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Three Friends of Laurent: The Great Pretender - A Successful Experiment From the Creators of Attack on Titan (Topic)

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Three Friends of Laurent: The Great Pretender - A Successful Experiment From the Creators of Attack on Titan

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After Studio Wit finished its final season of Attack on Titan, her hands were untied and she embarked on the most unusual experiments. Last year, it was Vinland Saga, which many dub as one of the best anime of the year. And this time the studio presented us with a charming picture about no less charming swindlers - Great Pretender, also known as "The Great Pretender".

The name of the anime refers to The Platters' song "Great Pretender". But not on its original version, but on a cover performed by Freddie Mercury in 1987. The meaning of the song is that her lyric hero has gone through grief, but still pretends to be happy. Mercury himself said that it reflects his stage life, since for the most part he pretended to be someone else, hiding his true face and hobbies.

Such depth directly echoes the plot of the Great Pretender anime itself, only with the proviso that the story revolves around a group of swindlers who carry out major robberies of various rich bastards. Most notably, the plot of this anime is not set in Japan, but in other countries.

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The main character of the series, Makoto Edamura, is a petty crook from Japan. Once he, together with his partner, decides to deceive a French tourist, but they remain in the fool, as the tourist turns out to be one of the largest swindlers in America and Europe named Laurent Thierry. As a result, he tricks Edamura to follow him from Tokyo to Los Angeles, where he gets involved in a major deal to sell fake drugs to a Hollywood producer and part-time head of the mafia. He also meets two other members of Laurent's team - Abigail and Cynthia.

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The Los Angeles heists are similar in atmosphere and storyline to films like Ocean's 11. The creators bring the audience up to date, show the entire plan, preparation, experiences of the characters, and when we calm down, thinking that we know what will happen now, the anime goes all-in and leads us around the finger, showing the original twist and the original plan.

In many ways, the creators get it thanks to the main character. Edamura is a common petty crook, but Laurent liked him for something, which is why he recruited him. Moreover, our hero himself is a rather capable swindler, not a layman. But still, he plays for high stakes with Laurent for the first time, deceiving not ordinary people, but real rich people.

Therefore, to some extent he is a beginner in a big game, and much that is new for us is new for him as well. In almost all the heists in Los Angeles, we worry more about him as the main character, which allows the writers to distract us and cheat us, creating the same effect as watching "Ocean's 11". Anything that is a surprise for us is a surprise for Edamura.

The first story arc is entirely dedicated to him as a person. Since the plot is built around criminals, it is logical that we should find out the ins and outs of our characters and the history of their formation on the path of swindlers. In Edamura's case, this is exactly the story of a pretender. Trying to earn money to treat his mother, he mistakenly gets a job in a dubious office, which on his first day of work is shut down for fraud, and the guy is thrown for aiding in prison for 8 months.

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Having lost the status of a law-abiding citizen, he cannot find a job after his release, since everyone considers him a criminal. This desperate situation and the further death of his mother leads the guy to the following thought: "Since everyone unreasonably considers me a criminal, despite my innocence, why not really become one?"

The series, in principle, is characterized by the humanization of the main characters and the subsequent arches in Singapore and London reveal more about Laurent himself and other members of his gang. Although, with this approach, one cannot avoid the romanticization of swindle and a certain whitewash of criminals. So, Laurent, like a noble thief, rob only those who deserve it - rich bastards.

But it all works thanks to lively and charming characters who are pleasant to watch. The anime would not work in terms of the plot if we did not see how the characters squabble among themselves, but at the same time become attached to each other.

Another great advantage of the "Great Pretender" is its colorful appearance. The studio has mastered the animation of incredibly complex and dynamic actions in three-dimensional environments that look good, give the feeling that they are really in a specific real place, and it is easy for the viewer to follow and understand what is happening. The animation is used in such a way that such a story could not be told outside of it.

Returning to the peculiarities of the plot of the anime, it knows how to keep a good balance between drama and humor. Serious and dramatic things don't get spoiled at all by what makes the show so fun to watch. Plus, with the aforementioned artwork of vibrant backgrounds and a soft palette of colors throughout the anime, it maintains a carefree spirit.

This contrasts with the studio's past work, and it's safe to say that Wit found the opportunity to be more ambitious and creative, demonstrating that they are able to create a lighter product than the Titans or Vinland, which are distinguished by their harsh history and abundance of violence.

I dare to assume that "The Great Pretender" is one of those anime that has every chance to go beyond the viabush fan base due to the setting, presentation and its twisted plot that sends us to all our favorite robbery films.

The Topic of Article: Three Friends of Laurent: The Great Pretender - A Successful Experiment From the Creators of Attack on Titan.
Author: Jake Pinkman


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