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Forgettable Character

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Trixie Lulamoon: Wait. "Not pictured: Wallflower Blush". Who's Wallflower?
Wallflower Blush: I'm right here, you know.
Trixie Lulamoon: Uh, who are you?
Wallflower Blush: Wallfower. I've known you since third grade.
Trixie Lulamoon: Ahh! I remember third grade. Not you specifically, but what a grade it was.

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

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Also may simply be a way to make a Butt-Monkey out of a character.

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

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


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • CLANNAD: Only the main characters remember speaking with Fuuko Ibuki, and even they start forgetting her later in the series. Justified as she is a spiritual projection of a girl in a coma.
  • Eyeshield 21: Tetsuo Ishimaru is so forgettable that other teams completely forget that he exists. He even breaks the fourth wall to comment on it.
  • In the anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist, Ed and Al have trouble remembering Yoki, the corrupt mining inspector, even though they were the ones who tricked him out of power.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers: Some of Canada's interactions with other characters often involve them forgetting who he is or that he exists and/or mistaking him for his more outgoing brother America. At least until one of the Hetaween specials, where he's the main host and the nations not only recognize him, but tell him how good of a job he does.
  • How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend: Indicated right in the title, which is variously translated as How to Raise a Boring Heroine or How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend. The title character, Katou Megumi, is a teenage girl who is completely average in terms of appearance and noncommittal in terms of personality, leading her classmates and even her friends to often ignore her. The overall plot of the series is her Otaku classmate, Aki Tomoya, trying to figure out how to make a Visual Novel with a main character based on her.
  • Jewelpet Sunshine: Three examples. One is Nejikawa, who's forgotten by his classmates at least once. In one episode, he comments that he has become "as invisible as Yaginuma", which suggests the same thing of this character but is never really proven due to his limited screentime. Finally, there is Katori, who's so small, characters keep forgetting she's there.
  • Saki: Momoko Touyoko has this almost as a superpower. She leaves so little of an impression that she's practically invisible to anyone in the vicinity. This even applies when she's playing Mahjong and the three other people sitting right next to her completely forget she's there.
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei: Kagero Usui is technically the Class Representative, but has a property to slip away from other characters' memories because his only distinctive feature is his Prematurely Bald head—which he tries to hide most of the time.
  • Sgt. Frog:
    • Dororo has a tendency to be forgotten by his squad-mates; in fact, part of the reason he broke ties with the Keroro Platoon is that he was mad they forgot he existed.
    • Dororo's Unknown Rival Zoruru is even more forgettable than Dororo is, which is saying something. It's part of his back-story that Zoruru felt he was Always Second Best to Dororo, even though Zoruru's nondescript nature technically made him a better assassin.
  • Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun: Soi Purson went completely unnoticed by both the readers and his classmates up until the Cultural Festival arc. It turns out that being unnoticed and forgettable is actually his family's power, to the extent of even turning invisible if anybody actually does manage to notice him. His forgettable nature presents a serious problem, because the Misfit Class needs to get everybody promoted to at least Rank 4 via the Cultural Festival in order to keep possession of the Royal One classroom. And Soi, due to being unnoticed by the teachers as well, is only Rank 2.note  Thus, they have to somehow make the guy who literally cannot stand out into the centerpiece of their performance.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: This happens with Misawa in season 2, after being one of the most promising freshmen in the prior season.

    Comic Books 
  • DC Comics: Copper of the Metal Men was introduced as a brand new member to the team post-Infinite Crisis and was featured as a main character in their spinoff miniseries from 52. However, when the Metal Men received a back-up feature in Doom Patrol, Copper was downgraded into a running gag where the team would regularly forget she was there (especially the egotistical Gold).
  • The Marvel Comics character ForgetMeNot, who, thanks to the nature of his powers, was a member of the X-Men for six years without anyone noticing.
  • In the IDW Transformers comics, Rung the Autobot psychologist is constantly being forgotten and overlooked, even by his own allies, and by his own admission he's forgotten much of his own past. Finally it's revealed that long ago, he was exposed to some sort of memory-altering phlebotinum which made him eminently forgettable, as well as erasing his own memories, specifically of the fact that he's actually Primus, the first Transformer.
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    Fan Works 
  • Lyra Heartstrings in Background Pony is under a curse that makes anyone that interacted with her forget they met her after a few minutes of absence. Breaking that curse is the driving point of the story, though eventually Lyra gives up as breaking the curse would undo her massive contributions to defeating Discord, thereby dooming Equestria.

    Films — Animation 
  • Wallflower Blush from My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Forgotten Friendship. She's so socially invisible that even students who've been in the same class as her for years don't remember her. There are moments when everyone forgets all about her while she's in the same room as them, or even right after talking to her. And it gets worse once she gets her hands on an Equestrian artifact that can erase memories, and she uses it to remove minor awkward moments. Unlike comedic examples of the trope, though, she brews some serious resentment over this.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In God Told Me To, most of the people Pete interviews find Phillips strangely forgettable - they usually remember seeing him, but only vaguely.
  • Randy from Liar Liar, whom Fletcher Reede doesn't bother remembering.
    Randy: Hey, Mr. Reede.
    Fletcher: Heeeeyyy... man...
    Randy: It's, uhh, Randy.
    Fletcher: Yeah, I know.
  • Office Space: Milton is a mousy office drone who is so inconspicuous that several years before the movie he was actually fired from the company, and everybody forgot to tell him about it. He continued to work there with no employment file because a glitch in the payroll system continued to send him a monthly salary, which nobody noticed either.

    Literature 
  • The Captain in Blindsight, to the point where the protagonist treats it as a big reveal later on that the Captain was actually in command of the ship (it isn't a secret, but the Captain is an AI, while the protagonist is a professional Sherlock scanner who more or less forgets it exists because it doesn't have any cues to read).
  • Discworld: In The Truth, William De Worde went out of his way to become one of these as a child, considering it safer than standing out as smart in a rather grim boarding school.
  • Dragaera: Kragar from the Vlad Taltos series is so utterly forgettable that he can be standing in the room and no-one will notice him, and will forget he's there minutes after speaking to him, even if he hasn't moved.
  • The Forgotten Gods in The Goblin Quest Series are cursed for their rebellion against the divine hierarchy by becoming this. It is literally impossible for any civilized being to remember who they are. If a person so much as hears their names, they will forget them within seconds. Uncivilized beings, on the other hand...
  • Harry Potter: Peter Pettigrew a.k.a. Wormtail is only known as the quiet, unassuming guy in James Potter's Marauders, and the fact that he was supposedly killed by his friend Sirius, but nothing behind that. This trait is what makes him trusted with the Potter family secrets by Sirius, and it also makes nobody suspecting him when there's a rumor about a Death Eater spy in the Order of the Phoenix.
  • In Jennifer Lynn Barnes' YA novel Nobody, this is the "power" of Nobodies. They are so forgettable that when they go rogue the group that controls them has to set a timer to periodically remind them who they're looking for.
  • The title character of The Schwa Was Here goes unnoticed by the vast majority of peoplenote . The main character, who is also the narrator, details some experiments they did with this, including trying to get him past airport security. It doesn't extend that far apparently.
  • The main character of The Sudden Appearance of Hope, by Claire North.
  • In Zeroes, Anonymous's power causes him to be quickly forgotten by anyone not directly looking at him. The terrible downsides of this are explored: his own family forgot he existed, and he nearly died while bedridden in a hospital because the nurses kept forgetting to bring him food and water.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On Arrested Development none of the Bluth family (except her sometimes-boyfriend George-Michael) can remember Ann Veal's name; usually referring to her as "Bland," "Egg," "Annabell," "Yam," or "her?". Not out of malice, just because she's so forgettable.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • In Season Six, a Terrible Trio is formed consisting of minor recurring characters Jonathan and Warren, and new character Andrew. The creators wanted another minor antagonist, Tucker, to be the third member, but his actor could not be contacted. Thus Andrew was created as his younger brother with similar powers in demon summoning, and a Hand Wave is given that he once summoned flying monkeys to attack the school. The incident is so comparatively mundane by Buffy standards that none of the cast remembers it or Andrew, and it becomes a Running Gag to refer to him as "Tucker's brother" or "the other guy".
    • In the Season One episode "Out of Mind, Out of Sight" the villain of the week is a girl named Marcie Ross who literally turned invisible (with the help of the Hellmouth) due to people not noticing or remembering her.
  • The Silents of Doctor Who are the type with a power to invoke this. The moment a person looks away from one of them, their existence is completely forgotten. It's promptly remembered the next time the person lays eyes on them. While in the series they're seen using this for infiltration, their original purpose was as confessors for an intergalactic church.
  • Friends:
    • Ross's dad forgets about his son Ben while gushing over Emma, his daughter with Rachel.
      Jack: My first grandchild.
      Ross: What about Ben?
      Jack: I meant my first granddaughter.
    • In another episode Ross is on the phone to his mom after Chandler faked his death. We hear him say "Well, no, even if I had died, you wouldn't be childless." Then after a pause, he snaps "Monica!"
  • Rory's boyfriend Paul in Gilmore Girls A Year In The Life. Luke and Lorelai barely remember he exists, Luke has no memory of a previous conversation he'd had with Paul (even after Paul recounts it word-for-word), and at one point Rory leaves without him while he's in the washroom, only to rush back in at the last second and play it off like she'd been waiting for him. He only appears in the first episode, and at one point after that, Rory has an epiphany and jots "Break up with Pete" on her agenda. She doesn't even remember to do that, so he winds up breaking up with her because of neglect.
  • The Ramurans from the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Unforgettable" have this trait as part of their Bizarre Alien Biology. This becomes a bit of a problem when one of them falls in love with Chakotay, and he doesn't even remember her.
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    Theatre 
  • Alexander Throttlebottom in Of Thee I Sing is the Vice Presidential nominee running with John P. Wintergreen. He's so forgettable that he has to sneak into the White House with a tour group because no-one remembers who he is. (Back in the 1930s when the play was written, the VP position was notorious for its lack of notability.) He does get remembered in the grand finale, as he's needed for a Pair the Spares moment.
  • In the National Theatre's 2014 production of Treasure Island, seaman Gray becomes one of these as a Running Joke. He's frequently overlooked and forgotten about, to the point that when half the crew mutinies and takes the loyal half prisoner, they forget to tie him up — which is only revealed several scenes later, because it takes that long for anybody to notice.

    Video Games 
  • Luka, resident Badass Normal from Bayonetta, manages to survive and pull a fair number of Big Damn Hero moments mostly because the Paradisio and Inferno alike tend to disregard and forget him while battling one another. At the end of Bayonetta 2, he even manages to bewilder Aesir, the God of Chaos.
  • Cole from Dragon Age: Inquisition is an unusual example; this appears to be an effect of his status as a spirit who mysteriously manifested in human form. Everyone except the player character keeps forgetting things about him or not noticing that he's there at all. (He's definitely not a Ridiculously Average Guy; he's The Empath and a Cloudcuckoolander.) Unlike most examples he deliberately employs this, intentionally causing people to forget him after he's helped them out or whenever he makes a mistake with them. You can either encourage this behavior or try to talk him out of it. If he is made more human in his personal quest, he begins to lose the ability to do this.
  • Kellam is this in Fire Emblem Awakening. Lampshaded constantly in his support conversations, played straight in his introduction, and even it shows up in gameplay: who'd have guessed that the guy in huge armor can reclass into an Assassin and do really well as such? Even the Cipher card game pokes fun at Kellam's "invisibility". And to top it off, his face is covered by another character on the cover, him being the only one to suffer this.
  • Luigi suffers from this problem in some Super Mario Bros. games. In the DS remake of Super Mario 64, for example, the Toads openly admit in front of him that he's nowhere near as memorable as his brother Mario is.

    Visual Novels 
  • Winston Payne in the Ace Attorney games. Once feared as a rookie killer, Payne is now so unremarkable that most of the other characters forget who he is. When Detective Gumshoe mentions him to Miles Edgeworth, one of Payne's fellow prosecutors (who Payne insists he mentored when Miles was younger), Edgeworth assumes he must be one of the janitors.

    Web Animation 
  • In earlier Homestar Runner cartoons, Homestar had a tendency to not notice Strong Sad's presence, only to be surprised once Strong Sad finally got his attention. This was phased out early on, however.
  • Red vs. Blue has Doc, who once accidentally transported to another dimension, is only found two seasons later, with the rest of the cast (aside from Lopez, who only speaks Spanish and thus no one understands) having forgotten he vanished.
    Sarge: Doc? Nah, he's been with us! I think, or wait. Was he with you?
    Tucker: [over radio] We found him in a cave! Says he was in another dimension.
    Sarge: That doesn't sound right at all. [turns to Simmons and Grif] Grif! Simmons! You remember sending Doc to another dimension?
    Simmons: Who?
    Sarge: Doc! The purple guy!
    Grif: Doc... [swaps looks with Simmons] ...Oh, yeah! I guess we did do that!
    Tucker: Yeah, I totally forgot too.
    Simmons: Huh, I guess he's just got one of those faces, you know? Like really forgettable.

    Web Comics 
  • Not surprising that this would eventually happen in Looking for Group given that it is a Long Runner with Loads and Loads of Characters. Old foe Assaracus reappears and the cast literally spends two pages trying to remember who he was.
  • Happens often in Scandinavia and the World. Denmark always forgets about his roommate The Faroe Islands until he owes him money, and Norway seems completely oblivious to Kven even when he's right in front of him.
  • The 70-Seas side-story "forgettable" is centered around such a character. In a bid for attention, he commits a burglary and gets arrested, but not even that works, and he's released despite dropping the stolen diamond in front of the cops.

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-055. It is utterly impossible to remember any data about what it is or what it has done, and any writing on its characteristics won't survive; it's Keter precisely because of that, the SCP could have well killed thousands and they would never know. The most the Foundation has managed to learn is that the effect doesn't apply to remembering what it isn't, and that it isn't a sphere. That's about it.
  • Worm:
    • Imp of the Undersiders has this as a literal superpower. Her power is always "on," but she normally suppresses it in order to interact with people. When she stops suppressing her power, people are literally unable to recall her, or even perceive her. Even if she's standing right in front of them. She uses her power to troll, gaslight, and terrify her enemies. Or people who annoy her.
    • Nice Guy of the Slaughterhouse 9 has this with a twist. His power is that people cannot identify him as an enemy. Even if he has a gun to your head, you would be unable to remember that he's an enemy, or even think of him as such.

    Web Videos 
  • Vinesauce Tomodachi Life has several islanders that Vinny tends to overlook (not surprising, since the series has Loads and Loads of Characters). Most notable are Little Mac (who suffers from being a regular-looking human on an island populated primarily by "creeps and weirdos") and Lolly (who gets close to no attention until her birthday rolls around and then gets assimilated immediately afterwards).

    Western Animation 
  • This is deconstructed in The Amazing World of Gumball with Rob, who during the first couple seasons was known for not being remembered by either Gumball or Darwin, and comes to a head after he barely escapes from the void (where they fail to notice him) and forgets who he is. When Gumball and Darwin suggest he play the town villain, he suddenly remembers everything that happened to him and embraces the role all too eagerly.
  • This is eventually Lampshaded in As Told by Ginger. Two of the characters select recurring background character Noelle to test their vanishing powder on, as she wasn't significant enough for anyone to miss. And then later subverted when it's realized Noelle was actually a cool (by the characters' standards) Cloud Cuckoo Lander and goes on to be an Ascended Extra with a substantial role.
  • Casey Krinskey on DC Super Hero Girls. The main characters definitely remember her once she becomes obsessed with Zee and starts doing all sorts of favors for them (primarily reserving them the elusive cafeteria tater tots), but they seem to be the only ones, and even they can't get her name right. In fact, her obsession stems from the fact that the popular Zee took the time to notice Casey and give her a pep talk.
  • It's a running gag on Futurama that Scruffy has to keep reintroducing himself to people. "I'm Scruffy, The Janitor" has become his Catchphrase. Also, apparently the other characters are just as forgettable to him, since he rarely remembers any of them.
  • The Simpsons:
    • A Running Gag on the show is that Mr. Burns always forgets who Homer is, although this aspect is mostly dropped in later seasons.
    • Homer is often forgetting about Maggie. Sometimes he just refers to her as "the baby", sometimes he forgets about her completely.
  • South Park: In the episode "The Last of the Meheecans", the boys play a Border Control role play game, and eventually the Mexican side claim victory. It takes a long while until Cartman realizes they forgot about Butters (and even then only because he can now still win as the Texan side). As the others wonder how this happened, Craig Lampshades that Butters is a rather easy to forget person.

 
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Doc

Poor Doc. During the first season of The Chorus Trilogy, he accidentally ends up transported to another dimension, for an undisclosed span of time. When he finally reunites with his comrades, he does not take it well to learn, that no one even noticed that he was gone for that time.

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