By Sneha Jaiswal (Twitter | Instagram)

What an underrated show! Body-swap stories don’t interest me too much, but the 2022 Japanese series ‘Kamisama no Ekohiiki’, also known as ‘God’s Favor’/’Favoritism of the Gods’ turned out to be a comforting show to watch over the weekend. It’s one of those rare series with multiple leads, where all four protagonists are likable in their own ways. Directed by Matsumoto Yusaku, the show is spread over eight episodes, each about 40 minutes long.

Plot overview: In order to muster courage to confess his love for his childhood best-friend, high-school student Yashiro visits an ancient shrine for 100 days. When he finally confesses, Kenta gently turns him down. A heartbroken Yashiro begins to walk away, when a truck hits and kills him. In a bigger twist, the God of the Shrine he had been visiting, grants the dead Yashiro a wish – to go back in a girl’s body to win over his love.

Adapted from a manga, ‘Kamisama no Ekohiiki’ has exaggerated and fantasy elements – the Shrine’s God called Kamisama (Furukawa Yuki) makes several appearances and has a talking dog for a sidekick. However, despite the body-swapping and talking God sub-plot, the show has some very relatable characters, whose personalities are deeply rooted in the realities around them. Actors Fujiwara Taiyu and Sakurada Hiyori play the leads Yashiro and Kagura, and both of them convincingly switch personalities when the body swap occurs.

Instead of being just another comedic body-swap show, ‘Kamisama no Ekohiiki’ makes its young leads introspect their lives, feelings and friendships. The writers look at love beyond the lens of gender and show it through their characters, who ponder upon the question – do you love someone for their mind or their body, and can the two be separated? When Yashiro comes back to school as Kagura, he realizes it’s not going to be easy to make Kenta (Kubozuka Airu) fall in love just because he is a pretty petite girl now. To make things complicated, Kenta’s ex-girlfriend Torii (Arai Myra) develops more than platonic affection for Kagura aka Yashiro. Within a few days of being in a different body, Yashiro regrets it, realizing the importance of his life as it was.

Unlike school romances, the characters communicate with each other and are honest about what’s on their mind. The friendships in this show is the most precious thing about it. Yashiro is easily the most likable of all – he is kind, empathetic, sincere and level-headed. Kubozuka as Kenta comes across as a typical popular teenager who chases skirts, but his character grows into a mature, reliable and considerate adult.

The only complaint – the makers could’ve done some better costuming for Kamisama, the God, the actor looks like a cosplayer out of comic-con. But perhaps it was a deliberate attempt at comedy. The climactic episode was surprisingly poignant, emotional and yet wrapped in a ‘happy ending’. Watch this show if you are looking for a simple, sweet coming-of-age series.

It’s a 8/10 from me.

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