more clichéd. But there’s nothing wrong with that and he does it PERFECTLY, like himself. So, let’s jump back. We have an undefeated prosecutor. The best in the land. And one day, while not defeated, he gets a small mark on his record for forging evidence, by none other than Gregory Edgeworth. So what else would Mr. Perfect be at a tiny little smudge on his record? Infuriated? No. Not Manfred von Karma. Infuriated is an understatement. At least, on the inside, he is BEYOND INSANE WITH RAGE that his perfect slate is blemished. But what does he do? He just goes and does what he needs to do. Kills Gregory, secretly makes sure the blame is on his son, and while he’s at it, since he knows he wants to set it up such that it looked like Miles was guilty, revels in the fact that a psychic medium who speaks to Gregory says Yogi killed him, knowing that Gregory would be lying, that Gregory assumed he was shot by Miles. He did everything he needed to do to pin it on Miles, perfectly hiding the evidence needed. Confusing? Yes. Not to Manfred von Karma. He was shot. The door opened, and he thought up this entire plan in under a second. He knew it was Fate to kill Gregory Edgeworth right then and there and he did. Everything else he figured out immediately, like the fact he had one bullet inside him, which had to be taken into account.
He also knew that Yogi would go free, since he was clearly innocent, at least von Karma knew, and that Yogi would want revenge, on both Hammond, for making him fake insanity and losing his wife, and Edgeworth, for pinning the blame on him in the first place, when it was obvious (to Yogi anyway) that Edgeworth could have been the only one to kill his father. So, to complete von Karma’s master plan, 15 years later, he sends Yogi the infamous note… and this is the only place where von Karma messed up… was not making sure Yogi hid the letter better. As Manfred said, “He should have destroyed it as soon as he read it.” or something to that effect. But, he does what he has to do to get it back anyway… and what else what a perfect evil villain do best? TASER! Yet, in the process, he dropped his downfall… that extra bullet. Now, the second part here of von Karma’s plan I have to imagine was planned out well in advance, and perfected as time went along. But by taking Miles under his own wing, and creating him in his own image, he knew how much harder it would hit home when Miles realized that he was the one who killed his father, and the satisfaction von Karma would get out of being the one to prosecute hom to his death.
von Karma knew everything that was going on at the crime scene at all times. I mean, he ****ing knew that the bird knew about DL-6! HE TAUGHT THE BIRD TO NOT SAY DL-6 ANYMORE! If that doesn’t show his striving for perfection, then I don’t know what will. He never does a “nervous” pose on the stand until the very end, when you bring up the bullet he dropped. And that’s because he as complete control over the courtroom, all the evidence, and all the goings on. I mean, he can run the judge up the wall (though I guess all the main prosecutors did, but von Karma was the first major one, and the way he does it when you first meet him is simply amazing), and claim the trial will be over in 3 minutes (oh yeah, I guess he did get upset when that happened… can you blame him?).
And to top it all off, part of his plan is to leave the bullet inside him. Can you believe that? He thought that far ahead of time. He knew getting it taken out would leave a record, yes, but I’m pretty sure he knew he’d have to do that to be able to get away with everything. It was the key to his plan, and Phoenix, being the amazing lawyer he is, was able to pull out Gumshoe’s old metal detector and wreck him once and for all.
So yes, von Karma may not be the most subtle of villains, but he’s the most intimidating guy that can be made for a game like this, and he’s just so intense and into it, that breaking him is the most satisfaction moment in the entire series. I think Funk said it best though about von Karma. That von Karma is so amazing that he can turn water into wine. Then he can turn that wine into incriminating evidence.
FUN FACT: Both von Karma and Dahlia ruined Misty’s life. Cool.
10. Manfred von Karma
The Good: There's not a more intimidating character in the series than Manfred von Karma. On the first day of the case, he runs the court, not the Judge. Everyone is afraid to stand up to the guy. Even Phoenix doesn't even have the guts to name von Karma as Gregory Edgeworth's murderer at first. From his demonic "OBJECTION!" to his finger snaps, you don't mess with this guy, and you can't get anything past him. You will rarely press a witness's statement without getting a von Karma objection. In most every way, Manfred von Karma is perfect. Before the case has even begun, he knows exactly how it's going to go down. He leaves nothing to chance, and he is always one step ahead of the game. He even retrains a parrot, for cryin' out loud! He beats you to the DL-6 evidence, and blasts you with a taser for good measure. In terms of ability, nobody beats him. He's even got Phoenix Wright beaten within 15 minutes until Larry Butz showed up, and he would've won on day one and day three if it hadn't been for Maya.
The Best: What makes Manfred von Karma the best villain is the fact that you have to fight with him every step of the way. Engarde is a defendant, and Dahlia and Gant are witnesses. Manfred von Karma is a prosecutor. Everything you do in 1-4 goes through him, and he has this aura of unbeatableness that no one else in the series does. He doesn't even so much as sweat until you bust out the metal detector. Oh, and presenting the metal detector might be one of the best evidence present moments in the entire series. And then von Karma beating his head against the wall, holy crap, dude. Taking this guy down is very satisfying. You couldn't ask for a better "final boss."
The Bad: Manfred von Karma's motivation as a villain is kinda lame and shallow. Killing Gregory Edgeworth just because he got a penalty? Of course, battling with von Karma is so great that you're kinda willing to overlook stuff like that. The dude's just insane. Also, why is it that Manfred von Karma can get caught using falsified evidence, get a penalty, and STILL win the case, while Phoenix Wright gets caught using falsified evidence and auto-loses? That doesn't make any sense.
The Worst: I'm not sure how von Karma managed to let Maya get away with that bullet that ended up taking him down. I would think he would notice, and that he wouldn't be so careless about that. Like with Gant, it seems to be an out-of-character moment that led to his demise.