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Perspective Reversal

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"Do you have the odd sensation that the universe has flipped poles, or something?"
Nick Wellington 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.

May in some cases result in an Ironic Echo. Unrequited Love Switcheroo is a Romantic Sub-Trope.note  See also Hourglass Plot. Not to be confused with Perspective Flip.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Kamisama Minarai: Himitsu no Cocotama uses this trope in the first half of the 108th episode, where Geracho (a Cocotama born from the Yotsuba family's TV set) and Niche (a studious Cocotama who lives at the town's library) get into an argument on whether television or books are better. Oshaki attempts to end the disagreement by challenging Geracho and Niche to switch places and give each other's respective interests a try. While Geracho does discover the merits of books and Niche finds that television can be as fun as books, both of them end up consumed by their new obsessions, to the degree that Niche will only let the other Cocotamas watch certain shows for certain amounts of time and Geracho gets carried away in making books on the library's shelves stick out to the point that it gets the attention of Kiyomi Nishina, a classmate of Kokoro's who has frequently come close to finding out the existence of the Cocotamas.
  • 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.

    Comic Books 
  • Played for Laughs in an Achille Talon gag, where Achille's neighbourhood is voting to accept the installation of an aerial for improving television reception. Achille is the only one to vote "no" and refuses any compromise, causing everybody else to reconsider their opinion and redo the vote... at which point Achille is the only one voting "yes", and goes on giving the exact opposite reasons as the one he gave previously. The strip ends with the neighbours about to use the aerial as a slingshot to send Achille in space, while he claims that you can't blame someone for changing their mind.
  • One Bronze Age Batman story begins with Batman unsuccessfully trying to convince the parole board not to let Penguin out of prison. When Penguin gets out, Batman keeps a close eye on him, convinced that his apparently innocent activities are a front for some new criminal scheme. Sure enough, he exposes Penguin's plan... to give legitimate jobs to ex-cons, which he had to do secretly because associating with them at all was a parole violation. The story ends with Batman unsuccessfully trying to convince the parole board not to send Penguin back to prison.
  • A subplot in Invincible has Robot and Monster Girl being transported to an alternate dimension where time flows at a faster pace - they help free a community of slaves from The Empire, and in less than a decade, see the former slaves grow into oppressors who discriminate against imperial descendants.

    Fan Works 
  • Basically applies to the Star Wars fic A New History, although there is a time-travel element involved. Although Anakin has always been friendly with Chancellor Palpatine in his time and resents the way Obi-Wan expresses subtle disapproval of that friendship, when Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi are forced to go back in time to protect Obi-Wan's younger self from Count Dooku, a chain of events lead to Senator Palpatine becoming interested in the young Obi-Wan, with Anakin finding himself uncomfortable at Palpatine's interest in the young Obi-Wan even if he currently doesn't know about Palpatine's true agenda.
  • The Silver Raven: In his relationship with the Blight twins, Nero's normally the sullen loner while they're the social butterflies who try to get him out of his shell. During Chapter 15, their dates stand them up, leading to them becoming sullen and moody while Nero's forced to try and get them to lighten up. The whole thing gives Nero a taste of what it's like to regularly interact with him.
    Emira: Piss off, Nero.
    Nero (Thoughts): Huh, so that's what that feels like.
  • The Vigilante Boss and His Failed Retirement Plan: Izuku spent years trying to get his former friend Katsuki to acknowledge him again, while Katsuki treated him like shit in an effort to drive him away, as he wanted nothing to do with the 'worthless, Quirkless Deku'. After they both arrive at UA, Katsuki decides Izuku is 'worthy' of being his rival, trying to rekindle their relationship. Izuku, however, wants nothing to do with him anymore, ignoring all his efforts to the best of his ability.

    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.
  • Wolf Children: Yuki starts out a wild tomboy who loves being a wolf and rebels against having to stay in human form, while her little brother Ame is a Shrinking Violet who avoids being a wolf as much as he can. By the end of the film, Yuki has become a more demure woman who fully embraces her human identity and Ame has become a more self-confident man who gives up his human life to become a wolf guarding the woods.

    Film — Live Action 
  • 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 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.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Thor, Loki is initially cautious and diplomatic, while Thor would recklessly plunge into battle. By the end of the film, Thor becomes much more peaceful and tries to reason with his enemies, while Loki resorts to violence and tries to demolish an entire world to achieve his goals.
    • In their respective debut films, Steve Rogers just wants to join the Army and do his part for his country, and Tony Stark is an egotist who has little use for authority. By the time of Captain America: Civil War, the fallout from his reckless actions have made Tony believe that the Avengers need to be subject to oversight while Steve, having witnessed how corrupted and obstructive governing bodies have become in the modern day, distrusts the idea, to the point where the two end up leading opposing factions of the team.


    Live Action TV 
  • Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman seems to have an example of this at first glance. Sully is generally more progressive than most of the other men in town about almost every issue: ethnical minorities, women's rights, controversial books in the new town library, the theory of evolution, homosexuality... But when it comes to the railway and other building projects, Sully is the one fighting "progress" and the other men are supporting it. It becomes a subverted case though: Sully has good reasons to dislike that kind of "progress", because he knows how this would affect the local Cheyennes, all the animals in the nearby forest and the nature scenes. Which would have been a radical viewpoint in the 1860s/1870s. The other men on the other hand will only want to make a quick profit, and will not care too much about if other values could be lost. So it means that Sully still is the progressive one and the other men the more conservative ones.
  • A variation occurs on Friends. After Rachel and Phoebe's apartment is destroyed in a fire, they must live with their friends, with one living with Monica and Chandler and the other living with Joey. Monica's is seen as the better option due to its cleanliness and her tendency to spoil guests while Joey's is an unkempt pigsty. Eventually, after it emerges that Rachel was responsible for starting the fire due to her hair-straightener being left on, it was decided that Phoebe will stay at Monica's and Rachel with Joey. However, Phoebe gets frustrated by Monica's rules for keeping the apartment clean and the constant attention, while Rachel actually enjoys living with Joey because she can be as untidy as she wants and has fun playing games with him that make the apartment messier.
  • 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. After Dennis & Dee fail to buy guns both legally and on the black market (and constantly humiliate themselves in the process), and Mac & Charlie end up provoking a violent fight among adolescents with them caught in the crossfire, 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.
    • "The Gang Goes to the Jersey Shore" starts out with Dennis and Dee being excited to vacation there while Mac and Frank expect it to be terrible like Jersey Shore. Dennis and Dee wind up having a terrible time after witnessing the beach pollution, getting injured on the rides and wrangled into a convenience store robbery. Meanwhile, Mac and Frank have a great time after they get rescued from being lost at sea by friendly guidos on a yacht and party it up.
  • One episode of Modern Family has Phil being supportive of Luke's business idea and Claire being dismissive. After Luke gives them a presentation, Claire is impressed at how good the idea is, while Phil is jealous.
  • Played for Laughs in one episode of NUMB3RS. Larry and Alan both agree to resolve a disagreement by conceding to each other's points...which leads to a whole new argument as each of them argues the merits of the other's position.
  • 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.
    • In the finale, it was explained that the final season (and various other parts) of the show was just a story that Roseanne had written. Among other things, it is revealed that in reality, Darlene got married and dropped out of school while Becky was successful.
  • 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.
    • To be fair, Star Trek: Enterprise does partially justify the Klingons' change by explaining that they had been experimenting with forbidden genetic augmentation technology which mutated into a dangerous plague; the only way to prevent the plague being fatal required all Klingons to be infected with a variant of the plague that would cause some psychological changes that would last for the next century or so until it could be properly treated. Another episode, "Judgment", showed that the Klingons had a more intellectual ruling caste which was slowly being eroded by the warrior caste, and by the late 23rd century, the warrior caste had taken over.

  • 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.
  • Happens in the Tennessee Williams play Summer and Smoke between main characters Alma and John. At the beginning of the show, Alma is quiet and reserved while John is free-spirited and wild; John pursues Alma, but she rebuffs him, put off by his undisciplined nature. By the end of the show, John has matured into a stable and respectable man, while Alma has lost her inhibitions; Alma now pursues John, but John has moved on and gotten engaged to another girl, and rejects Alma.

    Video Games 
  • It's subtle, but this is a major theme in Final Fantasy X and its sequel, Final Fantasy X-2. In the first game, Tidus (the protagonist) is a carefree teen who does not see the value of crusading to defeat Sin if he only temporarily stays defeated and considers it All for Nothing. 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.
  • In Pok√©mon 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.
  • 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 members 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 of sorts (it's tacitly assumed that the ending you almost certainly got in your first playthrough is canon) 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 fight back. 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 
  • American Dad!: "Iced, Iced Babies" begins with Stan disliking Steve's girlfriend Debbie for being overweight while Francine encourages the relationship. That is, until Debbie arrives at the Smith household one morning and it's revealed she's a Gun Nut like Stan and she made Steve his daily lunch in Francine's place. With that, Stan takes a liking to Debbie while Francine begins making derogatory comments about her size.
  • 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 into ant disguises 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 revenge for how they'd abuse them.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • In The Powerpuff Girls (1998) episode "Mommy Fearest", when the girls attempt to sneak into the house after after fighting crime despite the Professor's new girlfriend Ima Goodlady 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.
  • South Park's "About Last Night" takes place right after the 2008 presidential election. Barack Obama's supporters are jubilant, believing his win has instantly solved all of their problems and begin to get drunk and party while John McCain's supporters are convinced that Obama's win is a sign of the apocalypse and either kill themselves or hide away in shelters. The next day, everything is still the same and society has not changed one bit. The McCain crowd realizes they overreacted and decides that maybe Obama won't do such a bad job while the Obama supporters, angry to find out they still have responsibilities and they must pay for their drunken actions, complain that Obama lied and wish they voted for McCain.