Read some of Liar Game last night. This enthralled me when I was at a japanese bookshop some weeks back. Seemed like Ai Yazawa doing Death Note. As I got through the first volume, I realized there were some limits to “conceptual manga”. By this I mean the kind of manga that is driven by an inventive, but cryptical, formula. Like “there are these giants behind the wall, they’re coming back”. If the formula is too compactly designed, it will break; conversely, if there are too many oxygen bubbles inside, the surface will never be slick. So here the very concept of a hyper-gullible protagonist is lacking. She finds a partner that is very much like L from Death Note (design and personality). They go through a few rounds of stealing money because the concept is — you and another person get 100 million yen and are free to steal it from each other; in the end you give back the 100 million and either keep what you stole or go into debt. The formula of being automatically contract-bound doesn’t make much sense and the reward behind each chapter is a bit like Heisenberg’s trickery. I wonder if there’s more to this game, but when it’s too much like a game, I feel constantly duped. Sadly this went right to TV and what I imagine to be an older, more conservative audience. Still, the basic aesthetic was preserved, and Akiyama’s hair is impeccable.