Topic: Liar Liar
Manga: Itsuwaribito by Yuuki Iinuma
Whether it’s been for good or for bad, everyone’s told a lie. As humans, we’ve convinced ourselves that white lies, honest lies, and noble lies are acceptable in society. Why are we dishonest? The simplest answer is that we’re selfish. We want money, fame, kids to leave us alone, things our way, even if it means setting traps for unwilling and inquisitive souls, namely investigators and child protective services. (That’s what spam blockers, boogiemen, and fact checkers are for.) The other answer is childish–we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. The lies in which feelings are spared are seen to have good intentions while truths that lead to depression or anger because they’re honest are seen as rude or cruel. Those who can’t master lies in certain situations–“Do I look fat in this?”, “Am I annoying?”, “Was I a mistake?”– are labeled weird, rude, and immature.
Itsuwaribito, which translates to “a person who lies”, is a manga that focuses on the good and bad of lying. Utsuho Azako first has trouble with lying. Not that he’s a bad liar, quite the contrary, but he doesn’t know how to use his deceitful skills. When his orphanage is raided by a pack of itsuwaribito, he realizes that lying can be used for good. Some people could look at Utsuho as a professional scammer, especially in today’s society, but I see him as K-20, an acrobatic Japanese version of Robin Hood. Utsuho takes from richlings, gangs, and other itsuwaribito and gives to the untouchables and wronged peasants.
Not only does this manga illustrate the difference between a good lie and a bad lie, it also shows that no matter what, lies have consequences. Maybe some truths can lead to a happy ending, such as in many of Itsuwaribito‘s scenes, or they can lead to hardships, as is the case in Utsuho’s past. I think that nowadays humans can’t accept the consequences because we don’t recognize the lies coming out of our mouths. How many times have we said, “You don’t look fat in that” when your friend does look fat; “You’re not annoying” when your best friend asks; and “Santa Claus won’t bring you presents” to kids when they won’t behave? Do we think, “Hey, that’s a lie”? No. We simply brush it off. Manga like Itsuwaribito reminds us that lies will never stop being lies, and we should accept our punishment for frequently using them.
Different kinds of lies: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lie#Honest_lie
Of course, if you’re an escape artist like me, deceit is one of your best features. The only thing you need is a good brain.