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Post Reply Amnesia and Being Forgotten: Why so common?
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Posted 9/21/17 , edited 9/22/17
From what I've seen, it's mostly used to move the story forward by creating a new conflict or setting up the main conflict. I see someone mentioned Nisekoi. I wouldn't put it in the same box as the kind of amnesia seen in stories, but every character conveniently having conflicting memories of a big promise that was made when they were little kids is what sets up the plot. In Death Note, amnesia is used to carry out a major plan midway through the series. I won't go into details for those who want to avoid spoilers.

However, amnesia isn't always used like this. In Casshern Sins, it's used mainly to present mystery around the protagonist as he wanders from place to place. The series is almost entirely from Casshern's POV. He has no memory of who he is or what he's done before the start of the series. All he knows is that the whole world hates him and that the horrible condition the world is in was somehow his fault. Casshern spends most of the series searching for someone and witnessing the consequences of what he did.
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Posted 9/21/17 , edited 9/22/17

HOOfan_1 wrote:

I think anime is just reliant on tropes in general

Chuunibyou characters seems to be a popular one recently.

Bad guys that turn good.

Good guys that turn bad.

Siblings who fall in love and find out they are not really siblings.

Teenagers living on their own (dead parents or parents living over seas) Going by anime most of Japan's population must be under 18.

Everyday person finds out they are royalty.

Male finds out he has an ability that previously only females had and gets enrolled in a female only school.

I am not sure if it is lazy writing or catering to an audience, but anime is full oc plot devices and Deus Ex Machina. I think Western media is more reliant on McGuffins though.


Everything is reliant in tropes because of everything is a trope...Give me any non-anime and I will name fifty tropes it uses at least...
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Posted 9/21/17 , edited 9/22/17

dwilson2000 wrote:

Give me any non-anime and I will name fifty tropes it uses at least...


Well it has been said there is nothing new under the sun.

Although something like The Epic of Gilgamesh is so old it would have set trends rather than follow them
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Posted 9/21/17 , edited 9/22/17
Blank slates, self-insert characters, easier to develop a backstory as things go, many reasons. It's not like it's a bad trope really.
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Posted 9/21/17 , edited 9/22/17

MadeDragon wrote:


Austershalin wrote:
In Nisekoi, the amnesia of numerous individuals exasperated the whole promised girl affair.


That's not really amnesia. It's just the fuzziness of childhood memories.


True, but I felt like Nisekoi oversold it more than a little bit, at least with certain characters. I still have memories of my friends from when I was five years old, particularly of some of the sillier things we did, and I'm a lot older now than the gang in that show.

That aside, I still thought Nisekoi handled "pseudo-amnesia" pretty well. Or at least, in a series filled with wildly implausible things driving the plot, it was probably the least implausible of them all.
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Posted 9/21/17 , edited 9/22/17

Yamstarch wrote:

Blank slates, self-insert characters, easier to develop a backstory as things go, many reasons. It's not like it's a bad trope really.


Sure. I didn't mean to imply that it was a bad trope, only that I see it often enough to notice a pattern, and was wondering if it was just a convenient lever for writers to pull or if there's more to it than that.
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Posted 9/21/17 , edited 9/22/17

Austershalin wrote:

Though I'm not really sure how common it is to present anime. I've watched a good deal of anime on each of this year's three seasons, I can't recall many that significantly featured amnesia.


Gradual memory loss was a very important theme in WorldEnd this year, but I take your point.
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Posted 9/21/17 , edited 9/22/17

HOOfan_1 wrote:


kiltmaker2 wrote:

If one person can have amnesia, why not the whole world? A Wind Called Amnesia is the classic in this area.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Wind_Named_Amnesia


I believe Solty Rei also contained mass amnesia


Don't for the Big O had it too.. mabye..
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Posted 9/21/17 , edited 9/22/17

memnalar wrote:


Yamstarch wrote:

Blank slates, self-insert characters, easier to develop a backstory as things go, many reasons. It's not like it's a bad trope really.


Sure. I didn't mean to imply that it was a bad trope,


I did not take your question as such.
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Posted 9/22/17 , edited 9/22/17
There is another trope having to do with forgetting. That trope is where some high school boy and girl make some promise when they are four years old, the boy forgets it and the girl remembers. Then she tries to hold the boy to the promise and gets mad when boy responds with a blank stare
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Posted 9/22/17 , edited 9/22/17

DrunkKanti wrote:

Speaking of amnesia tropes, can anyone tell me the point of 'what's-his-name's amnesia in Gamers? It's mentioned in the first or second episode and then never really brought up again. Hell, Tendou's entire Gaming club is just kind of forgotten about after the first few episodes.


It's all a deliberate misdirect. The episode is designed to subvert your expectation like Amano will join the Gaming Club, like every other high school anime that bothers to have a club. So all of the club members who don't matter are given elaborate backstories to help build up your expectations further, so that the punchline where Amano says "Nah, no thanks" hits even harder.
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Posted 9/22/17 , edited 9/22/17
A couple reasons.
The blank slate protagonist is a big one.
Also, if a character in the universe doesn't remember anything, it gives other people a reason to give exposition to them.
Amnesia is also used all the time in the romance genre, as an excuse to create drama or conflict in a relationship that wouldn't have any otherwise. The textbook example of this for me is Golden Time.
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