When we think of fictional characters swapping places on television, it’s usually comedy, right? We learned that this isn’t all the time. Netflix greenlit the production of Switched based off the manga series Sora wo Kakeru Yodaka by Shiki Kawabata. It hit the streaming service earlier this month and we dived in to check out all six episodes. We got heavily invested throughout the course of the show.
Switched focuses on four main characters:
- Ayumi (Kaya Kiyohara), the popular girl everyone loves in school who seems to be living the perfect life.
- Koshiro (Tomohiro Kamiyama), Ayumi’s love interest. In the first few minutes, Koshiro confesses his feelings to her at school. With both feeling the same way, they commit themselves to one another as boyfriend and girlfriend.
- Zenko Umine (Miu Tomita) is Ayumi’s classmate and the girl behind the body snatching. As Ayumi is heading to her first official date with Koshiro during the day of the Red Moon, she receives a call from Umine, who lets her know she’s going to commit suicide right in front of Ayumi.
- Kaga (Daika Shigeoka) is Koshiro’s best friend and a boy who’s also in love with Ayumi. Once the two girls switch bodies, it’s him who realizes the truth.
Throughout the course of the season, we dive into twists and turns of the character Umine. It’s clear to see why she wanted to switch in the first place. After her father left her at a young age, she began being abused by her mother, mocked by everyone at school, and convinced she’ll always be perceived as “ugly.” On the other hand, Ayumi has everything Umine could possibly dream of: a happy family, friends that love her, and most importantly, Koshiro.
Once Kaga realizes what has occurred, he works hard to brighten each day all while confessing he loves her so he’d do anything for her. Just knowing that one person believes her, Ayumi was at least beginning to see the light amid the darkness. She slowly starts to accept watching her past-life dwindle away as her own family and Koshiro won’t believe her. Until… PLOT TWIST!
Koshiro is hiding it all along of never wanting to be with Ayumi anymore. This whole time he works behind-the-scenes to learn how to switch Ayumi and Umine back to their original bodies.
Overall, the show sends a strong message of realizing you can take over any body you want but it’s the personality that makes the person. Even though Umine takes over Ayumi’s actual body, she’s ultimately not happy with what she has. On the other end of the spectrum, Ayumi makes the best of what she can in Umine’s body and this results in growing friendships and being noticed in a brighter light. And even though Ayumi is in Umine’s body for much of the series, Kaga is able to see right through it all based on knowing Ayumi’s personality so well and what kind of person she is.
The suicide aspect could’ve been treated more sensitively. I’ve personally never read the comics but the premise of body switching during a red moon and needing to commit suicide is a bit uncomfortable. The actual showing of jumping off the building, albeit staged, ws something I wasn’t expecting to see. It gets to a point at the end of the series where, while I understood why they needed to keep jumping off the building, it’s overdone.
I’m not quite sure if this series would call for a season two since the whole show is easily packaged into one six-episode mini-series. Either way, Switched is a good, quick binge-watch before you head out back to school. It’ll make you rethink how you treat the ones around you.
Also, pro-tip: stay away from Red Moons.
Did you watch Switched? What’d you think about it? Let us know in the comments below.