Author: Kaitani Shinobu
This is a manga serialized in Young Jump by Kaitani and so far there are 4 volumes. The fifth book is going to come out this month. Liar Game has also been made into Japanese TV drama and probably some people may have seen the drama. I read the manga and I instantly fell in in love with Akiyama (^_^;;) and that’s why I read as many volumes as I can find.
The story in Liar Game is very simple. Kanzaki Nao is a very honest girl and she doesn’t know how to cheat but is constantly being cheated because of her personality. Her mother died when she was an infant and her father is suffering from terminal illness. One day, she received a card inviting her to join the “Liar Game”. On the card, it said if she did not want to join, she should not open the packet but she did not notice the small font till she opened the packet to find 100 million yen. The money was her “chips”, her capital in the game. She would have to play against another player (with equal amount) and try to get as much money as she could from the other player. She could win up to 100 million but she might also lose up to 100 million. Should she lose, she would have accumulated 100 million debt! Nao’s opponent was her high school teacher, whom she respected. However, she did not know the teacher had the intention to cheat her money right from the beginning. Not knowing what to do, Nao searched for help everywhere but her only hope seemed to be a genius conman – Akiyama Shinichi.
I have seen many people comparing Liar Game to Death Note because of the similarity of both plot style and art style. While the story in Liar Game is more straightforward and less complex than Death Note, it’s also fascinating in its own way. While Death Note relies on the characters as the axial to link the story together, Liar Game depends on combination of characters to bring out the story. Unlike detective stories, death is not emphasized here but as we read in between the lines, we can see the horror beyond death – the fear among the living. Who to trust and whom not to trust becomes the key question in Liar Game. While the characters in Liar Game may not have as much impact as those in Death Note, I quite like Akiyama and No. 15 (in Game 2).
in terms of artwork, obviously it’s not comparable to Death Note because there are not many geniuses out there like Obata. Still, I think the artwork is reasonable and I really like Akiyama’s expressions even though they may seem a bit too stiff at times.
Normally, I hate useless crybaby heroine as Kanzaki Nao but I can understand why such annoying character is necessary in Liar Game. If she is the strong and clever type, it will be extremely hard for Akiyama to interfere and help her. It’s because of her annoying personality that renders the opportunity for Akiyama to enter her life and her to enter his. I quite like Nao in the manga but I find the TV adaptation of Nao a bit over the top. Somehow, the Nao in the TV version is a bit too pleasant and cute (?) and did not have the depressing look in the manga version. In contrast to her, Akiyama Shinichi is a much more interesting character. Many compared him to Kira and L in Death Note and that’s understandable because he’s like a mixture between L and Kira. The base of his character is in L (the look too) but occasionally, he displays an arrogant and charismatic attitude that’s closer to Kira. In the manga, I like him because he wears a sincere look on his face – very enigmatic. Sadly in the TV series, the actor chosen failed to replicate this interesting expression. Instead, he only acted out the arrogance that made Akiyama seem like an inferior version of Kira (;__;).
I like the manga but I don’t like the TV series because the characters are all exaggerated (in a negative way) and many of the small details in the manga are eliminated in the TV series such that the transition becomes quite awkward in the TV drama. Therefore, for those who have not watched the drama yet, I highly recommend reading the manga first or you may be biased by the TV drama’s characterization and may not taste fully the characters in the manga. If you like mental battles, I certainly recommend this manga!