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Anime and Manga
- In Death Note, both Light and Misa lose their memories as a result of Light's Memory Gambit. Unfortunately, this also leaves Light with no idea as to why he's Misa's boyfriend, leading to severe awkwardness when L quizzes them on their feelings for each other. She is super hot he is a teenager. No extra explanation is needed.
- In The Long Kiss Goodnight, Samantha is really a secret agent/spy. Because of her job, she had to lie about being together with a guy who was actually a mark. She almost gets killed, instead being caught and tortured (and her old mentor gets killed because of this).
- In Unknown (2006), several of the amnesiacs remember being part of the kidnapping. Jean Jacket find that the kidnappers outside recognize his voice...
- Inverted in While You Were Sleeping: When Peter wakes up from his coma, the rest of his family tells him that he's engaged to Lucy, but Peter doesn't remember her at all. So the family concludes he must have Laser-Guided Amnesia. note Peter becomes skeptical of the amnesia explanation as he realizes that he still remembers everything else about his life—but he gives up and goes along with his family anyway.
- Sherlock Holmes manages to do it to himself in Michael Kurland's Professor Moriarty novel The Empress of India. He has a secret identity as a criminal, as a way of keeping an eye on the criminal underworld. When he suffers a Tap on the Head and wakes up in this lair, he deduces that this is his true identity, and proceeds to become a successful criminal.
- In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Gilderoy Lockheart is a fraud who fabricated his entire career, but he successfully managed to keep the truth from getting out. When a memory-altering spell malfunctionednote and backfired on him, he came to legitimately believe that the events in his career were true, since there was no one who knew the truth to explain to him otherwise.
Live Action TV
- Happens in at least one Mission: Impossible episode. In the new series, Shannon almost ends up marrying the villain's son.
- A minor example in Smallville: During the period that Clark didn't know Chloe knew he had powers, he developed amnesia. Chloe talked him through his powers and told him he used them for good, but since she didn't know his origin, she assumed he was a meteor freak.
- Samantha Who? practically has this trope as part of its premise.
- On Dark Matter, One is surprised to meet Jace Corso because that's who he thought he was; the encounter leaves him with no idea who he actually is or why he pretended to be a notorious criminal or why he was on the Raza.
- In Final Fantasy VII, the protagonist Cloud Strife narrates his past to the audience and the other characters at various points throughout the game. However, it turns out that he in fact lost his own identity and was simply narrating the past of his dead friend Zack, deluding himself into believing that was his own identity.
- The webcomic Picatrix has an example with a guy who believes himself on honeymoon with the heroine. Naturally, this doesn't end well for him when he makes advances on his "wife"...
- Then it's inverted, and more hilarity ensues.
- "The Forgotten", one of the early, unusual episodes of Batman: The Animated Series, had this happen to an undercover Bruce Wayne disguised as a homeless guy. He gets kidnapped by a greasy, overfed slavedriver who runs a mining operation, while Alfred is trying to find him. Very poignant episode, as Bruce gradually uncovers his memories and retakes his levels in badass.
- Another Batman example happens in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "The Mask of Matches Malone": a hit on the head causes the hero to believe himself to be Malone, his undercover gangster identity.