Great Pretender is a Netflix crime comedy anime series directed by Hiro Kaburagi.
The series follows four misfit swindlers Makoto Edamura, Laurent Thierry, Abigail Jones and Cynthia Moore, who are kind of like the modern-day Robin Hoods. They swindle money off criminals to impart justice for their unsuspecting victims. The series features three separate heists, fitted within 14 episodes.
This is such a fun series. There’s so much going on. Plus, it’s got a lot of heart, humour and thrill. When Edamura, the Japanese conman, comes across French rival Laurent, it seemed like a match made in swindler heaven. You know right off the bat that something fun and exciting is about to take place. Right from the first episode, Great Pretender takes you on a fun and thrilling ride down con-artist heaven, with exciting adventures and some very emotional situations.
And it’s not like there’s just conning. Each story features some wonderful backstory to the characters, defining why they are who they are. As I keep repeating, there’s a lot of heart and heartbreak involved, and their reasons behind their actions is honestly wonderful and relatable. There’s not one moment of boredom or slack. When we’re not focusing on the heist at hand, which in itself is rare, we’re exploring the matters of the heart. It’s a wonderful mixture of both these things that makes you look forward to the next episode.
Case 1: Los Angeles Connection
As Edamura meets Laurent while on a heist, they become unlikely partners. However, soon Edamura realises that Laurent is in for the big game, and he might be in for more than he bargained for. We are also introduced to Abigail and Cynthia here. Notably, Cynthia’s introduction was surprising as well as funny. We also get to know more about Edamura and his background. This case sets the precedent for what to expect from the later episodes.
Case 2: Singapore Sky
Next, we move to Singapore where the gang, and a very reluctant Edamura, take part in an air-racing race. Their next target has unfairly caused a pilot to be confined to a wheelchair, and thus the gang swoops in to put an end to his tirade. In this episode, we get to know more about Abbie and her painful past. She is honestly so relatable – her general disdain for life and her ever-present hunger is something I fully understand and appreciate.
Case 3: Snow of London
In Nice, the gang plan to take down a sleazy and greedy art auctioneer who takes advantage of people’s weaknesses to get what he wants. This story has a personal connection with Cynthia, who, many years ago, was wronged by a situation created by James, the auctioneer. This is one of the most interesting cases in the series, and honestly has a lot of heart. You feel bad for Farrah and Thomas. Going through a vulnerable time is bad enough. However, being taken advantage of during that time is worse.
Summing up: Great Pretender
All the stories in Great Pretender not only talk about great heists, which is obviously a given, but also the morality of a lot of situations. Sure, conning people is bad, but is it bad to con people who hurt others without a conscience? A lot to think about.
The humour is also top-notch. The series is very self-aware, and points out a lot of things that people are subjected to, such as people mistaking Edamura for Chinese or Korean when, in reality, he’s Japanese.
It’s a fun, engaging and often-times heartwarming journey with 4 people who are amazing in their fields. Great Pretender is honestly worth a watch, if not multiple.
The season ends on a slight cliff-hanger, and I really need another season to know Laurent’s backstory!
Great Pretender is streaming on Netflix.
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