A series of unfortunate events has led Makoto "Edamame" Edamura to adopt the life of crime—pickpocketing and scamming others for a living. However, after swindling a seemingly clueless tourist, Makoto discovers that he was the one tricked and, to make matters worse, that the police are now after him.
While making his escape, he runs into the tourist once again, who turns out to be a fellow con man named Laurent Thierry, and ends up following him to Los Angeles. In an attempt to defend his self-proclaimed title of "Japan's Greatest Swindler," Makoto challenges his rival to determine the better scammer. Accepting the competition, Laurent drops them off outside a huge mansion and claims that their target will be the biggest mafia boss on the West Coast.
Jumping from city to city, Great Pretender follows the endeavors of Makoto alongside the cunning Laurent and his colorful associates in the world of international high-stakes fraud. Soon, Makoto realizes that he got more than what he bargained for as his self-declared skills are continually put to the test.
Great Pretender is an enticing crime-comedy anime surrounding the cunning and elusive world of brilliant crooks. The story revolves around Makoto Edamura, once an honest hard-worker who tumbles down the rabbit hole of deceit after circumstances force him into becoming ‘Japan’s greatest swindler’. Edamura’s quite roguish life takes an interesting turn when he gets entangled with a gentleman thief, Laurent Thierry, and his mystifying criminal syndicate.
The anime series carries us delving into the world of high-stakes con games, where trickery rules. Each arc is a new heist, by our criminals of virtue, against the corrupt and exploitative elites, set across various international backdrops, moving from Los Angeles to Singapore, London to Tokyo. Filled with twists and turns, Great Pretender balances wit, humor, and drama while presenting a fresh take on the ‘criminals playing heroes’ genre.
Diving headfirst into the review, Great Pretender is a whirlwind adventure where one captivating heist seamlessly blends into the next. Every character is painted with multiple strokes, giving them depth and making them appear real and vulnerable. Be it Edamura’s struggle to find redemption or Laurent’s incessant charisma, there’s always more than what meets the eye, keeping viewers on the edge and completely engaged.
Befitting its title, the anime excels in the art of deception, making us ponder at every moment, “Who’s fooling whom?” Great Pretender celebrates the unpredictable, regularly turning the plot inside out with calculated cleverness. Each episode is crafted so carefully with intricate details, leaving even the most discerning viewers guessing about the true nature of things till the very last second.
Animation and Sound
Next up—animation. Wit Studio, known for titan titles like Attack on Titan, is behind Great Pretender‘s stunning visuals. With a vivid color palette often reminiscent of a vibrant pop-art painting, each shot is a feast for the eyes. Rounded off by 2D animation that is as smooth as it is pleasing, the international locales are depicted with great detail, making them come alive on screen.
Smooth animation aside, a unique aspect of Great Pretender is its audial experience. The personality-rich jazz music, sprinkled throughout the series, lends it a sophisticated aura, setting the mood correctly for the big scams and sizzling drama. Vocal performances are excellent, each tailored so well to their character’s persona that it becomes hard to dissociate the voice from the character.
Great Pretender is a sparkling gem in the treasure trove of anime, packed with charismatic characters, engaging storylines, and heart-pumping suspense. Its artistry is definitely one for the books! For anime lovers seeking a fun-filled gloriously unpredictable series, this anime is a must-stream!
It’s less about swindling, more about being human. It’s about redemption, love, and more importantly, it’s deceivingly heartfelt. By the end of the series, you are left feeling tricked, but in a good way, making you come back for more. It’s an exhilarating ride that should not be missed! So, without giving away any spoilers, grab your popcorn and buckle up for this con-comedy rollercoaster that is the Great Pretender.
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