Gratuitous German

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Caution! Ride no car onto this open space![1] Additionally funny because in German you cannot "ride" a motor vehicle, only animals.[2]
"The entire Gestalt of the Weltanschauung of these former Wunderkinder was characterized by a certain gemütlich attitude toward each other's Schadenfreude."
Why Not Me?

Exactly What It Says on the Tin: German inserted into a work, whether it is necessary or not. A subtrope of Gratuitous Foreign Language.

Sometimes overlaps with Bilingual Bonus.

BTW, if you use a German noun in a post, remember: In der deutschen Sprache werden Substantive immer groß geschrieben. (In German, nouns are always capitalized.)

Examples of Gratuitous German include:

Anime und Manga

  • Mephisto Pheles of Blue Exorcist usually says "Eins, zwei, drei!" (one, two, three) when performing magic.
    • In which he also often uses the wrong "Ein" instead of "Eins"
    • The manga now adds "Das stärkste Gefängnis". (Or that is what it was supposed to say, scanlation display it as "Das stärksten Gefängnis".)
    • Also Kuchenkuckucksuhr meaning cake cuckoo clock.
    • Two songs in the soundtrack have German lyrics which are a) sung by a beautiful chorus b) grammatically correct and c) relevant. Someone associated with the anime obviously did the research involved.
  • Bleach has an entire Arc in which Filler Villains the Bounts call their attacks in German.
    • This becomes quite hilarious when they use a grand ritual to open the portal, with the words "Öffne Dich!", which translates into the command "Open!" towards the door...
    • Later it turns out that the Quincies must have some German ancestry too, with most of Ishida's new attacks and artifacts having pseudo-German names (Seele Schneider, Heizen, Glitz(en), Sprenger, etc.).
      • It would seem that human tribes with spiritual powers use German, whilst Hollows and Soul Reapers use Spanish and Classical Japanese.
  • Fate Stay Night, mainly with Rin's spells (for example "Neun, Acht, Sieben, Stil schießen, beschießen, erschießen!").
    • Fate/Zero's anime adaption also, especially the Rin-focused episode 10.
  • Embalming has tons of it (and tons of strange English, too, considering the title). "I´ll die if I don´t eat a Baumkuchen!".
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, Belkan AIs all speak German, while Midchildian AIs speak mainly Gratuitous English. This gives the viewer a double bonus, as Vita's intelligent device, Graf Eisen ("Count Iron"), is a a magical hammer that speaks German!
    • Hayate's Unison Device, Reinforce Zwei, sometimes addresses her as "Meister Hayate" (By contrast, Signum, Zafira and Reinforce Eins call her "Aruji Hayate," translated as "Mistress Hayate"). Later on, Agito does the same, even though Signum is her actual Lord.
  • The name and episode titles of Rozen Maiden are both in an English influenced German (the proper translation would be "Rosenmaid". The doll's names are also apparently translated from German, for instance, Reiner Rubin is Shinku (pure ruby).
    • The same is true of Elfen Lied. However, the reason that Nozomi, a main character who sings the song the show was named after, was written out of the anime was most likely to avoid this.
    • And Weiss Kreuz, apparently mostly because Takehito Koyasu thinks German is cool. The series group takes its name from the broken German for White Cross—the grammatically correct version would either be "Weisses Kreuz" or "Weißkreuz", the German name for lachrymatory gasses used in World War I. The other rival groups are Schwarz (Black) and Schreient (misspelled, means screaming).
  • In Princess Tutu, when Fakir dramatically fetches his sword, he says something in badly, badly accented German. The series is set in Germany, but still...
    • Fortunately, the English dub (and Chris Patton) does a better job with the accent, turning the scene into something that's...almost a little badass.
    • Also, all of the readable text in the show is in German, although again the show's set in Germany, so it might not be all that gratuitous...
  • Of course, Kujibiki Unbalance with Ritsuko Kübel Kettenkrad. Special mention to her German helmet. Fun fact: Kettenkrad is an abbreviation that refers to the world's only half-track bike and Kübel means "bucket".
    • The "Kübel" probably refers to the VW Type 82 "Kübelwagen" or "bucket car" (named so for its so-called "bucket seats")
  • Black Lagoon, especially around Those Wacky Nazis. Fuck Plan vom Schiff, indeed.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: The names of the organizations SEELE (soul), GEHIRN (brain), and NERV (nerve) are all in German. Additionally, Asuka is German, and so uses some rather poorly done German phrases throughout the series. The dubbers and her English voice actress all had a better grasp of the language, resulting in much improved pronunciation. The English dub also had her exclaiming "Mein Gott!" quite a bit, gave her a penchant for referring to Shinji as a 'dummkopf' (literally 'stupid-head', but good enough fit for Japanese baka or idiot), and generally added a lot more German into her regular speech.
    • To be fair, dummkopf would sound less silly to a German speaker then 'stupid head' sounds in English.
    • While the pronunciation surely improved (as expected from someone non-Japanese), the grammar got worse.
    • Asuka in the Spanish dub is very fond of uttering phrases in Gratuitous German. In her introductory chapter from the Japanese original, when Shinji and Asuka must open an Angel's mouth in order to make it swallow a battleship, she says "Open, open, open!"; the dub, however, replaces it with "Öffnen, öffnen, öffnen!" . And just to Get Crap Past The Radar, she also loves exclaiming "Scheiße!".
      • Which literary translates as "shit!", but actually comes much closer to a genuinely felt "Fuck!" right from the heart, in contemporary German. (Though the use of swear words is mostly uncontroversial in Germany, so it's used in a very appropriate way.)
    • Hilarity Ensues in the German dub.
      • Would you know it. When Asuka's "mother" calls, they have the actress switch to a more contemporary accent, rather than clean spoken German.
    • In the manga, some of the German edges into As Long as It Sounds Foreign. Example.
  • The evil vampire Nazis in Hellsing.
    • Alucard also sometimes speaks German, once saying 'Heil den Ich' after he makes a 90 degree landing on a aircraft carrier. Literal translation: vaguely 'Heal/Hail the I' and in correct grammar 'Heil mir/mich!' (depending on you going with 'to hail' or 'to heal' (probably the former in Third Realom and previous German culture))
  • The Panzer Kunst in Battle Angel Alita is the main example, but not the only.
  • In the Manga version of Fruits Basket, the half-German Momiji speaks entirely in German when he first appears. From then on, he constantly peppers his speach with Gratuitous German words and phrases.
  • Legend of Galactic Heroes: Also titled: Heldensagen Vom Kosmosinsel ("Hero legends from Cosmic Island", literally - what makes this gratuitous is the grammatical case and wrong-gender article: it should be "von der" instead of "vom"="von dem"). The empire is clearly based on an anachronistic collage of Germanies, mostly Das Kaiserreich, or at least the theme-park version. They spout out a fairly large number of catchphrases: Prosit (cheers!), Feuer (fire!), Kaiser (emperor), and Neuland (lit. "new land", virgin soil) being prominent. Justified, in that the first Kaiser was apparently an enthusiastic Germanist and Kaiserreichish sort of guy.
  • Zatch Bell: The real name of character Umagon (Ponygon) is Schneider.
  • At any given time, if a Digimon run isn't doing Gratuitous English, they're probably doing Gratuitous German. The most prominent instance is Digimon Frontier, where a sizable portion of the main cast is made of this trope: Volfmon (wolf-mon), Löwemon (lion-mon), Reichmon (empire-mon), and KaiserLeomon (emperor-Leo-mon), along with all of their attack names. Other examples from elsewhere include Duftmon, ShineGreymon Burst Mode's Torrid Weiß attack, and JagerDorulumon.
  • Digimon Adventure 02: During his evil phase, Ken Ichijouji styles himself as the "Digimon Kaiser" ("Kaiser" being German for "emperor").[3] Oddly enough, no other aspect of his role involved this. Although Ken considered himself Kaiser, though, he still mentioned in one episode that he had yet to become the king of the Digital World...
  • Ho Yay anime Meine Liebe has such brilliant characters as Fuerst Oberst von Marmelade, (Lord Colonel Jelly).
    • There's an Oddly-Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo, Meine Liebe wieder (my love again)
    • The country is actually named "Kuchen" meaning "cake," though there is a town in Germany called "Kuchen"! And its neighboring town is called "Suessen" - "sweetening"...
      • One glance at the map of 'Kuchen' can make a German burst in laughter.
    • Zwiback (should be Zwieback, a type of dry sweet cracker backed twice, as the name implies (Zwie-> Old German for Zwei, two. It survives in the word Zwielicht, twilight)).
  • Märchen Awakens Romance - the title is an example of both gratuitous English and gratuitous German. Märchen means "fairy tale".
  • Galaxy Fraulein Yuna - German "Fräulein" (technically a diminutive of "Frau", woman or female title of address) being an obsolete address for an unmarried woman.
  • Geisters - German "Geister" (ghosts) apparently pluralized again in English just to make sure.
  • In an episode of Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, when Chiri becomes a giant to fight off an army of Alien Invasion Humongous Mecha, most of her attacks are accompanied by German exclamations. Abiru wonders why German, in particular. (It was actually a Homage to Evanglion).
  • Satella Harvenheit, the Jewel Witch, and Fiore, her sister in Chrono Crusade is German, and all of her attacks are called in that language. Another Woolseyism of the English dub is the fact that her voice actor (the same one who voiced Asuka in Eva) speaks the language.
  • Hans, the Token Minority German dude on the team of burglars in The Daughter of Twenty Faces, does this a lot, dropping "Fräulein Chiko" all over the place and once having a short conversation in German with Chiko in (terribly pronounced) German.
  • Each of the Liger Zero's armor units in Zoids: New Century Zero has a German name - Jager, Schneider and Panzer. These correspond to the armor's specialty - the Jager (hunter) has incredible speed and advanced scanning equipment, the Schneider (cutter) has seven laser blades mounted all over its body, and the Panzer (tank) is incredibly heavy and equipped with ridiculous firepower. Funnily, Schneider also means tailor without technical context.
    • In fact, Zoids contains more gratuitous German and Italian than you can throw a braunschweiger at, it's just that for some reason the dub worked the names out from katakana, resulting in such hilarious names as Schubaltz (Schwarz) and Alcobaleno (Arcobaleno (rainbow)). Even the seemingly normal names like Flyheight and Zeke were originally Freiheit and Sieg.
      • In the case of the Berserk Führer, they probably Bowdlerized it.
  • Fafner in The Azure Dead Aggressor includes some examples of this trope, the Fafner units are named after German numerals (Mark Elf, Mark Zwei, Mark Sechs, etc) without forgetting the famous "Mark Sein" (which, funnily enough is homophone to '[es] mag sein.': '[it] might be.'). It might not be a case of completely gratuitous German, though, as Fafner is a concept taken from Germanic mythology.
  • Ban from GetBackers is one-quarter German.
    • Ban might actually be an aversion, as he rarely (if ever) speaks the language. The closest he comes is translating a letter (written by a Romanian woman to a Japanese man, but they both worked for the Nazis, so German might have been the language they had in common...). His father, on the other hand, is known as "der Kaiser."
  • This pops up a few times in Mobile Suit Gundam and its sequels and alternate universes. The Zeon enemy faction was clearly based on Nazis, and had some German phrases (such as the infamous "Sieg Zeon!") and some German Mobile Suit and Mobile Weapon names, like the Dom Tropen ("cathedral tropes", which doesn't make even a little sense) and Neue Ziel (new target).
    • Tropen could stand for Truppen, which is of course German for troops. Spelt Tropen, it means tropics. It was the successor to the Dom Tropical Test Type...
    • Also, later installments often had an edge towards German language (Wing used German numbers for Zechs and Noin (actually in German written 'sechs' and 'neun'), SEED had, among others, Tolle Koenig, which translates into 'awesome king' (funnily enough, in the older use of the word it would mean "insane king"), 00 has the Meisters, which are simply put masters, as well as the Gundam Thrones: Eins, Zwei, and Drei ("one, two, three"). G Gundam, on the other hand, surprisingly averted its gratuitous use: the only suit with a German name was from Neo-Germany.)
    • SEED also uses Theme Naming with the weapon systems, with many of them in Gratuitous German.
    • Gundam X seems to have German in place of English (which seems to be a more common choice) as the "setting language" - note the name of the ship (Frieden) and a lot of the characters' names.
      • Which is bizarre, really, since the main characters are from (post-apocalyptic) America.
    • Humongous Mecha in general, really. As more different types of mecha added to a series, the chances of one of them (at least) having a German name approaches 1.
  • This was inserted into the original translation of Guyver. While the Big Bad's name is usually translated as Richard Guyot, he's known as "Reichmann (realm-man) Gyro" in the old translation, in part because he's a huge, blonde, pseudo-German guy.
  • Many of the characters in Nodame Cantabile, especially those with a connection to von Stresemann. Stresemann himself uses the alias "Milch Holstein", his manager sometimes speaks in German, etc.
    • To explain why native speakers might burst into laughter at this point, "Milch" translates to "milk" while Holstein is a breed of cattle famous for its milk output. On a more intellectual level, Gustav Stresemann served both as chancellor and foreign minister during the Weimar Republic.
    • Actually lampshaded in-story: Chiaki is fluent in German, and immediately makes the connection to milk and cattle when he hears the pseudonym for the first time.
  • The names of the three main characters of Fireball are in German. Especially Drossel's name is laden with German phrases, which together don't make a whole lot of sense. Also, "Drossel" is the German name for the bird named trush.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia has this for, who else, Germany. He says "MEIN GOTT!" once and one of his Image Songs is titled "Einsamkeit" (Solitude).
    • He calls France "a wine-loving dummkopf" in the dub.
    • And then there's Prussia. His song with a title that no one really knows how to translate (the one from the "Ore-sama CD") contains many lines of badly pronounced and Google Translatorish German. "Über dem Rand" (over the edge, but as in "above the edge", not "falling over the edge" - the latter would be the accusative "Über den Rand") is just the beginning.
    • The dub makes it worse, with "THIS IS VUNDERBAR, JAPAN!" and "Herr Shtick, mein shticky friend!" among others.
      • Also can overlap with Bilingual Bonus. In the episode where Britain and France are spreading nasty rumors about Germany, Britain tells Italy that Germany "hates [him] and thinks [he's] stupid." Italy goes over to Germany and asks if he hates him. Germany's response? "Lies. Actually…ich liebe dich," the German portion of which means "I love you." The Shippers rejoiced.
  • The two main characters of Phantom of Inferno are called "Ein" and "Zwei".
  • In Sailor Moon, Ami Mizuno has a German setting on her handheld computer.
  • Practically the whole premise of Pumpkin Scissors is Post WWI Pre WWII Germany. "Gespenst Jäger" (Ghost Hunter, though "Gespenst" is only the singular - correct version would be Gespensterjäger, as one word) and "Himmel" (a drug) which means heaven/sky, are the ones you hear mainly.
    • All of the invisible 9 units were identified as ""Related title" Jäger", including the real-life Fallschirm Jäger (lit. Parachute Hunter, AKA Paratroopers).
    • That said, it wasn't actually set in Germany at all, but a Fantasy Counterpart Culture where evidently the exact same language is spoken. In the English dub, characters tend to pepper their speech with German phrases, and a few even have German accents.
  • Kämpfer(in).
    • "Kämpfer" means "Fighter(s)" and Kämpferin would be the female version.
    • Also the different types of Kämpfer are users of either Schwert (sword), Gewehr (rifle) or Zauber (magic).
  • ef - a tale of melodies features this in the Eyecatch images.
  • Yozakura Quartet features this in an episode. A few phrases and words, actually expected since the character is getting ready to go to Germany.
  • A spell Dark cast in D.N.Angel was apparently supposed to be German.
  • So Ra No Wo To has several dialogs entirely in German which is called "Roman" in the anime. The Arcadians appear to use French, but this only appears in writings and city names.
  • In Infinite Ryvius, German names are extensively used for space ships(Liebe Delta, Gestalt, Gespenst) and space phenomena (Geduld)...
  • Zero Seven Ghost also has quite a few examples:
    • Names: Teito Klein (small), Frau (woman or Mrs.), Fea Kreuz (cross), Verloren (lost)
    • Other: Sklave (slave), Begleiter (literally 'companion'), Antwort (answer), the land of Seele (Seele means 'soul')
  • .hack is full of this. The author of the Epitaph of Twilight and subsequent originator of The World was born west German, and the programmer of the original game also had Germanic origins.
    • The majority of the 'Lost Grounds' are made up of or take roots from German words: Dead World of Indieglut Lugh ('Dead World of into-the-embers Lugh'), Briona Gwydion the Dragonbein Range ('bein' also stands for 'bone'), Arche Koeln Waterfall (Combination of Arche, 'ark', and Köln, the German city of Cologne), Wailing Capital Wald Uberlisterin ('Tricker of the Forest'), and finally Hülle Granz Cathedral ('Shell Gloss Cathedral')-which also features the only song in-game with an actual language, in full German.
  • In the English version of the Azumanga Daioh anime, Kagura's frenzied attempted conversation with a a foreign man was in mangled German rather than English. "Helpen? Das help? HELPE MIEL!"
  • The opening chapter of Litchi Hikari Club consists almost entirely of German commands and exclamations in its first half.
  • Anime's tendency to do this was possibly lampshaded in Otakuno Video. The protagonists name their anime character "Märchen Doll Maki" - 'märchen' being the German word for 'fairy tale'.
    • This is just a straight trope example, as Märchen has been adopted into the Japanese language. (see above)
  • Many of the runes in Madoka Magica turn out to be German when decyphered.
    • There's also the name of the final Witch in the series, Walpurgisnacht. This is a Central/Northern European holiday on the eve of May 1, exactly six months away from Halloween (All Hallow's Eve).
  • In Bibliotheca Mystica de Dantalian, while Dalian says Yes and No, we have Rasiel who says Ja and Nein. She even says Es ist das Ende (It is the end) in the anime.
  • Many songs with vocals that are included in the Guilty Crown soundtrack turned out to have German lyrics. The most prominent example would be the song bios which played at the end of episode 1 and 4 during Shuu's asskicking moment. While the pronunciation is horrible enough to fool even native speakers into thinking it's another language, [[the grammar and spelling of the lyrics is - except for a few details - actually pretty good. The song itself is still freaking awesome. The lyrics also aptly describe the relationship between Shuu and his sister Mana.
  • In the English dub of Infinite Stratos, the German team member (Laura) does this, fitting in better with her thick accent. The original didn't bother.
  • Girls und Panzer: "Panzer Vor!"

Bildergeschichten und Comics

  • In the parts of Elf Quest dealing with Ember's tribe (part of Hidden Years and the Wild Hunt storylines, all (co)written by Joellyn Auklandus), quite a few character names are German words. The two most prominent examples are Tier ("animal") and Angrif (properly "Angriff", means "attack").
  • Nightcrawler from X-Men. "Mein Gott!" "Unglaublich!" " Liebchen"
    • "Ach du lieber...!"
    • And, always, "Mein Freund."
    • Recently he addressed Beast as "Liebchen," which is inappropriate unless they were going for some all-blue Ho Yay. And words no one uses.
    • A Leibchen, by the way, is an item of clothing. It can mean vest, bodice, jersey... A Liebchen on the other hand is an out-of-date expression for "darling"
  • Generally, German in Marvel Comics is nothing short of abominable ("Eyige!" "Hurensohn!" "Vas der teufel?") - the first issue of the Ultimate imprint comic "The Ultimates" made for a nice change in that regard. "Mein Gott! Erschiesst es! Erschiesst es doch endlich!" which is something you can imagine Captain America (comics) must have heard an awful lot.
  • Marvel has a little-known German superhero called Vormund, which means Guardian. Legal guardian, to be precise. He was previously known as Hauptmann Deutschland, which sounded much like something the Nazis would have come up with.
    • The German edition of the MAD Magazine once presented German Marvel Superheroes. Their Cap equivalent? Oberst Deutschland.
  • There used to be a German parody strip, Deutsche Helden, in which Nachtkrabbler (Nightcrawler), der Rote Schädel (the Red Skull) and Elektroblitz (Blitzkrieg) share a flat. The first two are literal translations of the English code-names and sound unintentionally funny to German ears. Which is probably why in the official German editions they generally prefer to use the English names.
    • The Marvel villain "Baron Blitzkrieg" is called "Baron von Blitz" in the German volumes because of the Unfortunate Implications. He's still a Nazi, though, so it's Bowdlerization meets No Swastikas.
    • Though until the 80's they did translated all titles and names. Interesting they renamed the X-men as X-Team.
      • Also known, back in the day, as "Gruppe X" (literally "Group X").
  • Powerhaus of DV8, real name Hector Morales, is normally a big fan of Gratuitous Spanish—but has a Gratuitous German codename as a tribute to his German-born mother.
  • Savage Dragon gives us Brainiape, who is of course Adolf Hitler s disembodied brain in a glass bowl on top of an ape body with zome of ze worst violence ever visted on ze german sprache in a bildergeschichte.
  • Commando has this, spoken by none other than Those Wacky Nazis. Most commonly used are various military ranks and exclamations in the middle of other dialogue. Commando is even a Trope Namer, as Gratuitous German is commonly referred to as "Korkkarisaksa" (Commando German) in Finnish.



  • Die Hard has some gratuitous German sounding gibberish.
    • And what could be a Lampshade Hanging thereof; Hans Gruber has to repeat orders in English because The Dragon - much less the audience - doesn't understand the "German" orders.
    • Apparently, German terrorists say things like "mach los, mach schnell!" ("make/do go/fast") whenever they are in a hurry.
  • Shutter Island has actually rather decent German, though a native speaker notices the heavy accent and small mistakes.
  • This trope is Older Than They Think. In Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator, Hynkel speaks German gibberish when speaking to the public or when he is angry.
    • Not that it sounds anything like German to natives. But the "German always sounds like someone being angry" stereotype is recognizable.
      • Not like German perhaps, but like the cleanest Hitler speech...
    • It's a variety act called "speaking Double Dutch" that Chaplin had learned to do when he performed in music halls and vaudeville, before he got into movies.
  • House on Haunted Hill (the 1999 version) uses German writing printed on the walls of the haunted cellar, probably because someone thought that if you have a mad doctor performing vivisections on the inmates, you got to throw in a nod in direction of Evil Nazis (TM). The problem(s): first off, using German for official text makes no sense whatsoever in an asylum that's in the US, secondly the phrases are so mangled as to be barely understandable, and on top of that even what they mean - "stand away from the windows when the alarm sounds" - makes little sense when written on the walls of a _cellar_.
  • Averted in Sergei Eisenstein's classic WWII-era propaganda film Alexander Nevsky, noted for its musical score by Sergei Prokofiev. In this film, the villains are Germans, but recite their famous chant in nonsensical Latin.
  • The German in Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow is often a bit mangled. A particularly noticeable example is a button labeled with "Dringlichkeitsfreigabe", which then gets translated as "Emergency Release". It should be "Notfallfreigabe/-abkopplung/-entriegelung/-freisetzung".
  • Monty Python did a couple of sketches specifically for german television. Since none of them spoke or understood enough german, they just memorized their lines and delivered them as they saw fit, which resulted in hilarious mispronounciations.
  • The German in The Incredible Mr. Limpet starts off sounding legit but quickly descends into this.
  • Top Secret has quite some written Gratuitous German, for example signs like "Der Pizza Haus" or "Das Fencen Switchen".
    • Amunsingly the first means pizza hut, which is called just that in german too. The latter are just capitalized english words with a german ending tacked on.
  • The Rocketeer has lots of decent German, except for one line where a Nazi agent says to Nazi spy Neville Sinclair "Ich habe meine Bestellung, und du auch!", which means "I have my orders, and so do you!". Except the "orders" mentioned here are the sort of orders one gives a waiter. He really should've said "Ich habe meine Befehle".
  • Kindergarten Cop includes Arnold saying "Das macht mich stinksauer! Jetzt bin ich sauer!"


  • The German characters in Hogan's Heroes throw in a few easily-translated German phrases.
  • Elliot from Scrubs speaks German, a fact that shows up in a few episodes, such as one with a German cancer patient; in fact, her German is way better than that of the "Germans", who speak hardly anything a German would accept as his native language. The actress, Sarah Chalke, actually is fluent in French and German.
    • In Germany, that was changed into Danish. We have no idea if that makes it better or worse. In other episodes she speaks Swedish, or a swiss dialect. As a rule of thumb for the German dub: When Elliot talks in a language other than German she speaks German in the original English version.
    • She also mangles it quite horribly, the first it time it comes up. Granted she is angry with Dr. Kelso, but it takes a German a couple of viewings to realize that it is supposed to be German and a couple more to understand it. Other times she has a clear accent, but everything else is quite right.
  • Doctor Who shows that Japan doesn't have the monopoly on Gratuitous German. "Exterminieren! Exterminieren!" (Which, even if might not yet be dictionary-proof, is used in German. Also other 'proper German' words would sound rather stange in the context).
  • Used regularly by comedians for Those Wacky Nazis implications, even Jon Stewart is a regular offender. Of course in the complete package, with ze dialect, angry and even (or especially) as German native unintelligible pronunciation and of course scrambled grammar.
  • Malcolm in the Middle has the original German couple Gretchen and Otto, which spoke a weird broken 'Deutschlish.' In Germany they became Danish.
  • Dwight Schrute sings a couple of verses of John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads" during an episode of the US version of The Office.

Referring to copier instructions: This is either an incense dispenser or a ceremonial sarcophagus. My German is pre-industrial, mostly religious.

  • Thirty Rock: Liz Lemon can speak German, just not all that well. We see her use it a few times, most notably when she accidently sells NBC to a German cable TV company after confusing "verkaufen" with "kaufen" ("sell" and "buy" respectively).
  • Fringe has quite a few examples. E. g., there's "Wissenschaft Prison Germany". What exactly is a "science prison" supposed to be?
      • Apart from that, writing "Wissenschaft Prison" as it is, is the German equivalent for what "Sciencegefängnis" is for English, complete with the (non)existent spaces between the words.
    • Most of the background chatter on the airplane in the cold opener of the series pilot. Hilariously badly spoken/accented, too.
  • Jack Bauer pretends to be German in one episode and speaks it. When he is told he has an American accent, he explains he lived in America for years. Oddly, he is addressed as "du" instead of the more appropriate "Sie", although it's probably justified since they aren't actually Germans, but Russians.
  • Frasier played with this a few times throughout its run, most notably in the episode 'An Affair to Forget', where, after one of Frasier's listeners calls into his psychiatric-advice program thinking her Bavarian, fencing-coach husband was having an affair, Frasier begins to think (with good reason) that his sister-in-law is the 'other woman', leading to quite a bit of German; including a scene where the characters must translate from English to Spanish to German, then back again.
    • As Frasier is a Freudian, and Freud having been a German-speaker from present-day Austria, German psychological terms randomly pop up now and again.
    • Frasier is even enraptured with a new love interest when, among other interests, she admits to speaking German and liking the German war film Das Boot.
  • Grimms monster names and related terms are all terrible German. They go from simple grammar fail (e.g.: using adjectives as nouns; wrongly cobbled-together compound words; e.g. werewolves are called blutbaden. In fact, "Blutbad", plural "Blutbäder", means "bloodbath" or "massacre. 'blutbaden' itself looks like a verb infinitive, 'to bloodbath' (which doesn't exist)) to horrible dictionary slips (e.g. the supposed 'bee queen' is called "bee gay [person]") and mess-ups of cultural context of phrases that completely destroy the tone of a scene (e.g. the quote "Alles hat ein Ende nur die Wurst hat zwei." which comes from a very well known comedic Break Up Song from the late 1980s, but is used in the show as some kind of philosophical wisdom handed down the generations to say over a friend's dead body).
  • Sanctuary: In the episode Normandy during the 1944 flashbacks Watson goes undercover as a German officer and has to bluff his way past a German roadblock. This turns into a discussion (in German) about his accent, as he pretends to be Bavarian to explain his mistakes and the soldier holding him up turns out to be from Bavaria as well. Both of the actors' pronunciation was mangled so badly that even Germans watching the original version needed subtitles, and, needless to say, neither sounded even remotely like he was from Bavaria. In fact, this troper was led to expect some kind of twist where the German soldier would turn out to be a Allied spy as well.
  • Stargate SG-1: In the episode 1969 Daniel Jackson pretends to be a German archaeologist and has a conversation consisting of Poirot Speak English and terrible German. Normally, this would be realistic when an American tries to con another American, but Daniel is supposed to be a genius linguist...
  • The X-Files has numerous examples of this trope. "Die Hand Die Verletzt" features a Satanic cult that inexplicably chants auf Deutsch during its ceremonies. "Unruhe" features a serial killer who taunts his victims in German. In this episode we learn Scully learned German in college and she speaks a few phrases. Then there's "Triangle," a dream/fantasy episode which recasts the series villains as Nazis in a World War II setting.


  • In Decades of Darkness, Germany becomes one of three superpowers, thus German (or rather, neudeutsch) phrases tend to crop up, like "funk" (that's pronounced "foonk", for you anglophones) for radio.
  • Open Blue's Sirene, being a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Imperial Germany, naturally has this.
  • This has started showing up in the animation accompanying Zero Punctuation reviews, for no apparent reason.
    • In his Brütal Legend review credits, Yahtzee mentioned that he studied German...still no particular reason but at least an explanation.
  • Germany is a superpower at the end of the Chaos Timeline, so don't be too astonished to find a bit of it. For example, Virtual Worlds are called Märchenwelten - fairytale worlds.


  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh card game, the Japanese and Chinese versions of Yubel's two evolved forms have names in horribly mangled German. When they were released in Germany, they got more sensible names (translated from the English ones, which are totally different). Interestingly, Yubel's name is a pun on the words "Jubel" (jubilation) and Übel (evil/bad).
    • Incidentally, the Japanese and Chinese names are legitimate German names, if you fix the mangling caused by Romanization; Das Abscheulich Ritter (Terror Incarnate) roughly means "The Detestable/Disgusting Knight", while Das Extremer Traurig Drachen (The Ultimate Nightmare) means "The Really Sad Dragons". ('Drachen' DOES mean kite, but I'm sure they were trying to say 'Drache'/Dragon)
    • Native Speaker Nitpick: The correct phrases would be Der abscheuliche Ritter and Der extrem traurige Drache. Vocabulary sehr gut, grammar ungenügend, setzen! To explain this in more detail, the designers apparently still had trouble with applying the correct grammatical gender and case. Also, Das is the article used with nouns with a neutral grammatical gender; which, considering Yubel's appearance...
  • The Sons of Rasputin from Mutant Chronicles spinoff Dark Eden have such interesting units as "Soldat", "Schwerwaffe Soldat", "Flammen Soldat" and "Cossack Kommendant". In Mutant Chronicles proper, Bauhaus takes the cake with "Kommandant", "Jaeger" and "Blitzer Kaptain".


  • Several stories of the Cthulhu Mythos make references to a book called "Unausprechlichen Kulten" as the second most popular book on cosmic horrors after the Necronomicon. Unsurprisingly, the grammar of the title is just wrong. It would be either "Unaussprechliche Kulte" (unspeakable cults) or "Von unaussprechlichen Kulten" (of unspeakable cults). It could be referred such in a proper German sentence with the right grammatical surroundings, but not on its own without the grammatical German context.
  • Erma Bombeck wrote a humor column early in her career about borrowing her husband's VW Beetle small mouse-gray car and his insistence that the driver has to speak to it. In German.

"Du bist ein cheapie, that's what you are!"

"For you, Britischer pig, ze var is over."

    • In fact, he speaks no German at all beyond "Stock" phrases from films, having been raised by his mother (British) in post-War Britain.
  • Lots in the work of Sylvia Plath (both her parents were German), most evident in Ariel.
  • In Rivers of London, when DC Grant comes across a German family while trying to escape from the middle of a riot he yells "Raus, Raus" at them while thinking that he hopes it means "move, move" like it does in War Movies, because it's the only bit of German he knows.
  • Rudolf Von Flugel, from Richard Scarry's childrens' stories, is prone to this sort of thing.
  • Holmes drops some German in Sherlock Holmes, quoting Goethe at one point.
  • The Machine Gunners by Robert Westall uses this; "Hande hoch!" and "Raus! Raus!" come up a fair bit after a German airman is captured by the main characters. It gets lampshaded as their sole source of German is dialogue in War Movies
  • Rick Yancey's Monstrumologist series features the Austrian Von Helrung as a mentor to the monstrumologist in the second book and let's the two exchange some very heterosexual endearments in German.
  • Abounds in the two books of John Ringo's Posleen War Series that play out in Europe, "Watch on the Rhine" and "Eye of the Storm", with sometimes cringingly hilarious consequences.


  • The Beatles recorded versions of She Loves You and I Want To Hold Your Hand in German. They only knew the words phonetically, as none of them spoke German.
  • Blur, "Girls & Boys": "Du bist sehr schön/But we haven't been introduced" (that means "You're very beautiful/pretty.").
  • Franz Ferdinand's "Darts of Pleasure" finishes with a repeated chorus of "Ich heiße superfantastisch! Ich trinke Schampus mit Lachsfisch! Ich heiße superfantastisch!" ("My name is super fantastic! I drink Champagne with salmon fish!") The way it's sung is supposed to recall a (male) orgasm.
    • Let's not forget the title-only Gratuitous German "Auf Achse," whose title is a Shout-Out to a German TV series about truckers and includes a verse about Jesus.
    • And then there's "Tell Her Tonight," which is in English, yes...but then they re-recorded it with German lyrics. It's actually kind of awesome. (Compared to the original).
  • The opening phrase of Def Leppard's "Rock of Ages" is in what can be described as German-sounding gibberish. It was sampled by The Offspring for their song "Pretty Fly for a White Guy".
  • Elliot Goldenthal is a well known modern classical composer that has worked for the soundtrack of many movies, and has a sense of humor when he puts titles on the tracks of his albums. One of the tracks in the Batman Forever soundtrack is "Fledermausmarschmusik". It's obvious what it means and what it sounds like.
    • Another track in the same OST is named "Batterdammerung"
  • Slovenian band Laibach like to translate innocent songs like Life is Life into German and adapting the music ... slightly. The result would not be out of place at a Nazi rally.
  • Fick mich, du miserabler Hurensohn ...
  • "Kommeinezuspadt? Kommeinezuspadt? Kommeinezuspadt!" (Most of the rest of song is just vaguely German-sounding gibberish, though. And apparently Kommeinezuspadt is intentionally 'misspelled'.)
    • That is gibberish too, the words mean "come one to late". Only nouns are written as one word (that's quite common and makes for exact descriptions in one word) and the last word should be "spät" not "spadt".
  • The American band Tool has a song "Die Eier Von Satan," in which the singer growls out a menacing speech in German, punctuated by shouted crescendos that are received with wild applause by an audience. It all sounds incredibly Naziesque until you discover that the speech is actually a recipe for hash brownies. Also, the title means "Satan's Balls" (literally "Satan's Eggs"). The band also has a Gratuitous Italian song, "Message for Harry Manback," in which the speaker frequently curses in Italian.
  • Bill Bailey loves using German gratuitously in homages to Kraftwerk, with songs like "Das Hockey Kockey" and "Hosenbügler".
  • One word of Visual Kei bands Dir en Grey name exists in german too.
  • The song "Pussy" by Rammstein is either Gratuitous German by a German band, or Gratuitous English.
  • Swedish Power Metal band Sabaton uses German words frequently in their Songs, usually when singing about Germans. Anschluss, Wehrmacht, Panzer, Panzerkampfwagen and the like. They also covered the song "Für Immer" by German band Warlock, with actually pretty good German.
  • Isch lieben aus tubikler/Es kat mi madre monster...
  • KMFDM stands for the grammatically incorrect "Kein Mehrheit fur die Mitleid" (No Majority for Pity). However, the intro of "Megalomaniac" has the spoken words "Kein Mitleid fur die Mehrheit", which is the correct grammar for "No Pity for the Majority".
  • The Canadian Industrial band Front Line Assembly uses it in many of their songs.
  • Hilariously parodied by Eisbrecher in their song "This Is Deutsch", along with Germanic Depressives and All Germans Are Nazis...but only if you actually speak German. Otherwise, it sounds like a straight example of all three tropes.
  • Eric Bogle's "Flying Finger Filler contains a stanza sung in German that makes no sense whatsoever. Of course, the opening verse tells us that the entire song is supposed to make no sense.
  • When the British punk/dance band Fuzzbox covered Yoko Ono's "Walking On Thin Ice", they translated the spoken word passage to German for some reason. The translation is flawless however and so is the delivery. In fact it sounds as if a native speaker spoke this passage, but the album doesn't feature any credits whatsoever so it can't be said for sure.
  • "Hello Earth" from Kate Bush's album "Hounds of Love" features one line in German near the end: "Tiefer, tiefer, irgendwo immer tiefer gibt es ein Licht." ("Deeper, deeper, somewhere even deeper, there is a light").



  • All three Xenosaga games were sub-titled with Nietzsche works in German: Der Wille Zur Macht (The Will To Power), Jenseits von Gut und Böse (Beyond Good And Evil), and Also Sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spake Zarathustra). In addition, there was a Xenosaga Alle Spezielle (all special) DVD. Which, again, got the grammar wrong ("spezielle" is an adjective, in female or plural form, but it has no noun to refer to. "All special" in German would be most likely rendered as "Exklusiv" (such as "Exklusive Bonus-DVD" or something like that.
  • Etrian Odyssey is fond of this trope. One of the character classes is called Landsknecht (simply swordsman in the Japanese version) and the second game features a character nicknamed der Freischütz. You also come across a few weapons with German names, such as a gun called Hakenbuechse (bonus points for the correct usage of ue in place of ü).
  • The Quest for Glory games, especially the first one.
    • Every QfG game features several themes, and the themes of the first one were discovery, winter/spring, and Western European mythology, which resulted in a lot of Germanic-inspired stuff.
  • League of Legends demonstrates this trope isn't limited to Japan. Lux's ultimate attack is 'Finales Funkeln', which means 'Final Sparkle'. Mordekaiser's name is also German, literally translated as 'Murders Emperor' since they inexplicably used the plural form of 'mord'.
    • This is most likely a play on words with the name "Mordekai" and the word "Kaiser" (Emperor).
  • In Return to Castle Wolfenstein, most of the important dialogue is rendered in English; however, the most Enemy Chatter is in German. Wolfenstein 3D has Those Wacky Nazis actually speaking German.
    • Yes, they were actually speaking German. But hearing "Achtung!", "Schutzstaffel!" and "Mein Leben!" (and precious little else) hundreds of times was extremely gratuitous.
    • The original Castle Wolfenstein was noted simply for having digitized voices (in any language) at all.
    • In the book "Masters of Doom", which chronicles the history of developers id games up to Quake 3: Arena, John Romero is described as screaming ridiculous german lines into a microphone for later implementation while Wolfenstein 3D was being developed.
  • Rosenkreuzstilette is not only titled in German: the characters have names like Spiritia Rosenberg, Sichte Meister, and Graf Michael Sepperin (himself a reference to Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin). Only Michael has a normal German given name, though.
    • The weapons too: for example, Spiritia's default weapon is named Seelegewehr (Soul Rifle, almost correct - should be Seelengewehr). Most of the names are tied to the user's.
  • Many, if not most, of the Real Robots in Super Robot Wars have German names. The Original Generation games gives these robots the main role.
    • Becomes a little unsettling, though, when you realize that the primary antagonists, the sinister alien Balmars, label all their stuff with gratuitous Hebrew.
    • Examples include Alteisen (Old Iron, really "scrap iron") and Weissritter (White Knight), plus their upgraded forms Alteisen Riese (Old Iron Giant) and Rein Weissritter (Pure White Knight)... plus the Alternate Universe Alteisen Nacht (Old Iron Night) and Weissritter Abend (White Knight Evening). Some of the German names found in Endless Frontier also double as fairytale references, including but not limited to Aschen Broedel (Aschenbrödel, aka Cinderella), Haken, Zeit Krokodil (Hook and "Time Crocodile", Peter pan references?) and Schlafen Celeste. ("Sleep Celeste")
    • And of course all the Einst, who name all of their units and attacks in German. Even the mundane stuff like "Energy Drain" which becomes the blatantly obvious "Gewinnenergie". ("Winnergy")
  • In the GBA game Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town, in at least one cutscene, you can get Pastor Carter to speak German. At no other time in the game does Carter even hint that he's of another nationality (other than the nebulous one wherever Mineral Town is located).
  • The Medic from Team Fortress 2, a strange American example, is German, and likes to pepper his sentences with German words, even if they don't really make any sense in context ("Oktoberfest!").
    • His unlockables also share the Germanity (if that is a real English word), being named The Blutsauger (Bloodsucker, also: Vampire) and The Kritzkrieg (causes crits, named after the Nazi tactic of Blitzkrieg.) As part of a development theme, his lines have numerous grammar errors, namely the plurals of "Dummkopf", and his voice actor isn't German.
  • Prosecutor Gavin from the fourth Ace Attorney game.
    • His name, Klavier, is the German word for piano. It was changed to Konrad (a proper German name) in the French localization, and became Kantilen in the German localization.
    • Of course, the "Klavier Gavin" name originated in the English-language localization. In the original Japanese version, his name is Kyouya Garyuu.
      • Klavier's name makes a bit more sense when you consider that he's a musician in a series that loves Punny Names.
    • His constant use of "Fraulein", however, is a little painful to native European German speakers, since "Fräulein" (with an Umlaut, you mind), being the diminutive of the title Frau and equivalent the title "Miss", is obsolete nowadays and only used when scolding or mocking someone. Calling a woman this can be considered being borderline sexist in some cases.
  • The underwater theme park in which Ever 17 takes place is run by a German pharmaceutical company, so all the signs and automated announcements are in German, and the computer system appears to operate in German as well. Additionally, all the tracks on the soundtrack have German titles except for the opening and ending themes.
  • Happens quite a bit in the earlier Atelier games, to accentuate the fact that the setting is meant to be a kind of faux-Renaissance Germany; Translation Convention breaking for flavor, basically. This is essentially thrown out the window from Atelier Iris onward.
  • The anime and video game Kanon drew its name from Pachelbel's Canon. In his native German, it was Kanon und Gigue in D-Dur (Canon and Gigue in D major), or if you're being formal, Kanon und Gigue in D-Dur für drei Violinen und Basso Continuo.
  • The SaGa Frontier 2 OST is the soundtrack from the video game. Released in Japan, the album's printed paper inserts expect a native Japanese reader, but nearly all the track names are in German for no obvious reason. (A handful are in French.) Though, in fairness, the composer Masashi Hamauzu is a Japanese national who was born in Munich, Germany.
  • Being German, Lieselotte Achenbach of Arcana Heart peppers her speech with this in between her Funetik Aksent.
  • A lot of Square (now Square Enix) games have used German in their titles and other places, such as Einhander (in which German is Earth's global language) and Ehrgeiz (Ambition). Einhänder also features an animated video billboard in the first level that cycles through the text "leben - fallen - Volksgasmaske" ("to live - to fall - the people's gas mask"). Volksgasmaske is the name of a gas mask produced during WWII for civilians.
  • The Final Boss battle against Yami in One Piece Unlimited Cruise 2 has Ominous German Chanting for its BGM. While it sounds awesome, it's not particularly good or coherent German, and seems to mostly consist of verbs thrown together.
  • Sieg Wahrheit (Victory Truth), the player character in Chaos Legion.
  • The main theme of Atelier Iris 3 is called Schwarzweiß -Kiri No Mukouni Tsunagaru Sekai- (Blackwhite -Reaching Through Mists-) and even mixes the opening and ending with ominous German chanting. ("Ich gieren! Ich morden!")
  • Soul Calibur 4 has lots of German names. Usually with horrible pronunciation and very bad grammar.
  • Ace Combat Zero had multiple major and minor aces. A good 95% of them have squadron names or callsigns named after things in German, almost all of them surprisingly accurate. The major aces are named after colors sans Schnee which is German for Snow.
  • Helmut from Death Vegas's winquote is "ICH BIN DER BESTE!" ("I AM THE BEST!").
  • The names of the twelve Dark Warlords in Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War are simply the numbers one through twelve in German.
    • The replacement characters in the Japanese version of Shadow Dragon are also German numbers.
  • In the Front Mission series, the Humongous Mecha are called "wanzers." Wanzer is a shortening of "Wanderung Panzer", where panzer means tank in German. Lastly, in the first game there is a mech-mountable rocket launcher named "Wanzerfaust".
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey takes place in the "Schwartzverse" in the Japanese version, combining the misspelled German schwarz ("black") with the Latin-derived "-verse". The U.S. version goes all the way, calling it the "Schwartzwelt" ("black world") instead.
  • Two of the characters in the DS game Soma Bringer are called Welt (world) and Einsatz (mission).
  • In the X-rated Visual Novel Madou Souhei Kleinhasa (Magic Trooper Kleinhasa), the protagonist and his squadmates all have pseudo-German names (Belcelica von Meltmann, Nicola Schonheit, Felicia Claushitz....)
    • Perhaps they meant "Kleinhase", which literally means "little hare"...
  • In the Japanese version of Cannon Dancer, the Teki refer to their final joint attack as "Die Rudeltaktik," the German term for the "wolf pack" tactics employed in World War II.
  • In Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, Decus uses mostly German words for his Artes, such as "Ausbruch" (outburst), "meine Liebe" (my dear), "Lawine" (avalanche), "Sturmwind" (tempest)and "Strahl" (ray). His Mystic Arte is called "Sturm und Drang", (Storm and Stress), originally being a term to describe a literary period around the end of the 18th Century.
    • German also names Peridot Hamilton's sword moves in Tales of Hearts, which she combines with regular fire spells.
  • The bosses in Jett Rocket have oddly German names. The devs are German, but one wonders why the bosses have German names when nothing else does.
  • In Heroes of Might and Magic V a few of the Haven units have text written on their robes. You can clearly see "Die Heiligkeit" (the sanctity/saintliness) written on the cape and the robe of the Angel/Archangel. Other Haven units also have text written on their robes and various ribbons and parchemins. You cannot precisely read them due the low resolution, but they seem to be in German and of the same kind, too. Though this is never explained why.
  • Akumajō Dracula X: Chi no Rondo (1993) aka Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (or to be gratuitously Germanic Devil's Schloss Dracula: Zirkel des Blutes) had speech in German in its introductory sequence. Also, the main character is called Richter.
    • It's a game that came out only in Japan, this wasn't a translated version for the German market. Considering that Dracula is supposed to be of Romanian origin, and there's the Vampire Vords trope, it makes little sense. Also, Hammer Horror was obviously one of the influences for the Castlevania franchise, and considering English is the international language, English with a British accent would make sense as well. However, it definitely sounds appropriately Gotik.
  • The original Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain (1996) by Silicon Knights has several German-sounding names for cities/villages (e.g. Vasserbünde, Coorhagen, Nachtholm, Steinchencröe, Uschtenheim - German speakers might know if they make sense or not), while the original script and voice acting of the game is in English.
    • "Vasserbünde" might either be "Wasserbünde" (Waterbounds?) or "Vagabunden" (Vagabounds), Steinchencröe might be Steinchenkrähe (Pebble-Crow, Steinchen meaning "Kleiner Stein" = Little rock. As for Uschtenheim: No idea.
  • Shikigami no Shiro 2 has this between-stages dialog during a two-player game with Kuga Kohtaro and Kim De John:

Kohtaro: Ohhh... hurry, hurry, hurry!
De John: Yes! Sturm und drang!

At least, that's what the text box says. However, instead of "sturm und drang", the voice actor says "strong and dumb".
  • Shadow Hearts: Covenant... Sorta. You see, this character, Karen König, has special moves which had German names. Unfortunately, the transliteration from Japanese katakana to English didn't make it.
    • Heuervelk is supposed to be Feuerwerk, fire works
    • Bullenfogel is supposed to be Brennvogel, burn-bird (although you'd say Brennender Vogel, birning bird in German - or, more simply: Phönix)
    • Geuschbenst is supposed to be Gespenst, meaning ghost (or, more literaly, "spook")
    • Sonnestark is most likely wrong in the Japanese version, too , as it is supposed to mean "power of the sun", which would be "Sonnenkraft" (the Japanese word for "strength can mean stärke as well as Kraft in German. This is most likely a case of did not do the research)
  • Suikoden Tierkreis has quite a bit of this: "Tierkreis" means "Zodiac", if memory serves; also, the nation of Ritterschild ("Knight Shield"), and its three representatives Geschutz, Minen and Buchse. Geschütz's name means gun or cannon, Minen means "Mines" and Büchse means tin can or can be a gun with a rifled barrel (which would be more fitting considering the other 2 guys of this trio). Because nowadays there are no guns with a barrel that is not rifled the word Büchse has fallen in disuse and is considered old-fashioned.
  • Neinhalt Sieger from Samurai Shodown II has every single one of his special moves named in German, so we get odd stuff like Elefantglied (Elephant member (as in body part)), Vulkan Weinen (Vulcan Cry [as in 'weep', not 'shout']), and Blitz Jaeger (Lightning Hunter) mixed together with no apparent heads or tails to it besides "it sounds cool".
  • Japanese fighting game developer Subtle Style LOVES this trope, evident in the titles of some of their games (Akatsuki Blitzkampf, its arcade revision, Akatsuki Blitzkampf Ausführung Achse, and En-Eins Perfektewelt), character names (Elektrosoldat, Fritz, Tempelritter), and special events held for their games (Es gibt keinen Gott, Ein ewiges band, Adventskranz, Der kampf von meistern).
  • Video game / music example: Command & Conquer: Red Alert's trademark musical track, Hell March, includes a single line of German voice-over... for a song that's supposed to represent the USSR. (Germany is in fact one of the Allies in this timeline.) No one knows why, exactly, but the "erroneous" sound clip has never been corrected or replaced, despite each Red Alert title coming with a new version of the Hell March.
    • The line in question is "Die Waffen, legt an!" (Ready your weapons), but can be easily misunderstood as "We want war, wake up!"
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni does this with the vocal version of the song "Fishy Aroma" making reference to an in-game clue involving numbers. This is an odd thing to do considering that Gratuitous Italian would make more sense with the series.
  • Pokémon, which has... a thing about names, deserves a mention for the pseudo-legendary introduced in Generation V: Hydreigon. It has three heads.
    • Additionally, its first and second forms are Deino and Zweilous, respectively. Hydreigon is the third and final form. The head numbering also matches: Deino with one, Zweilous with two, Hydreigon with three.
    • Let's not forget that they're Dark-typed.
  • The toymaker speaks a bit of German in the PC CD-ROM adaptation of King's Quest V Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder.
  • BlazBlue, where all of Battle Butler Valkenhayn's special and super attacks are in, albeit choppy and broken, German.
    • Lambda counts in German during her Drive combo. Some of her attack names also use "Zwei" instead of "Two."


Westlicher Zeichentrick

  • In X-Men Evolution Kurt, who comes from Germany, is one of the main characters. There are a few times when he slips German into his sentences.
  • Animaniacs. Aside from Dr. Scratchnsniff, the stereotypical psychiatrist assigned to the Warner Siblings, there's also the oneshot Bavarian Proffesor Otto von Schnitzelpusskrankengescheitmeyer (That is *takes a deep breath* Schnitzel Cutlet, Puss is English, Kranken comes from Krank (meaning sick, though the "en" is used to join substantives together) and "Gescheitmeyer" is bavarian for a "know-it-all") and the "international friendship song", Schnitzelbank, that he teaches to the Warners.

Wakko: Ist das nicht ein incredibly long name to have to try and say?

    • Ja, das ist ein incredibly long name to have to try and say!
  • Whenever The Simpsons uses German it is grammatically wrong most of the time.
    • "Burns Verkaufen Der Kraftwerk" in grammatically correct German would be "Burns verkauft das Kraftwerk", "Das Bus" would be "Der Bus".
    • And "Globenheimer" isn't even a real word!
    • And Üter is not a name. Not a German one. At least not in Western Europe.
    • Oh, and Krusty's German-dubbed show:

Krusty: "Heil! Heil!" (which actually got its sound track deleted in the German version)
Sideshow Mel:(soaked by Krusty's mineral water gag) "Oh nein, Krusty spritzen der Gaswasser!"

      • The correct translation would be

Krusty: "Hallihallo! (Hello, hello!)"
Sideshow Mel: "Oh nein, Krusty spritzt mit Mineralwasser! (Oh no, Krusty squirts with Mineral water!)"

Lisa: "Dad, do you know what Schadenfreude is? It's a German term for 'shameful joy', taking pleasure in the suffering of others."
Homer: "Oh, come on Lisa. I'm just glad to see him fall flat on his butt! He's usually all happy and comfortable, and surrounded by loved ones, and it makes me feel...What's the opposite of that shameful joy thing of yours?
Lisa: "Sour grapes."
Homer: "Boy, those Germans have a word for everything."

    • The only times The Simpsons ever got spoken German correct (or close to it) was when Homer sang the original German version of Nena's "99 Red Balloons" (that was on the season 16 episode "The Heartbroke Kid") and when Lisa was going over the different conjugations for the German verb "to eat" on her German verb conjugation wheel (she left out "Du isst" you eat but everything else was correct) and Homer responds, "Ich bin hungrig!" (though Homer's pronunciation of "hungrig" sounded Americanized).
  • In Phineas and Ferb, Dr. Doofenshmirtz sometimes slips German words into his lines. Slightly justified seeing as he is German.
  • On My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, Photo Finish says words in German a few times.


Wahre Begebenheiten

  • Nineteenth century Japanese didn't have an equivalent for "job," i.e. paid work subject to many constraints for both the employer and the employee dissimilar to a serf's "roboten" (German: statute labor, a serf's duty towards their feudal lord) which was the common form of "job" for non-landholding Japanese. They borrowed the German "Arbeit" and nihonized it into "arubaito", or "baito" for short. This occurs in nearly every anime where a character says they have a (part-time) "job," particularly wage-earner/blue-collar jobs. Case in point, Morisaki Taku's part-time job at a restaurant in Umi Ga Kikoeru.
  • In the 19th and previous centuries, much of Central-Eastern Europe was under the rule of the Austrian Habsburg dynasty or a local German nobility. Germany, the easternmost "western" country, was seen as having gold-paved streets, and so many non-aristocratic, non-German citizens aspiring to a higher social station attempted to ape Deutschtum in a similar way to modern "Wapanese". The "Junior Germans" were held in about the same regard.
    • On the flip-side, the un-fanboyish use of the German language for convenience in trade in the Middle Ages, before national feeling really developed, leads to German names cropping up in weird places. The national epic of Estonia was first written down by a man called "Friedrich Reinhold Kreuzwald". Not the most Finnic-sounding thing in the world.
    • This was aided by the fact that German populations ended up scattered all over Eastern Europe, ranging from the Transylvania Saxons or the Teutonic and Livonian Orders (the cause for the aforementioned Estonia) to as far away as Russia.
    • In Latvia wannabe-Germans were called "Kārklu vacieši", willow-Germans, for some reason.
  • Japanese wrestler Masahiro Chono promotes his own line of clothing, ArisTrist, with the tag line "...geborene Kämpfer" ("born fighters"), which also appears on much of the line's apparel. There's a reasonable explanation, however - Chono's wife and co-designer of the collection is German.
  • Das Blinkenlights and the trope named for them.
    • "Blinkenlights" in turn is inspired by an infamous computer room sign from The Fifties:


  • Uber is correctly spelled "über". For non-German keyboards lacking the letter Ü, "ueber" would be the correct transliteration. The German word is mostly used to mean "over'/above", but can also mean "beyond" if applied to a scale, or "super", indicating something is surpassing usual boundaries or limitations.
    • You'll see this a lot with gamers.
  • The classical music world runs on this trope along with Gratuitous Italian. While the latter language is the standard for sheet music markings, larger musical concepts/philosophies tend to use German words (e.g. Gesamtkunstwerk, Klangfarbenmelodie) thanks to Germany and Austria's place as the center of the musical world from the 18th century to the early 20th century, both in terms of great composers and the people studying and writing about them.
  • Germany was a major scientific center in the 19th and early 20th centuries, so a fair number of scientific terms are German in origin. Bremsstrahlung radiation emitted when an electron is deflected by an atomic nucleus is one example
  • City buses in Kabul are frequently Mercedes models. Their drivers usually have them painted in sober colours with short slogans in poor German along the sides.

Got alcohol poisoning yet?

  1. If you felt especially weird, you could also translate this as "unlocked room"
  2. The correct word for "ride" here would be "fahren" ('drive'). And now you Know
  3. For the confused, this was translated to the English "Emperor" in the American dub.
  4. Please don't get mixed up and think his first name is Fritz; it's short for Fitzgerald