Liar Game

“All of you believe that the Liar Game is all about rewarding the best liar, don’t you? Well, I sure don’t. I believe that the Liar Game is all about conquering that desire within you to lie and succumb to your greed. It’s a game that tests whether or not you can remain an honest and upright individual.”
- Kanzaki Nao

Well I knew about the existence of this manga and it was in my list of 'manga to read' list for quite some time already. Well I just cleared that list because well in fact this was the only thing on that list heh. The point is, I dont read manga, im not much of a fan of it, but when I heard about Liar Game the concept of it, I was greatly intrigued by the plot and decided to read it.

I must say, this manga surprised me for a number of reasons. Firstly, I never thought I'd actually like a manga that much (well, I never thought I'd like an anime much either before FMAB), but this one really captured me. I just finished pretty much everything there is so far (except for the latest volume coz you know its better to read everything in one shot and the previous round just ended) in the span of two days. Spent hours on it, slept at 6am yesterday. Not the best use of time obviously, I guess on hindsight it would be tons better if I spread out my reading but hey, it captured me and I got sunk.

Secondly, the manga actually developed and became something much more special as it progressed. Initially I was intrigued by this because I knew the plot revolved around psychological mind twisting in attempts to outsmart the opponent. The protagonist was the regular moron who didnt know anything, and then the other protagonist was the expert who was that darn good. I really like the expert's methodology in the first round in breaking down the opponent's defenses and then going in for the kill, and I thought this was what the rest of the manga was like. Incorporating elements of game theory and psychology, this was what it would be.

As the manga progressed though, it began to change. The second round and third round once again shows the expert being brilliant of course, different styles of playing but mainly the same concept. Again, I was fascinated at how it was done and really enjoyed the smart tactics employed and the careful prediction of opponent's moves.

It was after the fourth round that things got really interesting. That was the one I spent up to 6am reading, for it was as long as the first three rounds combined. It was when the expert was finally faced off with another expert that things got very interesting indeed. Eventually, the sheer number of layers of predictions and outsmarting, counter and reverse counters did in a way make the story rather impossible (I mean seriously come on no one's that smart), but yet thrillingly exciting. The same is true for the sixth round which I had just finished, where there were not two but three experts facing off against one another. I really loved the fourth round, but the sixth was madness. The way the battle raged, how tides change so rapidly in so unexpected ways, and how it finally came to conclude was amazing. The thing is, readers discover that each game was deceptively simple. If we were given the chance to play an exact replica of the games in real life, we would not have seen the sheer number of little complexities and nuances that exist in the simple game. Round six was the epitome of that, and I really like how the ended, as much as I tried to predict it, was a complete curveball, and yet at the same time not out of the blue because the clues had been subtlety suggested but were not noticed or forgotten by the readers in the course of the battle.

The development of the characters played an important role in my enjoyment of this manga, especially since with the arrival of the other experts, we discover that there exists more than one legend, and that they all make slip ups too. Most importantly of course was the development of the main protagonist, who became slowly much more than just a foolish girl. I found great pleasure in the way when the game was explained, initially it would look straightforward, but later the hidden key essence of the game would be understood, and then she comes along and turns the whole thing on its head and proposes a completely new way of viewing things.  The paradigm shifts created by her character are fabulous.

And really, thats perhaps the one thing I love most about this manga. Beyond the psychological mind jacking, the logical processing, the tricks, baiting, backstabbing, emotional play, power play, all the lies and deceit that were used to beat all other opponents to gain victory, she chose to play Liar Game the honest way, with love. All the values that were completely counter to what one would expect to be necessary to gain victory in the vicious tournament, she employed them.

Its true then, that love triumphs all, even in the cunning cruel world of the Liar Game tournament.