Drama Recaps
Liar Game: Episode 1
by | October 22, 2014 | 133 Comments

I love it. I absolutely, positively love it.

Liar Game premiered earlier this week on cable channel tvN, boasting an intriguing premise, solid production team, and a winning combination of cast members I wouldn’t have necessarily pegged for a perfect storm of success the minute they came together–but everything comes together with a surprising level of aptitude. That’s maybe one of my favorite things about this premiere, aside from nearly everything else: It all just works. It’s just good television.

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EPISODE 1: “500 Million Won Game Part 1”

Never trust anyone.

That’s what a bespectacled schoolteacher writes on the board for his class (in English) as he translates for added emphasis: “Never trust anyone. Never. Trust. Anyone.

Why, he asks? Because humans are natural born liars. According to him, the average person will hear two hundred lies in a day—and when his students don’t believe him, he sets to prove it with a tally counter in hand.

He poses questions that can be answered by a simple yes or no, and in this case by a student raising their hands if the statements spoken apply to them. Things like whether they’ve cheated on exams, or stolen money—and instantly, the teacher is able to pinpoint who isn’t being forthcoming by studying telltale changes in their behavior when avoiding the truth.

Click. Click. Each time he catches a student in a lie, the tally counter goes up, and up, and up.

Meanwhile, the police are out in force to catch a man who’s slipped out of their grasp one too many times before. Judging by their numbers, they aren’t taking any chances. Is that the school they’re rushing into?

It only takes one minute and a little math for the teacher to tally enough lies to prove his point, which he repeats in English: “So, never… trust… anyone.”

This, he says, is what he wanted to impart to his students in his final lecture to them. The students—who had no idea this was his final lecture—whisper confusedly amongst themselves as the teacher turns his back to them and places his hands behind his head. He knows what’s coming.

“I killed someone,” he says, before the police burst through the back doors to arrest him. As they converge on him, he stares dead ahead at the writing on the wall: Never trust anyone.

One year later.

Hapless and hurried, NAM DA-JUNG (Kim So-eun) finds herself at war with her conscience when she so badly wants to ignore the kindly grandmother asking for directions, but finds herself doubling back anyway.

She’s just as lost as the grandma is when it comes to the directions written down on a torn calendar page, though she helps to wheel the grandma’s large bag without complaint. We all know what it feels like to be in her shoes.

As they near the destination(-ish), Da-jung agrees to watch the woman’s bags while she goes to the ladies room. Long minutes tick by, and though the grandma doesn’t reappear, Da-jung still faithfully waits with her bags, even when the friend she was in such a hurry to meet calls to ask what’s taking so long.

Da-jung tries to explain her situation, but her friend is much more flippant about Da-jung’s sense of social responsibility—if she’s so worried the grandma left something important, why doesn’t she check the bag?

She does, and is not expecting what she finds: Money. That entire bag is filled with stacks and stacks of cold hard cash.

Meanwhile, mysteriously dapper television host KANG DO-YOUNG (Shin Sung-rok) introduces his show with a worldview not too dissimilar from the never-trust-anyone teacher by saying how the aim of his show is to unveil people’s true selves by pitting them against an enormous sum of money.

To illustrate his point, Do-young unmasks himself for the camera and grandly gestures to the cubic ton of dollar bills just waiting for the right contestant. Because while people may lie, money doesn’t.

Speaking of dollar bills, Da-jung looks positively terrified as she pours out the contents of the grandma’s bag in her cramped apartment to count out the total: Five hundred million won, or half a million dollars.

The idea of the money is tempting when the only things written on Da-jung’s calendar are due dates for bills, but she doesn’t let herself entertain it for long, and resolves to return the money to its owner… somehow.

But that doesn’t mean she can’t enjoy it just a little bit, since it’s not every day one gets to sleep on a pile of money. “I’ll take it to the police as soon as the sun comes up,” she says, before snuggling in for the night.

A debt collector gives her a rude awakening the next morning, and Da-jung shoots out of bed to hurriedly stuff the cash back in the bag while shooting the debt collector a reminder that she has two days left to pay him. “Oh, is that right?” he asks, genuinely wondering. Haha.

Like a kid making petulant demands of his mother, the debt collector, JO DAL-GOO (Jo Jae-yun), asks Da-jung to feed him. Apparently he’s gotten used to her making breakfast, which is weirdly kind of adorable. I’ll take man-child debt collectors over the usual kind any day.

Da-jung’s attempts to shoo him away only make him more suspicious, and it’s like he can recognize the sound of money inside as he lets himself in using a spare key he sniffs out.

With one stack of cash still visible under her bed, Da-jung thinks fast and pretends to be in a state of undress so she can justify chasing Dal-goo out. At least he cares enough stops her from chucking a picture frame of her and her dad(?) at him.

Cut to: Da-jung’s incredibly unimpressed face as Dal-goo chows down on the ramyun she ended up making for him. Hah. Dal-goo then tsks over the possible temp jobs she’s circled in the newspaper and advises her to get a real job. I already love these two.

When she asks how Dal-goo found her spare key, he claims to have picked up some tricks from his fellow inmate during his last prison stint, who was so insanely smart that he’d read books upside down for the challenge. Reading normally just came too easily to him. He also had a saying: “People are complex beings, that’s why they’re such simple animals.”

After a round of sibling-like bickering, Da-jung uses the first opportunity she can to sneak the last stack of bills into the suitcase—which, consequently, Dal-goo had already taken notice of.

She’s pretty obvious as she tries to sneak the bag out the front door with her, and Dal-goo’s expression instantly sharpens as he asks if there’s money inside.

Da-jung can’t come up with a feasible excuse or lie, so she instead makes a run for it, dragging the suitcase behind her. She manages to steal away in a taxi after biting Dal-goo’s hand to free herself, but he’s nothing if not persistent as he pulls up next to her to try and dissuade her from taking the money to the police, who’ll treat her like a criminal.

Meanwhile, who should we find in prison reading upside down but CHA WOO-JIN (Lee Sang-yoon), the “Never trust anyone” teacher from the beginning and Dal-goo’s former cellmate. He’s called to meet someone—is he being released?

Outside the police station, Dal-goo has a death grip on the suitcase as he desperately tries to talk Da-jung out of what she’s about to do. He argues that she must’ve wanted the money if she dragged it all the way to her house, which she doesn’t deny—she can’t deny that it felt good to sleep on a pile of money.

That’s all the reason Dal-goo would need to take it for himself, as he temps Da-jung with all the things that money could do: pay her debt, her rent, her tuition. What reason is there not to take it?

“How can I?” Da-jung asks, tears in her eyes. “How would I sleep soundly after that?” To her, the loss of that money would be enough to drive the grandma and her family into the same kind of debt that’s landed her where she is today.

She knows exactly what would happen—that the grandma’s children would have to give up on their dreams, just like she had to. That they’d live every day struggling to earn pennies that won’t ever be enough, as useless as pouring water into a broken jar.

Her conviction is enough to make Dal-goo let go, but what neither of them notice is that someone is watching. A phone hidden in the suitcase suddenly rings, which Da-jung answers.

Then, a robotic voice and/or just a robot on the other end tells her she’s been chosen as a contestant for a reality show named Liar Game, where she could win up to ten million dollars.

Dal-goo, listening intently, overhears the robot prompt her to press 1 if she wants to keep the half a million dollars in her hand, and he presses it for her.

Da-jung tries to undo the command as a police officer approaches them to ask what the trouble is, causing both her and Dal-goo to go nervously stiff. They don’t know the officer is TV host Kang Do-young until he reveals so with a smirk: “Welcome to the Liar Game.”

Do-young holds out his hand, and the instant Da-jung shakes it, a camera crew surrounds them.

It turns out Woo-jin wasn’t called upon to be released, but to do a service for the detective… something only he can do. He’s left alone with an alleged criminal who passed his polygraph test, but Woo-jin knows better the moment he takes a look at the man, and puts together every little detail he sees into a full and alarmingly true picture of the criminal.

Not only that, he’s able to use an impressive round of questioning and his uncanny ability to interpret even the slightest facial tic into a fully formed thought to get the criminal himself to confess to kidnapping a little girl. Wow.

The detective who asked Woo-jin to perform the interrogation looks on with a satisfied smile, calling Woo-jin “a human lie detector.” Ain’t that the truth.

Da-jung is led in front of the live studio audience gathered for Liar Game’s recording by Do-young and his devilish smile. She admits she’s still not sure whether she’s dreaming or not, which I doubt is metaphorical—she does seem rather shellshocked.

She’s introduced to the audience with a video of her helping the grandmother, who the show hired as an actress. The whole reason Da-jung is now a contestant is because she was the only one who stopped to help her, when everyone else would’ve probably been glad to help only after finding out about the money.

Do-young also cites how Da-jung waited six hours for the grandma to return as another virtue of hers, and even agrees with what little she can stutter out as her reason for taking the money home that night as being totally understandable.

That and her attempt to return the money the next morning is what put Da-jung in the same lead as forty other contestants who’ve made it onto the show, which surprises Da-jung—she thought this was the end of the game.

“This isn’t the end,” Do-young replies. “It’s just the beginning.” In order to win the first round and the prize of one million dollars, she’d have to deceive another contestant. She’s uneasy with that idea and stammers that she doesn’t think she’d even be smart enough to deceive someone else.

Do-young presents this to the viewing public as yet another virtue of Da-jung’s, but his mention of the final ten million dollar prize gives Da-jung pause. As the wheels turn in her head, Do-young puts her dilemma to a vote for the people: Do they want to see her play the game, or see her give up?

After the broadcast wraps, Da-jung approaches PD LEE YOON-JOO to request that her portion of the show be cut entirely. PD Lee praises her for being a good person, but not for being good at math—even if she won nothing, the money she’d make for just appearing on one episode would be more than she’d make in months of regular work.

Even so, Da-jung says she still doesn’t want to accept money for deceiving someone else. That’s when PD Lee scoffs, insinuating that her goody two-shoes nature is there reason why Da-jung is where she’s at in life right now. Which isn’t very far.

Da-jung: “You do have a right to say that to me right now. You’re young, pretty, capable, and you probably earn a lot more money than I do. But don’t think that’s because you did your best and I didn’t. It’s simply because the world that you live in was a lot kinder to you than it was to me.”

Da-jung spaces out at her part-time coffeeshop job the next day, unable to stop wondering how long she’d have to work at her current meager rate to make a half a million dollars.

While fretting over five thousand won (five dollars) that’s suddenly gone missing from the cash register, a customer claims to have found it—and Da-jung looks up to recognize him as her old high school teacher.

He’d once helped her in a similar situation at school, and had used his own money then to help Da-jung save face when class bullies had wrongly accused her of stealing. She worries that’s what he did again today and hands the bill he claimed to have “found” back over to him.

She and her teacher share stories of their sad family situations and shared debt, only for Da-jung to be completely blindsided when her teacher’s all, Isn’t it funny that we’re competing against each other in the first round?

He shows her the chart to prove it, and tries to convince her to participate in the game—just think, if she won the prize money, maybe her dad would be able to stop running from debt collectors and finally come home.

When Da-jung has reservations about competing with him, Teacher Hyun claims it’s actually better, because it’ll be like them teaming up against the show. He’ll lose on purpose so she can win, and they’ll split the prize money. Eeek. This guy reeks of skeeze.

Since Liar Game’s network has been teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, Do-young and PD Lee are called to explain how they can host a show promising a ten million dollar payout in a press conference.

Do-young does almost too well fielding questions, and claims that the show was his idea to revitalize the network—not to mention the mystery investors who helped make the prize money a reality.

One reporter isn’t buying it and calls Do-young out for playing both sides, like he’s not quite as interested to see the network succeed as he claims, and accuses him of trying to raise the network’s ratings by all but buying them.

He agrees, since he doesn’t know who doesn’t like money. To prove his point (without saying that’s what he’s doing, which is devious), he says that to whichever news organization that writes an article on Liar Game and garners the most hits, he’ll give them half a million dollars worth of advertising fees.

Do-young even adds that the articles don’t have to be positive, they just have to be popular—and lo, Liar Game is on every screen, every news stand, and every computer screen by the next day. Do-young just bought himself publicity. And it’s awesome.

While on her commute the next morning, Da-jung thinks about Teacher Hyun’s offer until she thinks she sees her father amongst the crowd… but she was just seeing things.

Dal-goo’s affection for Da-jung becomes clear when he defends her lack of payments to his boss, but is silenced when his job is threatened for it. He can’t keep it if he doesn’t make Da-jung pay, which, aww.

He’s still happy when she makes him another ramyun dinner that night, even though her thoughts are still lingering on all her debts and how she could get rid of them so easily…

During the recording that night for the first round, Do-young announces that even though Da-jung forfeited and has yet to show up, she ranked fourth in the show’s online popularity poll.

Much to everyone’s delight (especially Teacher Hyun’s), Da-jung makes a dramatic last-minute entrance. Do-young capitalizes on the event by asking what made her change her mind, only for a flashback to reveal that Da-jung had actually done so earlier—it was PD Lee who decided to delay the reveal for dramatic effect.

She’d also convinced Da-jung to talk about her father when she’d displayed reluctance, which Da-jung does in the present broadcast by addressing her father through the camera: “When I win the prize money, you won’t have to run because of the debt. We can live together. I’ll make sure to win and get the prize money… So come home.”

It’s time for Do-young to explain the rules: Each of the contestants will be given a briefcase filled with a little over ten thousand dollars and seven days to somehow cheat or steal money from the other contestants using any method under the sun EXCEPT physical violence.

He makes it clear that it’s not a matter of just holding onto your own cash, because the only way to win is by having the most cash by the end of the seven day period. Whoever does the most stealing and lying can win up to half a million dollars for the first round. Let the games begin.

Now that Da-jung’s decided to participate, PD Lee gives her an enormous contract detailing how she can’t forfeit from here on out without forfeiting her prize money. (Is that sympathy PD Lee is feeling?)

And after learning from a robot that replacing or adding to the game funds with personal money is a strict no-no, Da-jung calls Teacher Hyun to find out their game plan. He suggests, at least for now, that they pool their money together. What could possibly go wrong?

Dal-goo couldn’t be happier that Da-jung has chosen to play the game, but since he knows she’ll suck at stealing and cheating others out of their money, he suggests she bring in an expert. He just so happens to know a master swindler who’s getting out of prison soon…

Teacher Hyun ferrets Da-jung and her money away that night to take her (dollars) to his “secret safe” in the bank. Granted, his excuse is legitimate, since having catalogued bills prevents them from depositing them normally.

He takes her through the whole process, and even gives her the key to the safe because he trusts her THAT much. Uh huh.

That night, Da-jung caves into buying an expensive shirt for her father’s upcoming birthday, since she now has hope that he’ll come back to her if she wins and pays his debt. Aw.

The broadcast from the first recording plays on televisions everywhere, even in prison—but when Woo-jin happens to look up at the screen, his eyes narrow the second Teacher Hyun pops up. Ah ha!

Do-young tells the nation that only two contestants have had an upset in their totals: Da-jung, because she now has zero dollars, and Teacher Hyun, because he stole it.

Woo-jin’s cellmates wail that poor Da-jung was just too nice for the game (and they tooootally knew it), but Woo-jin didn’t have to watch more than a second to deduce that she and Teacher Hyun were trying to fool people about their relationship.

There’s already footage of Da-jung finding out she’d been conned, which happened while she was buying her father’s new shirt. They even filmed her collapsing to her knees in the bank after finding out that she couldn’t access Teacher Hyun’s safe without him there, and also all the times she thought she and Teacher Hyun weren’t being filmed. Woo-jin was, of course, right about them before the show broadcasted it.

Da-jung’s embarrassment and shame is shown for all the world to see, even as she cries outside Teacher Hyun’s house while its scumbag of an occupant happily turns up the music to drown her out. Do-young and the rest of the Liar Game team just bask in the climbing ratings.

Dal-goo tries to comfort a distraught Da-jung through her door, genuinely mad at Teacher Hyun on her behalf. He won’t let her give up even though she’s ready to, convinced that all she needs is the help of his genius trickster and former cellmate who’s being released tomorrow.

And so, on the next day, Woo-jin finds Da-jung waiting for him and extends his hand…

 
COMMENTS

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be on the opposite end of the spectrum where watching adaptations are concerned, since the experience of not being familiar with the source material of a drama/movie/video game is new for me, and honestly pretty fun. It’s not a state I normally get to choose to be in, since no feat of mental gymnastics ever allows us to willfully forget the source material when going into an adaptation no matter how much we lie to ourselves, so I’m excited to be viewing this with completely fresh eyes.

That being said, even if I don’t know how many fans of the original Japanese manga/drama/drama sequel/movie/movie sequel/drama spin-off there are among us, I know that comparing versions in the early stages can be half the fun in the early stages. Again, since I’ve never experienced life from the vantage point where every comparison to the original will read like a spoiler, all I ask is that general rules of not being a buzz killington apply. Just resist the urge to write a treatise on the ending of the movie sequel’s manga drama spinoff twice removed, is all.

This drama does feel like hitting the jackpot as far as having our character cake and eating our story too (that’s how it goes, right?), because I tuned in for the intriguing premise alone and stayed for that same premise and the cast of characters, which are spread so far across the map that they’d be interesting taken by themselves. But this show does better because it offers them in a shiny package laden with possibility—and why that seems so surprising and fresh when it should be normal, I’m still not quite sure. If I had to guess, it’d be that Liar Game has figured out how to package excitement into single episode doses which somehow compel us to want more. (Crazy, right?)

I also like how the drama takes characters who’d usually seem quite cliched for a premise like this and presents them as being a direct result of the world it’s so carefully created—one that hits so close to home it’s all but knocking down our front door. We’ve got the poor heroine mired in her father’s debt and forced to face the world alone, but add an all-too-human fallibility to her and you get Nam Da-jung.

In that same vein, we then get a cold-on-the-outside hero with a genius intellect and a superhuman gift no one else possesses, but when we add in the fact that he might have, y’know, killed someone—or at the very least has a trust complex that stems from being LITERALLY unable to see the good in people, we get someone as perplexingly mysterious as Cha Woo-jin.

And that’s not even mentioning the most empathetic debt collector ever, or the silver-tongued modern Mephistopheles offering Faustian bargains with a side of soul searching and national shame. He may not have the exact ability Woo-jin has, but there’s no doubt that Do-young has a gift when it comes to reading people, playing them, and pleasing them—but we can’t denounce him for using his powers for evil when he’s got one less dead body on his conscience than our hero (so far), or because he’s narrowed down the art of knowing exactly what he’s doing when he’s doing it into a lucrative career. Every character we’ve seen so far shares a commonality in being products of an unfair system—it’s just a matter of who knows how to play the game.

 
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133 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. MIKAN

    THIS DRAMA WILL BE THE DEATH OF ME. I TRUST NO ONE.

    • 1.1 SH¡TTY HUNTER

      I trust City Hunter.

      • 1.1.1 guest

        Lol so hard for this comment!

    • 1.2 Dr. Hwata

      I trust Lee Sang Yoon, who never looked better on screen.

  2. Dinns

    Am loving the way they interpreted the source material and enacted it into a kdrama.

    • 2.1 So3

      Ditto.

      They have changed quite a bit for the TV adaptation (I only read the manga) but I LOVE all their changes.

      When I was reading the manga I often thought this may not be the best story for TV adaptation simply because, the games get quite complicated and it involves a lot of explanation. While this works on the paper (as in manga/books) I’m not quite sure how this can be translated well into dramas without challenging audience too much with a v limited time frame to understand the tactics. I heard this is one major issue with the dorama adaptation – a lot of explanation without sufficient time to catch up on the strategies.

      But after watching 2 eps Liar Game did give me high hopes. They have kept all the core values from the manga but a brand new setting to make it all work in a TV drama. And I actually like the fact that they’ve toned down the naivety of DJ as opposed to Nao.

      • 2.1.1 So3

        Oh and I’m very, very happy to see Liar Game has proved that K-remakes of dorama can be of such finesse. (NC team please get some references from this drama)

  3. Mrs.Yoo Sueng ho

    I feel so bad like I’m the only one who doesn’t like this…. maybe its LSY acting, his acting just irks me for some reason. Well to each his own right ?

    • 3.1 faith

      It’s the same for me, I also didn’t like it but nor for LSY.

    • 3.2 Lulu

      I liked it but you are so not the only one. I’ve seen some pretty intense dislikes for it, which is fine.

  4. DDuk

    Thank you so much for the recap!!!

    I have to admit I had my doubts going into this show. Liar Game is my one of my all time favorite Jdramas and when I heard that they were going to remake it, I, like many others where PISSEDDDD…..

    But after watching the first episode….. and seeing how refreshing and how it deviated from the Jdrama…. wow I shall eat all my words. Truly this is an awesome adaptation!
    Love that they gave WooJin more background information. Dajung is MUCH MUCH more spunkier than her Japanese counterpart. SSR’s character is scary but at the same time ridiculously charming….
    and of course DalGoo…. he’s a meanie with a heart. who doesn’t love that?(does that make sense? LAWL)

    I’m have to admit that the Liar Game being a televised program instead of a underground competition (which the Jdrama was) did throw me off a bit but I have to say, I am really intrigued to see how they go with this.

    YAY another drama to occupy me when I’m at work…. er I mean to watch at lunch… ish? 😀

    • 4.1 Growingbeautifully

      Ha! Ha! Ha! I’m reading these comments at work!! Will not watch though, they are too addicting.

  5. yayaya

    I never watch the Japanese one and never have the plan to, since Erika Toda is the last Japanese actress I would want to watch.

    But that must be my advantage since I don’t have to compare that to this Korean one. I love this drama, sincerely LOOOOOVE it, and I’m saying this not because I am a Kim So Eun’s fans. I have kept reloading this page just to check if you got a recap of this one and finally!

    Beside this being thrilling, there were some scenes that made me tear up. Those are the scene when Da-jung threw her wise words to the debt collector when she was forced to take the money and the scene when her teacher kindly helped her to get free from her highschool friends’ trap.

    I am glad that this is starting off solid. I hope they keep doing the good work until the end.

    • 5.1 Aquila

      I totally agree with the Toda Erika comment! But I still ended up watching it for Matsuda Shota – I’m still going to wait a couple more episodes before I start this series!!!

  6. jjahuie

    lee sang yoon is so hot

    • 6.1 whitewire

      AGREE WITH YOU OMG Lee Sang-yoon’s perfect for the lead character of Akiyama Shinichi 🙂 A lover of the Japanese version here. Not sold out watching Episode 1. But I think Episode 2 will pick it up for me. My anticipation is still high. Following this drama til the end, see how it goes. ♥

      • 6.1.1 whitewire

        I already watched Episode 2! Alright, I like this version better than the Jap version already!!! (Though in Cantabile, I still liked Jap version more) Lee Sang-yoon and Kim So-eun: Tailored for their roles like a fitted rubber glove! They’re too perfect, and this is shaping up a very great romance arc in it, which is a big plus for this show.

        Omg, I can’t like it more than I like it already right now! Romance arc, better push it til the bitter end. Kim So-eun, unni, you’re daebak! Lee Sang-yoon you’re doing a marvelous job! You did not only do justice to Akiyama’s role, but made it even more layered, complex and oustanding. Great job!

        • 6.1.1.1 adal

          Thanks for your comment. I am glad that I’m not the only one who noticed their sizzling chemistry on screen. Heck the TV screen was buzzing with it. Kim So Eun nailed the character perfectly. She’s naive, but not a pushover and can stand up for herself when provoked. I love that she has a spine, it will get her far in this dirty game she’s playing. As for the other characters, I will reserve my comments for episode 2. I already know who’s a slime ball, and a hero in wolves clothing.

          NOW LET THE GAMES BEGIN. LOL!

        • 6.1.1.2 confused23

          Shortening the word Japan to its first three letters is considered a racial slur thus, offensive. Such cases occurs frequently lately in forums and discussions due to an increase of Japanese dramas being remade.

          Let’s refrain from doing so from now on, and inform and educate those who still do it.

          • 6.1.1.2.1 Zodd

            Not really racist, just people being lazy.

          • 6.1.1.2.2 peaches

            doing it out of ignorance is still racist, and if people are doing it knowingly just because they can’t be bothered to type it out fully, then that’s also racist.

          • 6.1.1.2.3 harukogirl

            If you want to shorten JPN is better, more acceptable & used at colleges every where 🙂

          • 6.1.1.2.4 whitewire

            Thank you for telling me, confused23, Zodd and peaches. I’m ignorant, and never heard of this. I love the Japanese people and I have lots of Japanese friends. They did not tell me anything about this. Now I’m really curious why! Waaaa!

            Harukogirl, thank you for the information. I will not do it again. I think JPN looks awesome, though! Cheers to everyone! Keep enjoying this drama, as I am right now!

        • 6.1.1.3 Mia

          They said (staff and actors/actresses) that there won’t be any romance 🙁 but the chemistry!!?!
          I love LOVE Kim So-eun! I love the changes they made. I’m really rooting for this show!

          • 6.1.1.3.1 whitewire

            There’s gotta be noooooo way! There should be romance arc in it! If they have made changes, make changes in the romance arc! Please, oh please!

    • 6.2 Growingbeautifully

      Good to see him here with attitude rather than too goody goody like in Angel Eyes. I look forward to his character showing a heart of gold, and reluctantly getting closer to Da Jung. Probably falling for her against his will. Many interesting weeks ahead!

      • 6.2.1 whitewire

        I LUV LUV LUV LEE SANG-YOON HERE

        (Found Angel Eyes boring, lol, though I love LSY and KHS,
        I dropped it after Ep. 3) So happy with this LIAR GAME drama!

        • 6.2.1.1 nomad

          I sooo agree with you, totally HAPPY for Liar Game!! (And found Angel eyes a snooze fest…but that’s probably because of the heroine in the drama instead of LSY).

    • 6.3 Lulu

      It’s my first time seeing him period. He is very sexy and manly and i think he’s doing a great job.

      It’s different from Shota of course but still good. I think people’s opinions of him might be affected by his past performances. I guess that’s a testament to his past performances.

      Anyway, he is seriously my new crush (it’s been awhile!) and I almost FAINTED when I saw his dimples for the first time. Yeezus!

  7. Kay

    I like it.

    This coming from a HUGE fan of the japanese version so I had many aversions to this premise however I am quite happy with it. I am invested in how this will turn out and whether it’ll still have the same games and characters as the original one.

    I think I still liked the underground premise a bit more, it felt a little bit darker than this version but I think the tone really pulls together with episode 2.

  8. Yuna

    The Korean version is very different form the J-version and that’s why I loved it. I like they are not just following the original scene to scene.Because what’s the point of re-watching a drama just with different faces? If I want to re-watch I’d rather go for the original.

    I still have reservation about Lee Sang-Yoon’s acting but other than that, everything was almost perfect in Episode 01.

    • 8.1 Megumi

      I love Lee Sang Yoon to bits but I still think he’s not suitable for the role of Akiyama, I think it’s mainly because of how Matsuda Shota portrayed his role in the original Japan series, this is not the only reason and the other reason being he looks older and his face doesn’t seem to be suitable for playing emo roles, I always have a family man kind of feel whenever I watch him, KSY on the other hand seems to be suitable for Nao role, she has the same kind of feel like Erika Toda, I wished SSR would have played Akiyama as he seems more suitable for the role than LSY.

    • 8.2 Mia

      Yes! Agree!

  9. Party pooper

    I’m sorry, I hate this remake. I loved the original and enjoyed it for years. This is another “Dr. Jin” remake to me.

    But I won’t rant here.

    • 9.1 whitewire

      Maybe Ep. 2 will make you feel better about the remake. Lol. I was a die-hard hater of this remake too, even after Ep. 1. Because lol I ship the Jap version as hard as I ship my bones. Ep. 2 picked it up for me! Yeah!

      As of the mood, I liked that this version exposes the outside world during the premise and set-up first episodes. Everything is still in the real world. While we’re still not INSIDE the Liar Game itself, (who’s excited for that annoying Fukunaga dude?) the cinematography makes it appear that it’s a reality show and less of a closed-world-thriller a la God’s Gift 14 Days.

      I’m not gonna take the credit out of this drama. While we know what already happened, Liar Game still keeps me out of breath. I’m anticipating! Really!

      And about the Akiyama-Mama arc. I liked that it is not gory with blood spills all over. Everything’s just laid down neat. And for a change, he’s a [hot] professor doing his thing, claiming a murder, and can read people from the inside out. [ISN’T THAT BREATHTAKING]

      I am still a fan of the Jap version [solid fan here!], but this Liar Game Korean version is quite making a place for its own. [Goodness may my patience continue with succeeding Cantabile episodes]

    • 9.2 Lulu

      Why not? Let’s hear your opinion, it will make this discussion more interesting. Everyone doesn’t have to agree.

  10. 10 Nekoi

    Being an avid fan of the original drama (watched it a couple of rounds), I must say, the current version is quite refreshing, for a start. They changed some things while still sticking to the frame work, so I can only hope things will continue to go well in the next few episodes when the game goes deeper and nastier.

    Having said that, since I know all the twist and turns of the upcoming games, not sure if I will still be able to enjoy them like the 1st time I watch it?

    This is really a gamble.

    ps: LSY is not as bad as I’d initially imagined. *thumbs up*

    • 10.1 HeadsNo2

      *thumbs up still pending*

      • 10.1.1 So3

        To be fair, LSY had v limited screen time in Ep 1 and I found him doing quite well by Ep 2. 🙂

  11. 11 raindrops1

    I have not seen the Japanese original and has only read small snipets describing the storyline. I watched the first ep just to see how it was but I must say that 2 eps in I also LOVE IT! I think everyone is doing a great job with their character. I’m glad to see a recap, thank you!

  12. 12 redfox

    there is something that most dramas fail to deliver all the way: conflict, dilemma. didn´t have time to concentrate fully, this is not just superficial watching, it needs some attention being paid.

  13. 13 Ek Ladhki Thi

    You’re so right about Do-young being Mephistopheles, he makes the offer sound so tempting you can’t possibly refuse even when you know you should. As someone who absolutely loved Lee Sang-yoon in Angel Eyes, it’s taking a lot of effort for me to see him as a genius, cold as ice con man (wang sagikun) when I keep remembering him as cute and smiley Park Dong-joo. I love Kim So-eun, and at first I rolled my eyes at yet another goody two-shoes heroine who is haunted by her father’s debt, but that moment of greed she experienced made me like her more. It proves that no matter How good we are on the inside, we will always have those tiny moments of greed. It’s a good show. When this is over, I’ll probably watch the Japanese one. I really hope they exceed 5% if only to see Shin Sung-rok and Lee Sang-yoon do the bubi bubi dance.

    • 13.1 Kay

      You should definitely watch the Japanese one =)

    • 13.2 AJK

      I also liked it so much when our heroine didn’t just meekly take it when the female producer was speaking contemptuously to her.

      I’ve had no exposure to the Japanese version, and I’m enjoying this version, and the cast, a lot.

    • 13.3 Ivoire

      About this, “I really hope they exceed 5% if only to see Shin Sung-rok and Lee Sang-yoon do the bubi bubi dance.”
      I was just curious: 1– What is the “bubi bubi dance?” and 2– Did LSY and SSR say that they would do it (in an interview or on a TV show, etc…), or are you just hoping?

      • 13.3.1 Ivoire

        Another question I had: Who is “wang sagikun?”

        • 13.3.1.1 Ek Ladhki Thi

          The cast all made promises to the audience if the show’s ratings exceeded 5%, So-eun promised free hugs, Sang-yoon promised winter volunteer duties with the rest of the cast, and Sung-rok promised to do the bubi bubi dance with Sang-yoon. I don’t know what the bubi bubi dance is either, but I suspect it’s that dance with the giant dog paws I saw on that one episode of Lee Jang-woo and Ham Eun-jung in We Got Married. The dance is ridiculous, so I’m hoping it’s that one.
          Wang Sagikun is what Dal-goo calls Woo-jin (if I heard correctly) which means Master Con artist.

  14. 14 fuzzymogwai

    so i was a HUGE fan of the jdorama

    that being said, this was amazing. i really like the premise of the Liar Game being a tv show within the tv shiw and the crazily charismatic game maater ar the head of if

    super psyched for more. and definitely planning to rewatch the jdorama again soon

    yay youre recapping it!!! =]

  15. 15 Isayidodaresay

    I wasn’t a fan of this drama, It really has nothing to do with comparing it to the source material. I just hate how in the dialogue they talk up the characters like we should be impressed but then when it comes to the follow through they fail miserably. like the Professor is talked up as a “master swindler” but he can’t forge an actual contract when he is lying to the debt collectors, or even make up a lie good enough that they actually believe it… I mean telling a lie that in less than a minute someone is doubting and your response then is “run”? that’s pretty lazy to me. also at the end of the second episode I was hoping for something that was more clever from a “master swindler” not something that I could see a basic criminal do on pretty much any crime drama. I mean it’s annoying, and I feel like it so forced that they have to keep repeating these things but when you see them in action all I can think is “really? that’s the best you can come up with?”

    also I don’t think you have to care about people pointing out the movies or ending of the dramas since looking at how slow paced this korean version is you’ll be lucky to get the story past the 6 episode of the first season of the drama

    • 15.1 confused23

      THIS.

      the situations are created solely for conflicts but are so illogical… the male lead was incarcerated for supposedly killing a person but he gets out one year later? the female lead is debt-ridden so she is forced essentially to join? everything is recorded and subsequently broadcasted but the only rule is “no physical violence” when scamming a person/stealing is essentially a crime/unlawful act?

      • 15.1.1 Because of Reasons

        He wasn’t imprisoned for killing a person. They said he was charged with that, but the couldn’t make the charges stick, so he was convicted of fraud or something like that instead. And I think that the stealing wouldn’t count as a criminal act because really the money you’re taking away from the other contestants isn’t theirs; it’s the game’s money and you’ve been instructed to get as much of it as possible. It can’t be scamming/stealing when the people that the money belongs to (the people running the game, not the contestants) want you to take it.

        • 15.1.1.1 confused23

          Not sure why you think the contestant will not think the money is not theirs when they will get penalties for losing it (in the original, for example if you’re given 1 million and you lost it then you will end up with a 1 million debt.

          Also, the money is not yours or the other contestants so basically you can steal it and it’s okay because they want you to steal? What kind of logic is that even?

          In the Jdrama, one would end up in debts if one loses in one round of the game and as the game continues then the debts get bigger. So aside from the greed of getting more money if they win, not wanting to lose in the game is more of self-preservation in order to not incur debts.

          If this Kdrama is more of winning the prize money (and that the contestants will not be liable for whatever money they lose since it is not ‘theirs’ as you say), then there isn’t much of a stake is it?

          • 15.1.1.1.1 starliphx

            THIS EXACTLY (about the stake part) I’m not sure what to think about the korean version yet, totally NOT buying the TV reality show premise, the actual Liar Game’s premise is so much more intense and the stakes were high, which makes for pushing the characters to their limits. I feel like there’s no stake here? like if you lose, you just lose? (and you even get paid for appearing on TV?) or maybe there’s more on the contract, haha

            but i reaaaaally like Akiyama’s korean counterpart here (Professor Ha)!! His portrayal of the character is different but i like it! AND just a random thought, I think it’ll be interesting to see the Running Man members play one of the games! with so many betrayals going on and all LOL especially the Angel and Demon (or the Infected and Non-infected) game (probably one of the games coming up if they’re going to follow the Japanese version in that direction 😀 )

          • 15.1.1.1.2 Because of Reasons

            I haven’t watched the jdrama so I don’t know how it works there, but I’m not talking about whether or not the contestants will think/feel the money is theirs or whether or not they feel a stake in it or whatever. I’m just saying that it’s my understanding that legally, it’s not theirs, and therefore it wouldn’t be a crime for one contestant to take the money away from another, because that’s what the owners of the money have told them to do.

            Also, the money is not yours or the other contestants so basically you can steal it and it’s okay because they want you to steal?

            Yes, exactly. Except you’re not actually stealing because the definition of theft is to take someone else’s property without permission and without intention to return it. The contestants aren’t stealing from each other, because the money, while the game is going on, is not legally the property of any of the contestants. And they’re not stealing from the game-runners because they are taking money with permission, and with the intent to return it (at least temporarily for the retrieval team can check it and then officially give it to them, at which point it then becomes their property). There’s no theft involved there. I think if they were to take one of the banknotes and switch it out with another, according to the rules of the game where all the serial numbers have to match, that would be theft (from the game runners, not the other contestants). Or if they ran away from the show with the money or something. But otherwise…

          • 15.1.1.1.3 confused23

            @Because of Reasons
            stealing is not the only illegal thing going on – scamming, stalking, and other criminal acts that are essentially ‘allowed’ in order to steal because the only rule is no physical injury. criminal/unlawful acts being allowed as well as encouraged in a game broadcasted in a tv show is kind of illogical don’t you think?

            also, saying that the money is not theirs and that the owners of the money wanted the contestants to steal from one another does not make the contestants any less liable for their own actions. even if legally, you think the contestants are excused (which I still maintain NO, even more if this act of stealing is coupled with other illegal/criminal acts), there is a moral/ethical/social context that has to be considered given the premise of the game as a variety show and how public it is.

          • 15.1.1.1.4 Because of Reasons

            Of course, you’re right about the moral/ethical element. And that’s an essential element of the show, and what makes the game problematic and controversial (an element that the producers clearly recognize and that Do Young particularly seems to relish). But my comment was a response to the specific point about whether or not the actual “stealing” of the money in the context of the show was criminal, on a legal basis, or not. Is what’s going immoral, antisocial, unethical? Yes of course. And that’s what’s being played up to make the show-within-the-show interesting.

            You are also quite right that the “anything goes” element of the show contract raises major flags. Because even if the argument was that the competitors signed up for it by signing the contract, I don’t think that contract would hold up in court because a private contract can’t give people licence to stalk others or threaten them or even go into their houses and take their phones (now that was stealing!) The whole thing about the show is that there’s no way this game overall, as it’s been presented to us, would be legal. And a bunch of loan sharks breaking into someone’s house and threatening to take his body parts, and being okay with that being recorded for TV broadcast? Unlikely.

            (It’s my understanding that in the Japanese version, it was an underground game, which makes it somewhat more believable. But then couldn’t the contestants theoretically have gotten out at any time by blowing the whistle to the police, since the game would presumably be illegal? I don’t know… I really need to watch it and see.)

            Anyway, lots of (most?) TV shows/movies/books require some suspension of disbelief in relation to the basic premise—in this case it’s that this game would even be remotely legal/socially acceptable. I can totally understand that other people are not as lenient as me in this regard, and I could see why people think the whole premise of the show is far-fetched, because it is. But I’m pretty relaxed about accepting outlandish premises (once the story stays fairly internally consistent beyond that), and just sitting back and enjoying the ride.

      • 15.1.2 4D

        Actually the subs I read (which may be inaccurate) say he was arrested for murder but they ended um charging him only with financial things. I think they couldn’t prove murder.

    • 15.2 km

      I agree, I felt like especially in the professor’s case it was yet another unconvicing Kdrama “genius.” It also doesn’t help that he always remind her that she’s stupid (in true Kdrama fashion). His character is by far the most unappealing

    • 15.3 Birdie

      Agree with you totally. I find the story illogical thus the lies and con are predictable and unbelievable. I know it is drama but still this is supposed to be a story of lies, scams,and thrills. I have watched episode 2 as well. It did not get better. They try to make it more thrilling with the music but it is misplaced. Sorry.

    • 15.4 anon

      thank you! The pace is actually too slow if they keep this up. I feel like they TRIED to speed it up in the second episode, except they sped up the parts that SHOULD be “slower” aka when they are supposed to show what a genius he is and reveal his tricks. Just not feeling the same excitement……….. I felt like I had to fight myself not to fast forward (especially knowing what the strategy is going to be already).

  16. 16 Sajen

    Having not read the original manga nor seen the dramas I feel odd, as if I’m watching an adaption it’s usually of something I love and I’m just curious to see how badly it’s been screwed up. Here though I can go in with no expectations/fears and I must admit it’s refreshing to not know the source material.

    So far I’d say it’s as close to perfect as can be and I love it.

    Am I the only one that wants to just take Da-Jung home and feed her milk and cookies while protecting her?

    Part of me wonders how on earth Da-Jung has lived so long and I’d say it’s at least partly because of Dal-Goo.

    According to the internet the manga hasn’t ended yet so technically they can have any ending they want.

  17. 17 whilethemusiclasts

    Lee Sang-yoon is killing me with his hotness. No sign of those gorgeous dimples yet but he’s already slaying me. HA.

    • 17.1 whitewire

      I was slayed the moment he wrote “Never trust anyone” I gasped then died

  18. 18 light

    I didn’t love it. It didn’t grip my attention. I was trimming my fingernails and tidying my table as the drama played on my laptop. I keep comparing it to the original Jdrama which I shouldn’t do.

  19. 19 Dee

    Thanks for recapping!! I was hoping to read someone else’s thoughts on this show. I agree, it has a few refreshing takes on the manga which I like a lot. I like that they gave more depth to the mask guy in making him a host, and I actually like the reality TV gameshow format to boost ratings, it being a big thing for TV. I think its a smart way to cover the game instead of making it an underground game that a bunch of specially selected people play to entertain someone with a lot of time and money. But I guess you can also argue that having it underground was a main point in the manga. However this is an Adaptation, not a “live acting” replica of the manga. To me, having it a secret underground game or a reality TV show works both ways. It achieves different things but the motives are the same.

    Somehow i feel Woo-Jin isn’t mysterious enough.. he’s just smart and cunning. We’ll see in the upcoming episodes!

  20. 20 ilikemangos

    It gets better in the second episode.

    This show excites me the most out of all the others. The big 3 has really been slacking for me this year.

    Smiley dimples is hard to get out of your head for those who come off from Angel Eyes but for those watching lee sang yoon for the first time will oogle at this sexy, mysterious conman.

    Love So-Eun. Da Jung needs work.

    Shin Sung Rok holllly. Is it just me or does that man get sexier each time I see him on screen. Love how this man is finally getting more exposure in the industry this year; his talent is undeniable.

    So far the twists have not really been as shocking as I’d like them to be (after finishing episode 2) but no doubt it’s keeping me on my toes, despite being able to accurately predict the twist a few steps before show explains it.

    They seem to be pushing the romance angle more in this version than the japanese one, but it will probably not be as important as it’s mystery/thriller tag. Yes, i ship the 19+ couple, LTE couple, Cat couple — however you like to call em — but lee sang yoon and kim so eun actually look a lot better together than i imagined from teasers. Don’t take it personally, Rim!

    • 20.1 Growingbeautifully

      LOL! I’ve just been watching Jae Rim and So Eun. They seem so natural, so soon off the bat. And they were not acting.

      On the acting side, I’m looking forward to how Lee Sang Yoon and Kim So Eun go with their chemistry. Does it show up immediately (I did not really notice it yet) or does it get built up slowly?

      Does chemistry on screen have to be automatic or to be worked at?

    • 20.2 Ek Ladhki Thi

      I’m hoping against hope that they don’t have a romance between the two leads. Sang-yoon said they were going more for a daddy long-legs feel for them rather than a love-line. That works perfectly in my opinion, and it would be great if she developed an adrenaline-induced crush on him but it remains entirely one-sided.

      • 20.2.1 Growingbeautifully

        Certainly a romance is not necessary although if it is one-sided, it will be sad for Da Jung. It is rare, though, for a kdrama to not have the romance element thrown in together with daddy-long-legging.

        Romance aside, the current excitement building up on what trick Do Young will come up with to keep the players in, the next method to win another round and hopefully a more intriguing way to use lies to one-up more sleaze bags will be so much fun in itself!

  21. 21 kirin

    I think I’m one of the few who has never seen the J-Drama, but read the manga. And I got to say, I find this drama just as addicting as I found the manga. Granted, there are many things that are different in both versions. But the thing is, I enjoy seeing the differences more than I enjoy seeing what’s the same. I already know the story and characters so well, so seeing the twists and the variations keeps things fresh for me (otherwise it would be pretty boring, I’m not big of re-reading/re-watching a series). But so far, I really like the characters that weren’t in the manga, such as the debt collector, PD Lee, and that sinister host.

    But I think it’s because I don’t attempt to compare the two. The manga will always have a space in my heart. But I’m also willing to view this story in it’s own merit. Seeing remakes should compare to how you might read fanfiction: you read it to see the characters and the plot in new ways, see all possible variations. They aren’t the same. This is a new story being born, these are not the canon characters, but a parallel universe version of themselves. I think that more people would enjoy remakes if they see it in that light.

  22. 22 astromantic

    I haven’t watched the original series since whenever it aired, but as soon as that teacher popped up I was like “NO DAJUNG, NO”… but I like it! It’s got all the good makings of a remake so far. I like the new concepts they’ve introduced and I REALLY like Shin Sung-rok. Don’t feel any particular way about the other guy yet.

  23. 23 rani

    tvN does a very neat job with Liar Game and fantastic job with The Three Musketeers. KBS should learn from tvN if they want to make Naeil Cantabile or any future remake works.

    I wonder how will tvN version deal with Akiyama-sama characterization.

    And also, Kim So Eun’s Nao joins ‘Liar Game’ on her own choice, because she needs the money to pay her (father) debts. Erika Toda’s is totally dragged by forceful situation. She doesn’t want the money for all possible reason, that’s why she stays pure until the end. I wonder if So Eun’s motive of joining will be debatable in the future.

    • 23.1 Nekoi

      Oh yes, I was gonna mention this! Nao (Japanese ver.) was forced to go into the game (because she annoyingly opened the suitcase and laid her eyes on the monies), and then compelled to stay in the game because there is a penalty for losing (like owing a debt that is equals to the sum of the game). There is no mention of this in this Korean version? Or did I miss that out?

      • 23.1.1 Hanjae

        The penalty’s mentioned in Episode 2. 🙂

        I’d forgotten about Nao being forced into playing the game despite not having any interest in the cash in the jdrama version, though. But I do think the fact that Da Jung wants the money and is tempted by it actually ADDS to the potential of the kdrama version though – one thing that always bothered me about Nao was that she was so unrealistically, inhumanly pure. She just continued trusting people and taking the high road with the money because she could, not because she chose to.

        Da Jung, on the other hand, will have to fight temptation and ultimately choose whether she wants to do the right thing or not, and gives her “purity” a stronger impact.

    • 23.2 confused23

      isn’t NDJ being debt-ridden is actually a mechanic that essentially forces her to join the game though? like they made her character so poor she doesn’t necessarily have the choice to walk away from it all?

      Kanzaki Nao opened the box and was forced to join because that is the rule in the letter… that is a very human mistake – not all people read the fine prints when signing for things, thinking it’s just a ‘small’ thing so it could be an honest mistake. one could argue that Kanzaki Nao could report to the police, but the underground group that is orchestrating the game have people in all places. People might feel that Kanzaki Nao was initially ‘forced’ to join the game, but really I think she was compelled to join mostly because of her character – because she looks at things at face value: it’s a rule, so follow the rules/don’t break the rules.

      also, there’s a duality in Jdrama – Akiyama thinks people are essentially evil (because of self-interest); Kanzaki thinks that people are essentially good.

  24. 24 kirin

    Also, forgot to mention–I’m so happy that dramabeans is recapping “The Liar Game”! I was checking in everyday, seeing if there was any news if anyone would recap it, but was not brave enough to ask because I didn’t want to bother them when I know that the staff is probably swamped with dramas to recap and watch. Especially when there’s so many new excellent dramas coming out! So my thanks goes HeadsNo2 for recapping! With this and Misaeng being recapped, I’m positively on cloud nine. (^^)

    Also, a question for you all. I know “The Greatest Marriage” is a k-drama that is currently airing in Korea, but it isn’t listed in the “Shows Currently Airing” on the right panel on this site. Does anyone know when it airs in the week and when I can find out any airing news?

  25. 25 Vivi

    I have to say that I love this !!!
    And yes! I am a HUGE fan of the “manga/drama/drama sequel/movie/movie sequel minus drama spin-off”

    I think the idea of a reality TV-show is actually genious because it’s different enough from the japanese versions/manga to keep you interested and yet you still have the same vibes, conflicts, dilemma; the essence of the manga is definitively here!

  26. 26 Lilith

    I’m loving the korean version so far, this coming from an avid fan of liar game (have watched all the j-versions, movies, and manga). I feel that this version gave more depth into the characters, making them more humane, realistic and relatable. Granted, the plot so far is far from perfect, some parts of it feel forced with the loopholes in the execution of lying to DaJung’s opponent in episode 2 which I shan’t discuss here so as not to spoil the others, but I’ll give some leeway seeing as the PD and scriptwriter has to adapt the methods to the premise of a tv show instead of an underground tournament. The j-version’s first game wasn’t that good either, the pace only picked up from the second game onwards and I’m hoping this k-version will as well.

    As for Lee Sang Yoon, I’m one of those who didn’t understand why the majority were so against his casting, and I remain true to that. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Matsuda Shota as Akiyama, but when I saw Lee Sang Yoon as Ha Woo-jin in the teasers and posters, I really liked how this character was being portrayed. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t watch Angel Eyes (something which keep popping up whenever I read discussions about his suitability to be Akiyama) and thus, I’m able to imagine him as the dark hero. Somehow he gave me some sort of confidence in his skills as an actor to be able to pull off the character.
    Kim So Eun did a better job of portraying Nao in my opinion, naïve and kind-hearted but not to the point where you’ll have a hard time believing such a person exists. Dal-goo was an unexpected surprise, and a good one.

    I’m looking forward to the second round.

  27. 27 Viki

    YAY! FINALLY! This drama rocks my socks so much! Even though I watched the original, it still throws me off ‘cuz there’s little changes here and there so I don’t know what to expect!

  28. 28 karecity

    I watched the original but did not like it as much as most people. Matsuda Shota was awesome but the female lead was just ridiculously naive and stupid. And the directing was a little OTT for me.
    I like that this adaptation changed her character a little.
    I think tvn is really the best TV station right now. Most of their shows are really good.

  29. 29 Oracle2

    The jap version managed to turn me into Matsuda Shota’s addict. So when i heard about the remake i felt extremely skeptic especially with the way NC remake turned into.

    But hell, 2 episodes after, i have to say i enjoyed it. Even if the main storyline sticks to manga and jap version, it still gives me different vibe. No evil organization behind the scene, but with publicity for being reality show, i think it’s gonna be contestants vs society.

  30. 30 bamboo16

    Thanks so much for the recap!

    I am possibly one of a few who is a HUGE fan of the original manga, but not the Jdrama. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Matsuda Shota is an absolute wonder, and he fits Akiyama Shinichi so well that, to me, he will always be the only one who can pull off that character. Yet somehow, the Jdrama just failed to captured me. So naturally i was looking forward to this version, despite my initial doubts about Lee Sang Yoon (I mean, seriously, it’s Matsuda Shota!!). And i have to say, i am absolutely intrigued by what i have seen so far. Everything about it makes me want more. I really like the way LSY approach his character, trade marks characteristics of the original are still there, yet some more are added to create a new, fresh character. I was surprise about not finding myself doing some comparisons here and there, just enjoying it the whole time.

    With all that being said, i have to agree with some that i still do not like the fact that an underground competition has been turned into a reality TV show. Sure i get some of the points why they did it, but because it is now a reality TV show, I’m afraid the game may not be as harsh, even to the point of brutal and cruel, win-or-die-by-debt in the manga. And the total of 10 episodes also worries me, how can they wrap everything up in just 10 episodes when the easiest round had already costed 2???

    Arggg, i just can’t wait till next week!!!

    • 30.1 Lilith

      Oh my, you brought up something which have been worrying me as well. How can they only have 10 episodes? *sobs* Since the first round already took up 2 episodes, I’m guessing there’ll only be 3-4 rounds in total.

      Perhaps we can cross our fingers for season 2 like the japanese version?

      • 30.1.1 bamboo16

        I know, right?? Ha Ha ha ha. I just hope that somehow they managed to keep all the games just as they are in the manga, and not knit-picking whichever is the easiest to display, and cheapest to produce. All the games are pure genius, with numerous interesting new characters a long with it. And will there be a Yokoya? Or has that character been mixed into Kang Do Young???? I think i should stop talking now before more questions arise and i go crazy for being unable to answer them!!!

        Arggg

        • 30.1.1.1 So3

          Haha! Let’s hope this drama breaks 3% to increase the possibility of a Season 2 😛

          I heard the ratings of Ep 2 improved so people do know what they like!

  31. 31 Pollywood

    I love that it is that much different from the J-drama. That makes it a great stand-alone adaptation.
    I also love how they concentrate on the background stories of pretty much everyone – including the games themselves – instead.

    What I didn’t like is the drastic makjang-ization of the content by a) father in debt on the run, b) girl frequented by mobsters (with a heart, oh how novel!).
    Her background basically forces her into the games, contrary to her J-drama counterpart who finds herself in the games by ‘accident’ and then continues because of her good heart.
    If the heroine is not that good a person and basically stupid (not even naive) from the get-go, how are you supposed to root for her?

    Now I just can’t wait for the other players to appear! I wonder if they toned them down or if we get some crazy laughing like in the J-drama.

    In any way, I am happy that the adaptation is different and a very enjoyable watch. And I hope they keep it up!
    TvN FTW!

  32. 32 ju

    Yeah. I was afraid of the idea of tv show but they do a really good job by making it really modern somehow. The Liar Game, so far, seems really well-suited to it.

    What I really like is that the characters don’t follow cliché. Da-Jung sure is the innocent and naive type like Kanzaki Nao but hey she has her badass moment while talking to the PD. I find her really cool which never happens with the original. And so for the debt-collector. I just love their relationship, so cute. Yes, he is an ex-con but he has a conscience too.

    Do-Young is just perfect for this kind of role, so devilishly threatening and mysterious.

    I am all in !

  33. 33 Because of Reasons

    I really enjoyed the first two episodes. Before it started, I was thinking that it sounded like my kind of show, and it has disappointed me. As someone mentioned, the twist/trick at the end of the first round was pretty predictable, but I didn’t mind that. There was a certain satisfaction in being able to see comeuppance coming. And when I finished the second episode I was wishing that I could start the next one right away.

    Plus Shin Sung Rok! I haven’t loved everything I’ve seen him in, but I’ve loved him in everything I’ve seen him in.

  34. 34 maakopla

    Dunno, I am probably one of the few here who is having mixed feelings. The first episode didn’t impress me, actually Jdrama didn’t impress me either. I guess reading manga first was a great mistake.

    I think the premiere was too confusing and too many characters were introduced at once + the whole game, the rules and Da Jungs complex history. I liked it simple like it was in manga and Jdrama. You start with this sweet innocent girl and the story slowly grows as more characters come in. I think that was one of the greatest charms of the story.

    Also, since Liar Game can’t really be very realistic, I mean come on… then why take it too seriously and try to make it look awkwardly realistic? I mean, just keep it simple, toned down and build the atmosphere slowly. Make it dynamic, shorter scenes, less emotion, snapshots, short and snappy lines. Anything but just don’t freaking drag it with kpop playing on the background as a gangster with tender heart dreams about a girl he can’t get. Seriously.

    For example Woo Jin, they introduced him so slowly. The lesson would have been enough but they had to have that human lie detector scene which got me yawning. Yeah, he is a genius I get it and thanks for taking all the mystery away from his character. They could have introduced his amazing skills later when he starts working on the stuff. Something is telling me this is going to get painfully repetitive.

    • 34.1 jessica

      i agree!!!!!

  35. 35 realraul2307

    I found my current drama crack. Episode 2 was awesome!!! I want moree!!!!

  36. 36 doki2

    ‘Never trust anyone’

    refer to manga, it should be ‘always be in doubt’, because if u believe, it is not you truly believe on it. you just ignore any possibilities, and avoid to trouble yourself to dig in. Nao is the perfect example of it. in recent chapter, when she began to doubting someone, she found more knowledge about it.

    I like this series, and seriously hope the plot have same essence with manga. I don’t care what is the story and adaption to it. Fighting, LG Team!

    Thank you HeadsNo2, i was scared that LG didn’t get recaps post. 😀

    • 36.1 doki2

      Wait a minute, apparently there was a variety show in korea that heavily influenced by Liar Game Tournament:

      The Genius: Rules of the Game

      This variety show has been running through 3 seasons, with the basic rule similar with Liar Game and also broadcast by tvn. Is that the reason Liar Game have the same concept? because there was actually been produced?

  37. 37 adal

    Ah Heads, Thank you so much for recapping this, I am absolutely in LOVE with this show and I have been dying to read the recaps and group discussions on how others felt about it. I love all the characters and the leads. Seldom has a show impressed me this much and I hope it continues. I really am loving the recent crop of dramas: Liar Game, Misaeng, Tomorrow’s Canterbille and Bad Guys… This season is gonna be good.

    • 37.1 adal

      …oops and The Three Musketeers of course. I knew I left one out!

  38. 38 4D

    So happy this is being recapped!! I have no experience with the manga or jdrama so I went into this with a completely open mind. I’ve seen both episodes and as it has been mentioned before, the “twists” ate perhaps a bit predictable….but the show still really sucked me in. I’m enjoying the atmosphere they’ve created. I really really hope they extend this show. There’s a lot of potential here. I think it’s not quite as clever as it thinks it is but I still really like it. I’m enjoying the acting too. The characters are a lot of fun. I am someone what concerned with KSE not because she’s doing a bad job but because I have to agree that she isn’t just good hearted, she’s bordering on stupid. Waiting all day for someone is not about having a good heart. It’s just not. So I’m hoping for some growth. You can still believe in the good in the world without being completely taken advantage of or needing the guys to solve your issues. Again, I do really like this show, I’m just nervous about the trajectory and the final end message. But I look forward to the journey!

    • 38.1 Carole McDonnell

      And yet she is a Candy I can get behind. The Candy in Heirs pretty much killed my taste for such characters. But between this and Misaeng I’m totally on Candy’s side.

      • 38.1.1 4D

        Oh Heirs. I’m still stuck on episode 14. I suppose I will finish one day. Although mostly for Woo Bin….

        I’m not as generally anti-Candy as some but I do think writers often confuse naïve with stupid. I mean, I really don’t know anyone beyond age 8 who would wait for some that long (and do it twice within the same week!). It’s a little odd that she has such random fire against the female PD….but then is so pathetic in others.

        I’m not against her yet, and I could route for her, but mostly I’m just waiting to see. I’m just like the viewers in the show 😉 Will she meet my expectations or not? Will she surprise me? Is she really how I think she is?

  39. 39 Carole McDonnell

    Thanks so much for recapping this, Heads.

    I really liked the J-version of liar game and this is one of the rare times I’m actually watching a remake. I’m not even watchng the kdramaremake of Cantabile which I also really liked.

    I had wondered how the k-version would do the story elements. The j-version was pretty stripped and the focus was more on the games than on the backstories. But k drama does what kdrama does well– humanize a situation and add proper story elements.

    If I recall there were three Liar Game seasons in j-drama and then a liar game movie. (Not sure…but kinda recall.) I also kinda sorta remember the J-version having only 10 episodes. So i was wondering how we would get all the permutations of all those seasons into one season, especially the reason the TV show is doing the game and the ultimate defeat of the corporation behind it. The first season of the J-version pretty much kept us in the dark about the non-neutrality and the evil of the corporation. But this is already showing us that there are evil odd humans behind the game and the game is not just neutral.

    So that’s fun. Am hoping the puzzles/brainteasers/deceptions/mindgames will be as fun as the j-version.

    Thanks for the recap.

    • 39.1 jessica

      2 dramas and 1 movies, all with the same main cast.

      then spin-off drama, and spin-off movie… the drama with different cast, the spin-off movie just the akiyama character and with a different “nao”

  40. 40 kceyagi

    I watched the J-version a long time ago. I remember enjoying it a lot, but since it’s been a few years I think I could still watch the K-version with fresh eyes. I think it’s doing a fairly good job. I’m hoping that Dajung’s character will become more tolerable over the episodes, and am curious to see how she develops.

  41. 41 August

    Thanks for signing up to recap Liar Game HeadsNo2.

    It was my goal to start and complete the Jdrama versions of Liar Game before the Kdrama remake started. Sadly, I wasn’t able to.

    So now I’m torn…Do I start watching Liar Game in real-time with everyone else? Or do I hold off joining the bandwagon and adhere to my original plan of completing the source material before starting this version?

    Oh, boy! Kdrama dilemmas: Choosing between real-time viewing vs. Marathoning!

    • 41.1 Isayidodaresay

      why not do both? by my math 30 minutes in the Japanese drama equals a full korean episode, so watch like the first 4 episodes of the Japanese drama and you will be caught up with where this korean version will end 😛

      • 41.1.1 August

        Thanks, I’ll try.

    • 41.2 jessica

      you can watch both right away if you’re so inclined…

      but i hope you have a lot of time in your hands. the japanese drama was hard to put down, because the dynamics change, and the stakes get higher.

      i don’t know if this needs a spoiler, but it’s like for the first few games, akiyama was the sole genius and everyone was average. then in bigger games with higher stakes, akiyama and one other player are both genius levels… then in even bigger games, and the final/highest level, there are some characters that seem more “genius” than akiyama so the issue is for him to outwit the so-called better genius if that is ever possible. something like that.

      • 41.2.1 jessica

        i mean, even when i rewatch the japanese liar game, i can’t skip scenes, that’s how engaging and interesting it is… and i have to keep watching the next episode right away.. even though i already finished watching the whole series several times.

  42. 42 watchumlots

    THANK YOU HeadsNo2 for a FABULOUS recap!!!

    This “looks like” the perfect drama: beautiful cast, beautifully filmed, good pacing, and a decent story line. Now if they can just hold onto the ending!

    I’m IN! I am so IN!

  43. 43 Lilian

    I’ve never watched the original so this drama’s plot is interesting to me. The actors are also doing well in their respective roles & I can’t wait to see the chemistry between Kim So Eun and Lee Sang Yoon!

  44. 44 pogo

    I love it! I’m so glad to see the role of Nao actually de-Candified just a slight bit with Da-jung, it makes her so much more human and relatable.

    (now I’m going to make the same prayer I did for Misaeng, may this drama please stay as good throughout its run!)

  45. 45 lenrasoon

    The fans from the original source (of ANY Japanese to Korean adaptation) can be pretty annoying and hard to please people, so I’m just enjoying this drama as it is, and they’re are doing a good job so far.

    Thanks for the recap!

  46. 46 Marie

    I am so hooked on this show. I haven’t read the source material or seen the J-drama so this is all completely new to me (I’m in the same position w/ Cantabile Tomorrow).

    I love both episodes so far and both male leads are so easy on the eyes, especially Shin Sung-Rok, who caught my attention in Trot Lovers (he was the only bright spot, tbh).

  47. 47 Joanna

    Shin Sung Rok *sigh*

    Never read the manga, had to stop watch the dorama after about five episodes because: too much math, logic puzzles, made my head hurt 😉

    Seriously, what percentage of kdramas employ loan sharks as a plot device? 75%? 80%?

  48. 48 anon

    First episode was quite decent, but second episode was where I had my doubts….. still skeptical, really have to see how the second week goes. The pace just isn’t as good as the JP version, and the way they made revelations in the second episode….really wasn’t that exciting…. IDK… I really hope they can do this well. I am fine with the lack of darkness in Woo Jin’s character, and all the characters are great, but the way they structure the games, strategies, and revealing tricks reallyyy need to be done well to be impressive.

  49. 49 Jon G.

    Question here:

    In these kind of psychological evidence shows, real acting is basically the plot. The actors must be able to display the physiological reactions their characters are supposed to have.

    How is that going to work with the classical K-drama acting, aka. schematic acting that has no resemblance to actual human emotion expression?

    • 49.1 eastwestmess

      We will interpret it based on how the other characters react to them? And the psychological explanations that our heroes and villains will give because everyone loves boasting about how awesomely smart they supposedly are.

      To me, even the Japanese version wasn’t based on acting (so far, it was actually a lot worse than what we’re seeing here), but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

      • 49.1.1 Jon G.

        You are probably right (I don’t know the Japanese version).

        Still, I’m very sceptical towards the idea. Of course you can do the story with “tell, don’t show”, voice-overs, soliloquy and exposition. But that sounds almost like watching a National Geographic documentary about seals’ life, where the seals are played by cleaning robots running around in a aircraft hangar.

        • 49.1.1.1 eastwestmess

          Well, let’s hope at least SSR gives us a good look into villain psychology. He’s doing okay so far.

    • 49.2 bd5

      Evidently, you’ve been watching the WRONG K-dramas.

      There are good K-dramas w/ excellent acting – they just tend not to be the popular ones.

      • 49.2.1 Jon G.

        Sorry for the missunderstanding:

        I don’t think schematic acting is bad per se, it’s just the dominant style of acting in Korean drama. There are pretty bad “real acting” style actors, and there are pretty good “schematic acting” style actors.

        I’ve only watched about a little more than a dozen K-dramas so far and have yet to come across one without predominantly schematic acting, but I guess they exist (recommendations are appreciated!).

        There are very prominent K-drama actors who use both schematic and real acting techniques (Gong Hyo-jin for example), but as far as I can tell, they are a minority.

        That being said, in Liar Game, all major actors and actresses use schematic acting (and some of them with a very limited set of schemata). That’s not bad, it’s just unfortunate as the display of human emotional expressions is one of the very key elements of the show.

  50. 50 mk

    I’m a big fan of the j-drama and its making, but I’m loving this remake. It seems to be more realistic in terms of plot and acting.

    I wonder how many games this show will cover. The j-drama needed 2 seasons and a movie to cover most of the games. In my opinion, the later games were more entertaining. Also, I wonder who will play Fukunaga. If wonder if he/she be a man or woman or…

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