|First Appearance||Chapter 1; Episode 1|
|Age||27 (22 in Roots of A)|
|Abilities||Lying, Psychological Warfare, Quick Thinking|
|“||Don't succumb to panic. Only those who see the bigger picture win.||”|
|— Akiyama Shinichi|
Akiyama Shinichi is a participant of the Liar Game Tournament. He is the male lead of the series.
Appearance EditIn the manga, Akiyama's hair varies wildly across the colored pages, between blond, orange, and even black. The styling of it morphs as the artist's, Shinobu Kaitani, art style changes. Initially, it is spiky and medium-long, blown towards one side. It gets cut shorter and becomes tidier as the series progresses, but he retains the long bangs that fall between his eyes. His eyes tend to stay a certain shade of yellow-brown. These are both represented by white in the normal pages. Long eyelashes (that shrink slightly later on) give him an owlish appearance. Akiyama is also afflicted by a case of particularly dark eyebags. Often, he is pictured wearing long-sleeved shirts and turtlenecks with tight-fitting pants. His posture falls between a relaxed upright stance and a slouch, but is never fully either.
In the drama, Akiyama is acted by Matsuda Shota. His hairstyle seems to be an interpretation of the style shown in the latter chapters of the manga. Initially, it is short and falls over the face, but is later styled as being medium-long and side-parted with one side tucked behind an ear. He often wears jeans and a collared shirt, and sports a piercing in his left ear.
One of Akiyama Shinichi's most intriguing charms is that his character still has a lot to reveal and can be interpreted in several ways.
Akiyama graduated from Teito University with a major in Psychology. He is thus imbedded with extensive knowledge and aptitude for analyzing and assessing the human mind. The first time that Akiyama utilized those abilities in the real world was to swindle a major MLM company into bankruptcy. The action was motivated by revenge for scamming his single mother, who had committed suicide in order to ensure her son's tuition through all of college. As a result, he spent 3 years in prison, giving him the in-game nickname "Ex-Con". The general public considers him a professional con-artist and a genius.
When he first appears, Akiyama seems to be a very sly and confident man, tricking reporters into leaving the scene so he can leave the prison without a hassle. During the Liar Game Tournament, he displays exceptional proficiency in tricking his opponents through his intellectual skills; his biggest forte is being able to predict and manipulate people's minds, which lets him get cooperation from other players as he presents them a logical and brilliant plan and to get the best out of their opponents by predicting their train of thoughts and actions. He is not unwilling to lie or deceive others in order to achieve his desired results.
Thoroughout the series, his character becomes less introspective and more sociable, even showing subtle signs of Kanzaki Nao's influence. He is self-described as Nao's right hand man and seems to be quite protective of her (most likely initiated by her resemblance to his deceased mother). It is hypothesized that he acts that way as atonement for not being able to protect his mother from the cruelty of the world before her death.
Roots of AEditAkiyama studied Humanities during his first years in Teito University. During his fourth year, Akiyama took a course in Criminal Psychology under Professor Okabe Yukiya. The last assignment given them was a letter by an anonymous author, for whom the students had to profile. Of all the students, Akiyama was the only one ask the Professor about whether or not there was a right answer. When Yukiya responded in the affirmative, Akiyama sought out his teacher's wife to ask about the person in the assignment. In doing so, he was the sole student able to compose an accurate profile assessment of the writer, as well as correctly pinpoint the identification of the writer. Okabe commends Akiyama on his ability to judge people and behaviors, as well as remembering that Criminal Psychology is not an impersonal, emotionless work. This event prompts Akiyama to switch his major from Humanities to Psychology in order to further his studies with Okabe.
In the drama, however, the story changes and shows Akiyama as being the one that gave the incorrect analysis, and Katsuragi Ryou the one that gave the correct analysis. Akiyama's loss to Katsuragi becomes a source of internal fury and shame. This becomes a key point in the drama as it explains the connection and rivalry between of the two characters.
Round I Edit
In the five years since Roots of A, Akiyama bided his time in prison for his sentence. Immediately after his publicized release, he resumed his tricks, convincing several reporters that he was just another freed convict. The policeman accompanying him seemed to be on friendly terms with Akiyama, and told the ex-convict a path he could take from the prison campus in order to avoid confrontations. Soon after, he bumped into Kanzaki Nao, who had been lost while looking for the prison entrance so that she could ask his help in the Liar Game. At first, he did not believe her, telling her to get a lawyer instead. This tact failing, Akiyama lied to Nao so he could ditch her, saying that he needed to pick something up from home before he assisted her. He was shocked to find her after 26 hours, still waiting for him at the place he had left her. Rescuing her from some street thugs, Akiyama took her to his apartment to recover. Here, he berates her for staying at the same spot for an entire day, saying that anybody could figure out that they had been lied to. He tells Nao that she is too honest and that is why she is so easy to fool, to which she replies by asking if being honest was really such a bad thing. He then decides to listen to her story.
Once he heard out her predicament and read the rules of the Liar Game, he asks her whether she wanted to win the game or quit the game. Nao says that she wants to quit and only wants to return her share. Akiyama tells her to go to her opponent and ask for the money back. They both go to Fujisawa Kazuo's house and Nao asks for her money back. Fujisawa tells her that the money is in a safety deposit box in the bank, and that the bank is closed. At the time it was past 7, and the bank is open from 9am to 5pm on Monday to Friday, and Fujisawa states that they are unable to access to deposit box unless it is during business hours. Nao then tells him that she overheard him talking on the phone, where he mentioned that he fooled her out of 100 million yen. Fujisawa acts innocent, but Akiyama steps in and says that if he doesn't return the money he would call the police. Fujisawa exclaims that it is written in the rules that stealing wasn't considered a crime, to which Akiyama points out that Fujisawa admitted to stealing the money.
On the ride home, Akiyama points out that Fujisawa made a big mistake with his words. He states that the last day of the game was on Sunday 14th June, and that the bank is not open on that day, meaning he must retrieve the money on the Friday beforehand. Akiyama decides to help Nao, but for a price: half of Nao's winnings would go to him. Akiyama devised a scheme to lure out Fujisawa by staking out his house and placing him in a state of psychological panic. During the surveillance, Akiyama's character becomes slowly more pronounced; he covers the daytime watch to allow Nao time to visit her father and go to school, and takes over more of the nighttime shift as well when he notices Nao losing her strength. After a while, Fujisawa would no constantly stay in his house, only leaving every few days to check the mail. This prompts Akiyama to question whether or not he money is actually in the bank. With the help of Nao, Akiyama fakes a fire to test out Fujisawa's reaction. Fujisawa is reluctant to leave the room, even calling his friend to help him find the source of the fire instead of calling the fire department. Akiyama ceases the "fire" and comes to the conclusion that the money is in the very room that Fujisawa was in. He confesses, and reveals that the money is inside a safe, claiming that this is as far as they will get. Akiyama responds by saying that getting the 200 million yen out of the safe would be child's play for him. Akiyama and Nao continue their surveillance, and after a while Nao and Fujisawa both receive a card from the Liar Game Office stating that the game would end at 5pm on the 14th of June.
When there is only 55 minutes until 5pm, 14th June, Nao snaps and begs Fujisawa to return the money. He declines and locks her out. At 5pm, a shady man in a trench coat and hat appears at Fujisawa's door. He states that he is a representative of the Liar Game Office, and Fujisawa opens the safe to show him the 200 million yen. The representative takes 1 hour to check the money, and while he is thinking of how to spend the prize money, the doorbell rings at Fujisawa's house. He answers and three men wearing suits, sunglasses and medical masks claim to be from the Liar Game Office. The man in the trench coat takes off his disguise and reveals himself to be Akiyama. He gives the 200 million to Nao and tells Fujisawa that he has lost. Akiyama reveals that the card stating that the game would end at 5pm was a fake, and that the real card said 6pm. Fujisawa had received the card in the mailbox a week ago, but he wouldn't leave the room so he didn't get the card for days, which was enough time for Akiyama to create a fake and replace it in the mailbox. Akiyama had beaten Fujisawa and collected his 50 milliom yen prize from Nao.
On the way home, Nao questions why Akiyama had tricked her as well. He states that her begging made Fujisawa confident of his win, and that she wouldn't have been able to be so realistic if she were only acting. Nao decides to give Fujisawa her share of 50 million yen under the condition that Fujisawa never says that human cannot be trusted ever again. Akiyama also gives Nao his 50 million yen, stating that they were to split the reward evenly, and if Nao didn't even get 1 yen, he wouldn't either. Nao tries to give him money that she had saved from her job as payment for his assistance, much to his chagrin and refusal. As Nao runs to her apartment to get the money, she finds her invitation to Round II of the Liar Game, shocking them both.
The invitation Nao receives states that to pull out of the game, she must return half of her winnings. If a player does not appear at the designated place that would be considered forfeiting, and players who forfeit must repay all the money they won in the first round, which was 100 million yen in Nao's case. Akiyama tells Nao to ignore it, as legally the card means nothing. He then gives her his number, telling her to contact him if she's worried.
After talking to her lawyer, Tanimura Teruo, Nao calls Akiyama. However she says that she is feeling really good now and hangs up. On the day of the second round, Akiyama visits Nao's apartment. There is no one there, and Akiyama wonders if she went to the designated place.
While the dealer, Leronira, is announcing the second round, Akiyama walks into the mansion, stating that he will partake in the game as well. Nao is delighted, but Akiyama tells her to keep quiet for the moment being. After the rules of Minority Rule are revealed, Akiyama asks Leronira for the purpose of conducting this game, to which he replies that they only wish to crown the true "Liar King". After this, all the players were treated with a top-class buffet. However nearly none of the players had the appetite, and the only ones who ate were Akiyama and the mysterious No. 15. While eating, Nao asks why Akiyama is present at the second round, as he is not qualified to enter. Akiyama responds by asking her why she is here, as they had agreed to ignore the LGT. He says that he came out of his way to stop her from getting herself deeper into the game. However when he arrived at the mansion she was already inside, so he was too late. Akiyama did not have permission to enter the mansion, so he wandered around looking for a way in until he came across a crying woman. Her name was Michiko Takada, and she wished to drop out of the Liar Game. On the contrary, she accidentally gave her 100 million yen to a fellow player posing as a Liar Game attendant and was not able to drop out due to the imposter. She had no choice but to continue playing, and that is when Akiyama became her representative. In his effort to stop Nao, he got stuck into the game as well. He ends his story by stating that the two of them will win the game.
Afterwards, Leronira leads all 22 players into a large room. The game is further explained, and a practice round is held. After this, Akiyama is taken to his room. Later, Nao searches for Akiyama to ask him to save her. She wanders into the lobby, where she sees a majority of the players gathered there, including Akiyama. Akiyama tells her to keep composure, and tells her to go around asking to hear people's stories. After doing so, Nao reports back to Akiyama. He tells her she did a good job and says that they should have a good night's sleep. Before departing, Akiyama states that he has a way to win the game no matter what.
His strategy is to form a team, and with that team form the minority. The team requires 8 people, and the 8 people will vote according to a plan. In the beginning, 4 people vote yes and 4 others vote no. With no knowledge of how the other 14 players will vote, the two go with the assumption that it was the closest scenario possible (12:10, with 4 of the 10 being part of the team). With another closest scenario possible, the team would split their votes 2:2, the result being 6:4, with 2 of the 4 winners being part of the team. They then again split their votes 1:1 until one person emerges as the winner. The winner would win 2.1 billion yen, and spend half of it to drop out, leaving 1.05 billion yen to split between the rest of the team. The seven remaining members will have a debt of 100 million yen each, so (1.05 billion - 700 million = 350 million) which would be split evenly amongst the 8 members. This makes 43 million 750 thousand yen prize money per person. With this strategy, every member of the team is able to drop out.
After explaining the strategy, Nao is jumping with joy. However Akiyama mentions that they still have to worry about the person who stole 100 million yen from Takada, who they nickname "Mr. X". Mr. X can easily drop out of the tournament with the stolen check, and is a potential traitor, so they must avoid having him in the team at all costs. Takada described Mr. X as a young guy, so to avoid accidentally recruiting him Nao decides to have the team comprise of the 5 other women participants and No. 4, an elderly man. After recruiting them all, the 8-man team comprised of Miyahara Hitomi, Tamura Makiko, Hosoe Jyun, Nishihara Reina, Makihara Yuki, Matsubara Fumio, Kanzaki Nao and Akiyama Shinichi. Nao explains the plan to everyone and they all happily accept. Akiyama proposes that the team write up a contract so that the final winner would not betray the rest of the team. Luckily Jyun was a real estate agent and Pumio was a company manager, so they were able to create an official contract. Yuki questions why the 6 of them were picked, and Nao tells them about Mr. X. Hitomi asks for any other details they can go on, or anyone they find suspicious, and Nao tells her that they believe No. 15 is Mr. X. Hitomi states that she also found something strange about him as he seemed so calm, and now that she knows that he has a check for 100 million yen then everything makes sense. Akiyama stands with his back against the wall, observing as the discussion goes on.
The game commences, and after 6 hours the results of question 1 is 10 to 12, with Akiyama being one of the winners. The losers leave, and Akiyama states that something is terribly wrong. Akiyama asks Nao if she noticed anything, and she replies saying that the only thing she found weird was that No. 15 was still in the game. Akiyama says that if the next question ends with a margin of 4 to 6, it would be the worst case scenario. At the end of question 2, the results are 4:6, and as a result Akiyama believes that Mr. X has done something after all.
The first day was over, and Nao calls Akiyama on his cell phone. Akiyama says that if he doesn't act now he will lose without a doubt. A Liar Game attendant calls Akiyama to come downstairs as the game was about to begin, and Akiyama hangs up on Nao. After the third question was asked, Akiyama decides to fold his answer into a very small piece, stating that it will make an impact on the game. When the time limit ended, Nao called Akiyama again. As the results were called out, Akiyama kept Nao on the line so that she could hear the results. Here, Hitomi reveals himself as a transvestite, and that his name is actually Fukunaga Yuji. Because of this, he is not legally binded to the contract. Finally, he reveals himself to also be the real Mr. X. Leronira continues to read out the results, and it is revealed that Akiyama voted yes. His vote was read last because he had folded it so small, much to Fukunaga's dismay. Akiyama then explains that he saw through all of it, including how Fukunaga was Mr. X and his entire strategy.
Akiyama explains how he knew No. 15 wasn't Mr. X, reason being that if he were Mr. X, it would be stupid to continue wearing sunglasses, as it practically screams disguise. He confesses that saying his plan was a no-fail strategy was a bluff to get everyone to work together. He also says that he knew immediately that there were teams other than theirs. The biggest clue was that the losers acted completely calm when leaving the mansion, as if they didn't have any debt at all. It wouldn't be surprising the see people act hysterical, but contrarily everyone acted completely indifferent, with some players even showing a faint smile on the way out, as if their safety was guaranteed. Alongside Nao, No. 1 had returned to the mansion after losing as well. Akiyama questions why a man with a huge debt would march right back to the area where the employees are located, and concludes that he came to make sure the winner didn't run off with the money. The final piece of evidence Akiyama had was that Fukunaga made a fatal error, which he made while discussing Mr. X with Nao. Nao mentioned nothing about any checks, and only Mr. X would know the money was stolen in the form of a check.
Akiyama is asked to hand over his cell phone to an attendant. Through a random draw, Akiyama's number is called out and he is asked to pose a question. His question is "The most important thing in life is money." Akiyama clearly puts in his answer, no, straight away, stating that he doesn't need 6 hours to make his decision as the winner of the game will be him. Fukunaga later rips up Akiyama's yes ballot to clearn any suspicions. At the end of the 6 hours, after all votes were entered, Akiyama states that the his opponents had walked into his trap without even realizing it. Again, Nao calls Akiyama, and can now hear everything. The results are revealed to be 3:1, with Akiyama being the sole winner.
It is revealed that No. 15 was allied with Akiyama the entire time. No. 15's goal was to get the three players, Miura Takayoshi, Fukunaga and himself to agree to a tie vote. It is revealed that No. 15 and Akiyama joined forces the day before, before Fukunaga revealed himself as a traitor. Akiyama states that he used his time wisely to cover up his partnership with No. 15. The day before, Akiyama told No. 15 that he would be fooled by Fukunaga. Akiyama continues to say that if they joined forces they could win, and if they didn't he guaranteed that Fukunaga would betray him. However, No. 15 had no reason to trust Akiyama, so Akiyama gave him his nameplate as a collateral to get information on No. 15's team. Because of this information, Akiyama was able to stop Fukunaga and save No. 15. To get a reward, No. 15 had to fully cooperate with Akiyama.
Akiyama then asks Fukunaga to return the stolen check, blackmailing him with the police. Fukunaga throws the check, and the second round came to a close.
Leaving the premises, Nao states that she can't be happy knowing that other players are now in debt. Akiyama tells her not to think about it as it wasn't her fault. It is revealed that Akiyama gave No. 15 1 billion, 106 million and 250 thousand yen to pay off his team, plus a 100 million bonus for cooperating with him. Unable to pay his own team, Akiyama decides to continue onto the third round. Akiyama is happy with this decision, as he is interested to find out who's sick mind is taking pleasure out of the Liar Game.
Kanzaki Nao Edit
Though their relationship began as that of an employee-client, the two become closer and more protective of each other as the game progresses. Due to the circumstances of their acquaintance, the two understand each other's motivations and beliefs more than anyone else in the game, frequently becoming effective accomplices in each others' schemes. Akiyama's influence on Nao is apparent, as she becomes increasingly cunning and strong-willed in her demeanor. His cynical skills have saved Nao deception countless times (who is frequently targeted for her naivete). Nao also seems to be the only person Akiyama shares his personal thoughts and feelings with.
It is unclear whether he has any romantic feelings for her yet, but her importance to him is undeniably strong. He always appears when Nao is in trouble (first revival round) and called her everyday to lessen her worries about their 500mil yen debt (ch84). Even Yokoya, who tried to force Nao into being the only one to fail the fourth round qualifier, expressed that it would be more painful for Akiyama to see her fail alone than it would be for himself to fail.
Unlike Nao, his objective is not to save everyone from debt, but to destroy the LGT office. As he explained to Nao, he wants to reveal and take down the people who take pleasure in the Liar Game, forcing others to lie and cheat for money. He does support Nao in her objective (albeit claiming that he only does so because it gets him closer to his goal) going as far as to take on a debt of 400 million yen in Round 3 so other that players could drop out of the game. When Harimoto offered an alliance with his group during Round 4, Akiyama rejected him even though the alliance would have been a great advantage.
At the end of Round 3, Yokoya pointed out that Akiyama was no different than him or the LGT. For once Akiyama was at a loss for a comeback, but Nao defended him stoutly. Afterwards, Akiyama thanked her, but his behavior betrayed his acknowledgment of Yokoya's words. Nao, sensing Akiyama's inner turmoil and guilt, attested otherwise, telling him that whilst Yokoya is cold and ruthless in his methods, Akiyama possesses warmth and compassion. That becomes the single biggest differentiation between the two geniuses as the game continues.
Fukunaga Yuji Edit
Akiyama's feelings towards Fukunaga Yuji are mostly that of suspicion and respect. The manga hints that Yuji harbors romantic interest for Akiyama, as Nao later points out to Akiyama in Chapter 83. Akiyama professed to feeling "awkward" while interacting with Fukunaga right after being told that.