At the end of the previous episode of 49, Sachi (Yamamoto Maika) drove Dan (Sato Shori) – the real Dan – to attempt suicide because she didn’t appreciate that he had feelings for her and would be deeply hurt by her harsh words. Real Dan isn’t very thick-skinned, and it sure showed here.
Now that he has taken this drastic step, but will undoubtedly survive it, will Sachi and Dan’s father be a bit more attentive to him rather than just assuming to know what’s best for him?
Well, it’s lucky that the rabbit . . . rabbit care facility . . . broke his fall. Let this be a lesson to all those schools that might be tempted to eliminate this unique feature of Japanese school life – the presence of the structures can have unforeseen positive side-effects.
That doesn’t mean that he’s going to come away from this unscathed, and it’s actually the Dan’s father – Possessed Dan – who feels the pain of the fracture.
Just like with his wife, Dan’s father doesn’t immediately see his own fault in the matter. He just wonders how Dan could have possibly done something like this and calls his son a fool. Let’s hope he wises up quickly or this is going to be painful to watch (though still a lot of fun, since it’ll be a test of Shori-kun already exceptional acting).
So Dan came away with a broken arm, but now that Dan’s father has once again possessed him, he starts to look into how his son actually thinks and quickly finds that Real Dan had an unhealthy fascination with suicide based on his web searches. Well, we knew that Real Dan was not a happy puppy, but right now we also know that Dan’s father’s approach is not the solution.
The assessment – except for his most recent (possessed) behavior – is rather grim. Well, not really grim – just not very good. It’s interesting that they haven’t changed their impression of Dan despite Possessed Dan’s recent antics, and I think that’s probably realistic. Changing the memory of years of behavior should take a substantial amount of time, and probably years.
As far as Dan’s mother and sister are concerned, his one positive aspect – the only thing he has going for him – is his face. Otherwise, they consider him to be completely useless.
Well, with that appraisal from those closest to him, it’s no wonder that Real Dan was depressed. And, of course, it’s a vicious feedback loop, because getting depressed makes a person less able to make positive changes in their life, and that inability then leads to further depression until . . . until they have an argument with someone like Sachi who doesn’t realize his or her words might push them over the edge.
In a very surprising turn (at least, in the context of a drama like this), both Sachi and Satoshi admit to looking at the websites, too – out of curiosity.
But Sachi and Satoshi also seem to have goals and dreams. Unfortunately, Dan’s father seems to think that he can give Dan a dream or a goal, so once again he hasn’t really appreciated that he’s already largely tried that sort of tactic and it clearly didn’t work.
I guess it’s tough to teach an old dog new tricks, and Dan’s father has a very definite way of looking at things. But what is the solution? It’s not so easy to say, and I hope the writers have something more innovative than what Dan’s father already has planned.
Minaduki Mana (Nishino Nanase) runs up to him, seeing his arm in a sling and wondering what happened. She sort of knows about his dual personality, but thinks it’s because Dan has a twin called ‘Kan’.
While she was initially drawn to Possessed Dan – who she calls Dan – she’s now much more interested in Real Dan – who she calls Kan. But she’s interested in him as a pet – someone she will have complete control over and who won’t stray to another girl.
But Mana sure has other suitors. Well, just Sawamura Shogo (Teranishi Takuto) as far as we know. And in this conversation, they break the fourth wall (acknowledging the presence of the audience).
Apparently, Shogo thinks he can get the best parts at the end of this story, but Dan taunts him. I haven’t seen much of this tactic – breaking the fourth wall – in dramas I’ve reviewed before this season, but now we’ve seen it in two concurrent series. Of course, it is very prominent in Ando Lloyd thanks to the character of Suppli. In that case, it has served to make her character unique from the start. Here . . . I don’t really understand why they’re doing it except as a little surprise and for a quick laugh. It’s not a problem, but also not as brilliant.
At the host club, the mood is a bit iffy as that woman who wants to turn them into net idols takes some footage.
But one member of the basketball team (I’m having trouble recognizing him in that costume – that’s Morita Myuto-kun playing Mochida Jun, right?) has a more particular concern on his mind. His grandfather is losing his pension betting in a Go parlor (and I slapped my head when Tetsuya – Kyan Yutaka-san – compared it to Othello)
I used to be an avid Go player, and can still probably give someone who’s only played for a week a 15 to 20 stone handicap. A top player can, in turn, give me a similar handicap and win, so I consider myself a very middle-of-the-road player. The point is, there’s a huge variation in ability among players of the game – even more so than in chess – which makes Go an easy game to get sandbagged in. That is, a player can lull a player that’s even slightly weaker into a false sense of security and superiority, and then pounce. That’s why you should never ever bet on a game.
It’s also not hard for a young person to be better at Go than someone older, and that’s the situation here – the grandfather is getting beaten by a high schooler, and refuses to back down out of pride.
Tetsuya, who we’ve already seen knows nothing about Go, proposes that they switch players in the middle of the game. But will the grandfather really agree to something like that? Maybe only if he thinks he’s going to lose, but who’d be able to save the game at that point?
As it so happens, Dan’s father used to play Go and Shogi (both!?) so . . . yeah. Interestingly, though, he’s completely unenthusiastic about the idea, but it’s unclear why.
Chicken Basket gets their performance recorded for their net début . . .
. . . and outside the club we get a little Golden Bomber moment where the group co-opts Shori-kun . . . I mean, Dan.
I have to say, I hope there’s a scene with Dan/Shori-kun performing with Golden Bomber on stage. That would be a somewhat epic moment. As it was, though, this scene was a bit of fun.
I feel sort of weird, though – we’ve had a lot of fun/humorous scenes in this episode so far, but I feel like it’s inappropriate after what happened with Real Dan in episode seven. That said, Possessed Dan seems a bit less forthright than he usually is.
At the bus stop, Possessed Dan reflects that at least Mana likes Real Dan, and perhaps that’s enough even if he doesn’t have hopes and dreams. Satoshi knows better, though – Satoshi only now tells Possessed Dan that Real Dan actually likes Sachi.
By the way, I couldn’t help but grin when Satoshi gave Dan the refund. Little touches like that make a drama a classic.
But now Possessed Dan has to focus on more serious things – how is he going to deal with this revelation about Real Dan’s feelings for Sachi?
And how is he going to help out at the Go parlor?
We also get the drama début of Haniuda Amu-kun, who plays the high schooler who’s swindling the grandfather out of his pension. It was a very smooth performance – not over the top in spite of the fact that he had to deliver some tremendously outrageous lines. He managed to create a solid (albeit evil) character within the space of a few minutes.
I was somewhat dissatisfied with this episode because, even though Dan’s father learned a few things about his son, there was inadequate movement in that area. As much as I like seeing Go feature in a drama and wanted to see how Haniuda-kun would do, the whole scene felt like a useless diversion. How did it do anything to further the plots we already have running? It really doesn’t at all.
(Edit: I must have been really tired when I wrote this – I was preparing for a flight so I was a tad distracted as well. Of course, the Go sequence did further the plot tremendously, though I can’t say how it did so without giving too much away. Sorry for not making a proper assessment of it the first time.)
So yeah, this felt like the first water-treading episode of the series, but at least we got plenty of fun moments out of it. Even though it didn’t advance the plot enough, it was still a joy to watch. I hope we get something more substantial in the next episode – there’s not that much time left in the series! (And if ever a series deserved more time . . . .)