Liar Game, and the mind games genre

So after watching this week’s episodes of Liar Game, I couldn’t help but make a blog post. It’s fairly rare that I watch live action series nowadays, mostly because they are long and time consuming, one or two episodes of Liar Game however and I couldn’t stop watching.

Liar game was originally a manga written by Shinobu Kaitani, the manga spawned 2 seasons of a japanese live action series, along with 2 films, and now finally the koreans have decided to give it a go – presumedly because their drama intake is so high that they now need to venture into other territories and remake their drama (popular Japanese drama Nodame Cantabile is also seeing a similar korean remake as ‘Tomorrows Cantabile’).
It is about a naive girl who is thrust into a gameshow where you have to outsmart and cheat your way to the end, with winners receiving massive prize money, and losers becoming bankrupt and probably sold into slavery.


The korean version is liberal with the source material, almost to the point where they decided to only keep the best parts they liked, and then rewriting and remoulding the rest – the result however is a show that is undeniably better than the Japanese live action version, filled with additional drama and backstory, and giving characters more equal weighting so they can stand on their own rather than be completely overshadowed by the main characters. The korean version also completely changes the setting and world, introduces some interesting new games of its own, and introduces a fantastic archnemesis for our hero to wage war against.

Theres little more to say, those that want to give it a go can do so here – – of which 10 out of 12 episodes have aired and been subtitled.


Maybe you like this genre. I sure as hell do. Here are some similar ones.

UPDATE: You will totally enjoy ‘The Genius‘ gameshow – more information on this blog post –

Death Note – One of the most famous ‘mind games’ shows out there, a serial killer against a master detective – It became famous for a reason, it’s one of the best, spawning an anime, a bunch of films and even video games.

Kaiji – A show I recommend to everyone, Kaiji pushes a debt ridden gambler to hell and has him claw his way back against the shady organization that put him there, sure there’s money at stake, but for the most part Kaiji is winning to avoid being sold into slavery. The Espoir (Rock Paper Scissors) arc is one of the most interesting games you’ll see, and it’s the first one. Oh, and there are two seasons of it, totalling 52 episodes, so there’s plenty to watch (even if the pachinko arc drags a little.)



One Outs – A genius baseball pitcher, unbeaten in the underground gambling game of one outs – He is put onto a professional team with the contract of ‘One out, 5 million yen, one point given and he pays 50 million yen’. After he starts winning, the team’s manager begins to conspire against him, trying to get him to give up points – and so starts the battle of minds. The writer is the same as that of Liar Game.


Akagi – Primarily for those that at least have some knowledge of mah-jong, Akagi is written by the same guy that does Kaiji, only this one is focused on playing Mahjong for huge money, against some really dodgy characters.

No Game No Life – Sitting way over on the other side of serious, NGNL has the same element of mind games but in a more relaxing and brightly coloured fantasy world – far away from the gangsters and serious life or death tone that these sort of shows usually possess. It’s nowhere near as serious or hardcore as the others, and arguably the mind games sections are spread pretty thin on the whole, but it may be worth a watch if you fancy something lighter.