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.
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, He Had a Name 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.
- 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.
- Zig-zagged in Death Note Ukita gets killed on live TV, everyone on the investigation team sees it, but it is practically forgotten a few pages later, likely because Souichiro rams an armored car into the TV Station to get his hands on the Kira Tapes. However, his death is mentioned a few times in later episodes, as Aizawa feels as though he couldn't face his dead colleague if he gives up on the investigation.
- In the first episode of Cross Ange, Ange's mother dies trying to protect her when her brother Julio outs her as a norma in public leading her to be sent to Arzenal. Later on, Julio reveals that he had their father executed offscreen for his part in protecting Ange. Neither of these two, nor even the fact he stabbed her in the back, made her life hell, and tried to have her and everyone else on Arzenal killed, come up in episode 13 when she finally turns the tables and is raring to kill him. Just the fact that he destroyed the place considered a living death trap for Norma, because somehow she liked living there.
- 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.
- Digimon Adventure tri. ends up having the 01 cast not even mention the 02 cast at any moment, even when one of them has seemingly turned evil again with what is seemingly a evil version of his partner. You'd think that at least one of them, Hikari and Takeru included (as they were part of the team), would simply wonder where their friends went. This is played with later on, as they start to show some concern over Ken at least due to his sudden reappearance as the Kaiser, while the others aren't even mentioned. When Taichi and Daigo discover them being held in stasis along with the real Gennai, Taichi outright admits they had no idea they had even been captured.
- 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 anniversary 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.
- 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.
- Exaggerated in High School Of The Dead. The School Nurse Shizuka manages to forget about Kazu Ishii while he's in the middle of his Heroic Sacrifice.
Kazu: [holding off zombies] Get out of here!
Shizuka: I'm sorry...what was your name again?
Kazu: Are you serious?!
- Re:CREATORS has Mamika trying to reason with the Big Bad Military Uniform Princess and, when that doesn't work, she blows herself up in order to stop her (to no avail). Not only a huge explosion in the middle of a city is never brought up, but the other characters more or less never mention Mamika again and, when it's demonstrated that it is possible to bring dead fictional characters back to life (long story), nobody mentions this possibility in regard to her. This despite the implication that another character became more than friends with her.
- 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. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. And then, because this is a comic book, D-Man came back to life a few years later anyway.
- 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.
- One of the elements of Fantastic Four villain Doctor Doom's Backstory is that he wants to accumulate enough power to free his mother from Mephisto's Hell stand-in. Many writers seem to completely ignore this, though it was referenced in the original Secret Wars.
- That is partially because he already did that. Then again, whether or not it happened again depends on the writers!
- This is one of the many tropes parodied in Adam Warren's Gen¹³ story "Grunge: The Movie":
The Hero (Grunge): For what you did, you're gonna pay, big time! (Psst! H-hey... D'you remember exactly what he did? I kinda forgot...!)Shaolin Warrior Nun (Caitlin): (whispering) He wiped out your beloved peasant village and murdered everyone in it, including your beloved bro Bobby, remember?
- A meta example occurs in the Justice League of America tie-ins to Blackest Night. A villain tells B-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.
- Lampshaded and discussed in the Teen Titans tie-in to Infinite Crisis. Pantha, Baby Wildebeest, and Bushido all end up getting slaughtered to show off how powerful Superboy-Prime is, and Beast Boy laments that nobody is going to remember them since they were all fairly obscure.
- And this turned out to be true. Superboy, a much more popular character, died in the same event and completely overshadowed the other dead Titans. He was also the only one popular enough to earn a resurrection.
- Comes up more than you'd think in Teen Titans since the group has a record-breaking number of dead members. When Jason Todd was restored to life, he was pretty pissed to find out he didn't have a memorial statue in Titan Tower the way many other fallen heroes did.
- To be fair to the Titans, Jason was never an official member and only joined them for a grand total of TWO missions when they needed extra manpower.
- Speaking of Jason Todd, he wasn't mentioned much after his death in A Death in the Family (unless the story had the Joker as the main villain, in which case Batman almost invariably would briefly angst about the villain killing Jason before moving along with the plot, or an issue of Robin where Tim was comparing himself to his predecessor or merely reminiscing about those who previously held the title). Other Batman media didn't even acknowledge his existence. It wasn't until the 2005 Under the Red Hood miniseries that he became prominent in comics again, and then in 2010 he made his debut in animation in the movie, Batman: Under the Red Hood opening the way for other media to show or allude to him.
- Addressed in the Robin Series where Tim finds Batman's "never looking back policy" annoying. Especially in regards to his fallen girlfriend Stephanie Brown (Spoiler/Robin IV) who didn't even get a memorial in the cave like Jason even if he understands the merit of not wallowing in grief and guilt over fallen friends and loved ones. He likes to take every opportunity to remind Bruce of those who have fallen as his allies—like Jason, Stephanie, Harold and Orpheus—despite Bruce's unwritten rule about never bringing any of them up.
- Lampshaded in Runaways; after Victor learns about the original leader, Alex, he asks Gert why nobody ever seems to mention him. Gert responds that given that Victor is fated to become a supervillain, they don't want him to find out how easily Alex duped the rest of the team.
- 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.
- Inverted in Summer Days And Evening Flames to great effect to show Gilda's Character Development. She watches Officer Sunset, who she considered at best a friendly acquaintance, die from an arrow right in front of her. However, she starts to show Survivor's Guilt when considering Gilda was the intended target, and attends Sunset's funeral for closure.
- 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.
- The Longest Road has Pikachu reuniting with his dying mother, whom he mourns after she passes. The event is barely acknowledged (by the narration, not the characters) in the next chapter, and not even mentioned or alluded to afterwards.
- 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.
- A rare example of this trope being justified in-story: Bing Bong in Inside Out. In a heroic sacrifice in the Memory Dump, he fades out of existence. From that point on, he's never mentioned again and Riley forgets him permanently.
- All of the Autobots who died during the events of Transformers: The Movie who are not Optimus Prime, are hardly acknowledged when they are killed during the Decepticons attack on the shuttle and the Battle of Autobot City.
- At the beginning of Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, 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.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe:
- Quicksilver dies near the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and even though his sister Scarlet Witch goes on to feature prominently in the subsequent films, neither she nor any of the other Avengers ever mention him.
- Volstagg, Fandral and Hogun are all killed by Hela in the first act of Thor: Ragnarok. Despite being three of Thor's closest friends and having had sizable roles in the previous two movies, they aren't mentioned by anybody after their deaths.
- In Avengers: Infinity War, after Loki's death Thor cries at his body, keeps mentioning him while talking to the Guardians, and goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge to avenge him and the Asgardians. Five years later, in Avengers: Endgame Thor never once mentions his brother nor pauses to look or talk to Loki's past version when he has the chance.
- 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.
- 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 from The Evil Dead (1981), 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 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!
- Exorcist II: The Heretic seems determined to ignore Father Damien Karas, the hero of The Exorcist who sacrificed himself to save Regan. The only acknowledgement he gets is a few references to the three people who died in the original.
- In John Woos first film, Heroes Shed No Tears, The first member of the protagonists group gets shot at the beginning while theyre capturing the general. Everyone forgets about him soon after.
- In the Peter Pan Fan 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.
- Bing, Valentine's juggler in MirrorMask. This is lampshaded, and he doesn't even pretend to miss his anonymous violinist for a moment.
- Henry VIII takes about five seconds to mourn Jane Seymour's Death by Childbirth in The Private Life of Henry VIII. Then he is back to his cheerful Boisterous Bruiser self.
- The //Ready Player One adaptation has Wade's home being blown up, along with his family and everyone else living in their stack. The explosion is used as a plot device to showcase how far Sorrento is willing to go to stop Wade foiling his plans. The rest of the film just has Wade and his allies getting on with saving the (virtual) world as if nothing happened.
- 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.
- Sidney's girlfriend in Scream 2, uh... what was her name again?
- Star Trek (2009): 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.
- Star Wars:
- Luke Skywalker at first Refuses The Call. Then stormtroopers kill his uncle Owen and his aunt Beru, the people who raised him. He then "has nothing more for me here" and goes on to start the adventure, but he barely thinks of them or the old moisture farm. This makes their death a case of Death by Origin Story as well.
- 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. The novel Heir to the Jedi attempts to mitigate this by having Luke mourn his aunt, uncle and Biggs after the events of the movie.
- Leia seemingly manages to forget her entire PLANET! Although, one could understand why she might not want to talk about it, and even if she personally did, she's also still a political leader with other people's lives and problems to put before her own. (She was very terse during her escape from the Death Star, which could be a sign of repressing feelings.) This is also referenced in the Expanded Universe.
- This was also raised by Carrie Fisher herself in interviews; she points out that no one seems to offer Leia any space to grieve over the loss of her home planet, or acknowledge what happened at all, but Leia is still expected to be sad at Ben Kenobi's death and comfort Luke while he grieves about it.
- The Transformers Film Series:
- Transformers: "So sad, Jazz is dead. Oh well, we have new friends!".
- Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: 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 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 Last Knight is implied that Sam Witwicky has died sometime after Dark of the Moon. Despite this, Bumblebee nor any other of the Autobots seem to be deeply effected by his demise.
- In the Wing Commander film,
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?"
- The characters deliberately tried to pretend that their comrades who had died never existed.
- 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.
- X-Men Film Series
- In X-Men: First Class, nobody comments on The Man in Blacks 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.
- 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 Emberverse, Odard Liu is one of the nine members of the Quest and travels three thousand miles from one side of the United States to the other, saving his companions' lives and fighting alongside them the whole time. Once there, he makes his last stand protecting his friends' flank, his sword breaking as he kills dozens of enemy fighters, is mortally wounded, and dies in his friends' arms...and then they continue on their way without a moment of mourning and never mention him again.
- 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.
- 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 20 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.
- In the first book of Song of the Lioness, Francis of Nond, one of Alanna's friends, dies to the Sweating Sickness, convincing Alanna to use her magic, which she was afraid of, to save Prince Jonathan's life, and to train her healing magic. He is never mentioned again.
- Les Misérables: After Marius loses all his friends at the barricade, only one paragraph addresses his grief, and even that paragraph is more about confused disbelief than pain. For the most part, he just focuses on healing from his own wounds and on his new life with Cosette; even his closest friend, Courfeyrac, he only references with a simple "He's dead" when asked about him. To be fair, it might be a trauma symptom that he can't process the losses enough to properly grieve.
- In the versions of The Three Little Pigs in which the first and second Pigs get eaten by the Wolf after he blows down their houses, the third pig never mentions his brothers or apparently learns about their fates.
- In episode 3 of American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, Fred Goldman, the father of murder victim Ron Goldman, expressed concern to Marcia Clark that the media are focused on O.J. and Nicole, and that his son would be reduced to "a footnote in his own murder".
- Characters in American Horror Story tend to have little-to-no reaction to their friends disappearing, presumed dead. Though to be fair, the body count in any given season of AHS tends to be so high that most characters know that someone who's suddenly gone missing is unlikely to be coming back in a form they care to recognise.
- Invoked in Battlestar Galactica (2003). 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.
- 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.
- Battlestar Galactica (1978) 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.
- Mitch's mentor is killed in the Baywatch Pilot Movie, and despite the episode ending with Mitch promising to never forget him, he's pretty much never brought up again after this. Complicating things is the fact that the actor who played the mentor later joined the cast as a completely different character.
- Played for Laughs in Blackadder. 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 appears to have forgotten completely that Marcus van Sciver put 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).
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Xander, Willow and Jesse were set up in the pilot episode as childhood best friends, but once Jesse was Killed Off for Real, no one mentions him again. Sure, he's hardly the last casualty of the series. However, even the writers seem to have utterly forgotten about him when Season 3's Alternate Universe What If? episode came around and no mention was made of his existence. note Jesse's form is also never assumed by The First, who worked really hard to dredge up memories of departed loved ones. According to Word of God, his actor Eric Balfour was unavailable and Jesse was planned to come back to hang a lampshade over how his old friends had completely forgotten him. It's not until the Season 9 comics, years after the show had come to an end, that Jesse gets a mention; when Xander helps Detective Dowling stake his vampirized partner, Xander recalls having to do the same to Jesse, and claims that to this very day, all he can see is the face of his friend, not the monster he became.
- 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... and shortly afterwards is also never mentioned again. We never even get her name.
- At the end of Season 1, Cordelia's boyfriend Kevin is killed with other students by a group a vampires. Although there's the implications that Cordelia dates lots of guys, she had a conversation with Willow about how she was genuinely in love with this one, and is affected when she finds his body. She then never mentions him again in this show or its spinoff, Angel.
- Doctor Who:
- The Doctor's companion Nyssa has her father taken over by the Master in the Shocking Swerve ending of The Keeper of Traken. In the following story, Logopolis, the Doctor meets 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.
- Adric makes no direct mention of his brother following the latter's death in Full Circle, the closest he gets being the scene where he tells 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 knows eventually 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. If "Deep Breath" is of any indication, the Doctor barely remembers the events of the episode (although this is more than 1000 years later from his perspective).
- Most of the ER characters who have been killed off have met this fate. They might be mentioned for a few episodes after their demise, but then never again. Understandable for the minor characters, but even Mark Greene, who'd been the central figure of the show for 8 seasons, got only a few referrals after his death.
- 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. It's not even entirely clear that Crichton ever learned they died; the creature attacked his family shortly afterwards and the crew hightailed it off Earth after defeating it.
- Game of Thrones is normally good at remembering dead characters, even many episodes after their death. A few exceptions include:
- While Robb and Catelyn are frequently mentioned after the Red Wedding and the surviving Starks and their supporters want to avenge their deaths, as well as the deaths of the other Northern lords killed at the Red Wedding, Talisa — Robb's pregnant wife — is never mentioned again. While it's true that many of the people she was friends with are also killed, and justified for the surviving Starks as they weren't even able to learn who she was, it's still relatively jarring for a major character. The one time a Northern Lord mentions Talisa posthumously, she's referred to as a "foreign whore".
- Rakharo, Daenerys' bloodrider, is also yet to be mentioned after his death in Season 2.
- Locke, a good friend of Ramsay Bolton, had successfully faked friendship with Jon Snow and Jon's circle in an attempt to harm or assassinate Jon and his two younger brothers — Bran and Rickon Stark — and Locke is never mentioned again after what the Night Watch characters believe to have been a heroic death. It is justified because shortly after they return to Castle Black, they have other problems to deal with, such as Mance's army and the White Walkers. However, some of Jon's other friends die, and he mourns them. Locke also seems to be pretty tight with Ramsay, but after his death is never mentioned by Ramsay again. You'd think Ramsay would at least bring him up to mess with Jon, but nope.
- Benjen Stark has hardly been mentioned since his disappearance, despite one of main missions of the great ranging being to investigate the disappearing rangers. Jon fails to ask the wildlings about his uncle while gathering information as a Fake Defector but the claim of his uncle's return is used on Jon by the Watch mutineers to lure Jon outside so they can assassinate him in a mutiny.
- Subverted by Mycah the butcher's boy. While some viewers might only vaguely remember his unjust death in "The Kingsroad," Arya never forgets and his unjust death remains at the center of her hatred for Sandor Clegane. Arya even brings up Mycah during the Hound's trial in "And Now His Watch Is Ended" and the Hound uses it in his attempt to goad her in "The Children." Arya also remembers Lommy's death and takes revenge on his murderer, killing him the same way he killed Lommy.
- Grey's Anatomy is also doing this with George. He was a main character for five seasons, then after the first two episodes of Season 6, 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.
- Theres possible exception of
Alixander AlejandroDead 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, despite her history of infidelity, and apparently forgets all about his deceased girlfriend Daphne Millbrook, whose murder nearly led him attempt to exact Revenge by Proxy on the girlfriend of Emil Danko, Daphne's killer and basically sapped him of the will to live.
- Theres possible exception of
- 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.
- Another Jamie Bamber character meets this fate. Matt Devlin of Law & Order: UK is gunned down at the end of Season 5, and aside from the follow-up episode which focused on the search for and prosecution of his killer is never mentioned again. Quite glaring considering that he was a surrogate son to his grief-stricken partner Ronnie and in a later episode, when yet another friend of Ronnie's is similarly murdered, no one mentions how similar the two incidents are. The only slight exception is the mention that Ronnie's grandson is named Matthew, obviously in his memory (he was born the day Matt was killed), but even that fails to spark any discussion of him.
- A number of Knights of Camelot have died without ever being 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 dies 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, Curtis' girlfriend Nikki is shot by a mugger after he sold the time travel power to Seth. Curtis mourns her and then learns from Seth that 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 that, and two episodes later Curtis gets a new love interest. It becomes egregious later in Season 3 when Seth gives Curtis the power of resurrection in order to bring back his dead girlfriend Shannon, and the latter seems to have forgotten that he also has another deceased girlfriend.
- 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.
- In the earliest episodes, the "Freak of the Week" would often be a a longtime friend the main cast would've known for years prior to Kryptonite radiation turning them evil. More often than not, they'd die. The main cast would spend absolutely no time mourning their loss or what they had become even in the episode where they died.
- In later years this would extend to recurring characters and several cases of series regulars Whitney 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 Alicia Baker.
- 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 2, Clark had a passionately romantic attachment to this Native American shapeshifter 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.
- In Star Trek: The Original Series, 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...)
- This happens in Stranger Things to Barb, who, despite being searched for for the majority of the first season by Nancy, her eventual death was only mourned for a short moment, and she was never mentioned again. This didn't go over well with viewers, for whom Barb had become an Ensemble Dark Horse, so the writers had to address this in season 2. Nancy and Steve visit Barbs parents regularly and Nancys guilt over Barbs death leads to her breakup with Steve. Nancy leads the charge in getting justice for Barb by exposing the government agency responsible for her death showing that Nancy, at least, has not forgotten about her friend.
- 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 Winchesters do react this way in one particularly glaring instance regarding their brother, Adam. Ever since the fifth season finale he's been rotting in hell being 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 in a musical adaptation of the in-universe book series based on their lives. In the finale, when the Winchester familly sings "Carry On My Wayward Son", Sam fails to recognize a character and asks 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 immediately look at each other with discomfort. However, when the Cage is brought back in Season 11, Adam is still not alluded in any fashion.
- 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.
- The Winchesters do react this way in one particularly glaring instance regarding their brother, Adam. Ever since the fifth season finale he's been rotting in hell being 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.
- In full effect on Todd and the Book of Pure Evil. 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).
- Janet York, Kim's best friend in Season 1 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.
- The Vampire Diaries:
- Stefan's "Uncle" Zach dies in the fifth episode. While Stefan mourns him in the episode itself, the character very quickly becomes a footnote in the series' history after his death is covered up without anyone finding out the truth. He isn't mentioned again until the sixth season where he is revealed to have a daughter.
- Subverted with Lexi. Despite only appearing in one episode, she is mentioned by Stefan several times since her death and she appears in almost every season of the show, either in flashbacks or as a ghost. Stefan admits the reason he doesn't talk about her much is that it brings up memories of her death. In the Series Finale, she and Stefan even end up Together in Death (in a platonic way).
- 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.
- Daredevil (2015): Officer Sullivan, the unlucky rookie police officer who got handcuffed to a column by Matt, and later killed by corrupt ESU officers in Fisk's pocket, isn't acknowledged in any way after his death, and any talk about that incident is instead about the shootings of Detective Blake and two other cops outside the building that were carried out on orders of Fisk.
- The Punisher (2017): When Karen Page is introduced into The Punisher, she looks very sad and lonely, which people coming from The Defenders know is because she's mourning Matt Murdock, who was killed in Midland Circle. However, those events are never so much as alluded to outside of Ellison holding a newspaper headlined "Chaos Under The Streets" in Karen's intro episode, or a shrine in the background when Frank is in Karen's apartment.
- Jessica Jones (2015): Season 2 makes absolutely no mention of the events of The Defenders, and Jessica seems to have completely forgotten about the loss of Matt, who she had grown the closest with during The Defenders. Much of this has to do with the fact that Melissa Rosenberg had started writing Jessica Jones season 2 before The Defenders began its writing process, which explains why the show feels as if it took place immediately after Iron Fist season 1, and The Defenders never happened. Rosenberg also had to temporarily halt production of Jessica Jones to allow for production of The Defenders.
- Luke Cage (2016): Played with in season 2. The events at Midland Circle in which Matt "died" are relevant, but more because of how Misty lost her arm there and is now getting adjusted to her new robotic right arm. There's a subtle reference to Matt, though, as Foggy Nelson appears in one scene and, recalling the costume Matt wore in the first season of Daredevil, suggests Luke wear a mask to maintain some level of anonymity.
- 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.
- 'Les Misérables'': 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.note Even in his Grief Song "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables," about the deaths of all his friends at the barricades, he only sings about his fellow student revolutionaries, not Éponine.
- Romeo and Juliet: 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.
- Exaggerated in chapter 7 of Fire Emblem Awakening, Chrom introduces some guy known as the Hierarch who apparently assisted, and took care of his elder sister in her younger years. Minutes later, the Hierarch says he needs to take care of some personal matters, where we see he gave some info to the enemy, and then gets killed. While the player knows the Hierarch is a traitor thanks to their omniscient viewpoint, the characters in the game never find out, and the last they heard just left to take of some personal points. Sure, considering how quickly the Plegians attack they probably assumed he got ambushed and killed by them, but it's still noticeable they don't mention him again.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has Ryder, who, in spite of his faults, was still one of CJ's childhood friends. Unlike Big Smoke, Ryder is almost entirely ignored after his betrayal, and he gets killed in the middle of the game without so much of a conversation with CJ. When CJ shows genuine remorse for killing Ryder, Cesar tells CJ that Ryder tried to bang Kendl (something that was randomly brought up with no evidence whatsoever), and Ryder is never mentioned after that.
- 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.
- Both Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals and Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals have characters move past Dekar's Heroic Sacrifice rather quickly. Granted, Guy's belief that Dekar is too dumb to die turns out to be entirely accurate.
- 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 has been no explicit reason given for why this happened, and can be treated as a Shoot the Dog on the part of Dr. Light, X's creator.
- Metal Gear:
- The franchise is usually good about avoiding 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 Gustava Heffner and Kyle Schneider, whose deaths were shown to badly affect him in game. (It's possible to infer that Snake's line about not wanting to see any woman die in front of him is supposed to refer to Gustava.)
- Snake never mentions 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 even got to say goodbye. Miller's increased prominence in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and Metal Gear Solid V makes this stick out even more.
- Despite being important for the plot of the prologue chapter Ground Zeroes, Chico, who was also an important character in Peace Walker, is hit with a downplayed version that skirts around the edge of being played straight in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Despite the plot Ground Zeroes being all about saving him and Paz, he ends up getting Killed Offscreen at the end of that story, and neither him nor his untimely and very tragic demise is ever mentioned at any point during the plot of The Phantom Pain, even though said death should be at the forefront of many the reasons why Snake is hellbent on revenge against XOF and Skull Face. In fact, the only place Chico's fate is disclosed to the player is in a single completely optional cassette tape, and there Snake just more-or-less brushes his death off as a case of They Knew the Risks.
- 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.
- Phantasy Star:
- Drastically subverted in three of the games, all of which 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: if your third generation character is Sean (son of Ayn and Thea), then he loses his entire family as his chapter of the story begins. He 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.
- Sadly the case in Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Redemption II, as Arthur Morgan was the only person in the gang who supported John and his family all the way to the end and even gave his life to help them escape in the ending of II, and yet never got a mention in the first game because he wasn't conceptualised back then. Possibly subverted in that the epilogue for II suggests that John actually thinks about Arthur all the time, but it is too painful for him to actually talk about him. His wife Abigail cries every time his name gets mentioned as well.
- 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 else still fails to notice.
- 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, though it's somewhat implied that he was deep in denial (and when it finally hits him that he's really the one responsible and that he can't be rid of these powers, he decides suicide is the best option).
- Elephas Rex eventually becomes one for Rhi'a when his views come into opposition with the Front's new goal. Even though it's established that she highly respects him, after his death she never comments on it again. Of course, given her Psychic Powers, she likely knew how he would die long before it ever happened, and given that she's 300 in a world of human-length lifespans, she's likely seen a lot of death.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Gamma from Sonic Adventure falls under this category. After learning to feel emotions, freeing the flickies trapped in his robotic brothers and sisters, and self destructing to release the last one trapped in him...No one remembers him. Most, if they do, would just remember him as some other badnik.
- A minor example exists in Story of Seasons (2014). Edna, your sweet Granny Classic neighbor, dies during your first winter. The entire town turns up for the funeral and seems deeply saddened by it. No one ever mentions her again afterward.
- When the Bunker gets destroyed in Route C of NieR: Automata, Operator 6O gets no more mention from anyone after. This is because 2B is the only one of the main three androids who is at all close to her and dies herself not long after. As for the other two, 9S didn't know her on a personal level and A2 has never met her.
- Defied in Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc Makoto promises to remember both Sayaka and Leon, even after it turned out that they'd tried to kill each other and frame him for it- the former failed and the latter succeeded- as well as everyone else who dies, even though Kyoko points out that it's more painful than simply forgetting about them. He takes it very seriously, and Danganronpa 3 shows him having a nightmare about everyone who'd died in the first game.
- Lars of Girl Genius dies protecting Agatha and is given a Jäegar funeral, with Maxim donating his hat. He's never mentioned again afterwards despite being one of the protagonists early on in the story.
- The print-novel adaptations do a somewhat better job- Agatha grieves over the death when she's allowed a spare moment, and later tells Tarvek to get out of Castle Heterodyne because she doesn't want anyone else dying for her.
- 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.
- 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.
- Well, Dex is remembered a little:
Riff: Gee, Zoe! Sorry your boyfriend got eaten by kittens!
(Riff and Torg snicker)
Torg: It's funny when he says it.
- Well, Dex is remembered a little:
- 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.
- In Commander Kitty Zenith is transformed from malfunctioning Big Bad to enthusiastic assistant-slash-fashion designer as easily as rebooting her in "Safe Mode." She's rewarded for trying to repair the damage she caused (and making a spiffy new outfit for one of the characters) with a Logic Bomb that fries her brain completely. No one has yet to acknowledge the overall dickishness of this, or the fact that "Good Zenith" is now little more than an ambulate robot corpse.
- In A Very Potter Musical, Cedric dies at the end of the first act. Nobody cares enough to mention it after the first five minutes of Act Two.
- His sickeningly sweetheart Cho Chang cries for a minute, but then Neville Longbottom pantses Draco and she says, "That made me feel better." About her dead boyfriend.
- In Death Note: The Abridged Series (Team Dattebayo) this trope is invoked by L in the very episode in which Ukita died:
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 1 and 2, 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 Sonic for Hire, no matter who gets killed or dies, there is hardly any remorse from everyone in the show that immediately brushes off that particular death. Ironically, Sonic's death ended up triggering world peace the moment he died.
- 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.
- Near the end of Avengers, Assemble! Season 2, Arsenal performs a Heroic Sacrifice to destroy Ultron once and for all. Iron Man is devastated at the time, as it was made clear throughout the season he cared a great deal for Arsenal. However, when Ultron returns in Season 3, nobody mentions Arsenal, or the fact that his sacrifice turned out to be in vain.
- 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.
- While "friend" is pushing the term, no-one on the Predacons seem upset at Scorponok and Terrorsaur's fiery deaths, much less mentions them afterward. Meanwhile, with the Maximals, Tigertron and Airazor are completely forgotten after they get teleported off-planet by the Vok.
- Conversely, in Beast Machines, Optimus Primal spends way too long mourning the loss of his allies.
- 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 at that point. Then again, Max got better, so it's ultimately moot.
- 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.
- Heavily mocked on Clone High with Ponce de Leon. What makes it more ridiculous is that no one mentioned Poncey before his death either.
- 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?
- Family Guy:
- Mixed with Motive Decay: 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.
- 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.
- For five seasons, Kenny was South Park's Ever Forgotten Ever Falling Friend.
- Lampshaded in "Chekoree Hair Tampons", where Stan is weeping over Kyle seemingly meeting his end. Kenny, aware of Stan's complete apathy to his own deaths, storms off offended and meets his usual elaborate death just a few steps prior. Stan completely ignores it and continues sobbing over Kyle.
- 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.
- Parodied in "Kenny's Death", where Kenny dies of a muscular illness (in what was originally intended to be his final real death in the show). Unlike previous episodes, everyone is genuinely devastated and dumbfounded by his death. This actually carries on for several episodes, though predictably the boys soon get over it, and even use callously their friend's death to manipulate people. A season later, Kenny returns, to the nonchalance of everyone.
- 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 (at least until the simulation goes Off the Rails).
- Morph's death hits the other characters hard in the 2-part series premiere of X-Men, after which he's not mentioned again until the Season 2 premiere (which reveals he didn't really die).
- Teen Titans has Terra, who died in a Heroic Sacrifice at the end of Season 2 only to never be mentioned again by her former teammates. At least not until her sudden return in the show's final episode.
- In the first episode of Pacific Heat, Maddie befriends a stripper named Angie who is murdered by the episode's villain, and she is upset when her teammates can't even be bothered to remember Angie's name. After that episode, Angie is never mentioned again.
- Narti ultimately falls into this trope in Voltron: Legendary Defender. After Lotor kills her for being an Unwitting Pawn, her teammates are visibly upset by this and apparently defect over it... Only, she's never mentioned again in the following seasons, and the rest of her squad eventually goes back to following Lotor.
- 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.