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"All memory of your existence will be wiped from reality. You will die, and no one will mourn."

A character seems to vanish off the face of the earth. Sometimes, people just disappear, but this is something more. People who should know about it aren't even sure who the person was. Photos look the same, but without them in it. Their Love Interests either don't exist at all, or are in love with someone else. They never existed. They're not just gone, they're Ret-Gone.

Of course, it's hard to write stories about people who don't exist, so there is normally at least one person who remembers the disappeared character's life. Mostly, this will be someone close to the character, such as a friend or family member (and it's often just one person) who will do their best to find evidence, while convincing themselves and others that they're not crazy.

Sometimes, without this character, the world is a notably different place, but sometimes, hardly anything has changed at all.

Occasionally, it'll be the character themselves, whose continued existence is the only evidence they've ever been alive. They may be Invisible to Normals, seeing what the world is like without them. Or they may be alive and well, just really, really annoyed. Cases like this can sometimes cause a Loss of Identity if the character fears that they will start to forget themselves.

Common methods of a Ret-Gone include killing them off at youth or somehow preventing their birth, shunting them into an Alternate History, and removing them from a metaphysical book of history, or rewriting the book itself in-story, although there are plenty of other Applied Phlebotinum tricks. If we actually see the character vanish and become Ret-Gone, then that character doubles as a Ripple Effect Indicator.

Named, of course, after the Retcon.

A variant of this trope is when the target or targets are subjected to some sort of effect that wipes their existence from memory. They (usually) still exist and their actions have had an effect on the world, but no one remembers them, and the effect may even prevent them from being remembered.

When some shadowy but non-supernatural force erases the evidence of someone's existence in a more mundane manner, they've been Un-Personed. When the writers decide to simply "forget" a character's existence, that's Chuck Cunningham Syndrome, when a Delayed Ripple Effect is used as a story device this will often be used to perform a sort of half-hearted Story Reset which may inadvertently 'remove' some characters from creation. When a character actively does this on a large scale, it may be to retcon the universe into being more In Their Own Image.

Keep in mind that doing this to Hitler never works.

As this is a Death Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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  • An ad for DirecTV features a couple of parents watching TV while their kid draws on the walls. The husband bemoans the fact he forgot to record a show, whereupon Bon Jovi appears and sings to them the benefits of DirecTV's 72 Hour Rewind feature, and then starts making suggestions for other stuff they can do with the power to turn back time... beginning with changing their salsa from spicy to mild and somewhat distressingly culminating in him eliminating the nearby kid from existence with a lyric about choosing not to have a second child.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Aquarion Logos literally the main power of the Aquarion San which threatens to erase Akira from existence to the point of nobody remembering him. The villains loyal to Nesta also use similar methods to destroy writing from the world. The Aquarion Logos Genesis, the final form of the titular mecha, has the power to erase concepts from reality and everything associated with them by default.
  • Bleach:
  • In [C] – Control, if you go bankrupt after being given a loan by the Financial District, then you lose your future, literally. Anything you gained from that money ceases to exist, even people and whole countries.
  • In Chainsaw Man, any devil that is eaten by the Chainsaw Devil is erased from existence, along with the memories of them and even the fear they represent. This has altered history, erasing such as World War II, nuclear weapons, and AIDS—but also things real history never had, like something called "Arnolone Syndrome" or a star whose light drove children insane. The Big Bad of Part 1 wants to obtain this power or failing that, allow herself to be eaten and erased out of a twisted sense of love towards the Chainsaw Devil and revenge against the world. Since Makima is the Control Devil, this would cause complete societal collapse. One of the main goals of the War Devil in Part 2 of the series is to make Denji "throw up" the Nuclear Weapons Devil, thus restoring said devil's concept.
  • CLAMP:
    • In the end of the Clow Card arc of Cardcaptor Sakura, Sakura is threatened with something like this should she fail: no one will actually be gone except Yukito in the anime, who disappears with Kero, Yue, and the Cards, but everyone will forget that their most beloved person ever meant anything to them.
    • Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- and ×××HOLiC are connected by a Ret-Gone in which the real Syaoran of Tsubasa, the son of reincarnated in the past Clone Sakura and Clone Syaoran (and not of Cardcaptor Sakura Sakura and Syaoran as previously thought), gave up his existence in his home world for the Sakura of the world of Clow. In order to fill the gap this left in space-time, a new son (who had not previously existed in any world) was created for Clone Sakura and Clone Syaoran, Watanuki Kimihiro of Holic. Watanuki's existence is therefore precarious and could be erased by the real Syaoran's death or by the Tsubasa gang correcting the space-time disturbance. The point of Holic has been for Watanuki to develop connections to other people that will anchor him to existence when the endgame comes.
      • Additionally, this almost happens to the "twins" described above when their parents have a Critical Existence Failure upon the death of their creator, as when he dies, their parents technically never existed once again, just as they were retconned in originally. The twins end up making a Deal with the Devil just to continue having existed.
      • Also, Yuuko Ichihara of ×××HOLiC suffers this once she re-dies. She actually died centuries ago, but a Reality Warper told reality to ignore that for a while. When she sells that "reality ignore my death" effect in a Deal with the Devil of her own, all of a sudden, to most people it is as if she had never kept on living for hundreds of years.
  • Fuuko in CLANNAD. Gradually, everyone forgets that she's been running around the school lately and becomes unable to see or remember her. Eventually, only Tomoya remembers her. The starfishes she carved stay around, a handful of characters like Sunohara and the Furukawa family kind-of but not quite remember her. She gets better if you make the right decisions.
  • This is the driving force behind Micchi's odyssey across the universe in Cosmos Pink Shock. When she was 4 years old, the boy she loved was abducted by aliens, and everyone, including his parents, forgot he even existed. Micchi somehow retained her memories of what happened, ran away from home, and has spent years travelling through space trying to find some clue to point to her friend's location.
  • Happened to Chikane from Destiny of the Shrine Maiden as requirement for the save-the-world ritual... well, until The Power of Love and The Promise shook hands with each other to Screw Destiny, and she and Himeko were reunited in another lifetime.
  • In Devilman Lady this happened to an entire nation of demon worshipers and the events of Devilman .
  • In Digimon Ghost Game, Time Master Monster of the Week Piximon attempts to perform this on the heroes by going back in time and killing them while they're young & vulnerable, starting with Gammamon. He then returns moments later burned and terrified, courtesy of GulusGammamon.
  • One of the most dangerous gadgets Doraemon owns, the Dictator Switch, has the effect of completely erasing a person from existence. Press it in front of someone, and they, along with everything related to their existence, will be erased and no one will remember them. That's already dangerous enough, but it can be worse if used to make the entire population of a planet disappear. Despite this, Doraemon is still somehow unerased from existence because he's the only owner of the gadget aside from a dictator.
  • Doraemon: Nobita and the Steel Troops has Riruru, the Robot Girl who initially serves the hostile robot army of Mechatopia, eventually pulling a Heel–Face Turn after becoming friends with the heroes. With a Robot War about to break out, Riruru instead follows Shizuka on Time Travel (via the Time Machine in Nobita's desk) to Planet Mechatopia 30,000 years ago, when the first generation of robots, Amu and Emu, are being created. They manage to reprogram Amu and Emu and remove their competitive tendencies, thereby turning the robots of Mechatopia peaceful and preventing the war in the future... but Riruru ends up being erased at the same time. Riruru agrees anyway, essentially performing a Heroic Sacrifice - as back at the present, the thousands of hostile robots quickly dissappear after history rewrites itself.
  • Dragon Ball Z inverts this with Goten, Goku and Chi-Chi's second son; Bra, Vegeta and Bulma's daughter; and Pan, Gohan and Videl's daughter: none of them existed in the original timeline, in which the Androids terrorize the Earth, since their respective parents died long before they would've been conceived (and this timeline's Gohan never even met Videl), but they all exist now thanks to Trunks' time traveling.
    • Dragon Ball Super has Goku Black outright defies this trope. Even after his previous incarnation is killed, his possession of the Time Ring protects him from any changes made to history via time travel.
    • Also defied with Cell, who came from the further future, where he was killed as a fetus in the present. Krillin and Future Trunks knew it wouldn't kill him, but could at least stop him from being born in the present timeline. Strangely enough, when Zamasu was killed in the present, no one brought up that it already failed with Cell. Although Beerus (who killed him) did state that since he was killed by a god, he thought he'd die in the future, you'd think they'd at least mention it.
    • Trunks' timeline is eventually a double subversion of this. He changes the past, but creates an Alternate Timeline that he returns to that remains intact at least until it's eventually erased by Future Zeno.
  • ERASED: Inverted with Mirai Sugita, Kayo and Hiromi's infant son, who now exists thanks to Satoru saving them from becoming the killer's target like in the original timeline. This becomes important as contact with Mirai allows Satoru to regain his missing memories after waking up from his 15-years coma, including the identity of the killer.
  • Fairy Tail: In a filler episode of the anime, an ointment Lucy made before the Time Skip causes her to become invisible. However, it turns out the ointment doesn't just erase her from people's sight but also begins to erase her from existence, such as preventing her from using her Celestial Magic to summon her spirits or making the clothes she's wearing disappear. Soon, she becomes completely undetectable by her guildmates, who soon forget she even existed as they wonder what they were doing beforehand. Thankfully, Natsu instinctively calls for Lucy to come with him for a job, which causes him to remember and soon spreads to everyone else, breaking the curse on Lucy. Of course, Lucy's attempt to get rid of the cursed ointment is foiled when Happy crashes into her, causing it to turn everyone but her invisible and potentially subject them to the same fate.
  • Used interestingly in From the New World. When a member of Group 1 dies, the others are brainwashed into forgetting that the vanished person ever existed, and after the death of Shun, who they'd known for a long time, a Replacement Goldfish is introduced into the group in his place and their memories of Shun are overwritten with ones of the new boy. It doesn't take, though; the ones who knew Shun begin to sense that something is off and don't fully accept his replacement. By the story's end, Saki is able to remember Shun's name and face.
  • In Gamerz Heaven, if someone or something is killed or destroyed in the game, they will disappear from reality.
  • The Movie of Haruhi SuzumiyaThe Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya — centers around about what you'd expect. Haruhi (and Itsuki, who was Demoted to Extra) turn up going to another school. The fantastic secret identities of the SOS Brigade — including Haruhi — have likewise been retroactively undone.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry has this happen in Rei, since Rika getting hit by a truck sent her to a Hinamizawa where the dam project was still underway in June 1983, and a good portion of the major characters are absent. She's only in a coma though.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: This happens twice in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean.
    • This is the fate of Enrico Pucci. By using his newfound power of speeding up time, he speeds up time so much that the universe loops back on itself and reality is reset. However, as he is killed before completing the loop, the universe Snaps Back into a slightly altered version, and Enrico Pucci is nowhere to be seen. Which is interesting, considering that he wanted to inflict this on the entire Joestar bloodline.
    • Sadly, this happens to a hero from the same part, as well. F.F. refuses Jolyne's offer to take the Foo Fighters disc when she dies, on the grounds that even if it were inserted into something else, it wouldn't be her. As such, in line with that request, there is no counterpart for F.F. in the new reality. It wouldn't be possible for her to exist anyway, as Pucci created her by putting the Foo Fighters disc into a patch of plankton, and he's gone too.
  • In a story arc of Ultimate Muscle, set in the past, Brocken Jr. loses his right arm in a match, thus removing his trademark Red Rain of Berlin attack. In the next match, Jade attempts the move and is shocked to find he can't do it. Looking at a photo shows that Brocken Jr.'s hand is now a hook, therefore Brocken could never have taught the move to Jade. After some time for Jade's mind to adapt to his new memories, he now knows a leg-based version of the move: Brocken's Repatriation.
  • In an episode of Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, no one was able to recognize Escargoon when the monster Erasem entered his body, although he never actually disappeared.
  • Occurs in the ending of the early Fujiko Fujio one-shot manga, The Meeting Of Myself. Long story short, the main character meets his future selves from ten, twenty, and thirty years later, as well as his past self aged 5 from nearly a decade ago. They get into an argument involving future investments on property, causing the youngest self to freak out so badly that the boy ends up throwing himself out a window, causing the present and all future versions of the protagonist to disappear. From the creator of Doraemon!
  • In Nabari no Ou, this is Yoite's main goal. He doesn't succeed in either the manga or anime.
  • In Nyaruko: Crawling with Love!, in space kindergarten, there was a kid who would bully Hasta, which earned him butt-kickings from Nyarko and Cuko. The bully held onto his grudge for years, and finally got "payback" by erasing them from existence. Mahiro is the only one who remembers the girls because he has Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory, and so he enlists the help of Yithka to go back in time and set history back on its proper course.
  • One Piece: An incomplete version occurs in the Dressrosa arc courtesy the powers of the Hobby-Hobby Fruit wielded by Sugar. Her powers allow her to transform anyone she touches into Living Toys, which she can then place under her control. A side-effect of this power is all memory of who she transforms is removed from other people. Physical evidence, such as written reports or statues, still remain.
  • This is the Knight Templar antagonist Oswald's goal in PandoraHearts: to change the events of the previous century so the Tragedy of Sablier would never happen. This would essentially erase the current world and kill everyone living within it.
  • In Penguindrum this happens to Kanba and Shouma in the final episode as the former sacrifices himself to save Himari and Masako, while the latter takes the burden of changing fate from Ringo. The only things left to prove they existed are scars on Himari's forehead and Ringo's arms and Himari's teddy bear with a little note from them inside.
  • Pretty Cure:
    • In Futari wa Pretty Cure, the three Seeds have this effect, but the evidence was pretty much all faked in the first place — each sprang into existence at the beginning of the same episode where his/her Ret-Gone happened — so it's justified as a non-lethal case of No Ontological Inertia.
    • In Futari wa Pretty Cure Max Heart, this briefly happens to Hikari, but it's a milder form, as Nagisa and Honoka are able to reverse all this merely by mentioning her.
    • In Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash★Star, when Michiru and Kaoru die, only Saki and Mai remember they ever existed, as Saki discovers when she tries to tell her sister Minori that Kaoru (who Minori was close to) is gone. When they turn out to be not so dead after all, everybody suddenly remembers them again, even realizing they've been gone lately.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
    • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, this actually happens to Madoka in the final episode. She wishes to destroy all witches in the past and future before they are born, including her own, which causes her to become the literal embodiment of Hope for magical girls, and everyone forgets that Madoka Kaname ever existed. The only ones who do remember her are Homura and Madoka's little brother, Tatsuya. And even Word of God says that he will forget about her as he gets older.
    • In Puella Magi Kazumi Magica, the Pleiades Saints actually do this to the incubators in all of Asurano. They cast a spell covering the city that makes incubators invisible to everyone and replacing their memories of contracting with Kyubey to have been done with Jubey, a human-created incubator-like creature. They also make forgetting they ever cast the spell part of it. The spell gets broken in the final chapters, just in time for the magical girls to remember incubators, their inability to purify Soul Gems, and that Grief Seeds are used to purify Soul Gems, so that there can be a happier ending.
  • Re:Zero:
    • The White Whale is a Mabeast created by the Witch of Greed in the form of a flying whale. Anyone engulfed by its white fog attack is wiped from existence, including not only the memories of anyone who knew them but also any physical evidence of their life. The only way to know somebody has fallen victim to the fog is for them to be member of a hierarchal organization where the sudden absence of someone filling their role would be instantly noted. Subaru is the only person who can remember them as his Return by Death ability allows him to retain his memories regardless.
    • The Archbishop of Gluttony is able to eat the name and memories of his victims. This renders them comatose and erases them from the memories of everyone else as seen with Rem.
  • The end of the Revolutionary Girl Utena manga has Utena erased from the memories of the entire cast, with the exception of Touga, who mourns her passing worse because he cannot share his mourning with anyone. Only just then, Chuchu dresses up like Utena, and then Anthy walks by, now dressed in a boy's uniform like Utena had worn, so obviously some things have changed - and, as she says, Utena is not gone, but out there somewhere.
  • Happens to ChibiUsa in both versions of Sailor Moon that she is in; in the anime it's due to Mamoru being placed in an almost permanent state of dreaming by Queen Nehellenia in the manga it's due to Mamoru being thrown into the Galaxy Cauldron and melting away, soul and all., which causes her to never exist since Usagi can't get together with a guy who either never existed or has been brainwashed into a coma. She also gets retgoned after Galaxia Kills Mamoru In the manga, contrary to standard Grandfather Clauses, ChibiUsa is able to survive for an unusual amount of time after the point where her birth is made technically impossible; the future just becomes very stormy and unstable. In the anime version of this she's almost entirely retgoned however, vanishing from photos. The Sailor Senshi still seem to remember her however, they just can't tell things that are supposed to show her have changed. Chibi-Usa survives because when Galaxia kills Mamoru, she just takes his Golden Crystal. At that point, it's still possible for him to be revived as it happens later in that arc. However once he's thrown into the Cauldron, he's pretty much dead until Sailor Moon defeats Chaos.
    • Spoofed in the Super S arc of the anime, when a girl who crushes on Mamoru appears and it looks like she might swipe Mamoru for herself. Chibi-Usa has a rather tragicomical Imagine Spot where Mamoru runs off with the Romantic False Lead and leaves Usagi, who then wails that "Chibi-Usa will not even be boooooorn!". Chibi-Usa brings herself back to the real world and tries to tell Usagi to kick the runner-up out of Mamoru's surroundings, but Usagi blows her off and says she's not worried about losing Mamoru's love. The Runner Up eventually realizes she can't break them up, and willingly steps out.
  • In Sarazanmai, this happens to the zombies' former human selves once their shirikodama is taken and would have happened to Kazuki if he had given up his own shirikodama to save Haruka.
  • This is essentially the power of Ukoku Sanzo's Muten Sutra in Saiyuki, as he shows Sanzo first-hand: literally, 'the power of nothingness'. It also extends to things, though, not just people, but the effect it has on people is what makes it fit the trope.
  • At the end of Serial Experiments Lain The main character Lain does this to herself.
  • Shakugan no Shana has bad guys which consume people's power of existence. In order to prevent a shock to the reality fabric, placeholders ("torches") that resembles the original person are left behind. "Torches" slowly burn out, becoming increasingly lethargic while all traces of their existence begin to disappear. At the beginning of the series, Yuji desperately, but futilely, tries to keep a classmate-turned-torch alive and continuously involved with their friends, but their attention inevitably drifts, until she finally fades away. Except nobody actually ends up forgetting her for long, because Shana then takes on her identity. She doesn't take on the vanished girl's personality, though, leading some to question, "Has she always been like this?"
  • In SSSS.GRIDMAN, this is what happens to anyone who is killed during a Kaiju attack. Once the battle is over, history is rewritten to make people think the victims died several years earlier. Later episodes reveal that the fog kaiju are responsible for maintaining this. Once Anonymous B kills them all in its rampage, the damage to the present sticks.
  • Tenchi in Tokyo, Yugi apparently "Ret Hered" her shadow Sakuya into the community- everyone else is given Fake Memories of her, her name's put into the records of her apartment building, etc. Once Sakuya realizes she doesn't remember anything but Tenchi and Yugi decides she's served her purpose, all the illusions are undone and Sakuya is Ret-Goned again — Tenchi's friends don't remember her, her name disappears from the records, and she disappears from a previously-taken photo, even when Tenchi still remembers her presence.
  • In the first Tenchi Universe movie, Tenchi Muyo in Love, Big Bad KAIN goes back in time to kill Tenchi's mother, Achika. Tenchi is nearly erased, but is saved by one of Washu's inventions. The main drive of the movie deals with Tenchi and the girls figuring out when KAIN killed his mother and stopping KAIN before he can do so.
  • Time Stranger Kyoko has this happen to the titular character. After giving Ui her body back, Kyoko returns to earth to see her friends one last time. She's invisible, can't be heard. Her father explains that her friends didn't forget about her. It's that she never existed in their hearts to begin with. She gets better.
  • The Titan's Bride: Due to how summoning magic works in Eustil, the circumstances of Koichi's presence ends up poking a hole in the dimensional "wall" between his home world and Eustil that keeps the worlds separate and stable. It takes one month for it to repair itself, but it also means he would need to make a very important decision: leave Caius behind and return home, or form a contract that would also essentially rewrite history to where Koichi never existed back in his original home. He heavily considered going back home due to his sentimental ties with his mother and classmates, but ultimately stays with Caius.
  • During the final arc of Ushio and Tora, the Big Bad causes his minions to delete all trace of Ushio from everyone's memories, including those he sees everyday or whose life he saved. Fortunately, Tora can still see him even when the other youkai can't.
  • The fate of most Kanshuu's victim on World Embryo.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: The M.O. of the Big Bad of Season 4 is to mentally torture his victims with the darkness and guilt in their hearts until they believe they don't deserve to exist — and then grant their wish.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s the the Three Nobles of Yliaster did this to Yliaster member Clark Smith after he deliberately disobeyed them, changing the past so that his birth never occured. (At least, that's what they claimed happened to him. Seeing as it did not undo any of the crimes he was responsible for, like the murder of Sherry LeBlanc's parents, there may have been more to it than it seemed.)

    Audio Plays 
  • Big Finish Doctor Who:
    • In Neverland, the Time Lords are revealed to have a device called "The Oubliette of Eternity", which is a dispersal chamber combined with an erase-from-history device. The really horrifying thing that is that there is no Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory in effect: even a person who has authorized its use many times over is under the impression that it has never been used. When one Time Lady find she used it hundreds of times in horror she erases herself.
    • Nazi scientist Dr Elizabeth Klein has this happen to her after she continues altering history to ensure Nazi power. However, a new Elizabeth Klein is created who has no memory of the actions of her previous self.
    • The Light at the End has this happen to the Doctors when the Master uses a conceptual bomb to remove the TARDIS from existence.
    • In the Last Great Time War, the War Valeyard succeeded in doing this to the Daleks. Not only it didn't take, the Daleks were well and truly pissed with the Time Lords.

    Card Games 
  • In Chrononauts, this is done with the aptly-named card "Your Parents Never Met". The chosen player's Secret Identity is revealed, and they must trade it in for a new one.
  • In Magic: The Gathering:
    • Some cards, such as Door to Nothingness, Time Wipe and Æther Snap do this, according to their flavor texts.
    • You can actually do this to yourself with the Pact Cycle, flavor-wise. These involve borrowing mana from the future. When it's time to send mana into the past, if you can't, you erase yourself from existence.
    • Apparently it happened to Zhalfir. Teferi "phased it out" (transported it to the future) to prepare for the Phyrexian invasion, and when it was time for it to "phase in", it couldn't. Eventually dealt with as of March of the Machine, with Zhalfir returning in full and becoming a separate plane, "replacing" the irrevocably corrupted Mirrodin.
    • At the end of the Tarkir story-line, Sarkhan Vol significantly alters alters his world's history so that dragons never went extinct on that world. Despite over a thousand years of altered history, most people Sarkhan knew still very much exist (albeit with heavily altered lives). However, none of them have any recollection of Sarkhan himself, as he apparently was never born in this time-line. Paradoxically, every event he took part in on other worlds was completely unaffected (as it includes some pretty important ones in the MTG time-line). He doesn't angst over it for long, instead seeing it as a fresh start on a better version of his world. One of the Legendary creatures in the Mystic Intellect precon deck - Elsha of the Infinite - doesn't exist anymore as her timeline was destroyed due to that time traveling.
  • Munchkin features a card that when used lets you take any item/steed in play, put it in the appropriate Box of Holding and carry on as if the card you just put in the box never existed.

    Comic Books 


  • Animal Man: The immortal Hamed Ali was literally erased from existence during Grant Morrison's run. His lines became sketchier, he lost his color, he became nothing more than rough pencil lines and design notes, and disappeared into nothing at all.
  • Towards the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths, several universes have been subjected to this. Survivors find that in the new universe, nobody remembers that they ever existed. Those characters are then killed off in the remainder of the book, and promptly forgotten by those few who still remembered them. Ouch.
  • According to Grant Morrison's DC work, part of DC's multiverse is Comic Book Limbo, a space where all forgotten comics characters go. As long as they are there, no one will remember them, and everybody will regain their memories about them when writers drag them from this terrible place and put them in their stories.
  • DC's second Chronos removed himself from history, since this was the only way to prevent his adoptive mother being killed in a car crash. Due to the nature of his powers, he continues to exist, but no one remembers him. Except his biological father, who remembers him being born and then vanishing.
  • The fate of reality, courtesy of the Anti-Monitor, according to the Amazonian prophecy, in DC's Darkseid War.
  • The Flash:
    • Wally West's wife Linda Park was retgonned by a supervillain at her wedding, just before vows were exchanged. The groom found himself at home, confused and vaguely aware that something was missing, but unable to figure out what it was. Eventually (a year and a half later) she was restored to her proper place and the ceremony resumed (although Bart Allen (Impulse) could still see and remember her. Of course, his grasp on reality is a little off).
    • The time-traveling villain Eobard Thawne a.k.a. Professor Zoom/Reverse Flash has learned to weaponize this, frequently erasing people from history either for his own benefit or to make Barry Allen suffer. More than once he's just done it because he felt slighted by the now-deleted party, and the only reason he didn't erase Barry himself was because it would destabilize his own origin.
    • In DC Rebirth, it's revealed Wally got retgonned following Flashpoint, thrown out of time until he could find a way back to reality. Unfortunately, he and Linda both lost a few years of their lives... which included their entire relationship.
  • The Silver Age Justice League of America story "Crisis on Earth-A" had Johnny Thunder become curious on whether he has a counterpart on Earth-One and ask his Thunderbolt to take him to him. Said Earth-One counterpart turns out to be a crook and proceeds to hijack the Thunderbolt and use his wishes to alter reality in his favor. This included wiping the Justice League out of existence by having the Thunderbolt go back in time and interfere with their individual origins (e.g. preventing Krypton from undergoing the disaster that destroyed it and resulted in Superman being sent to Earth, saving Green Lantern Corpsman Abin Sur's life so he wouldn't give his power ring to Hal Jordan, discouraging Bruce Wayne from becoming a crimefighter by beating up Batman during his first case, interfering with Dr. Erdel's experiment so J'onn J'onzz would remain on Mars) and later having some of his accomplices take Superman, Batman, Martian Manhunter, the Atom, the Flash and Green Lantern's places in the timeline. It takes the efforts of the Justice Society and a defiant Thunderbolt who's all too pleased that his new master's wishes are limited by his exact wording to persuade Earth-One Johnny Thunder into surrendering and undoing his actions.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes:
    • The need to get Mon-El out — because he was written out of Superman's existence — resulted in a confrontation between the Time Trapper and Mon-El. The Time Trapper explained he was behind Mon-El's origin and Mon-El would retroactively cease to exist if he killed him. Mon-El declares that other heroes will rise in his place, and kills him. Fade to white.
    • Legion of 3 Worlds: Superboy-Prime meets the Time Trapper in the end, now revealed to be a future, older Prime. Time Trapper makes the mistake of ordering their younger self to kill the Legion. Prime, furious by being ordered around by him, punches the Time Trapper and resulting paradox causes that Time Trapper to cease to exist while Prime is launched back to Earth Prime.
  • Multiversity: Harley Screws Up the DCU has Harley Quinn find out that, through time-traveling shenanigans she quickly forgot about, she accidentally erased all of the DC superheroes from history and in doing so created a Bad Future where Starro has conquered the world with no one to oppose him. The rest of the miniseries deals with Harley trying to fix her mistakes to restore all the heroes to the timeline while also fighting back against Starro's efforts to prevent her from fixing the timeline. By the end, everything's back to normal except for Barry Allen reeking of monkey urine because a jar of the stuff was placed by Harley among the chemicals that gave him his super speed and Aquaman still being erased from existence due to Harley neglecting to undo her sleeping with Aquaman's human father Tom Curry and getting him killed before he met Aquaman's mother Atlanna.
  • New 52: Lian Harper, the daughter of Wally's teammate Roy Harper and the assassin Cheshire was retconned out by the reboot. Though Lian had already been killed off prior to the reboot, Red Hood and the Outlaws made it clear that Roy and Cheshire had never met before, meaning they couldn't have had a kid. Roy eventually regained his memories of Lian during DC Infinite Frontier before it was revealed that Lian had somehow come back into existence (several years older) as part of the supporting cast of Catwoman.
  • As a result of New 52 putting all the Golden Age DC heroes back in a separate universe and making them younger, Obsidian and his sister Jade no longer exist because their father isn't old enough to have adult children. Because of this, the writers transferred Obsidian's sexual orientation to the new version of the man who had previously been his father. Nevertheless, the Earth 2 continuity still introduced a counterpart to Obsidian anyway during the events of Earth 2: World's End, though he is obviously not Alan Scott's son for the previously stated reasons.
  • New 52: When Superman and Wonder Woman kissed, it had the side-effect of erasing Booster Gold from existence. People still remember, but they only think he has disappeared. As a man from the future, Booster Gold disappearing is quite ominous... He ended up getting collected by Brainiac, leading into the events of Convergence.
  • This is one of the higher-end abilities of Darkseid's Omega Beams in New Gods.
  • Supergirl:
    • There was a truly heartbreaking Christmas story (Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot) in a DC Christmas annual a couple years after the Crisis in 1989 where the ghostly superhero Deadman is wondering why he bothers going on when a young woman, who can see him, tells him: "We don't do it for the glory. We don't do it for the recognition... We do it because it needs to be done. Because if we don't, no one else will. And we do it even if no one knows what we've done. Even if no one knows we exist. Even if no one remembers we ever existed." Then she disappears into the night, but not before Deadman asks her name. "My name is Kara. Though I doubt that'll mean anything to you."
    • Subverted with "American Honda Presents DC Comics Supergirl". Although the second issue came out one year after DC declared Supergirl was dead, gone and forgotten "forever" and nobody was allowed to bring her up in-and-out-of-universe, Kara -and she is distinctly Kara Zor-El- makes a reappearance as the story's protagonist.
    • Supergirl (2005): A later version of the Dark Angel tried to do this to the Post-Crisis Supergirl by trapping her in a horrifying illusion without her knowledge. If Supergirl had been mentally, physically, or spiritually broken, Dark Angel would have had the authority to erase her. Supergirl survived the test, but Dark Angel decided to erase her anyway, only to be stopped by her boss, The Monitor.
    • In Superman (1939) issue #123, "The Three Magic Wishes", Jimmy Olsen creates an artificial entity called Super-Girl when using an Indian totem to wish for a crime-fighter who helped Superman out. Unfortunately, Super-Girl gets radioactive poisoning while saving Superman, so she asks Jimmy to wish her out of existence. Super-Girl vanishes, and her story was declared non-canon (rather than just declaring it an imaginary story, an alternate universe, or an event which was not to be mentioned again), which is because nobody brings her up when Kara Zor-El shows up.
  • Superman:
    • The entirety of the Superman/Wonder Woman relationship from the New 52 was Retgonned when the pre-New 52 Superman and New 52 Superman fused together in Superman Reborn, with the resulting combined timeline basically being pre-New 52 Superman but with Post-Flashpoint Superman's dead parents, briefly using his armoured costume and some clearing up of continuity surrounding his son's birth. This new, whole Superman has never dated Wonder Woman, and is all but said to have only ever dated Lois Lane.
    • After Superman: Reborn, there's an issue of Clark recounting his past, from the beginning of his career as Superman to his current life. One of the things he remembers is his death and the Supermen who came after. Missing is Kon-El, Superboy (and all non-Kryptonian Supergirls). Superman does say he feels like something's missing. Kon-El (Conner) was definitely erased as his best friend (Tim Drake) had no clue who he is, but upon hearing his name felt like he was missing someone. Tim and Stephanie Brown set off to figure out what happened to the timeline, and found Kon had been shuffled off to Gemworld and therefore spared from the mess that created the New 52 but stranded from the main universe.
    • Superboy (1994): The Hypertension storyline had this happen to Director Westfield. Contact with Hyperium, a substance that allows travel through Hypertime, erased him and every single one of his counterparts from the multiverse. Only the memory of him remained, apparently enough to allow for new versions of Westfield to appear in future iterations of the multiverse.
  • In The DCU, this was the origin of Waverider. In a dark future ruled by a tyrant named Monarch, scientist Matthew Ryder time-traveled to the past to defeat him, suffering an accident that turned him into the time-travelling superhero. Waverider ultimately prevented Monarch from conquering the world, but in doing so history was altered, so that Matt Ryder never went to the past and never became Waverider. However Waverider still existed, and eventually joined forces with the Matt Ryder of the new timeline to form the Linear Men.
  • Wonder Girl: Donna Troy's (again) Retcon-ed origin involved her being cursed by a character called the Dark Angel to live a life full of pain and suffering, with her life being restarted and erased from the world's memory —again— when Donna was at her lowest. (In the most recent case, the death of her ex-husband, stepdaughter and infant son, coupled with the loss of her powers). Hippolyta (the Wonder Woman at the time) and her Teen Titans teammate Wally West (The Flash) remembered her due to being outside the timestream when it was rewritten, and Donna was restored to her previous form, complete with powers (because they used Wally's memories to restore her, and he remembered her best with her Wonder Girl powers). The tragic part turned out to be that Wally didn't have much memory or knowledge of the (well-written and positive for both of them) relationship she had had with Green Lantern Kyle Rayner before her latest Ret-Gone — and so of course she came back with only the vaguest memories of her time with him.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Artemis was erased from continuity for the New 52, before making a return in Rebirth after Wondy learned her memories had been altered in Wonder Woman (Rebirth).
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Ronno/Renno was erased from continuity along with all the other characters from the Wonder Girl "impossible tales" He tried to put up a protest since unlike the others he had appeared in the main continuity first and existed as a character outside of the one-shot stories but the merboy's protests were dismissed along with his existence.
  • In Zero Hour: Crisis in Time!, many future heroes are erased such as Booster Gold and Impulse and the Legion of Super-Heroes' Post-Crisis continuity is erased by the entropy wave. When the heroes restore the timestream, the alternate timelines that spawned a healthy Barbara Gordon Batgirl and Alpha Centurian are erased, though Booster and Impulse are restored.
    • The Team Titans were originally shown to be from an alternate future who traveled back in time to the 1990s. They briefly worried that altering the past might erase their future and themselves, only to realize the timelines differed. In Zero Hour, it turns out their future was one of many "dark timelines" created by villain Monarch to use the "heroes" as his army. After Monarch's defeat, this entire timeline is wiped out and the Team Titans vanish. The only ones left behind are Mirage and Terra II as it turns out they're actually from the present, having been given new memories by the Time Trapper to be his "moles" inside the Team.


  • An issue of Captain Marvel by Peter David had Genis-Vell travel into the future to face his future evil son with Songbird, Ely-Vell, who became a murderous psycho who killed all life on 5 star systems and was trying to free his master, the Magus. Ely is ultimately defeated when Genis makes the decision to smother him in his crib. Once the decision is made, he fades away.
  • Invoked once by Doctor Strange — to clear his schedule so that he could chase down and defeat a mystical enemy, he cast a spell which made the entire world believe that he had died years ago, and that the physical man they saw was a harmless occult expert named "Stephen Sanders."
  • Happens to Gorilla Girl in Marvel Zombies spinoff Evil Evolution when she triggers a Temporal Paradox to prevent the zombie plague from spreading to other realities.
  • This would have happened to Chase in Runaways had he sacrificed himself to the Gibborim to save Gertrude. There would be no trace or memory that he ever existed.
  • The Sentry's entire backstory is that he got erased from history, which is why nobody remembers the character from Silver Age comics, even though he was active and present then.
  • In the She-Hulk story "Time of Her Life", the Time Variance Authority's method of execution is the Retroactive Cannon, AKA the RetCan, which does this to anyone shot with it. Including, in that very story, Knight Man and Dr. Rocket. Who, you ask? Well, isn't that the point...
  • Spider-Man examples:
    • "Retcon bombs" are the preferred weapon of Hobgoblin 2211, the daughter of that era's Spider-Man. Their first victim is her boyfriend, who helped her escape from her VR prison in the first place. She herself is erased when Spidey catches one with a webline and swings it back at her, assuming it was just a pumpkin bomb.
    • A one-shot 1970's Spidey enemy was Drom the Backwards Man, who was continually growing younger. When Drom gets killed, Spidey realizes that by the nature of Drom's affliction, all memory that he ever existed will probably vanish as well. So Peter narrates a record of the incident on a tape recorder for himself. Just as he finishes the recording, he forgets what he had been talking about.
    • In End of the Spider-Verse, the transformed Spider-Totems pass around a strange dagger that, when stabbed into one of the other totems, they seem to just unravel and disappear. Part 4's ending seems to suggest that it doesn't do this trope, but instead retcons them into being unconnected to the Web of Life.
  • In the conclusion of the original Spider-Woman comic series, this was supposed to happen to Spider-Woman. After being unable to return her soul to her body, she requested that her friend Magnus casts a spell that makes everyone forget that she ever existed. In the end... the spell was faulty, and she's Back from the Dead.
  • A very early example occurs in Strange Tales #3, published by Marvel's predecessor, Atlas Comics, in which three men who discover the identity of Death are systematically wiped from existence.
  • This is the stated purpose of the Ultimate Nullifier - a piece of KirbyTech which will erase the chosen target from history, completely. With the unfortunate side-effect that if the target is imperfectly visualized in the user's mind, the user is the one who's erased. Of course how you can determine if a firing succeeded or failed...
    • Marvel Adventures changes the effect of the weapon completely: it only nullifies differences in power, so that anyone can beat anyone, which is why it can be used to defeat Galactus.
  • In What If? #9, a hero team calling themselves the Avengers formed in the 50s, rather than the 60s as is canon in the main Marvel Universe. In Avengers Forever, Wasp and Captain Marvel (from the present and future Avengers teams, respectively) meet these Avengers, much to their confusion, as they know damn well the team never existed in their timeline, and this is supposed to still be their timeline. The discrepancy is explained by the arrival of Immortus, who wipes out the standing section of time (nearly taking Marvel and Wasp with it) in order to prevent a confrontation between Earth and the Skrull Empire, who had one of its agents impersonating Not-Yet-President Nixon. The now nonexistent Avengers team was later resurrected and reinstated in their place in the 50s as a different team, known as the G-Men, who later became the Agents of Atlas. Phew.
  • X-Men:
  • Things and beings that didn't make it before (thanks to the Multiversal collapse, courtesy of the Beyonders), during (thanks to simply being killed) and after (more importantly, this is the deciding one) the course of events of Marvel's Secret Wars (2015).


  • Astro City:
    • This is a key point in "The Nearness of You", where Michael Tenicek keeps dreaming of a woman he's never met, yet knows all of her intimate details. It turns out she was his wife, but got erased in the aftermath of a Time Crash event due to a Close-Enough Timeline.
    • This was the result of Samaritan's first mission. He eliminated the Bad Future he came from and wiped out all of his loved ones from his original timeline.
      • In fact, two of the stories featuring Samaritan strongly hint that the reason why he's been obsessively doing good acts is to make up for deleting the loved ones of his original timeline. Talk about Survivor's Guilt!
    • This is also what led to Infidel becoming Samaritan's Arch-Enemy — when Samaritan eliminated his Bad Future, he also accidentally eliminated Infidel's empire in the distant future. Prior to their truce, many of their battles involved one trying to eliminate the other's reality.
    • Preventing this is why the Silver Agent willingly allows himself to be executed.
  • When Brickleberry got cancelled after 3 seasons, the creators failed to find a 4th season on another home channel so they settled on a comic book that focused on Future Steve going back in time to stop alien cows from taking over the earth. In the last issue, Future Steve finally saved the day and helped everyone survive the impending alien cow invasion, but because of this he can't exist anymore.... then only his skin vanishes first! And THEN his muscles! It hurts so much, and he regrets ever saving everyone.
  • Rayek in ElfQuest: Kings of the Broken Wheel wants to take the Palace forward in time and merge it with its former self before it went back in time. This, he claims, will erase the entire history of the elves, trolls and preservers, except for those who happen to be in the Palace when the paradox doesn't happen. Confused? In the event, he does take the Palace forward, leaving behind a whole bunch of elves and trolls who are afraid they'll suddenly cease to exist at some point. Surprise - it doesn't happen. Rayek fails. And then Cutter gets to beat the crap out of him, which Rayek allows to get the ill-feeling out of his system.
  • Implied in Fables. The Jack of Fables and Fables crossover even has the villain doing this to The Story Of Little Black Sambo, after Revise had more or less done this to him by censoring his myth.
    • As an example of how effective Revise's power could be, the story showed Carl, the fourth little pig who built his house out of cloth. But Revise removed Carl from the story and everyone now thinks there have always been just three little pigs.
    • A further point of this is that at one point the entity called Bookburner puts together an army of fictional characters such as the Comanche Skeleton, Man O' Fruit, Ann O' The Woods, and Lindy Lou the Pragmatic Cat. In-universe these characters and many more were all Fables whose stories were completely forgotten by the Mundy World, while Word of God states they were all specifically made up just for the series.
  • Judge Dredd once faced off against a Humanoid Abomination known as the Stygian Devourer. Looking like a man in a trenchcoat with a fedora, it would not only devour a person, but also its entire existence. Defeating it would undo the effect, bringing hundreds of people back into existence.
  • In the OEL Manga Miki Falls, they effectively do this to Miki's Deliverer boyfriend. It doesn't work on her, even though everyone else forgets.
  • In an unknown comic (appeared in the Swedish edition of The Phantom): a teenage time traveler is hiding in the present day, trying to avoid futuristic robots that want to kidnap him (because he knows of their existence). When the robots find out where (or rather, when) he is, they try to zap him into their time, but they keep getting the wrong kid... and every time, everyone forgets the victim's existence, as though they never existed. The only ones who remember is the time traveler, and the normal kid protagonist (due to some Phlebotinum).
  • Used in The Sandman (1989) arc "World's End".
  • In the final issues of Shade, the Changing Man, Shade (and Milligan) attempted to invert this, and remove Kathy's tragic backstory and murder. It made for an anticlimactic ending, as Shade's personality had come full circle to the socially awkward idealist he was at the beginning, the final page left hanging on his clumsy attempts to reconcile with a woman who no longer had a history with him.
    • As revealed in Justice League Dark, it didn't work. Shade's creation isn't really Kathy, and Shade has gotten so screwed-up as a result, he's no longer sure if there was ever a real Kathy.
  • Sonic the Comic has two examples:
    • The Brotherhood of Metallix try to do this to Robotnik by stealing the rotten egg out of Kintobor's fridge which meant the accident that turned Kintobor into Robotnik never happened, allowing them to take over the world for themselves, their continued existence being because Grimer was the one who created them, with Robotnik only adding a self-destruct program in case of rebellion. However, Sonic created a Stable Time Loop by retrieving the egg, putting it back in the fridge and then making sure the accident happened, ensuring Robotnik exists.
    • Later on, Robotnik himself absorbs the Chaos Emeralds' power and becomes a god, using his newfound power to erase Sonic from the timeline and create a new present where he rules and Sonic's pals are either his servants, frightened civilians, or dead. Of course, since, due to the Stable Time Loop, Robotnik only exists because of Sonic, one has to wonder how Robotnik didn't Ret-Gone himself as well.
  • Not to be outdone, Dr. Eggman attempts this in the Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) storyline "Sonic: Genesis" via the Genesis Wave. However, it turns out that Sonic couldn't be erased and, instead, the universe is altered to be the video game version with SatAM elements in it. As he later reasons, the Genesis Wave's original power source, a singular Chaos Emerald, wasn't enough. Enter Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide, in which Dr. Eggman and Dr. Wily obtain all seven Chaos Emeralds and uses its power to completely alter both Mobius Prime and Earth 20XX. At the end of the story, Mega Man fixes his world, but Eggman interferes in fixing Sonic's, which leads to...the "nu252" universe, which pretty much altered Mobius to the point where it was mostly video game based. Even more, a vast majority of the characters were Ret-Goned by the event and the only ones who remember the old world are Sonic himself, Eggman, Orbot, Cubot, Naugus, Blaze, and most of the Freedom Fighters.
    • And it's been clarified that those characters have since lost those memories of the old world, so there are no ties to the old continuity. The removed characters have been cut off completely. This was because of Archie losing ownership of several of those characters to former head writer Ken Penders, and the other characters were cut because Archie wanted to remove any chance of their writers trying the same lawsuit trick as Penders.
    • Word of God also revealed that the Sonic X continuity was also erased by the Super Genesis Wave.
  • In Thessaly: Witch for Hire, a being known as the Tharmic Null has this power. Anything it touches is retroactively removed from existence.

    Fan Works 
  • In the MLP fanfic Aftermath of the Games, this happening to Starlight Glimmer was one of the key aspects to making it an Alternate Universe Fic. Princess Twilight tried to talk Starlight down during the events of "The Cutie Remark" and offered her hoof in friendship. Unlike in canon, however, Starlight rejected it underneath the belief that she would be thrown in prison for her crimes if she surrendered. At that point, Twilight had no choice but to encase the villain in a crystal, find the filly Starlight, and ask her if she wanted to run away from her Orphanage of Fear and become her personal student. Filly Starlight eagerly agreed, which wiped the original Starlight out of existence.
  • Lyra Heartstrings suffers a certain variant of this in Background Pony, constantly fading out of perception while technically still existing. Other ponies notice her and can hold conversations with her, but as soon as they walk away, they forget who she is and what they just did. Anything written about her turns blank, and pictures of her fade out while leaving everything else intact. (Twilight has a photo of herself and her classmate Moondancer, and Lyra mentions that it used to hold three ponies...)
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Inverted when Apollo Justice unwittingly wishes on a Khura'inese artifact that his father never died, creating a new timeline where Jove Justice survived, his mother never vanished, and Apollo has two new sisters, Thalia and Diana Justice. However, currently unbeknownst to Apollo, this is played straight with his half-sister Trucy, as since their mother Thalassa Gramarye is still married to Jove, she never remarried to Zak and had her daughter.
  • Breathe Again and its Recursive Fanfic Inhale Peace explores a variant in which Dick Grayson has all evidence of his existence erased from reality. Not only do none of the other members of the Batfamily remember him, no proof remains that the Flying Graysons ever had a son.
  • In Cardcaptor Rad, this is essentially The Erase's shtick. She not only wipes Rachel from existence, but that the timeline shifted itself to fill in the gaps the erased person caused. Thankfully though, Hot Shot still remembered Rachel and managed to get Rad in on the know to seal the card.
  • In Crowns of the Kingdom, this is what happens to anyone who falls into an Oubliette.
  • One of the few inversions of this trope is in Fist of the Moon. Sailor Pluto starts the whole story off when she arranges to change the future, her present, so that more people are there than originally survived. She wrote them in instead of erasing them.
  • In Gaz Dreams of Genie, Gaz accidentally uses her first wish to erase Dib from existence, after instinctively saying she wishes that he'd never been born. When this results in a reality where Zim rules Earth, Gaz uses her second wish to hit the Reset Button (to save herself from being enslaved by the Irkens, mind you, not out of regret). Ironically, this ends up happening to her a different way later on, as her third wish (to gain the power to grant wishes herself) results in her and the genie Azie switching lives. As Azie explains, reality has been altered so that she's always been Dib's sister, and no one remembers Gaz ever existed.
  • This happens to Grand Admiral Thrawn and his ship in The Great Starship Battle.
  • In Hybrid Hive: Eat Shard?, Taylor and Hive experiment with a spell they think will enable time travel. The spell is performed via remote controlled drones on an alternate version of Mars. Something happens, at which point they realize Mars never existed in that dimension. It's implied the universe itself did this and the only reason Taylor and Hive were spared is that they were in a different dimension.
  • Happens to an entire universe in The Infinite Loops. Potentially even more then one.
  • Used in Infinity Crisis, a crossover with Avengers: Infinity War and the Arrowverse.
    • As a result of the deaths caused by the Infinity Gauntlet affecting the entire multiverse in May 2018, the Waverider and Zari have to stay outside of time because of the risk that those erased include any of Zari's ancestors or the ancestors of those who would design the Waverider, with the result that they would ease to exist if they return to the regular universe.
    • Imra did not dissolve into dust, but vanished, intended to reflect how her future no longer exists.
    • Ava Sharpe notes that hundreds of futures are blinking out of existence after this attack.
  • An amusing example happens in The Keys of the Kingdom. Chibi-Usa arrives from the future, and accidentally reveals a big hint on Tuxedo Kamen's identity to Sailor Venus when she refers to him as "Mamo-chan". Unfortunately, Sailor Venus is crushing on Tuxedo Kamen, and Usagi hasn't been awakened yet. Chibi-Usa is abruptly replaced by a different girl.
  • The Last Great Time War has weapons and creatures that can cause this.
  • In Long-Term Memories, this happens to Garnet. Fusion nullifies Spinel's powers, so she got rid of every memory of fusion in everyone's minds. But since Garnet is a fusion herself, she is immune to Spinel's influence. Spinel made her disappear, and implanted Fake Memories in everyone's minds, causing them to either remember her being shattered during the Gem War, or to make them forget about her existence entirely. Steven, Connie and Amethyst are the only ones that remember her.
  • At the end of Oyasumi Midoriya, Midoriya gives up his physical form and ascends back to wherever he came from. As a result, everyone save for Bakugou forgets he even existed, and the sequel, Ohayo Midoriya is all about the characters trying to remember what happened.
  • Phantastical Boundaries: Rin Satsuki, a character that was Dummied Out in EoSD, had suffered being "forgotten by the world" through unknown circumstances, to the point where she herself is unable to remember much of who she is outside her name. The only evidence that she once existence In-Universe is in the "Night Falls" omake, where Marisa remembers a "Little Shop of Raspberry" that doesn't seem to exist — which is ultimately dismissed as a false memory. Regardless, according to her pastebin message, she is hopeful that with a world beyond her reach, she could return to beat the odds — But that's ultimately up to those reaching her message, leaving a link to her song files and chromatics.
    My story is unfinished. It is up to you to finish it.
  • Pony POV Series:
    • Any being who gets erased gets separated into their Light of Existence and Shadow of Existence. The Light returns to Fauna Luster and the Shadow inhabits Oblivion, the realm of Entropy. The Shadow of Existence has the memories and personality of the original person, but nobody can remember them except the Gods, people Immune to Fate, Time Lords, and anyone else with Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory, and any evidence of their existence disappears. It is possible to restore someone to existence by reuniting their Shadow and Light, but it is also possible to destroy a Shadow, rendering that person Deader than Dead.
    • Entropy, as the Anthropomorphic Personification of Heat Death, is capable of erasing anything from existence at will (at least as long as they're in her domain). Most notably, she did this to one of her children when ___ talked back to her, or so was believed. ____ was actually a Knight Templar who desired to wipe out all the gods and Entropy did it to stop him, with Fauna Luster actually helping her because the consequence of ____ winning was just that horrible of a prospect. She's even capable of erasing the other Elders, just they're capable of willing themselves back into existence due to being on the same plane as her. She does this to her husband Havoc, the Anthropomorphic Personification of Mass Hysteria, on a regular basis to the point it's described as being equal to one member of a bickering couple shoving the other one.
    • The entire pantheon was forced to erase the entire G3 timeline and everyone and everything in it, because its very existence was creating a Reality-Breaking Paradox.
    • The Blank Wolf from Shining Armor's Arc, a mysterious entity that's been chasing Shining Armor, erases anything it eats, and seems intent on doing this to him. Made all the more frightening by its Implacable Man status. He ends up turning it on Makarov/The Shadow of Chernobull instead. Minuette also gets rid of The Master by feeding the fob watch that contains his essence to the Blank Wolf. It manages to erase Shining Armor, but his Shadow of Existence fights his way back to Princess Cadence and The Power of Love restores him.
    • It is revealed that in the original timeline, Twilight Sparkle's uncle Cool Sun had a daughter named Athena. Unfortunately, when Shining Armor was inserted into the timeline, the changed circumstances made Cool Sun never meet his wife and then die early, meaning Athena never existed. Athena's Shadow of Existence speaks to Shining Armor and forgives him for this.
    • This briefly happens to the entire Changeling race after Makarov alters history so that they became extinct. They are restored when Makarov is erased by the Blank Wolf.
    • Nightmare Eclipse/Paradox has done this to Dark World several ''billion'' times via her GroundhogDayLoop plan, herself and Discord being the only survivors of the original loop.
    • A Concept Killing Weapon can erase any object it destroys and any being it kills, and it can kill even a god. Cupid was killed by one. Erasing him also erased a great multitude of beings, since Cupid wasn't around to make their parents get together.
    • In the Finale Arc, Nyarlathotrot creates an Evil Knockoff of the Blank Wolf called the Dark Hound or the Moon Howler, with the same ability to erase anything it eats. With the help of the Cutie Mark Crusaders and Button Mash, the Blank Wolf defeats and devours it, so the Dark Hound gets erased itself.
    • In the Finale Arc, Discord battles the heroes by splitting himself into his various character assets. Goatcord, who represented his insanity, gets erased when Scootaloo wraps her cape, which was a gift from Entropy and has some of her power, around her hoof and literally punches him into Oblivion.
  • It's revealed in Chapter 44 of The Raven's Plan that, due to the heroes' use of a risky magical spell that would send their memories of the future back to the past so they can Set Right What Once Went Wrong and prepare Westeros better against the war with the Others (only for the spell to get massively overcharged with power, causing way more people than originally intended to remember), they've inadvertently erased several children from existence, with Little Sam being one such case, as the boy's biological father was killed in the first few hours of the timeline reset before he himself could be conceived. Needless to say, his mother (who still vividly remembers being pregnant with him and loving him) is heartbroken.
  • There's a Sailor Moon fanfic where Usagi gives birth to a different child in place of ChibiUsa. Said child, after over nine hundred years of living in the shadow of a sister who never existed, eventually manages to become Sailor Moon, thereby causing ChibiUsa to disappear from photos and gradually fade from memory. Interestingly, this is also one of the few fics to suggest that Usagi would be upset by this situation.
  • The Second Try shows the darker side of Peggy Sue stories when Asuka and Shinji are sent back to before the Twelfth Angel but their daughter is left behind. Fortunately, Kaworu (who was behind the time travel) actually sent her back to a point after the danger had passed.
    Asuka: I have nothing else from her! I don't have photos of her, I don't have one of her drawings, I don't have Kiko, I- I don't have... (sob) Please. That song... that song is all there's left from her.
  • In the Magical Girl Crisis Crossover Shattered Skies: The Morning Lights, an Eldritch Abomination that eats existence is unleashed on the Precure universe, resulting in every post-Go Princess continuity being retgonned out of existence entirely, and all possible futures of the surviving ten continuities (called "Facets") being consumed. The resulting catastrophic Time Crash causes these ten Facets to collapse together into a hellish Merged Reality.
  • There and Back Again
    • In the altered timeline, Little Sam does not exist because Craster was executed by the Night's Watch before he could impregnate Gilly in the five years between when everyone was sent back and where events begin to catch up.
    • Inverted with Jon and Lysa Arryn's daughter Alice, who exists because of the changes in the timeline.
  • Time v.3.0 is a Doctor Who fanfic that tries to make sense of the Great Time War. As expected of Doctor Who, there are countless examples of time being smashed into bits, and not everything is fixed. Most notable are the Rani's self-obliteration to escape the madness of the Time War, and the Doctor's display of his own limited ability to replace past events with his own preferred outcome. Tears ensue upon the realization that even with all that power, he still couldn't save his companions.
  • In a variant of the Grandfather Paradox and this, in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fan-comic "Twilight's Erasure", Cozy Glow from an Alternate Timeline erases pregnant Twilight's mother's baby in the past from the existence, which also not only makes present Twilight's presence become unnoticed by every pony, but also causes her to lose her talents and cutie mark, and eventually slowly regresses her.
  • In The Weaver Option Taylor leads a massive raid on Commorragh, home of the Dark Eldar. This has major implications for Slaanesh who, thanks to the mutable nature of time in the Warp, had many daemon minions created from the souls of both Dark Eldar and their victims who hadn't been born yet. As billions of Dark Eldar die, daemons start disappearing from their citadel having never existed in the first place.
  • Yin and Yang Series: The core theme of Episode 8 of 'Paradise Is Where the Heart Is'. Kirere, a little girl genetically designed to be a Super-Soldier, is deleted from history by a time-controlling alien. Her family gradually regain their memories back and manage to get Kirere returned.

    Films — Animation 
  • Inside Out: Everything thrown to the Memory Dump goes through this, illustrating the fact that, although memories are usually stored within the long-term shelves (i.e. always in the back of your mind somewhere), there is only so much the brain can contain, so less important memories are periodically disposed of. When Joy and Bing Bong get trapped in the Dump, Bing Bong performs a Heroic Sacrifice so Joy can get out and is promptly forgotten. This not only ensures that Riley does not lose her ability to feel happy, but also flags a point in her coming-of-age story, as Bing Bong is her childhood imaginary friend and hence bound to be forgotten someday.
  • In Lightyear, Buzz discovers that Zurg (or rather, his future self) is planning on going back in time to stop the ship everyone came on from being stranded on the planet in the first place. Buzz is initially on board with the idea, but then he realizes that by doing so, everyone who was born on the planet, like his friend Alisha's granddaughter, would never exist. Future Buzz doesn't care that his plan will lead to people being wiped from existence, resulting in the two fighting each other.
  • Happens in Meet the Robinsons when Lewis wipes Doris from existence by vowing to never invent her. Also happens to Wilbur when the Delayed Ripple Effect catches up with him, though he's brought back when Doris' Bad Future is undone.
  • In Shrek Forever After, Shrek is tricked by Rumpelstiltskin to give up the day he was born. As a result, Shrek finds himself Ret-Goned. His children don't exist, and neither Donkey nor Fiona remember him.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Avengers: Endgame: When the possibility of time travel is brought up, Tony initially refuses to help. Everyone else wants to go back five years and stop half the universe from being erased, but Tony doesn't want to risk his daughter, who was born in the meantime, being erased. It soon becomes apparent that time travel doesn't work that way: Going back in time merely creates an alternate timeline, so they plan to go back in time, retrieve past copies of the Infinity Stones, and return to their time where they can use the Stones to resurrect the lost. However, while actually changing the past is impossible, effectively changing the past by using the Stones to rewind the universe is still theoretically possible. Tony therefore emphasizes several times that they are only going to resurrect everyone who died and bring them to the present. In the end it works, and Tony's daughter (along with anyone else who was born since) survives.
  • It's implied that this happens in the Back to the Future movies when history is changed. The first film features a photograph which gradually loses photographees. This leads up to the moment when Marty's parents almost don't get together and Marty himself starts to fade from existence.
  • Beauty and the Beast (2017) explains how the villagers are clueless about the giant castle only a day's ride from the village: the curse on the Beast includes erasing the castle and everyone in it from their memories.
  • The Butterfly Effect: The director's cut ending has Evan Ret-Gone himself by going back in time and committing suicide by strangulation in the womb. Along with the implication that he may have had several brothers and/or sisters who ultimately chose the same fate for themselves.
  • The premise of The Caller is that Mary, in the present day, mysteriously starts receiving calls from Rose, living in the same apartment four decades earlier. Once Rose becomes jealous enough to start tracking down people close to Mary in her time and killing them, it apparently works this way: To everyone else but Mary, the victims are already long dead, which means if no one else around knew the person in question prior to that point, they won't be remembered by anyone else at all.
  • Deadpool 2:
    • Discussed and inverted in the plot of the film. Cable intends to travel to Deadpool's present time to kill Russell Collins (a.k.a. Firefist), so that he would cease to exist in Cable's own time and not turn into a supervillain that would have killed his family. However, Deadpool objects to this, believing that he could talk Russell out of going down that dark path, and decides to suppress his own superpowers and sacrifice his own life to save Russell from the last bullet from Cable's pistol during the climatic confrontation against him. This convinces Russell not to kill anyone, therefore giving Cable's family a chance to exist in his own time. After Deadpool's slow, dramatic death, he then descends into the afterlife to join his wife, Vanessa, who then tells him that he has finally found peace in having a heart for Russell and can join her in death, but before he could settle in and accept his demise, he is suddenly pulled back into existence and the world of the living when Cable went back in time once again to retrieve Deadpool's stolen memento and uses that to block the fatal shot he fired, allowing Deadpool to live on to appear in another planned sequel.
    • Played with in the post-credits scenes, where Deadpool uses Cable's now-repaired time-traveling device to "clean up the timelines" by killing off Weapon XI (Deadpool as he appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and then his actor just as he was going to play the eponymous role in the 2011 film Green Lantern (2011). Also inverted when he uses this same time-traveling tool to undo the deaths of Vanessa and an X-Force member.
  • The Flash (2023): The Dark Flash is revealed to be the future self of the alternate 2013 Barry Allen. When he attempts to kill Barry, the 2013 version shields him and get fatally impaled. This makes the Dark Flash disappear.
  • The entire premise of Forget Me Not. Whenever the ghost kills one of the protagonist's friends, they not only die but also get completely erased from reality, so none of their other friends or family remember them (also they become retro-killing ghosts themselves). By the end of the movie, the protagonist's family has her committed because of her constant rantings about witnessing the horrible deaths of those closest to her — people that, as far as the family knows, have never existed.
  • The Forgotten: Telly holds on to memories of her young son who died in a plane crash, and goes through therapy to help her cope. Only shortly after the story begins, her therapist tells her that her son never existed, but was made up by her after a miscarriage. Telly frantically tries to prove that she's not crazy, but every single person who ought to know her son has forgotten him, and every scrap of evidence is missing or destroyed. Turns out aliens took her son, along with several other children, and tried to see how much it would take for the parents to forget them. Everybody else who clued in, including several non-parents who knew the children, gets randomly flung into the sky and disappears. Telly is not; instead, the alien wipes her memory since the birth of her son. Upon realizing that she (obviously) has memories from before that birth, i.e. her pregnancy, the alien is hurled into the sky.
  • In Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, Freddy's most recent victims are erased from existence and from most people's collective memories, apparently a side effect of his growing power.
  • The indie sci-fi film Ghosts Of Hamilton Street has this happening to an everyday man. The people in his life are vanishing in reverse chronological order — first his recent acquaintances, then co-workers and finally his oldest friends — and he's the only one who notices the difference.
  • Hermione disappears from her family photos when, at the start of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, she erases herself from her parents' memories for their safety. An interesting example in that she Retcons herself out.
  • In Men in Black 3, Boris the Animal uses a time travel device to go back to 1969 and kill Agent K. We're shown the present-day K sitting in his apartment with a gun before vanishing. For some reason, J still remembers him, but to everyone else he's been dead for over 30 years. Even worse, a shield that was supposed to protect Earth from alien invasions was never installed, so Earth is in the process of being attacked by Boris's race. J uses another time machine to go back in time and try to protect K and get the shield installed. Past K also ends up killing Past Boris instead of arresting him. Since Boris is dead by that point, we aren't shown him disappearing.
  • One of the subtly scary elements of Monster! (1999) is that, due to the titular beast's Reality Warper abilities, anyone who dies during one of its triannual rampages is immediately forgotten about to the point that nobody believes they ever existed once the Monster is slain.
  • In the French film La moustache, a man decides to shave off his mustache of many years, only to be disappointed when no-one notices. The thing is, when he points it out, everyone — including his wife — is adamant that he's never had any facial hair. His quest to find the truth — whether he's crazy or at the centre of a conspiracy — endangers his marriage.
  • In In the Mouth of Madness, Sutter Cane deletes all memory of Linda Styles once she has completed her role in his plot.
  • A New York Christmas Wedding: Azrael sending Jenni back to make things right with Gabby (who it turns out is his mother) results in his conception not occurring, so he's presumably never an angel since he didn't even come into existence.
  • The German film Reconstruction does this with the protagonist. After certain point in the narrative, he is erased not only from the memory of his friends and family, but also is left with no home (the house where he lived doesn't properly exist). Obviously, the story becomes highly symbolical after that happens, with the possibility of some, most or all events in his story not being real. One of the most radical possible scenarios is that he doesn't even exist, and is merely a character in a story being written by the husband of the woman he loves. The movie plays with the idea of love itself being an ilusion.
  • In "Spider-Man: No Way Home", Peter Parker is effectively this thanks to a spell cast by Doctor Strange that erases every trace of his existence from reality.
  • In Stargate: Continuum, Cameron Mitchell didn't exist in the altered timeline because the man Ba'al killed to stop the Stargate from reaching North America was his grandfather. The other two teammates who retained their memory of the original history did have duplicates running around, though. One of them died in an unrelated incident by Heroic Sacrifice before the three of them showed up, and the other briefly talks to his clone over the phone.
  • Invoked in the Terminator movies, with SkyNet attempting to do this to John Connor, then the rebels attempting to do this to SkyNet. It doesn't actually happen, though, ever. Even Terminator 2: Judgment Day subverts it in the next movie.
  • Timecop:
  • Timecop 2: The Berlin Decision: The villain goes on a mission to erase all his enemy time agents from history so that he can interfere in history undisturbed.
  • Time Runner: The bad guys at one point try to kill the time travelling hero's pregnant mother before she could give birth to him. They manage to kill his mother, but he saves his newborn self. However, his future version ceases to exist after he kills the bad guy since there would have been no reason for him to go back in time in the first place.
  • In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the spell to make one beautiful (which in the book is implied to be a Be Careful What You Wish For) takes an even more sinister turn. Lucy wishes to look like Susan and finds that she is Susan — in a timeline where Lucy never existed. Among other consequences, she and her brothers never went to Narnia. Luckily, Aslan intervenes.
  • It's a Wonderful Life, and all the other stories inspired by it.
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past: Happens to the future Sentinels when the murder of the program's creator, which led to the dystopian future they reside in, is averted.

  • Sweet wee Cassie from Animorphs considers preventing a person from being born to be more humane than killing them. It wouldn't normally have been a problem for the poor host who would have been infested against his will, but she happened to have a time machine at the time she came to this revelation. Sorry John.
  • In Natalie Parker's Beware The Wild, the protagonist's brother runs off into a nearby swamp after an argument, and a girl she's never seen before comes out shortly afterwards, at which point everyone begins acting as if she's always had a sister; any physical evidence of her brother, including photos, has also been changed. It soon becomes clear that this has happened several times before - the only person who believes her immediately is a classmate whose troubled reputation stems from a breakdown after his best friend vanished when their car crashed into the same swamp - and towards the climax, the force responsible begins to extend through town, unpersoning people fast and often.
  • This happens in the anthology book connected to the Black Jewels trilogy. The character Saetan wipes out an entire people in response to his son's death. However, an incredibly minor character, an inn owner, remembers that a merchant from that island was there, but him and everything the man had brought with simply weren't there anymore. Also, his wife, Heketeah, the one actually responsible for the death, remembers them and is utterly terrified at the power it takes to simply erase a whole people. Saetan's friend goes to find the island only to find it's completely gone.
  • Stephen King's Blockade Billy is about a baseball player that was retgoned from the history books.
  • In Books Of Cthulhu volume 5: Time Loopers short story "Academic Legacies", they have it so that anyone eaten by a Hound of Tindalos is removed from the timestream and even close family members cannot remember they ever existed.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's The Cat Who Walks Through Walls has Sky Marshall Beaux pull a gun and shoot Richard, the protagonist of the story, a gut-shot fatal wound, whereupon several others pull their guns and shoot Beaux. Immediately, Beaux disappears (as does Richard's wound) by an erase as if Beaux and the gunshot wound were simply blackboard chalk.
  • In the Discworld novel Mort, after the title character refuses to collect the soul of a princess who should have died, the universe attempts to carry on as if she had died, causing much confusion as the citizens begin mourning the loss of someone though they don't know who or why. Said princess has to constantly remind people in the same room that she's present.
    • Later, an 'interface' forms, a bubble on the world (which only the magically gifted or Death can see) centred on the princess, where the inside is the changed timeline and the outside is 'correct' history in which the princess is dead. The pressure of history causes the bubble to shrink and shrink until the changed timeline would never have existed.
  • The second Disney Chills book has this as a major plot point. Once Jamal swaps lives with Malik, his brother is erased from history, with his parents seeing Jamal as an only child and not recognizing Malik's name at all. Both brothers are doomed and forgotten in the ending.
  • The Doctor Who Expanded Universe gives us Faction Paradox, an especially vicious cult where Step One in your initiation ceremony is to hop into a timeship and go kill Grandma. Before Mommy was ever born. This has the effect of erasing your existence in its entirety, making you a living paradox and making you extremely hard to destroy.
    • Later on, they came up with a variant of the Time Lords' De-Mat Gun, Continuity Needles. Anyone stabbed with one will never have existed. Unusually, the works of that person do not disappear - Time fills in the cracks by attributing them to someone else. That said, Needles have their limits and it's not recommended to use them on people who leave massive impressions upon the timeline. Case in point, a Needle almost caused a disaster when someone had the bright idea of attacking some British alchemist with it.
    • Also in the DW Expanded Universe, the novel New Series Adventures: Engines of War sees the Daleks develop a cannon that erases whoever gets hit with it from history, including the partner of one of the main characters.
  • In the Dragonlance novel Dragons of Summer Flame, those who die while fighting the forces of All-Father Chaos are eliminated completely from existence, including the memories of the entire world. The only evidence they were ever there at all is the empty clothing and suits of armor left behind. Their method of doing so? All they need is for you to see them, and listen to them for a few seconds, so their words can steal your will to exist away. Or touching them will do that too. Chaos The All-Father was not a nice person, and his creations express this very well.
    • In a later book, a group of shadow-wights survive by feeding off the memories of a small village, rather then wiping the villagers from existence, allowing the wights to survive indefinitely with their victims none the wiser.
      • A short story titled, appropriately, Gone, describes the fate of a group of treasure hunters who go to an island populated only by shadow wights hoping to find loot. The story is told by way of a diary, with the author repeatedly getting confused (at one point IN THE MIDDLE OF WRITING AN ENTRY, as the person he was writing about gets erased at that very moment) because his past entries mention people who were never there. The final entry is made by the last survivor, who thinks that the entire diary is actually a work of fiction someone wrote as a present for him.
  • Whenever the Fighting Pumpkins cheer squad of Dying With Her Cheer Pants On avert an apocalypse, reality rearranges itself so that it never happened at all. If the squad happens to die in the process, they get erased too; only the next squad will remember them, and then only if they can find the logbook. After the short story of the same title, there's no evidence of the massive alien invasion the Pumpkins sacrificed themselves to stop except for a few scorch marks and the fact cheer tryouts are open again.
  • In Rebecca Lickiss's Eccentric Circles, things that fall into the rifts are gone. They also get something of that effect when fantasy writers end up Rewriting Reality though less drastically.
  • In the short story "The Edge of the World" by Michael Swannick, three high school kids, one girl, two boys, full of hormones and teenage angst, blow off school one day and decide to go look at the edge of the world, which is not far from the American military base where they live. While there they look at caverns carved into the cliffs by ancient monks. They each make a wish - and one boy wishes he had never been born. They get their wishes. They only trace left by the boy is a quickly fading dream-like memory in the mind of the girl.
  • The Empirium Trilogy: Once they convince Queen Rielle to kill Corien, Remy and future-Eliana disappear, since the circumstances that brought them to the past no longer happened.
  • This is the basis of the short story "Exit" by Harry Farjeon - and the short film adaptation starring Julian Glover.
  • In the Franny K. Stein book The Fran That Time Forgot, Franny prevents the Bad Future where her teenage self terrorizes the world with an army of elephant monsters from ever happening by choosing to stop getting angry over her Embarrassing Middle Name and instead concede with the people laughing at her that her middle name actually is pretty funny.
  • One of Adam's powers in Good Omens.
  • The Goosebumps book "The Cuckoo Clock of Doom" involves the protagonist being forcibly transported back through his own life by the clock. He manages to find it again and return to the present before ceasing to exist, but realises that his Annoying Younger Sibling was now never born due to a flaw in the clock. He considers going back and attempting to fix things, but it's left ambiguous.
  • This is done in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy so as to destroy Arthur's happy ending in Mostly Harmless and allow a fifth book to be written. Arthur and Fenchurch are travelling around the galaxy, and make a "perfectly ordinary hyperspace jump." Once they get out of hyperspace, Fenchurch has disappeared, the seat next to Arthur is empty, and records show that Arthur boarded the flight alone. In the radio series, the flight attendant points out that Arthur has his feet on the empty seat. This is apparently a hazard of being from a Plural sector, the parts of the universe which have a multiverse. Hyperspace jumps interact with that in weird ways.
  • John Dies at the End: This is the main power possessed by the shadow-men, though the erasure isn't perfect. Dave has the vague impression of his group having six people instead of its actual five and realizes that someone in their number has been erased from existence. For all Dave knows, it might have been someone he knew very well, but now he has no memory of them because they never existed.
    "But one night, me and John got really drunk and we sat around telling Todd Brinkmeyer stories, real stories, stories that happened but didn't happen. I think of his face and sometimes I can see it, and it's like a dream you can't quite remember the next morning. And I go back and go over the chain of events and there's places, holes where I know Todd should be."
    • And it's not limited to entire people. In the sequel This Book Is Full Of Spiders, Amy's hand, which was amputated after the car accident in which her parents were killed, had not been amputated until the point Amy touched a Shadow Man during the climax of the novel. Which actually raises a lot of questions, the most obvious being how they opened the Ghost Door earlier in the novel...
      • They could open the Ghost Door in John Dies at the End because that book takes place in the timeline the Shadow Men created after the fact in This Book is Full of Spiders.
  • The protagonists try this on Hitler in Stephen Fry's Making History. It backfires.
  • In the children's book Miss Switch to the Rescue, this is part of the reason the evil witch Saturna trick the children friends of good witch Miss Switch, Rupert and Amelia, into releasing the 17th century warlock Mordo from his ship-in-a-bottle prison, as she's seeking revenge on the two and Miss Switch for removing her from the position of Head Witch. Mordo was originally imprisoned for an attempt to turn a colonial town into troll slaves, with the person that was to have been his initial troll, the town's mayor, is an ancestor of Amelia's. Thus, upon his escape from the bottle, he proceeds to return to the past and complete the task of turning the mayor into a troll. As trolls are unable to have children, the mayor's transformation would mean that Amelia would never be born, with her almost vanishing from existence had Miss Switch not rewound time to bring Amelia back and give her time to create a potion that would revert the mayor back to his human form.
  • In The Missing Piece of Charlie O'Reilly, Brona is summoned whenever a child in her town wishes he or she was never born. At that point Brona gives them the opportunity to live in her limbo-like Asylum while any effects they had on other people are erased. Kids go with Brona for various reasons. Some of them want to undo a crime they committed, like Jonathon, who set his brother on fire, or Cody, who attempted to shoplift perfume and broke the bottle, resulting in a fine for his grandma. Some of them want to be erased because they weren't what their families wanted, like a gay boy and a dyslexic girl. And some of them impulsively agree to go with Brona because of guilt over something minor, like Liam, who cheated on a book report. In most cases, people lose all memories of their vanished family members, but Liam's brother Charlie has a Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory caused by Brona as an attempt at luring him into the asylum, causing him to spend a year desperately searching for Liam while his parents and classmates think he's crazy for imagining a brother who never existed.
  • In Murmuration, when someone dies in Amorea, the scientists managing the project erase all memories of their existence and reshuffle the remaining citizens so the absence isn't felt. When Oscar dies, Mike only half-remembers bits and pieces of his voice and is driven nearly insane trying to find out why. Before his death, Oscar suddenly remembered a woman he loved named Nadine, who had also been erased from Amorea, presumably after her own death.
  • In Neverwhere, a mild version happens to any Muggle who makes contact with London Below. After helping Door, Richard wakes up the next day to find he's effectively Invisible to Normals unless he gets right in their face - and even then, they forget him in about five seconds. People on the street barge into him without noticing, his credit card is no longer accepted, and his own fiancee can't remember him. This is taken to the extreme when someone literally rents his apartment out while he's standing in it.
  • The title character of James Maxie's novel Nobody Gets the Girl is accidentally erased from the timeline, but persists as a "ghost" visible only to the time traveler who caused the divergence and his (the time traveler's) daughters.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's novel The Number of the Beast has this happen to the heroes. Fortunately, the reason it happens is also the means of their escape — a Time Travel device that allows access to The Multiverse and establishes that they live in a Mutually Fictional Massively Multiplayer Crossover. Within the work's Recursive Canon, a rival "Author" deleted them from their home universe in an act of revenge.
  • In Pact, a demon of the first choir known only as Ur (because it ate the rest of its name) does this to its victims, removing all memories of their existence but leaving the events that they affected intact, forcing people to wonder for the rest of their lives what and who they had lost to it that they can never remember.
  • In Pale this is the modus operandi of the Hungry Choir, even down to injuries-when Brie loses both her legs to it, her family is convinced she's always lacked feet, though they can't explain why she doesn't own a wheelchair. Similarly, full victims vanish entirely from memory, though careful investigation can reveal discrepancies-when Gabe is eaten entirely, his chair sits empty in class, unnoticed.
  • Heavily subverted in Charles Stross's novella Palimpsest. It starts with you tracking down and murdering your grandfather in order to make yourself separate from history so you can to enter into the title organization. Graduation into a full member of the organization involves killing yourself.
  • In Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus, it is eventually revealed that our timeline is NOT the original one; there was a whole other history wherein Europe never sailed west to the Americas but the successors of the Aztecs sailed east and laid waste to most of the "Old World" with a religion based on conquest and human sacrifice. The people of this timeline eventually erased themselves to try to create a better world (wherein Columbus sailed west first). By the end of the book, the people of our timeline have little choice but to make a similar sacrifice, this time with a more detailed plan that provides a chance for a peaceful and mutually beneficial meeting of Europe and the Americas.
  • All Travelers in The Pendragon Adventure are Ret-Goned from their specific worlds after they take their first trip to another territory. They have no histories, no traces of evidence, no sign they ever existed. The people they knew still remember them, but there are no physical records of them and their journals serve as the only other proof of existence. Bobby Pendragon gets this in full, including having his house and family vanishing. Though the fact that Travelers are Ret-Goned has helped the Travelers a few times in discovering that someone is Saint Dane.
  • The Scotti from Ranger's Apprentice believe in a demon with the power to do this. Malcolm enters his guise of Malkallam the Sorceror and threatens to summon said demon if a Scotti general doesn't spill the beans on his plan. It works.
  • In the short story "Renfrew's Course" by John Langan, this is part of the "price of tuition" for the sorcerer Michael Renfrew's tutelage. It's not just his students are retroactively stricken, though; so are the people they sacrifice as part of the price.
  • Revelation Space Series:
    • This is a risk of messing around with Faster-Than-Light Travel. One alien hints that entire civilizations have been erased this way, and that's only the ones who left evidence behind.
    • Redemption Arc shows a variation of this. In both cases, the only person who remembers the missing person being there at the time of the event was there in the room with them. However, these people didn't vanish from time. A look in the records showed that they did exist, but died years earlier and if they hadn't died, they very likely would have ended up working on the project that they are claimed to have vanished during. This implies that the witness, or at least their memories of the person, was transplanted into an alternate universe where that person was already dead.
  • This is the fate of all people, who are chosen to become Functionals in Rough Draft. The protagonist Kirill finds out about this first-hand, when he comes home to find someone else living in his apartment seemingly for years. Even his dog barks at him as if at a stranger. Some people still remember him, but a day later even they have no idea who he is. All his personal effects, such as identification and keys, quickly degrade and turn to dust. He can't even find his birth certificate in the city records. Then people start forgetting him almost as soon as they see him, and some have trouble perceiving him at all. Then he gets a text message to go to a certain address, where his finds his new home and Function, that of a customs officer in Kirill's case. To be more precise, his new home looks like a water tower in our world but is actually an Inn Between the Worlds with him beings the custodian. It should be noted that the effects of this trope fade away after Kirill accepts his Function, and people now perceive him as before, except his loved ones still don't remember him. Strangely enough, After Kirill destroys his Function at the end of the first novel, the first thing that happens is he gets a call from his father, asking where he's been for the past several days.
  • Stardoc: The end of Dream Called Time: Cherijo and Duncan end up in an alternate timeline where they never existed, due to their setting right what once went wrong with the Jxin. They're fine, although, obviously, there's no record of them aside from a few people's ripple-effect-proof memories and the fact that they're, well, there... and so, as it turns out, is their daughter Marel.
  • In Star Trek: Coda, this is the ultimate fate of the Star Trek Novel 'Verse. To wit: the Devidians are collapsing and destroying timelines and feeding themselves on the leftover energies. If this doesn't stop, they'll end up destroying the multiverse. Picard and others discover that the Novel Verse is actually the "First Splinter", the result of the events of Star Trek: First Contact, and to stop the Devidians, they must collapse this timeline, erasing it from existence but saving other, more stable timelines including the Prime Universe.
  • In Lisa Smedman's "Storm of the Dead", a high magic ritual erased drow deity Kiaransalee's memory from existence. With the goddess now devoid of followers, the Ret-Gone effectively killed her.
  • Similar to the example of Hermione erasing her parents' memories of her, in the backstory of The Stormlight Archive, one of the protagonists, Dalinar Kholin, sought out a being that grants a boon and a curse that it feels is appropriate. For instance, one person who sought it out is mentioned as having gotten enough food to feed his family through hard times, but at the cost of seeing everything upside down. In Dalinar's case, he cannot remember anything about his wife other than the fact that she existed, and can't even hear her name when others speak it. Given that he sought the being out after her death, it really isn't clear at first whether this was his boon, his curse, or both.
  • Happens to the protagonists in the book Superstition. They and their circle of associates test the power of belief by willing a spirit into existence; that spirit then proceeds to wipe that entire circle out of existence, and succeeds at it.
  • At the end of Madeleine L'Engle's A Swiftly Tilting Planet Charles has succeeded in changing the past so that Madoc "El Rabioso" Branzillo, the mad tyrant on the verge of ending the world is replaced with Madoc "El Zarco" Branzillo, a good man.
  • This happens to Kahlan in the last three novels in the Sword of Truth series. Richard is the only one who remembers her, including herself; Kahlan, in an interesting twist, is rendered amnesiac and is kept as a scullery maid by those who retgonned her.
  • In Those That Wake, this trope happens to places; forgetting about them makes them fade from existence where they are turned into pocket dimensions by Man In Suit.
  • In Three Days to Never, the villains have a sorcerous ritual that can remove a person from history. Part of why they're after the MacGuffin is that with it they will be access to a more direct and less difficult method to do the same thing.
  • In the Thursday Next series, starting in Lost In A Good Book, Thursday's husband Landen Parke-Laine gets erased from history through time travel, despite attempts to stop this. The Chronoguard then hold his existence hostage unless Thursday does a task for them.
    • This has already happened to Thursday's father, although because he's an experienced Chronoguard himself, this doesn't prevent him popping up on occasion to give Thursday advice. They've wiped him from history, but they haven't actually stopped him existing yet (although he now has no first name). Don't think about this too hard, and especially don't wonder how Thursday can exist.
    • At one point, there is a support group for people with family members who have been Ret-Goned. Then some of the Ret-Goned are retroactively de-Ret-Goned. The former support group members go to the remaining support group to thank them for their support during the Ret-Gone period, but because the de-Ret-Goning was retroactive, the support group don't recognize them and think they're being mocked.
  • In The Time Of Yore by Michail Uspensky the main hero, a slapdash bloke named Jihar, runs up to his neck in debts and finally pawns his very fame to a greedy merchant. Due to interference of dark magic, the due-bill has this power: nobody in the whole world recognises him anymore, all his heroic achievements are attributed to the merchant, and even the books written about Jihar are changed.
  • A device that does this (the Time-Space Separation Unit, or "Tisser") is the central conceit for the novel War Of Omission, by Kevin O'Donnell Jr. The titular war is what happens when the device gets mass-produced. There is no retconning around the absent people; an example from the book is that if a town's mayor was zapped, the citizens wouldn't ask "where is the mayor?" or even "who's the mayor here?", but "why don't we have a mayor?" Interesting in that not just people and objects, but places are affected — when someone does it to a diner table, people wonder why the diner has such an awkward corner. Also, the effect is reversable — the deleted places, people, etc. are stored in the device and can be retrieved at their original locations.
  • In The Wheel of Time series, "balefire" is a Dangerous Forbidden Technique that burns the victim's thread out of the Pattern entirely, not just now but in the past; the amount of "backburn" depends on the intensity of the spell. Everything you did in the past few however-much-time never actually happened. This has resulted in much confusion where people remember dying even though their deaths were retconned out by the spell.
    • In the War of Power in the series' Back Story, balefire was used to obliterate entire cities, with the backburn reaching back for days. When you retcon that much stuff, what happens? You threaten a Time Crash, is what happens. By mutual and unspoken agreement, both sides stopped using the spell and declared it a Dangerous Forbidden Technique.
  • A variant in the Young Wizards series: If a wizard breaks the Wizards' Oath, he loses his wizardry and everyone in the world forgets he was ever a wizard.
  • In Zeroes, Thibault/Anonymous, whose superpower is normally being a Forgettable Character, seems to suffer a serious case of this after his Despair Event Horizon.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 4400 once did this to its title characters (all 4400 of them). In one episode, it appeared to do it (again) to all but one of them, but it turned out that it was really a dream world created by said character.
  • Alice (1976): What Mel fears has happened to him in the 1983 episode, "Sweet, Erasable Mel" (after Vera accidentally erases his financial records from his new computer). Things temporarily get worse for Mel when he and Alice go to the bank and try to resolve the issue — the banker accidentally presses the "delete" key, not only double-erasing Mel but the banker's information as well! (The banker famously sings, mournfully, "I don't exist!")
  • Arrowverse:
    • Arrow:
      • John and Lyla have a daughter named Sara, until Barry's meddling results in the baby being turned into a boy named John Junior. They don't actually remember baby Sara, so they can't be too mad about it, but Lyla does snipe at Barry about it a few times.
      • In the set up for the scrapped Green Arrow and the Canaries spin-off, Dinah Drake (the second Black Canary) appears in 2040 shortly after Oliver Queen's funeral, with all record of her history — along with any evidence of a Black Canary at all — wiped clean in the intervening years.
    • The Flash (2014):
      • Harrison Wells, aka Eobard Thawne, aka the Reverse-Flash, disintegrates into nothingness when his ancestor, Eddie, kills himself. However, since he's such an important part of the timeline, history didn't change and everyone still remembers him. A younger version of him later arrives to trouble the heroes again. Barry defeats the younger version of Thawne and tries to imprison him forever, but is forced to allow him to return to the future because he became a key part of Cisco/Vibe's origin story. Cisco almost vanished from existence before Thawne was released.
      • Thawne gets this again in the second season finale of Legends of Tomorrow. The Black Flashliteral death incarnate and sent by the Speed Force itself to remove any threat to the timeline — obliterates Thawne a second time. This still doesn't take, and Thawne shows up with the Earth-X Nazis for Crisis on Earth-X, at which point even Thawne just handwaves his continued existence.
      • In the Season 2 finale, Barry goes back and saves his mother from Thawne. He then watches his past self, the one who failed to save her, smile and vanish into thin air. After Barry fixes the above timeline in season 3, Diggle's daughter Sara is erased from existence, and John Diggle Jr. is the Diggle baby now, possibly setting the Bad Future of the 2030s and 2040s in motion. Additionally, Cisco's brother Dante has been killed by a drunk driver several months prior in the new timeline, so he fits too. Interestingly, it's stated that time ripples don't cross into parallel universes, even if their timelines are intertwined. This means that Harry and Jesse are unaffected by Barry's changes to Earth 1's timeline, and they immediately start noticing changes upon returning.
      • In Season 3, Savitar is revealed to be born from a Stable Time Loop. Savitar murdered Barry Allen's lover Iris West. In rage and despair, Barry creates Time Remnants to help him hunt down Savitar, but one of them inevitably turns to the dark side from being rejected by Barry and his family and becomes Savitar. Barry and his friends break the loop by preventing Iris from being killed, then Iris shoots Savitar dead. Now that the conditions that made him are impossible, Savitar ceases to exist. However, everything Savitar has done up to that point remains, including his murder of H.R.
      • In the Season 5 finale, this turns out to be Thawne's plot: Cicada's power-dampening dagger was being used to imprison him, so he tricks Barry and the others into destroying it in the past, thus freeing him in the future. When they try to stop him, Nora, Barry's future daughter, begins to disappear. All the changes she has made to the timeline mean that she doesn't exist in this form any more. Barry tries to take her into the Negative Speed Force to survive the change, but she ends up deciding that Dying as Yourself is a better option. Barry and Iris hope that they will eventually see Nora again, one way or another, but they don't realize that the reason Nora disappeared is that the Crisis where Barry is destined to disappear has moved up to next year, before they have a chance to conceive any children. However, it is to be noted that everyone who interacted with Nora seems to remember her very well..
    • Legends of Tomorrow:
      • This is how the Pilgrim kills her targets. Instead of killing them in their present, she finds their younger version and kill it, thus causing the future version to disintegrate. This is also why all Time Masters use fake names and conceal their past, since that makes it much more difficult to do this to them.
      • In season 2, the Legends meet Rex Tyler (AKA Hourman), the leader of the Justice Society of America, who has been sent by a future version of Mick to warn the Legends about coming to 1942 (Tyler's time). However, Tyler disappears halfway through his warning. Later on, the team travels to 1942 and meets members of the JSA, while Tyler has no idea who they are. At the end of that episode, the Reverse-Flash kills him, so Tyler doesn't thwart his plans by warning the Legends (thus explaining his disappearance in the middle of his warning).
      • In one episode in Legends season 3, Ray disappears from existence briefly due to a time anomaly causing him to be murdered at the age of 8.
      • In season 4, the team finally comes up with a plan to fix the Bad Future where Zari came from. Which is great, but they're not sure what this will do to her, since she'll have little reason to join the Legends if her family wasn't murdered by a fascist state. She agrees to spend the climax in the Temporal Zone, where the timeline changes won't affect her. But then she has to leave to save Nate. Everything seems fine, they share a hug... but when they separate, Zari has been replaced by her brother, and no one notices anything different.
    • Supergirl (2015): Part of the reason the League came from the distant future was in hopes of stopping a plague this way. One of Supergirl's current villains, Pestilence, will eventually evolve into Blight, who will go on a rampage across the universe. Once they succeed in preventing this from ever happening, all the other Legionnaires in stasis on their ship are suddenly cured, as if they had never been sick at all.
    • The Crisis on Infinite Earths (2019) crossover event inverts this with the above mentioned Sara Diggle, as the aftermath is a reality where both she and John Jr. exist.
  • Buffyverse:
    • Inverted in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Dawn popped into existence, leaving the viewers scratching their heads for a while since all the characters acted as if Dawn had always been with them. It turns out that Dawn is fabricated, and all the characters have Fake Memories. Just what their memories of the first four seasons were changed to is never specified, but they all remember Dawn being there alongside them the entire time. A number of the official comics set during the first four seasons have Dawn as a character, with notes attached saying, in effect, "Yeah, she didn't exist back then, but everyone remembers her being there, so..."
    • Angel:
      • Angel has memories of his son Connor removed from all of his friends' minds, so that only he remembers Connor ever existed. The difference here is that Connor still exists, just not in the minds of the supporting cast. Their modified memories of what happened the previous seasons are never fully explained, even after certain characters get their memories back.
      • From that same season, every mention and memory of The Beast was erased from our dimension by Jasmine. The Beast is still mentioned in a book from another dimension, where his information was not removed. Angelus also recalls the Beast because he was not in control of Angel when the erasure occurred.
  • In one skit, Dave Chappelle took a woman on a Magical Negro ride into a world where her sizeable breasts she'd been complaining about were Ret-Goned. It wasn't such A Wonderful Life for her.
  • In an It's a Wonderful Plot episode of Dallas a demon shows JR Ewing what everyone's life would be like had he not existed. After seeing how well off everyone would be it convinces JR to shoot himself which concludes the series.
  • Doctor Who
    • "Invasion of the Dinosaurs": The Well Intentioned Extremists would have Retgoned everyone outside the protection field. This would have included nearly all of humanity, as well as the entire Silurian species.
    • "The Invasion of Time": The De-Mat gun not only erases its target from history, but erases itself after being fired, as well as a bit of the wielder's memory.
    • Since the Doctor is said to be the last of the Time Lords no matter what era of history he's in, the removal of Gallifrey and (most) of the Daleks could count as this.
    • The armies of Neverweres and Might-Have-Beens in the Time War are theorized to be people erased by the Time Lords or other nutjobs (see the Big Finish examples in Radio).
    • The cracks in time driving the plot of Series 5 have this effect:
    • "The Name of the Doctor": The Great Intelligence attempts a massive Ret-Gone on the Doctor himself. It almost works, but for the actions of Clara Oswald.
    • "Thin Ice": Arriving in 1814 London, Bill is worried that she might do something like stepping on the archetypal butterfly that will change history and, say, prevent her from ever being born. The Doctor, seizing the opportunity for a joke, immediately tells her that that's what happened to Pete.
      Bill: Pete?
      The Doctor: Your friend. Pete. He was standing there a moment ago, but he stepped on a butterfly and now you don't even remember him.
      Bill: ... Shut up! I'm serious!
      The Doctor: Yeah. So was Pete.
    • "The Church on Ruby Road": After the Doctor and Ruby Sunday foil the Goblins' plot in the present, they go to the past and abduct Ruby when she was given up as a baby, forcing the Doctor to watch as the timeline updates around him and observe the consequences of Ruby's lack of existence. The last part of the plot is then about undoing the Goblins' change and getting the timeline to snap back to what it was originally.
  • The same plot as TNG episode "Remember Me", with a research facility substituted for the ship and virtual reality goggles substituted for a Negative Space Wedgie, appeared in the Eureka episode "Games People Play". Much like the TNG episode, it comes down to the ludicrous yet creepy statement that the population of Eureka is "two". It turns out that the VR goggles are part of a psychiatric treatment program. In Carter's case, it was trying to get him to accept the thought of his daughter going off to college.
  • The pilot of Frequency has Raimy Sullivan managing to warn her father, Frank, of his impending death in 1996. Frank survives (later dying in 2011) and Raimy is at first happy. But then she's informed that a body recently discovered is her mother, who Raimy remembers alive but in this new timeline vanished in 1997. Raimy realizes something Frank did in the past caused the Nightingale serial killer to live longer than he should have and thus, a dozen women who should be alive are his victims.
  • The Flipside of Dominick Hide: A 22nd Century time traveler named Teddy Cochrane broke the rules and landed his Flying Saucer in Ohio in 1955. In the process, he accidentally killed a dog. This resulted in history being altered as the dog was supposed to raise the alarm about a fire. In the dog's absence, the fire killed many people who would have otherwise lived and their descendants were erased from existence. The story of Teddy Cochrane later served as a cautionary tale to other time travelers.
  • In the season 3 finale of Fringe, this happens to Peter Bishop. He eventually gets better. The trope is apparently played to full effect regarding Peter's infant son Henry, though.
    • Although Henry has an equivalent in the new timeline which results from Peter's return, his daughter Henrietta.
    • In the series finale, this happens to the Observers.
  • In the Hannah Montana episode "The Way We Almost Weren't", Jackson and Miley begin to undergo this after preventing their parents from meeting.
  • In the Haven episode "Silent Night", this happens one-by-one to everyone in Haven, with only Audrey Parker and the Troubled person causing it being able to remember them. Although no one else can remember them, they do notice something is wrong if they think about it, like Duke asking Nathan, "Why are there only two people in your class photo?" One guy whose wife was erased realizes that he must have a wife, even if he can't remember her, because his daughter must have a mother. When Audrey saves the day, everyone reappears with no memory of that day.
  • Heroes:
    • Five years in the future some of the characters had settled down (or undergone a Heel–Face Turn) and had families of cute little children that won't exist now because the future has changed and the mothers of said children have been Stuffed in the Fridge.
    • There's also Caitlin. Peter utterly ruins her life just by crossing paths with her and for all her trouble she gets left behind in a Bad Future that's subsequently erased from existence, again thanks to Peter.
  • An episode of Journeyman has Dan accidentally leave a digital camera in the early 80s. He returns home to not only find a more advanced technological level (including newspapers that play video and holographic screens) but a daughter instead of a son. Since he remembers the night his son was originally conceived, he asks his wife about it. She explains that they were about to get it on, when he received a call about malfunctioning nano-systems at his work and had to go. They ended up having sex sometime later and conceiving a daughter. He resolves to go back and change things back, despite his wife pleading him not to (as far as she knows, they never had a son, and Dan is about to erase her daughter from existence). He does that anyway and doesn't tell his wife what happened.
  • In Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, the Greatest Treasure in the Universe has the power to do this to Zangyack, which would retroactively undo all the damage they've done to the universe. However, using it would also erase the history and legacy of the Super Sentai, so the Gokaiger ultimately decide not to use it.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider Kabuto does this with all of the characters in the prequel movie, all of whom are erased at the end of the movie when Kabuto travels back in time and creates the timeline of the show. The Kabuto from the movie disappears shortly after giving his belt to TV Kabuto.
    • Kamen Rider Den-O has this as a potential risk of changes to history: people's memories of the correct version of the past will undo any damage caused by time travelers once the travelers leave, but if someone isn't remembered by anybody, then being killed in the past will make them disappear forever. This makes the Zeronos belt extremely dangerous to use, as it sacrifices a random person's memories of the user as the price every time they transform.
    • Kamen Rider Kiva briefly attempts to do this to himself when he's Driven to Suicide, by going back in time to keep his parents apart. Fortunately he doesn't succeed.
    • Kamen Rider Build ultimately deals with the Big Bad this way, by using him as a Living Battery for merging the World of Build with a world where the Sky Wall Incident never happened. As a result, when Build finally kills him, he's not just dead, but he and Pandora's Box never existed as far as the new Merged Reality Earth is concerned. Given what a horrible monster Evolt was, everyone is far happier.
    • Kamen Rider Zi-O ends with the protagonist doing this to the entire show itself, as the only way for him to never become the Evil Overlord of the future is to have never become Zi-O at all. Since he's restructuring reality to do this anyway, though, he makes sure that all of his friends from the Bad Future are now his classmates in the new timeline.
    • This also what the Another Rider's non lethally do to most of the Legend Rider's early on, as because they have their powers the Legend Rider's can't have them as well and their actions in the past typically make it so that they can never have become Rider's in the first place. Which means that for awhile past Rider's would only briefly get to throw down with Another counterpart before their suits would vanish and suddenly they'd have no idea what they were doing there and remember nothing about being superheroes. Thankfully Zi-O undoes most of this by the end.
  • In Legacies, it's revealed that the reason no one knows about the existence of monsters (besides vampires, werewolves, and witches) is because a secret government agency has been hunting them down and dropping them into a puddle of black goo called Malivore. Anything dropped into Malivore is instantly wiped from the public consciousness, although physical evidence remains, which is why we still have myths about those monsters. Even if someone manages to make it out of Malivore, the memory isn't restored.
    • This is first brought up with the evil Necromancer arrives and boldly identifies himself, assuming the mere mention of his name is enough to terrify people. It takes him a bit to grasp literally no one has any idea who he is. He's told about the memory erasing and when it's mentioned dragons are among them, he scoffs "please, they don't exist" only to be informed they did. To him, the true crime is less what has happened and more the idea the world could forget him.
    • The season finale has Hope jumping into the Malivore itself to destroy it from within. This leaves everyone at the School with no memory of her existing which shifts several of the personal dynamics. In season 2, she comes back but has to deal with the fact that no one, including her boyfriend Landon, remembers her. Even worse, Landon has moved on and is dating another girl. She knows she can't fault him for that, but it still hurts.
    • It's later explained that Malivore was a Golem created by a witch, a vampire, and a werewolf to hunt other types of supernatural creatures, which were rampaging across the world. They did put in a Restraining Bolt preventing Malivore from attacking their three species. Eventually, Malivore's creators decided to end the creature, but it has grown intelligent and decided it didn't want to die, so it convinced humans to help it fight off the three supernaturals. Malivore then tried creating other golems in order to not be alone, but no attempt was successful. One such attempt became known as Ryan Clarke, although he looks human. Clarke resented his father for treating him like a failure and conspired with the humans to turn the golem into goo.
  • Lois & Clark: In "Meet John Doe", Andrus, a time traveler from the future Utopia created by Superman and his descendants, ceases to exist when Tempus traps Superman in the time window. He and Utopia itself are presumably restored after Tempus is defeated and Superman is rescued in "Lois and Clarks".
  • In The Lost Room, this happens to room 10 of the Sunshine Motel as well as everything in it, in the same event that gave all of the objects inside it extraordinary powers. After the event, the room was never built and the motel owners don't remember it ever existing. It can only be accessed by using one of the objects, the key to it, to open a door (any door). One of the objects is a man who was occupying the room at the time of the event. Afterwards, he came home to find that his wife no longer remembered him.
  • This is a standard side effect of entering Neverwhere.
  • Nowhere Man has this as the series premise. In the end Veil discovers he really did never exist. He's a brainwashed federal agent.
  • The Outer Limits (1963) episode "The Man Who Was Never Born". The title says it all. There is a Cruel Twist Ending, however. It's not the man everyone assumes it will be.
  • The Outer Limits (1995):
    • In "Breaking Point", the Andrew McLaren from 2000 ceases to exist after he kills his younger self in 1993.
    • In "Time to Time", Satchko Watanabe, a member of the time travel agency Chrononics, ceased to exist after Lorelle Palmer altered history when she visited UC Berkeley on April 14, 1969. Lorelle caused her father Tom to miss his bus, which prevented his friend James Williams from telling him about a meeting later that night. At this meeting, he learned of Richard's plans to plant a bomb in the ROTC campus headquarters in McClanahan Hall. As a result, Tom lived, and the bomb went off the next day instead of that night. Twelve people died in the altered timeline. In the original timeline, one of them had a child who became a medical researcher and discovered the cure for AIDS, saving thousands of lives in the process. Satchko was never born as she was a descendant of one of the AIDS sufferers. The course of history is restored and Satchko returns when Lorelle decides to allow her father to die in his attempt to deactivate the bomb.
  • Pixelface: In "Out of Sight", a lightning storm in the real world has a disastrous effect on Claireparker, when everyone in the console seems to forget she even exists. It will take all her skill and ingenuity to make herself memorable before she disappears forever.
  • Primeval:
    • At the start of the second series, Claudia Brown has never existed, though this was foreshadowed. There were other differences, such as that they had a new base, and the identical Jenny Lewis existed.
    • At the end of S3 it is revealed that Helen's plan is to do this with the entirety of humanity, thankfully the punishment for trying that is death by velociraptor.
  • In one episode of Quantum Leap, Sam's actions accidentally cause Al to be convicted of murder and executed in the 1960s. Al is immediately replaced by another character (played by Roddy MacDowell) who in the new time line has always been Sam's connection to the Project. When Sam fixes things, Al comes back, with no idea that he had ever stopped being there.
  • Red Dwarf:
    • In "Out of Time", while passing through pockets of "unreality" where things change at random, the Red Dwarf crew of four pass through one and then start wondering what happened. They're in an unreality pocket but nothing has changed, the ship is normal and all three of them are normal. Meanwhile the Cat is sitting in the front seat, invisible and inaudible, constantly trying to correct them. Luckily for him this doesn't last long; once they exit the pocket he becomes "real" again and the others forget that they ever forgot him.
      Kryten: I don't understand. The three of us are here as normal.
      Cat: The four of us! The four of us! Can't you see me? Can't you feel me?
      [He shakes Lister's shoulder.]
      Lister: Look out, we're getting some buffeting!
    • The Inquisitor does this to people he deems unworthy. He mostly completes this with Lister and Kryten but is stopped by a Stable Time Loop. According to Lister, he programs the Inquisitor's gauntlet to backfire and do this to the Inquisitor himself.
    • In "Timeslides", Lister uses time travel to prevent himself from joining the Space Corps and thus ending up in deep space three million years in the future. While he disappears from Red Dwarf, he technically isn't really Ret-Goned because he just changed his past and lived a different life. Kryten also disappears, but only because he would still be on the Nova 5. The Cat, however, is Ret-Goned, because without Lister the Cat race never existed.
  • In one episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, this very nearly happens to the entire holiday of Christmas. Salem was responsible for this happening to another holiday, called Bobunk.
    Salem: Ah, the days of Bobunk...
  • In The Sarah Jane Adventures episode "Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?", Sarah Jane gets eradicated, with Maria the only person with any memory of her. And later, Maria gets eradicated, with only her father remembering her. It nearly goes one step further.
  • Smallville: In one episode, Clark casually says life would be so much easier to everyone if he had never existed. Only he's holding the octagonal key, which then goes on to Retcon the world without him. At first everybody is indeed happier, until he finds out that President Luthor is about to destroy the world. Luckily, as Brainiac kills him with a kryptonite bullet, he says farewell with Jor-El's voice, and then it all fades away. It was an illusion created by the disc, to move Clark into saving himself in the past.
  • Solos: Leah, a woman living in 2024, goes forward in time to escape taking care of her mother, who is dying of ALS. She meets both a past (from 2019) and future version (from 2029) of herself. She encourages her younger self to go forward in time to find a cure and then go back in time and give it to her mom. This destroys both 2019 and 2029 copies of herself. The episode ends as everything is slowly erased from existence.
  • In the Space Precinct episode "Time To Kill," Brogan is among the cops busting an arms deal and trying to help a wayward youth named Ross. A deadly cyborg attacks and in the fight, Ross is knocked into a pool of acid. The cyborg then proceeds to kill just about every major character over the course of the episode. Brogan takes him down to discover it's a future, scarred version of Ross. In the original history, his boss had tossed him into the acid and he'd come back to stop it, only for Brogan to do it instead. Brogan uses the device to go back to the original raid, taking down the earlier version of Ross. He then yells out a warning to his past self to arrest the gang boss and thus spare Ross the acid bath. Brogan and the cyborg started shimmering out of existence as Brogan explains their entire future is now being erased. The past version of Brogan steps into the alley just in time for them to disappear, confused but shrugging it off as he talks Ross out of the gang life with no idea of the Bad Future he just avoided.
  • Stargate SG-1: In "Revisions", there's a community of people living under a shield dome on an otherwise hellish planet: they all had devices on their heads which wired them into a central mainframe to retrieve knowledge from it. However, the shield was losing power, so the computer slowly shrank it over the years, controlling the excess population in their sleep and sending them out to die in the boiling atmosphere outside, and then editing the remaining people's memories so they thought the town had always been that size and didn't remember the dead ones.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • This is Q's main threat to Picard in the first ("Encounter at Farpoint") and last episodes ("All Good Things..."): to wipe humanity itself out so completely that it will never have existed.
    • In "Yesterday's Enterprise", an alternate version of Tasha Yar finds out she shouldn't exist because she died in the "real" timeline they're trying to restore. The episode causes a Temporal Paradox when Yar "sacrifices" her life to restore the timeline — but later it's learned she was taken prisoner and gave birth to Sela.
    • In "Remember Me", this happens to the entire crew of the Enterprise; only Dr. Crusher remembers the missing people. This leads to a rather odd scene in which only Picard and Crusher are left on the ship, and he insists that it makes sense that they can run the ship with only two people — then the computer insists after Picard vanishes that she has always run the entire Enterprise alone. Only after everyone is gone does Dr Crusher figure out that she's trapped in a pocket universe based on her own thoughts. And it's shrinking.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Children of Time", the crew find out they started a colony 200 years in the past, and to prevent the non-existence of several thousand people, they agree to go back and strand themselves. However, Odo, having lived those 200 years, was distressed that Kira was going to die in this timeline from some severe injury, so he fixes the Defiant and causes the non-existence of those thousands of people, including himself.
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager two-parter "Year of Hell", the episode's villain, Annorax, has a weapon ship that can erase entire civilizations from history. When he originally fired the weapon at his people's greatest enemy, it restored the Krenim Empire, only to collapse due to an unforeseen plague (which also killed his wife) that only occurred because the enemy race had never introduced a vital immunity genome to the Krenim. In desperation, he fired it again to try fixing his mistake, managing to restore everyone, except for the colony in which his wife lived! This has led to his 200-year-long crusade to resurrect her that has failed every single time (he once restored 98% of the Krenim Imperium except the colony where his wife lived), causing him to become obsessed to the point where he's conducting a one man war against time itself! The plot is resolved when Janeway's kamikaze attack on the weapon ship causes the weapon ship itself to be erased from history, resetting time and reuniting Annorax with his wife.]]
    Janeway: Time's. Up.
  • Defied in the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds episode "Those Old Scientists", where Boimler talks Pike out of firing on an Orion vessel because his friend Tendi has an ancestor on that ship and he doesn't want to risk her getting wiped from the timeline.
  • Subverted on Time Trax has Lambert is hunting a killer from 2193 who is killing seemingly random people. Lambert's computer, guide, SELMA, reveals that these people are the ancestors of a policeman who accidentally killed the fugitive's girlfriend during a raid in the future. The man thus figures that by eliminating them, the cop will never be born and his girlfriend will still be alive. SELMA points out the problem with this is that "the timelines are parallel, not linear" and nothing the man does here will change their future. Lambert notes the man either doesn't know that or doesn't believe it and so has no idea he's killing innocent people for nothing.
  • A pilot for an unproduced reboot of The Time Tunnel has a special particle accelerator erupting to create "time quakes" that affect history and a team has to go into the past to correct them. One agent wants to save a young soldier in World War I, arguing "how much difference does saving one kid make?" His scientist partner snaps that she knows it can because she was by the device when it blew so she was protected from any time alterations. However, when she got back to the surface and went home, she discovered that instead of being from a family of six siblings, she was now an only child. She notes that it's much worse than if her brothers and sisters (not to mention their various kids) had all died because at least then, she'd have photos and videos of them to remember. Instead, she's the only person who knows they existed and her own parents have no concept of the great large family they lost.
  • In the Timeless pilot, after Lucy comes back from 1937, she is shocked to discover that her previously-comatose mother is perfectly fine. Then she gets a second dose, when she realizes that her sister Amy never existed. It turns out, when Flynn saved the original passengers of the Hindenburg, a descendant of one of the people who died in the original timeline married the man whom Lucy has always thought as her father. Thus, her sister was never born. She also realizes that her mother has been lying to her about who her real father is.
    • In a later episode, Wyatt intentionally tries to erase the man he thinks killed his wife from existence by preventing his parents from having a one-night stand. He accidentally causes the father's death, but, upon returning to the present, is shocked to find out that his wife is still dead. Someone else must have killed her.
    • Agent Christopher gives Lucy a flash drive with the information on her wife and kids, just in case something accidentally causes them to cease to exist as well. She asks Lucy to keep the flash drive in the time machine and give it to her in that eventuality. The flash drives proves useful, when Rittenhouse sends agents to try to kill Christopher in 1981, which would prevent the team from being assembled in the first place. Even though the assassination fails, Christopher's kids are nearly retgonned by her accepting an Arranged Marriage proposal, before Lucy and Jiya convince her to come out to her mother instead.
    • This is Flynn's end goal as well - to erase Rittenhouse from existence in order to bring back his wife and daughter, who were murdered by Rittenhouse agents. This is also why Rittenhouse has financed the time travel project in the first place, planning to use the time machine to cleanly remove people they don't like from reality.
    • In season 2, the inverse happens, when Wyatt discovers that his wife Jessica is still alive after something Rittenhouse did. While this is great news, it's also coming at the worst time possible, as he has just started sleeping with Lucy.
  • Travelers has some discussion of this trope. The Travelers are a group of people sent back to our time to prevent the Crapsack World that exists in the future. As they prep for their final mission to change the triggering event, they know there's a strong possibility that they will cease to exist. The mission succeeds but they don't disappear; turns out the Bad Future still exists and has actually gotten worse. In fact, no matter how many catastrophic events they avert, the Bad Future still comes to pass, because 21st Century people are just that awful.
  • The Twilight Zone:
    • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "And When the Sky Was Opened", three astronauts return from a trip into space and disappear one at a time. As each disappears, only one of the astronauts remembers that the others existed, until he disappears too, then the spacecraft they returned in vanishes as well. Every time someone disappears, the audience sees that day's newspaper, saying something along these lines each time: "Three men return from space", "Two men return from space", "Lone man returns from space", and something about a "miracle birth".
    • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "The Card", Linda Wolfe receives an invitation from a credit card company that specifically caters to people with a bad credit rating who have had their previous cards cancelled. When she misses the first payment, she finds that the family cat Boris has disappeared and she is the only one to remember that he even existed. The following week, Linda misses the second payment and their dog Scooby disappears. Linda vows never to use the card again but she is forced to do so when her car breaks down. When she gets home that night, she discovers that her children Matt, Evan and B.J. have disappeared. The next day, Linda goes to the card company and demands to speak to the office manager Catherine Foley. While there, she sees her children, who fail to recognize her, being led into a room marked "Disbursements". Mrs. Foley explains to her that they may be returned to her if she writes them a check. Linda does so but Brian tells her that the bank called and he cancelled it. Further penalties are then made against her. Brian disappears and household items begin to vanish in front of her. When she cuts the card in half, it falls to the ground. The final scene shows that Linda herself has ceased to exist and there is an empty lot where her house once stood.
    • The Twilight Zone (2019): In "The Comedian", whenever a stand-up comic mentions something connected to his personal life during his routine, it instantly disappears from existence. At the end, he decides to talk about himself during his routine. He disappears, and since he never existed, everything and everyone he erased is brought back.
    • The Twilight Zone (2002): "Upgrade" is about a woman who wishes for a perfect family. She gets her wish, and her children are replaced by more perfect children. However, eventually she is replaced. It's revealed that they live in a computer game, whose player decided to replace her characters.

  • In Infinity Game this happens when a player is in the alternative world when it's destroyed. The only people who remember are the players who weren't in the world at the time, aka. the RPG Society. They intend to do this to Long Wei and his group as erasing his world and returning their world would un-erase their friends. Instead Long Wei fights back and due to time being frozen in the alternative world, he's forced to erase himself from his friends' memories as he won't be able to return to the real world for fifty years and if they remain with him, they won't have anywhere to return to.

  • "Hands of Doom" by Manowar:
    Nothing shall remain.
    Not your memory, your name.
    It will be as though you never, ever lived.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The very highest level spells of the Destruction Path in the Anima: Beyond Fantasy RPG allows a mage to erase anything from existence. From a single person to an entire species or continent the Uncreation spell completly stops it from ever having existed at all, with the timeline changing to match. Only people with a very high Gnosis (basically how important they are in reality) can even notice that something is different.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Tome of Magic sourcebook introduced the unname spell, which uses knowledge of the target's truename to erase them from existence. Their body abruptly vanishes, their soul is expunged from the multiverse, and reality itself is rewritten so that the target cannot exist in it. Standard resurrection magic won't work on the target of unname, instead it takes a two-hour ritual to create a new truename for the target, then true resurrection to bring them back to life.
    • Dragonlance has rules for fighting the minions of Chaos (also mentioned under Literature). Die to them, and all you'll leave behind is empty armor and any books that were written about you (the latter of which will be assumed to be fiction).
    • Epic Level Handbook: Once, the elf-like leShay ruled an age and civilization of their own. Then... something... happened that destroyed it so thoroughly that, from the point of view of modern people, the leShay's age never existed at all, not even in the remotest past. The few leShay to survive this catastrophe endure as living paradoxes, fragments of an age that never was whose histories begin in a past that never happened.
    • Mystara: Inverted with Alphatia, which was destroyed in the Wrath of the Immortals campaign arc and recreated in the Hollow World by the Immortals. To recreate the population, they first resurrected the Empress, then everyone the Empress remembered, then everyone they remembered, and so on. Many isolated villages and antisocial individuals were omitted from the restored Alphatia, as none of the Alphatians who did get restored had missed their presence. For them, being forgotten became the cause of non-existence, rather than the effect.
  • In Exalted, this is one of the things the penultimate technique of the Charcoal March of Spiders style can do.
    • In addition, one of the Yozis, She Who Lives In Her Name, did this to huge portions of Creation before being sealed away. It's still debated amongst the fandom whether she "merely" destroyed things and erased them from living memory, or whether she rewrote the laws of Creation so that the things she scythed away could never come into existence again.
  • In Feng Shui, individuals on the losing side of the "Secret War" often suffer this fate. They don't cease to exist, but rather find that the world as they know it has suddenly changed all around them, no one other than themselves (and other time travelers) remembers their version of reality, and they themselves have no past in this new version of reality - no family, no home, no friends, no identity - because they never existed in it to begin with.
  • In GURPS the disadvantage Unique makes one vulnerable to this and the advantage Temporal Inertia makes one invulnerable to it.
  • The D20 setting Infernum incorporates Ret-Gone into its background; get swallowed by a Hellgout (a kind of naturally occuring portal that links Hell and Earth, which usually ends up acting like a black hole) and Earth will basically rewrite itself to wipe out your existence, with any remaining hints that you ever existed being subtle ones, a process referred to in-universe as "The Twisting". For example, the Knights of the Harrowing are the descendents of an order of overzealous Christian Crusaders called the Knights of the Sepulchre, an order dedicated to the reclaimation of the tomb where Jesus Christ resided for three days after being crucified, who deliberately invoked a Hellgout to swallow their fortress so they could lead a crusade against Hell. The vast majority of the deeds they accomplished have either been erased from history, or attributed to other orders. A rare few examples of their symbol, a charging crusader on horseback, are occasionally found on crumbling ruins in either the Holy Land or south France.
  • The Excrucians in Nobilis aim to do this to all of creation, one aspect at a time. Nobles can, themselves, to a more limited extent, make retroactive changes to physical existence and history. A minor element of the game Backstory speaks of the five hundred years of human progress which got unmade, changing history considerably.
  • In Pathfinder, upon reaching level 20 a Monk of the Healing Hand unlocks the "True Sacrifice" ability, which allows one to use the entirety of their ki to resurrect all fallen allies within a 50-foot radius. As a result the monk ceases to exist, can't be brought back using wishes nor deities, and all memory and written record of their existence fades away.
  • Rifts had a limited-run Sourcebook written as an April Fool's joke called The Rifter 9 1/2. One of the gag articles was written as a Take That! against power gaming and Power Creep, Power Seep known as "Giga-Damage." It was described as a new game mechanic, weapons that literally do 1 million times the damage of regular weapons in the game. The writer suggested that one way to handle this is to have any normal item hit by a Giga-Damage weapon is not only vaporized, but never existed at all. He goes on to explain how he used a Giga-Damage weapon in his game to destroy a piece "of the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria"note  and that is how he was able to become the Overlord of Illinois.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, it's implied that the Emperor did this to legions II and XI of the Space Marine Legions prior to the Horus Heresy, by ripping out the heart of each Legion's Primarch and using a psychic ritual to kill off their legions and wipe their existence from memory. Certainly only the other Primarchs seem to remember their forgotten brothers ever existed, and the Emperor has forbidden them to speak of it.
  • The World of Darkness:
    • Anyone who makes a Deal with the Devil in Demon: The Descent can experience this in whole or part. Demons typically use Pacts to gain "Cover" — metaphysical pieces of their human personas. When they make a Pact, parts of a human's life is literally removed and cosmically retconned into belonging to the Demon instead — from a simple memory or skill to physical attributes or even relatives. And then there's the ultimate pact: the soul. If a Demon takes a person's entire soul as their payment, that person is gone. The gamebook differentiates this from a disguise or Demonic Possession, the original person has been retconned out, with the Demon claiming their entire existence as its own Cover.
      • People who live in one of the contained, fragmented versions of Seattle detailed in the main DtD book experience a different version: if they make a stigmatic pact with a demon, they are pushed farther and farther out of existence each time the fragment resets. A father of two sons will, after one reset, become an uncle with two nephews, then a distant relation, then a complete stranger, then *poof* gone unless they escape to the "real" Seattle in time.
    • In Mage: The Awakening, the Red Word cult (who worship an alternate timeline so abhorrent that it was aborted from reality into the Abyss, where it attained sentience and got really pissed off), devour people in order to symbolically wipe them from this history. If they do it in their sacred temple, it actually happens with all evidence that the person existed gradually fading away.
      • In the same game, the Cult of the Doomsday Clock are attempting to destroy the Fallen World (i.e., this one) in order to free themselves to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. (Needless to say, the heads of the cult are all Abyssal beings.) Their key weapon for this is a Doomsday Clock, which not only erases everything around it, but goes back through time and erases it there, eventually leaving a gaping hole in both the world and history.
      • This is particularly associated with archmages: If someone fails during the process of becoming an archmage, they die and are retroactively erased from history. If someone succeeds at becoming an archmage, it's possible that the changes the transition causes result in something or someone the archmage knew getting removed from history. If an archmage completes an Imperium Rite that involves removing something from reality, that something - be it a place, a society, etc. - now never existed.
      • When the Exarchs ascended to the Supernal, history was rewritten such that their original home, the Awakened City (aka Atlantis), had never existed. Artifacts and ruins from the Awakened City still survive, despite having no origin in this timeline... but they come from different — and contradictory — Awakened Cities.
    • Mage: The Ascension: The Arcane background is a sort of "cloaking" from the Universe. Records, memories and evidence for the existence of an Arcane character slip away from the world, slowly at low levels ("You're easy to forget.") while at high levels people start forgetting you as soon as you leave the room (the five dot version's description is "In other people's minds, you don't even exist."). Oh, and the stat potentially goes up to ten for NPCs (and really powerful or unlucky PCs). Not bad for mages, who really want to hide from the world, but it may become a hindrance for other people. Think The Net. The Virtual Adepts can do that. Don't piss them off.
      • Wrinkle, the Paradox spirit who deals with sufficiently obnoxious temporal meddlers, is rumored to deal with the worst cases by rewriting time so they were never born.
      • Online fan-created material suggests that the Syndicate and New World Order factions could do this by way of Un-person, due to their paradigms of magic.
      • The Ahl-I-Batin, or hidden ones, used a ritual to increase their Arcane rating in order to hide from the Technocracy. It has Gone Horribly Right, in that some of them increased their rating enough to wipe themselves from existence entirely. It is implied that at rank 10, the universe itself forgets you, hence you apply this trope to yourself.
      • According to Guide to the Traditions, this is what happened to the Etherite Czar Vargo when he shattered the Masquerade in an attempt to stop the First World War - his act of magic was so public, and so at odds with consensus reality, Paradox retgonned him and his allies out of existence. Worse, the effect was progressive: initially, it was his attempt to stop the war that got retconned, then as time went on it extended backwards through Vargo's timeline to the point that the village he came from ended up never having existed. Some few mage witnesses still remember Vargo, but they get fewer and fewer as time passes and the Paradox effect gets to them. (Related to the note above, a sidebar comments that the Technocracy, whatever else it's capable of, couldn't manage to Ret-Gone an event on that scale itself, as it's not that powerful. Paradox is.)
    • In a book on magic for Vampire: The Masquerade, there is a spell that erases the memories of a person or object from existence completely. However, a character's connections can help them resist, on the principle that it gets harder to make everyone and everything "forget". Also, trying to remove important or big things won't work completely, as the universe will try to fit something else in the hole. For example, if a building in the middle of town is erased from existence, you won't end up with an empty lot; something has to go there, so some other building will appear.
    • Mummy: The Resurrection has Forgetting the Person's Name, the most powerful Ren-Hekau spell. It obliterates the target's True Name. The target gets a Willpower roll to resist (described as forcing the universe to remember who they are); if they fail, they are gone, with everyone who ever knew them forgetting they ever were. It's believed that this is the one way to truly destroy a mummy.

  • The Kanohi Mohtrek, Mask of Time Duplication, has this as a potential side-effect in BIONICLE, though it never happens. The mask lets its users summon past versions of themselves into the present, but should any of these past-selves perish, that would retroactively change the universe's timeline from the point of time they had originated from, erasing or altering everything that has happened since then. Due to this, it is considered an "immoral mask" and its use is to be avoided if possible. The one user of a Mohtrek never suffers this as he always dispels the temporal duplicates once they receive sufficient damage.

    Video Games 
  • This is a fairly standard tactic in Achron, due to the time travel game mechanics. Not only do you have to defend your base in the present, you have to defend it in the past lest another player decides to retroactively attack you and retcon your army away.
  • AdventureQuest:
  • In Alan Wake, Thomas Zane did this to himself using the magic of Cauldron Lake, which brings the creations of artists to life. He was previously a very famous author, but when he unintentionally gave the Dark Presence an avatar in the form of his lover Barbara Jagger by resurrecting her with his writing without explaining how (allowing it to take over her body), he then wrote himself and everything he'd ever done out of existence, to keep the Presence contained.
  • At the end of BioShock Infinite, Booker DeWitt commits interdimensional suicide to permanently destroy a particular event throughout all of space-time, ensuring that his evil alternate self, Father Comstock, never exists to threaten the multiverse. Because its creation was masterminded by Comstock, Colombia also ceases to exist, and the events of the game never take place. However, The Stinger reveals that Booker and Elizabeth pruned every alternate universe where Booker would become Comstock, which also meant pruning every universe where Booker sold his daughter to Comstock, which meant the surviving Bookers and Elizabeths were in universes where Booker never gave up his daughter, freeing them from the cycle of events that had made the lives of their other selves so hellish. The Burial at Sea DLC reveals that not all versions of Comstock were eliminated, as the Booker DeWitt you play as is actually an alternate Comstocknote  who had the Luteces send him to Rapture after accidentally killing Anna.
  • In BlazBlue, this is what happens to Ragna at the end of Central Fiction. After wiping out all of everyone's wishes and stopping everyone who could hurt those he loved, he wipes away everyone's memory of him as he becomes the new Amaterasu Unit. Only Rachel seems to have any ability to recall him, and even that's no more than a mere remembrance of his "will to fight."
  • In Brutal Orchestra, the "Come Home" ability that Heaven uses has an animation of it obliterating a fetus where its target once was. When it is done, that party member will suffer a One-Hit Kill and be erased from existence.
  • Chrono series:
    • This is the fate of Serge in Chrono Cross if your party is wiped out.
    • Your party also encounters the "Dead Sea": an area containing the Ret-Goned items from the bleak future of Chrono Trigger that was prevented due to the original destruction of Lavos.
    • In Chrono Cross's ending, Serge does this to all timelines by interweaving them to create a perfect timeline, which permanently destroys the Time Devourer (at least in the form of a Schala/Lavos hybrid since Lavos' fate is unknown) and frees Schala once and for all (the reason the Schala/Lavos hybrid is gone).
    • Chrono Trigger even gives us the victim's thoughts after she (Marle) comes back: "Crono! It was awful...I can't recall it all...I was somewhere cold, dark...and lonely. Is that what it's like to...die?"
    • In fact, the Chrono Compendium has this as a theory, named Time Bastard. Every time history is changed, the overwritten version of the timeline is Ret-Goned and replaced with the timeline created by the change of history.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert Series:
    • The alternate timeline of the series was caused by a succesful attempt on Albert Einstein's part to assassinate Adolf Hitler by erasing him from history in Landsberg in 1924 and prevent World War II. The Soviet Union under Stalin then develops into an unstoppable war machine in the European power vacuum, causing World War II to happen anyway, just a decade later and with some sides changed (Germany heading up the Allied forces, Russia fighting them on its own, and Japan and the US not getting seriously involved).
    • The Allies in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 developed the Chrono Legionnaire which could erase units from the timestream completely over a few seconds while they're left utterly helpless and untouchable. Weaponized Ret-Gone anyone?
    • In the intro to Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, the Soviets travel backwards in time to remove Albert Einstein from history in 1927, since it was his Chronosphere technology responsible for the Allies' victory in Red Alert 2. When they return to the present, the war was never lost, Einstein never invented most of the Allies' technology, and nuclear weapons don't exist. Only the three Soviets who travelled back are aware of the changes. The events of Red Alert 2 were completely erased. Of course Hitler, having previously been retgonned by Einstein, stayed retgonned.
  • According to the in-game "news" feed in Cookie Clicker, this is one of the possible side effects of the antimatter condenser.
    News : whole town seemingly swallowed by antimatter-induced black hole; more reliable sources affirm town "never really existed"!
  • Corpse Party:
    • This is what happens to anyone who dies while trapped in Heavenly Host Elementry. This includes four of the nine main characters, and presumably all the side characters who died. The five survivors are the only ones who remember that they ever existed once they return to the real world.
    • The sequels also deal with aftereffects of remembering someone that was wiped from reality. Specifically, Naomi's huge mental breakdown over nobody remembering Seiko and Shinozaki's guilt over being responsible for introducing everyone to the ritual that ended up getting her friends killed. But this series plays with the trope: although the Nirvana/Heavenly Host causes that the people who died inside aren't remembered, it doesn't erase their souls, it only alters the memories of the people. In Blood Drive, the souls are freed and all the memories restored... at the cost of Ayumi (and Yoshiki, because he stayed with her)'s presence in history, as they are erased from their friends' memories and from all photos or records, but they are still alive. So while they don't exist for the world, people can still see them... They just won't remember them.
  • This is done by a character to themselves in the Golden Ending of Cursed 3. Luna goes back to the beginning of time and destroys the crystal that would create Malus and herself, deciding that humanity deserves an existence free from the meddling and warring of gods. The end credits show history adjust to this, with events involving the gods fighting being replaced with scenes more akin to our history. However, Jennifer, Luna's reincarnation, is still born - albeit as an ordinary girl - and the last scene shows she still meets her future boyfriend Randall.
  • Day of the Tentacle: Laverne lands 200 years in the future, awkwardly hanging by her underpants caught in a tree. In order to free her, the tree has to be cut down before it can grow that size, causing it to disappear underneath her.
  • Destiny:
    • Destiny features Praedyth, a Guardian who ventured with two others into the Vault of Glass, a research facility built by time-manipulating robots. After an unsuccessful attempt to destroy it, the Vex erase Praedyth from the universe's timeline so that he may never have the chance to threaten their operation. Their work was so thorough that, when the player enters the Vault to track down a signal Praedyth is broadcasting, there were only scattered pieces of gear and vague references to indicate he existed at all.
    • In gameplay, this is implied to be the fate of Guardian Fireteams who get wiped during the Vault of Glass raid. This can happen in a number of different circumstances throughout the raid, whether it's being afflicted with the "Mark of Negation" by Fanatics and Oracles, followed by dying to the Templar's "Ritual of Negation" unless you cleanse yourself of the debuff; getting wiped by the Gorgons (special Vex Harpies found exclusively in this raid) and their "Gorgon's Gaze," where your party has ten seconds to kill them before they kill you (and they've got a lot of health, not to mention that if you kill one, all the others get a buff!); or you get "Marked By The Void" while inside the portal worlds during the final segments of the raid (including the final battle against Atheon), where if you fail to complete the objective and escape before your screen goes black (or you fail to kill an Oracle that appears in Atheon's chamber if a Praetorian prevents a portal from opening), rather than the usual death screen that says "The Darkness Consumed You," you are instead told that you are "forever lost in the dark corners of time." In the Vault of Glass, you don't necessarily "die" when the Vex get you; instead, you're straight-up erased from the timeline, so you never even existed in the first place! Indeed, the "ontological weaponry" of the Vault of Glass forms a key part of the Vex's ultimate desire to reshape reality to the point where their very existence and dominion over all is a fundamental law of the universe itself, essentially pulling a Ret-Gone on anything that doesn't conform to their "pattern."
  • Erika willingly subjects herself to this at the end of Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker's Memory. As the world is in the process of being reset due to the ending of the original Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, she exempts herself from the process by sending herself to the Digital World as it happens, knowing that a new version of Erika would still develop her eventually fatal disease in that fatal car accident, but this time without an EDEN cyberspace to use as a treatment. She still lives on in the Digital World as Hudiemon, but the new timeline has no Erika ever being born in the real world, with only Keisuke, who was in the space between worlds with her until the very end, remembering she ever existed.
  • Drakengard:
    • This is a choice in the final ending of NieR where the eponymous main character can sacrifice himself to save Kaine. The downside? He completely erases himself and all memories of himself from existence. Kinda a Downer Ending considering Kaine was willing to sacrifice herself and Nier's sister/daughter (depending on version), whose cure/rescue was the driving focus of the game, is now brother/fatherless, but at least she doesn't know it. Oh, and when the game says all trace of your existence will be erased, it means it. Choosing to sacrifice yourself will erase your save file, making it as if you never even played the game in the first place. Also, if you then try to create a new save file with the same name as the erased one, the game won't let you.
    • Happens again in the final ending of NieR: Automata, where in order to Earn Your Happy Ending, you must complete a nigh-impossible Bullet Hell shooting section. After inevitably getting your ass kicked multiple times, if you are connected to the internet, you will be offered help from other players, which makes the section trivially easy. Afterwards you are told that the only reason those players were able to help you was because they erased their save file in order to do so. You are then given the choice to erase your own save file in order to help someone else, and told that nobody will ever know if you choose not to.
  • Dragon Ball Xenoverse:
    • The Time Breakers attempt to pull this on Trunks in the first game by powering up the Androids and having them kill him in his original timeline, before he can join Time Patrol.
    • In Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, after Towa loses Mira and Bardock, she reveals that she captured and brainwashed the hero from the original Xenoverse. However, when you free him, she time travels to the beginning of the original Xenoverse and kills Shenron, stopping the hero from being summoned. When he's removed from the timeline, the others forget about him until they start thinking harder about what's missing. The hero of this game is able to arrive in the nick of time and end up inspiring Trunks into summoning the hero.
  • Happens with the Guardians/Celestrians of Dragon Quest IX after Celestia ascends them all for accomplishing the purpose they were created for. All the Guardian statues in the world lose their inscriptions, and everyone (except the ghosts) treat their presence as a minor mystery.
  • In the The Elder Scrolls series' universe, there is a method by which mortals can ascend to godhood. It has several names and variations (the "Psijic Endeavor" championed by the ancient Chimeri prophet Veloth and Tribunal deity Vivec, the idea of "Ehlnofic Annulment" championed by the Alessian Order, etc.) but each, essentially, teaches that mortals can "observe the entirety of the universe" (ie, realize that they are in a video game) and then accomplish one of three things. The first is CHIM, where one becomes aware of this nature, exists as one with it, and maintains a sense of individuality. (Vivec hints at this in his 36 Lessons book series and outright claims to have achieved this in developer written supplemental works.) The second is Amaranth, where one exits this universe to create one's own. The third, which occurs if one fails to maintain their individuality in either step, is Zero-Sum, where one experiences the "extreme" version of this trope, ceasing to be and fading into the universe as if you never were. (Note that, despite the name, the Psijic Endeavor has nothing to do with the Psijic Order. The Psijic Order does not believe that there really is a fundamental difference between ancestor spirits and gods in the first place, and ascending to divinity has never been mentioned as a motivation of theirs.)
  • Final Fantasy:
    • The defeat of Chaos (aka Garland) in Final Fantasy brings about the end of the Stable Time Loop; as a result, nobody remembers him or his defeat at the hands of the Light Warriors. Additionally, nobody remembers the Light Warriors either, nor any of their exploits. Including the Light Warriors themselves.
    • Final Fantasy XIII-2:
      • Lightning's survival at the end of the original game undergoes this treatment (everyone except Serah thinks she died with Vanille and Fang). It also happens to several people affected by paradoxes up and down the timeline.
      • This includes Alyssa Zaidelle, who should have died in the Purge, but is erased as a result of the protagonists fixing the paradoxes.
      • It is eventually revealed by Lightning and Yeul that Etro's intervention at the end of the previous game (i.e. freeing everyone from crystal stasis) caused the paradoxes, and hence, all of the anomalies and disappearances.
    • The idea gets revisited in a subversion with Final Fantasy XIV. In the chapter "The End of an Era", the player characters who are fighting to end the war against The Empire encounter Bahamut and can only watch as the elder primal rains destruction across the land. Louisoix saves the world's only hope, the player characters, by sending them several years into the future while he performs a Heroic Sacrifice to stop Bahamut. Once A Realm Reborn came to be (patch 2.0), everyone forgets who the warriors that fought Bahamut were and can only remember them by a figure shrouded in light, dubbing them the Warriors of Light. While said warriors still exist, no one can remember them. This is taken a step further if a Legacy player completes the main storyline where everyone remembers that the player is indeed the Warrior of Light. Endwalker reveals that this memory-alteration is a side-effect of the huge amounts of aether disruption that happened when Bahamut started came down and started raising hells, as a similar method (including its reversibility under the right circumstances) is used by the Forum of Sharalayan.
  • Genshin Impact:
    • This is the ultimate fate of Greater Lord Rukkhadevata. As Rukkhadevata has become corrupted by the forbidden knowledge plaguing the world, Nahida is forced to erase every trace of Rukkhadevata's memory from Irminsul to eradicate the forbidden knowledge for good so the tree could finally start healing. In the aftermath, everyone starts attributing Rukkhadevata's deeds to Nahida instead, with the belief that Sumeru has only ever had one Archon and Rukkhadevata's death 500 years ago being recontextualized as Nahida having expended all of her power to save the land from corruption and losing her memories due to it. The effects are so complete that any mention of Rukkhadevata is completely removed from any piece of in-game lore, from item descriptions, to books to even Nahida's own character stories. Though the Traveler still remembers her due to being not from Teyvat and thus not connected to Irminsul, the only indication Rukkhadevata ever existed at all is the undefineable feelings of sadness and loss Nahida still feels for having to erase her despite having no other memory of her, since Irminsul had no way to effectively fill those gaps.
    • Scaramouche attempts this in the Inversion of Genesis interlude story. After learning the truth about Dottore's manipulation, Scaramouche makes a desperate attempt to change the past by erasing his own existence. The Traveler is the only one that remembers him, and checking around reveals that the past did not actually change, only how people remembered them. The Tatarasuna Incident and the fall of the Raiden Gokaden still occurred, but the records simply have no mention of the involvement of the "Eccentric". While investigating the changes, the Traveler learns from Nahida that it is possible to save erased information by concealing it within a fairytale. This allows an amnesiac Scaramouche, now a nameless Paradox Person, to reclaim his memories and begin a new life as the Wanderer. Realizing the advantage of his situation, he swears to take revenge against the Fatui while no one remembers that he is a loose end that needed to be dealt with.
  • S(h)innosuke's bad ending in Giga Wing has his name "mysteriously vanish from existence, never to be recorded in history."
  • This is what happens to Conrad in GLITCHED. After the glitch corrupts him, none of the townspeople of Betwixit remember him, much to Gus' confusion and frustration. Even the photos and books involving him are corrupted.
  • The sequel to I. M. Meen called "Chill Manor" has the villain take over history. If you get a game over; the player character is erased from history. Forever. And the villain even cackles as she erases you.
  • In Chapter 3 of The Impossible Quiz Book, there is a question where you see Chris's past self from Question 68 of the original quiz. If you touch him in any way, you'll cause a paradox that erases him from existence and give you an instant game over.
  • In Infinite Space, this is the fate of anyone who wanders into The Flux (more formally, phenomenon fluctuation sectors), though it is unclear how people figured this out. It's used for a Non-Standard Game Over. Also the Overseers' retaliation for Kira hacking their computer, though Yuri manages to reverse it in the ending.
  • In Injustice 2 has an odd example with the Reverse Flash, who angrily tells The Flash that the Regime killed one of his ancestors, meaning he was never born. He seems to be safe as long as he stays in the past, but that means that he can't return to the future, and so dedicates himself to trying to kill Flash even more than he did before.
  • One of the many ways to die in The Journeyman Project is to be "uncreated" by the reality distortion wave, which happens if you go to the wrong place in the Global Transporter, or wait too long at the TSA.
  • Kingdom Hearts seems to love this trope.
    • Subverted in 358/2 Days. In the game's climax, Xion is absorbed by Roxas. As she was created from the memories of main character Sora, there was nothing left for anyone to remember her with after she's gone. The Ret-Gone appears to be played straight, but in the cell phone game coded, it is revealed through a conversation between Data Sora and Data Roxas that the real Roxas still feels the pain of losing Xion, even if he doesn't remember her. Interestingly, this pain is also felt by Data Sora, who states that even if he doesn't know the source of his turmoil, he's still resolved to do his best to fix it. Of course, it is also possible that the database entry where Xion learned about her past is still intact.
    • In Dream Drop Distance, we learn Xion isn't entirely gone yet. She appears (and Ventus and Roxas too) when Riku enters Sora's heart. Kingdom Hearts III then puts it to rest with Xion returning as one of Master Xehanort's Thirteen Seekers of Darkness to replace their failure to make Sora that in 3D. While Xion has been erased from everyone's memories, the Seekers rediscovered her from the physical research notes her creator Vexen had kept together on her. From there, it was just a matter of preparing a new Replica body for her heart and plucking it from the timestream like the other Seekers. Lea is also revealed to subconsciously still remember Xion from his time as Axel, plus Xion was such an integral part of his memories that he knew something was up with the holes in the memories she should be in.
    • Occurs with Sora during the year between Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts II: while Sora is sleeping and Naminé is reconstructing his memories, everyone who knew him (aside from Riku, Mickey, and, to a slightly lesser degree, Kairinote ) forgets that he existed until he awakens again.
    • A minor variation on the trope occurs when all the photos owned by the residents of Twilight Town are stolen. Everyone remembers the photos, but the theft is so complete that even the word "photo" is stolen, and is blanked out of the characters' dialogues when they try to say it. And then later, on the final day, Roxas finds that not only has time stopped again, but all those same photos no longer have him in them. The real Twilight Town serves as a "world without Roxas." Look at the Twilight Town inside the simulation — even though we know that the town Roxas was in wasn't real, it feels to the players like Roxas never existed. It gets even more Mind Screwy when it appears as though the data Twilight Town has affected the real one—the Usual Spot gang coming to see Sora off for almost no reason—and Sora experiences Roxas' pain at being Ret-Goned without actually knowing why, seeming to play this trope straight, though in a non-standard way.
  • The King of Fighters:
  • In Library of Ruina, In the Golden Ending, Angela was set to suffer this as a result of her attempts to revive everybody killed in the Library. It's averted, though, because Roland saves her at the last second.
  • Limbus Company: In the climax of Canto VI, Catherine erases every version of herself from existence so every version of Heathcliff can be at peace. Nobody remembers she ever existed except for Heathcliff and Dante. Upon completing the chapter, every instance of Catherine's name in Heathcliff's Identity Stories will be retroactively censored.
  • MapleStory has the playable class Shade, the sixth of the Five Legendary Heroes that sealed the Black Mage. Why is there One Extra Member? In order to seal the Black Mage, someone had to sacrifice their time. Shade offered but instead of being killed like he expected, his memory was removed from history instead.
  • Metal Gear:
  • Mortal Kombat 11:
    • The story mode features time travel, so this comes into play. Kano threatens the life of Past Johnny Cage in a hostage situation, threatening that if Cage dies in the past, his future daughter, Cassie Cage - whose mother, Sonya Blade, is currently holding a gun to Past Kano's head - will die too. Sonya proceeds to exploit his threat, shooting Kano's past self in the eye and causing his future self to blow away into dust.
    • Jacqui willingly does this to herself in her Arcade Mode ending, where after beating Kronika she alters the timeline so that her father never became a Revenant at the cost of never meeting his wife (who he met while recuperating from the trauma), thus never fathering Jacqui.
  • In Gates to Infinity, it's claimed that a law of nature will force all memories of the player to disappear when he leaves the Pokémon world. Everyone else decides that's a stupid law and force themselves to remember anyway.
  • In Portal Reloaded, cubes from the future disappear instantly if their present version is moved. Exploited in some of the puzzles to remotely manipulate mechanisms.
  • The Prince of Persia: Sands of Time trilogy has this on a rather grand scale: The climax of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time has the Prince reseal the Sands, which sends him back before they were released in the first place and lets him defeat the Vizier who started the whole affair. The canon ending for Prince of Persia: Warrior Within has the Prince prevent the Sands from being made in the first place, and so in Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones the Vizier is alive, and he takes over Farah's country before marching on Persia as part of his plan to re-create the Sands in the first place...
  • In Prom Dreams, this happens to each of the protagonist's love interests as they are killed off, one by one, at the end of each "loop" of the game. In each following loop, save for the final one, the girl previously killed will cease to exist before Kyle recovers his memories of them.
  • The Rewinder: You're the titular character, an exorcist tasked with pacifying vengeful, fearsome spirits by preventing their deaths via Mental Time Travel. Whenever you completed a task in the past, causing a timeline to be altered, returning to the present the restless spirit will vanish instantly, having their fates changed so they either doesn't die, or passes in a different, more peaceful way. This somehow even affects non-living objects - one quest have you preventing a tree from collapsing in the past; returning to the present, the collapsed tree fades away from sight!
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • The entire timeline that spiraled into the catastrophic events of Shin Megami Tensei I and Shin Megami Tensei II was wiped out of existence by the actions of Raidou Kuzunoha the XIV: first, he smashed his successor's plan to introduce future tech into Japan in the Taisho era to ensure global dominance by the Japanese. Later, destroying the despair god, Shinado's, attempt to subsume the Capital into despair confirmed the timeline was no longer extant]]. Despite this, Steven is still running around...
    • Two occurrences in the Triangulum Arc of Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker.
      • The first is the disappearance of the Protagonist, during the first regression of the world, who performed a Heroic Sacrifice to keep Al Saiduq safe. Played with, as every party member still remembered him and they eventually fell to Arcturus except for Yamato and Al Saiduq. And this is attempted again on him for most of the Triangulum Arc, meaning that the Triangulum are attempting to erase the protagonist's data from the Akashic Record and cause him to cease to exist at any moment. These attempts stop after Arcturus is defeated.
      • The other disappearance goes to Yamato Hotsuin. As they remember their previous world, everyone remembers that Yamato Hotsuin existed, but he doesn't seem to exist in this world and has been replaced by Miyako Hotsuin. And she claims that no Yamato was ever part of the Hotsuin clan. Yamato does exist, but he's willingly remaining in the Akashic Stratum, to continuously protect the protagonist's data from getting corrupted and deleted. This happened during the second regression of the world and Carnopus, noticing the empty spot of 'Yamato Hotsuin' replaced it by creating Miyako.
  • Persona 5: When Big Bad Yaldabaoth starts overlaying his Mental World onto reality, the Phantom Thieves start disappearing since nobody believes that they exist, as the other world runs on Clap Your Hands If You Believe, which means that they really don't exist. The Thieves only barely manage to hang onto existence thanks to Yuki and his website.
  • In Silent Hill 2, over the course of the game, Mary's letter turns blank, then disappears from the envelope, and finally the envelope disappears as well; it was a creation of his mind. Or was it?
  • The Sims:
    • With enough mods and hacks, you can do this in The Sims 2. However, if you do it the wrong way, it backfires horribly and ruins your game.
    • Moving sims into different neighbourhoods then back can appear to have this effect as family and friends don't remember them.
    • This can happen in-universe with The Sims 3's expansion pack, Into The Future. Fortunately, your Sim can bring back their descendants through the mausoleum.
  • Used for a non-evil or horrible effect in Siren 2: As a side effect of defeating the Big Bad, Ryuko Tagawa never existed, therefore Abe Soji is no longer wanted for her murder (he was innocent anyway). The picture of Abe and Ryuko now shows only Abe, and the newspaper clipping of the murder has changed and now reports Ikuko's mother killing her father.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) ends with Sonic and Princess Elise going back in time and blowing out the flame of Solaris, erasing the god from existence and altering history so that the events of the game never took place.
  • Soulcalibur VI does this to the Designated Hero of its predecessor, Patroklos Alexander, as that game's events are here treated as a Bad Future for the entire Soul Series that Cassandra, his aunt and the one character who knows of it, is desperate to prevent from happening, making the sixth game an in-universe Continuity Reboot. Downplayed, because it's implied that he and his sister Pyrrha will still be born in the new continuity (there's even a moment in Cassandra's Soul Chronicle where she and her brother Lucius talk about naming Sophitia's firstborn, which was Pyrrha in the original timeline), but Patroklos' cruel, self-centered, wholly unlikable Knight Templar characterization from V (which went over with the fandom like a loud fart at Easter Mass) will never come to be, thanks to Cassandra's efforts.
  • One possible way to die in Space Quest V is via time paradox.
    Bea is dead. In an alternate future she would've borne your son. In the future past of Space Quest 4, your son would've saved your life. But she didn't so he couldn't - therefore you aren't.
  • Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town: The mechanic by which the Player Character can "divorce" their spouse concretely works more like a Cosmic Retcon sending them to an In Spite of a Nail timeline in which everything is the same, except that the Player Character never proposed to their spouse. If the Player Character and their spouse had a child prior to the "divorce", the child is implied to have simply never been born in the new timeline.
  • At first, Suikoden Tierkreis appears to be about things coming into existence rather than vanishing from it—but when they appear, the things that were previously there stop being there. This becomes rather important when the entire country of Janam is replaced by an uninhabited desert.
  • Super Mario Galaxy: This almost happens to Mario/Luigi, Peach, Bowser, and the Lumas at the end of the game, thanks to the universe being destroyed (and recreated) by Bowser's black hole.
  • In Tales of Destiny 2, the party's goal is to erase the goddess Fortuna and her priestess Elraine from time itself. Reala and Judas, who exist because of Fortuna, are fully aware that doing this will cause the same thing to happen to them. (Judas, in fact, wants it to happen for most of the game). Reala's bond with Kyle later saves her from unexisting, while Judas's ultimate fate is left ambiguous.
  • In Tales of Maj'Eyal, "Cease to Exist", one of the Chronomancy spells, allows you to do this to a monster. You have to push it outside of time and kill it there first, but if you manage that, everything that you used outside of time gets restored to you.
  • Partway through Terminator 3: The Redemption, the T-850 (the Terminator Arnie played) gets thrown into a prototype time machine in the present and thrown into the future, where, without his help, John Conner and Katherine Brewster are dead, thus, the human resistance is never formed to fight against Skynet, ergo, humanity is extinct.
  • The ending of The Third Birthday has Eve killing Aya after they switch bodies so that the Twisted and High Ones were never created in the first place, thus canceling out the entire story that took place in the game. Everyone that had died previously are alive and well in the altered timeline. Aya's Heroic Sacrifice causes her to be erased from the new timeline, which has everyone forgetting about her while Eve is the only one who remembers her.
  • In Time Gal, one of the failure scenes depicts the heroine shooting at some cavemen, only to be instantly dematerialized, implying that she had killed one of her ancient ancestors and thus undone her existence.
  • Time Slip have you traveling to the past via Time Machine after a hostile alien race called the Tirmatians wiped out all humans, with you as the only survivor, and your mission is to prevent the war from even happening. In the final level, you took out the Tirmatian base and erases them from even existing, preventing the war from happening.
  • In Timespinner, this is the price of using the titular Timespinner to travel through time; it causes your old timeline to be erased from history and erases all trace of your past from the new timeline, causing you to appear there as an outsider. Naturally, timeline changes can also invoke this on others; the main character intends to kill Emperor Nuvius, the Big Bad, in the past in order to prevent him from killing the other Time Messengers in the present.
  • TimeSplitters: The trilogy is about stopping the invading timesplitters, a nigh-unkillable race of chameleon aliens with partial mastery over time travel, by fully mastering time travel and using it to erase the timesplitters from history. They end up accidentally reinforcing the creation of the timesplitters instead, but manage to destroy their creator and prototypes and thus permanently ret-gone the whole species.
  • Torment: Tides of Numenera features two minor characters running a shop stall. Talking with them eventually reveals that the apprentice is actually the younger self of the store owner prior to accidentally falling into misadventure through different dimensions and time. Upon learning this the player character has the option of murdering the younger one, which causes the older one and the entire shop setup to disappear. The game then mentions that the player character has no memory of the store or why he murdered the man lying on the ground.
  • Touhou Project:
    • Keine has the ability to eat history. What exactly this entails is never made entirely clear, but is generally believed to involve this, though there are indications that she only erases people's memory of elements of history.
    • Keine made an entire village disappear when you first face her. The other characters notice that there should be a village in front of them, though Yukari Yakumo can apparently still see the village.
  • In Weird and Unfortunate Things Are Happening, the town of Daybreak is warped into a pocket dimension by beings called Evocations. Only Alicia remembers due to her psychic abilities; when she senses her niece (who goes to school there) in trouble and tries to get a taxi ride to Daybreak, she ends up arguing with the driver over dropping her off in the middle of nowhere.
  • NEO: The World Ends with You:
    • This happens to an entire city in the backstory to the game. When the Inversion of Shinjuku took place, it was completely erased from existence, with the only ones ever remembering Shinjuku being those who have been to the UG before its Inversion.
    • When Hazuki intervenes in the game's final day, he brings Shibuya back to normal before it too is Inverted, but Rindo is the only one to survive with nobody else remembering any of the game's participants. When Rindo is given one more chance to make things right, it turns out this stuck for Kubo — while everyone else was brought back by Hazuki, nobody can remember Kubo except for Rindo, and even then it's only vague recollections.

    Visual Novels 
  • Amnesia: Memories has this performed on Ukyo for his Normal Ending, and out of his own volition. In this ending, the heroine survives, but any knowledge of Ukyo's existence is erased... but only for her. During the ending's party at the café, the manager actually asks her about Ukyo, who had been a regular customer, and wondering where he's gone off to. The heroine herself doesn't know who he's talking about.
  • Date A Live: Rinne Utopia has the eponymous character herself. Because she doesn't exist in the original novels, fans know she'd have to disappear so as not to muck up the continuity. And she did get herself hit with this trope causing Shido to cry his heart out. This is the only time he even openly cries his heart out.
  • A particularly horrifying example happens to Sayori in Doki Doki Literature Club! after her being Driven to Suicide in a sort of bad ending for the game. When you start the game again, it initially tries to render her interactions, but they all come out as broken sprites and garbage text, before the game resets and treats her as if she never existed. Though the player may easily not notice it, this correlates with her file being gone from the "Characters" folder. The same sort of thing can also happen to other characters if their files are removed and the game is restarted. It Makes Sense in Context, but to explain why would spoil the whole plot even more than this.
  • The Visual Novel One: To the Radiant Season has this as the major plot. You are disappearing from everyone's mind and vanishing from the Earth. The only thing that can bring you back is if you've made a connection with a girl enough for her to remember you.
  • SOON: One of Atlas' less-than-noble motivations to build a time machine is to get rid of their academic rival, Dr Fang, by preventing her parents from getting together. Atlas can actually accomplish this by time traveling to Fang's parents first meeting and revealing that Mr. Fang is a Billy Ray Cyrus fan. Fang's mother is horrified and leaves in a hurry.
  • Naturally as a time travel story, this sort of thing was bound to happen in Steins;Gate. In the True End route, Suzuha, her mission complete, creates a timeline where Daru theoretically never has her, therefore Ret-Goning her out of existence. And there's only a vague inference that anyone will ever remember she existed aside from Kyouma. Naturally, her fans like to state her ending as the best end.
    • The anime adaptation's exclusive 25th episode OVA shows, however, that Daru will eventually meet up with Suzuha's mother and she'll be born 7 years later in 2017. Her disappearance in the series is because only that particular version of her (a Shell-Shocked Veteran of World War III) never comes to be.
    • This trope is the basis for the plot of The Movie, where Okabe's leaping across time is starting to do this to him.
  • Sola from Sunrider Academy experiences a drawn-out version of this in her route. She suffers from "distortions", episodes where parts of her body will randomly (and painfully) fade out of existence. The people who know her lose some of their memories of her whenever a distortion occurs: if she were to disappear completely, they would forget her entirely and it would be like she never existed. The plot of her route involves figuring out why this is happening and finding a way to prevent it.
  • Pretty much the entire plot of Time Hollow. The villain messes with events in the past in order to cause something to disappear in the present, and the protagonist has to find and undo these changes.

    Web Animation 
  • In Bonus Stage, Phil travels back in time to episode 1 and kills his past self with an axe, in doing so causing himself to be "McFlyed" and erasing him from existence. With nothing else to do now that his foil is gone, Joel hangs himself, causing every episode of the series to be erased from existence (including the previous episode, which, as a result of Joel's death, was erased in mid-episode).
    • At the end of the fight between Wally West and Archie Sonic, Sonic tries to erase Wally from existence, but Wally resists the attack and punches Sonic so hard, Sonic relives his entire life and explodes out of existence.
    • At the end of the fight between Rick Sanchez and The Doctor, Rick suffers this fate when The Doctor redirects a shot from his own D-Mat Gun (at the time being wielded by Rick) through one of Rick's portals so that it hits Rick instead. The result is all the damage that Rick did to The Doctor and the TARDIS being undone, and Morty doesn't know or recognize who Rick was.
  • Dreamscape: Keedran, in her true form, can just straight-up wipe you from existence by imploding you in light.
  • Red vs. Blue: Reconstruction hangs a lampshade on this concept: after the Reds delete the Blues from the Command database, Caboose disappears. Simmons panics, thinking he may have deleted Caboose from existence. Turns out Caboose was just using the bathroom.
    Grif: Come on dude, tell us more about the reality-bending computer. I'm hanging on your every word.
    Simmons: I don't wanna talk about it.
  • In the Supermarioglitchy4's Super Mario 64 Bloopers video "The Weegee Uprising", Mario's descendant, New Super Duper Mario Plus Ultra, is erased from time due to the Bad Future where the Weegee Dolls took over being undone.
  • According to Yatzhee of Zero Punctuation, Duke Nukem Forever, DNF was such a massively transcendental work of awesomeness that reality itself couldn't handle it and the timeline it was in collapsed. Sadly, the DNF of our reality was far worse.

  • 8-Bit Theater once had a comic that suggested there was a fifth Light Warrior named Bard that Sarda erased from existence for some (likely stupid) reason.
  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, we find out this is the reason he can't reveal his own first name: His name was used as a sacrifice to seal a dangerous Ghost Wizard. Doc was the only person on Earth who still remembers it (later joined by his clone "Old McNinja"). If either of them reveals the name in any way, the seal is broken and the Ghost Wizard will be free.
  • Used as a subtle punchline in one Awkward Zombie strip based on Mario Kart 8: Wario runs Baby Mario off the road, sending him to his death. He then crosses the finish line which now reads "Luigi Kart" due to Mario's adult self no longer existing, leaving Luigi as the star of the franchise in his stead.
  • Cheer!: Four bullying jerk jocks get turned into cheerleaders. Nobody much notices or cares. The few who do know all decide not to rock the boat since everyone seems happier.
  • In an arc of Gaming Guardians, two new recruits are visiting the Guardians' facilities when one is snatched away by an enemy... and no one remembers him being there in the first place. Except for the other recruit, who has hazy memories but don't know why the other person isn't there. The others thinks it's cute that he has an imaginary friend...
  • Goblins:
    • The Psionic Minmax intends to do this to every version of his party that has entered the maze, creating holes that Ret-Gone anything that falls into them. It quickly turns out that while people will have no memory of the object thus removed, they can notice something's going on. As "our" Minmax starts throwing his clothes into the hole, Kin considers the unlikelihood of someone going on an adventure without shoes or pants, and realizes what it must be doing. Kin realized that, while she could not remember Minmax ever having pants, she had no idea what he looked like without them, so he must have had them.
    • And in a Wham Episode, a non-lethal version of this occurs. Because of Kin #80, the bonding between Minmax and our Kin was completely undone when #80 tossed a Memento Macguffin into one of the holes, causing Kin to forget why she trusted Minmax to begin with.
  • In Homestuck, the whole point of the Scratch is to reset the entire universe and modify the lives of the players- by switching them with their ancestors- to better prepare them for the game. However, in both canonical instances of the Scratch, the players who initiated it managed to escape its Ret-Goning influence.
  • In Housepets!, Sabrina once threatened her boyfriend, Fido, with erasure from existence.
  • The titular Misfile in the webcomic of that name Ret-Gones Ash's male life and identity to everyone except themself and the stoner angel that did it to them. Emily's last two years (and acceptance into Harvard) were also wiped.
    • Part of the concern for our heroes is some of the positive changes that this change has wrought. Ash has a better relationship with both parents, and Emily barely avoided being in a severe car accident that could very well have killed her (and this is before getting into their attraction to each other).
  • Inverted in MYth: Distillation. Athena writes herself into existence the moment she comes out of Zeus' mind, to the point everyone already knows her from a long time ago. Even Zeus has vague memories of knowing her before but he's not sure until Prometheus assures him of them. Officially, Athena is a girl that Zeus took in from Cronus' castle after Metis' death. The only one who knows the truth behind Athena's existence is Prometheus, being the one who took her out of Zeus' head.
  • In Narbonic this happens to Dave Davenport's smoking habit. In the Director's Cut re-run of the strip, the comments section ran with this as a joke for a while, insisting that 'Dave Davenport has never smoked'!
  • In Scary Go Round, Erin Winters was sucked through a portal to Hell as an unintended result of her sister Shelley saving the universe. She was confident that Shelley would rescue her, but Bob Crowley explained that she was "no longer part of the universe we knew" and everyone would soon forget her. This state of affairs persisted even after she became ruler of Hell and returned to the mortal world, with Erin eventually meeting and telling her story to an old boyfriend; she mentioned that she hadn't tried contacting her family, as it would be too painful. Indeed, when she did meet Shelley face to face soon after, the latter didn't recognize her at all... until after Tim accidentally opened another portal to Hell and Erin had to trade her soul for boyfriend Eustace's life, which somehow let Shelley remember and recognize her dear sister right through the latter's "queen of Hell" persona.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, in the Torg Potter parodies of Harry Potter, it is eventually revealed that the reason everyone keeps talking about "You-probably-don't-know-who" and such is because the character in question accidentally erased himself from history and everyone's memories, so that no-one really did know who even though they knew there had been someone.
  • Played for Laughs with one character in Super Stupor, who has the ability to punch through time — he uses this power to abort criminals in the womb.
  • In TRU-Life Adventures, Scarlett places Jack in a coma-like stasis so he won't exist in the new timeline she's constructing''. It works.

    Web Originals 
  • One of the extradimensional artifacts that appears in anachronauts is Oblivion, a large and ornately-decorated revolver which never runs out of bullets and does this to anything it shoots. It's lampshaded several times in the text that its "edits" are relatively clumsy, as these things go; it's a freakin' Hand Cannon, it doesn't do "subtle". The full Nightmare Fuel potential of such a weapon comes up a couple of times, such as when Carrie realizes why the current owner has no parents (an accident; it's implied the thing is more than a little cursed), and when he brings it to school and opens fire in an empty library. Eventually disposed of by having Carrie literally invoke "faster than a speeding bullet" to make it shoot itself, undoing all of its previous edits in a spectacular (and again, very unsubtle) flurry of people and things appearing out of thin air.
  • The Book of Stories OCT, where the Book's Unwriting could make not only individuals go Ret-Gone, but also to worlds and possibly to reality itself.
  • In The Crew of the Copper-Colored Cupids, this is the Collective of the Retconning Crocodiles' favorite modus operandi for dealing with people who inconvenience them. Other beings and entities, such as Chronon Fleas, the Decade Stone or the Imperium, are also capable of this, with different rules depending on the source and circumstances. However, despite appearances, individuals who are retconned out of existence don't completely cease to exist, as their consciousnesses remerged in the Oblivion, from which, with considerable effort, it is possible to retrieve them.
  • In Curveball, the entire island of Esperanza was erased from history. This was the only way to undo something even worse.
  • In the Creepypasta "Disappear Hole" by Slimebeast, while anything that falls into the titular hole is not physically erased from existence, it is erased from everyone's memories. The three boys in the story discover this when they decide to drop a flashlight into the hole to see how deep it is, but then realize they didn't bring one. Then they look back down into the hole and see a flashlight falling down it, and conclude that they actually did bring one and dropped it in, but immediately forgot it existed after doing so. Eventually, they decide to head home for the night, only to be very confused when they return to the spot where they parked their bikes and find four of them parked there.
  • In the Paradise setting, humans are randomly, permanently changed into Funny Animals by causes unknown—and some are gender-switched at the same time. As the "Reality Distortion Field" that keeps these changes Invisible to Normals begins to wind down, gender-bent Changed discover all extant documentation about themselves is retconned as reality itself is edited to reflect their new gender. Their driver's licenses and other identification have newly-feminine names, and all photos all the way back to when they were babies will show a girl instead of a boy (or vice versa). Hence, as far as the world is concerned, the character's original gender is Ret-Goned—records will show that the former "he" has always been a "she" (or vice versa). (Memories of those who knew them before are not affected, however. Also, while people who already know them will continue to see them as their original gender, strangers they meet will see them as the new one.)
  • SCP Foundation:
    • The series of online Microfiction has SCP-268, which is half this trope, half Un-person. Instead of only erasing records or removing people from history, the wearer is erased from all memories after prolonged use AND becomes practically invisible to everyone, but paper and digital records remain.
    • SCP-343 may have done this to a researcher who resisted its psychic properties.
    • SCP-1310 is a room which does this to everyone who remains inside. The twist is that they don't themselves disappear, and must hereafter live in a world where they've never actually been born.
    • The original SCP-2454 is a cruise ship that retroactively erases anyone on board every nine minutes. It caused the Foundation to send over 600 personal to the ship before they finally realize what happened.
    • SCP-2747 has this effect (mild level) not on humans, but narratives. Books, music, video games, websites... They all get destroyed and all that's left are references to them.
    • SCP-3088 is a town where every law the mayor made became objective law of reality for the town (for example, a law banning litter deleted all litter within the town's borders and no one was able to even to try to litter). One of the first laws made upon realizing his power is that no one could leave the town. However, tired of the Mobile Task Force Unit, the mayor made a law said that all military personnel must leave immediately, conflicting with the prior law saying no one could leave. So the entire town vanished from existence.
    • SCP-3264 is the result of an experimental device meant to remove objects "from space and time itself."
    • SCP-3930 is a Void Between the Worlds lacking shape, dimension, or any potential quality that could be attributed to it. Because of the human mind's tendency to create patterns where there are none, anyone who enters it believes they're in a lush forest in the Russian wilderness, not realizing that it doesn't exist (and now, neither do they). The more people know of this void and subconsciously overwrite it with their own patterns, the more lingering remnants of consciousness within it there are. If there's too much of these thoughts together, too many of these inventions of the mind piling up at the edge of nothingness, they start to merge into one thing, it becomes complex, gains sentience, and realizes what it actually is. It exists now, and it would very much like to go back to not existing. That little thing is what's known as a Pattern Screamer, because it's born from seeing nonexistent patterns, and it screams in hatred of thought that brought it to be. The only way to erase it is to erase the inventions that made it happen; the only way to make that happen is to send the ones who thought them into this nothingness, so they'll stop existing. The threshold is around ten people; any more than that knowing of this void, and the screaming starts.
    • SCP-240-JP comprises of zero instances of anomalous locusts. When a locust dies, it warps reality to erase all traces of it ever having existed, which is why there is/are/was/were always zero instances of them.
    • Some of the entities and devices the Antimemetics Division deals with can do this, first by erasing all memories and records of the person, and then slapping a Perception Filter on the person. If the person is still alive, no one will hear their pleas for help. If the person is dead, people will step over their rotting corpse without even noticing it's there. The same effect can also be applied to buildings and locations, forcing people to unknowingly make detours around acres of land that they don't even realize exists.
  • A fate suffered by several characters in Twitch Plays Pokémon. Has been caused intentionally by the streamer after accidentally starting a new game (Crystal and possibly Black), the Voices managing to soft reset the game multiple times through chat inputs (Emerald), as well as the few times the game crashed (Platinum and Black 2.)

    Web Videos 
  • Happens to everyone in Demo Reel, as it turns out none of them are real and their tragic backstories, whether it's rape, sending your father to jail, maternal suicide, war crimes and so on, were just ways of teaching The Nostalgia Critic an Aesop Amnesia lesson. As one might imagine, it was a Downer Ending.
  • Doctor Robotnik attempts to erase Sonic from history in the Mean Time Machine, as seen on Sonic's official Youtube Channel. He undoes his attempts because the alternatives were worse for him.
  • In Dragon Ball Z Abridged Super Android 13, the titular android grabs Goku and hits him so hard in the groin that the scene skips to the beginnings of the Buu Saga and Goten suddenly disappears from existence in front of Gohan's eyes. Luckily, Goku later takes several Senzu Beans to recover, thereby undoing the retcon. (To make this even more amusing, in an earlier movie Vegeta got kicked in the dick a minimum of 500 times and yet Bra didn't get erased.)

    Western Animation 
  • In the season 5 premiere of Adventure Time, Finn, Jake and the Lich end up in Prismo's wishroom. After the Lich wishes for the extinction of all life, Finn, Jake and Prismo are the only living things left. Finn's solution? Wish that the Lich never existed. Unfortunately it doesn't go as planned, considering the guy he wished out of existence played a huge part in the series' backstory, resulting in a Cosmic Retcon. It also ends up in a semi-subversion: the Lich turned out to be the result of a devastating weapon, and an alternate version of him popped up anyway as that timeline's Jake (while that timeline's Finn became the Ice King)—which was the result of Prismo's wishes having an ironic twist (in this case, the Lich never existed until now). Main Jake undoes the trope by using his own wish to retcon the Lich's wish into sending Finn and Jake home, meaning Finn never had to make his wish.
    • This gets subverted in Crossover, when it turns out the Wishes also create alternate universes. Nobody talks about the alternate universe where all life is extinct because it's pretty much self-concluded, but the one where Finn wished for the Lich to be ret-goned still exists and risks Ice King Finn turning into an insane Multiversal Conqueror. By the end of the fiasco, Finn and Jake manage to fix the Ice King Finn and Lich King Jake, but accidentally create an infinite number of Liches to plague the multiverse. Somehow, almost all the Liches get their asses kicked by some incarnation of Finn - Finn the Comet is just that good.
  • During the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog's Chaos Emerald Saga, Sonic's desire for a chili dog in ancient Egypt prevents his ancestors from meeting, leading to him being erased from existence. Tails quickly fixes this problem and brings Sonic back.
  • Happens to minor character Molly Collins from The Amazing World of Gumballnote . "The Void" reveals that the world deemed her one of its mistakes for being too boring and sent her to the titular dimension. Gumball, Darwin and Mr. Small rescue her at the end of the episode. "The Nobody" reveals that the same kind of thing happened to Rob, but the results aren't quite the same.
  • In Beast Wars, if Megatron's scheme had worked out, the entire Maximal race would have been negated from history and would never have existed. However, it's revealed in the video game of the series that, had his scheme worked, a Butterfly of Doom would've kicked in, dooming the Decepticons, their ancestors, as well, because without Optimus Prime there would be no Matrix of Leadership to stop Unicron from chowing down on Cybertron.
    • Tarantulas was also planning to wipe out both the Autobots and the Decepticons, thus erasing the Maximals and the Predacons. When someone points out that he'd be erased as well, he reveals that, like the Tripredacus Council (the three Cybertronians running the Predacon government), Tarantulas is descended from another group of bots.
  • The Captain Planet and the Planeteers episode "Future Shock" had three villains descended from Looten Plunder, Dr. Blight, and Verminous Skumm sent back in time by Zarm to secure their future by killing a girl who would grow up to be a prominent defender of the environment. In the end, the three villains screw up and fire at Ma-Ti by mistake. While Ma-Ti survives, the failure to kill the little girl causes the Eco-Villains' descendants to disappear because of their timeline never transpiring.
  • The Challenge of the Superfriends episode "Secret Origins of the Super Friends" had the Legion of Doom attempt to alter history to prevent Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern from existing, which was done by preventing baby Kal-El's rocket from making it to Earth during Krypton's destruction, Cheetah beating young Diana in the tournament she was supposed to win and Lex Luthor taking Abin Sur's power ring after forcing Hal Jordan out of the cockpit the power ring enveloped with green energy. The rest of the Super Friends eventually find out what happened and go back in time to fix everything and restore Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern to the timeline.
  • In one episode of Danny Phantom, Sam gets in a fight with Danny and wishes they had never met. In the presence of a wish-granting ghost. Take a wild guess what happens. Sam herself is unaffected, thanks to a Fenton Device. It's revealed that she's directly responsible for his powers (and his snazzy new shirt logo). The fading-photograph trope (resulting in awkward gaps that wouldn't have actually happened) features heavily (although why the warded copies were on her person in the first place... just go with it). While in the presence of the wish-granter again, she managed to wish everything back to normal (relatively speaking), except for the outfit, because she likes it.
    • Although it is the relationship that is retgonned, not any person. In contrast, when Danny stops his parents from meeting, Jazz was retgonned.
  • Exaggerated on Family Guy, when Stewie learns that his time machine accidentally created the universe, but Bertram kills Stewie's ancestor. Stewie sets everything right, though, since Status Quo Is God and they've already done the Gainax Ending to death.
    • Another episode takes it up a notch when Stewie and Brian fighting in the time machine causes the flow of time to go in reverse. The reversed flow of time threatens to have Stewie (and possibly all life) become unborn, though Brian manages to fix the time flow at the last minute.
    • In "Back To The Pilot", Brian and Stewie continually travel back in time and dozens of future versions of themselves pop up to stop them. It ends with Stewie and Brian stopping their past selves from a few minutes ago from time traveling, causing them to fade out of existence.
    • In "Life of Brian", due to his actions, future Stewie gets erased from existence for saving Brian getting killed by that car, leaving only Brian with the knowledge of what would have happened.
  • Futurama:
    • Subverted in "Roswell that Ends Well". Fry travels back to the 1940s and meets his grandfather Enos. He quickly becomes consumed by paranoia regarding some tragedy befalling Enos before he can have children, therefore resulting in Fry's own non-existence. His overprotectiveness towards Enos is, naturally, what ends up actually getting him killed. To Fry's great surprise, he still exists. Enos's grieving girlfriend — a.k.a. the woman Fry initially assumes to be his grandmother — turns to Fry for some Sex for Solace due to his resemblance to Enos. Fry is naturally averse to the idea of sleeping with his own grandmother (however young and attractive she may currently be), but then he realizes that, since he still exists, Enos must not have really been his grandfather, and therefore this woman must not really be his grandmother, so he goes for it. He's half-right. The woman is his real grandmother, but his real grandfather is... himself.
    • "The Late Phillip J. Fry" has another subversion. In this episode, you can only travel forward in time, albeit at any speed you desire. You can travel backward by going through one Big Crunch and another Big Bang, and as a result there's a universe out there with no Nazis.
    • The politician Chris Travers from "Decision 3012" comes from a Bad Future, where Richard Nixon won the 3012 election, which he must prevent. Unfortunately, once Chris accomplishes his mission and wins the election, he is erased from the timeline since the Bad Future would no longer exist if he succeeded, and so the timeline defaults to its original bad future while everyone forgets him.
  • Justice League:
    • In the first Season Finale, "The Savage Time", the Justice League, sans Batman, return to Earth from a mission in space to find the world has been conquered by a fascist Nazi regime due to Time Travel causing the Allies to lose World War II. The Batman of this timeline is the leader of La Résistance whose parents were killed by the regime for speaking out. The Justice League decide to go back in time to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, but Martian Manhunter warns the alternate Batman that, if they succeed, he'll cease to exist. Considering that he's only known a brutal, totalitarian Crapsack World his whole life, Batman states that "nothing would make [him] happier".
    • In another Time Travel episode involving Vandal Savage, "Hereafter", after Superman's supposed death, Vandal Savage created a gravitational doomsday device which went horribly wrong and wiped out the entire human race, except for him, since he had Complete Immortality. Superman ended up being transported thousands of years into the future, where he meets Vandal Savage, having repented his ways and remorseful for causing the end of the world. Future Savage is able to help Superman go back in time to stop him before he was able to build his weapon, and gratefully watches as human civilization materializes around him as he fades away from existence.
  • In the Justice League Action episode "She Wore Red Velvet", the villain Red Velvet turns out to be the future self of Booster Gold's fiancee Margo. The Justice League initially think she's attacking Booster for leaving her at the altar, but it later turns out she wants to prevent her marriage because Booster was a lousy husband. She succeeds in convincing her past self not to marry Booster Gold and is effectively erased from the timeline.
  • The Life and Times of Juniper Lee: In the episode "Te Xuan Me", Juniper prevented a thief from stealing dragon eggs. The thief then tried to get back in time to change this by using a secret time portal guarded at a clocktower where Juniper and her classmates went for a field trip. The portal was kept by time wraiths who captured Juniper and her classmates and reformed Earth without them. In the alternative timeline, Ray Ray was the Te Xuan Ze; Dennis behaved like the mainstream Ray Ray; and Monroe said Ray Ray accepted the Te Xuan Ze role better than anybody else he ever met. Ray Ray and the thief were the only people to remember the original timeline. Despite Monroe's protests about it being too dangerous, Ray Ray rescued everyone.
  • One episode of Men in Black: The Series dealt with a crazed alien enthusiast finding a way to time-travel and going back to send the founding members of the eponymous organization to a dimensional limbo. A photo displaying the meeting between the founders and a group of aliens has each human disappearing one by one, and everyone instantly forgets them except Jay, who's gained Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory via some Alien Phlebotinum which is also slowly killing him. Additionally, all the founders' contributions disappear as well, such as all the medical devices invented by Agent D. By the time only K is left, MiB is reduced to a tiny organization operating out of the back of a store. Jay manages to undo everything, including his own Phlebotinum exposure.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • In "Phineas and Ferb's Quantum Boogaloo" after the timeline is fixed, Bad Future Candace ceases to exist, since the Bad Future doesn't exist anymore.
    • In "Last Day Of Summer", the Do-Over-Inator causes a persistent "Groundhog Day" Loop, but also causes sporadic rifts in the space-time continuum that swallow up things, causing people to forget those things ever existed; after a spoon (and, somehow, all spoons) is taken, people resort to eating cereal out of the bowl, whereas when Phineas and Ferb are taken away, they're completely forgotten. Since Doofensmirtz and Candace were right by the Do-Over-Inator when it activated, they remember everything that was taken, and also remember the previous time loops.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show: This happens to Captain Hoek and Cadet Stimpy (and the narrator) in "Space Madness", after Stimpy pushes the History Eraser Button, which turns out to be Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • In one Robot Chicken Masters of the Universe sketch, Skeletor goes back in time to prevent He-Man from being born, but the spell he used turns him into a baby. He's taken in by King Randor and takes the opportunity to kill him and his mistress. Unfortunately, it turns out the mistress was Skeletor's mother and Randor was his illegitimate father, so Skeletor is erased from existence instead.
  • In the final season of Samurai Jack, Jack's fiancee Ashi ceases to exist after he travels back to his time and defeats her father Aku. This is only a mild case as he still possesses memories of her as indicated by his smile when he sees the ladybug. This is also definitely the case with Future Aku, since his erasure is what erases Ashi, as well as the evil cult that worshipped him.
    • Not only her, the entire future timeline and everyone and everything in it ceases to exist as it was a distorted reality created by the act of Aku banishing Jack into the future. Jack returning to the past resets this distortion and the timeline essentially proceeds as it would have had Jack never travelled to the future, even though his memories and experience remain.
    • All of Jack's friends from future would have been Ret-Goned along with Ashi as killing Aku means that he couldn't kill or displace human populations for the next several millennia, nor be able to invite various alien races to Earth, thus negating them from being born. Even if they still exist under a happier future, none of them will remember ever meeting Jack; even though he's a legendary hero now, all those events he took part in never happened. The only one who'll remember these events is Jack himself, unless he somehow decides to chronicle his adventures. There is a silver lining to this: they would never have had to experience the living hell that was Aku.
  • In the last episode of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Scooby's destruction of the Evil Entity results in the latter never having existed. Thus, Crystal Cove becomes a Sugar Bowl now that the Evil Entity was never around to corrupt anyone.
  • In She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, the botched opening of a portal between dimensions starts to destroy the universe in which the series takes place, erasing not only space but time as well as such that certain events never happened. Naturally, characters slowly end up having this happen to them as a result, having never existed and being forgotten by most characters. For one character it's a lot worse, only having half their body erased; they survive, but with horrific results.
  • South Park:
    • In the episode "Trapper Keeper", a cyborg who calls himself Bill Cosby comes from the future to destroy Cartman's trapper keeper. The episode ends with the trapper keeper destroyed, causing him to fade away, having fulfilled his purpose.
    • In South Park: Post Covid: The Return of Covid, Cartman's motivation for opposing his friends' plan to travel back in time to prevent COVID-19 is that it means he won't change his ways and start the family he has now. Though he does have a change of heart and helps them create a better timeline, his initial fears are realized when he ends up a lonely, raving hobo in the new timeline.
  • In the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "Yesteryear", Spock is temporarily Ret-Goned until he creates a Stable Time Loop preventing his death as a child.
  • Inverted, discussed and averted in the Star Wars Rebels season 4 episode "A World Between Worlds". When Ezra Bridger gains access to the titular realm inside the Jedi temple on Lothal, he possibly saves Ahsoka from this by discovering a time portal that shows what happened immediately after he managed to escape the collapsing Sith Temple on Malachor a few years prior, with she and Vader trapped inside. Seeing that Vader was winning the duel and had just enough time to strike her down before the Temple collapsed, Ezra decides to pull her into the World Between Worlds, preventing her from being killed so that she would have a chance to exist in his current time. After telling her how much he missed her and explaining what happened while she was gone, Ezra then realizes that he has the power to "go back and change things" here and wishes to use it to undo the Heroic Sacrifice of his master, Kanan. However, Ahsoka stops Ezra from doing that and urges him to consider the fact that if he were to pull Kanan away from the explosion that he was trying to hold off in his final moments, it would end up consuming Ezra and his fellow rebels instead, which would mean that he would not have been alive by the time he got into the World Between Worlds.
  • In Tripping the Rift, Chode and Gus travel to the beginning of time to witness the creation of the universe, and accidentally kill God, Retgonning his influence from the universe. Upon returning to their own time, it's actually rather pleasant, up until Chode and Gus brought in the concept of evil with them, which caused an immediate death spiral for all life everywhere. The reason why? Well, with no God to tell people what NOT to do, no one ever had the idea of doing anything bad. No God, No Evil. But once the concept of "Evil" was brought in from the outside, with no fear of divine punishment for any crimes you commit, well, there's no reason NOT to do terrible things, up to and including senseless murder.
  • In Turtles Forever, the Shredder's plan to destroy The Multiverse resulted in several characters being erased from existence, literally, as the plot came to fruition, including April and Casey. Ironically, it happened to Hun just as the Turtles convinced him to turn against the Shredder. Fortunately, April and Casey were restored once the plan was stopped, and presumably, everyone else was.


Video Example(s):


Jokermingo's Death

In the episode 5 of Microsoft Sam and the Great Final War, while traveling back in the past in the alternative universe, Sam corner Jokermingo and shoot him in the knees. After manges to convince Satan and Devil's Hell Star to be on his side by telling them the truth about Jokermingo's plans, mainly that his invention will killed both of them, Sam then proceed to kill Jokermingo by throwing him into hellfire, while the villain can only begging helplessly as he was burn to death. This action erase him and undo all of his doing at well as alter almost everything that happens in the present day (at least in the alternative universe).

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