Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Memory Wiping for Fun and Profit

Do you like books/movies/TV shows/whatever where characters purposely erase or alter the memories of other characters? These characters usually have some sort of reason for doing what they do - maybe they're good people who only want to remove others' painful memories, maybe they're bad people who've done bad things and don't want to leave witnesses who remember them, or maybe they're somewhere in between.

This is by no means an exhaustive list (if you have your own suggestions, by all means, mention them in a comment). I had fun doing my previous list based on a topic, so I decided to do another one. Enjoy!

  • Ghost in the Shell (anime movie); Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (anime movie); Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (anime TV series); Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig (anime TV series) - In the future, almost everyone has been cyberized, which, unfortunately, leaves them vulnerable to brain-hacking. The first Ghost in the Shell movie makes chilling use of this particular drawback of cyberization, and it comes up in other related works. The list of links I've given is not a comprehensive list of all the various Ghost in the Shell titles - for instance, there's also a manga (which is what all this anime stuff is based on) and another movie. Check out Anime News Network for more info.
  • Fruits Basket (anime TV series); Fruits Basket (manga) by Natsuki Takaya - One character in this series, Hatori, can use hypnosis to alter/remove memories. He does this to protect his cursed family's secret.
  • Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (anime TV series) - Lelouch, the main character of this series, acquires the power of Geass, which allows him to make anyone obey his orders. Lelouch begins living a double life as both an ordinary student and Zero, the mysterious masked leader of a rebellion to free the Japanese people from Brittanian tyrants.
  • Bleach (anime TV series); Bleach (manga) by Tite Kubo - Soul Reapers are beings who protect the spirits of the dead and the world of the living from Hollows. As part of their job, Soul Reapers occasionally have to wipe/alter humans' memories.

Live Action (Movies, TV shows):

  • Heroes (live action TV series) - A bunch of people around the world suddenly have the ability to use various sorts of superpowers. Behind the scenes, one man, who happens to be the father of a girl with superpowers, looks into this phenomenon, captures people with superpowers, and has a mysterious Haitian man wipe people's memories.
  • Men in Black (live action movie) - The Men in Black are real, and they work behind the scenes to keep the rest of humanity from realizing that aliens are definitely among us. As part of their jobs, the Men in Black often wipe/alter people's memories.
  • Eureka (live action TV series) - In the small town of Eureka, just about everyone's a genius, which makes new sheriff Jack Carter seem a bit like the village idiot at times. On the bright side, his common sense is often just what Eureka needs. In one particular episode, a character uses a powerful invention to wipe people's memories and make himself look more brilliant than he really is.


  • The Queen's Bastard (book) by C. E. Murphy - In this fantasy set in something like Elizabethan Europe, Belinda is the illegitimate child of Queen Lorraine. When she is older, she becomes a spy and assassin for the Queen and secretly learns how to use her magical abilities, which allow her to make herself invisible and affect others' minds. Belinda tests her ability on her maid and a man she knows and later wipes both people's memories of what she made them do.
  • Undead and Unwed (book) by MaryJanice Davidson - Betsy Taylor, fan of shoes and shopping, is an unlikely Vampire Queen, but that is what she unexpectedly becomes. In this book, she doesn't have much of a handle on her vampiric abilities. Later on in the series, this becomes a problem, as she accidentally makes a cop her slave. Betsy's consort fixes things by wiping the man's memory, which eventually leads to even more problems.
  • Guilty Pleasures (book) by Laurell K. Hamilton - In this alternate history, Anita Blake is a former vampire hunter turned vampire executioner when vampires are legally declared people in the United States. One of the powers many vampires have is the ability to erase humans' memories in order to protect themselves.
  • Artemis Fowl (book) by Eoin Colfer - Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a criminal mastermind, whose latest scheme involves getting gold from fairies. Of course, the fairies have plenty of magic and technology on their side, so they're not giving in easily. One of the abilities fairies have is mesmer, which allows them to erase and/or alter humans' memories.

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