open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Tacitly averted in Zatch Bell! with Koko who was sadistically brainwashed, but is later rescued by Sherry and restored back to her original, kind innocent state. It's a good thing she's not a wanted criminal now or anything and can happily go to college too, especially after (publicly) razing most of her town and kidnapping dozens of people. It would have to be inferred that her savior Sherry has some pretty good connections.
- In the final chapters where the final battle for King is had, it's mentioned that damage to the land and possibly the people is undone (the one communicating would be the book). Considering how the battle for Mamodo King is called the God's Trial, this would explain why alot of calamities and such were undone.
- Hunter × Hunter:
- Possibly subverted when one of the side characters gets kidnapped by the ants, brainwashed and altered to be one of them. She's eventually comes to her senses, and as Killua points out, her entrusted one Gon is not one to judge, and it helps the Hunter organization itself isn't one to persecute her just because she's now a chimera ant.
- It's a pivotal point played straight with Gon. Blinded by his rage he, activates a technique that allows him to rapidly age/grow and defeat an enemy vastly superior to himself. Unfortunately after calming down, he's still mutated and puts himself on the brink of death.
- Also, his teacher and role-model Kaito, who is made into a living rag doll for the ants to manipulate that Gon desperately wishes to bring back. The realization that he can't do so, and Kaito truly is 'dead' is what pushes Gon into the transformation alluded to above.
- Fairy Tail:
- Jellal is back on the side of the angels after his stint trying to resurrect Zeref with the Tower of Heaven (which he was brainwashed into by Ultear pretending to be Zeref), but the Magic Council (as well as several others he wronged during this time) are not buying it.
- Constantly in Valvrave the Liberator.
- Particularly with Haruto. As the pilot of Unit 1, he sometimes gets possessed by a sort of monster impulse that makes him attack his friends. What happens can range from biting someone and inadvertently body-jacking them, to, well, the incident that the series is infamous for towards the end of season 1. Notable/played with in that most of the retribution for these things comes from his own guilt and fear that he's a monster.
- This is also the case with L-elf, who was body-jacked by Haruto in the beginning - Haruto in his body shot L-elf's friend in the eye and betrayed L-elf's team. Since his teammates don't know about the body-jacking until the end, they blame L-elf for it and wonder what could have made such a loyal soldier turn traitor. He manages to use the situation to his advantage, helping the Ordinary High-School Student JIORans form a decent enough military to defend their town, but you can see the sadness in his eyes throughout...
- After Jean Gray has been brought back from the The Dark Side in The Dark Phoenix Saga, she's found guilty of genocide and sentenced to death by the Shi'ar empire, despite the empress' romantic relationship with Charles Xavier. Unfortunately for everyone, fighting for her life reawakens Marvel Girl's Dark Phoenix side.
- Her beau Cyclops faces similar problems being imprisoned after he took over the world and killed Charles Xavier while under the Phoenix's influence.
- In The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye, Cyclonus is infamous among the crew of the Lost Light for having fought for Galvatron during the war, and was involved in several atrocities. Most Autobots consider him basically a Decepticon, despite the fact that he is technically unaligned (the purple paint job can't help). In fact, Cyclonus was under the influence of The Darkness when this occurred, and thus unable to resist Galvatron's commands. He seems to not make too much of issue of it however, not caring about the Autobots' approval.
- Thorgal: Thorgal is imprisoned by his wife Aaricia, who refuses to acknowledge him as her husband after he returns from his amnesiac stint as the pirate lord Shaigan the Merciless (which was pushed by Kriss de Valnor, who wants Thorgal all to herself), during which she and her children were branded and exiled. She only forgives him after he singlehandedly takes out a pirate invasion.
- Unfortunately for Spider-Man, after he gets his body back following the Superior Spider-Man arc, in which Doctor Octopus controlled his body, many of his prior relationships are strained, especially that with his former lover, Black Cat, who has made a Face–Heel Turn and doesn't believe or care that it was Octavius in Peter's body when she was attacked.
Films — Live-Action
- In the end of the The Dark Knight, this is played intentionally by the Joker in order to manipulate Dent and get him to commit enough crimes that he "falls" and has all the blame shifted toward him, thus destroying Gotham City's hope in their law enforcement. Batman is able to avert this only by taking the blame for Two-Face's murders himself.
- Captain America: Civil War: Sure, Bucky was under mind-control from HYDRA for all of his villainousnote career as the Winter Soldier. That hardly means he's off the hook for decades of terrorism and assassinations, forcing him to stay in hiding from the authorities at the start of the movie. Despite his reassurance to Steve that he's no longer doing these kind of things, it's easy for Zemo to cast blame for bombing the U.N. building on Bucky just by wearing a scarf and a prosthetic mask. Only Captain America (and his followers) believe he's innocent, and it's more for emotional than rational reasons. T'Challa doesn't accept the brainwashing argument as an excuse for the death of his father, and pursues Bucky as Black Panther to kill him. Neither does Tony Stark when he finally learns the Winter Soldier is responsible for the murder of his parents. He goes ballistic, and none of Cap's words are enough to calm Iron Man in his attempt to vaporize Bucky.
- The Hangover is about a non-supernatural version of this. The protagonists are a group of guys who throw a monster of a bachelor party in Vegas that they can't remember any of the following morning due to how intoxicated they were, forcing them to figure out what happened and come face-to-face with all the outrageous things that they did in order to find the missing bachelor and bring him to his wedding.
- The horror-comedy Ava's Possessions is similar, with its protagonist being a young woman who recently endured a Demonic Possession and now has to answer for all the things that the demon made her do, which cost her her job and her friends and may well get her thrown in jail.
- In The Red Vixen Adventures, Ali is arrested for the crimes she committed as a slave, but is acquitted of most, though not all of them.
- This sort of thing appears to happen a lot in Star Trek. A character is temporarily possessed by a more powerful force or otherwose suborned against their will to perform actions contrary to their own interests or inclinations. But they then carry on in post afterwards with no sanctions once they're free of possession, or can demonstrate that they were not in control of themselves at the time. note The only time this issue appears to have been addressed is when Captain Picard was assimilated into the Borg Collective and is used to co-ordinate their strategy against the Federation. Deep Space Nine opens with a freed Picard ferrying Captain Sisko to his new command. Sisko is one of the very few survivors of the Borg attack that used Picard to plot and lead its strategy. Sisko's command, and his wife, were killed in that offensive. Therefore his attitude to Picard is one of very thinly disguised hostility, loathing and hatred. Picard understands this, realises this is part of his Cartesian Karma, and allows Sisko to express his deep hostility and bitter resentment.
- This is the defining characteristic for Angel on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and later on his own show. As someone who was a soulless vampire for over a hundred years before having his conscience restored by a curse, he suffers from terrible guilt for the things he remembers doing (which started with killing his entire family and escalated from there). Exactly how culpable he is for them is left vague - some characters seem to regard Angel and his evil persona Angelus as two different people, while others see him as a mass murderer who shouldn't be left off the hook just because he's started feeling bad for his crimes - but Angel himself at least accepts enough of the guilt to have dedicated the rest of his immortal existence to doing good in repentance.
- Babylon 5: When Michael Garibaldi was brainwashed into betraying Captain Sheridan so he could be turned over to the authorities on Earth, he is declared persona non grata aboard Babylon 5. He ultimately averts this trope by planning and leading Sheridan's rescue himself, with the help of Franklin, Marcus, and the Mars Resistance.
- Dungeons & Dragons will sometimes require characters to receive an Atonement from a cleric even for actions that were performed under magical mind-control, due to trickery, or otherwise involuntarily or unwittingly.
- The Forgotten Realms have a lot of this.
- Including Laeral Silverhand donning a relic of the local evil death-god and catching a bad case of artifact possession. Of course, as a semidivine being herself, she recovered after the crown was destroyed, but people threw suspicious glances for some time. Eventually this died down to lame taunts about bad luck with headgear from a political opponent, though.
- Elminster Ecologies appendix II is narrated by a rather grumpy druid, so the approach is rather simple, and not quite unreasonable:
Bara: ...moldering ancient spells and magical items of great and obnoxious power. More than once have I come upon some mess caused by adventurers only to have them tell me that they couldn't prevent an incident's occurrence because their mage was "under the control of an ancient and malevolent artifact of evil". If you must come to the High Moor and you must hunt treasure there, be careful. Check things for curses before you pick them up and play with them. Being mind-controlled doesn't give you free rein to come in and muck up the region I protect.
- A subtle one in Starcraft I: the main reason Mengsk abandons Kerrigan to the Zerg is that when she was still under Confederate control, she was the Ghost responsible for the murder of his father, mother and sister. That she has no memory of it or that she hates the Confederacy for their experiments doesn't matter to him, and ends up causing the plot of Brood War and the next two games when she finally gets her revenge on him.
- Done so in Homestuck, to a more general sense.
- Vriska is controlled essentially by her civilization's violent culture and expectations, her own insecurities/ego, self-destructive actions, and the rules of paradox space itself. She 'over-comes' it eventually, but by then it's rather to late for her to change. She even acknowledges she can't change what she's done by any means, but accepts it and any karma facing her because she believes she needs to do the right thing.
- After being brainwashed by the Condesce into turning evil, Jade is eventually killed by Aranea, and Paradox Space declares her death just, nullifying her God Tier immortality. It must be noted that Aranea has a hand in that decision, using her abilities as a Sylph of Light.
- In Dominic Deegan, Jayden renounced her faith by reciting a Heresy while under mind control and lost her white magic as a result. It takes a while for her magic to return.
- Family Guy:
- Although more just a product of Peter's usual shenanigans than direct mind control, he has been "changed" temporarily an untold amount of times for the period of single episodes. Despite this, it's subverted as the rest of the cast usually don't see anything periodic about it and never reprimand him beyond the individual change. To date, he has been "brainwashed" into becoming feminine, "rich", Jewish, a bully, Mexican, African-American, a redneck, and a homosexual, all of which is forgotten about by the next episode.
- Also the fact that both Mayor Adam West and Meg are apparently unwilling sleeper-agent Russian spies, the former of which has been outed. No consequences of this have come up so far, but it's hard to question it when one ponders how someone as suspicious and incompetent as Mayor Adam could have become Mayor in the first place.
- One-shot villain Mr. Mime in The Powerpuff Girls is a clown who was turned evil by being covered in bleach. The girls eventually manage to change him back to normal... and then beat him up and send him to jail anyway.
- In Young Justice, the Light manages to take control of the Justice League, and sends some of their strongest members through a Boom Tube to an alien planet called Rimbor to wreak havoc for sixteen hours. As a result, Earth suddenly stops being an Insignificant Little Blue Planet and gets a lot of hostile alien attention, especially in light of this whole "superpower" thing. Furthermore, the League members involved feel obligated to go to Rimbor and try to clear their name, which puts the League at a disadvantage against the Light's new plans.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, the sole truly evil things Trixie has ever done were while she was under the influence of the Alicorn Amulet, which turned her into a megalomaniac. Otherwise, she's just a rather harmless braggart. Nonetheless, the inhabitants of Ponyville (including Twilight Sparkle, the Princess of Friendship herself) are still distrustful of her despite the regrets she expressed. Granted, she did go to depths to find the artifact and explicitly use it for revenge, which provides some reason. There's also the fact that she is just plainly not a nice pony. Her magic shows consists of bragging and inviting ponies up for contests, only to humiliate them through trickery and not actual skill.