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No matter how you looked, I'd know. Because you are who you are.
Kaga, "Suicide"

Switched is a Netflix original based on the manga Uchuu wo Kakeru Yodaka by Shiki Kawabata. Its first season aired in August 2018.

Right before going on her first date with her class's top athlete, Ayumi gets a call from the least popular kid in her class, Umine. Following this phone call, the two girls switch bodies and Umine-as-Ayumi goes on said date while Ayumi-as-Umine spends the night in the hospital. The rest of the first season follows Ayumi's attempts to get her own body back, though Umine is dead-set on keeping her popularity and new boyfriend. By the end of the first episode, though, one of Ayumi's closest friends (Kaga) figures out that the two have switched.

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The story surrounds not only Ayumi's living in Umine's body but also Umine's decision to spitefully stay in Ayumi's body.

Tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: Umine's mother physically and verbally abuses her daughter. She is shown multiple times beating Ayumi-as-Umine, and she makes fun of Umine's looks, calling her ugly. Thankfully, she realizes how badly she screwed up before it's too late.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In the manga, Umine is drawn in a simplistic style with a short and froglike appearance. In the series she is played by the rather cute Miu Tomita.
  • An Aesop: The climax of the plot centers around what Umine and Ayumi have learned while in each other's bodies.
    • Umine eventually learns that "Beauty is on the inside," as she alienates herself despite her beauty and Ayumi-as-Umine makes many friends despite her "ugliness".
    • Ayumi learns that "Kids are cruel," as she is alienated for her looks in Umine's body. However, this message is tempered by another, namely that "The world is a better place if you have at least one friend."
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  • Armor-Piercing Response: Kaga and Ayumi meet with Ukon, who tells them that Koshiro is planning to kill them both and that she got this information from the parakeet, who is really a human in a bird's body. They don't believe her until Kaga says "That's a load of crap," to which comes the response: when the parakeet says "It is not a load of crap," proving that he really is a human in a parakeet body.
  • Artistic License – Astronomy: The explanation of the red moon. The news achors and the expert all say that it's because of the "unique terrain" in the area. However, real red moons that aren't caused by a lunar eclipse are caused by significant pollution, where there's so much smoke in the atmosphere that the light bends abnormally.
  • Beautiful All Along: Ayumi-As-Zenko makes the most of her situation with Kaga's help, most notably parting her hair with a barrette gifted by the latter. Justified in that Miu Tomita, Zenko's actress, actually is quite stunning.
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  • Central Theme: How can one bear the harsh reality of the world?
  • Coming-of-Age Story: The four main characters are all teens. At the start of the story, they are all immature, naive, or selfish, but by the end of the story, they have all grown up emotionally.
  • Death Seeker: Umine eventually admits to being this when she first tried to kill herself. She outright states that she didn't care if the body switching failed so long as she wasn't living her old life.
  • Exposition Diagram: The non-diagetic variant when Koshiro explains the plan to switch Umine and Ayumi back, we are shown one of these.
  • Flashback Cut: Rather than showing previous events with a recap, the show gives quick flashbacks to significant events in-episode. This may be justified as there are many voice-overs throughout the show, viewers watching without subtitles could easily be confused as to whether the audio is being repeated or is brand new.
  • Flashback: Some scenes start out as a flashback but then continue from a different perspective, such as when Ayumi and Kaga admit to Koshiro that they trust him completely.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: An unusual Played for Drama variant, this story follows an innocent girl's attempts at switching back into her own body. Both body snatcher and victim come to learn something about each other as well as the world in the process.
  • Freudian Excuse: Repeatedly, Umine explains that ugly people are mistreated because of their looks. Eventually, we see that Umine's mother says the same thing to Ayumi-as-Umine, revealing where Umine got the idea from in the first place.
  • Good All Along: It's revealed near the end of the first season that Koshiro has been pretending to support Umine the whole time. He felt incredibly guilty and responsible for the body switching, since Umine explained that she did it to be his girlfriend, so he played along until he could enact his plan. The structure of the story, and whose perspective the audience is shown, hides this until the last minute.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • Played straight for Umine. In the first episode — titled "Suicide" in case nobody was paying attention — we are never shown Umine killing herself, even in flashbacks, despite the fact that she lives through it. Also, we never see any of the teens killing themselves.
    • Inverted for a woman Ukon switched with, as well as the original body of the bird. We are shown those suicides very clearly, and the more bloody of the two is shown multiple times.
  • Heel–Face Turn: By the final episode, two characters have a change of heart.
    • Zenko's mother realizes she's pushed her daughter into at least one suicide attempt. The ending reveals that she has started to treat her daughter with more respect and kindness.
    • Zenko also changes after Kaga, Ayumi, and Koshiro convince of that she is wrong about the kindness of others. By the time of The Stinger, she clearly is a lot happier than she once was.
  • Inner Monologue: This happens throughout the show. At first, we only hear Ayumi's inner monologues but we eventually hear Umine's private thoughts as well.
  • Keet: Kaga is a sweet and energetic guy who serves as the moral balance against Ayumi, Koshiro, and Zenko whenever any of them falter.
  • Ms. Exposition: Ukon is an "expert" on the red moon phenomenon. She keeps track of the moon's phases and how the "unique terrain" affects the phenomenon. She is the person who explains the Ayumi what has happened to her, as well as the fact that she cannot merely undo the switch by killing herself in front of Umine.
  • One-Word Title: The series and each episode are these. Every title refers to a significant event within that episode, such as Kaga's confession in "Confession" or the trap executed in "Trap."
  • Out-of-Character Alert: How does Ayumi's childhood friend deduct that Ayumi-as-Umine is right about the body switching? He talks with Umine-as-Ayumi alone, turning off the lights and closing the blinds. While the real Ayumi is terrified of the dark, Umine is not, and this is a dead giveaway to Koshiro.
  • Self-Serving Memory: A Played for Drama variant in the first episode. Umine tells Ayumi that Koshiro doesn't care if Ayumi is trapped in Umine's body because he only wanted "Ayumi's face" rather than, say, her love. Later, it's revealed that he was talking about the reverse, that he didn't care if Umine is trapped in Ayumi's body. The implication being that he does care about Ayumi. It's eventually revealed that he was lying either way, only trying to get Umine's trust in order to betray her.
  • Something Only They Would Say: A physical variant — as opposed to spoken dialogue — during the climax where the four teens confront each other. Umine's mother appears off-screen and yells her daughter's name. Ayumi-as-Umine responds to the yell, but Umine-as-Ayumi is immediately terrified and looks right at her mother, who then says "I didn't believe it until seeing your face."
  • The Stinger: After the credits of the last episode, we see the four teens meeting after school to hang out. They've clearly become friends.
  • Talking Animal: The parakeet that Ayumi finds in the first episode can do more than simply repeat what it's heard. This is because it is a human in a bird's body.
  • Verbed Title: "Switched" refers to the body switching that happens in the story, but it subltely refers to how Umine's and Ayumi's world views have changed by the end of the story.
  • We Have Been Researching Phlebotinum for Years: After Ayumi has lost hope of learning how to switch bodies from Umine, who clearly knows the secret, she is invited to meet with Ukon, the local expert on the red moon phenomenon. As it turns out, many people have switched bodies before. Ukon specifically says there have been three other cases besides Ayumi's and her own. This is how Ayumi and Kaga learn that if Ayumi kills herself in front of Umine during the red moon, she will simply die rather than switch back.
  • Weirder Than Usual: Several lines of background dialogue later in the season have characters in class saying things like "Umine is actually pretty cute" and "Ayumi has been acting really weird lately."
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