The perspective I’m reviewing this from is someone that has read the manga, found that the musical chairs arc was their favourite, and jumped ahead past halfway through season 2 just to watch this. This meant that I knew a lot of the twists and turns already.
At the start of musical chairs everyone is given 23 medals (though 20 in the film) and the objective is to have the most winning medals, not to necessarily win. You have to be sitting on a chair at the end of each round, but you cannot sit on the same chair twice in a row, and every round a leader is elected to vote on whoever should win, it’s by popular vote and the people who lose in the game are still allowed to vote.
Due to this four teams are born. One for the protagonists, one for the antagonists up until now, another is a team of cult members (as well as the leader) who joined for the first time in that round, and the last is the people who have lost and don’t have chairs – who still try to win as many medals as possible by selling their vote for medals.
This creates an incredibly complex and tense atmosphere where nobody can be trusted and alliances need to be formed, and schemes need to be plotted.
So my first question towards this movie is: “why?”, why would you take something so great and so interesting, only to destroy it!
Why did you have to make some of the dumbest decisions I’ve ever seen an adaptation make?
How about instead of creating a goofy, shouty wizard man for the cult leader, you keep it to the creepy old dude who was cunning enough to keep members in a cult that was obviously not true!
How about instead of making everyone goofilly celebrate, and jump up and down every time something happens you make it look actually real! The people who are at this stage in the liar game now, while they may have survived despite not being the smartest, are not stupid enough to think everything’s set in stone within five minutes. They are scarred, terrified in fact, using every single thing at their disposal to win. There is no celebration, only fear, desperation, and uncertainty.
That’s why the manga is so fun to read. Every moment makes you feel sick with how bad a team could get screwed over, a decision could backfire or how bleak it looks for our main characters.
Why does this film, and all parts of liar game, strive to make it as goofy as possible? The leader of the drop outs was never that smart, but he would never pose like an idiot, scream his dumb plan out loud like an idiot or scream and laugh in such a stupid way.
The directing choice for that was abysmal, because it makes it feel like nothing matters.
Then theirs a matter of the actors, who look like the most unlikely people to appear, and not just that, like the easiest opponents ever to fight against. It’s just so awful because of these decisions. It actually feels like they’re not trying!
Theirs no comedy here, it’s not supposed to be funny, and it never is. So what’s the point? And to that I can’t really answer. Did they actually think switching the leader of one of the alliances to a magician freak was a good idea? Did they really think that ignoring the whole cult members and distrust idea was so bad that they completely dropped it? I don’t understand! So much of this arc would have made for some solid gold but they refused to take the greatness that was in front of them!
They even changed Yokoya to a character I’m not even sure is Yokoya anymore! Yokoya was not a creepy white haired guy with fake looking tattoos. He had black hair to start, the face of a rats anus, and a persona just as creepy.
It’s unfair to complain that they changed things, because it’s to be expected. However why would you change this to make it so much worse!
Then theirs also Akiyama, who is in perfect control all the time. Yet that’s not fun to watch. You never once doubt throughout the entire film that Akiyama made a mistake, or that he could lose.
However it was still very possible to lose and continue the liar game because there was only one winner. So they could have still lost.
For the majority of the game you’re like “what is Akiyama thinking?” he’s just doing nothing. The entire time it feels like fighting a losing battle, like theirs 2 groups still in it and Akiyama is just trying to win as best he can. It might make me sound stupid, but I didn’t think it was even possible for Akiyama to win. My brain was going into overdrive thinking and still…. I thought that they’d win through something I call “bullshit” which is where stupid impossible stuff happens to give them the win where there was no possible way of that happening. But no, it had a great ending.
The movie ends by having everyone pulling together and not losing money. But it just doesn’t feel earned, it’s forced.
Let’s talk about another thing, why wasn’t Nao here? You know, the main character, and the only reason why Akiyama can stand against all the other people in the game, and the person who he couldn’t win without. Yeah that girl. The girl whom without being there, makes the whole purpose of the entire story pointless. Yeah I think they messed up on that one.
There are two reasons why this could have happened, the first being that the actor who played Nao didn’t want to (or couldn’t) come back, and in that case, fair enough. The other is that they wanted that betrayal plotline halfway through, which, let’s face it, was awful. You don’t need me to explain why if you’ve seen it, and you don’t want me to explain why if you haven’t seen it.
More importantly Liar game can’t exist without Nao, Akiyama’s plans fail without Nao, and the Liar game makes a profit without Nao. So overall, WHY?!
The film suffers without Nao and Akiyama’s friendship and trust. It doesn’t actually feel like we have a specific team to root for. The only reason why we do care about them is that they’re not dressed as the bad guys, still in the game, and are treated like main characters.
But in reality theirs no real thing keeping this team together at all, in fact by the end the team mates don’t even seem to like each other. It’s hard to root for anyone.
I’m sure this film would have been a lot more interesting to me if I didn’t know all the strategies and what was going to happen, but am I the only one who thought, why does everything happen in such a simple way?
Every twist your expecting, every announced plan you can spot whether or not it’s going to work or succeed from a mile off and there are no surprises anywhere. I thought that there would at least be a few things that shocked but no, not really.
The closest thing that came too it was with that girl who was dressed in a magicians robe, bet you can’t guess what this was!? Yeah she was working for the magician, which is what I thought at first, but the confusing thing was what happened after this revealed.
My first instinct was, “this is just Akiyama’s plan to turn people against Harimoto, and the main character who had betrayed him” however what surprised me was that Harimoto agreed and said that she did betray all of them. And then it seemed like nothing changed at all.
This was confusing for so many reasons because it doesn’t make sense for a human to behave like this in this scenario! And this includes the confession!
Why do all the characters thing that it’s a good idea to boldly shout their plans, laugh in the oppositions face, and reveal everything that they’re going to do and have done?
In the manga there was a small element of this, but you could never trust it. And nearly all of the explaining was done by the characters who had figured it out. Nobody was ever that stupid.
Does anyone else not believe that Akiyama is the genius that the film makes him out to be? He explains his line of thinking and strategy in a way that I’d expect someone copying to do, not an actual genius. Their’s every belief that the directors came up with this.
And maybe it’s not actually the films fault. The actual musical chairs game itself is on the shorter side of liar game arcs (except the introduction ones) yet in my opinion it takes by far the longest to read. Not necessarily because it has the most words but because it’s easily the game that requires the most thinking. You are constantly drifting between thinking about each person since their are four teams, and within them some are less loyal than others. Because you’ve spent so much time with it and thought about it so much everything is believable because you can easily imagine the same characters putting just as much thought into it as you do.
In the film it’s not really like that because you can’t control the pacing. That means you get very little time to think about it.
For example the Harimoto Yokoya alliance was very tense and felt like an eternity. Yokoya gave Harimoto 3 choices of chairs to call out, and he did, however in this way he tried to learn what chairs he had. This lasted a very long time, and so many rounds were skipped without Nao getting any votes. You had a long time to think over what was going on each time a chair was called out and each time a round was lost.
However in the film this amounts to ten minutes at maximum and much less chairs being voted on. The film dramatically reduces the number of chairs in play and suffers in this area as a consequence.
The idea of this game was that there would always be enough chairs for everyone to have one and it would always be a battle of alliances. The alliances in this show being, very poorly thought out to say the least.
The only thing that the film didn’t completely screw up on (nearly) was the fact that Fukunaga wasn’t in it very much. He has got to be the poorest casting decision I’ve ever seen.
Not to mention that the film has the worst opening I’ve ever seen. It’s fukunaga just calling you a moron and laughing like an idiot in your face.
At that point you may as well go home. It was only my love for the manga that made me continue watching. Read the manga. You don’t even have to read all of it if you can’t be bothered just chapters 103-138 will give you all of this arc. and it will be better even without context for knowing who anyone is (though of course I’d recommend all of it)
Maybe it’s just that tactical manga should stay in manga. After all, look at the Kaiji adaptation, and any other adaptation that’s similar. It just looks stupid when they bring it into real life. It’s almost like all of them completely miss the point and I don’t understand why.
Why would these adaptations make it so much harder for themselves? I’m genuinely at a loss right now for why they decide to not just completely undermine, but butcher every possible moment of tension, and strategic moment of brilliance that they have at their disposal.
I didn’t want to be mad at the film, and for a lot of it I wasn’t (just bored) but man, if you’re going to change it, change it to something that it makes sense to change it too!
Why would you do this to liar game? Why would you do this to anything? Please tell me, I actually want an answer… and sort of think one probably exists too.
Oh yeah I forgot, the person in charge of this game, was a little 5 year old girl! WHY? WHY YOU DO THIS? Are you trying?