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Heroes often have to be motivated to pick up The Call, or are simply forced to by chilling events. An all too common way for this to happen is to have their friends and loved ones become Friendly Targets and suffer Death by Origin Story to kick start their quest.
They will thrash and wail, swear bloody vengeance on their killer and go on a multi-season quest to avenge... who was it again? Bob? Alice?
This trope is about the tendency of a narrative to have heroes forget their fallen friends and loved ones with worrying ease. This is both mental and emotional; heroes will rarely reflect on these losses, or even use them in an "And This Is for..." speech, and the emotional impact of the loss is rarely ever shown afterward. (And not because they are bottling it up.)
This can manifest as a husband avenging his murdered wife by hooking up with the Action Girl without the smallest bit of guilt, or an orphaned son who quickly puts his parents' smoldering remains out of mind to have fun with his new Five-Man Band. The hero might even easily forgive the culprit without batting an eye. Depends On The Writer, especially on a Long Runner where there are often Loads And Loads of them; if the writer can't remember a character, there's no chance in hell that the characters will.
Granted, a character can't be moody and depressed forever, it would get really old, really fast, but in moderate doses it's actually compelling drama to see them bury their grief and perhaps even forgive (or at least not want to murder) the killer and instead bring them to justice. However, when the dearly departed's loss has all the emotional impact of a Red Shirt or Disposable Woman dying, it can nudge uncomfortably outside of the Willing Suspension of Disbelief Zone.
This trope is also useful for killing a Sacrificial Lamb off in the beginning that the author doesn't want to appear as a main character in the rest of the work, whether to avoid Fridge Logic, or to lessen the burden of the hero on their Heroic Journey. Taken further, the character may be killed off before the story starts and get referenced only in a Troubled Backstory Flashback.
In episodic series, this will always happen to Remember the New Guy if they die. Just as how they were never mentioned before the episode despite being close friends with one of the main characters, their tragic death will never be mentioned again after the episode.
Contrast Dead Guy Junior, To Absent Friends and see also Death by Origin Story. When a character simply goes missing, with their ultimate fate unrevealed (to the other characters or to the audience,) yet nobody (in the story) seems to care, it's What Happened to the Mouse? or Chuck Cunningham Syndrome. When it's the villain who can't remember... whoever it was he killed that has made The Hero mad at him, it's But for Me, It Was Tuesday. Compare Present Absence, when this is averted.
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In Anatolia Story, a young servant boy named Tito was the first person to be killed by Nakia, while she was trying to get at Yuri. Yuri, who saw Tito as a little brother figure, swore vengeance on both Nakia and the assassin who actually committed the murder. After befriending Tito's sisters though, Yuri hardly brings up Tito's death. Arguably this is justified in that it's about the same time that Yuri kills the assassin, helping her feel that Tito's death was almost entirely avenged, along with the fact that Nakia goes on to commit worse and worse crimes that Yuri vows to stop.
Berserk played with this trope during the Conviction Arc. Guts remembered quite vividly what had happened to his comrades who were all killed by demons during the Eclipse and especially to his lover Casca who survived, but was brutalized to insanity. He used their fates as his motivation for his Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Griffith, the man who betrayed them, and the Godhand. However, Guts was so embroiled in his hatred and the sadness and grief he suffered that he decided to suffer alone, often forgetting that he was not the only survivor of the Eclipse and that the only other survivor, Casca, was the one he loved the most, but he left her for two years, not sticking around to help or comfort her through the pain she had suffered (which was considerably worse than what he had been through).Godo called Guts out on this, and Guts realized that leaving Casca and forgetting about her pain was his failure.
Despite criticism claiming otherwise, this is averted in the second season of Code Geass — the death of pretty much any named character gets brought up again. Lelouch and Suzaku definitely experience some Jumping Off the Slippery Slope due to the deaths of Shirley and Euphie, and even if they don't constantly mention them (though once Suzaku is sure that Lelouch got his memories back, he spends plenty of time interrogating him over killing Euphie), both of them are obviously still boiling over their losses later on. Suzaku becomes less nice, and Shirley's death makes Lelouch hate Rolo that much more - his first attempt to kill Rolo was in the next episode.
In Digimon Savers Bancho Leomon pulls a Heroic Sacrifice in an attempt to destroy Yggdrasil, it backfires. We never see him become an egg again, so he probably got Killed Off for Real and after all the mentoring and sacrifices he did, even after Yggdrasil is defeated and Spencer is revived, no one ever mentions him again.
Subverted in Fairy Tail, which has had three significant character deaths. Lisanna's death is first mentioned in the Phantom Lord arc, and her siblings are seen going to pray for her near the aniversary of her death about 100 chapters later (not to mention her coming back). Ur's death, which also happened in a back story, plays a large role in Gray's arc, and that she became part of the ocean at the end is actually a significant point 200 chapters later. And of course, the death of Simon comes up whenever Jellal is playing a large part in whatever is going on, even if it's usually pushed out of mind when Jellal isn't around.
Notably averted in Fullmetal Alchemist, where the death of Nina after being transformed into a chimera in Chapter 6 receives a Call Back in the last chapter.
Kazu:[holding off zombies] Get out of here! Shizuka: I'm sorry...what was your name again? Kazu:Are you serious?!
INVERTED in Legend of the Galactic Heroes, in that while Reinhard's friend Siegfried Kircheis dies a quarterway through the 110-episode series spanning several YEARS in-universe, he is still continuously mentioned and thought of by characters and in flashbacks after his death.
Averted in the second season of Mobile Suit Gundam 00: after the Time Skip, Feldt styles her hair exactly like Christina's as a tribute to her late friend, and Sumeragi Lee Noriega spends most of the four-year gap drunk and mourning the dead crew members of the first Ptolemaios.
This is pretty regularly averted in the entire Gundam series, for that matter - in the original Mobile Suit Gundam, for instance, Amuro gets angry at a Federation officer after they finally reach Jaburo since all they can do for the dead Ryu is give him a posthumous two-rank promotion. He also meets and apologizes to another lieutenant who had been engaged to Matilda Ajan, who died around the same time as Ryu, and much later the death of Lalah is what drives him to truly hate Char for the rest of the series.
Played literally at one point in Naruto. While fighting against Gaara, Naruto can't remember what exactly he's fighting for. Namely, he had forgotten the life lesson taught to him by Haku and the boy himself, a person whose death he had wept over not a few months prior (granted, he was also scared since he was fighting Gaara.)
Naruto respected Haku after he found out he hadn't really killed Sasuke and for sacrificing his life for Zabuza, but don't forget Naruto was about to kill Haku right before this (granted with Haku's insistence), but Haku was not a friend. The forgotten fallen friend was actually Sasuke who sacrificed his life to save Naruto. But Naruto "forgot" this until the Gaara fight because Sasuke got better and Naruto was embarrassed at being saved by his rival so he went right back to treating him the same as before.
Averted with Kakashi and Obito. Kakashi often visits Obito's grave, such as during the Third Hokage's funeral and near the end of Part I of the manga. When Kakashi dies (he gets better), he thinks about Obito as well as Rin, whose fate was kept ambiguous until Chapter 604 of the manga.◊ Despite the equally tragic circumstances, Kakashi seems to harbour far less guilt over Rin's death than Obito's.
Outlaw Star: Hilda dies towards the end of the fourth episode. The crew wax reminiscent about her for a few minutes at the start of the fifth episode, then she's mentioned again only a handful of times.
Mentioned in Revolutionary Girl Utena. In the final episode, Juri Arisugawa tells the other Student Council members about a time in her childhood when a boy drowned saving her sister from a river. Eventually, both Juri herself and her sister forgot the boy's name.
In the first few episodes of Shakugan no Shana, Yukari Hirai shows Yuji the reality of the world, spurs him to let her enjoy her last days, has her existence consumed, and is never mentioned again.
Well it's justified for everyone (Yuji's being the only one that's weird), considering Yukari never disappeared and Shana just took her place, the denizens and flame hazes wouldn't bat an eye at the disappearance of a torch, and Yuji wasn't really close to her and he gained a Love Interest in her replacement.
Chor Tempest loses half its members in the first episode of Simoun. Much angst ensues over Amuria and Eri, but the first pair to actually die not only are never mentioned again, they never even get names on-screen.
Averted in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. It takes Simon around two and a half episodes (instead of the usual "one mopey episode and then never mention him again) to recover from Kamina's death, and the event is never forgotten, affecting the entire rest of the series.
They named a city after this guy!
In Transformers Headmasters, Sixshot kills several of Chromedome's oldest friends in front of him, yet Chromedome is always back to normal by the start of the next episode. The death of Abel, Chromedome's best friend in the galaxy, was particularly egregious, as he mourned him for all of one minute and then went back to playing with Wheelie and Daniel.
Weed of Ginga Densetsu Weed gets over the death of his mother extremely fast. Weirdly, he mourns more when John dies, even getting emotional to the point of trying to go kill the Big Bad all by himself, and he didn't even know the guy. He just met him literally minutes before he dies.
The Appendix To The Marvel Universe site is loaded with examples of previously important dead sidekicks, teammates, lovers, friends, and relatives (far too many to list here), complete with heroic tears shed, Big No's no'd, and vengeance vowed, who were relegated to obscure footnoteitude once the Revolving Door of Writers made its next quarter-turn. No doubt any other comics publisher with more than a single Story Arc's worth of issues under their belts could draw up similar rolls of "Who's that again?"'s recognizable only to the most scholarly of comic geeks.
Averted, at least, by Warpath of X-Force fame. The only times he ever joins a team are when he's looking for revenge. Of course, he's lost a lot of people to the mutant wars, probably more than anyone else, but he's never forgotten his brother or his mother. In fact, he still has yet to forgive Xavier completely for Thunderbird's death, and he chased the man who killed his mother and slaughtered his entire tribe until the guy died. And even that wasn't good enough, so he followed him down to hell to beat on him one more time.
During the "Winter Soldier" story arc in Captain America, the title villain killed Jack Monroe, Cap's former partner Nomad. Though Cap did briefly express anger at Jack's murder, he mostly moved past it pretty quickly.
A similar situation happened with another one of Cap's ex-sidekicks, D-Man, who was shot and killed by Sharon Carter after being turned Brainwashed and Crazy. D-Man's death briefly put a strain on the relationship between Sharon and Steve, but they got over it soon enough.
In general, this can be expected with any big-time crossover. A few C-Listers or supporting characters will get killed to establish the threat, create a sense of higher stakes, or to add emotional tension and drama. The big name heroes can then grieve and be motivated to avenge their "friends", who are then promptly forgotten once the story is over.
On a meta level, this could be said for the characters who were killed and or retconned out of existence in DC's reality-warping stories such as Crisis on Infinite Earths and Flashpoint. They are literally forgotten by everyone, including former friends.
In the indie comic book Dreamkeepers, in the first issue the main protagonist Mace is attacked by a monster, and shortly thereafter finds his little sister stand-in literally ripped to pieces and splattered all over the walls. Despite a trauma that would send a hardened Marine into an emotional tailspin, he barely mentions her twice in the entire time since and shrugs off her death like he was made of iron. Take note, the protagonist is a thirteen year old orphan.lampshaded at the end of volume two where he wonders if he's a bad person because of it. Of course, Lilith has proven to be a good distraction for him.
A meta example occurs in the Justice League of America tie-ins to Blackest Night. A villain tells C-list heroine Doctor Light that once he kills her, the superhero community will briefly mourn but quickly forget about her. He then cites several superheroes (such as Triumph) who were all quickly forgotten about by both writers and fans after their deaths.
In Christian Humber Reloaded, the main character tends to forget about many of the people he's lost, such as his parents, his brother, the little girl who took him in and her father.
This has happened so much to Ron in Harry Potter fanfic, probably from authors that weren't interested in having him in the story, that it was noted in Rugi and Gwena's Tough Guide to Harry Potter that killing Ron off "provides an opportunity for tragedy, weeping, and little need to mention him afterwards."
This happens fairly often in The Prayer Warriors, such as when Percy Jackson converts Chiron to Christianity, only for Chiron to get killed and eaten by the residents of Camp Half-Blood. After avenging Chiron's death by killing Grover (for the third time), and mourning his death in the next chapter, Percy forgets about him until he returns in The Evil Gods Part II.
Defied in Pony POV Series. As one of the main themes is 'there are no background characters', any death is treated very seriously and has long lasting effects on the other characters in intentional defiance of this trope. Most notably, Starlight's death in the G2 Apocalypse causing Patch to spend most of her life in denial over it and Sunset and Ranger's deaths in the Shining Armor arc are continually brought up, grieved, and referenced even a few seasons later. A scene in the Wedding Arc even has the latter two's grave be visited by their surviving friends before they head off to the Final Battle of the arc.
At the beginning of the second Austin Powers movie, Austin's wife Vanessa reveals herself to be a Fembot apropos of nothing and promptly explodes. His boss drops a line like "Sadly, yes, we knew it all the time" and the matter is never brought up again.
Don't forget the hilarious line right after she explodes:
Austin(holding Vanessa's hand): I can't believe it...Vanessa, my bride, the love of my life, was a Fembot all along...wait a tic! This means I'm single again! Oh, behave!(laughs while clapping the hand together with his) Yeah! (tosses hand away)
Inverted in Back to the Future. Marty is obsessed with getting through to Doc Brown that he will be killed by Libyan Terrorists at the time Marty goes back in time.
Played for serious drama in Bent. By the end of the movie Max has forgotten the names of the people he knew and cared about before entering the camp.
Averted in The Bourne Ultimatum when Nikki's efforts to get closer to Bourne largely go unanswered because he is still mourning Marie.
In the newsreel at the start of Citizen Kane, it's revealed that Kane's first ex-wife and their son were killed in a car crash. They are never mentioned in any flashback that takes place after they died. No one ever suggests that among Kane's many personal problems, losing his only child might be among them.
The supporting cast in the Evil Dead trilogy all tend to suffer this fate as the hero Ash survives each night and moves from one sequel to the next (each movie begins just a few seconds after the last one's cliffhanger ending), with his dead girlfriend Linda remaining relevant the longest. But the most brazen example is his sister Cheryl, who was the first one possessed by the demons. Her existence, along with two other friends, was skipped right over by the second movie's opening recap, and a comic book adaptation of the first movie relegated her from his sibling to a friend-of-a-friend whose Demonic Possession merely annoys Ash. The musical's version of the story elevates her back to being his sister, mostly so she can spout off Incredibly Lame Puns about being his sibling...
Evil Cheryl: I'll get you Ash! I'm like a literal Hulk Hogan - I'll get you, brother!
In John Woo’s first film, Heroes Shed No Tears, The first member of the protagonists’ group gets shot at the beginning while they’re capturing the general. Everyone forgets about him soon after.
In the Peter PanFan Sequel film Hook, the mourning period for Rufio is criminally short. Possibly because the Lost Boys— and Peter, before he grew up— don't really seem to comprehend death.
In the original book, Lost Boys come and go all the time, either getting killed off by pirates or leaving Neverland. There's one ambiguous line about them being 'culled' when they get too old. Either way, Peter tends to forget about friend and foe alike after they die or otherwise leave. Unlike most of the examples on this page, however, it IS noted by both the narrator and by Wendy (on the one occasion where Peter actually remembers to bring her to Neverland again before she grows up and can't go there anymore. Also all Lost Boys who die are almost instantly forgotten, "Neverland makes you forget."
Orlando Bloom's wife in Kingdom of Heaven probably counts. He goes on Crusade partly out of the hope that his wife who committed suicide (an unforgivable sin) will be let out of Hell and into Heaven because of his actions here on Earth. But at the end of the film he gets to ride off into the sunset with Sibylla, his one true love. Um hello? Do you remember why you went on Crusade originally?
Bing, Valentine's juggler in MirrorMask. This is lampshaded, and he doesn't even pretend to miss his anonymous violinist for a moment.
Tatum Riley in Scream (1996). Not only was she the closest friend Sidney ever had in the franchise, but she was also Dewey's sister. And no one mourned her much in the sequels.
Also Sidney's girlfriend in Scream 2, uh... what was her name again?
Keanu Reeves' character in Speed learns that his friend and partner Harry has been blown up. He quickly gets over it because there's Sandra Bullock to romance. Or maybe it's just hard to tell what emotion Keanu is trying to portray.
Averted in the 2009 Star Trek reboot. The death of Kirk's father is repeatedly brought up throughout the film and is a major reason behind his decision to enlist in Starfleet Academy.
Additionally, the destruction of Vulcan and the death of Spock's mother appears to have hardly hit Spock and is even pointed out by McCoy and Uhura. However, it's made plenty clear that he is deeply affected but stays true to his Vulcan side and maintains an emotionless façade. It takes Kirk insulting him and poking at the emotional wound for Spock to blow up and physically assault Kirk. In the next scene, he admits to his father that he wants revenge.
Even in the sequel, this is not forgotten, with Spock citing the loss of his home planet during his explanation of why he has taken great pains to control his emotions. It is also brought up by Admiral Marcus as the reason for the militarization of Starfleet and search for Khan.
Played dead straight with all the cadets not assigned to the Enterprise in the first film and most of Harrison's victims in the second. Starfleet being decimated twice over isn't as important as a handful of named characters' deaths.
Robot Chicken lampshades this in one of its Star Wars skits, as Luke's cheering and flying away from the exploding Death Star at the end of A New Hope:
Luke: "Wow, I can't wait to tell Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru about... oh... yeah..."
It's worth pointing out though that Luke hated his life on Tatooine and in fact couldn't wait to leave. The only things stopping him were a sense of duty to his uncle and the fact that he had no means of leaving the planet.
Also in A New Hope Luke's best friend Biggs Darklighter, whom we meet during the initiation to destroy the Death Star, gets killed by Darth Vader during the ensuing battle, and after a very brief moment of mourning he is never mentioned again, however in the Expanded Universe he gets mentioned quite a few times and we meet some of his family members.
Of course, Leia does Luke one better: she seemingly manages to forget her entire PLANET! Although, one could understand why she wouldn't want to talk it; and it is also referenced in the Expanded Universe. She was also rather short during her escape from the Death Star which fits somewhat.
In comparison to the above, Luke actually shows sadness at the death of Obi Wan Kenobi who he's known for about two days. Then there are some TIE Fighters to destroy, so he gets over it.
It's implied that Luke's known Obi-Wan for a while (he knows exactly who he is at their first encounter), just doesn't really know much about him - he's just an ordinary old man who happens to live near him. However, he's only been a parent/mentor figure to Luke for a few days. And unlike the others, he deliberately got himself killed so that Luke could escape.
The 2007 Transformers series. "So sad, Jazz is dead. Oh well, we have new friends!".
At least they said something for Jazz. Jetfire didn't get so much as a mention after he rips his own spark out to give Optimus his parts to fight The Fallen and is more or less forgotten after Optimus kills The Fallen.
In the second one Epps does mention that humans and Autobots have shed "Blood and precious metal together" to avert the trope.
Jazz: I'm a robot, just solder my ass back together!
In Dark of the Moon, Ironhide is barely even acknowledged as having been killed. Even Que/Wheeljack was given a better, albeit brief eulogy by Bumblebee before Bee went back to kicking ass.
In the Wing Commander film, the characters deliberately tried to pretend that their comrades who had died never existed.
Lt. Cmdr. Devereaux: "Who in the hell do you think you are? Let me give you a reality check. In all likelihood, you're going to die out here. We're all going to die out here - but none of us need to be reminded of that fact. So you die, you never existed. Understand?"
Later on, after Rosie dies, Blair tries to do this to Maniac, who immediately tells him that it's a bullshit game. In the next scene, Blair tells the same thing to Devereaux, as if he wasn't just playing the same game.
In X-Men: First Class, nobody comments on The Man in Black’s death or mourns him despite his benign nature and generous actions.
In The Wolverine, in Logan's mind, Jean is "all alone" where she is, and wants him to join her... except Logan knows that she loves Cyclops, who is also dead... and Xavier, who, while not her lover, was still a mentor and good friend, who, as far as Logan knew, was also dead. It's a Justified Trope in that if she was an actual ghost, Logan's guilt could have been keeping her from moving on. And if she wasn't, and merely a manifestation of his guilt, then it's perfectly understandable that she would focus on Logan and play on his secret fear that she couldn't move on for whatever reason. Still, the fact that he views his relationship with Jean as being very clearly romantic makes this trope sting a little.
Older Than Dirt: Averted (and gives a moral on why this trope is necessary) in The Epic of Gilgamesh, as Gilgamesh's entire quest for immortality was to overcome death and bring his only friend Enkidu back to life, as he continuously reminded the reader and everybody he met. In the end, he asks a random person if he knows who Enkidu was, only to be told "no" — which gives Gilgamesh the epiphany that he cannot force his grief on anybody else anymore, and needs to accept it, get over it, and move on with life — and that being famous could be one form of immortality. He then went on to become the god of the dead so the message isn't quite that clear cut.
Notably avoided in Stephen King's The Dark Tower saga. Roland's defining feature is that he just keeps going, but he frequently angsts about all his companions who have died so he could continue his quest, and when he makes it to the Tower, he shouts all the names of his fallen comrades.
In the web-novel Domina, Adam comes to the city to go to college with his friend Dale, and promptly forgets about him. Derek (who never even met the guy) angsts about it more. Not that Derek is much better; in Simon's introductory chapter, Simon mentions that one of their oldest friends died in a shootout, and no one offers any more sympathy than "Ooh, that sucks." Probably comes from living in a Wretched Hive.
Justified in Dragon Lance's Dragons of Summer Flame: when Chaos' shadow demons kill someone, they erase that person's existence from everyone's memory.
In the H.I.V.E. Series, Lucy Dexter is mentioned exactly twice after her death. And both mentions are in the book that immediately follow the event.
Starkly and pointedly averted in David Weber's Honor Harrington series. Any prominent supporting character killed over the course of the story — and there are a lot of them — will still be remembered even a dozen books later. For instance, Honor's First Love, Paul Tankersley, killed in Field of Dishonor — book four of the series — is name-checked in A Rising Thunder, which is book thirteen. And over a year (in story time) after Javier Giscard's death in At All Costs, his lover, President Eloise Pritchart, still grieves for him intensely.
Double Subverted in Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. Near the beginning of the novel, a two meter tall black guy named Shorty gets killed by the Warden's guards while helping Mannie and Wyoh escape. Later, while they're lying low in a hotel, Wyoh explains that she hasn't grieved for Shorty yet because she has more urgent things she needs to focus on, and she'll grieve when she gets a chance. Later, Mannie hears her crying in her sleep, presumably about Shorty. He gets mentioned in the novel one more time shortly after that, and never comes up again.
In Twenty Years After, the heroes spend half the book trying to save Charles I from Cromwell and eventually fail to prevent his execution (the bad guys weren't quite as stupid as they thought.) Before the king's death, the musketeers are determined to save him or die trying, since he's such a noble person; afterwards they mourn him for about a chapter.
Justified and subverted, somewhat, in The Program. James and Sloane's best friend Miller kills himself halfway through Part One, and his death looms over the rest of Part One and the first few chapters of Part Two, constantly discussed and affecting James and Sloane. However, since the Program causes Laser-Guided Amnesia, Sloane and James literally cannot remember Miller by the book's end.
Live Action TV
In Babylon 5, Talia's personality is wiped by the Psi Corp. Everyone is very upset about it at the time, but, by the next episode, she might as well not have existed, as far as all of the crew aside from Garibaldi and Ivanova were concerned.
Although this is actually in line with the character's on-screen relationships, she barely interacted with anyone other than the above, The commander who was already gone at that point, and the Captain who'd only been talking to her for a few episodes.
Invoked in Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined). Apollo complains that he is barely able to remember the pilots that have lost their lives over the course of the series. He makes an effort to remember a few but not all. Starbuck cynically retorts that she doesn't remember any of them and doesn't bother trying. Later, she averts the trope and shows she was lying before, raising a toast to fallen comrades and listing every single one until she breaks down in tears and can't continue...
Apollo's pregnant fiancée is a played-straight example. He barely thinks about the fact that he left her to be nuked, aside from one episode.
Arguably, Peter Laird though people could be forgiven due to the fact that he dies at the start of a mutiny that takes the lives of over a hundred other people including the entire Quorum.
Billy. Only Laura seems to shed any tears over him.
Felix Gaeta is never mentioned again after he and Zarek are executed for the mutiny. No one is shown placing a photo on the memorial wall, either, not even Baltar, who was with him shortly before he was executed.
The original 1978 Battlestar Galactica (Classic) has one or two examples as well. Apollo's brother Zac dies in the first episode, and is almost never even mentioned again in later episodes.
Averted in the new series, where Zac died much earlier and plays a significant part in several subplots.
Played for laughs in Black Adder. Whenever a character loses the woman they love, their mourning lasts for about five seconds.
"Amy! Oh, Amy! ...What's for breakfast?"
By the second or third episode, Krista in Blade The Series appears to have forgotten completely that Marcusvan Sciverput a bullet in her brother's head. In fact, her whole motivation in the pilot was to put a silver slug through van Sciver for this. Then she gets turned by him and, a few episodes later, starts sleeping with him, her dead brother forgotten. Yes, she's secretly working for Blade, but that's only because she's not too big on the whole "vampire" thing, even though she's one herself (and van Sciver made sure she couldn't be cured by throwing her off the roof after turning her).
His form is also never assumed by The First, who worked really hard to dredge up memories of departed loved ones. Minor characters were brought back, but Xander & Willow's best friend for 10 years is never mentioned. Having said that, original draft of "Conversations With Dead People" would have seen The First taking Jesse's form and angrily accuse Xander of forgetting about him. However, this was scrapped due to Eric Balfor being unavailable.
It's probably safe to say that Xander's hatred of vampires - always noticeably stronger than that of the other characters, as seen by his relentless dislike of Angel and Spike during even their good periods - can be attributed to his statement in Episode 2 (after he and Buffy found that Jesse's been killed and turned):
Willow: Well, at least you two are alright.
Xander: (*kicks trash can in library*) I don't like vampires. I'm gonna take a stand and say that they're not good.
One could argue that Xander's super-hatred of vampires (never trusting "good guys" Angel, Spike, etc.) stems from Jesse. Or it could be hots-for-Buffy stuff, because he approved of Riley.
In fact, Jesse was initially to appear in the opening titles for the pilot. The network refused; Whedon finally pulled the same trick on a different network in season 6 when Tara was killed. Torchwood did the same thing in its own first episode, but did return to the Fallen Friend for one episode later.
Buffy's original Watcher, Merrick, killed himself in a Heroic Sacrifice to save Buffy from the vampire Lothos shortly before the series began. He's rarely mentioned at all outside of the prequel comics. Ironically, when Faith was introduced in season 3, her Watcher's death did have a heavy impact on her.
Averted on Angel however with the death of Doyle. He is mentioned sporadically throughout the remainder of the series as a fallen comrade and friend. One villain in the last season even earns a special beatdown from Angel when he sort of tries to use Doyle's identity as a cover.
In the third arc of After The Fall, when Illyria gets angry about everyone she cares about dying; a few panels later, a sign is shown with Doyle's name on it.
In Doctor Who, the Doctor's companion Nyssa had her father taken over by the Master in the Shocking Swerve ending of The Keeper of Traken. In the following story, Logopolis, the Doctor met Tegan, whose aunt the Master killed. Subsequently, the Master destroys Nyssa's planet and she discovers that he has stolen her father's body. After Four to Doomsday, though, Nyssa never mentions it at all.
Nyssa does, however, have a slight moment of shock and outrage in Time-Flight when she learns that the Master is there (having assumed he'd died at Castrovalva). The Doctor even says, "Yes, I'm sorry Nyssa," when she gives her response.
Likewise, Adric made no direct mention of his brother following the latter's death in Full Circle, the closest he got being the scene where he told Romana: "One of my family's died for your lot already." Indeed, the only person to mention Adric's brother by name in any subsequent adventure is the Doctor in Time-Flight, by which time Adric has himself been killed.
Apparently, actor Matthew Waterhouse was also upset about this not being brought up at all (his own brother had died by this time). However, there's a subtle hint towards the death for the observant viewers, seen in Earthshock - Adric, aware of his impending fate, is holding onto his brother's belt (given to him after Varsh's death) like a security blanket, as though to reassure himself in his final moments. It's not something everyone would pick up (given the belt looks like a thick rope), but for those that do ... Oh, Adric.
The Doctor himself is prone to this. If you're not a companion, he'll be very upset to see you die, but probably have forgotten you minutes (or even seconds) after the fact. It's implied this is a coping mechanism for him to deal with the fact that everyone he knowseventually dies.
Even when one of the Doctor's companions is permanently killed off, he or she is not exempt from this trope. Adric, for example, is only mentioned directly in a handful of post-Earthshock episodes, the last being Part Four of The Caves of Androzani, where the Doctor whispers Adric's name moments before regenerating into his sixth incarnation.
Extreme example in "The Girl in the Fireplace" where the Doctor has an (allegedly passionate) love affair with Mme de Pompadour. By the next episode she's been forgotten, and is never mentioned again. In "Human Nature" he left Martha with instructions but never said what to do if he falls in love, implying he didn't consider it a real possibility though "The Girl in the Fireplace" was just a year ago.
Near the end of Farscape, after Crichton finally gets back to Earth, an assassin tortures and kills his two best friends and is only mentioned once after that, when Scorpius asks his Old Master about the assassin's species and origin. Though it's clear that Crichton was having a something of a falling-out with said friends over his sharing of alien technologies.
Ser Loras Tyrell in Game of Thrones. After his boyfriend Renly Baratheon dies in Season 2, he's miserable and goes to great lengths to avenge his death. But in Season 3, their relationship isn't brought up even once, and Loras easily and happily has a one-night stand with Olyvar.
This trope is later subverted in Season 4, where the homophobic King Joffrey arranges an outrageously offensive play which includes a dwarf dressed up as King Renly "riding" a dummy meant to represent Loras. The Knight of Flowers becomes so infuriated that he storms away from the wedding banquet in disgust. Although Loras risks upsetting Joffrey by leaving the festivities early, the young knight knows that staying presents a much greater problem, as he would be very tempted to kill the king for making fun of his love for Renly.
Greys Anatomy is also doing this with George. He was a main character for five seasons, then after the first two episodes of season six, has only been mentioned twice.
Heroes: Caitlin who? Never heard of any Simone. Yaeko? Charlie? Possible Lampshade/Subversion of Charlie's death in Season 4 Who are these people? Conveniently, with Simone dead, there's nobody to cry for Isaac.
There’s possible exception of Alixander Alejandro Dead Twin: the only people who knew of him on the show are Sylar (his killer) and Molly and Maya, the last two having been Put on a Bus.
The trope was lampshaded later by Sylar. It went something like this: "What was his name again? Ted...Ted something. Ted... It's on the tip of my tongue." A few moments later... "Sprague! Ted Sprague! That was his name."
Matt Parkman reunites with his ex-wife after discovering he has a son and apparently forgets all about his deceased girlfriend Daphne Millbrook, whose murder nearly led him to exact Revenge by Proxy on the girlfriend of Daphne's killer, Emil Danko, and basically sapped him of the will to live.
Highlander had its share of such problems. While Duncan held rivalries with other Immortals ongoing for centuries, he rarely went after mortals. Regardless of what they did to him or his loved ones. From 1980 to 1993, Duncan's love interest was mortal Tessa Noel. A main character until early in the second season, Tessa was killed by a junkie over some petty change. Duncan never bothers to search for the killer. When Richard Ryan, a student of Duncan, managed to locate the junkie, Duncan refuses to lift a finger against him. Ryan eventually lets the guy go, once convinced the junkie has quit the habit and is now a struggling father. After that Tessa rarely gets mentioned. Similarly, a number of killed lovers or best friends such as Mei-Ling Shen, Brian Cullen or Nefertiri are greatly mourned in the single episode featuring them. Then never mentioned again, even in episodes summarizing the key moments of the character.
Actually, the Series Finale features a case of It's a Wonderful Plot in which Duncan finds himself in a world in which he had never existed. For Want of a Nail all characters live miserable lives or are evil, and Duncan wants to undo what has happened. Until he discovers that in this reality Tessa is very much alive.
On the same note, several episodes have Duncan trying to get other Immortals to quit their quest of vengeance against mortals. With several of them having some pretty good reasons to seek revenge. Ceirdwyn going after the people who killed her mortal husband, Kamir killing the people who smuggled India's cultural treasures to American museums, Muhammad ibn Kassim targeting the dictator of his country, Katya of Greenhil struggling to avenge the murder of her adoptive daughter, Jacob Galati hunting the people who butchered his wife, William Kingsley wanting to punish whoever killed his wife and those covering for them, Ingrid Henning going after any would-be dictator and hatemonger in hope of preventing a new Holocaust, and Everett Bellian waging war against the rapist of his adoptive daughter. Apparently they should have all forgotten their foes and let go. Somehow, this would seem rather difficult.
Archie Kennedy dies a heroic death in the Horatio Hornblower episode "Retribution" ... then is never mentioned again for the rest of the series. Similarly, in the first episode, Clayton sacrifices himself to save Horatio's life; Horatio seems to remember him and mourn his death but Archie, his former shipmate, seems to forget him entirely almost immediately.
A number of Knights of Camelot have died in Merlin but are never mentioned again. This includes some relatively famous names, including Sir Pellinore and Sir Bedivere. In one episode Merlin's childhood friend Will is killed saving Arthur's life, and he hasn't been mentioned since.
Lancelot died twice, first at the beginning of the fourth season, only to be resurrected and killed off again in the ninth episode. Each time he died, no one ever mentioned him again in subsequent episodes - which was especially strange the second time around given the ramifications of the Arthurian Love Triangle. Yet instead of referencing him by name, all the other characters only obliquely mention a "betrayal."
In Misfits, Nikki, Curtis' grilfriend is shot by a mugger after he sold the time travel power to Seth. Curtis mourns after her and go back to Seth. Curtis learned his ability has been sold to an old Jewish man hoping to kill Hitler, leaving Curtis unable to help Nikki. She is never mentioned after and two episodes later, Curtis is around a new love interest. It became egregious later in season 3 when Seth in order to bring back his dead girlfriend Shannon, gives Curtis the power of Resurecion, the later seems to forget he also has a deceased girlfriend.
Averted in NCIS. Deceased characters are oft referenced and never forgotten. At one point, an entire episode was used to show that (six years later!) Kate Todd is still on the minds of her True Companions co-workers.
Sheriff Graham in Once Upon a Time fits this to a tee. He dies in the seventh episode, is mourned in the eigth, and then never spoken of again, although his incarnation as the Huntsman occasionally appears in Enchanted Forest flashbacks.
In the fourth episode of Robin Hood, Roy is killed off in a Redemption Equals Death moment. Despite John mentioning earlier that he was like a son to him and all of the outlaws mourning him at the end of the episode, he hasn't been mentioned since.
Even worse was Marian's death at the end of the second season. Granted, she is name-dropped occasionally, but Robin bounces back from her death with astounding ease, hardly ever mentions her again, and eventually addresses her killer as "my friend." The other outlaws never bother mentioning her at all, and Robin manages to nab himself two girlfriends within a year of her death.
Persistently and conspicuously averted in the second season of Sanctuary. Following Ashley's Heroic Sacrifice, Magnus is shown grieving in nearly every episode, with her attempts to cope driving the plot in some instances.
Also, Clara Griffin is mentioned several times by Will but only when it is absolutely necessary (such as telling his new girlfriend about his exes).
In later years this would extend to recurring characters and several cases of series regularsWhitney Fordman, Jason Teague, Davis Bloome, and Jimmy Olson who'd be Killed Off for Real, might be mourned in the episode they died, and then either never mentioned again or mentioned in only the briefest most casual way for plot purposes. Most egregious examples are Ryan James and AliciaBaker.
Grant Gabriel. Lionel does mourn him. For one episode. He is his biological son. Which is one more episode than Lois ever mourned for him, even though she knew him longer.
Gina. Granted the only one who'd care would be Lex, and it's Lex were talking about here. Still, you'd think he'd spend at least a moment wondering who the Hell murdered his most loyal and devoted assistant.
Season two, Clark had a passionately romantic attachment to this Native Americanshapeshifter with a meaningful bracelet and prophecy saying she was his soul mate, and in the end she tragically dies. Next episode it was like it never happened, except she had been the device for the 'caves' setting to be introduced, and those stuck around. What was her name, anyway? Kyla Willowbrook.
Downplayed with Lionel Luthor, who's mentioned quite a bit after his death. However most of his mentions are of the evil bastard he was at the start of the series and not as the ally he became in the show's second half.
Averted in the best way when it comes to Jonathan Kent.
Averted in Stargate Atlantis. At several points all the deaths they've experienced are shown to have worn heavily on the main characters. John Sheppard in particular is secretly self-loathing and guilt-ridden because of all the people he couldn't save. Elizabeth Weir, when allowed a chance to send one last message back home, instead opts to speak of each specific Red Shirt and how she feels personally responsible for their deaths. Carson Beckett and Elizabeth Weir are often mentioned and mourned after their deaths, and when they eventually 'come back' to some degree, it's not treated lightly.
Captain Kirk suffers (in the first episode in which he appears,) the loss of a friend he's had for many years, whom he himself was forced to kill. Further along in the series, he also suffers the loss of his brother. And yet, the only death that seemed to affect him long term was the death of main, recurring character Spock (which didn't even stick.) Although Kirk has had and lost many love interests over the course of the show, he doesn't seem all that affected by their passing. (Granted, in at least two cases, he was made to forget that they had ever existed, but one would think he would at least remember and dwell upon Edith Keeler from time to time...)
The death of his son sure had a lasting effect.
The Spock thing can be defended with that it gets dragged up in the movie after he died by the possibility of him coming back to life appearing, with the effects in the movie after that mostly being centred around Spock not being entirely back to his old self. The movies after that didn't really bring up the 'Spock was dead' thing.
Averted on Star Trek: The Next Generation with Tasha Yar. Data sometimes remembers their...encounter from "The Naked Now", the crew runs into her sister Ishara...and the show brings up an alternate universe her in "Yesterday's Enterprise"...which eventually gives us her half-Romulan daughter Sela.
A version of this occurs in Supernatural. As far as the main characters are concerned, deceased friends are often mentioned and grieved on the show. However, there are a huge number of one-episode characters who watch their family and friends die in horrible ways, are traumatised for the majority of the episode, and then miraculously recover toward the end. One particularly noticeable example is the body-swap episode, where two teenagers are partially responsible for the gruesome death of their best friend, but by the end of the episode are too distracted by their love lives to remember that his body is still lying in his basement.
The Winchester's do react this way in one particularly glaring instance regarding their brother, Adam. Ever since the fifth season finale he's been rotting in hellbeing tortured by Lucifer and Michael. Dean only mentioned him once but then seems to have forgotten about him completely. Apparently the Winchesters are perfectly content to leave him in hell for all eternity, despite their "family comes first" motto and both of them having been traumatized by their own trips to hell.
This was finally arcknowledged in the 200th episode in which Sam and Dean assist to a musical adaptation of the in-universe book sseries based on their lives. In the final, when the Winchester familly sings "Carry On My Wayward Son", Sam fails to recognize a character and ask one girl who he is. She replies "Oh, that's Adam. John Winchester's other kid. He's still trapped in the cage, in Hell. With Lucifer." Sam and Dean immediatly look at each other with discomfort.
Played with when it comes to Jessica. Her death motivated Sam to go back to hunting, but after that, her mentions are few and far between.
Aside from the sheer number of classmates and recurring characters killed off unceremoniously, regular character Jenny lost her long-time best friend in the third episode, never to mention her again. True to form, after spending a season trying to track down her long-lost father, Jenny seemingly forgets he ever existed after dear old dad dies after using the Book of Pure Evil(co-incidentally in the following season's third episode).
Averted with the death of recurring villain the Hooded Leader at the hands of his own son, Atticus Murphy, who spends the next season carting around his dad's head believing it's talking to him. Said character is also one of the few to react with any emotion to the murder of one of the Crowley High student body, granted the student in question was a Satan Worshiper and prospective cult member, and the desperately lonely Atticus mistakenly believed they'd already become Best Friends Forever.
Janet York, Kim's best friend in Season One of 24, is murdered by a terrorist pretending to be her father, though she doesn't recognize him anyway. This reveals that Ira Gaines was also planning to kidnap Teri, not just Kim. Teri, who is murdered by Nina Myers in the season finale, is mentioned in later seasons and it affects Kim's relationship with her father, but neither she nor anyone else even bring up that her best friend was murdered in the rest of the series.
In The Vampire Diaries Anna dies at the end of the first season. She is then not mentioned again. In fact some people who started watching in the second season asked why Jeremy was so unfriendly to his uncle, because the fact that he murdered his girlfriend never comes up. What makes this more bizarre is that a season later Anna returns as a ghost. After she passes on, Elena attributes Jeremy's downward spiral to Bonnie breaking up with him, apparently forgetting they broke up because he was still in love Anna who, as far as Jeremy knows, is still trapped totally alone in the ghost world, unwilling or unable to appear to him again. Not that this is the only death where the dead person is quickly not mentioned again, but it's made particularly obvious because it happens twice to the same character.
Despite only appearing in one episode, Lexi has been mentioned by Stefan several times since her death. He admits the reason he doesn't talk about her much is that it brings up memories of her death. However, he still forgave Damon rather easily for it.
Handled oddly in The Wire. It seems as though Wallace has been pretty well forgotten by Poot and Bodie after season one, but the mention of his name in season four provokes Bodie into panicked alarm.
It's odd because Omar didn't treat his following boyfriends the same way he treated Brandon. Especially his third boyfriend, whom he barely touches, although this may be a case of But Not Too Gay.
Poppy's death midway through Series 1 of Bleak Expectations is met with a typically Victorian melodramatic reaction: her siblings and friends are inconsolable with grief (as are the people listening to the story several decades later). But despite dying in the climactic scene of an episode, she's never mentioned once for the rest of the series, and even her parents don't think to ask where she is after her conspicuous absence during their reunion with their other two children. Other than a single, brief mention three series later, her name never comes up again once she's dead. Of course, the show being what it is, this is probably an example of this trope being subtly Played for Laughs.
Eponine gets her drawn-out dramatic death scene in Marius' arms. As soon as she drops, he's back to mooning over Cosette, and Eponine is never mentioned again.
Romeo is heartbroken about his friend Mercutio's death...at least during the scene where Mercutio actually died. After Romeo kills Tybalt to avenge him, Mercutio is pretty much forgotten. Romeo expresses far more grief over Tybalt's death than Mercutio's.
Excessively common in RPGs, unless it's an entire city/village, though the amount of times that event is mentioned varies. Sometimes, it may only be mentioned immediately after it happens, and right before confronting the guy who did it. It would be better naming exceptions. Also tends to happen comically easy in sandboxy RPGs since there's no telling when you'll arrive at what quest.
"Guild Wars 2" is guilty to doing this to any named NPC you grow attached to. As soon as you finish that part of your personal story, (usually) they're never brought up again. The most well know example, and part people get the most pissed off about, is when your Order's mentor sacrifices themselves to get you to warn Lion's Arch that Claw Island had fallen. After that they brought up about twice in the next mission and never heard from until the the second-to-last boss.
Averted in routes A and B of Blaze Union, where Siskier and Luciana's deaths respectively are deeply scarring to the ones who loved them most dearly, but played straight in route C—wherein Jenon disappears after pulling a You Shall Not Pass, then turns up afterward as a reanimated corpse and just barely manages to die as himself in a rather well-written series of events. In the battlefield following this, Jenon is mentioned once in passing, then never brought up again for the rest of the game.
In Bravely Default, it might seem like Tiz quickly gets over his Doomed Hometown and dead brother, but it's actually brought up multiple times over the course of the game. In Chapter 3, he can't get any sleep due to nightmares about it. Later, he meets Egil, a kid who reminds him of his brother, and does everything to help him. Eventually, Tiz resolves his problems by bringing Egil to Caldisla, where he safely takes over Tiz' duties. Until the "Groundhog Day" Loop, where Egil is absent, yet hometown is still destroyed. Tiz realizes the great chasm can never be averted, then finds that he died in place of Til at that point. In the next loop, he actually meets Til, ... but nobody survived in the subsequent loops. It's even worse when Tiz finds out that he and his party were the ones destroying the village in each new world. Yeah, this game isn't kind to him.
Averted in Breath of Fire III, Teepo's supposed demise nearly drives Rei insane, while he's separated from the party he's become a nearly feral bandit, until confronted by Ryu and regaining his memories and sense of self, whom he also believed had died. and then upon learning Teepo is really alive, you have to kill him shortly after!
In the Crysis series, this happens to Alcatraz, an entire player character. Made even more glaring by the fact that Alcatraz was actually still alive (sort of) before a series of minor retcons in the third game.
Justified with Gould. His fate is left ambiguous, but even if he was provably alive he's not actually relevant to the story thanks to the Time Skip.
Fallout 1 and 2, mostly because none of your potential party members are important to the plot in the least, and because everyone is so inured to the killing. There's not even a single line about, even if the victim was a friend, spouse or loyal dog. Lampshaded in one fanfic where the female protagonist shows her utter contempt for the slimy Myron - after he's gunned down by an enemy, she just rifles through his stuff and leaves his corpse to the scavengers.
Fallout 2's manual includes memoirs of the original Vault Dweller which does make mention of companions he lost during his quest, although it's more a jab at the first game's sub-par companion AI than a specific aversion of this trope (Dogmeat is mentioned to have died from running into a force field late in the game, which usually does happen to every player who cannot disable them).
Cyan in Final Fantasy VI beats himself up a few times over Doma being destroyed by poison water, along with his family. He attempts to heal himself by pretending to be the wounded boyfriend of a woman and writing her letters, but finally learns to let go when you encounter him again in the second half. One of the late-game dungeons involves Cyan's nightmares about the poisoning at Doma, forcing you to go in and save him from himself.
Aerith's death in Final Fantasy VII haunts Cloud all the way through Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Then, deaths of Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie, weigh on Barret for much of the game. Not to mention the unseen casualties of AVALANCHE's actions at the beginning of the game. Reeve/ Cait Sith finally calls Barret out on this towards the end of the game (when he tries to justify it as a few casualties in order to save the Planet) reminding him that "what may be just few to you, was EVERYTHING to them that died"
Averted in Final Fantasy XII: the loss of Ashe's husband and Vaan's brother are what motivate them to become one-queen/Sky Pirates armies in the first place, and both deaths remain important plot devices which induce Character Development for both playable characters: Vaan learns that Wangst is not the proper way to respect the deceased, while remembering that her husband was a nice guy and not a nationalistic jerk is what set Ashe's Moment of Awesome at the end of the last dungeon.
Hope's mother in Final Fantasy XIII isn't forgotten - his anger towards Snow, for his involvement in her death, drives Hope's character arc for some time, and she's even mentioned when they meet Hope's father. Mentions decrease after that, but given that the party had other things to worry about, this is justified. In Final Fantasy XIII-2, reviving his mother is Hope’s primary goal in trying to perfect time travel, and create a new planet. He's also pretty emotionally stunted due to fact that literally everyone he is close to has either died or has been erased from the timeline before or during the game's events.
Also, Serah's crystalisation is a major motivator for Snow and Lightning and so too is Dajh's for Sazh (and, to a somewhat lesser extent, for Vanille). Subverted in that neither of them are truly dead ...
And in Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, multiple characters independently pay their respect to Tellah and Anna a full seventeen years later. It's only during the events of the game that Edward finally brings himself to move on from his loss of Anna.
Invoked in Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days: Xion, a being made from Sora's memories, must merge with Sora to complete the restoration of his memories, though it also means that everyone's memories of her will vanish entirely. While she's aware of this, she pulls a Heroic Sacrifice to ensure that her friends continue to live safe and sound. However, it's all but outright said at the end of the game and subsequent games in the series such as Kingdom Hearts 3D that everyone's memories of Xion are still there, even if most of them don't realize it.
Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals, A reaction of Tia when her boyfriend sacrifices himself to defeat Idura and save her from being dragged to hell is tear jerkily. Two minutes after that, she goes back to her Genki Girl state, never bother to mention or angst about him despite the following event is about couple and love. Dekar doesn't really bite the dust, though.
Averted in Mass Effect. Whether you're talking about whoever you left behind on Virmire or even just Jenkins, Shepard remembers them and is still particularly sore about the former since The Chains of Commanding put the death squarely on his/her shoulders. And a side quest in the second game lets you toast to the memory of your fallen comrades.
In the third game, there is a memorial wall on the Normandy, which has the name of anyone who died while serving on the ship. You see it every time you get off the elevator on one of the decks. It even gets updated if more of your comrades die over the course of the game.
Hell, a side quest in the second game has you spend time looking for 20-something dogtags in the wreckage of the original Normandy for any crewmember who didn't make it out alive and leave a memorial dedicated to the ship and her crew. A very moving mission for anyone who played the first game and really got into it.
Since Kai-Leng will kill at least one or more of Shepard's friends and then proceeds to gloat about it later, the number of players who don't take the Renegade Interrupt during their final confrontation is remarkably low!
Shepard: That was for Thane/Miranda/Thane and Miranda/Kirrahe, you son-of-a-bitch!
The Citadel DLC also features an aversion, with Kolyat holding a memorial service for his father Thane, and a recording of Mordin hosting several more performances is available on a datapad the day after a party. Unfortunately, this trope is played pretty damn straight for poor Legion, although he is one of the faces Shepard remembers if he sacrifices himself in the ending.
Through Laser-Guided Amnesia, the bad ending of Mega Man X5 has the title character losing his memories of Zero who just died in the same game. There have been no explicit reason for why this happened, and can be treated as a Shoot the Dog on the part of Dr. Light, X's creator.
Metal Gear generally takes pains to avoid this, but dropped the ball between Metal Gear 2 and Metal Gear Solid's half-Continuity Reboot by making Snake grieve the deaths of Gray Fox and Big Boss, but completely forget about the deaths of Natasha Markova and Kyle Schneider, whose deaths were shown to badly affect him in game. There's also no mention of Master Miller again after his death in Metal Gear Solid, even though he was supposed to be Snake's mentor and one of his best friends, and to rub salt in the wound the Miller Snake had been speaking to all game was in fact Liquid posing as him, meaning he never got to say goodbye.
Subverted in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption: There's never any real mention of Rundas, Ghor and Gandrayda after Samus is forced to kill them. That is, until the ending cinematic in which Samus silently remembers her fallen comrades while watching the Elysian sunset.
Subverted in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle— Bishop's murder, while setting off the whole plot, quickly falls by the wayside for most of the game. Aside from one cutscene about two-thirds through the game, it's hardly mentioned again— until the final boss fight, where it quickly thrusts itself back into the forefront.
On the contrary, the major sidequest throughout the game is going through one-off Revenge Missions where you individually kill every single man who helped murder Bishop at the start of the game. None of your victims are named, but each has his own mooks and is generally treated as a mini-boss with increased health. Bishop's name isn't mentioned in these, but he is not forgotten, at least in-universe.
Persona 3 averts this with Shinjiro Aragaki. After Akihiko's persona evolves, one of his battle end quotes is "Did you see that, Shinji?" and brings him up sporadically after his death. He's also listed as being a member of the Nyx Annihilation Team, which isn't even created until almost three months after his death.
Drastically subverted in the Phantasy Star games—three of them have the main character losing someone they love early in the game: Alis in the first, Rolf in the second, and Chaz in the fourth. While the technological limitations of the 8-bit Phantasy Star meant not a lot of cutscenes, no one ever forgets Nero is the reason Alis became a heroine. Alys' death in IV is not only honored with an actual grave, her left-behind house and belongings in it and her entire hometown noting her absence, the people closest to her reference her death and the meaning of what she taught while she was alive, and one of the later possible wise-mentor figures actually uses her image to manipulate her student. Nei's death hit Phantasy Star II and its fanbase so hard she became a legacy character whose name or image appears in every Phantasy Star game since then. And all of them were honored in a cutscene in the fourth game, specifically to remind Chaz of the worth of their cause.
Played straight in Phantasy Star III: in one possible story path, the protagonist loses his entire family, mourns them for about ten minutes, then goes about his business.
In the Pokémon games, players doing a Nuzlocke run can avert this if they want - a Pokémon that faints doesn't have to be released, if the player instead puts it in a box and never uses it again.
Subverted in Rudra No Hihou. Rostam and Huey, Sion's best friends, are killed off on day one. They're immediately forgotten and never mentioned again... or so it seems. Not only do they get a gorgeous optional cutscene all the way at the end of the story in which they give Sion one of his best weapons, they also get used by Surlent as his temporary host bodies for a huge chunk of the plot.
The Saboteur is one of those rare games that don't follow this trope: Jules' death is the entire reason Sean does what he does, and one of his battle cries when shooting Nazis is "That was for Jules you bastards!". Sean regularly mentions Jules' death and his ensuing desire for revenge.
Happens to a named unique NPC in the course of Saints Row 2 when the Brotherhood of Stilwater takes revenge on the Saints disfiguring the Brotherhood's leader with tainted tattoo ink by dragging young Saints lieutenant Carlos nearly to death. The Boss tries to rescue him, but has to Shoot the Dog and give Carlos a Mercy Kill to free him of his suffering. Especially poignant because previously the Boss treated Carlos like a younger brother. Due to the non-linear nature of the game this can happen early or late in the narrative, but it's more jarring early on as the rest of the game takes place without them and no one seems to mention their absence. Then you can get Zombie Carlos as a homie. Everybody elsestill fails to notice.
Averted in Saints Row: The Third, wherein Johnny Gat's death is an important point for quite a bit of the game: Shaundi is visibly affected for at least the entirety of the first act, the whole point of said act is to take revenge on the Syndicate for it (specifically the part of it directly controlled by the man who killed him), and the second act is kick-started by the Luchadores interrupting Gat's funeral procession. And then, when you beat the game, one of your rewards is the ability to bring Gat back as a zombie. The storyline behind the Trouble with Clones DLC, likewise, is about bringing Gat back as a Brute clone. In the good ending, rogue STAG agent Kia taunts The Boss by mentioning Lyn, Aisha, Carlos, and Johnny's deaths.The Boss kills her with no hesitation.
Especially bad in Sands of Destruction, since the whole reason Kyrie's village doesn't exist any more is because he destroyed it himself, along with the only family he had ever had. Apart from one passing mention several hours after the fact, he never even reflects on the matter.
At the end of his arc in StarCraft: Brood War, Raynor makes an impressive speech vowing to hunt down and kill Kerrigan after her final betrayal and murdering of Protoss warrior and fellow ass-kicker, Fenix. Come StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, Fenix is not mentioned (not even in passing), and Raynor's anger at Kerrigan seems to have subsided into a mixture of terror and confused longing. Of course, 4 years have passed (in-game) and StarCraft II's story was only a third complete at the time, so this could very well change come the Kerrigan/Zerg-centric Heart of the Swarm. Also, Zeratul, the one who wants Kerrigan dead more than Raynor, tells him that Kerrigan is vital for the survival of the sector, thus rendering the whole vengeance thing as something... suicidal, to say the least.
Fenix gets a mention in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm during a cutscene where Jim discovers Kerrigan has reinfested herself in order to avenge his alleged death. And he almost kills her for it too.
When you fight Darth Bandon in Knights of the Old Republic, one of the ways the player can respond to his greeting is "You killed Trask! I'll make you pay!" It's cute that they thought we'd remember who the heck Trask was; he's a Republic soldier who joins you as a party member for the tutorial before he is killed, after which point Carth replaces him.
Averted in Tales of Symphonia. Lloyd never forgets the destruction of his city and Genis never forgets Marble's sacrifice. Mostly off-screen, Yuan is fighting in the name of Martel for four thousand years.
Then it is played straight if you take the Kratos path. Zelos dying is mentioned in a skit once and then never brought up again, despite being a party member for a long period of time.
Many a videogame hero ends up this way. Tyrian, for example, hung a lantern on it when the hero stopped to reminisce on how the assassination of his best friend was what threw him in the middle of his galactic warzone hell.
"Dang. Can't even remember his name now."
He actually tries to quit fighting after this.
In Wing Commander II, Christopher Blair doesn't dwell on the death of Elizabeth "Shadow" Norwood, his wingman from Caernavon station, much after her death at the end of the Gwynedd missions. She wasn't in the game much in game time, but she was one of the few friends he had since he was blamed for the destruction of the Tiger's Claw.
Averted at one point in . In the Burning Steppes, John Keeshan will remember you if you quested with him in Redridge Mountains, mentioning that he thought you'd died with the rest of Bravo Company.
Surprisingly averted in the XCOM: Enemy Unknown remake. In your "ant farm" base, you can zoom into any room and see scientists and engineers working, soldiers relaxing or working out, captured aliens in the tank, and a wall dedicated to any fallen soldier that gets updated as more of your soldiers die. If you play through the tutorial, three names are guaranteed to be added to it. If you skip the tutorial, it's possible to play through the whole game without losing a single soldier... except the Volunteer making a Heroic Sacrifice in the end.
The Walking Dead is usually good at averting this, although it has fallen into such territory a few times. Specifically with Chuck in Season 1, who is never even mentioned after Lee finds his body in the sewers, and with Nick and Sarah in Episode 4 of Season 2. Both of which are only mentioned very briefly after their respective deaths. To be entirely fair though, Nick was a determinant character at that point and had already had two possible death scenes and one Disney Death and Sarah's death was somewhat overshadowed by Rebecca giving birth literally seconds afterwards.
Sluggy Freelance is usually pretty good about this (Val and Alt-Zoe have been referenced a fair bit after their deaths), but this applies in full force to anyone who died during the Horror parodies "KITTEN" and "KITTEN II." Unless their ghosts come back to haunt their main characters, any friends who fall during those stories seem to be completely forgotten.
Riff: Gee, Zoe! Sorry your boyfriend got eaten by kittens! (Riff and Torg snicker) Torg: It's funny when he says it.
Whenever a character dies in Sonichu, someone says something to the effect of "I know it's sad, but we have to move on" and everybody goes about their business like nothing even happened. Most likely because the webcomic's author does the same thing.
Averted in Simonla's case, however, as it led to an issue ending with the Asperpedia Four getting arrested for her death, given the most unfair trial ever, and then brutally executed. And then she's forgotten quicker than most of these examples.
Homestuck has this appear to be the case for Feferi and Nepeta, who both haven't been mentioned or seen in-universe for a while.
Until Fefetasprite is created, and then dies around 20 pages after her introduction.
L: (to Aizawa) Ukita died two minutes ago. You need to move on.
In Naheulbeuk, the protagonists rarely refer to their fallen comrades (but if you tell them their friend died, they'll tell you he was not their friend). In the novel, when the elf dies, even the inner monologues show us that they remember about one of their fallen friends, while the narrator remember both. It is actually used to lampshade the fact that in seasons one and two, the characters zig-zagged Death Is Cheap and Killed Off for Real, but after this, any dying protagonist will get better.
In the final episodes of Omega Guardians second season, three characters end up dying. Walker, Andy, and Brandon. While the former two are mourned and cause at least one character to have a Heroic BSOD, the latter is quickly forgotten by all except his father.
In an episode of American Dad! a contrived scenario leads to the Smiths to believe Steve and Roger died in a thunderstorm. They spend the whole duration mourning Steve and not saying a single thing about Roger (though they eventually lose track of even the former when they decide to use his college savings and sell his possessions to go on vacations). Lampshaded afterwards.
Stan: Steve! We thought you were dead! (the family runs up and hugs Steve) Roger: What about me? Stan:(disinterested) We thought you were dead too.
Avatar: The Last Airbender: Averted with Yue's becoming the moon spirit at the end of Season 1. It isn't brought up very much, but every time it is Sokka is clearly still feeling sorrow about it, like the episode where he talks with Suki, and seems to be so sad as to be almost past the point of crying.
In Beast Wars, there must have been dozens of Stasis Pods that were never recovered, but they're rarely mentioned in Season 2 and afterwards.
They were all shown to have just dropped out of the sky in the season 1 finale (or season 2 opening). Most of them were severely damaged upon impact, while most of them held only blanks (i.e: no sparks). Silverbolt and Quickstrike were two of the lucky ones, while Transmutate showed us how horribly messed up they could have been even if they had made it out alive.
Played straight in Ben 10: Alien Force when Grandpa Max blows himself to nonexistence in front of Ben. Ben protests the move beforehand but after the fact he basically says "Let's get on with the mission" and leaves it at that. They visit the effect of Max's death later, but only with Gwen; Ben doesn't seem to care anymore.
It's arguably worse in "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" and "Grounded," each of which features one of Max's sons. They don't seem particularly concerned that their father supposedly died - despite the former episode's events being triggered in part by just that.
Spoofed in Drawn Together when Captain Hero becomes friends with Popeye: after the latter dies of AIDS, Hero wants to mourn him by "winning" the AIDS awareness marathon (that is, killing all other participants). At the end of the marathon, Hero looks up in the sky, seeing an image of Popeye, and doesn't even recognize him.
Captain Hero: I did it Popeye. I did it for you! (Popeye's face appears in the clouds) Captain Hero: Who the hell is that asshole?
Mixed with Motive Decay in Family Guy: Peter's favorite teacher from Junior High is fired after Peter convinces him to go off his medication. When Lois, running for school board, says she agrees with the firing, Peter vows to run against her in order to get his teacher's job back. Eventually though, Peter's competitiveness dominates the campaign, to the extent that when the teacher is brought up later, Peter doesn't remember him. Interestingly, a post credit sequence implies that the teacher did get his job back, but was then killed by the ED-209 Hall Monitor droid Peter installed.
In "Life of Brian", the eponymous dog dies. The Griffins buy another dog, Vinnie, and they quickly find peace. Only Stewie is outraged, and he keeps Brian's memory alive by sharing his feelings with Vinnie.
Littlefoot's mother in The Land Before Time. He mourns for her for a good deal of the first film, but only mentions her a grand total of three times during the following twelve sequels, one of which is just a passing reference. Presumably the writers were uncomfortable about bringing up such a dark topic in a kid's series, but it does give us the slightly worrying possibility that Littlefoot is in serious denial or something.
In an episode of Loonatics Unleashed, Ace and Rev supposedly perish in an accident, leading to Lexi to give a Rousing Speech and even shed a tear. It is directed pretty much entirely towards Ace.
Blackarachnia so much it hurts. She's Optimus' and Sentinel's long lost love interest Elita-1. What do they do when she makes a return as the tragic but Gorgeous Gorgon? In Optimus' case, nothing unless he can't ignore her. Sentinel tries to kill her. Any wonder she's a bitter, spiteful, and border-line psychotic vamp?
Also, when a character's Killed Off for Real (such as Chef, Cartmans Grandma, Ms. Crabtree, etc.), they are often never referred to again after their death episode; people who hadn't seen the respective death episodes could assume these characters just disappeared.
The team's reaction in Young Justice episode "Failsafe" when all of the Justice League are killed within the first 10 minutes. Of course, they knew it was only a simulation and not real.
Morph's death hits the other characters hard in the 2-part series premier of X-Men, after which he's not mentioned again until the Season 2 premier (which reveals he didn't really die).
This may also be a bit of Truth in Television. It doesn't seem that unlikely that a crusade started for one reason may continue on its own momentum. See some people's feelings about the post-9/11 wars, or The Onion's story in Our Dumb Century where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was found alive and WWI was called off as a result.
The actual Crusades began when the Byzantine Empire asked for Western help against the encroaching Muslim Turks. A little over a century later, the Fourth Crusade attacked and heavily damaged the Empire, and nowadays Turkey still controls Byzantium (Istanbul).
Also, there's a pretty good chance that the person whose friend/relative/whoever died could be subconsciously using the crusade as a substitute for their fallen friend, which prevents them from feeling the full impact of the loss, or even thinking of the person at all, even though the bottled up grief will keep them going. Remember that keeping themselves occupied so that it gives them something to do other than mourn is a quite common occurrence among people who have lost loved ones.