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Body swap

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Title: Body swap  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Wish Upon a Star, Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, Monkeybone, Body swap appearances in media, Delores Winters
Collection: Body Swapping in Fiction, Narratology
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Body swap

A body swap is a storytelling device seen in a variety of fiction, most often in television shows and movies, in which two people (or beings) exchange minds and end up in each other's bodies. The two people usually keep their original voices in dramatizations, for purposes of knowing who is who.

There are three distinct types of body swapping. Switches can be caused by magic items such as amulets, heartfelt wishes, or just strange quirks of the universe. The switches typically reverse after the subjects have expanded their world views, gained a new appreciation for each other's troubles by literally "walking in another's shoes" and/or caused sufficient amounts of farce. Notable examples include the books Vice Versa (1882) and[1] Freaky Friday (1972),[2] as well as the film versions of both.

Switches accomplished by technology, exempting gadgets advanced sufficiently to appear as magic, are the fare of mad scientists. Body-swapping devices are characterized by highly experimental status, straps, helmets with complicated cables that run to a central system and a tendency to direly malfunction before their effects can be reversed. Those without such means may resort to brain transplants. Such experiments can have overtones of horror; evil mad scientists seldom use willing test subjects.


  • Science 1
  • Appearances in fiction and drama 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


In 1973 a group of scientists from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland Ohio, led by Dr. Robert White, a neurosurgeon inspired by the work of Vladimir Demikhov, transplanted the head of one monkey onto another monkey's body.[3][4] The animal was still able to smell, taste, hear, and see.[5] The animal survived for eight days after the operation, even at times attempting to bite some of the staff.[6] Dr. White successfully repeated the operation on a monkey in 2001.[7]

In 2002, other head transplants were also conducted in Japan involving rats.[8] Unlike the head transplants performed by Dr. White, however, these head transplants involved grafting one rat's head onto the body of another rat that kept its head. Thus the rat ended up with two heads.

Appearances in fiction and drama

Since the Vice Versa novel was published in 1882, body swaps have been a popular theme in various media:

See also


  1. ^ Jose, Michael JR. "Vice Versa by F. Anstey Detailed Book Review". Retrieved 24 November 2010. 
  2. ^ King, Robert (February 4, 2001). "The mother versus the author". St. Petersburg Times (Hernando). Retrieved 24 November 2010. 
  3. ^ Browne, Malcolm W. (1998-05-05). "'"ESSAY; From Science Fiction to Science: 'The Whole Body Transplant. The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  4. ^ Justo, Patrick Di. "Full Body Transplant". Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Niesel, Jeff (2013-09-25). "Cleveland Scene". Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  7. ^ "Frankenstein fears after head transplant". BBC News. 2001-04-06. Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  8. ^ Young, Emma (3 December 2002). "Infant rat heads grafted onto adults' thighs".  
  9. ^ a b c Raymond, Adam K. (2013-09-05). "How to Swap Bodies With Anyone You Want, According to the Movies".  
  10. ^  
  11. ^  
  12. ^ The Identity Matrix – Chalker – Google Books. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  13. ^ "Identity Theft (2009) – By Duane L. Martin". Rogue Cinema. 2009-08-01. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  14. ^ a b "Yoshikawa Interview | Mahou-X". 2013-02-03. Retrieved 2013-10-02.  – translation of Natalie article.
  15. ^ a b "コミックナタリー – [Power Push] 「山田くんと7人の魔女」吉河美希インタビュー (1/4)" (in Japanese).  
  16. ^ "Crunchyroll Adds Inside Mari, Silver Nina, Love Theory Manga – News". Anime News Network. 2014-01-06. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  17. ^ "Machine". Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  18. ^ "La Machine (1994). Moria – The Science-Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review". Moria. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  19. ^ "Julio Cortázar Essay – Cortázar, Julio". Retrieved 2013-10-02. 


  • IMDB list of movies with the 'Body Swap' keyword
  • The Numbers: Box Office figures for films in the Body Swap genre
  • article on monkey head transplantNew York Times
  • article on monkey head transplantBBC
  • article on rat head transplantNew Scientist

External links

  • Body swap movies at Internet Movie Database
  • 10 Cliches of the Body Swap Movie
  • — the catalog of transformations, plus reviews and alerts
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