|“||Hm. So, it's come to this after all. You were always so full of confidence, Mr. Edgeworth. But, I rather like that. Because now... I can rip that confidence to shreds.||„|
|~ Sōta Sarushiro|
Sōta Sarushiro is the main antagonist of Gyakuten Kenji 2, being the mastermind behind the entire game's events. In the fan translation of the game, he was named Simon Keyes.
Note: Translated names will be used for convenience.
Simon Keyes was the son of pastry chef Dane Gustavia, and a friend to Horace Knightley, the son of famous sculptor Pierre Hoquet. Gustavia and Dover entered in a dessert contest held by Jeff Master to win his Angel Book recipe, helping each other until the finals, when Dover double-crossed Gustavia and ordered his son to tie Simon in their car, as Simon was helping his father to taste his desserts since he had a disease that made him unable to taste anything. Though Knightley did apologize, Simon resented him, as the two got trapped and almost froze inside the car, until they were saved by the assassin Sirhan Dogen, who took the two kids to the Happy Family orphanage. The two kids ended forgetting much due to the trauma of the incident, and after Gustavia killed Dover he stopped looking for his son.
7 years later, Simon witnessed Dogen assassinating the president of Zheng Fa, Teikun Ō (Di-Jun Huang), in front of the orphanage. Simon overheard Dogen's employers, a body double of the president, the owner of the orphanage Patricia Roland and Chief Prosecutor Blaise Debeste, as they planned of killing Dogen after disposing of the president's body, so he decided to help his savior escape by starting a small fire to distract them.
After the incident, the conspirators made the entire event look like a kidnapping, with the body double-taking the place of the real president and the only witness other than Simon being killed. Simon made a drawing of the murder and gave it to the president's bodyguard, Dai-long Lang, who was investigating the incident by himself. Though Dai-Long hid the truth, he accused Patricia Roland of the kidnapping, but she escaped conviction thanks to Blaise's manipulations.
Patricia subjected Simon to long interrogations. Scared and confused as to why his father didn't come to save him, he ran away from the place. Knowing he couldn't call the police for help since Blaise had total control over them, Simon lost his trust on everyone, deciding on following on Sirhan Dogen's footsteps to take revenge on them all, but knowing of the power they all held he decided to wait for the perfect opportunity.
Simon also wanted to take revenge on Knightley, for he believed his father was Isaac Dover and not Dane Gustavia, due to the trauma having muddled his memories. Simon eventually joined the Berry Big Circus, where he became an apprentice of Regina Berry, who taught him how to tame animals.
When the fake president comes to the USA for a speech, Simon finally sees a chance for his revenge, so he hires Shelly de Killer to assassinate him. Knightley, who had become one of the president's bodyguards, attempts to stop the assassin but ends strangled, being saved by Ethan Rooke, another bodyguard, who subdues de Killer and injures him.
Knightley and Simon had kept in touch during all this time, which is when Simon subtly suggests to Knightley to stage a fake assassination plan to raise the president's ratings, which Knightley takes as a good opportunity to kill Rooke and take his place as a chief bodyguard.
The Imprisoned Turnabout
After Knightley is imprisoned, Simon takes the chance to get revenge both on him and Patricia Roland, who had become the prison's warden. At this time, Dogen was imprisoned and was blackmailing Roland.
Simon had been playing correspondence chess with both Knightley and Dogen, secretly making both plays the game with each other by translating the correspondence from English to Braille and vice-versa, as he expected this would make the paranoid Roland believe Knightley was one of Dogen's minions. When Simon visited Knightley on the detention, he brought to Knightley his portable chess box, hiding a chisel with one of Dogen's bells inside. When Roland found the chisel, she got desperate and killed Knightley.
However, Simon was accused of the murder, because he was the only one at the time with access and opportunity to commit the crime, since the circus had been performing for the inmates at that time. Thankfully for him, Raymond Shields become his lawyer, as at this time Miles Edgeworth was working as his assistant to investigate Knightley's murder. Simon managed to convince Edgeworth to help him by playing the innocent card, which worked as Edgeworth was able to reveal Roland as the true culprit and get her imprisoned and Simon free of all charges.
The Forgotten Turnabout
Simon's next target was Blaise Debeste. He anonymously contacted Jill Crane, the girlfriend of the witness from the SS-5 incident, and told her about Blaise and how he killed her boyfriend. At the same time, he also anonymously contacted Blaise, warning him that Jill Crane would try to exact revenge on him. With this, Simon expected that one would kill the other. He also prepared for the case Blaise killed Jill, by calling Kay Faraday and drugging her to leave her unconscious. He planted a bug on Kay's badge and took her to the Grand Tower, where the Prosecutorial Investigation Committee was based, by using a hot air balloon, planning on dropping her there so that Blaise would frame her for the murder and Edgeworth would come to her rescue and expose Blaise.
When Simon reached the top of the building, he saw both the judge Justine Courtney and the fake president talking. The impostor noticed the balloon and told Courtney to leave, drawing his gun and shooting at the balloon. Simon took the opportunity and dropped the balloon over the impostor, killing him. He then took the impostor's corpse and dropped the unconscious Kay on the building, taking the corpse to a refrigerated warehouse to throw off the time of his death.
Everything goes according to his plan, as Blaise kills Jill and frames Kay, who is then saved by Judge Courtney and Edgeworth, who both exposes Blaise and get him indicted for the murder. On the next night, Simon takes the impostor's body and gets it to the temporary film lot next to the Grand Tower. Once there, he witnesses as John Marsh, an actor in a movie being filmed there, accidentally starts a fire and makes a giant head prop to fall down, so he takes the opportunity and leaves the body on the lot, expecting John Marsh would be accused of the murder.
The Grand Turnabout
On the morning the fake president's body was discovered by Shi-Long Lang. At the same time, Patricia Roland's trial was about to start. In order to guarantee a guilty verdict, Simon kidnapped John Marsh, since he was judge Courtney's adopted son, in order to blackmail her. However, Blaise Debeste has the same idea and orders his goons to kidnap John to ensure a not guilty verdict, but they instead kidnap Blaise's son Sebastian Debeste, who happened to be the prosecutor presiding over Patricia's trail. At the same time, Blaise had disposed of the evidence incriminating Patricia.
When Edgeworth learns of the kidnapping of John and the disappearance of Sebastian, he decides to search for them. At that time, Simon had come to watch Roland's trial and helps Edgeworth by giving him a hint to John's location. Edgeworth finds Sebastian trapped on Blaise's own home, but he runs away, so Edgeworth returns to the trial to buy time. Once John is found, the trial resumes, at which point Sebastian returns, having looked for the evidence by himself but only finding Dogen's bell inside a piece of paper. Since the paper had an imprint of Blaise's motorcycle glove, this was sufficient for condemning both Roland and Blaise.
With Blaise losing his authority, Edgeworth was able to investigate the SS-5 incident with the help of Shi-Long Lang, which is when they learn the real president had died back then and the present victim was a body double. Thanks to this investigation, Edgeworth finally deduces Simon Keyes is the mastermind behind all the events. Edgeworth confronts Simon on the Berry Big Circus when Simon reveals his true colors and easily refutes all Edgeworth's accusations, but Edgeworth finally proves Simon killed the fake president due to traces of Lion Lilly pollen found on the bottom of his balloon, as the impostor was carrying this flower at the time of his murder and traces of the pollen were also left on his corpse.
All animals which Simon had tamed turn on him, and while he screams for them to look away from him, they all start beating him up one by one.
With Simon finally exposed, Shelly de Killer arrives at the scene and threatens to kill Simon, since he broke his trust by not telling him the president was a fake. However, at the same time, Sirhan Dogen also appears and blocks de Killer's knife, begging the assassin to spare Simon's life. De Killer agrees and escapes, after which Simon is arrested and Dogen turns himself to the police.
Simon Keyes initially appears as a simple and timid guy who gets easily startled. Of course, this is all an act to hide his true colors. Simon is very intelligent, manipulative, perspicacious, and enthusiastic, so he can easily manipulate people by exploiting their emotional weaknesses. Because of his past experiences, Simon grew to distrust everyone and everything and was thus unable to comprehend altruism, always thinking people must have ulterior motives to help others.
- Simon Keyes' name is a play on "Shy Monkeys", which references his timid persona and his job as an animal trainer.
- Simon is the first character in the Ace Attorney franchise to commit murder in the same game as his father (Dane Gustavia). He and his father are also the third example in the series to be family members who are arrested in the same game (Dahlia Hawthorne and Iris Fey, and Lance and Ernest Amano are the two previous examples.)
- Simon is different from previous main antagonists in the Ace Attorney games as he is portrayed as a tragic (yet depraved) villain who allowed the abuse and betrayal inflicted on him to get the better of him rather than a purely evil sociopath like many of the other masterminds before him.
- Ironically, he and Gustavia share quite a lot in common. They are both psychopaths who murdered a highly unsympathetic character (several characters, in Simon's case) while hiding behind a more affable façade. They also were victims of tragic circumstances despite being thoroughly unlikable people. They were also arrested within weeks of each other.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations
Gyakuten Kenji 2/Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth: Prosecutor's Path
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice
Dai Gyakuten Saiban 2: Naruhodō Ryūnosuke no Kakugo