When preparing to use the technique, Captain Ginyu usually begins by punching himself in the chest in order to give an injured body to his opponent. He then powers up, spreads his arms and legs apart, and shouts "Change, now!" as he fires an energy wave from his mouth into the opponent's mouth. When it is finished, Captain Ginyu is in the opponent's body, while they are in his own body.
This technique appears to require the spoken component in order to work, unlike other techniques, which have been shown to work even when the wielders are underwater or otherwise rendered unable to speak, as in the anime Ginyu is shown needing Bulma's Universal Translator in order to Body Change out of the Namekian Frog. The Body Change technique appears to switch voices: while the characters retain their voice in the show in order to prevent confusion for the sake of the viewer, the bodies retain their natural voice in-universe. This is implied when Krillin and Gohan fail to recognize Ginyu as Goku right off the bat. However, in a filler part of the series, Ginyu did attempt to make himself sound more like Bulma in an attempt to fool Piccolo, Krillin, and Gohan, but only garnered more suspicion from them.
While the Body Change may seem to give Ginyu an advantage over powerful opponents (allowing him to obtain a powerful body and trapping his enemy inside his wounded body), this is shown to have one drawback which in certain situations may become severe: any host changing bodies must take time to get used to their new body before they can use its full power. This is already problematic enough if the body in question is vastly different from his own, but in situations where the key to accessing the body's maximum power is not anything he knows, or even anything strictly working within the body itself, it can become crippling to his output in relation to what its usual host is capable of. This is made clear in the case of his swap with Goku: Ginyu originally believed that Goku's abnormally high power level for a Saiyan was aided via some natural mutation; however, the true source of this power was actually the use of Goku's Kaio-ken technique, which Ginyu had never even heard of. This, combined with his having barely spent any time in Goku's body before facing Krillin and Gohan with Jeice, result in Ginyu bearing a relatively dim power level of 23,000.
Ginyu's special ability originated during his childhood: when Ginyu first learned of his Body Change ability, he swapped bodies with the richest kid in his class. This made him popular with girls but also stupid, and he soon realized that men should compete in terms of strength rather than money. Due to this special ability, only a few people have seen Ginyu's true form and Salza, the leader of Cooler's Armored Squadron, is among them.
Captain Ginyu is first seen using this attack against Goku after being defeated by the Saiyan's Kaio-ken technique. He and Jeice then flew off to find the Namekian Dragon Balls (which were already dug up by Gohan and Krillin), with an injured Goku trapped in Captain Ginyu's body slowly following behind.
Later after killing Jeice, Vegeta attacked Captain Ginyu and knocked him down into the ground, much to the shock of Goku, Gohan, and Krillin. As Vegeta charged down towards Captain Ginyu, the captain attempted to use his Body Change technique against Vegeta. However, before the beam could hit Vegeta, Goku jumped in the way and got his body back while Captain Ginyu got his.
Captain Ginyu soon used his Body Change in a final attempt to switch bodies with Vegeta again. However, before the beam could hit Vegeta, an injured Goku threw a Namekian frog up in the air in front of the Body Change beam. Captain Ginyu's mind became trapped in the frog's body and the frog's mind trapped in Captain Ginyu's body, with Captain Ginyu's body in the position of a frog, hopping away. Vegeta first motioned to crush Ginyu, but after Goku convinced him not to, he decided to let the frog go rather than get his boots dirty (especially since he figured Ginyu being trapped in the body of a frog was punishment enough).
In the filler, the frog-bodied Captain Ginyu is unable to switch to a different body as the frog is incapable of speech, which apparently is a requirement for using the technique. However he encounters an abandoned Bulma who, lonely and wishing for someone to talk to, builds a device that would allow her to understand him, unaware of who he truly is. With the aid of the device Ginyu takes control of Bulma's body while trapping her in the frog's. Using Bulma's air bike, Ginyu journeys to the battlefield where Frieza is fighting Goku. Using Bulma's body, Ginyu tricks Gohan, Krillin, and Piccolo into thinking he is Bulma. However, he is unable to keep up the ruse for very long as he is prone to admiring and rooting for Frieza out loud, demonstrating where his true loyalties lie, and frog-bodied Bulma tries to warn Gohan, who initially thinks she is Ginyu in the frog's body. Eventually, Gohan realizes Ginyu is in Bulma's body and Ginyu is forced to defend himself. Knowing Bulma's body is too weak, Ginyu tries to steal Piccolo's body, but Gohan quickly throws the frog-bodied Bulma between the two, resulting in Bulma regaining her body and Ginyu returning to the frog's body.
Appearances in games
The Body Change appears in Dragon Ball Z II: Gekishin Freeza, Legend of the Super Saiyan, Dragon Ball Z: The Legend, and Dragon Ball Z: Supersonic Warriors. If Ginyu uses this technique in Legend of the Super Saiyan, Goku can be stuck in Ginyu's body for the rest of the game. It can be countered with a Namekian Frog card. If the player chooses to stay in Ginyu's body, Goku is able to use the Body Change in all enemies, making the bosses much easier.
The Body Change is Ginyu's ultimate technique in the Butōden series, the Budokai and Budokai Tenkaichi series. The first Budokai, Budokai Tenkaichi, Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit, Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team, and Dragon Ball Kai: Ultimate Butōden are the only fighting games where Captain Ginyu's Body Change is a real body change with the opponent (in Burst Limit, the body keeps its original voice). In Ultimate Butōden, Ginyu can also change back to his body (which can be very useful for defeating an opponent by allowing the opponent to hurt Ginyu so then Ginyu could return to his body).
In the Butōden series, when Ginyu uses the Body Change, no energy attacks of any kind are possible, and the effect drains the ki bar slowly and Ginyu will swap back when the bar is empty (the ki can be charged up to keep the exchange going longer). In Budokai Tenkaichi 2, when Ginyu uses the Body Change, instead of switching bodies with his opponent he picks a random character and he cannot use their transformations, Blast 1, 2 or Ultimate Blast. In Budokai Tenkaichi 3, he switches bodies with a random character (either Goku (Mid), Piccolo, Gohan, Krillin, Vegeta, Jeice, or Nail), however as that character, he will be unable to use any of their transformations, Blast 1, Blast 2, or Ultimate Blast techniques (nor will he be able to return to his own body). In the Raging Blast series, Ginyu's Body Change has been reduced to simply changing with Goku and having all but his Ultimate Attack available. In Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi, Ginyu in Goku's body is counted as a transformation for Ginyu, making him a separate character from his regular form. The Body Change technique can also be used by Ginyu in Dragon Ball: Zenkai Battle Royale.
In Dragon Ball Xenoverse, the Body Change technique makes a successful return and is portrayed for the first time since Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi as a technique that swaps the user with their target. Also, for the first time, it is portrayed as a technique that can be learned; the Future Warrior can learn the technique if they select Ginyu as their Master and successfully completes his training. The Body Change switches health, bodies, and, as in the anime series, voices as well. When the Body Change is used by one character in a match, it cannot be used again by any individual, even if they switch with another Body Change user. It is also possible to play as Goku in Ginyu's body as an alternate costume skin for Goku and Ginyu in Goku's body as an alternate costume skin for Ginyu. There is even an equipable Z-Soul that activates when the Body Change is used by the user.
- In Dragon Ball: Xenoverse, in a what-if Parallel Quest scenario Ginyu steals Goku's body and transforms into a Super Saiyan, indicating that Ginyu has access to any transformations his current body possesses. Ironically, as Super Saiyan Goku, Ginyu is stronger than his master Frieza (if one doesn't count Frieza's Ultimate Evolution: Golden Form).
- Ginyu's bodyswap with Bulma in the anime classifies as a genderswap bodyswap, a male/female bodyswap. This is one of the few instances of genderswap or gender bending in the Dragon Ball series. In Dragon Ball: Xenoverse, Ginyu can Body Change with female opponents as well, Android 18, Videl, Pan, Towa, and any female Future Warrior.
- In Xenoverse, Ginyu briefly swaps bodies with the Future Warrior as part of the story. While in the Future Warrior's body, Ginyu will have access to any of the custom skills the player has equipped and wear whatever outfit or accessory the Future Warrior is wearing. If the Future Warrior is female this will result in a genderswap male/female bodyswap. Depending on the Warriors race, Ginyu will obtain either a Human, Saiyan, Namekian, Frieza's race, or Majin body as a result of the switch. While in Ginyu's body Warrior's chosen voice will still be present, though the Warrior will have Ginyu's skills instead of their custom skills. However regardless Ginyu will not like the swap with the Warrior as he prefers to have Goku's body.
- If the Future Warrior is Saiyan, after the switch, Ginyu will tell Jeice that even though both the Future Warrior and Goku are Saiyans the difference in potential power between them is not the same and believes Goku's potential power to be greater thus explaining his desire to obtain Goku's body.
- If the Future Warrior is Namekian, Ginyu will be insulted to look like the trash that lives on Namek, indicating his disdain for Namekians, which is ironic considering he tried to steal Piccolo's body in the anime.
- If the Future Warrior is Human, Ginyu will find the Warrior's human body is ugly (even if the Warrior is female) stating it has not one speck of beauty on it.
- If the Future Warrior is Majin, he will be put off by the Warrior's flabby body (even if the Majin is female, though he is likely referring to the elastic nature of a Majin's body structure) as it would making his Fighting Poses not look good.
- If the Future Warrior is Frieza's race, Ginyu thinks Lord Frieza would take copying his looks as an insult.
- Though the technique allows Ginyu to switch with someone of a higher power level, it does not necessarily mean that he will be able to use said body to its full potential, as his switch with Goku clearly indicates as he was unable to use Goku's power level of 180,000 due being Ginyu being unaware Goku's power level boost was obtained via the Kaio-ken. As a result of being unfamiliar with Goku's body and unaware of the Kaio-ken, Ginyu was only able to manage to reach a maximum power level of 23,000 while in Goku's body. Interestingly in Xenoverse, he can use any transformations and techniques possessed by the opponent's body.
- It is never actually explained why Ginyu doesn't use Body Change to switch with Frieza himself which would allow him to obtain Frieza's body and power. However it is likely due to the fact that Ginyu is very loyal to Frieza and/or Frieza is aware of the technique and any attempt to use it on him would likely be viewed as an attempt to usurp Frieza and thus act of treason.