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Name Amnesia

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Grey: You... helped me?
Billy: Yeah, don't mention it. What's your name? And what the heck happened to you?
Grey: Grey... at least, that's what she called me anyway.
Mega Man ZX Advent

A common problem faced by characters with Identity Amnesia is that they no longer recall their own name. A character struggling to find their identity may become involved in several related tropes under Memory Tropes and The Nameless.

Usually the character will be able to find their original name and identity by the end of the story. However, if this character loses their memory in the backstory, it is possible that they never truly recover their old identity and make use of a new Nom de Guerre. Another character may help them, and they go through a Meaningful Rename and/or Naming Ceremony.

This is a Sub-Trope to both Identity Amnesia (they cannot recall who they are) and The Nameless (they have no name). Super-Trope to Take Away Their Name, where a character's name has been stolen, generally using magic. Can also be a Downplayed Trope to Identity Amnesia, if the character remembers everything about their past except their name. Can also be part of The Fog of Ages if it's particularly profound.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Bleach: Ichibei Hyosube has the power to literally erase a person or object's name. I Know Your True Name is very important in this universe, because they affect the power something or someone has. Therefore, anyone or anything affected by this ability loses its powers. Unfortunately for him, Yhwach was powerful enough to completely counter the ability and remember his name.
  • A Certain Magical Index: Accelerator mentioned that he once had a "normal name", but he forgot it. The novels state that his last name consists of two kanji and his first name three, yet his name had no real meaning in it. From Volume 05 Chapter 3 Part 3 of the first series.
  • In Death Parade, a character credited as "Black Haired Woman" wakes up with total amnesia. Nona walks up and introduces herself. The woman says she can't remember her name, but Nona flatly says she doesn't have one. She eventually remembers her name is Chiyuki.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, several demons forget their human identities upon turning into a demon, either by living such a tragic life that they detached themselves from their past or because they just didn't care about that life at all; however, sometimes their human identities and names are given in the story proper or side-materials like Fanbooks (Databooks), but there's still a few demons that have their humans names left completely unknown. The 2nd Fanbook gives an actual reason why Hantengu's real human name isn't given, he has lived a life of constant lying and identity assumption that Hantengu just had too many names during his human days, none of them important enough for him to remember as soon as he came up with another identity to assume to leech off of others; Hantengu no longer had a concept of a real identity, becoming unable to remember his real name.
  • Dragon Ball: The Namekian who split into Piccolo and Kami long before the start of the series is recreated when they merge back together, but it has been so long that they cannot recall their old name. They eventually call themselves Piccolo for the sake of convenience.
  • In Gugure! Kokkuri-san, Kokkuri have been know by so many names throughout his life that he forgot which was the real one.
  • Madlax: The title heroine has retrograde amnesia regarding everything prior to being left in a warzone by her father twelve years ago, including her true name,—"Madlax" is just a codename she picked for her mercenary work because it sounded cool. It is eventually revealed, however, that her "father" is actually another character's dad, and "Madlax" was actually his old codename.
  • Played for Laughs in an anime-original segment of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid. Saikawa's older sister Nae spends so much time role playing as a maid that she doesn't even respond when some of her classmates call her by her real name, causing them to wonder if she's forgotten that her name isn't actually "Georgie".
  • In Spirited Away, Yubaba controls the workers at the baths by taking away their names and giving them new ones. Haku warns Chihiro that if she forgets her real name like he did, she won't be able to escape and will have to serve Yubaba forever. Chihiro manages to free him by reminding him that his true name is the Kohaku River.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, the Spirit of the Millennium Puzzle has been asleep in the puzzle for thousands of years. He's forgotten his name, along with much of his past. While his friends just call him "The Other Yugi" or "Dark Yugi" ("Yami" in the English dub), others call him "Spirit of the Nameless Pharaoh". His name is finally recovered in the final arc. His name is Atem.

    Audio Dramas 
  • The Wanderer series from BBV Productions: The main character loses his memory at the beginning of the first episode, and spends most of the series being called "Fred" after another character decides to call him that for the sake of having something to call him.

    Comic Books 
  • All members of the Indigo Tribe in the Green Lantern comics forget their names, which is largely because they've been brainwashed into a zen-like trance and lose individuality for the sake of "Compassion".
  • The Captain of Next Wave is never referred to anything but, since his own stupidity prevents him from remembering his actual name.
  • Transformers: In Dreamwave's comic series The War Within: The Dark Ages, a character is introduced who is only ever referred to as "the Fallen," as his name/identity was taken away from him by his fellow Transformers after he betrayed Primus and sided with Unicron. Many years later, his actual name is revealed to be Megatronus Prime.
  • X-Men:
    • The Stepford Cuckoos threatened Triage with making him forget his own name when his lascivious teen boy thoughts offended them.
    • Wolverine's backstory is packed with memory loss and super-secret military conditioning. While he is occasionally called Logan, he was usually certain it wasn't his name. It isn't; his given name is James Howlett.

    Fan Works 

  • According to the animators on Beauty and the Beast, the Beast has been cursed for so long that he has forgotten his own human name.
  • The Bourne Identity opens In Medias Res as a fishing boat pulls an unconscious man aboard. The man has no idea who he is, but he still remembers how to speak foreign languages well enough to question the boat's Portuguese crew, and also retains his hand-to-hand combat and stealth spy skills. It's not until he discovers a safe deposit box with varying ID papers, most of which bear the name "Jason Bourne", that he begins to learn his identity and purpose.
  • Hancock: In his backstory, Hancock lost his memory and with it, his name. He eventually adopted the name "Hancock" after someone asked for his signature (his "John Hancock") and assumed it was his name.
  • Identity Thief: The titular villain doesn't know her own name having grown up as a foster child. She believes that her name is Diana and is adressed as such. At the end of the film, she finds out her real name is Dawn Budgie.
  • In The Stranger series of direct-to-video science fiction films from BBV Productions, the main character doesn't remember his past or his real name. About halfway through the series, he meets some people from his past and learns that his name was Solomon.
  • In Warm Bodies, the zombie protagonist explains about the Identity Amnesia he has; the most he can recall from before "waking up" as a zombie, is that he thinks his name used to start with an "R".
    R: I wish I could introduce myself, but I don't remember my name anymore. I mean, I think it started with an 'r' but that's all I have left. I can't remember my name, or my parents, or my job... although my hoodie would suggest I was unemployed.
  • The main character in Who Am I? (1998) knows nothing of his past, including his name (though he retains his military and combat knowledge pretty well). We see in the beginning of the movie when he's being listed as missing in action that he shares the name of his actor- Jackie Chan.
  • In The Wild Child, the titular feral child has lived alone in the woods since early childhood and has lost all language, including his original name. Itard renames him Victor because he reacts more to "O" than to other sounds.

  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland's sequel Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There: Alice and a fawn pass through a forest that makes anything inside it forget all proper nouns, including their names. They remember them when they exit it.
  • Nisha from The Brotherhood of the Conch came with her family to Kolkata as a young child. She was separated them from the marketplace and never saw them again. She has long forgotten whatever name they called her by. Growing up as a Street Urchin, she was known as Sweeper Girl because she swept in front of a soft drink stall in exchange for being allowed to sleep under it. Abhaydatta allows her to pick her new name.
  • In Deverry, Prince Galrion is stripped of his rank, wealth and even his name by his father. His father issues a decree that ever after Galrion is to only be called "Nevyn". That's not a name. It's a word that quite literally means "no-one".
  • In The Empty Grave, psychic detection agent Lucy has built rapport with the skull in the jar, a Type-3 ghost that she has the rare power to communicate with, to such a degree that she tries once again asking him for his name. He claims, however, that it's been so long since he died that he just doesn't remember.
  • The fae boy in An Encounter and an Offer had his name stripped from him. How is not explained.
  • Family Skeleton Mysteries: Played with in book 1. Sid, when he first came back from the dead, didn't remember his original name and so accepted the name a six-year-old Georgia gave him because "You look like a Sid." Years later though, when sorting through a list of students at Joshua Tay University who left without finishing their degrees, he spots an "Allen Reece" and somehow, subconsciously, knows that the name is spelled correctly rather than changing it to the alternate spelling of "Alan". It turns out that although he'd lost nearly all his memories of his original life, part of him knows the spelling is correct because he is Allen Reece.
  • Fate/strange Fake: False Assassin had discarded her name long before becoming a Servant.
  • Fate/Zero: Maiya Hisau grew up a Child Soldier and no longer remembers her original name. Kiritsugu Emiya named her after rescuing her and taking her in.
  • The madwoman of The Girl Who Drank the Moon forgets her name very quickly after the trauma of losing her infant daughter. She only learns her name again when reminded near the end of the book.
  • The haunted Cool Sword in Heralds of Valdemar was not named Need when she was human, but she doesn't remember that her name was Lashan. After a bit of chagrin and a joke about looking senile, she figuratively shrugs and says that she's been known as Need for a lot longer by now anyway.
  • The Baker in The Hunting of the Snark has "wholly forgotten his name."
  • When the dragons of the Inheritance Cycle learned that the thirteen dragons of the Forsaken had turned against their own kind and were actively helping the Forsaken to kill and enslave their own kind, the free dragons grew angry. They gathered their power and performed one of their inexplicable works of magic. Somehow, they stripped the Thirteen of their names. From that moment on, no one could remember, read, write, or speak any name belonging to those dragons. Common names, true names, nicknames, everything. The dragons themselves could not even say "I like this" or "I dislike that", because to do so would be to name themselves. As such, stripped of identity, five of them descended into insanity and all of them slowly lost the ability to properly think.
  • In Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell the character called "Stephen Black" is apparently not actually named Stephen Black, or so it would seem according to the rules of magic, because 'Stephen' was a slave name and not his true name given to him by his mother at his birth, which has been lost. As such, Magic considers him to be "The Nameless Slave", which is problematic because there is also a historical figure prevalent in the story, the Raven King, who was also given a slave name that was not his real name, John Uskglass, and is also referred to as "The Nameless Slave". Spells meant to address the latter Nameless Slave accidentally affect the former Nameless Slave.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Narration discloses that Sauron's spokesman had long forgotten his own name; he introduces himself to the emissaries of the West by his function, the Mouth of Sauron.
  • Inverted by Seerdomin from Malazan Book of the Fallen. He goes by the title of his former military rank to show that he won't hide from his crimes under the Pannion Domin, but nobody else can recall his real name was Segda Travos.
  • In Moonflowers, the antagonist is the Horned Hunter of Celtic Mythology, frequently just called "the Hunter." Maidin the river-spirit explains that he's a Force of Nature and must discard his name/identity on taking the position.
    You give up your name to wear the mask. You become a Predator that hunts Prey. That is all you are from that point on, and that is all you will be until something kills you.
  • In the final chapter of The Neverending Story, Bastian overuses the powers of the Auryn (which are powered by his memories) and forgets his own name, condemning himself to an eternity as a nameless shade. Fortunately for him, his friend-turned-enemy-turned-friend finds him and gives him at least his name back.
  • In Pact, Maggie Holt is tricked into giving her True Name to a fairy, causing the fairy to become Maggie Holt while she becomes simply "girl in scarf". Girl in scarf gradually unravels over the course of the arc, becoming more and more nondescript as Maggie Holt "takes back" her memories, traits and relationships (eventually even losing her scarf and becoming just "girl"). In the end she manages to survive by placing herself under a Magically-Binding Contract to serve the local magical community as a negotiator named Mags, but if that contract is ever broken then she will cease being Mags and disappear.
  • The Faceless Men of A Song of Ice and Fire gave up their original names when joining, so most have only been identified by ad hoc titles from Arya's POV.
  • Servants of the Spells, Swords, & Stealth dark god Kalzidar give up their names as part of their service to him. One such nameless priest is the primary antagonist of the second book. Upon meeting a rogue in the third, the party is immediately wary when she initially refuses to give her name.
  • The Reanimated Woman in Vic and Frank: Necromancers who later remembers her name to be Shelly Evans.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Addams Family, the episode "Amnesia in the Addams Family" has Gomez getting Identity Amnesia from a strike on the head. When he wakes up, he can't remember his own name or his marriage to Morticia.
  • In Angel, Darla reveals that "Darla" is an alias she took when she became a vampire and she can't remember what her original name is.
  • The very first episode of Cheers has a Downplayed example of amnesia, since the protagonist doesn't forget everything about himself, just his own name. He's been called "Coach" for so long, he didn't recognize it.
    Coach: (answering the phone) Cheers. Just a second. (to the room) Ernie Pantuso?
    Sam: That's you, Coach.
    Coach: (into phone) Speaking.
  • In Dark Matter (2015), the six original human Raza crewmembers wake up from stasis with amnesia at the beginning of the series and adopt numbers One through Six as their names, intended to be temporary at first, based on order of awakening. Most of them (except Five, a Mysterious Waif teenage girl who's the only one of the six who's not an adult and not a wanted criminal) learn their given names at the end of the first episode, but they continue using the numbers instead since Amnesiac Dissonance they don't want to be the Dreaded mass-murdering career mercenaries their original selves were]]. Also, it turns out One is not actually Jace Corso; he doesn't learn his real given name (Derrick Moss) until later in the season. Likewise, Six's given name is not actually Griffin Jones; he was an undercover cop named Kal Varrick, and Two doesn't remember that she originally went by Rebecca, when she was created as an experimental Artificial Human prototype who escaped her "owners" and later renamed herself "Portia Lin" when she pursued a life of crime.
  • In Doctor Who, Ashildr becomes an immortal and lives so long — with a human brain — that she forgets most of her past. However, she retains a sense of her identity because she writes in a diary every day. But she never wrote down her name, and so she forgets it completely until the Doctor reminds her of it. After which point, she disregards her name and continues to go by the name of "Me," but she recognizes "Ashildr" when the Doctor or Clara uses it.
  • In House of Anubis, Fabian's second-season curse is amnesia, which slowly begins to remove every memory he has. At his worst, he forgets what his name is, and asks Nina who "Fabian" is.
  • Kamen Rider Build: Sento Kiryu doesn't remember anything from his past before he was experimented on by the scientists of Faust, not even his name. That's why his foster family gave him a new name.
    • Sento is actually an interesting case in the way that while he is by no means the first rider to have amnesia note  he is the only one with a Line-of-Sight Name Pun. Everyone else either remembered their name or were named based on some clue to their identity.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: While trying to bond with the mysterious Istar, Nori realizes that her new friend has no idea who is he, or his name, or the fact he is an Istar when she asks him of his name.
  • NCIS: Los Angeles: Callen was brought to the U.S. as a very young child and his accompanying paper work disappeared at some point between many foster homes. The only name he can remember is G. Callen. He does not know what the G stands for. It is not until season 7 that he learns that the G stands for Grisha and that Callen was his mother's maiden name.



    Tabletop Games 

  • In Jasper in Deadland, everyone who drinks from the river Lethe starts to forget everything, with the final step being that they forget their own name and become convinced that they're someone else.

    Video Games 
  • As part of losing all his memories, D of Another Code forgot his name except for one letter. If you help him recover all his memories, he reveals his name to be Daniel Edwards.
  • Cute Bite: The vampire protagonist, on waking up after a long, long slumber:
    I don't even know my name.
  • Dark Souls II: The Great Old Ones are so old that their names have been lost to history. The fact that the Duke's Dear Freja has a proper name is a hint that it is not a true Great Old One. The Great Old One is actually the fossilized dragon that Freja and her kin are using as a nest.
  • In Deadly Rooms of Death's Empire, one's name and one's job are the same thing, so the old First Archivist becomes The Nameless, ultimately averted in his case as when he gets replaced Beethro nicknames the new First Archivist "Arky" to distinguish them. The old First Archivist is still referred to as "First Archivist" by the fandom and on this page.
  • In Disco Elysium The Detective starts the game waking up with little memory of anything, including his name. You are given a few options to find a name for yourself: You can introduce yourself as "Raphaël Ambrosius Costeau" to Kim by failing a check, you can learn you used to go by "Tequila Sunset" when drunk by talking to people you interacted with while drunk, call yourself "Dick Mullen" after a famous In-Universe fictional detective, find out your code name on the force used to be "Firewalker", and some characters and even some of your own intrusive thoughts keep calling you "Harry". The only way to get your full name is to retrieve your police badge from the wreck in the ice, which carries your birth name: "Harrier Du Bois". The Detective can accept this as his name, or can reject that name and keep using another one instead.
  • Granblue Fantasy: On the mist-shrouded island, the party encounters a phantom girl who forgot her own name as no one's said it in a century. They eventually decide to name her "Ferry", and she quickly warms up to it as it sounds "strangely nostalgic" to her. It later turns out that her real name was indeed Ferry. It's not a coincidence.
  • At the end of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III, protagonist Rean Schwarzer goes completely berserk, giving into his "ogre power" Super Mode and is captured by the Empire. In Cold Steel IV, he is chained up in the Black Workshop, completely out of his mind and having forgotten everything about his past. Anytime his name appears on-screen in scenes involving him, it appears blurry and struck out. When your party finally comes to rescue him, they end up in a "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight with him, or "???" as the game names him. If you scan him, the description reads "Sacrifice to the Great Twilight, driven so berserk he doesn't even remember his name, much less recognize his students."
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man Zero: Zero is awakened from his long slumber with some amnesia, including his name. He's repeatedly told that "You're Zero, the legendary Reploid" but he's not sure if he's really the Zero that the Resistance wanted (the Resistance took him into their place). At the end of the third game (where the issues regarding his past and identity come ramming home), he finally asserts "I am Zero".
    • Mega Man ZX Advent: Grey wakes up in a strange lab with no memory of who he is, including his name. Cue the arrival of Pandora, who helpfully tells him his name is Grey in the same sentence she declares she's here to dispose of him as a "defective Mega Man" whose mind control was interrupted. When he escapes and is rescued from death by a Hunter named Billy, he asks for Grey's name, leading to the above quote in the heading.
  • Metal Gear:
  • In Ni No Kuni: Cross Worlds, Tariq and Varum are both players and while they're sure those are their names in the world of Ni no Kuni, they have a strong feeling those weren't their names on Earth, but they have no idea what those were.
  • The Nameless One from Planescape: Torment had a name, but due to his amnesia, he can't remember what it is. The majority of the game is about his attempts to recover his memories and atone for his past. He can eventually relearn his name, but you can't.
  • Tales of Arise opens with the main protagonist not knowing his own name and therefore being called "Iron Mask" by those around him due to his entire head being encased in said mask. His name is eventually revealed to be Alphen.
  • In Touhou Project, Junko's special ability is the ability to purify beings to a primordial state by removing their True Name. She used this power on herself, too, in order to turn herself into an Anthropomorphic Personification of pure resentment, which is why she's the only character with no Boss Subtitles.
  • Sunset Overdrive: The player character has no known name, and forgotten theirs, making them slightly fit the protagonist role more, instead of being someone special.
  • Given its popularity with pieces involving wandering samurai, this trope shows up in Way of the Samurai, where 'Nameless' is the default name given to the player's ronin character. You can always choose to change it, but the character is apparently some kind of amnesiac swordsman, so it fits.

    Visual Novels 
  • Dies Irae uses this in mixture with The Fog of Ages for one the main antagonists, Mercurius. He is so inconceivably ancient that even he has forgotten his original name. Even the name "Mercurius" that most refer to him as is just his oldest known alias.
  • Divi-Dead: The true identity of the person you know as Nishizaki through most of the game may have been magically erased.
  • In Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star you encounter a bird who calls himself Nemo and says that he has lost his real name.
  • Jake Hunter: Ghost of the Dusk: Garm, the major antagonist of the piece, is a former KGB agent that's been keeping watch over his colleague Dr. Darks' hospital and its secrets since the end of the Cold War and even after the Soviet Union disbanded. He mentions that it's been such a long time that he forgot his actual name.

    Web Animation 
  • In The Amazing Digital Circus, when asked about her name, Pomni discovers everyone forgets their name after entering the Digital Circus, and ends up needing her name to be randomized.

  • Inverted by the denizens of the shovel-beam-powered hamlet in Blank It. Their society takes pride in their namelessness, and anyone who is given a name is immediately rejected from the society. Here it is in action.
  • A Downplayed Trope example in Earthsong; the leader of Haven's Guard is unique for remembering her entire past except for her name. She goes by Nanashi, which is Japanese for "no name."
  • Hero the protagonist is an amnesiac who is not only nameless, but doesn't even get a descriptor like the rest of the cast.
  • The Hazards of Love: The protagonist has their name and identity stolen by a magical cat in the prologue of the comic.
  • Siren's Lament: Even after the poseidon forces Ian's old memories to return he can't remember what his name used to be.
  • In Yokoka's Quest, the barrier around Betel's Forest, among other things, gives those who enter it Easy Amnesia. They seem to gain differing levels of Identity Amnesia: Mao is shown to have forgotten his own name, as well as Yokoka's and Valyn's names; Yokoka seems oblivious to even having a previous name; Betelgeuse and Yfa remembered their names while inside the barrier (other characters outside the barrier who knew them used the same names).

    Western Animation 
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Name", we find out that "Gumball" is just title character's nickname which he's been called so much that he forgot what his real name is. He decided to go out and find his real name no matter the cost... but his mom just casually reminds him it's "Zach". Zach becomes a Split Personality who turns out to be a huge jerk compared to Gumball, so by the end of the episode, he ends up having his name officially changed to "Gumball" to get rid of him.
  • Arthur had this occur with Binky. His real name is "Shelley", which he thought was an Embarrassing First Name until he found out it was his grandfather's name. Binky had been consistently called "Binky" his entire life to the point where he thought it was his name.
  • Ben 10: Alien Force: Professor Paradox forgot his own name because of the countless eons he had spent trapped outside of time. For this reason, he is known by the title "Professor Paradox".
  • In a Madagascar-related animated series, one Christmas Episode features Santa Claus getting amnesia and forgetting his own name.
  • Mentioned in the Pepper Ann episode "Quiz Bowl":
    Milo: Don't sweat it, P.A. Once, I even forgot my own name, so I just told everyone to start calling me Milo.
    Pepper Ann: Your name is Milo!
    Milo: Sure, now it is.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Squilliam Returns", Squidward gives SpongeBob mental conditioning to forget everything but fine dining (and breathing), which turns the sponge into an ultracompetent waiter. However, when Squilliam asks him for his name, he has trouble remembering and has a massive breakdown.


Video Example(s):


Nae "Georgie" Saikawa

Georgie is so dedicated to her maid persona that she's forgotten it isn't actually her name.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / NameAmnesia

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