- Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure Phantom Blood: In one of the more famous uses of this trope, Zeppeli asks Dio how many humans he killed just to heal the scars Jonathan inflicted in their last battle. Dio replies "Do you remember how many loaves of bread you've eaten in your lifetime?", which thoroughly pisses Zeppeli off.
- Fist of the North Star: During his confrontation, Kenshiro accused Jagi of killing an innocent child. Jagi does not remember it even though it happened a short while ago. When Jagi finally does, he replies "Who cares if I've wasted a kid or two?".
- Saint Seiya: The walls of Cancer Deathmask's house are decorated with the heads of people that he has killed... including little children. When an enraged Shiryu asks "Have you killed little children, even?", Deathmask smirks, shrugs and replies "Who knows? Maybe they were in the wrong place at the wrong time."
- Griffith/Femto's actions during the Eclipse, including sacrificing the entire Band of the Hawk to Apostles and raping Casca to insanity while making Guts watch, set Guts off on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge for two years, but Griffith considers said actions very inconsequential in the long run. Upon being reincarnated into the physical world, he goes to the Hill of Swords, a memorial for the fallen Hawks, and arranges another meeting with Guts all to see whether or not anything could "sway his heart." Guts is absolutely furious to discover that after everything he did and the people he betrayed, Griffith literally feels nothing and only cares about fulfilling his dream of obtaining a kingdom above all else.
- Rosine doesn't connect the dots between her crimes against the Band of the Hawk and Guts' vendetta against her, and when she asks who he is he doesn't even bother to answer:
- Dragon Ball:
Cooler: Frieza's the one in charge of this quadrant. Let him clean up his own mess! I've got seven planets to destroy by the end of the day! Why should I allow myself to get behind schedule just to cover his mistake?
- In Dragon Ball Z: Cooler's Revenge, Cooler is implied to feel this way about blowing up planets. When he sees Goku's escape pod getting away from the destruction of Planet Vegeta, he has this to say:
- A (sort of) heroic example in Mugen in Samurai Champloo. On at least two occasions, when a psycho is shown harming Mugen's True Companions and pulling a No Doubt The Years Have Changed Me, Mugen responds that he has no idea who that person is, and has no recollection of the nasty thing he did to them. It's possible that Mugen actually does remember and acting this way was strategic, as it works effectively to distract the psychos from their Evil Gloating and upset them enough to make mistakes. Or Mugen just likes pissing people off.
- In Bleach:
- When Ichigo comes face-to-face with the Hollow that killed his mother, Grand Fisher doesn't remember the incident at all until looking into Ichigo's memories.
- Hilarious hero example. Ichigo can't remember a punk he beat up four years ago, who had to move town because his dad got transferred and was looking forward to a rematch.
- The first time they met, Mask de Masculine easily knocked Renji across the city with a single kick. Renji Took a Level in Badass and faces him again. Mask doesn't recognize him at first, claiming he can't bother to remember every villain he defeats (Mask is crazy and thinks he's the hero and the Shinigami are the bad guys).
- Similar to Ichigo, Might Guy of Naruto cannot remember his previous encounters with the highly-memorable Kisame Hoshigaki. Each time Kisame was eager for a rematch and remembered Guy, but all Guy could manage to piece together after ten minutes of battle was "You wield a sword!"
- Even funnier; Kisame is a notorious international criminal and is near or at the top of the most wanted list of several villages, including Konoha. When he is first introduced the other Jounin recongize him on sight, despite never having met him before, due to how notorious he is (and the fact that he looks like a shark), and he should have been even more notorious after being identified as a member of the international terrorist group Akatsuki, and as partner of the yet more infamous Itachi Uchia, whom Guy knows personally. Yet Guy runs into Kisame three times and nearly died the second, and he still doesn't remember him.
- Although after Kisame takes his own life to prevent the heroes from interrogating him, Guy says that he is a true shinobi, and that he will never forget his name.
- This may be simply another example of Guy's Bunny-Ears Lawyer personality. The second time that Guy fought Kisame, Kisame was actually using a special clone, not his own body. So to Guy, the second time probably didn't count. On the other hand, Guy may actually be that ditzy - it's hard to tell.
- There is actually a very logical reason that Guy never remembered his initial meeting with Kisame, though it's understated. The first time Guy rain into Kisame and Itachi, he was looking at the ground the whole time (so as to avoid Itachi's genjutsu). So he probably never actually saw Kisame's face in their first encounter.
- In One Piece:
- During the War of the Best, two of the Newkamas challenge Hawkeye Mihawk, saying that he may have beaten them before, but they were stronger now. Mihawk takes them out effortlessly, telling them as he does so that he doesn't bother to remember every weakling he cuts down.
- In a heroic example, Luffy has this towards some of his weaker early opponents: While he recoginzed Coby during their reunion, he had apparently forgotten who Helmeppo was, when he ran into Buggy again, his reaction (in contrast to Buggy's shocked expression) was merely "Ah, it's just Buggy", and he fails to recall details like Buggy's earlier weapon, the massively explosive Buggy Ball.
- Also, Zoro in movie 2, with Pin Joker.
- When the Straw Hats first encounter Iron-Mask Duval, they think he may be someone Sanji ticked off at the Baratie. Sanji admits that during those days he upset a lot of people, and couldn't possibly recall all of them.
- That case is actually an aversion though, because none of them had in fact ever met Iron-Mask Duval before and his grudge against Sanji was over the fact that Sanji's poorly drawn wanted poster looked nothing like him, and almost identical to Duval.
- Rosario + Vampire:
Ms. Marin: It's you, isn't it? You're the one who killed my husband in our inn four years ago.
- When her stalker Nagare Kano goes One-Winged Angel, Kurumu asks him just how many other girls he's stalked before. Kano flat-out states he doesn't remember.
- Ms. Marin's husband was killed by the siren Kanade Kamiya. The confrontation is as follows:
Kanade: Four years ago? Hmm... Oh, yeah. That's about the time I got assigned to this branch office. They used to send me all over the place back then. I hated this little town. Place reeks of fish... So I killed a lot of people... It was just a diversion to take my mind off things. I can't be bothered to remember everyone I kill.
- Averted in FAKE: Leo DOES remember having killed Ryo's parents as well as Ryo himself and claims that it is one of only two things he regrets having done.
- In Outlaw Star, Gene immediately recognizes the MacDougall brothers' ship as the one that fired on and killed his father. He confronts Ron MacDougall, who cannot remember the specific job, although he admits it's probable he did it since he's done so many similar jobs.
- In Samurai Deeper Kyo, Mooks seem to forget that Kyo killed over a thousand people at Sekigahara alone, and tend to confront him as though believing he will remember a specific thing he did that earned their undying hatred. This trope ensues.
- Specific example: a minor villain who was disgraced by Kyo during the war had an opportunity for vengeance after years of training for the very moment. Cue crowning moment of awesome when Kyo pretends to remember to get the man's hopes up, only to respond with "I didn't remember who you were, I just realized what a dumbass you are."
- Hunter × Hunter:
- Used in the first OVA...when Kurapika confronts one of the villains, he doesn't remember what he's accused of. You'd think murdering an entire clan in order to steal their eyeballs would stick out in your memory....
- In the manga, he doesn't remember either, until having a difficult time with Kurapika stirs his memory, and he confesses they were skilled and hard to kill.
- Also exploited earlier in the series—said villain belongs to a group of highly skilled criminals, and Kurapika finds someone who claims to belong to that group. Kurapika immediately identifies this man as an impostor because he actually keeps count of and recalls whom he killed. For the real criminals, killin has become so routine to them that they don't bother to keep track.
- In episode 13 of GUN×SWORD, Ray confronts the Claw, an an extremely pleasant old man and tells Ray that he has no problem with Ray killing him, but first politely asks him why. Ray tells him that it's because the Claw murdered his fiancee, shino, but the Claw cannot remember any of it. When Ray summons Volkain (the mech Shino was working on) a few minutes later, the Claw finally remembers what Ray is talking about and basically replies that Ray's grievance/goal is trifling compared to his own, and so Ray will have to wait.
- Detective Conan: When he sees Shinichi Kudo apparently alive when he was presumed dead, Man in Black Vodka asks his partner Gin about it, only to have Gin remark that he makes a point of not remembering the names or faces of those he's killed.
- Sort of heroic example in Black Lagoon. In the "El Baile de la Muerte" arc, Revy teams up with Shenhua, Sawyer the Cleaner, and Rotton the Wizard, all mercenaries who were previously enemies in the "Greenback Jane" arc, and all of whom Revy had left for dead. While Revy knows the first two, she has no recollection at all of shooting Rotton, a hapless Joke Character (albeit just about the only character in their Wretched Hive with the sense to wear body armor), nor does she even know who he is. This greatly amuses Sawyer and Shenhua.
- When Hansel and Gretel first show up, Revy is frustrated that Rock hasn't heard about a string of recent murders. Rock points out that homicide isn't exactly uncommon in Roanapur.
- Another Heroic Comedic Sociopath example: Haruhi Suzumiya is challenged to "a duel" by the Computer Club president in retribution for her cruel Kick the Dog moment against him way back when.....but by this point, Haruhi had honestly forgotten all about that.
- Fullmetal Alchemist
- A heroic example Played for Laughs: the former Corrupt Bureaucrat Yoki lost everything after being defeated by the Elric brothers, but when he encounters them, neither remembers him. There's then a whole Unreliable Voiceover in silent movie style where he complains about his travels, but the Elrics don't pay any attention to him (and neither does anyone else in the room), In this case, the trope is used to compress several episodes worth of Filler into a short scene. Everything Yoki complains about happened in the manga and the first anime, but was cut from Brotherhood to focus more on the main story arc. Barry the Chopper gets the same treatment.
- Inverted by Kimblee, who remembers everyone he's ever killed and treats doing otherwise as unprofessional. He even recites the district of the city where he met one of his surviving victims (Scar) when he asks if Kimblee remembers him, notes that one of the Ishvalans he killed bore a familial resemblance to Scar, and even the exact placement and severity of the wound that killed him.
- Barry The Chopper also inverts this trope the same way Kimblee does. He gets very upset when Falman purposely misdates one of his murders.
- Heroic example in Shaman King. In his initial appearance Tokagero possesses Ryu and seeks revenge against Amidamaru for killing him. When he reveals himself he's horrified that Amidamaru doesn't remember him on sight, and further that explaining he was the leader of a bandit gang Amidamaru slaughtered just prompt the revelation that Amidamaru slaughtered hundred of bandit gangs and couldn't be bothered to remember them all.
- In Ginga Densetsu Weed, Hiro reminds Kamakiri that he (Kamakiri) killed his father and took out one of his eyes. In response, the Irish Wolfhound retorts that he doesn't remember, thus starting a fight.
- Rolo from Code Geass comments at one point that he can't remember how many people he's killed, comparing it to how most people don't remember how many times they've brushed their teeth.
- In Weiß Kreuz, Aya has devoted his life to bringing down Reiji Takatori, the man who killed his parents and left his sister in a seemingly-irreversible coma. When he finally confronts his nemesis atop a burning skyscraper Takatori has no idea who he is, still less what the people Aya's going on about have to do with him.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann does this in the manga, where Viral brushes away a death threat by Kittan by telling him that his destroyed village was only one of hundreds; understandably throwing Kittan into a bloodthirsty rage.
- Done in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's. When Jose tells the heroes that Yliaster has killed people in order to keep history on its course, Sherry asks if this means her parents were among them. Jose replies they can't be expected to remember everyone they kill specifically. (This leads to Sherry and Mizoguchi being on the receiving end of a Curb-Stomp Battle—-not using cards—done to show just how dangerous Jose is. He was literally able to lift Sherry's D-Wheel—with her on it—with one hand.)
- Used in Vinland Saga where Askeladd claims not to remember the 'blood oath' Thorfinn has sworn against him and whoever this 'Thors' guy he supposedly slew was. It's an Invoked Trope on his part because Thorfinn gets worse at fighting the angrier he is.
- Myria hates the protagonists for something they did to her, but they have no idea what it is. Subverted/parodied in that Myria can't remember what it is until another character taunts her about it.
- Happens again with Team Fallen Angels, though they manage to remember after a few hours. Heck, there's implied to be a lot of guys seeking revenge on the "heroes", none of whom they recognize.
- Another heroic example in Ninja Scroll: The Series. The widow of a samurai has spent years Walking the Earth with her son, trying to find the man who killed her husband so she can avenge him. She confronts Jubei, who says he's killed so many people it's difficult to remember specific ones. He does eventually remember when she gives him some details, and vaguely recalls having killed a samurai over a petty dispute (he'd bumped into the man, who had taken offense). The woman is naturally shocked that her life was destroyed over something so meaningless.
- In the "Mushroom Samba" episode of Cowboy Bebop, a minor one-shot character shows up in town while dragging a coffin behind him. He was planning on taking his revenge on a drug seller named Dominoe because his shrooms killed his brother by making him laugh to death. Dominoe doesn't remember who this guy is because his shrooms had already messed his own head up pretty good. Then the coffin gets smashed by a passing bus.
- Lyrical Nanoha:
Cypha: *while smirking* However, rejoice. I remember now. The one who left no adult or children alive on that day at that place was, without a doubt, myself.
- Cypha of Hückebein from Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force, who had committed genocide enough times that, when Signum questioned her about the massacre of the settlement in Uninhabited World 14 three months ago, she doesn't remember. Cypha does eventually remember once Signum gave more details, though not in a manner that enamoured her to the Belkan Knight.
- Averted with the rest of the Hückebein and Thoma. When he accuses them of being behind the massacre of his hometown, Fortis replies that while they have done plenty of similar massacres, that particular one definitely wasn't them. He double-checked. And besides, if it had been the Hückebein, they would have made sure to leave no survivors, and Thoma survived.
- A heroic example near the beginning of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS: When Subaru gets emotional upon meeting Nanoha, Fate does not know what's up until she is reminded that she and Nanoha rescued Subaru and her sister from a burning airport a few years ago. Ever since then, Subaru idolized Nanoha and trained to join her rescue force. Averted in that Nanoha remembers, which is why Subaru was crying in the first place.
- At first Hakkai from Saiyuki doesn't remember Chin Yisou, the last of the thousand youkai he killed and the one who deliberately kick started his Karmic Transformation This is vaguely understandable as Hakkai was at the time consumed with grief over Kanan's suicide and Yisou returns as a shikigami, if you kill someone you don't normally expect them to come back, at least before Hazel arrives in the story.
- In the Mahou Shoujo Isuka OVA, when Isuka confronts the Witch Hunter who raped and killed her sister, he flatly tells her that he doesn't bother to remember all of the Witches he's killed. This turns out to be a lie; he does remember, and said this just to get a rise out of her.
- In Tiger & Bunny, Barnaby Brooks Jr. has spent twenty years trying to track down the man who murdered his parents. When he finally confronts the man responsible, not only does the criminal not remember it, he mocks Barnaby for expecting him to keep track. As it turns out, he cannot remember killing Barnaby's parents because he didn't do it - was in completely different place that day.
- In Claymore, Clare's one mission in life is to kill Priscilla, who killed her mother-figure Teresa. The moment of her death is seared into Clare's memory and drives her to kill, kill, kill when faced with difficult opponents, especially when she finally faces Priscilla for the first time in many years. However, Priscilla doesn't seem to remember her at all, since she only familiarizes herself with Clare because she smells like Teresa, whom Priscilla is obsessed with. Furthermore, on that fateful day, Priscilla totally ignored Clare because she only killed those who weren't young girls.
- My Bride Is a Mermaid: In Lunar's debut episode, she recalls her beef with Sun, during which Sun always beat her at singing contests when they were kids. Upon being reminded, Sun sheepishly admits that, with everything that had happened to her since then, she forgot about Lunar, much to the latter's annoyance.
- In Pokémon Special, upon first meeting Team Rocket Admin Koga, Misty saw him forcing a Ryhorn into evolution, and she realizes that he was the one responsible for doing a similar experiment on her Gyarados.
Koga: You can't expect us to remember every Pokémon that we experiment on.
- Kyou Kara Ore wa!! has many examples, as the protagonists have beaten a lot of people, but the most incredible example is the so-called Fundoshi Mask: right before the start of the series Mitsuhashi gave him the nickname, made him the Butt-Monkey and generally ruined his life (and, in the process, getting the idea of trying and stand out with blond hair and becoming a badass) before moving to Chiba, and when the poor Fundoshi Mask finally tracks him down Mitsuhashi can't even remember him. After a while Mitsuhashi does remember about him... But only as the Fundoshi Mask, and by the time they meet again he forgot about him again, and cannot recall about him at all. Oh, and he made him a Butt-Monkey again...
- Subverted occasionally, as Mitsuhashi will claim he forgot about some foe while actually remembering them well. And then beating them up with ease anyway.
- A friendlier version occurs in Azumanga Daioh, after Sakaki defeats Kagura at the sports fest. When the new school year comes around, Kagura joins Sakaki's class, eager to continue her one-sided rivalry. However, when she mentions the sports fest, all she gets is a blank stare, as Sakaki doesn't remember her at all.
- The beginning of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny shows Shinn Asuka's family dying in what was just one of many clashes between the Freedom Gundam and the Calamity Gundam that happened during the Federation's attack on Orb. Though Kira, being who he is, would likely have been upset that it had happened, he was way too busy to notice.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Nena Trinity kills Louise's entire family in a random act of violent envy. When confronted about this years later, Nena's response is utter bewilderment at what Louise is even talking about. And Louise kills her right afterward, so she never gets reminded.
- In Gundam Build Fighters Try, it's revealed that Fumina was inspired into taking up Gunpla Battling when she watched Lady Kawaguchi being victorious using the Stargazer Gundam. When she finally meets her idol, she's floored when Lady admits she doesn't remember that battle at all.
- The same happens to Yuuma when he confronts Adou Saga, the Battler who destroyed his Gundam Airmaster, taunted him over his failure, and sent him into a two-year retirement from Gunpla Battling in total fear. Adou admits that he's been battling since that day and he isn't expected to remember everyone he's faced.
- High School Debut has a heroic, non-violent example: Haruna used to be on her middle-school softball team, and had a reputation as an unbeatable pitcher. A batter from an opposing team who lost a game to her deliberately seeks her out later for a rematch, and is appalled to learn that, not only does Haruna not remember her, but Haruna doesn't even play softball anymore.
- The heroic example happens in Ranma ½ during Ryoga's introduction, and is Played for Laughs. Ryoga attacks Ranma, who briefly can't remember him. The reason for the feud is then seemingly revealed: Ranma had been cutting in front of Ryoga in the tuckshop line, and had then left an appointed battle with Ryoga when Ryoga was four days late due to his incredible ability to get lost. This turns out to be a partial red herring when Ryoga reveals he had followed Ranma to Jusenkyo seeking revenge, and received a particularly unpleasant curse due to the actions of Ranma and his father, this being his new main grudge against Ranma. Although at first Ryoga himself didn't know Ranma had actually been the one who knocked him in; he thought the girl who knocked him in was some stranger, but he blamed Ranma regardless.
- Another heroic example, this time from Myriad Colors Phantom World. In Episode 3, Mai is accosted by two Phantoms who are intent on battling her, but who she doesn't recognize at all. It turns out that when they were younger, she had play-fought with them and driven them to tears; the incident had then prompted the Phantoms to spend ten years training for a rematch. Unusually, Mai actually does remember the incident, but not the play-fighting bit; she also doesn't make the connection with the Phantoms until The Reveal at the end of the episode.
- In the Hakuouki OVA Sekkaroku, a ronin attacking Okita declares that he intends to avenge his master. Okita doesn't recognize the name or remember the incident at all.
- Being a Deconstruction of the Fighting Series Played for Laughs, Muteki Kanban Musume deconstructs this trope when Miki doesn't remember Kankuro, the guy she bullied as a kid. Because Miki is not a villain, but a Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up, Fridge Brilliance dictates that The Bully cannot care for those weaker that him.
Miki: So, who is this guy?
Akihiko: You really don’t remember? You used to pick on him all the time.
Miki: I don’t know this guy at all.
Akihiko: It’s only been four years!
Kankuro: How awful, Nya!
- Soul Eater plays with this. Excalibur tells stories frequently throughout the series, beginning each with "It all began on a Tuesday... or was it Friday? Monday is also possible. Hmm... Saturday it must be." Each time, he cycles through each day of the week, finally deciding on a day that isn't the one he started with.
- Averted in Attack on Titan. During their first meeting, Bertolt expresses curiosity over what Eren experienced when his Doomed Hometown was attacked by Titans. Five years later, after learning that Bertolt is the Colossal Titan, Eren confronts him and asks how he felt learning about being responsible for Eren's mother dying. Bertolt quietly responds that he felt sorry for Eren, and is later revealed to have genuine remorse over his actions.
- Edward King in Green Blood readily admits he has so many enemies he can't possibly remember them all. He does, however, know who the protagonist Brad Burns is and, while he initially fails to recognize Brad's brother Luke when they're face-to-face he quickly picks up on it when told.
- Oga in Beelzebub does this to Miki in the Saint Ishiyama arc, Oga saved Miki from a gang leader when they were kids, and then proceeded to beat the hell out of Miki the day before he moved out of town. After Oga moves schools to Saint Ishiyama Miki, remembering Oga, seeks a fight with him to show how strong he's grown. Oga has no clue who he is. By the end of the arc, however, it is revealed that Oga may in fact remember him. Either that or he just found out Miki's name.
- Galaxy Express 999 has a classic straight example.
Count Mecha: I don't know you.
Tetsuro: My name is Tetsuro Oshino and you killed my mother, you metal bastard!
Count Mecha: I kill a lot of mothers. Let me guess: you want vengeance, blah blah blah...
- What makes this even worse, if that were possible, is that Count Mecha has forgotten Tetsuro and his mother despite having her corpse stuffed and mounted on his wall.
- InuYasha: In episode 97 ("Kirara Come Home"), the group confronts a monkey demon, whom they believe to have killed and eaten the missing Kirara; said monkey simply asks them if they really expect them to remember everything he's eaten. It turns out he didn't eat Kirara: Myoga had taken her to run an errand, and Shippo had been asked to inform the others as such, but forgot to do so.
- Nui Harime of Kill la Kill remembers every wound inflicted upon her all too well. However she can't be bothered to remember all the brutal beatdowns she has administered to her opponents.
- In The Devil Is a Part-Timer! when Emi finally brings up her real grudge against Maou, namely that his forces burned her village and killed her father, he gives a halfassed apology along the lines of "Oh, did that happen? Sorry that I suck at controlling my troops sometimes but eh, humans and demons have never really gotten along anyway." Not really evil so he doesn't just shrug it off entirely, but he clearly has no idea what she's talking about, doesn't care and doesn't even consider it to really be his fault.
- Serena from Pokémon met Ash years ago at summer camp when he helped her after she hurt her leg. That day was significant to her but it wasn't to him. He still remembers her at least.
- Pandora Hearts: A heartwarming one between Jack and Lacie. Lacie only remembers Jack as someone she talked to in order to kill time after she ran away from home, but Jack's meeting with Lacie completely changed his life and gives him a purpose to live for. Unfortunately, Jack's life isn't completely changed for the better.
- City Hunter: A magnificent example comes from Rosemary Moon's arc. The villain is a terrorist named David Clive, formerly the chief of a foreign secret service until Ryo and Rosemary exposed him as a traitor, now "The Terrorist From Hell". When Umibozu reveals his identity, Rosemary has an Oh, Crap! moment, while Ryo completely forgot about him. Becomes a Brick Joke when Ryo finally looks at him and declares he still can't remember his face.
Meanwhile at SHAFT...