At the end of the previous episode of 49, Sachi (Yamamoto Maika) gave all of us – including Possessed Dan (Sato Shori) – a shock by basically offering herself to him. Just in case you missed it, they start with the scene at the beginning of this episode.
Well, this is exactly the sort of thing that makes Possessed Dan turn back into Real Dan, and that’s exactly what happens.
Sachi should have seen that coming.
Back at school, Satoshi (Jinguji Yuta) is doing heavy trade in his photographs. Shouldn’t this sort of thing be against the school rules, or is all fair when making money?
He even has photos of Sachi, who apparently has some secret fans (read stalkers).
I’m not sure how to read the expression on Real Dan’s face as he runs away from Sachi with some photos of her courtesy of Satoshi – he seems somewhat more cheerful than the last time we saw him.
But before we get to gauge what he’s really thinking, they cut to the opening credits, after which we turned to the host club:
That creepy guy’s still there!? Someone needs to smack/arrest him immediately! To think that I thought Kiryu Tetsuya (Kyan Yutaka) was a good guy, but when Real Dan complains that he’s feeling sick, Kiryu just tells him to bear with it for the money! How disturbing.
Interestingly, though, Real Dan is getting into it when it comes to the dancing, even though he’s a bit awkward at it. Great job by Shori-kun, who we’ve seen do this dance with 100% confidence as Possessed Dan, but now does even better work getting the dance slightly wrong.
But just as he was warming up to this aspect of how his father’s spirit has changed his life, the club scene gets a new wrinkle – a woman shows up wanting them to début as net idols. Sounds like that would make their lives quite complicated since just working at this club was supposed to be an offense that could get them expelled. Yashiro Kenta (Yasui Kentaro) seems totally in favor of it, though.
Real Dan points out the possibility of expulsion, but the rest of them insist that their costumes are good enough to conceal their identities. I have to admit, it is tough to recognize them unless you already know who they are. Still, Real Dan rejects the idea and walks out. Would Possessed Dan really have gone with the idea in spite of the danger?
Back at home, his elder sister Yuko (Nomura Masumi) encourages him to take the offer, but she’s got a vested interest in the situation – if he and his group become net idols, they’ll increase the popularity of her boyfriend’s club. Even his mother Aiko (Konno Mahiru) agrees.
But Real Dan doesn’t particularly like Kiryu Tetsuya, calling him a sketch boyfriend. Considering how Tetsuya didn’t defend him against that creepy guy, I don’t really blame Real Dan for having that impression of him. Yuko does blame him, though.
As Yuko leaves, the topic turns to the divorce papers that Possessed Dan gave Aiko. Real Dan takes a while to realize that his father must have given her the divorce papers, but rather than reflecting on his father’s feelings or motives, he just tells his mother to hurry up and file the papers so that she can be with her boyfriend.
Aiko and Yuko both get angry with Dan in this scene, but they don’t seem to think it strange that he’s the complete opposite of the way he normally is. He thinks it’s weird, though, that they seem to get upset when he voices sentiments they used to agree with.
His approach doesn’t work any better in basketball, as he earns the ire of his team because of his poor play. I say play – he actually just stands on the court unable to budge.
As least the captain of the team – Kenta – has some understanding of what’s going on with Dan and tries to defend him.
Sachi tries to defend him, too, but in a very lame way. Nothing really helps – the team is totally demoralized because of the gap between expectations and performance. Surprising to see this bunch of happy-go-lucky guys suddenly so dejected.
Once the rest of the team leaves, Kenta and Sachi can talk more freely about Dan’s situation since they both know what’s really going on.
Sachi is a bit tough when she refers to Real Dan as “this blockhead”, but the way Real Dan has been acting, we can sort of see her point.
Kenta’s an absolute ray of sunshine – he thinks that with enough practice, Real Dan can become a decent player.
Infatuated with Possessed Dan, Sachi is cold toward Real Dan, saying that such improvement is impossible for him.
As usual, Dan just storms off, just like he did from the club.
Outside, the tennis team gathers to make fun of him, with Mana (Nishino Nanase) and Shogo (Teranishi Takuto) in the lead.
As he storms off again, Mana shows some indication that she might end up being part of the solution.
But how is anyone going to help Real Dan if he doesn’t make some effort on his own part?
The next day, Mana decides to make a concerted attempt nevertheless, meeting him with her limo. In a previous episode, Possessed Dan had told her about his ‘twin’ and asked her to continue to care for him. She has made the connection and realizes that Real Dan is the twin. That’s a start.
Could it be that, just as Sachi was a great complement to Possessed Dan’s character, Mana could be the same for Real Dan?
Well, I don’t know – she seems to think he’s cute because he’s hopeless (dame), and hugs him after getting him to say so. Doesn’t seem like the right situation to help him to grow. Still, it was a tremendously amusing scene and both actors did a great job of it. I really hope we get to see some growth from Real Dan, though. As good as Shori-kun is at portraying him, the character himself continues to be tedious.
Following that, we get a rare scene that doesn’t have Dan at the center of it. This is purely between Kenta and Satoshi, and seems to be designed to flesh out Kenta’s character a bit more. Perhaps there are bigger and better things for him in future episodes.
Well, if Mana really isn’t the solution because she’s too enamored with Dan’s hopelessness, then can Sachi be a constructive force instead of just insulting him?
Back to Kenta and Satoshi, we find out that Kenta is extremely perceptive. He’s already thought of the possibility that Mana could help Real Dan out!
But it turns out that Satoshi made a mistake, and I’m going to leave the rest of what happens for your enjoyment. There’s a surprising twist coming up.
We learned more about what Real Dan is like in this episode, but he made only minor strides toward improvement, so it was frustrating to watch. It was all the more annoying because he started the episode looking like he was doing better. It’s fair for the writers to spend this episode to flesh him out a bit better, though – he spent most of his previous appearance trying to come to grips with the situation.
That said, the end of the episode left us in a place that sets Real Dan on the road to change (giving him adequate motive), so that was good. The acting from Shori-kun was superb – tremendously compelling at numerous key moments including at the club, in the scene with Mana, and at the end.
The real highlight of the episode was undoubtedly Kenta, who totally dominated this one and saved us from the gloomy Real Dan. Shori-kun’s acting might have been great, but his character was depressing to watch, while Yasui Kentaro-kun got to spend all his screen time lightening up the mood. Looks like Kenta is eager to help Real Dan out going forward, so that’s good news since it means we’ll get to see more of him.
It was a complicated episode which managed to get a lot done, but it was far from the best episode in the series. This particular part of the plot was bound to be difficult to watch, though, so I don’t think the writers or the actors could have done it any better. It had to be this way, and I just hope they don’t stretch this phase out needlessly.