What if Liar Game Had a Different Cast…

I recently rewatched an old favourite – Liar Game. Two seasons and a movie, I finished the binge within three days. No regrets. Since the show is pretty old, I thought it would be fun to recast the two main characters.


Kanzaki Nao is a naive college student who gets roped into a devious game known as Liar Game. Players get a chance to win 100 million yen at the expense of plunging others into debt. With the help of a genius swindler, Akiyama Shinichi, Nao continues to participate in hopes of ending the game for good.

Kanzaki Nao (Kutsuna Shioli)

Kanzaki Nao was played by Toda Erika, one of my favourite actresses. She really captured Nao’s innocence.

One of Kutsuna’s Shioli’s previous roles was a high school student – Mouri Ran from Detective Conan’s live-action. In that role, her character was relatively strong-willed and more outspoken than most female high school protagonists.

However, there was still that youthful innocence in her acting. In that role, she was also shown to be sympathetic toward others and stood up for what she believed was right, two qualities that were very “Nao.”

Kutsuna Shioli is 27 years old now. So, she may not be the best choice to play an eighteen-year-old. However, she naturally gives off girl-next-door vibes. Her looks don’t come off too strong, yet mature enough to not emanate little sister feels.

Akiyama Shinichi (Yoshizawa Ryo)

Akiyama Shinichi was played by Matsuda Shota. It was incredibly hard to do a recast for him since he obviously nailed the role.

I admit – I have never watched a Yoshizawa Ryo drama. None of the shows I picked up had him in it, but I have heard about him. Apparently, he was in Ao Haru Ride, and I never noticed. So, why would I cast him for this?

First, Akiyama is handsome but not boyish. Yoshizawa fits that profile. Though he has been in shojo dramas like Marmalade Boy, he doesn’t give off a pretty-boy vibe–to put it bluntly.

Akiyama has a quiet charm. There’s something about him that draws you in. And that’s how I feel when I look at Yoshizawa Ryo.

According to his profile, his gaze is very expressive. Akiyama has a poker face for most of his scenes, but when he does show expression, he gives off a slightly psychotic vibe. The widened eyes and arrogant smirk. If the comments about Yoshizawa Ryo’s eye acting is anything to go by, he could definitely pull this off well.

Yoshizawa was in a drama called Tomodachi Game, the premise is very similar to Liar Game. He was a leading role and was apparently compassionate before having doubts about his friends when engaged in the game. Akiyama was compassionate but relied on wit. It could still be a sign that Yoshizawa could be Akiyama 2.0.


I thought about recasting Fukunaga Yuji, but frankly, no one fit the bill. Or I just don’t know enough actors. Kosuke Suzuki, who rose to fame after this role, would be a tough act to follow. It would be interesting to see if the dynamics would change with a different cast, though.

Liar Game: Reborn had a different female protagonist. I gave it a shot, and while it felt strange that Nao wasn’t with Akiyama, it wasn’t bad. I’d still recommend it.

There’s obviously so many actors and actresses who would be great at recreating the two iconic roles. I’m curious how Liar Game would turn out with a completely different cast. There is a Korean version, which is based on the manga rather than a remake of the Japanese one. But I dropped it after a couple episodes as the premise was a little too… extravagant.

Would you want to recast anyone from any shows you watched?

3 thoughts on “What if Liar Game Had a Different Cast…

  1. Another ‘classic’ JDrama I haven’t quite gotten to yet. The recasting looks really interesting! I’m surprised you chose Yoshizawa Ryo without having seen him act before, granted I only saw him in BLEACH as Uryuu, but it’s a bold choice!

    Liked by 1 person

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