Rating:
Average user rating 4.6
37

Kolorful Palette: Honestly great [Liar Game]

Another week, another manga turned J-drama turned K-drama. If this becomes a trend I don’t think I’ll be one to complain, especially if the quality stays this good. What’s not to love about a great story with some fresh twists, solid directing, and a well-chosen cast?

Like Nodame Cantabile, I haven’t seen or read any of the previous material. I did do some Googling though, and from what I’ve gathered, the Korean version of Liar Game has some key differences regarding the overall setup. In the Japanese originals, the Liar Game is run by a shadowy organization, and the game itself is quite secretive and nefarious. In the Korean version the game is controversial, but it’s a big public reality show that contestants choose to be on (although it still seems like it has its fair share of secrets).

The other key difference seems to be that in the originals, the money the contestants are given to play with is essentially just a loan. If they lose it in the game, they are then in debt to the Liar Game organization. That certainly gives the players a lot to lose, especially given the dark nature of the organization itself (not the kind of people you want to be indebted to).

It seems like these changes have caused a bit of a stir, and in general it appears that there are two pretty distinct groups of people: those who love the remake, and those who hate it. Since I’ve only seen the first two episodes of the Korean version my opinion is completely biased and uneducated, but what the heck, I’ll offer it up anyways.

Personally, the changes seem smart to me. It’s pretty tough to get away with doing an identical remake of a drama that was already very successful, so a bit of a twist freshens up the series while still honoring the source material. The fact that the game is a reality show feels modern, and surprisingly plausible. I wouldn’t be at all shocked to see something like the Liar Game on TV (pretty much all reality shows are about deception as it is), so it’s easy to get into this drama, as if it’s a reality show that’s actually happening.

The fact that the contestants in this version don’t actually owe money to the game when they lose does lower the stakes, but I like what it adds on a psychological level. With super high stakes everyone would be incredibly desperate, and that would end up informing most of their decisions. Having to deceive people not out of self-preservation, but out of greed reveals a lot more about a person’s character, and I expect we’ll get to see a lot of inner turmoil. Sure, some of these people have pretty desperate lives to begin with, but they still don’t stand to lose anything, so the moral choices they make in the game are still very much choices, and not something they’ve been cornered into. They’re pretty relatable choices too, because who hasn’t ever been tempted to be selfish?

The only other major complaint I’ve seen is that the K-drama is adding romance, and that’s one thing that I could take or leave in this case. I could certainly see how it would seem unnecessary or frivolous, but this IS a Korean drama after all. Expecting it not to have a romance is probably more unrealistic than expecting it not to be in Korean.

Regardless of the original material, I think this is a very solid drama on its own two feet. The camerawork and the editing were all extremely well done, and every member of the main cast seems perfect for their role. I’m happy to see Shin Sung-rok as the somewhat ominous game host, especially since I never finished Trot Lovers (I said I would quit if they went with an amnesia plot, and I meant it!). I also love all the mystery that works on so many different levels. I want to know how all the characters will develop on a psychological and moral level, but I also want to know how the actual game is going to play out, and what secrets lie within the pasts of the male leads and within the organization itself. Basically I’m curious about everything, so it seems pretty unlikely that I’ll get bored anytime soon.

I primarily drew this scene because I liked the aesthetic, but it also did a great job of establishing the relationship between Nam Da-jung and Cha Woo-jin. This is the first time they meet, right after he’s released from prison, and from the get-go she is naive and trusting, whereas he is deceptive and uncaring. Even their body language is telling of their distinct personalities. She perches there meekly on the very edge of the bench, innocently swallowing his every word while he sits there cool and casual, not even batting an eye at all her pleading. These two are complete opposites, but that’s what makes it so fun.

In a way, it feels like Cantabile Tomorrow and Liar Game are also opposites. Cantabile Tomorrow is light and relaxing, with lots of sweetness and humor sprinkled throughout. Watching it makes me feel warm and cozy, and like I should just listen to classical music all day. Liar Game is not those things. It’s edgy and a bit dark, and left me wide-eyed and practically clutching at the screen within a few minutes of it starting. The suspense!

I love both styles of drama, and I’m really looking forward to watching both of them unfold. I didn’t have high expectations for either, and it’s always such a good feeling to be pleasantly surprised. Liar Game is off to a fantastic start, and I’m crazy excited to see what happens next. No spoilers!

 
RELATED POSTS

Tags: ,

37

Required fields are marked *

Nice. I liked that scene too, both visually and how it set the tone of their relationship.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

You said it Fanderay, it's done so well that I'm curious about everything: totally hooked. No matter what ridiculous tropes suddenly appear, I've already become so invested in knowing more that I'll stay on, maybe grumbling on the side, but in for the long haul, regardless.

I said this before,... that the romance might be expected although it is not necessary, and that it might be icing on the cake. If Woo Jin is written to be this really warm-hearted soul under a cold, cynical facade, (and it appears to be the case) then a close relationship of trust between him and Da Jung and/or Dal Goo will be more welcome than not. Afterall, how satisfying is it going to be if Woo Jin pits his brains and skills to help others only to go off alone in the end? So yes, let the relationship arc develop, please!

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Is this drama worth watching? DB has said good things about it, but my expectations are sky high after my last drama was City Hunter.

Though Liar Game is only 10 eps so it isn't very time consuming.

0
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I liked it a lot -- not the typical Kdrama. I'm hooked. Give it a try. I think you'll know if it grabs you within within minutes.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I hadn't seen the original, so can't compare. I like the pace of this.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

i love this show too but lets not act like its perfect, it has little plot holes here and there, still super entertaining though.
oh and i have not watched the Japanese version and where i do i am not going to compare them because its easily noticed that the way jdramas are directed is different from the way kdramas are directed.

0
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

As a matter of interest, are there any dramas that are perfect or close to?

Yes it is best to not compare a remake with an original or expect too much. It is fortunate that most viewers watch just to be entertained and not to nit pick completely, else the comments section will never end.

I know that I'd never be able to enjoy any show if scenes kept leaping up screaming that "this is not the same", "not the way it was done" or "not perfect", so when I choose to watch, I'll just take each drama in it's own right and see if it engages. If it does and leaves a warm feeling, that's great! But if it leaves me cold, well that's just the risk I'll have to take and I did enjoy some of it anyway, so no great loss.

Just 2 episodes in and Liar Game seems full of promise, so I'm in for the ride!

0
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

City Hunter is as close to perfection as you will ever see.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

LOL! Sure thing, Shitty Hunter, no one can say you aren't loyal! I did watch City Hunter when it first came out and I remember being totally gripped by several scenes. Lee Min Ho finally made more of an impression on me that time. Might watch it again! Thanks!

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I did not watch The Jdrama so no comparison but the plot holes are too many that it is hard to find the con/ lies believable unless one set one's mind that people are all easily gullible. The whole drama is supposedly set on this premise.
Too bad.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Well yes, that's probably why the original author made it in such a do-or-die situation. The original liar game is all psychological and game theory, which is what made it wonderful. Additionally, the mangaka states in the final chapter that the 'liar game' is actually referencing to (not sure if this is a real book) a trilogy concerning Communist China and how an author, supposedly shut down aka killed by the corrupt government, wrote a 'liar game-like tornament' with the same games and situations as the Liar Game itself.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

As someone who's seen the Japanese drama, and is caught up with the manga, I have to say, I'm actually loving the romance element - it was the one thing I thought the original series lacked, since the chemistry was there, but they never bothered to take that extra step (though arguably, there's still time). So naturally, I'm very curious to see how that element will figure into the game.

I do like the game show element too, and think it's a refreshing, interesting twist, though I am still of the opinion it sucks out much of the tension - something I think it's hard for people who haven't seen the original to fully comprehend. Reading it on paper is one thing, but to see it in action - the desperation, the fear, the sting of betrayal - it's something you really need to experience first hand to understand. Yes, there's still tension, but a big part of the suspense was watching Nao and Akiyama take on the LG corporation itself. When you remove that shady, evil underbelly, you're left with a antagonist who is pretty much just shelling out free money. So no matter how questionable their motives or morals, the focus is going to be on the competitors - not on the faulty system they're trying to take down. Especially when it's viewer-endorsed, and the show itself is subject to public scrutiny. And the law.

I really do like the inclusion of the game host though, who seems to embody the LG organization itself. I look forward to seeing what they do with him, and what exactly motivated his need to create this game in the first place.

As for Da-jung, I have no idea what they're going to do with her character since her function seems to have drastically changed. She'll still try to save everyone, I'm sure, but now that they're no collective force to fight again (besides maybe fate), she won't have the same clout, since all of her competitors are going into this debt-free, or in the very least, carry a debt they brought on themselves. So even if she remains ridiculously optimistic in the face of overwhelming greed - the punch is gone, because it doesn't really matter if anyone bands together with her or not, because nobody really loses on this show. And if they do, so what - they have no one to blame but themselves and their greed.

That being said, I enjoy how three-dimensional all these characters are: It's only two episodes in, but I already feel like I know more about Da-jung and Woo-jin than I ever did about Nao and Akiyama. Their back stories seem better established here, and I like how Da-jung has a very human quality that I felt was lacking from the original - that moment, when she briefly considers keeping the money - that's something that's easy to relate to, and the moment I finally connected to her as a character. Nao, by comparison, almost seemed *too* good and perfect, to an exaggerated degree at times.

Wow, sorry, this was long. Anyway, basically, I'm loving this and am psyched to watch more! Even though I...

0
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

...know how it ends, there's enough changes, character and plot-wise, to keep me watching and invested from beginning to end! Also, I apologize if my comment about Nao contained any spoilers. It was more character-geared, than plot-based, and since so many people have read up on the original, I figured it was common-knowledge. I'm pretty sure her motives are probably right in the drama description anyway, lol.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I totally agree with this. The game show part actually makes me care less. I felt a genuine fear for them in the Japanese version but now I don't feel that tension for them at all. The simple fact that they had to pay the money back made the stacks so much higher, especially since this was a underground operation so they couldn't run to the police for help. I think it's because we actually see the TV producers manipulating the game a bit and it feels less real. I also think it makes the pacing of the show a little slow. I like how we got straight to the point with the games in the J-Version. Even though in the J-Version it felt like they had weeks to play this first game instead of seven days, it actually felt faster there than this version. I think it's because we keep jumping back and forth between the actual games and the game show. Sometimes I feel myself becoming bored because of it. But I will say that they had to establish the games and the television show too in this version, so I think the pacing will be stronger in the next episodes.

I really like that Da Jung's motivation is money this time. It makes her more human, easy to relate to, and less naive than the J Version. I loved Nao but sometimes I wanted to jump through the screen and slap some sense into her. I also think they picked a great cast and Kang Do Yong's character makes this version very interesting. I can't wait to see what they do with him. I like Woo Jin as well too.

I think the romance between Da Jung and Woo Jin is cool, but I'm not that crazy over it and I hope they don't lay it on thick. As much as I wanted Nao and Akiyama to be together I wasn't worried about it because it seems like they always had their heads in the game, so they didn't have time to worry about the chemistry between them. I also think the romance wouldn't have helped them out in the games either. I do think that Da Jung and Woo Jin are cute together though.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

That is exactly what i was thinking when i first read the description of this remake. So far, i am enjoying what is being presented, but at the same time i'm not so sure how this reality show version is going to play out in the long run. I mean, even in the first round, the fact that this is only a reality show and not an underground competition had already taken a lot of tensions out of the situation. I remember the teacher even go so far in rubbing it in Nao's face by telling her that because she is young and pretty, she could go sell herself to pay for her debts. The entire scene had demonstrated how far this teacher character had changed, and also making the act of Nao still helping him far more superior. Because this is a reality show, so somehow it makes me feel that the contestants, despite being told in the contract that there will be compensations, do not take the matter very seriously (well, because it is a TV show); whereas in the manga, the fact that they will be left with a huge amount of debts by an underground organization, makes all the characters much more cruel and ruthless. And for me, that is something i always expect from a competition called ''Liar Game''. It is very right to say that things are different when you are given a choice and when you are cornered, yet to me, a person's nature can only be truly expressed when they are fighting for their own survival. And i believe that is also one of the point of the game in the original manga, to strip down the ''normal everyday masks'' and reveal the human's true nature. That's why Nao is like a white lambs, surrounded by a bunch of wolves in the manga, when everyone changes and become rotten, she still remains kind and caring.

About the romance in this remake, i really enjoy it, possibly mostly because of how opposite our two characters are, not just the characteristics, but also the physical appearances. Da Jung, compare to Woo Jin, is so TINY, innocent, and so cute (so squishy too??? Or is it squeezable?? Ha ha), whereas Woo Jin is so tall, dark, edgy and suave ( in other words.. HUGE?!! LOL)

I am really looking forward to the next episodes, hoping they will be able to keep up the good work.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

there was romance in the japanese liar game though, except it wasn't the focus of the story.

i would have wanted more romantic scenes, yes, but i think it was best that those scenes were minimal.

0
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I really don't remember there being much romance. They had chemistry, and were protective/supportive of each other, but other than that, it was really downplayed and went nowhere. It was more friendship oriented than anything. Of course, as a fan, I had no problem with that, since the game came first. But since I already know how all the games play out, a real romantic push would be a welcome and unexpected addition this time around.

Besides, I'm a sucker for romances, so the fact that they never got together grated on me - that was one of the reasons I was excited for this remake. Korean dramas are all about the romance, and from what we've seen so far, I think they'll at least address it; Da Jung doesn't seem like the type who can keep her emotions well hidden.

0
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Kanzaki Nao and Akiyama Shinichi ended up together... and them possibly ending up together has always been implied. In the Japanese culture, there are nuances in their words and actions...

For example a guy "taking responsibility" over a girl implies that he's marrying her and that they will be a family. Not everything is spelled out clearly, more so since jdrama LIAR GAME is a psychological thriller and not a romance-centric one.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

If a romance is so subtle, so steeped in implication, that most of the fandon doesn't even know it was "realized", then I'd say it's hardly a romantic drama; especially if that same fandom considers Akiyama asking her for lip gloss as the height of romantic fulfillment. That, or maybe we were all just watching different dramas.

0

Really? Hmmm I had a feeling that there was a catch that PD wasn't saying. So I always thought that the contestants who loses will have to owe them money or something. And I thought it's been decided that there will not be romance in this remake, but . . . maybe my sources were wrong xp
By the way, I love this kind of post :) thank you and I'm thoroughly enjoying this drama!

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm in the same boat for Liar Game - this version is my first experience with the story. I like it. I like the three leads together, such contrasting personalities that make their interactions interesting and intriguing.

This is a beautifully painted scene - I always look forward to your artistic kdrama interpretations.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Same here! I didn't watch the original too. Purely basing on the first two episodes, I love it! Hope that the momentum remains =)

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Fan is spot on.

As for the whole romance thing, don't mind it if it's secondary to the main story, but would be best if it was an underlying one and one that doesn't really come to fruition (such as in "Joseon X-Files").

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

The reality game show premise ruins the Game for me. To compensate for the fact that losers owe nothing to the television network, will there be loan sharks in every game as there were for Teacher Hyun? I just don't buy Da Jung offering to pay the losers' debts when she herself is up to her neck in debt. In the manga and dorama, Nao had no runaway father who left her saddled with debt. While Dal Goo is a sweetheart, I think he is an unnecessary addition because Nao is supposed to have only Akiyama to lean on, not a party of three. Lee Sang Yoon may be too handsome for this role because his goody–two–shoes looks just do not fit someone with a dark past. Which is a shame because every time Shin Sung Rok appears, I think he would play a better Woo Jin. I am not a fan of the added romance. It was always hinted at in the dorama and movie, which led to a ton of shippers including myself, but a relationship never materialized, and I was perfectly fine with that. I just enjoy watching their cute moments whenever he worried about her, but she never explicitly liked him (admired would be a closer description). Meanwhile, only two episodes in, Da Jung is already falling for Woo Jin.

Despite my complaints, I will give this remake the benefit of the doubt because Game 1 of the original was slow, too. Game 1 is just less interesting than the other games. I hope the next episode picks up with Minority Rule. I wonder how many games we are going to play. Contraband Game and Gold Rush Game are practically the same, so hopefully, they leave one out. I just want to see my favorite game Angels and Demons. I do like how the paper cards were replaced with smartphones here. Both digital age and Samsung product placement.

0
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

I really love your comment, and I totally think Dal Goo is there purely for the sake of having a love triangle. Which really annoys me. Im not a fan of the romance aspect, I think it takes away from the darkness of the drama. I would have found it reasonable and okay to watch if the romance was subtle and developed over time, but like you said-
only two episodes in, Da Jung is already falling for Woo Jin.
I really hope there not going to suddenly intertwine cutesy dating scenes in with the dark, psychological ones.
Also, is Dajung's character this naive in the Japanese drama? I feel like Dajung's turning into a candy character, i was wondering if thats how she's like in the original?
anyway despite this im really loving it.

0
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

As a matter of fact, Nao is even more Candy in the J-drama, but it works because she is supposed to be pure and trusting in humanity. The point of the story is how she saves the players from debt, which in turn, changes the players (and Akiyama) into becoming better people. Unlike Da Jung who had a fleeting thought to keep the money, Nao has no personal motives and just naively wishes to save the world. She's basically perfect and thus, unrealistic.

I see Dal Goo as more of a father figure rather than the third leg of a love triangle. He doesn't seem to be romantically interested in Da Jung and is merely looking out for her because he feels sorry her father left her debt-ridden. I just don't like his existence in this drama (though I like him as a character) because I feel he's there purely for comic relief, and Liar Game has comic relief written into the games, not outside the game. More so, I don't like how he's involved in their strategy discussions because Team Akiyama x Nao should only have Akiyama and Nao, not some unrelated person who's not even playing the game.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

While I think Dal Goo has been nice to DJ in large part b/c she is young and pretty (think he isn't totally a "bad guy" for a lower level gangsta), it seems more like an older brother/younger sister relationship btwn the 2.

While DG wouldn't mind if it turned out to be more than that, think he realizes that he has little shot at anything more.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Totally agree with you on how unnecessary Dal Goo's character is. I'm also not a fan of Shin Sung Rok's character, because I think it also distracts from the Nao / Akiyama dynamic (he's also a big walking cliche of a villain so far)

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I might be a part of the minority here, but in the Japanese Liar Game, I shipped Toda Erika and Matsuda Shota so hard that I couldn't believe it when nothing happened between them at the end... I'm so excited for this romance - revive my shipper heart, please, Korean Liar Game!

0
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I was shipping Toda Erika and Matsuda Shota too

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I shipped them too (so freaking hard).

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Personally, I'm really loving Liar Game. The dark, psychological aspects got me hooked. Right now, its standing out from other K-drama's. I haven't seen the original or read the manga, but I think its fair to say this will stand on its own. Admittedly the stakes of the original I think were better, though I get that it does show someone's ethics when the make a strategic decision to keep playing for the prize, compared to playing out of desperation. This drama has definetly gotten me hooked. Though got to admit, im not a fan of adding in romance when its not really necessary. Because then in the middle or a dark drama that delves deep and questions morals, we suddenly get scenes of, why-is-my-heart-beating-fast-when-im-near-him and, omg-he-touched-my-hand-im-freaking-the-hell-out. Im not big on randomly put in cutesy fluff scenes, like, can't a guy and girl lead ever not be love interets? is that even possible? No? okay. Idk, hopefully they will surprise me and make the romance more subtle and have it develop, i found it odd, that a cold, uncaring con-man fell in love with a extremely naive girl as soon as he saw her fall for a obvious scam. Also right now, the main girl (sorry ive forgotten her name) seems naive to the point of stupidity. I hope she wont turn out to be a candy character that is continuously saved by her con-man bf. Despite this, this drama looks fantastic so far, i think i will really enjoy watching it. Love that we have a really goods hero/villain set up, because like the recap said, the hero is only as good as there villain.

0
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

if you like psychology, games, and tricks, you would really appreciate the japanese dramas.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

The one drama where the guy lead and the girl who was only 1 out of 2 girls in any sort of bigger role, do not have a romantic relationship, is Ghost. It was thoroughly enjoyable without the main lead romance and only with the investigation and mystery solving behind the crimes. (There was a 2nd lead very low key romance but that was almost forgettable)

At the moment, Woo Jin is not in love with Da Jung, but he has noted that she is now aware of him "as a man" rather than just as a helper. She cannot hide what she is thinking/feeling so he knows it. Even so, he is still only around to help a hapless lass from being totally hoodwinked into losing more than she can gain (this from the contract he read). But probably this is going to change in Episode 3 since the gauntlet has been thrown by Do Young, and Woo Jin may feel compelled to join the game for more personal reasons as well.

Woo Jin did note that Da Jung and Dal Goo have a very familial kind of relationship, but that was just a surprise to him, (since they are debtor and debt collector), and it was not set up such that it started any love triangle.

So I feel that the romance element if it really is to develop at all, will probably be low key compared to the game. It might develop because of the interaction required in the game, but then, I'd like to trust that it will happen sort of naturally and not detract from the game itself. I'm all for a natural, mutual, warm friendship at least!

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I love the original and although I am disappointed that this drama's setup in a game show took away the stake of the whole LGT, the drama is still very gripping and nicely executed!

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm a little confused. So many people are saying that the game show aspect of Liar Game is unrealistic, because the stakes are higher in the Japanese version. I'm trying to understand why anyone in their right mind would get into the Liar Game competition in the Japanese version. Of course I haven't seen it, but I'm guessing the contestants are kidnapped or something? What motivates them to play the game in the original?

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

your comment became entirely invalid when you said you hadn't seen it.
here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IBr5QrGiaU, it's only 40 minutes of your life and it will do a better explanation than the entire korean version.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Currently Airing

Prime-Time Shows This Week
Monday-Tuesday (May 25-26) Wednesday-Thursday (May 27-28) Weekend (May 29-31)