The concept of a protagonist losing their memory can bring a fresh and intriguing perspective to a story.
Some of the best examples of this trope are Light from Death Note who deliberately erases his memories to gain an advantage in his battle with L.
Or we have Goku from Dragon Ball, whose memory loss serves as the starting point for his journey and transforms him into the iconic character we all know.
Here’s a list of some of the best anime series where the protagonist loses their memory, for those looking for something new and different to watch.
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15. Tokyo Ghoul: Re – Ken Kaneki
Tokyo Ghoul: Re is the second part of the original series and a direct continuation of the events where it left off. This 24-episode series was released in 2018 and concludes the events of the manga.
Time has passed since the intense confrontation between Aogiri and the anti-ghoul investigators at the end of the first part.
The first episode introduces the main character, Haise Sasaki, who is none other than our protagonist Ken Kaneki, but with a major difference: he has lost his memory and has been brainwashed, making him a pawn.
Our opinion remains the same about this series: Tokyo Ghoul has a lot of potential and is a high-quality manga, but it was ruined by a poorly animated adaptation.
Therefore, we once again suggest reading the manga if you’re interested in the story.
14. Elfen Lied – Lucy
Elfen Lied is a seinen manga-based anime that gained notoriety in the 2000s for its controversial and visual elements.
The story starts in a lab where Diclonius, a race of beings with special abilities, are subjected to brutal experiments to make them lethal weapons.
The events begin to move with Lucy, one of the Diclonius, escaping the base, but after suffering a violent head injury, she loses her memory.
She is later found by a boy named Kota with a connection to her past.
The anime is known for its unapologetic depictions of violence, gore, and even sexual themes, making it a polarizing work in the anime community.
Also, Lucy is one of the best MCs with a dark past, due to the terrible experiments she went through.
13. Dusk Maiden of Amnesia – Yuuko Kanoe
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia is a captivating blend of romance, horror, mystery, and supernatural themes.
The anime is set in a private academy haunted by ghosts and follows the story of a girl named Yuuko, who died in mysterious circumstances.
She is only visible to Teichi Niya and the two of them decide to establish a club to uncover the truth about her death, as she has no memory of her previous life.
But despite being a ghost, Yuuko and Teichi develop a unique romance.
This underrated anime boasts an interesting plot, a melancholic and innovative romance, and should not be overlooked, so trust us and give it a chance.
12. Kanon – Yuichi Aizawa
Kanon is a 2002 anime with 13 episodes that combines romance, drama, and supernatural elements.
The main character, Yuichi Aizawa, returns to the town where he used to spend his childhood vacations with his aunt Akiko.
However, he discovers that his childhood memories seem to have vanished for no reason. What mystery lies about this event?
Kanon may have a quite dated animation style, but it is still a captivating romance with a psychological story, dramatic moments, and a mystery that will keep you engaged.
11. Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE – Princess Sakura Kinomoto
Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE is a great and underappreciated anime that seamlessly blends shonen and shojo themes.
The story follows Princess Sakura, who has been dreaming about a mysterious artifact with a symbol.
But when her friend Shaoran finds the artifact, she suddenly loses her memories in the form of feathers that scatter throughout different dimensions.
To save her and make up for his mistake, Shaoran embarks on a journey with Sakura to retrieve her lost memories.
Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE is an anime adapted from a shonen manga, but its character design and themes are reminiscent of shojo anime, and that’s what makes it unique.
It’s a well-crafted anime with compelling characters and memorable character designs that convince you.
Plus, Shaoran is one of the best protective male leads you can find in anime. He will do everything he can to make up for his mistake, protecting Sakura in every way possible.
10. ef – a tale of memories. – Chihiro Shindo
ef – a tale of memories. is a unique anime that showcases two distinct love stories, narrated in parallel.
The first story revolves around Renji and Chihiro, whose love story is affected by Chihiro’s condition of losing her memories every 13 hours. This leads to a poignant and continuous cycle of Renji having to win back Chihiro’s love and the girl starting from scratch every time she loses her memories.
The second story features a complex love triangle between Hiro, Miyako, and Kei, with numerous twists and turns.
Both stories are expertly told, with the amnesia element adding a unique twist to Renji and Chihiro’s love story.
But even if the first story is the focus of this list, the second story is equally compelling and worth watching.
9. Charlotte – Yuu Otosaka
Charlotte is an underrated anime that’s worth watching for its short length and fast-paced events.
The show takes place in a world where a small percentage of teenagers possess special powers, and one of these teenagers is Yuu Otosaka, a high school student who keeps his mind-control power hidden.
One day, he is approached by Nao Tomori and taken to a particular school for those with similar abilities.
We don’t want to give away too many details this time because we would spoil the series finale.
But in the end, Yuu sacrifices himself for the greater good and loses his memory in the process.
8. Golden Time – Banri Tada
Golden Time is a must-watch anime if you’re a fan of love triangles, that offers an energetic and lively romance experience.
The show revolves around the love triangle featuring Banri Tada, Mitsuo Yanagisawa, and Koko Kaga. Banri lost his memories after a fall from a bridge just before his graduation.
Mitsuo Yanagisawa is one of Banri’s friends at college and is connected to Koko Kaga, who is Mitsuo’s childhood friend and the main and dominant female character of the series.
Their relationships are much more complex and intricate than they seem, and you will have to watch the show to understand how they develop over the course of their college lives.
Golden Time is a light-hearted and cheerful anime with a touch of drama and a compelling story that will keep you entertained and invested, mainly thanks to its 3 cool MCs.
7. Dragon Ball Series – Goku
Dragon Ball is one of the most legendary anime series of all time, and there is no need for any introduction
Fans of the series know that at the start of the second series, Dragon Ball Z, a significant revelation is made when Raditz, Goku‘s brother, reveals that our protagonist was actually sent to Earth to destroy it.
However, Goku’s fall from his spaceship caused him to hit his head and lose his memory, leading to the events and the creation of one of the most iconic anime characters in history.
Dragon Ball is a must-watch series for fighting anime fans, and it remains a cornerstone of the shonen battle genre, with its powerful transformations and unique special moves that are still iconic after almost 20 years.
6. Death Note – Light Yagami
Death Note is a must-watch for fans of psychological confrontations and the detective genre.
The story revolves around Light Yagami, a model student who is disillusioned with the world.
One day, he discovers a mysterious notebook, the Death Note, which has the power to cause the death of anyone whose name is written in it.
Light begins using the notebook to kill criminals with the goal of purging the world of evil, and that’s why he’s one of the best evil MCs ever.
However, he soon finds himself facing off against L, the world’s greatest private investigator, who is determined to stop him.
The mental war between Light and L is the true star of the story, with unpredictable twists and crazy tactics being used by both characters.
Light even goes so far as to erase his own memory in an attempt to win the battle of intellects against L, showcasing just how intense and captivating their confrontation truly is.
5. Dorohedoro – Cayman
Dorohedoro is an eccentric manga series created by Q Hayashida, which was serialized starting in 1999 and eventually adapted into an anime only in 2020.
The protagonist, Cayman, wakes up with a reptilian head and no memory of who he is or how he got there.
He sets out on a journey to the town of Hole, populated by powerful demons and sorcerers, to uncover the mystery behind his appearance with the help of his friend Nikaido.
The series is known for its unique blend of violence, irony, and black humor, making it a must-watch for those who appreciate the controversy in their anime.
Although the anime is good, we recommend checking out the manga for an even better experience.
4. Angel Beats – Yuzuru Otonoashi
Angel Beats is a well-balanced combination of the high school setting and supernatural elements with a touch of drama and romance.
The protagonist, Yuzuru Otonashi, is a 17-year-old who wakes up in a strange place resembling a high school after dying.
There, he meets other people who died prematurely and formed the Afterlife Battlefront to challenge their fate and fight against the student council president, Kanade Angel Tachibana.
Angel Beats offers an innovative and entertaining story, with strong psychological elements and a captivating, mysterious plot.
Whether you are a fan of the genre or not, it’s definitely worth a shot.
3. One Week Friends. – Kaori Fujimiya
One Week Friends is a poignant and dramatic romance anime and unfairly underrated too in our opinion.
The protagonist, Yuuki Hase, decides to befriend a classmate, Kaori, who is alone and friendless to save her from her loneliness.
However, the girl refuses due to her rare condition of losing her memory every week. Undeterred, Yuuki sets out to win her trust every week so that she never feels lonely again.
This is an interesting and unique anime, where the love subplot is present but plays second fiddle to the significant psychological themes explored in the anime. Trust us and discover this little gem, you won’t be disappointed.
2. Eden of the East – Akira Takizawa
Eden of the East is another underrated anime from 2009 with only 11 episodes.
The story begins with a terrible terrorist attack in Japan where 10 missiles fall from the sky.
Three months later, a young Japanese student named Misaki Mori gets caught up in a strange case and is rescued by Akira Takizawa, who has lost all of his memories.
After returning to Japan, a new missile hits and a message with 8.2 billion yen is delivered to Takizawa’s phone. What strange mysteries are going on?
The anime is filled with twists and turns, action, and a romantic subplot.
As the story progresses, the mystery deepens and the final resolution will leave you breathless.
1. Haibane Ranmei – Rakka
Haibane Renmei is a 13-episode anime created by the legendary Yoshitoshi Abe in collaboration with the Radix studio.
The story revolves around Rakka, a girl with angelic features who lives within the walls, along with other beings like her called Haibane.
The characters are unable to remember their past lives or why they possess such unique appearances, or even why they are isolated from the outside world.
This anime is a must-watch for suspense and mystery fans, with a captivating plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat waiting for the mysteries to be unraveled.
Additionally, it has a strong focus on psychological and mature themes, making it a well-rounded and complete anime experience.