First, I’d like to clarify that I will accept that this is indeed an Anime as the writer of this story is from Japan, thus it isn’t the case of American Savages attempting to pilfer a superior intellectual culture such as is the case with Blood of Zeus or Cannon Busters. While this seems collaborative, the story is written by a Japanese person. And the quality up until the end of Episode 5 shows by having appropriate build-up, intrigue, character development, and plot conflict. In other words, the stellar storytelling of Japan shines gloriously above and beyond anything Western Barbarians usually ever accomplish.
Yet, Great Pretender holds some of the chief failings common of decent Anime shows that never truly break away into greatness. In this case, Great Pretender fails in the same way that Re:Zero fails as a narrative. The stakes and tension of the conflict become utterly meaningless and even worse, the entire premise of the show gets destroyed due to how Episode 5 concludes. The corrupt FBI agent is revealed to be a fellow scam artist that was working with Laurent the whole time. Oh, and all members of that entire SWAT team that broke into the corrupt businessman’s building were also fellow scam artists who were also part of the scam. Oh, and the helicopter they rented was – yet again – part of the same scam and operated by fellow scam artists. Apparently, whomever they rented it from has no GPS tracker to find how it was used. Oh, and all these many people share the ill-gotten gains with no conflict or qualms and are perfectly able to keep these huge operations safe and secret from the police and FBI.
As you can imagine from reading the aforementioned, I am a bit sour regarding how Episode 5 ended. Any conflict and tension were permanently destroyed because if things ever go south when it comes to scamming high-class criminals, then this entire secret team of Confidence Men and Confidence Women will come and bail them out. They can pretend it was a “one-time” thing, but the amount of people keeping the secret and all the laws they break in this show stretches credulity. Prior to this awful plot twist, I had thought all the characters were well-developed, the motives and reasons were great, and Edamura’s slow descent into hate upon seeing Abigail and Laurent’s deaths, the friendly bodyguard being the scapegoat for his boss’s crimes, and the FBI agent being revealed to be equally as corrupt as the Police Investigator was fascinating to watch. Yet, the moment the plot twist happened, everything fell into shambles. For one thing, all the conversations Abigail and Edamura have makes Abigail seem like a thoughtless idiot. If it had just been her, Laurent, and Edamura running a drug scam on a Drug kingpin, then her motto of every person for themselves when things go south would make rational sense. The moment she was part of this huge scam involving hundreds of people ready to keep their scam a secret and to bail them out completely ruined her character. What was the point of all those conversations about every person for themselves? Sadly, the entire premise of the show fell apart, because Laurent and Edamura can call on these faceless, nameless hundreds of people to bail them out of any situation where their lives are in imminent danger. And just how did Cynthia obtain a fake FBI ID that was so good that it could convince a police investigator like Anderson? Why wasn’t Anderson able to simply double-check Cynthia by looking at the picture and background info of the real FBI agent from the police database? The entire story simply breaks down because of this stupid plot twist.
To conclude, I was recommended this anime and unfortunately, I must conclude that it was a disappointment. I gave it a fair chance, but episode 5’s conclusion was too stupid for me to continue any further. I won’t even give it a rating because I couldn’t finish it.