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All the goodness of Mind Rape... with the bitter aftertaste!

When somebody is Brainwashed and gets better, but somehow part of the programming sticks and it shows by the character acquiring new personality traits, tics and/or quirks. For example, Alice is a mind controller who casts a spell on Bob to make him fall in love with her. Bob somehow breaks the spell, but whenever he looks at Alice now, he blushes and can't quite explain why. Maybe he's falling in love for real, but who knows for sure.

This can be used as a Plot Device to show that the character hasn't quite fully-recovered from his brainwashing. Maybe he has, but the idea of being somebody Not Himself makes him change... probably for the better. Can become a Family-Unfriendly Aesop when brainwashing is the only way for a character to change.

Also comes in other flavors:

Compare and contrast with More Than Mind Control, where the character more or less knows that he is/was being manipulated, but goes along anyway. See Cartesian Karma for when the residue may or may not have resided, but the consequences of their brain-washed actions are still quite valid.

Examples of Brainwash Residue include:

Anime and Manga

  • In R.O.D. the TV, Anita becomes a bookworm like her sisters after she gets a part of The Gentleman's memories. Take note, Anita used to hate books.
    • Or perhaps she just got a better understanding of Yomiko Readman and books in general.
  • All of the girls Keima "conquers" in The World God Only Knows show signs of this. They just can't explain why they blush whenever the geeky Otaku walks by.
  • Gundam Seed Destiny has Stella, an Earth Alliance Extended who is brainwashed so she freezes up whenever anyone says "die" and absolutely trusts anyone who says "protect". Due to her memories not being properly wiped between missions, her programming leads her to associate Shinn with protection, thus allowing her to remember who he is.
    • Neo Roanoke has the amnesia-type: he slowly begins to act more and more like his actual identity, Mu La Flaga, when brought aboard the Archangel (such as using the communication codes for the ship, making the impossible possible and having a relationship with Murrue Ramius, even if he can't explain how he knows these things.

Comic Books

  • This happens to Mara Jade when Palpatine dies.
  • This was the reason Bronze Tiger always declined to lead the Suicide Squad: he was afraid the brainwashing he received at the hands of the League of Assassins could kick in any time.


  • In G.I. Joe, the Baroness is kept under supervision because they can't remove the mind-controlling nanomites just yet. Prior to that, she is shown to have retained some of her "training" by being able to operate a gun pod.
  • The main plot point of Inception uses a planted "idea" to change a person's outlook in life. This could be for the better (Robert Fischer views his father in a better light and avoids a possible energy monopoly with his company) or worse (Mal commits suicide thinking the reality she's living in is still a dream).


  • The Shapeshifting flavor happens in Discworld, although it isn't involuntary, and Granny Weatherwax only "Borrows" an animal's body for some purpose, sharing it with the real animal for a short time. But after she's exited the animal's body, she still retains impulses from whatever shape she borrowed. For example, she stopped using owls to see at night because "You ends up for days trying to twist your head right round," and after she's borrowed an entire beehive, she declares, "I wantzzz a bunzzch of flowerzz, a pot of honey, and someone to szzzting."
    • Its also noted that at least one of the people she made think they had been turned into a frog still enjoy swimming in a pond long after the spell wore off. He was grateful for getting a new hobby.
  • In the Deryni works, Sean Lord Derry suffers from this, referring to nightmares he had after his captivity and torture at the hands of Wencit of Torenth. He reluctantly admits the nightmares returned years later in anticipation of Kelson's trip to Torenth for Liam-Lajos's investiture in King Kelson's Bride. This foreshadows Morag's reasserting control over his mind, control which is taken and used by Teymuraz.
  • In the New Jedi Order, after Tahiri is rescued from an attempt to brainwash her into believing she was a Yuuzhan Vong, it became a running subplot for several books that she retained most of the false memories subconsciously and under moments of extreme stress would adopt Vong mannerisms or even spout the Vong language. It was eventually revealed that the brainwashing had failed to overwright Tahiri's original personality but had succeeded in creating a Yuuzhan Vong personality, Riina, who was almost totally independent of Tahiri's own mind. They ended up combining into a third personality to avoid going incurably insane.

Live Action TV

  • Happens in Warehouse 13 after Leena is saved from being brainwashed by McPhearson.
  • In an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Lt. Barclay got a brain upgrade by some aliens, which went away after it was needed. He and Troi were in Ten-Forward and he saw a Chess game, moved a piece and said "Checkmate in three moves."

 Troi: "Reg, I didn't know you play chess."

Barclay: "I don't."

  • Crichton from Farscape has Scorpius residue for ages after getting his chip removed (overlaps with Imaginary Enemy).
  • Happens in the original V miniseries. Diana has attempted to brainwash Julie Parish into being her slave. She fights off the brainwashing, mostly successfully, but occasionally catches herself using the wrong hand. In V: The Final Battle, Diana telepathically commands Julie and she has flashbacks to the brainwashing. Julie doesn't quite give in, but the internal struggle gives Diana a chance to escape.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer season two Halloween Episode, Xander was turned into the soldier that he was dressed as for Halloween, complete with military training. Afterwards, Xander still retains some of that knowledge, which comes in handy in later episodes (such as when he sneaks into a military base to steal a rocket launcher).
    • Also, after Dracula Renfield-ised Xander in season five, Xander still referred to Dracula as "Master" several episodes later and in the Season 8 comics.

Video Games

  • In Kingdom Hearts II, when Sora bids farewell to Hayner, Pence and Olette, he sheds a single tear but doesn't know why. Little does he know that he has Roxas' memories within him, and he remembers them as his friends in the virtual world.
  • Nie R decides to save Kaine at the cost of his own existence in the final ending. When she comes to, she starts crying when she finds the flower Nier gave her, but can't remember who it was from.
  • In The King of Fighters, Ash sacrifices his existence to prevent the entire Ash Saga from happening. None of the other characters remember him, except for Elizabeth, due to having his Tragic Keepsake.
  • Even after Cloud, who was implanted with Zack's memories, regains his real memories in Final Fantasy VII, he keeps Zack's fighting style and mannerisms. Although he reverts to his real personality and becomes more comfortable with showing his weaknesses, he occasionally still puts on Zack's cocky act when trying to show off in front of the others.

Web Comics

  • In Chapter 34 of Gunnerkrigg Court Jack claims to be in love with Zimmy, and attributes it to a remnant of his possession by a ghostly spider obsessed with Zimmy which tried to take control of his mind. This doesn't seem to worry him.

Web Original

  • In The Return Nabiki and Akane still have a significant amount of mental contamination after being enslaved and Mind Raped by Alexia and it takes a lot of work to salvage any of their original selves.
    • Misako (Ryouga) had her previous identity completely lost and is, for all intents and purposes, a new person whose entire personality is based on nothing but Brainwash Residue.

Western Animation

  • In Ben 10 Alien Force, Albedo is an villain who copied Ben's appearance and Omnitrix. He also gained some of Ben's characteristics, like eating junk food. After having his Omnitrix broken, stuck with Ben's color-swapped form, and taken to prison, he shouts, "BRING ME CHILI FRIES!!!"
  • In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Tim Drake still has aftereffects of his last encounter with The Joker (of the 'uncontrollable shaking and bad dreams' kind) after 40 years. Given what The Joker put him through, that's really not that surprising.
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