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Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory

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"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."

When Time Travel is used to "rewrite" past events, this character will retain their memory of the original timeline—i.e., how everything went the "first time around"—even though that version of events no longer will have happened. Everyone else will only remember the new reality. Examples are Acceptable Breaks from Reality for time travel stories; how can someone Set Right What Once Went Wrong if they don't know that something went wrong in the first place?

This could be justified a number of ways: it doesn't affect time-travelers, the character used Applied Phlebotinum, they are Immune to Fate, they are a Time Master, they have moved to an Alternate Universe, or whatever. The bottom line is that this character has an advantage that no one else does and this is why their memories are unaffected by someone rewriting time. Expect the Timey-Wimey Ball to be thrown around to explain stuff like this. If You Already Changed the Past is involved then the explanation is much simpler; they knew it would happen because they already did it.

The trope becomes trickier when characters who don't have the above justification get Ripple Effect Proof Memory anyway. A Psychic Nosebleed might ensue when someone whose memory isn't completely "proof" gets an "update" on a new lifetime and the mental stress from trying to contain memories from a large number of timelines actually harms the physical body. This might happen even if memories are the only thing that carry over from shift to shift and the time traveler is no longer in his or her original body. The technical term for this is "the time travel clone memory feedback problem." We're working hard to find a cure.

There are two forms of this: in the first the character can remember the previous timeline but has no idea what happened in the altered one until people tell them; while in the second type the character is capable of simultaneously remembering multiple alternate pasts. The latter case can cause Sanity Slippage or outright Go Mad from the Revelation, or at least difficulties in remembering precisely what events happened in which past.

Ripple Effect Proof Memory is inherent in any and all "Groundhog Day" Loop, Mental Time Travel, and It's a Wonderful Plot, and is almost necessary to suffer Time Loop Fatigue. As we already have pages on them, instances of them shouldn't be included here. Individuals with a Ripple Effect Proof Memory may be the only ones who recognize a Ripple Effect Indicator for what it is. When Played for Drama, if this is a rare ability then a character with this may feel isolated and lonely, being the only ones who remember the "original" timeline.

The name refers to the "ripple effect" from the Back to the Future films.

Contrast Caught in the Ripple. Compare Flash Sideways, where characters have glimpses of the Alternate Timeline, but are unable to quite pinpoint what they are, or where they are coming from.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Cardcaptor Sakura: When the Time Card first appears, it induces a "Groundhog Day" Loop. Sakura, Syaoran, and Kero are the only ones who are immune due to their magical powers.
  • Chainsaw Man: It's revealed in Chapter 84 that Pochita has erased several Devils and their concepts from existence, such as World War II, Nazis, AIDS, a star whose light broke children's minds, a sixth sense and so on. The one revealing it, i.e. Makima, the Control Devil is the only one who can recall the concepts, although dimly, and tries to earn Pochita's approval to completely remake reality. Part 2 reveals that Yoru, the War Devil also remembers Nuclear Weapons Devil, and plots with Asa to bring it back to the world.
  • In the CLANNAD anime adaption, both Nagisa and Tomoya retain the memories of the first timeline when Ushio hits the Reset Button.
  • Averted in Doraemon; everyone, not just Nobita and Doraemon who has any relation to the Time Travel will remember the events, although this rarely happened or even mentioned. The most notable and recurring example is Nobita's grandmother who remembered everything about Nobita's multiple visits to the past.
    • For examples outside the main series, the movie Doraemon: Nobita and the Steel Troops ends with Riruru the Robot Girl having a Heel–Face Turn and, traveling to Mechatopia 30,000 years ago, deciding to reprogram Amu and Emu, the first two generations of robots, to remove their competitive tendencies, thereby cancelling the Robot War 30,000 years in the future - but also causes herself to be Ret-Gone in the process. Nevertheless, Doraemon, Nobita, and the other heroes still do remember Riruru and honours her sacrifice, even though they're in a timeline where the invasion never occurred in the first place. Nobita in the final scene even recognizes an Alternate Self of Riruru, reborn as a benevolent robot tourist, and excitedly tells his friends about it in the ending.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: In The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi, when Yuki reshapes the world, Kyon is the only one who remembers, because Yuki wants him to have a Reset Button.
    • The very reason for that book's plot is because Yuki herself has one and had become incredibly frustrated and a smidgen unhinged after the events of a previous story arc ("Endless Eight") had them as the only one who was fully aware the entire time they and the others were stuck in a "Groundhog Day" Loop for 600 years.
  • In Fairy Tail, there's a twofer after the Grand Magic Games:
    • When the dragons are brought back from 400 years in the past through the Eclipse, the heroes start dropping like flies while trying to fight them. Seeing this, Ultear pulls a Heroic Sacrifice by casting a spell that turns back time at the cost of the rest of her own time. It turns out this is only enough to rewind time by one minute... But it also turns out that everyone in the world is able to remember that one minute, which allows the ill-fated heroes to dodge their own deaths and predict their enemies' movements, effectively turning the tide of battle.
    • After Natsu destroys the Eclipse to send all the time travelers back to their original places in history, since there'd be no Eclipse for them to use to come to the present, everyone still retains full knowledge of what happened, including the dragons from the past, who recognize the heroes after they've long died.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Yoshikage Kira from Diamond is Unbreakable can trap people in a "Groundhog Day" Loop using Killer Queen's tertiary ability, Bites The Dust. The initial activation of the ability jumps time back by one hour, and he can remember events during this hour, but after that point, time reverses whenever the target enters a conversation in which Kira's true identity is mentioned; these loops can only be remembered by the target.
    • In Golden Wind, The Boss, AKA Diavolo, has the power to "erase" time. With his second ability letting him see a few seconds in the future, once he activates King Crimson's ability he retains all events that occurred in the time that was erased as everyone has no recollection of what happened in the erased time.
    • At the end of Stone Ocean, Emporio succeeds in killing Pucci before the universe was remade and lands back in a revived one, where he comes across everyone who was killed by Pucci, but is the only one who remembers the events of the story.
  • Deconstructed in Mazinger Z spin-off Shin Mazinger Zero. Kouji and former Fem Bot turned into Robot Girl Minerva-X are locked into a Groundhog Peggy Sue loop. Both of them have this. However Kouji's memory is faulty, and he only remembers what happened in former timelines through dreams and sudden flashbacks, and they are so vague and so random -and seldom he has them when he needs them- that they are all but useless. On the other hand, Minerva remembers with utter clarity how they failed thousands of times in averting The End of the World as We Know It, and how her beloved, her friends and the whole humanity died several thousands of times because she failed.
  • The protagonist quartet of Natsuiro Kiseki retain all their memories in the penultimate episode because it's them who caused the "Groundhog Day" Loop in the first place.
  • All instances of Time Travel in Pokémon: The Series:
    • In Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life, Ash & co. remember events as they happen after Dialga sends them back through time, but they also remember the original history that necessitated the trip to start with. Arceus itself is subject to Delayed Ripple Effect, and nearly blasts them before its memories catch up.
    • In the Japanese version of Pokémon 4Ever, no one remembered as well. The dubbers felt that it too closely mirrored the first movie which ends with Mewtwo erasing the movie's events from everyone's memory, and elected to change it. They discuss the matter, and an additional scene with Professor Oak reflecting, in the commentary.
    • In the Battle Frontier episode "Time Warp Heals All Wounds" May, her Squirtle, and Meowth travel back in time to save a man's life and end up saving his hometown's economy in the process. They're the only ones who remember the ramshackle version of the town from before their time trip.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
    • Homura remembers all the different timelines because she is a Time Master. Every time she returned to the beginning of the "Groundhog Day" Loop, she was the only character who could remember what happened the last time, though Madoka was Dreaming of Times Gone By.
    • At the end of the series, no one remembers Madoka save her little brother Tatsuya and her very best friend because her wish made her Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. Since she's now a transcendent law of the universe, she remembers everything that was, that will be, and that which can't possibly exist. In the case of Tatsuya, Word of God states that since he's a toddler, he's too young and innocent to understand why Madoka should not exist and therefore will come to forget her once he grows up.
    • Played straight then downplayed in The Movie: Rebellion;
      • Homulilly's labyrinth rewrites the memories of anyone who enters it to keep up The Masquerade. About midway through the movie, however, Sayaka reveals to Homura that she not only knows that they're in a Labyrinth, but remembers the existence of Madoka and even the timeloops. This is because she, and Nagisa Momoe aka. Bebe, are parts of the Law of Cycles, sent by Madoka to slip Beneath Suspicion and free Homura from her own Labyrinth without arousing suspicion.
      • At the end of the movie, Homura steals Madoka's divinity and rewrites reality so that Madoka and her friends are normal humans and forgets what she did. Sayaka, however, remembers it perfectly, and she is pissed. Downplayed in that Sayaka only retains her memory past the initial rewrite, and Homura rewrites it manually when confronted, though Sayaka is left with the feeling that something is wrong and that Homura Akemi is a demon.
  • In Serial Experiments Lain episode 11, Lain's child-like incarnation (I think) alters history to remove some rumors around school about Arisu but leaves Arisu's memory intact. After all, memory is just data. Arisu finds the whole experience a bit unnerving.
  • While not necessarily related to Time Travel, anyone with knowledge of the Crimson World in Shakugan no Shana can remember the existences of people or things that have lost their Power of Existence.
  • Okabe from Steins;Gate has it. He calls it "Reading Steiner", which doesn't really mean anything, but he thinks it sounds cool. Okabe starts the series as the only one who has it; while other characters later display some ability to vaguely remember how the timeline "used to be", and The Movie implies that everyone has it to some degree (for most people it's just déjà vu), only Okabe can do it clearly and without prompting. And he has no idea why or how he can do it (it's implied that it related to a childhood illness, but this is never explained). Okabe's memory also isn't particularly helpful to him, given that bad things happen in the timelines he can remember and John Titor wants him to use his ability to become The Messiah and kickstart the One World Order. Accordingly, he sees it as being Blessed with Suck, and his companions (thanks to his lack of social skills) see it as him holding the Idiot Ball.
  • Vivy: Fluorite Eye's Song: Matsumoto is an AI from the very Bad Future that Vivy is supposed to prevent, making him the obligatory character who remembers how the "original" timeline went for the Set Right What Once Went Wrong plot.
  • Occurs in ×××HOLiC and its sister series Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- several times due to some major futzing with the time-space continuum, but the most obvious example is Yuuko who is Ret Goned from the memories of everyone except close friends and relations once her time starts moving again and the universe is rewritten to be as it would have been had she died when she was supposed to. Interestingly, despite being one of the few people who do remember, Watanuki is still terrified he'll one day lose his memories too, which is part of why he goes through such a drastic personality change after her death.
  • In Episode 117 of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, it is revealed that Yliaster were able to alter history. When they did so, only the Three Emperors, the Signers and those within their protective fields, and Team Ragnarok (who held the Polar God Cards), were seen to be aware of the changes.

    Audio Plays 
  • Big Finish Doctor Who:
    • In the Zagreus arc we meet the Neverpeople. These are Gallifreyan criminals sentenced to removal from history. They retain their memories of the timeline that had been theirs, while the rest of the universe — including the people responsible for their removal — have no recollection of them. One strange side effect is that the Time Lords believe that this particular method of execution has not been used in eons, since, in the resulting timeline, its victims never existed in the first place. The problem is that there are records resistant to the changes imposed by the chamber, and when the person who has routinely authorized its use hundreds if not thousands of times has a good look at them, she's so overcome by horror and guilt she enters the chamber willingly.
    • In The Sontaran Ordeal, the Sontarans have equipped their battle-computers with this, to avoid being affected by spillage from the Time War. The Sontaran officer Jesk tells Sarana, from a planet that has never known peace, that his database says that before they were collatoral damage, they had never known war.
    • Daughter of the Gods results in the Second Doctor's companions Jamie and Zoe accidentally changing history so that the First Doctor's TARDIS never went to Kembel, creating a timeline where Katarina stayed with the Doctor and Steven for months but the Daleks were able to complete the Time Destructor. After the Second Doctor is able to undo the original change of history, it's implied that only the Second Doctor remembers recent events, and even then he needs a few moments to think about it.

    Card Games 
  • In Chrononauts, certain Identities have Ripple Effect Proof Memory, but they come from different timelines. These players win by restoring history to however they remember it. Others try to change history from our (and their) history to one which they prefer — such as Betty, who wins by saving JFK in 1963, and Yuri, who tries to make the USSR win the Cold War.

    Comic Books 
  • Explained within the Astro City series, as anyone jumping into the 'empyrean fire' of the time stream seems to be immune to the effects of any temporal changes. That such a thing also happens to invest the user with superpowers and would be the only way to make the local pastiche of Superman/Captain Marvel/generic hero work without a paradox is just an extra bonus. Oddly, some people in the series have at least some resistance to the Ripple Effect. In one story, the viewpoint character Michael Tenicek has his wife erased from reality by an unsuccessful attempt by a villain to muck with the timestream, presented in the style of a Crisis-like event, but the old timeline haunts his dreams. A godlike character tells him what happened, and offers him the option to forget her, but he declines... and is told that no one ever accepts.
  • This was in The Authority, when The Doctor (not that one) has to relinquish his powers to one of his predecessors (one who was stripped of them for being a depraved omnicidal maniac). The old Doctor stops in the middle of the fight to point out that he can freely travel through time, threatening them with "imagine fighting someone who could shoot you as you emerged from your mother's womb or hold a pillow over your face in a retirement home." He then adds "worse still, imagine the local doctor, back when you were in high school, giving you a funny feeling you'd carry around for the rest of your natural life". He doesn't go as far as raping The Engineer (or if he does it's off-page, or has been changed in the reprinting) but the comic does take a panel to show him kissing her on the back of the neck. He asks her "Hello again, Miss Angela Spica of class 4B. Remember me?" which starts her crying and whispering "oh my god..."
  • In the Marvel Universe, Bishop has occasionally ended up like this, due to doing a bit more time-travel than is really healthy... After the Age of Apocalypse timeline was destroyed, and everything went back to normal, he experienced some occasional 'regression' into memories of the now-defunct timeline — up to and including attacking Beast and Cyclops, who were evil in the other universe.
  • In Black Hammer, the heroes accidentally create an alternate reality where they all lived normal lives as ordinary people because superheroes never existed. Only three people keep their memories of the original reality at first: Colonel Weird, who was shunted into a weird metafictional universe when the new reality was created and kept his memories when he came back; Talky-Walky, who was unaffected by the reality changes seemingly because of her robotic nature; and Madame Dragonfly, whose magic powers protected her from the change, but pretended to become a normal housewife so she could live out the life she always wanted.
  • During Crisis on Infinite Earths, after all the various Earths merge into one coherent history, all the superheroes who survived the transformation wake up the next day with their memories intact, though these fade in a few months, replaced with ones where they lived in the shared universe all their lives and had memories of fighting in a battle against the Anti-Monitor in 1985. The only person who actually remembers the Crisis and the infinite universes that preceded it is the Psycho-Pirate, who at the end of the series is shown to reside in an psychiatric hospital, rambling about the events of the Crisis, while everyone thinks he's mad. Later on, Psycho-Pirate's ripple-proof memory becomes a major plot point in Grant Morrison's Animal Man, when he gains reality-warping powers and tries to bring back all the characters lost in the Crisis, as he's the only one who still remembers them.
  • Humorously averted in Alan Moore's one-off "Doctor Dibworthy's Disappointing Day". The titular scientist invents a Time Machine and tries to test it by making at first minor, and progressively more drastic, changes to the past. Each time he does, the narrative helpfully informs us that nothing changes, while the artwork shows the results of massive changes to history. Doctor Dibworthy does briefly consider that his own memories are altered as a result of changes to the past, but dismisses that idea as unlikely.
  • The Flash:
    • Bart Allen, the hero known as Impulse, Kid Flash II and (briefly) Flash IV, has a permanent version as a result of being sent from the future. On the more notable occasions where Wally West's wife was removed from time, the entire Flash lineage was erased and scary future versions of the Titans went back and changed the future they came from, and he was entirely unaffected. Bart wakes up in the 30th Century during Flashpoint and is still fully aware. However, being stuck 1000 years in the future leaves him almost completely unable to help with the main story. Naturally he is killed off at the end of his miniseries, presumably so that no one will be able to remember the old timeline once the New 52 came around...
    • Hunter Zolomon has repeatedly demonstrated himself to be immune to the Cosmic Retcon, likely due to his disconnection from the timestream. He first demonstrated this when he retains his knowledge of Wally West's secret identity after the Spectre wipes it from the world's minds, and second when he resurfaces in the Rebirth era, remembering his encounters with Wally prior to the New 52.
    • In Wonder Woman Vol 2, Jay Garrick approaches Hippolyta when he sees her in the outfit he remembers her wearing when she helped the current him save him as a younger man during WWII. They go back in time to presumably create a stable loop but things end up changed anyway and the older version of Jay gets the new memories his younger version is getting while also retaining his memory of the way things originally went.
    • Played with in Flashpoint where Barry Allen wakes up one day to find the world is completely different, and the least of the changes is that he never gained superpowers. He's the only one who remembers the previous timeline, but this memory is slowly being erased and replaced with memories of the new one. Thus it takes Barry almost the entire series to realize that he's the one who changed the past in the first place, by going back and preventing his mother's murder. Also completely averted with the ending, in which the timeline is changed again (to one very similar to the "correct" timeline, but with some differences.) This time, no one remembers the old timeline, including Barry.
    • In DC Rebirth, the pre-Flashpoint Wally West has been stuck in the Speed Force since the New 52 began. He remembers the past relationships, but over time the old memories begin to fade or get jumbled with the New 52 timeline. While he mostly remembers the pre-Flashpoint timeline, he's also starting to remember his newer, New 52 timeline. While he was in the Speed Force due to running into it as the world was rewritten, he begins remembering a fake history as part of the New 52, where he was banished into the Speed Force as a teenager by Abra Kadabra (and somehow aged into his adult self inside it). Similarly, he suddenly remembers having Wallace West as a cousin despite the later revelation that Wallace was explicitly created as part of the New 52 timeline. He remembers being married to Linda Park, but she doesn't remember him at all, since in the New 52 they never met. The most painful is when he's suddenly told by the aforementioned Hunter Zolomon about the two children he had that he forgot, which pushes him into conflict with Barry.
    • Eobard Thawne returns during the Rebirth run of The Flash, possessing his New 52 counterpart and overriding the latter's powers and costume. He only remembers the timeline right until the New 52 began (he died right before it), and this becomes a plot point later when he finds that his knowledge of the Flashes and their history is in need of updating. As we later see, his knowledge of the Flashes and their various histories always remains intact, but his own past is changed every time he's killed and resurrected into a new timeline. However, this aspect of Eobard is finally stopped when Barry Allen "grounds" him, firmly rooting him into the current timeline, where he can't exist, which transforms him into the friendly curator of the Flash Museum, with the future having no knowledge as to the identity of Professor Zoom.
    • Jay Garrick in Rebirth is found stuck in the Speed Force, and seems to remember his history with Wally West and Barry Allen, which didn't exist in the New 52. Like Wally, his being stuck in the Speed Force seemed to allow him to view both histories, but unlike Wally, Jay doesn't exist in the New 52 timeline. When Jay is eventually pulled out, the timeline's been mostly patched up to resemble the previous timeline, so Jay never remembers the New 52 timeline or even has to.
    • Jesse Quick and Max Mercury were also trapped in the Speed Force when the New 52 happened, and don't have any memory of it or its events. When they're pulled out, similar to Jay, it's so soon before the universe got another face lift that they never even have to remember it.
    • In DC Universe: Rebirth #1, the original Wally West appears to Johnny Thunder. His narration makes it clear that Johnny remembers the pre-Flashpoint timeline as well, including the history of the JSA, who don't exist in the New 52. As a result of his ramblings (and the unfortunate fact that he really does have Alzheimer's), he's been diagnosed as insane. However, when he escapes the hospital, he shows he remembers the Justice Society and Green Lantern's battery.
  • In the Marvel mega-crossover event House of M, Wolverine and new character Layla Miller are able to remember the original timeline, how things were before the Scarlet Witch rewrote history.
    • Layla is a mutant with this (and the ability to restore others' pre-ripple memories) as her stated superpower.
    • Wolverine actually ended up remembering more of the original timeline than he ever had before, as an unintended side-effect of Scarlet Witch's spell. She rewrote reality to give the people she cared about whatever they most desired and, for Wolverine, that meant remembering the entirety of his Laser-Guided Amnesia-filled, Fog of Ages-shrouded Mysterious Past.
    • Strangely enough, Spider-Man gets the feeling that things aren't quite right with the world and writes a journal detailing the events of the original timeline, but no reason is given for that. When the Scarlet Witch changes everything back, Spider-Man still remembers the House of M reality and nearly kills Quicksilver, furious about what he remembered having "lost" (a world where Uncle Ben never died, and Peter had started a family with Gwen Stacy).
  • Played with in the case of Justice Society of America villain Per Degaton. He's not supposed to remember his failed exploits as a Conqueror from the Future because of his time machine's Reset Button, but every time the night before his fateful encounter with the machine takes place, he has a dream that fills him in on all of his prior exploits.
  • Notably averted in Les Légendaires; when Jadina uses a Reset Button to erase all the events of the Time Travel story arc in Books 5 and 6, none of the protagonists, including herself, apparently retain memory of the events. She only gets a feeling of Déjà Vu that doesn't last long.
  • Paperinik New Adventures:
    • In "Second Writing", it's explicitly stated that, under normal circumstances, only people who change the timeline are capable of remembering what the old timeline was like. If someone was the focus of the change, they can also recover their memories if they receive a sufficient shock.
    • In the same issue, the timeline gets changed, but some select characters get occasional flash-backs to how reality was supposed to be. Eventually it's revealed that these weren't exactly "flash-backs", but actually split-second moments where reality was reassessing itself, showing the "true timeline"; the people who saw these "flash-backs" simply had good enough reflexes to notice, since they are robots.
    • Also, the Time Police has a Ripple-Effect-Proof Database. It's just a regular historical record, but since it's kept in a location outside of time, it will remain unchanged even if the timeline is altered. So, whenever an illegal time traveler alters history, the Time Police confronts the archive with the report they get from their surveillance droid in that period; if they notice any discrepancy, they will deploy a team to restore the right timeline at once (as seen in "The Day of the Cold Sun"). This system is almost foiled in "Second Writing" because a group of surveillance droids mutined, altering history to their own favor behind the Police's back.
  • Explicitly averted in Rat-Man: when Valker and Topin possessed by the Shadow create a machine capable of rewriting history, Topin states that nobody in the new reality without superheroes will remember the change, because it will always been like that. This is then brought to the logical consequence: in the new reality Valker thinks that, had superheroes existed, his mother wouldn't have been murdered, so recreates the time-altering machine and rewrites reality so that superheroes have always existed.
  • In Seconds, Katie can recall how everything originally happened when she fixes a mistake. This is likely the result of not really using time travel to do so, but rather traveling to alternate timelines.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics):
    • This comes up during the Mobius: X Years Later stories. After the timeline gets altered, some handy Applied Phlebotinum allows Sonic and several of the other heroes to remember the unaltered reality. The same Applied Phlebotinum also allows Lien-Da to remember as well, while King Shadow is able to remember simply because of his Chaos powers, which are themselves a loose form of Reality Warping.
    • In the post-Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide universe, leftover residue of the Super Genesis Wave built up in NICOLE allowed the Freedom Fighters and Naugus to remember the old universe; however, as Eggman points out, it was only temporary and once it wore off, their memories of the old universe would fade away.
  • Spider-Man: In the infamous One More Day, Spider-Man makes a deal with Mephisto in order to save Aunt May's life, which rewrites decades of Marvel continuity to create an alternate timeline where he was never married to Mary Jane. It's even a plot point in certain issues, where characters that knew Spidey's identity beforehand (such as the Fantastic Four) have forgotten, and only by showing his face will their memories be restored. The only people who remember Spidey's identity from the beginning are Mary Jane and his clone Kaine, Deadpool is also hinted to remember because he demolished the fourth wall long ago, but he's never yet used it beyond a Take That!. Secret Invasion also establishes that Spider-Woman was away from Earth during all this, and afterward she talks with Spider-Man in confusion, saying that while they've never known each other very well, she's pretty sure he used to be married. In Immortal Hulk: Great Power, Banner's Split Personality Devil Hulk reveals that while Banner and the other Hulks forgot who he is, he didn't.
  • The Eleventh Doctor demonstrates this ability in the second issue of Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation², stating that he can feel his memories changing, as until he laid eyes on Worf, he didn't know what a Klingon was, though moments before he correctly identified Worf as such without prompting.
  • Tom Strong featured an aversion of this trope. His greatest adversary managed, at one point, to take over the time stream, and used some new technology to open a time gate, pulling versions of himself from all points in his life through the gate and into the timeline. He ended up with the backflow of over three hundred separate memory streams converging on his head all at once — luckily, the Clock Roach guardian he defeated to take over the time stream felt generous enough to send them all back, with the note that the youngest of them will have to go through every single one of the summonings and unsummonings. The mental chaos this event produces drives the villain to madness and probably leads to his downfall.
  • The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye:
    • Everybody on the Lost Light has this, relative to the Stable Time Loop or twenty they've gone and caused. This appears to be caused by them being in proximity to the activation and use of the time machine in the first place, with the rest of the universe temporarily pulling to a halt.
    • Rewind gets a particular version of this, as his alt-mode is a data storage device. As such, he's left with the "memory" of what Cybertron would be like if Megatron never existed: a horrible Crapsack World run by the Functionists, who maintain a Fantastic Caste System based on alt-modes. This causes him to try to kill Megatron's helpless protoform, because while it's a massive dystopia for Cybertron, the Functionists are very insular and thus the rest of the galaxy was spared the destruction inflicted by the Cybertron Civil War. The temporary stress causes him to briefly go insane and shoot Megatron's protoform, but it's spared when Whirl implants the Point One Percenter spark into it.
  • Winx Club: In a story from the comics, the Trix go back in time to prevent the Winx from becoming a team. As items in present time appeared and vanished according to the changes in the past, everyone's memories stayed the same, allowing the Winx to figure out somebody's altering their past.

    Fan Works 
  • The Victorious time travel AU fic Across the Years sees Jade West use a machine developed by Sikowitz to go back in time to 1869 to try and rescue Tori from a doomed marriage to Beck Oliver, Jade having fallen in love with Tori after reading her diaries. When Jade returns to the present with Tori, she and Sikowitz are surprised to find that they both still remember the original timeline, while in the new history, as well as the changes to what happened to Tori and Beck's family Jack the Ripper never existed (they speculate that Beck became the Ripper in the original history, but in this reality Beck drowned trying to escape arrest after Jade exposed his embezzlement). Jade takes it for granted that she remembers the original history as she was in the past changing things, while Sikowitz speculates that his close proximity to the machine protected his own memory (he had to keep it running on low power to maintain the link to Jade).
  • In Alya and the Harem Reality, Alya, in desperation to keep Monarch from using the Ladybug and Cat Miraculous to reset reality, grabs the Ladybug Miraculous from him and wishes that people love Marinette before he can make his wish (since Marinette was already Loved by All and she thought such a wish wouldn't change the world that much), inadvertently making a new timeline where Alya and Chloé are both Marinette's girlfriends and her teammates as active heroes. Alya, the Kwamis, and Gabriel all have a Downplayed version of this trope: they can vaguely recall things such as previous Akumas and Sentimonsters, a vague sense of the timeline and the names of Miraculous wielders from the old timeline and some personality traits or characteristics like Cat Noir's fondness for puns or competence, but not the identities of the heroes. Alya also remembers certain facts she learned from other worlds, such as Chloé having an American half-sister named Zoe or Rose having an unidentified chronic illness.
  • An unusual example in the Avantasia Protag AU series. The chapter "Forgotten" begins with Elderane visiting the main characters' house and being confronted with the fact that Aaron has accidentally erased Gabriel from existence with a dimensional-time device. While the other characters have forgotten him and also don't know who Elderane is anymore, Aaron remembers because he was the one holding the device. Elderane also remembers and this is explained by him being in Avantasia when it happened and the device doesn't reach there.
  • The Beginning of Uncertainty begins in an AU aftermath of The Flash (2023) when Barry's attempt to restore his original timeline (while arranging for his father to be released in the present) instead creates a new timeline with new metahumans, including Hal Jordan being active when he apparently didn't exist in Barry's original timeline. However, not only does Barry retain his memory of the original timeline, but when Zod's army arrives on Earth, he discovers that Kara is part of the army and still remembers meeting Barry in the now-defunct timeline. Unfortunately, it soon emerges that Zod also has some memories of the timeline Barry created, but fortunately he lacks sufficient context to use these memories.
  • In The Broken Day, after Harry accidentally creates a new timeline by basically "merging" his two realities, once the Ginny of the "new" timeline comes in contact with Harry, she regains her memory of some of her more intimate moments with him, ranging from him saving her from the Chamber to their first sexual encounter and witnessing his death. Likewise, when Natasha and Harry first make physical contact, Natasha regains all memory of her life with Harry, including the conception of their daughter Lily. Later on, Ron starts to independently remember details such as the confrontation with Sirius, Lupin and Pettigrew at the Shrieking Shack.
  • But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci's premise is that the Joker manages to return to sanity, only to find out that no one else remembers that Batman exists, and when he investigates, he learns that Lex Luthor altered the timeline, and only Jack is immune thanks to the time he was Emperor Joker. Booster Gold is also immune, because he was outside the timeline.
  • The Chaotic Masters: As it turns out, magical and otherworldly beings are immune to having their memories altered when the Book of Ages rewrites reality, so they all remember Demon World.
  • In Big Fat Break's Dad Villain AU, Gabriel got to make his Wish, and believes himself to be the only person on Earth who recalls the original reality, in no small part because he specifically included that in his Wish. However, since he doesn't see kwami or sentimonsters as people, they also remember what the world was like before.
  • In A Different Kind of Truth, Rohan Kishibe is apparently "one who slipped through the cracks". He's visibly startled when Johnny introduces himself as a Joestar, and later asks if the teen ever heard about Joseph or Jotaro Kujo.
  • In the Power Rangers crossover Forever Yellow, events lead to Summer Landsdown traveling to the "prime" Ranger universe by accident, subsequently forming an alliance with various other Yellow Rangers to prevent a version of Venjix from being created in this reality. At one point the "native" Venjix manages to create a future where it has become a vast computer system controlling the whole world, to the extent that SPD and Time Force are sent back to stop the assembled Yellows from destroying it, but since Katie and Z had already been brought back before history was changed they are able to confirm to their teammates that history has been altered.
  • Hard Reset (Eakin) has this. Twilight's "Groundhog Day" Loop resets when she dies, but she keeps all her memories.
    • The Recursive Fanfiction Hard Reset 2: Reset Harder has at least three characters in concurrent time loops. Each one has a different "spawn point", meaning each one resets the timeline to a different point when they die. And in each loop, only the time-looper who dies can retain their memories of that loop.
  • Time Travel stories are rife in the world of Harry Potter fanfiction. One almost universal common factor is that no matter how much the timeline changes, Luna Lovegood remembers the old one and has no problem with the idea of multiple timelines existing.
  • Peggy Sue fanfic Higher Learning has an unusual example. One of the time-travellers is Pen Pen, a penguin. He remembered everything when he returned to the past and he tried to use his knowledge to watch over the main characters.
  • Ichigo has this for the most part in Hogyoku ex Machina after time traveling. The exception is he can't remember Senna from the first film. Since Ichigo spent all of his time after Rukia's rescue in Soul Society instead of going home, she never forms in the first place, and so he doesn't retain the memory. He doesn't know anything about her until some Applied Phlebotinum shows it.
    • Kurotsuchi Nemu actually discusses this with Ichigo, saying that him and Aizen basically have a "shared hallucination" of the future/events and Ichigo's actions have changed the timeline pushing it into an Alternate Universe.
  • The Star Trek: New Voyages fan episode In Harm's Way' treads similar ground as the Star Trek: The Original Series'' episode "The City on the Edge of Forever"; history is altered such that the Federation is fighting a losing war against a fleet of Doomsday Machines, and Kirk and his crew are stationed aboard the USS Farragut, with a Klingon first officer. Only Spock, who was engaged in studying the Guardian of Forever when the change took place, remembers the way things are "supposed" to be.
  • In Incarnation of Legends, the Servants retain knowledge of their previous summonings even though it shouldn't be possible. Kojiro and Ryoma recognize each other instantly from their time at Chaldea and quickly team up because of it.
  • A non-time-travel version of this features in the Arrowverse fic League of Two Earths, when the heroes learn that Earth-1 and Earth-38 have merged into one world. The heroes soon learn that only those who explicitly travelled to other Earths before the merge, or at least interacted with people from other Earths before the merge, retain their memory of the two Earths having once been separate, while others remember that the two worlds were always one Earth. As an example, Iris and Winn remember the two worlds being separate as they met Kara and Barry during the heroes' respective trips to their Earths even if they haven't travelled to the other Earths themselves, but Alex Danvers remembers the Flash and the Arrow always being heroes on her world because she never met any of them herself.
  • In The Lament Series (ChaoticNeutral) (and all the fics that followed), the only ones who recall what reality was like before a Wish was made are the kwami and whoever made the Wish. In most instances, this tends to factor into the Wisher's Self-Inflicted Hell; the kwami naturally tend to hold grudges against those who failed to recognize that Reality Warping Is Not a Toy, while the selfish and short-sighted Wisher gets to realize just what they took for granted before.
  • Justified in Legendarily Popular by the fact that Zacian is Fairy-typed, and thus immune to Dialga's Roar of Time that was used to straighten out the mess of timelines after Celebi was captured by the Iron Masked Marauder.
  • Played with in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Make a Wish. When a wish-granting comet passes by Ponyville, Rainbow Dash wishes for a chance to spend time with the Wonderbolts and the next day finds herself winning tickets from a contest she knows she never entered, only to be told she visited the contest's promotional office on a weekly basis to see if there'd been a winner. In the same vein, she never even suspects the fact she's been raising her little sister Scootaloo alone for ten-plus years is the result of Scootaloo's wish. Scootaloo, for her part, is fully aware of how she changed her own history and spends time worrying about the Butterfly of Doom implications and the fact she doesn't remember the life with Rainbow Dash that Rainbow does.
  • A Man of Iron gives this to greenseers, with Jojen Reed outright telling he rather prefers the current, modified timeline to the canon one and Rickon Stark being disturbed by the fact that things are not unraveling like they are supposed to.
  • Also featured in some fashion in nearly all Time Travel stories set in the Naruto fandom, of which there are many. Sometimes played straight, sometimes not, and usually staring a member of Team 7/Team Kakashi. Most commonly it is Haruno Sakura (a smart girl who may have an alternate personality—it's never made clear in canon—available to help her contain multiple lives' worth of memories but is definitely lacking any other pesky pre-series backstory details to explain away) or Kakashi (already mentally lives in the past and potentially has any number of possible abilities made available to him by his death-gifted Sharingan).
  • New Girl (mortimermcmirestinks):
    • When Jesse enters the Oldest House and becomes a member of the staff, all Polaris shows her are events and images from the original timeline, Jesse confused and afraid without the context for them.
    • When Jesse tells Emily her backstory, she admits to believing it, feeling like she was told the whole thing once before.
    • It's implied that Ahti remembers the original timeline too, noticing how Emily is worried about her "boss", Emily unsure if she means Darling or Jesse.
    • While Emily and Arish try to break Jesse out of the Containment Sector, they have a run-in with Langston, who acts exactly how he did in the original timeline.
  • In Once More With Feeling (Crazy-88), Shinji retains his full memories of the original timeline, and due to Instrumentality, he also keeps other people’s memories of the original events.
  • One step backwards and Three forwards: The only ones who recall what the world was like before Hawkmoth won are those who made Wishes. This includes Marinette and Felix (aka Adrien, who was split in two by conflicting Wishes), whom Tikki and Plagg took pains to preserve by latching onto their dying hopes and interpreting them as conscious Wishes.
  • Several characters have this in the Pony POV Series for differing reasons:
    • The deities all possess this, due to in their natural state existing outside time. This even includes Cadence, despite her being a young deity.
    • Shining Armor, for reasons he doesn't understand, possesses this, due to being Immune to Fate. This is one of the reasons he's one of the only ones capable of defeating Makarov since his alterations to history have no effect on him. It turns out that he's this because he was inserted into the timeline to split it off from Dark World.
    • The Doctor naturally has this, as to all his companions who have traveled with him enough. Minuette has it because she's also a Time Lord. The Master, using a Fob Watch, to be precise. Or rather she was before she fed him to the Blank Wolf and became her own Time Lady.
  • This plays a key role in MiraculousWeirdo's A Price to Pay: Adrien betrayed Marinette and helped his father steal the Earrings and make his reality-altering Wish, assuming that Marinette wouldn't even remember what happened. When the Wish doesn't turn out quite the way he expected, he learns that she actually retained all her memories of the original world... including his betrayal. Somehow, he's completely astounded when she tells him off and refuses to help him "fix" things to his liking, despite the fact that her father was the one killed as the Equivalent Exchange for his mother's life.
  • Queen of Shadows: Jade remembers the way the world was before her struggle with Shendu damaged the Book of Ages and altered reality. It's currently unknown if Shendu himself remembers as well, and Jade is worried of the ramifications if he does.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog fanfic A Rose And A Thorn 4: Origins, it is played with. Mirage remembers most of the past when she goes back to change the fate of the Ark, but admits that there are holes - working out that these are not simply holes, but the memory of one specific person. Close to the end she realizes that she could never have fallen so deeply in love with Midnight if she'd remembered him. That, and the trauma of losing him causes her to wipe his name and face from her memory, eventually leaving only the memory of forgetting, and occasional nightmares of somebody dying in her arms.
    She finally understood why she had forgotten Midnight. How could she have fallen in love with him if she'd known he was just going to die? How many times had she lived this life? Once? Twice? Ten times? A thousand? Maybe she was older than the universe itself. And she knew what she had to do this time.
    There was no escape, she might as well wait to see what happened next. Besides, she'd just forgotten something important and maybe if she had some time to herself she might remember it.
  • The Second Try: Shinji and Asuka returned to the past to avert the end of the world. They manage to save the world and rewrite the timeline, but their and their daughter Aki's memories of the original events and the post-Impact world remain intact.
  • "Empty Graves", part of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Hearts series, has a subtler variation where, once Martha Kent has taken steps to prevent a Bad Future coming about, she no longer consciously remembers the old timeline but it still leaves unconscious traces (so that, for instance, she remembers having decided that young Clark needs to learn to dissemble even though she no longer recalls that she decided this after catching a glimpse of a future in which he never had a secret identity).
  • Spider-Man and Power Girl opens with Power Girl being sent to the Marvel Universe as a result of Doctor Manhattan's manipulation of the DC Universe (as revealed in Doomsday Clock). While she is able to return to her reality with the help of Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four, she arrives in the altered New 52 universe, which still registers as Power Girl's reality of origin to Reed Richards' equipment even though history has clearly changed from what Karen remembers.
  • Deconstructed in Stars, Eyes of Heaven, a Continuation Fic of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven where Jotaro Kujo is the only one to remember the old timeline... and only the old timeline and not the Everybody Lives timeline he created. This means new developments like Jonathan and Caesar being alive or Kakyoin's name changing from Noriaki to Tenmei confuse him. He also remains a Shell-Shocked Veteran from the events of Part 3 and Eyes of Heaven in his old timeline, much to the worry of his loved ones before he confines the truth to them.
  • There Was Once an Avenger From Krypton: Several characters have shown an ability to retain their memories of the Cosmic Retcon events that Doom and the original Reed get the Celestials to trigger.
    • Doom and Reed themselves retain the memories of previous iterations of the Kryptonverse, being the ones causing it.
    • Kara remembers the reality before the retcon in Chapter 34 of The Girl Who Could Knock Out the Hulk due to being at ground zero of the change, as do Thor, Bruce, Strange, Dani, and Nico, who are also present.
    • Hecate has retained her memories since Doom revealed the truth of the Kryptonverse to her
    • Thanks to Kara interfering with the process by rescuing the goddess Doom had captive to power the change, Jane Shepard and EDI remember their lives in their original reality before being dragged to the Kryptonverse.
  • We Choose Good- Auradon Force Saga presents a world where the characters of Descendants are chosen as Power Rangers. At one point a time-altering spell causes the memories of almost all the Rangers to change so that they remember a world where the Villain Kids never left the Isle of the Lost and the characters were never chosen as Power Rangers, but Aziz and Ally- the son of Aladdin and Jasmine and the daughter of Alice respectively- retain their memories of the original timeline despite the spell. They eventually deduce that this is because they would still have gotten together whether or not they were Rangers, whereas everyone else's life would have been drastically different; as a result, the spell basically failed to edit Aziz and Ally's memories, allowing them to reassemble the team while Fairy Godmother recruits Zordon's Rangers to help the Auradon Rangers restore their powers.
  • In The Western Sky - Series 1 Ginny changes the timeline because she wants to be married to Harry Potter. Sally, his current wife, was using a Time Turner when the change took place and, due to being "out of time," consequently remembers and restores the previous timeline.
  • Where We Don't Belong: Alvis, the Ouroboros, Riku and Manana, and the original Moebius, X and Y, are the only ones in the rebooted universes who remember or are at least aware of the events of XC3. However, other denizens of Aionios do seem to possess some subconscious memory of it, such as Nia expressing an odd sense of familiarity with Mio or how Dirk/Consul D has an instinctive irritation over Taion. Ethel later recognizes Noah's offseeing music.

    Film — Animation 
  • Barry Allen has this in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. However, his memories from the original timeline start to be overwritten as he stays in the new one.
  • In Meet the Robinsons, Lewis retains his memory of his entire adventure, even though through the course of the adventure, he takes several steps to prevent the film's villains from existing. Logically, this would mean the entire plot of the film never happened, though not addressed in the film itself. He's a really good inventor.
  • At the end of Shrek Forever After, after Shrek manages to break his Magically-Binding Contract with Rumplestiltskin and regain his life, he is shown to be the only one who remembers the events of the alternate timeline as seen when he expresses relief to see his family and friends (and demonstrates the honking trick he had learned).
  • Wreck-It Ralph: When Vanellope crosses the finish line the game resets, reverting all the damage done by the Cy-Bugs. Despite this, everyone still remembers how things were before — no-one's actual memories are reset as you would expect in a resetting computer program in Real Life. This implies that nothing was "removed" but rather their memories were restored and Vanellope was reconnected.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In About Time only the person who makes the trip back in time possesses this. Tim's dad is a time traveler too, but doesn't remember the changes Tim makes.
    • At one point Tim travels back with his sister (who can't travel back in time on her own). When they return to the present her memory is affected (she suddenly knows she is in a different relationship in the altered timeline) but she also retains the knowledge they time travelled in the first place.
    • In one conversation with his dad, Tim guesses that his dad may also have gone back and replayed it, and his dad confirms this. One wonders what'd happen if Tim and his dad really wanted opposite things from a conversation: would they both keep replaying it, flip-flopping the outcome, ad infinitum?
  • Present in Back to the Future, but with the twist that while memory is protected from the ripple effect, ontology is not — except it's a Delayed Ripple Effect, so you do have some time to work with, but not as much. This can lead to odd results:
    • In the first movie, Marty can remember his own timeline, but he risks erasing himself from existence because of his intervention in the past preventing his parents from hooking up. He eventually manages to create a Close-Enough Timeline in which his parents and siblings are far more successful and assertive, which saves him from disappearing but is tremendously disorienting to him when he first sees it. In the next two movies he treats the "new" timeline as the definitive one, but it could go either way whether the ripple effect caught up with his memory or he just prefers the "new" one to the "old" one.
    • In the second movie, Doc and Marty arrive in a Bad Future with their memories intact — but it's implied they need to act quickly to prevent themselves from fading into what their alternate timeline counterparts are doing, which for Marty is at a boarding school in Switzerland and for Doc is in a mental institution. It's not clear whether they've replaced these counterparts, but it conveniently prevents them from running into themselves.
    • An interesting Deleted Scene from the second movie shows Biff arriving back in 2015 after having set up the Bad Future, only to immediately fade out once he arrives. This is an odd quirk of how the ripple effect works; the ontological proofing is stronger in the past than in the future, so the new timeline asserts itself quickly once Biff travels forward in time, meaning he fades out because in the bad future Lorraine gets fed up with him by the 1990s and kills him — but his shock at his fading out suggests he doesn't know this, which further suggests that he's still got the memory proofing even if he's lost the ontological proofing. The scene was eventually cut because it was incomprehensible without having the manual at hand.
    • The novelization of Back to the Future Part III implies that it works the other way. In the movie, when Marty arrives in 1885 to save Future-Doc (who's Trapped in the Past), Future-Doc is aghast at his bizarre cowboy outfit and asks who dressed him like that, to which Marty says, "you did" — he means Past-Doc from 1955. The book adds the twist of Doc suddenly remembering this happening. It's an odd twist because while it's not inconsistent with how memory is shown to work in the films (e.g. does Marty come to "remember" his assertive parents?), it's also possible that this version of Doc is the same Doc who dressed him up but is just kinda scatterbrained.
  • The Butterfly Effect: Each time the protagonist changed the past, he received the memories of his own life (in the new timeline) up to the present. However, the memories weren't just there — they arrived as a searing burst of information (being physically written into his brain), and co-existed with his old memories, giving him a Psychic Nosebleed.
    • There is one scene where another character has ripple-proofing, despite the fact that they shouldn't; the protagonist goes into the past and impales his hands on some spikes, to give himself stigmata in the present, so he can prove to his friend he's not lying. To his friend, they seem to have just appeared, which didn't happen to any other character in the film.
  • In Camp Slaughter, Daniel and Ivan claim to be the only members of the camp who remember the events after the loop happens. It's later revealed that Lou, the groundskeeper, does as well. And, of course, the four outside protagonists who get caught in the loop also recall what happens to them the next morning.
  • Plot point in Edge of Tomorrow, where the aliens have an edge over their human foes in combat by resetting the day and being able to remember what happened during the previous time loop. Cage accidentally acquires that power and turns it against the aliens.
  • Frequency gives this a Hand Wave; after the main character inadvertently changes the past, he talks about how he sort of remembers it both ways. Though this is then dropped for the rest of the film, where he only remembers the original timeline after his mother is killed in the past, and a few other changes happen from his attempts to fix that.
  • In Galaxy Quest, after Jason Nesmith activates the Omega 13 device, time turns back 13 seconds into the past. Jason alone remains aware of the fact that the person who is about enter the bridge is not really Tech Sergeant Chen/Fred Kwan but actually Saris in disguise.
  • Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, the only Godzilla movie so far to feature time travel, uses this trope. After the timeline has been altered in World War II so that King Ghidorah attacks Japan for decades instead of Godzilla, the main characters note the difference. Later when it turns out that Godzilla does still exist in this universe except bigger, they note they are the only ones who can identify him and realize the change in size. The filmmakers seem to have forgotten this when they made Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla and everyone acts as if the timeline never changed and Godzilla hasn't been replaced with Ghidorah, as evidenced by Godzilla vs. Biollante being mentioned...yet references to Ghidorah are made and Godzilla is still at the larger scale.
  • Averted in The History of Time Travel which shows the inventors of the time machine change history repeatedly without knowing that they've done it because every time they return to the present they lapse into a 3-day coma and after they emerge from it their memories have been altered to match the new timeline.
  • Jagged Mind: Zigzagged. While Billie doesn't clearly remember what happens in previous loops, she has flashbacks and nightmares of some events that happened in those loops, including times when Alex kills her for trying to leave. In addition, Rose and Papa Juste provided Billie with a special box that protects its contents from being reset by the crystal, such as Billie's journal and the USB key containing Rose's video.
  • Jumanji: After the adult Alan Parish makes the winning roll in the game he and Sarah started in 1969 and finished in 1995, along with taking all the released wild animals and Van Pelt back into itself, the game also returns Alan and Sarah to 1969, at the moment before Alan made the starting roll. Somehow, though they are both in their childhood again, both remember everything that happened before, including the knowledge of Judy and Peter's parents' deaths. Upon meeting the couple in the new timeline, they prevent them from going on that fatal ski trip and ensure the kids will have a better life.
  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle: After the heroes win the game, they create a new timeline where everything is like Alex never disappeared from reality but Spencer, Fridge, Bethany and Martha retain their memories from the original timeline. In Alex's case, since it was a Mental Time Travel, he remembers both timelines.
  • Sandra Bullock's character in The Lake House seems to have this. The film is one big Timey-Wimey Ball. The film could have been a knotted Stable Time Loop if there wasn't that one tree and if the filmmakers hadn't gone for Happily Ever After in the last reel.
  • Averted in Looper. Old Joe explains how his memories of the future/his past are in a constant state of flux. He remembers the circumstances under which he ended up in the past, and he remembers everything Young Joe did in the present the moment he does it...but his memories of the thirty years in-between grow cloudier due to the shifting probability of whether those events happen or not. It serves as a plot-point, with Old Joe desperately trying to hang onto memories of his wife, when Young Joe gets involved with another woman.
  • Agent J has a ripple effect-proof memory in Men in Black 3. The actual mechanics of the effect in question are explained: you're immune to any changes in the timeline generated by alterations to an event which you were personally present atnote . There are also specific symptoms of the effect: you get a headache and an inexplicable craving for "chocolatized dairy products".
  • In the Disney film Minutemen, the time travelers have this, but the people who asked them to change the past don't. Fortunately, they thought of this, and took a video of something that was never going to happen with them to the past. Apparently, even inanimate objects have this ability!
  • The Brazilian film O Homem do Futuro (The Man from the Future) has protagonist Zero accidentally going back 20 years to the prom that ruined his life. So he tries to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, and vanishes as history is changed, waking up back to the present day... where he became rich, but is a Jerkass and the love of his life hates him. So he goes back again, and after leading things to go back the original way he vanishes again... returning to 2011 with memories of the entire time travel ordeal.
  • The Philadelphia Experiment II. When a time travel accident changes history so Nazi Germany won World War II, the protagonist David Herdeg keeps his memories of the original Real Life timeline.
  • In Project Almanac, as the group uses the time machine at greater distances, they realize things have changed more than they thought when they suddenly can't remember several major recent events.
  • Happened in Source Code. The protagonist is on a mission to stop a bomb from blowing up a train. He has 8 minutes. Every time he fails (and hence dies), he is reset, still remembering what happened in the previous run. To everyone else, it's all happening for the first time.
  • In Stargate: Continuum, a Delayed Ripple Effect almost gets the team (minus the already-erased Teal'c and Vala) before they enter the Stargate. It turns out being in a wormhole at the time of the ripple effect makes you Ripple-Effect Proof. Who knew? Unusually, this example shows alternate versions of the man characters, except two — one was never born, and another died a hero some time ago. A third is only ever "seen" from the wrong side of a phone line.
  • Star Trek: First Contact. The Enterprise can see the Borg Earth timeline, but since they're in the wake of the time disturbance caused by the Borg Sphere, they're unaffected. It's strongly implied that they'd vanish from existence had they not went through the time aperture themselves.
  • The disadvantages of this are touched on at the end of Timecop, where the hero manages to Set Right What Once Went Wrong by preventing a corrupt politician from murdering his wife ten years in his past. He then travels back to the future... and finds that his memory only includes the original timeline he knew, so everything that has happened in the last ten years in the changed timeline is a complete mystery to him. When he gets home he is surprised to learn he now has a son whose name he probably doesn't even know.
  • At the end of When Evil Calls, Detective Ringwald tells Samantha that she needs to confront the dark djinn and take back her original wish. Ringwald and Nelson wait in her bedroom while she sleeps and attempts to do this. Confronting the djinn, Samantha wishes that she had never meet him, thereby undoing all the events of the movie. When Samantha wakes up, she doesn't know who Ringwald and Nelson are or why they are in her bedroom. Ringwald and Nelson leave, commenting that Ringwald's plan worked, indicating that they do remember: possibly because they are external to the school. The janitor also remembers as he narrates the story but he might be a supernatural entity himself.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • In X-Men: Days of Future Past, Wolverine is told up-front that he (and only he) will remember the Bad Future should he succeed in changing history. In the end, this is exactly what happens when he wakes up in the "good future" — except Professor X, what with his mind powers, can see the past Logan left behind. He tells him that they have a lot to talk about.
    • In Deadpool (2016), the titular character, due to his No Fourth Wall nature, can remember everything that's happened in the movies, even the stuff that was erased by Cosmic Retcons.


By Author:

  • Two of John C. Wright's stories ("Murder in Metachronopolis" and "The Plural of Helen of Troy") feature the detective Jack Frontino, who has a "hardened memory", i.e. he remembers things that happened in alternate timelines. This talent is what originally got the "Time Wardens", a gathering of amoral time travelers, interested in him as a useful tool. It's very useful in Metachronopolis, where it lets him keep up with just how much time travellers keep changing the past.

By Title:

  • All Our Yesterdays averts this, as Em has no memory of her 14 past escape attempts besides a note written in her own hand.
  • Time travel is used several times in Animorphs:
    • Book 11 has Jake, the narrator, being the only one who remembers the alternate timeline. This is explained as him dying in the alternate timeline, causing his two consciousnesses to snap together and allowing him to undo it.
    • Explicitly referenced in Megamorphs 3, when the Drode first "restores" the Animorphs' memories in a way that lets them still remember the last five or so minutes of conversation but are much vaguer on the rest of the Crapsack World in which they now live, then mentions that their memories will be "buffered" as they follow Visser Four through history. The Time Matrix also seems to confer this ability on to everyone who uses it (at least for changes they make using the Time Matrix), including Visser Four himself.
    • In Megamorphs 4, Jake in a moment of despair and weakness takes a deal the Drode offers, and the timeline is changed so that he and the others never go through the construction site and become Animorphs. Despite that, there are 'glitches', odd things happening and flashes of memory resurfacing. All six kids get some, but Cassie gets the brunt, increasingly aware that things are wrong and vaguely able to recall things she "shouldn't" know. At the end of the book she's shown to be a temporal anomaly who has this ability by default—if her timeline is altered, she gradually becomes aware of the discrepancy and subconsciously causes the alternate timeline to fall apart. When the timeline is restored to normal, she's the only one who retains even a dim memory of these events.
  • The time-traveling protagonist of Ward Moore's novel Bring the Jubilee accidentally ends up changing the outcome of The American Civil War from a Confederate victory to our own timeline. He remembers the previous history, but is stranded in our version of reality and lives out the rest of his life here.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's The Cat Who Walks Through Walls has an incident where the protagonist is told a nasty event from his past has been removed, thanks to time travel. He protests that he still remembers it, but this is explained as "a memory of a memory", which will fade.
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • Touma Kamijou's Imagine Breaker prevents him from being affected directly by alterations in reality, so his memories don't change when reality changes.
    • The Will of the Misaka Network keeps her memories when reality changes as well. She claims it is because she exists in a state between life and death.
  • The third book in The Dark Tower series subverts this. Roland is going insane because he was remembering two timelines, one where Jake died, and one where he didn't. Jake was having an even worse time about it.
  • In Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, time is altered to destroy most of Coleridge's poem "Kubla Khan" (which now ends at the line "And drunk the milk of paradise"), in consequence preventing a murder and the retroactive destruction of humanity, as well as introducing a composer named Johann Sebastian Bach. Only the time-traveling main characters remember the original reality.
  • Intentionally invoked in Night Watch. Thanks to narrativium, history is mutable and subject to popular perception, so it doesn't matter if Vimes' memories of the "original" version are different as long as events play out roughly the same.
  • Doctor Who Expanded Universe:
    • In the New Series Adventures novel Engines of War, when people are erased by the Daleks Temporal Weapons memories are retained but people can't put them together. However, the Doctor knows what has happened.
    • In the Doctor Who Magazine short story "Brief Encounter: A Romantic Evening", the Brig and Doris have a partially ripple-proof memory; the more they look at their wedding photos and see that the Doctor was there, the more they remember that happening, but they also remember that they used to remember it differently.
    • Similarly, in "Continuity Errors", Andrea can sense that her backstory used to be different before the Doctor started mucking about with it.
  • In Rebecca Lickiss's Eccentric Circles, characters can remember what existed before it was rendered Ret-Gone by the rifts.
  • In 11/22/63, history can be altered using a time portal called the Rabbit Hole, but the time traveler will always remember history the way it was before. Additionally, the Rabbit Hole emits some sort of radiation which causes the memories of people near its openings to be fully or partially shielded from timeline changes.
  • In The End of Eternity, all the workers of the titular organisation are wearing a special device when they might get caught up in a reality change.
  • This plays a big part of the plot of A Game of Universe, as the protagonist has not retained his memory, only occasional "afterimages" he can see with magical vision. He doesn't realize any time travel is happening until the person responsible shows up and explains that the only reason the protagonist is alive is because he's been hitting the Reset Button every time something goes wrong.
  • At the end of Isaac Asimov's "Gimmicks Three", a man travels to the past to the point where he signed a Deal with the Devil. He himself has no memories outside of a vague uneasy feeling which caused him not to sign. However, demons are not affected by such things, so the one who tempted him is very upset... and so are his superiors going to be once he gets home.
  • In The Golden Spiral, only Abby remembers how things were "supposed" to be after Zo starts messing with her past—erasing her best friend, her sister, her father, from her life. Explained because she's been "outside" of time. She can also sense when he changes something. Later she learns that she can "fix" someone in reality (this can't be altered) and restore their 'true' memories by taking a real photograph—not digital, but film.
  • In one of the Griezelklas books by Tais Teng, Meral summons the trickster god Loki who proceeds to make her life a living hell. He shows up in her class one day to wreak havoc, having changed everyone's memory to think he has been a student from day one. Meral is the only person who actually knows the truth about Loki's true nature, but isn't able to prove it until he overplays his hand.
  • The Guardians of Time Trilogy features a secret war between two factions of time-travelers, the Order of Chaos, who want to change history and almost always for the worse, and the Guardians of Time, who try to preserve history. Only the Guard and the Order remember history as it was when they were recruited, so after big changes it's possible to identify them as the only people being weirded out.
  • Justified by Chronos in the Incarnations of Immortality series. As the Incarnation of Time, he and his memory would be impervious to any ripple effects. (Within limits; he isn't allowed to affect the past in a way that would prevent him from becoming Chronos.)
  • In John Dies at the End, the Living Shadow monsters regularly jump around through time and change things for sinister, unknowable reasons. However, random people end up with memories from before the timeline was changed. It's played for horror; it's made clear that there was a third member of the Adventure Duo who got Ret Goned, and the love interest in the first book has only one hand—which, we discover, was the result of a shadow grabbing her hand-that-she-had-always-lost in the second book.
  • In Johnny and the Bomb everybody but Johnny forgets their time travel experiences, although Kirsty remembers them again after finding a piece of physical evidence.
  • In The Lathe of Heaven, George Orr is the only one who knows reality has changed. That makes sense, as his dream causes it. It is also discovered that anyone in the room with him when he is hypnotized into dreaming a change also knows it. That makes slightly less sense, although since his subconscious is involved and the method used is not machine based, it certainly is possible. Even though other people with him can know, they are still not sure it happens unless he reminds them or it is a major change (like 90% of the population dies).
  • The Dean Koontz novel Lightning has a complicated example. The traveler goes into the future and falls in love with a crippled woman. He then goes to her past (still his future) and prevents the crippling incident from happening; thus the later future that he visited no longer exists. He protects her in this way several times and eventually arrives at the timeline in which most of the book takes place, but he can still tell her about all of the other timelines that he visited.
  • In the Magic: The Gathering novel Time Streams, Urza sends Karn back in time to prevent a Phyrexian spy from leaking the Tolarian Academy's plans and killing everyone there. Karn remembers the events of the original timeline, while Urza, being a powerful planeswalker, remembers the broad strokes of said timeline despite not having travelled through time himself.
  • Mindwarp: The kids notice the changes they make to history, particularly at the end.
  • The eponymous Nobody in Nobody Gets the Girl is a product of this for most people when they experience this fade away. But the limitations are he can't be seen by anybody who doesn't believe he is there, and he can't move objects when he is being observed by someone who can't see him. But he can be observed by video cameras.
  • In The Missing Piece of Charlie O'Reilly, Brona has the power to Ret-Gone kids who wish they were never born and take them to live in her limbo-like Asylum while any effects they had on the world are gone. However, when Liam is taken, his brother Charlie still remembers him, and spends a year desperately searching for him while his parents and classmates think he's crazy for imagining a brother who never existed. It turns out that Brona left Charlie's memory intact in the hopes of luring him to the Asylum, due to his resemblance to her son, who died 170 years ago.
  • In the Nyaruko: Crawling with Love! light novels, Ordinary High-School Student Mahiro Yasaka has the extremely rare ability to perceive and be unaffected by shifts in the space-time continuum. This gets an off-hand mention in one of the first novels, but comes back in a big way later, when Nyarko and Cuuko get Ret-Gone by a bitter ex-classmate, and only Mahiro knows anything's changed, meaning he's the one who has to save the day. Considering how much author Manta Aisora loves referencing Kamen Rider, this may well be a Shout-Out to Kamen Rider Den-O and its Singularity Points (see below).
  • In Pact, which is filled with creatures that toy with the memories of others, Isadora the Riddling Sphinx is proof against most memory manipulation, as remembering is part of what her kind was designed for. She can even stand against an effect that renders the person it hits an Unperson; though she'll usually lose a good amount of information about them personally, she retains enough to put the pieces together and describe their basic personality.
  • In Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus, only the trio of time travelers remember anything of their original reality, in large part because their reality disappeared the moment they jumped into the past, since history is changed instantly. They do leave a written record of their timeline to the people of the new timeline they create.
  • While it covers dimensions more than time, all Travelers in The Pendragon Adventure retain their memories of how their worlds used to be. Their acolytes are the same. This is a good thing, because starting from around the seventh book of the series, the world begins to change severely.
  • Hatou from Qualia the Purple can share memories, experience and knowledge with her selves from parallel worlds.
  • In Ray Bradbury's A Sound of Thunder, several time travelers to the past realize that they have changed history when they return to the future and notice changes that no one else recognizes.
  • In The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World, Ripple Effect causes your memories of the other timeline to change rapidly. If you don't exist in the present timeline and you forget who you are, you fade away! The Special Corps created a countermeasure in the form of a device you stick on your head that reminds you of who you are every few seconds to keep you from vanishing outside your own timeline. Since the time machine he was using to Set Right What Once Went Wrong could only carry one person (him,) Jim took several other scientists' devices to temporarily overwrite himself!
  • Star Trek Expanded Universe:
    • In Peter David's novel "Q-Squared", an insane Trelane (actually a fledgling Q who merged with a Primordial Chaos), decides to destroy existence by merging several TNG timelines into one. Trek Prime is of course the 'prime', but there's also a track where Jack Crusher never died (Picard is his Number One) but Wesley died as a child (resulting in a Picard/Beverly affair), and another track from the "Yesterday's Enterprise" universe, except in this track the Enterprise-D reaches the Enterprise-C too late, and the C crew is already dead. They scuttle the ship so the Klingons don't get it and keep going. The downside is that when the Federation-Klingon War Picard encounters Lt. Worf (and later, an alt-universe special forces Klingon Empire Worf) during a time track overlap, it ends badly.
    • A particularly convoluted example from the "Engines of Destiny" novel involved Scotty going back in time to save Kirk from "death" on the Enterprise-B, with the Enterprise-D right on his tail. Since Kirk wasn't in the Nexus to be pulled out by Picard, the Enterprise-D was destroyed in "Generations", and the Borg succeeded in changing history in First Contact. In the new timeline, only Scotty, Kirk, and the Enterprise-D crew fully recall the original timeline — and they're the only non-assimilated humans. Oddly enough, the alternate version of Sarek, Spock's father, remembers flashes of the original timeline, allowing him to figure out what's going on after meeting Scotty and Kirk, but no one knows why he in particular has partial immunity. The Borg also know of the original timeline, but they aren't talking. After the Reset Button gets pushed, no one remembers the events at all, but Scotty gets a sense of déjà vu that leads him to avoid his whole time travel scheme.
    • In Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations, the titular department keeps records protected by phase discriminators, shielding the data from alterations in the timeline. Although the agents themselves will have no knowledge of the previous history, they can research their own files to determine if changes have been made. In the novel Watching the Clock, there's also a subplot that takes two of the protagonists to a Place Beyond Time, leaving their memories of another character intact when she suffers a Ret-Gone.
  • Played with during the Class 3-4 arc in Sunday Without God. Thanks to having left the sealed city, Alice and Dee are more aware of the "Groundhog Day" Loop Class 3-4 is trapped in than the other students are, but within the seal their memories are still not entirely reliable, especially with Dee actively trying to prevent Alice and Ai from discovering the truth, and the seal only breaks when Alice is able to remember the entire truth about why his classmates wished to reset time.
  • In the concluding trilogy of the Sword of Truth saga, a spell called Chainfire erases almost everyone's memory of Kahlan, but Richard is protected because he was holding the Sword of Truth when the spell was cast. This is implied to be one of its original purposes, besides just being preternaturally sharp and conferring the skills of past wielders on the current wielder. Ultimately, the Boxes of Orden are the only way to repair the damage, and that was their original purpose. And the Sword of Truth is the key to the Boxes of Orden, making the counter to the Chainfire spell. Sword of truth, indeed.
  • Inverted in Tempest: A Novel. Jackson remembers the new timeline when he jumps, but the original timeline never changes.
  • John Barnes's short story Things Undone varies this depending on the size of the changes made. If something small changes, certain antisocial people will only remember the way the world used to be, and everyone else will only remember what it becomes. It turns out a big change initially leaves those antisocial people with conflicting memories. If they become more social, integrating themselves into the flow of events, they'll wind up with both sets of full memories. If they stay withdrawn, however, the universe will eventually erase them.
  • In Three Days to Never, a man travels into the past to set right an event that destroyed his family and his happiness. The instigating event is averted, and the timeline changed, but he can't bring himself to believe it because he still remembers the bad timeline, and keeps trying by increasingly extreme methods to fix what has already been fixed.
  • Used to blackmail the title character in the Thursday Next series when her husband is "eradicated" by the villains, and she is the only person who remembers him. Played with a lot along the way. There's even a therapy group for other people in this situation. (Everyone else just thinks they're insane.)
  • The White Queen in The Unexplored Summon://Blood-Sign, due to being the strongest being in existence with power over (among many other things) time. When Kyousuke travels back in time to prevent someone's death, she remembers it all and congratulates him. The only other people to remember are Kyousuke and the person who was saved.
  • Robert Silverberg's Up the Line discussed this and other temporal oddities fairly well.
  • In Xanth, Lacuna wishes for a more interesting life, changing a big chunk of history in the process, but only she and a handful of others remember this.
  • One recent short story featured a American sniper who is equipped with an experimental time machine sent on a mission to kill Osama bin Laden before 2001, comes back and finds the situation worse (without bin Laden inspiring a spectacular, but limited, attack, the terrorists who did launch an attack were more careful and the result far greater). So he tries again, going a little further back in time, and the situation is even worse. So he tries again. And again, and again. After offing Mohammed didn't work, he's finally trapped in 1st Century Palestine when his time machine breaks after trying to kill Pontius Pilate.
  • In the Young Wizards series wizards can change the past without Time Travel, by magically invoking a Reality Bleed from an Alternate Universe where the past worked out differently; only wizards will remember what the past used to be like. This is very useful for maintaining the masquerade. Unfortunately this means if the said thing involves a wizard dying, that specific part is irreversible.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Parker, the hero from 7 Days (1998), was picked by Project Backstep for his high tolerance for pain and a photographic memory. He would be briefed on the event that needed to be changed and sent back to change it. Though neither he, nor other characters from the series have this ability. It did happen to a kid where the alien spacecraft went through a plane, who could remember the past seven days. Parker on the other hand, if he's not the one piloting the machine, forgets like the rest of them. This was actually the plot point of one episode, where Parker is about to be sent back in time, when he spits out the awful tea Olga gives him on the controls, causing a short which kick-starts the Backstep with only his duffel bag in the Sphere. Amazingly, the Sphere ends up in the same place 7 days prior, but all they find inside is the bag with a key (an actual key). They have no idea what needs to be stopped, so Dr. Mentnor re-enlists the help of a psychic whom he used once to try to resolve a hostage situation (the failure drove the little girl to a mental hospital). After touching the key, she starts getting glimpses of the future 7 days. With her help, the crisis is averted, although she does warn Parker to lay off Olga's tea.
  • The 4400: A slight variation in "Gone, Part II". After the people from the future abduct Maia and four other 4400 children and send them further back in time, everyone in the present forgets about them, at least consciously. They can still remember them on a subconscious level. While in a fantasy world created by Alana, Tom sees a little blonde girl without a face. When Alana creates another dreamland for him, he is able to see Maia clearly and she tells him her name. For her part, Diana can sense that there is something very important missing from her life. She buys numerous magazines and begins piecing together pictures of young girls in an attempt to come up with a picture of Maia's face. Diana later regains all of her memories of Maia when Alana uses her ability on her and she relives the experience of officially adopted Maia, as seen in "Wake-Up Call". The families of the other four children likewise experienced phantom memories which they were unable to explain.
  • Angel, of the eponymous vampire-detective series, had an episode in which he dealt with the Oracles (Deus ex Machina disciples of the Powers That Be) to have a day undone and so that he was the only one who had memory of the events. In After the Fall, there's a Reset Button, but everyone in LA remembers the Hell on Earth. Eventually, most people not part of the masquerade become convinced that it was just a Shared Mass Hallucination.
  • Arrowverse:
    • The Flash (2014):
      • In "Out of Time", Barry accidentally goes so fast that he goes back in time to one day in the past. At first, Barry is the only person who remembers the events of "Out of Time", until "The Trap" when it is revealed that Cisco has dreams about the Alternate Timeline in which Harrison Wells kills him. In the season finale it's further revealed that the reason why Cisco remembers this is because he is a metahuman with powers attuned to The Multiverse.
      • As time travel becomes increasingly frequent in the series, Ripple Effect Proof Memory is usually the norm. The one exception is in the Season 3 premiere Flashpoint in which Barry gradually starts to lose memories of his original timeline, the more he uses his speed in the Flashpoint timeline. Once the Flashpoint timeline is undone and a new Close-Enough Timeline is established however, Barry retains his memories of the original Season 1/2 timeline and of the months he spent in the Flashpoint timeline, but doesn't remember the unfamiliar aspects of the new timeline, such as the death of Cisco's brother Dante or the new CSI Julian Albert whom he's supposedly been sharing a lab with for the past year.
      • The Season 3 villain Dr. Alchemy has effectively weaponized Ripple Effect Proof Memory. He has the ability to not only reawaken the memories of people's lives in the alternate Flashpoint timeline, but also restore the metahuman abilities they had in that timeline. This is actually revealed to be Savitar's doing, as Alchemy is merely his conduit to the real world (Savitar is trapped in the Speed Force).
      • The show has an interesting twist with The Multiverse. Apparently, changes on one Earth don't propagate to others, even if the timelines intersect at some point. So, when Harry and Jesse visit from Earth-2, they also start noticing changes, and Harry immediately realizes the past was changed on Earth-1.
      • In season 5, it's explained that small changes to the timeline happen constantly due to all the time travelers, but everyone's memories are altered as well and they never notice the differences. If you make the changes yourself you will usually still remember the original timeline, but not always, and even if you do that can cause its own problems—as shown in Legends when Constantine suffers My Skull Runneth Over due to his and Charlie's repeated attempts to create a "perfect" timeline. Nora invented a special language based on the underlying physics of the Speed Force, which is not affected by the changing timestream, and can be used to track the changes and more easily guide things onto a preferred track.
    • On Legends of Tomorrow, the "Legends" exist mostly outside the time stream in their craft and are thus immune to changes that might happen to it. They can thus see such "aberrations" and fix them before they become permanent.
      • During a trip to 1987, Martin Stein tells his younger self to make more time for his wife than only being about his work. Stein is soon hit with flashes of a strange woman he worries might be a new love. When he comes home in 2016, he finds the woman is Lilly, his daughter. As far as everyone else (including Barry Allen) is concerned, Lilly has always existed but Stein has no memory of her at all.
      • During a crossover, Caitlin Snow sees Stein and Lilly talking, notices how Stein isn't picking up on Lilly's references to the past and realizes something is wrong. Stein reveals the truth and how he intends to "correct" this by finding a way to erase Lilly as she should be. He defends himself on how the woman is a stranger but a horrified Caitlin points out that as far as Lilly herself is concerned, she's a woman not understanding why her loving father that she's always had a close relationship to is freezing her out.
      • Once Stein resolves not to erase her, however, he suddenly starts getting the memories of raising her even though he technically wasn't there, suggesting that after her presence in the timeline "solidified" by him not changing it, his memories caught up.
      • Averted in "Phone Home", where Ray vanishes off the bridge of the Waverider, when his past self is killed in 1988. Ray reappears as soon as the ship travels to the day before young Ray's death, as the events haven't yet solidified to make themselves permanent. Ray's own memories remain unaffected, despite his younger self experiencing multiple changes, including meeting his future self (although Adult!Ray never actually tells him who he is, but the Atom suit might have served as Young!Ray's inspiration to create it in the future). In addition, there appear to be no records of the Dominators coming to Earth between The '50s and The New '10s, but it's clearly stated that the Dominator Queen came in a timeship, so the past did change slightly. Besides, Agent Smith isn't likely to leave any records of his failure.
      • While the Time Bureau is supposed to exist outside of time to solve anachronisms, it appears they can be prone to being hit by changes in history. In one episode, the Legends discover that, thanks to being inspired by a talking doll named Beebo, the Vikings conquered all of North America. Talking to Ava on what's meant to be Christmas, Sara is struck when Ava refers to a "Beebo's Day miracle." Seeing her reaction makes Ava realize that's the anachronism ("never felt right"). Later, the Legends think they've solved it by burning the doll...but then Ava refers to it as an "Odin's Day" miracle and they realize things are still off.
    • During the Elseworlds (2018) crossover, when Barry and Oliver's lives were switched by the Book of Destiny, they remember the original timeline while their friends keep mistaking them for each other. Also, since the new reality has no effect on other Earths, Kara remembers them too.
    • At the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths (2019), the entire multiverse is rebooted, with the most obvious change being that the "main" universe merges with those of Supergirl and Black Lightning. Only a handful of people remember the original version of history; fortunately, that includes Martian Manhunter, whose telepathy lets him share his memories with anyone who needs to know the truth.
      • Among the changes is that Kara, Lena and Alex are the only ones who remember Lex Luthor as a mass-murdering villain when everyone else knows him as a beloved philanthropist. (Lex himself remembers and is getting great pleasure being a Villain with Good Publicity.)
      • Just before the Crisis, Oliver's grown daughter Mia had taken a trip into the past to meet her father. In the new timeline, Mia never took that trip and has grown up without Oliver. It takes a special charm from Laurel for Mia to remember what happened and become a new Green Arrow.
      • Gorilla Grodd also inexplicably remembers the old history.
  • Charmed:
    • When Cole changes the past, with the help of the Avatars, to ensure his conquering of Pheobe's heart (well not really), Paige "accidentally" sneezes in the middle of the ripple effect, ending up in the alternate present where everyone else forgot about her. They were actually aiming to remove her from continuity, and it technically worked, but her presence there destroyed Cole for good...until he came back, at least.
    • In the first season finale, "Déjà Vu All Over Again", a demon repeatedly resets time to try to kill the Charmed Ones. Phoebe's power of premonition lets her retain some memories from each timeline, eventually remembering enough to defeat the demon.
  • Doctor Who: Like time travel itself, retaining memories of different time lines depends on the direction of the Timey-Wimey Ball.
    • "The Aztecs" argues that you can't change the past anyway so the situation would never come up in the first place.
    • In "The Time Meddler", the Doctor's companions suppose that, should the Monk succeed in changing history, their own memories would instantly change. While this might seem to exclude the Doctor from this trope, the balance of evidence points the other way, and there's no way for the companions to be doing anything more than guessing.
      • Also averted in the same story. Reading through the Monk's journal, they discover Leonardo da Vinci was given the ideas for his flying machines from him.
    • The first revival series stated that the Time War was "invisible to lesser beings, but devastating to higher forms." Thus, highly evolved species, particularly the temporally active ones, have ripple-proof memory. Comments by Russell T Davies explicitly name the Time Lords, Daleks, Gelth, Nestene Consciousness, and the Forests of Cheem as "higher beings". In "The Stolen Earth", a representative of the Shadow Proclamation explains that, in the wake of the Time War, the lesser races only know of the Time Lords at all from "legends passed down from the higher beings".
    • "Last of the Time Lords": In what is known to Whovians as The Year That Never Was, characters aboard the Valiant experience this because of their proximity to the Paradox Machine. The Doctor describes it as being in "the eye of the storm".
    • "The Waters of Mars" involves a multiple-memory version on the Doctor's part: After altering history, he visualizes newspapers changing (implying new memories of new headlines) while still not forgetting what he himself had done. The Tenth Doctor explained to Donna in "The Fires of Pompeii" that, being a Time Lord, he can see multiple possible outcomes at once. Remembering the ones he changed isn't that much of a stretch.
    • In "Flesh and Stone" it is explicitly stated, first through events, and later through dialogue, that a time-travelling human gets ripple-proof memory too. "You're a time traveller now, Amy. Changes the way you see the universe. Forever. Good! Isn't it?"
    • "Cold Blood" states that a human's ripple-proof memory applies only to timeline changes from outside their own personal timeline, which is how Amy forgets about Rory when he's "eaten" by one of the time cracks. He's a big part of her life and then he goes missing. There's a further complication: if a change to history undermines a time traveller's own personal history, they are only partially protected: the relevant memories will change, but the traveller can resist this through concentration. The traveller in question fails to resist the change, so it is not clear that this ability is anything more than theoretical.
    • "The Big Bang" adds yet another wrinkle: growing up near a crack in time can do unusual things to someone's memory. If they end up having their personal history changed, the original memories will still be present, buried in their subconscious. This effect remains even if they become a time traveller. The effects of proximity to a time crack are all-but-confirmed in "The Wedding of River Song", where Amy is again able to retain memories of timelines that never were.
    • One of the DVD-only extra scenes from the Moffat era confirmed what many fans had previously thought was implied by on-screen material: Amy Pond, whose timeline has undergone a particularly large number of retrospective rewrites both deliberate and accidental, can remember all of her alternate pasts.
    • Going along with having one's personal history changed, "The Day of the Doctor" features three Doctors meeting and pulling off a combination of Screw Destiny and Tricked Out Time to prevent what they see as their greatest failure. Their meeting and actions cause the timelines to go out of sync, causing only the "oldest" of the three Doctors to remember events. Assuming "The Curator" is indeed a far-future regeneration, then Eleven, the oldest of the three, loses memories as well.
    • In "Kill the Moon", the Doctor describes the potential hatching of a large alien from the Earth's moon as a "grey area" in history, where he doesn't know the outcome. After the situation is resolved, he's asked what effect their choices will have, and the Doctor closes his eyes and meditates for a moment before answering, clearly using some kind of Time Lord ability to see how the timeline has resolved itself.
  • Eureka explores this to great effect several times. First, a season finale involves Jack traveling from the future to prevent all of reality from unraveling due to Henry previously going back in time to save his lover. In the following episode, he tries to ensure that his memories of his happy life with Alison come true, but inadvertently puts her off with his familiar attitude. Also, he notes that events are already changing, so the same future will no longer occur. Henry uses a device to erase Jack's memories of the future to spare him the pain, while keeping his own memories (of a slightly different future) intact. Then there's a whole season devoted to the main characters coming back from the 40s with Dr. Grant (who hitched a ride back with them) and seeing the changes made to Eureka. All of them remember the old timeline and try to keep quiet, as Eureka actually has protocols for just such an occurance. Henry is now married. Fargo is the head of Global Dynamics (partly thanks to his grandfather never having been frozen in the past in this reality). Alison's son is no longer autistic. Jack has never broken up with his girlfriend. Notably, the original timeline never gets restored, although Grant tries to alter it once again to no avail.
  • In Frequency Raimy Sullivan is the only one who sees how the present changes due to her father Frank affecting things in 1996 (the two linked by talking via a ham radio). Raimy remembers the old timeline but now has memories of this new history. However, they're not instant; it takes being told a body has been identified as her mother for Raimy to "remember" her mom vanishing in 1997.
    • This becomes a major plot point in the episode "Seven Three" when Raimy investigates a crime connected to a shooting from her very first day on the force. She remembers the original timeline where a suspect was killed when her training officer was Stan Moreno. however, Raimy also now remembers that in the altered timeline, Frank was her training officer and the suspect was arrested alive. She's thus able to use both sets of memories to solve the crime.
    • Played for laughs in a later episode when Raimy meets a cop from another district. She's professional, not noting his smile. When he says "you never called me back", Raimy is confused... then has flashes of "memory" of the two having a steamy one-night stand a few weeks earlier.
  • Seems to have occurred in Friends. One episode is an Alternate Timeline showing how different things would be if one thing had happened differently in each of the friends' lives (i.e. if Rachel had married Barry, Joey never got fired from Days of Our Lives, Phoebe had become a stock broker). One difference in this timeline was that Chandler wore glasses. In Season 7 of the "real" timeline, Chandler actually does start wearing glasses (because Matthew Perry did)... and his friends all claim he's always worn them.
  • The fourth season of Fringe is largely about exploring the implications of this concept. First with the adult version of Peter recorporealizing in an altered timeline where he died as a child, then with Olivia recovering her memories from the prior timeline at the expense of the ones that correspond with the current version of reality.
    • The Observers are so advanced that their memories are immune to timeline changes.
    • In season 5, Nina Sharp, and then Walter Bishop, regain their memory of the former timeline. In the season finale, Walter and Michael become the only characters to remember the Observer invasion, but at the cost of being permanently stuck in the far future.
  • Audrey Parker of Haven is immune to the cursed powers of the town's residents, meaning that when reality goes sideways (versions so far include "Groundhog Day" Loop, Ret-Gone, and Butterfly of Doom), she'll be the only one to notice things aren't normal. The cast have learned to pay attention when she tells them about it.
  • In Heroes, "Five Years Gone", Future Hiro remembers the timeline where Claire wasn't saved, but nobody else does. Interestingly, because Claire's survival is kept a secret from Future Hiro, he doesn't notice a difference between the timeline in which Claire was killed and the one in which she wasn't. Because of this, it's debatable whether he has Ripple-Proof Memory or not - because there's no difference, we wouldn't know if his previous memory was overwritten as soon as he sent Peter to save Claire.
  • Journeyman: A number of episodes deal with Dan himself, such as when he meets his own father on the day the latter planned on leaving his family. Dan convinces him to talk to his sons about it, so they don't end up blaming themselves in the future. When Dan goes back to the present, he asks his brother about that night and finds out that their father did indeed explain everything to them before leaving. Additionally, when Dan accidentally leaves a digital camera in the past, he comes back to find that not only has computing technology skyrocketed (nanotech is ubiquitous), but his son is now a daughter. He ends up restoring the timeline, despite his wife's objections. Luckily for him, she doesn't remember anything.
  • Kamen Rider Ryuki: All Kamen Riders recruited by Shiro Kanzaki can have their memories erased when Kamen Rider Odin performs his Time Vent move. Since Shinji just stumbled onto his card deck, this makes him immune.
  • In Kamen Rider Den-O, the Singularity Points like protagonist Ryotaro don't just have this, they have Ripple Effect Proof Existence, meaning that they can exist outside of time and changes to the timeline don't affect them at all. This is a major plot point in several parts of the show, most prominently the mystery behind Yuuto Sakurai, who disappeared one year before the show and who has vanished from the memories of everyone who knew him - except Ryotaro, who is quite shocked when a teenager claiming to be Sakurai appears about halfway through the show as a rival Kamen Rider.
  • At the end of Kamen Rider Build, in order to defeat Evolt, the world is fused with a parallel world where the Sky Wall doesn't exist, undoing everything that Evolt did. However, nobody remembers any of their time in the old world, since you can't remember something that technically never happened. The only exceptions are Sento and the old world's Ryuga, who were both inside the rift between worlds when the merge happened and thus ended up being carried directly over to the new world. They even run into a version of Ryuga who was never born with Evolt's DNA, elsewhere there's a Takumi Katsuragi who was never memory wiped and applied with the likeness of Taro Satou (who as a result is still alive in this world) in order to become Sento.
  • The Lazarus Project opens with main character Chris learning that he is one of a fractionally small percentage of the population with a natural immunity to the time-loop system used by the titular project to undo world-devastating events in history. Only a few other people in the project have a natural immunity, with others relying on regular medication to maintain their memories of each loop. The negative effects of this mutation are also presented; another future Lazarus employee jumped six months in mental development from the perspective of his parents before his first birthday (and obviously he was too young to realise what had happened) and his family misinterpreted his preserved memories as nightmares, only realising the truth when he was a teenager and was able to prevent his cousin destroying his family’s corner store as a failed insurance scam that killed the cousin’s family in the previous loop.
  • In Legend of the Seeker, Zedd tries to cast a spell to "de-program" Cara, but it backfires and results in a new timeline caused by Cara never becoming a Mord-Sith and, thus, not leading the Mord-Sith and Darken Rahl to Richard as he was performing the Boxes of Orden ritual. Richard and Kahlan were able to complete the ritual and make the known world loyal to Richard. Richard becomes ruler of D'Hara with Darken Rahl as his loyal advisor. Everything is great, as Zedd appears to be the only one who remembers the original timeline. Then it turns out that the Keeper remembers it as well, and orchestrates to break the power of Orden. Luckily, Zedd is able to get a Close-Enough Timeline by using the same spell on another Mord-Sith (thus, undoing the first casting).
  • In The Ministry of Time, the Ministry is able to detect people attempting to change history, and act accordingly. However, when history is changed successfully, only some people remember the initial sequel of events - and the bigger the change, the smaller the number of people that remember. For example, in "Cambio de tiempo", after King Philip II of Spain takes over the Ministry by force in order to ensure the Armada Invencible wins against the British and then ensuring the Spanish Empire never falls, only Alonso, Amelia and Julián remember, as they were on a mission when the events changed.
  • In Misfits Curtis has the ability to reverse time when experiencing feelings of deep regret to a point that he could change events with the knowledge of what's to happen gained.
    • In series 3, an old man uses Curtis' power to back in time to kill Hitler. He fails, which results in Hitler winning the war and Britain being under Nazi control in the present. Even though he changed history, he still remembers the original timeline. The power later gets passed onto Kelly who uses it to fix the man's mistakes and return everything to normal. Despite that timeline no longer existing, Kelly still retains her memories of that universe.
  • Used in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode "Time Chasers". Crow, attempting to help Mike, goes back in time to keep him from getting stranded in space. When he returns, he learns that instead of Mike, he's partnered with his chain-smoking, beer-swilling Jerkass brother Eddie, who's whipped Servo into a quivering yes-man; only Crow remembers the original timeline, which he eventually restores. The funniest part is that Eddie doesn't doubt him at all. He just gets pissed that Crow thinks their timeline "sucks".
  • Averted in MythQuest. It is possible for the characters to travel into a myth and act it out, including a different ending. If that happens, everyone in the real world remembers the myth differently. While they don't remember what the myth was, they do remember that they changed it.
  • The Outer Limits (1995):
    • In "A Stitch in Time", an already-unbalanced scientist uses her time machine to go back and execute notorious serial killers before they hurt anyone. Each time history changes, and she remembers each and every change, driving her crazier and crazier. In the end, she (and a homicide detective following her murders) go back in time to save her younger self from the sexual assault which originally caused her problems. The scientist loses this (having essentially erased herself), but the detective gains it and realizes that her best friend was killed by one of the serial killers whom the scientist had no motivation to kill in the current timeline. The detective then starts killing serial killers...
    • In "Déjà Vu", Dr. Mark Crest is able to remember previous iterations of the "Groundhog Day" Loop. Immediately before being struck by the expanding teleportation field, he grabbed a transformer cable and the electromagnetic field that it generated partially cancelled out the effects of the loop. In a later iteration, he brings his colleague Dr. Cleo Lazar into the loop by holding her as he grabs the cable.
  • In the Power Rangers Time Force episode "The Legend of the Clock Tower", Wes tells Katie the story of Walter, the man who built the clock tower, and how he was too timid to stand up for the woman he loved, resulting in him living his life all alone. After seeing Walter's ghost, Katie is pulled back in time, and helps Walter win his love's affections. She then wakes up in her bed, leaving her to wonder if it was All Just a Dream. But when she reminds Wes of the original story, he insists that he told her it happened the way she caused it to, and that Walter lived happily with his love.
  • In Primeval series 2, Nick and Helen Cutter are the only ones who can remember Claudia Brown. Later, Jenny, the alternate version of Claudia, finds a photo they don't recall posing for. She realizes that everything Nick said was true.
    • Unusually, the altered timeline stays altered. By the time the latest season rolls around, the only people who remembered the original timeline are dead. Then again, it's been a long time since anyone cared about this. Even Nick stopped trying to change things and accepted the new reality.
  • Inconsistently subverted on Quantum Leap, where sometimes Sam remembers the unaltered timeline, and sometimes — as in the case of one change that resulted in his earlier self marrying the girl that initially got away — he doesn't. Some of this can be handwaved away with his "swiss cheese memory", but not all of it. The bulk of evidence suggests that if Sam's memory is changed at all, the changes only occur when he leaps. Al, however, always seems to remember the old timeline — that is, if he hasn't been erased and replaced by Roddy MacDowell, at least. It helps that he has Ziggy.
  • Quantum Leap (2022), a continuation of the original show, implies that Ziggy itself has this as it has information on both original and post-leap timelines. An episode also shows a direct effect of a character in the show's "present" not having this, as they speak of a suddenly changed timeline as though they had always remembered it that way, while another character notes that the timeline had just changed. Apparently getting the information from Ziggy renders the knowledge immune to the changes of time while actually experiencing the event itself does not.
    • A later episode establishes that a leaper's hologram gets this if they happen to be in the imaging chamber — and thus "connected" to the leaper — when the change occurs: Ben's actions in the past significantly affect the events at Project Quantum Leap in the show's "present" but his hologram, Addison, is the only person who remembers the pre-change events afterward. Notably, the change resulted in her coming out of a completely different imaging chamber than where she was when she witnessed Ben cause the change.
  • Red Dwarf:
    • Rimmer and Holly display this ability in "Timeslides".
    • In "Demons and Angels", Lister mentions having "played pool with planets" as a point of reference for the remarkability of his first taste of an edible pot noodle. However, according to Kryten's explanation at the end of "White Hole", he shouldn't have been able to remember that. But that's okay.
  • The Sarah Jane Adventures: In "Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?", an alien artefact bestows this power on whoever holds it at the "time" of the Ripple Effect.
  • In Smallville, Clark travels backwards in time at least three times (once with a Kryptonian Crystal to save Lana's life, once with the future Legion of Superheroes' ring to undo his revealing to the world, and once to save himself as a baby in Krypton), and always remembers the timelines that no longer exist. None is longer than a day or two, so it's not a big deal. Also, this is Superman, so he's Everything-proof. In the lead up to the third example, Kara sent a message from past Krypton, which Dr Swan received in 1989 and recorded in his journal. Clark, reading the journal in 2007, notices the page is "new".
  • Stargate SG-1 ("2010", "Moebius") and Stargate Atlantis ("Before I Sleep", "The Last Man"). Both follow the logic which states that the time travellers should have alternative counterparts in the new timeline. Their earlier counterparts always seem to conveniently end up dying.
    • In "Window of Opportunity", O'Neill and Teal'c qualify. Might be partly because time technically kept going, and the looping turned out to be somewhat selective.
    • In "Moebius", actually, the team didn't remember the time that they had erased once they set wrong what once went right. But their past selves had made a video tape to deal with this very problem, which convinced each of them that time travel had occurred and they needed to change it.
  • Many time-travel episodes of Star Trek employ this trope with the protagonists, usually explained as being some function of whatever Negative Space Wedgie caused the time travel in the first place.
    • Star Trek: The Original Series: An example where this occurs to characters who didn't time travel: "The City on the Edge of Forever". Hand Waved later on as being due to their proximity to the Guardian of Forever.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
      • Guinan has the uncanny ability to sense alterations in the timeline, as shown in "Yesterday's Enterprise". She is the only one on board the Enterprise-D who is aware that reality had been altered when the Enterprise-C jumped back in time, and is also the only one who later remembers (vaguely) what transpired once history has been restored. This also impacts the later season episode "Unification", when Guinan reveals what she remembers of the Enterprise-C's round-trip to explain a seemingly paradoxical event.
      • There's also the episode "Cause and Effect", in which the Enterprise gets itself trapped in a time loop and end up repeating the same day over and over, ending with the ship colliding with another ship and being destroyed. Unlike other examples, they don't fully retain their previous memories, but rather vague senses and flashes that are initially mistaken for déjà vu. The more times they repeat the loop, the stronger this gets, until it's enough for them to figure out what's going on and think of a plan; they decide to try and use the echoes that are causing these memories to send themselves a limited message via Data's positronic net, hoping Data will pick it up and be able to figure out what it means in time to avert the collision and break the loop. It works (although just barely).
      • In "Parallels," Worf apparently remembers everything that happened to him in the alternate quantum realities, though nobody else has any idea that anything happened until he says so.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
      • Lampshaded in the episode "Accession": Kira mentions an unfinished work of a poet who disappeared long ago. Sure enough, he shows up five minutes later. By the end of the episode, he's been sent back in time, and she's shocked to discover that the poem is now finished and again shocked that she remembers it ever being unfinished. "The Prophets work in mysterious ways."
      • Lampshaded again in "Trials and Tribble-ations". Sisko complains that if he changed time, he would have been the first to notice. The Time Agents complain that people always say that. (Thankfully, he didn't change time in any significant fashion. Probably.) Odo did bring a tribble back with him, which would technically mean removing one tribble and its subsequent offspring from the past, but whatever other rules (about, say, transporting a potentially invasive and environmentally destructive species) he might have broken in the process, it doesn't appear to have made any real changes to the timeline. note 
      • Another Lampshade in "Visionary" when Past!Miles is warning Future!Miles about a disaster.
      Future!O'Brien: You look pretty bad.
      Past!O'Brien: It's the radiation.
      Future!O'Brien: But if you feel bad and you're my past self, shouldn't I feel bad too?
      Both: (in unison) I hate temporal mechanics.
      • In another episode, while trying to beam down from the Defiant, Sisko, Dax, and Bashir are sent back to a tumultuous period in Earth's history and inadvertently change things such that civilization collapses. The rest of the Federation disappears, but the Defiant was shielded from the timeline alterations by the same effect that sent their people back in time, which allows Kira and O'Brien to find the other three and return them to the proper time period after Sisko manages to undo the damage. They return to find history only mildly altered (in this case, a historical figure now bears an uncanny resemblance to Ben Sisko).
    • Star Trek: Voyager:
      • "Time and Again" features history changing without anyone remembering it, but with the local telepaths/mysterious wanderers having odd feelings about something being out of place.
      • The episode "Year of Hell" has Voyager going up against a Krenim ship which is trying to restore the glory of their civilization by Ret-Gone-ing others. At first Voyager is affected as well, but when they learn that the Krenim used chroniton-based torpedoes, they devise shielding to counteract that which ends up protecting them from the effects of the Krenim timeship (both from being Ret Goned themselves and from having their memories and history altered when the Krenim attack others), which they realize they can use to their advantage, sharing the technology with others to execute an attack on the weapon. Subverted at the end, when Captain Janeway orders everyone to turn theirs off while she rams Voyager into the timeship, in hopes that the timeship's destruction will cause it to Ret-Gone itself and thus put the rest of history back in place. It works, and no one remembers anything from the Krenim-altered timeline. It's implied to be a happy ending for the Krenim leader as well, who had accidentally wiped out his wife with one of the changes, and had never been able to restore that piece no matter how hard he tried.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise:
      • During the "Temporal Cold War" arc, Crewman Daniels, a time traveler from the far future, zaps Captain Archer to his own time to save him from capture by the Suliban. They both arrive on a devastated future Earth whose technology hadn't progressed even to TOS levels, where the Federation had never been founded (and, it's implied, the Romulan Empire became the dominant force in the galaxy). Archer doesn't understand how Daniels can still exist with his timeline so radically changed. Daniels claims not to know, but is also reluctant to go into the details of temporal mechanics with a person from Archer's era.
      • Yet another time change not having erased Daniels in "Carpenter Street" was explained as the ripple not having hit his century yet, but would if Archer didn't stop it. San Dimas Time.
    • Star Trek: Picard: Averted when Picard travels back in time and meets Guinan in the 21st century. Guinan has no memory of meeting him in the 19th century. This could be explained by the fact that Picard's trip to the 19th century wouldn't have happened in the Confederation timeline that he traveled back from. But this is still inconsistent with Guinan's previously established ability to remember erased timelines (see above).
  • In Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger #41, not only the Gokaigers retain their memory of creating a Close-Enough Timeline by preventing the destruction of a temple containing a Greater Power, but so does Timeranger Domon, who instructed the Gokaigers to do so in the first place from his native time of the 31st century.
  • In Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, the memories of time-travellers are apparently unaffected by timeline changes, as Derek Reese has flawless memories of meeting Andy Good in the future — despite the fact that, after travelling back to The Present Day, he murdered Andy, and their meeting thus never happened. He also meets an Old Flame, who traveled back later, and is surprised that they recall certain events differently, implying that she came from an altered timeline.
  • In the Timecop TV series, the episode "Alternate World" has Logan and a villain accidentally altering the timeline in such a way that when they get back to the future, Logan is now a criminal mastermind and the villain is still in good standing with the police force. The versions of the characters that were just replaced had their own ongoing schemes—but the Ripple Effect Proof versions don't have a clue what's going on. This leads to such increasingly circuitous bouts of Fridge Logic between everyone's interactions that the show becomes So Bad, It's Good.
  • Timeless:
    • The trio who go through time to stop a criminal are immune to changes brought about. Thus, when they return from their first mission, they find that according to history books, the Hindenburg was destroyed a day later by "anarchists" (actually, them) and only two people died. Meanwhile, historian Lucy returns home to discover that her comatose mother is alive and well, Lucy is engaged to a man she's never met and her sister Amy was never born.
    • When Lucy tries to explain this to Mason, the inventor of the time machine, and their NSA contact, they're confused as her file shows no sister. Lucy shows them a locket with Amy's picture that she'd been wearing during the trip so it still survives. Mason is astounded to realize Lucy has an artifact of a timeline that no longer exists.
    • Addressed in another episode when NSA contact Christopher gives Lucy a data file containing photos and videos of Christopher's family to keep in the time ship. Christopher says that she wants to be sure that, should Lucy come back and find Christopher's family no longer exists, some record of them survives.
    • In "Hollywoodland", the team remembers the timeline from before Rittenhouse changed it. Anyone who isn't in the present when history is changed is immune to the ripple effect, but they don't have to be in the same time as where it was changed.
  • Subverted on Twice in a Lifetime. After dying, a person is given a chance to go back in time and help their past self on a new path. At the end of the episode, they find themselves in an altered present, at first confused as to the changes. They'll then realize that they're suddenly remembering the events of the new history. Their angelic guide (either Mr. Smith or Mr. Jones) will pop up one last time to tell them that when he leaves, all their memories of the original history go with him. As soon as he does, the person completely forgets him and, as far as they're concerned, this is the only life they've ever known.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959):
    • In "And When the Sky Was Opened", Colonel Clegg Forbes is the only person to remember that Colonel Ed Harrington ever existed after he fades from existence. Major William Gart is the only one to remember Forbes after he disappears.
    • In "The Big Tall Wish", Bolie Jackson is the only one to remember the timeline in which he defeated Joey Consiglio in the ring after Henry Temple's wish is undone.
    • In "Mr. Bevis", the Guardian Angel J. Hardy Hempstead changes Mr. James B.W. Bevis' life so that he is a normal, straitlaced and successful person. The two of them are the only ones to remember the ways things used to be.
    • In "Back There", when Peter Corrigan returns to his own time after his failed attempt to prevent the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, he discovers that the Potomac Club attendant William has become a millionaire and a prominent member of the club. He is the only one to realize that history has been altered.
    • In "Cavender is Coming", the Guardian Angel Harmon Cavender changes Agnes Grep's life so that she is wealthy and successful. They are the only ones to remember the previous version of her life in which she was extremely clumsy and unable to hold down a job.
    • In "Come Wander With Me", Mary Rachel is seemingly the only one who realizes that the events surrounding Billy Rayford's death are repeating themselves.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985):
    • In "Profile in Silver", once history is restored, the Secret Service agent Ray Livingston is the only person from 1963 who remembers the Alternate Timeline in which John F. Kennedy was not assassinated in Dallas.
    • In "The Library", Ellie Pendleton begins Rewriting Reality using the books recording the events of people's lives in the library. After that she does so, she is the only person to remember the way things used to be.
    • In "The Card", Linda Wolfe is the only person outside of the card company who remembers that she had a cat named Boris, a dog named Scooby and three children named Matt, Evan and B.J. after they all disappear in turn because of her delinquent account. Her husband Brian worries that she may be having a mental breakdown until he himself disappears.
    • In "Street of Shadows", after Steve Cranston swaps lives with the millionaire Frederick Perry, he is the only person who is able to remember their original identities. Perry himself was in a coma at the time so it is not clear whether he could as well.
  • Voyagers!: After setting history back on course, Jeffrey and Bogg are the only ones who remember the alternative timelines.
  • Kicks off a plot arc on Warehouse 13. Artie uses a cursed device to go back 24 hours and avert worldwide catastrophe; obviously, he arrives Just in Time to do so, and remembers what needs to be done. But the side effects aren't pretty.
    Pete: I’m not going to remember, am I?
    Artie: Remember what?
    Pete: Dying.
    Artie: No. No, Pete, you won’t remember. Pete dies. But I will.
    • While Artie does rewind the time and change what was going to happen, the artifact he uses inexplicably disappears from its hiding place, which tips off Brother Adrian that something's up. Additionally, Helena gets suspicious and later correctly guesses what Artie has done, having some experience with Mental Time Travel herself (albeit in a You Already Changed the Past way).
  • Wonse on The Watch (2021), possibly. After Carcer Dun is erased from existence, the Observers rewrite things so that people believe that she was the one who summoned the Noble Dragon and tried to burn the city. She remembers the truth and goes before the Observers, demanding that they give her power to destroy the Watch.
  • Mostly averted in the second season of Witchblade. At the end of the first season, Pez goes back in time to when the first season started. She doesn't retain any actual memories of the original timeline, but she does sometimes have a sense of when she should do something differently from the first time around, most notably the event in the pilot that got her partner killed; she avoids the encounter, and he survives season 2, but as a result, the main bad guy remains at large through the rest of the series.
  • In The Worst Year of My Life, Again, Alex finds himself reliving the previous year, and he knows what's going to happen to him. Downplayed - he specifically says that he doesn’t perfectly remember everything that happened the first time around.
  • On The X-Files in the "Groundhog Day" Loop episode "Monday", Agent Mulder managed to invoke this trope on his own by repeating to himself that there was a bomb right before the explosion - being in the same situation during the next loop triggered the memory.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the AD&D 2E supplement Chronomancers, time traveling characters are vulnerable to changes made to their past — and aren't able to do much to prevent it, since they can't travel to a time they've already lived in. However, the supplement also includes a high-level spell that severs your personal time line, making it so you were immune to any changes made to your past, and so you could overlap your own past.
  • Feng Shui's Innerwalkers have this by default. Once someone has been through the Netherworld, the nexus that connects all points in time, they're unaffected by whatever changes are wrought by the chi of the world changing hands. They keep all the memories they have of what the world was like before entering the Netherworld, and thus do not have their memories changed like everyone else's when a shift happens. But the thing is, when something like a critical shift happens, the innerwalker can easily find himself as a much different version of himself from the new timeline, complete with a new name, new history, new enemies and the like, and no one who hasn't been through the Netherworld will remember anything but what the current version of the character is like, leading to serious Mind Screw. Innerwalkers who've gone through one too many critical shifts tend to retreat to the Netherworld full-time, no longer able to deal with living a life they can't recognize with loved ones they've never met.
    • A pretty good (and amusing) example is given in a supplement of two Innerwalkers who barely knew each other. A critical shift hits, and they find themselves world famous... and married. They're living together now, to keep up the celebrity mega-couple act, and are quite surprised to be slowly falling in love. The shift does suggest that if they had known each other, they'd get married, and they're sure getting to know each other now.
    • Some of the fluff fiction in supplements have characters changing equipment and abilities in a critical shift; a character with arcanowave schticks ending up without the implants and with different schticks after arcanowave tech is eliminated from the timestream, for instance, even though their memories remain. It contradicts the actual rules on what happens to Innerwalkers, but Feng Shui always does play a little fast and loose with rules.
  • History in Genius: The Transgression has been accidentally changed in radical ways a few times despite the best efforts of various groups to preserve the timespace continuum, although neither the general population nor reality itself generally seem to notice. This means that some of the most spectacular world-changing events in the game setting only happened in continuities that no longer exist, and are only remembered by time travellers and a few other scattered people who somehow manage to remember them. As well as a few not so world-changing events, like each and every one of the successful Hitler assassinations.
  • This also can be purchased as the advantage of Temporal Inertia in GURPS.
  • In Mage: The Ascension Czar Vargo (a powerful Steampunk Mad Scientist mage with a bit of an idealistic bent) attempted to prevent World War One with an unprecedented global display of the power of his technomagic. He pushed reality so far that when it snapped back it erased all memory of him from existence, and to this day the only knowledge of him comes from a tiny handful of eyewitnesses who retained their unedited memories of the event.
  • Mage: The Awakening: Archmasters' souls bridge the gap between the mundane world and the Supernal Realm, the Place Beyond Time from which all reality is generated, so if they're in the Realm or their personal Mental World, they're not affected by Time Travel or Realm shenanigans that retroactively alter the mundane world.
  • Punk Rock Saves the World uses this trope. To quote from the rulebook:
    "In this series, time is a mutable series of events that can be changed by time travelers. However, those who travel through time are immune to these changes and maintain their original memories. They also gain the memories of any new version of themselves that meddling with time has caused. This allows them to fiddle with the past until they get it the way they like it."
  • The 1980's time travel game Timemaster used a version of this. When history is changed, everyone including the PCs remember the changed version ... but if the PCs make their "Paranormal Memory" roll, they also remember the original timeline.
  • Visigoths vs. Mall Goths: If a Goth uses the special item Digital Watch to rewind time by six seconds, the user will be the only one who remember the original timeline, leaving everyone else oblivious. The memory will inflict the "ashamed" feeling upon the user for having "cheated to succeed."

  • In Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, when Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy changed the timelines via the use of a Time Turner, they remembered things as they originally were, but didn't know anything about the new timelines. In a particularly bad alternate history in which Voldemort rules, Scorpius has no understanding at first of why Dementors are all over Hogwarts or why people are bowing down to him as the "Scorpion King".
  • In Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, The Player, unlike the rest of the cast, remembers what's happened in each production of Hamlet, and thus knows what will happen.

    Video Games 
  • In Achron, you play a general precisely because of your nature as an 'achronal': an entity outside of time and unaffected by changes to the timestream.
  • In Assassin's Creed III DLC "The Tyranny of King Washington", Connor retains his memory of the original timeline and is utterly stunned that so many of his Revolutionary allies have gone evil. His mother is surprised when he easily puts on his father's Assassin blades, as if he's done that a hundred times. Then it turns out that it was All Just a Dream induced by an Apple given to Washington showing both of them a possible future. Washington is horrified and asks Connor to put the Apple where no one will find it. He then grows determined to ensure that the new nation remains a republic.
  • In Bastion, choosing a specific ending will unlock new game plus. In this mode, certain dialogue changes. The majority of of which is mostly Rucks realizing he's done this whole thing before.
  • In BioShock Infinite, people who are killed in one dimension retain their memory of being dead, which results in nose bleeds and insanity. Booker also retains his memory of being the hero of the Vox Rebellion as well as dying when he travels to a different dimension.
  • This is a major character point to Rachel (and by proxy, her butler Valkenhayn) in BlazBlue, who remembers over 72,500 years of looped time. It is also shown that Hazama/Terumi shares this ability in the second game. It might also be deconstructed, as it is heavily implied that Terumi, who has lived through far more loops than Rachel, eventually snapped and decided to pay the world back for every single loop he had been forced to relive in it.
  • This is a gameplay mechanic in games like Braid and the Prince of Persia Sands of Time Trilogy. Temporarily reversing time allows for correcting mistakes only because you remember what happened the "first time."
  • In Bravely Default, the characters appear to have this, as the nature of how they travel between worlds means that they in something of a "Groundhog Day" Loop situation. The Great Chasm caused by their arrival in a new world opens at exactly the same point in time in every world, and many of the events which happen in the 'first' world of the game are repeated in a similar fashion in later ones, enabling the characters to intervene where possible and use their knowledge to - eventually - avoid needless conflict. D's Journal indicates that the same was true for the world prior to the first, though thanks to his Trauma-Induced Amnesia Ringabel's Ripple Effect Proof Memory is initially not as complete as it should be having experienced one world more than the others. When he does recall his past, it quickly becomes a Spanner in the Works for the Big Bad.
  • The Brief and Meaningless Adventure of Hero Man: The game uses a New Game Plus feature, and as long as the player keeps their ending progress, certain characters will remember events from the past loops.
    • Lord Doldrum keeps track of how many times Hero Man defeated him.
    • The Stats Wizard keeps track of all endings Hero Man has already seen.
    • The Hints Man will give hints to obtain other endings until there are none left to see, and he's also aware of which endings have already been obtained.
    • According to the narrator, Hero Man himself is aware of how the door in the Crossroads slowly changes appearance as he completes endings.
  • The main party in Chrono Trigger. Anyone that time-travels, for that matter. The fansite "Chrono Compendium" calls this phenomenon "Time-Traveller's Immunity", and extends it to include total immunity to any change that occurs due to their own travel. (Except, oddly, at the beginning of the game when Marle prevents her own birth accidentally and subsequently disappears (there is also a joke alternate ending where everyone is turned into a Reptite, and another where Frog becomes Marle's ancestor with newly-apparent effects. But that seems to be the exception in the game, not the rule.)
    • The most commonly accepted theory is that it was done by The Entity in order to set the rest of the game's events in motion. There's no Word of God on it though.
  • Montague Castanella of City of Heroes gets this as a superpower. He was already a proficient mage before he realized he had this ability; there wasn't a reason to suspect he possessed it until the Time Police showed up.
  • In Dark Cloud 2, Monica, the time-traveler from the future, naturally retains her memories of what said future should have been like until Griffon destroyed it from the past. As she and Max work together to restore the future (well, future from Max's perspective, but Monica's past) they run into a small bit of Time-Travel Tense Trouble (for instance, they must create the origin of a factory that Monica remembers as having provided technology to a lab, even though neither the factory nor the lab exists yet.) As they restore these "origin points" and more elements from these locations reappear, inhabitants of restored future villages have no memory of what should have been there, but they do feel that "something is missing" until the village is completed. In the most notable case, a king from the future is astonished at a change in history he doesn't remember, but that Max's mother Elena, his contemporary, recognizes it as an improvement Max and Monica made in the past's future known timeline (implying that she is aware of, and remembers, both the original and the improved one.) Meanwhile, their flunkies just roll with it, and presumably their memories were rewritten along with history.
    • And it goes without saying: although the Big Bad is defeated in the present (Max's time,) monumental events threaten the world (the Blue Moon turns into the Star of Destruction, and falls from the sky,) and remains of the battle stay there (such as the Moon Flower Palace, crashed just outside Palm Brinks) the good guys from the future have no knowledge of any this until it actually occurs.
  • Deconstructed and played for horror in Destiny. Kabr the Legionless attempted to lead a squad into the Vault of Glass to fight the time-travelling Vex there. The Vex leader there, Atheon, used time travel to Ret-Gone Kabr's squad before they could get far in, changing the timeline so that only Kabr made it into the Vault. However Kabr was already in the Vault when Atheon did this, so he retained his memories of the unaltered timeline telling him he came with a team alongside his now altered memories of coming alone. The paradoxical memory conflict utterly destroyed Kabr's mind, turning him into a babbling Mad Oracle who eventually committed suicide by ripping out his own Light to power a weapon that would let later Guardians get into the Vault.
  • Dissidia states that the warriors are kept called for the next cycle of war - the side that lost will have no memories, though, while the winning warriors remember their last battle.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest VII: Everyone on the starting island knows and remembers that their island is the only land in the entire world, with nothing else but water everywhere else. It comes as a shock to them when other islands and continents start reappearing after your party saves them in the past... despite these places having now always existed since they were never destroyed in the first place.
    • Averted in Dragon Quest XI, where the Luminary's memory of the first timeline in Act 3 are only in brief flashes when the events would have occurred.
  • Dyztopia: Post-Human RPG: If the player starts a New Game Plus run, Asterisk will greet Akira like they already met before. He will also give more hints about angels and his motivations in his optional shop dialogue. To a lesser extent, if the player's previous route was Evil Runi, Akira's nightmare in Chapter 1 has Gemini taunt them with their lobotomized friends.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII-2, Serah and Noel remember all of the separate timelines they create and can move between them at will. Noel's memories of his own time aren't so ripple-proof. The more the main timeline is changed, the more of his life Noel forgets. It's heavily implied that he's being erased from reality... and his presence at the end of the game is a major indicator that things are about to go horribly wrong.
    • The seeress Paddra Nsu-Yeul can also remember each altered timeline they see. Turns out this is the same reason Serah still remembers a present where Lightning was with everyone after the battle with Orphan, despite the paradox replacing that with a Lightning-less version.
  • This comes with the Reality Warper abilities of the Star Singers in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates. It only applies to the one doing the altering at the time. The multiplayer mode however demonstrates that powerful entities, even if they have current timeline versions, can leak through. One even returning as a boss in the original Crystal Chronicles, and the current versions may have déjà vu (or in one case a relapse) of their previous selves.
  • There's a Time Crash halfway through Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light which results in the party being chunked just far back enough to Set Right What Once Went Wrong. They do so, but when it all gets fixed and returns to the present for the ending, there's no indication that the "wrong" events have been forgotten. (For instance, Thauzand has his daughter back but is still dressed as a merchant.)
  • Exaggerated in Flower, Sun and Rain, where everyone in the entire cast has this while Lospass Island is trapped in an eternal loop of the same day. As a result, it takes a long time for Sumio Mondo to even know of this, since he thinks the only true repeating element (the exploding plane) is a bad dream. It eventually turns out to be something completely different.
  • In The Forgotten City, this ends up causing major problems. To give the humans a better chance of finding someone who could overturn her husband's Golden Rule, Proserpina entrusts someone in the city knowledge of a ritual that creates a time portal. The ritual sacrifice the user's life to prevent themselves from exploiting it, but it lets them keep their memories so they can act as a guide to the time traveler. She gives this knowledge to Magistrate Sentius, but she ends up choosing the worst person for the job, as Sentius decides to use it to as a way to metaphorically live forever and maintain a cushy life in the city, and as a seasoned war veteran who's gotten used to the idea of death, the fact the ritual kills him doesn't bother him too much. He uses it to break the Golden Rule whenever he wants to reset time, and he kept the last time traveler going around in circles until he gave up and committed suicide.
  • This happens to anyone Sissel helps in Ghost Trick (by way of going back in time and preventing deaths), himself included. Granted, the end of the game leaves us on a note where the player (with the help of three other ghosts) just prevented the entire game from happening, so no one remembers except Sissel, who is still dead—kind of—at the very end, and the other ghosts, restored to their natural lives.
  • It's heavily implied that Henry Stickmin remembers his previous FAILs, even if they took place in completely different story paths than the ones he actually takes in later games. Prime evidence to this is his reaction to the Teleporter in Completing the Mission; his Unstoppable Rage at that item is completely inexplicable if his previous FAILs weren't being taken into account.
  • After starting the New Game in Inscryption, it should seem like the game has reset to its original state. That is, until the characters start acknowledging the events of the first act and P03 even takes over the game to prevent himself from being used again.
  • One of the most interesting aversions of this trope is The Journeyman Project games. The main character is a member of the titular Journeyman Project, a government agency which was created in response to the emergence of time travel technology to keep history from being changed. Changes in time create a temporal distortion that travels only forward in time from the moment of the change. One agent is constantly on duty to monitor for such changes; in the event that one occurs, the agent time-jumps back into the time of dinosaurs, a period of history considered "safe" because any changes would wipe out humanity. A record of all events in human history is kept there and can be referenced against a similar record in the future. The differences allow the agent to pinpoint the focal points and prevent the changes. The only reason this works is because the agent and lithmus record are not actually subjected to the ripple.
    • Only the first one, technically, although this is generally averted. In the later entries, it becomes possible to detect changes to the timeline without the archive disc. The latter is part of the backstory of The Journeyman Project 2: Buried in Time, where Gage Blackwood (the first game's unnamed Agent 5) is falsely accused of tampering with history for personal gain; the evidence against him consists of mini-temporal distortions originating from several time periods he visited. In the opening of the third game, Agent 3 tries to get the TSA's attention by leaving her Jump Suit time machine behind, setting off a massive temporal distortion.
  • In League of Legends, while only briefly mentioned, Dr. Mundo’s color story, "Do No Harm", heavily implies that he is immune to time travel and its effects, as the narration describes Ekko’s frequent blinking to the past as “the kid” repeating himself, with Mundo not noticing the fact that Ekko is indeed blinking to the past.
  • Played with in The Legend of Zelda Oracle of Ages, where the villain has traveled back in time to complete construction of the never-finished Black Tower. As this happens in the past, the tower will spontaneously become more complete in the present, and certain characters will remark on how they "could have sworn it was smaller" or "every time I look at it it seems higher", like a video game Mandela Effect (See Real Life below).
  • In Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2, Kain is seen in clear anguish as new memories flood his mind after a substantial Time Paradox takes place, realizing that in changing history, he and Raziel did exactly what the Hylden wanted them to do. Not exactly averted as Kain still seemed to remember the original timeline, and that's what was causing his anguish and allowed him to give Raziel one last piece of advice to avert the change, which Raziel didn't heed.
  • This is a prominent gameplay feature of Life Is Strange:
    • It starts when mousy everygirl Max Caulfield is given time manipulation powers. Screw up a conversation with a classmate? Go back to before you talked to them with the new information you gained from the previous timeline and see how well they respond to Max this time. In fact, quite a few of her peers will comment on how Max seems to be on fire this week as the game progresses.
    • Max's powers later expand to include Mental Time Travel into photos of herself, allowing her to alter events years in the past. After a minute or two in the confines of the photo, however, she returns to the altered present with her memories unchanged, forcing her to have to discover for herself how different the world is. In one situation, her diary and phone conversations indicate that the version of her that had been living through these altered historical events became a very different person, but that version of herself effectively got destroyed the moment she returned to the new present.
  • In Loop Hero the entirety of existence is being unmade by Omega the Destroyer but mortals cannot remember unmade things existed in the first place. Omicron only realized something was wrong when he died and became a Lich while Tau was confused why his people didn't panic about the disappearing stars. The Hero has a variant in that he can slowly remember things that have been forgotten, which in turn lets him temporarily bring them back into existence.
  • In Lord of Heroes, once the Monarch of Avillon restarts the timeline, nobody else remembers the previous version of events... except for Astrid, who's ready and waiting to join the Monarch's side when they arrive in the Gallus Empire the second time around. It's not clear why Astrid remembers when even Emperor Kartis, a fellow Returner, does not, but her apparent Medium Awareness probably has something to do with it.
  • Love of Magic:
    • The bond between Chosen and their God transcends timelines. When Owyn meets his Chosen in the Alternate Timeline, they immediately know him and remember what happened in both timelines. Molly and Akane in the original timeline were able to remember both timelines until the bond snapped over to the Alternate Timeline, letting them tell Emily what was going on.
    • Dragons and Daemons are able to see across timelines, including the dragon that Owyn fought in Book I.
    • Certain oaths bind across timelines. Owyn uses the Brotherhood's oath to him in the original timeline to bind them to him in the Alternate Timeline, putting the kibosh on the attempted coup that was using them as muscle.
  • A weird related effect occurs in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time. At one point, you end up altering E. Gadd's memories of the past. He's susceptible to this, but somehow realizes it's happening.
  • You, the protagonist, have this in Millennia: Altered Destinies by virtue of piloting the XTM, a hyper-advanced Cool Ship capable of traveling through space/time and powered by gravitational energy. Any time you change something, your ship shakes, and your on-board AI warns you of an incoming Temporal Storm. As it happens, you can watch the onboard historical database of the Echelon galaxy and it will instantly change the moment the XTM is hit by the storm. The database is intentionally not shielded from the ripple effect, allowing you to see the outcome of your changes. According to Word of God, the game originally had a Nonstandard Game Over triggered when you would make a change making the game unwinnable, resulting in a massive Temporal Storm destroying the XTM. However, when they realized that such an event was impossible given the mechanics of the game (you can always undo what you've done), they removed this option. The goal of the game is to guide four races to prosperity in the Echelon galaxy by intervening in their histories and setting them on the right course.
  • Persona:
    • The fact that Tatsuya didn't give up his memories in Persona 2: Innocent Sin sets up the entire story of Eternal Punishment where the world may end again because of his desire to protect his Cool Big Sis / Love Interest Maya.
    • In Persona 3, while everyone on the team eventually remembers it, at first only Minato (the MC) and Aigis (justified for her as she's a robot) remembers the final battle with Nyx, with Aigis ultimately being the only one on Minato's side when he passed away following his Heroic Sacrifice. Like Persona 2's case, this sets up the story for The Answer epilogue as the team decides to search the meaning of Minato's sacrifice and find an end to the intra-team conflict that happened following his death.
    • In Persona 5 Royal, your party remembers the timeline in which everyone was living in Dr. Maruki's idealized reality and how they changed his heart. For everyone else, although that time isn't reverted, events are said to have played out as they would have had the altered reality never happened, and so their memories reflect the events that would lead them to the point in life that they're at now.
    • In Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth, everyone is supposed to forget the events of the game due to the laws of space-time resetting themselves. But the way Joker smiles in the final cutscene implies that he recognizes Hikari against all odds when he sees her again.
    • The attendants of the Velvet Room in General have this, due to their realm existing outside of Space, Time, Dimensions, and Dreams. All the Persona crossovers, including the PQ games, are remembered by the Velvet room attendants after all the main characters lose their memories of them.
  • Randal's Monday: Randal, the business bum, and Hal are given this. Hal manages to have this by virtue of being an AI. Sally also has this later on.
  • Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time: Alastir Azimuth tells Ratchet that it's possible those in contact with the Great Clock will remember the timeline change if he succeeds in preventing the Lombax genocide, but it's most likely he won't remember meeting Clank. The hypothesis is somewhat supported by a cutscene in which the present day Dr. Nefarious suddenly develops a crack where Ratchet tossed a bomb at him in the past.
  • An interesting case in Second Sight. The protagonist, John Vattic finds himself in a hospital with no memories of his past. The memories come back steadily and he remembers them very vividly (to the point of passing out during the recalls). However, every time he remembers something, he finds that certain things in the present have changed. For example, he looks up the information on his possible Love Interest and finds out that she's dead. He then has another flashback (playable), in which he ends up saving her life. After snapping out of the flashback, he looks at the computer again and notes that she's now alive but in a mental institution. Close to the end of the game comes the twist: the past is actually the present, and the present is actually a possible future he's seeing using his latent Psychic Powers.
  • Played straight in Singularity as Renko as well as everyone on the island is perfectly aware of what is happening to the timeline. This is what allows Barisov to attempt to fix the timeline.
  • The events of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) are occasionally referenced in other Sonic games in this manner. It's typically Sonic himself who recalls these events with clarity, while other characters merely have déjà vu-like recollections.
  • In Spandex Force 2: Superhero U the player character is the only one who remembers the existence of school founder Awesome Man after the Time Master's manipulations in the past. Princess Pain asks why.
    Professor Blizzard Wizard: I think it's quantum.
    Princess Pain: That makes no SENSE!
  • In Spider-Man: Edge of Time, Alchemax CEO Sloan travels back in time to found his company centuries earlier than before, changing history for the worst and putting Alchemax in control of the world. Since Spider-Man 2099 was standing next to the time portal when the changes happened, he was unaffected and still remembers the original history. At the end of the game, both Spider-Men remember the alternate history they prevented and the original history. As Miguel lectures, Reed Richards theorized that if you were at the center of a temporal change, you wouldn't be effected by it, like standing in the eye of a storm, calling it "the Observer Effect".
  • Star Shift Series: The time and space crystal on the Dauntless allows the crew to remember the previous timeline despite the shift and allows the entire state of the ship to remain unchanged. The Order of Restoration's base, Time's Eclipse, also has technology that allows them to recognize changes in the past.
  • Star Trek: Armada has the USS Premonition a time-ship from the future, be immune to the Borg's altering history, and is able to send back a ship to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, and to do it themselves in the ending cinematic.
  • Star Trek Online, being a veritable fountain of Continuity Nods, naturally ends up featuring this in some way. The most prominent example is likely the "Past Imperfect" storyline, which involves the Guardian of Forever granting Ripple Effect-proof memory to the player's crew due to proximity. There are also some unusual examples, in that Present!B'Vat doesn't seem to recall his past self's Future Me Scares Me moment, where he effectively betrays himself. It also leads to some fairly amazing Tricked Out Time, Stable Time Loop, etc. moments.
  • In Torment: Tides of Numenera the Player Character has the ability to use Meres (recordings of the past where you 'live' the part recorded) to actually change the events that were recorded down. If you choose to do this, then on your return anyone affected by the events you changed seem to be aware of the reality they left — in one case, you can use a Mere to undo someone's Laser-Guided Amnesia (you enter the recording of the person who inflicted it), and upon your return the character experiences a superimposition of both having amnesia and of having all the memories that were deleted at the same time.
  • Undertale is a game (partly) about deconstructing the idea of Save Scumming, and has this to different extents. Most characters will think your character looks familiar after already meeting them, even if you don't save your game before "meeting them" the second time. Flowey, who once had the ability to save, can remember everything from your different playthroughs, and uses this to taunt you.
    • A few characters from the full game show this to greater extents. Sans seems to subvert this; he knows from the beginning that multiple timelines and SAVE Scumming exist, which makes him look a lot more aware than the other characters, but if anything his actual memory is weaker, and he's this good because he's Crazy-Prepared and really good at reading your face. He even somehow manages to keep a memento from the Golden Ending after a True Reset. Then there's the Fallen Child, who could possibly be one of the most powerful examples of this, since their memory of your choice to go down the worst ending persists beyond your save file. As in, even if you find where the save data is stored on your computer and delete it from there, they still won't forget.
  • In World of Final Fantasy, after Tama sacrifices her lives to reset the timeline, Reynn still remembers the original timeline in which she was a part of the journey and handled the duties that Serafie is now handling in the new timeline. The game is a bit less clear about the whole memory thing after Tama is restored.

    Visual Novels 
  • Averted in CROSS†CHANNEL. Taichi and Youko often figure out what's going on, but that is because there is one spot that doesn't reset at the end of every week. Records of past Taichis are kept here. Miki at one point or another also discovered this and began hiding inside it every Sunday in order to avoid the resets. However, Nanaka DOES remember all the past weeks. But, as Taichi notices, she's not really 'there' and isn't exactly looping like the rest.
  • Doki Doki Literature Club!: Though there is no time travel in the ordinary sense, there's a weird spoilery meta example: It turns out whoever's the president of the Literature Club can remember everything that happened in the game since it was installed, even when those events were wiped out for everyone else by the player loading or restarting the game.
  • Extra Case: My Girlfriend's Secrets: Marty only has vague memories of every loop, though Nya is aware of every loop because she's the one sending Marty back in time. Every other character has no knowledge of the loops, which leads to Sally thinking Marty is slightly more crazy than he actually is when he takes extreme actions to make sure the tragedies of the previous loops never come to pass.
  • In her tears were my light, the characters Time and Nil can retain memories across different timelines (playthroughs).
  • In The Pirate's Fate, certain of the magic coins the crew is after have the ability to briefly send people back in time to alter the timeline, or to rewrite someone's entire identity. The only people who remember the original timeline are those who happened to be physically near the coin when it was used, not including the person whose history has just been rewritten.
  • Anyone in Time Hollow who either owns a Hollow Pen or was pulled through a Hole has this. Used as a bit of a running gag with one character who introduces himself to the main character every time they meet, since the main character meets him about once per chapter, and undoes their meeting at the end along with everything else that went wrong that day.
  • This is a core tenant of the Zero Escape series. Several main characters across all three games can transfer their consciousness across spacetime, a process known as SHIFTing, to explore the consequences of their actions and "reset" to earlier points and try another path. The route to the Golden Ending in each game will inescapably involve dying in "incorrect" paths in order to obtain information not otherwise possible. (However, in each game it is revealed that it's more about remembering various possible futures in alternate timelines.)

  • For some unexplained reason, when history began to change in Ansem Retort, Riku had this. He managed to get Axel and Zexion to remember the proper timeline when he got them to remember that Andrew Jackson (who they fuse into) is on the twenty dollar bill, and not Jack Bauer.
  • Averted in Bad Machinery, where the events of the alternate timelines are likened as if from a dream: hazy, fantastical, and harder to remember the more you think about it. Lottie and the man who was once her teacher don't recognize each other at all at the end.
  • Blood is Mine: Fuse remembers the Cosmic Retcon that the library inflicted on him, when it changed how he found the information about Geoangular Control.
  • In Breakpoint City, Ben wonders if this is possible when he realizes that he just accidentally gave someone the blueprints for his time machine, goes back to their apartment, and finds a construction zone in its place. If she altered the past enough that she no longer lives there, how can he remember meeting her there, since he wouldn't have met her there?
  • Conversed in El Goonish Shive: Grace expresses confusion about how in Back to the Future Marty is affected by the Delayed Ripple Effect and while at the same time possessing Ripple Effect Proof Memory. Justin tells her that the sequels don't make sense of this inconsistency and further that time travel is not allowed to make sense.
  • Not involving actual time travel, but a teacher at the school The Good Witch is immune to the effects of the mass memory-altering spells that convince everyone else that the past happened differently.
  • When a Hero of Time in Homestuck goes back in time to make a change to restore the alpha timeline, they remember the alternate timeline that they experienced. Also, when John becomes unstuck from canon and actually alters something we had already seen in the alpha timeline, Dave and Jade both have a feeling that the new way it happens isn't how it is supposed to go. Another version of John fixes things.
    • Heroes of Time serve the purpose of fixing the timeline whenever someone does something that screws up the delicate balance of time-travel and closed loops that make Sburb and the entire universe capable of existing. These timelines where people fail, called "doomed timelines", invariably end with the eventual death of the people in them, meaning that the Hero of Time often sees themself dying over and over again, all for the sake of their alternate selves taking the fall for their own mistakes. This oversaturation of death's effect on the psyche is played horrifyingly straight in-comic, with all Time characters disturbed in some way by how disposable they are and how they could be the one that's doomed to screw up.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons
    • 6 Juggernaut Star Scours the Universe implies early on that it remembers earlier iterations of a 'cycle' of existence. This turns out to be because the plot is stuck in a "Groundhog Day" Loop which is repeating endlessly thanks to the machinations of Metatron and Zoss, and because they're both Non Linear Characters they remember each loop perfectly. Those empowered by the Metatron, like 6 Juggernaut Star and Jagganoth, vaguely remember being part of the loop and the general tendencies of every loop, but not the fine detail. They are also revealed to be thoroughly sick of the whole ordeal by now.
    • Later, it's revealed that Gog Agog also remembers everything aside from some things in the very first cycles, has taken such a "big" form (presumably meaning being The Worm That Walks spread across countless people) in order to be able to store all those memories, and is apparently playing the role of a total Cloudcuckoolander due to seeing it all as a play going nowhere.
  • Explicitly "explained" with the retroactive changes caused by the titular Misfile: Ash and Emily can remember their lives before reality was changed because their souls are unavailable to the filing system for updates, so their memories can't be altered by the filing system. The other main character in on the secret, Rumisiel, is an angel, and so is either not included in the filing system or is unaffected by changes to Earth's files.
    • Rumisiel may not be ripple proof; he only knew that he'd messed up a couple of files and roughly where to find his victims. His first guess on what he'd done to Ash was that he'd aged her into a teenager. It's possible that he was too high at the time to realize exactly what he'd done, and only figured it out once he was explicitly told.
  • A great deal of the plot of the now-completed webcomic Narbonic is based on the time-travel adventure of Dave Davenport, and on the fact that afterwards he's the only one who remembers that he used to smoke.
    • Largely, this is an extremely long-term foreshadowing of events involved in the series finale. It's heavily implied that time travel can never really change history, but the astute reader will know this is untrue because of the smoking thing. Which happened years earlier in real world time.
  • Played for laughs in Oglaf where a Time Master mage proudly walks into a court to claim a promised Standard Hero Reward, announcing he went back in time and cured a plague before it even started. Unfortunately, the queen has no idea what he's talking about, but sympathetically offers a severely downgraded reward.
  • As the only survivor of humanity, it's only natural that Sehan of Return to Player has this. Fortunately for him, the Gods and Game Masters don't seem to have it.
  • In Schlock Mercenary, when Kevyn Andreyasn and a miniature version of Sergeant Schlock went back in time to prevent the Bad Future, Schlock accidentally merged with Future!Schlock and now has both sets of memories.
  • This bites Zoe in the ass in Sluggy Freelance. She is downright pissed to discover that, thanks to the changes she made to the past, her history exam now includes an essay question on "The War of the Bug Squishers", a war Zoe helped start by going back in time, and consequently, doesn't know how it ended (or even that it's the same war she helped start).
  • Both played straight and double-subverted in Wapsi Square. Jin remembers every iteration of the Stable Time Loop the characters are meant to resolve, but isn't talking. Meanwhile, Brandi wrote a book in a previous iteration that explains step by step what to do, which is only accessible due to the existence of the Bibliothiki. The main character, however, is left completely in the dark until it's resolved.

    Web Original 
  • Nan Quest's ending resets the timeline, resulting in Nan and the other survivors, Santiago and Kim, being snapped back to the year Nan entered the hotel (2009). All three of them remember the events that took place in the hotel outside of time and space, despite it now being entirely impossible, and both Kim and Santiago being children again. Kim gets to go home with her mother, and Nan adopts Santiago, for a more or less Happy Ending.
  • At the climax to Red vs. Blue's Blood Gulch Chronicles, Wyoming's time-resetting power resets his foes' memory, with the exception of Tucker, whose alien sword prevents the effect and lets him and Church beat Wyoming.
  • Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw's short story, Richard and Maureen's Amazing Time Travel Adventure plays with the trope. The main characters of the story are able to invent a time machine and make changes in the timeline merely by speculating about them. As they're doing this, their memories of how things used to be spontaneously vanish.
  • In the 100th episode of Scott The Woz while reviewing Dick Vitale's Awesome Baby College Hoops Scott suddenly finds himself in an alternate timeline where the only sports game that exists is Dick Vitale's Awesome Baby College Hoops. Turns out that the episode's villain tampered with the timeline and Scott, being the only person in the world playing the game at the time, is the only one who remembers a world with Madden.
  • In the SCP Foundation universe, Depending on the Writer the Foundation might have an archive whose data is immune to alterations due to a changed past. The Foundation can compare current reality to the contents of the archive to determine if anything has been mucking around with the past.
  • Le Visiteur du Futur: The timeline gets changed a few times, but memories are seldom completely erased. It's frequently lampshaded.
    • All the events of the first season are rebooted at the end of the last episode. Despite the Visitor's telling Raph that nobody would remember anything, he, Raph, Tim and Leo do... even the events which haven't technically happened yet ! (Although not all of them are able to understand everything...)
    • However, Judith and Matteo had their own timelines changed "from the outside" (they didn't cause the changes), and as such have no memories. Except some fragments, sometimes, when they're dreaming or inebriated.
    • The simple fact that the Visitor can stop future disasters, and remember that they existed in the first place, is handwaved by the fact that whoever consciously and willingly alters the timeline will be able to remember their acts.

    Western Animation 
  • In the episode of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog where Robotnik, Scratch, Grounder, Sonic and Tails go back to an Ancient Egypt-like era, Scratch and Grounder make it so that two of Sonic's ancestors don't meet, resulting in Sonic not being born. But though Sonic disappears from existence, for plot convenience Tails is still there and remembers him, allowing him to set Sonic's ancestors back up.
  • In The Adventures of Puss in Boots, the timeline gets reset in the series finale, with only Puss and Dulcinea remembering the events of the entire series.
  • American Dragon: Jake Long lampshaded this in the last episode. Jake is talking about Rose, and Spud points out that Jake shouldn't even remember her because of how his wish altered reality. Jake presents a photo and Spud says that that shouldn't exist either.
  • Archie from Archie's Weird Mysteries gains this temporarily due to being rendered "out of sync" from the timeline after field-testing Dilton's experimental Chrono-Field Generator. Good thing too, since this week's villain managed to swipe Dilton's perfected model and is repeatedly resetting time to rob a bank, an act which could result in The End of the World as We Know It and nobody except Archie is able to even notice.
  • Ben 10: In the non-canon What If? episode aptly named "Gwen 10", Ben Tennyson is sent back into the first day of summer vacation, before he got the Omnitrix - which ends up on Gwen's wrist instead of Ben's - yet he knows about all his adventures up to defeating Vilgax.
  • Justified in Code Lyoko, where the Return to the Past function doesn't affect the memories of anybody who has been scanned into the Supercomputer (as well as all the Supercomputer's programs — and incidentally XANA). However, they only travel to the past and see it as Mental Time Travel, which avoids some problems (most notably, they always remember both histories). In the prequel, this became a problem when Jeremie hadn't been scanned and thus didn't remember. Fortunately, he'd been playing with the supercomputer for long enough that he bought their story immediately.
  • In Danny Phantom, Clockwork sets time back two hours before the Nasty Burger incident that would trigger the Bad Future so neither Danny's parents nor his teacher Lancer gained knowledge of their once imminent deaths and Danny's Secret Identity.
    • In general, though, the protagonists tend to invoke this trope, such as wishing to retain their memories when altering the timeline.
  • Dog City: Baron goes back to the time the pilgrims purchased the new world from the natives and made a better offer: squeak toys. This created a Bad Future where he rules. Somehow, Ace and Eddie had this and, after visiting a timeline where Eddie ruled, went back to the past and made an even better offer: a technologically advanced (even for present time standards) fire hydrant the heroes took from the Eddie-ruled timeline.
  • While not being a time travel example, in The Fairly OddParents!, there are a lot of episodes where Timmy makes wishes that drastically alter the world, and all the characters in the episode act like the world has always been like this, except for Timmy and his fairies. Also, some episodes with time travel play this trope in its natural form.
  • In the Futurama episode "Time Keeps On Slippin'", Farnsworth using chronitons to age his atomic supermen from superbabies causes the universe to randomly skip forward in time. Everyone acts normally during the skips, only to suddenly get Laser-Guided Amnesia when time starts up again normally. Things get even more confusing when isolated areas begin skipping, which observing characters can see and comment upon.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures had the two-part episode "Demon World" in which the Big Bad Shendu had used Jackie in a plot to rewrite the history of the world (in a literal, giant Book of History) that more or less canceled all of Shendu's defeats and favors the villains. While in the process of rewriting history, Jade rips a page off the book that mentions her place in history. She keeps this paper so when history is rewritten only she remembers how things were. In this alternative reality Shendu also remembers what things were like, so he is surprised when Jade is able to gather all the main characters to combat him. In the end, the good guys rewrite history to what things were originally like and only they remember this alternative reality.
    • All humans retain their original memories in that series when history is altered by time-travel, even the ones who didn't travel. For example, when Jade accidentally went back to 1976, she prevented Jackie from gaining a scar. While it disappeared from Present Jackie's body, he still remembered it and that clued him to the place in time she went to. When Future Jade came to Present Time to destroy a set of magical teeth so they wouldn't be used to restore Shendu, Future Jackie and Future Uncle still remembered them being used in their time.
  • After Johnny Test changed Porkbelly's history, he had to take a test about the city's history. He failed it because he remembered the original history and not the new history.
  • Justice League:
    • In "The Savage Time", a force field that Green Lantern was using to guide a spaceship in for a landing protects him and everyone in it from the effects of a timeline change.
    • In "The Once and Future Thing Time, Warped", the League goes on a time-travelling adventure against Chronos; while several members travel around, only the two who are there when the reset happens remember it. Those two (one of whom is Batman) have to take a moment to recover from the mental whiplash of cutting instantly from a desperate chase through time to... sitting calmly at a cafeteria table, back where it all started. This really complicates things for John/Green Lantern, who remembers meeting his and Hawkgirl's Kid from the Future even though he's with Vixen at the time.
    • The same episode plays with the concept; an older Leaguer points out that since Old Batman still exists, this means that they must have triumphed somehow, as otherwise Batman would be screwed. Both Batmans point out that his logic is sound... except for the fact that the older Batman has no recollection of coming to the future. Later on, John Steward timeshifts into Hal Jordan, who somehow gains John's ripple-proof memories as if he was the one who got into this whole mess with Batman (he almost immediately shifts back to John without missing a beat). That's how messed up the timestream is after Chronos's shenanigans.
  • Averted in Kim Possible: A Sitch in Time, where nobody remembers the alternate timeline at the end... except Ron has a subconscious aversion to Norwegian meatcakes, and can't figure out why. Played straight earlier in the movie, where Ron is looking at photo album pictures, and is confused when one of them changes.
  • In one episode of The Looney Tunes Show, Daffy accidentally erased himself from history. As it turns out, Lezah still remembers him.
    Lezah: Child, I am not a witch for nothing.
  • In an episode of Men in Black: The Series, an enemy uses time travel to slowly reduce the MiB to a small backroom operation. Jay is the only one who notices the changes, as he had been previously affected by an alien device that made him super-intelligent and immune to the ripple effect.
  • Subverted in Phantom 2040. The team receives messages allegedly from the Phantom of 2157 urging him to forsake the Phantom's Pledge and kill Rebecca Madison. Guran dismisses the idea of a message from the future, but Archer thinks it's possible. As proof, the future Phantom tells the present characters about a shipment of illegal substances about to come in, which the Phantom of 2040 destroys; Phantom of 2157 sends another message, telling them that as a result of his actions, Cyberville was now constructed 87 days later than before. Archer immediately realises that this proves it's a hoax, since obviously the future Phantom wouldn't remember the unaltered timeline.
  • Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja: When the Sorcerer's past was altered and his eight-century-long imprisonment erased, he still remembered it. Later, when Randy and the original Ninja imprisoned the Sorcerer back in the 13th century, Present-time Sorcerer didn't forget his brief freedom.
  • The finale of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated has the timeline altered so the Nibiru entity never existed. The protagonists remember the original timeline because of their involvement in altering it. More bizarrely, Harlan Ellison reveals he'd gained the ability to remember every timeline by writing a lot of science fiction.
  • Averted in the South Park episode "Go God Go XII". Eric Cartman calls his past self, causing several changes to the future world that Cartman apparently doesn't notice. But played straight later in the same episode when Cartman changes the past again and only remembers the old timeline.
  • In the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "Yesteryear", a trip back through the Guardian of Forever changed history by causing Spock to die as a child, before he entered Starfleet. Only the time travelers remembered the original timeline in which Spock existed. Just to add to the confusion it's also averted; You Already Changed the Past also applies in this episode, and Spock is able to save himself by realizing that and replicating the actions of who he now realizes is his own cover identity from memory.
  • Lampshaded in an episode of Static Shock: A new metahuman with time travel powers who goes by the name of Timezone appears and teams up with Static and Gear; they, along with Ebon, have a time travelling adventure, at the end of which Timezone goes back in time and prevents herself from ever getting powers. She ends up with no memory of the events, and as Richie explains, their adventure now never happened. When Virgil protests that he and Richie both remember the events, Richie advises him not to think too hard about it. This also handwaves the paradox of how she could've prevented herself from getting her powers without her powers.

    Real Life 
  • This help wanted ad (inspiration for the film Safety Not Guaranteed).
  • Stephen Hawking's time traveler party, as mentioned in Into the Universe. No one came... or did they? Maybe he's keeping mum.
  • A theory about the workings of our universe posits that unlike energy (and by extension mass), information can be created out of nothing and disappear into nothing. This might allow for Ripple-Effect Proof Memory, provided time travel is possible.
  • The Mandela Effect is a phenomena in which multiple people have conflicting memories of past events. The name derives from Nelson Mandela and the fact that many people remember news of him dying in prison many years before his official death in 2013 (in truth, most of them are probably conflating him with fellow anti-Apartheid activist Steve Biko, who has a pretty beloved movie to his name). Researchers have discovered psychological factors that can lead to this kind of widespread false memory, but some people remain convinced that it's a sign of some kind of alternate timeline glitch.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Ripple Proof Memory, Time Traveller Immunity


Velma Remembers

After Velma meets Scooby, she starts to remember the other times she had already met him.

How well does it match the trope?

4.83 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / CosmicHorrorStory

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