Forgettable Character

A character who is often forgotten by other characters sometimes to the point that they forget the character even existed. The character might be a Ridiculously Average Guy who's so unremarkable and ordinary that they seem to blend in the background. The character could be a minor villain or mook that the heroes defeat early on in story who returns to find out everyone forgot who they are. A character that has a low-key job or role in the cast might also be easily forgotten. Some characters even have a type of power that causes everyone to forgot who they are.

Other people who want to remember a person like this may leave a Note to Self to help them remember.

Please note that this trope is for in-universe only. Meta examples would go in Out of Focus.

Examples

Anime & Manga
  • Kagero Usui in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei is technically the Class Representative, but has a property to slip away from other characters' memories because his only distinctive feature is his Prematurely Bald head—which he tries to hide most of the time.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia has Canada, whose interactions with other characters often involve them forgetting who he is or that he exists and/or mistaking him for his more outgoing brother America.
  • In Jewelpet Sunshine, there are three examples. One is Nejikawa, who's forgotten by his classmates at least once. In one episode, he comments that he has become "as invisible as Yaginuma", which suggests the same thing of this character but is never really proven due to his limited screentime. Finally, there is Katori, who's so small, characters keep forgetting she's there.
  • Only the main characters remember speaking with Fuuko Ibuki in CLANNAD and even they start forgetting her later in the series. Justified as she is a spiritual projection of a girl in a coma.
  • In Eyeshield 21, Tetsuo Ishimaru is so forgettable that other teams completely forget that he exists. He even breaks the fourth wall to comment on it.
  • Momoko Touyoko of Saki has this almost as a superpower. She leaves so little of an impression that she's practically invisible to anyone in the vicinity. This even applies when she's playing Mahjong and the three other people sitting right next to her completely forget she's there.

Film
  • Randy from Liar Liar, whom Fletcher Reede doesn't bother remembering.
    Randy: Hey, Mr. Reede.
    Fletcher: Heeeeyyy... man...
    Randy: It's, uhh, Randy.
    Fletcher: Yeah, I know.

Literature
  • In Jennifer Lynn Barnes' YA novel Nobody, this is the "power" of Nobodies. They are so forgettable that when they go rogue the group that controls them has to set a timer to periodically remind them who they're looking for.
  • Kragar from the Vlad Taltos series is so utterly forgettable that he can be standing in the room and no one will notice him, and will forget he's there minutes after speaking to him, even if he hasn't moved.
  • Harry Potter: Peter Pettigrew aka Wormtail is only known as the quiet, unassuming guy in James Potter's Marauders, and the fact that he was supposedly killed by his friend Sirius, but nothing behind that. This trait is what makes him trusted with the Potter family secrets by Sirius, and it also makes nobody suspecting him when there's a rumor about a Death Eater spy in the Order of the Phoenix.
  • The Captain in Blindsight, to the point where the protagonist treats it as a big reveal later on that the Captain was actually in command of the ship (it isn't a secret, but the Captain is an AI, while the protagonist is a professional Sherlock scanner who more or less forgets it exists because it doesn't have any cues to read).

Live Action TV
  • In Season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a Terrible Trio is formed consisting of minor recurring characters Jonathan and Warren, and new character Andrew. The creators wanted another minor antagonist, Tucker, to be the third member, but his actor could not be contacted. Thus Andrew was created as his younger brother with similar powers in demon summoning, and a Hand Wave is given that he once summoned flying monkeys to attack the school. The incident is so comparatively mundane by Buffy standards that none of the cast remembers it or Andrew, and it becomes a Running Gag to refer to him as "Tucker's brother" or "the other guy".
  • On Arrested Development none of the Bluth family (except her sometimes-boyfriend George-Michal) can remember Ann Veal's name; usually referring to her as "Bland," "Egg," "Annabell," "Yam," or "her?". Not out of malice, just because she's so forgettable.
  • In Friends Ross's parents forget about his son Ben while gushing over Emma, his daughter with Rachel.
    Jack: My first grandchild.
    Ross: What about Ben?
    Jack: I meant my first granddaughter.
  • The Silence of Doctor Who are the type with a power to invoke this. The moment a person looks away from one of them, their existence is completely forgotten. It's promptly remembered the next time the person lays eyes on them. While in the series they're seen using this for infiltration, their original purpose was as confessors for an intergalactic church.

Theater
  • Alexander Throttlebottom in Of Thee I Sing is the Vice Presidential nominee running with John P. Wintergreen. He's so forgettable that he has to sneak into the White House with a tour group because no one remembers who he is. (Back in the 1930s when the play was written, the VP position was notorious for its lack of notability.) He does get remembered in the grand finale, as he's needed for a Pair the Spares moment.

Video Game
  • Luigi suffers from this problem in some Mario games. In the DS remake of Super Mario 64, for example, the Toads openly admit in front of him that he's nowhere near as memorable as his brother Mario is.
  • Winston Payne in the Ace Attorney games. Once feared as a rookie killer, Payne is now so unremarkable that most of the other characters forget who he is. When Detective Gumshoe mentions him to Miles Edgeworth, one of Payne's fellow prosecutors (who Payne insists he mentored when Miles was younger), Edgeworth assumes he must be one of the janitors.
  • Luka, resident Badass Normal from Bayonetta, manages to survive and pull a fair number of Big Damn Hero moments mostly because the Paradisio and Inferno alike tend to disregard and forget him while battling one another. At the end of Bayonetta 2, he even manages to bewilder Aesir, the God of Chaos.

Webcomic
  • Happens often in Scandinavia and the World. Denmark always forgets about his room mate The Faroe Islands until he owes him money, and Norway seems completely oblivious to Kven even when he's right in front of him.
  • The Seventy Seas side-story "forgettable" is centered around such a character. In a bid for attention, he commits a burglary and gets arrested, but not even that works, and he's released despite dropping the stolen diamond in front of the cops.

Western Animation
  • This is eventually Lampshaded in As Told by Ginger. Two of the characters select recurring background character Noelle to test their vanishing powder on, as she wasn't significant enough for anyone to miss. And then later Subverted when it's realized Noelle was actually a cool (by the characters' standards) Cloud Cuckoo Lander and goes on to be an Ascended Extra with a substantial role.
  • It's a running gag on Futurama that Scruffy has to keep reintroducing himself to people. "I'm Scruffy, The Janitor" has become his Catch Phrase. Also, apparently the other characters are just as forgettable to him, since he rarely remembers any of them.
  • South Park: In the episode "The Last of the Meheecans", the boys play a Border Control role play game, and eventually the Mexican side claim victory. It takes a long while until Cartman realizes they forgot about Butters (and even then only because he can now still win as the Texan side). As the others wonder how this happened, Craig Lampshades that Butters is a rather easy to forget person.
  • The Simpsons:
    • A Running Gag on the show is that Mr. Burns always forgets who Homer is, although this aspect is mostly dropped in later seasons.
    • Homer is often forgetting about Maggie. Sometimes he just refers to her as "the baby", sometimes he forgets about her completely.