No Name Given

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Can you say Parental Favoritism?
"Fear names. Names have power in identity. Others can use names as weapons. Names are a hook that can be used to track you ... Remain nameless, and you shall be safe. I am the Nameless One."

A major character is never referred to by their actual or full name, instead being addressed by a title, nickname, or Only One Name. Reasons for this vary, but it often serves the function of making a character seem more mysterious or eccentric.

In older (pre-1900 in North America; pre-1970 in the UK) fiction, a narrator may refer to a character (especially an older or more socially prominent character) by his or her surname. This is because at that time first names were much less commonly used socially than they are now; a young character may not even know the first name of an older character he or she is not related to. It was also common in that time to blank out the names of real people to avoid lawsuits and the like.

A common joke is to do The Un-Reveal on the full name.

This trope can be somewhat justified, however, due to Nominal Importance: It's difficult enough for the writers to come up with good names for the main protagonists; it would be incredibly painstaking to come up with equally good names for a cast of characters who exist solely as part of the setting and serve no further purpose to the narrative.

Another common variation is for a series where a child is the main character to have parents only referred to as Mom and Dad.

Sometimes, a main protagonist will have no name to add to their mystique.

When this trope is applied to work titles themselves, not just character names, it's No Title.

Compare The Trope Without a Title, You Know the One, and I Know Your True Name (which may be a reason for this). Contrast Only One Name, Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep", and I Am Not Shazam. See also Nameless Narrative.

Examples of No Name Given include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • "Scar" in Fullmetal Alchemist. When Yoki asks Scar's name, Scar responds that to Ishvalans, a person's name is the most important thing; the name is regarded as a gift from God. So Yoki asks again, and Scar's response is "I threw it away. I threw away my own name." Yoki doesn't dare ask him again. At the end of the series, he still refuses to give his name and says you can just call him whatever you want to.
  • Played for laughs with Hokuto's lackey from Cromartie High School.
  • From Shaman King: Horo-Horo's real name is Horokeu Usui (Horokeu is Ainu for "Japanese Wolf"). This is never ever mentioned on the anime, but had a whole special secret connotation in the manga... until it was cancelled!
    • And has been recently un-cancelled.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: Kyon, the Computer Club President, and Kyon's sister - Kyon bemoans his stupid nickname but never says his real name (his school introduction is cut off). Even his sister's image song had to be titled as "Kyon no Imouto-san" or "Kyon's Little Sister". When Emiri Kimidori is about to say the president's name, it is covered up by a sudden cut-off to a random cat meowing.
    • So far, the closest hint to what his real name might be was Sasaki from the 9th novel saying that it was distinguished and almost regal-sounding. Doesn't really help that much. In the same novel there is also another character, a rival time-traveler from the future, who seems to prefer this, actively showing disdain for even the existence of names. For the sake of reference, he suggests that they call him Fujiwara. Kyon prefers to just call him The Sneering Bastard.
  • L in Death Note orders the police officers aiding him to call him Ryuzaki, but his real name is never shown. In a book of extras entitled "How to Read", his name is revealed to be L Lawliet, though it is unclear if L is his first initial or actually his name.
    • It's his actual name. If you watch the live action movie L: Change the World you see his name written in the death note. Also, you can just barely catch that his first name is just "L" in the second movie
      • The live action movies are unreliable; they don't follow the books.
        • In this case they are following the books. "How to Read"'s name has to be the actual name. If there was a fuller name, the book would have shown it.
  • In Futari wa Pretty Cure and Futari Wa Pretty Cure Max Heart, Yuriko's last first family name is never spoken by any character, despite her being a relatively major recurring character (and more minor characters typically got full names, the only-barely-recurring Chiaki Yabe being a particularly good example).
    • Later in the franchise, in Yes! Pretty Cure 5, Karen's butler is known exclusively as Jiiya (a term for an older butler) or Sakamoto-san, with his given name unrevealed. Nozomi's father similarly has no name to call his own.
  • Azumanga Daioh does this with Sakaki and Kagura (and, to a lesser-character extent, Kaori and Chihiro). The manga (only) one-ups this: while she was in most of the first volume (American version), Mizuhara Koyomi goes entirely unnamed until Azuma spends a whole strip on it: three classmates call her 'Yomi', and the teacher gives out the full name. Partway through volume 2.
    • While the character is actually introduced by her full name "Ayumu Kasuga", she is forced, against her will, to adopt the nickname "Osaka". In an odd use of the trope, while she begins the series with her full name given, she becomes a "No Name Given"; even the class roster lists her by her nickname instead of her real name (causing her to believe she had been moved out of her classroom, since she was obviously looking for her real name on the roster).
      • This is probably because their teacher, Yukari, cannot be bothered. She tells the class that she asked for them all again because she didn't want to learn new names. She probably won't be bothered to remember Osaka's real name, instead using her nickname exclusively, even on paperwork like the class roster.
  • While not a major character by any stretch of the imagination, Tomoki's older brother in Digimon Frontier was never named in the Japanese version; both Tomoki and their parents simply call him "oniichan," or "big brother," which isn't uncommon in Japanese families. However, it would have sounded strange to the American target audience, so, in a fit of Woolseyism, the dub writers named him Yutaka. "Yutaka" is an anagram of "Takuya," The Hero, and he and Tomoki have sort of adopted each other as replacements for their actual brothers.
  • Monster: Johan Liebert, his real name is never given.
  • C.C. and V.V. from Code Geass. C.C. does have a real name, but even after Lelouch learns it he keeps calling her C.C., apparently by her own preference. After she loses all her memories and mentally reverts to the age of ten it gets a bit awkward since, in order to save the secret for The Reveal, Lelouch never calls her using anything except "you". V.V. also presumably has a real name, since he is Emperor Charles' twin brother and, therefore, Lelouch's uncle.
    • Both names ended up becoming The Un-Reveal; C.C.'s case is particularly annoying since they tease at it rather strongly in a couple of first season episodes, then let the issue completely drop without so much as another mention.
      • He does call out her name (probably) when Charles' first tries to take her code so that he can kill the gods, although it conveniently can't be heard.
  • Not a major character, but still: VT from Cowboy Bebop.
    • Arguably justified, as she has an ongoing bet where people try to guess her name.
    • Her name ( Victoria Terpsichore) is finally revealed, though. Another example is Vicious.
      • Given that Spike's first name is Spike, Vicious doesn't seem too much of a stretch for a name. We're certainly given no indications that it's not his real name - even his girlfriend called him that.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex seems to love this trope. Only two of the main characters (Section 9 chief Daisuke Aramaki and Major Motoko Kusanagi (which itself has been described as an "obvious pseudonym" by the author)) have full names, with every other member of Section 9 going by one name only.
    • And the last episode of the first season reveals that these are just codename aliases with the exception of Togusa, who uses his real family name, presumably because it would get awkward if his wife learned that his coworkers call him by a different name, especially since as far as she knows, he is an employee of a security firm, not a Public Security agent. The Major implies having erased her past, and possibly even parts of her own memories for reasons unknown; in the 2nd Gig she reveals regretfully that she has forgotten her real name.
  • In Yotsuba!, Koiwai's given name is never mentioned. This might be a Justified Trope if we stayed only in his daughter's point-of-view (after all, at five years old, Yotsuba is extremely vague about what he does for a living) but even his best friend, Jumbo, calls him by his family name.
  • Nobody besides Mr Ando from Mori no Ando is given a name, referring to them as "the wasp", etc.
  • Joker (and presumably the rest of the performers in Noah's Ark) from Black Butler. It's actually played as a Tear Jerker after his death, as he has no name because he never had any family to care for him but the (now dead) Circus members.
  • In Saikano, none of the characters, including protagonists Shuji and Chise, get full names. Apparently mangaka Shin Takahashi thought they weren't necessary for readers to empathize with them.
  • One of the (sort-of) antagonists in Excel Saga is known only as That Man. In the last episode (which intentionally never aired due to insanely offensive content) he's revealed to be part of a cabal of five people, all of which look identical to him, and are named That Man There, This Man, That Man Over There, That Man Over Here, and This Man Over Here.
  • The main protagonist of Interlude OVAs has no name.
  • In Sword of the Stranger, the closest thing the samurai gives for a name is "Nameless Red Devil." Kojiro even starts calling him Nanashi, which translates directly to "Nameless."
  • Free from Soul Eater. Having been the prisoner of witches, his captors even took his name from him and merely called him "Devil's Eye". When Medusa freed him, he took "Free" as his name (which he was anything but at that point, being indebted to the show's Magnificent Bastard).
  • In Bleach, Ichigo's inner hollow has no official name, and at one point even confirms that he doesn't have one. Despite this, the fanbase has given him many different nicknames.
  • Tomokane from GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class. "Tomokane" is her family name, but if she has a first name, it's not been revealed. The same applies to her brother, who is only referred to as "Tomokane's older brother".
  • When Hidekaz Himaruya revealed the human names of the Axis Powers Hetalia characters, he was asked why Germany didn't have a last name. To this he replied "You'll see someday." Epileptic Trees ensued.
  • Makubex from GetBackers. He was found in a bag that had "Makube" written on it, and has no idea what his actual name is. The "X" was added later to represent the unknown. There's also the Specialist, a white-haired, red-eyed little girl who shows up from time to time, carrying a white rabbit doll and telling Akabane to kill people the Brain Trust doesn't like. Her name is later revealed (by a dying man, no less) to be Makube!
  • The Bookmen in D.Gray-man.
  • In one of the Sound Stages for Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha it is revealed that Agito wasn't given a name until Lutecia gave her one. Her full name is "Name no 37, Agito". Though that may have been Lutecia's attempt at a joke.
  • CLAMP sometimes introduce a minor character and never give him/her a name. Some of the unnamed characters are rather popular in fandom and thus receive Fan Nicknames, such as "Freckle-chan", "Apple-kun" or "Gaijin-girl".
  • We still don't know Hei from Darker than Black's real name, even though he's the hero. He has a civilian alias, but that's probably completely unrelated to his actual name, and he typically goes by a Code Name instead.
    • The same is true for virtually every Contractor in the show.
  • Inuyasha does this with the title character's father. Production notes for the third movie (which is perhaps the only time he has a speaking role) gave him the temporary name of Touga, which is not considered canon. Most fans either call him this or Inu Taishou (roughly, Dog General).
  • One of Mohiro Kitoh's collections of stories, Hallucination From The Womb, has practically no named character. Maybe one or two receive names, and none of them are full names. Even the recurring characters are only referred to as "Female Controller" and "Male Controller."
  • The main character from the Ayakashi Samurai Horror Tales Bakeneko arc and its spin-off anime Mononoke is known only as the Medicine Seller (Kusuriuri). His real name, if he even has one, is never given. None of the other characters seem to be bothered by this.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, the Spirit of the Puzzle spends most of the series without a name of his own. Instead, he is referred to by the name of his vessel, Yugi, or by his title. The manga character profile pages call him "Dark Yugi" or "Yu-Gi-Oh". The NA dub anime characters and story information packets call him "Yami Yugi." The character's real name is Atem.
  • Obviously 'Kami-sama' of Saiyuki is not actually NAMED thus. He just gets called that. His real name is never known.
    • As is the Kami-Sama of Dragon Ball. When he re-fuses with Piccolo, the resulting whole person notes that he can't even remember what his name was before he split into good and evil, so he decides to keep calling himself Piccolo.
  • Yamada, the protagonist of B Gata H Kei, was never given a first name in the series... This is even lampshaded by the author in the author's notes on the final page.
  • Most everyone in Hanamaru Kindergarten has only one name, though for a few characters we can infer their full name, or a full name is given. Most of these characters are either major characters or related to them.
  • The Pokémon Special manga character, surname Berlitz, is primarily referred to as Ojōsama (a term used to refer to the daughter of someone of high class). Now that the third Pokémon Diamond and Pearl game has been announced (Platinum), she's been given that name (though half of the fandom insists in naming her Platina).
    • Done brilliantly in the Mystery Dungeon specials, in which the protagonists are only referred to by the Pokemon they have turned into (Squirtle and Piplup, respectively). In the games, the player's partner asks for their name and they go by thus in the games, rather then their species name. They go so far as to keep calling the protagonist Piplup in the third special, which is well after the point in the story where, according to the games, the player's true name is a major plot point.
      • Awkward is more like it. It seems like their names are "Squirtle" and "Piplup", or they've gone through some mega amnesia compared to the games.
    • Not likely. Upon waking up and meeting their partners for the first time, they seem confused to be addressed as "Squirtle" and "Piplup".
  • Trowa Barton from Gundam Wing was separated from his family as a baby and raised by a band of mercenaries, who never named him. He remains nameless his entire life until the eve of Operation Meteor, when he lifts the moniker of the man originally trained to pilot the Heavyarms Gundam. After Endless Waltz, he considers himself nameless once more, until Quatre tells him that he likes the name Trowa and there's no reason he cannot keep it.
  • Yuko Ichihara from xxxHolic never reveals her true name, as that would give others power over her and so only uses a pseudonym.
  • In Gregory Horror Show, we never find out what either of the guests' names are. Ever. Neither of them give it out, and the only other character who might know it (since they'd have to sign into the hotel anyway) only addresses them by a Term of Endangerment. All official material only refers to them as "Guest" and "Second Guest."
  • Interestingly used in Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal where Kenshin explains to Tomoe that he doesn't hesitate to kill his enemies because he does not know them, and if he knew their names it would be harder for him to kill them, sometime later we see at least a pair of mooks yelling their names before confronting him, to which Kenshin answers "shut up and die anonymously"
  • In Hunter X Hunter the Chimera Ant King abandoned his dying mother the Queen before she could name him. One of Netero's subordinates heard her name the King 'Meryem' before she died and relayed that information to Netero. Netero goaded the King into a fight by offering to tell him his name if he could get Netero to admit defeat. By this point in his Character Development, the King had become human enough to be bothered by his lack of a name.
  • The Wallflower gives us Auntie, the prince, and (in the manga) Ranmaru's fiance.
  • The protagonists of Gunjo, who are known simply as the Blonde and the Brunette.
  • Spotted Flower characters, the protagonists are a Husband and a Wife, and later the Wife's Grandmother join in.
  • In Ranma ½, Principal Kuno's first name is never given, and eventually he's referred to only as "Principal." Likewise the Jusenkyo Guide (whose daughter IS named,) the Gambling King, and the Dojo Destroyer.
  • None of the sisters in Sister Princess have family names and until the anime Wataru was only ever refered to by a form of 'brother'. This makes knowing whether they're half sisters or full sisters to each other impossible to tell.
  • This was revealed to be the case with Tobi in Naruto. The one notable name he went by was a lie to lend him credibility; he prefers to remain nameless and focus only on his end-game. On chapter cover simply refereed to him as "The Masked Man".
    • Revealed to be the case with the bijuu. Each bears a name given to them by the Sage of Six Ways but because of the general belief that they're little more than mindless energy, few humans bother to learn a name beyond their title.
    • As of Chapter 568, the names of the Four Tails and the Nine Tails have been revealed: Son Goku and Kurama respectively. Whether or not Shukaku is the correct name for the One Tail is uncertain.
      • This is just one of the many reasons that Bijuu hate humans because Humans Are the Real Monsters that assign very intelligent, thinking animals as numbers instead of calling them by their proper names. Nine-Tails seems annoyed that Naruto never even took in the possibility that he had a name and Four-tails is outright furious.
      • The names of all the Bijuu are now introduced and it supposedly has some plot significance. It is worth noting that Shukaku is the real name of the One Tail so it is the only Bijuu actually referred by real name before this event.
  • An interesting case in Dragon Ball where the Invincible Old Master (Muten Roshi) and his elder sister, the Fortunetelling Crone (Uranai Baba), where despite never being given a real name, have the English dub treat their titles as if they were their name. Amusingly, this means that "Master Roshi" effectively means "Master Old Master"
  • Legato Bluesummers of Trigun takes pains to introduce himself dramatically the first time he meets the protagonist. In the manga, this is revealed to be because he apparently chose that name himself, after Knives saved him from being raped to death at the age of...somewhere between eight and thirteen, spared him, and asked his name. So far as he knew, he'd never been given one.
  • THE iDOLM@STER - The Producer.
  • To Aru Majutsu no Index has a character only referred to as "The girl in the dress".


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • X-Men comics have several examples:
    • Wolverine was known only as Logan (and he was around for several years before even that much was revealed). He had amnesia, and no one knew what his real name was. Recently, in his origin series, Wolverine's name was revealed to be James Howlett, having stolen the name 'Logan' from his family's groundskeeper, who turned out to Wolverine's biological father. This information is not used in most adaptations, although in X-Men Origins: Wolverine Sabretooth refers to him as 'Jimmy', and his full name is the same as it is in the comics.
    • Rogue spent a large portion of her existence known only as that, but it was revealed in 2004 to be Anna Marie. She once used the alias Anna Raven, which consists of the first names of her and her foster mother, Mystique.
    • Bishop's first name was revealed to be Lucas during the X-Treme X-Men series.
    • Sage is yet another X-Man to not have a full name. Tessa is believed to be a part of her name, but it is unknown as to whether this is her first name, last name or even just an alias.
    • Magneto's real name, Max Eisenhardt, was only "revealed" in 2008. For most of his existence, he has been known by the "aliases" Magnus or Erik Magnus Lehnsherr. Quotation marks because this is a retcon; "Erik Lehnsherr" was his real name when it was introduced, and continues to be in the film series(where we even see his parents calling him Erik as a child).
  • In The Dandy comic "Blinky", the titular character is only ever called Blinky; his real name is never revealed. In fact, the comic implies his name actually is Blinky.
  • In the Transformers comic series "The War Within: The Dark Ages", a character is introduced who is only ever referred to as "the Fallen," as his name was taken away from him by his fellow Transformers after he betrayed Primus and sided with Unicron. This is especially significant since Transformer names are not only personal labels, but usually define their entire purpose, personality, and/or function. (Subverted in the novel "Transformers Exodus", where his original name is given as "Megatronus Prime.")
  • Batman's archfoe The Joker may or may not be named Jack . . . or maybe Joe. However, not even he himself is sure, due in part to his Multiple Choice Past.
    • Also, Ra's Al Ghul left his real name behind centuries ago (as, presumably, did Vandal Savage), and is referred to only by his title.
      • But Vandal Savage's real name was Vandar Adg, it's just eons out of date and used only in cave days.
  • DCU character who embodies this trope: The Phantom Stranger. This is the title used for copyright purposes, and whenever he is listed as a guest star in someone else's book. In the stories themselves, he is almost always referred to as "The Stranger" when the speaker wishes to be specific, or "my friend" when brevity is in order (and he happens to be present). Neil Gaiman used "Brotherless One" or descriptives, such as "your friend in the white turtleneck" in The Books of Magic. In a single exception, Jan or Zayna expressed amazement that almost the entire Justice League of America attended a particularly momentous gathering, "... except the Phantom Stranger."
  • In the UK version of Dennis The Menace (as featured in The Beano comic), Dennis's parents are simply known as "Mum" and "Dad". The creators once claimed in response to a reader's letter that his parents were actually named "Dennis's Mum" and "Dennis's Dad" at birth. This is true for all parents in The Beano except for Les Pretend's dad called Des.
  • Alter Tse'elon, the Israeli Defense Force Colonel Badass from Y: The Last Man. Her parents had already lost two children when she was born, so they kept her name secret in order to hide her from death. After Yorick realizes she's a Death Seeker, she announces her real name to the crowd. It's Yedida, by the way.
    • Agent 355 from the same comic. She eventually whispers her name in Yorick's ear, but it's never revealed to the readers. While her name is never explicitly stated, there's pretty good evidence that it's Peace.
  • V from V for Vendetta. (S)He states: "I do not have a name. You can call me V"
  • In The Immortal Iron Fist, the ninja-servant girl who is Orson Randall's daughter was never named, due to rather restricted freedoms. According to her, she'll have made a name for herself by the time Danny sees her again.
  • In Warren Ellis' breakout series Nextwave, a protagonist is named only "The Captain"; following his gaining powers, he discovered that almost every name which began with "Captain" had been used or was unusable; eventually, he settled for "The Captain", only to find that the name was also taken, and was forced to pay the original Captain for its use. Due to his abusive childhood, depression, and alcoholism, he refuses to divulge his real name; his teammates theorize that he may not even remember it. Ellis' original pitch also notes that the character "has been every crappy Marvel character with the word "Captain" in front of their name".
  • The Argentinian Mafalda has the titular character's parents remain nameless (except for a single strip in which her mother's name, Raquel, was mentioned). Another notorious point is her surname, which no one really cared much for- until a strip where a school test of hers was shown, including what appeared to be an M after her name. Or half of it anyway, the rest was cut off by the panel's boundaries.
  • In the original Stanley and His Monster, Stanley called the monster "Spot" but his actual name was never revealed. In the Post-Crisis reboot by Phil Foglio (consisting of an origins issue and a miniseries), it was explicitly established that he didn't have a name.
  • Garth Ennis seems to love this one, with characters like the Pilgrim, the Saint of Killers, the Female, the Frenchman, Arseface...
  • Tin's girlfriend in Metal Men wasn't given a proper name, and was often called "Nameless".
  • The Hunter in ~The Grievous Journey of Ichabod Azrael (and the Dead Left in his Wake)~.
  • Frank Miller's Ronin.
  • Star Trek: Crew is an IDW miniseries by John Byrne about the life of Majel Barrett's character from "The Cage," who was only referred to as "Number One." Byrne manages to go through the entire series (and a few guest appearances in his other Star Trek books) without ever once revealing the character's name. Indeed, for most of it, he couldn't even call her "Number One," as that was simply a nickname for her rank in "The Cage."
  • Katy's younger sister in Katy Keene didn't have a name in the first run. The two revivals gave her different names, but neither was mentioned often.
  • In The Metabarons, the last Metabaron actually doesn't have a name at all.
  • Ghost of the Thunderbolts erased all record of his original identity after he became Ghost. When he recounts his origin, every mention of his original name is blacked out.
  • The burglar that kills Ben Parker in Spider-Man mythos was not named till 1996 (34 years after his debut), and then only a presumed family name, when Ben Reily's girlfriend Jessica Carradine is revealed to be his daughter. This is the basis for the name Dennis Carradine used in Tobey Maguire films, one of the few canons he is named in.

Film[edit | hide]

  • In Martin Scorsese's feature debut Who's That Knocking At My Door, the love interest of Harvey Keitel is simply named "The Girl".
  • The film Blindness does not name any characters, main or otherwise.
  • In Feast, characters are given titles ("Hero", "Loser", etc) by caption, and never otherwise named.
  • In John Woo's Broken Arrow, despite the trials and tribulations they faced together and the strong bond that grew between them, the two protagonists don't learn each other's names until the very last scene.
  • Daniel Craig's character in Layer Cake is never referred to by name, and he is identified only as "XXXX" in the credits. He hangs a bit of a lampshade on this at the end when, after listing the names of everyone whose death is either seen or referred to, looks at the camera and states, "My name? If you knew that you'd be as clever as me."
  • The Captain in Meet Dave is only ever known by his rank and is never given any other name. However, in the track listing for the movie's soundtrack, he is referred to as "Mini Dave" due to his appearance being near-identical to his humanoid starship's.
  • In That Thing You Do, the name of the Fake Band's bassist (played by Ethan Embry) is never spoken on screen; the end credits refer to him as "T.B. Player" and "the Bass Player."
  • In Sergio Leone's spaghetti Westerns, Clint Eastwood's character's name is never given—rather, the other characters in the films refer to him by nicknames such as Joe or Blondie. Eastwood's character may be regarded as one of the archetypical examples of unnamed heroes, to the extent that his character is widely known as "The Man With No Name." In fact, his character is so ambiguous that people continue to debate whether he was portraying the same character in all three films to this day.
    • This is a reference to Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo, which A Fistful of Dollars is a remake of. In Yojimbo, the main character is asked for his name and responds with what he sees out of the nearest window and his age: "Mulberry Field Thirtysomething"
    • A note - "The Man With No Name" is technically a Fan Nickname, since it was the marketing tagline attached to him by United Artists in America (who wanted to market him as a competitor to the increasingly popular James Bond) rather than anything from the character's native Italy. Leone referred to the character by whatever nickname he was being identified by in each movie (Joe in A Fistful of Dollars, Manco (Spanish for 'one hand') in For a Few Dollars More and Blondie in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly). This obviously contributes to the argument that they are different characters, especially when combined with the differences in character between them (Joe is more cruelly manipulative and also the best liar; Manco has a quirk in that he only uses his left hand except to shoot, and is also the most open about his thoughts and feelings; Blondie shows the most compassion, innocence and character development and doesn't get his poncho until almost the end of the movie).
    • In another Clint Eastwood movie, High Plains Drifter, you also don't know his name. Sometimes referred to as the Stranger, you do figure out who it is at the end.
    • Also, in Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West, Charles Bronson's character is only referred to as "The Man with the Harmonica" (or just simply "Harmonica" in the end credits).
    • Speaking of Sergio Leone, Nobody doesn't go by any other name either.
    • In Paint Your Wagon, Eastwood's character (which wasn't in the original show) is known only as "Pardner"...until the final scene, wherein he identifies himself as Sylvester Newel. ("Just one 'l'.")
    • And in Pale Rider he is simply known as Preacher. Seeing a pattern yet?
  • In The Matrix films, many of the programs are referred to by title rather than name. These include the Oracle, the Keymaker, the Trainman, the Merovingian, the Architect and the Twins.
    • As they are programs rather than people, those probably are actually their names.
      • The names that all of the human protagonists had while plugged in the Matrix aren't fully revealed. Only their hacker nickname/unplugged name (Morpheus, Trinity, etc...). Neo used to be Thomas A. Anderson, Cypher's surname is Reagan. Even the "freeborn" humans of Zion only go by their first (nick?) names (Tank, Dozer, and Zee). That's because those are their real names. The names they have in the Matrix could be considered to be no more real to them then anything else in the Matrix.
  • In Withnail and I, the 'I' of the title is never named onscreen, although the screenplay refers to him as 'Marwood'.
    • In the credits, he appears right after "Withnail...", listed as "...And I"
  • The Mayor of the City of Frank in Osmosis Jones is only ever referred to as 'Mayor Phleghmming'; a first name is never given.
  • Edward Norton's character in Fight Club is never given a name. Only his alternate personality gets one, and Narrator explicitly states at one point that it's not * his* name. The DVD chapters call him "Jack" based off a scene involving Reader's Digest, which fans sometimes use as well, and the HBO closed captions used "Rupert".
    • "Rupert" being one of the unlikely names that he would give while surfing support groups.
  • In The Film of the Book Rebecca: the main character is never called anything but "Mrs. DeWinter" on screen.
    • Likewise in the book it's based on: that character is the narrator, and is never named. She mentions that her name is unusual, and people rarely spell it correctly, but doesn't tell what it is.
  • In the James Bond films, the name of Bond's boss M is never revealed (he has been called "Miles"). M is the character's codename. James Bond teases the audience with The Un-Reveal in Casino Royale, being cut off by M just as he's about to speak her name. In the novels, the first M's name is given as Admiral Sir Miles Messervy and the second M (the current one) as Barbara Mawdsley. Miss Moneypenny's first name has not been revealed.
    • Also 007-related, the main Bond Girl in You Only Live Twice (if you define "Main Bond Girl" as the one he's having sex with at the end of the movie and not the one who's more significant to the plot) is not even given a name during the film's duration. It's not until the credits that's she's listed as Kissy Suzuki.
    • There's also a fan theory floating around that James Bond is not an actual name, but a codename, and the Bonds played by different actors, are in fact different agents.
      • Which is part of the plot of Casino Royale 1967: When Sir James Bond retired, the name was passed on to a new agent as a code name. In the course of the film, Sir James, called out of retirement, orders all active agents to be known henceforward as "James Bond 007" in order to confuse the enemy (also, the audience). In the absurdist climax to the film, we see this includes a seal (the animal), an Indian chief, etc.
  • The tire is never named in Rubber but the actors call it a "him".
  • None of the character names in the film 12 Angry Men are revealed until right at the end - even then, only 2 of the 12 main characters are named (and then only surnames are given).
    • In the play the film is based on, no names are ever revealed for any of them.
  • In Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs, all of the thieves are given colors as aliases: Mr. White, Mr. Orange, Mr. Brown, Mr. Blue, Mr. Blonde and Mr. Pink. We only learn the real names of Mr. White, Mr. Blonde, and Mr. Orange.
  • Kill Bill - Part I included a ridiculous amount of obfuscation around the Bride's name, to the point of bleeping it when it was spoken (however, her name is still visible on her driver's license at one point on her airplane ticket). In Part II we find out that Bill calls her "Kiddo" because that actually is her surname, and that her first name is "Beatrix"...which makes the "silly rabbit" bit in Part I make slightly more sense.
  • Roddy Piper's character in They Live! is never referred to by name. According to the credits, his name is "Nada", which is Spanish for "nothing".
  • The viewpoint character of Hero, played by Jet Li, goes by "Nameless".
    • There's an Actor Allusion of sorts in Rogue Assassin (titled War in the U.S.) where he plays a hitman known only as Rogue. It's not even his own alias, but that of the hitman that killed his family - he killed the real Rogue, faked his own death and assumed that identity to track down those responsible.
  • The antagonists of The People Under the Stairs are never named. In the credits they are listed simply as "Man" and "woman".
  • Lampshaded in the credits to Eraserhead.
  • In Sullivan's Travels, the heroine is never given a name and appears in the credits as "the girl".
  • In The Seven Year Itch, the name of Marilyn Monroe's character is never revealed. In the credits, she is called The Girl.
  • The mysterious "student" in The Ninth Gate is only called The Girl in the credits. She's (probably) Satan
  • Shoot Em Up. 'Smith' is obviously not the protagonists' real name; the Big Bad even lampshades him as The Man With No Name who rides into town on a pale horse. The Dragon thinks he's worked out who Smith is, but isn't completely sure right up to the end.
  • The Mysterious Woman in Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow (2004). Although Since she's a robot, she may not even have a name
  • In Almost Famous, the female lead goes by the name of "Penny Lane". At the end of the movie, she reveals that her name is Lady Goodman
  • In the Ryuhei Kitamura film Versus, none of the characters have names. The closest thing the main character has to a name is his prisoner number (KSC2-303).
  • The two main characters of Once are never named; they are listed in the cast as "the Guy" and "the Girl."
  • In the novel and film Birdy, Birdy's real name is never given.
  • In the film version of Never Cry Wolf, the main character (based on Farley Mowat) is named Tyler. It is never revealed if Tyler is his first name or his last.
  • Despite being one of the most popular characters and occasionally playing the Mr. Exposition role in Repo! The Genetic Opera is never actually given a name. He's called Graverobber by fans because he digs up graves to extract black-market Zydrate from corpses.
  • In Space Jam the Nerdlucks/Monstars are never given names in the film, although their names are given in the closing credit; they are according to merchandise Pound (the orange one), Blanko (the purple one), Bang (the green one), Bupkis (the blue one) and Nawt (the red one).
  • Bill Paxton's character in Frailty is only ever referred to as "Dad" or "Mr. Meiks", even in the credits.
  • In Zombieland, the main characters insist on anonymity to avoid emotional attachment, instead referring to themselves and each other by their respective hometowns: Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita, and Little Rock.
    • Wichita's name is revealed to be Christa at the end of the movie.
    • Even before they realize it's a Zombie Apocalypse, the narrator and his neighbor address each other by their apartment numbers.
  • The serial killer in the first Dirty Harry movie is only ever referred to as the Scorpio Killer, with no real name. In the credits he is called "Killer". In the novelization, however, he's named Charles Davis.
  • In Lars Von Trier's Antichrist, the protagonists are only known as He and She. They torture each other in their woodland cabin, "Eden".
  • In Top Gun, Goose's actual name is never mentioned onscreen. Everyone, even his wife, just calls him Goose. His real name, which is seen on a box, was Nick Bradshaw.
  • In Labyrinth, Sarah's stepmother is never given a first name. Fans eventually dubbed her Karen until the spin-off Manga series Return to Labyrinth revealed her name to be Irene. Some people still use Karen though.
  • In the 1971 film Two Lane Blacktop, none of the main characters are named. The credits refer to them as "The Driver" (James Taylor), "The Mechanic" (Dennis Wilson), "The Girl" (Laurie Bird), and "GTO" (Warren Oates).
  • In the 1971 film Vanishing Point, the main character, played by Barry Newman, is only referred to as Kowalski.
  • In Valhalla Rising, Mads Mikkelsen's mute character is dubbed "One Eye" (because he has, you guessed it, one eye) by a young boy who becomes his companion. (It is never explained whether he cannot speak or chooses not to, but at any rate, he never refutes this title.)
  • None of the characters in The Driver has a name, not even the three main characters. Ryan O'Neal is "The Driver", Bruce Dern is "The Detective", and Isabelle Adjani is "The Player".
  • For most of the film, the main character of Desperado is referred to as "the Mariachi," and in every movie of the Mariachi trilogy, he's referred to as "El Mariachi." It isn't until the end of Desperado, when he faces off against Bucho, that we learn his real name: Manito.
  • In Osama—the first film to come out of post-Talib Afghanistan—no character in the movie is named, except the main character's male friend, who is probably-not-coincidentally the one who gives "Osama" her famous alias.
  • In the classic silent film Sunrise the archetypal characters are known only as The Man, The Wife, and The Woman from the City.
  • None of the characters in D. W. Griffith's 1916 epic Intolerance are given names, making the use of this trope in film Older Than Television.
  • Everyone in Following. "Cobb" is probably an alias, considering the police have no record of his existence. The main character alternately gives his name as Bill or Daniel; there's no indication which (if either) of these is his real name, and the credits just call him "the young man".
  • None of the characters are named in the surprisingly-good-for-its-budget horror movie Wind Chill. This was done to make the story feel like an urban legend.
  • In In the Line of Fire, the President of the United States is only referred to as "the President" or by his Secret Service-given codename "Traveler". The First Lady is also unnamed.
  • In the Spaghetti Western My Name Is Nobody, the main character's name is never revealed, he is in fact referred to as "Nobody" throughout the whole film.
  • Although the main character is called by dozens of nicknames throughout The Perfect Sleep, the Narrator's name is never given.
    • At the end, Porphyria barely audibly whispers "Lyovshka", which is the diminutive for Lyov, the Russian form of Leon.
  • In The Mummy Trilogy, Ardeth Bey's name isn't revealed until the sequel. (It is sort of All There in the Manual though, because various articles as well as the director's commentary use his name.)
  • The father in A Christmas Story is referred to as The Old Man, even in the credits.
  • In 44 Inch Chest, the kidnapped French lover is referred to only as "Loverboy" by his kidnappers. The main character tells the story of how he beat the man's name out of his cheating wife, but it's never revealed.
  • In The Pillow Book, only Nagiko, Jerome and Hoki have names. All other characters have "functional" titles: The Publisher, The Father etc.
  • Deadgirl: The titular zombie's name and back story remain a mystery throughout the film.
  • The love interest(s?) in Cemetery Man (all three of her), only called "She" in the credits.
  • Tommy Chong's character in Up in Smoke is referred to only as "Man" for most of the movie, in the credits, and in track titles from subsequent Cheech and Chong albums. (His parents do call him Anthony in the opening scene, though.)
  • Three of the four major characters in Faster (Driver, Killer and Cop) are never referred to by name. Cop's real name shows up briefly on a report Cicero (the fourth major character) prints out, but no one on-screen uses it.
  • The protagonist in Bunraku is simply known as "The Drifter".
  • The main character in Waterworld has no name, being credited as The Mariner. This is the subject of a Badass Boast by the small girl who informs us that "He has no name so death can't find him".
  • In Disney's Sleeping Beauty, Princess Aurora's father is named King Stefan, but her mother is never called anything but "the Queen". Some children's books published about the movie give her the name "Leah," which many fans have adopted.
    • Weirdly, she doesn't even get listed in the credits of the film at all. In fact, the Disney archives have absolutely no record of the name of the actress who provided her voice, making her a really nameless entity!
  • None of the children in The Polar Express are named, minus two boys.
  • The Driver from Drive, played by Ryan Gosling.
  • V from V for Vendetta never reveals his name, even V he only claims as V is something one may call him.
  • In Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, Dr. Dealgood introduces Max into the Thunderdome arena as "The Man with No Name."
  • The Everlasting Secret Family doesn't name anybody in the film except for the chauffeur (Eric).
  • Sleeping Dogs main character is referred to with his last name Smith, or "Smithy" for a nickname, while major characters Bullen and Jesperson are never referred to by first names either. Though in a Blink And Youll Miss It moment when Smith's police file appears, it shows that his first name is Martin.
  • In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Toht is named in the ending credits, but his name is never mentioned within the actual film.
  • In Forrest Gump, the first name of Forrest's mother is never mentioned. She's identified as "Mrs. Gump" in the credits. Her first name is not mentioned in the original novel either.
  • In Canadian Bacon, the president of America, despite being a pretty important character, is never named.
  • Fight Club: The Narrator is the official title of the protaganist of the movie. the trope is Subverted though
  • Sucker Punch: Most of the characters only have nick names to go upon, even the doctor. subverted with Blue and Vera

Literature[edit | hide]

  • The 1995 novel Blindness, by José Saramago, does not reveal the names of any characters, main or otherwise. Instead they each receive a distinctive appellation: "The doctor's wife", "The Girl with Dark Glasses", etc.
  • The protagonists of Animorphs never revealed their last names, ostensibly for security reasons; they occasionally said in narration that they might not even be using their real first names. In book 53, a full name was finally given: Jake Berenson. He even revealed his age (16) and how long it had been since the series started (3 years). This underscored the recent events in which the Yeerks had finally discovered exactly who the Animorphs were, making the protection of that information a moot point.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: most of the villains - the bald man with the long nose, wart-faced man, the person of indeterminate gender, two white-faced women, man with a beard but no hair and the woman with hair but no beard - are consistently referred to by these descriptions. An exception is the hook-handed man, who after switching sides, gives his name as Fernald.
  • In The Lord of the Rings many of the villains are nameless (or have only the names given to them by their enemies). The Nazgul have no names in the text itself,[1] though their leader is identified as "the Witch-king of Angmar" or "Lord of the Nazgul". The Mouth of Sauron is said to have forgotten his own name long before. Even "Sauron" is a name given to the enemy by the Elves (it means "Abhorred"); we never learn what he was called before he fell. (Iron Crown Enterprises' Middle-Earth RPG gave all the Ringwraiths names.)
  • In Mary, Bloody Mary, the titular princess eavesdrops on a conversation between three ladies of the court; we never learn their names and Mary refers to them by what they're wearing - Yellow Satin, Green Silk and Midnight Blue.
  • Bill Pronzini has a long running series of novels about a character known only as "The Nameless Detective".
  • In the Artemis Fowl series, bodyguards trained under Madam Ko are taught never to tell their clients their first names because they might become friends, and a bodyguard should be more detached. Thus, Artemis only knew his bodyguard by his last name, Butler. When Butler was dying, he decided it didn't matter anymore if Artemis knew his name and told it to him.
    • Butler's little sister Juliet is a bodyguard-in-training for the first three books; at one point when she and Butler are discussing her future, Butler says, "Of course, it's completely against protocol for you to have Artemis as your Principal. He already knows your first name, and truth be told I think he's a little fond of you."
      • In fact, telling one's principal your first name is such a big deal that Artemis' knowledge of Butler's first name is all it takes to convince him that all the LEP business really happened after their memories are wiped.
  • In Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, the major villain is referred to only as "the gentleman with thistle-down hair". Some efforts are made to find out his name, but when speaking with the gentleman people always forget to ask.
    • The author also said she wanted the Raven King to be nameless, but over the course of the book he acquired about seventeen different names and titles.
    • Also, a major plot point develops around the fact that no one knows Stephen Black's true name, not even him. ("Stephen Black" is a slave name.) It's safe to say Susanna Clarke likes this trope.
  • Dashiell Hammett's Continental Op goes mostly by his job description and occasional fake name or two.
  • H. G. Wells was terrible about this. Many of his characters are named after what they do, such as "the Time Traveller", or are referred to only in the first person, such as "I" or "Me".
    • In an early draft the Traveller was Dr. Moses Nebogipfel. Wells made the right decision.
    • In Stephen Baxter's official sequel The Time Ships, his first name is revealed to be Moses (although the name is only ever used to refer to his younger self), however the book still goes out if its way to avoid giving a surname, even covering it with dashes at one point. As a Shout-Out to the early draft, one of the main characters is a Morlock called Nebogipfel.
  • Roald Dahl's The Witches is narrated in first person, and the protagonist's name is never revealed. This also occurs in many of his more adult short stories.
  • Curley's wife from Of Mice and Men
    • Curley's wife is the most obvious, but really none of the other characters apart from George & Lenny have actual names either: Boss, Slim, Curley, Crooks, etc.
  • A number of Len Deighton's spy novels have a protagonist who is an English spy with No Name Given. His real name is never mentioned, although he is often referred to by his various cover names. He became "Harry Palmer" in the films.
  • In The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth, the Jackal is never named. A name attributed to him, "Charles Henry Duggan", turns out to be false. His corpse is buried in an anonymous grave. For a while he's believed to be named Charles Calthrop — in support of this, Jackal in French is "Chacal" — but Calthrop turns up alive after the Jackal's death.
  • None of the Pirates in Gideon Defoe's Pirates! in an Adventure with? books is ever referred by name. They're referred to as "the pirate with a red scarf" or "the pirate with a wooden leg". Never the same description twice (except for the captain) so there's no way of knowing how many pirates there are.
    • Actually, he's remarkably consistent with the pirate descriptions and characterization. The pirate with the scarf is the second in command, the pirate in red is grumpy and often backtalks. The albino pirate only shows up in the beginning of each book. At the end of the first book they do get one named member of their pirate crew, Jennifer
  • Late in Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora it is revealed that 'Locke Lamora' is an assumed name.
    • Which is relevant, because the man trying to magically torture him attempts to use his name as a key, and is brutally surprised when it doesn't work.
    • Locke does have a real name, and knows what it is. However, it has yet to be revealed, and the only other character who knows it is Jean, because he talked Locke into telling him what it was. After hearing it, Jean remarks that he would have gone with Locke instead of that, too.
      • The only clue so far is that Locke's real name is five syllables.
  • Shadow, the main character of Neil Gaiman's American Gods, is referred to only by his nickname throughout the book, although his wife Laura's last name is given as Moon (and Mr. Gaiman once revealed at a press conference that Shadow's real name is Balder Moon).
    • Which is relevant, since he is in fact the god Baldr.
    • Similarly, other characters go through the book without revealing their true name, or in the case of "The Fat Kid", any name at all.
    • Another of the new gods introduces himself to several characters, but they immediately forget. His name and description are both left indeterminate to the reader, but he's later described as a god of currency and commerce.
  • The Man In The Yellow Hat from the Curious George books is never mentioned by name, though he is called "Ted" in the 2006 film adaptation.
  • The Callahans Crosstime Saloon stories have Mickey Finn, whose real name is unpronounceable. His self-selected nickname becomes a minor plot point, and much later, half of the basis for a pun.
    • It turns out that even Mike Callahan's name isn't the one he was born with—and the one he was born with gets wrapped in what may be the most appalling pun the series has yet seen.
  • In The Dresden Files books, the repository of all human knowledge is called The Archive—who, when Harry first meets her in Death Masks, is a little girl of seven. Harry, who sees her as a very smart little girl rather than as her function, nicknames her Ivy.
    • Harry also names the Air Spirit trapped in a skull 'Bob' and a xerox copy of a Fallen Angel inside his head 'Lash'. This habit of his is significant as names have power in the Dresdenverse.
  • In Lord of the Flies Piggy's real name is never revealed.
  • Rudyard Kipling seems quite fond of this one, particularly in The Jungle Books.
    • Messua's husband, Mowgli's adoptive father, is never given a name, despite being the richest man in the village. (This likely reflects the fact that he and Mowgli, the point-of-view character, never really connect.) By contrast, Kipling gives names to a couple of minor characters who are never seen again.
    • In "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi", Teddy's father isn't named, although Teddy's mother's name is Alice, as given in dialogue.
    • In the Inuit story "Quiquern", there's a girl from a tribe whose womenfolk are rescued after their men die on a hunt. Despite accompanying the hero Kotuko on a dangerous mission, and eventually marrying him, she's only ever called "the girl".
  • In James Patterson's Maximum Ride series, the 'flock' is only referred to by nicknames. Even Max- the only average name- is an alias, being short for "Maximum". Nudge and Iggy both have their first names revealed, but Max, Fang, Angel and Gasman never state theirs.
  • In Erich Maria Remarque's Arch of Triumph, the main character is only called Ravic, which is only the last of his several aliases. At the end of the novel, his real name is revealed.
  • In another Remarque novel, Spark of Life, the main character is called 509, his serial number in the concentration camp, where the story sets (though he casually mentions his real name once).
  • In Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, if a complex character is introduced before their personality is fully explained, they're often not given a full name until we learn their true nature. Some characters go without a name throughout, most notably the narrator, who doesn't quite understand himself; even the assumed name the Brotherhood gives him is deliberately withheld. This is also used with such characters as the Founder to show that No Celebrities Were Harmed.
  • Captain Nemo of 20000 Leagues Under The Sea, whose pseudonym means "nobody".
  • The King, in James Clavell's King Rat. (At the end of the book, he gives "King" as his surname.)
  • In Amy Hempel's story "In the Cemetary Where Al Jolson is Buried," the main characters are referred to as "I" and "she."
  • The narrator of Denis Johnson's Jesus's Son is only addressed by his nickname, "Fuckhead."
  • In Franz Kafka's "The Castle" the protagonist is known only as 'K.' Notes indicate that the novel was originally narrated in the first-person. At some point Kafka, who died before finishing the novel, decided to change each reference to the protagonist from 'I' to 'K.'
    • The same thing happens in The Trial by the same author.
  • The first person narrator of Tanith Lee's Biting the Sun duology, Don't Bite the Sun and Drinking Sapphire Wine.
  • The title character of Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera gives his first name as "Erik," although he later claims he got the name "by accident" so it's entirely possible that's another alias.
  • Very few human characters in CS Lewis' The Screwtape Letters have any name given; the main one is known only as the Patient. This both shows the devils' lack of personal concern, and helps establish the Patient as a sort of Everyman.
  • Paul Theroux wrote two novels starring Spencer Savage—called that on the back covers, but in the text, he is unnamed until the second-to-last page of the second book, The London Embassy. His name is revealed when he is asked, "Do you, Spencer Michael Savage, take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife?
  • The protagonist of Anita Amirrezvani's novel The Blood of Flowers has no name. Word of God says that it was a tribute to the nameless artisans of Iran, where the story takes place.
  • In Geoffrey Storey's The Colonial Boy, the main character is known only as "The Boy" and becomes The Youth, The Student, and finally The Commando as the story progresses.
  • The narrator and protagonist of Glen Cook's "Garrett, P.I." series has yet to reveal his full name. We know his mother's pet name for him ("Wart") and the nickname he went by in the Marines ("Wrecker"), and it's been implied that he was named after some long-dead relative, but Cook's still being coy about his given name.
    • In the same series, Garrett's Loghyr partner is known only as "the Dead Man". It's yet to be established if members of the Loghyr race have names at all, or if the Dead Man simply prefers to remain anonymous.
  • None of the characters in Surfacing by Margaret Atwood have full names. The narrator is never named, and her three companions are only known by their first names. The narrator refers to people in her past only as "my father", "my mother", "my brother", etc.
    • Similarly, in The Handmaid's Tale we only learn the narrator's real name by implication (the women being trained as handmaids whisper their names to each other: there are five, and by the book's end we hear later news of all but one). Similarly, we never learn the Commander's surname, and only know his first name because the narrator is called Offred.
  • Major _____ de Coverly of Catch-22, along with many characters known solely by descriptions, such as Nately's Whore and Nately's Whore's Kid Sister.
  • The rulers of the foremost riding in Armada, from The Scar, are known only as the Lovers.
  • The main character of the Montmorency novels is known only by "Montmorency" in his upper-class persona (the brand of satchel he was carrying when arrested), or "Scarper" in his lower-class one (the last word his accomplice had yelled to him before his capture). His childhood name is eventually revealed in the fourth book, but even this is just the one he'd been assigned at the orphanage.
  • Sorta subversion in A Dozen Black Roses by Nancy A. Collins. The main character Sonja Blue is referred to as "the stranger" throughout the whole book, when asked for her name, she either refuses to give it, or is cut off. She finally reveals it at the end to one of the few surviving characters. The subversion comes in when you read the back of the book where her name is given (and there were three previous novels plus several short stories about Sonja as well).
  • In The Last Black Cat by Eugene Trivizas, the name of the main character (who's narrating the story) is never revealed. The most we get is him being casually referred to as 'mate' (in the context of friend).
  • One minor character in Joan Hess's Maggody mystery series, who keeps house for Mrs. Jim Bob, is known only as "Perkins' eldest". Considering the kinds of cockamamie names people in Maggody stick on their kids, it may be just as well.
  • Both the main character and his son in Cormac McCarthy's The Road are referred to only as "The Man/The Father" and "The Boy/The Son"
  • Played with in the story The Blacklist. The lead character's name is Ivan G. Nemone. Three guesses what that's an anagram for.
    • His name is the only one that is pointed out as a fake name. It's left to the reader's interpretation whether or not the other characters' names are their own, as they are all anagrams for things like "He is the bad guy" and "She is a traitor."
  • In Great Expectations, Pip's sister is always referred to as Mrs. Joe. It isn't until the penultimate chapter, long after she's died, that it's revealed she was named after their mother, Georgiana.
  • In Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, the protagonist (no, it's not Rebecca) is never given a name. Interestingly, her future husband comments that she has a very beautiful and uncommon name. She is the narrator of the story, and it might be argued that the writer purposefully emphasizes this role, while Rebecca is the true protagonist after all, since she practically arranges the mood and plotline in this novel despite the fact that she's dead.
  • The first name of Robert B. Parker's P.I. Spenser is never revealed. And seeing as his author is now dead, it probably never will be. Although it's doubtful Parker would ever have given him a first name anyway.
  • Dracula's first name is never given in the novel, although the film Bram Stokers Dracula makes him the vampirized corpse of the historical figure Vlad the Impaler in its Backstory prologue.
  • The only name given to the main character in H. G. Wells' The Time Machine is "The Time Traveler".
  • No name is given to the narrator in Andrew M. Greeley's "God Game". One third of the way into the book, Greeley interjects an author's note where he denies that the narrator is either himself or Bishop "Blackie" Ryan, the lead character in a detective series that Greeley writes.
  • The Commissaris in Janwillem van de Wetering's Grijpstra and de Gier mysteries, even though he's a fairly prominent character.
  • In Aaron Allston's Galatea in 2-D, the animated drawing of a nymph doesn't have a name at first; Roger dubs her Elsie after some discussion.
  • In Eragon, it is stated that the names of the dragons of the Forsworn have been erased so that no one can remember them.
  • The Narrator in The Gargoyle never tells us his name, not even when another character carves it into her chest with a chisel.
  • There are only six or seven named characters total in The Tiger's Wife; characters who never get names include the title character and the narrator Natalia's grandfather, who is central to two of the three main plotlines.
  • Peter David's Tigerheart, arguably the best of many published Peter Pan fan fiction novels, changes the names of everything and everyone involved—consistent with Barrie's statement that everyone experiences the Neverland differently. The one person who is never named is Peter himself. He's "The Boy".
  • A minor character in To Kill A Mockingbird is Mr. X Billups. Jem explains to Dill that X really is his name, not an initial.
  • Although Holly refers to the narrator as Fred for the first half of Breakfast at Tiffany's, he is never properly introduced.
  • In Nick Harkaway's The Gone-Away World, the protagonist never receives a name, because Gonzo forgot to give him one. The whole book is in first person, so it's never really brought to your attention until the point where the protagonist is giving a rousing speech to inspire the Haulage Co. to go rescue Gonzo and he tries to introduce himself. This leads to an uncomfortable Beat while he realizes he doesn't actually have a name.
  • Henry James seemed to like creating heroines without names in his short stories—such as the heroine of "In The Cage" and the governess of "The Turn of the Screw"—despite naming other major characters such as their co-workers and family.
  • John Marcone is an alias, albeit one he's adopted so permanently he says he rarely thinks of his real name.
  • In Jasper Fforde's Lost In A Good Book, Thursday's father. She Lampshades it after his death.
  • Used twice in Hodgson's The House on the Borderland, in which neither the fisherman from the Framing Device nor the writer of the journal are named. A footnote refers to the latter only as "The Recluse".
  • In The Nanny Diaries, hardly any of the main characters get a real name: the titular nanny's name is Nanny, the last name of the family for whom she works is X, and her love interest who lives in the building is merely nicknamed "Harvard Hottie" or "H.H.," even once they enter a relationship. (This changes in the sequel, Nanny Returns.)
  • This is a plot point in The Book of Three, the first book of the Prydain Chronicles. The Horned King can only be defeated by one who knows his true name. The reader never finds out what that name is; when Princess Eilonwy asks Prince Gwydion what it was, he says that it will have to remain a secret, "but I assure you it was not half as pretty as your own."
  • In Dreams of Joy, Joy's mother-in-law is referred to by her mother as "Joy's Mother-in-Law", because she had no name outside of her husband's surname. She went by Fu-shee when she got married. This was Truth in Television for poor Chinese women, who often weren't given names or given names like "hope for a son".
  • Serena Mackesy's 'The Temp' has a first person narrator, and since everyone she works for is to much of a wazzock to ask for her name, you don't get it until the end of the sixty-fifth chapter.
  • Gene Stratton Porter was strange about names. Her self-insert in a couple of her books is called, in both narrative and dialogue, "the Bird Woman". In Freckles the title character gives his name as only that, claiming that as an orphan and (he believes) a bastard he has no right to any other. By the last chapter he and we learn his real name, but we never do learn names for his love-interest, the Swamp Angel, or her father, the Man of Affairs.
  • In Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Oskar's mother and grandmother are never named, and he refers to them only in those terms.
  • Barry Pain's Eliza stories are narrated by her husband, who unlike Eliza remains unnamed.
  • You are never referred to by name in Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City (which, like the Choose Your Own Adventure books, is written in the second person), although in the film version you get called Jamie Conway.
  • Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: Three men with gold shields who answer only to the President of the United States and Charles Martin show up in the book Payback. The names of these three men are never given, and this is commented on by a number of characters. Even their replacement, Chuck Nevins, in Sweet Revenge either doesn't know their names or is unwilling to divulge such information.
  • While the calico cat in The Underneath apparently has a name, it is never revealed throughout the book.
  • The Consul in Dan Simmons's Hyperion.
  • F. Paul Wilson deftly avoids revealing Repairman Jack's last name, even in novels where other members of his family appear.
  • The Stand has the character The Kid. We also never learn the real name or the real name of Randall Flagg, here or in The Dark Tower books. He's gone by quite a few over the years.
  • Possibly applies to Moby Dick, given the first line. "Call me Ishmael".
  • The Nameless Detective series protagonist.
  • The Supreme Custodian in Septimus Heap doesn't get an actual name.
  • In The Hunger Games, Katniss never finds out the name of the female tribute she refers to as "Foxface".
      • It's more that she never pays attention to it.
    • Her parents aren't given first names, either.
  • The exploits of one of the protagonists in the Dance of the Gods series is narrated in a first-person "noir" style instead of the regular third-person style of the other protagonists, and he is never addressed by name. At the end of the book it turns out that he's under a "spell of namelessness".
  • No Name Given - Ti-Jeanne's child is named only 'Baby'
  • Many, if not most, of the characters in Someone Elses War are known by first name or nickname. Not counting the main character and his family, a grand total of three characters ever get a full name.
  • The protagonist from Countdown to Kindergarten and Mrs. Watson Wants Your Teeth, a worrywart little girl.
  • "Miss Girdle Fitz-Snugglie", from Robert A. Heinlein's Podkayne of Mars, is a name the title character initially uses for a famous socialite she meets on a spaceliner, as a bit of private snark. (The book is presented as Poddy's Diary.) However, when "Girdie" turns into the Cool Big Sis and Poddy learns that her life is far from glamour and happiness, Poddy explicitly chooses to keep using the pseudonym in order to protect "Girdie"'s privacy.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Oz on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, whose full name was revealed after he had left Sunnydale.
    • Also, "The Host of Caritas" was not given an official name (even to the other characters) until late into the second season of Angel. His full name is "Krevlorneswath of the Deathwok Clan". As noted before, he's not fond of it:

Host (who is a green-skinned demon): It's Lorne. I don't like to mention it because, well...
Angel: Lorne Greene!
(Cordelia and Gunn stare blankly)
Angel: Bonanza? Fourteen years on the air doesn't mean anything?
(They are still blank)
Angel: Okay, now I feel old.

    • One might wonder why he didn't shorten it to Krev instead of Lorne, so that he could say it's short for Crèvec?ur (heartbreaker). Okay, maybe that's too recherché.
    • Darla's human name is not known - she was named Darla by the Master. And being a whore, she probably wouldn't have used it anyway.
    • Faith's surname was not revealed as Lehane (probably a Shout-Out to the crime writer Dennis Lehane) until after the TV show ended. It was first used in the support material for the official role-playing game.
    • Who was he before he was Adam? Did Maggie name him that?
    • And the demon from the musical episode was never identified by name during the episode. Though now he is called "Sweet" as his costume designer is credited at the end of the show. This is actually odd for a Buffy Episode because the formula is usually 'Weird Stuff Happens/People Die/stuff get stolen> the gang researches > they learn the threats name > they vanquish said threat.' But in this episode Sweet simply leaves without actually engaging in violence (aside from people bursting into flames...)
  • Get Smart has, er, a number of examples:
    • Agent 99. Her lack of a name becomes a running gag. The day she gets married to Max someone sneezes when her name is said. A popular misconception is that she revealed her name in one episode as "Susan Hilton," but that was just an alias.
    • Ditto the Chief, who could only reveal his first name (Thaddeus) as a matter of national security.
    • Most other CONTROL agents are identified only by number. Occasionally, this is reversed, and we know an agent only by name, not number (e.g., Agent Larabee.)
  • Mr. Big on Sex and the City (First name was revealed in the last episode of the series. He gets a middle, last name, and e-mail address in The Movie.)
  • Fez, That '70s Show. Fez is short for Foreign Exchange Student. At one point, someone asks his real name and he is drowned out by a school-bell while seen saying an incredibly long name. (In that scene, actor Wilmer Valderrama was actually saying the first names of all the cast members.) His friends call him Fez because his real name is too long to easily remember or pronounce.
  • Number Six and many other residents of The Village in The Prisoner. (It is officially denied that Six is John Drake, a spy previously played by the same actor.)
  • On Star Trek: Voyager, The Doctor (the Emergency Medical Hologram, not that one) went seven years without getting a name that stuck. In the last episode, he's portrayed as finally having settled on "Joe," but that was in a future that got erased.[2]
    • It's possible that Odo fits this trope. His name comes from what was written on his jar, the Cardassian words "Odo'Ital" meaning "unknown sample".
    • None of the Changelings have names, the 'leader' only goes by 'female Changeling' or 'Founder'. Odo is only given a name because he interacts with 'solids' and we like to place names on things.
  • This trope turns up in mainstream shows too: British nostalgic hospital drama The Royal has a major character known only as Matron.
  • Mac Taylor on CSI: NY. Mac *can* be a full name, but we've never found out for sure. Gary Sinise has said his name is McCanna (after Gary's son), but they've never said it onscreen.
  • The Doctor on Doctor Who, as well as Arch Enemy Time Lord the Master and minor Time Lord enemies the Rani, the War Chief, and the Monk. The latter four have had their names revealed in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe ( The Master - Koschei, the Rani - Ushas, the War Chief - Magnus, the Monk - Mortimus), but not the Doctor. The series initially implied that Time Lords did not have personal names, but this later got forgotten. (In any case, the Doctor's granddaughter did have a name, though, oddly, an ordinary-sounding human one.)
    • Apparently the Doctor has one but never uses it. (The novels go into the reasons why.) An old schoolmate of the Doctor's in the episode "The Armageddon Factor" calls him Theta Sigma—Thete for short—but a later episode establishes that this is a nickname. River Song actually whispers his name in the Doctor's ear in Forest of the Dead. The Doctor confirms it towards the end of the episode, though naturally the audience never hears it. Other episodes have alluded to his name being hidden in some dark secret (The Girl in the Fireplace"; "The Shakespeare Code"; "The Fires of Pompeii"). The end of series 6 reveals there is one time and place where he can be asked who he is and must answer truthfully - and that there are those willing to do anything to kill him and stop him ever answering, making the running gag below deadly serious.
    • This is, in fact, where the name of the series comes from. While even in the credits the actor is often credited as playing "Doctor Who", the character's name is simply "The Doctor". The show's name comes from characters' tendency to emphatically ask "Doctor who!?"—stemming from the very first episode: "Eh? Doctor who? What's he talking about?"—when he is introduced as just "the Doctor". A running gag in the new series has been for characters to ask questions similar to "Doctor who?", but not quite, ranging from "Doctor what," to "But what's his name?". It gets played straight again in a trailer for the 2010 series.
      • The Doctor does, however, seem to like making "Doctor Who" allusions: one of his pseudonyms is 'Doctor von Wer' ("wer" being German for "Who"), and he uses "WHO" on his car's registration plates.
    • "Aliens of London/World War Three" subverts this. Here it was discovered that the alien enemies were not of a species named Slitheen; the word 'Slitheen' was in fact their crime family's surname, similar to 'The Sopranos'. Their species name later turned out to be the extremely difficult to pronounce Raxacoricofallapatorians. As such, they were primarily known as the Slitheen, ever after.
    • Also used with the character of the Hostess in "Midnight" which makes it a lot sadder when she sacrifices herself to save the Doctor and the various bastard passengers on the shuttle.
    • Frobisher, from the Doctor Who Magazine strip. It's made clear that he's adopted numerous aliases in the past, of which 'Frobisher' is the latest (and the one he sticks with); we never learn his original name. Another name of his is briefly glimpsed in his introductory story, but this is likely another alias.
  • On Dark Angel, Max's friends went mostly by nicknames—Sketchy (Calvin Simon Theodore), Herbal Thought, and Original Cindy (say it out loud) (Cynthia McEachin). Her boss was referred to as Normal for the entire series, though a couple of jokes were made about his real name, eventually revealed to be Reagan Ronald.
  • On Firefly, Shepherd Book's real name was never revealed, not even in the movie or the comic-book adaptation. Derrial Book Was the name he took from a man he killed. The Operative from Serenity claims that he has no name, in the credits he is listed simply as "The Operative."
  • Let us not forget Radar on M* A* S* H, whose real name (Walter) wasn't revealed until episode 81 ("Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler?") in season 4, even though it appears in the very first sentence of the original novel.
    • Dr. B.J. Hunnicutt insists that his name was given to him by his mother, Bea Hunnicutt, and his father, Jay Hunnicutt, and his official Army files list only his initials.
    • Sparky's real name is never revealed.
      • Not his first name, but he's Staff Sergeant Pryor (as shown in the Season 1 episode "Tuttle").
  • Gilligan, from Gilligan's Island. The conceptual material for the series listed his name as "Willy Gilligan", but during the series, it was used as a first name, with the last name never revealed.
    • Similarly, the Skipper (Jonas Grumby) and the Professor (Roy Hinkley) were known mainly by their titles.
    • Mrs Howell was called Lovey but this was a nickname. Her real first name, Eunice, was mentioned in only one episode.
  • In The X-Files, Deep Throat's real name is not given until the fourth season, despite the character's prominence in the first season. The second season premier implies that Mulder knows it, but he never speaks it onscreen. In the fourth season flashback episode, he and the Cigarette Smoking Man are the main characters, and the Cigarette Smoking Man calls him Ronald.
    • The Cigarette Smoking Man is later referred to by the name C.G.B. Spender, though Scully believes it's just an alias and not his real name.
    • The X-Files was full of this trope, many of the main conspirators are never named and are often known solely by the descriptive terms used in the credits. There's Mr. X, The Well-Manicured Man, The Grey-Haired Man, Second Elder, Third Elder, Toothpick Man, Quiet Willy, The Red-Haired Man, and so on and so forth.
  • One of the main characters in Scrubs is simply known as 'The Janitor'. His name tag and uniform also just say 'Janitor', and he even calls himself "Dr. Jan Itor" when pretending to be a doctor. It was said (jokingly) that when the Janitor's name is revealed, the series will be over. One episode features JD discovering that the Janitor had a role in the film "The Fugitive", suggesting that the Janitor is actually supposed to be the actor portraying him (Neil Flynn), fallen on hard times.
    • More janitor name silliness: in one episode he fools J.D. by signing his name as "Dr. Rotinaj," and when J.D. points out that this is "janitor" backwards, an Asian doctor walks by:

Janitor: Hello, Dr. Rotinaj.
Dr. Rotinaj: Hello, Mister Clean-Up-Man.

    • In the last episode though, he reveals to JD that his name is "Glenn Matthews". He never revealed his name, because no one ever asked. It's not sure if this is his real name, as seconds later someone calls him "Tony".
      • Word of God states that, yes, his name is indeed Glen Matthews.
  • Heroes has a number of examples:
    • Noah Bennet is first credited as "Horn-Rimmed Glasses," referring to his eyewear. In the third episode of the series he is revealed to be Claire's father, and so became referred to by various characters as "Mr. Bennet," but his first name remains a mystery. A lampshade is hung on this in one episode, in which his wife says, "It's so strange that you all refer to him as 'Mr. Bennet'. I've always just known him as--" before she is distracted by her dog. He finally reveals his first name, Noah, in the first season finale.
    • Mr. Bennet's partner, who appears fairly regularly, is never referred to as anything but "the Haitian." In season 4, his name was revealed to be René.
      • It wasn't so much a reveal as a stealth Retcon. There's no explanation for how everyone learned his name, no side-arc leading up to it, and no drama about it. People just start calling him René out of the blue.
        • If anything happens off screen, it doesn't necessarily means that it's a Retcon. Noah probably knew his name before the series started, but everyone in the Primatech Paper just called him by his nickname, so Noah usually would, too. As for Peter and Nathan, they start out knowing him just by his nickname, but after a while they become, if not friends, acquaintances with him... to the point that they end up helping him in his family feud. It's likely that he just, you know, took a second to tell 'em: "Btw, my real name's René". Not every single mundane aspect of life needs drama or entire story arcs about it.
    • Mr. Bennet's previous partner doesn't appear to have a real name either. He's usually referred to as Claude, but that comes from a joke he made in an early appearance: "I'm Claude Rains! I'm The Invisible Man!"
    • Another man named after his nationality was The German, one of the escaped level five villains, who had magnetic powers. Knox tore his heart out in his second appearance, so his real name is unknown.
  • Detective Constable "Dangerous" Davies in The Last Detective does not appear to have had his real first name revealed on screen. Even his wife calls him "Dangerous".
  • The fourth season of House features a legion of young doctors who are applying for a job with the title character. At the start, each one is given an identifying number. They're rarely brought up except for one woman, who only answers to "Thirteen." Even after she's hired and joins the cast as a regular, nobody says her actual name. House doesn't call anyone by their name if he can help it. The other finalists are given monikers such as Cutthroat Bitch and Bosley, and the audience doesn't learn their real names for a few more episodes.
    • Thirteen's name is eventually revealed to be Dr. Remy Hadley, but everyone on the team, herself included, still calls her Thirteen.
  • Man in a Suitcase featured an ex-CIA man turned Private Eye who was known only as McGill.
  • Several characters in Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide are known only by nicknames. This is taken farthest with Coconut Head—his real name is obscured by tape with "COCONUT HEAD" on the wall of student pictures, he is named only as Coconut Head by teachers, and in the yearbook. In the "Guide to Nicknames" episode, Moze agreed to call him by his real name (which wasn't revealed)... but only if he got a better haircut.
  • In Torchwood, the real name of Captain Jack Harkness is never revealed. A flashback to his childhood has his parents repeatedly addressing him as "son" while calling Jack's brother Gray by his real name.
  • Cappie in Greek. Though it's not that all of the characters don't know his real name; in fact, one of them threatened to reveal it to everybody as blackmail. He quickly complied.
    • It was revealed in the final episode that his real name is (I'm not making this up) Captain John Paul Jones. Similarly Beaver was known as that for most of the series and his name was just revealed a few episodes earlier to be Walter Boudreaux, only his girlfriend calls him by his name so when she asks for "Walter" nobody seems to know who he is.
  • Elmo from Sesame Street was a minor background Muppet simply known as "Baby Monster" prior to 1985, when his current character started to take shape.
  • Doc in Fraggle Rock. In the last episode his name is revealed to be Jerome Crystal (making him "Doc Crystal"; a pun on The Dark Crystal).
    • Doc's multinational counterparts were mostly called Doc as well, exceptions include Norway's Oppfinneren (the Inventor) and Britain's Captain, a lighthouse keeper (the Captain was later replaced by his nephew, who was known as P.K., for "Principal Keeper").
  • On It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the recurring character The Waitress is never given a name. This is lampshades in a number of occasions. Dennis admits to never remembering her name, and sorts his sex tape with her under "The Waitress." In a later episode, she hears Dee call her "The Waitress" and gets upset that she doesn't know her name. The real name of Mac is not revealed until season 7 when at their highschool reunion it is revealed that Mac shares his name with a famous hamburger chain mascot, Ronald.
  • In The Middleman the titular hero is very careful about his name. As demonstrated in this exchange just after a truth gas has been released into the room:

Wendy: "So if I were to ask you anything right now, you'd have to tell the truth?"
The Middleman: "Yes, I would."
Wendy: "What's your real name?"
The Middleman: "The same as my father's."

    • The unproduced 13th episode, read at Comic-Con by the cast and made into a graphic novel, reveals it. It's Clarence Coulton. Javier Grillo-Marxach, the creator, pauses the read-through for a moment, and then says to the audience, "Yes, that's his name."
  • The species of the alien invaders in UFO is never mentioned. Even the members of SHADO never use a codename, but simply call them 'the aliens'.
    • Well, how would anyone know what species they are? If we were sneaking around an alien planet trying to take it over, I doubt we'd be wearing a sign saying "humans" or "Earthlings".
      • In any case, it is revealed that the UFO pilots themselves are not aliens, but abducted humans possessed by alien intelligences.
  • Lost: Jacob's enemy seemingly has no name, just that title - or "The Man in Black" (first seen in ABC's official recap - the press release called him "Man #2" - and actually used in-show by characters). Fans use Esau, Jacob's Nemesis and Mr. X.
    • Somewhat justified in "Across the Sea." His mom didn't know that she was giving birth to twins and intended to name her son Jacob. Right after the second baby was born, the mid-wife killed her and apparently never bothered to given Jacob's twin brother a name.
      • The mother in "Across the Sea" also has no name but "Woman". Only two characters in the episode, Jacob and Claudia, have names in fact...which makes discussing it rather difficult.
    • According to Entertainment Weekly, the scripts called MIB "Samuel", the same name used in the (intentionally misleading) casting call. However, it's not known if this is actually his name or not (given that they also kept calling Terry O'Quinn's character "Locke" after he wasn't regularly playing Locke anymore, it could easily just be out of convenience instead of something canon).
  • In the black-and-white era series Have Gun - Will Travel, the main character is only ever known as Paladin.
    • Supposedly, some audience members thought his name was Will. Will Travel. Because that's what it said on his business cards. Have Gun - Will Travel.
  • On Chuck, Sarah's real full name is unknown as of yet. Her other known childhood aliases are Jenny Burton, Rebecca Franco, and Katie O'Connell. As Bryce Larkin's partner, she was known as Mrs. Anderson on some missions. She introduces her father as Jack Burton; it's likely that was just the first name she thought of, since Chuck knew the Burton alias but not that it was an alias, and Jack was willing to play along. She does tell Chuck her middle name is Lisa, and from context it's likely that much is true.
    • In "Chuck Versus the Fake Name", Sarah's real name is found out: Sam
  • Nobody knows C.C. Babcock's full name in The Nanny until it's revealed in the final episode.
  • In Leverage, the characters of Parker and Sophie Devereaux are both within this trope. Parker is Only One Name and as a foster child may have no other name, nor a need for one as she has no life outside being a thief. "Sophie Devereaux" is just Sophie's favorite of many aliases, and her real is yet to be revealed.
  • GOB's wife on Arrested Development is never given a name, to reflect the fact that GOB doesn't know it. She's listed as "Bride of GOB" in the credits and "Wife of GOB" in other material. GOB makes several guesses to it, including "Krindy", "Amy" (Amy Poehler, Will Arnett's wife, plays the role), and "Saul" (actually her divorce lawyer). Michael knows what it is, but the opportunity never arises for him to use it.
  • Top Gear: "Some say that he was born of a planet that has no concept of 'naming'..."
  • Not revealing Mrs. Doyle's first name became a Running Gag in Father Ted. At one point, she said it three times, but was drowned out by a convenient noise each time.
  • The title character in Spartacus: Blood and Sand, believe it or not. Batiatus remarks that he fights like Spartacus, the legendary Thracian king of old, after Legatus Glaber explains the he had never bothered to learn his name. Every time Spartacus attempts to mention his real name he is cut off by other characters, oftentimes on purpose, to make clear that his old life is over.
  • There are several in the UK sitcom Time Gentlemen Please. The landlord is usually referred to as 'Guv' (and other less pleasant nicknames), the old man never tells anyone his name ("I'd rather not say, sometimes you just want to go where no-one knows your name"), and of all the regulars in the pub we only ever hear Terry's full name. Even the pub itself isn't named until the second series when the brewery needs to know the name and nobody, not even the landlord, has any idea what it is, having always simply referred to it as 'the pub by the chemical works'. All this is lampshaded in one episode when the old man is using the telephone: "Hello, it's the old man with no name in the pub with no name."
  • Almost none of the characters in Trailer Park Boys have any last names given. Given that they're often in court for their various crimes, this becomes comical as the judge always just refers to them as Ricky, Jules, Bubbles, etc. (especially Bubbles, as this is explicitly said to be a nickname. We never find out his real first or last name). Jim Lahey and his related family (and Sam Lasco) are the only recurring characters who get both first and last names.
  • In Burn Notice, most major characters are introduced with snarky subtitles. The mysterious employer of Carla, apparently the man who burned Michael for some nefarious purpose, is only introduced as "Management".
  • On the short-lived series Kidnapped, the Career Killer employed by the Nebulous Evil Organization behind the kidnapping is referred to only as "The Accountant." He explains to one of his victims that this is because, "I balance the books."
  • The main character in the one season series John Doe does not know his name - nor his history. All through the series, he tries to find out who he is. His name remains unknown (up to the point that the producers of the show never made one). John Doe is a name used by law enforcement agencies to refer to unknown male people (dead or alive).
  • Jeeves, from Jeeves and Wooster, is universally known simply by his last name. It isn't until the final episode that we hear someone address him as "Reggie", presumably for Reginald. Unfortunately, many descriptions of the character freely use his full name, which rather spoils the surprise.
  • From Becker, Linda and Bob's last names were never revealed.
  • All but one of the cast members in According to Jim are only referred to by their first names. The one exception takes place in Dana after she gets married and adopts her husband's surname.
  • On many reality shows (one example being Billy the Exterminator), last names aren't given, even the ones of the people the show is about.
  • In The Pretender, virtually no one has a full name:
    • Jarod, Sydney, Jacob, Brigitte, Sam the Cleaner, Willie the Cleaner, Angelo, Major Charles, Margaret, Emily, and Kyle are only known by their first names, and no last names are ever given.
    • Miss Parker, Mr. Parker, Broots, and Mr. Fenigor are only known by their last names, and no first names are ever given.
      • Fanon claims Miss Parker's first name is Angel, her father's nickname for her, but that's never been confirmed. It's also kind of silly.
    • Only William Raines, Debbie Broots, and Catherine Parker (née Jamieson) get full names.
    • Mr. Lyle is an interesting case, as that's an alias he adopted, and he may not even have a first name. One episode does reveal his full childhood name -- Bobby Bowman—but he would probably argue that that's not his name any more, if it ever really was.
  • Star Trek has a few prominent examples:
    • The character played by Majel Barrett in the first series pilot, "The Cage," is referred to only as "Number One," the unofficial nickname attached to her position as Captain Pike's first officer.
    • Neither of the two main Romulan adversaries in the series were ever referred to by name, but simply as "the Romulan Commander."
  • The BBC show Bugs manages this with the three stars, Nick Beckett, Ros Henderson and 'Ed', who has no specified surname.
  • In NCIS: Los Angeles, the leading agent of the team, Callen, has no first name. Not even he knows his first name. All we know is that it starts with "G". The others refer to him as "Callen", "Agent Callen", "G. Callen", "G", or "Mr. Callen". Even during the most recent season finale where Hetty leaves her position at NCIS to get a Romanian crime family off Callen's back by faking G's death certificate (complete with video evidence of G's death), we never know his first name. To maintain the mystique surrounding G's name they probably had the first name on the form illegible except for the G, knowing that someone with a DVR could just pause at that exact moment to see it.
  • Glee: Puck's little sister. Granted, she's only shown up once so far, and that was in a flashback, but it still poses a problem for fanfic writers who want to include her. Suprisingly many of them call her Sarah.
  • Dr Terribles House Of Horrible parodied this with a voodoo man who said "My name is...unimportant." Later, we see on his passport that his name is actually "Unim Portant".
  • Maw Broon, Paw Broon, Grandpaw Broon, the Twins and the Bairn in The Broons.
    • Parodied in a Naked Video sketch, where the Twins and the Bairn were taken into care, to be looked after by someone who'd give them care and attention...and names.
  • The titular mother in How I Met Your Mother. Mostly justified in that none of the characters have met her yet, but great pains have been taken to conceal her name anyway. In "Girls vs. Suits", when Ted goes out with a PhD student who was the mother's roommate, she refers to the mother as "my roommate", even when she talks about her in some detail.
    • Ted's children also have No Name Given, referred to in the credits as "Son" and "Daughter", but fandom often refers to them as "Luke" and "Leia" due to a throwaway gag.
    • Wendy the Waitress's last name is never given. Made even funnier when it's revealed she married one of Marshall's coworkers, who is only known by his last name "Meeker".
    • Wendy's last name may be an enforced Riddle for the Ages, because the Ted of the year 2021 couldn't remember her name until she prompted him ("Hey! It's...uh...you...""Wendy the Waitress?""RIGHT! Wendy the Waitress!"), so one might assume the Ted of 2030, and everyone in the stories he tells, refers to her as Wendy the Waitress simply because the Ted of 2030 can't remember her last name. Like the girl whose name Future Ted couldn't remember and referred to as "Blah Blah", and so everyone in the past was depicted as calling her "Blah Blah" as well.
  • The Virginian was this trope.
  • MacGyver, folks. His first name was only revealed in the series finale.
  • Bones has never revealed the name of Angela's father. Or her real name for that matter. We know her dad is Billy Gibbons in real life, but he never is given an onscreen name. And Angela named herself when she became an adult, due to her dad giving her an Embarrassing First Name.
  • On TV and in the radio, The Lone Ranger was this trope. We know his last name was Reed, like his brother and great grand-nephew The Green Hornet, but we never learn his first name.


Music[edit | hide]

  • The main character of The Black Parade is never named in the album itself, and elsewhere is known only as "the Patient".
  • Very few of the characters in the Ayreon albums have names; most go by descriptions like "Best Friend" or "the Knight."
  • The members of Xera are only known by their first names.
  • An animal variant is A Horse With No Name by the band America.


Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • 'The Dog' in Footrot Flats has such an Embarrassing First Name that he never allows it to be said or revealed in any way in the comic, and holds a grudge against Aunt Dolly for giving him the name.
  • Peanuts examples:
    • The full names of Marcie and Schroeder, and Pig-Pen's real name, are never revealed.
    • The Little Red-Haired Girl's name is never revealed in the comic strip, though at least two of the animated specials ("It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown" and "Happy New Year Charlie Brown") called her "Heather". However, despite writing the specials himself, Schulz considered both the name and her appearance (in the strip she was The Ghost) non-canonical.
    • Almost no adults in the strip are given names, and in the animated specials, they don't even have intelligible voices. One minor exception in the strip is Linus' teacher, who we know as "Miss Othmar".
  • In Dilbert, the Pointy-Haired Boss does not have a name. Since most of the characters in the strip are his employees, Scott Adams gets around by having them refer to the character as "the Boss" and address him as "sir". Meanwhile, Dilbert, Wally, Alice and all the other major human characters seem to simply have no last names. In this strip, two characters introduce themselves with their full names and then Alice introduces herself as... just Alice, as though that were the only name she had.
    • In one episode of the Dilbert TV show, the Boss signs a delivery form. The delivery man looks at the clipboard incredulously, and says "that's your name?" Ee never see it.
    • The hyper-intelligent Garbage-Man: In an early strip, Dilbert tels another character his Garbage-Man's name is "Gus Simpson", but this may have been before the character of the Garbage-Man was fully developed, and could refer to someone else.
  • The Scamp newspaper comic makes the odd decision to state the fact that Lady and Tramp never got around to giving Scamp's siblings names. The comic runs for two months before they decide to address this fact and actually decide to start giving them one.
  • In Calvin and Hobbes, the parents names are never revealed nor is the family last name. The full names of Rosalyn, Moe and Miss Wormwood are never told either. Susie Derkins is the only character whose full name is revealed.
    • This is part of the reason why Watterson scrapped the Uncle Max character after his first appearance—it was altogether too awkward that Max couldn't refer to his brother by name.
  • The Broons. Only the older kids have names. Their parents are Maw and Paw Broon (and Paw's father is Grandpaw Broon), and their younger siblings are The Twins and The Bairn.


Radio[edit | hide]

  • Ford Prefect is a name picked by the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy researcher due to a misunderstanding about Earth. In the books it's revealed he never learnt to pronounce his own name (his father was the Last of His Kind following the Collapsing Hrung Disaster of Betelgeuse VII and named his son in the now extinct Praxibetel dialect), and the kids at school called him Ix (meaning "Boy who is unable to explain what a Hrung is, or why it should choose to collapse on Betelgeuse VII").
    • The misunderstanding was explained more fully in the movie by showing Ford walking out into the middle of a street and attempting to greet a car, thinking it was the dominant species on Earth. This was a joke that some fans understood without needing the explanation, as Ford Prefects are a kind of car sold in the U.K., Australia, Argentina and Canada. American fans tended not to get the joke, since Ford Prefects were never sold in the U.S.
    • Another character attempts to use this trope. When Arthur asks his name, he says "My name is not important." After some cajoling, he gives Arthur his name.

Arthur: Slartibartfast?
Slartibartfast: I told you it wasn't important.

      • Word of God is that Douglas Adams did this as a way of teasing the BBC typist. She was typing out this ridiculous name every time he spoke, and the name never actually occured in dialogue in his first episode, so he could just as easily have been "Old Man."


Theatre[edit | hide]

  • Many characters in Plautus's work, including the protagonist of Casina, whose name is only found in other documents, not in the script.
  • Most of the characters in Into the Woods. With the exception of Cinderella's stepsisters, the only characters who have proper names are the ones who get them in their original fairy tales.
  • The protagonist of Kismet is identified in the Dramatis Personae only as "a public poet, later called Hajj." (The poet is identified as "Hajj" once in a case of Thoroughly Mistaken Identity.) In the Ronald Colman film version, he's Hafiz, but again this name is spoken only once, in a moderately loud scene with many people talking at once, and it easily slips past your conscious perception.
  • None of the characters in the play 12 Angry Men have names. In the script, they are referred to only as "Juror #1", "Juror #2", etc.
  • In Agnes de Mille's Ballet Fall River Legend, Lizzie Borden is known only as "the Accused."
  • In Jonathan Rand's Check Please short plays, the two leads are only given the names of Guy and Girl in the script and are never called by any name on stage.
  • In the Reefer Madness musical, the man who provides the Framing Device for the story is never reffered to by name; most just call him "The Lecturer".
  • Generally if there's a Narrator in a stage show they won't be given a name beyond their function, although they can have other names besides 'Narrator', such as the Stage Manager in Our Town or the Leading Player in Pippin.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • In Ghost Trick all non-main characters are just given nicknames. These include Guardian of the park, Feverish Firecracker, even the villian is only known as Eyebrowed Villian. The only exception to the rule is Near sighted Jeego and One step ahead Tengo, minor hitmen who try to kill one of the main characters.
  • The Heroic Mime protagonist of Marathon has no name given. He is only directly referred to as "You," "Rogue Conditioned Slave Unit," and "Our friend here," which makes it seem like Bungie had just went on the same road as DOOM and other games of the era and decided not to develop their main character. However, the first game has a few references to who he is, and the third game is all about him going insane trying to find out who he is and why he can't choose his own destiny.
  • "The Space Marine" is the only name given the hero of the Doom series. Among fans, he's acquired the affectionate nickname of "Doomguy". On his guest appearance in Quake III Arena, he's known simply as "Doom".
    • In the books, his name is Flynn Taggart. A more generic army name there ain't.
    • In the Doom movie, he was named John Grimm. Apparently id Software's sole insistence for the film was that his first name be 'John'.
    • In the recent Doom 3 novels by Matthew Costello, he was named John Kane. Curiously, this is the same surname as the protagonist of Quake IV.
    • The protagonist of the first Quake, sometimes called "Quakeguy", later called "Ranger" in Q3A. In contrast, there's Bitterman of Quake II, and Matthew Kane of Quake IV.
  • The SPARTAN-IIs and IIIs all had their surnames replaced with designation numbers after being conscripted as children. The Master Chief is known simply as John-117, while Noble Six is SPARTAN-B312.
    • The protagonist of Halo 3: ODST is referred to solely as "The Rookie", with the initials "J.D." being the only hint to his real name.
      • J.D. actually stands for John Doe, so that you could put yourself into his role more easily.
  • Every illegal street racing game has a player character with no name, no face and no voice.
    • There are at least two known exceptions to this rule, though. Midnight Club: Los Angeles has a player character with no name, but with a face, and he never shuts up. Need for Speed: Pro Street has a player character with no voice and no face (he always wears a full-face helmet), but he has a name: Ryan Cooper. And the announcer will make sure that you never forget that.
  • Many video game RPGs have characters who are never given full names in the game itself (since the player can typically rename those characters anyways), but may be revealed in the instruction manual (or, in the case of Final Fantasy VI, the game's closing credits).
    • Speaking of FFVI, the temporary recruitable ghosts on the Phantom Train all have "?????" as their names. Terra also uses this as a moniker while she is afflicted with amnesia in the prologue.
    • Cloud is known simply as Ex-SOLDIER for a little while and NOBODY apart from the playable characters from the original, Reeve, Rufus or Zack have canonical full names. Zack didn't even get that much till Crisis Core.
  • Final Fantasy X-2 has an interesting time with this. Although most people would know that the default name of the main character from the first game was "Tidus", since it could be changed, characters avoid saying his name, only referring to him as "him".
    • Subverted with Dissidia Final Fantasy where he is called "Tidus" throughout. Played straight though with Warrior of Light, who cannot even remember his own name, and the Emperor who is always referred to by his title, but does have a first name - Mateus.
  • In Guilty Gear, a non-playable character is referred to only as That Man, on top of which his face is constantly in shadows for no readily apparent reason.
  • The player character in the first-person Myst games is never seen, even to the point of having no reflection in glass surfaces; the other primary character addresses him/her/it only as "My friend".
    • Furthermore, his label has been accepted into canon as simply "The Stranger".
  • The 'Point Man', the Player Character of F.E.A.R., is never given a name and is referred to only by his rank-or, alternatively, 'The New Guy'. As is revealed later, his lack of personal identity is central to the plot.
    • Supplemental material included as a pre-order bonus with F.E.A.R. 2 outright states that he doesn't have a name—at least, not outside a secret name known only by a select few. It was part of the attempt to mold him as the first psychic commander. The other members of F.E.A.R. weren't provided any more name for him than "Point Man" and were informed not to even bother asking what his real name is.
  • The amnesiac protagonist of Planescape: Torment is known only as "The Nameless One". In one optional sub-plot he does learn his real name, but this is not revealed to the player.
  • In the Star Wars computer game Knights of the Old Republic II: Sith Lords, two party members - The Handmaiden and The Disciple - have names which are only revealed close to the end of the game. The protagonist him/herself is only referred to as "The Exile" by everyone.
  • The main character in the video game Grand Theft Auto III has no name and never speaks. Fans referred to him as "The Guy". Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas reveals his name, Claude. On the other hand, he's supposed to be the same character from Grand Theft Auto II, and in one of those his full name, Claude Speed, is given.
  • The titular character in the game Soulbringer is never referred to by his real name. The one time he almost said his name, he was interrupted, so everyone calls him "lad," "Blood of Andrus," "vagrant," "Young Moon," and (eventually) "Soulbringer."
  • The first line Trilby (the protagonist and Player Character of half the of the Chzo Mythos series of games) utters is "I don't have a name". He is called Trilby for the type of the hat that he wears.
    • There is also AJ, whose real name is never disclosed in the game. It's Andrew Jarvis, as those who have read the tie-in fiction will know.
    • In the commentary for the first sequel, 7 Days a Skeptic, the creator casually mentioned that Trilby's real name is Malcolm, the same name as the "protagonist" of the game. Whether he was joking or not is up for interpretation.
    • John DeFoe is not the actual name of the second son - he was never given a name except by Trilby.
  • Rival Schools has Chairperson, who refuses to reveal her real name and would rather prefer other characters refer to her by her title.
  • In The World Ends With You there are two types of support Reapers and dozens of those two types, but only one of each was named. This is lampshaded in "Another Day" where one actually calls himself "Tutorial Guy" and Joshua is disappointed that he's playing against an unnamed character. He turns out to be "the producer" of Tin Pin Slammer, as well as a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Shinji Hashimoto, the game's real producer.
  • Cave Story: The Doctor. (His name is actually revealed late in the game, in a rather subtle way.)
  • The titular characters of Prince of Persia.
  • Let's not forget the Ageless, Faceless, Gender-Neutral, Culturally Ambiguous Adventure Person from Zork: Grand Inquisitor.
  • The real name of the Red Woman AKA The Founder is never revealed in Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer.
    • Though since Arraman uses his real name, she may well have been originally named Nefris.
  • Gothic takes place in a prison colony, where most people go by what are presumably nicknames ('Fingers' is a master thief, 'Bullit' a vicious thug). The first NPC you meet tells you he doesn't care what your name is; you're just the new guy. The game manuals refer to the player character as 'the Nameless Hero', and it is never revealed what his original identity is or why he was thrown into the prison colony in the first place.
  • In Guild Wars, the Master of Whispers is only known as that, The Master of Whispers. The Order of Whispers is a secret governmental organization made to keep demonic evils from threatening the region of Elona. Subverted, when Norgu asks him his name in one mission, and at the end of the mission, he tells him his name. It's Jurah. One of his battle quotes are about his name, too.

Master of Whispers: Let me whisper my name to you as you die...

  • The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match has K9999's replacement, who is called "Nameless" in-game. Some supplemental materials reveal his code name as represented by the characters Ж′ or if you will, Zhe Prime.
  • Lampshaded in Mitadake High, where each player is assigned a random name, but no other student knows what it is. Each character is given a title based on their appearance (E.g. The Creepy Red Haired Boy, The boy with Goggles etc.). This is crucial in the Death Note mode and forces the player playing as Kira to think creatively in order to get other players names. Often they'll check the school computer and compare appearances to find potential victims, or hunt out the Shinigami eyes player, who can see the names floating above players heads.
  • The nameless suit wearing supernatural entity in the Half Life series (dubbed the "G-Man").
  • In addition to the player characters, a few Ace Combat characters like Yellow 13 are known only by callsign.
  • The Voodoo Lady who helps Guybrush in all the Monkey Island games never really tells him her name, even when he asks for it, she says that names have power and only fools would willingly give them away.
    • Which is made extra ironic by the fact that Guybrush introduces himself (first name, last name, and alleged occupation) at every possible opportunity.
  • The final boss in the NES version of Double Dragon II: The Revenge is never given a proper name. The ending text simply refers to him as the "Mysterious Warrior". His Expy in Double Dragon Advance is named "Raymond" though.
  • Solid Snake in Metal Gear, for the first two games - obviously not his real name. We find out his real name (David) at the end of Metal Gear Solid, but he continues using the name Snake. (The original game plan of Metal Gear Solid 2 suggests that Snake and Otacon would have called each other by their real names when they were on missions together, but this idea was scrapped very early on.) His real name is mentioned one more time, by a character in Metal Gear Solid 4 as proof that she knew him from before he became Snake. Word of God says Snake finally abandoned his codename and started using his real name after 4. (Interestingly, the non-canon games act as if he has no name at all - Metal Gear Acid makes it a major plot point that Snake doesn't have a real name, then again at least in the second one it's not the same Snake as in the main games.)
  • In The Godfather: The Game, one of the original characters is known only as The Trojan.
  • Everyone in Team Fortress 2 besides Saxton Hale (from the supplemental material), until the comic introducing the WAR! update named the Announcer Helen, the Demoman Tavish Degroot and the Soldier Mr. Jane Doe.
    • The comic introducing the Engineer update gave him the name Dell Conagher and his grandfather Radigan Conagher.
  • In both Saints Row games the main player character is never given a name. In the first game he's called "dawg' or "playa". In the second game this is held up (partially since you can make the main character a woman, and the character isn't even referred to with a pronoun), and the character is mainly referred to simply as "Boss" by the other Saints, and "you" by most of the other characters.
  • The nameless protagonist of BioShock (series). You don't even get to see his face, either.
    • The opening cutscene shows him reading a letter addressed to "Jack" and The Reveal shows his face. Said Reveal shows that his full name could be deduced as Jack Ryan.
      • Reference to the works of Tom Clancy, perhaps?
    • The sequel has a more straight example: the protagonist is known only as "Subject Delta", with his identity prior to becoming a Big Daddy unknown. Eventually it's revealed by a less than trustworthy source that he's an undersea explorer from the surface that stumbled across Rapture nicknamed "Johnny Topside", his real name never given.
  • Mass Effect managed to avert this with Commander Shepard. By giving the player a fixed last name and having everyone else refer to him/her only by his/her last name or rank, they can have NPCs refer to the player by name in dialogue.
  • In the Ghostbusters game, the main character is referred to primarily as Rookie besides a few other nicknames. According to Venkman, the history of your predecessors have not been good (not helped by the fact that your job is to test experimental equipment so that it doesn't blow up on the other guys) so it's best not to form any particular attachments.
  • The protagonist of Darkfall: Lost Souls is known only as "Inspector", and his voiceover actor is listed in the credits as "The Inspector - ?".
  • The necessity to have a character with a fully customizable name and feasible voiced dialogue in Neverwinter Nights 2 led to some pretty awkward pronouns before the player gets any rank. Mask of the Betrayer managed to avoid this by having almost no conversations about the player, only conversations to the player.
    • The original had a few of the same issues, mostly resolving the voice acting by putting the character's name in the text of the dialogue and replacing it with "you" in the voiceovers.
    • Most mods completely avert this issue, as they usually have no voice acting and can use the function that puts the player's name into the text of what people say.
  • In I Wanna Be the Guy, we never get to know the main character real name, nor the name of the final boss. That's assuming that The Kid and The Guy aren't their real names. "The Guy" is a title.
  • Rookie One from Star Wars Rebel Assault. In the first game, his face is never shown either.
  • The main character from the Chocobo's Dungeon games is only ever referred to as 'Chocobo'.
  • In Yume Nikki, there is no given name or identity for the protagonist. There is debate of the protagonist's gender, for an example of the ambiguity. Later on via checking out the coding, the protagonist's name is Madotsuki. Every other character in the game all have fan-names that are not official - officially, they are nameless characters. The fact there is no dialogue, narration, or footnotes of any kind in this game only enhances the effect.
  • Okami has a minor character who lives next to Hana Valley whose text boxes say "Nameless Man".
    • Okamiden has a scholar. She claims that she will reveal her name on her date with Kurow. We never see the date because Kurow died.
  • In Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors you learn the true identities of the other participants of the Nonary Game. Except for Seven.
  • In Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town (and More Friends), the Doctor is simply called Doctor. However, in the DS games, he is called Doctor Trent.
    • He eventually reveals to you his name, which is Tim. Trent and Tim are technically grandson and grandfather. Most of the Harvest Goddesses plus the first Witch Princess and her niece are nameless.
  • In the Dark Parables series of PC games, the Player Character is only ever addressed as "Detective."
  • Inverted in Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.; the player character has a callsign, "Shade", which is brought up maybe two times across the campaign. Every other time a character refers to him, they refer to him by his full name, David Crenshaw.
  • All we know about the Knight from Trigger Knight is that they're... well, a Knight.
  • The player character in Fallout: New Vegas has no set name (usually being referred to as "Courier" in dialogue), but is named by the player at the start of the game. Playing this trope straight is The King, de facto ruler of Freeside. The NCR intelligence arm is all over him, and "The King" is the only name he's ever given.
    • There are also lesser No Name Given characters, like the Forecaster, most generic townsfolk ("Freeside Resident," "Goodsprings Settler, etc.") and most human mooks ("Fiend," "Legionary Assassin," etc.).
  • In Jak and Daxter The Precursor Legacy only a handful of characters are known by name. All others are instead referred to by their profession or their relationship to other characters. Examples include the mayor, the sculptor, the fisherman, Jak's uncle, the bird lady, the gambler and the various sages.
  • Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors has one character (Fleurette) who will refer to the otherwise unnamed protagonist by a nickname in spoken dialogue; she suggests several nicknames (such as "Blade" and "mon ami"), and you can choose one of them.
  • The main character of Hatred opens the trailer to his game by saying "My name is not important... What is important is what I'm going to do". Fans joke that his name actually is "Not Important", and an Alternate Character Interpretation that his rampage is caused by an Embarrassing First Name.

Visual Novels[edit | hide]

  • At one point in Kagetsu Tohya Kohaku shows up for the school festival and doesn't really know what to put for her surname, so she just writes Tohno. She, and Hisui by extension, don't actually have last names. Or at least, they don't remember their families or childhood. Ciel's last name is also never given and Ciel also happens to be a pseudonym. Her real first name is Elesia, something mentioned only in passing. It's something a bit more important in her case, marking her as someone who doesn't entirely belong.
  • From the Ace Attorney series, Calisto Yew. Her real name is never given, the only thing we know about it for certain is that it absolutely is not Calisto Yew. Or Shih-na.
    • He's been around for 5 games and counting, and no-one knows his honor's name. Or his brother's, who is also a judge.
    • There's a hypochondriac who likes to impersonate doctors. He's gone by Dr. Hotti and Dr. Hickfield, but we don't know his real name.
    • Not to forget, that immortal character we all know and love, The Bellhop Who Swore The Affidavit.
    • Also, Gumshoe's boss (the guy who invented the Blue Badger) is only ever referred to as Chief.
  • In the Murder Mystery Visual Novel Jisei, the protagonist's name is never mentioned, even though you are able to see his face and body. He is also the only character in the game who is not voiced.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • The Boy from Scary Go Round.
    • The Boy has a name, revealed in a letter addressed to him in the July 18, 2007 strip: Eustace Boyce, which could stand alone as an explanation for his nickname. However, a second explanation was developed in the March 19, 2008 strip with the introduction of Elodie. It still doesn't explain why early on in the strip both The Boy's parents referred to each other as The Father and The Mother.
    • It's also played straight and then Lampshaded and averted and all that jazz with Tackleford's mayor at the time when Shelley worked for him, who was always referred as "Mr. Mayor". It seems that this is an honorific until "The Election", when it's revealed that his name is really James Mayor, after which he's often dubbed "Mayor Mayor".
  • Likewise, November's betrothed from No Rest for The Wicked is known only as "the Boy;" he admits that he doesn't even remember what his real name is (though it may be "Jack" or something like that). This also extends to a few other characters, like Red (as in "Riding Hood"), and the Witch (from "Hansel and Gretel").
  • Counting None of the characters are named. The main character is at one point called "Colonel" but Colonel isn't an actual name but rather a rank in the military. Aside from that only the town itself has a name—Thirston.
  • Piro and Largo of Megatokyo, where it's confirmed that Piro at least is his Internet name. It should be noted however that the two are Life Embellished versions of the original creators, Fred Gallagher and Rodney Caston, and use their internet usernames.
  • A character first referred to as 'Kauyon' (a Shout-Out to Warhammer 40,000) in Coga Suro never gains a name, even after actually appearing in the comics a good hundred pages or so after first being alluded to. Oddly, no-one seems to mind not knowing, to the point where it seems like 'Kauyon' is actually his official PEGASUS codename, and other characters occasionally refer to him by nicknames such as 'square-rims', after his glasses.
  • In No Pink Ponies, none of the male characters have names, which is lampshaded repeatedly.
  • The invisible agents in Cheer! call each other by number, partly because they've forgotten their own names.
  • Many people in Gunnerkrigg Court. Among them, Miss Jones, who insists on just being called "Jones". According to Word of God, the Suicide Fairies from Gillitie Wood have no names at all prior to becoming human.
  • The Monster in the Darkness from Order of the Stick is never referred to by name, or even by species. (The Reveal was thwarted in the first plot arc and presumably the MitD's true identity will come out later for full dramatic effect.)
    • The prequel volume Start of Darkness reveals that "Xykon" and "Redcloak" are self-bestowed monikers; the characters' original names remain unknown.
    • Also taken to its logical extreme with "Roy's Archon" who is always referred to by that name, even when people are talking to Roy.
      • That's because its name is Roy's Archon. When someone else calls it that without being introduced it asks how they knew its name as a quick gag.
    • An unnamed character in OOTS was saved from death by assuming a name in the nick of time. No longer being No Name Given has other benefits: Kazumi and Daigo were raised to nobility shortly thereafter.
  • The absence of a name for Von Hunter's sidekick in Van Von Hunter is used as a Running Gag.
  • Azul Bufon of Remember appeared repeatedly throughout the first book (In which there are 72 comics) but wasn't given an in-comic name until the first page of Book Two, and was codenamed "Blue" during the preproduction by the writer. Even then, "Azul Bufon" can mean "Blue Fool", so even this could be a cover.
  • No one in Minus is named except the titular character and Larry, as cousin of one minus's friends.
  • An unnamed organ harvesting boss in Ugly Hill uses the odd insult "Armpits McFatbody" because this is in fact the name on his driving license.
  • The main protagonist of the Tsunami Channel comic Experimental Comic Kotone is always referred as "Onii-chan", "My Brother", "you", "The Player", and has no name to the point of leaving other characters in awkwardness while trying to tell out his name. This is because he's supposed to represent the protagonist of a love simulation game.
  • Dr McNinja in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja is another example. He is only referred to as "Doctor".
    • His surname is explicitly stated multiple times throughout the series as McNinja, but no first name has been yet given, due to a Noodle Incident involving a wizard. His clone goes by Old, as in Old McNinja. He's a farmer.
  • The Pink-Haired Girl in Picatrix. The fans just refer to her as PHG (or more commonly, PHB), though Fanon has recently christened her "Nina".
    • Now confirmed as canon.
  • "Ed" in Digger is unusual in that at one point he had a name, but it got eaten.
  • In Darths and Droids, the GM is never given a name, and it is sometimes the Un Reveal. None of the characters use last names, but that's never been conspicuous.
  • The name of the narrator in Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name has never been revealed, with even the cast page referring to him as {...}. This is mostly because he is a zombie and can't remember anything of his past life. He has since become a magnet for Fan Nicknames (which just keep growing - Hanna calls the narrator a different name every time he speaks).
    • A popular one is Gallahad (the first name Hanna decides to call him), although not as popular as Ellipses or, as mentioned above, {...}.
  • In Piled Higher and Deeper, though several of the characters do not have last names, especially notable is the one known to fans (and occasionally referred to by the cartoonist) only as Nameless Guy. Even his sister, Dee (no last name given), tends to call him just "brother."
  • Every denizen of the shovel-beam-powered hamlet in Blank It. In fact, they take pride in their namelessness, and anyone who is given a name is immediately rejected from the society. Here it is in action.
  • Jane from The Way of the Metagamer doesn't actually have a name, and merely selects "Jane" as a pseudonym.
  • So far, most of the cast of Pockett has avoided the dreaded naming...
  • No one in Awesome Gamerz has a name. They are simply known as player one, two, and girl.
  • This doesn't initially seem to apply to any characters in Mushroom Go...but it's later revealed that "guy" is just what McCoy referred to an unknown Shy Guy as ('I was just as likely to have called him "buddy" or "pal". "Guy" just came out first.'), and seeing as how Shy Guys don't speak, he's been known as "Guy" every since then.
  • The red headed Templar from Twokinds is never named in the comic. Outside the comic, he is usually referred to as "(Database Error)".
  • In Freefall, neither the mayor nor her assistant have a name, although as of Feb 2012 there have been discussions on the forums about this possibly changing.
  • Neither of the two protagonists in Skullkickers is yet named. Their names will appear when you least expect it; until then, feel free to call them Baldy and Shorty.
  • Subverted in Bob the Angry Flower - "The Nameless Ones" is indeed a name.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Kate in Kate Modern revealed in the fourth episode that her name wasn't really Kate. Her real first name, Genevieve, wasn't revealed until episode 88, "Birthday Surprise", while her surname, Strathcarron, wasn't revealed until episode 163, "Prime Suspect". Several other major characters' surnames have not been revealed, including Charlie, Lauren, Sophie and Terrence, but it is not implied that there is any mystery behind those names.
    • There's also the Watcher and the Shadow, whose lack of names befit their status as anonymous Order agents.
  • An anonymous member of Danya's terrorist organization is never referred to by name by his colleagues. On the board, he's commonly called 'The Mystery Man'.
  • In Tales of MU, the ruler of the old empire is always referred to as The Unnameable One. One of Mackenzie's professors also has never been named in canon, but that's more of a subtle Running Gag.
    • MUniverse tradition has it that the sound denoted by "kh" is reserved for the names of the gods, and that it is blasphemy for anyone who is not a god to have it in their name. As an immortal vampire, the Unnameable One is old enough to predate this tradition, and is named Khulrakh.It is blasphemy to call him by his name, and an insult to a sitting emperor to call him anything but his name. Thus, he is Unnameable.
    • Additionally, there's The Man/Mack's Father.
  • Sarge in Red vs. Blue is only ever called... Sarge. We have no idea what his actual name may be.
    • In Episode 17 of Revelation, it's revealed that his name is actually Sarge.
  • In the Colour My... Series, neither the protagonist nor his love are given names.
  • The little girl who became the gun of Atop the Fourth Wall has lost her name.
  • The title character of Pittsburgh Dad hasn't been given a name, though his wife (Deb) and next-door neighbor (Tom) have.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • On Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy, Eddy's Brother is never given a name, not even in the movie since all the character's refer to him as "Eddy's Brother". In fact, during the movie the credits even state him as "Eddy's Brother". However, some fans debate that his real name is "Big Jim".
    • On top of that, the only two characters with confirmed surnames are the Kanker sisters and Nazz (yes, her last name is given in the movie).
      • In an interview, Antonucci actually revealed Eddy's brother DOES have a name. Matthew
  • In The Fairly OddParents, Timmy Turner's parents are only ever referred by their relation to Timmy. Sometimes they're called Mr. and Mrs. Turner, but more often they're called "Timmy's parents".
    • Gets a bit of a Lampshade Hanging in the episode "Odd Jobs." Timmy's father addresses Timmy's class for a career day, and introduces himself by saying "my name is Timmy's Dad!"
    • Also gets an unreveal in another episode. Timmy goes back in time, meets his parents as children, and a car goes by just as each name is going to be revealed.
      • and after the car has passed, the parents, still children, add "... but everyone calls me dad/mom".
        • And when Sherlock Holmes deduces everything about the parents at the end of "Shelf Life", Holmes starts to tell them their names, but the book closes on the scene right when he's saying it, and the parents are heard in awe in Holmes' deducing ability.
  • Similar to Calvin and Hobbes, in Dexter's Laboratory, neither the names of Dexter's parents nor the family last name is ever revealed in the entire series. The episode, "Lab Retto", came pretty close, though, when the doctor said to Dexter's Dad, "Congratulations, Mr. Father."
  • Hilariously, the parents in Cow and Chicken were granted nothing but legs and a voice. Their upper body is off-camera AT ALL TIMES, so actions like slamming one's fist on the table are performed by jumping on the table and stamping around. People who have seen the pilot episode know that their parents are nothing BUT legs, as it was clearly revealed.
    • Again, in this series, the names of Cow and Chicken's parents as well as the family last name is never revealed. In fact, it's a running gag in the series that a lot of characters don't even have last names at all. (Flem reveals in the episode, "Dirty Laundry", that he doesn't have one.)
    • Cow and Chicken's teacher has always been addressed as "Teacher".
  • In Mission Hill, Carlos and Natalie's baby not only didn't have a name, its gender was never determined.
  • In Jackie Chan Adventures Uncle is only called Uncle. Captain Black is another example, although his first name is mentioned once during the first episode, and never heard again.
    • When Jade's parents are introduced they too call him Uncle, leaving Jade puzzled as to exactly how he's related to be everyone's Uncle.
  • The title character of Samurai Jack. His real name is never mentioned and the reason he calls himself Jack is because the first people he meets when he arrives in the future kept saying 'Jack' as they talked to him.
  • Bunny Scout Leader in Max and Ruby is only referred to as such.
  • On The Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series, four of the protagonists (five if you count Canard) are known only by their first names. Then again, judging from the Species Surnames their two colleagues are given, that's probably a good thing.
  • The title character of Hey Arnold! has no given last name. Subject to Lampshade Hanging when bad handwriting or smudges make it impossible for teachers or other characters to read his full name aloud; he gets away with this by being the only kid named Arnold at his school.
    • The creators let slip that Arnold's last name was never actually a secret, just consistently obscured and a mystery to the students and audience. His grandfather called him by his last name all the time: it's Shortman.
      • Confirmed by Craig Bartlett during an online interview.
  • Teen Titans - none of the heroes ever give their civilian identities. The only time we hear any hints is when Beast Boy is called "Gar" by members of The Doom Patrol (his former team). Most people assume that Robin in this series is Dick Grayson, even though the character's history is an amalgamation of all three Robins (Dick Grayson, Jason Todd and Tim Drake) in the comics.
    • The writing staff included the real names of all the Titans, one way or another. In one, Starfire's nanny speaks a long phrase in their native tongue, which includes her real name (Koriand'r). In another, when Cyborg infiltrates the villain school, he uses the pseudonym "Stone" (his real name is Victor Stone). The Doom Patrol reveals Beast Boy's (Garfield Logan), the episode with Larry indirectly reveals Robin's (Dick Grayson), and Raven and Terra...well, those ARE their real names.
      • Starfire also states that "Starfire" is her name's translation in English during the episode that showed how the group met.
    • Well... Terra's name is Tara, so it's close. And her surname is Markov.
  • An Extremely Goofy Movie has "Beret Girl". One of the few original characters in the movie who appear at the dancing scene in the credits and the girlfriend of one of the main characters, the movie proves extremely shy about telling us what her name is. Even the credits list her as "Beret Girl".
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, the Gaang are followed by a Mysterious Mercenary Pursuer that Sokka names "Combustion Man" (he suggested "Sparky-Sparky Boom Man" first, but it didn't stick). Zuko apparently knows his real name, but never said it.
  • One episode of Futurama has Planet Express being bought out by... That Guy.
    • That Guy's name was eventually revealed... In the DVD commentary for said episode. Apparently he's Steve Castle, but nobody bothered to learn his name on the show.
    • There's also Professor Farnsworth's rival whose only known as "Mom".
      • In a recent episode, Zoidberg, who was implied to have some history with Mom, referred to her as "Carol".
    • This trope is almost a Futurama tradition; characters known only by one of their names surprise others when they reveal their full names, including Turanga Leela, Philip Fry, and Dr. John Zoidberg.
    • "I am The Man With No Name: Zapp Brannigan!"
  • Two occasional members of the Histeria!! Kid Chorus are known only as the Crooked Mouth Boy and the Bow-Haired Girl.
    • Storyboards for one episode, though, reveal Crooked Mouth Boy's actual name - Chipper.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), in spades.
    • "Hun" might be the character's real one, or it might not. Whatever his real name is, it has never been revealed (although the comic books will name him Hunter "Hun" Mason when he debuts there).
    • Dr. Chaplin's first name has never been revealed.
    • Recurring characters Angel and Sid are known by only their first names (although given who Sid is related to, there's a one in four chance that it's "Jones").
    • Nobody and the hunter from "Hunted" have established names (Longer and Jack Marlin, respectively—the former is a surname, by the way), which have never been mentioned within the series itself.
    • The Battle Nexus characters are all referred to by role, and it's possible they don't even have real names.
    • Characters known as "The Ancient One" and "The Professor" are not known by any other name, making them...
    • Casey's mom is only ever referred to as "Casey's mom".
  • In Transformers Generation 1, of the Sweeps, only Scourge is given an actual name. Two Sweeps are referred to as "Sweeps 6 and 7" in the episode The Call of the Primitives, however.
    • Two of the background Female Autobots in The Search for Alpha Trion are unnamed (at least in the episode itself).
  • In Beauty and the Beast, it's never revealed just what the Beast's name is. The fandom went and named him Adam anyway.
  • Many of the background characters of The Simpsons have nicknames rather than legitimate names. Like Comic Book Guy, Bumblebee Man, Blue Hair Lawyer, The Yes Guy. However some of these background characters have their name mentioned at least once at some point.
    • Actually, Comic Book Guy's name is Jeff Albertson. It was originally going to be Louis Lane, as a reference to Lois Lane, but Matt Groening didn't reveal that idea before Comic Book Guy's name had already been established.
  • Bounty Hamster. Cassie and Marion are being pursued by another bounty hunter (a horse with a poncho and Clint Eastwood voice) who calls himself "The Horse With No Name". Cassie points out that if he's called "The Horse With No Name" then that is his name.
  • In An American Tail, Fievel's parents are only ever referred to as "Mama" and "Papa" Mousekewitz.
    • In Fievel's American Tails, Papa's name is revealed to be Bernard, but Mama's is still not given. (Hopefully it's not Bianca.)
  • The mayor of Ponyville in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic
  • In Invader Zim, Dib and Gaz's last name is never given in the show. Some in the fandom speculate it's Membrane, like their father, possibly because a Nick.com e-card for the show claimed that Membrane's first name was Professor, but Jhonen Vasquez, the show's creator, says that Membrane is in fact the professor's first name.
    • "Dib... Dib... Whatever your last name is." "That's right."
      • So wait, is he admitting he doesn't actually have a last name, or that his last name is Whateveryourlastnameis?
      • Or his last name is "Thatsright".
    • Also, the aliens in the episode Abducted are never named. So everyone refers to them as Blue and Green, their eye colors (a system modeled after Tallests Red and Purple, which are canon names).
  • Rocko's Modern Life lampshades this trope. At an awards ceremony, Rocko is announced as "Rocko (no last name given.)"
    • Fandom gives him the last name Wallaby though, it makes sense because many of the characters last names are the animals that they appear to be.
    • The creators of the series deliberately did not give him a last name, because they couldn't come up with anything that seemed to be funny. They were considering Stretchbrain...
    • However, Joe Murray's original description of Rocko, shown in the book Not Just Cartoons: Nicktoons!, reveals that his surname was in fact Rama.
  • The last names of the girls of Totally Spies! are apparently a closely guarded secret.
    • In one episode, Sam gives her full name as "Samantha Simpson." However, as she is speaking to a suspected villain, and using a cover as a journalist, it is unknown if that is in fact her real last name or part of her cover. Nonetheless, Fanfic authors have more or less accepted "Simpson" as her last name.
    • Some of the more popular last names for the other characters include:
    • A series bible written by the series creators is rumored to exist in some form.
  • One 1980's Strawberry Shortcake special uses this deliberately: Strawberry Shortcake and the Baby Without a Name. No one has been able to think of a name for her, and no one does by the end of the special. When this is pointed out, Strawberry reassures her "I'm sure that someone, somewhere has just the right name for you," giving a quick glance to the audience (since there was a doll made of this character).
    • In the Robot Chicken version of Strawberry Shortcake, she takes the name Cunt-face due to the intervention of Bitch Puddin'.
    • The skunk in Pets on Parade doesn't have a name either; he thinks it's Yowee A. Skunk because that's what people say when they see him. At the end, when he helps save the day and is adopted by Angel Cake to win the pet show, Strawberry asks him his name and when he can't reply, Angel suggests "Souffle", a name he happily accepts.
  • In the show MTV's Downtown Goat and Fruity never revealed their actual names, when Alex asked what is their names, they immediately rejected.
  • While Shaggy from Scooby Doo does have a first name (Norville), you could easily watch a hundred episodes of the franchise's various incarnations without hearing it.
  • In Atomic Betty, Betty's last name is never mentioned; the most we know is it begins with a 'B', though the fandom likes to refer to her as Betty Barrett.
  • The title characters of 2 Stupid Dogs are never given names because they are strays, the closing credits dub them "Big Dog" and "Little Dog".
    • In one episode, Little Dog has to fill out a form. He leaves "name" blank, and laments, "I don't know my name!"
    • Though one episode had the big dog say his name was "Jonathan".
  • In an episode of Animaniacs, Chicken Boo assumes the disguise of "The Man With No Personality." This is a parody of the movie which this trope is based off of.
  • Wallace from Wallace and Gromit is never given a last name. Made particularly obvious and funny in A Close Shave
    • Wallace meets the owner of a store he's cleaning the windows of:

Wendolene: Ramsbottom. Wendolene Ramsbottom.
Wallace: Charming. I'm Wallace... the windows.

  • In Winx Club, it might be acceptable for the characters from the Magical Dimension not to have last names—they identify themselves by the realm they're from—but the two fairies who grew up on Earth, Bloom and Roxy, aren't given last names either, although Bloom's is rumored to be Peters.
  • On Gargoyles, the titular species traditionally doesn't use names. Humans find this sort of awkward, so every important gargoyle gets one at some point. The three Coldstone personalities don't get names until their last appearance on the show, though; before that fans and the script called them Othello, Desdemona and Iago.
  • Nanny from Muppet Babies.
  • The Mayor from The Nightmare Before Christmas (though some of the merch calls him Hizzonor). Most of the citizens also seem to not have names (The Clown With The-Tear-Away-Face, The Wolf Man, etc).
  • Presumably Presto from the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon wasn't really named that, but it's the only thing he's ever called in the series.
  • In The Small One the eponymous donkey is the only character named.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes has an unnamed Mad Scientist who exists whenever Heloise is unable to furfill that role. He is credited as "Scientist". The Fan Nickname for him is Dr. Hootenstien, due to his owl-like appearance.
  • The Powerpuff Girls has HIM. He has no name, though it may simply be a case of his name being reviled and feared.
    • His name apparently is shortened from "His Infernal Majesty".
  • While it's possible, given his parents' demonstrated parenting skills, that Butt-head, of Beavis and Butt-head is actually named Butt-head, more likely it's a nickname. He is never given any other name, though.
  • The General on Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines has no name, although in the comic adaptation of the episode "Camouflage Hoparoo" (Gold Key, Hanna-Barbera Fun-In #2 as "It's Flop And Go-Go"), he is identified as General Gibberish.
  • On Wacky Races, only Clyde and Ring-A-Ding are identified in the Ant Hill Mob. A Hanna-Barbera publicity drawing has the others identified as Mac, Danny, Rug Bug Benny, Willy and Kirby, none of the names of which are mentioned on the show itself. When the Mob made it to The Perils of Penelope Pitstop a year later, Ring-A-Ding would be renamed Dum-Dum, and the others would be renamed Pockets, Yak-Yak, Snoozy, Zippy and Softy.
  • In The Care Bears Movie, the evil book has no apparent name.

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • The category 1 hurricane that resulted from the 1991 "perfect storm" [3] was never given a proper name. This was done on purpose so there wouldn't be confusion among the media and the public, as most of the damage and attention was from and on the initial nor'easter, while the hurricane's damage was limited to power outages and slick roads (the single death the hurricane cause was due to a traffic accident). The name it likely would have been assigned was Henri.
  • The Onion applies this to a natural disaster.
  • The last member of the Yahi tribe of Northern California could only have his name known after a friend from his tribe introduced him to an outsider. Since he was the last one of his tribe, there was no one to introduce him, and he became known as "Ishi," "man" in his language. His real name will never be known.
  • Harry S Truman's middle name was just the letter S. If you look closely at his name in e.g. textbooks you'll notice that it's 'S' instead of 'S.'.
    • An interviewer asked Truman about whether the S was supposed to have a period or not. Truman said he didn't really care either way.
    • It's said to have been a compromise between the names of his paternal and maternal grandfathers.
  • Likewise Johnny Cash, born J. R. Cash. He apparently assumed "Johnny" because the USAF wouldn't accept initials as a valid name.
  • The writer Abe Lemons claims to have been born A. E. Lemons, and when it was told he needed a first name, he just put a "B" between the A and the E. Supposedly he later regretted not renaming himself "Ace".
  • Also Ulysses S. Grant, who was born Hiram Ulysses Grant and had his name changed as a result of an error when applying to West Point. His friends called him Sam.
    • This also made his initials U.S. Grant. Quite useful when leading the Union army and later running for President.
  • None of the members of synthrock band The Birthday Massacre use their real names. For example, there's Chibi on vocals, Rainbow and Falcore on guitar, O. E. on bass, O-en on keyboard, and Rhim on drums.
    • The band actually did let Chibi's given name slip when one of her bandmates called her by it during an interview. It's Sarah.
    • And now O-en has started calling himself Owen.
  • Members of Black Metal bands tend to go by aliases, with some famous examples including Count Grishnack, Euronymous and King ov Hell. If the band becomes sufficiently well-known the members' real names will usually come out sooner or later, though a few bands (e.g. Deathspell Omega) have managed to keep their members' real identities a secret.
    • In the band Lordi only Mr. Lordi's real name is known to the public, and he won't reveal his real face. The rest of the band is entirely anonymous in their civilian identities, and the media has agreed to keep it that way.
  • The members of The Residents have always remained completely anonymous and have always worn masks (most famously the eyeball mask, top hat, and tuxedo outfit) in performance and other media.
  • The Tank Man
  • Anonymous, eventually subverted by Project Chanology.
  • The Man in the Iron Mask (not that historians haven't tried to figure it out).
  • One of the hallmarks of urban legends is the absence of names. For instance, http://darwinawards.com/personal/personal2000-39.html . An unnamed man at an unnamed company is killed by an unnamed robot. Hmmm.
    • At least that one is probably based on the death of Kenji Urada, the first man ever killed by a robot.
  • Prince the Artist Formerly Known as The Unpronounceable Symbol formerly known as Prince.
  • In ancient China, poorer women often were not given first names. The syllable "shi" (approximatable by combining the "sh" sound with the "ir" sound in "bird"), loosely translatable as "from the ___________ family", would be added to their maiden name. For example, if Miss Wu marries Mr. Li, she would be Li Wu Shi.
    • So did the ancient Romans. The woman would simply be called by the feminine version of her father's name. For example, Julius Caesar's daughter is Julia.
  • Natives of the South American rainforest seldom bother to name wild plant species unless they're either useful or harmful, as there are so many different plants there that keeping track of them all would be too confusing.

Notes

  1. in some supporting writings Tolkien referred to one of them as "Khamul", but he dropped the name
  2. Word of God is that he was originally named Dr Zimmerman in the script, but they managed to go long enough without mentioning his name onscreen that it became a plot point of its own.
  3. The storm itself was created by the absorption of a another hurricane (named Grace) into a nor'easter.