Body swapping is a surprisingly common trope in anime. Just like in the movie Freaky Friday, characters find themselves piloting a body that doesn't belong to them through magical means. In some cases, it's a one-off storyline - Fairy Tail has a filler episode centered around this trope. In other cases, as with Your Name and Kokoro Connect, it's the main point of the series.
Anime characters who switched bodies sometimes learn about each other's insecurities, vulnerabilities, and life struggles, and come to understand each other better as a result. That's what happens to Mai Sakurajima and her half-sister in Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai. But it isn't always that deep. Sometimes, it's just an excuse for some fan service and some fun - that's how it goes down when the Ope-Ope Fruit switches the Straw Hat crew's bodies in One Piece.
Which of these body swap situations do you find most appealing?
Mitsuha Miyamizu & Taki Tachibana - 'Your Name'Photo: CoMix Wave Films
If you're a fan of the body swapping trope, Your Name is one of the best ways to experience it. The film follows Mitsuha, a girl from a traditional rural community, and Taki, a boy living in the city, as they repeatedly switch bodies. The process is confusing at first, but as they live out each others' lives, they begin getting to know each other - and eventually fall in love. But as it turns out, they're on separate timelines, and in Taki's timeline, Mitsuha's entire village has been destroyed by a meteor. Can the two work together to save the inhabitants - and will they ever truly be able to be together?Was this an entertaining swap?
Multiple Characters - 'Fairy Tail'Photo: A-1 Pictures
In one of Fairy Tail's more enjoyable filler episodes, most of the cast swap bodies simultaneously - with ridiculous and fanservicey results. Happy and Erza switch bodies, leading Erza to have an existential crisis while Happy appreciates his new body's physical assets. Lucy and Gray swap bodies, which means that Gray's penchant for stripping is now being practiced on Lucy's body. Natsu swaps bodies with celestial spirit named Loke. Chaos ensues, and most people don't manage to swap back by the end of the episode - in fact, the switching spreads rapidly throughout the guild.Was this an entertaining swap?
The Straw Hat Crew - 'One Piece'Photo: Toei Animation
During the Punk Hazard arc, Trafalgar Law's Ope-Ope Fruit powers cause most of the straw hat crew to swap bodies. What follows is total chaos. Nami swaps into Franky's body, Chopper ends up in Sanji, Sanji is in Nami, and Franky is in Chopper. Sanji is thrilled - he finally gets access to Nami's breasts. This infuriates Nami, who wants to punch Sanji but can't do so easily - not only is Sanji inhabiting her body, which she doesn't want to hurt, she's also way stronger than usual because she's inside of Franky. The whole thing is a hilarious mess, which really shows off the humor of the series.Was this an entertaining swap?
Captain Ginyu & Multiple Characters - 'Dragon Ball Z'Photo: Toei Animation
Captain Ginyu has the ability to swap bodies with anyone he wants, which means that he can gain access to super powerful bodies, like those of Goku or Vegeta. When he tries to take over Vegeta's body, however, he screws up and winds up in the body of a frog. Because the switching is voice-activated, he's stuck as a frog until Bulma gives him a speech device - which he promptly uses to take over her body. When he tries to upgrade to a stronger body by taking over Piccolo, Krillin stops him by tossing a frog in the middle of the transfer, thus putting him back in the frog's body - no speech device this time.Was this an entertaining swap?