“Um, Nick? You know that problem of yours? That problem where you present evidence that makes no sense? You’re doing it again.”
This is our list of the top 25 female characters of all-time. We’re counting down one by one until we reach the best of the best on Sept. 30.
12) Maya Fey (Ace Attorney) – 4 votes/185 points
Shaun: Maya is fun, charming, optimistic, bubbly, passionate, and dedicated. She’s the best partner anyone could ask for…which is impressive, considering she watched her sister die, got kidnapped by a professional hitman, and was almost the victim of a revenge murder by the most evil, vindictive villain that series has ever had.
She didn’t have to be the perfect foil for the more serious, yet prone to freak outs Phoenix, but their chemistry and dynamic is perfect, and serves as the emotional anchor of these games. Funny and sweet, her banter with Phoenix is the only reason the frustrating Investigations in the first games are tolerable.
It’s also worth noting that her absence in the last two games could have been ignored by the player because of the wealth of great, new characters who have entered the fray; instead, it’s hugely noticeable that she’s gone, almost to a distracting sense. She’s become as part of the Ace Attorney series as Phoenix at this point, and fans can only hope she’ll make a triumphant return for the next Wright adventure.
Chris: Maya might be the unluckiest person in the Ace Attorney series, and that’s no small statement. It would be an oversimplification to say that she serves as the motivation for Phoenix Wright in three critical cases. She’s not a damsel in distress who exists solely to push the player forward.
Maya manages to be upbeat despite everything the world throws at her. A dead sister. The upheaval of her favorite TV show. A kidnapping to force Phoenix to defend a guilty man. But all of these pale in comparison to the events of the final case of the third game, a complicated web of deceit and spiritual transformations that you simply have to experience yourself.
What I like most about Maya is her ability to be the comic relief in a tense situation one moment, but the CAUSE of a tense situation moments later. She’s an integral part of the series in more ways than one, and her interactions with Nick serve as the backbone of the exposition.
I’ve been very disappointed with Maya’s treatment in the two most recent games. All she gets is an offhand mention in Apollo Justice, but that’s easier to forgive considering that Phoenix is no longer the main character. But in Dual Destinies, she gets one on-screen portrait and a couple of lines of dialogue about her, and that’s it — all while Pearls returns to help with some investigating and some Psyche Locks. That’s nonsense, and her appearance in Phoenix Wright x Professor Layton isn’t enough to offset it.
Joseph: Now that I think about it, Maya was a great character for my ego. As the player, I controlled Phoenix. When I wanted him to object, he objected. But I’m no defense attorney. I don’t know if I can handle the rigors of court life. Seriously, a person’s life hangs in the balance. My (often incorrect) presentation of the evidence will either liberate or condemn my client. That’s a lot of pressure to deal with.
But Maya was there to cheer me on. She told me I could do it. She made me believe in myself, even when the odds were completely against me. She was even trained as a spirit medium, allowing me to get further
reassurances from my deceased partner. Without Maya, I’m not sure I would have had the strength of will to realize my potential as a defense attorney. Without Maya, a lot of innocent people would be in prison. She may not have been the one objecting, but there’s a reason basketball records assists. Without a great setup, a great play doesn’t happen.
Michaela: Maya Fey is the most messed up, tragic character in the first Phoenix Wright trilogy. But despite the hardships she endures, Maya is still a fun-loving, sweet character that is always considerate of those around her. Her dynamic with Phoenix is great to watch, and her growth throughout the series is compelling. The fact that she has yet to make an appearance since the end of the first trilogy bothers me, but my hope is that she’ll return soon, because it’s hard to have a Phoenix Wright game without Maya by his side.
Christine: As Phoenix Wright’s sidekick in the games, I like how Maya has a bubbly enthusiasm about the work they’re doing and she’s there to give Phoenix a little pep talk when he has his moments of doubt in his ability to win a case. Maya keeps certain segments of the game light and funny whenever you’re searching a room for clues, which makes what could be a boring process actually really fun to play. I’m always eager to hear her impressions or reactions to certain objects that can be examined, especially when the things that come out of her mouth makes Phoenix want to shake his head sometimes. Maya keeps the player engaged and she’s like the kid sister Phoenix never had.