I’ve been playing Ace Attorney lately and I’m curious about the differences in the localization compared to the original.

For this one, I’m curious about Edgeworth’s choice of words for “partner”. In AA3, he stated a very iconic line to Phoenix, “‥‥それでは‥‥ あとは、たのんだぞ。‥‥相棒。” which was localized as, “And with that... I leave the rest in your capable hands... partner.”

In AAI1, Kay talks about how she hopes to find a partner (相棒) that she’s able to trust one day, referring to the partnership between Edgeworth and Gumshoe (prosecutor+detective, similar to her Dad and her “uncle” Badd.) Edgeworth then replies to her with, “...However, I can say that it is truly wonderful to find a partner (相手) you can trust.” The full scene can be watched here, starting at 10:17. https://youtu.be/mZlxE4m2sqI?t=617

Exactly what is the difference between 相棒 and 相手? Edgeworth refers to Phoenix using 相棒, but refers to Gumshoe using 相手. The fact that he uses 相手 despite Kay using 相棒 is interesting to me.

Mostly unrelated, but in DGS, Asogi refers to Ryunosuke as partner (相棒) multiple times in the first case.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

2 Answers 2


In this video, 相手 in 信頼できる相手 is just "someone". The word 相手 itself has nothing to do with friendship or trust. An 相手 can be your enemy (戦う相手) or a total stranger (駅への道を聞く相手). Perhaps you can forget the translation of "partner" if it confuses you. See: What does 相手 mean in 「素直な自分をぶつけられる相手」?

相棒 refers to such a relationship like Naruhodo/Phoneix and Mayoi/Maya in Ace Attorney, Lara Croft and Jonah Maiava in Tomb Raider, Wander and Agro in Shadow of the Colossus, Mario and Yoshi in Super Mario and so on. An 相棒 can be a person or an animal, or occasionally an inanimate object like a motorcycle, but not an organization. It's like friends, but it's usually not a lets-go-to-movie-together kind of friendship. 相棒 is someone who you trust and "get the job done" with. It's not a light word, but if you already know what it means for a tsundere character like Edgeworth to call someone an 相棒, you correctly understand its connotation.

In the video, note that Edgeworth does not want to admit Gumshue is his trustworthy 相棒. At least externally, he regards Gumshue merely as his subordinate who is sometimes useful. That's why he said that the question is not answerable (because Gumshue is not his 相棒 in the first place). Instead, he added, "However, (generally speaking,) finding someone you can trust is a good thing." 相棒 is a big word, and most people do not have one. Edgeworth is also basically an independent person, so I understand saying "you should find an 相棒" may sound a bit too irresponsible.


While dictionaries will often list both as 'partner', the accompanying definitions should give more insight.

相手 means partner in the simple sense of 'the other party'. This can be a lab partner, a conversation partner, a sparring partner, or anything that doesn't involve anything more than being matched with the other party.

相棒 has a much different meaning and generally means anybody who you feel extremely close to and share a history with, similar to calling someone who is not a blood-relative your brother or sister. Think of this as equivalent to 'pal', 'buddy', or one's 'mate'. If there is not positive feeling toward or mutual history with this individual (or want to keep these feelings/history out of the picture), 相手 might be used instead.

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