Netflix Crime Action Comedy Anime Is The Perfect Con Artist Adventure

By Jacob VanGundy | Published

While not as ubiquitous as mecha or martial arts series, crime dramas are important to the legacy of anime. While classic series like Lupin III dominate the discussion around the genre, occasionally, a new series breaks out as a new generation-defining crime anime. The Great Pretender deserves to be one of those shows. 

The Great Pretender Is A Gentleman Thief

Following Makoto Edamura, a Japanese con man recruited into an international crime ring, The Great Pretender is an episodic heist anime. The crime ring is led by gentleman thief Laurent Thierry, who assembles a team of fellow con artists to steal the fortunes of corrupt elites who contribute to larger social problems. Like other crime anime, it paints the team of con artists as honorable thieves whose actions are driven as much by social justice as monetary gain. 

Team Confidence

The meek Edamura and suave Laurent are joined by the athletic Abigail, forming the core of their crime ring, which they call Team Confidence. The team is often supplemented by other con artists, like the actress Cynthia, Edamnura’s father, and Laurent’s amnesiac ex Dorothy. Each member has a distinct skill set and personality, giving The Great Pretender a dynamic and loveable cast. 

Episodic Heists Are The Perfect Length

The Great Pretender is broken into episodic cases, each centered around a different heist. These cases consist of arcs that last between four and nine episodes and work as fairly self-contained stories. By shifting between heists, the show keeps a revolving door of villains for Team Confidence to work against, presenting new problems for them to overcome. 

The fun, Oceans Eleven-like heists of The Great Pretender are over-the-top in the best possible way. They often involve multi-level plans with intricate scams as distractions for bigger schemes and large-scale deceptions like a fully functional fake casino. Adding to the excitement, these heists are often planned around big action set pieces like an airplane race, which give the show much-needed variety. 

The Jazz Soundtrack Matches The Action Perfectly

With beautiful animation, a distinct visual style, and a bombastic score, The Great Pretender is a stylistic masterpiece. The character designs and settings are realistic but with an exaggerated use of color that gives the show a distinctive visual style perfect for its heist storylines. The feel of a classic heist story is further driven home by the jazz-filled score, evoking classic heist films like The Italian Job and adding bursts of energy to the show’s climatic moments. 

An Anime Masterpiece On Netflix


As a fan of the genre, I’d enjoy The Great Pretender if it was nothing but gorgeously animated, complex heists, and funny quips, but the show has a surprisingly dark underbelly that adds to its appeal. The members of Team Confidence have dark backstories rooted in real-world problems, with Abigail’s background as a child soldier in Iraq being the bleakest. These details add to the camaraderie between the characters, giving the show’s found-family themes heavy emotional weight without detracting from its overall fun-filled tone. 

The Great Pretender is one of the all-time great crime anime. It’s a show that I had an absolute blast watching, with a surprisingly nuanced, mature, emotional core beneath its madcap heist premise. The Great Pretender is an anime masterpiece available to watch on Netflix now.