[[quoteright:192:[[Webcomic/{{Sinfest}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/SinfestAmnesiacDissonance_6662.GIF]]]]
[[caption-width-right:192:[-Drinking from the Lethe doesn't hide it all.-] ]]

->''10,000 years of unerasable acts and permanent facts\\
The record of my unspeakable crimes\\
In previous lives, in previous times\\
Indelibly stains the pages of history''
-->-- '''Music/TheyMightBeGiants''', ''Reprehensible''

Amnesiac Dissonance occurs when a good or evil person suddenly remembers their past of the opposite [[CharacterAlignment alignment.]] This becomes the epitome of Man versus Himself (or Herself) as the values and memories of their past self collide with their current self. This can result in a complete FaceHeelTurn or HeelFaceTurn, or give a shade of grey to the character that they didn't possess before. {{Reincarnation}} can be substituted as a type of spiritual amnesia.

This is not [[DemonicPossession possession]], or merely being {{brainwashed}}; this is the self, one's own Good and Evil, conflicting in the most direct way possible. The darkest result is the tragedy where whatever goodness might have been is erased. It requires HeroicWillpower to continue being a good guy when remembering TheDarkSide and the powers it enables. Sometimes, though, RedemptionEqualsDeath.

Note, HeelFaceBrainwashing and then coming out of it may lead to this.

This tends to be more the good character remembering an evil past because AmnesiacsAreInnocent, but it's only a tendency. May overlap with TheKillerInMe and AlternateIdentityAmnesia. Can stem from AmnesiacResonance: a character who, for instance, realizes his own familiarity with guns and wonders why he used them.

A variation may be that the person never gets their memory back directly, but does find out who they were previously and has to deal with the implications; be they [[OutDamnedSpot crippling guilt]] over past evil, or longing for [[VillainsOutShopping the simple pleasures]] after [[PetTheDog petting the dog.]]

See IdentityAmnesia, LossOfIdentity, and AmnesiacLiar. Compare LostInCharacter.

Contrast with PygmalionSnapBack, wherein a person (sometimes voluntarily; sometimes [[MindControl not]]) changes some aspect of their personality at the behest or [[MoreThanMindControl influence]] of another, and upon disillusionment the old personality trait is restored with a vengence.

'''This is always a huge character {{spoiler}}. Please take care before reading these examples.'''
----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Happens several times in ''AngelSanctuary'', subverted with [[spoiler:Setsuna and Sara: Setsuna regains some of Alexiel's memories but manages to maintain his identity as a separate person from her, and Sara never regains any memories of her life as Gabriel]] but played agonizingly straight with [[spoiler:Kira.]]
* For the first two seasons of ''BloodPlus'', Saya goes through this after meeting Haji, and starts to remember when she went [[UnstoppableRage berserk]] in Vietnam and older memories.
* Villetta Nu of ''Anime/CodeGeass'' goes through this when her battlefield injuries leave her amnesiac. One of the enemy, Kaname Ohgi, takes her in, conceals her past from her, and keeps her hidden from his comrades. Slowly, she grows infatuated with him...[[spoiler:until her memories resurface and she shoots him with his own gun before rejoining her old allies. In spite of this, Ohgi risks his life to confess his love to her, and in the end, Villetta is able to reconcile her identities and marry him.]]
* In ''DeadmanWonderland'', Nagi seems to be a perfectly friendly, polite and kind-hearted widower, whose only wish is to see his child outside of prison. Turns out that's not exactly the case. [[spoiler:With the help of a bit of drugs and MindScrew, he remembers that when he was shown his unborn child's fetus in a test tube, he stewed over it for a week, then went and murdered twenty-two prison guards with his bare hands; he also recalls his general hatred for all of humanity. It's not a pretty moment.]]
* Inverted and averted in ''Manga/DeathNote'': Protagonist Light gives up his memories of being the mass-murderer "Kira", then his mind wiped self tries to [[ClearMyName clear his name]] by joining a task force devoted to capturing Kira. Although he still keeps his intelligence and ''says'' that his thought patterns are similar to Kira's, his personality changes to that of a decent person rather than the self-righteous, prideful WellIntentionedExtremist he was before that would be willing to use the Death Note (the most jarring is the difference in how he treats Misa). Even if he doesn't sympathise with Kira because he wants to clear his name, the personality change was the series' only notable headache. [[spoiler:But when he gets his memories back, there's no dissonance - just a PsychoticSmirk. Everything that happened went "Exactly as planned."]]
* In ''DragonBall'' Goku is shocked to discover he isn't a human with ridiculous strength, a monkey tail, and the ability to turn into a giant ape, he was a Saiyan sent to earth to destroy it. Unfortunately his older brother tries to convince him of this by kidnapping his only son, and Goku got amnesia as a baby so he has no memory of being an evil Saiyan anyway. By the time he embraces his Saiyan side (during his battle with Frieza) he's the only known Saiyan alive so there's no pressure to conform anymore.
* In ''Manga/ElfenLied'', when Lucy loses her memories, she goes from being a violent mass murderer to an innocent, harmless (and slightly retarded) girl, Nyu.
* After Greed is captured in ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', he is given complete amnesia by his creator Father. When confronted by a former companion, Greed kills the companion which causes memories to start resurfacing. One of the images he sees is King Bradley (who killed his three closest companions) and Greed attacks King Bradley's house before running away.
* In ''{{Gunnm}}'' (aka ''Battle Angel''), Alita/Gally eventually discovers that she was a ruthless terrorist before her body was discovered in the Scrapyard at the beginning of the series. In fact, she's directly ''responsible'' for the {{dystopia}} she'd been rebelling against.
* Though he didn't exactly turn evil, Sho in ''{{Guyver}}'' had this happen in the infamous arc where [[spoiler:he killed his father after said father had been forcibly turned into a Guyver-killing Zoanoid that ripped out Sho's brain]]. Notably, Sho was affected by this for some time: he built up a mental block about his powers that only subsided when his love of and duty towards Mizuki overruled his guilt.
* In the ''VisualNovel/HigurashiNoNakuKoroNi'' manga, Keiichi falls asleep, and forgets he [[spoiler:kills Mion and Rena.]] He wakes up quickly and sees the [[spoiler:bloody sight.]] This is not in the anime or sound novels, though.
** One example that did occur in all adaptations is when in a later arc, Keiichi [[spoiler:recalls said act, which he forgot by virtue of [[GroundhogDayLoop not living in the world in which it occurred.]]]]
** Although he wasn't so much "Amnesiac" as [[spoiler:an alternate dimensional self.]]
* ''KannazukiNoMiko'': This happening to Chikane is the reason for her FaceHeelTurn. [[spoiler:Except that she never turned to begin with. YouCantFightFate.]]
* In ''[[PrettySammy Magical Project S]]'', Sasami's friend Misao has the split personality of Pixy Misa created by Rumia. Since she has no memories of being Pixy Misa, she's completely clueless. Pixy Misa seems to be aware of being Misao, though, and the series often plays this up for laughs, such as when Pixy Misa tricks Sasami into believing she's "kidnapped" Misao (by using a giant screen to cover her transformations, all the while Misao is ''completely'' confused as to what's going on). [[spoiler:After Misao discovers that she's Pixy Misa and had been fighting her best friend all along, she has a mental breakdown over the conflicting personalities.]]
* Used and played with in ''Anime/{{Monster}}'' with two of the main characters and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epC71UrPcgg&feature=related some interesting children's books]].
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', nearly played straight with filler character Memna. Formerly a bandit, he became kindly and even heroic after losing his memories. However, the trope falls apart when it's revealed that he lost his memories during a HeelFaceTurn.
* Atori in ''{{Noein}}'' goes from AxCrazy PsychoElectro to a mild, almost childlike guy after losing his memory. When his memory is restored, he becomes rather unstable, but stays a good guy because he wants to [[LickedByTheDog keep protecting the children.]]
* In a later episode of ''Anime/{{Noir}}'' it appears that Kirika is being {{brainwashed}}. The reality is that her self up to that point ''was'' the brainwashed self, and the ritual removes it. In the penultimate episode, Mireille fights not only the "true" Kirika, but attempts to get her "fake" version back.
* Mara from ''Manga/AhMyGoddess'', despite being a demon, is shown to be extremely gentle and kind after she loses her memories. Unfortunately for the protagonists, she was holding Keiichi's sister hostage before she lost her memories, making it necessary for them to restore her memories.
* In ''ScrappedPrincess'', Sim, a cute little amnesiac waif, is taken in by the main characters. She is later abducted by the Peacemakers, ancient humanlike machines out to kill the protagonists, and revealed to be one of them who had been uncompressed from her storage state erroneously. When she is fully uncompressed, she is called 'Cz', has the form of an adult and remembers her original function as the protagonists' enemy, though she retains her 'Sim' memories.
* Akira in ''EdenOfTheEast'' wakes up [[NakedFirstImpression naked]] in the middle of Washington D.C. with a cell phone and no clue who he is or how he ended up there. As he tries to figure out what's going on, he at first gets the impression that he was a terrorist, but it's a bit more complicated than that...
* In ''Manga/FairyTail'', [[spoiler:Jellal]] gets called out for all his past crimes by Erza during the Oracion Seis arc when she's trying to prove she's not going to fall for his tricks again and buy his lie about having amnesia. Except he really does have amnesia, and since neither of them know that [[spoiler:he was brainwashed into committing those crimes]], and he's actually a good person at heart he's horrified to learn what kind of a person he was.
* Teito in ''[[ZeroSevenGhost 07 Ghost]]'' [[spoiler:flees the military, abandoning a promising career, when he remembers that Ayanami, one of the top military officers, killed his "father."]]
* Neo Roanoke in ''MobileSuitGundamSEEDDestiny'' comes down with a bad case of amnesiac dissonance once he's taken prisoner aboard the ''Archangel'' and meets Captain Murrue Ramius, who [[spoiler:was his lover back when he was the heroic AcePilot Mu La Flaga]]. Unfortunately, this and Neo's feelings about the unpleasant things he'd been doing prior to that point are given very little screen time.
* Kurando from ''Manga/PopcornAvatar''. When he was little, he was much more energetic and prone to perverted pranks. When he temporarily regresses to that mental age, he makes such an impression on the girls in his class that they continue to be terrified of him after he reverts back to normal.
* In ''Manga/OmamoriHimari'', Yuuto is horrified when some of his memories come back and he realizes that he was once eager to slay demons, instead of befriending them like he does now.
* In the anime film ''Film/{{Colorful}}'' [[spoiler:"I", a forsaken spirit that possesses a boy called Makoto, is more vocal and forward then Makoto ever was much to the surprise of his classmates, prompting "I" to wonder what kind of person Makoto was. "I" as it turns out ''is'' Makoto.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Audio Plays]]
* In the AudioPlay/BigFinishDoctorWho audio play ''Master'', the Master is given 10 years of an amnesia-induced normal life if the Doctor agrees to kill him at the end of it. Things get complicated to where the Master has to decide whether to become evil again for the right reasons, or to stay who he is for the wrong reasons.
** Also happens in the audio drama ''The Holy Terror'': [[spoiler: when Eugene Tacitus remembers that he killed his own son and that the entire fictional world he lives in is designed to torture him for it, he is so overcome with guilt that, despite the Doctor's pleas, he makes the CreepyChild that represents his son stab him with the knife he was going to use to kill it]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* There is an instance or two where SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker, [[Franchise/{{Batman}} Batman's]] enemy from TheDCU, loses his memories and becomes a regular family man. This self is always consumed by his madness returning.
* The MarvelUniverse character ComicBook/TheFalcon went through something like this in a DorkAge storyline where it was [[RetCon 'revealed']] that he was actually a [[ScaryBlackMan former street hustler named 'Snap']] who had been brainwashed by the Red Skull to be the perfect new partner for Captain America, supposedly so that the Skull could then activate a post-hypnotic suggestion later to make him betray Cap.
** Marvel loved this trope. Early on in ''UltimateXMen'', Professor Xavier mindwiped Magneto and convinced him that he was a baseline human who taught handicapped children and was having a relationship with a human woman (with whom he eventually moved in). It worked...for a while.
** For that matter, when a de-aged, amnesiac {{Magneto}} turned up in the normal ''Comicbook/{{X-Men}}'' titles in the '90s, he spent a considerable amount of time worrying about his past actions and whether he was destined to repeat them. This was ultimately resolved when he was [[RetCon revealed to be a clone instead]]. [[spoiler:[[CloningBlues And then killed off.]]]]
** Another Marvel example is {{Taskmaster}}. It was recently revealed that his Photographic reflex ability comes at the cost of his personal memories. When he's able to remember who he was [[spoiler:(A SHIELD agent named Tony Masters and that he's married to the woman that was tagging along with him in the adventure who is also a SHIELD agent)]] he regrets all the bad things he has done as Taskmaster. Sadly, in order to protect [[spoiler:his wife]] Mercedes, he has to [[LimitBreak use his ability to its limit]] by combining every move he had learned along with copying the fighting style of the guy attacking them in order to defeat him, causing him to forget himself again.
* Earth-2 Comicbook/{{Catwoman}} had been suffering from amnesia during her criminal career. When she recovered, she was willing to go to prison for her crimes. (Later, during a story where Batman sprang her from jail to help him, she [[RetCon revealed]] that she had made up the amnesia to make her HeelFaceTurn plausible; in reality, she had wanted to quit.)
* In ''[[ComicBook/OneHundredBullets 100 Bullets]]'', various characters discover that they were formerly highly trained assassins known as Minutemen who were brainwashed into forgetting their work. As they are awakened to their real memories by various usages of an embedded code word, they must decide whether to return to their old agenda or walk away.
* In ''Main/SonicTheComic'', Super Sonic is haunted for a long time by recurring nightmares of a demonic creature destroying the world and saving him for last. Eventually, he discovers these are actually representations of his past destructive urges, remembering in full that he was once the evil, chaotic Super Sonic. This leads him to refuse to use his powers lest he become corrupted by them once more - indeed, each time he taps chaos energy or his inert powers, he reverts to his crazy self. [[spoiler:His desire to not become a demon again ends in tragedy, as he is corrupted by the power of all seven emeralds - while attempting to save his own life nonetheless - and he is promptly merged back with Sonic, seemingly ending the pacifist Super Sonic's life.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Fic]]
* In the ''Manga/DeathNote'' fic by Quiet ''FanFic/TheArtOfDrowning'', this trope is the catalyst of the fic's plot, where the main time line diverges from the original story when Light [[EurekaMoment suddenly realizes]] that the detective L is actually his [[ForgottenChildhoodFriend "murdered" childhood friend]] L Lawliet. This triggers his [[TraumaInducedAmnesia suppressed memories]] and an inner [[BattleInTheCenterOfTheMind Battle for dominance]] Light vs Kira.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' fic ''Fanfic/PastSins'', Nightmare Moon is reborn as a filly as part of a botched spell by a cult seeking to resurrect her as a mare of her own. She regains some of her old memories, leading her to feel guilt and then loses it when she regains all of them as the same cult recast the spell on her to complete her.
* In ''[[Fanfic/PonyPsychologySeries Ditzy Doo: Muffins]]'', Ditzy starts to recover her memories from before she came to Ponyville, and freaks out when she thinks she may have been a mob enforcer who killed a Canterlot guard and his wife. [[spoiler:She was actually a secret agent who was trying to take down a griffon mobster, and was too late to warn the guard that the mob was after him.]]
* In the ''FanFic/PonyPOVSeries'', [[BigBad Discord]] was once reborn as the child of a mortal pony named Shady. Bereft of his memories as a GodOfEvil, Discord grew up loving Shady like any good son, and became best friends with Celestia and Luna (who likewise were reborn to [[spoiler:G1 Mimic]]). Then the memories of his past life returned. Discord resisted returning to his old evil self, but ultimately became a villain again when his evil persona consumed his good one.
** It should be noted that the Alicorns did [[AmnesiacGod this kind of thing]], in order to better relate to the lives they must help. While we only see three instances (two of which were the same person) their personalities can differ greatly. However, it's stated that normally, their two personas [[SplitPersonalityMerge merge back together]] upon regaining their true memories, allowing them to find middle ground between them. In Discord's case, his pre and post amnesiac personalities were so different Discord and 'Dissy' couldn't accept one another as the same being.
** Another example is [[spoiler:Celestia having been being reborn as an Earth Pony during the Windigo's rampage. She watched her family die and was ''extremely'' racist towards the pegasi and unicorns, dying cursing the ones who caused her suffering. It was only after dying she realized ''she'' [[NiceJobBreakingItHero was the one who caused it all]] and explicitly requested being reborn like this as punishment.]]
** Played with in Bright Eyes' story in the ''7 Dreams/Nightmares'' collection. While never evil, she was always a bit of a know-it-all with a mild {{Jerkass}} streak; both attributes were lost when [[ApocalypseHow/{{Class2}} the disaster that ended G2 society]] caused her to lose her memory. And to the surprise of her friends and family, she keeps the CharacterDevelopment even after her memory is restored. [[spoiler: Her storyline's BigBad -- the [[OurGhostsAreDifferent Shadow of Existence]] of Discord's brother [[UnPerson D___t]] -- tries to invoke this trope when she's on the cusp of regaining her memories, by posing as her EnemyWithin Cruel Eyes and trying to convince her that her original self was a monster who caused the disaster on purpose. She sees through his lies and defeats him.]]
** It's revealed in the Shining Armor Arc that [[spoiler: Minuette is actually ''[[Series/DoctorWho the Master]]'' in [[SealedInsideAPersonShapedCan pony form]], with his consciousness sealed inside a fob watch. She [[ShutUpHannibal refuses]] to give into his attempts to open it and become him again.]] [[spoiler:Like Bright Eyes, after putting up with his attempts to regain control for the entire arc, she manages to destroy him for good by feeding him to [[ClockRoaches the Blank Wolf]] in the GrandFinale, obtaining a life of her own independent of him in the process (though she ''may'' still be a Time Lord).]].
* In MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic fan novel ''{{Fanfic/Fragments}}'', the pegasus "Sky" wakes up injured, alone in a forest, and totally unaware that he is [[spoiler:a Changeling, and supposed to be an ''enemy'' of Equestria]]. It takes him many weeks to discover his true identity, and by that time [[spoiler:he has thoroughly and enthusiastically absorbed Pony culture, so he no longer ''wants'' to live in a Changeling Hive -- even if he could ''find'' his Hive anymore, after the defeat of Queen Chrysalis]].
* ''Fanfic/GhostBoy'' centres around events after ''Disney/WreckItRalph'', with the BigBad of that movie [[spoiler:Turbo]] getting his memory wiped after resurrection, and living with the main cast. [[ForegoneConclusion You can guess what he ends up finding out.]] [[spoiler:But the trope itself gets notably averted: Turbo actively rejects his evil self, and ultimately ends up killing it for good when it scrounges up a separate body]].
* [[DiscussedTrope Discussed]] in ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'' fanfic ''FanFic/{{Pretender}}'', Robin believes that his past self before he got amnesia must have been a terrible person since no one bothered to look for him as he probably went missing and he was left for dead in a field.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* The title character in ''WesternAnimation/TheIronGiant'' loses his memory shortly after crashing on Earth (probably when he got electrocuted by the power station while trying to eat it), and is unaware that he is actually a WeaponOfMassDestruction until his built in self-defense protocols start getting activated. When he believes Hogarth is dead, the next army attack seems to undo the dent in his head and his full military programming comes back online (though he still reacts based on self-defense, targeting the greatest threat which is actively attacking him). When [[spoiler: Hogarth isn't dead]], he helps the Giant remember their time together and that he has a choice in his own actions.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Douglas Quaid, the central character in ''Film/TotalRecall1990'', discovers that before he had his memories rewritten he was Hauser, TheDragon to the movie's BigBad, and that he had been on a mission to destroy the people on whose side he had since come to fight. [[MindScrew Or did he .... ?]]
* The protagonist of ''Film/TheLongKissGoodnight'', a former assassin who ended up as a housewife in a small city.
* ''Regarding Henry'', where Creator/HarrisonFord plays an AmoralAttorney who gets shot and loses his memory. He's appalled at what a jerk he discovers he was.
* In the Creator/LaurelAndHardy short "A Chump at Oxford", while our heroes are visiting Oxford University Stan gets hit on the head and becomes a snob with an English accent, much to Ollie's disgust. Not surprisingly he later gets hit on the head again and returns to his old self.
* In ''Film/{{Overboard}}'', Goldie Hawn plays a RichBitch who loses her memory after falling overboard her yacht. Kurt Russell plays an average joe handyman who convinces her that she is his wife (he's widowed) in order to get revenge for unpaid work on the yacht. The two characters fall in love and when Hawn's character eventually regains her memory she must decide whether to go back to her previous life or remain with her new family.
** Notably, she doesn't automatically become nice when she gets amnesia. She's still pretty much a bitch until living a life where everything isn't handed to her teaches her some humility.
* The ''fear'' of Amnesiac Dissonance drives the suspense in ''Unknown'' (2006). Several kidnappers and their captives wake up in a vacant warehouse, having succumbed to an accidental gas leak that has caused temporary amnesia. They find clues that some of them are criminals, but don't know which of their own number are the bad guys, and need to figure it out before the rest of the kidnapping gang comes to collect their prisoner.
* Seen in ''Film/X2XMenUnited''; Stryker claims that he and Wolverine were partners before Wolverine lost his memory.
-->'''Stryker''': You were always an animal, Wolverine. I just gave you claws.
** Based on the prequel film, [[spoiler:Stryker appears to have been projecting his own moral vacuum onto a member of the subspecies of humanity he despised]].
* Happens in ''Film/ResidentEvil'' with [[spoiler: Spence. Gas released by the Red Queen's defences causes him (and Alice) to lose their memories. He spends most of the film as a good guy but, when he regains his memory, he also reverts to his original personality - an amoral shit whose theft of the T-Virus started everything.]]
* Played with in ''Film/DarkCity'': J. Murdoch has no memories, and the only evidence he can find about his past points to him being a serial killer. He's horrified, and soon becomes convinced that it can't be true, that he isn't a killer. Turns out he's right, and the truth is even stranger: [[spoiler:RealityWarper aliens had staged the evidence, and implanted everyone around him with false memories--and they've been doing so for years. Murdoch's own amnesia is because he had somehow rejected the latest attempted memory transplant.]]
* Lieutenant Payton in ''Film/{{Pandorum}}'' is honestly trying to remotely assist Bower in his attempt to restart the ship's reactor. However, when he finds out that he is really [[spoiler:Corporal Gallo]] (he had hypersleep-induced amnesia), he instantly turns into a murderous nihilist.
* [[spoiler: Creator/LiamNeeson]]'s character in 2011's ''Film/{{Unknown}}'' (aka ''Unknown White Male'') turns out to be a terrorist/mercenary-assassin.
* The eponymous character in ''Film/AngelHeart'' discovers that [[spoiler: the evil murderer that he was hired to find was [[TheKillerInMe himself]]]], and not only that, he also found out that he had [[spoiler: [[ParentalIncest had sex with his daughter]]]].
* Throughout ''Film/TheBourneSeries'', Jason Bourne is horrified to learn what a merciless killer he was before his amnesia.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In [[Creator/DanAbnett Dan Abnett's]] Literature/GauntsGhosts novel ''Traitor General'', [[spoiler:Sturm]] is deeply indignant about his treatment by Imperial forces. When the mindlock on his memories, he realizes that he [[HeelRealization had been treated justly]] and [[RedemptionEqualsDeath deserved to die]].
* In [[Creator/RobertLudlum Robert Ludlum's]] ''[[Literature/TheBourneSeries The Bourne Identity]]'', the amnesiac David Webb comes to believe that he is professional contract killer Jason Bourne, which was in fact only a cover assigned to him by the CIA before the incident that caused his amnesia. When the BigBad comes to realize that something of this nature is occurring, he begins setting Webb/Bourne up to reinforce this belief.
** This is played quite differently in [[Film/TheBourneSeries the movie adaptations of the Bourne novels]]; prior to his amnesia, Webb/Bourne had in fact been trained as an assassin, if a government-sponsored one. The amnesia works as something as a mental-reset button, as he'd been brainwashed into becoming the assassin. As a result, post-amnesia he is TheAtoner.
* The entire plotline of K. J. Parker's ''Literature/TheScavengerTrilogy'', although Poldarn quickly figures out that he probably won't like what he remembers.
** The problem isn't just that he has issues with who he was before he lost his memories. It's also that the amnesia fades over time, [[spoiler:so he repeatedly regains memories too late to stop himself causing a tragedy and/or realises too late that the tragedies he purposefully caused were committed upon his former friends and loved ones,]] giving him issues with what he did as an amnesiac. [[spoiler:Even more Amnesiac dissonance is (mostly) averted by the fact that he doesn't remember the horrible deaths he has died in previous incarnations except in dreams. He is (possibly) both the final reincarnation of everyone in the novel and the god Poldarn who is fated to cause the Apocalypse without knowing he is the god Poldarn. Making him both culprit and victim in different incarnations of every atrocity in the series.]]
* Literature/CalLeandros gets bitten by a monster that gives him amnesia in ''Blackout''. He immediately figures out he's a morally ambiguous 'killer' and rolls with it, but once he gets reintroduced to his life he is ''very'' disturbed by a photograph of himself from before. Most of the book deals with his struggle between wondering if he should stay amnesiac and moral, or try to regain his memories and become who he was before. [[spoiler: When he realizes the latter will allow him to protect Niko better, he barely even hesitates restoring himself]].
* At the start of ''[[Literature/TheLegendsongSaga Darksong]]'' Ember regains her memory and is forced to face not only the knowledge of her illness and impending death, but also the personality she created to [[SafetyInIndifference deal with it]]. This personality becomes known as Dark Ember, and represents the [[OrderVersusChaos forces of Chaos]]. They try a SplitPersonalityMerge, but discover that they are too incompatible.
* [[Creator/PGWodehouse P.G. Wodehouse's]] novel ''The Indiscretions of Archie'' does this for laughs: Archie befriends a man who has lost his memory during the war and, horrified, suspects that his name may be Lancelot.
* At the beginning of [[JohnCWright John C. Wright's]] ''[[Literature/TheGoldenOecumene The Golden Age]]'', Phaethon learns that he is suffering from LaserGuidedAmnesia and is told he has committed horrible offenses. A Neptunian urges him to flee to have his personality repaired, pointing out that his self-chosen name [[MeaningfulName shows]] that he is not by nature as acquiescent as he acts.
** In the third book, ''The Golden Transcedence'', Daphne reveals to Helion that so far from supporting the Horators' attempt to stop Phaethon, in his missing hour of life, he had [[IGaveMyWord pledged]] to support Phaethon.
* Happens to Corwin at the opening of [[Creator/RogerZelazny Roger Zelazny's]] ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfAmber''.
* Pretty much the plot of ''[[Literature/RevelationSpaceSeries Chasm City]]'' by Creator/AlastairReynolds.
* Happens in the ''EveOnline'' novel ''Empyrean Age'': A high-ranking, slave-keeping [[TheEmpire Amarrian]] official suffers amnesia due to a botched assassination attempt. He is found by a RagtagBunchOfMisfits, which includes [[LaResistance Minmatar]] members, who naturally react to his presence with revulsion. While he eventually resumes his position, he [[BecomingTheMask keeps]] the nice guy persona he developed during the story.
* In a short story by Vivian Vande Velde, a young prince wakes up in a field staring into the eyes of a witch, who tells him perhaps this will help, and leaves. He struggles to survive in the nearby city, selling everything he has on him and eventually working for a living. Finally, he comes across some people who recognize him and take him home. Due to his complete amnesia of anything before, and the fact that he now understands how difficult other people have it, he's a much nicer person. Everyone who knew him before keeps complimenting him on his niceness in a way that's not quite complimentary. Even worse, his ArrangedMarriage fiancee has the same eyes as the witch who [[CursedWithAwesome cursed]] him, a fact he tries hard not to think about too much.
* A somewhat similar situation comes up in Creator/DianaWynneJones' ''Literature/CastleInTheAir'', where it turns out that a character had been given amnesia and memories of a different identity to teach him a lesson.
* Self-inflicted in [[JohnMFord John M. Ford's]] short story ''Erase/Record/Play'', in which the scientists experimenting on prisoners in a concentration camp give ''everyone'' - victims, guards, and tormentors - the same experimental memory-wiping drug, and mix themselves into the general population to avoid punishment when the liberators come. They can't be coerced or tricked into revealing their guilt, because even they don't know if they're guilty.
* In ''Literature/TheCandyShopWar,'' Nate and his friends are given a Blank Slate--a magical food that will cause whoever eats it to lose all their memories and become, well, a BlankSlate--and are told to use it on a rival magician. They can't bring themselves to do it, but Nate holds on to the food anyway. But when it becomes apparent that there's no way to stop the main villainess from drinking from the FountainOfYouth and becomming an unstoppable Child Mage, he crumbles the slate into her goblet of magic water... thus turning her into a harmless and sweet-natured little girl.
* In [[EvanHunter Evan Hunter's]] novel ''Buddwing'' a man wakes up in a park with no idea who he is. He creates a name for himself based on seeing a Budweiser truck and an airplane and goes searching for who he is and what has happened to him. At the end [[spoiler: he realizes that his wife committed suicide because of his dickishness and the shock gives him amnesia ''again'' and the story starts all over again. In the movie "Mister Buddwing" he realizes that his wife is in a hospital, not a mortuary, and he goes to her and apparently reconciles.]]
* In Larissa Ione's ''Rogue Rider'' when Reseph remembers what he did while he was [[HorsemenoftheApocalypse Pestilence]] he suffers a sanity break as the pure evil of the actions he remembers are such an antithesis of his true nature.
* The [[Series/DoctorWho Eighth Doctor]], [[RunningGag amnesia-prone as he is]], runs into this problem in the ''Literature/EighthDoctorAdventures'' after a particularly [[TraumaInducedAmnesia nasty]] and [[MythArc long-lasting]] bout. It's brought up near the end of the series's run by his companion Fitz that perhaps he remembers much more than he lets on, but doesn't want to accept [[WhereIWasBornAndRazed the implications of the cause of his amnesia]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/BabylonFive'':
** The episode "Passing Through Gethsemane" centers around a mind-wiped SerialKiller who lives as [[spoiler: a monk in a religious order.]] Upon discovering his past, he's aghast. How can he pray for forgiveness when he doesn't even know his sins? Ultimately, he decides the only way he can atone is [[spoiler: [[RedemptionEqualsDeath through death.]] And so, despite his superior's pleas that he accept the mercy of a new life, he allows himself to be crucified by the families of his old victims.]] In an [[{{Irony}} ironic]] TwistEnding, [[spoiler: the leader of the lynch mob is sentenced to mind-wipe, and joins the same religious order.]]
** In the episode "Divided Loyalties" Lyta Alexander arrives on Bablyon 5 to tell captain Sheridan that someone onboard the station is a sleeper agent and that only by sending a specific word into their minds to activate the agent can they find out who it is. [[spoiler: Turns out it's Talia Winters, who's sleeper personality seems to be as chaotic and malicious as Talia was formerlly calm and helpful.]]
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'': It's written into Angel's curse that every time he's subjected to a HeelFaceTurn, he gets about 30 seconds of amnesia before the memories of his past evils return all at once, sending him into his usual guilt spiral.
** Subverted in the case of Connor, who didn't get a full restore, but a vague remembrance like a dream. As the major impression is that they were very unpleasant, he seems happy enough with who he is now.
* In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode "Utopia", [[spoiler:the Master]] hides from [[spoiler:the Time War]] by transforming himself into a [[spoiler:human being]] and erasing his memory, becoming [[spoiler:the mild-mannered, philanthropic Professor Yana]]. His original memories are stored inside [[spoiler:a watch which, when he opens it decades later, restores his memories to him - and in an instant, he turns against everyone he'd been working with as Yana and hatches a plan to conquer the universe.]]
* PlayedForLaughs and LampshadeHanging in an episode of ''Series/DueSouth'' where Benton, in a state of amnesia, reacts with total bemusement to the other characters' explanations of what he is normally like, and the quirks that they have all by then gotten used to, like his living in an unfurnished apartment where he sleeps on the floor. ("Why am I living like this? Am I being punished?")
* Inverted in ''Series/{{Heroes}}'', when [[spoiler: Peter Petrelli wakes up in a cargo box with total amnesia. He resists learning about his past for the longest time, because he fears that he'll find out he's really evil. Naturally, pretty much everyone who hears this--cast and audience alike--laugh their asses off at this possibility.]]
** Later played straight when [[spoiler:Matt Parkman uses mind control to make Sylar (the big bad) forget his past and think he was somebody else. When shown his real past he flips out, and the mind control means he still can't remember it properly.]]
* In an episode of ''{{Hustle}}'', TheMark discovered the con, then came down with EasyAmnesia. The team decided this was an opportunity to run the scam again without making the same mistakes, but when they saw how horrified he was at his own business practices they realised they were breaking The Code; conning an honest man. (It eventually transpired that [[spoiler: he'd either regained or never lost his memory, and was setting them up. However, their refusal to con him at the end left him reluctant to follow-through, and may have caused a genuine HeelFaceTurn, but is left ambiguous.]])
* This is the entire premise of Christina Applegate's show ''SamanthaWho?''
* The ''Series/StargateSG1'' episode "Past and Present" had Daniel Jackson fall in love with an amnesiac named Ke'ra, who's a doctor working to reverse a global pandemic that has the entire population to suffer amnesia. It's later revealed that she is actually a de-aged Linea, also known as "[[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast The Destroyer of Worlds]]", who created the very plague in the first place to regain her youth and the amnesia was an unforeseen side-effect. When her cure causes her to start regaining her memory, she tries to kill herself but Daniel stops her and reinfects her with the virus, which unfortunately [[RelationshipResetButton erases her memories of him.]]
* The ''Series/StargateAtlantis'' episode "Michael" features previously unknown Lieutenant Michael Kenmore [[spoiler:having nightmares of being a Wraith. As it turns out, he was subjected to an experimental treatment to turn wraiths human, giving him a grudge against both the wraith and humanity, both of whom he later attempts to exterminate.]]
* In the 1996 made-for-television movie ''Sweet Dreams'', Alison Sullivan, played by Tiffani-Amber Theissen, awakes from a coma with amnesia. She speaks to various acquaintances from her life to uncover her past, discovering that she had not previously been a nice person, and begins to realize that her amnesia is a result of someone's attempt to murder her because of her misdeeds. She foils them, and then decides to stay the nice new version of herself.
* In the ''Series/RedDwarf'' episode "Back To Reality", the crew wake up from the virtual reality game they were playing, and discover that their real personalities are very different from the people they thought they were. Dave Lister, who likes to think he's a good guy who will usually do the right thing, discovers that he's really a brutal fascist officer; Arnold Rimmer, who thinks he's better than Lister, discovers that he's really Lister's less successful brother; Kryten, who thinks he'd never harm a human being, discovers that he's capable of murder; and the Cat, who defines his whole existence by his sense of style and good taste, discovers that he's really an awkward, buck-toothed, fashion-deficient {{Nerd}}. Subverted when [[spoiler:it turns out this is all a hallucination created by the Despair Squid, and their "game" personalities are their real ones after all.]]
* An episode of ''Series/CriminalMinds'' had a serial killer attempting to escape police, only to fall several stories down and end up in a coma. He awakes years later, with no memory of his former life or his actions. Most people believe he's faking, but his amnesia is sincere... Until his memories begin returning. [[spoiler:He escapes and is tracked to the park he worked at as a ranger, the police believing him trying to kill one more time. In actuality he dug up a previously-unfound body to confirm whether his memories were real. He turns himself in on discovering this, admitting to all his crimes in exchange for life rather than a death sentence due to his sincere regret for his actions]].
* One episode of ''{{Medium}}'' centers around a former serial killer whose modus operandi was to hire a prostitute, smother her with a pillow after having sex, and bury her in the desert. But one night his plan goes awry when the woman's pimp breaks into his house as part of a planned robbery, and the killer is shot in the head during the ensuing scuffle. When the prostitute visits him in the hospital, she finds that he has amnesia, and remembers nothing about his murders. Once he is discharged from the hospital, he continues his life minus the murders; the woman leaves her life of prostitution and eventually the two end up married. Despite learning all this from the former prostitute, Allison continues to pursue the issue so the bodies can be found. When pressed, the former killer seems to vaguely remember the murders, and it is implied that he leads the police to the bodies. It's never made clear when the memories began to come back, how many of them came back, or even if he ever truly forgot.
* On ''Series/{{Dollhouse}}'', Echo gradually comes to realize that Caroline, the original personality in her body, wasn't such a good person, and is no longer sure if she wants her old memories back. This may have been a response to the audience finding Caroline, who was a radical member of an AnimalWrongsGroup, to be a rather unsympathetic heroine.
** Although, as Adelle notes, Caroline isn't evil---she's an idealist (which, Adelle ''also'' notes, can be ''worse''). Echo is NotSoDifferent from Caroline, but comes off more sympathetically.
* An episode of ''Series/TheOuterLimits'' involved an amnesiac who is being helped by a woman he met. They are being chased by unknown persons. Every so often, he gets an injection of liquid that appears to hold his memories, remembering more and more each time. In the end, he is revealed to be the evil boss of the people chasing them and uses the same procedure to erase the woman's memories.
* Happened to [[BigBad Divatox]] in the most infamous episode of ''Series/PowerRangersTurbo'', the one where the rangers [[NeverLiveItDown get baked into a giant pizza]]. When she loses her memory, she also loses all piratical aspects of her nature, and becomes a mildly surly (but good natured) employee at a pizza place.
* An unusual variation occurs in ''TheSarahConnorChronicles'' episode "Allison from Palmdale." [[RobotGirl Cameron's]] processor begins to glitch due to damage sustained earlier in the series, and she loses her sense of "self." She also begins to recall memories of a girl named Allison, who looks exactly like her, who in reality was a resistance fighter that her appearance was modeled after and she interrogated for information. Cameron begins to think she actually ''is'' Allison, and begins to act like her, reciting memories of parts of her life and expressing human emotions. Its isn't until the end of the episode that she remembers who she really is and reverts back to her normal programming.
* Averted in ''Series/KamenRiderKiva''. Wataru and Shizuka befriend a large, cheerful man who DoesNotKnowHisOwnStrength, nicknaming him "Dai-chan" ("Mr. Big", essentially). When he recovers his memories, it turns out that [[spoiler:he's Rook, TheBrute of the Checkmate Four, who spends most of his time engaging in random acts of murder for fun]]. Recovering his memories causes him to pretty much go back to the monster he was before, except for a rather weird deathbed conversion-type thing where, in his final appearances, he decides to do good deed in the hopes of getting into Heaven.
** Another aversion is in ''Series/KamenRiderDecade'' in which Tsukasa is revealed to be [[spoiler: Leader of Dai-Shocker]], he takes it in stride once his memories return to him when speaking to Tsukikage.
** Played straight though in ''Series/KamenRiderDouble''. After it's been revealed what family Phillip is a member of, [[HeroicBSOD he doesn't take it well]].
* The "Dead Head" episode of ''HumanTarget'' features a money launderer who contracts amnesia on his way to meeting Chance and the team for protection. This leaves them the job of protecting someone without knowing who he is, who's trying to kill him, or why.
* ''Series/TheShadowLine'' teases this with Jonah Gabriel, who is implied to have been a DirtyCop before he lost his memory in contrast to the good cop he is afterwards. [[spoiler:Ultimately a subversion, however. He was a good cop all along; all the apparent evidence of his corruption turns out to have been part of an investigation into actual corrupt officers.]]
* The TV movie ''In the Shadow of Evil'' is about a cop who develops amnesia while on the case of a serial killer whose pattern indicates he will kill again in a month. Towards the end of the month he has regained enough of his memory to realize he's investigating himself.
* In ''Series/XenaWarriorPrincess'', Callisto is eventually redeemed by being turned into an angel, which includes having her memories wiped clean. Despite this, Gabrielle at first refuses to trust her, thinking she's just putting on an act, and cites the many atrocities Callisto did over the years. The newly sweet and innocent Callisto is horrified and refuses to go back to how she was (thankfully, she never does). In the next episode, Xena gets ''her'' memories wiped clean and becomes sweet and innocent. She's horrified to learn about her past, but eventually accepts her memories back so she can remember how to fight.
* In ''Series/{{Community}}'', resident {{Jerkass}} Chang shows up with memory loss dubbed "Changnesia" and comes off as a much nicer guy who intends to make up for the mistakes he made in the past. [[spoiler: Since he's faking though, it's averted.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop [=RPG=] ]]
* Swan of ''{{Exalted}}'' is [[TheHeart the nice guy]] of his circle--cultured, polite, and well-educated--so he should feel ''real'' glad that he has no memory of the former [[MoralEventHorizon holder]] [[VillainWithGoodPublicity of his shard's]] [[PuritySue life]].
** He seems to be aware of this on some level, judging by the opening comic to the White Treatise sourcebook (in which Arianna suggests finding out about their past lives, and he isn't really all that keen).
*** As of Scroll of Exalts' write-up of him, WordOfGod states that he remembers snippets of his past life: not all of those [[MoralEventHorizon particular moments]], but enough to know that the Usurpation may have had some justification, and that his former incarnation's wife might want him dead.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* ''Le voyageur sans bagage'' (''Traveler without luggage'') is a Jean Anouilh play about a thoughtful, peaceful man who lost his memory in UsefulNotes/WorldWarI and spent years in a psychiatric institution, oblivious to his identity. When his true family comes to reclaim him, he discovers that their missing son was a violent, borderline sociopathic egotist. Soon, though, the evidence that this man was him is undeniable. [[spoiler: Disgusted, he denies it anyway, lying in order to leave with another, much nicer family he met earlier in the play.]]
* ''Happy Birthday, Wanda June'' by KurtVonnegut is a comic example of this trope. Major Sigfried von Koningswald is an [[ThoseWackyNazis evil Nazi sadist]] who, now dead and in heaven, is baffled by his previous actions. He struggles to explain them to the audience...or to himself.
-->'''von Konigswald:''' Orange juice! I killed a man with Orange juice?
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''The Granstream Saga'', the game alludes to a dark lord who once reigned a century ago. Near the end of the game, we discover that this dark lord is in fact [[spoiler:a previous incarnation of the game's hero Eon.]]
* Soma Cruz from ''CastlevaniaAriaOfSorrow'' and its sequel ''Dawn of Sorrow'' is an OrdinaryHighSchoolStudent, except for the whole "being the {{reincarnation}} of {{Dracula}}" thing -- something he has to resist succumbing to when he "remembers."
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfInnocence'' invokes the reincarnation variation of the trope with every Avatar ingame. Luca, having been the great [[spoiler:Overlord]] Asura, is constantly attacked by friends and foes from his old life. Meanwhile, both [[spoiler:Luca and Iria]] go into brief HeroicBSOD when they [[spoiler:regain their memories of the roles their past lives played in the destruction of Devaloka/Tenjo.]] All the other party members also comply to the trope, to a slightly lesser extent.
* In the [=PS2=] game ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 2|Cursed Memories}}'': it is revealed that [[spoiler: the "God of Demon Overlords" Zenon]] really isn't the BigBad. She had gotten tired of her role and [[{{Reincarnation}} reincarnated]] herself into the character who had thought she was. Whether she turns good or evil after recovering her memories [[MultipleEndings depends on the character's actions up to that point]].
* Terra from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'' suffers from a variation from the start. Kefka had put a slave crown on her and used her powers for all sorts of casual slaughter with her being utterly oblivious about this. Once it comes off and people mention what she's done, she comes down with massively crippling guilt for a large part of the game. Combined with her fears of being less-than-human, she makes a very effective [[TheWoobie woobie]].
** ''DissidiaFinalFantasy'' mirrors this by having Terra learn that in a past cycle, she was brainwashed and forced to fight on the side of Chaos.
*** And ''Duodecim'', the prequel, plays through that cycle, revealing that it was [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII Vaan]] who helped snap her out of it.
** [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX Kuja]] in duodecim was ''this'' close to joining the good guys until Kefka ruined his plans and manipulated him into dying in a battle with Lightning. First thing when Kuja was revived in the next cycle, Kefka put it in his head that he loathed Zidane and wanted nothing more than to kill him
** [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyX Jecht]] is also a victim of this trope. In the original ''Dissidia'', he's one of the warriors sided with Chaos and acts as TheRival for his son Tidus. However, he really isn't all that villainous, and is a gruff but good-natured guy. Near the end of the story, it's revealed that he actually used to be on the other side in previous cycles; but was captured and Brainwashed to be used as a pawn in The Emperor's schemes.
*** ''Duodecim'' reveals that he fought alongside Yuna for the Warriors of Cosmos in the last timeline, while Tidus was brainwashed into serving Chaos. Ultimately, Jecht sacrificed himself to save Tidus's life, and the Warriors of Chaos retrieved his body just before he could die in order to reprogram it.
* ''VideoGame/GhostTrick'' spends a lot of time setting this up, displaying the seemingly nefarious doings of pre-death Sissel and making the protagonist wonder if he was really that bad of a person. Of course, the man in red is certainly a monster.[[spoiler:.. but Sissel's not the man in red.]]
* This happens with [[spoiler:Garcian Smith]] at the end of the chapter "Smile" in ''{{Killer7}}''. [[spoiler:In his last life, he was the assassin Emir Parkreiner, sent to kill the Killer7. He succeeded, but after killing his mentor Harman Smith, he committed suicide out of grief. Hasidic Harman, the godlike being who had manifested as Harman Smith and led Emir to do these things, resurrected Emir as Garcian Smith, with the souls of the other six Killer7 agents bound to him as alternate personalities, along with Master Harman (yet another manifestation of Hasidic Harman).]]
* In ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'', it turns out that [[spoiler: the player character]] was actually Darth Revan prior to being mind-wiped by the Jedi. No matter whether Revan turns to the light or the dark side, [[PronounTrouble the ex-Sith]] [[ButThouMust always ends up]] killing Darth Malak.
** They do, however, at least give both choices a ''motive'' for doing so.
* The ''LegacyOfKain'' series averts this trope, but only temporarily. The vampire-wraith Raziel discovers that he and his brothers used to be vampire-slaying priests. At first he embraces his former humanity, but upon traveling into the past, he discovers they were [[WellIntentionedExtremist just as bad as]], ([[KnightTemplar if not worse]]) than, the vampires they hunted. Raziel renounces and kills his former self, setting the stage for his eventual resurrection as an amnesiac vampire.
--> '''Human Raziel:''' "You're a righteous fiend, aren't you?"
--> '''Wraith Raziel:''' "Apparently I am..."
* This is the major plot twist in ''{{Lufia}}'' (''Estopolis'' in Japan), and one of the earliest examples of the trope in a game plot.
* Much of Zero's story in the ''VideoGame/MegaManX'' games comes from villains attempting to resurrect his "true" personality as a ruthless killing machine; there has been much fan speculation that Zero was responsible for the deaths of the original cast of the ''VideoGame/MegaMan'' games while in this state.
** The aforementioned theory was Jossed fairly recently; WordOfGod stated that Zero was not responsible in any way, shape, or form for whatever happened to the cast of the original Mega Man games, even as his "original" self.
** Zero suffers this again in the transition between the ''X'' and ''VideoGame/MegaManZero'' series. While he stays a hero in between both series, his memory was lost during hibernation, including one crucial detail: [[spoiler:that the body he was inhabiting was a duplicate.]]
* In ''{{Persona 3}}'', [[spoiler:Ryoji]]'s only reason for being is to serve as the vessel by which Nyx will [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt destroy the world.]] In a subversion, despite the fact that it is against his will, he accepts it as inevitable and gives the Main Character the option of killing him (and erasing SEES' memories of the Dark Hour) to spare them the agony of having to watch the Fall unfold before their very eyes.
* The protagonist of ''PlanescapeTorment'' has lost his memory multiple times. He slowly, steadily recovers memories from ''several'' past stages, each with their own moral codes (or lack thereof). There's an especially well-written scene, if you've taken the [[KarmaMeter good path]] to that point, where he recalls a [[MoralEventHorizon particularly heinous moment]] from his ManipulativeBastard stage and [[HeroicBSOD breaks down in horror at his past selfishness]].
** It's also revealed, if the right actions are taken, that [[spoiler:the protagonist's first self was responsible for possibly more evil than the rest of the incarnations put together prior to becoming TheAtoner.]] In fact, that turns out to be the reason for the immortality thing: [[spoiler: Whatever the First Incarnation did, it was so bad that a ''lifetime'' of doing good would not be enough to atone for it. The solution was to have many lifetimes, but due to the amnesia thing that didn't work so well.]]
* Alex Mercer of ''VideoGame/{{Prototype}}'' hunts down and kills dozens of people and killing several thousand in the crossfire in a combination of a RoaringRampageOfRevenge and investigation of [[TheVirus the Infection's]] release and his own transformation, only to find out that [[spoiler:the real Mercer was not only one of the very scientists he'd been tracking and killing, but also solely responsible for both. Funnily enough, this means that he was ''less'' evil as a sociopathic HumanoidAbomination; the original Mercer only cared about himself, while Virus Mercer slowly starts to grow a conscience.]]
** The game also plays with the trope in that [[spoiler: Virus!Mercer is not actually Human!Mercer, as Human!Mercer actually died and Virus!Mercer was created from his corpse. The reason he has no memory isn't [[TraumaInducedAmnesia trauma]], its that they were never his memories to begin with.]]
* In ''[[VideoGame/LaPucelle La Pucelle Tactics]]'', two of the characters have lost their memories two years ago. Both of them are now demon hunters on the side of light. Turns out, [[spoiler: one of them is actually the "Dark Prince", the emissary of the in-game equivalent of the Devil, and was dead set on destroying all humanity.]]
* ''ShiningForce 2'': When the young boy Oddler is left blind and amnesia-stricken by battle wounds, TheHero takes him into his party, protecting the youth from devils that have been hunting him for some reason. Near the end of the game, though, [[TheReveal the truth comes out]]: Oddler is Odd Eye, the most powerful [[TheDragon general]] in the BigBad's devil army! Though he still remembers traveling with TheHero, his eyes have been opened and his duty is clear. Now they must fight.
* [[spoiler: The major plot twist]] in ''SilentHill2''.
* In ''VisualNovel/{{Snatcher}}'', protagonist Gillian Seed is an amnesiac police agent who is assigned to take out the [[ReplicantSnatching identity-stealing]] [[RidiculouslyHumanRobots androids]]. [[spoiler: However, by the game's end, he finds that he ''and his wife'' were both scientists who worked on the Snatchers. Though to be fair, his wife was captured to do it while Gillian was TheMole for the CIA, investigating Russia's secret projects.]]
* Cammy from the ''Franchise/StreetFighter'' series joins the good-guy Delta Red faction after her LaserGuidedAmnesia erases all memory of the fact that she was ''created'' to be the next body of the BigBad Bison.
* In ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsAdvance'', Amnesiac Axel Almer, who serves a stint as protagonist, is actually TheDragon of the BigBad and the MadScientist's lover. He comes to grips with this and proceeds to betray his former comrades, who thought he was just being a really awesome spy. Not a spoiler, as the other protagonist's route warns you of this immediately.
** This is also the stint of Cobray Gordon in ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsAlpha 3''. Certain event causes him to lose his memories and join the team. This gets more complicated as he's under the threat of [[spoiler:The dead Ingram Prisken trying to take over his body]].
** Mai Kobayashi is a ''double'' case of this. As Levi Torah, she tried to resist the Judecca's control, pleading for someone to rescue her. Then, when the Alpha Numbers/Original Generations save her, she forgets all about the Ze Balmary, only for memories of Levi to come back and try to take control of her again.
* ''VideoGame/AmnesiaTheDarkDescent'': One of the true horrors of the game is realizing what a depraved monster the player character Daniel was before he gave himself amnesia. No wonder he chose to forget, even though it would make killing Alexander a lot easier if he knew what he was supposed to do and why.
* In ''TwistedMetal Black'', Roadkill's driver is an amnesiac who came to in the wreckage of a gangland bombing, and finds himself covered with one of the gang's tattoos. He enters the tournament in the hopes that Calypso will restore his memory. In his ending, [[spoiler: it's revealed that he was an undercover FBI agent, and saved dozens of lives in the bombing incident. He is, in fact, a hero... and he's standing in front of one of the world's most wanted criminals, who shoots him dead.]]
** Another character in the game, Preacher, believes himself to be [[DemonicPossession possessed by a demon]] that slaughtered his congregation during an exorcism gone bad; he wants Calypso's help to clear his name and reveal the truth to everyone so he can fight the demon. Calypso delivers the truth, but it's not what Preacher wanted to know... that there was no demon, the "exorcism" was just a baptism, and Preacher is a psychotic multiple-murderer. He doesn't take it well.
* ''TheWhiteChamber'' has Arthur reveal to Sarah that she was the one who murdered the entire crew. [[spoiler:Whether she redeems herself or not is dependent on the player's actions throughout the game.]]
* ''VideoGame/CaveStory'' subverts this. [[spoiler: Several {{NPC}}s recognize Quote as "a soldier from the surface", or make references to squads of war robots that came to the island ten years ago and massacred the Mimigas. The obvious conclusion for the player (and several in-game characters) is that Quote was one of those killer robots--rather unsettling since Quote is currently trying to ''save'' the remaining Mimigas. But, if you complete the sidequest to save Curly Brace and restore her memories, then she remembers that Quote was comrade-in-arms ten years ago. And unlike all the other combat robots, they hadn't fought the Mimigas; their mission had been to destroy [[ArtifactOfDoom the Demon Crown]].]]
* Inverted several ways in ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'' with [[TeenGenius Morgan]], the son/daughter of the [[PlayerCharacter Avatar]] from the future. Whereas the other twelve children all come from a future where [[BigBad Grima]] plunged their world into chaos, Morgan - an amnesiac - is implied to be from another timeline, which itself is noted in all of his/her endings. The subversion comes from the fact [[spoiler:that both male ''and'' female Morgan exist in the Future Past DLC, which is nearly identical to the timeline the other twelve children are from, only [[UpToEleven even bleaker]]. Here, both are devoted servants/the implied children of Grima.]] There is no hint in-game, though, that either one is from [[spoiler:the Future Past timeline]].
** It gets even more complicated when one takes into account that Morgan can be the son/daughter of ''any'' character in the game, including the children characters themselves. Since an Avatar/child pairing is impossible in the future timeline due to [[spoiler:[[DemonicPossession obvious]] [[BigBad reasons]]]], this only brings up more questions.
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'': This occurs during the starter quests for the Death Knight class. You, the Death Knight player, start the game following orders from [[BigBad Lich King]] & pals. You run about destroying a town, slaughtering its townsfolk and torturing its guards. Then you're given an order to kill a hostage NPC, but when you confront him/her, he/she turns out to be an old friend of yours who reminds you of your past before you became a pawn of the Lich King--when you were a hero. After you finish the NPC off, you begin your transformation into an AntiHero.
* In ''VideoGame/DiabloIII'', one of your partners is part of a zealous organization that does this to its recruits - former criminals who agree to having their memories wiped so that they may seek redemption. You meet him when you're dungeon crawling in a place where one of his companions is hiding, having just turned traitor. [[spoiler:Turns out the guy betrayed his organization after gaining the ability to regain his lost memories, and had been horrified to realize that he was just some Average Joe who signed up for a job. Your partner eventually does the same thing, ''finding'' the same thing. Subversion! ... Maybe. It's unclear whether the organization actually ''does'' take in former criminals that way.]]
* Played with strangely in ''[[Videogame/TraumaCenter Trauma Team]]''. CR-S01 is a surgeon committed to saving lives who was seemingly a bioterrorist behind an attack on Cumberland College prior to his amnesia. However, despite the fact that he can't remember how he did it or why, he's ''fully aware of this fact'' -- it's actually his knowledge of what he might have done before, absent any of the memories that drove him to it, that motivates his HeelFaceTurn. [[spoiler:Then finally outright subverted when it turns out he was never responsible for the attack in the first place, and he was never a villain]].
* Initially, ''VideoGame/{{Overlord}}'' doesn't even provide a framework for this trope--the game begins with your being disinterred and declared the Overlord, and apart from indications that you were quite evil [[ProtagonistWithoutAPast your past is treated as unimportant]]. You are informed, however, that the seven [[FallenHero heroes]] who oppose you previously defeated not you, but "your predecessor." [[spoiler:You were the eighth hero, fallen in battle and left for dead. How much of a shock this is depends on [[KarmaMeter how you've been playing]].]]
* In ''VideoGame/IHaveNoMouthAndIMustScream'', one of the main playing characters is an elderly German scientist called Nimdok who has a failing memory. The BigBad of the game, mad and omnipotent supercomputer AM, sends him to confront his past... where it is revealed that he [[spoiler:was working for the Nazis, directly under the command of Josef Mengele in a death camp, doing barbaric experiences on dozens of innocents. On top of that,it's hinted he was a jew who gave up some of his people to survive.]] Apart from that, Nimdok is a kind old man who is horrified by what he discovers in the camp and feels sorry for the detainees here.
* Ysuran in ''BaldursGateDarkAlliance II'' begins the game with a bad case of amnesia and a spellbook from which he learns the art of necromancy; probing into his past reveals that he's a former terrorist and ally of the Eldreth Veluuthra, a faction of elf supremacists, who was struck with amnesia when his mentor learned the truth about him and tried to stop him. Upon learning this, he [[ThatManIsDead swears off his former identity]] and decides to use his [[DarkIsNotEvil powers of darkness]] [[TheAtoner for the good of the realms]].
* Played with in ''VideoGame/{{Primordia}}''. Due to repeated [[spoiler:self-induced]] memory wipes Horatio doesn't remember his original identity, his only clues being a broken-down warship, an unexplained, preprogrammed hatred towards Metropol, and a desire to fly. Fairly early in the game, various characters start addressing him as "Horus", which, according to Memorious's information kiosk, was an Urbanian weapon sent against Metropol and shot down by Goliath on the way. However, if you [[spoiler:decrypt Horatio's files]] near the end of the game, it turns out that [[spoiler:Horus -- the warship -- actually won against Goliath, but refused to kill the last humans in Metropol, and willingly crashed in the desert after uploading a chunk of its AI into its robotic servitor, who took on the name "Horatio"]]. It is left entirely up to the player whether the unlocked destructive powers should be embraced, ignored, or used selectively.
* The hero of the ''VideoGame/InfinityBlade'' series, Siris, is nothing like his past self as [[EvilOverlord Ausar the Vile]]. Prior to having his memory erased, Ausar was a monster who brought nothing but ruin to the world. Siris is horrified by the man he was and seeks atonement for the deeds he no longer remembers. Highlighted in the expansion "Ausar Rising" when Siris faces a soulless clone of himself with Ausar's memories. Siris denounces "Ausar" as a monster and slays him with extreme prejudice.
* In ''[[VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsZ Jigoku-hen]]'', multiple characters do not recall certain members from absent series in this game. For example, when the eponymous ''Anime/AquarionEVOL'' makes it debut, ZEUTH and ZEXIS feel a stinging sensation, forgetting about the original ''Aquarion'' cast.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* Tanya, who is the android love interest from the [[ScienceFictionVisualNovels science fiction visual novel]] ''VisualNovel/BionicHeart'', learns that [[spoiler:her creator used a serial killer's brain in building her]], which explains why she has century-old memories. Unsurprisingly, she has a HeroicBSOD from the revelation.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Trace from ''TwoKinds''. Interesting in that the ''only'' person not aware of his past is Trace, nearly everyone else is well aware of who he is/was and are ''openly terrified'' of him. It's gotten to the point that Trace has decided that he's better off '''''not''''' knowing who he was.
* The eponymous character of ''Webcomic/{{Zap}}''
* ''MSFHigh'': Students at MSF High can surpress painful memories as part of their 'second chance'. If these memories are discovered, this can occur.
* In ''{{Fleep}}'', Jimmy is rather horrified to infer that he used to be a terrorist, and that the building he's trapped in was collapsed by a bomb he set off. What's interesting is that he never actually ''remembers'' any of this--so he ends up inferring what he did well before he figures out ''why'' he did it.
* BobAndGeorge: [[http://www.bobandgeorge.com/archives/010615 Claimed]] and [[http://www.bobandgeorge.com/archives/010617 subverted]].
* Jack of ''Webcomic/{{Jack|DavidHopkins}}'' was a genocidal dictator in life but when he died and became the GrimReaper and AnthropomorphicPersonification of [[SevenDeadlySins Wrath]] his memories were erased. Now, he's a [[DontFearTheReaper pretty nice guy]] all things considered.
* Hector: AnimatedArmor and MinionWithAnFInEvil [[HeelFaceTurn turned good]] from ''AModestDestiny'', were at some point "resurrected" by the resident vampire lord, [[FluffyTheTerrible Fluffy]]. The only thing he can remember is that it was his own sister that killed him, and she is also a vampire. It is later revealed that [[spoiler:she didn't do it personally, she had Fluffy bind Hector's soul to the armor in order to save him. Apparently, Hector was, at some point, a psychopath with such issues that even the [[EatsBabies baby-eating]] Fluffy was [[EvenEvilHasStandards disgusted by him]]. When Hector got the offer to be returned to life in a real body, he refused, as he was afraid that he would go back to being whatever he was before]].
* [[http://chainsawsuit.com/2011/05/20/amnesiac-detective/ Parodied]] in ''Webcomic/{{chainsawsuit}}''.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'', Lil Evil drank from Lethe and [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=4036 fears this]]. Before that, he was a LoonyFan of the Devil so pathetic ''no one'' wanted him un-mindwiped. Immediately after, he met Tangerine and sort of got a life. He's in for [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=4112 some]] [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=4127 unpleasant]] [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=4195 discoveries]]. [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=4439 Though for Halloween, later, he dresses up as an angel.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Roleplay/TheGamersAlliance'', [[CloudCuckooLander Ronove]] recovers his memories during the siege of Vanna and remembers that he used to be a [[TheDragon Dreadlord]] of one of the [[TheLegionsOfHell demon hordes]]. After this realization he leaves his human friends behind, retakes his former position in the horde, starts acting like a seemingly cruel ManipulativeBastard as most demons do, but he also still seems to harbor some feelings for his former companions in the Alliance who he is now forced to oppose. He shows some of his quirky habits from his amnesiac cuckoolander days (such as his love for cake and sand gnome legs) but it's now mixed with his former dutiful yet cruelly efficient persona which has evolved into something more manipulative and vengeful because he's now fully aware of who betrayed him and caused his amnesia in the first place. He even keeps lampshading his sudden personality change every now and then, further cementing the fact that the different sides of Ronove coexist and that he hasn't set aside everything from his amnesiac days.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/LegionOfSuperHeroes'' animated series, there are two [[VoluntaryShapeshifting ShapeShifters]], one on each side, who undergo processes to forget themselves and become one of the other side's members in order to gain intelligence. Chameleon Boy [[spoiler:ends up stuck as Persuader]] before finally remembering who he is. And [[spoiler:Superboy]] ends up revealing he's actually [[spoiler:Ron-Karr]] in the process and is shocked to discover he'd forgotten who he really was.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/LiloAndStitchTheSeries' episode "Amnesio", the experiment of the week erases peoples' memories. Lilo, Stitch, and Gantu all get zapped and try to reassemble their pasts together; they don't come up with much that's conclusive about Lilo or Stitch, but reckon Gantu must have been a cop. So they become very good friends, and don't worry all that much about their memories-until Lilo learns that there's a way to reverse the effect, and learns the codeword. Gantu, meanwhile, has learned that he was not a very nice guy. He's quite vehement that he doesn't want to go back to being a jerk-until Lilo says the codeword anyway, and he remembers the one bit of context his amnesiac self didn't, viz. he loves being a jerk.
* In a second-season episode of ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'', villainous cyborg Metallo turns up on a volcanic island with no memory of himself; he saves a young girl's life and does other good deeds, but eventually he remembers his battle with {{Superman}} and turns evil again.
* In ''{{Transformers}}: WesternAnimation/BeastMachines'' (the sequel to ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars''), Megatron had brainwashed two of the Maximals and given them entirely new identities. Upon recovery, Silverbolt became TheAtoner, and Rhinox decided to stay evil and competed with Megatron.
** Also from Transformers, the character Flip Sides from both G1 and ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'', is a decepticon who has a double-life as an Autobot--in G1 she's a teacher, in Animated she's a pop star. The catch is, while she's an autobot, ''she does not know or realize that she is a decepticon spy''. Talk about conflicting moralities.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/AladdinTheSeries'', Jasmine lost her memory due to a magic rose and [[MeaningfulName Abis Mal]] convinced her that she was evil. This backfired when Jasmine became a DarkActionGirl and decided the idiotic Abis Mal was beneath her.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/GeneratorRex'' episode "Rabble", Rex is hit hard with this as he meets up with three old friends of his - who he doesn't remember at all - who are stuck working for a crime boss named Quarry. It turns out that in a former life, [[spoiler: Rex ''sold out'' his friends to Quarry in the first place]], and Quarry uses this fact to turn Rex's old friends against him.
* An antiheroic version: in one episode of ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales'', Scrooge lost his memory and was lost on the streets without a penny to his name. Eventually he moved in and began a romance with his unknowing accountant's extremely working class mother, and when she told him about Scrooge [=McDuck's=] employment practices he reinvented himself as a socialist crusader against a man he saw as a CorruptCorporateExecutive. At the end of the episode he regained his memories and had no recollection of what happened, but the protest he unknowingly began forced him to improve worker rights.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'', the team wakes up in the Biyalian desert with their memories of the past six months erased. This turns Superboy into a mindless berserker (he's not even six months old), Kid Flash and Artemis start flirting with each other and even hold hands right before their memories are restored, and Artemis believes she is there because her father wants her to kill Kid Flash.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' episode "Ghost Princess", [[spoiler: the helpful male ghost named Clarence who's been helping Finn and Jake investigate Ghost Princess's death, and who has also been falling in love with the princess, turns out to have been the guy who killed her in life. Of course, in life they were StarCrossedLovers, so that helps...]]
[[/folder]]

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