dagas_isa: Kanzaki Nao from Liar Game (Default)
[personal profile] dagas_isa
characters from the liar game drama and manga
From left: Eri (drama), Leronira (manga), Nao (drama), Nao (manga), Fukunaga (drama), Fukunaga (manga), Yokoya (drama), Yokoya (manga). Fanart by Tsugumi.

Doing this somewhat telegraphically. Also, with linkage and eyecandy. Also, with minor spoilers.

My general preference Manga > Drama. I like the characters better, and I'm generally better with looking at still pictures instead of watching moving ones.

General Info

Liar Game is a seinen manga series originally written by Shinobu Kaitani and serialized in Weekly Young Jump magazine. In 2007 it was adapted into a drama series, with a second season in 2009 and a movie released in March 2010.

The Premise

Girl finds herself in the middle of a high-stakes game and can't get out. Girl loses money, convinces con-artist to help her get it back. Social psychology and hijinks ensue.

I've heard Liar Game compared to Death Note (because Akiyama's a genius who looks like a combination between L and Light, and there's mind games), but that's kind of inaccurate and fails to do Liar Game justice. It's more like a more optimistic version of Kaiji with a female hero instead of a male one and with a super-educated Akagi dragged in to be her ally.

Art Style/Visuals+Sound

  • Visually spare
  • Goofy facial expressions
  • No 'sound' per say, but lots of exaggerated text bubbles.
  • Eye-candy each of the main three characters in certain contexts. In others they just look weird.
  • Lots of generic explainy graphics.
  • Visually dark with cracky lighting
  • Goofy facial expressions.
  • Sound = lots of random outbursts and a neat techno soundtrack.
  • Eye-candy in the form of Toda Erika, Matsuda Shota, and Kichise Michiko (who plays the drama-only character Eri).
  • Explainy graphics are cute, personalized, and animated.
The drama probably wins on aesthetics alone, if you like/can deal with the lighting/random shouting.

Plot Progression


100 million yen game (Round 1)--> Minority rule game (Round 2) --> Restructuring game (Consolation Round 1)--> Contraband Game (Round 3) --> 3 on 3 Battle (Consolation Round 2) --> Pandemic Game (Round 4 Prelims) --> Musical Chairs Game (Round 4). After the Restructuring game, there's really no way that the characters can not progress, so dragging them in without outside manipulation becomes a non-issue.


Season 1: 100 million yen game (Round 1)--> Minority Rule Game (Round 2) --> Restructuring Game (Consolation Round) --> modified
Contraband Game (Round 3). Season 1 ends, loose ends presumably tied up.

Season 2: Loose ends become untied. 3 on 3 Battle (?) --> Angels and Demons Game (drama version of the Pandemic Game, Semifinal Round) --> Gold Rush Game (Final Round Qualifier? Also the other half of the Contraband Game). Season 2 End. The movie covers the Final stage.

Main Characters
For the most part, this is where I get all 'arrgh' about the drama. They did not keep what I love about the main three at all.

Kanzaki Nao
Kanzaki Nao from Liar Game Manga. Color Art for Vol 6. vs. Toda Erika as Kanzaki Nao in Liar Game Drama

'Foolishly honest' girl, gets caught in Liar Game. Both versions are considered 'pure' and 'incorruptible.' They both want everyone to stop lying and work together. Nao is the focus character of the manga, and slightly less so the drama.

The big difference is in how each of them does that. Manga Nao inspires others but once heartfelt conversation fails, she can fight as dirty as Akiyama. Drama Nao...is supposedly so pure that no one can help but be moved by her.

Manga!Nao is successful for what she does in the game and has to actively prove that her intentions are pure. She also gets a crowning moment of awesome involving, of all things, a teddy bear. Drama!Nao is successful for what she is, symbolically a pure, uncorruptable being who restores everyone's faith in the world. Where Drama!Nao starts showing some brains...she's basically channeling her manga version, who usually did it first and did it more awesomely. And this never happened in the drama, and the world is poorer for it.

Akiyama Shinichi
Akiyama Shinichi Liar Game Manga. vs.
Genius ex-swindler, who gets involved in the Liar Game to help Nao out. Both version are smart, tricky students of psychology and both have copious amounts of manpain. Akiyama is the focus character of the drama.

The biggest difference between the two versions is how the Liar Game relates to their manpain and their character development. The drama explictly connects the Liar Game to Akiyama's past in both seasons. The manga is fine with Akiyama just hating the corporation for what it is because of his past experiences. The other thing is: Akiyama is Nao's mentor in the manga and her babysitter in the drama.

My original thought was that they actually treated Akiyama pretty well in the drama all things considered, even if I think the drama really erased a lot of what made Manga!Akiyama relatable for me (Namely, that underneath the pain, he's really a huge, freaking dork).

Fukunaga Yuuji
Fukunaga Yuuji, Liar Game Manga Vol 7 Color Art vs. Suzuki Kousuke as Fukunaga Yuuji in Liar Game drama
Akiyama and Nao's former nemesis who turns into a tentative ally. Very tricky, smart and strong, and very much after the money. Also, very hot-tempered, the source of most outbursts in the manga and in the drama.

The obvious visible difference is that Fukunaga is not transgendered/genderqueer in the drama. In the drama, Fukunaga is (presumably) a cisgendered male who fits into a desexualized camp gay mold (though, to be fair, 'Liar Game' is one of the most asexy canons I've seen). In the manga, Fukunaga's gender is fairly ambiguous, except for one 'interview' where she states flat out that she's a woman.

The less obvious (but bigger) difference is that Manga!Fukunaga has a lot more than money motivating her. Yeah, she loves money. But she's developed some at least some loyalty to Akiyama and Nao, and she would prefer a rematch with Yokoya to leaving the game rich. Drama!Fukunaga .... not so much. He wants money, and he'll do anything to get it, and I'm not sure he has anything in the way of integrity.

Other Characters

Yokoya Norihiko (manga) vs. Yokoya Norihiko + Katsuragi Ryo (drama)
Yokoya Norihiko Liar Game Manga vs. Suzuki Kousuki as Yokoya Norihiko in Liar Game Drama + Kikuchi Rinko as Katsuragi Ryo

The main antagonist(s) throughout the Contraband Game (+ Gold Rush Game in drama) and the infection game (Angels and Demons Game). They split Manga!Yokoya into two people for the drama. Drama!Yokoya appeared in Season 1, and then at the end of the Gold Rush game. Katsuragi was the main antagonist during the angels and demons game and the gold rush game.

Manga!Yokoya is a sneaky little eyebrowless genius who likes mice because they're the perfect embodiment of submissive obedience, and who admires Hitler except that he committed suicide when he was so close to his goal. He's also filthy rich, so the money really doesn't mean anything to him -.0 He's unconnected to either Akiyama or Nao, except that he's got a major vendetta against them both for what happened in the Contraband Game.

In the Drama, both Yokoya and Katsuragi were involved in Akiyama's past. Yokoya basically ran the MLM that swindled Akiyama's mother. Katsuragi was a classmate and rival of Akiyama's, who actually took the Akiyama part in drama's adaptation of the Roots of A one-shot. (Is it still a one-shot, if there's now a sequel?) Akiyama's big dilemma at the end of both seasons whether he can forgive them enough to follow Nao's ideals and save them all.

Yokoya is creepy in both forms (though I think the manga version is scarier). Katsuragi, I don't have anything against really, except that I would have preferred that she and Akiyama had reversed their roles in their school-day rivalry.

Masked Dealers (manga) vs Eri and Puppets (drama)
Leronira from Liar Game Manga, Vol 3 Cover vs. Kichise Michiko as Eri, Liar Game Drama + Solario, Liar Game Drama
The masked dealers (Leronira, Nearco, Solario, Forli, and Alsab) are the ones who run the games and then do backroom commentary while the players do their stuff. Leronira's is probably the main/most memorable one, just for being the first dealer encontered, and the first one to recognize that Nao's more interesting and formidable than she first appears. Other than Forli (outrageous and not-too-bright), they don't really have distinct personalities.

In the drama, Leronira and Solario appear as these weird puppetty things that appear on video to explain the rules. But the major liason between the players and the tournament is a woman named Eri, who's sympathetic to Nao and her beliefs. Eri is probably the best thing about the drama, even if she was the one to say that Akiyama counted as one of "Kanzaki Nao's belongings" and not Akiyama.

Also: I don't think it's a coincidence that when a female employee of the LGT finally shows up, she's styled somewhat after Eri and takes on her explanation role, even if though they'd probably be on 'opposite sides'.

Tanimura Mitsuo
Tanimura Mitsuo, Liar Game Manga vs. Watanabe Ikkei as Tanimura Mitsuo Liar Game Drama
An LGT employee who was responsible for making sure Nao participates. Manga!Tanimura is a creepy faux-lawyer who generally stalks Nao. Drama!Tanimura is a police officer, who has a gold tooth, but seems slightly less-creepy. He, like Akiyama and Eri has his own dramatic backstory. He also hangs around Eri during the games and plays the pessimist to her slightly more optimistic self.

Other random differences

Gender Balance
Manga Liar Game is a total sausage-fest as far as minor/background characters go. But since most people outside of Akiyama-Nao-Fukunaga-Yokoya basically exist to be used and/or saved it's not that bad (so I tell myself, completely with more rationalizations). Drama Liar Game is more gender-balanced as far as the random characters go, including Katsuragi as a *gasp* female rival.

LGT Corporation
The corporation and its structure plays a much larger role in the drama. The end of the first season actually shows us one of the founders/backers of the corporation and the game. In the manga, the most we get about the corporation are the masked dealers and the employees who are hired to watch players.


He's a fairly major secondary character in the manga, but he doesn't have an exact equivalent in the drama. He's replaced by Fukunaga and another player from Season 1 in the Angels and Demon (Pandemic) Game, and then replaced by Ootsuka in the Gold Rush Game.

I certainly understand why the drama has a lot of fans (easier to watch, lots of eye-candy, neat music) But generally, it's really hard for me to enjoy this as a pure adaptation. I can get into it as sort of a campy AU version, but a lot of the changes that were made ended up taking out the bits of the characters that I really loved.


Liar Game Manga Scanlations @ Manga Fox
Liar Game Drama Seasons 1 and 2 @ My Soju
Liar Game @ TvTropes

Date: 2010-04-30 09:59 pm (UTC)
torachan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] torachan
I haven't read Liar Game yet (though it's been on my list for a long time), but I'm always interested to see comparisons of manga vs dramas.

Date: 2010-05-01 09:04 am (UTC)
maat_seshat: Shuurei seated at a desk, studying, with Kouyuu leaning in behind her. (Shuurei studying)
From: [personal profile] maat_seshat
Interesting! Media-wise, I'm probably opposite you, in that moving pictures are a lot easier for me than static ones, but your analysis of the difference in Nao is fascinating. I'm currently only a couple of chapters into the manga and one season into the drama, but I can definitely see where you're coming from with respect to her taking longer to become active as a character in drama-verse. I don't think I'd go quite so far as to say that she's only successful because of what she is in the drama (she started proving herself at the end of the Restructuring Game and never really stopped, I think), but that could always change after reading/watching more.

Thanks for the analysis!

Date: 2010-05-28 06:43 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
where can i get the link to watch the movie online? really want to see the final game
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