1 Days Left to Support a Troper-Created Project : Personal Space (discuss)

Perspective Reversal

"Do you have the odd sensation that the universe has flipped poles, or something?"
Nick commenting on an example of this, General Protection Fault

Earlier in a story, opinion/assumption X is associated with Alice, and opinion/assumption Y is associated with Bob. Later in the story, Y is associated with Alice and X is associated with Bob instead.

Note that "perspective" is not literally a physical perspective but is used to refer to either opinions or assumptions; this can apply to either.

May in some cases result in an Ironic Echo. See also Hourglass Plot. Not to be confused with Perspective Flip.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Phoenix: Karma, the artisan Akanemaru first meets Gao as a fugitive and offers him his fire; Gao, disfigured from birth, rewards Akanemaru for his kindness by maiming him out of spite. By the end of the story, Gao has redeemed himself and become a master artisan in his own right, while Akanemaru has let his success get to his head and become a cold, heartless bastard: when Gao bests him in a competition, Akanemaru reveals Gao's sordid past, resulting in him losing his one good arm.
  • In Yu GI Oh Arc V For the first two seasons, everyone tries to get Shun Kurosaki to become a team player and work with the Lancers. After Character Development allowing Shun to Take A Level In Kindness, he tries to do this for Kaito, who became far worse than he was.

    Film — Animated 
  • Bolt involves, earlier on, Bolt believing that Penny's love for him was sincere, and Mittens believing that it wasn't. Later in the movie, Bolt sees Penny hugging another dog, assuming himself to have been replaced, and walking away before Penny can even see him... then Mittens sees Penny sobbing at the real Bolt not being there, and figures she was wrong about Penny. After this point, it's Mittens who thinks Penny's love for Bolt is sincere, and Bolt believing that it wasn't.
  • Toy Story 3 involves, earlier on, Woody and Buzz trying to encourage the rest of the toys to get ready to go into the attic. Towards the end of the movie, Woody is more skeptical of the attic idea, while the rest of the toys are more open to it; though Buzz's attitude seems relatively unchanged. Of course, as things turn out, none of them end up in the attic anyway.

    Film — Live Action 
  • The 1991 film He Said, She Said, starts with two people having contrasting opinions about whether or not to expand a certain roadway. At the end, they both correct themselves, switching to the other person's opinion.
  • In the 2009 film (500) Days of Summer, Tom is hopelessly romantic, while Summer does not believe in love. By the end of the movie, their dispositions toward love are inverted.
  • In the Spanish movie Anacleto: Agente Secreto, Adolfo is a man with no ambition beyond spending the weekend in the sofa while watching a movie, and his girlfriend Katia dumps him because she want to have adventures, and is planning to go to India. By the end of the movie, after such an adventure, Adolfo is all fired up about becoming a spy like his father, but Katia says she just wants to spend the weekend watching movies from the sofa... and dumps him again.

  • The premise of the book Flipped.
  • In the book The Pig, The Prince, And The Unicorn, when Quadroped (the titular Pig) meets Goriel, The Dragon of the piece, who doesn't kill Quadroped, but instead shows him that the assumed-till-then Black and White Morality is more Grey and Gray Morality.

    Live Action TV 
  • In Star Trek: The Original Series, the Klingons were conniving, sneaky infiltrators and Chessmasters while the Romulans were honour-obsessed Proud Warrior Race Blood Knights. In Star Trek: The Next Generation and all other Star Trek, including Star Trek: Enterprise which is set before the original series, the two cultures' outlooks and personalities are exactly reversed, with no internal explanation.
  • One episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia revolves around the gang trying to fix the gun problem. Dennis and Dee think that guns should be more regulated, while Mac and Charlie believe the only way to fight bad guys with guns is with more guns. By episode's end, Dennis and Dee want more guns on the streets and Mac and Charlie think they should be banned. They lament that they hadn't gotten together halfway through, because they could have worked together.
  • During the run of Roseanne, the characterizations of Becky and Darlene almost completely reversed through the course of the seasons. Early on, Becky was a high-achieving straight "A" student whereas it was considered a major accomplishment if Darlene could keep a "C" average and once used the excuse that the reason she skipped one class was because her friend forgot to wake her up after another class. However, as the girls got older, Darlene entered college and became a very successful student and creative writer whereas Becky completely dropped out of school to get married and ended up living in a trailer.

  • The titular character from Lady Windermere's Fan thinks Mrs Erlynne is a wicked woman; her husband, however, thinks there is good in her, allows her to blackmail him because he thinks she deserves another chance, and has her at the house as a guest against his wife's wishes. Mrs Erlynne's act of saving Lady Windermere from disgrace at the cost of her own second chance in society reverses the situation: Lady Windermere is deeply grateful to her, and is forced to dispense with her previous black-and-white worldview; her husband, having witnessed Mrs Erlynne disgracing herself in a gentleman's chambers after all he's done for her, considers her beyond the Moral Event Horizon. He comes around, though.

    Video Games 
  • In Pokémon Black and White, Cheren is concerned with To Be a Master, analyzing every opponent he meets to give him an advantage, while Bianca is somewhat aimless and clumsy in her battles, becoming a Trainer largely to try to figure out what to do with her life. By the end of the game, Cheren has reached a roadblock and is questioning if he even has the personality to be a champion, while Bianca comes to terms with her father, who didn't want her going into the dangerous world on her own, and has decided her path for her future, assisting Professor Juniper in the lab.
  • It's subtle, but this a major theme in Final Fantasy X and its sequel, Final Fantasy X-2. In the first game, Tidus (the protagonist) is a selfish, wangsty teen who is more concerned with returning home than the imminent destruction of Spira. It isn't until he learns that his Love Interest (Yuna) will have to sacrifice herself to defeat Sin that he starts to undergo Character Development and refuses to let Yuna sacrifice herself to save the world. There's a conversation roughly a third of the way through the game which highlights their different philosophies, in which Tidus questions whether sacrificing your life, even when the Big Bad is sure to come back is worth it and Yuna disagrees and says she feels any sacrifice is worth bringing just a little happiness to the world. In the end, Tidus has to make a Heroic Sacrifice himself in order to destroy Sin and break the Vicious Cycle, devastating Yuna, who had been prepared to sacrifice herself, but not her loved ones. Then, in the sequel, Yuna is a Heartbroken Badass Action Girl whose perspectives on sacrifice have completely changed. When another character offers to sacrifice himself in order to defeat the new Big Bad, Yuna shoots his plan down immediately, stating how much she's grown to hate having to "lose in order to win". To make this juxtaposition even more poignant, Yuna's outfit throughout the second game is a direct homage to her dead love.
  • The Alliance in World of Warcraft has hotheaded King Varian Wrynn and pacifist Lady Jaina Proudmoore. Varian has had a troubled history with the Horde and along with Warchief Garrosh Hellscream are the main reasons why the two are at war now; while Jaina is leader of Theramore, and worked with then Warchief Thrall to fight against the Burning Legion in Warcraft III. As of Mists of Pandaria, Varian has grown into a Reasonable Authority Figure and no longer views the whole Horde as evil, just specific elements like Hellscream. Meanwhile Jaina saw Theramore destroyed by a Horde attack, and needed to be talked down before she tried to destroy Orgrimmar; then she was made leader of the neutral city of Dalaran, believing that it remained a beacon of hope for mending Alliance/Horde relations, until the Horde used it as a jumping point to invade Darnassus, which has broken her faith completely.
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown put the player in charge of a globally-supported XCOM, backed and funded by a coalition of nations across the world, fighting against a secretive and subversive alien threat. The 2016 sequel, XCOM 2, is set in an Alternate Timeline where all human resistance including XCOM was annihilated by the invading aliens, who consequently put the earth under Advent, a sinister pro-alien government - XCOM lives on as an underground movement painted as traitors and terrorists by Advent propaganda, and leading the fightback. This extends to gameplay - in the original, your troops had to seek out and destroy alien forces hidden on the map, whereas in the sequel, it's your XCOM troops who are hidden and the aliens enemies are the ones standing in plain sight, just begging to be ambushed.

    Web Comics 
  • There's an Arthur, King of Time and Space space-arc strip that starts with Lancelot claiming that God made the universe to be perfect as it is, and Guenevere countering that change is good, because it's how things progress. Arthur tells Merlin he wishes they could see things from each others' perspective. The next panel has Lancelot saying that if a certain species is dying it's God's will, and Guenevere responding that on the contrary, things have to be preserved.
  • In General Protection Fault, Nick starts a Wide-Eyed Idealist who is also prone to trusting people he shouldn't, like he does with Trudy. By contrast, Ki is far more hesitant to trust people and dislikes and distrusts Trudy from the beginning. After Trudy's plans are thwarted in the Surreptitious Machinations arc, Nick feels guilty about having been blind to Trudy's nature, while Ki admits that there is some good in Trudy, since she couldn't bring herself to kill Nick even after he rejected her. Some time later, when faced with the issue of whether to trust Trish in spite of several red flags, Nick refuses to trust her based on his experiences with Trudy, while Ki wonders if Nick is right and she should trust people more, deciding to trust Trish. After the two reach their conclusions in this strip, Nick lampshades it with the above quote.

     Web Original 
  • The SCP Foundation verse is rife with these, both within individual SCP's and tales and in the broader lore, but one of the most shining examples is the Church of the Broken God. Once the CotBG was seen as a zealous cult of Machine Worshipers and the Foundation as the only group preventing them from initiating an apocalypse out of blind adherence to doctrine. Several years of plot development and lore exploration later, however, and there is a growing possibility that the Foundation's blind adherence to the doctrine of contain first, dissect and ask questions later, has been crippling the keepers of humanity's only weapon against one of the greatest threats the foundation has ever known.

    Western Animation 
  • In one episode of Dexter's Laboratory, Dee Dee crushes a bunch of ants, because she thinks they're filthy. Dexter, who find ants interesting, shrinks them both down to ant size so Dee Dee can get a better idea of their society. After some adventures, they return to normal size, at which point Dee Dee happily thanks Dexter for showing her just how cool ants really are - while Dexter is squashing them.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls episode "Mommy Fearest", when the girls attempt to sneak into the house after after fighting crime despite the Professor's new wife forbidding them to, the lights turn on to reveal her angrily waiting for them on the couch. When the girls later figure it out that it's really Sedusa, it then goes to Sedusa sneaking into the house with a bag of jewels and the girls turning on the light while looking smugly on the couch.
  • The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh has the episode "Tigger Got Your Tail," where Tigger leads Pooh and Piglet on a hunt for invisible "Nobodies" who have been stealing things. Rabbit dismisses this as nonsense, claiming "There's a reasonable explanation for everything"...until his vegetables starts disappearing. At the end, when everything is recovered (crows were stealing the vegetables, Piglet's painting had blown away, and Tigger had just lost his voice), Pooh tells Rabbit that he was right...but poor Rabbit is so frazzled that he's still babbling about "Nobodies."
  • The modern Canmore siblings in Gargoyles. Initially, Jason and Robyn were determined to wipe out the gargoyle species completely, while Jon was only interested in fighting Demona in particular and was even willing to consider allying with the Manhattan Clan against her. By the end of Hunter's Moon, Jason and Robyn realized that their vendetta against all gargoyles had done more harm than good, but Jon had decided by then that all gargoyles were evil.