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Saturn Girl: (as Supergirl removes her helmet) "Great rings of Saturn! Unknown Boy was really Supergirl!"

Supergirl: "Yes, I remember now... that is my name! Supergirl! Your speaking it has made me remember everything I had forgotten."
Supergirl recovering

In the real world, amnesia is rare, and it can last anywhere from days to a lifetime.

On TV, amnesia is just a plot device for the current episode or movie or whatever. Everything and anything the character knows about him or herself may be lost, or just the last 24 hours may disappear — it's completely dependent on the plot. This is often used to avoid As You Know exposition by making it so the character doesn't know things they should be familiar with; whether it's actually an improvement is down to the individual viewer.

If the victim recovers, it usually occurs by the end of the episode, with the character simply bonking their noggin a second time (conveniently ignoring the fact that this is likely to make things worse, not better), or with some Applied Phlebotinum from the resident scientist/physician. On the other hand, if the victim does not recover by the end of the episode, they almost certainly never will and those memories will be gone forever.

Note that TV usually uses retrograde amnesia (the inability to recollect memories from before the head bump) but almost never uses anterograde amnesia (the inability to create memories after the bump). While there have been a few examples recently, they have mostly been due to the popularity of the movie Memento. Even when it does appear in a show, what's depicted usually doesn't come close to the actual disorder. For a realistic breakdown, read up on the case of Clive Wearing.

Expect a Non Sequitur Thud before being out cold.

See also Tap on the Head, Amnesia Danger, Amnesiac Lover, Identity Amnesia, Criminal Amnesiac, Hard Head, Amnesiac Hero.

Examples of Easy Amnesia include:

Anime and Manga

  • In The Big O, the entire city is suffering from a curious form of amnesia. Almost exactly forty years prior to the events in the series a massive cataclysm nearly destroyed the world and left all survivors with no memories. Although probably not much of a trope as the entire show deals with the nature of memories and what they really are, treating them more as ghosts than anything else.
    • Justified as well; there is no "before forty years ago."
  • In Bleach, Nel lost her memory after receiving a blow to the head from Nnoitra.
    • And being turned into a child. Which, from what we know about Hollows, is something Nel never experienced as a Hollow, and may be one of the reasons for the problem. It is implied that the incident occured years before the recovery.
  • Dragon Ball Z's treatment of amnesia seems closer to reality than most: Goku got amnesia as a child when he fell out of his Grandpa's hands and down a steep gorge. He never recovered from it, and whenever a character would refer to it they would almost always mention how Goku nearly died from the fall.
    • Another realistic treatment is Piccolo's, or rather, Kami's memories. After arriving on Earth in a spaceship as a child he had absolutely no memories of who he is or what he's doing there - he speculates that he probably hit his head. He also never recovers from it, and unlike Goku he never even finds out what his real name was (no, Piccolo is not his name; read the manga).
  • Ga-Rei sees Kagura lose much of her memory within a period of time. She eventually recovers it in a matter of chapters.
  • Ef a Tale of Memories : One of the stories is about Chihiro, who can't remember anything beyond 13 hours in the past. This leads to one very dramatic scene, when she passes out for a longer period of time and can't remember why she's so much older and lacks one eye.
  • A number of characters suffer from this in the Dating Sim adaptation Kanon.
    • Specifically, Makoto and Yuuichi. Makoto because she's a fox turned into a human, so she had to sacrifice her memories and the remaining years of her life to make the transition and Yuuichi because he blocked out the very traumatic event in his past, and lost all memories of his prior trip to the town, seven years ago.
  • Subverted in Mahou Sensei Negima, where Yue seems to have this, until we find out that someone accidentally gave her Laser-Guided Amnesia about her life, and was too embarrassed to say so, so she just told Yue that she bumped her head.
  • Supposedly happens to Kaito in Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, but it's revealed early on that it wasn't a bump at all.
  • Midori no Hibi has a slightly more realistic example. A bump on the head eliminates a minor character's knowledge of Seiji's secret ? but not only was this unnecessary to resolve the story, it also alters his personality a bit. The brain is a fragile thing.
  • The twins in Ouran High School Host Club attempt to invoke this on Kasanoda by hitting him on the head with a baseball bat. Kyoya stops them, much to their annoyance.
  • In an episode of Pokémon, Pikachu gets amnesia after a Team Rocket attack and Meowth convices him to be a part of Team Rocket. Pikachu gets cured after taking a long drop into a river with Ash. Doubles as a Tear Jerker.
  • Ranma ½: Chinese Girl Shampoo, in her first story, reveals she has a Pressure Points technique that lets her modify memories; she not only manages to make Akane Tendo forget who Ranma Saotome is, but also puts a kind of block on her mind so she literally cannot form any mental association with him- which leads to her repeatedly asking who Ranma is after he just told her his name a few minutes ago, much to Ranma's annoyance. Fortunately, Akane Tendo is such a Tsundere that the technique gets broken by having Ranma mock her until her sheer rage breaks down the blocks. For added Martial Arts and Crafts appeal, the actual technique looks like the user is performing haircare on their victim; as the points (understandably) are on the head, and certain herbal extracts are needed to bring out the full effect, it's easiest to disguise the manuever as washing hair.
    • Shinnosuke, a boy from the forest of Ryugenzawa, is forgetful to a crippling degree. Among the things he's forgotten: his own grandpa, the location of the traps he has set for the animals of the forest, people he's met only minutes ago and the conversations he's had with them, and having saved a young Akane's life ten years ago. When he meets her again (believing it's the first time) he endears himself to her by writing her name all over the house so he won't forget again. Unfortunately, he later forgets having confessed his love to her also, but not the love itself.
  • Rumbling Hearts: Haruka suffers from anterograde amnesia after being hit by a car. This is on top of the three years she missed while comatose. This could be considered a subversion, as it takes most of the length of the series for her to recover.
  • To Aru Majutsu no Index: Index remembers very little of her own life due to periodic mind-wipes by her magician caretakers.
    • Also, after a particular incident in the anime with certain white fleathers, Touma seems to have lost of all his memory, and just fakes it to everyone.
    • Mikoto finds out about it in Book 14, and in Book 16 she confronts Touma about it. It's also the same book where she realizes she loves him, going so far as to demand him to report any enemy to her so that she could kill them for him.
  • In Elfen Lied, Lucy has this. While she can sometimes remember herself, most of the time she is reduced to a powerless, infantlike Blank Slate that knows nothing about proper behavoir, the bathroom, or the Japanese language. Then again, considering her life, heavy braindamage might not be so bad.
  • The cause of Elie's amnesia in Rave Master is unknown, with most likely causes being magic overload, Sieg blowing up the building she was in, and a 50 year long deep sleep. It takes most of the manga (roughly thirty volumes) to recover her memories, which is the focal point several times. When she finally regains her memories she get's amnesia again roughly a week later simply because she doesn't want to remember a certain death. When said death turns out to have not been real, she regains her memories again.
  • Celty from Durarara lost some memories from over a hundred years ago, possibly due to losing her head. There's only that thought and one of Shinra's theories to go by and the head loss seems to be the most sensible explanation.
  • In Naruto a repentant bandit fell from a cliff and became an amnesiac as a result, earning him the nickname "Menma" in Konoha. Shortly afterward events in the village reminded him of his past as a bandit, but he chose to keep his returned memories to himself.
  • Words Worth: This happens to Prince Astral after Maria uses her magic to banish him into the future in a fit of rape-induced rage, affecting him to the point where in later episodes he even participates in an attack against his former kingdom.
  • In the 100th episode of Keroro Gunsou, everyone in the Hinata household at the time when a laser beam hit the house. They try to figure out who they are by trying out several identities. But the amnesia couldn't have come at a worse time as the Keroro Platoon's underground HQ has started the countdown to self-destruction.

Comic Books

  • In Asterix and the Big Fight, Getafix becomes amnesiac (and crazy) after getting accidentally hit by one of Obelix's menhirs. When they take Getafix to another druid to be treated, Obelix demonstrates how it happened by tapping the druid with the menhir, leaving him in the same condition as Getafix. Later, Obelix gets the bright idea of curing Getafix with another tap on the head... just as Getafix manages to cure himself. Fortunately, he's still all right.
  • Lampshaded in the comic SODA: the main character gets Laser-Guided Amnesia after a car accident. When he comes back home, he watches a TV special on the subject which explains that it's incredibly rare and almost never happens - except in fiction written by people who "lack imaginative ideas".
  • It happens to Calculus in the Tintin story "Destination Moon" after he falls down a ladder. It's hypothesized that a shock may bring his memory back, so Captain Haddock tries to do so, but ends up failing. He finally gets so fed up with it that he mentions that Calculus is "acting the goat" (an expression that previously acted as a Berserk Button for Calculus), which gets Calculus so angry that his memory returns.
  • The "bump on the head" concept is taken to its logical extreme in a Groo the Wanderer storyline where the various antagonists, some who needs Groo to keep his memory, and some who needs him to forget, literally turns Groo's memory on and off by hitting him repeatedly on the head.
  • Richie Rich once got amnesia while he attended a “Rags to Riches” party and believed he was a poor orphan and wound up winning the lottery.
  • In ‘’Archie’’ Betty got amnesia while canoeing with Archie, and was found by hillbillies who tricked her into thinking she was their “sister”.

Fan Works

  • In With Strings Attached, the Baravadans have a liquor called Thief. Drinking Thief gradually removes your memories until you barely have enough left to find your way home. The effects wear off overnight, or when something reminds you of something. Paul drinks a lot of it to forget his emotional pain during his Depression Era, though it always comes back full force in the morning.
  • Averted in Hunting the Unicorn. Blaine gets concussed and starts rambling nonsense, then regains awareness with no memory of the past half-hour. This is bad, because he got locked in his stalker's basement with Wes and David. In the next chapter when he calls home for help, he ends up crying and calling his father out on his Parental Neglect. ...Except he's actually talking to his Parental Substitute Greg.


  • Overboard features a Rich Bitch who gets amnesia after she falls over the side of her yacht and almost drowns. A working class man she's insulted tries to enact a little revenge on her (and get her to do a little housework for him) by convincing her that she's his wife. Of course, this being a quirky Romantic Comedy, things don't go as planned...
  • In Random Harvest (1942), Ronald Colman plays a World War I veteran hospitalized with shell shock and complete retrograde amnesia. He escapes from the hospital, marries Greer Garson, and settles down to a happy small-town life — until he makes a business trip to London, where he is involved in a car accident that causes him to recover his lost memories... but completely forget his entire life since the war, including his marriage.
  • In Spider-Man 3, Harry Osborn has temporary amnesia after being badly injured during a fight with Peter Parker. It not only results in rather convenient selective memory loss, but also changes Harry's personality substantially. In the comics, similar tactics were used on occasion to make Norman Osborn forget that he was the Green Goblin.
  • In Resident Evil, both Alice and Spence Parks lose their memories of their past lives as a side effect of being rendered unconscious by sleep gas. They regain at least some of their memories by the end of the movie.
    • In Resident Evil Afterlife Clair now has amnesia but is slowly regaining memories as the plot advances. Presumably everybody fitted with the control bug also don't have a clue who they are, were they are, or what's going on.
  • In The Muppets Take Manhattan, Right after Kermit finds out that the production is a go, he gets hit by a car, and he loses his memory. he regains it as a result of Miss Piggy throwing him against a wall.
  • Parodied in The Truman Show, when Truman's father's inconvenient reappearance after being Put on a Bus is to be explained as down to amnesia. When he admits this, the director looks suitably shame-faced.
  • At the beginning of Dark City, Murdoch wakes up in a room with a murdered woman and Easy Amnesia . Somewhat justified because the Strangers were constantly removing and re-inserting new memories into their human test subjects.
  • Clean Slate is about a detective in the middle of a big case when an injury leaves him with a unique form of amnesia: every time he goes to bed, he wakes up with without his memory. This leads him to leave various notes and messages to himself to clarify his situation until he recovers, while still trying to crack the case.
  • In American Dreamer, the main character has a concussion and thus thinks she's the heroine of her favorite mystery novels.


  • The Recognition of Shakuntala, an episode from the Ancient Sanskrit epic Mahabharata that was later Expanded into a theatrical drama by the Indian playwright Kalidasa around the 1st century BC, is probably the Ur Example of this trope. It's a Girl Meets Boy story about a woman named Shakuntala who meets Dushyanta and they get married him, only for him to get cursed with Amnesia and completely forget her. The only way to lift the curse is to show him the ring that he gave her, but she loses the ring in a river. She eventually finds the ring by the end of the story, makes him remember, and then they live Happily Ever After.
  • The hero of Edgar Rice Burroughs' The Monster Men suffers from amnesia, allowing him to be taken for a result of the Mad Scientist's experiment.
    • The same thing happens to the protagonist of Saberhagen's The Frankenstein Papers. Justified in the report he files, after regaining his memory and realizing he's an alien who'd been investigating the electrical activity in Frankenstein's lab: amnesia is a typical side-effect of exposure to high voltages in his species, and the lab's equipment wasn't properly insulated.
  • "Jason Bourne", in Robert Ludlum's Bourne Trilogy and the movies loosely based on them, forgets his name and past, but instinctively remembers his superspy/assassin training. It is revealed that the conditioning he received in Project Treadstone made him a psychological accident waiting to happen. In the film, the amnesia is triggered by a psychotic break, several gunshot wounds, and nearly drowning; in the novel, it was being shot several times including once in the head, being cast adrift in a stormy sea for several hours, and lingering in a prolonged near-death state.
  • Gene Wolfe's Soldier of the Mists, Soldier of Arete, and Soldier of Sidion features an ancient warrior who, every night, loses his memory of the day before. He also has visions of various gods. Though the characters view him as cursed by the gods, he had suffered a head injury and it is a known form of amnesia.
  • The character Tzigone from the Forgotten Realms Counselors and Kings trilogy has this. It turns out her wizard mother deliberately wiped her memory just before she was captured by her enemies, so that Tzigone wouldn't go looking for her and get herself killed. Her memory comes back gradually over the course of the novels.
  • Jame, the protagonist of P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath series, cannot remember anything from when she was seven years old until when she was seventeen. Some details have resurfaced, but five years later, most still remains gone. It's likely the amnesia is magical in nature, though its exact cause is as yet unknown.
  • Occured in a Super Special of The Baby Sitters Club, when Mallory came across a woman asking random by-standers if anyone knew who she was. She ended up regaining her memory in about a week, tops.
  • Happens to Jimmy, the apprentice Michael and Fisk bring with them as a witness in the Knight and Rogue Series to prove that they weren't responsible should a fire start. The initial mob that appears when a building does, as they suspected, catch fire, not only ignores Jimmy, but throws him into a wall, causing him to forget most of the previous day.
  • Happens to Bran in A Song of Ice and Fire after taking a bit of a tumble from a high window. May be a more justified example than most: it's implied that his inability to remember the events immediately preceding his fall may be as much psychosomatic (it was a very traumatic injury) as physical.
  • The trope is given a little jab in Isabel Cooper's No Proper Lady, when Simon plans to get around explaining where Joan came from by claiming she hit her head and lost her memory. Joan protests that amnesia doesn't work that way, to which Simon replies that nobody they're telling the story to is going to know any better.
  • Done realistically in Caliban. Doctor Leving does suffer from traumatic amnesia from being violently assaulted, but it's limited to events shortly before being attacked. Which is exactly what Ariel wanted - for Doctor Leving to forget about needing to doublecheck the inventory records (What she had been doing when the attack took place) until she could arrange to alter the records to cover up the fact that Ariel a non-Three Law Compliant test robot that was intended to be destroyed after the tests were completed.
  • In Devon Monk's Allie Beckstrom books, one consequence of magic is losing memories. You don't get them back, though.

Live Action TV

  • A particularly infamous example occurred in the first series of Twenty Four where Teri goes into shock and forgets nearly everything about her life, only to recover suddenly a few hours later. It should be noted that the first series of 24 was much less tightly written than later ones, and the writers have admitted that they just needed a way to keep the character away from the action for a few episodes.
    • In a nice nod to realism, though (and the only good quality about that sordid plotline), Teri gets amnesia after she gets out of a car parked on a narrow ledge, tells Kim to stay there while she tries to find help, and watches as the car goes rolling over the edge and explodes. One of the most common causes of retrograde amnesia is sheer brain-rending trauma that the sufferer feels primarily responsible for, so it's nice to see that happen instead of another coconut to the head.
  • In one episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, Captain Archer actually gets anterograde amnesia. Earth is destroyed by the Xindi, and Archer has been unable to form any new memories for years. Every morning he wakes up and thinks it's the same day, when in reality it's about 13 years after the event. Of course, Dr. Phlox eventually cures him (it's due to a virus), but because it's a time-based virus, curing it in the present also cures it in the past; meaning Archer never lost his memory and Earth was never destroyed.
  • The typical "amnesia plot" was subverted in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Future Imperfect". After an away mission goes awry, Commander Riker wakes up sixteen years in the future, with Doctor Crusher explaining that he has acquired a brain disease which has ravaged all memory of the intervening years since he contracted the infection during the away mission. This turns out to be an elaborate ruse - he's still in the present, and his mind is being probed to construct this future reality in the hopes that he will keep a lonely alien company.
    • Another episode has Data getting amnesia while on a pre-industrial alien world. This at least is justified somewhat, since Data is an Android and thus his "memory loss" can be explained away as a malfunction.
    • And yet another has the entire crew losing their memories as the result of a cunning plan by an alien intruder to have them help him make war on an enemy. Naturally, this leads to all kinds of hijinks and hilarious misunderstandings as the crew misinterpret their true roles on the ship.
  • In the Angel episode "Spin the Bottle", all of the heroes lose their adult memories due to a magical spell, causing them to revert to their teenage selves. The title character then freaks out, because his teenage self is from the 1700s.
  • In an unusual exception, Jaime Sommers of The Bionic Woman suffered substantial amnesia (forgetting most of her life) as a result of the operating table resuscitation that launched her series — and never recovered from it.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Tabula Rasa", all of the heroes lose their memories due to a magical spell. Gee, it's almost as if Buffy and Angel were produced by the same company or something.
  • Link title Jeremy Darling of Dirty Sexy Money fakes a case of this as a way to try to figure out how to get Nola out of a jam, which he is not supposed to know she is in.
  • Due South did this in its second season closer, and used it as an excuse for a Clip Show as Ray had to "remind" Fraser about their adventures. Gah.
  • Michelle falls off a horse and gets amnesia in the final episodes of Full House.
  • Lisa from Green Acres suffers an interesting case where she actually believes she's a different person with a very thorough Backstory. She believes Oliver is her butler, expects her fiance to pick her up for a date, and has amazing cooking skills. Since she is normally a Lethal Chef, Oliver is flabbergasted when she cooks muffins so light they drift slowly down to the plate when dropped. Finally, she instantly recognizes their neighbor Mr. Kimball and treats him normally, even though she can't correctly identify anyone else.
  • Hannah Montana gives Jackson amnesia through what seems like a blow to the head, and Miley uses his memory loss to her advantage, convincing Jackson that he is her idea of the perfect older brother (Happiness in Slavery). Subverted when Jackson's amnesia turns out to be an even more epic Zany Scheme to remind Miley that she would miss her brother if he were any different (given nearly every episode ends with An Aesop of some variety, this is the Disney Channel after all, so this is just par for the course for the show).
  • The BBC comedy series Ideal featured a call girl who is kidnapped with the intention of ransoming her off. The plan falls through, but during the ruckus she is hit on the head and suffers temporary amnesia. One character takes advantage of this by telling her that he's her boyfriend, and that he'll help her remember things. When her memory starts to return, she runs back to who she thinks is her genuine boyfriend, but he turns out to be her pimp. After being mistreated by him, she runs back to the man who had lied to her, seeking protection.
  • On Little House On the Prairie, a boy fakes blindness after an accident, and Laura finds out but agrees keep quiet and let him tell his parents. Before he can do that, he falls off a horse and hits his head again, conveniently forgetting everything since the first accident. His parents and Doctor Baker just assume the second blow brought his sight back.
  • Claire Littleton suffers this kind of amnesia after her mysterious kidnapping and return by the Others on Lost. Lampshaded by Sayid asking Jack if he's ever seen such a convenient case of amnesia in his medical practice, and Jack agreeing that it's unlikely and probably a sign of something more sinister. Season 2 reveals Claire's amnesia is partly due to blocking out trauma, but mostly because the Others kept her heavily drugged the whole time they had her. How the Others achieved this isn't really explained until a bonus feature on the Season Six DVD, in which a DHARMA orientation film reveals that Room 23 was used to brainwash captured Hostiles and remove all memory of their captivity.
    • Daniel Faraday apparently had anterograde amnesia before coming to the island. This was eventually explained as a side effect of his experiments, which involved sending his own consciousness briefly into the future.
    • In Season Six, Sun suffers from a convenient bump on the head that renders her unable to speak English for several episodes.
  • In one episode of Married With Children, Peggy bumps her head and gets amnesia. Al tricks her into believing that she was a good housewife. Peggy got it back after having sex with Al.
    • Thelma does the same to Naomi on Mama's Family. Unfortunately, Naomi is more annoying as a good housewife.
  • MacGyver became an amnesiac several times as a result of blows to the head. Given that he's knocked unconscious at least once an episode, he's lucky that's the worst he ever got.
  • In the second season The Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode "The Nowhere Affair", Napoleon Solo, facing imminent capture by a pair of THRUSH mooks, takes "Capsule B", a drug which induces "total amnesia" for a period of at least 72 hours.

 Illya Kuryakin: Just how effective are these capsules? Total amnesia?

Alexander Waverly: Oh, I daresay he'll still be able to count up to ten in Swahili, or conjugate a few simple Latin verbs, but he'll not be able to remember a thing about U.N.C.L.E., or have the remotest idea who he is, for at least 72 hours, by which time the information will be in our hands... I hope.

    • And in the third season episode "The Pieces of Fate Affair", the innocent-of-the-week suffers partial amnesia when she's grazed in the head by a bullet during a THRUSH assassination attempt.
  • Hilariously lampshaded in an episode of the The Middleman, where a guy that the heroine recently met and had become fond of suffers a concussion during one of her missions, and consequently develops amnesia that conveniently causes him to forget the past 2 days.
  • Ed the horse gets amnesia on Mr. Ed, forcing Wilbur to fake having it as well so he can use whatever cure is tried on him on Ed.
  • The entire plot of Samantha Who.
  • After a car crash in the S Club 7 Christmas Special, Paul gets amnesia, which is later cured by watching another patient at the hospital crash his wheelchair. Hannah is also left unable to speak correctly for a time due to the crash.
    • Isn't their series called "Miami 7"?
  • Cameron in The Sarah Connor Chronicles gets a kind of this in Alison from Palmdale. Her 'amnesia' is caused by a faulty chip however.
  • Rachel McKenna from Shortland Street lost her memory and underwent a total personality change when she was struck by lightning. After several weeks all it took was a simple electric shock from a lamp to get her memory and her old personality back.Only now she couldn't remember anything that happened when she suffered from the amnesia.
  • One Story Arc of Smallville doesn't use this trope. Lex Luthor, through his father's machinations, is given permanent amnesia through electroshock at a crooked psych ward, causing him to forget both his father's evil dealings and Clark's secret identity. Also an example of Laser-Guided Amnesia, since it's convenient to the plot.
    • Smallville is Easy Amnesia: The Series. 90% of the cast, Clark Kent included, ought to be suffering from severe head trauma by now. If someone sees Clark using his powers, especially in the early seasons, you can bet they'll get an instant bonk on the head to forget that. The bludgeoning might not even be needed, but although psychological shock is more likely to trigger something like this, they don't show any other signs of it.
      • There's a vaccine: If you learn Clark's secret and don't forget it immediately, you are henceforth immune to amnesia.
      • ...Or die.
  • Soap has a classic case of this with Chester forgetting who he was and only slowly recovering. For a while he thought his name was Chester Plate instead of Tate.
  • An episode of Stargate SG-1 has Vala hooked up to a device meant to probe her memory. When a zat sends a power surge through it, she loses all knowledge of who she is (but apparently gains enough knowledge of Earth customs to pass unnoticed).
  • Stargate Atlantis has a rare example of both: Everyone in Atlantis except Ronon and Teyla gets not only retrograde amnesia, but also loses their newly formed memories every few minutes. It's caused by a common childhood disease similar to chicken pox that humans never encountered before and therefore aren't immune to.
    • There's another episode where team member "Michael" wakes up in the hospital with absolutely no memory of who he is, and the other main characters assure him that it's a temporary amnesia that will probably get better with time... except it won't, because Michael is actually a biological experiment designed to turn Wraith into humans, and he has no memory of his life as a Wraith. He eventually discovers the truth, and the shit hits the fan.
  • Subverted on Starsky and Hutch; after a car accident, Hutch apparently has amnesia, which is used as an opportunity for a Clip Show as Starsky reminds him of their past. Near the end of the show, it turns out that Hutch is fine; he's just taking revenge on Starsky for his reckless driving.
  • In Weird Science practically every episode ends with Lisa handing out free Laser-Guided Amnesia for all implicated parties except for the main characters of course. Suverted when Lisa couldn't wipe Chett's memory because he developed a brain callous out of the absurd number of times his memory has been edited.
  • Wonderfalls, in a late-season arc, Subverted it: Heidi Gotts gets bumped on the head and decides to fake amnesia precisely because so many people think it works this way.
  • Gibbs suffers a two-part amnesia arc after being blown up in the third season finale of NCIS. It's mostly an excuse to drag out the search for the bad guy while still allowing Gibbs to be conscious in many scenes. Also, to make Ziva cry.
    • In an ironic twist, a bonk to Ziva's head (courtesy of the Gibbs slap) triggers some of his memories.
  • In the Fraggle Rock episode Boober Gorg, Boober loses his memory after being hit on the head by a falling rock, and begins thinking he's a Gorg. The Gorgs are actually fooled too, but only because there were rumors of a sorcerer roaming the area and one of them coincidentally going missing, leading the Gorgs to jump to the wrong conclusion...
  • Monk once got temporary amnesia from a blow to the head. In the episode, his therapist did acknowledge that that kind of amnesia is quite rare.
  • The Castle episode "The Fifth Bullet" featured a case of this. Possibly subverted in that the character in question never recovers.
  • Subverted on Kenan and Kel. When the two go to the airport to pick up Kenan's friend's girlfriend, they accidentally hit her on the head. When she wakes up, she claims she doesn't have a boyfriend and leaves. Hilarity Ensues as they try to find her and get her back. In the end, it turns out they got the wrong girl. It was also lampshaded when Kel attempts to get her memory back by hitting her a second time.
  • The Addams Family episode "Amnesia in the Addams Family" is entirely about this.
  • The "Angels Revenge" episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 opens with Crow believing he has amnesia, and asking Mike to "clear it up" by hitting him on the head with a large wooden mallet.

 Mike: So, Crow, about this amnesia of yours...

Crow: Oh, it's terrible, Mike. The list of things I can't remember is endless! I can't remember you, I can't remember Cambot, I can't remember Fisk's home run off the foul pole in the bottom of the 12th in Game Six of the '75 World Series!

Servo: (* working a crossword puzzle* ) Okay, 'Mythical beast', eight letters, beginning with...

Crow: Minotaur.

  • The Fugitive episode "Escape Into Black" has Richard Kimble getting amnesia from an exploding stove, making him forget he's a wanted felon and thus vulnerable to capture.
  • The UnSub in the Criminal Minds episode "Tabula Rasa" got amnesia after falling off a building and being put into a coma for three years.
  • An I Dream of Jeannie episode has Jeannie getting amnesia from a bump on the head, and forgetting that she's a genie. Jeannie than accidentally turns Bellows into a mouse, and Bellows is mistaken for a mouse going to be sent to Mars.
    • Another episode had Tony getting amnesia, and falling in love with Jeannie.
  • Peter spends most of season two of Heroes running around Ireland without his memory. He gets it back around the time he rejoins the main plot thread of the season.
    • In this case, the amnesia was the result of the Haitian using his Mind Wipe ability on him.
  • Used in an episode of My Name Is Earl. Earls old buddy Sweet Johnny (cause hes the sweetest guy anyone knew) is convinced by Earl to keep doing dangerous stunts that leave him laid up... so Earl can bang his girlfriend. After twice trying to confess, he finds out it wasn't his fault. Johnny bashed his head into a drawer, which resets his memory to the same day every time. Slightly subverted as there is no magic fix. After trying to kill himself, johnny simply knocks himself out, resetting his memory once again. Earl finally resigns to the fact that this is the one list item he can never cross off. He circles it instead.
  • Are You Being Served: Subverted in the episode "Memories Are Made of This;" Mrs. Slocombe gets hit on the head with a golf ball, and uses the opportunity to pretend to have lost all her memories past the age of 5 so she can get a free coat.
  • An episode of Human Target has the client lose his memory in a car bombing incident right as the team was about to meet him. Thus, they know almost nothing about him except that he's being targeted for murder, which is one more thing than he knows.
  • In an episode of Lois and Clark, Clark attempts to destroy an asteroid heading for Earth by ramming into it, only to fall back to Earth and lose his memory. Another asteroid is also due to destroy all life on Earth in a few days, but Superman is nowhere to be found. Everyone wonders where their hero is, including the amnesiac Clark. His parents try to explain to him that he is Superman. His dad succeeds by trying to hit Clark with a bat and having it shatter. He can't re-learn to fly in a few days, though. Eventually, just as all seems lost, he regains his memory and pushes the asteroid out of the way.
    • One long arc had Lois get hit by a car, and think that she was a character in a book she was writing. Than she remembers she is Lois, but not that she and Clark are a couple.
  • In the Knight Rider episode "Knightmares", Michael loses the last few years of his life. This is particularly stressful for him given that in that time he's acquired a) a completely new identity b) a new face and c) a partner who's a talking car.
  • The Legend of Dick and Dom has an episode, "Forget Me Nuts", where all the characters (including a mysterious one we have not seen before) wake up with no memory and have to try and work out who they are, what happened, and what they need to do next. By the end, they have managed to get the Big Bad to lose his memory too, and convinced him that he is a travelling sandal saleswoman. And then the narrator loses his memory.
  • In the Andromeda episode "Music of a Distant Drum" Tyr gets this from some Nanomachines, his Nietzschean immune system eventually fights them off but in the meantime he becomes somewhat attached to the fisherwoman who finds him.
  • In Sabrina the Teenage Witch one episode had Harvey getting beaned with a ladder and think his girlfriend was Libby.



  • In the Big Finish Doctor Who radio drama Orbis, the Doctor has amnesia ... Sort of. Mostly it's because he's started to forget things that happened before his six hundred year stint on Orbis; however, he still remembers Earth, the TARDIS, and the events that led to his living on Orbis (He was pulled off the edge of a balcony into a gigantic canyon by Morbius.) Oddly, though Lucie was present during that event, he doesn't remember her at all. In the end it's a combination of time (e.g: a few hours) and Lucie slapping him across the face several times that brings his memory back.


  • In Bionicle, Takua has suffered permanent amnesia three times. The first was due to his being kidnapped and brainwashed for his own protection, the second was a result of his entire city having induced amnesia, and the third was just good ol' head trauma.

Video Games

  • Exception: Super Robot Wars Alpha 2 has Ibis Douglas, who lost her memories due to a jet fighter crash and some severe repression before the story starts. She's a terrible pilot, and some assume she must've been a great pilot before she got amnesia. As later events reveal, she was actually even worse. Since she's a main character though, she later does turn into a great pilot.
  • Justified in Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti Does A Little Undercover Work, the fourth game in the Leisure Suit Larry series: At the start of the game, Larry, being a character in a computer game, has completely forgotten the events of his previous adventure, Leisure Suit Larry 4: The Missing Floppies, because the villain has stolen the game disks.
    • In reality, Leisure Suit Larry 4 never even existed, as the third game's ending didn't lend itself to a sequel and the designers decided to skip straight to the fifth game, letting players come up with their own theories on the events of Leisure Suit Larry 4.
      • There's also the fact that Al Lowe promised there'd never be a fourth game of the series, due to some of the negative reactions garnered by the series. He kept his promise, too...
      • The game was indeed created, but was flushed down a toilet by Roger Wilco in Space Quest IV. This temporal paradox caused the game to never be published.
  • Double H in Beyond Good and Evil gets Easy Amnesia not from a whack on the head, but from prolonged exposure to alien lightning. It temporarily renders him a Cloudcuckoolander with what appears to be an action movie hero complex and a tendency to mangle names. He recovers after a boss battle that requires you to use his head as a battering ram several times, which is something of the inverse of how this trope usually works...
  • In Vandal Hearts, character Eleni has this as a result of having been sent traumatically back in time as a young child; the character recovers her memory after seeing herself sent back.
  • In the second expansion set for World of Warcraft, Muradin Bronzebeard is revealed to have been knocked out and given amnesia instead of being killed, which completely destroys the dramatic purposes of his death.
    • The strangest part is that there's no discernible reason for this. Yorg Stormheart could have been a completely new character and it wouldn't have made a lick of difference to the plot so far, save for some Backstory told to the PC to liven up a long period in one quest in which nothing much happens.
  • Subverted (kinda) in Shadow Hearts: From the New World, Johnny Does loses his memory and hasn't gotten it back by the start of the game. Subverted in that he got from an accident that killed his entire family. Maybe a Self-Defense Mechanism?
    • Or maybe a side affect of being brought back from the dead.
  • Largely averted in Final Fantasy VI; there are precisely two cases of amnesia, and neither one is easily received or easily fixed. Terra's amnesia is explicitly magical, stemming as it does from years of wearing a Slave Crown. Any memories she gets back after that tend to be hazy and less than useful, and while she does make a full recovery, that too is magical. Rachel suffers a far more mundane case of amnesia, that comes about from a serious fall. The entire affair is hugely tragic, and she doesn't recall anything about who she was or who Locke is until her final moments.
  • In Flashback, at least part of the plot is about getting your memory back, after having it erased by aliens. Later, you find you uploaded your memory and left it with a friend just in case something like this happened.
  • One of the sidequest in Paper Mario the Thousand Year Door involves hitting someone in the head with a hammer so that they can remember something they forgot earlier. It works, and it's hilarious.
    • Doubly so if you accidentally hit him one time too many and he forgets it again.
  • In Cave Story, a pair of Ridiculously-Human Robots lose their memories, but it's hardly easy. It's implied that both of them contracted amnesia after getting battered in an epic fight that happened in the backstory; one of them loses the few memories she has left after recovering from nearly drowning. A mushroom restores her memories completely; the other bot only regains a select few of his memories (and even this is arguable) and mostly relies on the word of others for information about his past.
  • Averted in Secret of the Scarlet Hand: a witness suffers amnesia after a bad fall, and Nancy Drew must collect once-familiar items from his workplace and show them to him in the hospital to help him gradually re-connect with his old memories.
  • Final Fantasy V has Galuf, a king from another planet and powerful warrior who's had quite a bit of experience fighting the Big Bad get amnesia within the first five minutes as a result of a meteor crash (he was piloting it). All he is able to remember is is name. Not that it keeps him from hurling himself headlong into the quest.
  • Tragically averted in Mega Man Legends. Roll declines to reveal to "Joe" that she's his daughter because she knows he'll never be the man he was again and wants him to be happy with the new family he has on Calinca Island & spare him the pain of knowing that not only is his first wife dead, but the thing that killed her is taking her body for a ride.
  • In The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess, Link discovers that Ilia, his best friend, suffers from this as a result of being shot with a poisoned arrow when she and the other village children were kidnapped.
  • In Pokémon, an attack called Amnesia (Japanese: Memory Lapse) exists to raise your attacking pokemon's special defense (probably due to the fact that you're less suspectible to attacks like Psychic) The pokemon however, doesn't lose any attacks, experience, or stats. In addition, if you switch out with a move like Baton Pass, the new pokemon gets the bonus stats. Your pokemon apparently recovers after switching out, fainting, moves like Haze, or ending the battle, so yes, it is truly Easy Amnesia.
  • Every Rune Factory protagonist so far, save for the second of the second game. Raguna and Kyle don't recover at all.
    • Aden and Sonja in Rune Factory Oceans break this trend, being the first Rune Factory protagonists not to lose their memories. Lest and Frey will pick it back up in Rune Factory 4, though.
  • Averted Up to Eleven in Persona 4: The Death Social Link, Hisano Kuroda, is a widow whose husband recently died of what was pretty obviously Alzheimer's. As in the real world, he only got worse until he finally died, as Hisano bitterly relates.
  • In Sonic Heroes Shadow The Hedgehog after his fall from outer space after beating The Final Hazard he has got Amnesia and cant even remember his own name.He can only remember 1 major thing in Shadow The Hedgehog(Video Game).Also this is a major point in the plot of Shadow The Hedgehog.
  • This becomes one of the major plot points in Puyo Puyo 20th Anniversary. The previous game's Omnicidal Maniac, Ekoro got a case of amnesia after being defeated. He regains his memory at the end, and decides to go back to spacetime travelling, albeit being upset that everyone will forget him most likely, and everyone does...Except Ringo.
  • In Raffine's ending in Puyo Pop Fever, Ms. Accord tricks Raffine into closing her eyes, so that Ms. Accord can hit Raffine on the head with a hammer, causing Raffine to suffer a bump on her head when she wakes up and lose her memory about the flying cane.

Visual Novels

  • Fate/stay night has a rare example of anterograde amnesia in the Heaven's Feel route: Tapping into the power of Archer's left arm (which has been surgically grafted in place of his original arm) causes Shirou irreversible brain damage, leaving him increasingly unable to remember past events and causing him to be unable to write new memories. It is only through a constant effort of will that he can remember events that happened hours or minutes ago.
    • The series also contains a subversion: Archer claims not to know who he is as a result of Rin making errors in his summoning. This is a lie.
  • Seven of Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors seems to suffer from this as a result of an incapacitating gas. Though it may be a subversion, as he was hinted to have been lying in the "True" ending.
  • In the first case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All, Phoenix gets clubbed on the head just before the trial, and (naturally) loses his memory. This makes a bit more sense when you realize the level is the tutorial of a sequel. The case also parodies the "cured by a second bump" aspect of the trope, by having Phoenix' client, as soon as she realizes the condition of her lawyer, try to get him back to normal just this way. Phoenix, of course, objects. He eventually recovers gradually in a much more realistic way, by triggering the memories with familiar inputs like holding a cross-examination.
  • In Ace Attorney Investigations 2, Kay gets pushed off a buliding and gets hit with amnesia. Don't worry, she gets better, luckily.

Web Original


 * click*

Church: Uh oh.

Caboose: What? What happened?

Church: Crap. Instead of turning on my long-term memory, I think I just shut off my short-term memory.

Caboose: Oh. Is that bad?


Church: Huh? Is what bad?

Caboose: Your memory thing getting shut off.

Church: Who shut off my memory?

Caboose: You did.

Church: I did what?

Caboose: Shut off your memory.

Church: Why do you want me to shut off my memory?

Caboose: No, it's already off.

Church: What's already off?

Caboose: Your memory.

Church: Yeah what about it?

Tucker: Wow. Well, this is an improvement. HEY, YOU!

Church: Huh? You talkin' to me?



Church: (to Caboose) Well, are you gonna answer him?


Caboose: Oh no!

Tucker: Jesus Christ!


Tucker: I think they broke into the temple!

Church: (while inside said temple) Oh, that's not good, where's the temple?

Tucker: Jesus Christ, just don't let him talk to me!

Church and Caboose: Okay, don't talk to him!

  • Wormtooth Nation might as well be Easy Amnesia: The Series. The titular wormtooth gas will "nix" anyone who breathes it in, and pockets of it are everywhere in the underground city.

Web Comics

  • In Sluggy Freelance, Bun-Bun has suffered from this twice. The first time was just temporary, where nearly dying in an explosion caused him to behave like an ordinary, non-talking bunny for several months. The second time, however, Bun-Bun actually met and beat up his past self. This gave past-Bun-Bun a nasty concussion and partial amnesia, leaving him vague about most of the details concerning his life before the start of the series.
  • The kobold oracle in Order of the Stick has a spell surrounding the area where he lives so that anyone who visits forgets everything except the answers to their questions upon leaving.
  • In The Law of Purple, Myranian women can memtwist anyone they make skin-to-skin contact with. This allows them to absorb the victim's memories at the same time that they're erasing them. Shi Shi does this to Blue just before the start of the comic.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Del uses this in one arc, as Ethan suffers from amnesia after being hit on the head with a computer box.
  • An entire story arc of Freefall involves Florence losing newly-formed memories as she tries to figure out what she's doing at Ecosystems Unlimited. This is caused by a remote control used to keep artificial intelligences like herself in check.
  • Van's sidekick in Van Von Hunter is suffering from amnesia several times over. This is the given reason why nobody knows her name.
  • Sylvester suffers this at one point in The Mansion of E after being zapped by an ancient magical device. His memories start trickling back over the next couple of hours, before he's completely "repaired" by a local magic-user.

Western Animation

  • Bruce Wayne goes undercover as an unemployed drifter in an episode of Batman: The Animated Series. He gets walloped in the head with a 2×4 and forgets both that he's Bruce Wayne and Batman. Fortunately for him, he doesn't forget how to fight like Batman.
    • In an episode of The New Adventures of Superman, Clark similarly forgot he was Superman. His family were summoned and told him, but he didn't remember how to use any of his powers either.
  • Done in an episode of Chaotic, although probably justified, as it was caused by a plant that produces memory-erasing venom.
  • Kim loses her memory the episode "Clean Slate" of Kim Possible, but her memories quickly begin returning with the exception of the fact that she's dating Ron. Her father uses her amnesia as a slightly ethically dubious way to get her to like his favorite TV show.
  • Futurama took this to the extreme on the parody soap opera "All My Circuits" in the episode "Bender Should not be Allowed on TV".
  • Mentioned in The Simpsons - when Homer is about to box Drederic Tatum, Bart tells him to make sure he gets hit an even number of times to avoid amnesia.
    • The plot of one episode was about Marge getting amnesia. She remembers everyone again by something related to them. Homer is last to be remembered, by beer.
  • In Transformers Animated, it turns out that Ratchet hit Arcee with his EMP and it worked exactly like an Amnesia Ray, wiping her entire memory of everything. Alternatively, a smaller blast from the EMP has little effect other than a Knock-Out Ray.
    • According to the Allspark Almanac 2, they were going to revisit the amnesia concept with Cosmos, an adorable little astronomer who looks like a young boy but is Really 700 Years Old. He had scanned a B-Movie flying saucer prop, and then... loses his memory in an accident. "Hilarity Ensues".
  • There was an episode of Cow and Chicken involving amnesia being granted by inhaling steam, of all things.
  • Spoofed in an episode of Stripperella where rival stripper Kat repeatedly discovers Stripperella's Secret Identity, only to constantly lose her memory of the event because she keeps getting hit in the head.
  • on the Captain Planet episode "A Twist of Fate:" Wheeler hits his head during an earthquake, loses his memory, and and he has to live the life of a poor child in an anonymous Latin-American city.
  • The cartoon Christmas Special Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer features a rare example of anterograde amnesia in the titular grandma, though it's never identified as anything more than "she's lost her memory". Not only does she completely forget who she is, she doesn't seem to form any new memories either: her grandson has to keep reintroducing himself to her, and the villains can laugh over their evil scheme with her standing right there and not registering anything. All of this would seem to imply some serious brain trauma, but it's instantly undone by a bite of her famous fruitcake.
  • In Anastasia, the main character has amnesia and gradually gains back her memories as she's given and seeing things from her past life. What brings her fully back is a music box that plays a song.
  • One episode of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has Shredder lose his memory due to a head bonk. He wanders around the city, somehow gets a job at a fireworks factory, and bemusedly decides to detonate a bomb at city hall just For the Evulz. When the Turtles confront him, Shredder even remarks that "Shredder" is a stupid name, and he gets his memory back when Vernon gets in the way and causes an accident. It also happened to Leonardo in "The Four Musketurtles" where a blow to the head makes him think that he is D'Artagnan, protagonist of The Three Musketeers
  • A stock plot of Tom and Jerry cartoons: Tom takes a whack to the noggin, forgets he's supposed to hate Jerry and befriends him. Some point later he takes another whack to the head and remembers who he really is, but Jerry just assumes they're still friends. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Taken to the extremes in the Family Guy episode "Big Man on Hippocampus". Peter hits his head in a fight with Richard Dawson at Family Feud, and he develops amnesia. Then an Adult Swim-style Ad Bumpers appears: "Yes, they're actually doing an amnesia story." He eventually regains his memory after the Giant Chicken hits him several times - luckily, as Peter notes, he had an odd number of objects.
    • He not only forgets his identity, but he also seemed to forget what sex is!
    • Another episode has a mass bout of this, as Peter, Brian, Joe and Quagmire all lose their memories in a car accident.
  • The Banana Splits show segment The Arabian Knights, episode "The Coronation of Bakaar". Occurs when Farik is hit on the head by a crossbeam.
  • Filmation Superboy episode "Forget Me Not, Superdog". Krypto the Superdog loses his memory when he's hit on the head by a Kryptonite meteor. He regains it when he's caught in an explosion.
  • In Krypto the Superdog, Krypto gets amnesia from Red Kryptonite, leading to a pack of bad dogs to convince him that he's one of them. Luckily, Red Kryptonite's effects last only a day.
  • In the South Park episode "Cow Days", Cartman falls off a bull, hits his head, and gets amnesia, which for some weird reason, makes him think that he's a Vietnamese prostitute named Ming Li.
  • One episode of Donkey Kong Country, 'Ape-nesia' has DK lose his memory after slipping on a banana peel. It gets worse when his enemies convince him that he's working for them.
  • On Hey Arnold, Helga accidentally gets hit in the head with a baseball by the titular character. Cue sudden amnesia (though it wears off after a good night's sleep).
  • In an episode of Sabrina: Secrets Of A Teenage Witch a mind-wipe raven got Sabrina to loose her memory. Sabrina wondered off and ran into the trolls, who made her think she was the troll princess.

Real Life

  • The recent news story of the disappearance and reappearance of John Darwin is a subversion. He apparently faked his own death as part of an insurance scam, then walked into a police station some years later claiming to have lost all memory of the intervening time. Needless to say, the true story didn't take long to emerge.
  • A soccer/football player suffered a minor fall, and suffered severe retrograde amnesia.
  • Similarly, college basketball player Kayla Hutcheson suffered a head injury during practice. A short time afterward, she had lost all of her memories up to that point.
  • Very common in dreams. Barring the rare lucid dream, most people have no recollection of their real life circumstances while dreaming and easily accept even the most implausible events as "real."
  • A girl in New York was found in October 2009 with no memory whatsoever of what happened or who she is. Link is the AP news video.
  • Those suffering from concussions often don't remember much from just before and a certain amount of time after being hit on the head, among other side effect.
  • People with Epilepsy often have blank spaces in their memory from where their seizure began. Some of them can pinpoint it right to the moment where the seizure began, since that is where the blank space in their memory is.
  • As many people know, it's mostly hard to remember what happened while you were drunk or shortly before (particularly while the hangover kicks in).