49 Days With a Merman is a Taiwanese fantasy drama about the unlikely bond between a merman and a student.

49 Days With a Merman is a Taiwanese fantasy drama. An ordinary high school student leads an uneventful life until he suddenly meets an eccentric merman. Unable to return to the sea, the merman must reside in the human world for the time being. He lives in the bathroom belonging to his new companion, as the two characters form a brotherly bond.

Regrettably, 49 Days With a Merman is not a BL series. Even though several suggestive scenes lean towards fanservice, the characters never share romantic interactions. Nonetheless, the upbeat story, charming actors, and boisterous humour bring the zany narrative to life. This lighthearted dramedy is enjoyable from a non-BL perspective.

49 Days With a Merman Summary

What is the drama called?

我家浴缸的二三事

Where was the series made?

Taiwan

When was the drama released?

2022

How long is 49 Days With a Merman?

Around 6 hours

What is the genre?

Fantasy drama

How would you describe the series?

Happy and upbeat

How many episodes are in the drama?

14 episodes

How long is each episode?

Around 25 minutes

Plot

Ren Yu lives in Long Jie's bathroom.

Long Jie is an unassuming high school student who lives with his grandfather. He comes from a humble background after his parents passed away early in his childhood. Long Jie is a wallflower at school and nobody notices him. His polar opposite is Jiang Jiang, the popular class leader. Jiang Jiang is sociable, intelligent, and hails from a wealthy family. Long Jie is perpetually in his classmate’s shadow, unable to compete for attention.

Long Jie feels unsatisfied with his life, rattled by many recent misfortunes. Amid his despair, he visits the seaside and stands on a rocky cliff. Unfortunately, he falls over and almost drowns to death. A merman comes to his rescue, saving the young man from his accident. Afterwards, Long Jie feels unsettled by the mystical creature’s extraordinary appearance and unusual powers. As he runs away in panic, the merman follows him home.

The merman discovers he cannot return to the sea after the incident. His legs won’t turn into a tail when it touches the deep waters. He blames Long Jie, holding the human responsible for his loss of power. Neither could explain why the merman can’t transform into his natural form anymore. Despite his fear and confusion, Long Jie allows the merman to live at his home for the time being. His new companion is given a name, called “Ren Yu”, a play on words that sounds similar to merman in Mandarin.

Ren Yu is uncomfortable with his new living arrangement initially. He stays in Long Jie’s cozy bathroom, demanding his human companion to make various accommodations for him. Long Jie feels troubled by his new houseguest, but he cannot find a way to get rid of Ren Yu. Reluctantly, they must live together under the same roof while concealing Ren Yu’s actual identity. Eventually, the merman even joins Long Jie at his high school, posing as a new transfer student.

Long Jie’s friends, Bi Yu and Cong Jian, are confused by Ren Yu’s appearance. Long Jie pretends Ren Yu is his cousin from Iceland, who recently moved back to Taiwan. However, the merman has a knack for getting himself into trouble. His straightforward personality and lack of social etiquette throw Long Jie’s life into chaos. Nonetheless, Long Jie and Ren Yu get used to each other’s eccentricities over time. They develop a brotherly bond and become close confidantes.

49 Days With a Merman Trailer

49 Days With a Merman Cast

Characters

Ren Yu

Bruce Hung (禾浩辰)

Ren Yu is portrayed by the Taiwanese actor Bruce Hung (禾浩辰).

Ren Yu is a merman who saves Long Jie from drowning in an accident. However, he loses his mystical powers and cannot return to the sea afterwards. Ren Yu must stay at Long Jie’s home, living in his bathroom. His name is a play on words, resembling “merman” in Mandarin. Ren Yu has a straightforward personality and struggles to adjust to the etiquette in the human world. He loves eating, especially seafood.

Long

Kent Tsai (蔡凡熙)

Long Jie is portrayed by the Taiwanese actor Kent Tsai (蔡凡熙).

Long Jie is an unassuming high school student who lives with his grandfather. His parents passed away early in his childhood. Long Jie meets Ren Yu, a merman who saves him from drowning in the sea. Reluctantly, Long Jie allows the merman to live at his home, but he often feels troubled by his new houseguest. Long Jie is best friends with Cong Jian and has a crush on his childhood buddy Bi Yu.

Supporting Cast

Bi Yu is portrayed by the Taiwanese actress Pii Liu (劉主平).

Bi Yu

Pii Liu (劉主平)

Jiang Jiang is portrayed by the Taiwanese actor Sean Chang (張碩航).

Jiang Jiang

Sean Chang (張碩航)

Cong Jian is portrayed by the Taiwanese actor Wen Ching Yu (温慶禹).

Cong Jian

Wen Ching Yu (温慶禹)

Cannon is portrayed by the Taiwanese actor Jerry Hung (洪至賢).

Cannon

Jerry Hung (洪至賢)

Mr. Tang is portrayed by the Taiwanese actor Tang Zhi Wei (湯志偉).

Mr. Tang

Tang Zhi Wei (湯志偉)

Long Jie's grandpa is portrayed by the Taiwanese actor Joseph Hsia (夏靖庭).

Long Jie’s grandpa

Joseph Hsia (夏靖庭)

Long Jie's actor is portrayed by the Taiwanese actor Austin Liu (劉晉維).

Long Jie’s dad

Austin Liu (劉晉維)

Jiang Jiang's father is portrayed by the Taiwanese actor Alex Ko (柯叔元).

Jiang Jiang’s dad

Alex Ko (柯叔元)

Cast Highlights

  • Early in his career, the actor portraying Ren Yu (Bruce Hang) appeared in the 2015 Taiwanese BL drama Happy Together. Although that series contained a prominent BL couple, Bruce portrayed a straight character.

49 Days With a Merman Review

Review

Drama Review Score: 7.5

B-
Ren Yu uses his magical powers to heal Long Jie.

49 Days With a Merman is loosely based on the Japanese manga Merman in My Tub. Earlier, I watched the anime remake, which is very different from this series. Besides having a merman as a central theme, they’re practically two separate stories. While the anime is a slice-of-life comedy, this live-action adaptation is a quirky and lighthearted fantasy drama. Comparing the two shows is like apples and oranges, but I found 49 Days With a Merman more enjoyable.

With a unique premise, 49 Days With a Merman is unlike anything I’ve watched before. I doubt there are too many stories about a merman living in a bathtub. In addition, I like the upbeat tone, boisterous humour, and energetic vibe. The episodes are packed with bubbly enthusiasm, tackling each zany plot delightfully and hilariously. Best of all, the entertaining momentum is steady and doesn’t lose much steam. 49 Days With a Merman takes me on a fun, whimsical journey with laughter, surprises, and coming-of-age drama.

The actor who plays Ren Yu (Bruce Hung) is a persuasive lead with a commanding presence and a compelling charisma. His appearance draws your attention, from the impish twinkle in his eyes to the deep dimples every time he smiles. Of course, you can’t overlook his ripped physique constantly on display. That statuesque body is like an exquisite work of art. His costar (Kent Tsai) and the rest of the cast also give spirited performances, gelling well together. Everyone brings a vibrant charm that contributes to the lively atmosphere in the series.

Unfortunately, 49 Days With a Merman is not a BL drama. The male characters never share amorous exchanges, so keep any expectations of romance to zero. The series caters to the audience with fanservice every so often. Several suggestive scenes highlight a physical rapport, filmed deliberately to stimulate homoeroticism. However, these coy teases cannot compensate for the lack of actual gay content. In a way, it misleads and frustrates the viewers by making them anticipate something that isn’t there. Stop pretending like you identify with the BL genre.

49 Days With a Merman suffers because it doesn’t have BL material. This series loses appeal without a gay romance, unable to compete with other regular heterosexual dramas in a saturated market. Although the story is amusing, I wouldn’t say the writing is impeccable. The narrative stumbles with a few sloppy subplots and tasteless jokes that don’t land. I could probably overlook these minor flaws if there’s a cute couple to keep me preoccupied. Otherwise, I’ve higher standards for anything non-BL since it takes away my time from watching *real* BL instead.

Truth be told, I went into 49 Days With a Merman knowing the BL content is minimal. I saw some pictures and wanted to watch this drama solely to ogle at hot shirtless guys. I got what I came here for, so I can’t complain. 😚 As a bonus, this drama gave me a cute story, endearing characters & excellent production values. The behind-the-scenes footage showed how much work was involved in getting that merman costume to look right. Overall, I don’t regret watching 49 Days With a Merman. I appreciate this cheerful series that made my day brighter, even without the BL.

Summary

Cheerful story

49 Days With a Merman is a fun, lighthearted fantasy drama that takes the viewers on a whimsical adventure. It’s a fun journey filled with humour, surprises, and emotional drama.

No BL romance

There is no BL content in 49 Days With a Merman. The male characters do not get involved in a romance. However, a few scenes are deliberately homoerotic, catering to the BL audience.

Energetic acting

Ren Yu’s actor (Bruce Hung) exudes magnetic charisma in this role. His costar (Kent Tsai) is also bubbly, and the energetic supporting cast contributes to the lively atmosphere of the series.

Entertaining ending

Your mileage may vary, but I enjoyed the action-packed finale with the outrageous yet entertaining drama. Once the conflict is resolved, 49 Days With a Merman ends on an emotional yet positive note.

Excellent artistry

This drama has polished production values, a project evidently handled with love and care. A lot of work has gone into making the merman costume look stunning on-screen.

75%

49 Days With a Merman is a cheerful, energetic, and delightful series that entertained me each episode. It loses some appeal without a BL romance, although I still enjoy the funny story & endearing leads.

49 Days With a Merman Series Explained

Analysis

Story

Merman’s wish
Ren Yu is saved by Long Jie's grandpa.

49 Days With a Merman has an engaging storyline. The beginning revolves around the mystery of why Ren Yu couldn’t return to the sea. A few episodes later, we discover he has a connection with Long Jie’s grandfather, who saved his life years ago. Now, Ren Yu must remain in the human world to fulfill the old man’s final wish before his death. Poignantly, the grandfather had hoped for his grandson to lead a happy, fulfilling life.

49 Days With a Merman appears to be a lighthearted comedic series on the surface. There are many funny scenes of the merman struggling to adjust to the human world. He is, literally and metaphorically, like a fish out of water. Beneath the silly antics, the drama also explores deeper themes like camaraderie, forgiveness, and the meaning of happiness. The last question is the bedrock of this series. 49 Days With a Merman asks the viewers: what does it mean to be happy?

Long Jie
Ren Yu gives Long Jie a hug.

Long Jie was introduced to us as a severely depressed young man faced with tragic circumstances. He is an orphan whose parents passed away early in his childhood. He grew up with his grandfather, the last remaining relative, who died in the first episode. Worst of all, Long Jie argued with his grandpa before his death and must cope with the guilt afterwards.

Long Jie is also very lonely. He is unpopular in school, either ignored or bullied by his other classmates. Long Jie has a best friend, Cong Jian. However, his friend is partially responsible for keeping Long Jie away from his grandpa before his sudden death. This awkward tension drives a rift in their friendship. It’s a crucial detail because Long Jie loses his support system during the lowest moment in his life. He couldn’t even lean on his best friend after his grandfather passed away.

Fortunately, Ren Yu came into Long Jie life and provided companionship. Although they didn’t get along at first, the two characters eventually warm to each other. They become like brothers, forming a close bond. Ren Yu becomes a positive influence, encouraging the depressed teenager to open up and socialize more. With Ren Yu’s help, Long Jie patches his friendship with Cong Jian. He also confesses his feelings to Bi Yu, while reconciling with the school bullies Jiang Jiang and Cannon. Thanks to Ren Yu’s guidance, Long Jie ends the series happier and more confident.

Ren Yu
Ren Yu smiles when Long Jie considers him in his birthday wish.

One of Ren Yu’s defining traits is his frank, outspoken personality. He is brutally honest, almost to his own detriment. His forthrightness creates hilarious scenarios, prompting you to giggle because he completely defies social etiquette. However, Ren Yu doesn’t view his frankness as a liability. He believes the humans around him are silly for keeping secrets, internalizing pain, and not speaking from the heart.

Ren Yu resolves many conflicts in this drama because of his openness. He helps Long Jie and Cong Jian repair their friendship after forcing the teenage boys to have a heart-to-heart. Likewise, he helps Long Jie and Bi Yu admit their budding feelings for each other. Surprisingly, Jiang Jiang is another character that benefited from Ren Yu’s truthfulness. Jiang Jiang lived with the guilt of his hit-and-run until the merman forced him to confront his trauma. “You’re actually a good person,” Ren Yu reassures him in Episode 11, a vital exchange that prompts Jiang Jiang’s character redemption.

The common theme is that all the characters feel happier after becoming more honest with themselves. They were anxious over their shameful secrets or repressed emotions until Ren Yu freed them from their burdens. 49 Days With a Merman uses Ren Yu’s character to convey a meaningful message. The drama suggests that honesty is one of the keys to happiness. Maybe we could all lead content lives by showing sincerity, admitting faults, and being more truthful with our insecurities.

Forgiveness
Long Jie confronts his best friend Cong Jian.

Another prevalent theme in 49 Days With a Merman is the power of forgiveness. You may have noticed the characters are quick to forgive each other over minor and significant misdeeds. There are various instances of Bi Yu getting angry after Long Jie has said or done something to upset her. Nonetheless, she always lets go of her grudge and they make amends.

Other examples include:

  • Long Jie forgives Cong Jian for causing him to miss his dying grandfather’s final moment over a video game. Long Jie accepts Cong Jian’s odd yet sincere apology as they become friends again.
  • Cong Jian slashed Cannon’s bike tires, causing the school bully to become hospitalized. Cannon had every right to feel outraged and press charges. Upon discovering the truth, he laughs it off, accepts the apology, and continues being friends with Cong Jian.
  • Long Jie forgives Jiang Jiang for the hit-and-run accident. Long Jie “got even” by pulling down Jiang Jiang’s speedos. Admittedly, stripping someone’s swimsuit isn’t an appropriate response. Nonetheless, it’s a relatively light consequence after almost getting killed by a car.

Typically, these extreme situations might lead to intense conflicts and ongoing melodrama in another series. Yet, the characters respond mercifully, brushing away the wrongdoings like water off a duck’s back. Instead of holding angry grudges or stewing in their hatred, they learn to let go and look on the positive side. 49 Days With a Merman suggests that tolerance is another key to happiness in life. We all make mistakes, so don’t be too harsh towards other people when they err. Learning to forgive could free you from your negativity.

Romance

Ren Yu and Long Jie
Ren Yu and Long Jie share a homoerotic moment.

There is no BL content in 49 Days With a Merman. However, the series teases plenty of homoeroticism by deliberately putting the male characters in compromising positions. There are various shots of Ren Yu mounting Long Jie or initiating close physical contact. They come close to kissing on occasions, but nothing happens in the end. 

These sensual moments are definitely intentional, like fanservice for the BL enthusiasts watching this show. Otherwise, the director wouldn’t have filmed the scenes with so much physical intimacy. It’s a double-edged sword. While the encounters are visually titillating, they create anticipation of a BL romance that will never happen. 49 Days With a Merman teases us about the close bond between Long Jie and Ren Yu, but it won’t take the plunge into an actual attraction. Some may call this gaybaiting.

With that said, I wasn’t shipping Long Jie and Ren Yu together anyway. I dunno, I wasn’t really feeling this couple. The characters had a decent rapport, but I thought they were better off as friends. A part of me suspected that Ren Yu might have developed romantic feelings for Long Jie. However, I don’t care enough about this ship to investigate further. Despite all the suggestive teases, I was nonchalant about the pairing and didn’t mind that their relationship remained platonic.

Long Jie and Bi Yu
Long Jie and Bi Yu become intimate on his birthday.

Welp, I shipped the BG couple more than the implicit BL pairing. It’s rare but not impossible for BL Watcher to champion the straight characters to hook up. In this case, I really liked Long Jie’s interactions with Bi Yu and thought they were adorable together. They were two childhood sweethearts with a believable teenage crush. Their circumstances worked for me.

The birthday episode solidified my support for the Long Jie and Bi Yu relationship. I gushed at their interactions with the birthday present, and Long Jie was so cute putting on the hair gel. 😚 Later, when Long Jie confessed his feelings to Bi Yu in the middle of the night, I was smiling from ear to ear. Ugh, look at what 49 Days With a Merman made me do, fawning over a heterosexual love story. It feels wrong! Let’s stop talking about this couple now before BL Watcher loses any more credibility.

Ren Yu and Jiang Jiang
Ren Yu and Jiang Jiang become friends.

Was it just me, or did anyone ship Ren Yu and Jiang Jiang together? I don’t care if I’m the sole passenger on this crack ship, but I was besotted with them. I felt intrigued by the blurred lines between their unlikely friendship and their ongoing tension. It’s funny because Long Jie and Ren Yu did nothing for me, whereas Jiang Jiang and Ren Yu ignited my imagination. Before I knew it, I was rooting for these two antagonistic foes to share an underwater smooch.🧜🏻

To be honest, it felt like 49 Days With a Merman teased the possibility of a Ren Yu and Jiang Jiang pairing. There were definitely a few exchanges where the characters get touchy-feely or lean into each other too closely. Or maybe this drama is so deprived of BL content that I started hallucinating nonexistent romantic passion. Do you know how some people in deserts might see mirages when they get desperate enough? That describes how I am with non-BL dramas. *lol* 

49 Days With a Merman Episodes

Episode Guide

49 Days With a Merman has a total of 14 episodes. Each episode is around 24 to 26 minutes long. It is a long BL drama, and you can finish the entire series in around 6 hours. 49 Days With a Merman first aired on February 6, 2022 and ended on March 13, 2022.

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7
Episode 8
Episode 9
Episode 10
Episode 11
Episode 12
Episode 13
Episode 14

Ending

Happy ending

Ren Yu and Long Jie separate in the 49 Days With a Merman ending.

Ultimately, 49 Days With a Merman has a happy ending after resolving the intense drama. The action-packed finale begins with the heated showdown between the students and the bad guys. Mr. Tang and Jiang Jiang’s dad have captured Ren Yu, hoping to monetize the merman with scientific examinations. Long Jie and his friends try to stop them in the middle of the night. A hilarious fight ensues, but the villains outmatch the teenagers and defeat them handily.

Long Jie uses his telepathic powers to communicate with Ren Yu. He gives the merman encouragement, inspiring Ren Yu to break out of his captivity. As they escape, Long Jie is shot with a tranquillizer dart. The other students distract the bad guys, allowing the leads to break away from the group successfully. However, the tranquillizer takes its effect. Long Jie has a long, laborious journey as he struggles to transport Ren Yu to the sea.

Long Jie prevails and arrives at the beach, but Ren Yu doesn’t go to the sea. Instead, he uses his remaining powers to heal Long Jie’s injuries. Long Jie resists, believing this will end the merman’s life. Nonetheless, Ren Yu proceeds with the healing. The episode transitions to the future, where Long Jie enjoys an ordinary happy life with his friends. We discover Ren Yu is actually okay. Since Long Jie saved Ren Yu’s life earlier, he gets a magical wish. Long Jie uses his wish to restore Ren Yu. The series ends with Long Jie watching the seaside as Ren Yu swims freely into the ocean.

49 Days With a Merman Anime

Anime

Merman in My Tub 2014 anime series Anime review

Merman in My Tub is the anime remake of 49 Days with a Merman.

49 Days With a Merman is based on a Japanese manga, adapted into an anime in 2014. The Merman in My Tub anime is a one-hour slice-of-life comedy series with twelve short episodes, around 3 to 4 minutes each. It’s very different from this live-action adaptation. The characters and the merman theme have some similarities. Otherwise, they’re almost like two separate stories.

I enjoyed the Merman in My Tub anime, which entertained me with the goofy characters and over-the-top scenarios. However, it’s a little frivolous after the novelty wore off. It also does not have a BL romance, a disappointing quality that it shares in all the versions. Since the two remakes are very different, I hesitate to compare them. However, I prefer 49 Days With a Merman more due to the cohesive and substantial plot.

49 Days With a Merman Behind the Scenes

49 Days With a Merman Information

Links

  1. It felt more like a bromance not really a boys “love” drama. The final scene has long Jie in the bath and he has a merman tail–so I wondered if there will be a season 2. I enjoyed this series.

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