Created By: Mhazard on July 28, 2017 Last Edited By: Mhazard on August 13, 2017
Troped

Amnesiac Villain Joins The Heroes

A villain working for the heroes and is in the good side only because they forgot their own identity and their past.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
trope
He used to be a villain, and he's now working for the heroes. However, the only reason he's in the good side or at least being friendly to the heroes is because he forgot his own identity and his past, and that he's supposed to be the enemy of the heroes.

If the villain remembers his past he will suffer from an identity crisis, questioning his real identity, which may lead to several outcomes:
  1. The villain suffers from a mental breakdown.
  2. The villain immediately becomes evil again and turns against the heroes.
  3. The villain realizes the damage he had done and decides to pull a genuine Heel–Face Turn to redeem himself.

In some cases, especially if the amnesia happens toward the very end, the villain would never be able to remember his past, and this is often being considered to be a makeshift Heel–Face Turn due to amnesiac people are often treated as harmless, innocent people. Often a cause of Relationship Reboot, as long as the villain in question stays amnesiac.

There are several factors that can affect the outcome. If the villain in question is treated with kindness by the heroes, he may take The Power of Friendship into consideration, especially if he never felt love and friendship before. If he's treated badly by the heroes, either because they're not convinced that he's now on their side or by one person who repeatedly rejects his attempts to do good, he may decide that it's better off to stay evil, sometimes becoming what exactly they accused him for. In some cases, the villain will stay evil out of loyalty to his own organization, refusing to betray the other villains who trusted him. Last but not least, whether the villain would realize his past deed was damaging.

Sometimes, the heroes will hope that the said villain won't regain his past memories. They will actively try to stop him from remembering anything, feeding him Fake Memories, or even brainwashing him into becoming good. Taking one step further, they will even try to eliminate the villain before he can remember anything. If the heroes have different opinions on how to dispose the said villain, it may lead to a conflict or even a flat-out infight between them.

Occasionally, some villains exploit this and pretend they suffer from amnesia so they can blend with the heroes and gain their trust.

Compare Amnesiacs Are Innocent, where amnesiac people in general are treated as innocent. Contrasts Amnesiac Hero, where the hero suffers from amnesia, and Criminal Amnesiac, where a hero suffering from amnesia is being convinced that they're supposed to be a villain.

P.S. Needs more examples and better description.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Light Yagami of Death Note does this as part of his Memory Gambit, having given up his memories of being Kira and joining the Kira taskforce, even working together with his nemesis L. Light without the Death Note is actually a pretty decent guy, but we know that this cannot last, and sure enough, after a very convoluted Gambit Roulette, Light reclaims the Death Note and regains his memories and everything goes to hell.

    Film 
  • Class of the Titans: After Big Bad Cronus and all the team fall into the River Lethe and lose their memories, Cronus becomes totally amicable and joins the gang in trying to work out what's going on.
  • At the end of Kubo and the Two Strings, after the Moon King/Raiden is brought down into human form, he loses all memory of who he is or any of the things he's done, despite having tried to kill Kubo only minutes earlier. Despite this, Kubo and the townspeople decide to respect Raiden and tell him that he was a great person. He is very happy to hear this, and decides to devote himself to "continuing" his generous lifestyle.

    Video Games 
  • This is part of The Reveal in Knights of the Old Republic: the player character is actually Darth Revan, who had his/her mind wiped by the Jedi Council to ensure that (s)he would no longer be a threat to the galaxy. Following this, the player can decide whether to remain heroic or else take over as the new Dark Lord of the Sith.
  • Mortal Kombat: Before the events of Mortal Kombat 3. Kabal was a member of Black Dragon who was victim of Shao Kahn's extermination forces and left for dead. He was disfigured, the reason why he has to use a gas mask permanently, and with his memories gone joining to Earthrealm forces against Shao Kahn. He eventually regained his memories after MK3, as seen in his next appearance in Mortal Kombat: Deception, in which he not just comes back to Black Dragon clan, he also wants to remake the organization from the ashes.
  • The twist of the emotional rollercoaster known as MySims SkyHeroes is that the player character used to be the chief enforcer for the evil Morcubus, before getting shot out of the sky and left amnesiac to be unwittingly picked up by the resistance against Morcubus.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode, "Blank-Headed Eagle", Scratch chases after Sonic with an Eagle-Copter kit he ordered from watching the Edgar Eagle TV show. After Sonic tricks him into shooting himself out of the sky, Scratch gets amnesia, and when Henrietta Peck finds him, Scratch thinks he's Edgar Eagle. Sonic takes advantage of this, and uses Scratch to help him save Farmer Peck's farm from destruction from Dr. Robotnik's machines. Scratch ends up regaining his memories near the end of the episode.
  • Xiaolin Showdown: The Season 2 finale has Jack Spicer accidentally turn himself good when he brought the Reversing Mirror into the Yin Yang World, reversing his own spirit in the process. He remains with the heroes until needing to enter the Yin Yang World again, resetting his spirit back to evil (but not before creating a good clone of himself in the meantime.)
Community Feedback Replies: 25
  • July 29, 2017
    Arivne
    I assume this would not include villains who underwent a Heel Face Turn as a result of Applied Phlebotinum, such as She-Go turning good after being zapped by an alignment-reversal ray in a Kim Possible episode.
  • July 29, 2017
    NightShade96
    • This is part of The Reveal in Knights Of The Old Republic: the player character is actually Darth Revan, who had his/her mind wiped by the Jedi Council to ensure that (s)he would no longer be a threat to the galaxy. Following this, the player can decide whether to remain heroic or else take over as the new Dark Lord of the Sith.
  • July 29, 2017
    Arivne
    • Corrected spelling/incorrect wording (he forgot he own identity -> his, he forgot -> and, would -> will, his -> an, and may -> which may, would -> can, etc. etc.).
    • Deleted (about).
    • Corrected punctuation (deleted unnecessary commas).
    • Corrected improper pluralization.
    • Changed * to # to auto-number a list.
    • Created Examples section.
  • July 29, 2017
    DrNoPuma
    • At the end of Kubo And The Two Strings, after the Moon King/Raiden is brought down into human form, he loses all memory of who he is or any of the things he's done, despite having tried to kill Kubo only minutes earlier. Despite this, Kubo and the townspeople decide to respect Raiden and tell him that he was a great person. He is very happy to hear this, and decides to devote himself to "continuing" his generous lifestyle.
  • July 29, 2017
    LondonKdS
    See also Amnesiac Dissonance. I'm not sure that this is sufficiently different from that to be created.
  • July 29, 2017
    MetaFour
    ^Agreed.

    And if we do keep it, the name is misleading. It's got "Villain" in the name, but it's specifically about him working for the good guys. Something like Amnesiac Villain Joins The Heroes would be clearer.
  • July 29, 2017
    FlyingDuckManGenesis
    Western Animation
  • July 29, 2017
    Basara-kun
    Video Games:
    • Mortal Kombat: Before the events of Mortal Kombat 3. Kabal was a member of Black Dragon who was victim of Shao Kahn's extermination forces and left for dead. He was disfigured, the reason why he has to use a gas mask permanently, and with his memories gone joining to Earthrealm forces against Shao Kahn. He eventually regained his memories after MK3, as seen in his next appearance in Mortal Kombat Deception, in which he not just comes back to Black Dragon clan, he also wants to remake the organization from the ashes.
  • July 30, 2017
    Mhazard
    @LondonKdS this trope also covers villains who stays amnesiac for the rest of their lives. In that case, it can become a major cause of Relationship Reboot, or a makeshift Heel Face Turn.
  • July 30, 2017
    NemoJBakastle
    Odd-eye from Shining Force 2 turns out to be a rather honorable version of this trope.
  • July 30, 2017
    Tuckerscreator
    • Xiaolin Showdown: The Season 2 finale has Jack Spicer accidentally turn himself good when he brought the Reversing Mirror into the Yin Yang World, reversing his own spirit in the process. He remains with the heroes until needing to enter the Yin Yang World again, resetting his spirit back to evil (but not before creating a good clone of himself in the meantime.)
  • July 31, 2017
    Mhazard
    @NemoJBakastle Try elaborating your example further.
  • July 31, 2017
    Mhazard
    This trope proposal is now Up For Grabs, feel free to launch it for me if you think it's ready for launch.
  • August 1, 2017
    eroock
    How does this differ from Heel Face Brainwashing?
  • August 3, 2017
    Mhazard
    @eroock Heel Face Brainwashing is the act of the heroes deliberately brainwashing the villain into becoming good, whereas for this trope, the amnesia can be delivered via natural causes, be it a traffic accident, a severe brain damage received from a fight, or simply a memory loss.
  • August 4, 2017
    Mhazard
    3 more days before launch, we still need more examples.
  • August 4, 2017
    NightShade96
    Moved the Kubo example under the Film folder, as it's an animated film.
  • August 4, 2017
    DustSnitch
    • The twist of the emotional rollercoaster known as My Sims SkyHeroes is that the player character used to be the chief enforcer for the evil Morcubus, before getting shot out of the sky and left amnesiac to be unwittingly picked up by the resistance against Morcubus.
  • August 4, 2017
    MadAnthony94
    • Class Of The Titans: After Big Bad Cronus and all the team fall into the River Lethe and lose their memories, Cronus becomes totally amicable and joins the gang in trying to work out what's going on.
  • August 6, 2017
    Mhazard
    I'm now thinking of one thing, should I expand the range of this trope's coverage into including former villains not directly working for the heroes (or even non-villainous former enemies) , but they still "become good" or temporarily not hostile to the heroes due to amnesia?

    Originally, I planned to have the trope name as "Amnesiac Enemy" since the main point is the subject being forgotten that they're supposed to be an enemy of the heroes, however I changed my mind when I posted this draft to serve as a contrast to Amnesiac Hero. So, is "Amnesiac Villain Joins The Heroes" or "Amnesiac Enemy" a better title?
  • August 6, 2017
    Dravencour
    Light Yagami of Death Note does this as part of his Memory Gambit, having given up his memories of being Kira and joining the Kira taskforce, even working together with his nemesis L. Light without the Death Note is actually a pretty decent guy, but we know that this cannot last, and sure enough, after a very convoluted Gambit Roulette, Light reclaims the Death Note and regains his memories and everything goes to hell.
  • August 7, 2017
    Mhazard
    Trope preparing to launch in 8 hours, finalizing the title.

    Is "Amnesiac Villain Joins The Heroes" or "Amnesiac Enemy" a better title?
  • August 7, 2017
    BKelly95
    Is there an inverse of this where an amnesiac hero joins the villains? I can think of a few examples of that.
  • August 7, 2017
    Mhazard
  • August 8, 2017
    Mhazard
    So, is this ready for launch?
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=nxy8d2db5w9hebhp8j1mdqsc