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Anime & Manga
- Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu: It eventually turns out that Yuuto was the one who got Haruka into anime and manga in the first place when, as a kid, he found her crying in a playground on his way home from a shopping-trip with an Otaku friend, and gave her a manga magazine. The incident didn't leave a huge impression on him, but it essentially changed her life - arguably for the better. (Though her Overprotective Dad might disagree...)
- In Ai Yori Aoshi there's a broken Childhood Marriage Promise but she wants to find him. When she does he doesn't remember her at first. There are flashbacks, not to the first time they met but while they were friends as kids together.
- Maken-ki!: Inaho introduces herself as being Takeru's fiancee, because of the promise he made to her when they were children. Which comes as a surprise to him since, he doesn't recall seeing her before enrolling at Tenbi Academy. It's finally comes back to him in chapter 59. Takeru had given himself a head injury to match the one Inaho's father had given her, which affected his short-term memory.
- Panzer World Galient: When Jordy and Asbeth arrive at White Valley, Jordy meets and befriends White Valley's leader's girl, Chururu. Shortly after Asbeth and Chururu's father explain to both they had already met when they were two-years-old, during an ealier visit of Jordy's "grandfather". Naturally, since Jordy and Chururu were toddlers back then, they had completely forgotten that.
- Barry doesn't remember that he and Dawn met when they were younger. Granted, they're probably only ten or eleven...
- Ash and Serena met in a summer camp held a few years before Ash started his journey. Ash remembers the event, but not Serena specifically (a bit justified since that was likely the only time they met).
- Pokémon Adventures: Ruby and Sapphire meeting each other as little kids led to Ruby to becoming more delicate and feminine, and Sapphire wilder and tomboyish. When they met in series they both couldn't stand the other's new persona, nor did they remember meeting each other before.
- In Venus to Mamoru!, it gradually becomes clear that the Beatrice-user who saved Mamoru during a disaster when he was small, was Ayako's uncle — and what's more, she was there too. Neither one of them remembers at first due to having been quite young and traumatized to boot, but that event was the reason why Mamoru decided to become a Beatrice-user himself, which led to him joining the Beatrice Academy, where he, of course, met Ayako again...
- Love Hina is probably the poster child for this trope. Keitaro knows about his childhood friend whom he promised to get into Tokyo University with... he just can't remember her name or face. It turns out he had two childhood friends: Naru and Mutsumi.
- Fruits Basket's Tohru met Yuki when they were younger, but it isn't until later on in the series he realises she was the same girl. He believes she doesn't remember but actually the memory was very important to her, even though she never learns that Yuki was the boy.
- In Maiden Rose, Klaus and Taki meet briefly in the middle of a forest by chance when they are young and make something of a Promise. Years later, they meet again and Klaus recalls but continually dismisses the memory, until their Relationship Upgrade, when he realizes from Taki's scent that it was him.
- In Tokyo Babylon, a child Subaru meets a teenager Seishirou as he cradles his kill, and they end up making a promise. Years later the teenaged Subaru only remembers this as a vague dream, and has little idea why Seishirou, now a young adult, has suddenly appeared in his life as a suitor. Unfortunately the memory isn't a very happy one, once it's revealed...
- In the Saint Beast drama CDs, Rey reveals to Shin that he had met Luca long before the day he actually introduced himself, and felt guilty for hiding it. In their adolescence Luca found Rey crying and lost in a forest and led him out. After searching out his rescuer, Rey was too embarrassed to introduce himself until many years later when he received wings and felt he had something to bond over. Shin remarks that Luca probably knew all along and was too gracious to say anything.
- In Junjou Romantica, Nowaki recalls the day he found out the orphanage owners weren't his real parents and tried running away. He stops at a park when his tires go flat, only to have his future lover walk by, inquire, and then start dishing out life lessons about the obstacles kids must get through before tattling to the patrolman. Years later Nowaki remembers the encounter and mentions it to Hiroki, but neither realizes it was each other.
- In the original OAV animated version of Ah! My Goddess, Keiichi and Belldandy met when they were children. After Belldandy made a promise with him, it was considered as she made a contract when she didn't have her qualification yet. She had to erase Keiichi's memories of her and promised to return to him once she gained her qualification.
- Futari Wa Pretty Cure Splash Star: Both Cures met briefly five years prior to the events of the series and forgot.
- Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple: When Kenichi was a kid, he and Ryuto met Miu. After seeing Miu defeat the thug trying to assault a kind old lady, both Ryuto and Kenichi vowed to become strong, but Kenichi forgot the fact. Miu apparently recognized him right away, but didn't feel the need to bring it up when they meet again.
- In Axis Powers Hetalia, Germany is hinted to be Holy Roman Empire, Italy's Love Interest when they were little. It's not clear whether Italy believes them to be the same person or not, but Germany, at least, appears to have forgotten about their shared childhood. He might have remembered in the Valentine's Day strip, but that plotline has been abandoned for years now.
- The first Sailor Moon movie explained how Usagi and Mamoru first met. A 10-year-old Mamoru was in the hospital after being in a car crash that his parents died in. Fiore is an alien disguised as a human who was ill because he couldn't survive on Earth at the time (though he adapts). 4-year-old Usagi is there to visit her mother who has just given birth to her younger brother Shingo, and she sneaks into Mamoru's room. Usagi and Mamoru talk for a bit, then Usagi gives Mamoru one of the roses she had originally brought to give to Ikuko-mama. Mamoru then gives that same rose to Fiore as he leaves Earth.
- In Skip Beat!, Ren and Kyouko actually met when they were young children, not when they were first introduce at the agency. Ren is actually Kyouko's long-lost childhood friend 'Corn,' which just makes it even more ironic that she starts the series off hating him. Ren knows, but Kyouko is still in the dark about their pasts.
- In Popcorn Avatar, Kurando has met Lisa before, way back when he was still in 3rd grade, when she was crying in the park after being bullied for her beautiful blonde hair. He remembers this again after a short bout of memory regression however.
- In Revolutionary Girl Utena, it's revealed near the end that Utena had met Anthy before when she was just a kid, and that her desire to save her from the million swords of hate is the true reason why she desired to become a prince.
- Utena also met Touga and Saionjii when they found her hiding in a coffin after her parents' deaths (inspiring the latter to start seeking out something 'eternal'), but neither she or the boys ever realize this.
- In Kara no Kyoukai, Mikiya Kokutou first met Shiki Ryougi as he was walking home in the snow and paused to talk to her, but when they met later once they started at the same high school she didn't recognize him. At the very end of the series we find out why, since Kokutou was actually talking to Shiki's third personality, who was unknown even to her at that point in time.
- Played for painful drama with Kouichi Sakakibara and Izumi Akazawa in Another. Though they only met a few years prior to the story, the forgetfulness is justified since Kouichi was only in Yomiyama for the funeral of his aunt, a time erased from everyone's memories due to the events of the curse. Akazawa remembers seconds before her death, and right before dying she aks Kouichi if he remembers too. He doesn't and tells her so, and Akazawa calls him out on it.
- In Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, the couple met when she was barely out of her teens, he was older; he was kind to her, she was smitten. Many years later, she decides to pursue him. When she's won him, she tells of their early encounter — he doesn't remember it at all, and laments that if he'd only recognized her true worth at that time, they wouldn't have wasted so many years apart.
- Subverted in Saki. Hisa played against Mihoko once in middle school, and Mihoko was so surprised that she opened her right eye in surprise. As the game ended, Hisa told Mihoko that she found her right eye pretty. Hisa never showed up for the tournament the following day, went to a different high school from Mihoko, and when they faced each other again, Hisa was unable to recognize Mihoko. However, during the individuals, when Mihoko faces Hisa again and opens her Magical Eye, Hisa remembers the meeting, and afterward, the two become quite close.
- In Nisekoi, Raku met every single girl in his Unwanted Harem when he was a kid, but it takes a while for him to even find out about it. At first, most of them don't know about it either. The problem is that there are three girls who remember having made a Childhood Marriage Promise with him, but he only remembers to have made the promise to just one girl.
- In Part 4 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, it turns out that Reimi, the ghost girl who kicks off the hunt for Serial Killer Kira, once babysat for Rohan, and ended up throwing him out of the window of her house to save him from Kira the night she was murdered. The event was so traumatic that he eventually used his stand to erase the memory from his mind.
- Nozaki's first meeting with Sakura in Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun actually inspired Mamiko's physical appearance (and made Sakura fall for him), but he doesn't remember this because he was so exhausted that day that his memories of it are fuzzy.
- Detective Conan:
- Shiratori and Kobayashi met by chance when they were children and didn't even learn each other's names. The first remembers their meeting so clearly that he fell in Love at First Sight with her, dubbed her as the "girl of his destiny", decided to become a policeman instead of a lawyer to honor her, and had a part in the Love Triangle with Takagi and Sato because he mistakenly thought Sato was the girl; the latter, however, completely forgets that day until she hears Shiratori tell a culprit exactly the same "The Reason You Suck" Speech that his kid self gave to some shoplifters to defend her in their meeting.
- The last panel of chapter 971 states that Shinichi and Ran met Sera Masumi and her family 10 years ago, but he had forgotten it. The panel is the moment when he does remember.
- In the (as of March 2017, about to be released) 21th movie, it's shown that Heiji Hattori and his Self-Proclaimed Love Interest Momiji Ooka met as children and made a Pinky Swear. She remembers, he doesn't, and when she calls him "my destined husband" he and his other love interest Kazuha Toyama are genuinely shocked.
- In episode 2 of The Testament of Sister New Devil, the first thing Yuki does when introduced to Basara after he transfers to her and Mio's school is to give him The Glomp. In front of the entire class and Mio. She then reminds him of who she was, and he then vaguely remembers her. Mio then tries to force the two apart, and Basara is instantly hated by all the guys at the school because the two girls are considered to be untouchable idols, and yet both of them seemed to be fighting over him.
- In Deadman Wonderland, Ganta meets Shiro in prison; she instantly starts acting like his friend and claims they've met before, but he has no idea what she's talking about. It takes a while for him to remember that they were actually friends when they were about four, prior to Tokyo's near-complete destruction.
- Haru and Akane from Ojojojo were actually in the same class in middle school for a week, but they never talked to each other. When this happens again in high school, Akane becomes Haru's friend as a chance to make up for her mistake of never reaching out to Haru. The guilt of not telling her that they already met slowly eats away at her.
- A side story in My Love Story!! features a five year old Takeo chasing a beetle into a cave and meeting a child there. Since he'd been told scary stories about the cave, he assumes the other child is a ghost of a little boy and that, by leading him out, he's helping the ghost move on. Later, we see the child, actually a little girl with very short hair, with her parents and get The Reveal that she was Rinko Yamato, Takeo's present-day girlfriend.
- The Vanishing of Nagato Yuki-chan, which is set in an Alternate Universe of the Haruhi Suzumiya series, changes Haruhi's first meeting with Kyon into this. Rather than Kyon Time Traveling to help Haruhi write a message to aliens, she instead just meets the younger version of him. It doesn't change the fact that he still introduces himself as John Smith though...
- I Can't Understand What My Husband is Saying: After hearing the story about how Nozomu and Rino met, Hajime realizes that he worked at the sushi bar that they frequented.
- Chizuru from Kimi to Boku played at the park with Yuki once when they were younger. When they meet again at age seventeen Yuki doesn't remember Chizuru and believes him to be delusional. It turns out Chizuru was really friends with Yuuta, Yuki's identical twin brother. Yuuta doesn't remember Chizuru either. Subverted with Yuuki, as he does actually remember Chizuru because he once gave him a toy thinking he was Yuuki.
- This occured to Naruto and Hinata in Naruto. Hinata was being bullied by boys because of her Byakugan eyes and Naruto tried to save her. He ended up getting beat up instead. The two don't interact much until they become ninja. Naruto later recalls it in The Last: Naruto the Movie and Hinata always remembered it. Interestingly, this scene was not part of the original manga, first appearing as a flashback in the considerably-expanded fight between Hinata and Pain, but it fit so well that it was adapted into canon in The Last (which is explicitly the first of two canonical moviesnote ), albeit with a few changes.
- Medaka Box has a slight twist on this. Zenkichi does remember that he and Medaka first met when they were two years old; he suggested that she was put on this Earth to make people happy, which in the present he blames for the Chronic Hero Syndrome that's left her profoundly messed up and unable to connect to other people normally. The part he doesn't remember, however, is that Medaka proposed to him, which he brushed off because, again, two years old. Medaka remembers the rejection and thinks it still stands, making her believe that her feelings for Zenkichi are one-sided. Since Zenkichi isn't aware of this, he just assumes that Medaka doesn't see him as anything but a friend. After he corrects the first problem by convincing her to find her own purpose in life, the second problem is corrected by her giving him a Big Damn Kiss in front of the entire student body.
- Exa and Sheila of Superior met once when they were younger. Unfortunately for their budding romance, this was right after Sheila had slaughtered Exa's home village (neither of them saw the other's face due to the smoke from the burning buildings). This event is what made Exa swear that he would kill the demon king despite otherwise adhering to a strict Thou Shalt Not Kill policy.
- Your Name: Taki doesn't remember the first time he met Mitsuha in person. Because that was three years ago in his timeline, before the body swapping started for him.
- Yuri!!! on Ice has two examples. Yuri bumped into his idol Victor after the Grand Prix Finals Yuri bombed at. A year later, months after Victor becomes his coach, Yuri assumes Victor must have forgotten about that meeting. However, the true example of this was after that at the closing banquet for the Grand Prix. And Yuri is the one who actually forgot. He got really drunk, danced with his fellow skaters (pole dance, break dance and tango), hit on Victor while begging at him to be his coach, in which heavily implied to be the event where the Russian fell in love with Yuri that would make all his touchy-feely acts towards him made sense throughout the series before Episode 7's Big Damn Kiss and becoming an Official Couple. Unfortunately the next morning, Yuri didn't remember anything and it wasn't until nearly one year later that he learned anything had happened at all. By that banquet, Victor knew Yuri's existence beforehand even before the Nishigori triplets uploaded the video that showed Yuri mimicking his latest routine that he used as a ticket to take off-season, go to Japan in order to become Yuri's coach and shaping him up for the Grand Prix, fulfilling Yuri's drunken plea back at the banquet as well as his personal reasons to become closer and win Yuri's heart.
- Another example of this trope is Yurio and his Only Friend Otabek. Five years ago during the summer camp, Yurio made a strong impression on Otabek, the Russian was going through some difficult stuff at that time and didn't really pay much attention to the Kazakh, forgetting about him. During the pre-Grand Prix where both are qualified, Otabek seeks a way to approach the former and become friends with him.
- When Mary Jane Watson revealed to Peter Parker that she knew he is Spider-Man, she also told him quite a bit of her life story, including that she had seen him raking leaves through the window of her aunt's house (May Parker and Anna Watson were neighbors) and thought he was cute even before he became Spider-Man.
- A few stories over the decades depict Clark Kent and Lois Lane meeting as young teens, sometimes with Clark becoming Superboy.
- A few stories also have young Clark meet young Bruce Wayne.
- Silver Age Superman first met Supergirl when his cousin's rocket landed on Earth... or so he thought. Since both characters had the ability to time-travel and were members of the Legion of Super-Heroes, they had already met back when he was a teenager Superboy, but his first memory of her was wiped out to protect the future.
- In Superboy #80, Supergirl goes back in time to meet her teenager cousin and play with him. Both kids hit it off immediately, but Superboy wipes his memory out after Kara leaves so he does not reveal Supergirl's existence prematurely.
- Action Comics #358 had Superboy in flashback having ended up in Argo City after being accidentally knocked unconscious and rendered amnesiac by a robotic resource scavenger for the city, he's later taken by an alien being intending to consume him and it erases everyone's memories of his time there to spare them the suffering. Superman only realizes something happened when she shows him a crystal she had from childhood but no idea where it came from because it was the crystal he'd carved just prior to being knocked out after planning to give it to his adoptive mother and had no idea what happened to it.
- In The Phantom the hero and his love interest meet for the first time in the first story arc, until Lee Falk wrote the story of "The Childhood of the Phantom" and included a scene where they met briefly years before when they were both children.
- The Child of Love: In the sequel Rei met Takuma when she was a child. Takuma did not forget her, but Gendo wiped his existence from Rei’s memory.
- Ghosts of Evangelion: Kyoko reveals Shinji and Asuka met when they were babies. Unfortunately, they forgot each other.
Kyoko: We went to college together, as I understand it. She and I spent a bit of time together after you and Asuka were born, before Asuka and I left for Germany.
Asuka: (laughing) So we'd met before? Me and the idiot, I mean.
Kyoko: I actually remember that, too. I remember staring down at you, thinking you were the cutest thing ever, while Yui did the same with Shinji.
Asuka: How about that, eh? The red string of fate bound us together even then. Kind of depressing, now that I think about it.
- Once More with Feeling: In chapter 9 a technician told Shinji that Asuka and he had already met when they were toddlers (something both of them had utterly forgotten about). Kyoko was visiting the Japanese Branch, and she and Yui left their kids in a play pen, and they... well, they fought. Shinji got a good laugh of it (thinking that some things never change), and so Asuka did when he told her.
- The Kirita Chronicles: Kirita and Akio meet on two occasions prior to the beginning of the Death Game, but only Akio remembers these meetings because they had more of an impact on him. Akio eventually tells Kirita about this during Chapter Nine, and she eventually remembers their previous meetings.
- Seinen Kakumei Utena: Utena actually met both Touga and Saionji two years before the night of her parents’ funeral, back then she was a spoiled rotten little girly girl, and the boys victims of horrifying abuses. Unbeknown to her, she subsequently got herself periodically stalked by a jealous and obsessed Touga for years afterwards.
Films — Animation
- In The Princess and the Frog, Tiana and Naveen meet minutes after he arrives in New Orleans. He tries to woo her, but she ignores him and he moves on, even saying "Eh..". He fails to recognize her when they meet again at the party, though.
- In Spirited Away, Mysterious Protector Haku knew Chihiro's name even though he couldn't remember his. Chihiro kept having a feeling that she met Haku from before but couldn't remember when. It was only when they were flying through the air together that Chihiro remembered she fell into a river as a little girl, only to be saved by the spirit residing there. Chihiro recalling this memory to Haku caused him to remember his identity.
- In Anastasia: Dimitri used to work as a servant in the Winter Palace when he was a boy, and saved an eight-year-old Grand Duchess Anastasia from being captured in the Revolution. They meet again as adults when "Anya" has Trauma-Induced Amnesia and doesn't remember anything about her childhood, while Dimitri for his part remembers the meeting well but doesn't realize she's Anastasia. Anastasia/Anya later recalls a vague memory of "a boy who worked at the palace" saving her - though she doesn't know it was Dimitri - which tips him off about her true identity. She later regains all her memories properly, although by then Dimitri is devastated because a former kitchen boy could never be good enough for a Grand Duchess.
- Entirely justified in Sleeping Beauty: Aurora was a newborn baby while Philip was no older than 5, and this isn't a story that includes No Infantile Amnesia.
- In Frozen, what draws Kristoff to the rock trolls' place is when he sees a horse leaving a trail of ice due to eight year old Elsa freaking out over freezing Anna's head. This is Kristoff's actual first encounter with Anna. 13 years later, Kristoff runs into Anna at Wandering Oaken's Trading Post & Sauna and doesn't recognize her (though people do change a lot in 13 years). That earlier encounter is never brought up, not even when Kristoff brings Anna back to Grand Pabbie to analyze her frozen heart. Although doing so would have made her fear and doubt Elsa more (the blast at the ice castle not being an isolated event), thus making it a lot harder for her to perform an act of true love on Elsa's behalf.
Films — Live-Action
- The prologue to the movie Adam and Steve features the two main characters hooking up in the 80s and having spectacularly bad drugged-out sex. They meet, sober and professional, 20 years later and don't realize it's the same guys till almost the end of the film.
- Brian Allen and Christina Roberts in Blow Dry. They knew each other as very young children because their fathers were business partners. But then the partnership broke up, Christina's parents divorced (and she went to live with her mother in Michigan), Brian's parents divorced and he moved in with his dad in York, and the two lost touch with each other for twenty years. Cue the events of the film...
- Iron Man 3:
- Thirteen years ago, Tony Stark helped Maya Hansen with the equations needed to perfect the Extremis formula and then slept with her. When they meet again, she is insulted to learn he has no memory of this.
- Also thirteen years ago, Aldrich Killian asked Tony to hang out and discuss science with him, but got stood up. Tony completely dismissed him from his mind, but Killian never forgot and dedicated his life to revenge.
- Star Wars:
- Two of these occurred in A New Hope due to new information revealed in the prequel movies. First of all, C-3PO didn't know who Obi-Wan Kenobi was, but R2-D2 did, and he didn't remember them, although he clearly knew them both when he was younger, making his interactions with them in the prequels somewhat confusing. This was partially explained at the end of Revenge of the Sith, where Bail Organa orders C-3PO's memory wiped, which erases his memories of the entire prequel trilogy. In Obi-Wan's case, it's possible he did recognize them and just didn't say anything. This would be consistent with his characterization in the first trilogy because he's an old Jedi Master familiar with the mysterious ways of the Force, and he was trying to shield Luke from the dark secret about his father.
- Also, Luke's aunt and uncle didn't seem to remember C-3PO either, although he had worked for their family for years in the time between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. Owen may not have been telling Luke the truth about that, however, much like he was lying to Luke about the fate of his father in order to keep him sheltered. (The hologram of Leia probably made him decide against mentioning that he knew where the droids had come from.) Of course, it's just as likely that they simply didn't recognize C-3PO; it had been over 20 years and the protocol droid didn't have his iconic gold finish when he left their service.
- In King Kelson's Bride, Kelson is reminded (by Rothana) that he had not only met his cousin Araxie when they were children, he also played with her and they got