Liar Game

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Liar Game
Liar Game vol01.jpg
The first tankōbon of Liar Game as published by Shueisha featuring Nao Kanzaki (center) and Shinichi Akiyama (right) on the cover.
ライアーゲーム
(Raiā Gēmu)
Genre Drama, Psychological thriller, Gambling, Mystery
Manga
Written by Shinobu Kaitani
Published by Shueisha
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Weekly Young Jump
Original run 2005 – ongoing
Volumes 16 (List of volumes)
Television drama
Liar Game
Directed by Hiroaki Matsuyama, Ayako Taiboku
Music by Yasutaka Nakata
Network Fuji TV
Original run April 14, 2007June 23, 2007
Episodes 11
Television drama
Liar Game: Season 2
Directed by Hiroaki Matsuyama, Ayako Taiboku
Music by Yasutaka Nakata
Network Fuji TV
Original run November 10, 2009January 19, 2010
Episodes 9
Live-action film
Liar Game: The Final Stage
Directed by Hiroaki Matsuyama
Music by Yasutaka Nakata
Licensed by Pony Canyon
Released March 6, 2010 (2010-03-06)
Runtime 133 minutes
Live-action film
Liar Game: Reborn
Music by Yasutaka Nakata
Released March 3, 2012 (2012-03-03)
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

The Liar Game (ライアーゲーム 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 a 11.4 viewership rating in Japan's Kantō region. A sequel, Liar Game 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 manga has also been translated into Chinese[citation needed] and into Dutch. In Italy the series is licensed by J-Pop and in France it is licensed by TONKAM.

Plot summary[edit]

At the start of the manga, a scrupulously honest college student named Nao Kanzaki - receives a package containing 100 million yen (about 1 million dollars) 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; those who lose have to bear a tremendous debt. 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 to defeat the Liar Game organization from within.

Prior Movements of the LGT Office[edit]

In an effort to ensure the cooperation of the players, the LGT officials swapped the players' phone books with ones they personally printed. By doing this, any efforts to call for help, such as a lawyer, would lead the players directly to someone who is really working for the Liar Game. This person would then encourage the players' to not involve the police, go to next Round's stage on some pretense, and anything else that allows the game to continue as designed.

Whether or not the LGT Office has prepared more tricks due to the wide variety of players is unknown at present.

First Round: Liar Game[edit]

In the First Round, each player was loaned 100 million yen (roughly 1 million dollars) and a randomly selected opponent. They were given thirty days to steal as much of their opponent's 100 million as they can while simultaneously protecting their own 100 million; whoever had the most money at the end of the thirty days was declared the winner. After 30 days, the money will be counted to establish the winner, and then each participant will repay the full amount of the loan, regardless of whether they won or lost, and keep whatever they had left of the LGT Office's money. In other words, the winner could win as much as 100 million yen, while the loser would shoulder a debt as great as 100 million yen to a phantom organization.

Result: Nao obtains the full 200 million, but initially gives Kazuo Fujisawa (her opponent and the loser) 50 million; this is because Akiyama demanded the other half for his services. However, Akiyama says his fee was half of her profits - meaning if she didn't make anything, he didn't make anything - and Fujisawa's debt to the LGT Office is paid in full, leaving the duo without any excess.

After the Round, Nao returns home to find her second prize for victory and the penalty for her kindness: admission to Round 2. The note states that the only means of exiting the Tournament is a drop out fee equal to half of her winnings, or she could wait until the day of Round 2 and forfeit before even entering the Round...if she surrenders all of her winnings. Without any of her winnings and the help of some smooth talk, Nao finds herself forced to enter Round 2.

Second Round: Minority Rule[edit]

Upon entering the Round, each player was given a name plate displaying their name and a number, and containing a gemstone worth exactly 100 million yen - this Round would be using these name plates as the loan instead of bills, though in the end they would be traded for paper money. In Minority Rules, players are randomly selected to ask a question and then all players must answer either yes or no using the ballots supplied by the dealer (the LGT official running the game); for identification purposes, atop each ballot is the player's number. The side (Yes/No) with the most players voting for them are eliminated. This process is repeated until only one or two players remain in the game - one or two because a minority can only exist with at least three people. Once again, the LGT Office has loaned each player 100 million yen, and will demand the full amount of this loan to be repaid at the end of the game. However, all of this money is awarded to the winner(s) -and is evenly divided in the event of two winners per stage - forcing the losers into debt. Just like the end of Round 1, the winner(s) must choose between giving half of the prize money to the LGT as a drop out fee, or proceeding to Round 3.

Result: Akiyama was declared the winner, and chooses to progress to Round 3, allowing him to use his winnings to cover the debts of thirteen other players (he couldn't cover the remaining eight due to contracts concerning profits for these thirteen players). As a result, eight players are forced into a debt of 100 million yen.

After the Round, it's revealed that the LGT is hosting a Revival Round for the losers to give them a chance of winning more money, and states that this Round will contain weaker competition than Round 2 since its participants are the losers of the game. While the eight debt-burdened players see this as an opportunity to clear their debts, Nao (with a little help from Tanimura) believes this Revival Round is her opportunity to win the money Akiyama needs to withdraw from Round 3.

Errors[edit]

In one panel of Chapter 17, Akiyama is shown wearing his name plate. However, Chapter 17 is set on the second day of Minority Rule - he'd already given his plate to Number 15 by this time.

Revival Round: Downsizing Game[edit]

The invitation for this Revival Round encouraged players to bring any item they believe could help them win the game. The Revival Round itself consists of a ten period game in which players are loaned 100 million yen, presented in the form of a checkbook-like item called an "M-Ticket," and a voting ballot with five empty slots called an "L-Ticket." Each period, the players fill in five names on their L-Tickets to elect the player(s) they wish to win - players can vote for a single player 5 times, or vote for five players 1 time each - with the only restriction being that they cannot vote for themselves. The person with least amount of votes after all ten rounds has its 100 million divided evenly among all the other players, and all players are forced to once again repay the 100 million yen debt. Any players dissatisfied with the amount of this promised profit are free to try making more with their M-Tickets and the items they brought with them; players are free to buy and sell anything they want, so long as they are selling their own possessions. Should either player renege on their part of an M-Ticket negotiation, they'll be penalized with an additional 100 million yen debt. All winning players proceed to Round 3.

Result: Nao acquires the most votes and manages to claim all of the money on the M-Tickets - making it a total victory for Nao. With the least votes, Miura Takayoshi is eliminated, exactly as Nao planned. In compensation for the compassion he showed her during the Revival Round, Nao uses 200 million yen of her winnings to erase Miura's debts from Round 2 and the Revival Round. With his loss and his debts paid, Miura is free from the Liar Game. The remains of her winnings are combined with the other six players' profits to repay half of their debts, allowing them to enter the next Round in debt only 100 million, and Nao enters debt free.

Third Round: Contraband Game[edit]

Unlike other games, Round 3 has the participants take part in a sort of role-playing game, complete a back story taken from the history books.

This round divides the arena (an inspection office for a closed-down airport) into two halves: the North Country and the South Country. The players are divided into two teams, and each team becomes a resident of one country who became traders successfully working in both countries. According to the back story, the two countries were once whole before separating, and the friendly relations are quickly coming to an end. In order to protect the money they've amassed in each nation, the players will need to place it into a neutral bank account in a third country. Transferring the money from their home nation was easy, but the strict laws and strained relation make the money in the neighboring nation rather tricky; it's more likely war will break out and the country will seize the money in an effort to weaken their enemy before they can get it out legally. As a result, the players will need to withdraw the money from the bank and smuggle it out of the country.

In this game, the LGT Office has placed each player in the same predicament: the 100 million yen from their home nation is in the third country account, but they still have 300 million in the neighboring country. Therefore, the amount of the loan in this game is 400 million yen, making four times the profits, and four times the debt.

At the beginning of each period, one team selects one of their players to be a smuggler, and the other team selects a player to act as an inspector. The smuggler crosses into the other country to access an ATM machine in a separate room and chooses whether or not to put money into a briefcase - capable of holding as much as 100 million yen - before making its way to the customs office. Once inside, the inspector must guess how much money the smuggler has in the briefcase, and is given 10 minutes to figure it out with the restriction being that the inspector cannot touch the case. If the inspector believes there is no money briefcase, then it calls "Pass"; should there be any money in the briefcase, the smuggling is successful and the money is added to the third country account. If the inspector believes there is money in the briefcase, "Doubt" is called with the amount believed to be in the case, and an indemnity equal to half the amount of the call is removed from the smuggler's account (Ex. if the inspector calls "Doubt 100 million yen," the indemnity is 50 million yen). Several scenarios result if the inspector calls doubt: if the there is no money in the case, then the indemnity is paid into the smuggler's third country account; if the amount called by the inspector is less than the amount in the case, then the smuggler keeps all the money in the briefcase and gets paid the indemnity; if the amount called is greater than or equal to the amount of money in the case, the inspector takes the money from the smuggler, placing it and the indemnity into the inspector's third country account. After this, the role of inspector and smuggler is swapped. Both countries playing as smuggler and inspector once is considered 1 period, and the game lasts 50 periods. At the end of 50 periods, the team with the most money in the third country accounts wins and proceeds on to Round 4, and any money left in the other nation is divided evenly between the players of that nation.

Result: The Northern Country wins and progresses to Round 4, most of them because they ended the Round in a deficit and cannot leave. Meanwhile most the Southern Country was able to pay off their debts and the debts of three allies from the Northern Country, at the cost of leaving Nao and Akiyama in the red 400 million yen. Nao, Akiyama, and Fukunaga each apply for participation into the Second Revival Round, while two of the three Northern allies withdraw from the Liar Game - nothing for profits means nothing for a drop out fee.

Errors[edit]

Akiyama claimed that he and Nao had a combined total of 130 million yen saved up from the previous Rounds. However, calculating the total amount of money paid to their allies in Minority Rule and deducting it from the total acquired reveals their combined total should be 275 million yen. Further calculation reveals that Nao and Akiyama still would have had needed to delay the repayment of their debts in order to pay the way out for their allies, meaning there's no relative motive for changing their profits.

Nao claims that the Southern Team's profits total 1,230,510,000 yen - this is deducting the debts of the seven other members of their team (500 million yen each) without deducting the money Nao and Akiyama need to pay their debts. However, this should in fact be 100 million yen more.

Even without including the missing 145 million from the Second Round or the phantom 100 million from the Third Round, Nao and Akiyama should have over 60 million yen left over after paying off the debts of their Northern allies. However, this money is never mentioned.

Second Revival Round: Eastern Army vs Western Army[edit]

In the Second Revival Round, six contestants are split into two groups of three and set against each another. The rule of this arena (and old school library) is that the participants are not allowed to cross the border at any time, voices and notes excluded. This time, the participants will play three games, each based on a different gambling game in a separate room - their teammates can see in and hear what the microphones catch, but the players can't see or hear the outside world. The catch: each player only gets to play one game, with no substitutions. Which player plays which game is decided beforehand by assigning each players a different title (Vanguard, Centerfield, and General - each playing in this order), without knowing the game. Each team is allowed a single three minute time out per game, in which they are free to confer with their teammates and their enemies. The team that wins at least two out of three rounds is declared the winner of this Revival Round; in the event one team wins both the Vanguard and Centerfield battles, there will be no General Battle. The winning team will continue on to Round 4, while the losing team's members are permanently removed from the Liar Game and made to pay back their debts in full. In keeping with the gambling theme of this Round, both teams are given a chest containing 450 chips each that will later be exchanged for money. Each chip is worth 1 million yen, meaning the LGT Office has loaned out a full 900 million yen. Despite this, each participant is only required to pay back 100 million yen, resulting in a 300 million yen gift.

Vanguard Battle: 24-Shot Russian Roulette[edit]

As the name implies, 24-Shot Russian Roulette forces the Vanguards to load a special 24-Shot revolver and fire it against their temples; however, there is no mortal danger in this game. Instead, a harmless loud bang will signify a "death." Each Vanguard is given a sheet showing the cylinder of the revolver with a number on each chamber. Each player selects three chambers to signify where they would like the bullets to be placed for the game; in the event both players select the same chamber(s), they're asked to refill their sheets until there's no overlap. Once loaded, the cylinder is rotated to mix up the bullets, with the dealer facing the muzzle away from himself and allowing the chamber to stop on its own in order to prevent cheating. Once the set up is complete, the dealer spins the whole gun to select the starting player.

The player holding the gun can select to either pass or shoot. Passing requires the player to pay 1 chip to the table, and gives the opposing Vanguard the same options. However, each subsequent pass costs double the previous pass (Ex.The first pass costs 1 chip, the second costs 2 chips, the third costs 4, etc.), and both players are only allowed five passes total, making for a total of 31 chips on the table. In the event of five passes, the dealer takes the shot and collects the chips. If the player decides to shoot and there's no bullet in the chamber, all chips on the table go to that player. In the event of a bullet, the player "dies" and loses 50 chips and the contents of the table to the opposing Vanguard. After the shot is taken (regardless of who took it), the process restarts from the beginning for the next chamber, with the first pass again being worth only one chip. This repeats until all 6 shots have been used. The Vanguard who died the least is declared the winner.

Centerfield Battle: 17 Card Poker[edit]

The Centerfields play poker with a deck consisting of only four Aces, four Kings, four Queens, four Jacks, and one Joker, complete with the standard suits (Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, and Spades). After the dealer shuffles the deck, each Centerfield cuts the cards by telling the dealer how many cards deep to cut, then places the ante (five chips each). This game uses the same hand rankings and betting rules as regular poker, and follows most of the same rules as Five Card Draw. The distinction is the No Contest, which results in the dealer collecting the ante; the dealer does not collect any other chips placed on the table. A No Contest occurs when both Centerfields check or when one player folds; in the case of a fold any chips on the table besides the ante go to the player who is still in the game. This battle lasts for 10 games, and the team that wins the most chips over those 10 games is declared the winner of the Centerfield Battle.

General Battle: Stationary Roulette[edit]

This game has the Generals taking turns between being the dealer and the player. Instead of being placed upon a rotating wheel, the ball is placed into a specific chamber in the middle of a stationary wheel by the dealer - opponents shouldn't be able to see which chamber unless the dealer is extremely obvious. The stationary wheel only has four chambers, making it fairly easy to ensure the ball is placed in the correct chamber. After the ball is hidden beneath the cap, the betting begins with the dealer. The dealer is free to bet on as many as four numbers and allowed to bet as many as all of the team's chips - the objective being to confuse and frighten the opponent. After the dealer is finished, the player is allowed to bet. However, the player must bet at least the same amount as the dealer, and is only allowed to bet on a maximum of two numbers; in the event the player doesn't have that much money, the player will go all in. Once the bets are placed, a button is pushed to release the ball into the winning chamber. All bets on the table go to the winner(s), and in the event both the dealer and player win, the losing chips are divided according to the same ratio as the winning chips. Ex. If the dealer bet 30 chips with 10 chips on the winning number, and the player bet that same 30 chips with 15 chips on the winning number, the ratio would be 3:2 in favor of the player and there would be 35 chips to be divided according to this ratio. Therefore, the player would claim 21 chips in addition to the winning 15, while the dealer claims 14 chips in addition to the winning 10 - this way the player won 6 chips. In the event neither General bet on the correct number, all chips on the board are seized the LGT Office's dealer. This game is supposed to last for 10 games, giving each General 5 chances to be the dealer, and the team with the most money at the end of 10 games is declared the winner of the General Battle. However, if one General loses all of the team's money before 10 games are played, the game ends immediately with the opposing General declared the winner.

Second Revival Round Result: The Eastern Army (Kanzaki Nao, Akiyama Shinichi and Fukunaga Yuji) wins overwhelmingly and advances to the Fourth Round. They use the winnings from this Revival Round to pay back the debts of the Western Army, allowing them freedom. However, doing this forces Akiyama and Nao to go 100 million yen further into debt. The money left over after covering everyone else's debts was given to Fukunaga.

After the Round, Nao encounters Tanimura with her invitation to the Fourth Round. Normally Nao is full of dread during these meetings, but this time she's generally content. Upon inquiring into this change in demeanor, Nao reveals to Tanimura that she feels confident now that she has an ally in Fukunaga and a mutual enemy (Yokoya) to help unite five other players onto her team. It's currently unknown whether or not it was this slip of the tongue that caused the creation of a Qualifying Round that separated Yokoya from the players he betrayed and left to die as well as separated Nao and Fukunaga.

Errors[edit]

When Akiyama goes over the 24-Shot Russian Roulette rehearsal, the bullet near the top of the cylinder is shown in chamber 1. However, chamber 1 was a blank in the rehearsal, and the early bullet in the rehearsal was in chamber 2.

The final total reveals that 814 million yen of the initial 900 million yen remained in the game. However, 62 million yen was removed in the Vanguard Battle, 10 million yen was removed in the Centerfield Battle, and none was removed in the General Battle. Therefore, the final total should 828 million yen.

Fourth Round[edit]

In what the dealers claim is an effort to narrow down the large number of players who have proceeded to Round 4, the players are split into two groups and made to play a qualifier game. At the start of the Qualifier, each player is loaned 100 million yen, but are initially given neither money nor items to substitute for money. The dealers reveal that the money will not be in play until the main game starts. However, a loss in the Qualifier counts as a loss in Round 4 and still results in their money being surrendered to the winner, thereby adding 100 million yen to whatever debt they may have with the LGT Offices.

Qualifier: Pandemic Game[edit]

The Pandemic Game starts by giving each player a special wristwatch - it doesn't tell time, but it is capable of connecting to other watches and sharing information like a virtual pet and has a button labelled "activated" on it. The information contained on the watch concerns the players status in the game: at the beginning, all players are either Normal or Infected (healthy or virus-ridden respectively) with only two players starting as the latter. The players' status is also followed by a number which represents the number of vaccines, something capable of curing the virus, held by that player; all players start with no vaccines (making the full status Normal+0 and Infected+0 at the beginning of the game). Vaccines are created by allowing two Normal players to connect, or "contact" as it's called in game, and creates 1 vaccine for each player involved (Ex. if a Normal+0 contacts with a Normal+2 player, the status of the two become Normal+1 and Normal+3 respectively). However, once two players have created vaccines together, subsequent contacts between the same two players will not create more vaccines. The catch: Players only know their own statuses, the watch itself does not display statuses openly. Players can only learn their own status by entering a special booth that reads the data on the watches and displays the status and vaccine count, and the booth only works with the door closed and when there's only one occupant. The risk in this game is the Infected players. A Normal player contacting an Infected player will cause the virus to spread to the Normal player, turning it into an Infected. Infected players can be cured by the vaccines, either by contacting with a Normal player holding vaccines or by "activating" when they have vaccines; the player will be cured, but 1 vaccine will be used. However, in order to win the Qualifier, players must achieve a status of at least Normal+4. Any player who achieves the win condition is entered into the main game, but should less than six players achieve Normal+4 the players with the most vaccines will be declared winners until six winners are named.

Result: Only 6 players win in Group A; All members of Group B win.

Main Game: The-Steal-A-Chair Game[1][edit]

The game takes place on an island in the middle of the ocean, where the players partake in an altered game of musical chairs. Like the original, players must get to a seat quickly, with any player left standing being eliminated, followed by the elimination of a chair. In order to avoid the various confusions that occur during the original game (such as two players fighting over the same chair), the chairs are designed to only allow one player to sit, and lights on the chair as well as the wristwatches from the Qualifier display whether or not a player is officially seated. Besides buzzers replacing the music, the differences also include the chairs being scattered across the island for the players to find. These two features also create a time limit - players only get 10 minutes to find a chair. Deviating further are the numbers placed upon each chair, which serve two purposes. The first is that a player cannot sit in the same chair two periods in a row, but this only extends to the next period, not the following (Ex. a player can sit in Chair 1 during the first period, Chair 2 during the second, and Chair 1 again during the third). In other words, a player can win by only having two chairs. The second is for the leader election, the process by which a chair is eliminated. After the players seated status is confirmed, they gather outside a mansion on the island and elect a leader via majority rule; should two or more players be tied, a re-election is held between the tied players until a single winner emerges. The leader eliminates any chair that remains in play by calling its number, and the number is left to the discretion of the leader. However, players only get five minutes to become present for the election or lose their opportunity to vote. The final differences is that eliminated players, called extras, are still allowed some form of participation even though they can't win the game. They are allowed to wander the island in search of chairs and vote in the leader elections. The process of wandering around, taking a seat, and electing a leader is repeated until only a single player remains.

In addition, every player who won the Qualifier is given 23 medals with his/her name on it. Each medal is 100 million yen, for a total of 2.3 billion yen. However, only the medals bearing the winner's name will be traded for money. Similarly, only the winner will have the debt from this Round paid off automatically. Just like the previous Rounds, victory also results in the winner being entered into Round 5 unless the winner pays the usual drop out fee of half of its winnings.

Result: Ikezawa, a player who allied with Yokoya, is declared the winner. However, he gave away all of the medals with his name on them, believing that Yokoya's medals would be the winner medals. Most of these medals fell into the hands of Nao, Akiyama, and their allies, allowing them to cover their own debts and still help nine other players to not add to their debts.

Errors[edit]

During the first release of The Steal-a-Chair Game in Weekly Young Jump, Nao eliminated Chair 14 twice without turning any heads. Immediately afterwards, the author corrected this by repeatedly writing that the first elimination was Chair 13, and then she eliminated Chair 14 the second time. This error was completely removed when the chapters were released in tankōbon form.

Similarly, the players' debts from this Round were not added during the Weekly Young Jump publication. As a result, Tanimura initially claimed that Nao had managed to earn a 200 million yen profit, when she should haven actually broken even. Once again, this error was corrected in the tankōbon publication.

At the end of The Steal-a-Chair Game, Yokoya is seen ramming into players three times. By this time, the dealers had announced that violence was prohibited, and acts would result in players being forced to pay a penalty fee. However, no mention of such a fee has been made in response to Yokoya's actions.

Third Revival Round: Bid Poker[edit]

Once again, the players are divided into two groups: Group A is located in an internet cafe while Group B is in a dance hall. Bid Poker borrows the hand rankings of regular poker and involves the standard 52 cards of a deck, but cards can only be acquired by bidding on them like items at an auction. In order to bid, the cards are divided into Lots consisting of five or six cards per Lot, each Lot being labelled with an alphabet letter and listed alphabetically. Additionally, each player is given a tablet which is used to select the Lots and place the bids. Bidding is done with coins on the tablet, and every tablet starts with 300 coins. A single coin is worth 1 million yen, totaling 300 million yen per tablet. However, players will only repay 100 million yen to the LGT Offices, making the extra 200 million yen another gift for each player.

The game begins with a Draw Session, a Session in which all 52 cards are in the dealer's possession and must be bought from the dealer. The dealer opens the bidding with Lot A, at which time players are free to place their bids - the highest bid wins the Lot; in the event of a tie, the player who bid first is awarded the Lot. This process is repeated until all Lots have been opened and closed for bidding. After the Draw Session, players are given five Change Sessions to improve their hands by discarding old cards and bidding on new cards. Change Sessions work just like the Draw Session, but with two distinctions. First, the cards used for bidding in Change Sessions are the discards from other players, and the Lots are listed in the order of their discard, undisturbed (Ex. If a player discards only the 3 of Diamonds and the Jack of Spades, both of these cards will be in the same Lot without any other cards added to Lot). Second, the winning bids go to the player who discarded the Lot in the Change Session, not the dealer.

After the five Change Sessions have concluded, the players five-card hands are compared; in the event any player has more than five cards, the strongest possible combination is made into a hand. Any player with less than five cards or whose five card hand is only a high card is ranked as PIG. Any player ranked as a PIG loses 150 coins to be awarded to the winners. Unlike regular poker, which has only a single winner, Bid Poker has three winners - naturally, the players with the three strongest hands. The player with the strongest hand receives 100 coins per PIG, the player with the second strongest hand receives 40 coins per PIG, and the player with the third strongest hand receives 10 coins per PIG. Any players who are neither winners nor PIGS suffer no additional losses, while also receiving no additional coins.

Result: The Akiyama team prevails due to the players trusting Nao to help them, enabling everyone except Akiyama to pay off their debts and escape the Liar Game. After being touched by Nao's purity, Harimoto and his cultists withdraw from the Liar Game. As a debt of gratitude, they gave Akiyama some the winnings he had amassed during his time in the tournament, allowing him to pay off the debt that Akiyama's shouldering in Sakai's place. The remainder was spent paying off their own debts and the debts of prior players, allowing Harimoto to leave without earning even a penny.

In Stage B, Yokoya acquired the strongest hand and collected a total of 1 billion yen. Unfortunately, Fukunaga lost that game, and went into debt.

Characters[edit]

Protagonists[edit]

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.

Antagonists[edit]

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 male-to-female transvestite who first appears in Round 2, where she poses as a woman named Hitomi. Possibly in-transition or post-op MtF transsexual, claims to be female in body as well as mind, and only male according to a birth certificate; still has breasts when not dressed in drag. 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. In later chapters, Fukunaga recognizes Nao's improvement and starts to get fond of her, although he still believes she is incompetent. Nao also observed that Fukunaga may have a crush on Akiyama. After Fukunaga's transvestite 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. He is absolutely convincing as a female when he 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. 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.

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 cultsts 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) Office[edit]

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).

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. 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.

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.

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.

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.

Altair (アルタイル Altair?): Called "Chief Executive". He appears during Revival Round III.

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

Liar Game started serialization in 2005 (September 16, 2005) in Shueisha's Weekly Young Jump.[2] As of October 2010, the series continues with 13 tankōbon released, the latest on September 17, 2010. Shortly afterward, the serialization begins 1.5 years later with chapter 139.[2][3] A short story "Roots of A" has been published as the title piece of a Shinobu Kaitani's anthology released in July 2008.[4]

Live-action television Series[edit]

Liar Game has been adapted into a Japanese television series: Liar Game, a 2007 Fuji series broadcast, followed in 2009 by Liar Game 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.[5]

Background[edit]

Shinobu Kaitani was inspired to write Liar Game after visiting a local beer pub in Kagoshima.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b "LIAR GAME 1" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Retrieved October 3, 2009. 
  3. ^ "LIAR GAME 13" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Retrieved October 23, 2010. 
  4. ^ "LIAR GAME roots of A 甲斐谷忍 短編集" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Retrieved October 3, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Liar Game Manga Gets 2nd Live-Action Film Next March". Anime News Network. October 5, 2011. Retrieved October 5, 2011. 

External links[edit]