Liar Game Season 1
It’s one of the first few Jdoramas I watched and I actually watched all the whole premise. Chronology of the airing of the series:
Liar Game (Fuji TV, 2007)
Liar Game 2 (Fuji TV, 2009)
Liar Game Episode Zero (2010)
Liar Game X (2010)
Liar Game The Final Stage (2010)
Liar Game Reborn (2012)
Alice in Liar Game (2012)
Liar Game Reborn SP: Fukunaga vs Yokoya (2012)
This series is also adapted from the manga. A brief summary-
Kanzaki Nao is an honest college student who receives a hundred million yen one day, along with a card saying she has been chosen to take part in the “Liar Game”. The aim of the game is to trick the other players out of their hundred million dollars. At the end, the winner gets the hundred million and the loser is a hundred million yen in debt. The next day, she receives notification that her opponent is her former teacher, Fujisawa Kazuo. She goes to him, seeking help, but ends up getting tricked into handing her money over. Desperate, she approaches the police for help, but they are unable to do anything. However, she is told of a mastermind swindler, Akiyama Shinichi, who is to be released from jail the next day. Desperate, she goes to him for help.
-Excerpt form Drama Wiki-
This drama is basically a little bit like a psychological thriller, emphasis on psychological. Thrown into a game of lying and cheating, human nature are shown in the worst ways. The punishment for losing is a debt that most people will never be able to earn in their lifetime so for most, it equates to death.
In this situation, they throw in an idealistic heroine, Kanzaki Nao, who believes in people and wants to win the game against the organisers. She stands with her perfect ideals that they can all win together if they trust. Each game is made in such a way that if everyone wants to win together, they require complete trust. But, the one who betrays gets more benefits and obviously, many competitors are greedy. It’s obvious she will lose by her own, so she join hands with Akiyama Shinichi, a genius swindler. Her character seems too trusting and you scream at the screen telling her to pick left instead of right like a freaking horror movie. It’s frustrating to see her naivety but it’s her that shows the contrast between white and black. She stands out like a neon light among people with evil motives. THE ideal damsel in distress.
Akiyama Shinichi(Matsuda Shota) is a mastermind swindler who gets back into action when Kanzaki Nao begs him for help. There’s a reason for who he is and why he helps Kanzaki Nao, I just don’t remember whether it’s revealed in season 1 or 2. Anyhow, he represents people who fight for good(he says it’s for his benefit to get out alive but he’s just plain old hero) but he actually has the brains to out-swindle others. It’s akin to him fighting armed with swords and shield and strategy. Kanzaki Nao just butt heads into battlefield and preach about why they should all be good and honest. Although, Kanzaki Nao disproves Akiyama’s methods, she eventually becomes a willing ally. He can choose the method, but she wants her way with the outcome.
Liar Game is a drama that teases the brain. There’s a lot of psychology involved and all sorts of behaviour come out when humans are stressed to their limit. It shows that human ideal nature of honesty crumbles when greed and survival comes into the picture. Is it possible to be honest all the time when your life is at stake? Are you willing to sacrifice for a stranger? Will they stand united against the organisers who really are their real nemesis and stop pitting psychological fights against each other? There’s a lot of trust issues going on and the suspense keep you going. Then again, there’s that slim hope that Kanzaki and Akiyama gets together that keeps me going too. But romance is probably at the bottom of their priorities. They are allies that put each others life in the other and trust them with it. But if they did become a couple, it’ll be awesome 😀
The cinematography is just plain dark like a thriller and there’s nothing beautigul about it. Just creates a lot of suspense. Give it a watch and at the end of it, your brain will just go ‘wow’
Liar Game Season 2
This is the continuation from season 1. At the end of season 1, nothing is over at all. They enter the semi-finals and face off with other probably smarter swindlers once more. And the big boss is…
Akiyama’s rival back in university, Katsuragi Ryo. She’s the diligent student, while Akiyama is the genius so she still holds it against him. She is now a Professor in psychology. Akiyama never graduated. She brings up the level of difficulty for Akiyama because she has the mind of a manipulative sociopath and force people to do what she wants by instilling fear. Akiyama however manages victory with his secret weapon, Kanzaki Nao. Kanzaki Nao is trusted by everyone and eventually trust overcomes fear. With Akiyama’s plan in motion, Katsuragi is defeated.
This season is no less great compared to the first. Actually, I like the games this season better. Slightly more complex but wow.
The backstabber is back too. But he’s more useful in season 2.
For the first time, Kanzaki Nao schemed to win as well, without Akiyama’s help. But with Fukunaga’s. Their plot worked and it proves that Kanzaki Nao isn’t just all talk.
Liar Game : The Final Stage
The final stage of the Liar Game is shown in a movie. Still quite epic. Kanzaki and Akiyama work together to fool the others. In this movie, they further prove that their ally is strong. With two, they can win the game but with everyone, they can probably topple the organizers.
This is as far as it goes for shipping the couple. Hot o.o There is still nil romantic development.
I think the movie was okay. They do the same thing again, just different game. It’s like fighting the last level on a video game. Except Liar Game Saisei came about so this isn’t really the end. Only the last one with Erika Toda in it which we’ll learn to appreciate even though her caharacter is too nice to be true. Up to the movie, Kanzaki Nao has developed into having more brains, not just ideals. She hasn’t waived from her principles, which is good. You’ll think she’s lucky she has Akiyama as an ally. Initially, yes. But even the genius makes mistakes and he cannot pull off plans alone. He probably could pull off the plans but the drama would be boring without Kanzaki Nao. haha 😀 Throughout their journey, Kanzaki Nao has proved that she is a valuable asset and she has her worth. Her trusting nature is her downfall but also her only power. She just needs to trust the right people.
I’ve come to love them as a pair, lying their way to victory. Another question arises again, is lying really bad? Is deception bad when it is clearly for survival of oneself? Or even for the greater good? Although not as gory, it has the same psychological queries as Hunger Games and Battle Royale. Survival of the fittest, minus people dying and sad soppy scenes. Perfect intro for people who wants psychological thriller but has no guts to watch mutilated bodies fall left and right.
Liar Game Episode Zero
It’s actually prequel to all, having three parts which shows Kanzaki, Akiyama and Yokoya when they were younger.
The younger Kanzaki Nao by Fukuda Mayuko
Liar Game X
It’s a “phantom” episode 10 of season 2 which shows why Nao and Akiyama chooses to enter the final stage. Something like a teaser before the movie.
Alice in Liar Game
A special feature on a new character, Alice played by Mana Ashida. She’s the most famous child star of Japan and I guess this is for publicity for Liar Game Saisei.
Confused yet? The correct flowing order of the story:
1. Liar Game Episode Zero
2. Liar Game
3. Liar Game Season 2
4. Liar Game X (the phantom episode 10)
5. Liar Game The Final Stage
6.Alice in Liar Game
7.Liar Game Saisei
Oh my god, I’m not even done yet. There’s still Liar Game Saisei.
Liar Game Saisei
It’s back! But Kanzaki Nao has taken her leave and bowed out of the franchise. I think she was in Keizoku 2: SPEC which was another awesome drama so I didn’t mind. Except, Liar Game Saisei sucked without her. Mikako Tabe plays the new damsel in distress that Akiyama needs to rescue. So Liar Game was resurrected by some unknown rich woman so that the community of rich who lost their bets and etc from the final stage can revenge.
The movie was bleh for me without Erika Toda. And Mikako Tabe was not lovable here. She’s realistic, probably a little smarter than Nao and a little bit more devious but I cannot love her character. Her character has dimensions of her own but no one really stand out now. Everyone is just plain shades of grey. Yay for realistic, nay for being unable to be attractive. I guess we need someone to fight for the good and stay true to their path as a pivot for the movie. It’ll emphasis better the fight of good against evil. Kanzaki stands like a sore thumb throughout her role, which I realised after this movie, wasn’t such a bad thing.
So it was boring, sorry to say. Mikako Tabe was awesome-ish in Ooku but not here, I guess not. Unless they make another season with her in it, we will not be able to connect to her character.
The ULTIMATE conclusion
The Liar Game is a great watch from top to bottom if you love drama with brains. But that’s all it’s got, brains. I’ve got no problem with that but if this isn’t your cup of tea, just watch Liar Game Final Stage to get a feel. You don’t need to watch EVERYTHING. Like me.
My longest post as of now. DIES.