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.
    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 Five Hundred 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.
  • 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: 
  • 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 Pokemon 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.
    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, Deedee crushes a bunch of ants, because she thinks they're filthy. Dexter, who find ants interesting, shrinks them both down to ant size so Deedee can get a better idea of their society. After some adventures, they return to normal size, at which point Deedee 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.