First Installment Wins: While there are some fans that do like The Second Series, many fans did prefer the tone and pace of Part 1 and Shun and Amaya as the protagonist duo over Akashi and Ushimitsu.
Even Better Sequel: On the other hand, there are just as many who believe The Second Series to be stronger in that it helps to further develop both Shun and Amaya just as much as it does the new protagonists and due to its wider variety of games and competitions, among other reasons.
Growing the Beard: The Second Series starts off similarly to the first part, with Akashi and Ushimitsu being obvious counterparts for Shun and Amaya. However, once the story hits traditional battle-manga status in the Tomfoolery arc and subsequently returns to more traditional mind games in the Sky Hopscotch arc, it reaches similar heights to its predecessor in terms of scale, characterization, and storytelling quality.
2014 Live-Action film
Complete Monster: Amaya Takeru is more openly sadistic than his already-unstable manga counterpart. A psychopathic juvenile delinquent, Amaya saw the games as a world where the "strong prey on the weak", gleefully taking the chance to satisfy his bloodlust. Introduced asking God if life has any real purpose, and then beating a group of boys before the games even start, Amaya makes his presence known by slaughtering the survivors of the second game with a katana. In later games, Amaya breaks the neck of a student that was running away from him and causes the death of two more students by letting them play a game that he already knew the answer from the start. When Shun confesses that he is nothing like him, Amaya casually tells him that he never intended to help him, and tries to win the game himself, believing that it would kill all the other students.
Pragmatic Adaptation: The story covers the first few games in the manga faithfully, with the only minor change being how Shun exactly wins the Kagome, Kagome game. However, it does take out the entirety of the remaining games in the Cube and replaces them with the Polar Bear "Truth or Lie" game and the Matryoshka "Kick the Can" game. It does, however, incorporate the game of luck from the original manga, though with Shouko culled earlier than her manga counterpart, some of her lines (and her original death) were given to Ichika instead. Kamimaro also appears at the end for a Sequel Hook that has yet to be followed up on.