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Tropes and genres
Synonym(s)bodyswitch, mindswap
Related tropes/genresgenderswap, genderfuck, transmigration
See alsobodysharing
Related articles on Fanlore.

Bodyswap is a plot device or story trope involving two (or more) characters switching their physical bodies by magical, scientific, mystical or unspecified means. The device is used in canon and fanfiction alike, and fanfic may expand upon canonical instances of bodyswap.

In slash, het, and femslash stories, it is often the impetus for the two characters in a pairing to realize or act on their attraction for one another. It can also be used to "reform" a character by forcing them to understand the other character's perspective as a lesson that doesn't relate to romance, or simply to create humorous situations and misunderstandings.

Bodyswap is a very common trope in Bandom, Interestingly, it is much less popular than genderswap in Stargate Atlantis and Supernatural (fandoms from approximately the same era) and popslash (which otherwise favours many of the same tropes as bandom i.e. milieu, multiple pairings, etc.).

Bodyswap in Canon vs. Fanfic

Films like Friday Freaky, The Hot Chick and The Change-Up have already addressed this theme. More recently, the slasher comedy Freaky brought it back into vogue.

In Brazil, the success of the duology If I Were You in 2006 and 2009 yielded a Television Series from 2013 to 2015 and a third film still in production.

In the Supernatural episode, Meat Swap, the trope was used to comic effect when Sam Winchester was switched with a teenage boy. The joke of the story was that Dean Winchester never noticed. This is completely unlike most SPN fanfic uses of the trope, where the switch is between Sam and Dean, and they often only try to fool outsiders, not major characters they have relationships with such as Castiel or Bobby. In fanfic, the device is rarely used just for plot purposes or comedic effect.

There's also some examples of bodyswap in anime, such as Your Name (君の名は), a critically aclaimed feature film directed by Makoto Shinkai. In the film, the two main characters - Mitsuya Miyamizu and Taki Tachibana - wake up in each other´s bodies interminently throughout the summer.

In many fanfic examples of bodyswap, the idea of bodily autonomy and consent is explored within the story. While in some stories it is glossed over, or ignored, many authors recognized the dub-con or non-con nature of using another person's body for sex. In contrast to this, the Gateverse series, SGU made bodyswapping an integral part of their plots, and did not have any qualms about swapped bodies engaging in sex. See GateFail 2009 for details.

TV Tropes provides a list of canonical examples of bodyswap.