“Liar Liar” Review
After a long and grueling grind to get through last week’s mega – article about VideoGameDunkey, there’s nothing more relaxing than a pretty – pastel visual novel by a nonbinary bloke, with girls who like sharp things, eye trauma, gratuitous and sensual depictions of murder, and the blatant fetishisation of gore. All of my favourite things, you see. I enjoy being in an era where everyone’s fetishes are displayed and sexuality is but a click away. Don’t think I fetishise it to the point of Owlman, for instance, whose article on rotten dot com has not convinced me of its appeal. Why is there a link to Jerk City on there?
There are several distinct types of gore, you see. You have your plain old gross – out you might see in horror movies. You got over – the – top ultraviolence like in Hotline Miami. If you have a fetish for the fantastic (NSFW in so many ways), you can check out “candy gore”, which is ultraviolence through a veneer of childish syrupy glee. And then you might just get the soft type of gore as you see here, where there aren’t a whole lot of guts, but get Tumblr – tot colours designed to an inoffensive form of violence, while still spilling blood and death everywhere. Oh boy!
So in comes Liar Liar, a short little thing that I can write about off the back of my hand, because I’m pretty sure the author did as well. Please don’t hurt me. To be fair, it isn’t anything more than a hobbyist’s visual novel with a story that doesn’t take itself seriously at all, bordering on self – parody for how casually everybody converses while they get sliced up. Unfortunately for fans of said slicing, there isn’t much of it and it only appears in brief glimpses. Indeed, this isn’t a horror novel by any stretch of the imagination, and isn’t even that violent by most standards. Blood is spilled, it’s all cutesy, and that’s it. But do I ever love the æsthetic.
Middle School Drama
You play as some girl whose name I’m not even going to try to remember who’s your typical coy, baggy – sweatshirt middle schooler, who also wants to kill her boyfriend because he cheated on the little scamp. Unlike most tweens, she makes good on the threat and does it with a kitchen knife. I think media has overused chef’s knives to the point where brandishing one is more scary than brandishing an actual combat knife, but there’s something to be said for a knife that does as much damage going in as it does coming out. Not even going to mention the thousand – degree knives…
So you end up telling somebody that you are going to kill your boyfriend, and then you kill them. Some other skank catches you, and you get to kill her stalker. Unless you get the bad endings, in which case you die both times, where you are very shocked to spill blood that actually belongs to you. It would have been cool to see some combat between two middle schoolers who happened to be wielding knives at the exact same moment at 06:00, but I guess this isn’t Danganronpan.
The writing is as relaxed and unforced as you might find in real life, which is an accomplishment for any writer, having that kiddy dialect of being so direct with every sentence. All the characters are really quite cool with killing each other, even while hiding blood – soaked bodies next to each other, seeing it as a mild annoyance that they’re so heavy. There’s no philosophical subtext here, so any inferences you can take from the work about the morality of murder is just going to be you projecting, though I found it unintentionally hilarious that the character’s reactions are what you would expect when they’re doing their homework. The author is a bit of a snarker, and it makes the work remarkable.
You may notice the novel is but fifteen minutes long, and so anything it was trying to build up to is neutered into this short and sweet package, a piss – taking story that doesn’t amount to anything and is mostly an excuse to appreciate the absurdity of the thing. It’s one of those rare types of novels with a New 10s art style that manages to be appealing without pandering to one specific demographic, bloody scenes notwithstanding, and a lot of artists could take inspiration from this work as a way to design pastels that aren’t so sickeningly, for lack of a more accurate term, girly.
I appreciate colours that look like gummies and candies, from banana yellow to cherry red, and the trick is combining them all in a way that isn’t blatantly ugly. Art is a hard thing to get right, and to create some that makes one feel inspired is to create work that has earned its right to be published. I believe this has earned its right, for although it does not strive for anything grand, it is a good visual novel. Around these parts, good is good enough, and it certainly doesn’t overstay its welcome. You may, however, enjoy the sequel, which I have not yet bothered to read.
Now I’ll need to purge any mention of this novel from my hard drive in case anybody thinks I have a gore fetish, seeing as it’s all for the sake of art. I know it’s like saying “I don’t have sex slaves, they’re nude models”, but they can’t be slaves if I’m paying them!