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Series / 49 Days

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From left to right: Yi Kyung, Han Kang, In Jung, Min Ho, the Scheduler Yi Soo, and Ji Hyun
49 Days is a 2011 South Korean Drama totaling 20 episodes.

Bright, bubbly Shin Ji Hyun is the girl who has everything - wealthy, adoring parents, a devoted fiance (Kang Min Ho), and a long-time best friend (Shin In Jung). On the other side of town, Song Yi Kyung, who once had loved ones and a job at a high-end hotel, is now alone, working at a convenience store, and finding increasingly little to live for.

An unsuccessful suicide attempt by Yi Kyung leads to Ji Hyun's death shortly before her wedding, but as Ji Hyun was not fated to die that day, the Scheduler (a reaper) gives Ji Hyun a chance to earn back her life.

He gives Ji Hyun permission to take over Yi Kyung's body while she's sleeping. She has 49 days to find three people unrelated by blood who have truly loved her and will cry sincere tears of grief for her. As she sets out to find these people, Ji Hyun discovers that her perfect life may not have been so perfect after all. As the 49 days pass, the lives of Ji Hyun and Yi Kyung collide and just may be the salvation of them both, as they discover the difference between true and false love and begin to come alive again, each in her own way.


The series contains examples of:

  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Literally, since the souls ride a cosmic elevator into the next life.
  • Altar the Speed: Ji Hyun's father pushes Min Ho and Ji Hyun to push forward their wedding due to his financial troubles, and they agree to do so only for Ji Hyun to get into the accident.
  • Back from the Dead: Yi Soo comes back for one day. Ji Hyun comes back also, but she wasn't 'technically' dead.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The first episode starts of with Han Kang being nervous about Ji Hyun's upcoming engagement party, as if he is Ji Hyun's fiance.
  • Batman Gambit: Min Ho and In Jung both carefully planned taking over the Shin family's property and land through deliberately putting Ji Hyun in danger and manipulating her into thinking Min Ho saved her.
  • Big Eater: Ji Hyun, whose stomach is constantly growling
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  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: In Jung, who set up the hostile takeover two years before the beginning of the arc, using her boyfriend as bait.
  • Bittersweet Ending. Yes, Ji Hyun and Yi Soo are both dead, but both Ji Hyun's father and his company have been saved, Yi Kyung has finally regained her will to live and found her family, and Min Ho and In Jung have repented for their crimes.
  • Blatant Lies: Ji Hyun (in Yi Kyung's body) pretending not to be Ji Hyun
  • Body and Host
  • The Cameo: Kim Hyung Bum as another 49 day-er, trying to get his tears
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: The rules and regulations for the 49-Day Traveler are pretty convoluted.
  • Chalk Outline: Shown in flashback. It's Song Yi Soo after his fatal accident, and the last thing Yi Kyung thinks about before throwing herself in front of the truck.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Yi Soo/Yi Kyung. Ji Hyun/Kang.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Tears that have been shed evaporate with a colorful poof based on the feelings behind them, with those of pure love evaporating into a white mist.
  • Completely Different Title: The original Korean title is 49 Il, which is literally 49 Days in English. When free TV network ABS-CBN showed the Filipino dub of the drama two months after it ended its original run, it was titled Pure Love perhaps to avoid confusion—a homegrown Supernatural Soap Opera, 100 Days to Heaven, already started its run two months earlier. (Both ran during weekday evenings in the Prime Time block, the former being shown three hours later.)
    • However, this causes a problem of Name's the Same when the Filipino Foreign Remake aired on TFC (ABS-CBN's international channel), the listings on DirecTV incorrectly mark the show's language as "Chinese", because there was a Chinese show with the same English name.
  • Convenient Coma: For both Ji Hyun and her dad President Shin Il Suk.
  • Converse with the Unconscious: Song Yi Kyung, when she begins hearing Ji Hyun towards the end of the time limit.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Min Ho, who 'legally' attempts to wrestle control of Ji Hyun's property and her father's company
  • Daddy's Girl: Ji Hyun
  • Dead Person Conversation
  • Deader Than Dead: Both Yi Soo and Ji Hyun who flirt with the afterlife before dying for real.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Tall, Dark, and Snarky Scheduler has many moments of this, especially when it comes to Ji Hyun.
  • Death Amnesia: If Ji Hyun comes back from her coma, she won't remember any of the events since her accident.
  • Death's Hourglass: Or in this case, Death's Countdown Cellphone.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: For all three main couples.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Han Kang
  • Don't Fear the Reaper: The Scheduler
  • Double Speak: The Scheduler refers to an individual's deaths as 'appointments.'
  • Driven to Suicide: Yi Kyung, who attempts suicide twice. Both times, she's stopped by Dr. Noh.
    • It is implied that she frequently attempts suicide due to extreme loneliness.
  • Everyone Is Related: In the best karmic fashion.
  • Fetch Quest: Ji Hyun must find three people to cry genuine tears of grief for her. They are to be collected in a teardrop-shaped glass necklace.
  • Foreign Remake: Like some Korean dramas, A Filipino one, even using the Dub's title. Also has a Name's the Same problem (See Completely Different Title above).
  • Grand Theft Me: In order to earn her three tears, Ji Hyun is given the opportunity to possess Yi Kyung's body over the course of 49 days whenever Yi Kyung is sleeping. However, Ji Hyun only possesses Yi Kyung's body because her own is obviously incapacited and because Yi Kyung indirectly caused the accident that put Ji Hyun in a coma.
  • Genki Girl: Ji Hyun
  • Ghost Amnesia: The Scheduler until he partially regains his memories and finds out he is Song Yi Soo.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: In Jung's main motivation for her plots.
  • Grim Reaper: Don't call The Scheduler this. He doesn't like it. Really.
  • Her Heart Will Go On
  • Hidden Depths: Ji Hyun learns there's more to everyone around her than meets the eye:
    • Her fiance Min Ho and her best friend In Jung have been seeing each other. Longer than Ji Hyun has even known Min Ho, seeing as the two staged their first meeting as part of a scheme to take over her father's company.
    • Her Unlucky Childhood Friend Kang is a truly Jerk with a Heart of Gold even though he consistently acted like a complete Jerkass to Ji Hyun before the accident.
  • Hikikomori: Yi Kyung only goes outside her house when she has to work her graveyard shift at a convenience store; otherwise, she sleeps the whole day. That is, until Ji Hyun's possession causes her to get fired. Ji Hyun loses a few of her precious 49 days because she could not get the opportunity to take over Yi Kyung's body—due to her not going outside at all until the Scheduler could find a way to get her a nighttime job.
  • I Know You Know I Know: Ji Hyun in Yi Kyung's body does this often - with Min Ho, In Jung and Kang.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Han Kang stepped back when Ji Hyun decided to marry Min Ho.
  • Identity Amnesia: The Scheduler can't remember his past life — only that there was something important he needed to do.
  • Important Haircut: Ji Hyun gets an image change after she successfully prevents Min Ho from registering their marriage.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Yi Kyung is described by Ji Hyun to be very "tall" and "attractive."
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: It's stated that if a person successfully earns their three tears in the alloted 49 days, when they return to their body they will not retain any of their memories regarding those 49 days in order to uphold The Masquerade.
  • Libation for the Dead: On his mother's deathday, Han Kang poured a glass of her favorite red wine and placed it on the piano where she used to perform.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Yi Kyung and Ji Hyun are sisters
  • Love Triangle: More complicated than usual, thanks to spiritual possession. We have: Ji Hyun/Han Kang/Min Ho, Ji Hyun-in-Yi Kyung's-Body/Han Kang/Min Ho, Min Ho/Ji Hyun/ In Jung, Min Ho/Ji Hyun-in-Yi Kyung's-Body/ In Jung and Han Kang/Ji Hyun/Seo Woo.
  • Manly Tears: Thanks to Han Kang, Ji Hyun gets her first teardrop.
  • Mistaken for an Imposter: Kang confronts Ji Hyun-in-Yi Kyung's-Body to ask why she "feels like Ji Hyun."
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Yi Soo
  • Mr. Fanservice: All three male leads.
  • Neck Snap: One of The Scheduler's 'appointments' is a young woman who breaks her neck slipping at a pool.
  • Never Got To Say Good Bye: Yi Soo dies right before planning to reconcile and propose to Yi Kyung. He does get permission from the higher-ups later on to finally tell her, though.
  • Nosebleed: A nosebleed in this arc is a sign of overworking. It happens in a flashback, when Yi Soo was working two jobs to make enough money for an engagement ring.
  • The Nothing After Death: Ji Hyun experiences this.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. Ji Hyun and In Jung have the same last name, Shin. Ends up being a Plot Point later on.
  • Pair the Spares: Ki Joon and Seo Woo start dating while it's implied Dr. Noh is going out with Soon Jung.
  • Parental Abandonment: Yi Kyung was left at an orphanage when she was young.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Yi Kyung and Han Kang, in the ending.
  • Pool Scene: The Scheduler doing laps at the local community pool. He's working. Really.
  • Relative Error: Inverted. Ji Hyun first believes Yi Soo to be Yi Kyung's brother, especially since they share the same surname. It turns out that when they met in an orphanage as children, Yi Soo gave Yi Kyung both his surname and the first part of his given name since she didn't know her own.
  • The Reveal: The Scheduler is really Yi Kyung's boyfriend Yi Soo who got into an accident five years before the show picks up. He's currently working time off as a Scheduler in order for a chance to "finish something important" but that he can't remember.
    • Yi Kyung is Ji Hyun's older sister who was kidnapped as a child which is why her tear didn't count towards Ji Hyun's three.
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor: Although not technically a mentor, the Scheduler is responsible for monitoring Ji Hyun's actions. His decisions to leave her to Die or Fly is justified by what he can do for her is pretty much limited by the rules set by his superiors and he's not allowed to influence any human affairs.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Yi Kyung/Yi Soo.
  • Sunbae Hoobae: The Scheduler sometimes turns to a senior Scheduler for advice about Ji Hyun's case, and in episode 9 she even shows up to punish him for interfering in human affairs.
  • Swiss Army Tears: Rather than the actual tears themselves, the pure feelings behind tears shed for Ji Hyun are what will allow her to come back to life.
  • Teleport Spam: The Scheduler likes doing this a lot. Lampshaded when Ji Hyun asks him why he even needs a motorbike when he could just teleport.
  • Tsundere: Kang who attempted to hide his feelings for Ji Hyun by pretending to be a jerk out of consideration for both her and his friend Min Ho. When Ji Hyun shows up in Yi Kyung's body, he spends half his time blowing up at her and the other half uncharacteristically letting her do whatever she wants.
  • Title Drop: Ji Hyun is told she has 49 days to earn her three tears, although she doesn't actually get to use all 49.
  • Together in Death: Averted. Both Yi Soo and Ji Hyun urge their loves, Yi Kyung and Kang respectively, to live on.
  • Unfinished Business: The Scheduler agreed to carry out missions as the Grim Reaper because this will give him a chance to resolve whatever he had left unfinished in his previous life.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Kang grew to love Ji Hyun after she defended him in high school and made every effort to become his friend. He eventually had to go overseas for university, but fully intended to come find her and confess his feelings once he was back in South Korea. Unfortunately, Min Ho beat him to it. And even when she comes to reciprocate his feelings, she dies.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: A strange case between Min Ho and Yi Kyung. Since Ji Hyun was in possession of Yi Kyung's body and acted friendly prior to discovering Min Ho's Hidden Depths, she came off as being attracted to Min Ho while he's already dating In Jung. Ironically, when Ji Hyun realizes what a Manipulative Bastard he's been all along, she openly gives him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech and he falls in love with her.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Ji Hyun thinks she and the Scheduler are friends, he does not.
  • When Elders Attack: The Scheduler gets smacked around a little for helping out Ji Hyun more than he should by a senior Scheduler. This senior Scheduler happened to be an actual senior citizen.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Ji Hyun's fiance Min Ho and her best friend In Jung have been together longer than Ji Hyun herself has been with Min Ho. They continue to meet up behind her back until she witnesses them together. Drving away in confusion, Ji Hyun has her accident.
    • Yi Kyung accused Yi Soo of this prior to his accident.

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