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The card reads as follows: Congratulations! You are one of the 1 in 100,000 people who has been entered in the amazing LIAR GAME TOURNAMENT!
Along with the postcard there is 100 million yen in notes. That's the beginning of the Liar Game. When the game ends, in 30 days, you will have to return your 100 million. If your opponent steals them, he can keep them as a prize, and you will have a debt of 100 million...
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Has flaws, but definitely a good read
Ok, so, straight to the point then...
If you're going to be shallow and base everything on how it looks, this manga is not for you. AT ALL. The art isn't anything to look at... It's not in the least bit pretty. But to be perfectly honest, it suits the story. It's portraying the darker traits of people and is very much a psychological manga about cheats, liars, and power hungry schemers all duking it out against each other with a huge amount of debt hanging over their heads --hardly a pretty tale full of singing and joy and bishies and if that's what you're after I suggest you walk away. Now.
Oh, and if you're after blood and guts or lots of action. Walk away.
If you're after something exciting and suspenseful that has you stopping to think about whats going on and reveling at how clever some of the points were (especially when you haven't thought of them yet), then stay right where you are! This is right up your alley, my friend.
Yes, after 90 chapters there are a few repetitions.The scenarios all have a bit in common, but when you consider that it's a game, the rounds are all going to be similar to some degree. Afterall, what game changes so much that there's nothing each level has in common? None, I tell you.
The explanations get tedious, but only if you read the chapters back to back in one go. You have to remember that this is a serialized series, so to keep readers from being confused or forgetting what happened the repetitiveness is necessary to a certain degree. I will admit that the line has been crossed a bit here and there, but nothing to fuss over extensively.
As for the characters; Nao makes mistakes that she should really learn from, but makes again anyway. But she's a sweet girl and despite her naivety and gullibility, she really is an intelligent person when she needs to be. Akiyama continues to always a have a near flawless plan for victory, but he does have some weaknesses. Fukunaga seems to sway from ally to enemy at every blink of the eye. They're all good, likable characters with their own faults and quirks, just like rest of us.
I couldn't put it down when reading it and if this sounds like something you'd like, then I can almost guarantee you'll be the same.
Trying to be clever
Imagine. You are in your living room. Suddenly someone sprints through your garden and tapes a note to your front window. The note says: "When I ring your doorbell and you open the door, you agree to hand me 2 quadrillion Yen." You start to panic. Will you be forced to keep your door locked for the rest of your life, because of some random stranger. Then your thought progress is interupted by your doorbell ringing. Of course smart lad you are, you ask whos ringing before you open the door. The person on the other side says postmen. So you open up. But ooh the clever devil fooled you. Its the person who just sprinted through your garden in a post uniform. But the man shows mercy and agrees to take your family jewels instead of the money. You hand him the box containing the jewels but replace the stuff lying on the bottom with rocks. The man checks the box only sees the stuff on top and walks away. You take your well earned rest knowing that you tricked that fool out of half your jewels. ;D
If that described you perfectly, you are just like a character out of the liar game. ^^ This is the first problem the series has. Apart from 1-3 characters who are about as intelligent as the average Joe everybody is really stupid and just there to fill the numbers.
The second problem lies with the author. He tries hard to create a threathening athmosphere with (seemingly) hopless situations for the characters. Sadly he ignores any law doing so and is keen to invent new ones that don't exist. (To name an example. A contract is either binding to everyone signing or to nobody. It doesn't matter if you sign with "Spiderman" or your actual name.) So one has to simply accept whatever happens in this series deep thinking and placing yourself in the shoes of any player different from the main char will tear up (huge) plot holes. I'm mentioning that because it is sad for a manga focusing on mind games and logic. There also lies the next problem sometimes the author overlooks holes in his games, meaning he declares a strategy a sure win strategy when in fact it isn't. (Some might remember a certain game where players traded already casted votes but nobody thought of trading uncast votes, which of course would've destroyed the authors sure win strategy and would mean its possible to name a winner even before round one)
So those were a lot of negatives. But I like a lot of the games the author designed. It's fun thinking how oneself would act faced with the games presented. Also logic flaws and stupidness arent on a level that makes it impossible to read the series. On the contrary. Some reactions will make you laugh. Creating a somewhat light atmosphere for the series. Also one has to mention that with advancing chapters the author spends more time thinking his games through and the quality improves somewhat. Also decent manga focusing on psychology of the characters are hard to find. (I can only think of Kiseijuu and Eternal Sabbath.) So despite negatives this is still a decent read.
There's already plenty of comments, so...
...I'll do a bit of commentary on the issues people have with this series:
1) "Nao is an annoying b**ch. If she didn't exist, I'd have loved this series." Way to miss the point, 80% of the readers. Just think: if anyone other than Nao and - by extension - Akiyama were the protagonists, what would be the point of this manga? The MC would just go around throwing everyone into colossal debt while making off with mountains of cash, there'd be no morality and no character to root for, and Liar Game would, in effect, become the next Death Note. (I love DN, but I don't want to see a non-supernatural copy of it) The entire point of having someone as drastically different as Nao be the MC is because she's an element the LGT organisers themselves hadn't predicted: someone who brings the heart and soul into this soulless game, and who, contrary to initial appearances, is as imperative to Akiyama's survival as he is to hers. Akiyama is the brains and Nao is the heart, so if you're one of those people who think that a female character in a story filling the traditionally feminine role instead of a "stronger" masculine role is sexist, stay away from this series. (And just FYI: there are brilliant people and idiotic people of both sexes in the story, ditto for people who function as the heart/soul of their teams)
2) "The plot is so convoluted and contrived. No one can predict things that far ahead." This is a series with gambling, mind games, lies, cheating, psychological trickery and manipulation at its core. Of course in real life this level of Xanatos Speed Chess is impossible, but what's the fun in a work of fiction where everything turns out just the way it does in real life? If you want to see "real gambling," pay a visit to Las Vegas instead.
3) "No character/relationship development." Nao gets a lot of character development, which according to the majority happens too slowly. I'm of the personal opinion that it happens at just the right pace: people don't go from being naive, bumbling ditzes to cunning manipulators overnight, after all. And what's good about Nao is that while she becomes less gullible and more courageous and determined as the plot progresses, she never actually becomes cruel or cold-hearted like most other "weak to strong" characters tend to. And there's actually plenty of relationship development between her and several other characters (Akiyama, Fukunaga, Akagi, Abe, Harimoto, and even Yokoya). Unless of course by "relationship" you mean "romantic," in which case there is none. Akiyama himself doesn't change, and neither does Yokoya (the primary antagonist), but that's a given, as they're both the kind of men who have matured early and are resistant to change as a result of their strong-willed personalities and unusual upbringing. But at the end of the day, Liar Game is an overwhelmingly plot-driven manga, so if you're the type to prioritise characters and relationships over plot, then it's not for you.
4) "It's trying to be clever, but it's actually very simplistic and predictable." Congratulations, you're a genius logician! Jokes aside, though, if you really are a very clever and cunning person yourself, the games they play here will probably seem childish and obvious to you. But to the rest of us with average to slightly-above-average strategic abilities: sometimes you can see what's coming, but 80% of the time anticipating the players' (yes, even Nao's) next moves definitely requires quite a bit of thought. If you enjoy that kind of mental exercise, LG is your manga.
5) "The philosophy of this manga is completely flawed. The two MC's just don't have the guts to defeat anyone, they're not so great." I don't buy into Nao's personal philosophy myself, and since I haven't suffered through a childhood like Akiyama's I have no personal vendetta against large-scale money-making ventures, but aside from the fundamental error in dismissing anyone's lifeview as invalid simply because you don't agree with it, this isn't a story that pushes forward any one philosophy as such. Plenty of characters in the story disagree with Nao and try to use her views against her, and these people are not necessarily presented as villains but just as individuals who have different ideas regarding what the Game is about. And while Nao does try to bring them to her side time and again, once she realises that this is impossible she and Akiyama will do everything they can to lead by example instead of preaching; ie:, they're very proactive within the boundaries of their own principles, which makes them far from gutless. That said, the author is obviously biased in their favour, but that's true of fiction in general.
6) "Since people like Akiyama and Nao don't exists in the world, this is too unrealistic for a seinen." First of all, seinen =/= realistic. Seinen = aimed towards adult men, and adult men have their unrealistic fantasies just like everyone else. Just because this doesn't feature the typical "sex and violence" fantasy of the majority of mainstream seinen doesn't make it any less (or more) "realistic." And unless you know every single person in this world personally, how can you say people like Nao and Akiyama don't exist? It's unlikely, but not impossible. And if fictitious characters were like your everyday ordinary person, fiction would be very boring indeed.
7) "Akiyama's too brilliant, he takes all the suspense out of the story since we know he can think himself out of any bind." Actually, Akiyama gets cornered a few times, too. The reason he always manages to triumph over his intellectual equals (Yokoya and the Kimura-Harimoto duo, mainly) is because of Nao, which brings things back to my point about how neither of them are "better off having been replaced." Also: unless the story is specifically marketed as a tragedy, the MC's always win in the end anyway, so this complaint makes no sense.
8) "The art is horrible, and there's no action or romance.This is boring!" All true (except the 'boring' bit, which is purely subjective anyway), but since there are quite literally hundreds of romance action seinen with beautiful art out there, this one series geared towards the few of us whose tastes aren't limited to those two genre isn't a terrible loss, imo. And the art adequately showcases the characters' actions and thoughts/emotions, so what more do you expect from this kind of manga?
9) "Nao always says "I have a foolproof plan," but it always fails!" That's actually the point. "If everyone cooperates, the world would be a much better place!" is what Nao believes (albeit a bit too firmly for her own good, imo). And it's undeniably the truth, the ultimate foolproof plan towards creating a better world for everyone. But people are merciless, greedy and selfish; they try to profit on their own while throwing everyone else into hell, and as a result the world as a whole suffers on the long run. You can scoff if you like, and if you're from an affluent country which made all its fortunes this way in the first place you probably won't accept the truth in that statement, but it is what it is.
10) "The ending was rushed." Very true: the last few chapters were sub-par compared to the rest of series, and it could definitely have done with a 20th volume to bring the ship smoothly into port, so to speak. The final arc is also the weakest in terms of plot quality, and caused my rating to drop a bit. I don't believe the series was axed, as it's plenty popular in Japan, but Kaitani Shinobu does seem to struggle with endings quite a bit -- as was also the case with his other long-running series, One Outs.
11) "Liar Game is a masterpiece!" It could have been, but in the end fell a bit short -- not least because of the rocky finale. Nevertheless a very enjoyable read and one of the more mentally engaging pieces of fiction I've read in a while. If you love plot-focused manga, this is very much recommended.
... Last updated on April 3rd, 2015, 4:11am
Trust The Damn Writer Nao Haters!
Frick, I am so annoyed at the comments I am reading that go, "Oh I dropped the manga because Nao was too annoying 20-40 chapters in." Jesus, have any of you actually read anything good before? There is this thing called character development, and this manga does it wonderfully. It would be completely unrealistic if Nao went from being so honest that she gave up and cried, to becoming a cunning fox right after she met Akiyama, and that would ruin the whole freaking story!
No, instead of that we, as well as all of the other characters (who often comment on it), get to be surprised as we watch her develop and learn to think critically, in the same way that the readers are learning to think critically in an attempt to guess what will happen next. Of course she started off relying on Akiyama, and she made me so angry that it was hard to stick by her stupidity (especially in the downsizing game - oh dear god), however, the Liar Game wouldn't be interesting without her!
What fun is a game when you know everyone will try to outwit eachother? Her existence and HONEST intentions (the person who said she is a selfish liar is just nuts), are the twist that makes Liar Game so interesting!
Unique plot and very good story. It's in the same category as those "solve the problem" manga (detective ect). It's fun to read something new for once. You also immediately get into the manga without a slow start.
Edit: Omg, read chapter 18 and understand why the protagonist is the stupidest f*ck in the world... -.-
Edit2: It's fun again at least. But i'm sure she'll demonstrate her complete lack of IQ after this round too.
... Last updated on July 14th, 2008, 11:40am
Liar Game is pretty mind-blowing. There are very few manga series that have earned my respect, many are just guilty pleasures, but something about this is really amazing. Of course, itís not perfect and is a bit ďskewedĒ in terms of distribution of focus in the following categories, but the intricacies of the plot make up for most of it.
Art: Itís readily apparent that the art is nothing to fawn over. Iím usually really picky about art, but this is the one series where I donít mind the below average art/anatomy. The simplicity helps you focus on whatís really important and the style really fits the story. Characters are easily distinguishable too (which is rare in many manga series).
Plot: In terms of sheer smarts and logic, it is by far the most impressive series Iíve ever read. When I picked this up I couldnít put it down. This is the only series where I had to think and focus hard to follow along, while other ones I could just skim to get the idea. Liar Game actually works a lot more strategically than it sounds and everything about its plot is so meticulously planned and executed that I almost wonder if Kaitani-sensei could write these games forever without losing his touch. Plus, this isnít one of those stories that tries to trick the reader into thinking itís smart. It actually IS smart, and itís not convenient. Otherwise I would have dropped it immediately, but the scenarios/probabilities are all explained with grounded realism. Even though you know some twist is coming, itís difficult to guess what it is specifically and despite the farfetched nature of the game itself, the way the events unfold and the players build their plans/alliances are very believable. Psychology is another major factor that's focused on in the Liar Game and it's used in a very technical way (mostly by the emerging leaders like Akiyama, Yokoya, ect). On another note, the flow of the manga is also quite impressive. As in, the quality of the plot doesnít really decrease and the pacing is perfect. If youíve read anything longer than a one-shot, youíll know that this is very rare. There are some arcs where more interesting and appealing to me personally (like the downsizing game and the virus arc), but honestly, all the games are pretty stimulating and intriguing.
Characters: The only downside to the amazing plot is that the author focuses so much on the game itself the characters come across as underdeveloped and rather flat. They have their general labels but the author doesnít really delve as deep as I would have preferred. However, given the pace of the game from chapter to chapter, it would admittedly be difficult to develop the characters at the same time and level as he did with the game. The plot naturally took 90% of my attention away. As for Nao, sheís quite an idiot, and I usually detest her type, but then I realized she serves as not only the method of theme delivery but also as a way to explain things to the readers. So sheís very necessary, despite her annoying tendencies. As for Akiyama, heís amazingly smart but a bit 2-dimensional in the manga and plus, I prefer his J-drama counterpart.
Now understand this genre isnít for everyone. Thereís absolutely no romance, and thereís no action. Itís just one intense strategy game (that always manages to be more complicated than you first expect which can be good or bad). I can imagine half the readers who pick this up being too bored to get past the first chapter, while the other half might finish all 138 chapters in one setting. It depends, but itís definitely worth a shot. If you donít like it, then drop it, but if you pass it because of the art or whatever reason, you might be kicking yourself later when you do decide to read it. This manga is extremely underrated and personally, I'm very glad I read it.
... Last updated on September 29th, 2011, 7:52pm
Before I start out, I want to say that I am an avid-shoujo manga reader. The only other mangas I have read and liked besides the shoujo genre is Death Note, and, well, this manga: Liar Game. From the first chapter it's already filled with different events taking place. The logic forces you to think, and it explains each situation carefully so it's hard to get confused.
Many people have compared this to Death Note, and other than the fact that Akiyama shares one trait like L -- a genius -- from my view, nothing else is really that similar. And in my opinion? Liar Game surpasses Death Note. Not by a lot, because honestly they're both great mangas, but I think Liar Game has more edge and logic.
The art isn't too great, a bit below average, but the characters compensate for that. Akiyama, the mastermind, is obviously by far my favorite character in the series. He's amazingly smart, yet sometimes makes mistakes in his calculations which I find totally makes him not cliche. And then there's Nao. She's actually a good character in the series in my opinion. She actually thinks, and although she might not be as intelligent as Akiyama, she tries her hardest, and actually a few times comes out with a solution.
Even if you are a shoujo fan like myself, or any other genre, I highly recommend Liar Game. You won't be disappointed--this manga is a must-read. (I'm surprised this manga hasn't been licensed yet. It definitely should be. ^^)
... Last updated on August 16th, 2009, 3:07pm
Makes me wanna take up psychology.
There are no words for this manga. Just freaking amazing. Deserves so much praise. It sparked my interest for psychology. So so good and interesting!
Characters Akiyama is one badass. He is THE genious. I love that cool character of his. I know maybe he's too perfect since he always seems to find a way, regardless of what. Who cares? It goes with the story. Even so, there's Nao to balance him off. She's the complete opposite of him. Some people find her annoying but in my opinion, it's like food. Akiyama is like spicy food and Nao's like the cold drink to cool that spiciness. (Lol what?) She has to be there to contrast him. Plus, I like how people are portrayed though sometimes a bit exaggerated but who wouldn't freak out if you think you're gonna have a huge debt?
Story This is exactly why this manga is so amazing. The foundation is psychology. Well, more focused on social psychology. It tells it to you real and there actual terms. After reading, I would go research by myself to find out more. It's so interesting! Even when I don't understand how something works, I will keep reading that chapter until I finally do. There is so much rereading potential here. It's not complete yet but I have reread it a few times to understand certain concepts better and refresh my memory of the story (because it isn't complete yet).
Art Some people say it's terrible. Okay, well that may be true. It's still bearable though. In my honest opinion however, I freaking love it. It sucks yes but I love it. Why? It gives an unexpected comical twist to the story. The expressions are so priceless, especially when people lose. It's like purposely bad to lessen the tension a bit. It's like Angel Densetsu (which is a hilarious as hell comedy) which has terribad art but serves its purpose for comical reasons. The art does get better so don't worry. Anyway, it's such a minor thing. The story and its base completely overrides any flaws the series has. I don't care. It's awesome!
What are you waiting for? Go read it. I swear you will be glued.
Flawed yet Amazing and Profound
This manga was great. There were plot holes but I didn't really mind and I don't notice it most of the time. I'm a bit biased when it comes to my favs haha. I think that the art was unique and the reactions were kind of exaggerated yet priceless.It tackles human nature and hit bulls-eye's. And a lot of 'em too. The games reflect real life like how the musical chairs was about politics and stuff. I like Nao most of all. Nao and Akiyama complement each other. The two of them would most probably not win without each other(even if akiyama is a genius). Though I found nao kind of annoying at first, she made a huge impact to me. Her growth was well-paced. She changed slowly but surely, not overnight, too. But what I liked the most about her was that her values didn't change. She was still the honest nao minus some of the naivety and a lot of tears. Because when some female heroines change, they go for revenge and tend to have icy hearts. Lol. Okay, maybe I'm wrong about that but I think that Nao is a symbol of hope. She's not perfect and too honest and idealistic. Not too realistic for a seinen? I don't think so. Because IMO in the 7 billion people on earth, it's not impossible that there's one Kanzaki Nao, Moreover it's more about the LG, psychology and human nature rather than the MC.
I really enjoyed reading this manga. the characters are well created. I think some people are just too fast to jump the gun, not giving Nao the chance to prove herself. she is trusting, honest, and unconditionally forgiving, everything we humans lack. she does everything whole-heartedly, and I really do admire her. (never giving up on people). she is very naive, because of her honest nature, but that's what makes this manga the Liar Game. she is a lot more perceptive than she lets on. nao and akiyama is a really complimenting duo. because he's more of the opposite, wanting to trust people but a lot more careful and calculating about it. as the manga carries on, you can definitely see nao growing, she's still innocent, but she does know things.
the story is well-done (at least in my opinion). the characters are well-developed and you can see their personalities, they're consistent. I do reccommend this manga to people who are looking for a good suspense. it's not ridden with romance (I'm a shoujo lover), but there are very light and subtle hints, which I really do like