Monday, September 20, 2010

Jmovie review: Liar Game - The Final Stage

So the time has finally come for me to say goodbye to Liar Game, the midnight dorama series that surprised everyone with its ratings and sparking a second season and movie. As much as Kanzaki Nao can get on my nerves, I will miss that character. She is the heart and soul of Liar Game, the baka shoujiki who continues in her blind faith to believe even people who are expert swindlers. Even after playing two seasons of Liar Game, she still has not progressed from her simple convictions.

The scenes where Nao tries to get everyone to cooperate only to of course get lied to gets old quickly after 2 seasons. Yet because of her simple mindedness, the writers have something to play off and Akiyama has someone he can rely. In other words, Kanzaki Nao is Liar Game's greatest strength and weakness.

There was never really any need to do the Final Stage as a movie except to milk the cow. They didn't really do anything that could not have been done on tv. Its just another warehouse dressed in lights and funny colours. The movie is basically a three episode stage put together. However, the one difference is that there are plenty of twists and turns in the movie and the writers did not need to worry about spacing them into 3 episodes.

The second season was fun to watch but the concept was getting a bit repetitive. Liar Game was all about the competitions and how Akiyama and Nao would manipulate the games. The main story of who was behind Liar Game was never really cooked well during the series so don't expect anything from the final revelation.

However, Nao and Akiyama have become two characters I have a great liking to after two seasons of trickery, deception and rule manipulation, however undeveloped they may be. That's because unlike the rest of the guest cast who overact all the time, Nao and Akiyama are two characters who complement each other and it is fitting that they be given a proper send off.

Do watch the end of the credits. There is a short scene that made me smile because it's what Kanzaki Nao is about. So sayonara to Liar Game and Fukunaga who always betrays Nao and Akiyama but always joins htme in the end. There better not be a third season.


Anonymous said...

The manga is still ongoing. I haven't watched the movie yet but have read the manga and pretty much fast-forwarded the 2 seasons. Unless you're interested in math/statistics/gaming-theory (or interested in the games themelves like me), the characters are not very well fleshed out. Most, if not all, of them are your typical 2D type, and some of the emotions portrayed in the manga/drama are quite laughable. I was disappointed that the script writer didn't attempt to add more depth to the characters in the manga, but instead chose to dumb-down the logic (and actually introduced logical errors in some of the games) for the general viewers.

BTW, just finished the last episode of Toubou Bengoshi (have fast-forwarded the rest of the show), and I've got to say that it's probably the most insulting (to the viewers' intelligence) Jdrama I've watched in recent years. Simply no comparison to Shikaotoko or Suspect X, and not even at the intelligence level of an average higher schooler. Don't know what Fuji was thinking when they bought the rights to the manga, as it's certainly not very popular (even in Japan).

Anonymous said...

Toubou Bengoshi's scriptwriter probably had connections with FujiTV after co-writing some of the movies from the 20th century boys franchise. As well as scriptwriting the up-and-coming Gantz movie.

Anonymous said...

I'm not intelligent so I enjoyed tobo Bengoshi. :-)

I don't see why the stupidest part of the audience should be left behind!

Akiramike said...

I skimmed Tobo Bengoshi all the way to the end because of Ishihara Satomi's lips and the ending did not work. It was basically twist for the sake of a twist. The execution of the whole series was crap anway. If the writer actually wrote the 20th century boys movies, I can see why the 3rd movie was a disaster.

Anonymous said...

To be fair to the writer, he only wrote the 1st 2 installments. But I agree that the movie didn't do justice to the manga, esp from the 2nd one onwards.

About Tobo Bengoshi, a friend of mine managed to guess who the culprit was just from watching ep1... if that says anything. I personally skimmed this dorama from episode 9 onwards cos the last few strings that held it together snapped there and then.

Anonymous said...

I'd personally like to see more liar game jdrama

sadly the manga has been on hiatus after the end of the musical chairs arc

Anonymous said...

>> If the writer actually wrote the 20th century boys movies, I can see why the 3rd movie was a disaster. The main problem in 20th century boys lays into the 3 movies: to make a good movie, you need to betray the original work ( like Kubrick in shining for exemple). The movies are too much a transcription of the Manga. Anyway, Urasawa's books have also those ending's problem like many mangas...
About Tobo Bengoshi, a friend of mine managed to guess who the culprit was just from watching ep1 I did that on toubousha but Tobo Bengoshi had better actors. Ishihara satomi did a great acting job, I was pretty impressed. Tobo Bengoshi had a good casting ( many skilled actors) and a nice rhythm that's enough as long as I'm concerned.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed the movie. It's not as good as the 2nd season and probably would have been better as a drama. Overall, still very pleased. I was worried that the transition from tv to movie would be bad, but they totally kept to the same formula.

Great review too..though I don't mind another season..:)