“The Great Pretender,” Netflix’s most recently released show, fuses “Oceans 11” and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” in this 14-episode series.
The show centers around Makoto Edamura, a young street con artist, who believes he is the best at what he does until he meets Laurent Thierry. Thierry quickly shows Edamura that there are much bigger targets: the rich and corrupt.
Throughout the series, Edamura takes on many roles from a chemist to a mechanic, always managing to get in increasingly dire circumstances.
The show is in three “cases:” Each a different job and a new corrupt millionaire to give their dues and con. This show slowly feeds you more information on the characters’ past while keeping specific details secret for possible future seasons.
The show’s first episode challenges viewers who are not used to subtitles. Even though the series is in English, the episode starts in Japanese. This demonstrates the cultural and professional differences between Makoto and Laurent.
About 10 minutes before switching to the English dubbed cast, the series continues to operate that both charters have accents even though they do not.
Several predictable twists show the end game of these schemes just a little too soon, leaving the audience waiting for characters to connect the info given to Makoto.
However, the show shines brightest when the characters have no more secrets. In these moments, the characters are not saved by luck or supernatural forces but by wit and skill; often narrowly escaping while leaving pursuers penniless willingly handing over their fortunes.
Another upside to the series is its soundtrack with varying jazz mixes and classical music. Capping off each episode’s end is Freddie Mercury’s cover of the planter’s song, “The Great Pretender.”
Wit Studios developed the show in conjunction with Netflix. Wit Studio is known for its previous series “Attack on Titan.”
While the two shows don’t share the same art styles, both shows go above and beyond in detail. “The Great Pretender” has backgrounds that resemble fine paintings with dynamic and colorful backdrops that make the characters relatively bland palettes pop. At times, the contrast can also make faster movements from characters blurry and hard to follow.
The next part of Season 1 (case 4) will release Sept. 21.
Though the show has its ups and downs, it has an audience review score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.