[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/4195_590674681654_61302650_37227453_95884_n_9979.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Liar Game]]: [[ArcWords It's a game where you lie]].]]

-> ''"This is the LIAR GAME... A game about deceiving others. I'm just doing what it takes to win."''

Written by Shinobu Kaitani (also the author of ''OneOuts''), ''Liar Game'' is a manga and drama series about the struggles of Nao Kanzaki against a [[NebulousEvilOrganisation mysterious and nefarious organization]] called the Liar Game Tournament Office that places innocent people through psychological games using their debt as bait. All its members wear masks and any participants of the game are free to drop out, assuming they pay their debt which the game forced upon them. With debt that frequently is in the 100 million yen range and quite often more, it's no small deal. Said organization will also collect the debt "any way possible..."

Using the help of recently released conman/genius/ChessMaster Shinichi Akiyama, Nao seeks to rid herself of debt and also save those who are participating in the games. Expect all [[GambitIndex all kinds of plans and cunning]] to apply here, as it is a Battle Royale of wits.

This story has a prequel called ''[[LiarGameRootsOfA Liar Game-Roots Of A]]'', which has a one-shot chapter that deals with the backstory of Akiyama and contains several other unrelated one-shots.

[[http://liarsgame.wikia.com/wiki/Liar_Game_Wiki Here is a wiki]] for more information. If you wanted to [[{{Defictionalization}} join]] a game like it, check out an example that finished [[http://liargametournament.proboards.com/index.cgi here]] or join something similar [[http://lgtcasino.proboards.com/ here]]. There will be another tournament beginning in April 2015. For more information or to sign up, go [[http://liargameonline.proboards.com/ here]].

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!!This series provides examples of:

* AbsurdlyHighStakesGame: Losing the Liar Game gets one saddled with ''at least'' a debt of 100 million yen, and since most of the participants aren't wealthy people, they could not get pay their debts and gets sold.
** SubvertedTrope: in the end, it's discovered that [[spoiler:the Liar Game is a FalseCrucible]].
* AttractiveBentGender: When Fukunaga gets dolled up, she's pretty much the hottest woman in the series.
* AwesomenessByAnalysis:
** Akiyama, being a former conman, is very skilled at reading and manipulating people. As he explains to [[TheIngenue Nao]], to really understand someone you have to "''doubt'' them".
** After CharacterDevelopment Nao herself becomes quite good at this, in a different way than Akiyama: he is the best at reading people's thoughts, Nao is better at understandind their feelings.
* BagOfHolding: Yokoya carries around one hell of a lot of cash in that little black bag of his, doesn't he? You might think he simply carries round lots of bags instead, but he's a little bit on the puny side...
* BatmanGambit:
** Before it dissolves into a GambitPileup between Akiyama and Yokoya, the third round begins with a series of these simpler gambits.
** Later, during Bid Poker, Akiyama's plan to [[spoiler:trick Kimura]] is this in spades.
* BattleCouple: Despite not actually physically fighting together, Nao and Akiyama make one amazing team of wits and skill.
* BewareTheHonestOnes:
** During the second Revival Round, Nao Kanzaki demonstrates she is fully capable of deception once she has sufficient reason and a plan to back her up, either hers or someone else's. She manages to outwit [[TheRival Fukunaga]] and [[spoiler:rope her into helping Nao win her match]].
** Later, during the Pandemic Game, Nao [[spoiler:cheerfully lies to Yokoya about who is in which examination room so that Yokoya's attempt at bribing neutral players hits her allies instead]].
* BittersweetEnding: After the end of the last game, [[spoiler:the LGT admits defeat and excuse all the debts from the players, and the Liar Game show is going to be aired on the internet. But apparently the "Unknown Government" has so much influence it can bully the '''ENTIRE INTERNET''' into deleting the video on the day of release]].
* BlindingBangs: Akiyama's eyes are usually hidden by his bangs unless he's revealing a plan or taunting his enemies.
* BreakingSpeech:
** After the end of the Contraband Round, Yokoya gives one of these to Akiyama, explaining that [[spoiler:even if Akiyama "won" their battle, Yokoya managed to actually ''profit'' by pushing all the debts on his own teammates, who Nao and Akiyama were actually trying to help]].
** Immediately after that, Nao counterattacks with a BreakingSpeech of her own: the fact that Yokoya "won" by being a SmugSnake and [[spoiler:betraying the people who followed him]] means that he failed at following his own stated "way of life" of an "absolute ruler". This is enough of a sore point that Yokoya [[spoiler:falls for her bluff and decides to stay in the game just to take revenge on Nao, which is just what she wanted]].
** During the Bid Poker game, Yokoya uses a particularly effective one to [[spoiler:psychologically corner the other players by playing with their worst fears of what will happen if they lose]]. They basically become his minion, after that.
** At the beginning of the last round, Nao does it ''again'' to Yokoya. [[spoiler:Yoyoka explains that he lives on his father's philosophy that "a person's worth is decided by how many people he controls." Nao then deconstructs this by pointing out that if he's living by his father's philosophy, then that means that he has no worth of his own since his father controls him]]. Again, this has very important consequences on Yokoya's behavior later on.
* BreakingTheFourthWall: Happens a couple of times, when characters take the time to explain their schemes.
--> "Fine, I'll go back and explain things since you're slow, and for our readers, since they didn't see what happened."
* BriefcaseFullOfMoney:
** Played straight in the first round and averted from then on, since in other games the money is given in the form of rare gems, check-like objects or poker chips.
** [[InvokedTrope Invoked]] in the third round, whose scenario involved smugglers sneaking money past customs in briefcases.
* ButtMonkey: Forli (dealer of Pandemic Game) is the goofiest among the LGT officials, and frequently "falls" for Akiyama's or Yokoya's tricks despite not actually participating in the games. Even Leronira has been known to play him as a fool at times.
* TheCakeIsALie: Yokoya enforces a points-based loyalty scheme during the Contraband Game, encouraging the members of his team to spy on one another and report disloyalty and promising rewards to those who score the highest points. Fukunaga correctly assumes that Yokoya is not keeping count at all, and is just telling everyone they are hovering around 4th place to spur them into spying on one another and feeding Yokoya information.
* CharacterDevelopment:
** Nao, who [[DumbassNoMore progressively becomes smarter and more observant about people surrounding her]] and actually manages to device tricks on her own, such as [[spoiler:collaborating with Fukunaga in the Second revival round without telling Akiyama about it]].
** [[TokenEvilTeammate Fukunaga]], who [[TookALevelInKindness Takes A Level In Kindness]] by becoming one of Nao and Akiyama's most steadfast allies. During the Bid Poker round, she even [[spoiler:sacrifices her chance of winning to save the only other player who didn't fall for Yokoya's empty promises]].
* ChessMaster:
** [[GuileHero Akiyama]] serves as the "brain" in his collaboration with Nao and uses various mind games and psychological traps to help her steal all of the opponent's money in her first few rounds of the game.
** Fukunaga, as Akiyama's first real rival, manages to manipulate almost all players during the Minority Rule round.
** Yokoya, the series' main antagonist, has an intellect that rivals Akiyama's and even gets the better of him during their first encounter in the third round.
** In the Musical Chair arc we are introduced to Harimoto, a cult leader who manages to get a head start in the games by duping Akiyama, manipulates one of Yokoya's lackeys into helping their group and becomes an exceedingly dangerous threat for both of them. During the Bid Poker round, it's revealed that [[spoiler:the real mastermind of his group is Kimura]].
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder:
** The rules of the game encourage this. To have a chance at winning, you have to create alliances with other players. But if you want to ''really'' profit, you have to betray your allies.
** Yokoya is a very notable example of this. This is not surprising, considering he's been raised to believe that "rulers" have no friends or allies, only subjects and enemies, and that you either are a "ruler" or you are worthless.
** Yokoya and Harimoto repeatedly betray each other during their three-way-battle with Akiyama in the Musical Chairs round.
* ChronicHeroSyndrome: Nao's main drive is to save everyone in the games. She doesn't take several chances of leaving the Liar Game without debts because she wants to help other players.
* CombatCommentator: Several in most games, but especiall the third round and the second revival round; used to explain what the [[ChessMaster chessmasters]] are doing.
* ConvenientMiscarriage: [[spoiler: "Office Lady" Mikamoto]] had a affair with her boss and got pregnant, but then lost the child.
* ConvictionByCounterfactualClue - SubvertedTrope: Akiyama explains how you can use "psychology facts" to read people's lies, but it's later revealed that [[spoiler:it was part of his play to discover the trick behind Yokoya's phony mind-reading]].
* CrashIntoHello: Nao and Akiyama's first meeting.
* {{Cult}}: Harimoto's cult teaches that humans were once pure and good but then bred with demons, creating "demonic dominant" and "demonic recessive" bloodlines. One's position in the cult is determined by how pure his ancestry is, which of course is determined by the head of the cult with [[BlatantLies his supernatural powers]].
* CurbStompBattle: During the RussianRoulette of the second Revival Round, [[TokenEvilTeammate Fukunaga]] crushes her opponent quite handily until [[spoiler:Nao convinces her to tie the game on purpose]].
* DeathByOriginStory: Both of Akiyama's parents were gone by the end of his backstory, and Nao's mother at the end of hers.
* DefeatMeansFriendship:
** Played straight with Fukunaga, who becomes the TokenEvilTeammate after being defeated a couple of times and by the end [[spoiler:has become a legitimately good person]].
** Subverted with Yokoya, who recruits people he has defeated into his team only because their fear of him makes them perfect subjects.
** Deconstructed and reconstructed with Akiyama and Nao's other allies. The heroes manage to create [[TheTeam a team]] with people they have defeated during the Revival Rounds, since they have seen Nao's sincerity in her desire to save everyone. Still, the pettiness and greed of the players leave them open to traps and manipulation. In the end, though, [[spoiler:the team holds on thanks to Nao's trustworthiness]].
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment: In Revival Round 4, Game B (the one with Fukunaga and Yokoya, not Nao and Akiyama), a player gives us the following [[http://www.mangareader.net/liar-game/140/15 gem]] about Yokoya.
-->'''Bleached Ponytail:''' That just proves you're a lying liar who lies!
* DidYouActuallyBelieve: Oftentimes, players would use this line to their opponents, after lying to them or betraying them. After all, this is a game where you lie, so it is {{Justified|Trope}}.
* DividedWeFall:
** Happens frequently in the third round due to Akiyama and Nao's teammates being self-serving, [[IdiotBall not-terribly-bright]] cowards.
** Nao believes this is the entire point of the Liar Game - everyone can avoid falling into debt, but only if they all stop [[WeAREStrugglingTogether struggling together]]. This happens most directly [[spoiler:in the second Revival Round, in which the players can actually make a net profit if they call a truce and thus stop the dealer from having an opportunity to reclaim chips]].
* DrivenToSuicide:
** Akiyama's mother committed suicide so that her son could use her life insurance money to pay off their debts and continue his education.
** The four women in Harimoto's group were on the verge of killing themselves before they were "saved" by the cult.
* DumbIsGood - SubvertedTrope: Early on Nao seems very stupid and naive, and always needs [[GuileHero Akiyama]] to save her. When Akiyama convinces her that [[CharacterDevelopment doubting people is not a bad thing]], though, she starts becoming a GuileHero herself, and in the second Revival Round she even [[spoiler:takes advantage of her innocent and naive demeanour to trap another competitor, while also trapping the person she used to set it up this very gambit]].
* DynamicEntry: Right when Nao lost hope in the first Revival Round, having been deceived by Fukunaga and abandoned by the other competitors, Akiyama appears from the window, which is definitely not on the first floor.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment:
** [[TheIngenue Nao]] returns a 100 yen coin to the police.
** [[GuileHero Akiyama]] dons a disguise and tricks reporters into chasing after some other guy.
* EvenEvilHasStandards:
** Fukanaga snaps at one teammate who suggests that Nao should be the one to give up her seat in the Musical Chairs round, angrily pointing out that it's unfair to put Nao in that tight spot when she isn't in the room in the first place.
** [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] by Yokoya. At one point, he's seen reading a copy of [[UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler Mein Kampf]]. He mentions to an aide that though Hitler's speeches and rhetoric are study-worthy, some of his actions were despicable. What actions are these? Committing suicide before his plan was complete.
* EvilGloating: Villains and [[UnwittingPawn Unwitting Pawns]] often do this when they think they have the upper hand.
* EvilCannotComprehendGood: Yokoya simply cannot understand why Nao and Akiyama want to save everyone from the game.
* EvilCounterpart: Yokoya and [[spoiler: Kimura]] to Akiyama, and [[spoiler: Harimoto]] to Nao.
* FailureGambit:
** If you lose a round of the Liar Game, you can collect your eventual earnings or are forced to pay off your debts. If you win, you have to go on to the next round unless you pay half of your earnings to OptOut. This means the most effective way to "win" at the game is to make sure your balance is positive and than ''avoid winning''. On the other hand, it's possible to "win" a round while still losing money, which means you have to hope you'll make up for it in the next rounds.
** Akiyama's scheme to defeat the Office is [[spoiler:to become the winner of the tournament without earning anything, and instead accumulating an enormous debt on himself... a debt that the Office would have no way to reclaim]].
* FalseCrucible: The ultimate truth behind [[spoiler:the Liar Game itself]]. As Yokoya correctly surmises, [[spoiler:the Liar Game was set up exactly like the games in a book]]. What is revealed in more detail later is that [[spoiler:the Game was set up to try and determine the outcome the author intended for his third volume, which went unpublished due to his death]].
* {{Fanservice}}:
** Nao's bra size certainly has been increasing as time goes on...
** Akiyama shirtless scenes probably counts.
** Fukunaga has the MostCommonSuperpower; outdoing most other cast members.
* {{Flashback}}: Used during explanations to describe any backroom dealings during the game.
* {{Fiction 500}}: The LGT office, which has enough cash to loan out 100 million yen simultaneously to hundreds of players. The games' spaces are not cheap, either. Palaces, high technology, ''islands''. Actually, they often admit that places are on rent (or squatted, possibly) and not their own, but still there are tons of cash spent around.
** Later on, it's reveled that the leader of LGT [[spoiler:received a bribe from "The Unknown Government", containing 5 '''BILLION''' in Singapore Dollar (Approx 3.75 '''BILLION''' in USD ). This is the main reason why LGT can support all those expenses, and also excuse all the debts from the players]].
* FlawExploitation: Every successful player does this. Even [[spoiler:Nao]].
* FlunkyBoss: Harimoto uses the UndyingLoyalty of his followers to ensure that he always has a stable of allies who will support him without question. This gives him an ''enormous'' advantage in a game where never knowing if your allies will betray you is the whole point.
* FreudianExcuse: The reason behind the creation of [[spoiler:the Liar Game is to make a Live-Action show out of it, to send the author's message to the world]].
* FreudianTrio:
** Nao: Superego. She's always concerned about reaching the best outcome for everyone.
** Akiyama: Ego. He's reasonable and is always trying to balance Nao's ideals with practical concerns.
** [[DefeatMeansFriendship Fukunaga]]: Id. She's mainly in for herself, but can be moved to compassion.
* {{Fortuneteller}}: Harimoto used to be a street fortune teller, apparently eccelling in cold reading, before he gained enough followers to actually form his own cult.
* GambitPileup:
** The Contraband Game becomes this between Akiyama and Yokoya. It gets complex fast, expecially after it's revealed midway through the match that the optimal outcome of this game is not to ''win'' but to ''lose with more money'', and therefore each team should really be trying to channel their money into an ATM to which they don't have direct access.
** The game for the fourth round, Musical Chairs, has ''three'', possibly '''four''' [[ChessMaster chessmasters]] vying for power. In the end, [[spoiler: one of the chessmasters turns out to be serving as a proxy for Akiyama]].
** Again in the Bid Poker round, this time between Akiyama and [[spoiler:Harimoto's group, led by Kimura]].
** Obiviously happens again in the last round, where [[spoiler:Yokoya appears to be winning handily while Akiyama is actually trying to bring the game to a deadlock]].
* GoodIsNotDumb: Nao starts off extremely naive, honest and easily manipulated. As the game continues, however, she grows out from her naivety and becomes a better player in the games while retaining her good heart.
* GratuitousEnglish: "Liar Game." "Money." "Doubt."
* GracefulLoser:
** At the end of the Bid Poker round, [[spoiler:Harimoto]] becomes this after witnessing how [[spoiler:Nao's kindness managed to win the loyalty of ''all'' the other players involved in the round]]. He is actually glad for his loss, as it allows him to open his eyes to his own wrongdoings.
** Surprisingly, [[spoiler:Yokoya]] at the end as well.
* HeroicSacrifice: During the events of the B block's Bid Poker game, [[spoiler:Fukunaga gave up all her money to save Kaneko -- at that time the only person who refused to join Yokoya]], so that the latter could continue the next round with excess money, while [[spoiler:Fukunaga]] herself was eliminated from the game for her loss.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: The Liar Game has been funded by [[spoiler:the bribe intended to silence the creator of its previous iteration]].
* IdiotBall:
** Used occasionally, whether to simply provide someone clueless to whom the CombatCommentator can explain the situation or for actual plot purposes.
** Most secondary characters grab it at least once, expecially when they try [[BullyingADragon tricking one of the actually competent conmen]].
** At the beginning, Nao grabs it ''very'' often... to the point that [[spoiler:her adversary ''believing'' she has it becomes a big part of Nao's plan during the second Revival Round]].
* IKnowYouKnowIKnow: It's often a part of the [[GambitPileup Gambit Pileups]], since in most of the games players have to work with incomplete information and can't verify what other players say.
* ILied: Gets said countless times in various forms, mostly using the phrase "This is the Liar Game; it's a game where you lie."
* INeverSaidItWasPoison: During the Minority Rule round, [[spoiler:the fact that Fukunaga knew that the stolen money was in the form of a check rather than cash told Akiyama that she was Mr. X]].
* InevitableMutualBetrayal: Nearly all alliances. This is the reason why the protagonist is so important - with her naive and righteous attitude she can serve as TheHeart for her team, because she is the only one in the game anyone can ally with reliably.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Akiyama seems this at the beginning, when he basically forces Nao to beg him for help. After a short while, though, the "jerk" part has been removed... unless you have been a jerk to other players yourself.
* KansasCityShuffle: Without a doubt the most important trope of the series.
** That's how Akiyama manipulates others: he uses their knowledge, or lack of it, to his advantage.
** That's also why everyone feels trapped in the games of the LGT: no one really knows what happens to the people who lose the games, and no one really want to find out.
* KickTheDog: Yokoya opts to squeeze hamsters, when we need to see just how evil he is.
* KnightInSourArmor: Akiyama doesn't share Nao's idealism, but he still goes to greath lengths to do the right thing.
* KnowWhenToFoldEm: At the very end of the Liar Game's final round, [[spoiler:Yokoya suddenly starts helping Nao and Akiyama with their rebellion against the LGT. He realized that it was the only way he had to come out of the situation looking like a hero rather than a loser]].
* LoopholeAbuse: The dealers ''expect'' this to happen during several games. Expecially notable during the Contraband Game, where a team can achieve true victory only through this.
* LostHimInACardGame: Implied: the LGT makes a few vague comments about the money being paid back "one way or another", and though this method is not stated outright, the amounts of money being wagered are far too high to be paid off through ordinary means.
* LoveTriangle: Apparently, there's one building up now between Nao, Akiyama, and [[spoiler: Fukunaga]]. It's pretty obvious that Akiyama only regards [[spoiler: Fukunaga's]] feelings with awkwardness, but it's unclear how he feels about Nao...
* TheMagicPokerEquation: [[JustifiedTrope Justified]]; because of the special seventeen-card decks being used, the ''weakest'' possible hand in the entire game is a pair of Jacks, so it's not surprising that the players routinely pull off amazing hands. [[spoiler: Even more notable once Kikuchi becomes able to manipulate the shuffling to put the Joker into his hand every time, guaranteeing a three-of-a-kind or better. Then by the ninth hand, Akiyama figures out how to guarantee a four-of-a-kind]].
* MalevolentMaskedMen: The higher-ranked LGT Officials wear creepy white masks, and continue to wear them even when they are hidden in a separate room to comment on the game's progress.
** It's later revealed they do so to [[spoiler:protect their identities, as all the higher-ranked officials are the players from the first Liar Game.]]
* ManBehindTheMan:
** During the Musical Chairs round, [[spoiler:Akiyama is revealed to be the true mastermind behind Young Jump's Extra Alliance]].
** "Artlier", the man behind the whole corporation. He's in a cloak and mask.
** In the Bid Poker round, it's revealed that [[spoiler:Kimura is the real {{Chessmaster}} of Harimoto's group. Harimoto is more of a [[ManipulativeBastard charismatic]] figurehead]].
* ManipulativeBastard: Harimoto's way to bring new people in his cult: he finds them when they are utterly broken and on the verge of suicide, and offers them a new (false) hope.
* MeaninglessVillainVictory: During the last game, [[spoiler:Yokoya manages to defeat Akiyama and Nao's teams, preventing them from saving the other players. Then Akiyama's plan deadlocks the game before its end]].
* MrExposition: Leronira is usually the one to explain Akiyama's plans to his fellow masked officials. Some of the others, like Nearco, make useful contributions to the discussion, but Leronira is usually the one who makes the concluding statements about the GambitPileup when the round ends.
* NebulousEvilOrganisation: The Liar Game Corporation, who regularly lends the participants sums upwards of 100 million yen (about US $1.5 million). Mind you, everyone has to pay it back eventually, but still...
** The final chapter reveals [[spoiler: the LGT is actually a BenevolentConspiracy in opposition to the real NebulousEvilOrganization, a powerful government who silenced the author of the Liar Game novels and interrupted the original Liar Game out of fear of the people learning how to trust each other and rebel against them]].
* TheNicknamer: Before the Pandemic Game, the LGT gives all the players a nickname to make it easier to keep track of them.
* OhCrap: Every UnwittingPawn when they realize it. Also most villains when they are defeated.
* TheOmniscientCouncilOfVagueness: Leronira and the other LGT Dealers act like this in their backroom discussions.
* OptOut: The LGT relies on people doing this to make their profits, since people opting out get to keep half of their winnings while losers have to pay back the entirety of their debts.
* OutGambitted:
** Kikuchi in the second revival round. He was very confident that his keen eyesight could help him win the poker game, but Akiyama overcame his disadvantage in vision by a far superior analytical skill.
** At the end of the Contraband Game, [[spoiler:Akiyama has been outgambitted by Yokoya: Akiyama's ''team'' won and Yokoya's ''team'' lost, but Yokoya is the only player who managed to make a profit by pushing the losses on his teammates]]. The only thing that prevents it from being a complete loss is [[spoiler:Nao managing to trick Yokoya into staying in the game because of his pride]].
** Basically every round ends with everyone but the winner being this.
* ThePlan: Every game involves this trope, in some form. Most games involve several plans by several groups of people.
* PingPongNaivete: Nao, after CharacterDevelopment. She gets some moments where she shows she has [[DumbassNoMore become more competent]], but she often makes the same errors she was making in the first chapters.
* {{Prequel}}: The manga short [[Manga/LiarGameRootsOfA Roots of A]] looks at Akiyama during his senior year of college.
* PowerOfTrust: The only thing that can give you a ''real'' advantage during the games. Also, it's the main reason why [[spoiler:the "Unknown Government" has gone to such lengths to prevent the novel (and subsequently, the Liar Game show) from getting out. They want its citizens to remain divided.]]
* RestoredMyFaithInHumanity:
** Part of the DefeatMeansFriendship package, such as Nao's victory over Fujisawa Kazuo in the first round.
** Apparently, Nao also manages to restore [[spoiler:Harimoto]]'s faith in humanity after the Bid Poker round.
** At the very end, [[spoiler:it's revealed that the whole thing is meant to restore humanity's faith in humanity]].
* RetCon: In the first ten episodes of the Drama's first season, the LGT Office is vague and mysterious, just like in the Manga, with no leader in sight. The eleventh episode [[spoiler:plugs a man named Hasegawa into the role at every turn, rewriting the reason why Nao and Akiyama were even thrown into the Liar Game]]. And THEN, the second season reveals that [[spoiler:Hasegawa wasn't even the creator of it; he just invested a lot of money, despite the first season stating specifically that he was, with Leronira coming to him for instructions]].
* TheReveal:
** Every arc ends with a big reveal, after which the manga usually needs an entire chapter for Akiyama to explain how he managed to do the amazing thing he just did.
** At the very end it's revealed that the Liar Game is [[spoiler:a social experiment / EnforcedMethodActing documentary based on a famous in-universe book series under the same name. The original writer was assassinated by his government since his trilogy was meant to instill an uprising, but the two books that were now in the public domain could be used as a model to recreate the events in the story, revealing the core theme that was supposed to inspire the masses into a revolution. Unfortunately, the production was halted 18 years prior to the story since said government started terrorizing / assassinating the people involved. After 18 years in hiding and 5 billion Singapore dollars in "compensation now shut up" from said government, the film director decided to try again, using the bribe as his budget for the entire series. Nao and Akiyama ended up solving the mystery of the book series by creating their own uprising: it's not about human will, it's about human ''trust'']].
* RevengeBeforeReason: Mizuki Kaneko goes this route instead of quitting the game, to avenge Fukunaga. [[spoiler: Or at least she pretends to, as part of a scheme to help Akiyama and Nao]].
* RussianRoulette: The second Revival Round has a ([[CaptainObvious harmless]]) variant of this.
* SeriesContinuityError: Near the end of the Minority Rule game, Akiyama's nameplate, which he [[spoiler:had given to player 15]], reappears on Akiyama for one panel before he gets it back.
* SchoolyardBullyAllGrownUp: Yokoya for Kikuzawa (and, indeed, Kikuzawa's ''entire'' school).
* ScrewTheMoneyIHaveRules: Nao and Akiyama run on this, constantly giving back their large winnings, and even incurring massive debts of their own to save the opponents they just defeated.
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney: Yokoya's modus operandi, since he was very rich ''before'' starting the game. It's also the last trick up his sleeve in the Pandemic game, where [[spoiler:it backfires spectacularly]].
* SequelHook: At the end of the series the Liar Game ends [[spoiler:after being revealed to be a FalseCrucible, the events are put up on the internet to be viewed by all, only to be removed within hours]]. At this, Akiyama states that the darkness of the world runs far deeper than they can imagine.
* ShipTease:
** "Basically, I'm just another one of Kanzaki Nao's belongings" is the loophole Akiyama uses to enter the first Revival Round to rescue Nao and let her cry into his shirt when all hope seems lost.
** Not to mention this little scene where Akiyama takes Nao's hand to demonstrate something. "Will you do the honours?" She does mention that she felt shy when he took her hand.
** There is the panel where Nao looks concerned and wonders whether Akiyama went to sleep from exhaustion during the fourth round's night break.
** The fact that especially in the beginning, Akiyama would always come to Nao's rescue and help her out with little to no personal profit.
* ShoutOut:
** In the first Revival Round, one player talks about the Lycaons, a fictional baseball team from ''One Outs'', another manga by Kaitani.
** The protester in chapter 201 looks a lot like "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tank_Man Tank Man]]".
* ShownTheirWork: It's obvious the author looks very deeply at each game.
* SmugSnake: Yokoya likes to think of himself as TheChessmaster or a MagnificentBastard, but his gross overconfidence and condescending attitude towards his enemies quite often keep him from succeding. This can be seen in the Pandemic Game as well as [[spoiler: the Liar Game finale]].
* TheSmurfettePrinciple: Nao is the only developed female characters on the "good" side, considering Fukunaga is a [=MtF=] transsexual but is still treated as male by most of the characters. [[LampshadedTrope Lampshaded]] during the fourth round, where the LGT assigns her the nickname "the only girl".
* TheSocialDarwinist: Yokoya`s father is a SelfMadeMan who built his fortune from scratch and believes that people are divided into those who rule and those who are being ruled - a philosophy he has instilled into Yokoya as well.
* SortingAlgorithmOfEvil:
** The first round's major opponent is Nao's middle school teacher, who's not particularly clever. The second round has [[WakeUpCallBoss Fukunaga]], while the third round has [[BigBad Yokoya]]. In the fourth round, the opponent is the BigBadDuumvirate of Yokoya and Harimoto. The fifth and last round has Yokoya as an enemy again, after he [[spoiler:managed to learn in advance what the game would have been, becoming even more dangerous]].
** [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] in Revival Rounds, that are more or less in-universe [[BreatherEpisode Breather Episodes]]. In these rounds the opponents are still ''very'' dangerous, but usually less dangerous than in the previous round.
* SpannerInTheWorks:
** Akiyama sees Nao as this in regards to the Liar Game's objective to make money.
** The "Extra Alliance" in the Musical Chairs game throws a major wrench into the until-then three-way battle with Harimoto, Yokoyo, and Akiyama.
* TheThirtySixStratagems: Akiyama uses #21 (making his opponent think he has already lost) quite a bit. His opponents then get careless and don't realize what he's really planning.
* [[DumbassNoMore Took A Level In Planning]]:
** Nao. Fukunaga comments on this in the fourth round break.
---> "Is this really the same Kanzaki Nao who easily got duped by me just a while ago?"
** And then Yokoya, of all people. He goes from scarily competent to [[spoiler: accurately predicting the game of the third revival round, right down to the exact name and workings]].
* TooGoodForThisSinfulEarth: Akiyama's mother was a very kind and honest person, just like Nao. Despite not having lots of money, she worked day and night to pay for her son's education until she fell ill and an old friend of hers deceptively pulled her into an MLM. Despite honestly working hard, she finally realized that she was never paid and her debt remained the same. When she tried to get out of it, the company required a huge sum of money to do so which she would never have been able to pay off. So she took her life in order to save Akiyama's education.
* UnspokenPlanGuarantee: During the games, a lot of plans are explained in advance and most of them work, to a greater or lesser degree. However, the final move that clinches the win of each game always stays hidden until the very last moment.
* UnwittingPawn: Pretty much anyone who isn't Akiyama, Fukunaga, Yokoya or Harimoto is one of these. Nao begins to grow out of this after the third round, and TheTeam promptly gains some new allies to take her place. Even [[TheChessmaster the Chessmasters]] can become this for each other.
* ViewersAreGeniuses: A plausible alternate title for the series would be ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_theory Game Theory: The Manga]]''... Although many concepts are well explained, it seriously helps to have a good understanding of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoner%27s_dilemma the Prisoner's Dilemma]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_psychology social psychology]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_reading cold reading]], and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperfect_competition imperfect competition]] in [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microeconomics microeconomics]]. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nash_equilibrium Nash equilibria]] come up later.
* VillainousBreakdown:
** Yokoya loses his cool when it's revealed [[spoiler:his victory was actually a PyrrhicVictory]].
** At the end of the Bid Poker round, [[spoiler:Kimura]] has one.
* WallsOfText: It's a dialogue-driven story which touches on areas of game theory, individual psychology, ''sales practices'', economic theory and sociology.
* WellDoneSonGuy: This is revealed to be the true motive behind [[spoiler:Yokoya's actions]].
* WhamLine: When TheChessmaster reveals how everything that has happened was just according to his plan, expect several of those. [[UnwittingPawn Unwitting Pawns]] will reply by [[{{Gonk}} gaping their mouth at an inhuman degree]] and screaming a BigWhat at the top of their lungs. An example from the Bid Poker game:
-->'''Akiyama:''' "The true leader of [[spoiler:Harimoto's group is not Harimoto, but Kimura]]".
-->'''Kawai:''' "'''''[[BigWhat EEEEEEEEEEH?!!]]'''''"
* WideEyedIdealist: Nao's idealism actually manages to win over the cynicism of most of the other players. Which is not actually unlikely; as con artists say "you can never con an honest person", since all forms of con require the mark to be willing to be greedy or dishonest.
* TheWorfEffect:
** How are we made immediately aware of the potential danger Harimoto poses? He utterly wiped the floor with Fukunaga.
** Fukunaga gets worfed again in the last Revival Round [[spoiler:to show Yokoya has become an even worse threat than he was before]].
* XanatosSpeedChess: When there is more than one [[TheChessmaster Chessmaster]] in a game, it's either this or GambitPileup. Perhaps best demonstrated by the endgame of Musical Chairs after it becomes a three-way-battle with everchanging alliances.
* YouCanAlwaysTellALiar - [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]]: During the second Revival Round, [[spoiler:Fukunaga apparently betrays her team by telling Nao's opponent that Nao blinks twice whenever she lies. It's revealed to be a ruse planned by Nao herself to trick her opponent into overconfidence]].
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