I feel like Great Pretender, an amazing anime series that quickly became a favorite of mine was pretty much overlooked. Due to the pandemic, 2020 was a pretty weird year for anime, but we still got amazing series like Dorohedoro and new seasons of Attack on Titan, Haikyuu, and Re: Zero. In the midst of it all though, some series have been skipped.
Despite its qualities, most people I know have not seen or even heard of Great Pretender. If you are amongst those people, I will give you a couple of reasons why you shouldn’t sleep on this anime series.
Amazing characters and story
The story focuses on the four main characters: the charming Laurent Thierry, the aloof Abigail Jones, the seductive Cynthia Moore, and the kind yet impulsive Edamura Makoto. What is great about these characters is that they fit into archetypes that we already know and love in the anime, such as the kuudere (Abigail) or the swoon-worthy mentor (Laurent). This odd bunch operates as a con artist team, scamming rich people who use their money for dirty deeds.
But even if they have a certain familiarity, these characters have a dynamic backstory that is woven into the plot, they are more nuanced than the archetypes they represent and their character arc is.
For example, Edamura Makoto seems like your usual anime protagonist that usually gets his way in the end. But what sets him apart is that he doesn’t win purely because he is a protagonist and has good convictions, but because he uses his various skills, his emotional intelligence, and the help of his colleagues. Also, his character arc is very representative of him as a person: by the end of the series, he doesn’t change his biggest flaw but more rather weaves it into an interesting scheme.
The story is divided into four cases that focus on the backstory of one of the main characters, scamming a rich person that does illegal things, and one of the main four dealing with their inner demons and making peace with their regrets. All these cases eventually come together in a bigger overarching plot.
Unlike a great majority of anime, Great Pretender is set worldwide. From Japan to America, China, England, and Saudi America, this anime takes a trip everywhere on this Earth.
Another benefit of this is that the cast is very diverse. There is good LGBTQ+ representation, with Laurent being pansexual, his sexuality is explicitly shown in the anime. Also, Great Pretender finally represents people of other ethnicities in a respectful way, especially black people. A lot of black people’s representation in anime is borderline racist, so it is amazing to see that this trend is being slowly but surely left behind.
With the setting being so international, Great Pretender is much easier to get into than most anime I’ve seen. It doesn’t seem to be as imbued with Japanese cultural references so that someone who hasn’t seen anime before can’t get into it. In a way, Great Pretender combines story elements and tropes from both Western and Eastern media.
The ending theme is just too cute
The ending theme is “The Great Pretender” by Freddie Mercury. And the visuals are with cute cats being cute. I rest my case here.
I hope you will check out this gem of an anime. If this ever gets you on an anime binge, we got you. We have a lot of other anime-related articles that you can go through for recommendations.