Great Pretender – Netflix Season 1 (Part 2) Review

Part 1

Part 2

Episode Guide

Wizard Of Far East Case 4.1
Wizard Of Far East Case 4.2
Wizard Of Far East Case 4.3
Wizard Of Far East Case 4.4
Wizard Of Far East Case 4.5
Wizard Of Far East Case 4.6
Wizard Of Far East Case 4.7
Wizard Of Far East Case 4.8
Wizard Of Far East Case 4.9

 

Although Netflix have this listed as season 2, in truth Great Pretender’s fourth case serves as the second half to this 23 episode series. Everything we’ve seen so far though has been building up to this case. As we soon find out late on in this season, Edamura’s previous three cases have simply been a warm-up for this tough main course of danger.

Before tucking into this delicious 9-episode main course, the first episode eases viewers back in with a handy 5 minute recap of what’s happened so far. That’s just as well too because this second part wastes absolutely no time getting right into the heart of this twisty turny case. Unlike the tightly woven cases before, revolving around a different character, this time we’re tackling the Yakuza and human trafficking.

Ironically, all of this occurs thanks to Laurent tricking Edamura into diving head-first into this case. Having had enough of this life, Edamura bows out and tells the crew he’s heading back to Tokyo. Laurent hooks him up with a few pointers and unwittingly walks right into the Yakuza and begins working with them. Things soon take a turn for the worst though when he realizes they’re mixed up in human trafficking and slavery.

It’s pretty heavy material to be honest but it’s counter-balanced somewhat by some eye-opening flashbacks that dive into our suave con-artist Laurent’s back-story. Understanding what led him to this very case is really well written and easily some of the best material available in these 9 episodes. It also gives his character some much needed depth this time around too.

Edamura by comparison faces the ghosts of his past while struggling to stay undercover in the wake of such a difficult a shocking case laid before him. And that shocking case is backed up by some equally shocking deaths too.

Without giving too much away, this second part has a real tendency to use a “gotcha!” gimmick repeatedly though and by the end of the show, it almost becomes a parody of itself. With shorter cases this is easy to look past as the final reveal dwarves any inconsistencies but here it becomes a lot more obvious which is a shame.

Still, the final episode does well to wrap up this long case and although Great Pretender does feel like it outstays its welcome at times, the final moments and the post-credit scene are reason enough to stick around until the end. This is also one of those rare instances where this anime doesn’t scream out for a second season, giving everyone a decent finish and a nice send-off at the end.

Aesthetically, the show uses all the same stylistic cues seen the first time around. There’s lots of neon-lit backdrops of famous vistas, some lovely contrasting colours and scenes that are absolutely bursting with vibrancy. Given the sheer number of animes released this year, Great Pretender is easily one of the most visually stunning hand-drawn efforts and just an absolute joy to watch.

While this second half does lose some of the momentum the first part had in abundance, it’s easy to look past with such a satisfying conclusion. This is easily in the running for best anime of the year.

 

Great Pretender Season 2 (or Part 2 of Season 1) releases on Netflix internationally on 25th November.


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  • 8/10
    Verdict - 8/10
8/10

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