Created By: MorningStar1337 on May 25, 2013 Last Edited By: MorningStar1337 on June 13, 2013
Nuked

Amnesiac Minion

A villian uses missing memories to get someone to work for him.

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Page Type:
Trope
An Amnesiac Minion is an unusual type of Mook. At best they can remember certain things (like their identity, or at least their name) but can't remember other things without an Info Dump. At worst they remember absolutely nothing. Whatever the case their memories will be their personal MacGuffin.

A villain may use this to his advantage, claiming that he has his memories or a way to restore them. Whether or not the claims are true depends on the villain. Though if the villain is the cause of the amnesia in the first place, having the memories is more likely.

Another scenario is that a more manipulative villain lies to the Amnesiac Minion about their past, and may implant Fake Memories to enforce his claims. A cunning villain can do both.

If the minion in question was a good guy, Face–Heel Turn may ensue as well as Amnesiac Dissonance if/when he gets his memories back.

Such people can be Tragic Villains, since they usually have no choice if they want their memories back.

Compare Quest for Identity (if the minion can't remember who they are), Amnesiac Hero, Fake Memories, Laser-Guided Amnesia, and Criminal Amnesiac. Sometimes the mental counterpart of Working for a Body Upgrade.

Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime]]
  • In Spirited Away Yubaba steals part of Chihiro's name, along with her memory of who she is and her parents, to keep Chihiro working in the bathhouse.
  • Words Worth: The Shadow Tribe's prince, Astral, was left amnesiac thanks to Fabris' daugter, Maria, blasting him twenty years into the future with her Mystral Window ability. When Fabris realized this, he capitalized on the situation by convincing Astral that he was Pollux of Light Tribe's army. Thereby, weaponizing him against his homeland.
[[/folder]] [[folder: Comic Books]] [[/folder]]

[[folder: Film]]
  • The movie Overboard is about a wealthy and spoiled society girl who is fairly bitchy toward a carpenter who is building cabinets on her yacht, stiffing him for the bill after he completed the work. Later she falls overboard and disappears, ending up washing ashore with amnesia and coming across the very same carpenter--who tells her she's his wife. She ends up slaving away as a housewife in his modest home and helping to raise his four unruly sons.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature]]
  • In Dan Brown's Inferno, the amnesiac Robert Langdon unwittingly ends up manipulated by the Consortium.
  • The book version of You Only Live Twice ends with James Bond having lost his memory and thinking he's really a Japanese fisherman (his cover). This trope comes into play between books, as at the beginning of The Man with the Golden Gun a baddie tries to use Bond to blow up MI5.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV]]
  • In the Doctor Who episode Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS the antagonists of the episode have an android, Tricky, who's actually their brother who lost his memory in an accident. They told him he was an android because a) they were jealous Tricky was chosen to be the next captain of their ship, and b) they were bored.
  • In an episode of Legend of the Seeker, Darkhan Rahl captures Richard's sister, who, thanks to some overeager henchman, is knocked on the head an loses her memory. He spins a tale of how he is fighting a losing war against Richard's oppressive tyranny and asks her to steal something from him, that will enable him to defeat the Seeker. Once she meets Richard she finds him to be not at all an Evil Overlord and he is able to help her get her memory back.
  • In the last episode of Medium, Alyson dreams of a future ( in which Joe didn't die in the plane crash) where after Joe's been missing for years, she finds him amnesiac and brain-damaged, being used as a drug "mule" by a Mexican cartel.Seris/
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games]]
  • Assassin's Creed II. Utilized in the case of Dante Moro, who survived an assassination attempt. The incident caused severe brain damage, leaving him with a child's mind. Marco Barbarigo, the man who paid for the assassination, exploited Dante's amnesia to not only his marriage, allowing Marco to take his wife as his own, but also to make Dante his elite bodyguard. Unfortunately, he gets killed by Ezio, meaning that he never gets to recover his mind.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Tabletop Games]]
  • Paranoia 1E supplement Acute Paranoia. In the adventure "ReBoot Camp", The Computer (which controls all of Alpha Complex) has suffered a complete loss of memory. A clever Troubleshooter PC can tell it any lies he wants and thereby gain full control over it (and Alpha Complex), if only for a while.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
  • While it's not quite a villain using him, one episode of Code Lyoko has Ulrich lose his memories and Sissi tell him they're a couple and turn him against his real friends.
  • in Kaijudo there's Saguru AKA Ken Okamoto. The Choten inflicted Laser-Guided Amnesia to use his memory as a bargaining chip. However, he is not on the Choten's side despite this and is a Wild Card of sorts. he get his memory back at the end of season 1
  • In an episode of Spiderman The Animated Series, Spiderman becomes amnesiac, and Doctor Octotpus convinces him that they're partners in crime, using the Daily Bugle's portrayal of Spiderman as a threat as proof of his claims.
[[/folder]]
Community Feedback Replies: 49
  • May 25, 2013
    MrRuano
    Assassins Creed II: Utilized in the case of Dante Moro, who survived an assassination attempt. The incident caused severe brain damage, leaving him with a child's mind. Marco Barbarigo, the man who paid for the assassination, exploited Dante's amnesia to not only his marriage, allowing Marco to take his wife as his own, but also to make Dante his elite bodyguard. Unfortunately, he gets killed by Ezio, meaning that he never gets to recover his mind.
  • May 25, 2013
    MorningStar1337
  • May 26, 2013
    Koveras

    That's as much as I can write without spoiling the entire novel.
  • May 26, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    YKTTW Bump. BTW I know that there's Kaijudo example for this, but I can't find it. If anyone can help that would be great.
  • May 26, 2013
    MorningStar1337
  • May 26, 2013
    herbides
    Anime
    • In "Sen to Chihiro" or "Spirited Away" Ubaba steals part of Chihiro's name, along with her memory of who she is and her parents, to get her to work for her in the bath house.

  • May 26, 2013
    Itzika
    While it's not quite a villain using him, one episode of Code Lyoko has Ulrich lose his memories and Sissi tell him they're a couple and turn him against his real friends.
  • May 26, 2013
    MorningStar1337
  • May 27, 2013
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • Paranoia 1E supplement Acute Paranoia. In the adventure "ReBoot Camp", The Computer (which controls all of Alpha Complex) has suffered a complete loss of memory. A clever Troubleshooter PC can tell it any lies he wants and thereby gain full control over it (and Alpha Complex), if only for a while.
  • May 27, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Literature: the book version of You Only Live Twice ends with James Bond having lost his memory and thinking he's really a Japanese fisherman (his cover). This trope comes into play between books, as at the beginning of The Man with the Golden Gun a baddie tries to use Bond to blow up MI 5.
  • May 27, 2013
    MiinU

    Anime

    • Words Worth: The Shadow Tribe's prince, Astral, was left amnesiac thanks to Fabris' daugter, Maria, blasting him twenty years into the future with her Mystral Window ability. When Fabris realized this, he capitalized on the situation by convincing Astral that he was Pollux of Light Tribe's army. Thereby, weaponizing him against his homeland.
  • May 27, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Edited the OP to dewick MI5 from my own James Bond example, which redirects to Series/Spooks.
  • May 27, 2013
    MorganWick
    I'm sure there are multiple Power Rangers examples.
  • May 27, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^Care to specify? Also check for Super Sentai examples just in case.
  • May 27, 2013
    MorganWick
    I'm just going off memories of watching History Of Power Rangers that I don't want to rewatch to hunt for specific series and circumstances. :)

    Actually, how specific is this? Is this about any minion who works for the villain because they've forgotten their past, or is it specifically about minions who work for someone who promises their memories back?
  • May 27, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    Well the latter is recommended but this trope might be broadened to people who manipulate amnesiacs by lying about their past.
  • May 27, 2013
    MorganWick
    The former (referring to my post) might be a separate trope, actually, but regardless if it's not included this needs a better name.
  • May 27, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    Actually the former is what i thought of thought I made this proposal.
  • May 28, 2013
    MorningStar1337
  • May 28, 2013
    MorningStar1337
  • May 28, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    Edited the draft to clean up potholes and namespaces.
  • May 28, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^Thanks.
  • May 28, 2013
    MorningStar1337
  • May 29, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    YKTTW Bump. And BTW, what's wrong with the name?
  • May 29, 2013
    MorningStar1337
  • May 29, 2013
    MorningStar1337
  • May 29, 2013
    SharleeD
    Sometimes a mental counterpart to Working For A Body Upgrade.
  • May 29, 2013
    PaisleyFarrago
    • In the Doctor Who episode Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS the antagonists of the episode have an android, Tricky, who's actually their brother who lost his memory in an accident. They told him he was an android because a) they were jealous Tricky was chosen to be the next captain of their ship, and b) they were bored.
  • May 29, 2013
    Tallens
    • In an episode of Legend Of The Seeker, Darkhan Rahl captures Richard's sister, who, thanks to some overeager henchman, is knocked on the head an loses her memory. He spins a tale of how he is fighting a losing war against Richard's oppressive tyranny and asks her to steal something from him, that will enable him to defeat the Seeker. Once she meets Richard she finds him to be not at all an Evil Overlord and he is able to help her get her memory back.
  • May 29, 2013
    MorganWick
    ^x6 Did you read how I edited my last post? Because either you seemingly contradicted yourself, didn't answer my question, or this trope is too specific for this name.
  • May 29, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^Oh. But I said that the trope would cover amnesiacs being manipulated by some using missing memories. The point of the Trope is that there's a Mook who's amnesiac and is manipulated by someone by that person using the lack of memories to his advantage (usually by lying about the amnesiac's past). But if you still think that it needs a name change then I'm open to suggestions.
  • May 29, 2013
    MorganWick
    My problem is that the title doesn't imply active manipulation by the villain. The Power Rangers examples I was thinking of, as far as I recall, simply forgot they were good guys and the villain took advantage, without saying anything about their past (although now that I think about it there might be a few that still fit the trope as is). The villain may not even know about their amnesia (though not being curious about their past is a gross violation of the Evil Overlord List, but whatever).
  • May 29, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    Ah I see. Well I'll consider changing the name to something like Manipulated Amnesiac then.
  • May 31, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Not a "villain" doing this per se (as it was sort of payback, and it turns out to be a romantic comedy anyway), but this probably fits:

    Film

    The movie Overboard is about a wealthy and spoiled society girl who is fairly bitchy toward a carpenter who is building cabinets on her yacht, stiffing him for the bill after he completed the work. Later she falls overboard and disappears, ending up washing ashore with amnesia and coming across the very same carpenter--who tells her she's his wife. She ends up slaving away as a housewife in his modest home and helping to raise his four unruly sons.
  • June 2, 2013
    theAkash
    May just be my lumper tendencies shining through, but isn't this pretty much covered by Criminal Amnesiac?
  • June 2, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    Maybe but this trope is for people manipulating amnesiacs by using the lack of memories. Criminal Amnesiac seems to imply the amnesiac in question would be doing crimes without manipulation. It would be related though.
  • June 3, 2013
    MorningStar1337
  • June 3, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    need moar hats and examples.
  • June 5, 2013
    Tallens
    Were you going to change the name?
  • June 5, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^ Depends, do you have any suggestions. (Besides Amnesiac Mook?)
  • June 7, 2013
    MorningStar1337
  • June 7, 2013
    Lumpenprole
    In the last episode of Medium, Alyson dreams of a future ( in which Joe didn't die in the plane crash) where after Joe's been missing for years, she finds him amnesiac and brain-damaged, being used as a drug "mule" by a Mexican cartel.
  • June 8, 2013
    HappyMan
    In an episode of ''Spiderman The Animated Series, Spiderman becomes amnesiac, and Doctor Ocotpus convinces him that they're partners in crime, using the Daily Bugle's portrayal of Spiderman as a threat as proof of his claims.
  • June 9, 2013
    lakingsif
    In several of the Marvel Universes, the Red Room facility meddles with the minds of all the Black Widows, then the Winter Soldier. In a Captain America comic, the Red Skull does this to The Falcon when he's still Snap Wilson.
  • June 9, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^ I'm not sure if the Winter Soldier one counts, since Buddy didn't seem like he was amnesiac (at least when he shows up in the Avengers Earths Mightiest Heroes cartoon)
  • June 13, 2013
    MorningStar1337
  • June 13, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally can't see the distinction between this and Criminal Amnesiac.
  • June 13, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^Criminal Amnesiac is for people that commit crimes. They don't necessarily need or want their memories back.

    This trope is for both amnesiacs working for someone to get their memories back and for amnesiacs who have a past forge by a Manipulative Bastard.
  • June 13, 2013
    Larkmarn
    The latter is definitely explicitly covered by Criminal Amnesiac, and I think the former is covered by the fact Tropes Are Not Narrow.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=c9a8jkmvkr004on3j9fj51h0&trope=DiscardedYKTTW