Great Pretender’s visual motifs around luck may seem circumstantial, but they all relate to the cast’s descent into con.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 1 of Great suitor, now streaming on Netflix.
From Netflix Great suitor it combines crime and unexpected plot twists together with an important unifying theme: luck, a theme that is most noticeable in the visual motifs of the series. From capsule figures of Japanese warlords to cats, wizards, and even fortune-telling, luck not only plays a role in the series setting, but also in the character’s decision-making. It’s more, Great suitor it also teaches viewers that luck has two sides and is capable of conveying this message across a world that feels manipulated but believable.
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The main character, Makoto Edamura, starts out as a normal-looking guy who, through a series of unfortunate events, becomes an accessory to a pyramid scheme. Edamura ends up in a serious pothole despite the proud front he sports. He is smugly considered the best con man in Japan, but deep down he just wants to make his late mother proud and take revenge on his abandoned father. The desire for his life to change (and fast) is something Edamura feels strongly, ever since his father was caught helping in child trafficking and his mother became ill as a result of learning this.
Then comes Laurent. A seemingly chance encounter from Edamura’s point of view changes his life. He gets a reality check from a con man far more skilled than himself. They then recruit him for their team. And now, instead of scamming ordinary people, his goal is to eat the rich.
The desire to end the rich and powerful is palpable and supposedly heroic, but it also comes with risks and challenges. The cast, especially Laurent before forming their Trusted Men team, learn that to truly get revenge on their enemies, they must rely on plans and not just luck.
Aside from the story itself, there are many visual motifs that relate to themes of luck and crime in Great suitor. In particular, throughout the series, Edamura collects capsule toys. Capsule toys are a gamble. You still don’t know which figure you will get, Edamura uses them as good luck charms and divination pieces for his future. He even tries to get a figure of the Angel of Luck for his mother, but instead ends up with a wizard, who reminds Edamura’s mother of his father, Ozaki, or the Wizard of Oz, as they nicknamed him. She wants her spell to grant her good luck in the future, but that future never came true for her.
This also helps to indicate to the audience how unreliable Oz is, especially from Edamura’s point of view, as well as how much Edamura and his family trust these little signs of hope.
Meanwhile, Edamura enjoys collecting figures from the Japanese warlords series and is often inserted automatically like any figure he takes out. The first figure he takes out is Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who rose from peasant to warlord. This ascent is a sign of good times for Edamura, but it could also have served as a sign that he is about to go on an adventure, just as Hideyoshi rejected life in the temple to embark on his own journey and become one of the most powerful men. in Japan.
Later, Edamura pulls figures as a peasant while trying to live an honest life after his first gang heist, and Masamune Date during the final arc when he tries to get revenge on his father. These capsule toys guide Edamura’s path during these arcs, a path that depends on going with the flow despite how much you long to carve your own.
Aside from capsule toys, cats are also an important visual motif in Great suitor. Not only are they significantly prominent along each arc, they also appear in the OP / ED. Cats are tied to good fortune and luck in Japan, and the figure of the calling cat is one of the most recognizable symbols of this. This figure appears in front of the restaurant where Edamura temporarily works, but it is not the only cat figure out there.
Akemi is an avid fan of cats, as evidenced by some statues around her office. In particular, the colors of the statues vary, and for good reason: each one has different meanings. For example, his black cat figures are meant to ward off evil spirits, while some of the golden ones indicate wealth. Interestingly, there is a statue of a golden cat outside his office just before the big robbery happens, heralding the fortune that Edamura and his team are about to win.
Lastly, there’s the cat pin figure that Makoto keeps from his mother, a calico cat pattern, suggesting a great deal of good luck. Edamura keeps it as a lucky charm, but also as a reminder of his past and a memory of his mother’s.
Although Edamura doesn’t throw away his memory the way Laurent does with Dorothy’s ring when he decides to move on, Edamura learns the path he wants to take in life. No longer depending on fortune, wealth and revenge on Great suitor, Edamura is finally free to do what he wants the way he wants.
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