The Ace Attorney series owes much of its success to its cast of colorful, unique characters.  But do YOU have what it takes to pit your own creativity against Takumi, Yamazaki, Iwamoto, Nuri, and Fuse?  Court Records wants to find out!

This contest was created to give everyone a chance to show off their Ace Attorney original characters, in the form of either a fanart, a fanfiction, or a custom made sprite. 

2017 marked a year of 15th-anniversary celebrations for the series (even if the actual anniversary was in 2016), so in that spirit we're making this a very open-ended OC contest - any "era" of Ace Attorney is welcome, from back in Victorian London up to Khura'in in the 2020s.

You can read the rules below, but if you want to get an even better idea of what the OC contest is about, be sure to check out last year's winners.

General Guidelines

Rules

Deadline:

 

All entries must be received by 11:59 PM, February 28th, 2018 (US Pacific Time). The staff will weed through the entries to make sure they all fit the requirements, and then open voting will begin March 3rd (or sooner) and continue for the next two weeks. If all goes smoothly, winners should be announced March 18th or 19th.
Eligibility:  Everyone is eligible.  Court Records does not disqualify anyone based on their age or location.  However, you MUST be willing to disclose your address to the CR administration via email in the event that you win.  Otherwise, how can we send you your prize?  Only the winners will be asked for this information.

If you have an original character but are not willing to accept a prize, we ask that you refrain from formally entering.  But feel free to share it anyway on the forum or new site!
Requirements: The contest will be split into three divisions: Fanart, Fanfiction, and Sprites.  Entries in different divisions will not be judged against each other, unless there is a very low sprite and/or fanart count, in which case we reserve the right to combine those categories.  Each division has its own set of requirements, so make sure you read the rules carefully (scroll to the bottom).
Restrictions: This is an Ace Attorney contest, and as such your characters must somehow fit into the context of an Ace Attorney court of law (even a Khura'inese, Victorian, or Labyrinth City one.)  Examples would be things like defense attorney, prosecutor, judge, detective, juror, witness, or even victim.  If the judges aren't convinced that your characters have a close enough relationship to Ace Attorney (through playing one of the aforementioned roles or being somehow connected to a canon character) they may be disqualified. Note that you may create a character that fits in any Ace Attorney setting, including spin-offs, but they must still be in the universe established in the games. (So no great-great-great-great grandson of Phoenix in the 23rd century.)

Spoilers for the games should be avoided as much as possible. Unmarked DGS2 spoilers are not allowed, period.

You are not allowed to submit different incarnations of canon characters (if you had invented "Hobo Nick" he would not be eligible).

Each participant is allowed ONE entry of one character. You can not submit characters that you have submitted to the OC Contest previously, even if it was in a different category.

If you submit sprites, you cannot also submit a fanart.  Choose wisely!

Your work must be yours and yours alone. No collaboration allowed. If you and your friend have created characters in the same canon and wish to enter, you can NOT use each other's characters in your entry. It's okay if you mention other OCs in the description portion, but they cannot appear in your art or fic (since characters should stand on the strength of their own entries).

There will be a first place, second place, and third place winner in each category.  Do not submit joint entries.  Do not hire someone to do your entry for you.

If you are caught submitting an entry you did not create, or using a character you did not create (such as spriting a character from a different game) you will be disqualified and banned from all future CR contests.  We do not take plagiarism lightly. If you suspect someone is stealing work, please contact us immediately.

It IS okay if you have posted your character elsewhere before participating in this contest.
Appropriateness: Because this contest will have open voting among fans, all entries should not feature any excessive violence, nudity, or graphic sexual content.  Keep it at a PG-13 rating or lower, please.

Prizes

Each category will receive the same prizes.

First place winners in each category will receive the Japanese Apollo Justice 3DS Limited Edition, as well as the Ace Attorney 15th anniversary orchestra CD. As the 3DS is not region-free, we will also provide winners with a digital code for the US/EU version of the game (3DS or mobile) if desired.

Second place winners in each category will receive the 15th anniversary orchestra CD, as well as a postcard from the Japanese AA1-6 collection featuring art from the series.

Third place winners in each category will receive two of the postcards from the AA1-6 collecction.

In addition, all first-, second-, and third-place winners will receive an attorney's pin from Fangamer.

Judging

Judging will primarily be handled through public voting after the submission period. Submissions will be checked over by the staff for appropriateness before public voting begins. In the event we receive a large number of submissions in a category - e.g. to the point that public voting becomes infeasible - we reserve the right to select a set of finalists.

Unless something comes up, winners will be announced March 18th or 19th.

Entries will be considered in three categories:

Originality:  Is the entry unique?
Continuity:  Does it seem like a character that could actually fit in the Ace Attorney universe?
Execution:  Is the work well made and technically impressive, and are the characters interesting?

Remember that the AA universe is very diverse, but don't go overboard in the strange department.

Entering

As with last year, entries should be submitted through the Court-Records redesign beta site.

Please register for the C-R 3.0 beta site (you can use your existing forum login) and post your entry using the fanfiction gallery (for fanfic entries) or fanart gallery (for fanart and sprites). Then provide the following form in the description field:

Entrant's Name:
Entrant's Website (optional):
Character's Name:
Age:
Occupation:
Brief Physical Description:
Brief Personality Description:
Connection to canon characters (if applicable):
Brief Background:

Finally, make sure you tag your work "occ2018" so that it can be easily found.

Registration is required to enter. If you can't register for whatever reason, please contact us (courtrecord [at] gmail [dot] com) and we'll try and work something out.


Be sure to provide enough detail that your voters will be able to get a good sense of what makes your character unique, especially the details that won't necessarily show in your work.  This contest is first and foremost about creating imaginative characters.

Make sure you've read all the rules and division requirements before submitting your entry, or you may be disqualified and unable to re-submit!

FAQ

Q: How much connection to the games should there be in my entry?

A: While some connection to the world of Ace Attorney is necessary (nobody should be mistaking your entry for a Law and Order OC), the best characters can stand on their own without leaning too much on canon characters or plot specifics. There's no rule saying you can't introduce Phoenix's long-lost brother who secretly masterminded DL-6, but if you do, he better be more than a slightly eviller Nick in a different-color suit!

Category-Specific Guidelines

Fanart

As we know how difficult it can be to show the full range of a character in just one piece of fanart, entrants to the fanart division are allowed to submit up to two separate pieces, if they wish.  Your fanart may be a simple character design or depict a scene.  It may have writing on it and feature other canon characters, as long as your characters are the focus.  You can even do a collection of different facial expressions, as might appear in an artbook.

Your fanart must be a polished work.  Any medium is fine, but do NOT submit a scan of a pencil drawing scribbled on line paper you did in your math class.

Your fanart may not depict graphic violence, nudity, or sexual content.  PG-13 is the rule of thumb.

Comics are not eligible.  Do not split your fanart into panels.

Fanart may NOT be animated. 

Fanfiction

Entrants to the fanfiction division are allowed to submit one piece.  It must be complete and it must be at least 1,000 words and no more than 40,000.  Multi-chapter stories are welcome, but do not use that as an excuse to slap two separate fics together.  Whether you add canon characters is up to you but it must be connected to the Ace Attorney universe to be eligible.

If your fic is multi-chapter or especially long, you should make a note when it's posted which chapter(s) the character appears in.  Keep in mind not everyone will have or take the time to read through very long fics, so a short story may have a better shot than a novel.

Make sure your story is properly formatted and has been proof-read before submitting it.

Your fanfiction may be of any genre as long as it does not depict graphic violence, nudity, or sexual content.  Again, PG-13 is the rule of thumb.

Sprites

If your entry is animated, it must go the sprite category.  Entrants to the sprite category may submit one or all of the following:

A sprite sheet of their characters
A single sprite placed on one of the game's backgrounds (text optional)
A single or collection of animated gifs

Entries can be in .png, .gif, or .svg format.  We are NOT allowing Flash based entries this year. 

Sprites can be hand drawn using a graphics program or created using parts from existing sprites (please disclose which sprites you used in your entry).  However, if you choose to piece together existing sprites, you must use at least three different sprites to do so OR combine two sprites with some extra degree of editing (so that it looks enough like someone else).  Here's a handy chart to demonstrate:

Likewise, straight recolors are not acceptable.

Do not try to piece together sprites and pass it off as being from scratch.  we're all VERY familiar with these sprites by now, and we will disqualify you.

If you use sprites from other games in your splicing, you are also required to disclose which ones.  Please keep in mind that part of giving your sprite a sense of continuity with canon AA includes whether or not the sprite looks like it could pop right into a PW game, so do attempt to keep the PW style.  This includes the size of your sprite.  The DS screen is 256x192 pixels, and the 3DS screen 400x240.  If your sprite exceeds that it will not be disqualified, but we are looking for Ace Attorney style sprites above all else.

Your sprites may not depict graphic violence, nudity, or graphic sexual content.  PG-13 is the rule of thumb.

Sprite comics are not eligible.

*Submitting your entry to this contest will be seen as consent for us to add it to the OC Archive, or possibly use to promote the contest in future years.  If you're not comfortable with this please let us know when you submit your entry.

Good luck everyone!

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, direct them to courtrecord [at] gmail [dot] com