15 March 2008

ライアーゲーム Liar Game

Title: ライアーゲーム Raiā Gēmu (Liar Game)
English Title: Liar Game
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Year: 2007
Episode: 11
  • 松田翔太 Matsuda Shota
  • 戸田恵梨香 Toda Erika
  • 北村総一朗 Kitamura Soichiro
  • 和田聰宏 Wada Soko
  • 岩佐真悠子 Iwasa Mayuko
  • 森下能幸 Morishita Yoshiyuki
  • 一本気伸吾 Ippongi Shingo
  • 吉瀬美智子 Kichise Michiko
  • 渡辺いっけい Watanabe Ikkei

ライアーゲーム Liar Game - ライアーゲーム Raiā Gēmu (Liar Game)
Kanzaki Nao is an ordinary girl that is extraordinarily nice and honest. She always does the right thing, even in trivial situations such as reporting about a lost coin she found on the sidewalk. One day, she receives JPY100 million along with a notification that she has been chosen to participate in the Liar Game Tournament.

The rules of the game are quite simple. Each player is given the same amount of money and he must trick the other players to give him their money. At the end of a specified time period, the game organizers will claim back the money they have initially given to the players. Those who can't return the money end up in debt.

Nao was tricked by another player and she unwittingly gives him her money. Desperate to get her money back to ensure that she will not incur huge amounts of debts, she seeks out Akiyama Shinichi's help, a master swindler.

Liar Game is all about people and human nature. It has a lot of insights about how to 'read' people, how to deceive people (only when necessary, perhaps in extreme cases), and how not to be deceived by other people.

I'm amazed at how Akiyama Shinichi is always one step ahead of everyone in the drama when it comes to analyzing people and the situation. He is almost immediately aware of all the choices available to him and its possible outcomes. I really wish I'm like that.

Erika Toda's portrayal of Kanzaki Nao is incredible. Well, Nao is actually such an amazing character to begin with. Nao is so frustratingly honest and good-natured that I can't help but think she must be simple-minded (er, stupid). I don't think someone like that really exists in this world but perhaps I'm just not fortunate (or unfortunate?!) enough to have met one.

I was initially hesitant about watching this drama because I didn't really know much about the Liar Game manga. Matsuda Shota's character Shinichi is described as a convicted swindler just released from prison and I naturally assumed he's an evil character. But let me just say that there's more to his character than meets that description and he's really a good guy after all.

I love how this drama makes you look at things differently or consider other ways of looking at something, at the very least. Sometimes, we're so quick to judge that we don't bother finding out the reasoning behind. Of course, the reasoning does not justify anything but at least knowing the reasoning puts us in a better position to understand.

The drama's premise is quite surreal and it seems that the production team is aware that this is one manga-based production that cannot have a realistic adaptation. Perhaps that's why this live-action adaptation still retains fantastical or out-of-the-real-world elements although the presentation is matter-of-fact.

ライアーゲーム2 Liar Game 2
ライアーゲーム ザ・ファイナルステージ Liar Game: The Final Stage
ライアーゲーム -再生- Liar Game -Saisei- (Liar Game -Reborn-)

ライアーゲーム Liar Game