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Monday, October 20, 2014

Saw - Gore + Money = Liar Game

There are three levels of typesetting. There's the old-school version, where you italicise the text and put it away enough from the dialogue subtitles that the viewers know it's meant to refer to a sign onscreen. There's the middle version, where you're matching up placement and colours so that, while the translation doesn't blend into the sign, it's close enough that you know what's what. And then there's the eager fansubber version, with dancing karaoke text and actually hiding the Japanese with perfectly-matched text and different colours for different speakers and words that pan with the camera when necessary.

I'd say Liar Game falls at about Level 2.3

This was my first catalogue show for Crunchyroll and it really was a typesetting trial-by-fire. I'd done general typesetting before, but this wasn't just a handful of signs or cute phrases on T-shirts. This was ... elaborate diagrams. Leaderboards. Charts. Onscreen text that makes Sherlock look inhibited.

It is probably to be expected, given that the show is (as the title suggests) a game that relies heavily on repetition of rules, as well as tracking of characters' rankings. Specifically, the titular Liar Game is a series of games, all designed to pit people against each other for money. But not the way you're thinking.

See, the first thing about the Liar Game is you don't choose to participate. You (or, in this case, the honest-to-a-fault Nao Kanzaki) just come home one day to find a suitcase holding ¥100,000,000 (about $1,000,000) and instructions about how you have to steal another person's suitcase holding the same. At the end of the game, both players give 100 mil back to the Liar Game Agency -- which means whoever stole the money walks away with 100 mil, and whoever got their money stolen is ... basically ... screwed. Our overly honest heroine recruits a con artist named Shinichi Akiyama to help her not be basically screwed, and winning this first game leads her forward into an increasingly complex series of high-adrenaline swindling tournaments.

One thing I loved about this show right off the bat is that it's stylish. Like super-stylish. After the first round, every 'arena' has its own style, supplemented with leaderboards worked into the decor. And you're able to keep track of both the game status and Akiyama's Hustle-level cons with onscreen diagrams. Just one problem with that: I was the typesetter.

Even as a professional, I find myself using AegiSub (fansubbers go legit and bring their own school supplies, you see). And going into an area where somewhat sophisticated typesetting is important and required meant I got to learn a lot about aspects of the program I'd never used when I was in a group that did primarily old-school anime (and thus stuck to old-school typesetting). Fades, fonts, colours, fading coloured fonts ... it didn't take me long when it came to it. I'm a quick learner.

First job? Liar Game. It seemed all right at first. A bit of text fading in and out onscreen as Nao had rules explained to her. Nice. A bit more than I'm used to, but all right, good.

Wait, what? Scoreboards? Diagrams? Random text when new rounds start? Suddenly I found a 13x45 show (and an enjoyable one, at that) becoming longer and longer. And scarier. No pressure, right?


I think it came out a bit all right. And granted, when you spend that much time on a show, it becomes easier and easier to become invested in it. Which I did. Whenever things got particularly clever or crazy I shouted a lot at the screen.

Apparently it's based on a manga and there are a fair few changes. I'm tempted to read it and see what the deal is, though as it stands, I don't feel lost only knowing the show.

I mentioned that it's on Crunchyroll, right? Yeah, it's on Crunchyroll. Well, the first series is. There are two series and a movie. Now, specifically, the first five episodes are up free, and the other eight are for subscribers. Pretty sure you'll want to see the rest once you get rolling, though. If anything, go and support the valiant typesetting I did for all of you.