By Haruki Kuou and konomi. Released in Japan as “Liar Liar: Usotsuki Tenkōsei wa Ikasama Cheat-chan to Game o Seisuru Sō Desu” by MF Bunko J. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Kevin Gifford.
Those who have read my reviews for years know that I always try to include the Japanese publisher in some way. It’s something I’ve done before this site came about, when I used to type up the weekly release lists on Livejournal. The reasoning is that sometimes you learn about your tastes and others by knowing what books a company puts out. Hence “my eternal nemesis, Monthly Comic Alive”. And it has to be said, I don’t really get on with MF Bunko J. Sure, it has Re: Zero and Torture Princess. And The Asterisk War and No Game No Life are fun trash. But, well, I’ve dropped a lot of series this imprint puts out. Including, appropriately, Classroom of the Elite, one of those series I just don’t understand the fuss about. I bring all this up to let you know that lightning has struck again, and Liar, Liar, a series trying hard to be Classroom of the Elite, is not a very good book.
Hiroto has arrived at The Academy, a massive elite high school with 500,000 students, as a transfer student. As he tries to find his bearings, he asks for help from gorgeous student Sarasa… and then, in trying to stop her from getting hit by a truck, ends up getting her soaked by a puddle. Now furious, she challenges him to a game, and he discovers that basically the entire school is run around these games. She also turns out to be an elite 7-star student. He, on the other hand, has one star. There’s no way he can win. After winning, he goes to see the provost and finds that he is now basically the most powerful student in the school. Or rather, he has to pretend to be, because of reasons. Can he really win game after game with everyone trying to dethrone him, despite, in reality, having very little power?
The series revolves around lies in every possible way. Hiroto is possessed of a trait that allows him to keep a straight face no matter what he’s thinking, which seems to be part of the reason he was scouted to the Academy despite relatively terrible grades. Sarasa’s backstory is changed, and then changed again a little later, and her personality also does a 180. She should probably get the cover art for the first book, but the publisher knows what readers really want, so we get Himeji the maid, who has much larger breasts, to sell it. Both of them are clearly falling in love with him by the end of the book. The trouble is that the shifting sands and changed priorities throughout the book make it hard to care what happens. Especially when the series revolves around games you know Hiroto has to win, because if he loses it is implied he will be quietly killed off. Oh, have I mentioned that the two girls are both possibly his long-lost childhood friend?
If you want to combine No Game No Life, Classroom of the Elite and Strike the Blood, go read those three series instead, honestly.