Sunday, September 13, 2009

“If I wasn’t laughing…I’d weep”: Klavier Gavin’s Trials and Tribulations

“I’ll bet that smile doesn’t go very deep.”

-Apollo Justice reflecting on Trucy Wright, GS4

Klavier Gavin—star prosecutor of his generation and formerly the lead singer of his own hit band, the Gavinners—is undoubtedly the most open “opponent” in the series to date, as well as the least antagonistic. An easy smile nearly always on his face, he likes to keep the courtroom atmosphere light. However, within the timeframe of GS4, multiple personal tragedies take place that raise questions about his internal stability and, in turn, his ability to maintain his outward buoyancy.

GS4 starts off with a bang when the murderer for case 4-1 turns out to be none other than Apollo’s suave and sophisticated mentor, Kristoph Gavin. There is little to no exposition of Klavier’s feelings about this in the game, but some hints are offered. When Apollo and Klavier first face off in case 4-2, Klavier describes Apollo as the “little boy who bested my brother.” The unmistakable disdain in his tone could be a reflection of the emotions he is still feeling over the incident. (Learning that your older brother killed somebody, after all, would be no insignificant thing, not to mention the idea of that same older brother—a highly skilled attorney—being brought to justice by his own rookie apprentice.) However, any shock, anger or disillusionment felt by Klavier over his older brother’s crime can be guessed at, but are never made explicit.

Klavier continues to suffer when his best friend and band-mate, Daryan Crescend, is found guilty for the murder of Romein LeTouse, an Interpol agent. Daryan’s crime in itself is bad enough, but the fact that he is a detective at the local precinct and has worked with Klavier on past cases makes it even worse. Possibly the aspect of the crime that cuts deepest, though, is the fact that Daryan took advantage of his closeness to Klavier in order to carry out the smuggling of the Borginian cocoon. Again, Klavier keeps his emotions in check for the majority of the trial, but his facade disappears briefly when the truth of Daryan’s personal betrayal comes to light. Yet, by the end of the trial he appears to have resigned himself to Daryan’s guilt. His calm appearance notwithstanding, it is highly likely that he was still struggling to accept what had just happened, at least to some degree.

Let’s take stock of the situation now. In the span of about a month and a half, Klavier was betrayed by his older brother and his best friend, both having committed murder. It is no great stretch to assume the pain and disillusionment he felt over these incidents. Sadly, these were both overshadowed by a far worse tragedy.

The greatest and most devastating revelations take place in case 4-4, and they are as numerous as they are damaging. It was Kristoph Gavin who forged evidence, not Phoenix Wright, whom Klavier had believed to be guilty of said crime for seven whole years; it was Kristoph Gavin who, upon being dismissed by Zak Gramarye, manipulated Klavier into treating Phoenix hostilely and having a special witness ready to decisively condemn him; it was Kristoph Gavin who, having concluded his business with the Mishams, took “protective measures” that resulted in the death of Drew and the near death of Vera, in addition to keeping watch on any others connected to the Gramaryes (namely Phoenix and Spark Brushel); finally, upon being proven guilty of all these crimes, Kristoph flies into a fearful rage, eliminating any remaining vestiges of dignity and respectability. Regarding the suspicious circumstances behind the Zak Gramarye trial, Klavier himself was aware that all was not well, so though the degree of his brother’s guilt may have far exceeded his worst suspicions, he was still probably at least a little prepared for the truth. Nonetheless, the burden was surely a grievous one, a fact best exemplified by the quote this essay is named for:

Klavier: Incredible. If I wasn’t laughing…I’d weep.

The game ends with Kristoph’s fate (insane asylum? death row?) unknown and Klavier’s dissolvement of the Gavinners. With this new emotional scar to bear, will he form a relationship with Apollo, a relationship with chemistry comparable to that which Phoenix and Miles Edgeworth share? Or will he keep his emotions bottled up inside and just deal with it as he’s been doing (at least as far as we know)? One can only do that for so long without it being noticeable, though. It could very well be that Klavier’s personality will undergo subtle changes due to the psychological damage he has born. Whatever happens, though, one thing is certain: Klavier Gavin’s personal traumas cannot be ignored in the evolution of his character, and they will affect him one way or another.

Note: The following text is supplementary and subject to perspective.

As a possible supplement, consider this: it is said that the eyes are the window to the soul. If this is true, and if the mouth by comparison can feign emotions, compare the close-up of Klavier’s whole face with the close-up of just his eyes. Does the picture of just his eyes seem angrier than the one in which his whole face is visible, even though the former seems to be just a smaller slice of the latter?


  1. This may just be me, but I found the dissolving of the Gaviners at the end to It could turn out the way the scene with Franziska at the end of JFA turned out, where it had no lasting impact on her character development in the following installment even though it seems like it should have, buuuuuuut...

    "Understand that I am not Prosecutor Gavin now. I am lead vocal of the Gavinners."

    Klavier talks about keeping his rock star persona separate from his prosecutor persona and vice-versa, which seems ridiculous when you look at how he turns on the charm and plays air guitar durring court sessions, and how his band's idenity is centered around all of its members being involved in the law and law enforcement. Unless...that's not what he means when he distinguishes "Klavier, lead vocalist for the Gavinners" from "Prosecutor Gavin".

    My memory may be playing tricks on me, but he seemed to outwardly express the most genuine emotion when you meet him backstage in the third case. He's quite clearly upset at everything going wrong that day, not just in his words but in his facial expressions. Yet when you see him in court, he's almost always smiling, even when he says things that hint he's actually not so unperturbed and calm.

    What if his musical career and its coresponding persona are his main emotional outlet? Now that his band's disolved, he can't channel his negative emotions away from his prosecuting career with it. And now he's got to deal with his friend's betrayal, his brother's guilt, and both's imprisonment. Methinks we might see a more antagonistic Klavier in the next game.

    (Which would probably make him more similar to previous prosecutor characters, sadly. However, it would also be the first time the player character was actually present at the time of the prosecutor character's personality-turn-for-the-worse, which has some potential to be interesting. )

  2. Your thinking is sweet, deep and complete, but have in mind another character who has struggled alone for seven long years beside Klavier, Phoenix, although we have seen him crying via flashbacks (Classroom trial and Dahlia-Nick relationship)after that Phoenix's character has turned in a tough nut, we can see him struggle and sometimes see him in sadness but we won't see him cry ever, even after his disbarrment, a tough moment in his life besides that moment is really alike a special flashback I mentioned earlier, the classroom trial, and what's worse, even though someone stood for him, (even for the bad intentions) noone believed in him, for seven long years he has clammed up in a shell and changed his kind personality on purpose, giving us the result of the new Phoenix who was accused of murder and being defended by the greenhorn Apollo, I wonder how would it feel to be accused of murder for the third time, shown hypocrisy by the same judge who refuse to listen to an explanation by asking him to return to the defense bench, and to be accused by Apollo of forgery (reminder of the dark events of the disbarrment) and then an uppercut, just to reply with the words "Hey, you know, you should've said something like "Take that!" before hitting someone." And even after that, for seven long years a good kind character (Klavier) has some grudge against poor Phoenix, pointing at him the culprit of the forgery (twice, once seven years ago and the second time at the special jurist trial) but Phoenix patiently stood by until he wanted to see the truth, but let me remark this, the sadness that has felt Phoenix must have passed through Klavier, kindred spirits they may be, but for one thing or another they couldn't be friends, they had to be separated by "dun-dun-dun" Kristoph, both of Phoenix and Klavier have suffered, and at the end most of their sadness have been cleared off, so a next game should be issued, either by Takumi or the director of AAI, otherwise all the fans (including me) should say...OBJECTION!