Follow TV Tropes

Following

Laser-Guided Amnesia
aka: Mind Wipe

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Memory_Lapse_9808.jpg
Why, yes, I'd like a piece of your mind.
I'll take this one and that one...

Yuuichi: If you really have amnesia, then how come you said that you were never gonna forgive me?
Makoto: Look, all I do remember is that I have a grudge against you! I just don't remember anything else about my life, ya' got it?!
Yuuichi: I guess I never knew that amnesia could be so convenient.
Kanon
Advertisement:

As established elsewhere, amnesia comes up a lot in TV. Amnesia is a funny thing in the real world and can give you lots of strange symptoms.

In TV, it's very weird too, but it's much more specific. Amnesia has several basic attributes in TV land:

1. With surgical precision, amnesia strips you of all information pertaining to personal identity, leaving just about everything else intact. TV Amnesia is a disorder where you forget where you put your keys, but you do not forget what a key is or what it's for. You will forget where you went to school, but not any of the things you learned in school. As a result, the character will retain all of their skills — though they may not know they have them at first.

Interestingly, while this would seem to be Hollywood Science at first glance, this really is how retrograde amnesia works (well, some of the time). "Procedural memory", which governs skills that the brain has automated, appears to be separate from "declarative memory", where you store previous facts and events, and in many cases only one of the two is damaged. And then there's muscle memory, which may or may not be affected by amnesia.

Advertisement:

2. In a series with Plausible Deniability, amnesia typically also erases all knowledge of the Masquerade. The character will completely forget that aliens, monsters, vampires and such are real, but will remember that normal people don't believe in such things. This can seem especially odd since, if you don't remember anything, how do you know that aliens and werewolves are any stranger than the sun coming up in the morning and setting at night?note  Even more odd if the character is himself an alien or supernatural being and subsequently "defaults to Muggle" after losing his memory, which is typically the case for those with Alternate Identity Amnesia. Occasionally, this is paired with Fake Memories to create an elaborate deception.

Advertisement:

3. With very few exceptions, amnesia is always entirely retrograde: memory loss extends backward from the moment of injury. Anterograde amnesia (the inability to accumulate new memories) has only started to come up in recent years, usually in comedies. Amnesia usually extends back clean to birth. Real amnesia resulting from head trauma or drugs is usually confined to a short period on both sides (before and after) of the incident.note 

4. If a tool of the group the protagonists belong to, the likelihood of abuse of this power is almost never addressed. There's little interest, procedure, or advocacy devoted to making sure someone isn't stealing from, raping, killing or committing other crimes against Muggles and then erasing their memory of it. After all, who cares about Muggles as long as the Masquerade is intact?

5. The amnesia inducer works like a toggle switch (especially in the case of blunt force to the cranium). (Surgeon General's Warning: Definitely NOT Truth in Television.)

Very useful in maintaining that things are no big deal. To this end, it's pretty standard for The Men in Black to use this on anyone who's seen too much, often employing a Memory-Wiping Crew. Contrast Exposition Beam. Can cause an Amnesiac Hero to be born.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • At the end of the first season of the 90s anime adaptation of Sailor Moon, when Usagi mentally wishes to have a normal life, she and the other Inner Sailor Guardians get resurrected, but end up losing their memories of not only being Sailor Guardians, but also of being friends with each other. Luna does not even fix this until the second season, when the Makai Tree Aliens cause trouble in Tokyo.
  • In Pandora Hearts, this is played straight for many of the characters. Gil wishes to know who his master really is, Alice wants to regain her memories of her life before she became a chain, and Oz wants to discover the truth behind his sin. The results are very, very disturbing. Where shall we begin?
    • Ah, the heroine, Alice the Bloody Black Rabbit, a rough girl who used to be a human until her best friend, a stuffed rabbit named Oz, came to life and was used as a tool of destruction against his will. She killed herself to end his suffering and then her soul took over his body, stealing his power, wiping her memories and her sister's in the process.
    • Gilbert, Oz's little servant who used to be Jack's servant Actually, he was Glen's servant, and he acquired amnesia via being STABBED in the back by Jack. Oz is an Artificial Human whose true form is an Animate Inanimate Object; a stuffed plush rabbit that came to life and wound up in his contractor's body that was deaging and believed himself to be human. He lost all his memories of being B-rabbit somehow-the manga hasn't explained that yet.
    • Also, Elliot lost his memories of killing his own family with Humpty Dumpty's help.
  • Masane Amaha in Witch Blade plays this straight with #3 (classic trauma induced amnesia), but this is subverted later when she never gets her memories back.
  • Strawberry Panic!: Amane falls from her horse and forgets that she was going to enter the Etoile election, and her relationship with Hikari. She remembers having been asked to enter, and the rest of the details of her life. (This is surprisingly similar to the post trauma memory loss that is actually but rarely incurred by some people.)
  • In The Big O, a major part of the original plot is that everyone in Paradigm City — and apparently whatever is left of the world, as well — has amnesia of unknown origin. Unable to recall who they were before the incident (but still retaining most of their day-to-day survival skills), everyone begins life anew. Then odd and disturbing reminders start appearing, many years later... The finale implies that they're all characters in an anime series.
  • A Wind Named Amnesia deals with the whole world suffering from sudden amnesia and not a pretty type: people were turned down to almost animal behaviour while only the main protagonist was restored to humanity by psionics and training.
  • Bleach has a similar memory erasing plot device, with the downside that the blank is generally filled in by something random from the person's imagination. It has fun with what the blanks are filled with, such as a particularly strange character who "remembers" that the reason there is a hole in the classroom and a missing student is because an army of monkeys burst into class and dragged him away.
    • They later gain an upgraded version without that particular problem, but by this time half the cast has some level of spirit power, and thus the memory modification fails to one degree or another on them.
      • The third movie has villains that can perform a different method that erases entire characters from others' memories. It's surprisingly thorough to the point where a character who trained like mad to get strong enough to save an erased character forgets his training and thinks he's much weaker than he actually is. It can't erase physical evidence, however, and Crazy-Prepared Urahara immediately notices discrepancies in his notes and memory and figures something's up. And The Hero's powers are so intrinsically tied to having met the erased character that it doesn't work right on him.
  • Kaito of Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch presumably gets a bump on the head that causes him to selectively forget everything about Lucia and mermaids. Of course, this turns out to be an evil plot (and a rather lucky one for Michel at that— he gets the energy from Kaito's memories and blackmail to try and convert Lucia to his side).
  • Happens to a lot of Kanon characters, all for reasons relating to the town's miracles and the tragedy seven years ago.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • In Stardust Crusaders, the Mannish Boy's Stand, Death 13 can trap people in a dream world and kill them in their sleep. If the victim manages to wake up in the real world however, they wouldn't have any recollection of what they experienced until they're back in the dream world.
    • Diamond Is Unbreakable: Rohan can use Heaven's Door to write inscriptions into people to make them do or forget whatever he wants them to.
    • Diavolo in Vento Aureo can erase time with his Stand, if anyone within the vicinity are affected, they forget whatever action they were doing in the time that was erased.
  • Ranma ½:
    • Shampoo uses a technique on Akane to erase all memories of Ranma. She remembers every other person and thing, even when not knowing Ranma means she wouldn't know how she became familiar with them. Apparently, Ranma's father is living with her for no discernible reason. Shampoo's amnesia technique has the added benefit of preventing the victim from ever relearning the suppressed memory, so every time Ranma was re-introduced to Akane she'd forget the latest introduction as soon as he left her line of sight.
    • After accidentally smacking his head with a watermelon in a training accident, Kunō retains the formidable skills he gained through his watermelon training, but forgets his name, his pompous demeanor, and how much money he owes to Nabiki (none, but she's not going to say that). Worst of all, his self-restraint is gone, turning his infatuation with the Pigtailed Girl into a stalker obsession that nearly ends badly for her.
    • One anime episode goes beyond this into Loss of Identity; after falling into the pond and hitting his head, Ranma starts thinking of himself as really being a girl. "She" hates violence, wants to give up martial arts, faints at the sight of blood, freaks out and starts crying after being returned to male form, talks about becoming a bride and goes bra shopping with Akane, has to have Akane help her go to the toilet because "she" can't deal with either set of body parts, rebukes Akane for her tomboy ways and, after Akane finally breaks down and admits that this isn't Ranma and she wants the real Ranma back, "she" tells her that it can't happen. Fortunately, as with Laser-Guided Amnesia, Ranma is restored to normal after Akane knocks "her" back into the pool and makes him hit his head again.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!:
    • Asuna did this to herself so she could live a normal life. Apparently, she didn't notice not having any memory of her past or the planet she was living on, although her apparent age may have allowed her to Hand Wave the bit about her own past.
    • Happens later on to Yue after the Gateport incident randomly scatters Ala Alba across the Magic World. She has the bad luck to land right in front of a magic student on a broomstick, who not only gives her a knock on the head, but accidentally discharges a memory erasure spell, causing her to lose all of her memories except her name.
    • At the start of the series, Negi attempts this on Asuna when she finds out he's a mage. It does not go as planned. Otherwise, Negima avoids this by having the masquerade instead of removing memories of crazy happenings, just prevent them from noticing all the craziness going on.
  • Code Geass:
    • Lelouch Lamperouge uses his Geass to erase his close friend Shirley's memories of him because she found out that he was Zero and the man responsible for her father's death and she now reluctantly wanted to kill him.
    • Around the same time, the character Viletta gets shot and falls into the bay, hitting her head and getting amnesia almost immediately after learning Zero's identity. Convenient. She gets better. (Seriously, does it even count as a spoiler at this point?)
    • Suzaku Kururugi had repressed memories from the start of the series after, at the age of 10, he killed his dad the ex-Prime Minister of Japan and doomed his homeland to Britannian rule. He was so traumatized that he blocked his own memories of the issue for years, until C.C. forces it out of him in a confrontation between him and Zero (though in her defense, she didn't have any idea of what she was making him see, only using her powers with the intention to stop him). Mao would do this later again via his Geass and some quick wit, cause a Mind Rape for the poor guy).
    • Later on, C.C. loses her powers and is temporally stricken with amnesia; for her, it's even more severe than the usual case, since she reverts to the state she was in at the last point in her life before receiving a Geass: a ten-year-old slave-girl from the Dark Ages. Though she can still speak...whatever modern language they're speaking.
    • Plus, at the start of season two, The emperor uses a memory-manipulation ability to erase all of Lelouch and his classmates' memories regarding Zero, Lelouch's heritage, and Nunnally. Is there anyone in this show who doesn't have amnesia?
    • Lelouch also does this to himself when Mao holds Nunnally hostage; in order to stop him reading his mind and finding out his plan to save her, he tells Suzaku what to do, then mindwipes himself before heading up to face Mao. It works.
    • Anya suffers from frequent loss of memory, having gaps of time where she has no idea what she did. This is due to Marianne taking control of her body. She tries to compensate by documenting everything she does on a blog for future reference.
  • Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- appears to do this to Princess Sakura regarding her relationship with Syaoran; the truth is much, much more complicated.
  • In Hana Yori Dango, Tsukasa is afflicted with bizarrely specific amnesia that causes him to retain all of his memories except those specifically related to the series's heroine, his girlfriend Tsukushi.
  • Done very literally in Vampire Knight Kaname uses his vampire powers to wipe out Yuki's memories of Maria being in fact Hio, the vampire responsible for the slaughtering of Zero's family. It does not last long, though, as the effects are almost immediately canceled by Hio herself.
  • In Death Note, owners of the titular object have the choice to give it up at any time, losing all memories of it in the process. However, any repercussions suffered as a result of actually using it (half-lifespan lost for those with the Shinigami Eyes, for instance) remain firmly in place. This is a hilarious example of this trope being played absolutely straight. So Light and Misa, for instance, forget not only the existence of the notebooks and their use of them, but also everything incriminating relating to Kira, while retaining the knowledge that the mass-murderer Kira exists. It not only wipes their knowledge of their own guilt, but that of the other, too, right down to the presence of the secret compartment in Light's watch! It only makes sense if you assume that they're reconstructing the holes in their memory in order to make sense of them — "I had no means to kill all those people, therefore I can't be Kira, so obviously none of this can have happened". How to Read states that Light's memories of certain events are altered "so that they make sense". For example, he remembers the fact that he met Naomi Misora, but he doesn't remember most of their conversation, because the lies he told her would only make sense if he were Kira.
  • The Wolkenritter of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's appeared to have been programmed to forget what really happened whenever the Book of Darkness filled all 666 pages. This gap in their memories greatly disturbed Vita when she realized that she couldn't remember what became of their previous masters.
  • In Nanaka 6/17, the title Nanaka, after being told off by the Childhood Friend she kept nagging and then taking a header down some stairs, loses all memory of everything that happened to her after the age of six. Nanaka's six year old personality simply assumes a wish she'd made to grow up right away actually worked.
  • ×××HOLiC:
    • Watanuki is a very interesting case. His magically induced amnesia is not only partially anterograde (for example, he can't remember the taste of anything he eats, or even remember if he ate it), but it's also done in such a way that he didn't even notice he had it for quite some time. The discovery gave him a tomato related nervous breakdown.
    • Later in the same series, everyone except close friends and relations forget who Yuuko is when she dies. She'd been living on borrowed time and so the universe rewrites itself to be as if she'd died when she was intended to. Actually, part of the reason why Watanuki's desire to see her again seems to manifest such a severe obsession that he'd adopt her mannerisms and wear her clothes, is because of his fear that one day he'll start to forget her too. If he keeps her belongings close to him, he figures that they'll serve as reminders to prevent that from happening.
  • One of the types of mushi in Mushishi can cause this, erasing all of your personal memories up to that point. This is precisely what happened to Ginko as a child, something that also left him unaware of his other condition...
  • Used regularly in Fruits Basket, whenever someone learns too much about the Sohma family, thanks to the local doctor and family member Hatori Sohma. Tohru is threatened with this, Momiji's mother chose to forget him because she could not cope with the curse, and Kana had to go through it after being put through Mind Rape.
  • Implied in Axis Powers Hetalia with Ludwig aka Germany. If this is the case, he probably lost his childhood memories of being the Holy Roman Empire as time passed and he fought in too many wars.
  • A reoccurring plot point in Fushigi Yuugi, first seen when Yui feeds Tamahome a drug to make him forget who he is and turn evil.
    • Second, as Amiboshi turns out to be Not Quite Dead but doesn't remember his past at all. The amnesia was guided by his new family, who are big fans of this trope and try to "help" Miaka by pointing some amnesia her way, too.
      • Done again to Amiboshi by Suboshi, no less. Amiboshi tells his twin to not fight the Suzaku warriors and take the amnesia-inducing juice/soup. Suboshi does and kisses Amiboshi because Suboshi doesn't want to forget Yui, on whom he has a crush.
    • Third, in the OVA series, Tenkou uses MacGuffin Spheres to systematically erase Taka/Tamahome's memories of his allies.
  • Crops up several times in Mx0, like Taiga's memory of the entrance exam and the Lotus-Eater Machine portion of the exam, in which leaving the 'machine' let you pass but erased your memories (which you kept if you failed).
  • In Red Garden, the four main girls remember little more than brief, vague flashes of the night they died and certain events connected to this. This gets resolved later, but it turns out that Laser-Guided Amnesia is a side effect of revival in general.
  • Double Subversion in Tekkaman Blade: D-Boy turns out to have been lying about having amnesia, and remembers everything. Then later, he starts losing his memory for real.
  • In Excel Saga Excel gets amnesia after Il Palazzo shoots her and leaves her for dead. In this case, it's unclear if she repressed her memories or lost her memories because she was hit by a car.
    • In the manga Excel gets this twice. The first time was brief and played for laughs. The second time it lasts a lot longer, and her personality is flipped. It is also suggested this isn't the first times she has lost her memories.
  • Elie gets this twice in Rave Master. She doesn't know her name or how to control her magic, but she can remember how to read a language no longer used in the modern world.
  • In Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, Elder Furinji has a technique called, 'Shockwave of Forgetfulness', a soft punch that can cause the victim to lose his memory. He did it once on a crimelord in Thailand to make him forget he was evil, and again on Kenichi- to make him forget about the really expensive drawing Elder bought, which he was going to tell Miu about.
  • Fairy Tail: Jellal, who doesn't remember any of his past crimes or his own terrible life. The only thing he remembers is the name Erza.
  • Some of the Imported Alien Phlebotinum ("M.E.") in Darker Than Black can do this. It's generally used to make people forget about contact with Contractors or to Unperson them.
  • Pai suffers from a supernatural case in 3×3 Eyes. Pai and her grandparents believe that she's an Ordinary High-School Student who lost all of her memories in a bus accident, but in actuality she's a 300-year-old immortal Sanjiyan Unkara who had her memories sealed by The Dragon so she couldn't interfere with their plans. They even gave her and an old couple false memories and photos to give her a "backstory" and a belief that monsters don't really exist.

    This sealing also has a tragic twist: The Dragon used a minor demon called Houasyou as a basis to "forge" the seal on Pai, who would enforce the seal and keep the Sanjiyan Unkara dormant. But since Pai has a split personality between a Genki Girl and Tsundere, the seal has an unexpected side effect — Houasyou herself lost her memory, and thanks to the Masquerade, she believes that she's Pai. And when the good guys finally confront The Dragon to get her memories back, that means Houasyou has to accept that she's actually a demon and won't be able to be with her love Yakumo because he loves the real Pai, not her.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: After suffering from nightmares for an unknown period of time because of Yubel being in pain after being shot into space, Juudai was given the most advanced treatments to completely block out his memory of her. This also apparently blocked out his memory of the contest he'd won and the Neo-Spacians that he'd created. He didn't remember Yubel at all, however, until he actually saw her in her own true body again.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: In the first series, one of the most important plot points was to recover the memories of the Nameless Pharaoh, aka Yami Yugi. It turns out he himself gave up his memories and bound his soul to the puzzle in order to seal a bigger evil, which had to be defeated near the end of the series.
  • In One Piece, after meeting the cute mermaid Camie/Kaimie/Keymie, Zoro promptly deletes his memory of having met the not so cute mermaid Kokoro through sheer willpower.
    • A more straightforward example occurs later in the Dressrosa Arc with Sugar, who's fruit power not only turns people into toys but erases everyone else's memories of those people. Which makes for some drama when the toys try to get their friends and family to remember them and are seen as defective and taken away, more drama when Robin is turned into a toy, when Usopp manages to knock Sugar out and undo her powers causing all the toys to transform back into humans and everyone else to remember them.
    • An even more straightforward example comes in the form of Charlotte Pudding, who ate the Memory-Memory Fruit. This fruit allows the user to pull memories out from someone's head in the form of a strip of film and perform edits on them. The first use seen had our user take a pair of scissors and cut out memories from Reiju that she could've used to inconvenience Pudding later on. Reiju does notice a gap in her memories when she comes to, and Sanji, who had witnessed that point in time in secret, fills Reiju in on what happened.
  • Done to Hisoka in Descendants of Darkness by Muraki in order to erase the memory of the night that Muraki raped him and marked him with a slowly fatal curse. Muraki later removed the memory block when he thought it would be amusing to make him remember it.
  • Infinity Game:
    • The previous DM erased all of Trishia's memories (which he created in the first place) and made her Dwarven Defender 00 (D.D.) so she could serve the next Game Master. When Long Wei, the new Game Master, keeps up his DM title so he can enter the game he created, he makes D.D. control the game and forget who the Game Master is so the game is fair.
    • At the end Long Wei does this to the rest of the team. As the RPG Society are trying to take over the alternative world with their previous game (so the players who were erased could come back - of course, doing this erases the current players, even if they're already dead) they froze the flow of time and the war between the them and Long Wei was slow, if he waited until after the war to bring them back to life and send them to the real world it'd be fifty years in the future. He hopes doing this will mean they aren't traumatised by all the events, but they're all vaguely aware something isn't right.
  • Milk Crown and its sequels. The protagonist, Oto Tachibana, loses her memory at least three times.
  • Karin: The vampires can hypnotically erase memories of the feeding from the people they bite.
    • In the manga, this happens to Karin herself. Once she's freed of the curse, she no longer has any vampire traits, so her family erases her memory of them in order to allow her to live as a human, who thinks she was orphaned. Apparently, they'd been planning to do so for four years, preparing her mind so that she would only forget about vampires and nothing else.
  • In the second, '80s series of Himitsu no Akko-chan, the title heroine carelessly outs herself as a Magical Girl in front of her whole community of friends. While at first her empowering entity doesn't take it well, stripping Akko of her powers and her reflected image, later settles for a new, stealthier mirror and free Laser-Guided Amnesia for everyone involved.
  • Necrolyzation has this effect on people in Gungrave. It also usually strips the reanimated person of emotions as well. The protagonist undergoes said process and suffers terrible headaches whenever he recovers a fragment of his memory. Conversely, in the videogame he doesn't get the headaches, and never quite gets over his memory loss—with a few crucial exceptions.
  • Masako Natsume from Mawaru-Penguindrum plays this trope to a T by using her laser-guided slingshot to have all Kanba's ex-girlfriends to forget about him at all.
  • In Switch (2002), Kai lost all his memories from before he turned six.
  • In Gunnm, Doc Ido suffered total mental collapse when Desty Novas revealed the dark secret of Tiphares: all of the citizens of Tiphares, such as Novas and Ido, get their brains replaced with chips at the age of nineteen. Unable to live with this revelation, Doc Ido recorded a final farewell to Alita, erased his own memories a feat made relatively easier since he has a chip for a "brain", and started life anew as an ordinary doctor.
  • Washu does this to the OVA Tenchi Muyo! cast in one issue of the manga. Dr. Clay starts attacking the crew via an old assistant robot of Washu's and forces her into a Sadistic Choice - either fight the robot alone and forget the others, or watch as the robot continues attacking everyone she cares for. She chooses the former and erases everyone's memory of her... but only them, which allows Minagi, a clone of Ryoko, to spot Washu taking Ryo-Ohki to the fight site and be able to push the gang into realizing something's wrong. When they confront Washu, she ends up undoing the Amnesia (which pisses Tenchi off that she did so in the first place), but Sasami ends up undoing it on herself while they're gone.
  • Happens to Yumina in one of the bonus episodes of Sound of the Sky, when she and the main cast (except Kureha) get extremely drunk. Their secret distillery is semi-illegal, and Yumina is a priestess, so she conveniently forgets about the whole thing. Somewhat justified since alcohol can have this effect, but it's awfully weird that she doesn't notice having no memories of the previous night, and she doesn't even get a hangover to go with the blackout.
  • In Kamisama Kiss Mikage made Tomoe forget his relationship with Yukiji.
  • Astral in Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL suffers from this. At the beginning of the series he cannot remember anything about his history or purpose, and can only regain his memories by collecting Number Cards with Yuma.
  • Captain Dan in Planet Robo Danguard Ace Ichimonji Dantetsu, the hero's long-lost father turns up with an un-removable mask after 10 years as the villain's mind-controlled slave - the mask has not only removed his memories from before it was put on, but seems (since a convenient memory-viewer establishes that he has no memories prior to the accident that broke the mask's control mechanism...) to have prevented new ones forming - however Dan retains his almost unstoppable willpower, a drive for excellence (and revenge!) AND his ace piloting skills which are practically off the charts... After one too many bumps on the head he gets better.
  • Ramia is struck with this in the third Pretty Sammy OVA, "Super Kiss". She encounters an alien lifeform which absorbs all over evil traits, leaving her to wander the beachside as a kindly young woman as Rumiya and Pixy Misa try to find her - both Tsunami and Sasami have no idea what's going on as Tsunami thinks that Ramia is there... which is a doll in front of her. She quickly remembers everything, though, when she finds Pixy Misa and Pretty Sammy fighting the creature.
  • In the first Pokémon movie, Mewtwo erases everyone's memories of himself, the clones and the island. He tries to do this again to everyone in the sequel, but Meowth stops him—so he just wipes Team Rocket's memories instead.
    • He even did this in Pokémon Live!, though as he hits MechaMew2 with enough of Ash's memories to make him faint, it may have been accidental.
  • In the sequel to Tokyo Ghoul, Haise Sasaki has little memory of the first twenty years of his life. He claims to have little interest in regaining his memories, and insists that he's very happy with the life that CCG has given him. As suspected, at the finale of the original series, the organization captured a critically-wounded Ken Kaneki and erased all record of his existence. It isn't clear how much of his amnesia resulted from psychological trauma, brainwashing, or Arima driving his spear through Kaneki's skull twice.
  • A side effect of the serum that Eren was injected with in Attack on Titan. Levi points out how (in)convenient this is.
    • On a grander scale, this is the power of the Founding Titan, which can alter and erase memories of any Eldian. King Karl, the first king of the walls, used this power to make the people of the walls forget everything about the universe and make them believe that they were the last surviving humans in the world. It later turns out that Zeke Yeager, Eren's half-brother, is able to alter and erase memories of any Eldian that ingests his spinal fluid. Part of Zeke's plan involves getting his followers to sneak his spinal fluid into wine, which makes him able to forcefully transform them into mindless titans (by screaming) that he can then control.
  • In the movie sequel to Sword Art Online Ordinal scale, most of the original 6,147 Sword Art Online Players have their memories of the game temporary removed after being defeated in the AR game ordinal scale. which is used in creating a AI from a dead player
  • In Dragon Ball, it's revealed that Goku, as a child, fell off a waterfall and bonked his head, erasing any memories he had as the low-class Saiyan warrior Kakarot. This proved to be a good thing as Goku was planned to raze Earth to be sold by Freeza. Instead, he became instrumental to Freeza's defeat. Twice!
    • The last wish to be made on the Dragon Balls in Z—at least, canonically—is for Earth's population to forget everything about Majin Buu, so the now-reformed Mr. Buu could live a new life without his many, many have-been-victims being afraid of him.
  • Overlord (2012): Ainz' first contact with the natives of the new world is with two little girls who are understandably terrified of the giant skeleton who just murdered an armored knight intent on killing them and turned him into an undead abomination. So he edits their memories so they remember he saved them, but not what he looks like (he always wears a mask, a helmet or an illusory face from that point on).
  • A mostly silent character has this as a psi power in Night Raid 1931. It is not clear just how extensively it is employed.

    Audio Plays 
  • Big Finish Doctor Who: Tales from the Vault: The Second Doctor encounters a gang staging robberies and then using an alien crystal to wipe the minds of any witnesses so they cannot remember any details of the robbery. The Doctor eventually uses the crystal to wipe the gang leader's memory of the crystal and how to use. Captain Matheson explains that UNIT Secret Ops now uses the crystal to remove memories of alien incursions and UNIT operations from people who are not amenable to other forms of coercion.

    Comic Books 
  • In an early Incredible Hulk comic, Betty Ross is kidnapped by baddies and taken to their underground lair. Hulk goes down and rescues her (at the time, the Hulk was intelligent), beats the baddies and proves that he's not evil after all. During the tram back up the mine shaft it's revealed that Betty has forgotten the whole event due to stress. This is while she's still in the same room as the guy who just rescued her.
  • Virtually all of Wolverine's character and most of his plot arcs are based around his adventuring past which he cannot remember — or remembers wrongly. Around the time his origin was finally revealed, it came to light that his Healing Factor works in a psychological capacity as well, and actually scabs over especially hurtful memories.
  • In the 1950s, this was used as the basis for a Heel–Face Turn by Catwoman, in the same story that introduced her now-canonical civilian persona of Selina Kyle.
  • The backstory of the retcon hero The Sentry says that he erased the entire world's memory of his existence. Himself included.
  • The third Flash (Wally West), after years of having his identity public, enlists the aid of the Spectre to erase everyone's memory of his secret identity. People remember both The Flash, and Wally West, but not that they are the same person. They even remember having known his identity, but for some reason can't recall it. In an unexpected side effect, this initially affects Wally himself.
  • In the DC miniseries Identity Crisis, it is revealed that one of the reasons the JLA has been able to keep their identities secret over the years is by having Zatanna strategically erase the knowledge from the minds of any villains who find out. The story was set into motion years before when they attempted to forcibly reform Dr. Light via this method, and it went horribly wrong.
  • Following one of the times his identity was made public, Iron Man used a villain's mind control powers to wipe the memory of everyone on Earth. This is supposedly before the Dork Age of Smug Snake Civil War Tony, although it may have been one of the seeds of this (notably, Captain America was very unhappy).
  • Before Planetary recruited him to become the third man, Elijah Snow lived in a shack in the desert with gaps in his century-spanning memory you could "chuck a nuke through". His work with the field team leads him to prod at these gaps and learn that the mysterious Fourth Man behind Planetary is him, and that The Four forced him to allow the memory blocks after they captured him and his team.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe:
    • In Don Rosa's Uncle Scrooge story "Forget It!", Magica uses a wand that causes anyone hit by it to start forgetting things related to words they hear after they hear their name, and uses it on Scrooge and Donald Duck in her latest effort to steal Scrooge's #1 Dime. Hilarity Ensues as Donald and Scrooge forget how to use doors, stairs, and even how to stand up and walk due to Magica's spell. It backfires when she gets away with the dime, but the malfunctioning wand makes her forget why she wanted it in the first place!
    • In Carl Barks' "House of Haunts", Scrooge was also given amnesia by the Beagle Boys by a blow to a specific spot on his head. This gave Scrooge the specific amnesia of forgetting everything that happened since last November. Tapping again apparently is a complete cure.
    • In the Paperinik (Donald's superhero alter ego) stories, Paperinik has candies that wipe memories, normally slipped to people who have somehow found out Paperinik's Secret Identity (notably, the first known victim is the candies' own inventor Gyro, who took them willingly upon being told by Donald. Other stories in which Paperinik has to tell him always end with him wiping out his own memory once again). The candies also reappeared in Paperinik New Adventures, when Angus has stumbled on the secret of the Ducklair Tower and is slipped one after he tells the other journalists the admittedly ridiculous ending of the adventure (that Paperinik and allies had caused to make him not be believed).
    • Also from Paperinik New Adventures, Everett Ducklair has ray guns that cause this effect (and planned to use one on Paperinik to make him forget what he knows of his secrets, but ends up using it on himself to forget Paperinik's secret identity in gratitude for him saving his daughter), and the Time Police is prone to enact memory wipes on people who know too much and are believed can't be trusted with their secret.
    • In Double Duck (set in the same continuity as Paperinik New Adventures) the Agency has the Total Reset Button, a treatment that erases someone's memory of something that is used on former members that quit (they also make them record a video message to prove their identity and that they were paid for their job in case they must recall them in service) or people who know too much. The Agency can reverse it, but it's a difficult procedure that doesn't guarantee full results. Like with Gyro's candies, the memory may sometimes be partially recovered through emotional shock.
  • In Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade Belinda flicks a "memory erasure pressure point" on Lena Thorul's head, which makes her forget all about Supergirl's secret identity. Supergirl refuses to believe it worked. The actual amnesia was caused by Streaky the Super-Cat's psychic powers.
  • Not so long ago it happened in Thunderbolts: When they have to kill Songbird, Headsman, Ghost and Paladin betrayed and defeated Scourge and Mr. X, and let her escape. Then Ghost removes this even from Scourge's and X's short-term memory
  • When Maxwell Lord was resurrected in Blackest Night, the first thing he did was to use his Psychic Powers to mindwipe everyone on Earth of all of their memories related to him except for his old Justice League International teammates and the Blue Beetle scarab. He went even further to maintain the illusion by implanting Fake Memories such as Ted Kord committing suicide and Ice trying to murder Guy. Which causes still-unexplained plotholes, as several people implied affected expressly would not be given the storyline. While it's unlikely that, for instance, Kilowog would bring Max up in casual conversation, or that an egomaniac like Manga Khan would give Lord a second thought, Wonder Woman was expressly described as immune to his powers, which is why she was able to kill him in the first place. She's affected like all the rest. However, this is due to the fact, at the time Generation Lost was going on, Wonder Woman was going through a Cosmic Retcon which altered everything about her.
  • One issue of Damage Control had the company hired to repair damage to Xavier's School For Gifted Children from a super-battle. After the repairs were completed and the crew paid, Professor Xavier used his telepathic powers to erase their memories of the school's location and students.
  • Doctor Strange does this on occasion, usually to help people recover their sanity after stumbling into something their minds couldn't handle.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • In Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic suffers a bonk on the head and loses all memory of who he is. Dr. Robotnik takes advantage of it and turns him against the Freedom Fighters.
    • In Sonic the Comic, when Super Sonic was split off from Sonic, he completely lost all memory of what he was. He forgot that he was an embodiment of pure malevolent evil. He even lost his super-super-speed and world-destroying powers because he forgot he had them and became just a regular kid for a while. Of course, Super Sonic being normal is exactly as interesting as it sounds, especially since he was portrayed as a borderline loser, and it didn't last.
  • In the New 52 version of Stormwatch, the Martian Manhunter wipes the memories of superheroes he's forced to interact with, so they don't know about Stormwatch. When he leaves the team, he wipes all their memories of him. He implies he's done this sort of thing before, which may be considered a Fridge Brilliance Retcon as to why Stormwatch think he's also been a conventional superhero, but the heroes he contacted have never heard of him; he's already wiped their memories of his public career!
  • This was used to explain how Spider-Man was able to rehide his secret identity after Civil War. In One Moment in Time, he convinces Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic and Doctor Strange to help him fix this. A combination of Strange's magic, Reed's nanobots and Tony's Extremis link allow them to erase everyone's memories of Spidey's identity... except for Mary Jane's, which Peter makes sure doesn't happen and Kaine because the spell thinks he is Peter. Peter later broke the spell, unwittingly, during Spider-Island, when he revealed he was one of the many who had spider powers. The knowledge of who he is remains wiped from everyone's memory, but now others can find out.
  • Wonder Woman (Rebirth): The gods made sure Diana couldn't return to Paradise Island by removing the precise location of it from her mind, and altering her memories allowing her to believe the fake Amazons and gods she encountered during the New 52 were real.
  • In Red Hood and the Outlaws #19 , Red Hood has S'aru remove every single memory of his that The Joker touched to let him start anew. Unfortunately, this is almost everything he remembers. By the end, he doesn't have the slightest clue who Arsenal or Starfire are.
  • At the end of Tintin: Flight 714 Kanrokitoff hypnotically strips everybody of their memories of what happened. Except for Snowy, but he can't tell tales...
  • in Astro City, Beautie can't remember anything from before a time when she was flying over a meadow. If she learns anything about herself before that time, she forgets it too, often within moments. Turns out her creator ordered her to forget it. Sometimes, her distress at her ignorance is strong enough to pre-empt it.
  • In Amulet, Gablian is fond of using memory wiping as a tool, either using the threat of it to get information, or extracting the information anyway if the target refuses, leaving them in an amnesiac state that can take years to recover from. He's also responsible for wiping most of Luger's mind, and Trellis mentions that there are several unexplainable gaps in his memory.
  • In Charles Soule's Daredevil, Matt has somehow forced everybody in the world to forget that he is Daredevil. He only allowed his best friend Foggy to remember.
    • It's revealed that after a fight, the children of the Purple Man decided to "help" Matt by using a machine to broadcast their powers worldwide, telling everyone to forget Matt Murdock was Daredevil and DD was a hero. Matt himself didn't realize it until he went to visit girlfriend Kristen in costume and she was thrown, asking him if he wanted to leave a message with Matt. He went to Foggy to unmask, which caused Foggy to remember but Matt decided it was better Kristen and everyone else didn't.
    • This leads to complications with those DD knows. Elektra no longer remembers so she thinks she was "cheating" on Matt when she was with Daredevil. And Spider-Man notices holes in his memory and forces DD to admit what happened (although not his real name).
    • This actually works out for Matt when Wilson Fisk is elected mayor of New York. When Fisk offers Matt the position of Deputy Mayor, Matt realizes Fisk no longer remembers he's Daredevil and accepts, thinking this is the best way to get in close to Fisk's real plans.
  • Nemesis the Warlock When Nemesis and Purity are waiting in the time wastes, she regains parts of her memory that Nemesis had wiped from her mind. She was recruited by Nemesis to spy on Torquemada after wooing him with a love spell. Though the real reason he made her forget this is because he had also admitted to her that he's far more cruel than he has made himself out to be, having intentionally prolonged the war out of boredom.
    Nemesis: Just because Torquemada is evil, don't assume that must mean that I'm good.
  • In West Coast Avengers, Agatha Harkness removes the Scarlet Witch's memories of her children after it is discovered they don't exist, because the trauma is too much for her to handle.
  • Achille Talon: spoofed at the end of La Traversée du disert. The lieutenant policeman who helped the escaped convicts regrets his betrayal when they attempt to kill all hostages. After Talon punched the wannabe killers, lieutenant tells his sub-lieutenant (who was taken as an hostage) he can now arrest him. Sub-lieutenant smiles and answers the many explosions made him a little amnesic. It's obvious he actually means "I forgive you".
  • Uncanny X-Men: This is one of the powers of the Genoshan Magistrate Wipeout, along with erasing mutant powers.
  • In a Post-Crisis Infinity, Inc. story, Golden Age Wonder Woman's daughter Hippolyta Trevor (Fury) has trouble coping with the fact that not only was her mother and her father General Steve Trevor gone from the mortal realm to be with each other for eternity on Mount Olympus, but that her parents no longer existed in the Post-Crisis DC Universe that emerged. To help Lyta out, her fellow member Brainwave Jr. used his telepathic powers to erase any memory she had of her Pre-Crisis parents, eventually causing her to go on a quest where she discovered that she was the daughter of Helena Kosmatos, who in the Post-Crisis DC Universe was the Golden Age Fury, and that she was adopted and raised by Joan Dale Trevor, the Freedom Fighter known as Miss America, and her husband Admiral Derek Trevor. (The cover of the issue makes it look like Brainwave Jr. was subjecting Fury to a bit of Mind Rape.)
  • In a Richie Rich comic book story, when aliens accidentally kidnap Richie Rich when he was in a suit of gold that they take along with a host of other things made of gold from a museum the Riches own and trade all that stuff for diamonds, they hit Richie with a ray of amnesia when they return him to his world and depart so that he would not remember where the diamond stuff came from or why the gold stuff was replaced by diamond stuff.
  • The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016): Any non-Amazons who end up inside the magical barrier around Themyscira lose their memories of anything which happened there once they leave. This affects Steve Trevor but enough interaction with Diana eventually brings those memories back.

    Comic Strips 
  • Mandrake the Magician has had parts of his memory erased several times, usually by well-meaning, but condescending aliens and time-travellers who thinks it's too dangerous to let him remember all the fantastic things he has seen. The poor guy's had a lot of amazing adventures that he will never know about.

    Fairy Tales 

    Fanfiction 
  • In Stuck in a World of Fiction the protaganist's memory is almost completely erased in the process of being sent from the real world to the world of Mass Effect. It's later revealed there is more to the memory loss than simply how he got there,as the Reaper's efforts to make him a super soldier included implanting entire other minds and overwriting his own, but it still qualifies for this trope as he still remembers every detail of the games, and most of what he'd ever watched in terms of media. His memory is also otherwise perfect, perhaps making this an Inverted/Subverted trope
  • Reconnected: West is unable to remember anything before she arrived in Traverse Town at age six, including her real name.
  • In Kyon: Big Damn Hero, Nagato does this to Kyon, Mikuru, and Kanae every night to stop them remembering years and years of training. It's also hinted she does it to stop Kyon remembering kissing her...
  • In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Silver Resistance Char, the protagonist, has this to the extent that he doesn't even remember his own name (Char being a nickname given by Saura). Subverted with Saura, who we thought was invoking this trope after being Mind Raped.
  • In the Steven Universe fanfic Long-Term Memories, people who break free of Spinel's mindcontrol forget everything that happened during their posession. Connie forgets one afternoon, Steven forgets two whole days, and Amethyst forgets nearly an entire week.
  • A Star Wars fanfic called Innocence sees Vader suffering brain damage after a crash into Rebel territory. When he learns the facts of his career, he decides he'd rather start as a new man. While he's unsuccessful in getting rid of his breathmask, he adopts some less intimidating prosthetics and swaps his black cape for green coveralls. He rediscovers his engineering talent with Han as a mentor/bodyguard, and after helping the pilots get even with an obnoxious commander, is ultimately accepted as a comrade.
  • Mistakes depicts the nation-tans of Axis Powers Hetalia as unable to disobey a direct order from their human leaders. Thus, when Japan finds out the horrible things being done to his brothers and his boss tells him to forget about it, not even meaning it entirely literally, Japan does.
  • In the CLANNAD fanfic An End To All Things, this is the result of some sort of accident, and is the reason why Okazaki doesn't quite remember Kotomi.
  • Friendship is Optimal: The Law Offices of Artemis, Stella & Beat: Vibrant can't remember exactly what happened to her that led to her Brain Uploading into Equestria, beyond that it was "something really bad." Given that she was murdered and the procedure was done to save her, this is probably a good thing.
  • A Shadow of the Titans: After arriving in the Teen Titans world, Jade completely forgets having first ended up in the Pocket Dimension inhabited by the Cackler. Whether this is his doing or incidental is unknown.
  • The Calvin and Hobbes: The Series TV movie "Invasion" has part of Calvin's memory being erased as a side effect of the MTM's Mind Probe. Pretty all of his memories after the original comic strip, undoing all his Character Development. The fear of Socrates' prank manages to restore it.
  • In Let the Heart decide, Saki falls down and hits her head in the hot springs, and as a result, starts thinking Hisa is her older sister instead of Teru.
  • In Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo Massive Multiplayer Crossover, one of the villains is revealed to have had this done. More specifically, after the Eridian Reform faction created Sarah to uphold the Mantle of Responsibility in their stead, she decides they are the ones in need of punishment for breaking the rules they themselves have laid down. After subduing her, they both mind-wipe their "Selfless Servant" and suppress any emotions she might feel. Which makes sense, considering she went into an Unstoppable Rage after she found out what they'd done to try to get out of doing their sacred duty.
  • In Mega Man Reawakened, coming back from the dead leaves Robert with little memory of his human life at first.
  • In The Student Prince, Merlin uses his magic to wipe Arthur's memory of what happened after kissing Arthur to lift a spell and bring him back to his senses.
  • Discussed in one chapter of The Twilight Child, when Twilight Sparkle learns several surprising things about her future all at one, and talks about them with Princess Celestia. In theory, Princess Celestia could erase her memories. Twilight Sparkle asks her if she could, Celestia asks if Twilight wants those memories removed, Twilight asks if she would. Celestia responds with an emphatic "never".
    • Actually happens to the main character, over several chapters at the hands of the Nightmare possessing her, starting with the memories of her father. She doesn't even notice until she realises she can't remember her father's name.
  • The Bridge gives us Monster X. Other than scattered, almost nightmarish still flashes of a kaiju heavily implied to be King Ghidorah attacking a planet, and some operation being done to stop him, he can't remember a thing prior to a certain point. He even forgot his own name, thus being christened X. This has had no impact on numerous skills he's had, but he can't recall how he learned them. For all intensive purposes, his entire past previous to being the monstrosity he is now is a blank sheet.
    • Leads to him joining the Big Bad's forces, after the latter promises to restore his memories.
  • In Friendship Is Magical Girls, Twilight has a spell designed to erase memories, which she uses to maintain The Masquerade. The only time it doesn't work is on Rainbow Dash in their first encounter; while she doesn't remember the details, she knows afterwards that she's met Twilight before, and that there is something she can't remember. This leads to her hounding Twilight until Celestia orders her to undo the spell and explain things. It's implied the whole reason this happened is because Rainbow's status as an Element Bearer protected her on some level.
  • In Deserted Distractions, Yami Bakura can erase memories, and he plans to do so to Tea so Yami Yugi won't come after him.
  • Lupine Tree Has the "Other," a human soul whose memory was damaged in the process of being brought to Equestria. Has type 1 Laser-Guided Amnesia.
  • Invoked in Thousand Shinji when Shinji wonders if he can have this to forget the damned Keeper of Secrets.
    “Yes, that’s part of the same damn debriefing I keep hearing. Incidentally, isn’t there some way to give me laser guided amnesia instead of just wiping out the past three months when we’re done here?”
  • There are increasingly obvious hints in Universe Falls, starting with the chapter "Gems and Journals", that the Crystal Gems deliberately had their memories of the Author of the Journals erased. "Lost and Found" reveals Rose Quartz had their memories erased with one of the ray-guns used by the Society of the Blind Eye, and hid their memories in Lion's mane. The Gems are rather distressed when they get their memories back and find out why in the process; in "Chille Tid, Part 2" Garnet reveals to the kids that it was because the Gems were tricked into a deal with Bill Cipher and got possessed, and he did... something to them as he was forced out of their bodies.
  • In Secrets Ron and Hermione ask Harry to Obliviate their knowledge of Horcruxes after Voldemort's defeat so that no other dark wizards can learn of the technique from them.
  • Escape From the Moon: Doa has no problems functioning like a normal pony, but suffers Loss of Identity every time she wakes up from her odd dreams of dying. It stops working after she regains her full memories in chapter 6.
  • In Weight of the World Canada's Semblance is revealed to be memory erasure. Before discovering this he accidentally uses it on Russia (to make him forget about Aura), a hotel owner (to stop him from calling the police) America (erasing memories of what Atlas did to them), and himself.
  • In Anonymoose's Monster Girl Saga, Laven wakes up the beginning of the story unable to remember who he is. While he retains his procedural memory, he can't even remember his own name - he takes a new one from a bed of lavender flowers. As the story progresses, he experiences flashes of his original life.
  • In the True Blood fanfic How Could You Forget, Antonia ends up erasing Bill Compton's memories instead of Eric Northman's. Bill remembers that he's a vampire, and that he can play the piano, and not much else. He also has a few memories of his maker Lorena, and Jessica has to help Bill re-learn just enough about the vampire politics in Louisiana so that he can go out in public and not give away his amnesia to other vampires, since he is their King.
  • In Spa Day, Missy cannot recall why she regenerated but she can tell that it was not a pleasant experience.
  • My Little Pony: The Mentally Advanced Series: In "Rainbow Dash Presents: Spiderses", Big McIntosh, unlike Twilight, doesn't remember that he's in a story being read by Celestia. Celestia Lampshades this.
  • In The Caligula Effect Placebo, the Musicians have the ability to do this to others. 666 wipes Maya's memories twice, both times erasing whatever memories she had of her time thus far in Mobius. She leaves the Go-Home Club after the second time and pulls a Face–Heel Turn after her memories are restored. Also, Vani-Q gets his memories of 666 erased by Yves, but he eventually gets them back.
  • Sonic the Comic – Online!: Tikal is accidentally transported 8000 years into the future to the present day. Unfortunately, she remembers being trapped with Chaos for 8 millenia in constant fear and pain. To save her sanity Ebony decides to mind-wipe her.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: Discussed in "A Small Deception", where Mercury says she wiped the memories of her torture victims. But, actually, they were just unconscious.
  • In Karma In Retrograde, Touya can't remember anything from the past five years, including his time as the villain Dabi. The last thing he remembers is studying for one of Midnight's exams and calling home to speak with Shouto before Endeavor interrupted their conversation. This contributes to Touya's confusion when he wakes up in a flaming warehouse and sees a tall, muscular, and sharp Shouto who is his age.

    Film — Animation 
  • In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Forgotten Friendship, Sunset Shimmer's Heel–Face Turn is erased from the memories of everyone else at Canterlot High (including her best friends), who only remember her as the Alpha Bitch that she used to be. When Sunset uses her Touch Telepathy to peer into their minds, she sees her friends remember all of the previous events of the series, just not Sunset turning good. It was the work of the Memory Stone, an Equestrian artifact which can selectively steal any memories the user wants, with no way to block it. The stone was used by the Big Bad Wallflower Blush, who was angry at Sunset for still ignoring her even after reforming. Sunset has her own memories stolen twice: first losing her memory of confronting Wallflower in the yearbook room, and then losing all her memories of high school and the human world when she saves her friends from the same fate.
  • In Interstella 5555, the main characters, an alien music group, are put in a machine that changes their memories to make them believe they are human.
  • Happens to Barbie, Ken and Raquelle at the end of Barbie: A Fairy Secret. When all is taken care of, Princess Graciella sends the three home, but their memories of the fairies and Gloss Angeles are erased, and they think it was all a dream.
  • When Elsa in Frozen accidentally hits her sister, Anna, in the head with her ice magic, her parents bring them to a troll colony to save her. The oldest troll then alters Anna's memories of Elsa's magic so she won't remember her sister has powers "to be safe". The grown up Anna later learns of Elsa's powers and accepts them, but she never regains her old memories.
  • In Hotel Transylvania, Dracula tries to do this on Johnny and fails due to Johnny's contact lenses blocking the effect.
  • Literal example in Pixar's Jack-Jack Attack, and explicitly shown in a cut scene from The Incredibles. Plays a little like mind rape, since Huph is trying to hold on to the original version of the events.
    • It proves to be not quite laser-guided enough at the start of the sequel when Agent Dicker does the same thing to Tony, after Bob had advised him that Tony had inadvertently seen Violet in costume but out of her mask. Dicker removes Tony's memory of having discovered Violet's identity, but in the process also inadvertently wipes his memory of agreeing to go on a date with her that Friday, resulting in her getting stood up. This causes some conflict between Violet and Bob when she realises what happened.
  • The final resolution of Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension: all the kids agree to have their memories of the day wiped in order to keep Perry. Isabella used this to give Phineas a Forceful Kiss, knowing she wouldn't remember. Though Perry kept a secret stash of photos on his digital camera.
  • Steven Universe: The Movie: The movie's villain, Spinel, has a Sinister Scythe-like weapon called a "rejuvenator" that was apparently used by Homeworld to "reset" disobedient Gems, erasing their memories and reverting them to their original intended roles. The original Crystal Gems get zapped, which causes Pearl to become an obedient servant who bonds to "Um-Greg Universe" as her new master, Sapphire and Ruby to revert to their pre-Garnet roles as an aloof seer and her bodyguard, and Amethyst to revert to a child-like Blank Slate who randomly shape-shifts into other people and parrots what they say. It has no effects on Steven's memories, but it does cause him to start losing control of his powers. When Spinel gets hit with her own weapon, she goes from being a vengeful Monster Clown to a friendly, happy-go-lucky jester. Unfortunately, this means she doesn't know anything about the enormous injector-like device she brought along that's threatening to wipe out all life on Earth, from why she wanted to use it in the first place to how to turn it off.
  • Used in Wreck-It Ralph by King Candy to make everyone forget that Vanellope Von Schweetz is the actual ruler of Sugar Rush instead of a glitch.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Discussed in The Adjustment Bureau. The adjusters threaten to reset David: "Your emotions, your memories, your entire personality will be expunged."
  • The entire Bourne (Identity, Supremacy, Ultimatum) series of films have a protagonist who has amnesia induced by a psychotic break while on a mission. His amnesia could be organic as well as psychological, since it's implied that he and his fellow assassins are/were taking some sort of medication to supplement their conditioning, and he's obviously not taking it anymore. It could be why he can't recover any of his memories, despite his best efforts.
  • A strange mix of anterograde and retrograde amnesia is played for laughs in Clean Slate, where Dana Carvey's character has forgotten his entire past and forgets the events of each day as soon as he goes to sleep.
  • In Cypher, Applied Phlebotinum is used as a brainwashing tool in order to turn employees of a Mega-Corp into unknowing corporate spies. Whilst they don't completely forget about their formers lives, the corp makes their new "fake" lives such a facsimile of the old one that they never notice.
  • The central premise of Dark City. A man wakes up with no memories of his identity, but has lingering emotional resonance with certain people and places. How much of his personality is truly his remains a mystery — it's implied that his love for his wife is genuine, but at the same time, he's also driven to visit Shell Beach, a place everyone's visited but nobody can describe its location. It doesn't exist, until the end when he makes it exist. He finds his mindwiped wife there, and the movie ends before revealing whether her feelings toward him were genuine or induced.
  • One skillfully executed example is the 2004 film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which concerns a company that can specifically erase your memory of a particular person, used (for example) when a subject wishes to forget a devastating love affair. The explanation of the process is mainly technobabble, but is believable and internally consistent, with some noticeable secondary memory loss.
  • The plot of The Forgotten revolves around the protagonist realizing that no one remembers that her missing son even existed (even her husband), except for her. In the end, she discovers that it's all a part of an alien experiment to test parental connection to their children. She's the outlier, who retains her memories, even when the alien manages to forcibly rip the memories of her son's life from her. Luckily, she still remembers being pregnant, causing the memories to come back. The alien is punished by his superiors for his failure, and her son is brought back, along with the other kids.
  • In Jupiter Ascending, the space police and bounty hunters come standardly equipped with the ability to make people on the worlds they're visiting forget any of the things they see that are out of the ordinary, including inducing laser-guided amnesia and building back structures that were damaged in combat that the visitors were involved in. However, the fact that people that may have been killed during the fight wasn't brought up.
  • Invoked in the Korean Lost and Found. After a car accident reunites her with her high school crush, the protagonist pretends to have amnesia so that he'll have to take of her. Her doctor lampshades it, saying she seems to have gotten "TV amnesia" that wiped her memory but left all her other skills intact.
  • The Neuralizer from Men in Black, also known as the "flashy thing". It can be set for a specific length of time and leaves the victim in a brief trance so a cover story can be planted to maintain Plausible Deniability. Agents are also issued special sunglasses to prevent accidental self-neuralization.
  • The Paycheck film features literally Laser Guided Amnesia (neurons destroyed with lasers), as a method to prevent engineers to trade out top secret technology after finishing their assignment.
    • It also appears to work flawlessly, but can only be used for erasing short periods of time (up to a few weeks). For longer periods, they switch to a chemical agent which is supposed to do the same job. It doesn't work quite as well, leaving behind pieces of memories.
    • In the original Philip K. Dick short story, this is basically what motivates the protagonist to have to seek out the company that hired him and a find a way back in, since the memories are literally burned meaning there's no way to co-operate with the police (who know he's been up to something illegal) and thus avoid prosecution.
  • In the 2009 film Push, there exist people called Wipers, who can temporarily or permanently erase memories, useful as there are other people in that universe who can read minds and memories. Wipers can wipe all memory up to a certain point, or try to wipe only certain memories relating to specific topic, but the accuracy of the wipe is determined by their skill. Pushers can do the opposite and convince someone that a specific event really happened, when it really didn't (then again, this is just a more effective means of something humans can already do perfectly well, since memory is a very pliable thing). They can also convince someone that something didn't happen, making them think that the real memory was imagined.
  • Happens to Alice and Spence Parks in the first Resident Evil movie as a side effect of being rendered unconscious by sleep gas.
  • In Superman II, among many other superpowers that pop up out of nowhere, Superman is revealed to have the ability to remove specific memories with a kiss. This becomes a bit more disturbing in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, where he comes pretty close to using this power as a date rape drug.
  • Vamps: Vampires can compel people to forget specific memories with their hypnotic eyes.
  • In White Tiger, "Naydenov" cannot remember his true name, his military unit, his date of birth or where he went to school. He can remember how to drive a tank, though.
  • In The Wolfman (2010), it's not so much that he forgot, but rather Lawrence's memories were rewritten so that real memories of his werewolf father killing his mother were made to appear that she had killed herself with a razor.
  • X-Men Film Series
    • X-Men Origins: Wolverine features quite possibly one of the most painful instances of this trope. An antagonist loads a gun with Adamantium bullets, knowing he can't kill Wolverine with them, but intends to give him Laser Guided Amnesia by shooting him in the head. He succeeds, wiping Wolverine's memory with no other side-effects. Wolverine's "memories don't grow back", but his ability to speak, read, walk, recognize police cars, hide from police cars, etc, do.
    • In X-Men: First Class, Charles uses a kiss goodbye to wipe out Moira's memories the last few weeks, and of where he and the newly formed X-Men are. This is notably against his current philosophy in the comics, but very much in keeping with his modus operandi in the comics produced in the early 1960s.

    Music 
  • In the third chapter of mind.in.a.box's story, Black is rescued by the Sleepwalkers when his supervisor tries to erase Black's identity after he learned too much about his supervisor's operations. However, they were either too late or blanked out part of his memory, as he later can't even recall them ("Sleepwalkers?... never heard... what are they?") them and has trouble remembering his name later on.

    Podcasts 
  • Tellie from Sequinox forgot most of the information it needed to tell the Sequinox girls because Caiden ran over it when it first appeared to him. It slowly regains memories, usually right after they could have been useful.
  • The Adventure Zone: Balance: The voidfish has the power to erase people's memories of everything it eats to Cosmic Retcon levels. These memories can be restored by drinking its fluids, by dying, or when the voidfish beams the memories across the planar system.
  • Welcome to Night Vale: It turns out Cecil can't remember anything of his teen years, including his internship at Night Vale Community Radio and his brother.
  • In The Chimera Program arc of Cool Kids Table. November, aka Forget-Me-Not, from cannot be remembered by most people when they’re not looking at her. The main characters have some resistance to this, with the exception of Golden.
  • Edith from Interstitial Actual Play can't remember anything about her past, with the only clue being the Gadget toy she held on to after being sucked out of her world.
  • Parodied in episode six of Mystery Show, when Starlee jokes about a conspiracy revolving around the Welcome Back, Kotter lunchbox, including witnesses having their memories wiped.

    Radio 
  • Our Miss Brooks: "Mr. Conklin is Honored" begins with Mrs. Davis relating her sister Angela's recent brush with laser-guided amnesia. Later, Mr. Conklin fakes a case of his own.
  • Journey into Space: This trope is given a Time Travel variation in Journey to the Moon / Operation Luna. Once they return to their own time, the Luna crew lose all memory of everything that happened after they saw the Time Travellers' fleet on the dark side of The Moon. However, both Lemmy and Doc experience a sense of Déjà Vu.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Both Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Requiem have a power called The Forgetful Mind as part of the Dominate Discipline. It allows the vampire to go in and literally rewrite a person's memories by telling them what "really" happened. It's usually used to protect the Masquerade; however, it's made clear that it only really works on more recent memories, and if the account isn't completely comprehensive, cognitive dissonance will ensue.
  • Mages in Shadowrun can learn a spell called Alter Memory, which allows them to do exactly that: alter a single memory, including suppressing it entirely, although the subject can recover it either through willpower or magical help. The government of Tír Tairngire cultivates a fruit called laésal, which can be processed into laés, a drug that can erase up to twelve hours of memory upon consumption and that erasure is complete; it actually "formats" the physical storage of short-term memory in the brain. Leäl is a street drug derivative commonly used as a date-rape drug that removes up to two hours of memory. Cutting cocaine with leäl creates "pixie dust." Snorting it grants increased Charisma, Perception, and High Pain Tolerance, but also shreds your nasal cavities; fortunately, it removes the last few minutes of memory so you won't recall the agony.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The "Forget" spell as its most basic, and a whole slew of other memory-erasing or memory-rewriting spells from non-core books, like "Forget Past" (Oriental Adventure), "Otto's Tones of Forgetfulness", "Rary's Memory Alteration" (Greyhawk Adventures), "Modify Memory", "Memory Wrack" (Tome of Magic), "Brainkill" (The Complete Book of Necromancers), the psionic science "Mindwipe" (The Complete Psionics Handbook), etc.
    • Holy slayers (assassins) in Al-Qadim sometimes use a "Blade of Forgetfulness": everyone seeing it swung in a certain pattern suffers a complete memory lapse regarding everything that just happened and is about to happen (up to 3 rounds before and after). Not too hard to guess what sort of events tend to be forgotten this way, is it? Those attacked with such swords are very likely to shake off this effect, but usually this doesn't matter anymore.
    • The Dark Powers of Ravenloft do this to beings in the Demiplane of Dread quite regularly, mostly to preserve certain conditions. For example, anyone who takes up residence in the domain of Darkon will forget having ever lived anywhere else within a few months of doing so, and will believe that they and their ancestors have always been from there.
    • The Shadow that transports people, things and beings too monstrous to fall under the people category from undefined fantasy worlds to Earth in the Urban Arcana setting for d20 Modern as a side-effect also strips their memories of any details of those worlds — in effect, they know who they are, but not where they come from beyond Standard Fantasy Setting.
  • In GURPS Black Ops, the agents of "The Company" have a drug they can slip to someone who has Seen Too Much. They get what seems to be a nasty one-week case of flu, and forget what happened right before getting drugged. The Infinity Patrol from GURPS Time Travel have Eraser, which fits this trope even better — the drugged person blacks out for a bit, and wakes up without memory of the time immediately preceding the drugging. In Black Ops the existence of aliens and monsters must be kept secret, and the Infinity Patrol cannot let anyone know that parallel universes exist.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, Jace, the Mind Sculptor's ultimate ability wipes its targets' minds clean of all their spells, deleting their decks and blocking access to their hands.
  • The new M-X-Saber Invoker who suddenly joined the X-Sabers in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG? He's actually Souza, but he lost most of his memories.

    Theatre 
  • In Richard Wagner's Götterdämmerung, Siegfried is drugged to forget that he ever met Brunnhilde, but remembers killing the dragon Fafner and all his other early deeds (closely following the plot first found in Völsunga saga). Later, Siegfried steals the Ring from Brunnhilde, but promptly forgets this.
  • Fuddy Meers: The condition that Claire has, wiping her memory clean every day. Interestingly enough, she can recall distant memories easily with a little help.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Rewrite this is one of Shizuru's powers. In addition Kotarou starts the main story with this.
  • In Duel Savior Destiny for the resolution of Mia Touma's route, she has her memories wiped at the end so that she doesn't have to bear the weight of events that occurred in her story line.
  • A justified version comes from Another Code, where the Trace device has this as one of its functions as a memory control machine. The intent was for it to be used to help remove particularly traumatic memories from people like soldiers or victims.
  • In Fate/stay night, Heavens Feel route, Shirou gets a form of anterograde amnesia when he loosens the binding on Archer's arm. It becomes more typical retrograde amnesia later on.
  • In Nameless after a Deal with the Devil Nameless gains the ability to do this by ripping out the pages of the protagonist's diary. Fortunately, she gets better.
  • Shiki in Tsukihime had his previous memories of his life among the Nanaya clan magically erased by Makihasa after his incident with SHIKI. In fact, he doesn't even remember they existed for the most part and initially thinks of himself as SHIKI, the real son of Makihasa Tohno. Later, Akiha informs him that his memories cannot be replaced and that all records of his previous life were destroyed years ago. But he doesn't really care.
  • In the visual novel True Remembrance, destroying memories is used as a method of treating depression.
  • In Eien no Aselia before the story started Yuuto made a Deal with the Devil to save his little sister. The game starts when the devil in question (a sentient weapon) forces him to complete the contract and at the same time restores his memory of having made the deal. Later, Tokimi wipes his memory again when said sword is destroyed and he is rendered unable to fight.
  • In To the Moon it is revealed that Johnny's mom made him take beta blockers in his childhood in order to make him forget everything before that, including his dead twin brother Joey, it is heavily implied that the reason for this was to mold Johnny as Joey's Replacement Goldfish in his mom's mind.
  • In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, 14 of the 15 students of Hope's Peak Academy lost their memories of the two years they spent together. This also erased their memories of "The Biggest, Most Awful, Most Tragic Event in Human History" or "The Tragedy" for short. The only student who did not lose her memory was the mastermind behind The Tragedy and her twin sister, the secret 16th student. However, even though Toko lost her memories, her Split Personality Genocider Syo/Genocide Jack did not.
  • A sequence in the end-game of Spirit Hunter: NG has Kakuya wiping Akira's memories of Seiji and Kaoru, out of jealousy that he's closer to them than he is to Kakuya.

    Web Animation 
  • The Alpha AI introduced to viewers in Red vs. Blue: Reconstruction deliberately severed its memories from itself some time ago as a coping mechanism for the torture inflicted upon it by Project Freelancer. Those severed memories formed the Epsilon A.I., which merely "suppressed" them (after going insane for a period).
  • RWBY: Thanks to After the Fall, viewers now know that this is Yatsuhashi's semblance. He has the ability to remove memories as he sees fit, but rarely uses his ability due to a belief that memory is something that should be held dear.

    Webcomics 
  • Averted in Miamaska: Amity suffers a concussion and has memory problems of what happened for the next six days. She still has fuzzy memories of what occurred beforehand, though.
  • Funny Farm: Mavis forgets two years of her life thanks to a time bomb subconsciously implanted by a cult hypnotist. Later, Boe gets short-term amnesia from an explosion, causing him to forget what happened just prior, including his realization of his love for Mileena. Eventually, he remembers that there was some sort of love confession, though the details are fuzzy. The trope's subverted when it's revealed that the apparent amnesiac is not Boe at all, but Orwell pretending to be Boe and using amnesia as an excuse to not remember specifics.
  • After Wanda finishes interrogating Jillian in Erfworld, the guard comments on the "fascinating" things he overheard and tries to ask a few questions. Wanda tosses some magic powder in his face and tells him, "You heard only the screams for mercy."
  • In The Spider Cliff Mysteries, characters forget that a single day occurred. This was self-inflicted.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • The Oracle has a charm on his valley that prevents supplicants from remembering anything of their experience there, other than the answer they received for their questions. Among other things this keeps it unknown that the Oracle is a mere kobold, who is less than helpful to his customers. Roy (in ghost form) is able to bypass this when he is banished from the valley back to the afterlife.
    • Roy exploits this when being judged for entry into the Lawful Good Heaven and his treatment of the Oracle is brought up as a mark against him.
      Bureaucratic Deva: Dangling an oracle out of a window?
      Roy: Really? I don't remember that one.
    • Also, after his resurrection, Roy cannot remember well any of the time he spent in Lawful Good Heaven (though he remembers the pre-Heaven limbo).
    • Thor reveals to Durkon that the gods scrub the outsiders' memories every time they reset the world so they don't go nuts.
  • In Freefall, Ecosystems Unlimited developed a number of devices to induce retrograde and anterograde amnesia in Bowman's Wolves, Justified as they created the species and specifically designed them to respond to the devices. A remote emits a sound that knocks the subject out and erases the last few minutes of her memory, while a drug paralyzes the hippocampus for several hours preventing the formation of long-term memory. Hilarity Ensues when Florence is given the drug and ends up wandering the E.U. facility with no idea what she's doing, trying to keep track of thoughts with sticky notes.
  • In Errant Story, when the elf Sarine has some emotional memories of her human husband and half-elf child come up one night, her human traveling companion Jon confronts her. Impulsively, she jumps him. The next day, when he awkwardly tries to bring it up, she casts a memory charm on him, leaving him deeply distrustful of her. He can tell that his memories were manipulated somehow, and whatever was removed, he assumes, must have been far worse than a one-night stand.
  • Earthsong features this trope on any character arriving there, due to the transport process. They still have a "remnant," a memory of the last thing they did before being transported to Earthsong. The two known exceptions to this pattern are Nanashi, who remembers everything of her past life after having wielded the Sideran weapons, and Willow, who doesn't even have a remnant. Considering that Willow is Earthsong's Eve, she probably never had a memory to lose yet.
  • Jigsaw in Last Res0rt has a relatively realistic bout of amnesia surrounding how she became a vampire. To complicate matters, she then apparently proceeds to feed in her sleep, allowing her to go for almost three months before Daisy actually has the presence of mind to just TELL HER she's a vampire.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, the Harry Potter-style wizards have the Forgetyoubliviate spell for this. It's used to erase Torg's memories of Hoggelrynth, and one inadvertently erases everyone's memories of Millard Stoop.
  • In Fleep, the amnesia is so laser-guided that the affected character doesn't even realize he has amnesia (at first). He walks into a phone booth in San Francisco; several years later, he wakes up inside a phone booth on a completely different continent — and with no memory of the intervening events, he thinks he's still in that booth in California.
  • Mixed Myth actually came up with two clever explanations for why the Sphinx Tamit can't remember anything besides her name. Her first explanation is that, since she's immortal, she has to periodically remove her memories with magic to prevent being overwhelmed. It's eventually revealed that this isn't true, and that she's the Anthropomorphic Personification of Mystery, so she's cursed to be a mystery to herself—remembering her true identity triggers the magic that causes her to immediately forget everything.
  • Several varieties of this exist in Blip: both witch spells and vampire breath are capable of erasing memories. K also has dream amnesia, where she regularly has lucid dreams, but can only remember them as she's dreaming.
  • In Bob and George, this is why some characters don't remember encountering their future selves.
  • Schlock Mercenary: Petey (the A.I. of a space battleship) is ordered to "repress and deny" all instances of the "ghost in the plumbing" incident, so that he doesn't go insane an kill everyone on board.
  • Pibgorn and Drusilla abruptly don't know each other.
  • Impure Blood. Why bribe them when you can just take their memories?
  • In Spacetrawler, one of the ways the underground Mihrgoots hide their existence from outsiders is by erasing the memories of anyone who encounters them.
  • Ansem Retort has Sora hit by this so frequently and so heavily that at this point his brain makes pumice look solid.
  • In TwoKinds, Trace Legacy's is erased in a mysterious battle, and tries to regain his memories. He decides to stop trying because of what he finds.
  • Early in The Kingfisher, Helen is used by Vitus as a one-woman Memory-Wiping Crew, giving Marc Laser-Guided Amnesia.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, Coyote removes the memory of Ysengrin's insane attack on Antimony from his mind, against his will. This apparently isn't the first time this has happened, by far.
  • In the Buildingverse both Aziraphale and Crowley (Girls Next Door) and Jareth (Roommates) can do this but in different ways (the former two mind wipe you the later manipulates your time perception the effect is quite similar) and success rate (Jareth failed once). Both comics played with and lampshaded the dubious morality of this.
  • Off-White has a self-imposed example. Iki deliberately forgot his life as Skoll, the sun chaser. It took a encounter with his brother Hati for him to remember.
  • morphE begins with 8 normal humans waking up inside crates in the back of a truck. When they discuss their last memories the only interesting thing anyone can remember is that they were working on a missing person investigation and saw a bright blue flash.
  • In Free Spirit, a witch travels to Earth every 100 years to grant a random mortal's wish. Once she finishes granting the wish, and returns to her homeworld, the mortal and anyone else that the witch encountered forgets about meeting her.
  • Leif & Thorn has characters forget the existence and appearance of the resident man-in-black type between encounters. She has to arrange for them to remind themselves that she exists.
  • As part of the brainwashing Chibi-Usa and Endymion went through in Sailor Moon Cosmos Arc, they forgot who Usagi even was. As far as they were concerned, she was merely an impostor, and Chibiusa had always been Queen of Crystal Tokyo.

    Web Original 
  • The TRD in Chrono Hustle use this to protect the timeline be erasing memories people shouldn't have. The TDD on the other hand use this to keep themselves secret, as well as whatever it is they are doing to the timeline.
  • On two occasions in Funny Business, Jeannette erases an event from her parents' memories. Both instances being rather traumatic for all involved, she rationalizes this behavior as being for the best, even though she doesn't like using her powers on other people.
  • The Agents of LISDEAD are all mind-wiped from their parents' memories, from the memories of all their parents' family, and from all the surrounding community and records. From birth.
  • The SCP Foundation makes extensive use of amnesia-inducing drugs, or "amnestics," which come in (at least) three different flavors: class A, class B, and class C. One erases just memories of the recent past, one erases memories of both recent and medium term past, and one erases pretty much all memories. However, the writers can't agree on whether or not class A is the least powerful or most powerful kind.
    • The Foundation also has a class of drugs called "mnestics" which do the opposite of what amnestics do; they provide resistance to many memory-erasing SCPs, allow for the recovery of some erased memories, and also provide resistance to many Perception Filters. The most powerful of these drugs, the Z-Class, will cause a person to be biologically incapable of forgetting anything for the remainder of their life (which can be measured in hours, as Z-Class mnestics invariably end up inducing fatal seizures within less than a day).
    • When being Necessarily Evil to save the world is taken to horrifying extremes, the personnel who Did What They Had To Do can ask to have their memories of what they did wiped.
    • If a Brown Note has only mental effects, there's a good chance the victim can be cured simply by erasing all memories of being exposed to the Brown Note.
    • The Foundation has SCP-055, "the Self-Keeping Secret". As soon as anyone walks out of the room containing SCP-055 they forget any facts about it; same goes for looking away from a photo of it. No one can even remember that they're in possession of an amnesia inducing entity: Foundation personnel will frequently come across the SCP-055 database entry, freak out about the fact that there's an unknown entity right inside their base, and then promptly forget about it.
      • In general, the Foundation has encountered enough anomalies like SCP-055 to have a term for them: "antimemes," ideas that discourage or prevent people from spreading them.
    • SCP-1655 ("Sorrow Tick"). When it bites a person, everyone that person knows suffers a very selective form of amnesia that applies only to the victim. They don't remember the person, can't sense them in any way, and if touched by the person they feel increasing disgust and discomfort.
    • Amnestics are so commonly used in the SCP universe that the third milestone entry, SCP-3000, is entirely based around their origin and what it costs to make them. SCP-3000 is a gigantic moray eel that rarely moves, and simply looking at it can slowly erode someone's memories. Upon devouring a human being, it secretes a compound that the Foundation uses to make amnestics, so they exploit it by deliberately feeding it D-Class personnel - something heavily objected to by the Ethics Committee, but ultimately the Foundation relies too much on the amnesiacs to stop doing it.
  • The reason Myosotis became The Trader of Stories - she has amnesia and wants to discover what she's forgotten and why.
  • Neither Juliana nor Shalise can remember how they ended up in Hell in Void Domain.
  • Worm:
    • Bonesaw of the Slaughterhouse Nine creates a plague which inflicts a form of retrograde amnesia. Specifically, a condition called "agnosia", in which a person technically keeps all their memories but is unable to connect them to what they see or hear. In other words, you could remember all the details about your father and your time with him, but be unable to recognize him if he was standing right in front of you. She uses it against the heroes and villains that have gathered to destroy the Nine as a final resort. The heroes and villains fall apart as while they remember they're fighting the Nine they can't recognize who's in the Nine.
    • Every parahuman sees a vision of two massive entities when they or somebody nearby triggers, though the content varies. Aside from Miss Militia they immediately forget what they saw or even that they saw it. This is a safety measure installed by Scion to prevent humans learning too much about the nature of the entities.
    • The Eden entity had planned to use this as part of her Long Game, removing any memories or thoughts that would make others suspicious of her.

    Web Videos 
  • In the KateModern episode "I can't remember anything!", Kate realizes she has no memories of anything that happened that day, the 3rd of August 2007.
  • The Operator seems to affect people this way in Marble Hornets. Sometimes it's a result of meeting him directly, other times it can happen just from being in the same area as him - Jay had completely forgotten being involved in the student film that started the plot. "Part 2" opens with the biggest example yet: Jay wakes up in a hotel with no memory of anything during the seven-month gap between entries.
  • "The Clone Saga" arc of Atop the Fourth Wall reveals that Dr. Linksano, during his days as a villain helped Linkara clone Spoony—then invoke Forgotten First Meeting by mindwiping Linkara to make him forget it.

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!:
    • Stan forgets his anniversary, then tries to avoid a fight by using CIA technology to erase the last 24 hours of Francine's memory. Unfortunately, an error results in her losing 24 years, reverting her to the wild party girl she was before she met him.
    • In another episode, we find out that Stan avoids unpleasant topics by going to a "marriage counselor" who uses hypnosis to erase Francine's memory of whatever she wanted to talk about. Eventually Stan ticks him off and he brings the memories back, kickstarting the plot of the episode.
  • An odd combination with Time Travel: in Danny Phantom, after the evil Danny from the future is defeated, Danny's Secret Identity is revealed, and the whole thing is prevented from happening. The people who already know Danny's secret identity seem to remember the erased events, but the ones who didn't don't.
    • The events were only erased up until Danny took the test it seemed (Jazz is still outside the room, waiting to catch Dark Danny but stops when she sees it's the real one in there).
  • Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers had an episode where the Rangers were traveling in France and Dale suffered a blow to the head, whereupon he completely forgot everything about himself and his friends, including his affinity for Hawaiian shirts and practical joking. He was found by a French doppelganger for Fat Cat who turned him into his own personal super-soldier, Ram-Dale. Hilarity Ensues when he finally catches up with the Rangers and tries to kill them. In the end, another blow to the head restores his memory.
  • Code Lyoko:
    • Aelita has no memories of her life before the Supercomputer was turned back on and she woke up on Lyoko—including the fact she was human, thus she's believed to be an AI by everyone including her. It is revealed at the end of Season 2 that XANA had stolen those memories, and uses them to link Aelita's life to the continued working of the Supercomputer.
    • In Season 1 episode "Amnesia", nanomachines created by XANA are causing memory wipes typical for this trope, affecting Ulrich among others.
    • Anyone freed from XANA's control forgets everything he did when xanafied.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, this is standard procedure for operatives that retire upon turning thirteen years old. (Referred to as "decommissioning".) This is not without justification, seeing as those who have refused the procedure and escaped (such as Numbuh Five's sister Cree) have become some of their worst enemies. The process can be reversed, however, as it was in "Operation: Z.E.R.O." Another episode reveals that not every operative is decommissioned at age thirteen. Some, like Maurice, act as deep-cover agents who are still loyal to the K.N.D. despite not being kids anymore.
  • In Dexter's Laboratory, Dexter is shown erasing his parents' memories of his lab after enlisting their help in defeating a giant monster in the presumptive Grand Finale. Later, his pet monkey erases Dexter's memory of monkey's superpowers. In an earlier episode, Dex accidentally says that he has a lab, prompting Dee Dee to respond "Smooth move, Dexter. Now you'll have to erase Mom and Dad's memories... again!"
  • Captain Hero from Drawn Together appears to be able to do this by stripping unconscious bodies and violating them.
  • Jorgen Von Strangle of The Fairly OddParents! often uses this to erase kids' memories when they reveal the existence of their godparents.
    • As the main character, Timmy Turner would never lose his fairies, so this is used to erase the memory of his friends and family in every episode that, for some reason, he is forced to reveal his fairies existance (most of the times in an attempt to save them and defeat the Big Bad).
  • Parodied in Family Guy when Lois used the neuralizer on Chris when he doesn't stop saying "boobies" after the Griffins visited the nudist family's house.
  • Parodied mercilessly on Futurama whenever Calculon and the cast of All My Circuits take the stage.
    • Also played somewhat-straight in "The Why of Fry," when Nibbler wipes Fry's mind clean of the Brainspawn incident.
    • In "I, Roommate," Bender can do this to himself with the press of a button.
      Bender: I dunno. I have a lot of great memories in my old place. (presses button inside cabinet) And now they're gone!
    • "Fun On a Bun" introduces a "Forgettery" where clients can lose their memories of specific persons or events, Eternal Sunshine-style. It's not a foolproof treatment, since it doesn't erase the memories but disconnects them from the client's consciousness, meaning that they can be brought back with a sufficiently strong reminder.
  • Gargoyles:
    • In an episode, an alien uses his advanced technology to induce temporary amnesia in Elisa with the intent of erasing what he believes are her false memories of the Gargoyles as her friends (she is told that her true memories will return in a few days). Elisa is then understandably freaked out by her first post-mindwipe encounter with Goliath. Fortunately, her gun wasn't loaded when she pulled it on him. This in turn is the key for Goliath figuring out that something is wrong with Elisa's memory, as she not only didn't recognize him, but she also didn't know her gun was empty, a condition that had existed for at least a month in-story at the time.
    • Puck's first appearance where he eventually reverses the entire city's human/gargoyle status. Everyone thinks their current body is the one they've always had, but all their other memories remain intact and our heroes quickly figure out something is up just by logical reasoning, like the former gargoyles remembering being able to fly and humans-turned-gargoyles insisting they can't despite having wings.
  • Generator Rex
    • Rex has a chronic variety of this. He's lost his memory several times in the past, for reasons that probably relate to his powers. Why this keeps happening has yet to be explained.
    • In "Six Minus Six" Agent Six loses six years of memory saving Rex from a machine that was going to delete Rex's instead (because Rex apparently goes crazy if he resets, and if that happens Six has to kill him). It was never fixed via Reset Button. That means not only does he not remember Rex, Holiday or Bobo, but he doesn't even remember the Event that caused the EVOs (heck, he barely knows what an EVO is). He only stayed with Providence and trying to be the man he used to be because of Rex's unwavering trust him, even as he was six years ago (an unrepentant, mercenary Jerkass).
  • Gravity Falls episode "Society of the Blind Eye" gives us a memory erasing gun, which the titular society uses to erase anyone's memories of an encounter with one of the town's anomalies, because they think Ignorance Is Bliss. It's shown that whenever they erase a memory, one's thoughts can get a bit scrambled in general; Lazy Susan, after having her memory of the gnomes erased, apparently forgot which gender she was. Old Man McGucket erased his memory so many times that he eventually became the 'local kook' he is in the present. However, in the end the memory gun becomes the only thing that can destroy Bill Cipher... by erasing the current mind he's inhabiting. Memories can be restored by reminders of those memories, though this can take time.
  • Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law gave this a Lampshade Hanging: After getting sprayed with "amnesia gas", Harvey wakes up and immediately comments, "What happened? I don't remember anything from specifically the past couple days."
  • Kim Possible avoided this in the episode "Clean Slate", in which Kim has amnesia, and is pretty much square-peg-round-hole moronic until they manage to restore most of her memories.
  • The Legend of Korra: After being eaten by a huge Dark Spirit, Korra washes up on the shores of the Fire Nation with no memories of who she is or how she got there. It took a spiritual healing session for her to remember her purpose and meditation in the Tree of Time to fill the rest of the gaps.
  • Phineas and Ferb: In "Happy Birthday Isabella", it seems like the OWCA has become more frivolous about using memory-erasing technology. Stacy almost fell victim to this.
  • Rick and Morty's Rick has done this several times to Morty.]] They spend a whole episode watching the erased memories. Think of it as "a Clip Show made of...clips you never saaawww!!!"
  • In She-Ra: Princess of Power, it's stated that after baby Adora was kidnapped by Hordak and taken away, the Sorceress erased the Eternia people's memories of the missing Princess; only King Randor, Queen Marlenna, Man-At-Arms and the Sorceress herself know the truth. But then, that's Magical Amnesia for you.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Spoofed on an episode:
    Burns: Fiddle-faddle, everyone knows our mutants have flippers. Oh! I've said too much. Smithers, use the amnesia ray.
    Smithers: You mean the revolver, sir?
    Burns: Precisely. Be sure to wipe your own memory clear when you've finished.
    • Also invoked by Homer in one episode, who wakes up with no memory of only the night before because he drank a special cocktail that erased the last 24 hours from his memories so he could forget the planning his family was doing to create a surprise party for him.
  • Teen Titans plays with this in its Series Finale. Terra comes Back from the Dead and appears to have lost her memory. Possibly a side effect from being brought back from her petrified state. However its implied that she's merely faking amnesia.
  • In TRON: Uprising, it's established that any program who loses their Identity Disc starts having a glitch in the form of temporary bouts of memory loss, and eventually becomes a 'stray' - unable to hold any long-term or short-term memories, and even unable to have a notion of 'self'. Unfortunately for Beck, he has his Disc nicked in the episode "Identity", and is almost tricked into going with the Military before he gets his disc back.
  • Happens in the Young Justice episode "Bereft", where villain Psimon psychically attacks Miss Martian, erasing her memories for the past six months and also erasing everyone's memories of the past six months too since they were all mentally connected with Miss Martian at the time. This leaves Superboy a mindless berserker, Artemis and Megan strangers to everyone else and Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad ignorant of the mission.

    Real Life 
  • Studies of a drug called U0126 suggest that it might actually be able to induce Laser-Guided Amnesia: see http://www.nature.com/news/2007/070305/full/070305-17.html
  • A common side-effect of the so-called "rape drug" sedatives Rohypnol and GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) is retrograde amnesia, covering the time span the victim was under the drug and usually a short while previous to ingesting it.
    • Likewise, imbibing heroic amounts of alcohol can induce retrograde amnesia — GHB shares many of the biochemical processes, but is far [more?] rapid in effect, which is why it's such an insidious thing to spike a drink with.
    • All benzodiazepines (i.e. drugs in the Valium family, of which Rohypnol is one) can potentially cause retrograde amnesia, but some more than others. Doctors and dentists sometimes deliberately choose Ativan (lorazepam) for its strong tendency in this direction, which makes it ideal for sedating patients prior to unpleasant procedures. Some things you'd be thankful not to recall in great detail.
    • Ketamine, an anesthetic drug used in veterinary medicine, causes amnesia from onset to awakening. This makes it very useful for use in animals (it's hard to treat an animal who has a subconcious aversion towards you after they've been under), but also makes it very illegal to handle without supervision of a licensed veterinarian.
  • Many severe accident victims lose memory of the accident as a result of the trauma. Memories don't quite form instantly, so if something happens to interrupt your brain's function (such as your head slamming into the pavement) the memory of the event will never have a chance to form in the first place.
  • And of course the whole repressed memory thing, where the mind blocks out painful memories so we're only disturbed on the subconscious level. Though the nature of this and even whether or not it exists is controversial. The serious research is being done here.
  • There was once an English footballer named Mills who spent the night in his rival player's house after getting hit on the head. He very specifically couldn't remember the events of the match in which the accident happened... or what team he played for. Everything else was absolutely fine. Fortunately, this didn't last long.
    • Daniel Agger of Liverpool got a nasty concussion during a match against Arsenal. He said he doesn't remember the match at all.
    • Same with the time when John Terry was knocked out after being kicked in the head against Arsenal (who seem to have a thing about causing head injuries) a couple of seasons back, he apparently couldn't remember anything that happened after coming out the tunnel for the second half.
  • Stephen King wrote Cujo during his drinking days. He vaguely remembers writing the book, but only the Broad Strokes of the process. He can't remember the specifics or how he came up with what he feels were the best parts of the story.
  • Unsolved Mysteries once had an amnesia story where a man shows up in a town with absolutely no memory of his past or identity. A man gives him a job, and a customer came in and realized that he was operating an old-style adding machine so efficiently that he must have worked on them professionally in the past, which they used as a first step in figuring out his identity.
  • A woman who had an accident and lost several years of memory, including that of her husband, was the inspiration for the film The Vow.
  • Due to being high as a kite while doing it, Carrie Fisher had no memory of taking part in The Star Wars Holiday Special. Similarly, Harrison Ford claimed the same during his interview with Conan O'Brien and appeared to be completely baffled when shown a clip of the special.
  • Likewise, David Bowie's cocaine addiction was so bad during The '70s that he retained little to no memory of recording his album Station to Station.
  • In a darker example, Mick Foley does not remember the second half of his (in)famous Hell in A Cell match with The Undertaker due to the injuries suffered in that match.
  • Epileptics can sometimes remember up to the very moment the seizure begins, then have a blank during the seizure and for several minutes after. For example, they may not remember such acts as standing up from being trapped in a corner, or even painful actions such as having a nail snapped back into place. Sometimes the only reason an epileptic knows they have had a seizure may be because of these suspicious blanks in their memories.
  • Combined with Implausible Deniability at a number of American congressional hearings. Refusing to answer or being caught lying can have serious consequences, but it's more difficult to prove someone doesn't remember something. Consequently a number of to-remain-nameless officials over the years have gone before congress and the nation and mysteriously forgotten what should be quite memorable actions, people they've met, things they've talked about, and policies of their own department. In some instances these performances would, if taken at face value, raise serious concerns about the mental competence of the individuals in question.
  • For the most part, this trope occuring due to psychological trauma is NOT Truth in Television, unless said trauma was accompanied by a head injury. Indeed, people with PTSD and the like usually suffer just the opposite problem: being unable to not forget the horrible thing that happened.

 
Feedback

Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Mind Wipe

Top

Forgotten Friendship

Sunset realizes upon her friends acting like she was the bully they've known in the past, she was magically erased from their memories of their adventures.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / LaserGuidedAmnesia

Media sources:

Main / LaserGuidedAmnesia

Report