Random cultural note of the day:

I'm told that in the Marvel vs Capcom games, one of Phoenix Wright's support characters is the police dog Missile, who figures in a couple different cases of the original trilogy. Americans might not immediately recognize the breed, but Missile is a shiba inu. His alternate "costumes" correspond to the various combinations of coat markings and color officially recognized for the breed. The Japanese find it hilarious whenever Missile comes up, as if Gumshoe had promised Phoenix and Maya a working K9 unit, and then shown up with a yappy, derpy little Maltese stuffed into a tote bag.

Centuries ago, shiba inu were mountainside hunting dogs, used in a terrier-like fashion to chase small game out from behind rocks and under bushes. Modern Japanese consider them to be prissy, expensive house pets. Like other Asian spitzes, they're clever, but also prone to snapping at things and very slow to warm to strangers and other dogs -- although, anecdotally, they seem to have a standoffish sort of respect for cats. (Bringing them into a house with small, rude, sticky-fingered children is not such a good idea.) They're also fussy to the point of neurosis about keeping their faces and feet clean, and have a thick double coat that requires daily brushing. Missile's happy-go-lucky personality and the fact that he's bonded with Gumshoe of all people suggests that the dog has not in fact noticed he's a prissy, expensive house pet, and would be crushed if anyone told him.

Edgeworth's dog, Pess, is also a little red shiba inu, and rather more representative of the breed. The Japanese also find this hilarious, but mostly because it means Edgeworth has somehow managed to find and purchase himself in dog form.

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