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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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Smart Psychological Drama that improves with each arc… until it doesn’t.
Characters Kanzaki (the main character) is extremely naïve and empathetic, which may need some suspension of disbelief at least in the beginning, as the author is pretty consistent in her writing. Throughout the story, it becomes clear why she is the perfect main character for this story.
Akiyama (the second main character) allows the story to exist, he is extremely intelligent and is not beneath trickery to achieve his goal. The main pair work with each other organically throughout the story.
Fukunaga (early antagonist) is a great introductory antagonist to the liar game and her character progression is subtle and satisfying.
Yokoya (main antagonist) is an amazing antagonist as he is written to be as smart as Akiyama but he isn’t held back by a moral compass. The best arcs in this manga include him.
Harimoto (main antagonist) another antagonist to match the likes of Akiyama and Yokoya. His methods and characterization create a good distinction between him and Yokoya. The arc he is introduced in, is the best arc in the manga. His characterization is ruined after his first arc
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
with the reveal of Kimura as the true strategist of the team. His progression thereafter is decent though.
The minor characters throughout the story are mostly weak and selfish with only a few standouts having only the former of these traits, like Akagi and Makizono. This is actually justified in-story and actually serves the narrative very effectively. The masked dealers of the Liar Game Tournament exposit the rules of each arc. They also act as commentators during the match and keep the characters on edge throughout the story with vague threats.
Plot & Pacing The structuring of the story is rigid and predictable. Apart from the first and shortest arc, each arc starts with an infodump establishing the rules of said arc before the mind games ensue. This, however, is not a negative and even elevates the material when the main characters transition from being pawns into having a goal and choosing to continue the story.
Naturally, the structure slows down the pacing of the manga noticeably at the start of each arc. Some arcs also have multiple infodumps which also have the same effect. This is jarring in a few arcs. However, once the arc begins there is little to no exposition, allowing the author to progress the story interesting and dramatically for 2-4 volumes an arc!
Presentation Liar Game is very wordy and cerebral as the focus is on the characters figuring out their situations, trying to deceive others characters to get ahead in the game (excluding Kanzaki), trying to figure out their opponents' next move and how to get themselves out of dire situations. When plans are formed or revealed the author usually includes real psychological principles or mathematics behind the characters plan. Which increase the believability of genius characters like Akiyama and Yokoya, as they don’t just predict the future. Also, both these characters are not always right or fail to take into account all possible factors when forming a plan or form the right plan too late.
The author sometimes uses minor or antagonists as POV characters to switch up the perspective of the story for various reasons, this keeps often keeps the tension high regardless of the reason it was used for.
With the masked dealers in the Liar Game Tournament acting as commentators during the match the author essentially uses them as narrators without breaking the fourth wall. There are a few times however when the commentary is a bit too heavy-handed or didn’t match the situation. This may somewhat be excused as they are characters and all have different personalities.
The way the themes are presented through the characters in this story are not subtle but are not really preachy either as Kanzaki actions and dialogue feels organic true to her character. Also, her character directly challenges other characters philosophy including Akiyama.
Art The art is decent and suitable for the story and steadily improves throughout the series. The character designs of all of the minor characters are bland/understated which may be annoying at first but it is really in service of the narrative.
Additional Thoughts Once I got into the story I often began to try to formulate plans alongside the characters, it's so engaging! The last few arcs have a noticeable dip in quality and the ending is rushed and convenient. The best arcs of the story alone make the story worth a read. I may do a review of this amazing manga.
Extraordinarily fun (with some small irritations)
It was fantastic.
1) The author is unbearably preachy. He's absolutely 100% a communist.
2) Harimoto isn't a good character. I mindlessly skimmed that consolation game where you're supposed to care about his boring drama.
3) The island arc was the absolute best.
4) The ending is really bad. Finishes super abruptly. Nothing makes any sense. Very goofy.
... Last updated on May 9th, 2018, 5:15am
Better in the beginning
Liar game was especially interesting in the beginning, but as the games progressed each game was less engaging than the last. I found myself flipping through the final arc to finish the story
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
and reach an ending that felt subpar to the grand scale that was advertised in the beginning.
By the end, I simply no longer retained my initial excitement for this series.
... Last updated on April 8th, 2017, 2:26pm
Similar to deathnote
The ending was so cheesy oh my god It wasn't a bad ending, it was just really cheesy. And the last game was rushed but it still closed things up pretty well. I read it so that I could read each of the rounds fully so whenever a round ended I waited a few months to start up again. Before I read the last 100 chapters I re-watched Death Note and honestly I like Liar Game more. There's the psychological thriller part of it and I feel like the cleverness kept up throughout the story. I think Liar Game develops its peripheral characters better than Death Note did and oh my god it develops its female characters so much better. I really appreciate that the main characters actually grew as the story progressed. But man, the ending is so corny.
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
I mean I guess we should have expected it since the story is about Nao tying to become friends with everyone which is a cheesy goal. I was actually fine with evil corp not actually being evil too... but the whole government conspiracy outside of the other country was so much. They dont want us to know that people can get along? Come on lmao. Kinda like what other people said... they tried to create this threatening environment where everything was scary or whatever but the actual theme of the story ended up being about rainbows puppies and sparkling friendship haha that's totally fine but once you go twilight sparkle you cant really turn back to evil forces striking back
... Last updated on September 3rd, 2016, 2:04am
Well after skimming couple review I notice some don't like the ending, strange though I like it greatly it actually convey all the strangeness in the story like what author trying to convey. Of course some will disagree though. Either way it was great story with great ending. Definitely worth reading.
... Last updated on July 11th, 2015, 7:05am
Final too rushed
I read it gladly and with awe. I'd be among the dumbasses if I was to enter the Liar Game, I'm sure, so I didn't notice great plotholes. Maths is not my forte, and psychology is not in my league, sure. So I went for this ride laughing with the wind in my hair. Then I bursted on the last chapter and the horse died... I arrived, but with a bit of sadness. Way to spoil a little this great manga. The final was too rushed, all was said in one little chapter, and great issues remained hanging. So I'm a little bit disappointed, I feel somehow cheated. What a pity.
... Last updated on April 11th, 2015, 3:31pm
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
If you like thinking outside the box, this is for you.
What I mean by the title is the it's a manga about unusual games and the characters try to find ways to cheat, deceive, and trick the other players in these games. There are also good people trying to do the right thing and help others, sadly they get cussed at, and ironically if they did join up work together it would be easier. So why read Liar Game? For me it was enjoyable trying to come up with strategies to win the games and save people at the same time, or in other words predict what was going to happen next in the manga. Normally predicting what happens next is too easy for me and the manga ends up becoming less enjoyable for me that way, however it was not the same for Liar Game. I really liked it. The reason I gave it a 7.7 is:
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
You don't get much time away from the games and while that is okay for the most part, I felt the need to take a break from reading every now and then. Simply, there is no down time for the manga where the real life of the characters are expressed. So they could have expanded on the potential relationship of the main characters or even Akiyama/Fukunaga; the joke about how a tranny likes him. I suppose the biggest factor though was the cliffhanger ending. Yes the Liar Game was over and it may be a set up for a sequel but without knowing when the sequel will, if ever, be released, the point is mute for now.
... Last updated on March 3rd, 2015, 4:16am
Great Manga to Read with unsatisfactory Ending
I recommend this read to anyone who likes psychological manga
however, while I understand that they had to reveal the secrets in the end, I feel they rushed that part and it feels axed
it could be because they want to enter the sequel (which it strongly hints at) but I feel they couldve made one more volume before cutting that, or at least have one where the main character finds out or suggest stuff and what not
regardless, I look forward to the sequel and recommend this manga to anyone labeling as one of my favorite reads
That last arc...
... did not do the manga any favors. I really like most of the manga - Nao starts off as really annoying, and develops slowly, but she does develop into a quite good character. And Akiyama's shenanigans are always fun.
But the last arc falls flat in comparison with the rest. The manga ending reveals the identities of the liar game organizers, and I didn't find that revelation particularly satisfying, or in keeping with the tone of the rest of the manga.
Not to mention that the ending is actually way too open for my taste. I just can't tell whether this is because it's intentinoally leaving room for a sequel, or because it was axed.