A character (usually, but not always, a hero) gets a good bump on the head
and promptly forgets that they're a character in an action-packed adventure. Ends up doing something mundane
for a while.
Their buddies have first got to find them, then convince them that they're a Super Hero
with a higher calling. Or, whack then on the noggin again to restore their memory.
Occasionally, the new friends they've made while living the simple life
will try to keep them from remembering the past, because they like having them around, or because they think they're happier or more fulfilled
staying with them.
Sometimes, especially in comedic
series, this will be one of the antagonists, and their new friends will be secondary, comic-relief characters.
In the mean time, we get to laugh at a powerful or menacing character struggling with the mundane annoyances of daily life.
A form of Easy Amnesia
or Amnesia Danger
(but typically without the ticking time bomb). The morality-free
form of Criminal Amnesiac
. A subtrope of Identity Amnesia
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:Anime and Manga
- Ranma of Ranma 1/2 once hit his head on a rock in the Koi pond while dodging Akane's attempt to brain him with a frying pan and woke up (in girl form) thinking that "she" was just an ordinary cute little girl.
- In the latter half of Scrapped Princess, Pacifica loses her memory due to a combination of physical and mental trauma, and settles down in the area under the care of a young man who resembles her adoptive brother. One gets the sense over the next couple episodes that she doesn't want to remember she's running for her life.
- Minor subversion in Gintama: Gintoki hits his head and loses all memory of who he is... and, after seeing what other people think of him, decides that he is better off working in a small factory for an actual wage. Except it turns out that his boss is manufacturing explosives to take over the government, and then tries to use Gin as a hostage...which, in retrospect, was a stupid idea.
- The second season of Code Geass starts with protagonist Lelouch back to being an Ordinary High-School Student with no memories of leading La Résistance. In the second episode we learn that his father, the Britannian Emperor, did it to him in order to draw out Lelouch's partner C.C..
- In Gundam Wing, Trowa Barton develops amnesia after surviving an exploding mobile suit and is found by Catherine, his surrogate big sister figure in the circus he used as a cover. Fearing for his safety, she tries her hardest to keep him at the circus and rebuffs his fellow Gundam Pilots when they come looking for him.
- Asuna of Mahou Sensei Negima! did this to herself intentionally because she just wanted to be normal, and she knew that would never happen if she could remember being a magical princess. Subverted when she manages to end up back in the thick of things anyway, now without memory of important details that would now be kinda helpful. Then the Dragon forcibly undid the amnesia, and caused her a massive Heroic BSOD.
- Don't forget Yue, who instead of doing something mundane and pastoral took a level in Badass while under amnesia (This still counts because in the Magical World this is normal). Her memories did return but very slowly: at first she didn't remember anything but her name and her Magical World experiences, teh she recalled almost everyone but Negi, and in the end she remembered him as well.
- Another forced mindwipe example: The Power Trio of Digimon Savers have their DATS memories erased by the main villain, and their Digimon partners had to find them and restore their memories. Masaru was a bit more stubborn, but Agumon knew how to fix that.
- Happened to Ken in the first sequel series to Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, Gatchaman II. (In Eagle Riders, based on Gatchaman II, this happens to Hunter Harris.)
- In Sailor Moon the girls and Tuxedo Mask all lose their memories in the first Season Finale. In the Japanese version this was a side effect of being brought resurrected by the silver crystal in the English death were all their deaths were censored they appeared to have lost their memories because why not.
- The mostly forgettable Super Mario Bros. comic series had one instance where, instead of taking on an innocuous identity, Mario became convinced he was his super-powered idol, Dirk Drainhead. He then proceeded to trounce Bowser in his sleep.
- An early Fantastic Four story had the Human Torch stumble across the Golden Age hero, Namor the Sub-Mariner. He found him living as a homeless man with no memory of who he was before. When the Torch eventually brought his memory back, Namor proceeded to try and beat the crap out of him and everyone else, in no particular order.
- There was a Marvel Team Up issue featuring the heroic character Black Bolt suffering from amnesia. Black Bolt's voice is extremely powerful so he tends not to talk very often. When he got amnesia, a child asked him his name. He muttered "I ... " and promptly destroyed a harbor.
- Parodied in Thrud the Barbarian, where Thrud suddenly renounces violence... and then kills three assassins by "Throwing the sword away (SPLAT), and dancing merrily!".
- In the Death Note AU fic Not an Angel by Sashocirrione this happens to L after he returns from the dead as a Shinigami. Naturally, Light exploits it for all it's worth.
- The Final Fantasy 7 fan fic "Stranger Highways" is the tale of a normal guy living in the real world who starts having terrible nightmares about living through the game, trying and failing to save Aerith at the Forgotten Capitol. Then one night a girl who looks just like her shows up, insisting that he knows who she is...
- Light in the Death Note AU fic Seigikan after he's hit by a car he gets Easy Amnesia and has forgotten all about being Kira and knowing L and therefore he sees no more reason to put up with L or his antics and leaves, much to L's dismay.
- At the end of Men in Black, Agent Kay deliberately wipes his own memory of being a secret agent for an organization watching over aliens on Earth. In the sequel, when he is needed again, his former colleague Jay finds him working at a post office and, trying to recruit him back, is forced to go through a long argument just to prove aliens exist...in that post office!
- The premise of The Long Kiss Goodnight: Imagine The Bourne Series if Jason Bourne's amnesia was caused by Becoming the Mask rather then a nasty boating incident.
- Particularly funny in that when she starts to recover her memory, instead of realizing she was a CIA assassin, she thinks she was a chef.
- Of course, because all chefs know how to throw knives.
- Happens to Kermit in The Muppets Take Manhattan. He gets knocked on the head, forgets about his friends and the show they're putting together and becomes an advertising executive with some boring frogs.
- In The Return of Captain Invincible, the captain drinks heavily in order to forget the call.
- Occurs in the short story "Time For a Hero" by Brian M. Thomsen, where a semi-amnesiac man returning to consciousness is told he's really the hero Meteor Man and the only hope for shutting down a terrorist plot at a nuclear plant, since his powers will let him ignore the radiation. Subverted in that the man isn't a superhuman at all; he's the subject of a psychological experiment to see if he'll put himself into a life-threatening situation and save the day just because he thinks he's invulnerable.
- In Manning Cole's A Toast to Tomorrow British agent Tommy Hambledon got amnesia while undercover as a supposed German citizen and didn't recover his memory until fifteen years later, by which time he was a deputy chief of police in the Nazi Party.
- In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Paradise Syndrome", Kirk loses his memory and becomes a simple farmer, living on a planet with a bunch of displaced Native Americans.
- Also happened to Data in The Next Generation in the episode "Conundrum." He happened to be behind the bar in Ten-Forward when the entire crew gets hit with an amnesia ray and ends up staying there and bartending until the command staff finds the personnel records and retrieves him.
- Happened again to Data in the episode "Thine Own Self", but with the added twist that when his memory was lost, he was carrying a case with radioactive material inside, and so was putting the primitive village in which he now lived in great danger without realizing it. His incredible intelligence allows him to deduce the harmful effects of the metals he was carrying, demonstrate their radioactive properties, and devise a way to counteract their effects on the population's health with the materials removed.
- Power Rangers Zeo: For half a season, Goldar and Rito, having lost their memories in an explosion, serve as flunkies for Those Two Guys Bulk and Skull.
- And then again in Power Rangers Wild Force: Cole loses his memory to a monster and ends up in a farm with a pretty girl; when the other Rangers find him they are torn between making him remember he is a Ranger (and an orphan) or leaving him there where it looks like he is happy.
- Power Rangers Turbo: Divatox spends an episode as a pizzeria waitress after losing her memory because she turned Porto's teleporter device Up to Eleven and got blasted with a ricochet. How's THAT for Laser-Guided Amnesia?
- Knight Rider: Michael loses his memory of the past several years, and tries to go back to being an ordinary cop.
- Stargate SG-1: For several months prior to being found by SG-1 in Season Seven, Daniel Jackson was living the simple life as an amnesiac on a primitive planet, having forgotten about the SGC, or that he'd been a godlike being for the previous season.
- Much later in "Memento Mori" in the final season, Vala gets amnesia while on Earth and thinks she's an Earth person—complete with a refusal to believe in aliens, which is the equivalent of someone refusing to believe in cars because he got amnesia without having his car with him at the time.
- Well, the average person doesn't believe in aliens, so...
- An earlier episode, probably "Beneath The Surface," featured all of SG-1 having their memories erased, and replaced with fake, alien memories. They then have to use The Power of Friendship to regain each other's memories, without actually remembering anything themselves. Slightly subverted in that they were enslaved in the mines and so their current situation wasn't exactly an idyllic one.
- Both The Adventures of Superman and Lois and Clark had an episode where Superman loses his memory just as a giant meteor is hurtling towards the Earth, as did My Hero.
- Subverted in an episode of Monk. He is hit on the head, and a woman finds him and tries to trick him into believing that he is her husband. Atypically for this trope (although typically for his character) he doesn't fit in at all in his new setting, maintains his phobias, and continues to solve mysteries even without his memory.
- In the new series of Doctor Who, the Doctor inflicts Laser-Guided Amnesia on himself so he'll think he's human. Typically for this trope, his companion needs him to reacquire his memories; atypically, the Doctor himself is the one who doesn't want to remember, as it would amount to the death of his new, human self and come with no small amount of guilt for the danger he'd inflicted on his new friends.
- The Greatest American Hero banged his head (the only thing not protected by the suit) and even threw away his costume for a few.
- Possible example in Heroes when Peter Petrelli has his memory wiped by the Haitian and winds up in "Ireland". Any semblance of a normal life goes out the window when he falls in with a bunch of crooks with a burning need for some stolen iPods and a dialogue coach.
- Happened to everyone but Lorne in one episode of Angel, reverting them to their memories from before any of them had met.
- Happened twice to Clark Kent on Smallville. The first time, Chloe had to tutor him in relearning his powers. The second time, just like the Lois and Clark example above, it took a while for Chloe to convince him that he had powers in the first place.
- This is the basis of the episode "Tabula Rasa" in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Everyone is forced to reestablish their identities from what they can figure out - Anya and Giles assume they're a couple because they own the shop together, and Spike mocks Giles for being british until he realizes he is, too. He also doesn't know he's a vampire until they're attacked and Buffy spots the Game Face he unconsciously puts on.
- Supernatural: Castiel wakes up confused, lost, and amnesiac on the side of the lake where he'd just exploded. A woman finds him and he marries her, living a generally timid home life for a while. As he is an angel, which is sort of hard to ignore, they do recognize that he has some superhuman abilities, which he uses to become a faith healer.
- In Citybook 1 of the Citybook series of system-independent RPG supplements, Old Sam, the kind and senile old man working at Widow Rohl's Bakeshop, is really the incredibly powerful evil wizard Samar, Master of the Nine Hells, who lost his memory after being attacked by a group of rival sorcerers. One scenario idea presented involves him regaining his memory and picking up where he left off on that old conflict.
- Played with in Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky. The hero's amnesia leads them to go on many amazing adventures, yet they've still forgotten their very important mission. Their partner on said mission doesn't even realize that they've forgotten the call, leading to a near Heroic BSOD when the truth is revealed by a villain's Evil Gloating.
- Also used bizarrely in the first game. You and Gardevoir agree to inflict amnesia on yourself so you can be tested to see if you are the real hero.
- The entire premise of the webcomic The Ninja Diaries.
- In the second Bonobo Conspiracy holiday special, Delaware Smith (Agent 00111), brainwashed by Zombie Jack, forgets his mission and thinks himself a pirate - that being less swashbuckling than his actual role as a Computational Archaeologist and spy. 
- In Thunderstruck, magical beings can "disappear", which means forgetting and losing their magic. Most of the time, this is one-way and they live the rest of their lives as normal humans.
- Sam in Wormtooth Nation, as a result of being "nixed" by the titular wormtooth gas.
- One episode of Samurai Jack had the Scotsman discovering Jack working as a waiter on a cruise ship and talking like a totally chill surfer dude with an american accent, after apparently losing his memory. The rest of the episode involved the Scotsman dragging the reluctant former samurai along as the duo retraced Jack's steps in an effort to get to the bottom of things.
- In the Men In Black episode "The Neuralyzer Syndrome", Agent Kay loses all of his memories of being an MIB agent when the "flashy thingy" accidentally goes off in his direction. Reverting to his teenaged self, "Kevin" promptly drives Agent Jay nuts by still insisting on driving the Cool Car.
- Wheeler of Captain Planet and the Planeteers probably had the worst luck — he lost his memory and became homeless, spending his time in a slum that soon was almost destroyed by one of the Eco-Villains. He barely escapes with his life, with the street people that sheltered him when amnesiac, and his returned memories.
- Happened to Scrooge McDuck in an episode of DuckTales where a whack on the noggin causes him to lose his accent, start working at his own plant as a menial laborer, organize a labor strike protesting the unfair business practices he himself imposed, and begin a relationship with Fenton Crackshell's mother.
- In the Lilo & Stitch: The Series episode "Amnesio", a brainwashing experiment temporarily caused Lilo and her nemesis, Gantu, to forget who they were. They temporarily became friends until they were un-brainwashed.
- Buzz Lightyear of Star Command has an episode that's a Whole Plot Reference to Shane, where Buzz goes native on a Western-style world, not because of amnesia but because of his disillusionment with Star Command (in a Flashback when he's in similar circumstances to the ones he was disillusined in a criminal getting off the hook because of his own Cowboy Cop tendancies as a youth).
- Another episode has an evil computer genius brainwashing him into thinking he's an accountant named Flip Faxtoner, and his crew has to figure out how to jog his memory.
- Somewhat subverted in Kim Possible: when Kim loses her memory, everyone rushes to remind her, and she is oddly passive and accepting about her role as a teen superhero.
- It's the fact that she's dating Ron that she doesn't believe, though to be fair Ron was the one telling her this and she was right to not take something like that at face value. Leads to a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming when she gets her memories back, remembers that Ron is indeed her boyfriend, and tells him that she loves him.
- In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "The Forgotten", Bruce goes undercover as a homeless man and suffers from amnesia after being kidnapped and forced to work in a mine with a bunch of other prisoners.
- A strange example occurs in Teen Titans, where Terra appears to have come Back from the Dead but without her powers or any memory of being a Teen Titan/minion of Slade's. At the end, she implies she DOES remember, but wants no part in being a superhero any more and we are left with no clue what precisely happened to her.