Great Pretender overview: Netflix’s new anime delivers an exciting heist

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Great Pretender review: Netflix’s new anime delivers a thrilling heist

In 1987, legendary Queen’s frontman Freddie Mercury launched his cowl of “The Great Pretender,” a 1955 track carried out by The Platters about pretending to be completely high-quality and blissful after experiencing a heartbreak that leaves you unhappy and alone. But as Freddie described in considered one of his final interviews, the track had extra which means, mirroring his personal emotions about his stage persona and profession. In life, the musician stated, he pretended to be numerous characters, all whereas hiding who he actually was and the way he was actually feeling.

The first season of Wit Studio’s (Attack on Titan, Vinland Saga) latest sequence Great Pretender, which is now on Netflix, not solely takes its identify from the Freddie Mercury track (used because the present’s ending theme), however appears to search out character inspiration from Freddie’s interpretation of the lyrics. While basically it’s a present a few group of thieves pulling off massive heists towards unhealthy individuals, the true focus is in trying behind the con-artist facades of a solid {of professional} pretenders.

The sequence follows Makoto Edamura, a modern-day, small-time con man in Japan, who will get swindled by French gentleman thief Laurent Thierry into following him from Tokyo to Los Angeles. There, Laurent entangles Edamura in his plot to swindle a robust movie producer/mafia don out of hundreds of thousands in a faux drug deal.

Of the season’s three heists, the L.A. heist is probably the most like a basic heist film, constructed like an Ocean’s Eleven-style magic trick. The story brings viewers into the deception, strolling them by way of all of the items, mechanics, and characters in order that they really feel like they know precisely what’s about to occur. Then, utilizing that perceived information and sense of complacency to distract them, the present lands its sudden twists.

Edamura is the viewers surrogate in Great Pretender, discovering the larger world of con artistry with out figuring out every bit of the puzzle throughout any given plot. That makes the heist’s twists a shock for each the viewers and Edamura, guaranteeing that each one the surprises are additionally character-motivated. The present’s actual trick is to have viewers care extra about Edamura than the heist itself.

Over the L.A. job’s 5 episodes, we get glimpses of the particular individual behind the con artist Edamura is pretending to be. Mainly, he’s an endearing goofball who’s over his head, however by some means making an attempt to nonetheless make it work, and studying how he got here to be this fashion helps to make him each somebody to sympathize with and root for. The season’s different two heists, in Singapore and London, use prison motion to push this character exploration side to the forefront as they delve into different members of Laurent’s gang.

This wouldn’t work if the present’s solid weren’t as endearing and attention-grabbing as they’re. Edamura is a scrappy fish out of water making an attempt to behave like he’s amphibious. Then there’s Abby, the gang’s abrasive and fearless jack of all trades muscle, Cynthia, the charismatic massive sister charmer, and Laurent, who simply oozes untrustworthy slimey gentleman thief,and relishes it. Watching how every gang member performs off the others is a pleasure to behold, particularly because it turns into obvious that they really like and belief each other (regardless of how they could act).

The sequence’ motion scenes are a showcase of Wit Studio’s distinctive animation expertise. Set items vary from characters fleeing shortly by way of small, labyrinthine alleyways to planes zipping beneath bridges and between buildings over Singapore. The studio has mastered animating extremely complicated and dynamic motion by way of 3D environments that look good, give the sense that they’re truly in an actual place, and are straightforward for the viewer to observe and perceive what’s happening. It’s usually achieved utilizing actions or digital camera placements that may both be inconceivable or utterly impractical to tug off in live-action filmmaking.

Great Pretender manages to discover a good stability between the drama and humor, the place critical or regarding issues can occur with out souring what makes the present enjoyable to look at. It’s a facet of the present strengthened by way of the present’s artwork course, exemplified within the fantastically brilliant and colourful posterized backgrounds that set up a lighthearted tone.

The design selection is diametrically against the drearier colour palettes of dramatic and status tv exhibits, like Wit Studio’s personal Attack on Titan. No longer concerned within the hit sequence, it appears the studio discovered the chance to be a bit extra formidable and inventive with their tasks, and show what they’re able to. First with 2019’s adaptation of Vinland Saga, a sequence I’ve described as a kind of capstone work of the last decade for them, constructed on every thing they’d realized from their work within the 2010s and realizing a manga that appeared practically inconceivable to adapt. If Vinland Saga was the studio trying again, Great Pretender seems like a sign of the place the studio desires to go any further away from the drabe and drearier.

When it involves recommending an anime sequence to somebody, particularly for somebody unfamiliar with it, I discover it best to tailor a suggestion primarily based on what exhibits or films an individual already likes. However there are few exhibits that, no matter an individual’s predilections, I’d recommend with no second thought. Great Pretender is now on that checklist.

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