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Amnesiac God

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The main character begins the story with Laser-Guided Amnesia and is immediately swept into strange events. Gradually it becomes apparent that the character is not a normal person like they thought, but a Physical God or something very close to it. Among the things they forgot were their powers and how to activate them. When the character finally regains their full set of memories, the only thing that can stand against their Story-Breaker Power and prevent the plot from being solved in short order is another character with the same powers.

Compare Angel Unaware. A subtrope of I Am Who? May lead to the character feeling A God I Am Not.

This trope is spoilerriffic.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Vincent Law is Ergo Proxy a "proxy" for gods After the End.
  • In K, Yashiro Isana remembers that he is actually Adolf K. Weismann, the immortal Silver King, who "created" the other kings, and who some refer to as a living god.
  • Kaiba
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion, this is the case with Madoka Kaname.
    • She became the Law Of The Cycle, the one to appear to magical girls as they are about to sully their soul gems completely and takes them away to what amounts to heaven. But she appears like a regular middleschooler for most of the movie, which Sayaka later reveals because Madoka took her celestial memories and powers and gave them to Sayaka and Nagisa, so that they could fly under the radar of the incubators and help Homura.
    • The penultimate scene also shows her being brought down to this through Homura ripping 'Madoka' apart from the 'Law Of The Cycle', resulting in Madoka being powerless, though it's implied that she can, and will, regain her powers when the right trigger occurs.
  • Saint Beast: Luca
  • In Tenchi Muyo!, Washu is one of the three goddesses who created the universe. She reincarnated herself as an (immortal) human, with her memories sealed away and her powers locked into a trio of simple red gems. She eventually regains her memories. It's later revealed that an even higher-level god (possibly the God) exists, and he has been reborn as Tenchi Masaki. He finds out about this at the end of the 3rd OVA series, but still has no memory from before becoming human.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Yami Yugi is the spirit of the Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Atem: the one who sealed away the Shadow Games in the Millenium Items 3000 years before the start of the series (5000 years in the dub). As the Pharaohs were considered gods in Egyptian mythology, this technically counts.

    Comic Books 
  • This is a somewhat ambiguous example, but in the "Quantum Quest" story arc by John Ostrander in Captain Atom, Cap, who was already one of the most powerful superheroes in the DCU, discovers that he has the power to create (and ultimately destroy) his own universe. He does not, however, have the power to govern that universe at all well (hence the ultimate destruction). Of course, the story left open at least some possibility that the whole thing might have been All Just a Dream.
  • When The Mighty Thor came back to the Marvel Universe after years of being dead, he first had to find his fellow Asgardians, all of whom, had amnesia and were under the impression that they were human.
  • This is the basic plot of The Sentry, and the main thing that distinguishes him from other Superman clones. The twist is that not only does he not remember who he is, the entire rest of the world has forgotten the Sentry's existence as well.
  • Played With in Tron: Ghost in the Machine: Jet, as a User (human), really is a Physical God in cyberspace, but his memory is rapidly decaying through the story, in addition to suffering hallucinations. Turns out, he's not really human, but the most "intact" of three Programs created by the real Jet's time in the system
  • While he is decidedly not the main character and is usually an antagonist Zeus has had various forms of amnesia in several volumes of Wonder Woman:
    • In Wonder Woman (1987) Zeus' powers and mind started breaking down due to not having worshipers and not adapting to the times like Aphrodite and Ares to draw power from the things he represents instead of sacrifice and worship. He ends up semi delusional and, after rejoining with his Roman manifestation, at times transforming uncontrollably into Jupiter while insisting that "Zeus" was dead.
    • In Wonder Woman (2006) Zeus and the other Olympians are revealed to have lost huge chunks of their memories, to the point that even their names feel uncertain to them. This makes some of them, like Zeus, homicidaly protective of their own interpretation of themselves as they have lost so much of their own history.
    • In Wonder Woman (2011) Zeus dies and is reborn in his own infant son Zeke, and only sometimes remembers his powers and history though it becomes more frequent as he takes over Zeke's body and burns Zeke's own personality and soul out.
  • Variation in The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, where it's revealed that several characters are members of the Guiding Hand, basically the gods and archangels of Cybertronian myth, but events in the early days of Cybertronian history stripped them of those memories and caused them to believe they were just ordinary Transformers, living out lives ranging from the relatively understated to the grand and exceptional. As a result, while they are amnesiac gods, even they don't realise they are amnesiac beyond the memory degradation that afflicts all older Cybertronians until circumstances conspire to restore their memories. Tyrest, the Knight Templar who's the Arc Villain of "Remain in Light", is Solomus, the god of wisdom. Censere, the Necrobot, who has devoted his life to running around tracking the deaths of Cybertronians, is Mortilus, the god of death, who was unjustly blamed for the whole thing. And Rung - understated, forgettable Rung, The Shrink for the main characters? That Rung? He's the main Transformers god, Primus.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Fate of the Clans: Tamamo had sealed her memories of being the Golden White Face to reincarnate as a human. She recovered her memories when she was hunted down.
  • Nyx in Past Sins. With the last revision, it's made much more explicit that Nyx is, in fact, Nightmare Moon. Thankfully the events of the story change her for the better.
  • Imperfect Metamorphosis. Rumia used to be a godlike, omnicidal fallen angel.
  • The Pony POV Series uses this trope several times. First, it's shown that the Alicorns would apparently take turns being born as normal ponies in order to live among them and have a better understanding of them when they die and return to their own plane of existence — it's shown, for example, that Celestia was G3 Star-Catcher, while Cadence was G2 Brightglow. Later, after the Alicorn-Draconnequi War, Celestia, Luna, and Discord were reborn on Earth in their natural forms, but minus the memories, though those were eventually restored later on in their lives. Cadence was likewise reborn as a mortal several years before the series proper began, and is currently missing her memories of her true self as well.
    • Luna all but states this is also the case with the dragon Bahamut (the consort of Queen Tiamat).
  • Link in The Legend of Link: Lucky Number 13 is revealed to have been born a god, but was stripped of his power at birth to help protect him from his father and Fate until he was old enough to defend himself.
    • As described on the Deity of Human Origin page, this technically means he has more in common with that trope than this one, as all of his upbringing was done as a mortal and so he has no "past life" to remember, and no chance of Amnesiac Dissonance and other associated tropes. For all intents and purposes being born a god rather than becoming one is a technicality.
    • Malon's husband Ingo is a straight example. He was briefly mentioned early in the story and is referred to as looking a lot like Link, and later turns out to be Hadrian, Link's grandfather with his memories and power having been temporarily suppressed after a run-in with the Originals. Upon returning to his original form, he also returns to his original personality.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • John Murdoch from Dark City. He isn't the only Reality Warper, but after the Exposition Beam that teaches him how to control his ability to "tune", he becomes the single most powerful one.
  • The creator figure in The NIN9S grew obsessed with incarnating in human form and living out pseudo-normal lives. (A reference is made to Evercrack.) However, he realized that there was only so much fun in playing in literal God Mode, so he deliberately erased his own memories to make things more balanced.
  • The title character in Hancock, who at one point early in Earth's history was considered a God, lost his memory in the early 1900's. However, the story takes place in modern day with him in full knowledge of his powers (but still no memories of how/why he has them).

  • Well World: Nathan Brazil is not completely amnesic, but is so old he doesn't remember where he comes from. When he reaches the Well of Souls, the ancient mechanism that keeps the universe running, it recognizes him as one of the Precursors that created it, restores his memories, and grants him reality-manipulating powers that he uses to wrap up the plot.
  • Shadow, a.k.a. Balder, in American Gods. In this case, it's not so much amnesia as it is being a reincarnation in a human body, with no memory of his previous existence.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya isn't so much amnesiac as completely unaware from the start that she's an all-powerful Reality Warper who can (and possibly already has) changed the laws of the universe on a whim. It doesn't help that everyone around her who's in the know is doing everything they can to keep it from her.
  • In the Raven Duology by Patricia Briggs, we have Hennea, who appears to be an ordinary bearer of the Order of Raven and a mortal Traveler... until the second book reveals her to be Raven, herself, one of the six deities that helped create the world. She, herself, is unaware of this until the rest of the characters learn it.
  • A variation occurs in The Belgariad and Malloreon series. The child "Errand" is initially thought to be a random innocent kid, who happens to get along with the resident Empathic Weapon. As he grows up, he gradually manifests weird powers, starting with surprising insight for a child, and ramping up to Nigh-Invulnerability. It turns out he's really one of the world's seven Physical Gods, and simultaneously knew and was unaware of his identity. It's kind of complicated.
  • Hinted at but ultimately left ambiguous with Poldarn in The Scavenger Trilogy (Shadow, Pattern and Memory) by K. J. Parker; part of the myth of the god Poldarn is that he loses his memory before bringing about The End of the World as We Know It, and the main character who takes on that name certainly does lose his memory, but whether he actually is the god Poldarn is never made entirely clear. Although he does bring about The End of the World as We Know It (by accident), and fulfills various elements of the prophecies of the god Poldarn without realizing it, and displays some uncanny abilities which may be superhuman or may just be down to luck and coincidence.
  • In Day Watch, Vitaly (the protagonist) starts as an amnesiac. He is actually a "mirror", a human warped by the Twilight to keep The Balance Between Light And Dark.
  • The Vampire Chronicles: Khayman, from The Queen of the Damned. Turns out he's more or less the third-oldest vampire in the world, not counting the King and Queen, and therefore one of the most powerful. Ever.
  • Mirar from The Age of the Five had to brainwash himself to survive after suffering extremely serious wounds because of an assassination attempt. (They collapsed his temple while he and numerous Dreamweavers were in it) He ended up, a hundred years later, as a simple Dreamweaver named Leiard.
  • Rob McKenna, a minor character in So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish. He is just an ordinary lorry driver who is followed by rain wherever he goes, it has rained on him every day of his life. He is even called a "Rain God" by the media once they get a whiff of this, but what he doesn't know is that he actually IS a rain god.
  • Apollo struggles with a mild form of this in The Trials of Apollo. He knows who he is and why he's on earth, but the last six months are a total blank and the mortal brain he's stuck with simply can't hold all of his memories. This leads to a lot of frustration on his part.
  • In Deep Secret, it's eventually revealed that Rupert's rather boring, bland neighbor is actually one part of Emperor Koryfos, who was split into multiple people thousands of years ago. Once returned to his full power, Koryfos then reveals himself to be one of the Powers That Be.
  • This turns out to be the big reveal and the key to the mystery in Jean Ray's Malpertuis. Half of the characters are in fact dying Greek gods trapped in human bodies — or rather in human-shaped balloons — by an old sorcerer and a mad taxidermist. Some do remember who they used to be, while others had human identites forced onto them - but they have relapses when they regain their old identities and abilities for a short time.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A sort of subversion on Angel, when Cordelia returns with no memory but when she gets them back, it turns out an ancient all-powerful evil is just using her body as a temporary vessel and they just gave it back its memory. It goes on to successfully impersonate her though and causes all kinds of hell (literally) before they figure it out.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: The Stranger is one of the Istari and was sent to Middle-earth without any memory. He slowly learns how to navigate the world with the help of Nori Brandyhood and discover his true purpose.

  • In Malevolent we learn that John is actually a a piece of the King in Yellow that had been bound to a book as the result of an imperfect ritual, who had forgotten his true identity until he was reminded at the end of season 1. Later on at the start of season 3, Arthur makes a deal with Kayne to bring John back to him, on the condition that he remembers nothing. Unfortunately, Arthur decides to tell the new voice everything that happened up until that point, causing the new voice (dubbed Yellow) to reject the humanity John had gained.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Exalted: The Celestial Exalted are an embodiment of this. The Solar, Lunar, and Sidereal Essences are handed down throughout the millennia, but each new incarnation must relearn all the powers that its predecessors had, helped out by the fact that the Exaltation, the third soul that make an Exalt an Exalt, has some of their predecessors memories still attached. At the height of their power, they can perform feats that can put the gods to shame.
  • In Nomine: In the Middle Ages, the Archangel Uriel led a bloody crusade against the spirits of the Marches. When he attacked the Aesir, Thor held the rearguard of the retreating pantheon and was last seen holding off six Malakim. He survived, barely, and he fell to Earth in spiritual tatters. These days, he wanders around New York as a homeless bum, usually going by either "Tor", "Don" (from Donar, he continental Germanic name), or "that big scary dude", with no memory of his origin or nature; he likes singing "If I Had a Hammer" as he roams, but doesn't recall why. In The Final Trumpet, a major sideplot involved the players tracking him down, getting him to remember who he is, and reuniting with his regalia Mjolnir, Jarngreipr, and Megingjord in order to kill Jormungandr when the serpent is awakened by demons. The easiest way to restore his mind is to reunite him with Mjolnir, as he will instantly regain his memories and faculties once his hammer is back in his hand.

    Video Games 
  • In AdventureQuest Worlds, The Hero is ultimately revealed to be the very god of his/her world in human form. (S)he was killed in his/her original incarnation, but was reborn along with the universe as a human with no memory of his/her previous incarnation.
  • Sonic Unleashed has Chip, also known as Light Gaia, the opposing force to Dark Gaia. While he was given amnesia due to a premature awakening alongside Dark Gaia, Sonic thought he gave it to him when he landed at the beginning of the game.
  • This is what Catie from BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm ultimately turns out to be. She’s the mortal shell of Virtua, a digital deity who existed in cyberspace long before humanity tapped into it. This plot point is only addressed in the True Ending epilogue chapter.
  • Emil in Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World
  • Tales of Legendia Grune. She even forgets what she's doing when spells are interrupted.
    Now what was I doing?
  • Gig of Soul Nomad & the World Eaters is established early (but he is initially clueless) as Death who got his ass kicked and sealed in the onyx blade. However, the exact details are a whole other story....
  • Kang the Mad in Jade Empire. Whether he regains his memory or not matters little over the course of the game. He is a god, but not a very big one. It's hinted that his inventions can be vast and do incredible things but he never offers to make any, nor do the other characters ask. Of course, even in his mortal form the first thing he does is hand you control of the most powerful war machine in the setting.
  • Breath of Fire IV's protagonist is a god split across several thousand years. He has no memories, but during the course of his journey he learns his other half saved the world and is now learning that Humans Are the Real Monsters and plans to Kill All Humans once they can merge.
  • Agarest Senki 2: Chaos.
  • The main character, Vayne from ManaKhemia, kind of. Actually, he is an artificial Mana of Wishes that can cause any wish to come true, which requires god-like powers. It is uncertain whether the powers disappeared after you fight the Final Boss.
  • Zelda from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the goddess Hylia reincarnated as a mortal. She spends about half of her time in the game getting Hylia's memories back.
  • The Nameless One in Planescape: Torment is essentially a Physical God, having accumulated immense knowledge, experience, and power from his past incarnations. Without his amnesia, he could legitimately be counted as one of the most powerful beings in the planes.
  • Neptunia:
  • In Rune Factory 5, potential marriage candidate Lukas has no memories of where they came from or why they can perform certain actions like his 'magic tricks', which turn out to be full-on teleportation caused by is god powers. It does get figured out rather soon, but they never really use their amazing powers for anything because gods aren't allowed to directly interfere with or solve problems.
  • The Fallen Star in a rather short-lived example from Diablo III. Your character's whole reason for traveling to New Tristram was to find out where the Fallen Star landed and just what the hell it actually was. Upon finding the epicentre of the destruction, you find an amnesiac man lying in the glowing crater. After realizing that he arrived with a sword, you're sent out to find the pieces and have them reforged before returning the weapon to "The Stranger". Upon receiving his sword, he instantly regains his memories, realizing that he is, in fact, Tyrael, the former Archangel of Justice who intentionally shed his angelic power in order to aid humanity; something he was otherwise forbidden from doing.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, the protagonist starts as a lowly Republic crewman who survived the destruction of the Endar Spire, discovers they are force sensitive and gets swept into a race to find an ancient superweapon built by the Rakata. Then comes The Reveal that they're actually an amnesiac Darth Revan, one of the most dangerous Sith Lords that ever lived, who rediscovered the ancient Rakatan superweapon in the first place. In addition, the Jedi Council and your companion Bastilla Shan knew the truth the entire time, having been the ones to implant the fake memories to begin with, believing that Revan was too dangerous to remain as they were. Given that Revan ends up as one of the most powerful characters in the entire history of the setting anyway, they have a point.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, in Sector Eridanus, you can find an insane Kinmamon muttering a couple of deranged phrases. It's actually Amaterasu, Shinto goddess of the sun, resisting the local Negative Space Wedgie's attempts to make her into another guardian deity.
  • Persona:
    • In Persona 3, Ryoji Mochizuki is completely unaware that he's the Nyx Avatar, not remembering his purpose until near the end of the game. As far as he's aware until then, he's just a normal high-schooler.
    • In Persona 4, Marie is actually Kusumi-no-Okami, a being split off from Izanami, something she'll only remember after completing the Aeon Social Link.
    • Zen from Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth turns out to be Chronos and have used Laser-Guided Amnesia on himself and Rei.
  • In Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair Hajime Hinata/Izuru Kamakura embodies this trope. After the whole cast of Ultimate Students (ultimates are those who are the best at one particular talent) has had their brains wiped by Laser-Guided Amnesia, they are forced to rebuild bonds with each other to remove the despair from them/ the brainwashing by Junko Enoshima. This goes wrong with the appearance of Monokuma and the killing game begins. In the final act after the countdown hits zero and you have the final debate about whether to leave the simulated world and the consequences of doing so, it is revealed that Hajime Hinata is in fact Izuru Kamakura/Ultimate Hope meaning that he has every Ultimate ability/talent in the world which makes him a man made Ultimate Life Form.
  • It is eventually revealed in Utawarerumono that the mysterious god of the land that everyone worships, Uitsalnemetia, is in fact the amnesiac main character who lost his memories of both his past and his nature as a God. And one important detail he also forgot is that he is not the only God running around. Another part of him is as well and who also is the Big Bad.
  • Five of the seven gods in Mythic Ocean are unaware of their true nature due to the universe being in a cycle of death and rebirth. The only exceptions are Elil, who explains that he's a fallen god, and Gnosis, who is able to recall some details of the previous cycles.

  • The Everyman, the protagonist of A Beginner's Guide to the End of the Universe, is an Anthropomorphic Personification of all of humankind and basically a Physical God. He is able to manifest mild Reality Warper powers since the beginning of the story, but initially they seem just to be a part of the RPG Mechanics 'Verse. As he slowly recalls his true nature and sacrifices his life for the well-being of humanity, the extent of his powers grows into infinity.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Immortals do this to themselves willingly. They are beings of almost unlimited magical ability, but they have to "die" every couple hundred years by erasing all of their memories. Otherwise, they eventually go insane with boredom (and power). Usually downplayed, since they're supposed to leave a guide for their new life to quickly pick the ropes back up, although improperly "dying" can result in this trope played straight.
  • In Namesake, Ozma of Oz is actually the last surviving Muse, beings that are the source of all magic and stories, and intentionally gave herself amnesia to forget who she was.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, Bun-bun's true identity turns out to be Sluggy, God of Power. He got into a fight with his future self and was hit hard in the head, forgetting his past. While he has had little access to his powers post-amnesia, he is extraordinarily fast, strong, and resilient, to the point that he's survived things that really should have killed him.

    Web Original 
  • In the Avatar Adventures role-playing board, the character Sam G's powers involve manipulation of the Fourth Wall; That is to say, if his poster types something, no matter how outlandish, it comes true (for example, the user Sam G could type "all the villains die" and it'd happen). Realizing that this would make him an Invincible Hero, he sealed all his powers, in addition to his memories, in a golden pocket-watch which he cast to the end of the universe.
  • Two main characters of the Whateley Universe are amnesiac gods. They are avatars (or something) of very powerful beings that lives thousands or millions of years ago. Over time, their memories are returning to them.

    Western Animation