The Liar Game kdrama has come to an exciting conclusion. A revival round. Two stages of the final round. Childhood revelations. A hostage situation. And a hint of what’s to come. All packaged in two crazy, suspense-filled episodes. The last two episodes left me with a lot of thoughts and feelings, some positive, some not so much.
The Smuggling Game is here. After the last two episodes ran off and spun a new and original game for the third round, I thought that there was a chance that the remainder of the drama would continue to create new and original drama-only games. For better or for worse, the kdrama has returned to its pre-President Game pattern and decided to have the participants play the Smuggling Game (a.k.a. the Contraband Game).
Finally, an original game! Three rounds in and more than halfway into the first season, it seemed like the Korean adaptation of Liar Game would, for the most part, just stick to the games and rounds as they appear in the original manga. But fortunately, in an unexpected twist, the fourth round of the Liar Game is not the Contraband Game but the President Game, a new and original concept that had not appeared in other Liar Game media ever before.
It might be that I’m just getting really excited about how this drama is progressing as a whole, but Liar Game feels like it’s getting better and better with each episode. Episodes 5 and 6 detail the events of the revival round, where Nam Da-Jung and other losers from the Minority Game come together to participate in the Layoff Game. Also called the downsizing game or the restructuring game, the basic premise of the Layoff Game is a popularity contest where contestants vote for each other in a series of rounds, with break time in between each round. The one with the fewest number of votes at the end of all the rounds gets “laid off” and officially loses the right to participate in future rounds of the game.
In my opinion, out of all the games that are ever played in the liar game, whether it be in the original manga or the Japanese drama, the minority game is the one that most embodies the spirit of the series as a whole. The first round, although it does introduce you to the “liar” part of Liar Game, is there mainly as an extended introduction for the main characters. You get to really see how naive and honest Nao/Nam Da-Jung is, and on the other side, how smart and cunning Akiyama/Cha Woo-Jin is. The second round is where the “game” part of the title comes in and where we get an idea of exactly how deep and complex the tricks and manipulation can get…
Originally I planned to review and discuss the second episode of Liar Game in the same post as the first episode since they both aired in the same week, but there was too much to talk about to comfortably put into a single post. The second episode covers the release of Cha Woo-Jin from jail and how he helps Nam Da-Jung take back her money from her teacher, wrapping up the first round of the game.
Being a fan of the Liar Game manga and Japanese drama, I went into watching the Korean adaptation with high hopes and high expectations. It has been a few days since the airing of the first two episodes, and I’m excited to say that both my hopes and expectations are still fairly high. The action-packed first episode starts off with a bang, and as the episode progresses, we gradually see familiar elements from the manga reveal themselves, oftentimes along with subtle twists that suggests the drama’s trajectory may not be as predictable as we might initially think.
Exciting news: Liar Game is becoming a kdrama! Here is the teaser:
For those who might not know, Liar Game originally began as a manga series by Kaitani Shinobu (who also wrote the psychological baseball manga One Outs). It tells the story of Kanzaki Nao, an extremely honest and naive girl dragged into the titular Liar Game Tournament, where all the players repeatedly lie and manipulate one another in order to improve their chances of winning outrageous sums of money. Losers often go into debt, and the dark organization behind the game will collect this debt by any means necessary. Naturally, Nao gets into a dire situation fairly quickly and ends up seeking the help of ex-swindler Akiyama Shinichi, who later decides to participate in this game for his own reasons.