The Liar Game (Japanese: ライアーゲーム Hepburn: Raiā Gēmu) is a Japanese manga series originally written and illustrated by Shinobu Kaitani. The manga was first serialized in 2005 in the Japanese manga magazine Weekly Young Jump, published by Shueisha. It was adapted into a TV series, which started airing on April 14, 2007 on Fuji TV, achieving an 11.4 viewership rating in Japan's Kantō region. A sequel, Liar Game: Season 2, ran from 2009 to 2010. It was also adapted into two live action films: Liar Game: The Final Stage in 2010, and Liar Game: Reborn in 2012.
The first tankōbon of Liar Game as published by Shueisha featuring Nao Kanzaki (center) and Shinichi Akiyama (right) on the cover.
|Genre||Drama, Psychological thriller, Gambling, Mystery|
|Written by||Shinobu Kaitani|
|Magazine||Weekly Young Jump|
|Original run||2005 – 2015|
|Directed by||Hiroaki Matsuyama, Ayako Taiboku|
|Music by||Yasutaka Nakata|
|Original network||Fuji TV|
|Original run||April 14, 2007 – June 23, 2007|
|Liar Game: Season 2|
|Directed by||Hiroaki Matsuyama, Ayako Taiboku|
|Music by||Yasutaka Nakata|
|Original network||Fuji TV|
|Original run||November 10, 2009 – January 19, 2010|
|Liar Game: The Final Stage|
|Directed by||Hiroaki Matsuyama|
|Music by||Yasutaka Nakata|
|Licensed by||Pony Canyon|
|Released||March 6, 2010|
|Liar Game: Reborn|
|Music by||Yasutaka Nakata|
|Released||March 3, 2012|
|Directed by||Kim Hing-sun|
|Written by||Ryu Yong-jae|
|Original run||October 20, 2014 – November 25, 2014|
The manga has also been translated into Chinese and into Dutch. In Italy the series is licensed by J-Pop and in France it is licensed by TONKAM.
At the start of the manga, a scrupulously honest college student named Nao Kanzaki receives a package containing 100 million yen (about 1 million USD) and a note that she is now a contestant in the Liar Game Tournament. In this fictional tournament, contestants are encouraged to cheat and lie to obtain other contestants' money, with the losers forced to bear a debt proportional to their losses. When Nao's first opponent, a trusted former teacher, steals her money, she seeks assistance from a con man named Shinichi Akiyama. Though they manage to defeat him, Nao and Akiyama decide to buy out his debt and advance through different rounds of the Liar Game Tournament against merciless contestants, while at the same time attempting to free their opponents from debt and defeat the Liar Game organization from within.
Nao Kanzaki (神崎 直 Kanzaki Nao): Nao Kanzaki is a "foolishly honest" college student, who is coerced into playing the Liar Game. She is extremely honest and, initially, naïve, but these attributes allow her to win the trust of fellow contestants in the Liar Game. Nao is often able to make profound insights concerning the Liar Game and human nature and gradually learns to question others while maintaining her ability to trust her allies, while becoming more mature and considerate with each round played. Although Nao has had several opportunities to leave the Liar Game, she continues to play, wishing to save the other players who have fallen into debt. Nao's only known family member is her father, who is in the hospital with terminal cancer.
Shinichi Akiyama (秋山 深一 Akiyama Shin'ichi): Akiyama is a graduate of Teito University with a master's degree in psychology, who became a con man in order to take down the Multi-level marketing corporation that swindled his mother and drove her to suicide. In Volume 1 he has just been released from prison and agrees to help Nao in the Liar Game because her honest nature reminded him of his mother. Akiyama enters the Liar Game himself in Round 2 by substituting for another player, and by Round 3 is a respected and feared, unofficial leader among the Liar Game's contestants, although he recognizes Nao as the group's "true leader" as a way to persuade members of the opposite team to turn traitor. Akiyama's motivation for continuing in the Liar Game is to find the real motives behind the Liar Game Tournament organization and bring it down.
Kazuo Fujisawa (藤沢 和雄 Fujisawa Kazuo): Nao's former teacher and opponent in Round 1, who was originally a kind man concerned about the welfare of his students. After a series of misfortunes, Fujisawa has become angry, hateful, and mistrustful. Nao is shocked when he outright told her that he doesn't care if she goes into debt or is forced into prostitution to pay it back. Fujisawa's behavior, however, only solidifies Akiyama's decision to help Nao. At the end of Round 1 when Akiyama outsmarts Fujisawa but Nao gives Fujisawa her winnings to that he can repay his debt, Fujisawa is last seen bowing to her in gratitude.
Yuji Fukunaga (福永 ユウジ Fukunaga Yuuji): A trans woman who first appears in Round 2, as a woman named Hitomi. Possibly an in-transition or post-op transsexual, she still has breasts when not dressed in female clothes. Sly, calculating, and a 5th degree black belt, Fukunaga is a skilled manipulator whose weaknesses appear to be her desire for money and her temper. Age unknown; alludes to being noticeably older than she seems. During Round 3, Fukunaga learns to cooperate with Nao and Akiyama, and even when Fukunaga finishes the round debt-free, she chooses to continue in the tournament to aid them. However, Fukunaga is forced to confront Yokoya without their help in the third revival round and is eliminated from the game with over one billion yen of debt. In later chapters, Fukunaga recognizes Nao's improvement and starts to get fond of her, although she still believes she is incompetent. Nao also observed that Fukunaga may have a crush on Akiyama. After Fukunaga's identified-as-male-at-birth identity is revealed, the Japanese text deliberately avoids referring to "her" by gender. (In the live version this character is still male, but with a vaguely homosexual overtone). Alternates between personas - an ultra-feminine cold and superior mature femme fatale; a bullheaded boisterous and physically intimidating man in obvious drag; a seemingly none-too-bright loud young delinquent girl; and gradations in between - whichever currently best suits Fukunaga's own needs, both in-game and outside of it. She is absolutely convincing as a female when she so desires and regularly has everyone fooled. Also stated to have managed to play a convincing non-descript male to orchestrate a con (not shown), despite having prominent "real" cleavage, said to be the result of a combination of female hormone injections and breast augmentation surgery with saline implants.
Norihiko Yokoya (横谷 憲彦 Yokoya Norihiko): A character obsessed with domination, Yokoya first appears in Round 3. He is a calm, eerie dark-haired young man, who is often shown carrying white mice in his pockets, he dresses in vaguely militaristic suits, admiring and seeking to emulate notorious 20th-century dictators, most notably Adolf Hitler. Nearco describes Yokoya as Akiyama's greatest rival, and Nao sensed something odd about him early in the game. Yokoya comes from a wealthy family, and his strategy frequently involves bribing other contestants into becoming his pawns. His team is depicted as Yokoya's complete dictatorship, as opposed to Nao's cooperative team. Although Yokoya initially planned to drop out of the Liar Game with his Round 3 winnings, Nao taunts him into proceeding to the next round, and Yokoya swore to bring down Nao and Akiyama in revenge. After losing Round 4 to them, Yokoya decides to keep playing to the end, aiming to become the ultimate winner of the Liar Game. During the Third Revival Round, Yokoya was able to accurately predict the name of the game to be played by the contestants; this is not even told to the hosts and other LGT Office Employees. Yokoya claims to have deduced the name because he has determined the true meaning of the Liar Game, but he actually had read a foreign book from which the Liar Game was inspired, including the games played on it by order. After being outsmarted by Akiyama in the final game, Yokoya finally admits defeat, claiming that unlike Hitler whom he admired, he must know when to quit, much to the happiness of his father, who is also revealed to be one of the hosts of the Liar Game.
Takashi Harimoto (ハリモト タカシ Harimoto Takashi): Harimoto wears long robes and a straw hat. He has deep wrinkles, which hints that he may be the oldest character introduced so far. Unlike Akiyama and Yokoya, both of whom excel at psychological and mental manipulation, Harimoto's strength lies in taking advantage of a person's emotional state. He first appears in Round 4, as the founder of the Peaceful Paradise cult. Three female members of his cult - Mika Mikamoto, Kei Kimura, and Yukiko Abe - are also contestants in the Liar Game and follow him unconditionally, giving him a strong advantage. He controls his cult members by telling them that all mankind descends from humans and demons as well, claiming that his mission is to gather those like him with little demonic blood under his guidance, in a quest to restore a (nearly) pure human bloodline and work to overthrow the demons. It is later revealed that he used cold reading to "rescue" the three women when each was in her lowest emotional state, thus seducing them into joining his cult. Once defeated in Round 4, Harimoto and his cultists return for the subsequent revival round, and moved by Nao's incorruptible spirit, they withdraw from the Liar Game, giving away the money they had previously collected to pay other players' debt.
Liar Game Tournament (LGT) OfficeEdit
The name of the organization that runs the Liar Game Tournament and its purpose have not yet been revealed in the manga. Rather, a number of employees of the LGT Office have been shown, who manage the rounds of the game. Two types of employees have been shown so far: "handlers" who manage individual contestants and provide information on upcoming rounds, and "hosts" who carry out the actual rounds of the Liar Game and observe the contestants.
Mitsuo Tanimura (谷村 光男 Tanimura Mitsuo): A man who posed as a lawyer (a policeman in the live-action) and whom Nao first consults when she gets involved in the Liar Game Tournament. It isn't revealed until later that he is actually part of the Liar Game Tournament working to make sure players can't escape the game by going to the authorities. Tanimura is the Liar Game representative assigned to Nao. It was Tanimura who initially gives Nao the idea of using a scam artist to win the game (in the live-action adaptation, this was deliberately done in order to bait Akiyama into participating in the game). He is also the only character in LGT office that has got his real face shown to readers.
Leronira (レロニラ Reronira): One of the hosts of the Liar Game, he wears a suit and an ornate mask over his face. Although he admires Akiyama and Fukunaga for their intelligence, he admits to being most interested in how Nao participates in the games. He is apparently one of the smartest and cleverest among the hosts. Early in the game he pointed out Nao would be the one who is going to change the dynamic of the game; he almost cracked all tricks employed by the players (including Akiyama and Fukunaga) and correctly predicted the outcome of them. In the live-action adaptation, he is the masked figure who gives players instructions via recorded videos or through a monitor.
Nearco (ネアルコ Nearuko): A co-host of the Liar Game with Leronira who looks exactly like him but with a different mask, one with a long moustache. First appearing in Round 3, Nearco admires Yokoya, describing him as a fearsome individual, and cannot understand Leronira's interest in Nao. He is analytical and intelligent, although not up to the standard of Leronira or Rabelais.
Solario (ソラリオ Sorario): A third host of the Liar Game, he looks similar to the previous hosts, except his mask has a sun on the right eye. Solario becomes quickly interested in Nao when she realizes the objective of Revival Round 2 before he expected her to.
Forli (フォルリ Foruri): A fourth host of the Liar Game who appears similar to the other round dealers, but with a suit and bowtie. His clothes are a bit scraggly-looking, his hair stands out, and his mask resembles the face-paint of a clown in the Renaissance with long, oval markings on each of where his eyes and mouth should be. He hosts the Round 4 Qualifier for Akiyama and Nao's side, rooting for them and tending to fall completely for all of Akiyama's plans, even though he's not involved and knows all the rules of the game. Forli is more "goofy" than the other hosts and is easily confused by the players in Liar Game.
Kurifuji (栗藤 Kurifuji): A woman long dark hair, who wears sunglasses and a surgical mask across her mouth to cover her face. Kurifuji is assigned to Yokoya and often advocates his skills above other Liar Game contestants. It has been revealed that she, like Akiyama, majored in psychology.
Alsab (アルサブ Arusabu): A fifth host of the Liar Game, who hosts Round 4 and its Qualifier for Fukunaga's side. His mask has a ying-yang symbol on the forehead; ☵ (water) i-ching symbol on the left cheek of mask; and ☲ (fire) i-ching symbol on the right cheek in a manner somewhat reminiscent of the South Korean flag. In contrast to Leronira, he doesn't seem consider Nao a serious threat in the Liar Game. He once declared human beings are not able to throw away their greed and work together for a good cause, which is later proven wrong by Nao and Akiyama.
Silien (シリーン Silien): A sixth host of the Liar Game, who was the dealer for the Revival Round III for Group A.
Rabelais (ラブレー Rabelais): A seventh host of the Liar Game, who was the dealer the Revival Round III for Group B. He is also Yokoya's father. In real life, he is rich and famous; in the previous Liar Game, he almost won in all games according to Leronira.
Altair (アルタイル Altair): Called "Chief Executive". He appears during Revival Round III.
Liar Game started serialization in 2005 (September 16, 2005) in Shueisha's Weekly Young Jump. As of December 2014, the series continues with 18 tankōbon released, the latest on September 17, 2010. Shortly afterward, the serialization begins 1.5 years later with chapter 139. A short story "Roots of A" has been published as the title piece of a Shinobu Kaitani's anthology released in July 2008.
Live-action television seriesEdit
Liar Game was adapted into a Japanese television series: Liar Game, a 2007 Fuji series broadcast, followed in 2009 by Liar Game: Season 2. In 2010, the full-length film Liar Game: The Final Stage was released as a continuation of the TV series. A sequel, entitled Liar Game: Reborn, was released in 2012.
Half a Million Dollars Game: Two opponents possess half a million dollars and must try and steal money of the other before a set deadline. How to win Half a Million Dollars Game: Fool your opponent into thinking the deadline is sooner than it is. Have colleagues pretend to be game officials and pick up your opponents cash for “checking” at the fake deadline. Your colleagues then pass the money to you before the real deadline.
Minority Game: A game for 22 individual players. A Yes-No question is asked. (The question itself is irrelevant.) Players vote their answer of either yes or no. The answer with fewest votes wins. Those players continue to the next round where the game repeats until a tie between two players, or one player winner remains. How to win the Minority Game; Answer 1: Form a team of 8 players; 4 vote yes and 4 vote no. Thus irrespective of the outcome, 4 are guaranteed to give the correct answer and continue to the next round. In the following round, 2 of the 4 vote yes, and 2 vote no. Thus irrespective of the outcome, 2 are guaranteed to give the correct answer and continue to the next round. In the following round, 1 of the 2 vote yes, and 1 vote no. Thus irrespective of the outcome, 1 is guaranteed to give the correct answer. This could result in either an overall win or a tie with a non team-member. This strategy will enable you to know one of your team will win, but you will not know who it will be. How to win the Minority Game; Answer 2: This strategy will enable a specific person to win. Let’s call that person, X. X approaches 7 other players to form a team of 8 and convinces them to play as per strategy 1. X also approaches 7 other players to form a second team of 8 and convinces them to also play as per strategy 1. X also approaches the remaining 7 players to form a third team of 8 and convinces them to also play as per strategy 1. No team knows of any other team apart from player X. In each round, X tells each team s/he will cast a vote for yes. Due to X effectively playing the part of 3 players but only casting 1 vote, X will always be voting on the minority side and will ultimately win the game.
Restructuring Game: Players must cast three votes for other players. After 10 rounds of voting, the player with the least votes is eliminated. Votes can be bribed and bought. How to win the Restructuring Game:
The Card Bet: (as shown in the Korean version) Two playing cards placed in a bag. One is the Joker. The other is a double backed card with no face. A person must reach into the bag, retrieve a card and place on the table face down. Then the card is flipped. If it is the face card one person wins, if it is the double backed card, the other person wins. You let your opponent to choose light or dark for their card choice. You let your opponent remove and flip the card each and every time. You point out that if the face up card is placed directly on the table before it is flipped then the result is already known and therefore is invalid and does not count for either person. First person to 7 wins. How to win the Card Bet: This game gives the illusion of a 50/50 chance for both players. However, the double backed card will win 66% of the time. Therefore, the trick is to force your opponent to choose the face cards as their winning card to put the odds in your favor. Offer your opponent to choose between the light or dark card. If they say light, tell them they have chosen the face up cards. If they choose dark, tell them they have chosen the dark, shifty Joker to represent them and you will have the light blue backed cards. Thus irrespective of their decision you force them to choose the Joker. If your opponents card is drawn, half the time it will be face up and will automatically be deemed voided. If your card is drawn, it will always be flipped and yield a win for you. Your card will never be voided. Ultimately you almost certainly must win.
The President’s Game:
The Smuggler’s Game: A game for two teams (nations). Each nation has 5 million deposited in a bank account in the opposing nation. A player must go into the opposing nation and withdraw nothing or 1 million or any amount in between. The money (including nil if so chosen) is placed in a suitcase. When returning to their own nation with the suitcase, they are stopped at the border by customs. The opposing nation must choose to allow the player pass without checking the contents of the case, or stop them on suspicion of smuggling money. If they stop the player they must also announce the amount of money they suspect they are smuggling. How to win the Smuggler’s Game: Bribe border guards of the opposing nation to act as mules on your behalf.
17 Poker: A deck of 17 cards. Four Aces, four Jacks, four Queens, four Kings, and a Joker (Wild Card). The deck is shuffled and four cards are dealt to players. Winning hands are one-of-kind, two-of-a-kind, three-of-a-kind, and four-of-a-kind. Joker is a wild card. How to win 17 Poker: Each hand must start with a newly opened deck. Thus the deck will begin ordered by suit. Rifle shuffle the deck (perfectly) twice. This will mathematically order the deck by picture (A’s, J’s, Q’s, K’s, Joker). An opponent can cut the deck wherever they wish. The starting card will change, but the order remains the same. If your opponent has cleverly figured a way to get the Joker, then the following cards will always be four-of-card. Problem with the winning strategy of 17 Poker: It requires the dealer perfectly rifle shuffle the deck twice. Your opponent must figure out how to get the Joker, then get the Joker and no further cards, and that no other subsequent opponent get any cards before you. That is to say, you must get the very next four cards after the Joker is received by your opponent. Reality of 17 Poker: Whomever gets the Joker by whatever means has the highest probability of winning any given hand; unless sleight of hand is involved. The winning strategy as presented in Liar Game is unlikely to work.
Last Man Standing Version I: Each player has a (toy) gun. This gun is initially loaded with one bullet (blank). Each player takes a turn in a given round. At their turn, a player may opt to shoot, load, or avoid. If a player chooses to “Shoot”, they may shoot an opponent of their choice. If the gun successfully fires, they may continue to shoot until the first empty chamber. If a player chooses to “Load”, they can add another bullet to the chamber of their gun for use in a subsequent turn. Thereby increasing the number of bullets in the chamber and increasing the likelihood of a successful shot when they subsequently choose to shoot. If a player chooses to “Avoid”, they do not get to Shoot, nor Load. However, if any opponent chooses to shoot them during the round, they avoid a successful shot and may select any other opponent who is shot instead (as if by ricochet). Each player has 5 lives. Thus they must be shot 5 times before they die and are eliminated from the game. The person who fired the killing shot is awarded their gun. Thus that play then has an additional gun to play with per turn. How to win Last Man Standing: You could benefit by suspecting who wants to kill whom, and have excellent mental math skills to calculate chance throughout the game. Your chances are not significantly increased unless you are able to gain a second gun.
Last Man Standing Version II: Players have 15 lives. Avoiding is not option. In each round, all players shoot or load at the same time.
The Well Game: (as shown in orphanage in the Korean version) Three players stand in a circle holding hands. Players facing outward from the circle. On the count of three, each player pulls the hand of a neighboring player. If two people people happen to both pull the hands of the third player, the third player is toppled off-balance and loses (falling into the well in the center of the circle).
- "LIAR GAME 1" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Retrieved October 3, 2009.
- "LIAR GAME 13" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Retrieved October 23, 2010.
- "LIAR GAME roots of A 甲斐谷忍 短編集" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Retrieved October 3, 2009.
- "Liar Game Manga Gets 2nd Live-Action Film Next March". Anime News Network. October 5, 2011. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
- Choi, Eun-hwa (September 12, 2014). "Kim So Eun, Lee Sang Yoon and Shin Sung Rok Confirmed for Drama Liar Game". enewsWorld. Retrieved September 14, 2014.
- Jones, Julie (September 12, 2014). "To Win At The 'Liar Game' These Actors Will Cheat And Lie". KDramaStars. Retrieved September 14, 2014.