Developed by Wit Studio, ‘Great Pretender’ is an anime series that follows Makoto Edamura, a petty Japanese swindler who joins a group of highly-skilled international con artists after failing to deceive its leader, the enigmatic Laurent Thierry. A gentleman thief, Laurent carefully picks rich and corrupt people as his intended victims and even helps those who have suffered because of them. Since its premiere on Fuji TV’s +Ultra, the show has garnered mostly positive reviews. If you love the series and are looking for similar anime shows, here are our seven best suggestions. You can find many of these on Netflix or Crunchyroll.
7. Magic Kaito (Majikku Kaito) (2010)
Based on a manga by Gosho Aoyama, ‘Magic Kaito’ revolves around an ordinary teenager named Kaito Kuroba, who discovers that his father was the mysterious criminal Kaito Kid and was eventually killed by a powerful organization when they realized that he was trying to steal the same gem they were after. Kaito takes on his father’s former thief mantle, seeking to prevent the organization from obtaining the Pandora Gem, which, according to legends, can grant immortality. There are several similarities between ‘Great Pretender’ and ‘Magic Kaito’, including the fact that Makoto’s father has a criminal past as well.
6. Kaiji (Tobaku Mokushiroku Kaiji) (2007)
Although some may find the animation style in ‘Kaiji’ off-putting, it is a fantastic anime about the ultimate triumph of hope over despair and a perfect argument for relying on a well-thought-out plan over the blind adherence to luck. The titular character is hopelessly optimistic. Empowered by his incredible luck, above-average intelligence, and a strong desire to live and thrive, he gambles with his life in high-stake games and often wins. While Kaiji is not necessarily a con artist, he has a penchant for changing the rules of the games to secure a victory.
5. The Daughter of Twenty Faces (Nijū Mensō no Musume) (2008)
‘The Daughter of Twenty Faces’ depicts the story of the wealthy heiress Chizuko Mikamo, whose uncle and aunt want to kill her to claim her inheritance. Her butler also turns out to be a thief, the legendary Twenty Faces, who is there to steal one of her family heirlooms, the Anastasia Ruby. However, when he finds out what Chizuko’s uncle and aunt are planning, he offers to take her with him. She accepts and begins traveling with his gang. In time, she becomes a skilled thief herself and forms a father-daughter relationship with Twenty Faces.
4. Black Clover (Burakku Kurōbā) (2017)
‘Black Clover’ tells the story of Asta. In a world where magic is omnipresent, Asta was born with none at all. In contrast, his friend Yuno is one of the most gifted magic users of their generation. They both want to become the Wizard King, a title traditionally held by the most powerful mage in the land. In order to fulfill their dream, the boys join the Magic Knights, an elite group of mages tasked to protect the kingdom. They serve directly under the Wizard King. During the entrance exam, Asta is selected to join his squad by Yami Sukehiro, the leader of the Black Bulls. Widely regarded as the worst of all Magic Knights squads, they have gained such notoriety due to their unruly and destructive behavior. Although there is little similarity between Laurent’s sophisticated gang and the Black Bulls, both groups serve similar purposes in their respective stories. They are anti-heroes with imperfect morals.
3. Jing: King of Bandits (Ō Dorobō Jing) (2002)
The eponymous character in ‘Jing: King of Bandits’ is a figure of legends in his universe because of his accomplishments as a thief. However, as he looks like a young boy, many adversaries underestimate him, which inevitably leads to much regret later. Based on a manga written and illustrated by Yuichi Kumakura, the anime was directed by Hiroshi Watanabe and developed by Studio Deen.
2. Lupin the Third Part 5 (Rupan Sansei Pāto Faibu ) (2018)
‘Lupin the Third Part 5’ is the fifth entry in the long-running ‘Lupin the Third’ anime franchise. The protagonist is the expert thief Arsène Lupin III, who is supposed to be the grandson of Arsène Lupin, a character created by French novelist Maurice Leblanc. Like Laurent, Lupin is a gentleman’s thief, who steals only from corrupted and influential people and criminal organizations.
1. Death Note (Desu Nōto) (2006)
In Madhouse studio’s shōnen anime ‘Death Note’, Light Yagami, a teenager with a genius-level intellect, discovers that the mysterious notebook he found earlier is actually the Death Note belonging to the Shinigami Ryuk. A person whose name gets written in its pages will inevitably die. Light subsequently embarks on a mission to purge the world of all criminal elements by using the Death Note, gaining the nickname “Kira” (killer) in the process. Later, he starts killing anyone who he thinks is a hindrance to his vision of a crime-free utopia. In response to the rampant killings, a task force is formed with the international detective known simply as L at the helm. Like the thieves of ‘Great Pretender’, Light becomes an expert in hiding his true self from both the authorities and people who have known him for years, though admittedly, his circumstances are much more sinister.
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