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‘GREAT PRETENDER’ Original TV Anime Assembles All Star Team at WIT Studio

It sure does seem to be the season for exciting anime announcements. It was only last week that we got news of Fate/Zero director Ei Aoki’s new original anime ID: INVADED, along with Yuzuru Tachikawa’s return to original anime in the form of DECA-DENCE. Now, WIT Studio are getting in on the party with GREAT PRETENDER, which sees them assembling an all-star team for what is shaping up to be a very interesting original anime project.

GREAT PRETENDER was initially revealed during WIT Studio’s panel at Anime Expo, but it was during the weekend that the official website for the original anime was opened, offering us a glimpse of the truly stacked staff list.

'GREAT PRETENDER' Original TV Anime Assembles All Star Team at WIT Studio
Initial teaser image for GREAT PRETENDER

Hiro Kaburagi is directing the project, who is mostly known for his adaptation of Kimi ni Todoke but has already shown his original storytelling chops with 91 Days. Neon Genesis Evangelion character designer and venerable industry legend Yoshiyuki Sadamoto is producing the character designs and Ryota Kosawa – who is mostly known for his work on live-action TV dramas and film – is writing the story.

The official website also unveiled the official synopsis for the project, which immediately piqued my interest when I first read it.

Makoto Edamura is supposedly Japan’s greatest swindler. Together with his partner Kudo, they try to trick a Frenchman in Asakusa but unexpectedly get tricked instead. The Frenchman, whom they tried to swindle, turns out to be Laurent Thierry- a much higher-level ‘confidence man,’ in control of the mafias. Edamura is yet to find out what fate awaits him, after having engaged in the Frenchman’s dirty jobs…!

There aren’t a whole lot of “crime” anime in the first place, and I can’t even think of any that have touched upon the subject of con artists before. Perhaps the closest thing would be the crime capers of Lupin III, but even that series has never solely focused on its criminal aspect.

The relationship between GREAT PRETENDER and writer Ryota Kusowa also has me interested, as his previous project was the TV drama and film series CONFIDENCEMAN JP, which also focuses on the criminal activities of a group of professional con artists. The official synopsis also evokes this by also using the word ‘confidence man’ – perhaps suggesting a link between the two.

GREAT PRETENDER‘s announcement also comes not too long after rumors that WIT Studio would be handing the production of Attack on Titan: The Final Season to another studio. While that’s still nothing more than a rumor, there has certainly been a marked push on WIT’s part to move away from adaptations and towards original projects, such as Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress and, now, GREAT PRETENDER.

Regardless, we’ll just have to wait for more information to see how exactly this project ends up panning out. I, for one, am very excited. GREAT PRETENDER is set to air sometime in 2020 on Fuji TV’s +Ultra service for two cours. Check out the official website for more information.

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