Liar Game: Round 2

Before going into particulars of Minority Rule in the Japanese drama versus the Korean drama, it is really important to highlight a big difference in our leading male character. Akiyama is quiet, cold, and calm. He has this great knowing smirk when he has things all figured out, etc. Sure, Woo Jin has certain characteristics, but I don’t think we get that knowing smirk from him. The biggest differences in the two characters is their treatment of their leading ladies. Akiyama takes care of Nao essentially without complaint. He doesn’t threaten or belittle her to get her out of the game and to stop trusting people for good. Of course he does change a bit when the game causes lots of stressors in both of them, but essentially, he really is only ever nice to Nao. Woo Jin, in a way, bullies Da Jung a bit. He makes her promise to leave the round and does get very upset when she gives up her out to save her opponent. He’s very cruel to her at that time. While you do understand he’s upset that she didn’t save herself with the money, isn’t he partially to blame since he was supposed to use his half to save her, but instead he gives it Do Young to buy a way into the game?

Ah, just like there is a difference between the fathers of Nao and Da Jung, there is a difference in the mothers between Akiyama and Woo Jin. Akiyama’s mother was a simple woman who ended up with cancer which spiraled them into debt to pay the hospital fees. Add on top of that the fact that the sick woman is conned by a friend to join a fake company and loses even more money until the debt and the burden was too much for her to bear. With Woo Jin’s mother, she was a good woman highly thought of in society. She was even the head of a fund that gave money to many worthy causes. I think her problem was cosigning on loans where people defaulted and left her holding the bag. No terminal illness for her.

A major difference in going between rounds in the Japanese drama versus the Korean drama is that Nao had no idea that there would be more rounds to come. She thought the horrible game was over. She then finds out the night the first game finishes that there is a second game and only then does she find out that by giving away her entire prize, she has lost her chance to forfeit. Akiyama is all for her ignoring the second round as he doesn’t think the LGS will really come after her right away to collect the debt. In the Korean drama, the withdrawal fees and number of rounds are neatly outlined. One thing that remains the same is manipulation. Nao is unwittingly manipulated into going to the second round while we all know that Do Young is behind the thugs going to the teacher’s house to incite Da Jung to give up her money which was her way out.

Round 2: Minority Rule

The rules remain simple with this game. We all know Majority Rule where the most votes come out on top. This game is where being in the minority makes you the winner. A randomly chosen player chooses a yes or no question and our players are then given a time limit to converse with others and work out strategies. If they don’t vote within that time limit, they are eliminated. The rounds of the game keep going until there are only 1 or 2 players left. The winners get the prize and automatic placement in the next round while the losers get debt and ejected from the game.

Japanese Drama:

Nao is really conflicted. Just when she thought she was done, she discovers a second round. Akiyama doesn’t think Nao needs to worry about taking out a loan to pay off the debt and should just ignore the summons to participate. Of course she talks to her police friend and he encourages her to go to the game with him so that he can pressure the LGS to stop bothering her. Nao is thankful and agrees to this. The cop takes her and as Nao is telling the head woman, Eri, that she won’t be participating and even brought a cop with her, the cop hightails it. Turns out he’s been working for LGS all of this time! Thus Nao now has no choice but to compete since she’s trapped there with no way out and no money to withdraw from the game.

The players for the second round are all given a name tag with a pink diamond embedded in it. This diamond is worth 100 million or something like that. They must have that nametag to turn in at the end to claim their prize. There are supposed to be 22 players, but one is missing. Enter Akiyama. Nao doesn’t get this and wonders how come he is there. He also wonders why Nao ignored his advice and came. Nao hangs her head and he gets it. She was tricked…yet again. Akiyama then explains he came to make sure she didn’t show up, but found a woman outside crying who was robbed of her money by a female player who advanced to the second round. Eri steps in and asks if Akiyama will become a substitute player as that does not go against the rules and thus Akiyama is conveniently allowed to continue the game as an official player now. Yeah, it’s way suspicious, isn’t it?

A test game is conducted after the rules are explained. The question is are you a woman. Nao counts the women in the room and smiles. This is simple. There are less women so she will definitely be in the minority. Wong. Of course men said they were women to avoid being in the majority and thus women became the majority and men the minority. This practice game has everyone antsy and worried. Nao tries to sleep, but can’t and goes downstairs. Akiyama is calm while the rest of the group is jittery and can’t sleep as well. Akiyama says he is observing people and tells Nao to go around and talk to everyone. She does and learn that everyone is in desperate need of money and only managed to snag a little of their opponents cash in the first round, thus why they weren’t able to withdraw and some wasted all of their prize money before they learned they needed it to get out of the game.

Akiyama thinks of a brilliant plan where all they need to find is six teammates. With a team of 8 agreeing to split the prize money, they can control the game and ensure their win. But what about Player X? The mysterious woman who stole the woman’s money earlier? Before Akiyama can say anything, Nao goes to round up a team of all males. It doesn’t take Nao long to assemble their team. The strategy is formed and  everyone is told of the mysterious woman X who is a threat to them all. A contract is signed by all members and they all go to be relieved.

The next day a man poses a question of between the mountains and sea, the sea is better. Six hours are given for people to reply. According to team member Yuu, they should all steer clear of each other and talk with others so that their unity as a team is not exposed. The vote goes as expected with their team getting halved. But that game immediately has Akiyama suspicious. The vote was 10 to 12. That means a very big possibility of other teams having been formed. Plus, none of the losers were wailing or crying and walked out of the room perfectly calm. Akiyama stresses that if the next vote is split 4 to 6 the worst has happened and they have lost control of the game. The next question posed is between S & M…definitely S. The clock starts counting down 6 hours.

Here we get some lovely comedy since Nao doesn’t now what S & M refers to. Akiyama won’t explain it in detail and makes up different definitions for Nao. She boldly says that she’s definitely M, but since she is supposed to vote yes this round, then she will be S. Akiyama cannot believe how she talked like that and tries to scold her for that, but she ignores him. Poor guy. LOL. Anywho, he is an Aha! moment and tells her to vote true to herself. This means she votes No and he votes Yes instead of the opposite. This causes Yuu to wonder why he changed his vote, but Akiyama wonders why it matters. Why indeed?

The vote happens again and the results were split 4 to 6. Not good. Of course, the lady in white with sunglasses is still in the game and that is who they had pegged for X. Since Nao voted No, she is forced to turn in her nametag and go home. Akiyama assures her everything will be okay, but she’s very worried. She calls him in the middle of the night and he tells her that he’s got work to do and hangs up. Nao rushes to the game the next morning and finds two people ejected from the last round. They are permitted to watch the finale together.

Yuu is chosen to pick a question which is The final winner will be yourself. Six hours on the clock. Everyone is calm and self assured. Akiyama tells Yuu what he will vote and time passes. As the votes are about to be revealed, Nao thinking they had won, rushes to the game with the other two players. They are allowed to watch from inside the room now and boy do they get a surprise. Akiyama folds his slip as small as he can get it saying that means his will be picked last since Eri picks the less folded ones first. This makes teammate Yuu wonder what is going on, but again, Akiyama doesn’t explain. The votes are then read. The two non-team members both voted No, I believe and Yuu explodes and reveals his nefarious scheme as he is confident Akiyama voted No as well. He explains he is player X. He’s a cross dresser and scammed the money from the player earlier. He then switched from female mode to male mode to avoid detection by the player when she is forced to enter the game herself. His gloating is cut short as the final vote is read and it is Yes. Say what? A tie?

Akiyama is sitting and smirking. He then explains he has always been suspicious of Yuu whose real name is Fukunaga Yuuji. If the lady in white were really X, she should have uncovered her face instead of keeping it covered as that is just too suspicious as she had no idea the player Akiyama substituted for would not actually be playing. What really made Fukunaga suspicious is when he was fingering the lady in white as X, he commented saying she stole the “check”, but Akiyama never said that the money stolen was in the form of a check. Of course, Akiyama had no idea how many teams were formed, but he gathered at least one more. When he saw the other players with Nao today he knew there was a third and thus switched his vote to draw a tie and keep X from really winning. Thus another round is forced.

It’s Akiyama’s turn and his questions is about money. He asks if it’s the most important thing and then immediately votes No. This seems like a bad strategy to those who gathered who are not playing since everyone knows his vote. But it’s a brilliant strategy as the three other players are torn in what to do. If they all vote yes, Akiyama wins. Someone will have to sacrifice themselves to ensure Akiyama loses. Eto and the other player talk of forming a team, but the most they can ensure are draws and nothing more. Fukunaga then proposes they all work together, but when they can’t agree on how to split the money up, Fukunaga says to force a draw instead. Fearful that he will betray them again, lady in white takes their voting cards and votes for everyone. The final votes are tallied and it turns out Akiyama is the winner since lady in white voted Yes for everyone else including herself. Akiyama then reveals he’s been working with lady in white since that morning. Thus Fukunaga’s grand scheme is a grand failure and he has to give up the game money he illegally obtained from the player earlier. So he’s swimming in debt now. Since his real name isn’t on the contract, he doesn’t get a cut of the money.

Akiyama splits the winnings between his team members and gives his own winnings to lady in white for her help. This means he has no way to buy himself out of the game while his team members all can and still have a nice sum left over. This makes Nao very unhappy. She’s also very unhappy to know that so many lives were again destroyed in this game as there was a way to save everyone, but greed got in the way. She goes home and the cop who fooled her sits and reveals Akiyama’s past to her and tells her to help save the man who worked hard to save her by entering the resurrection round which is only for players who LOST in the game and of course if they lost they now have an even bigger debt. Resurrection Game is coming next! I LOVED Akiyama’s reappearance in this game and really wonder how they will handle Woo Jin’s in the kdrama version.

In all of this we really don’t get much interaction between players at all beyond the initial team formations and we really just focus on the game. We also don’t get to see Akiyama making his big moves with the lady in white whose name I’m conveniently forgetting. There really is too much overacting and between Fukunaga/Yuu and Nao there are so many significant glances, it’s hard to believe no one else realizes they are part of one team at all. I love the actor playing Fukunaga. Sure, he does the over the top acting well, but Fukunaga is more nuanced then some of the other characters and he really knows how to act naturally before breaking out in his hyperbolic streaks.

Korean Drama:

Woo Jin gives Da Jung a tongue lashing for what she did and she feels bad enough so way to make her feel worse, but she just couldn’t let her former teacher become a body part donor to repay his debt. Woo Jin essentially says he’s washed his hands of her, but we all know that he won’t be able to leave her alone, don’t we? Ah, and of course Da Goo also yells at Da Jung because Woo Jin was going to pay off her debt for her once she paid her way out of the game.

We get to see Da Jung becoming a celebrity and people tuning in and empathizing with her, etc. We also, like I’ve said before, get to see more of her life outside the game which we never really got to see with Nao and Akiyama. Like we get to see one of her many part time jobs and we get to see high schoolers asking for autographs.

Did Woo Jin or didn’t Woo Jin? That is the question. What choice do you think he made? As much as he wishes to save the young woman that reminds him of his mother…he’s also desperate to really learn the truth behind everything now that Do Young has hinted that the company and CEO he destroyed were only the tip of the iceberg. Ah, and as a side note, I did learn that the CEO of the umbrella cooperation in the Japanese version also died, but it looks like Akiyama was never arrested for murder, just swindling.

At the start of round two 22 players are introduced but only 21 are there. Woo Jin then steps out as the big reveal that he’s joined the game as an official player. Do Young explains to PD-nim that while Da Jung was the draw to get people watching, it will be Woo Jin who keeps their attention. We are seeing more and more behind the scenes stuff with the games that we never saw before and of course this is all tied to TV stations and ratings to boot. We do see that Director Jang wants a person under his thumb to go through to the second round and in order to do so, he uses it to broker a deal. If Do Young wanted to keep the ex-con Woo Jin in the game, then his player has to keep going. Do Young doesn’t seem to appreciate Jang’s interference, but we all know he’s quite the underhanded snake himself.

Da Jung is happy and surprised to see Woo Jin there. Of course, since they are both players now he declares war and calls her is enemy. This definitely hurts Da Jung. When they get to the location, they give up their own cell phones, etc., and get the new game phones, the rules are introduced and a practice game is played. Again women are in the majority when they should have been in the minority. Da Jung and others are very stressed—how can they possibly win in this game which seems to have no sure way to win? We also see Da Jung interacting and getting close to fellow player Oh Jung Ah who says if it was simply a majority vote, wooing people would be easy—but it’s a minority vote.

Woo Jin then approaches Da Jung and tells her of a sure fire way to win the game so they need to find 6 members. In this case, they are all aware of Betrayer X as that rumor was circulating around on the bus ride to the venue. In this drama Betrayer X is known as a man. Everyone is suspicious of a young man dressed all in black whom always wears sunglasses. Da Jung goes around and talks to people. She does insult the quick to get violent player Bulldog by not talking to him. While she does this Woo Jin carefully watches people and indicates whom she should choose. I think Jung Ah is a shoe in for her to choose simply because she did earnestly help Da Jung when Bulldog was bullying her.

They eight members all meet up in the security room. They like the idea of Woo Jin’s method, but are afraid of betrayal. Luckily for them they have a lawyer amongst them and he is quick to write out a valid and binding contract which each member gets a copy of and signs. While the lawyer is making the copies, Bulldog starts stalking him on his return. Woo Jin manages to call him and let him know and Lawyer makes a beeline somewhere else pretending he’s in the wrong place for forgetting to bring the right identification. Bulldog is still suspicious, though and tries to get in. The former actor then appears and says he’s using that room himself. Bulldog bursts in and there is Jung Ah buttoning up her clothes. The others are all hidden and come out once he’s gone.

Again, more team interaction than we’ve seen in the Japanese drama. Anywho, the game officially begins and very interesting questions are posed from the get go that have Director Jang throwing fits. Is the first question about having killed someone? I think it may be. Our team sticks to their strategy and splits their votes. The final result is 10 to 12. Again, alarm bells are ringing. That vote is possible, but unlikely unless more teams were formed. That means that Betrayer X might not be the young man in black after all, but someone on their team! Ah, equally suspicious is how calm all the losing players are, just like in the Japanese drama. Unlike the Japanese drama, the losers all remain onsite for the duration of the game and can watch from the back of the room.

Our next questions sees the young man asking if he is indeed Betrayer X. Woo Jin then gets the other team members to stalk the ones who are still in the game to see if they make any contact with other players that would be deemed suspicious. Nada. One thing that you might find suspicious is the fact that just before voting, Jung Ah is constantly drinking coffee. Just before the vote, Woo Jin switches his vote with Da Jung’s. She is eliminated and Woo Jin survives. The vote ended at 4 to 6. More proof that their strategy to win has been disrupted. Poor Sung Joon (guy in black) gets attacked by Bulldog who gets a warning. I think this may be because Bulldog lost in that round. Anyways, the boy’s glasses are knocked off and we see that under that tough guy appearance, he is very young and rather innocent looking.

Jung Ah is the next to pose a question. She asks if she will be the final winner or not. Everyone is adjourned until the next voting session opens. Back in the security room, the team is having a hard time deciding who votes what. Jung Ah actually pipes in and says she doesn’t care one way or the other. Woo Jin finally decides what everyone’s vote will be and we proceed to the next game. Ah…Woo Jin does talk about knowing that Sung Joon isn’t really X and he wants Da Jung to talk to him. We don’t see this before the vote, though. Oh, and Woo Jin did talk to Sung Joon before the second round vote where he questioned him about having a team and while Woo Jin might not have gotten a full reading since the boy had his glasses on still, he got a fairly good picture.

The third round vote commences and Do Young is there since it could be the final round in the game. He reads off two no votes and gets to Jung Ah’s yes. As long as there is no other yes votes, she’s won. Do Young has her comment and she sends a tearful message to her mother and says she will be the devoted daughter and do good things. Woo Jin smirks and says they won and Jung Ah’s tears turn to laughter. She pulls off her wig and reveals her real name is Jamie thus the contract is invalid since it isn’t using her real name and she doesn’t have to share any money with anyone like she originally promised. After her theatrical, but still toned down from Fukunaga’s reveal, coming out so to speak, Do Young asks to continue reading the votes. He had told PD-nim earlier that if Woo Jin couldn’t see through Jang’s player he’s not what he hoped for. Plus, doesn’t this conflict make things WAY more interesting?

Anywho, Do Young reads the final vote and it’s surprisingly Yes! And after Jamie’s horrible comments to Da Jung, the younger woman reveals that she already knew Jaime was really X. Woo Jin does explain a bit about his suspicions and why he did not vote as planned. He then is chosen to pose a new question. His is quite simple…Is money everything? He  quickly answers no in front of everybody. Members of his team are horrified, but Lawyer-nim realizes how clever a move it is. Knowing that one vote will have the trio of remaining players agonizing over whether or not they will be in the minority or majority for the overall win. If they don’t play their cards right, Woo Jin takes everything?

Jung Ah approaches Sung Joon and the other remaining player. Sung Joon will work with Jung Ah only if she gets a tiny cut of the prize money which ticks her off royally. After hurried negotiations, Sung Joon and the other player express their distrust and Sung Joon is given the cards to vote. The vote is made and boy does Jung Ah/Jamie get the shock of her life when it turns out Sung Joon voted yes for all three of them. We then get to see the scene where the innocent Da Jung bandages his wounds, putting the young man at ease and up walks Woo Jin to explain he knows Sung Joon isn’t the betrayer. Thus Sung Joon is brought to their side to stop Jamie from winning and taking everything. Jamie had said herself the contract wasn’t valid since she did not use her real name. She is pulled screaming from the room as the money is brought in for the rest of the team.

This means Jamie is officially out of the game. The only way the ousted players make it to the resurrection round is if they have money. Seriously. Definitely a spin from the Japanese drama. Woo Jin hands over his prize money to Sung Joon as promised, stopping Da Jung from giving up her own money. Meanwhile, Bulldog gets a little physical with Jamie who tells him she will save him. How? Director Jang of course! He can’t stand having Jamie ousted so he tells Do Young to say the contract is valid even though legally it is not binding since her real name isn’t used. Do Young doesn’t seem entirely thrilled by this, but he says the game will honor the contract since nicknames were allowed in this round. Thus Jamie’s still in the Liar Game and boy are people not happy. She does save Bulldog by throwing him a wad of cash from her briefcase.

Our winners leave and the losers are outside crying and begging. Da Jung is very much affected and Woo Jin keeps her moving saying her pitying and helping them will only harm them by keeping them in the game.

And that’s the end of round 2. In the Japanese drama anyone could participate in the resurrection game if they wanted (that lost and didn’t buy their way out that is). In this version, only the 9 with money can participate. Woo Jin gets an automatic pass to the third round and you know he’s taking it and will not withdraw.

Ah, Woo Jin involves reporter Goo Ja Young to aid him in investigating more and more things behind the show as he is very suspicious. And Dal Goo gets beaten and steals Da Jung’s winnings. Woo Jin catches him, the two fight since Dal Goo is very upset that Woo Jin did NOT save Da Jung like promised and even joined the game himself. Dal Goo then angrily reveals that it’s all thanks to Da Jung’s dad investing in L Company that Da Jung has been forced to such extremes. Turns out that is the company that Woo Jin brought down thus he’s responsible for Da Jung’s father’s debt. Ja Young tells him that it’s Da Jung’s father’s fault for buying stocks with borrowed money. True. Two wrongs don’t make a right and Woo Jin is feeling very guilty now. Da Jung even admits she would hate the person who ruined her father and would want revenge. A natural reaction, but kind of unnatural coming from her mouth for some reason.

Can’t wait to finish the resurrection round episodes tonight!

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