Why I Love Akiyama x Nao

14 02 2010

A Very Happy Valentines Day to Everyone! If you believe in that sort of thing, that is.  At any rate, it’s a great excuse for moah AkiyamaxNao lurve!! ^__^ <3

Disclaimer:  Very informal and almost rant-ish :)

I won’t lie; the thing I’m looking most forward to in Liar Game is the outcome of Akiyama and Nao’s relationship.  I won’t call it romance just yet, but clearly Nao is crushing hard on our outstanding and oblivious hero.

Unfortunately, there are so many hurdles.  Akiyama and Nao can’t be on the same team forever, because there can only be ONE Liar Game Champion.  Which means either one of them or both of them will be hurt, especially seeing as how they’re willing to jump in front of a bus in order to save the other.  And it’s so hard to say anything for sure—Akiyama has an advantage because he’s—well, a genius.  On other hand, Nao understands Akiyama’s heart better than he does himself.  Even though Akiyama is a master of Psychology, it’s only in matters of “mind” and not “heart” (cheesy I know, but there’s a reason “Love” is considered a taboo word in Psychology).  Besides, if Fukunaga became so indiscernible to Akiyama because of a little crush, think about how much trouble Akiyama will have with Nao.  Sometimes I find myself wondering if the reason Nao will be able to hold her own against Akiyama in the future is not only because she’s becoming smarter, but because her growing love for Akiyama makes her actions harder and harder to read.  (Especially to Akiyama himself, who is a total idiot in these matters.  Just how far is she willing to go to sacrifice herself?) Once again, I know it sounded cheesy, but I’m just going to continue pointing my finger at Fukunaga.

(Possible situation: Akiyama vs. Nao + Fukunaga – Akiyama loses, meaning Nao vs. Fukunaga?  And then Fukunaga realizes Akiyama’s undying love for Nao and sacrifices himself??)

Okay, so this brings me to hurdle number two:  This isn’t Shoujo.  Even though Kaitani’s previous work One Outs had a happy and satisfying ending, it wasn’t nearly as bleak or serious in tone to begin with anyway.  You know from the beginning the protagonist is going to succeed, the question is just how.  In the Liar Game, there are so many forces pushing the story forward (known and unknown), it’s hard to tell what curveball will be thrown when.  It’s going to take something huge for both Akiyama and Nao to leave the game unscathed, because I don’t see how it works otherwise (that is, unless Kaitani has no respect for the integrity of his story and characters).

However, even though a happy ending is last thing this story promises, it’s not completely impossible.  And I say that because Akiyama and Nao together is just such a heartwarming and inspirational pair! I look at Akiyama and Nao in the beginning chapters, and it’s almost nostalgic—they used to be such different people.  Perhaps the reason that we, the readers, know them so well is because they’ve changed right in front of us.  Akiyama is beginning to believe in himself more, because Nao believes in him so much.  That, to him, is invaluable.   Nao becomes a strong and reliable person, because Akiyama was there when she needed him.  That, to her, is invaluable.  Their relationship is undeniably positive and supportive, and there’s so much trust between them that I don’t see anywhere else in the game.  In fact, I’m surprised none of the LGT employees said anything about that yet, unless they’re all very cynical to the max OR Kaitani doesn’t want to make it too obvious.

This is pretty much the biggest reason I love Akiyama x Nao: They’re two people united by dire circumstances, really, but they keep defying the odds and pulling through.  They’re emotionally loyal (as opposed to being loyal to ‘money’ or ‘power’), which should have been a “weakness” by anyone’s account.  But the kindness Akiyama showed to Nao on a personal level has become a strength instead and vice versa.

Finally:  I DEMAND A KISS BY THE END OF THIS MANGA ! @_@

Thoughts?

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25 responses

14 02 2010
Clara C

I don’t think it is loyalty that’s the reason why Akiyama has kept Nao.
First, he has nothing to gain if he let her lose.
He NEEDS an ally in this game. Even though he is smart as hell, his victory is not yet guaranteed.
Did you realize if Nao were absent during the infection game, he would be at a much disadvantageous position?
Secondly, they seem to have different outcomes but both are essentially the same. To have the LGT 6 feet under.

They, at this point in time, seem to have sth going on for them.
So it is understandable why they are still together.
Not romance at all. More like a common understanding.
It is like the same reason I share with the friends I have.
I am almost positive that your friends share interests and goals of the like.

I know I am going to get killed by a hoard of fangirls for my oh-so-cynical comment.

As for my grim prediction of the final stage movie, I put it in rot:

V whfg cenl sbe Nxvlnzn’f fnxr gung ur jbhyq abg or gnxra nqinagntr bs ol Anb.

14 02 2010
SelphieFairy

i ship naoxakiyama, too. but like you said — it’s not a shoujo. I’m not expecting anything to happen. i would LOVE it if there was some kind of obvious or subtle hint at the end that they may have feelings for each other, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if NOTHING happened, either. Oh well.

14 02 2010
Lina

Really? I wouldn’t like any romance between the two of them. Are you wondering, why? Simply, because it doesn’t fit this awesome manga.
This is about believe and not believed, being believed and not being believed. It is not romance – Something, which I think is boring but that doesn’t matter anyway.
Also, I agree with Clara C about the loyalty matter. First, because it is part of Nao’s nature to be receptive to others. One can notice it by observing her behavior towards Glass when he decided to be in Akiyama’s group in the current prelude game.
Second, Akiyama needs Nao more than she needs him. Anyone can archieve Akiyama’s level of deduction by trainee with math logical exercises. Nao is, as matter of fact, walking in this direction. For example, remember the tatic she built without Akiyama and together with Fukunaga in the last revival round.
Ok, ok, I am being too optimistic; however, that is my view of life and I can not detach this caracteristic of mine from me.
That is it for now; so, I will not bug anyone anymore.

14 02 2010
Jais

Yay! Thank you for writing this.

I think Akiyama’s feelings for Nao are actually revealed much earlier in the manga than Nao’s feelings for Akiyama. It’s true that as of the latest chapters, the absolute worst thing that could happen to Akiyama strategically is for Nao to turn on him. But the one thing people need to remember is this: The only reason why Akiyama is even in that situation is because he chose to be there, in order to protect her.

Yes, she’s become important to his victory and his goals, but he only has those goals because he chose to help her.

And it seems more and more, that he takes his job as Nao’s protector seriously, and not just for ‘strategic’ reasons. When Yokoya seems to have set up Nao to lose, it’s for the express purpose of hurting Akiyama, not just strategically, but emotionally.

There’s also a later scene in the Musical Chair’s game, where fbzrbar vagraqf gb ershfr n qrny naq cerl ba Anb vafgrnq. Nxvlnzn irel pyrneyl naq rkcyvpvgyl fgngrf gung vs guvf crefba gevrf guvf, ur jvyy orpbzr gur rarzl, naq gurl jvyy irel rnfvyl ryvzvangr uvz.

Gur snatvey va zr pubbfrf gb ernq guvf nf, “lbh unez ure, lbh qvr”

I’ve seen a wonderful quote in an essay that describes what I think Akiyama feels for Nao, and why I think it’s at least some form of love, whether it’s platonic, romantic, or even just less about Nao in particular, and more about her trust and innocence (though the last one would irritate me, I admit).

And if you love, you act to defend your beloved. Of course the results matter to you, but they don’t determine whether or not you make the effort. You don’t simply hope your beloved survives and thrives. You do what it takes. If my love doesn’t cause me to protect those I love, it’s not love.

In my imagination, if it comes to why Akiyama goes so far to protect her, that is the reasoning.

I guess, at this point, I don’t want them to get together during the manga. There’s too much going on. But after, I think the level of connection, trust, and respect that they’ve built would make for a wonderful relationship afterward.

This comment is getting way too long. ^^;;

14 02 2010
quantula

Ahhhh I love the Rot-13 spoiler!! >_> And at the rate things are going, I feel like some romance in the manga is inevitable (even if it’s one-sided)- what’s the point of making Nao have a crush on Akiyama if these feelings aren’t going to culminate or make themself important in some way later on in the manga? Besides, the manga itself has changed considerably: In the beginning, the focus was Akiyama winning using logic and mindtrickery– now the point of the manga is the interactions between the different characters and the relationship between Akiyama and Nao.
So, yeah, I know the kind of relationship they have isn’t a romantic love, but it’s love nonetheless– and you can’t ignore the fact that Nao pretty much has the hugest crush on Akiyama now.

14 02 2010
Lina

Are you joking? Akiyama/Nao’s relationship is, at maximum, friendship and respect which they are building up. There is no romance.
They, simply, sympathize with each other due to the circunstances.
On Akiyama behalf, he feels guilt whenever he sees Nao because she remind him of his mother. There is no room for romance, thankfully.
Finally, I hope they won’t kiss each other because it will disrupt with the current amazing development of the series which I love.

14 02 2010
quantula

Maybe, but I can’t say I agree with the Akiyama part. For how long is he going continue comparing Nao with his mom? Maybe that was his motivation in the beginning, but Nao has become her own person now, and far more resilient that his mom was. He’s even acknowledged this (“you’ve become stronger”). And you’re right that any romance would be silly for the current story– this is this just a hope for the future. Like I said in the beginning of the post, “I won’t call it romance just YET”.

16 02 2010
mori-ko

Sorry, I have to disagree. Did anyone notice Akiyama in Chapter 93? Grabbing her hand in that courtesan manner (yumm 8D) –see page 12 for the squeal. If that doesn’t scream something, I don’t know what else to do. *3*

However I do understand your point of view. And honestly, if all of a sudden Akiyama and Nao were found smooching or something…I’d just die. Probably of laughter. Because that’s the weirdest image in their mind. Why do all romances even have to be (dare I say) physical?

I like the cute subtleness. May it forever appear in every chapter. This is best because if you don’t like it or don’t care for it, its very easy to ignore. But if you’re an avid shipper, you can eat it for dessert.

And I’ll stop talking. ^^

16 02 2010
TropicalMist

This is like my second post here…. o.O but since it’s Valentine’s Day (or the day after), I have to comment!

I definitely ship Nao x Akiyama as well =) I LOVE them to bits, especially when they’re together and scheming plans hehe* I think they have great chemistry and I agree with everything you said about them growing together and trusting each other. It’s actually odd to me that no body in the games have brought up the fact that they trust each other so wholeheartedly… even though in reality, they’re just strangers brought together through odd circumstances =P

I can understand why a lot of people DON’T see the romance happening though. This isn’t a romance story and besides the very subtle hints that there ARE talks about love/crushes (since Nao mentioned Fukunaga liking Akiyama), it’s possible that he topic of love will come up eventually =) After all, they can’t just leave it hanging with Fukunaga’s unrequited love right? So I’m sure Akiyama will be forced to confront it soon.

Also, as much as I demand a kiss, I don’t think it’ll happen =X Maybe holding hands at most =) or a REALLY cute hug. A kiss….? Seems a little too much and it’ll just raise my expectations. If it happens, I’ll be uber happy, but if it doesn’t, I’ll just be satisfied if they announce their relationship.

16 02 2010
Sapphire Pyro

I love this pairing and I love how they mutually support each other.

I want them as a pairing though I don’t think we can expect a kiss from this kind of series.

I want a hug though. Hugs are more romantic that kisses for me. Kyaaa~

17 02 2010
AmbroBaby

In the Liar Game, there are so many forces pushing the story forward (known and unknown), it’s hard to tell what curveball will be thrown when. It’s going to take something huge for both Akiyama and Nao to leave the game unscathed, because I don’t see how it works otherwise (that is, unless Kaitani has no respect for the integrity of his story and characters).

I can see a way for everybody to have their happy ending, though it’s a bit of a hypothetical Chekov’s gun at the minute. What’s more, I don’t think the situation is set up yet. But it’s a way for Akiyama to crush the LGT, Nao to save the cheerleader everybody, and indeed, Fukunaga to potentially end up rich. But this does depend on how much Fukunaga capitulates to the Akinao ideals (which is hard to measure, seeing as much of Fukunaga’s life seems to be around keeping up pretenses…)

I do, however, agree that the time for Nao and Akiyama to face off against each other is drawing ever closer, and Nao’s becoming ever-craftier (in her own altruistic way, of course). I’m still thrown by Akagi’s supposed relevance beyond a foil for the protaganists…. maybe when his role is better known we’ll be able to see the direction the main arc is taking a little clearer?

I love how there’s no clear destination in this story. Anybody can win, anybody can upend the most clear-cut of situations with a simple gesture.

18 02 2010
Chuckie

I have 2 questions:

1. What is Rot and how do I decode the cryptic messages?

2. How updated is the general audience in this blog (so I won’t accidentally post a spoiler)? Should I follow English translation rate (Chapter 100 I think?) or should I assume that everyone is fully up to date (at Chapter 122)?

18 02 2010
quantula

Rot is just rot-13, a “substitution cipher”. To get stuff translated, go here: http://www.rot13.com/
Goes both ways (english to rot13 and vice versa)

It’s safer to assume everyone has only read up to the chapters posted on mangafox and onemanga. Not everyone reads the spoilers on this blog. So if you think you’re posting something not everyone would know, please convert to rot-13! ^_^

Thanks and welcome! :D

19 02 2010
JustAGame

I except nothing less than an acknowledgment of feelings and nothing more than an embrace and heartfelt act during one of the games. If I even think of them kissing I imagine:

Announcer: “Congratulations on winning the Liar Game”
Nao: *random kiss*

It just feels like it would break the flow of the win and wouldn’t allow for any conclusion as to the background of the Liar Game or a detailed explanation of events that happened during the Game. Personally, I would rather have a groundbreaking conclusion about the Liar Game rather than seeing Nao and Akiyama kiss (since it already seems evident, or at least implied, that they have feelings).

23 02 2010
Hansu

This may be little bit of topic but I noticed that Akiyama never calls Nao by her name when he talks to her. I know he says Kanzaki Nao when he talks about Nao to the other people like “thanks to Kanzaki Nao I got the evidence”… And so on. But he never says like “wait Nao!” He just says you or something.

I noticed that in some of the translations there were when he says “ooh Nao” (this is when he is in the game 2 in the final voting round) but when I checked the raws I didn’t see Nao’s name in it (I can’t read kanji but I checked how to write Nao’s name). I hope some one corrects me if I am wrong about this.

So I was thinking that when he will say her name it will be huge change in their relationship. I like to at least hope so.

23 02 2010
Jais

Very astute observation there! =D

There is, in my recollection, only one point in the Japanese version where he addressed her by name, in chapter 29 immediately before he goes into his ‘doubt speech’ otherwise it’s always a ‘you’ of some version.

24 02 2010
Chuckie

I noticed that too…it felt really awkward in the drama when during the Angels/Demons Game (the drama edition of the Pandemic Game) when Akiyama said to Nao: “the outcome of this game is in your hands, Kanzaki Nao”, because I knew that Akiyama never directly addresses her (except the bit in Chapter 29 of course).

24 02 2010
Umi

Yeah, but i I’m not mistaken, he sort of addressed her in the third person, and if I remember correctly, he said something like ‘and why is the ever-trusting Nao suddenly doubting people?’

And @Jais I love the Musical Chairs spoiler! Which chapter is it in btw? Even though I understand nothing from the raws, I just want to check how the characters’ expressions looked like.

Totally random: the biggest plot screw-up to murder all fangirl fantasies is that Nao and Akiyama find out that they are the other’s long-lost haf-sibling D:

And a bit off-topic though, apparently you also get your raws from raw-paradise. Is it me or did the recently uploaded YJ raws disappear after a day? o.o

24 02 2010
Jais

The third person thing, might just be Japanese structure though. Since the way that Nao uses “Akiyama-san” all the time is very third person.

Ahh. The Musical Chair’s spoiler is 111, from the bottom of 13 to the top of 16.

That would be quite a deathbed confession on the part of Nao’s father (since, he’d be the most likely shared parent).

And as for raw-paradise, yeah I noticed that. They usually keep up the raws for about a week, but this time was different. 123′s the latest I’ve gotten.

25 02 2010
Umi

Wow, Akiyama sure looks murderous there. Not to be a whiner but I hope the scanlators do get to catch up on the Musical Chairs arc…

Aww, that sucks. And the last issue was put up on a Monday I think, but it usually appears on a Tuesday. Does anyone happen to know on what day of the week is YJ released?

25 02 2010
Jais

YJ usually comes out on Thursdays in Japan.

30 03 2010
Franzilein

nao and akiyamqa should end up together >.<

11 06 2010
skellex

mmm it seems im a bit late to this post but i only recently caught up xD
i love this post! i would think its more realistic to not expect a full bloom relationship but i definitely think many things have been implied already. but if anything were to be confirmed, it would probably be when everythings finished cause as many have said, it would just over-complicate the current story with irrelevance. but i also think a relationship between akiyama and nao is sort of necessary in a way? i mean the story has changed from focus on lying and wits to how humans interact as well and we increasingly see how the liar game is changed and challenged by nao’s abstract altruistic beliefs, like trust. so to me, love is another one of those abstract things that would eventually pop up to challenge the nature of the liar game and to be challenged by the game in return cause its part of human nature and i think the liar game essentially plays on the generalized parts of human nature. to me, in terms of how the author conveys this, probably through akiyama x nao pairing probably facing off one another :) dno if i made sense but yea :P we know its probably coming :P

22 12 2010
Ori

Really late post, but I have to say my piece. :P

Boy’s manga does not mean there can be no romance, just means romance won’t be the main story. We won’t see any romantic beach picnics, but I do believe we may see a scene at the end of the manga series implying they end up together.

Maybe Akiyama has no feelings for Nao, but honestly I think Nao cannot really end up with any other man without thinking Akiyama is better…

7 06 2011
Kitsune

I am sorry to have be a bit of a downer, but i just had the most horrible vision of this romance could turn out. On top of that, its probably the only way we could get anything close to a kiss

imagine this
Final Game

Akiyama revealing to Nao about his plan for giving himself all the debt, in this case he may kiss her on the forehead (she would most likely be crying), and all of this done just before the dealers announcement, only for Aki to find that Nao saw through his plan and decided to become the debtor instead, deceiving Akiyama at the very end so that she may save him.

From what i understand about Nao’s character she is a very caring individual who is also very self sacrificing. She wants to save everyone, even at great peril to herself and as has been shown repeatedly she is not above tricking people to get the job done. Akiyama is of course included in Nao’s list of saving people thing and she is perfectly capable of deceiving him, as shown in the Second Revival Round Part 3.

Nao has been working Akiyama the longest, therefore she has the greatest understanding of how he works, on top of that Fukunaga aware of Akiyama’s plans. However I think he is also aware of the great pull Nao has over Akiyama, i can see him/her telling Nao about the plan, hoping that she will stop Akiyama.

Why Fukunaga would sacrifice Nao:

Well this one is a bit harder to explain,

Fukunaga has a crush on Akiyama, this is a confirmed fact, and all crushes have the potential to turn into love. And while Fukunaga definably has a soft spot for Nao, I think if it came down to the wire he would choose Akiyama over Nao.

Nao is the only friendly to have successfully duped Akiyama. As has been mentioned previously Nao has grown hugely in the last few rounds.

naq unf haqrefgnaqvat bs gur urneg gung ab bar ryfr unf…

Anyway can ANYONE see Nao just sitting ideally by while Akiyama attempts to sacrifice himself, i can’t. i am just waiting to see what happens when she finds out about it, AND SHE WILL FIND OUT ABOUT IT…
That is undeniable,
but what is she going to do about it…

………………………………………………………………….

Apart from that, i am looking forward to their first argument, it is going to funny to watch Akiyama being completely shocked that his favourite person is arguing with him (that is probably the only thing i liked about the movie XD), no one can deny that Akiyama has a huge soft spot for Nao.

this has the potential to be very amusing…..

As for fan-service, well I can deny that i wouldn’t mind a kiss, however this is sadly probably unlikely, but i do believe it is possible for a hug of some sort, and i am not talking about that hug from the First Revival Round, why that was AWESOME, i want more and think there is a good chance that we may get some!!!!!!

For someone, at least in my opinion, who doesn’t like much human contact, he certainly doesn’t mind touching Nao.

Please tell your opinions on these theorie…..

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