After episode three of this series, I’m no longer sure what 49 is supposed to be about. I mean, yes, we know that the ghost of Kagami Dan’s dead father has decided to possess his son for 49 days, but . . . why? If it was just to deal with that cat, like he said, he doesn’t seem to be actively trying to find the cat a home. If it was to help his reclusive son, then some of the things he’s having his son do seems like it will have the opposite effect (posing in an artist studio . . . ), and he also seems to not expect any lasting benefit (for instance, he doubted that his son would continue to do well on the basketball team after the 49 days were up).

My current hypothesis is this: the series is about a middle-aged man who is able to relive his youth, and to appreciate how wonderful that time of life really is. It is about the joy of being young. So, instead of really trying to do something specific, Possessed Dan (that is, Dan possessed by his father) is just enjoying himself in a carefree way and living for the moment in a way he has been unable to do for decades. Let’s see if this hypothesis continues to be supported by this episode.

At the start, we get a bit of a surprise – Possessed Dan (Sato Shori) brings the only two people who know that he’s really Dan’s father – Inoue Satoshi (Jinguji Yuta) and Takami Sachi (Yamamoto Maika) – to the secret apartment where he kept the cat. We still don’t know why he had this secret apartment when he had a house (not to mention a wife who was feeling neglected), and while he doesn’t explain it, he denies that it was because he was having an affair.

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Sachi is the one who figures it out – it was his place for alone time.

Looks like I was wrong about them ignoring the cat subplot, by the way – Possessed Dan asks if Satoshi can take the cat, but no luck there – pets aren’t allowed where he lives.

Sachi likes the cat, but the cat bares its teeth to her – it doesn’t like anyone but Possessed Dan.

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Possessed Dan says that the cat is a lot like his wife, and he rather remarkably says that his wife turned cold after their kids were born (of course, we’ve actually seen evidence of this).

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Back at home, Possessed Dan is melancholy until Minaduki Mana (Nishino Nanase) – the popular girl Real Dan liked that he seemed to win over at the end of the previous episode – shows up at his door wanting to go to school with him.

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When they show up at school together, a stunned Sawamura Shogo (Teranishi Takuto) is nearly speechless. Possessed Dan delivers a good line here, but I think he’s being a bit too cocky if he thinks he’s really won Mana over – after all, it’s still early in the series yet. Points to Teranishi-kun for the subtle look on his face here – it wasn’t some extreme comical shock, but a more realistic stare.

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Well, with the way Mana is feeding Possessed Dan, I guess I can’t blame him for being confident. Turns out that Mana is also tsundere – switching from being cold to warm like the cat and Real Dan’s mother (Aiko). I suppose that’s why Possessed Dan knew how to break the ice with her – it wasn’t his first time.

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She says that whether she’s warm or cold will depend on him, and he agrees, which suggests that he might recognize that he was partly responsible for Aiko’s behavior.

When Mana leans in to kiss Possessed Dan, though, he breaks away. I’m not sure why he does so, though – where did he think this was going to go if he won Mana over so early in the 49 days?

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After the opening credits, the basketball team is wondering where Dan is. Sachi, who’s now the team manager (and considering her ability to read people, they couldn’t have picked anyone better), tells Yashiro Kenta (Yasui Kentaro) that Dan was at school, leading Kenta to lament that Dan is skipping out.

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Dan is apparently trying to avoid both Mana and the basketball team. I must say, Possessed Dan sure doesn’t seem good with commitments – he likes to win people over, but once he’s scored the victory, he’d rather move on to something else. It’s hardly going to help his son if Mana and all her loyal fans end up hating Real Dan because they think he stood her up. And considering the way she’s waiting for him beside her limo, I wouldn’t blame Mana for taking some revenge.

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Hilariously, Satoshi is now following Possessed Dan because he’s always been afraid of dying, but now Possessed Dan gives him peace of mind that there’s life after death. It’s one of the best, weirdest, and yet most appropriate lines I’ve heard in a drama. After all, if I had found out that the ghost of a dead man was really possessing someone I knew, I would have the same reaction, but I really didn’t think about it until now while watching the drama.

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Dan finds an interesting way to ditch Satoshi.

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At least we find out that Satoshi has a bit more sense of propriety than Possessed Dan seems to. The art girls are a bit worrisome, though.

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Actually, Possessed Dan wanted to ask about Yuko (Real Dan’s older sister who goes to the art school) and who got her pregnant.

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So far there have been a ton of funny lines in this episode, and this exchange is yet another great moment. Basically, the art school girl says that if she was Yuko’s father, she’d kill the boyfriend, but she’s willing to tell Dan because he’s just Yuko’s little brother. Possessed Dan then says “yes, I’m just her little brother” with the camera angle giving him this menacing look:

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I have to credit the director for that – genius touches like that have made this episode very funny so far.

Possessed Dan wastes no time, and immediately confronts the boyfriend, shouting “what have you done to my daughter?” And here again, we see that Possessed Dan doesn’t seem to have Real Dan in mind as he goes about doing things – being Dan is more of a convenient disguise for him.

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At least the guy immediately says “are you Yuko-chan’s little brother?”, which at least shows that he doesn’t have a whole phone book of girlfriends. Really, it sounds like he only had one, and by his account, she dumped him.

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Apparently, Yuko dumped him because he had no prospects – he’s a host without clientele. I have to say, though, being an art student isn’t exactly the path to a steady career, so I’m not sure why Yuko wasn’t more open-minded about such things. Yuko’s behavior in this series so far hasn’t exactly been endearing so far, though.

49 Ep 04 019Anyway, because the host/boyfriend was the cosigner for the rent on the host club, and the guy previously in charge just left him with the place without customers, he’s 5 million yen in debt (around $50,000).

I think the guy’s in luck – we’ve already seen that Possessed Dan is an ace in bringing in customers and charming people. Can he do it for a host club, though? For that matter, does he want to?

Credit to Shori-kun and the writers in the next scene – he totally sounded like he was Yuko’s father rather than her younger brother. Weird that the family doesn’t notice, though.

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Turns out that Yuko hasn’t told her former boyfriend, Tetsuya, about the pregnancy at all. That earns her a few more strikes in my book – I think the father of the child has a right to know, if not necessarily a right to make any decisions.

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Shori-kun is such a father in the scene where Tetsuya (Kyan Yutaka) walks in and reveals he was listening to the conversation, it was great.

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After the meeting in the house, it looks like Possessed Dan resolves to help Tetsuya out.

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Meanwhile, Possessed Dan seems to be having trouble in his first practice with the basketball team . . . because he’s been working at Tetsuya’s host club. Sachi appropriately shouts at him for this, but he swears he’s not drinking alcohol or anything.

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Kenta, though, thinks that Dan is doing something laudable. If you want to find out where this is going, you’ll have to watch the episode.

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Actually, I can’t resist. It looks something like this:

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But not only that. If you don’t watch, you’ll miss an epic scene near the end with Shori-kun and the basketball juniors (assuming you haven’t already seen all the screenshots floating around).

You’ll also miss how Possessed Dan tries to patch things up with Mana (and whether it works) . . .

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. . . and a solid scene between Dan and Sachi.

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So, what’s the verdict on my hypothesis about what this show is about? Half-right. Yes, the joy of youth thing is a component, but we also got the cat subplot again, not to mention practically every other angle. The whole conversation with Sachi was about why Dan’s father was possessing Dan, and it sounds like rather than there being just one reason, it’s actually all of them, all mixed up and sometimes contradicting. That’s . . . rather unexpectedly realistic.

This episode was a delight to watch, and might have been the best one so far. It had a ton of good humor and it felt fresh. It continued the slightly risque tendency of this series, but I’ll maintain that crossing lines is fine if done artfully and in the service of good entertainment. I can’t accuse this series of including the moments that make me queasy simply because they can’t find a way to attract an audience without that sort of thing – the rest of the episode is too entertaining. So, it seems those scenes are there in service of the story.

In terms of acting, they continued to find ways to amaze me. Shori-kun . . . I really have no idea where he got his acting chops from, but I’m already looking forward to any other dramas he might appear in. Maika-chan did great work this time as her character voiced some of the concerns the viewer might have about how Possessed Dan is acting and his motives. She struck a good balance between sounding critical and concerned while maintaining the personality of her character. Jinguji-kun and the basketball guys continued being great comic relief, with the basketball guys having a doubly tricky time of it in this episode. Kyan Yutaka-kun, who played Tetsuya, was successful in making his character simultaneously likable and a total loser, taking a very short time to pull that off.