Colon Cancer

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Ignore when people say that the length of a game's title is not important, that a title should just convey what the game is about. They're just jealous theirs isn't as long.
Atlus, in the newsletter email announcing the localization of Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abbadon

Many works of fiction are named using a "Title Colon Subtitle" template. For example, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney has this kind of title. Sometimes, however, the subtitle becomes an important part of the original work's identity, and when a sequel is made, a second subtitle is tacked on after the first (like the sequels Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations[1]). When written out, this looks ridiculous, as you have to use a colon to indicate each separate subtitle. That's Colon Cancer; Oddly-Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo carried way too far.

Some publishers try to avoid this by using a dash instead of one of the colons while at times when a work (especially a movie) is exported, they feel the need to add this to have a more clear idea about the plot; this is called The Foreign Subtitle.

If it's a sequel, then it's Oddly-Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo.

Star Wars video games are notorious for this, as are titles derived from The World of Darkness Tabletop Games. Generally, most games from a non-game franchise will suffer from this.

A pun on the medical disease of the same name.

Please refrain from listing What Could Have Been titles that weren't actually done with multiple colons. Also a single colon isn't cancer yet.

TV Tropes: Colon Cancer: The Examples: The List:

Colon Cancer: The Examples: Anime & Manga

  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex has a second season titled Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Second Gig, as well as a sequel movie titled Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Solid State Society.
  • Every Japanese name for the Pokémon movies, once the seasons started getting subtitles. Pocket Monsters Advanced Generation the Movie: The Pokémon Ranger and the Prince of the Sea: Manaphy. That's three subtitles. Only two colons though, luckily.
    • Which if you think about it, should really be Pocket Monsters: Advanced Generation: The Movie: The Pokémon Ranger and the Prince of the Sea: Manaphy.
  • Super Robot Wars: Original Generation: Divine Wars, though no one seems totally sure whether both colons are necessary. The OVA Super Robot Wars: Original Generation: The Animation also qualifies.
    • As does Super Robot Wars: Original Generation: The Inspector
  • Fist of the North Star has a series consisting of three movies and two OVAs released between 2006 and 2008 titled Shin Kyūseishu Densetsu: Hokuto no Ken, translated by the film's licensing distributor as Fist of the North Star: The Legends of the True Savior. Each installment uses that title along with its own subtitle, resulting in the following:
    • Shin Kyūseishu Densetsu: Hokuto no Ken: Raō Den: Jun'ai no Shō (Fist of the North Star: The Legends of the True Savior: Legend of Raoh: Chapter of Death in Love)
    • Shin Kyūseishu Densetsu: Hokuto no Ken: Yuria Den (Fist of the North Star: The Legends of the True Savior: Legend of Yuria)
    • Shin Kyūseishu Densetsu: Hokuto no Ken: Raō Den: Gekitō no Shō (Fist of the North Star: The Legends of the True Savior: Legend of Raoh: Chapter of Fierce Fight)
    • Shin Kyūseishu Densetsu: Hokuto no Ken: Toki Den (Fist of the North Star: The Legends of the True Savior: Legend of Toki)
    • Shin Kyūseishu Densetsu: Hokuto no Ken: Zero: Kenshirō Den (Fist of the North Star: The Legends of the True Savior: Zero: Legend of Kenshiro)
  • Giant Robo: The Animation: The Day the Earth Stood Still
  • From the late 30s of the dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, the logo gets a subtitle that makes it read Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's: Earthbound Immortals: Unite to Duel (It's animated - Earthbound Immortals is under the logo at first, and a second later it fades to read Unite to Duel)
  • Pokémon: Zoroark: Master of Illusions

Colon Cancer: The Examples: Comic Books

  • A number of Marvel Comics Miniseries featuring solo adventures for members of the X-Men have titles like X-Men: Phoenix: Warsong or X-Men: Kitty Pryde: Shadow and Flame.
    • Also from Marvel: Dark Reign: The List: Punisher or any of the other "List" one-shots.
  • The Anita Blake Comic Book Adaptation combines a big pile of this trope with some In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It on top: Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse: Book Two: Necromancer #1. [1]
  • Marvel's initial adaptations of Stephen King's Dark Tower series managed to keep to just one colon each, until they caught up to the first novel. The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger: The Journey Begins is, undoubtedly, only the beginning...
  • Maus: A Survivor's Tale I: My Father Bleeds History, and Maus: A Survivor's Tale II: And Here My Troubles Began, by Art Spiegelman.
  • The Star Wars Omnibus titles are running into this issue. Consider the first one released, which is Star Wars: Omnibus: X-Wing: Rogue Squadron: Volume 1.
    • Star Wars: X-wing: Rogue Squadron: Battleground: Tatooine. Yes, really.
    • Star Wars: Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil: A Novel of the Old Republic

Colon Cancer: The Examples: Film

  • The soundtrack for The Movie of Aqua Teen Hunger Force was titled Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters Colon The Soundtrack. (Yes, they used the word instead of the punctuation mark.)
  • Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns: A Movie About They Might Be Giants
  • Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. IMDB seems to think they may have removed the first colon, but since the first movie was Lara Croft: Tomb Raider...
  • There's a Christian documentary about Harry Potter titled Harry Potter: Witchcraft Repackaged: Making Evil Look Innocent.
  • Another documentary: Peace Is Every Step: Meditation in Action: The Life and Work of Thich Nhat Hanh.
  • Kamen Rider Double's second movie, Kamen Rider Double Forever: A to Z: The Gaia Memories of Fate.
  • Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call: New Orleans
    • This was due to Executive Meddling. Werner Herzog wanted to call the film Port of Call: New Orleans, but the producers wanted to call the film The Bad Lieutenant (they had purchased remake rights to the 1992 film Bad Lieutenant and wanted to make a franchise). Eventually they came to a compromise and combined both titles into one.
  • There was going to be a sequel to Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius, titled "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius 2: The Search for Carl" but it was scrapped.
    • Same with Hey Arnold!: The Movie 2: Jungle Movie but that (unfortunatly) was scrapped.
  • Walmart's online listing for Recess: School's Out lists it as Recess: The Movie: School's Out.

Colon Cancer: The Examples: Literature

  • The Parody of Sarah Palin's autobiography is called Going Rouge: Sarah Palin: An American Nightmare.
  • While books are usually immune to this trope, Star Wars novels seem to have it in spades The worst offenders are some of the New Jedi Order series, such as Star Wars: The New Jedi Order: Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream. Star Wars: Darth Bane: Path of Destruction: A Novel of the Old Republic also deserves a mention. Its sequel dropped the final colon.
    • This is pretty much par for the course in media tie-in fiction, as also evidenced in Star Trek novels, e.g. Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Q Continuum: Q-Strike (and there are many more.)
  • Book based on the World of Warcraft MMO lore, World of Warcraft: Arthas: Rise of the Lich King.
  • Justin Bieber's official biography, Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever: My Story.
  • For some reason, almost every book plugged on The Daily Show (or The Colbert Report) has a subtitle, but only one to date has had two. America: Our Next Chapter: Tough Questions, Straight Answers.
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "Kubla Khan" has the seldom-used full title "Kubla Khan; or, A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment", making this trope Older Than Radio.
  • While every book in the Left Behind series has at least one colon, Assassins: Assignment: Jerusalem: Target: Antichrist takes the biscuit.
  • Every single book from the second series onward in Warrior Cats. Each book has the initial title Warriors, and two subtitles to indicate which specific series it belongs to, and the title of the book itself (for example: Warriors: The New Propehcy #3: Dawn, Warriors: Power of Three #2: Dark River, and Warriors: Omen of the Stars #1: The Fourth Apprentice).
  • Lincoln Alexander, a former Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, managed to cram two colons and a comma into the title of Go to School, You're a Little Black Boy: The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander: A Memoir.
  • In a nonfiction example, Kent M. Keith wrote Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments: Finding Personal Meaning in a Crazy World.
  • The 2010 biography Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century: Volume 1, 1907-1948: Learning Curve
  • As if his blindness weren't enough, adventurer Erik Weihenmayer contracted Colon Cancer in his autobiography, Touch the Top of the World: A Blind Man's Journey to Climb Farther than the Eye Can See: My Story
  • Aftermath: Star Wars: The Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens

[…] disjointed, tonally dissonant writing style is what's drawing the lion's share of the criticism. The book's hyper-punctuated title is a pretty accurate foretaste of what awaits readers within.

Colon Cancer: The Examples: Live Action TV

  • Babylon 5's second Spin-Off only consisted of one movie, but since it was supposed to be a pilot episode as well, it had both an episode and a series title. As a result, it ended up being called Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers: To Live and Die in Starlight (though the third part is often left off).
  • Freddy's Nightmares: A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Series
  • A fake Police Procedural series on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim is entitled "NTSF:SD:SUV::" which stands for "National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: Sport Utility Vehicle". (The last two colons are purely decorative.)

Colon Cancer: The Examples: Music

  • Coheed & Cambria's third and fourth albums are named Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV: Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness and Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV: Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow.
    • They have a song titled The Willing Well III: Apollo II: The Telling Truth.
  • Videogame: The Movie: The Game: The Cover Album.
  • Compost Ambient Selection: Sleeping Beauty: Compost Relax Works: Compiled By Minus 8
  • Italian power metal band Domine's third album is called Stormbringer Ruler: The Legend of the Power Supreme, and closes with a track called Dawn of a New Day - A Celtic Requiem: The Chronicles of the Black Sword - The End of an Era part 4.

Colon Cancer: The Examples: Video Games

  • My Little Pony: Twilight Sparkle: Teacher for a Day [dead link]
  • Star Wars:
    • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
    • Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption
    • Kyle Katarn's series deserves special mention. In order, they're:
      • Star Wars: Dark Forces (which featured a mission entitled thusly: "Mission I: The Death Star Plans: Operation Skyhook, Phase 2". It was merely a foretaste of what was to come.)
      • Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II
        • Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II: Mysteries of the Sith
      • Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
        • Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy (a few joked that its full title would be Star Wars: Dark Forces IV: Jedi Knight III: Jedi Outcast II: Jedi Academy)
    • The Star Wars: Rogue Squadron series.
      • Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader
      • Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike
    • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels
      • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes
    • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition
    • Rebel Assault's sequel, Star Wars: Rebel Assault II: The Hidden Empire
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Winter Assault
    • Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Dark Crusade
    • Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Soulstorm
    • Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising
    • Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II: Retribution
  • Hunter: The Reckoning had the video game adaptations Hunter: The Reckoning: Wayward and Hunter: The Reckoning: Redeemer.
  • The sequels to the first Ace Attorney, Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney, also suffer from this: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations. This is due to the new main character, Apollo Justice, appearing in the fourth game in the series. They couldn't call the series Phoenix Wright anymore, as it had seemed to be for the first game, so they had to change the series name to Ace Attorney and relegate Phoenix's name to a "supertitle" above that. The fourth game, therefore, is just Apollo Justice Ace Attorney. The spin-off series Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth don't help at cleaning this mess.
    • The Japanese versions, however, avert this. They're simply called Gyakuten Saiban ("Turnabout Court"), Gyakuten Saiban 2 (JFA), Gyakuten Saiban 3 (T&T), Gyakuten Saiban 4 (AJ) and Gyakuten Kenji ("Turnabout Prosecutor"/Ace Attorney Investigations).
  • The various Tom Clancy games, including but not limited to:
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. the Soulless Army
    • But only in the translated version, where the Shin Megami Tensei supertitle is tacked on so fans will know about the connection. Similarly, "Digital Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner" was turned into "Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga" upon translation.
    • Also, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon. Lampshaded by Atlus in the page quote.
  • The Command & Conquer series also has its share of Colon Cancer for its franchise sequels and Expansion Packs:
    • Command & Conquer: Red Alert: Counterstrike
    • Command & Conquer: Red Alert: The Aftermath
    • Command & Conquer: Red Alert: The Arsenal (compilation)
    • Command & Conquer: Red Alert: Retaliation (Play Station compilation)
    • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun: Firestorm
    • Command & Conquer: Generals: Zero Hour
    • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: Uprising
      • Westwood wisely removed Red Alert 2 from the Yuri's Revenge title, averting this trope. EA would later replace Tiberium Wars with Kane's Wrath for the Command & Conquer 3 expansion pack, averting this trope once again.
  • This happens to some Star Trek games as well; Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Fallen and Star Trek: Voyager: Elite Force are good examples.
  • The newest expansion to Final Fantasy XI is called "Final Fantasy XI: A Shantotto Ascension: The Legend Torn, Her Empire Born". And if you throw an "online" into that title, you might even get another colon. Ladies and Gentlemen, we might have winner!
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II: The Rise of the Witch-king.
  • Sam and Max Freelance Police: Season One: Episode Two: Situation: Comedy
    • From the same developer—they've truly topped themselves with this one. Strong Bads Cool Game for Attractive People: Episode 4: Dangeresque 3: The Criminal Projective
    • The people at Telltale, according to commentary on the Season 1 DVD, even acknowledge how many colons Situation: Comedy had. It had, in fact, caused problems for their website. Colon Cancer, indeed.
  • I Wanna Be the Guy: The Movie: The Game parodies the phenomenon.
  • Penny Arcade intentionally used this trope to make fun of its frequency among video games. The title they chose? "Penny Arcade Adventures: On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness: Episode One."
  • Averted (sort of) in the Resident Evil series, which sidestepped the problem for Code: Veronica. Officially, the game's title is written just as Resident Evil Code: Veronica.
  • This trope is applied a Name's the Same kind of way in City of Heroes with the Rikti. Their dialogue is riddled with Colon Cancer. The entries in Starfish Language and Eloquent in My Native Tongue give reasonable examples of this.
    • Ditto with the Progenitors in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, although there's usually only one colon per sentence.
      • Justified with the Progenitors: their colons seem to replace either the verb (e.g. "That amount: not enough.") or allow for a qualifier (e.g. "Courage: to Question", a base name). The Progenitors do Eloquent in My Native Tongue too, as seen in the text-based stuff that comes up when you meet certain criteria...
  • Naruto: Ultimate Ninja: Storm. It's even written with two colons on the spine of the jewel case. The direct sequel suffers similar problems, as it adds "Shippuden" and "2" to the title.
    • The "disease" seems to be spreading yet again, as evident with the third game in the Ultimate Ninja: Storm series, which adds another word in lieu of a number: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja: Storm: Generations. It becomes even worse if you decide to insert a colon between "Naruto" and "Shippuden" (with Naruto Shippuden being a Time Skip Sequel Series to the original Naruto).
    • Similarly, the PlayStation Portable game Naruto: Ultimate Ninja: Heroes 2: The Phantom Fortress also qualifies.
  • We're not sure how many colons are supposed to be in Mugen no Frontier: Super Robot Wars: OG Saga. Atlus has unhelpfully settled on Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier for a US title.
  • Here's one that managed to hide the colon cancer quite well, since most people only refer to it by it's second subtitle, out of THREE. Ogre Battle Saga: Episode VII: Tactics Ogre: Let us Cling Together
  • Tetris the Grand Master 2: The Absolute (sometimes called Tetris: The Absolute: The Grand Master 2)
    • Tetris: The Grand Master 3: Terror-Instinct
  • The first installment of the Street Fighter III series started out with the sensible title of Street Fighter III: New Generation, but then came its sequels, Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact: Giant Attack and Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike: Fight for the Future. Most of the times though, the "2nd Impact" and "3rd Strike" portions of each title are actually spelled out as part of the main title following the main "Street Fighter III" portion, and other times they're treated as subtitles and spelled out as "Second Impact" and "Third Strike", leaving out the second subtitles.
  • Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies
  • Vampire: The Masquerade: Redemption
  • Slaves to Armok: God of Blood: Chapter II: Dwarf Fortress: Histories of X and Y, the insanely deep and insanely popular ASCII dungeon crawler/city builder (the X and Y are selected randomly from a list of terms each time you go to a screen displaying the full title).
  • While most of them aren't separated by punctuation, Tales of Game's Presents Chef Boyardee's Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden: Chapter 1 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa has quite a few subtitles.
  • Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords: Revenge of the Plague Lord
  • Spider-Man 2: Enter: Electro
  • Rockman DASH 2: Episode 2: The Mother Load would be the Japanese title for Mega Man Legends 2.
    • Curiously, Rockman DASH 2: Episode 1: Close call, Roll-chan was simply a pre-release demo.
  • Super Robot Wars: Original Generations: Endless Frontier: EXCEED.
  • Upon its 2009 remake, the game SaGa 2: Hihou Densetsu (better known as SaGa 2 here in the States) gained a new subtitle, making its official name SaGa 2: Hihou Densetsu: Goddess of Destiny.
  • Deus Ex Invisible War

Goal received: Missing children: Find

Colon Cancer: The Examples: Webcomics

Colon Cancer: The Examples: Web Original

  • AMV Hell is a series of short pieces of popular Anime with accompanying music for comic effect. The third one was feature length, and called AMV Hell III: The Motion Picture. When the fourth one was also feature length, they decided to call it AMV Hell III: The Motion Picture II: AMV Hell IV: The Last One.
    • Amusingly enough, it technically was not "the last one", as they released the contest-based "AMV Hell: Championship Edition", the pornographic "AMV Hell: Divided by 0", a sequel to the equally pornographic "AMV Hell 0," and several relatively short collections of "AMV Minis."
    • Tentatively planned for a September 2010 release is "AMV Hell 3: The Motion Picture III: AMV Hell 5: Yo
  • The e-novel E.H.U.D.: Prelude to Apocalypse was recently revealed to be short for American Inheritance: Trilogy I: Tales of the E.H.U.D.s: Book I: E.H.U.D.: Prelude to Apocalypse.

Colon Cancer: The Examples: Western Animation

  • Every episode of Clone High contains at least one colon in its title (and the final episode contains three).
  • Futurama verbal Colon Cancer in the episode The Problem With Popplers:

"Popplers: Eating Them: Is it Alright To?"

Colon Cancer: The Examples: Other

  • Most students who have quoted other works in an academic paper have undoubtedly come across this phenomenon, since many methods for citation require putting the author's name in front of the quoted work's title, with a colon in between. If the work title itself has a colon, then you have instant colon cancer.
    • Smithee, Alan J.: Tropes, Idioms, and Cliches: Essays on a Certain Addictive Website (Troperville, 2008).
  • Cyclopaedia, or, An Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences: Containing the Definitions of the Terms, and Accounts of the Things Signify'd Thereby, in the Several Arts, both Liberal and Mechanical, and the Several Sciences, Human and Divine: the Figures, Kinds, Properties, Productions, Preparations, and Uses, of Things Natural and Artificial; the Rise, Progress, and State of Things Ecclesiastical, Civil, Military, and Commercial: with the Several Systems, Sects, Opinions, etc; among Philosophers, Divines, Mathematicians, Physicians, Antiquaries, Criticks, etc.: The Whole Intended as a Course of Ancient and Modern Learning.

Colon Cancer: The Examples: Fictional Examples

  1. In the original game Phoenix Wright was originally meant to be the main title of the series, but they were forced to demote the Phoenix Wright portion as a sort of supertitle to Ace Attorney when they realized that the fourth would feature a new protagonist