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I am SO excited to talk about this show on my blog!! I’m actually surprised I haven’t seen too much about The Great Pretender, or maybe I really am living under a rock. I remember hearing about it and I most definitely told myself I’d get to it eventually. Eventually was a year later because I forgot and only remembered when I opened Netflix up and started my usual 5-hour browsing marathon
Lately, I’ve kind of been really annoyed with Crunchyroll on Roku. It just keeps dragging and ok, I like the new layout’s LOOKS, but it’s starting to feel like I’m using the Funimation app, which means I’m very dissatisfied. So then I run to Netflix because it’s so much faster. Sadly, it doesn’t have such a wide variety of shows I’m into (although I am pleasantly surprised by the anime selection, much bigger than I thought it was).
Then this happened. This GEM.
The Great Pretender is a Netflix original anime series (one day I’ll understand what this means), that is two seasons long but that I, an unbiased viewer, believe should be never-ending. It follows the lives of a couple “confidence men” who travel around the world scamming the likes of rich and corrupt individuals and corporations.
And our group of beautiful scammers includes flirty Frenchman Laurent, cute and spunky Japanese boy Edamura, strong and fiery Iraqui Abigail, and sexy and charismatic British-born Cynthia.
Season one follows Team Confidence’s first three cases together, and season two follows up on an extra-long fourth case that reveals much about “the beginning” of it all
Before I start the review, I just want to mention that I watched this in Spanish. I know, lately, almost all of the shows I’ve watched have been in Spanish! I originally did it so my family could watch the shows with me, which turned into a bust, but then I continued because I preferred the Spanish dub to the English. I still watch the subs, but I’m not sure, I’m starting to really like the Spanish dubs
Anyway, onward to the screaming!! Oh, and there will be much of that~
The story starts by introducing us to Edamura (from here on out renamed to Edamame because Laurent and his nicknames), who claims to be Japan’s best scammer, and he’s pretty proud of this fact, as we often see him preening and being all smirky smirky. However, after realizing he’s been out-scammed by pretty boy Laurent, he decides to follow the guy into his car, onto his plane ride, and to Los Angeles…for a new adventure. Obviously, he never got the stranger danger talk because if it weren’t for his chasing, he probably would have been able to save himself some of his future struggles and traumas
Or maybe not. Maybe it was all meant to be
While Edamame’s original plan was to try scamming Laurent again, even going so far as to turn Laurent’s next scam into a game between the two, what he comes to realize is that he’s never truly been in control. Laurent and his friendly and flirty demeanor, has always been a step ahead, and has only been stringing him along. Sadly, they’re both now deep in on a scam involving one of LA’s biggest drug dealers, and as the lie’s pile up, so does the noose tighten around Edamame’s tiny little neck
As a starting case, I loved EVERYTHING about it!
Obviously, I really enjoyed all the interactions involving Laurent and Edamame, and oh boy, were they quite the number. But I just really enjoyed Edamame and Laurent as characters. Edamame clearly has some family issues that have influenced who he is, but there’s also an innocence about him. He believes everything will always turn out okay and it goes to show that what he was doing, while wrong, was nothing compared to what Laurent was pulling him into
Likewise, I really enjoyed Laurent’s scraggly looks. I mean, he’s really handsome in a sort of rugged sort of way (I think it’s the beard but also the hair…), and I’d love to get my hands on him…well, maybe not, I kind of like Edamame’s hands on him more ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°). I love his flirty side and I guess I’m also mesmerized by how confident and mysterious he is. We don’t really know too much about him, aside from the fact he’s sort of the leader of Team Confidence (and that he favors Edamame)
On the first case, we also get to meet the rest of the members of Team Confidence, who are Abigail (Abby) and Cynthia.
I was going to say that Cynthia (redhead) doesn’t really shine in the first case but then I had to retract my statement. She’s actually the MVP, which was funny to me since her role seemed rather “minor” in comparison to, let’s say, Edamame, who seemed to always be on the verge of getting a heart attack. Oh, our tiny little baby, the anxiety of it all was getting to him, but it makes sense. I don’t think I’d ever survived for as long as he did!
While the focus of the first case WAS on Edamame, and sort of even Laurent, the next few cases begin to reveal some interesting background information about our beautiful ladies here, making them just as fleshed out as our two guys
Out of the two, I was more enchanted by Cynthia’s backstory, probably because it was the more “familiar” of the two. Plus, it was very cute.
Meanwhile, we learn that Abby really doesn’t want to make friends with anyone and is constantly pushing away Edamame’s hand. I think this is why I also called Edamame innocent. Everyone has pretty much told him that they’re not really a team, that if anyone makes a mistake, they WILL get left behind, but he’s very adamant about them being more than that. And I’m really glad he didn’t give up on Abby
Abby…I’ll try not to get into spoilers, but she’s a very interesting character with a very tragic background. From start to end, she’s very private, is quick to put up her walls, is super competent, and I think, also very lonely.
It’s subtle, but I really like how she starts to show she cares for Edamame down the road
In just a few episodes, The Great Pretender had me hooked. It has some amazing visuals, the voice acting was AMAZING (damn Laurent and his attractive voice!), the cases kept blowing me away (just when I thought I had something figured out, I’d get a curveball!), and each character was really presented as an actual person that has had conflicts, and as a team, finally resolves that problem.
Well…everyone except for Laurent and Edamame.
It’s interesting. Even though they seem to be the MAIN main characters, in this first season, their characters are only introduced. Edamame has a big role in changing the dynamic of the characters, whereas when this all first started they were very ME, with Edamame’s prying, they start to feel more like a team, almost family (perhaps close friends might be the better word)
Which is why I’m so glad that the second season exists! I won’t go into that case, but season one ends on a bit of a cliffhanger relating to Laurent, which is then explored and explained in season two
Aside from all the screaming I did because of the ship potential, I also really enjoyed how the show goes and tells the story. I think the first case was the simplest one since it’s the case that introduces the characters and story. It’s very straightforward. We meet the characters, learn the game, and then at the end, we had a few explanations regarding the “big” scam. And while each case had a similar beginning, Edamame being dragged into Laurent’s plans…the way things were told was different
For example, the case involving Cynthia’s growth is told in two different POVs. One of them is from the present and the other from the past, which is probably why I was confused for a moment. I wasn’t sure if we were seeing Cynthia’s side of the scam or if we were delving into her past. It’s only as the case progressed that I got confirmation on my suspicions
The fourth case was also really intense. It was a case that hit home for many characters, but it was also a case that brought about an Edamame that honestly scared me. Not because he suddenly became someone else, but because he is my child and he was STRESSED.
Not only was this case nine episodes long, but it also lasted months! Can you imagine what it’s like to pretend to be someone for that long?
I won’t say more but there were so many times where I was just surprised at what happened next, who was doing what, who was “in” and “out”, and I’m sort of sad. Maybe it’s not necessary but I kind of want another season where the characters just…they bring back some of that innocence from season one. I need the healing
Also that end clip. WHY. (I hope that doesn’t go anywhere, PLS)
Well, that pretty much concludes my rambling. I really enjoyed this show, very much recommend it, and want to know where I can get a physical copy. Maybe some merch! The art is beautiful, the story exciting throughout ALL episodes, and the flirty bis are making me swoon.
But I’m curious, have you watched this yet? Is it on your TBW list? And if it wasn’t, did anything I cried about make you want to watch it? If you did watch it, do you agree with anything I had to say? Or *gasp* did you NOT like it?! I was very emotional in s2 and just, I want more. They should just keep feeding me cases