Tragic Keepsake

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
"It was your birthright. And he'd be damned if they were going to take your birthright."

Bob's little sister Alice was killed in what he would later call his greatest failure. He continues to fight for her, trying to 'fix' the world so that no one else ever has to go through this, or just seeking to take vengeance upon her killers. Though doing so may make him a Well-Intentioned Extremist or go completely mad, it's all worth it to him.

In order for him to never forget the reason he fights, he keeps a memento, often something that belonged to Alice, though it may just be something that reminds him of her. Sometimes, the 'something' may even be her Soul Jar, and Bob is attempting to find a way to resurrect her.

See also Orphan's Plot Trinket, Take Up My Sword, Death Notification, It Was a Gift, and Memento MacGuffin. When Bob is feeling particularly sad over Alice, he may hold the keepsake in a Cradle of Loneliness.

Examples of Tragic Keepsake include:

Anime and Manga

  • Nagi in Deadman Wonderland wears a scarf that belonged to his dead wife, as well as a locket. He believes it contains a picture of his infant son, but in actuality there is nothing inside the locket; his child was cut out of his wife's belly and the body preserved in a jar.
  • In a dark example, in Afro Samurai, the titular character carries around his father's severed head in a basket, until it (the head) is destroyed in a battle.
  • In Trigun, Vash The Stampede's red Badass Longcoat was made by Rem, a girl who's later killed by Knives, in the floating SEED colony, and when it's mostly destroyed during the Auguste incident, another girl in the same colony makes him a new one. However, the red color of it is a reference to Rem's favorite flower, a flower whose name means 'determination'.
  • Jing from King of Bandit Jing carries his mother's soul in a crystal, making it the Soul Jar variety.
  • Though it serves as a reminder, rather than having belonged to the person, in Fullmetal Alchemist, Edward's pocketwatch is engraved with 'Never Forget' and the date he and Al burned their house down to prevent themselves from returning home.
  • Murrue Ramius in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED wears a locket that is apparently a keepsake from a pilot she'd loved who was killed in action. It's coffin-shaped and has "R.I.P." engraved on the back. Apparently Murrue has a morbid streak. She also keeps Mu La Flaga and Natarle Badgiruel's hats after both of them are killed at Jachin Due.
    • Shinn from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny carries around his sister's cellphone after she dies.
    • For a while, Kira had the paper origami flower given to him by the little girl on the doomed shuttle.
  • After his little sister Aya is hit by a car and left in a coma on her birthday, Ran Fujimiya in Weiss Kreuz not only starts wearing an earring from the pair he'd bought for her present, he also starts using her name.
  • The seashell in Elfen Lied given to Kohta by his Dead Little Sister eight years before the series. When Nyu sees it in the first episode, she deliberately crushes it, thinking it was making Kohta sad.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima has Negi's staff. He got it from his father, who had been missing and presumed dead since before Negi was born. The time when Negi received the staff is the one time he actually met his father, who disappeared again immediately afterwards. This all happened after a large-scale petrification of the village he grew up in; it was snowing.
    • One interesting case for Fate Averruncus (Tertium) is coffee. Shiori's sister made him some apparently good coffee, he went back to work and had some terrible coffee and then when visiting her again found her wounded. She got Rewritten, he avenged her and noted that he won't be able to drink it anymore.
  • Hayate's Schwertkreuz in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, which was all that remained of the first Reinforce after her Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Teana Lanster's toy pistol also counts: It was from her older brother, Tiida, a captain in the TSAB Air Force, who raised her when their parents died. He died injuring a wanted mage, but was unable to apprehend him, leaving him in disgrace and deemed worthless. This is why she works so hard, to prove that his magic wasn't worthless, and to realize his dream of being an Enforcer.
  • In One Piece, Wado Ichimonji was a sword that was once owned by Zoro's friend Kuina's family, but after she died he took it as a reminder to fulfill their promise for one of them to become the world's greatest swordsman.
  • Slightly subverted in Bleach. Orihime's brother Sora gave her hairclips that she thought were too childish, and after a fight, Sora leaves without Orihime saying goodbye. After he dies that day in a tragic accident, Orihime wears the hairclips every single day... and they become a sort-of MacGuffin that allows her to channel her powers when they awake.
  • Part of the title character's face in Black Jack is a darker color than the rest. This was because it was a skin graft from his closest friend, who was mixed-race. His friend moved away afterwards, but eventually Black Jack found that he was an environmental activist. When his friend was killed during a protest, Black Jack decided to never replace the skin graft, so that he could remember his friend every time he looked in a mirror.
  • Depending on the slightly different characterization in the manga, it's movie adaptation, and the anime series, the Major from Ghost in the Shell is either a cold blooded special forces team leader, or an emotionless cyborg about to lose her last bit of humanity to become a machine in mind as well as in body. Almost all of her body is military hardware and therefore government property, as are the neural implants that hold most of her memories. While the series occassionally shows two of her friends from the manga and her relaxing a bit after work, it also establishes that she has no surviving family and while her safe houses are very luxurious, they are considered completely expendable. The only thing she really owns is a small and almost fragile watch with a thin silver armband, that contradicts about everything of her personalty. However, she doesn't say where she got it and why she keeps it.
    • In the anime she got it after resizing into her final body after a childhood spent in over half a dozen different ones. Batou knows this and goes out of his way to retrieve it while being hunted by the government during the climax of season one.
  • Not sure if it counts, since it's not something tangible, but Fai from Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle isn't actually his name. Turns out that Fai was actually his dead twin brother's name, and since he's trying to being said brother back from the dead, he's taken to using his name to remind himself. Thank you, Clamp, for making him more confusing than he already is.
    • Also, his surname comes from the stone "fluorite" (CLAMP probably romanized it wrong, they haven't shown to be too good with English). King Ashura put a fluorite crystal beside the other twin's dead body as a good luck charm and gave Fay that name for the same purpose.
  • In Sorcerer Stabber Orphen, the Tower of Fangs pendant that the male lead carries actually belongs to his best friend/mother figure Azalie and not to him. Since Azalie turned herself into a dragon in an experiment and Orphen left the Tower to try search for a cure, well...
  • Tsunade from Naruto kept a necklace that was given to her by the First Hokage (her grandfather). She later gave it to her younger brother, who died. After that, she gave it to her lover, who also died. After all that, she eventually gives it to Naruto after he wins a bet with her.
    • Kakashi's sharingan was given to him by Obito Uchiha, his best friend who died saving him from getting crushed under a rock. The scene is very heart wrenching he also kept his father's tanto after Sakumo committed suicide.
    • Naruto keeps the scratched headband Sasuke left behind for a good while. It's unclear if he still has it.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's: Jack carries around Carly's glasses after her death, until she gets better.
    • Later, in a similar manner, Yusei keeps Bruno's Cool Shades after Bruno is killed. Bruno doesn't get better.
  • Suzaku from Code Geass hangs onto his late father's pocketwatch throughout most of the first season. At first blush it seems to be a standard keepsake, but as the season progresses and we learn that Suzaku killed his father, which was the direct cause of Japan's surrender, so the watch represents his own ties to the past and his attempts to make up for that incident. At the very end of the season, he leaves the watch with what will become another symbol of his being shackled to the past: the corpse of Euphemia, the woman he loved.
  • In Kyou Kara Maou, when Yuuri first arrives in Shin Makoku, Conrad gives him a pendant. A flashback reveals that Conrad's close friend Julia first gave it to him years ago, before she died, and that Conrad's been wearing it ever since. His passing it on to Yuuri is especially significant, since he knows (and we later find out) that Yuuri is Julia's reincarnation.
  • At the end of the Dark Tournament saga of Yu Yu Hakusho, Big Bad Sakyou gives Shizuru a gold plated lighter just before calmy facing his end. She keeps it for the rest of the series. A rare case of a hero having a Tragic Keepsake of a villain.
  • In the Comic Book Adaptation of Breath of Fire IV, Fou-lu explicitly keeps Mami's bells around after Mami was used as the literal warhead in a Fantastic Nuke in The Empire's attempt to kill him. It's literally all he has left of one of exactly three people who show him decency, and Mami's bells falling from the sky is the clue that she was used as the warhead (and what quite blatantly turns him into a full-blown Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds).
    • This is in turn based on material from the official artbook in which Fou-lu (after he's gone into a Roaring Rampage of Revenge that has literally decapitated the government of the Fou Empire and destroyed much of it) is shown on his throne with his shishi/foo-dogs and Mami's bells.
    • Mami's bells end up as a Tragic Keepsake (and in fact a legitimate Tragic Memento MacGuffin) a second time during the Battle in the Center of the Mind (that incorporates the "bad end" of the game). Ryu confronts Fou-lu with Mami's bells, noting she's the counterexample to Fou-lu's arguments that Humans Are Bastards--even going so far as to explicitly point out that Mami's bells are Fou-lu's "most treasured possession". This triggers a failure of the Split Personality Merge (which leads up to the manga's rendering of the "good end" of IV).
  • Tsubaki from Mirai Nikki once had a toy ball given to her by her deceased mother. Becomes a Chekhov's Gun when Yukiteru finds it and uses it to distract Tsubaki and kill her.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist slightly subverts this with Edward's pocketwatch, which is issued to every State Alchemist employed by the Amestris Government as a form of identification (so it didn't come from anybody who died). However, the date when Edward and Alphonse burned down their house (3.Oct.10, although "10" as a year is not established) was carved on the inside of the lid, to serve as a reminder to Ed and Al that they must move forward because they have no more home to return to.
  • The title character from Kimba the White Lion has his father's pelt.
  • Cyborg 009: Albert Heinrich has the ring that belonged to his tragically lost fiancee Hilda on a chain around his neck. Eventually, it comes in handy when he uses it while nearly completely paralyzed to shoot down Cyborg 0011.
  • Madoka's hair ribbons in Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
  • In the series finale of Sonic X Tails recieves What's left of Cosmo in the form of a seed from Sonic after both he and Super Shadow attempted to save her with their Chaos Regeneration. Tails later cultivates this seed in a plant pot inside his workshop where at the very end of the episode it is seen sprouting
  • A piece of Baron's headband in Genesis of Aquarion.
  • Guts from Berserk wears a throwing knife strap after The Eclipse in memory of Judeau and all the other members of the Hawks who perished.
    • Deconstructed with Casca, who is a living tragic keepsake. She was the only other survivor of the Eclipse, but went through, much, MUCH worse and had her minded fragmented as a result. Guts wants to avenge her the most, since their intimate relationship was crushed because of the events that their former-friend Griffith caused onto them, but currently he's on a quest to cure her of her insanity. However, Guts was seething with so much intense hatred that his Enemy Within began to take form as the hellhound-like Beast, which constantly goads Guts into believing that he only keeps Casca around to serve as a reminder of how much he hates Griffith and that he can't really love her anymore - in between trying to get Guts to rape and kill her just so he can get back to hunting down Griffith.
      • But it also reconstructed in that Guts knows that Casca is the only person that he has of value in the world, and without her presence, he would have gone off the deep end long ago. That, and Casca is the only living testament of the very few good and pleasant things that have happened in Guts' life. And with the possibility of seeing her cured of her insanity, Casca is really the last window of optimism that Guts has left to see in this world.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Kamina found his signature Badass Cape worn by his father's corpse. In Lagann-hen, Simon wears Nia's wedding ring as a necklace after her death.
  • Togainu no Chi: In the anime, Keisuke's tag.
  • In 'Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, Stocking kept her engagement ring after the Ghost she fell in love with passed on due to finally loving Stocking back.
  • Several in Oniisama e..., particularly Rei's golden bracelet and porcelain doll. The second becomes Nanako's own Tragic Keepsake after Rei dies. (Alongside some unused cigarettes, in the anime.)

Comic Books

  • In the tragic Elf Quest story "Starfall, Starrise" one of the human boys whose actions lead to the untimely deaths of Shale, Eyes High and his own brother keeps the hair ornament worn by Eyes High as a mark of his shame. many years later he is found by Shale and Eyes High's son Skywise, who was born shortly before his mother's death, who forcibly retrieves the ornament but spares the human's life.
    • Also in Elf Quest Cutter keeps his late father Bearclaw's wolf-head necklace but doesn't have time to take it with him when humans set fire to the Holt. Returning to the spot some years later he finds its melted remains.

Fan Works


  • Pictured above: Christopher Walken keeps his buddy's watch up his ass in a POW camp in Vietnam for two years so he could give it to (the child) Butch in Pulp Fiction.
  • Inigo Montoya of The Princess Bride wields the sword that his father forged for Count Rugen, who killed him after he refused to sell the sword to him at only a tenth of the price that Rugen promised he would pay.
  • Eric Draven from The Crow wears Shelly's engagement ring on a chain around his neck.
  • Colonel Mortimer from For a Few Dollars More has a pocketwatch given to him by his sister. There's another pocketwatch that once belonged to the sister in question, but was taken by Indio following her suicide as he was raping her.
  • When James Bond went on his Roaring Rampage of Revenge in the movie Licence to Kill, his keepsake was the cigarette lighter that once belonged to Felix Leiter, the friend he's seeking to avenge. Becomes a Chekhov's Gun when he uses it to set the Big Bad on fire.
  • Topper Harley from Hot Shots has his father's eyes. Literally. As in, in a little jewelry case.
  • William Wallace in Braveheart keeps Maron's handkerchief with him until it falls from his grasp at his death. Then we see Sir Robert De Bruce with it when he leads the reckless charge against the remaining English forces at the end.
  • In Up, Carl Frederickson's house and practically everything in it are a keepsake of his departed wife Ellie and the childhood promise he made to her.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean, Davy Jones keeps the locket of his love Calypso - the woman who broke his heart.
  • Captain Vidal's pocketwatch in Pan's Labyrinth is a variation of this: the watch belonged to his father who, when he knew was about to die, broke it so it would stop at the exact time of his death, so his son "would know how a brave man dies". However, Vidal had it repaired seemingly out of spite and keeps it with him at all times. When he is later cornered by rebels, he prepares to break the watch so it can be given to his newborn son only to be told that, "He won't even know your name" and unceremoniously shot.
  • Maverick keeps Goose's dogtags in Top Gun
  • In Law Abiding Citizen Clyde keeps his daughter's charm bracelet. The same one she was seen making for her mother at the very beginning of the movie.
  • In Captain America: Civil War, from time to time Zemo calls his family. Eventually, it's revealed that they're dead and all he's doing is listening to the last recording he has of their voices.


  • Will Parry (His Dark Materials) grew up hearing tales about his brave father, the explorer, and was told by his mother that he would grow up to "take on his father's mantle." He does this quite literally. (However, it's not made explicit how long he keeps or wears the mantle itself. Hmmm....)
  • From Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the fake Horcrux Harry and Dumbledore had gone to such great lengths to retrieve from the cave:

The locket was accorded this place of honor [with his other belongings] not because it was valuable - in all usual senses it was worthless - but because of what it had cost to attain it.

    • This is also an example of the hero not keeping the keepsake; it ends up being a Chekhov's Gun instead, when Harry gives it to Kreacher, an act that results in the house-elf that had loathed Harry and his friends becoming one of his most loyal allies.
  • In False Memory by Dean Koontz, Dr. Ahriman has his fathers eyes in a jar. Not as a reminder of some past wrong, however, but rather because he is a Complete Monster who killed his father and stole his father's eyes in an attempt to understand his own inability to cry and subsequent fetish for tears
  • In the Discworld series, there is a troll watchman named Detritus who is very slow, as his silicon brain works slower in higher temperatures. His specially made cooling-helmet, that has a fan to help cool his mind, is one of these given to him from the Dwarf Cuddy who died a short time after giving Detritus the present.

Live-Action TV

  • In The X-Files, Scully always wears a small gold cross necklace. When she's abducted near the beginning of season 2, it's torn off, and Mulder wears it himself for the three months she's missing. It shows up a few more times when they're separated as a symbol of their bond.
  • In Season 3 of Heroes, reformed Future Sylar keeps the broken wristwatch which gave him his name as a reminder of the terrible things he did before he reformed.
  • Babylon 5 - Commander Ivanova wears a single earring. Her brother died wearing the other half of the pair in the Minbari War.
  • Battlestar Galactica - In Helena Cain's weapon cabinet there is guns, knives and a pitful dinner-knife that she grabbed when she, just a child, tried to defend herself in the last day of the first Cylon War. The fact that she never put it down, but kept it, symbolized that she never stopped fighting that war.
  • Burn Notice - In the Season 2 Finale we find out Victor kept pictures of his family as a tragic keepsake to spur him on to wipe out the shady company that burns spies and then recruits them for black ops missions.
  • Castle - Kate Beckett wears her murdered mother's wedding ring around her neck as a reminder of why she does what she does. Also inverted, in that she also wears her father's old watch as something of an Uplifting Keepsake; she helped him recover from her mother's death by helping him overcome the alcoholism he fell into afterwards. Because it's more readily apparent (and unusual), Castle mistakes the latter for the former.
  • On Lost, Kate robs a bank to obtain a toy plane that belonged to an old boyfriend for whose death she fell she is responsible.
  • NCIS - Ziva keeps a Day-Glo orange stocking cap as a keepsake from Lt. Roy Sanders, the young man she connects with while he is dying of radiation poisoning in "Dead Man Walking."
  • Smallville Lana Lang wore a piece of the meteor that killed her parents as a pendant. That's right, she wore as jewelry a piece of the meteor that killed her parents. And since the audience needs to understand that it's kryptonite, she just won't stop talking about it...
    • It makes one wonder just why they haven't, in a series where Kryptonite can do almost anything under the right conditions, done the one other thing that normal green Kryptonite does: gives humans cancer after long-term exposure. Hell, in the normal DC and DCAU continuties, Lex Luthor got cancer by having a kryptonite ring around. Or even turn her into a meteor freak.
  • Space: Above and Beyond - The king of hearts (Nathan) has a locket with a voice recording of his girlfriend (fiance?) that was given to him just before they were forced to part ways (she had to catch a rocket to space).
  • In Japanese drama Shokojo Sera, the necklace main protagonist Seira gave her father before he left was given back to her upon his death. And when she would later run away from the school, it was the only thing she brought with her.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation fan favorite "The Inner Light", a probe downloads the experiences of an alien civilization into Picard. From his point of view, he gets married, raises children, watches his friends pass away, and wakes up to discover that the civilization had been wiped out a thousand years ago. He gets a flute, and in a Continuity Nod, the flute appears in later episodes.
  • In the "Year Of Hell" two part episode of Star Trek: Voyager, the villain keeps a lock of the hair of the wife he accidentally erased from time in a special container that shields it from dissipating into nothing because it can't exist in the world he created.
  • Amy's engagement ring in Doctor Who. Somewhat subverted, since its the Doctor who cares for it, even though Amy is still alive and traveling with him because Rory has been wiped from existence, along with all of Amy's memories of him.
  • Warehouse 13 Revealed villain Helena Wells, a person who had just escaped from over a century in the And I Must Scream-prison where history's most evil masterminds are bronzed for all eternity, breaks into the place where they stored her personal belongings. She only takes one thing: A locket. Cue massive speculation what kind of artifact that locket must be. Then a couple of episodes later we learn what kind of locket it is: The normal kind. The locket contained the only remaining picture of her daughter. Affably Evil doesn't even begin to describe it.
  • Nikita features a metaphorical example. Owen, another rogue operative, made drawings reminding him of the people he killed. He eventually has them tattooed on himself.
  • Mac Taylor on CSI: NY keeps a beach ball from his last vacation with his wife before her death on 9/11. He can't bring himself to let it go as it has her breath in it, the only phsyical(ish) thing he still has of her. (Unless you count her son Reed.)
    • He also had opera tickets that he eventually let wash away into the ocean in the episode that aired around the tenth anniversary.
  • In Once Upon a Time, woe betide the man who dares steal Mr. Gold's chipped teacup—a relic from the fairytale world, where the cup was chipped by Belle. The fact that Mr. Gold is one of two people in Storybrooke who remembers his true identity means that while other characters are seen with their own emotionally-significant objects, only Gold is aware of the significance of his own keepsake.
  • In a Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode, a judge keeps the amount of change in his pocket he had on the day his son was kidnapped.

Tabletop Games

  • Scion signature character Horace Farrow carries a .45 revolver with him. His uncle Seth used it to kill Horace's (step)father and shoot out Horace's eye, but dropped it when Horace nailed him in the groin with a shotgun. It's heavily implied Horace carries it so that one day he can put a bullet from it through Seth's head.

Video Games

  • In another dark example, Mr. Grimm of Twisted Metal Black is re-envisioned as an insane former Vietnam veteran (as opposed to being death incarnate). He and a buddy were captured by the VC during the war, and a sadistic Russian advisor kept the two of them starving in a pit. After the buddy dies, Grimm was forced to eat him to survive. Grimm kept the man's skull, and wears it as a mask.
  • Ace Attorney: Apollo Justice's bracelet used to belong to his mother. She probably left it with him when she abandoned him. Similarly, after Trucy's mother disappeared, her father gave her a locket with her mom's picture in it. Naturally, Trucy and Apollo actually have the same mother. Guess Thalassa isn't too great at sticking around her children. Both cases are a subversion since their mother is alive.
    • In Trials and Tribulations, The Master's Talisman that Misty Fey was obligated to wear around her neck for as long as she lived contained a picture of Maya and Mia, so they would always be with her until the day she died. Subverted in that Maya and Mia weren't dead; Misty had, in fact, abandoned them.
  • Kingdom of Loathing parodies this with the "Dead Guy's Memento," which is obtained by combining a Dead Guy's Pocketwatch and a Picture Of A Dead Guy's Girlfriend.
  • Cubones from Pokémon are notable for wearing their dead mother's skull on their heads. They wail for said mothers often.
    • Every single cubone ever in the Pokémon franchise is wearing such a skull, which begs the question, what the hell happened to all their mothers?
      • Maybe they die after laying the egg... like some insects...
      • They were Dittos...
      • This is yet more support for the "written by the ten-year-old protagonists" alternate fan theory on Pokedex entries. If nothing else, think about the mathematics: If the skull is specifically that of the Cubone's mother, then the species has been going extinct at a rapid pace for quite some time, and in fact should have disappeared decades if not centuries ago, because there are only so many skulls to go around, and some of those Marowak are male.
      • There is an Epileptic Trees theory stating that Cubones are actually the pouch babies leftover from dead Kangaskhan.
  • In one of the endings of Mega Man X 5, in which Zero is destroyed, X will continue to wield his friend's Z-Saber in his fight for peace.
    • Also, in the first Mega Man X game, failing to acquire the Mega Buster upgrade will lead to Zero giving his to X before expiring.
  • In Devil May Cry, the amulets and the swords Rebellion and Yamato given to Dante and Vergil respectively by their late father Sparda may count as this. Although the sons may not care too much about their demon heritage, they've shown quite a bit or respect for their father, although both for different reasons.
  • Street Fighter II's Guile keeps his friend Charlie's dogtags with him throughout his quest to bring Bison down.
    • Dhalsim from the same game wears a collar made of skulls. These belong to a group of children who died of illness in his village, and he wears them to honor the their memory.
  • The Necromantress in Dragon Fable is always followed by a floating purple crystal. It's her older brother's Soul Jar.
  • Dart from The Legend of Dragoon keeps a gem his father once had before he and his mother were killed by the Black Monster. This is later revealed to be the Dragoon Spirit of the Red-Eyed Dragon, which allows him to go into Dragoon form.
  • Persona 3 has a couple of these. Mamoru, the Star Social Link, carries his father's car keys (from the car he died driving); when you max out the link, he decides to take responsibility for his family by working in a factory; as a sign he's moved past his father's death, he leaves the car keys with you. The Sun social link has what could be called a subverted one, the notebook Akinari wrote his story in before he died from his disease; in the epilogue, you offer it to his mother, but she asks you to keep it so that she can hear the story from Akinari himself in the afterlife.
    • FES has Elizabeth Lampshade this an interesting way during one of her quests. She asks for a fruit knife (which you get from Shinjiro, as he loves cooking). However, like her other fetch quests she won't take it as she notices how well taken care of it is, saying it's probably very important to the owner (the engraving on it hints that has to do with orphanage he grew up in.) In the end though, after the events of October 4, you will still have it in your inventory, making it more or less your keepsake of Shinjiro.
    • The girl's route in the remake also shows a few. Ken, who is a social link, keeps the key to his house (which was destroyed and left him without a home and a family). When he overcomes the regrets of losing his mom and realizes he suppressed all of the loving memories with her for the sake of revenge, he gives the protagonist that key, representing how he moved on, along with she is just as important him as those memories. Koromaru also has the collar that he used to wear on his walks with his late master, and Shinjiro also has pocket watch which he cherishes, and as he's an orphan also, it's likely it was from a family member. There's also Ryoji, who gives you a ring as proof that he was once human, before going on to cause the Fall.
  • In Dragon Quest IV, The Hero can pick up Elisa's feather cap after her Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Halo: Reach: Just before Jorge makes a Heroic Sacrifice, he gives Noble Six his dogtags, who keeps him for the remainder of the game.
  • In Night Trap, Tony has a locket with a picture of his former girlfriend (who looks just like Ashley, one of the girls at the sleepover) in it. We never find out what happened to her.
  • Silent Hill: Shattered Memories has these in the form of collectible "mementos".
  • In Honkai Impact 3rd, the aptly-named "Burden" item is a piece of flame-frozen flame from Kevin Kaslana's first use of the Flaming Sword Judgment of Shamash, which destroyed all the Honkai beasts it was used on but also the city and people they were attacking. Notwithstanding that the city wouldn't have made it anyway if he hadn't, he still holds onto it as a reminder of the price of failure.

Web Comics

  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, James Eglamore keeps a knife that was a present from his old flame, the recently-deceased Surma.
  • Homestuck: In the End of Act 5, after the Exiles are massacred, Serenity, WV's firefly companion, hangs around PM.

Western Animation

Real Life

  • Though it's usually not to remind us why we're on our Roaring Rampage of Revenge, in Real Life, people will often keep and wear/use things belonging to relatives who've passed on.
    • The key that Rapper/Actress/Singer Dana Owens, a.k.a. Queen Latifah, often wears around her neck goes to the motorcycle her brother was riding when he died.
  • As a matter of fact, several religions keep a whole collection and record of these things. The most famous ones are the Catholic relics - the most poignant and tragic (and sometimes, creepy) are those that belonged to all kind of martyrs, but any inspirational beloved will do. Relics come in three flavors: body parts of the actual saint (can vary from drops of blood in a bottle to an entire body, bonus points if it's uncorrupted), items that were worn in a regular basis by the saint (i.e.: Saint Pio of Pietrelcina's gloves which he used to cover his stigmata), and items that were merely touched or blessed by that saint (such as a robe, a piece of the Holy Cross, a favorite shepherd's crook, etc.) Several miracles are credited to relics, no matter what flavor they are: i.e., in Italy the vial that contains the blood of Saint Gennaro is said to have its contents miraculously liquified during the saint's feast.
    • As a bonus, during medieval ages there was a whole black market of relics, where diverse Catholic groups would steal them and either sell or smuggle them to other places. An example would be Saint Catherine of Sienna's head.
    • This is parodied in the first Blackadder, in an episode where the main characters enter the church. Baldrick starts shifting job-lots of saints' relics.