Spoiler Title

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Announcer: Will Clark Kent find happiness with a new love? Stay tuned for chapter six -- Clark Kent Finds Happiness!
Cinema Snob: Whoa, spoiler alert, movie!

The Cinema Snob on the Made for TV Movie version of the Superman musical

Work and episode titles that give away what happens in the episode.

This trope only applies if the title really is a spoiler. An important event — like a character's death — could be revealed by the title (and even take place near the show's end) but not have been meant as a surprise, so the title's not an example of this trope. See Foregone Conclusion or Oh, and X Dies for those. Quick litmus test: if the work was a paperback novel, the back would ask a question. Would the title answer it?

If the title is shown in the opening of the episode, may be a Spoiler Opening. Many examples of Excited Episode Title are also this. If the title says everything important about what happens and how, then it is also Exactly What It Says on the Tin, but just revealing that someone dies or is introduced usually isn't enough. If it spoils the existence of something, rather than a plot point, then it's The Namesake. Some works hide the spoiler by closing on title instead of opening with it.

Note that this can apply to episode titles that are never displayed on-screen during the episode, as it can be difficult to avoid seeing them in TV guides and on DVD packaging. Although possibly some creators figure that if the episode's been aired at least once, the audience should already be aware of it.

Examples of Spoiler Title include:

Anime and Manga

  • Uchuu Senkan Yamato and its dub Star Blazers are horrible about this. The Japanese titles are full-blown Excited Episode Title with spoiler included. Star Blazers originally had no titles, but fans created unofficial ones that can be found on fansites. These are also spoilers.
  • Dragon Ball Z has "The End of Vegeta". Hello, we still have to watch the episode! Do you mind?!
    • Even worse, "Dende's Demise".
    • How about "Namek's Explosion, Goku's End?". Not a Spoiler Title much, but the next episode title? "Goku's Alive!" Thanks for that, guys.
    • And "Pay to Win[1]", to a lesser extent.
    • Can Videl win? Find out next time in Dragon Ball Z: "Videl's Defeat"!
    • For movie titles, the Japanese title of The Return of Cooler was "Clash! Ten Billion Power Warriors", spoiling that Cooler made a bunch of copies of himself; something we don't even find out until near the end of the film.
    • Another big offender is Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan. Umm, wasn't Broly's power supposed to be a big twist? Half of the movie makes him look like a weakling who barely even speaks, which would have made a nice Oh Crap moment, but instead everyone's just waiting for the heroes to figure it out.
  • Sailor Moon did this with impunity. Magical Project S followed the model as well, although whether it was just another detail to parody the genre or an executive-mandated detail is hard to tell.
    • The various Sailor Moon dubs sometimes replaced the original Japanese titles with something that wasn't so spoilerific. For example, Episode 10, which introduced Sailor Mars, was called "Cursed Buses! Fire Senshi Mars Appears" in the original, but "An Uncharmed Life" in the English dub and "The Temple of Lovers" in both German and Dutch.
  • GetBackers had it in the second Infinite-castle visit. It was a Tonight Someone Dies title.
  • Digimon Tamers had that one episode with the title "The kind-hearted hero Leomon dies!"
    • If I recall correctly, one episode of Digimon Adventure 02 was titled "Sayonara, Ken-chan". What made it such a spoiler, though, was that the words on the screen were in a Wormmon-shaped silhouette.
    • Digimon Xros Wars was really bad about this. For example, both Deckerdramon and Beelzebumon's deaths were spoiled in episode titles—then further spoiled through the story narration lines in the corner, which showed up at the beginning and middle of the episodes. (The one at the beginning in episode 48 said, "Goodbye, Beelzebumon!")
  • Averted by Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. The title of Episode 8, "Later, Buddy", is not displayed until the end, although it would admittedly be hard to get the spoiler that Kamina dies from this one line.
    • This is repeated in Super Robot Wars Z2, where the same title is only displayed at the end of the stage. Voiced.
    • Another example is episode 25: "I accept your dying wish!", which Simon says after Kittan dies.
      • That was actually a brilliant Bait and Switch maneuver; in the previous episode, six of the minor characters died, so you'd be thinking Simon was talking about them when he said that.
  • Legend of the Galactic Heroes: The whole of episode 82 is spent watching one man's life in the balance but in the end The Magician Did Not Return.
  • An episode of Naruto was titled "Gaara Dies!" Gee, thanks. At least he comes back to life.
    • Chapter 437's title is "Confessions," which doesn't sound like much of a spoiler until you see Hinata on the cover.
    • Chapter 473 is called "Brother". Again, doesn't sound like a spoiler until you know the context of the previous chapter in which Killer Bee is presumably about to be killed by Kisame. Anyone who had been paying attention would know Killer Bee not only has a brother but his brother is none other than the Raikage, who was last seen looking for him, and thus would be a great deal of help to Killer Bee.
    • Chapter 480 is titled "Sacrifice" which makes what happens at the end obvious several pages before then.
  • One Piece has quite a few spoiler titles.
    • Episode 32 was titled "Usopp Dead!? When is Luffy going to make landfall?" Later subverted when it's revealed that Nami faked his death.
    • Episode 290 was titled "Uncontrollable! Chopper's Forbidden Rumble!"; in it Chopper first uses Monster Point.
    • Episode 377 was titled "My companions' pain is my pain! Zoro prepares to die!", and in it, Zoro agreed to take in all of Luffy's pain to convince Kuma to leave, which was thought to be fatal.
    • Episode 405 was titled "Disappearing Crewmates! The Final Day of the Straw Hat Crew!". The title spoils the entire episode.
    • Chapter 512 is titled Zoro vanished! ruining the ending.
    • Chapter 565 is titled Oars' Road. The previous chapter saw Akainu begin to melt all the ice the opposition were standing on causing readers to wonder how the pirates would end up ok. The title of this chapter told us.
    • Chapter 574 is titled Portgas D. Ace is Dead. Can't really get more spoileriffic than that.
    • Played with in Chapter 429: Complete Defeat. Things are looking bleak for the Straw Hats, when suddenly, they come upon a Hope Spot. Then the marines thoroughly beat them anyways, right? Actually, it's their victory. The title was taken from a line near the end of the chapter, spoken by a marine: "This is our complete defeat."
  • The title of the 25th episode of Ouran High School Host Club "The Host Club Declares Dissolution!" spoils half of the plot twist revealed in the last ten seconds of the episode.
  • Twenty dollars on the outcome of "Tooya Dies" in Ayashi no Ceres. Sort of.
  • Played with in Mazinkaiser Episode 6: "Koujo Kabuto Dies in Magma!". Although he does in fact get dunked into Mt. Fuji, he does survive in the next episode.
  • Baccano!'s episode titles tend to be pretty explanatory in general, but the only real spoiler has to be "Firo and the Three Gandor Brothers Are Felled by Assassins' Bullets". In the show's defense, however, that also happens in the first episode. Of course, "felled" doesn't always mean "killed".
  • Transformers Headmasters had an episode titled "Ultra Magnus Dies!"
  • Macross 7, Episode 47: " Basara Dies"
  • Here are the Japanese titles for a pair of Pokémon episodes that air in May 2010. If the second title was revealed in the first's "On the Next...", it wouldn't be this trope. However, they were revealed at the same time, so...:

Ep. 464 Semi-Final! Who is Heading to the Final?[2]
Ep. 465 Final! Hikari (Dawn) vs. Nozomi (Zoey)[3]

    • Done once again with the recent Don Tournament arc, which reveals that the two finalists are Ash and Iris.
  • The Soul Eater anime averts this in the same way Gurren Lagann did, as the name of the final episode "The Word is Bravery" isn't revealed until just before the credits.
    • But played straight with Medusa's Revival.
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni's fifth chapter is called End of the Golden Witch Hm, I wonder what happens there. Just as bad (but only if you happen to know the definition of the term) is the seventh chapter's Requiem of the Golden Witch
  • To some extent, Eureka Seven did this with 2 episodes and averted it with a third: Namely "Acperience 2", "Acperience 3" and "Acperience 4", though the latter is averted in the same way as Gurren Laganns two aversions. The first two just tells the viewer what is in store for them.
  • In the last episode of the Bubblegum Crisis OVA Bubblegum Crash, until very late in the episode, the true plan of the Boomer antagonists is unknown but the Title of the Episode actually spoils a rather huge part of this plan.
  • In the middle of Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni Kai we are treated to a Hope Spot arc, with everything hinting towards a happy ending. The title of the arc? Minagoroshi-hen, "the Massacre Chapter" or, if translated word-for-word, "the Kill-Everyone Chapter".
  • Inuyasha gives us such gems as "Tetsusaiga Breaks", "The Wind Scar Fails", and "Return of the Tragic Priestess, Kikyou".
  • Bakuman。 manages to avert this, with its Noun And Noun titles, which often only become clear when the chapter is read. For example, the chapter in which it is determined whether "Detective Trap" will be canceled, (and it is canceled) is titled "18 and 40", and refers to Mashiro realizing that his hope of getting an anime by age 18 will never come true, and after sending an e-mail to Azuki about the cancelation on the last page, she jokingly replies that she wants to get married before 40.
  • Gundam Seed Destiny episode, oh excuse, phase 36, is called "Athrun escapes". The trailer in phase 35 really looked like "sorry for the spoiler. Here is Meyrin in underwear as an apology."
  • Code Geass "Bloodstained Euphie" is a middle example.
  • Depending on if you've seen the original series or not, Fate/Zero episode 17's title, "The Eighth Contract", is either this or Foregone Conclusion. Granted, the series shows the titles at the end of the episode, but Nico.jp displays the episode title right on the viewing page, defeating the purpose.

Comic Books

  • A certain very famous Spider-Man issue had a totally spoilerish title. Well, the writers figured that out, so they stuck the title at the end of the issue instead. The title was, of course, "The Night Gwen Stacy Died".
  • Similarly, there's an issue of the (Will Payton) Starman comic where the title was placed at the end: "Your Mother Should Know" (your secret identity).
  • A popular arc of Superman featured a warped and bizarre Metropolis in which the villainous Superman every night broke out and had to be brought back to jail by the resident superhero, Bizarro. The reason behind this sudden change and the entity responsible? The mystery was tightly kept during the original release, but the fact that the paperback collection was titled Emperor Joker ruined the big surprise. Of course, the thing is, most fans of the storyline apparently thought it to be the best title for the TPB anyway.
  • The end of the Tintin album Destination Moon ends on a Cliff Hanger as the astronauts have passed out and earth has lost communication with them. As mission control gets increasingly nervous, the Narrator asks the reader rhetorically (paraphrased): "Will Tintin and his friends survive this dangerous mission to make it to the moon? Find out in Explorers On The Moon!" Not that any reader really thought they wouldn't make it, of course.

Fan Works



  • A subversion: John Dies at the End. It's a subversion because John actually dies in the beginning, albeit only temporarily. It's the other main character, Dave, who dies at the end, though he is replaced with a clone.
  • The title of Monstrous Regiment, if you know anything about sixteenth-century history, in particular John Knox's misogynistic Protestant tract The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women.
  • Possibly the most extreme example of all time is The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, Etc. Who Was Born In Newgate, and During a Life of Continu'd Variety For Threescore Years, Besides Her Childhood, Was Twelve Year a Whore, Five Times a Wife [Whereof Once To Her Own Brother], Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon In Virginia, At Last Grew Rich, Liv'd Honest, and Died a Penitent. Written from her own Memorandums.
  • My Brother Sam is Dead, a story in which Sam, the narrator's brother, dies.
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone embodies this trope. The three heroes discover that a magical artifact, whose nature remains unclear, is hidden in the school... Hm, could that be that philosopher's stone mentioned in the title? Invented by that guy Flamel mentioned at the beginning of the book? In France, the character of Nicolas Flamel is better known than in Anglo-Saxon countries, so the title was changed to "Harry Potter at the Wizardry School" to avoid a complete giveaway of the story's plot.
  • Apparently, J. R. R. Tolkien disapproved of the title under which the third The Lord of the Rings book was published for this reason, and wanted to call it The War of the Ring instead of The Return of the King.
  • The titles of the last two Codex Alera books are massive spoilers once you figure out the pattern. Namely, the ranks in the titles all refer to Tavi. It's probably for the best that Jim Butcher didn't go with his original name for the first book, or it would have been even more obvious.
  • The short story "The Fall of the House of Usher," by Edgar Allan Poe. Guess what happens at the end? Usher's house falls. But you should know that.
    • That's less a spoiler and more a fake metaphor; it's made to SEEM like an investigation of the "fall" (that is, slow descent into infamy) of the "house" (that is, family) of Usher. Turns out, no, it's really a dilapidated old mansion that falls the hell apart.
  • A beautiful subversion is the chapter title "The Trapping of Birdy Edwards" in The Valley of Fear. The title is accurate... but not in the way you assumed.
  • Georg Büchner's Danton's Tod (Danton's Death). As history dictates, Danton gets beheaded in the end.
  • Subverted in Moby Dick. One of the chapters is titled "Queequeg in his Coffin", so naturally you assume he dies, especially if you casually see the title in the table of contents. He doesn't. The chapter is literally about him trying on a coffin he intends to be buried in.
  • Ken Follet's thriller The Third Twin: at the beginning of the novel there are just two twins. But as you read the title, you know that a third one will soon show up. Actually an aversion as the big twist are the forth through the twentieth twin.

Live-Action TV

  • The Young and The Restless: Every single episode title is just an awkward summary of the episode's plot.
  • Doctor Who: "Dalek". Hmm. I wonder what that could be about?
    • Almost every serial involving Daleks, for that matter, both in old and new series. It was a running gag amongst fans of the old series that a serial would be called "Noun of the Daleks", and the Episode One Cliff Hanger would be... a Dalek!
    • Similarly, in "The Sontaran Experiment," the only cliffhanger is...a Sontaran! The writer, Robert Holmes, had titled it "The Deadly Experiments," and was annoyed by the last-minute change.
    • New series example of the above: "Rise of the Cybermen". Said cybers are only hinted at until the very last scene of the episode, but the title gives their presence away right from the beginning.
    • There's a Locked Room Mystery entitled "The Robots of Death." The robots did it.
    • Aversion: Part One of "Invasion of the Dinosaurs" was simply titled "Invasion", so as to conceal what exactly was invading. Similarly, the return of the Cybermen in 1982 after nearly a decade off-screen was in a story entitled "Earthshock".
    • Interesting variation: The title of "The Stolen Earth" gives away a big spoiler, so the producers kept the title a secret until only a few weeks before the episode aired. Of course, that didn't stop Radio Times from completely spoiling its villain.
  • If you don't speak Korean and are interested in watching Dae Jang Geum, don't look up what "dae" means. Also, don't go to Wikipedia and find out who Jang Geum was. Also, don't read any descriptions of the series. The real historical event that happens at the end is an incredible plot twist. At least it would be, if the title didn't tell you what was going to happen so that you more or less spend the 50+ episodes of the series just waiting for it, ruining all the tension and drama that leads up to it.
  • Austrian cop-and-dog show Kommissar Rex wrote out the human partner, Moser, in an episode entitled "Moser's Death".
  • The last episode of the original Outer Limits was about a group of plane crash survivors who wind up on an alien space probe—without either the characters or the audience realizing it—and spend about half the story trying to figure out where they are. The episode's title? You guessed it—"The Probe".
  • You can sometimes figure out pretty major plot twists in Supernatural if you look at the title of the episode. For instance, in "Good God, Y'All," the Big Bad is the horseman War. Knowing the song that the title comes from pretty much gives that away.
    • Another example would be "The Song Remains The Same." In the end, everything goes back to the way it was. All that the Winchesters have changed in the past goes back to how it was originally.
  • The page quote at the top is of the example that happens in the Made for TV Movie version of the Superman Broadway musical, It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's Superman!
  • In Law & Order: Special Victims Unit the Title of Episode 11 of Season 5 is "Escape". In Germany the title is "Geraubte Jahre" meaning "Stolen Years".
  • In Castle, "Hell Hath No Fury": the "woman scorned" is obviously the dead man's wife, and the ending comes as no surprise.
  • Every It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has a straightforward episode title like "Mac Bangs Dennis' Mom" and "Frank Sets Sweet Dee on Fire" that often contradicts the last line of dialogue before the title. It's done very deliberately and very hilariously.
  • The Day the Terrorists Won. The entire series is a cliffhanger about whether the good guys will defeat the bad guys or not. The series was cancelled after 3 episodes when viewers guessed the ending after seeing the title.
    • The second episode was titled "A Funeral of a Deaf Man". Seeing as how one of the man characters was deaf, it was pretty obvious what was going to happen.

Tabletop Games

  • When Magic: The Gathering announced the Innistrad block they also revealed the names of all three sets. The last one was named Avacyn Restored. Before spoiler season even started everyone know that "Avacyn" would be important, would be taken out of the picture for some reason, and would then come back.

Video Games

  • Chapter 6 of Super Paper Mario is titled "The End of a World", so it should come as no surprise that The Bad Guys Win this round.
  • One of the things that happens at the end of Awesome Possum Kicks Dr. Machino's Butt is the said possum kicking Dr. Machino's butt.
  • The first chapter in Mother 3 is titled "Night of the Funeral". Though it's early in the game, it's still a spoiler. And if you take into account that players are likely to name Hinawa as their own mother, this can become quite a shock.
  • The title of Chapter 4 of Tales of Monkey Island is called "The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood", which is fulfilled differently: Even though Guybrush manages to get his name cleared of all charges (especially with the help of LeChuck, of course) and avoid execution, he does get killed at the end of the chapter, making it a Wham! Episode.
  • The first Spider-Man Game Boy Advance game has a story where Peter Parker/Spider-Man investigates weird occurences and thefts, in an attempt to determine who could be behind it all. In the story as presented (always from Spider-Man's point-of-view), he does not find the culprit's identity until the start of the final stage. The full title of the game: Spider-Man: Mysterio's Menace.
  • The title of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings makes it clear to the player that there's more than one Kingslayer long before the characters realize this. Unexpectedly, you only ever meet one of them in person.
  • Portal 2: Chapter 9: The Part Where He Kills You
    • Which is a completely hilarious and memorable subversion. That is, if you're any good at Portal.
    • In the game's menu and achievements, it's only listed as "The Part Where...". It's only when you get to it that the full title is displayed, whereupon Wheatley promptly tries to kill you. Emphasis "tries".
  • In Red Dead Redemption, there's a sidequest early in the game about people who go missing in the hills. It's titled "American Appetites" and is revealed in the 3rd (and last) part to be about cannibals.
  • In the US version of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, about two-thirds of the way through the game you make the (very unexpected) realization that the whole of Koholint Island is just a dream of the Wind Fish. Meanwhile, the Japanese version of the game's name is The Legend of Zelda: Dream Island. Well that certainly ruins the tension.

Web Comics

  • The B Movie Comic subverts it in the second movie, "Attack of the [ Description withheld in order not to spoil the surprise ]".
  • Every movie title on Alternia is this plus Long Title:


  • One of the Jix story arcs is called "Kelelder's Revenge," however, no one in the comic (and presumably the audience if they didn't look at the title) knows that Kelelder is behind what is going on.
  • Order of the Stick plays with this: Vaarsuvius is battling the Ancient Black Dragon, and the last strip of the battle is called "A Dragon's Victory." This is accurate... sort of.

Web Original

  • Lonelygirl15 did this all the time. "Bree's Dad Is Dead" was a bit of a giveaway, for instance.
  • Parodied on a WB fansite, in an article supposedly discussing The WB's Hot New Lineup. An episode summary for the new Pokémon show was roughly: "Pikachu must decide whether to save his partner, Tash. What will he decide?! We find out in the next episodes, 'Tash's Funeral' and 'Pikachu Gets a New Partner'!"

Western Animation

  • The last episode of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law is titled "The Death of Harvey Birdman".
    • Subverted. HAHA Stunt double!
  • A repeat broadcast of the G1 The Transformers episode "Dark Awakening" ends with Optimus Prime dying... followed by the narrator saying, "But is this really the end of Optimus Prime? Find out in tomorrow's exciting episode, 'The Return of Optimus Prime'!"
  • In the Italian version of Avatar: The Last Airbender, "Crossroads of Destiny" is called "Fall of the Earth Kingdom".
  • Totally Spies! has the episode "Evil Boyfriend". We don't find out that Sam's new love is evil until the very end, yet the title has already told us that.
  • Phineas and Ferb has an episode called "Candace Gets Busted" where at the end… well, you can guess what happens.
  • South Park has the episode "Kenny Dies"... although Kenny dies every episode.
  • Family Guy plays this straight with "Stewie Kills Lois", but subverts it with "Lois Kills Stewie", in which Peter was the one who killed Stewie, and the whole thing was revealed to be a simulation.
  • In the Futurama episode "Reincarnation", the Anime short "Action Delivery Force" is presented as an ongoing show, with an episode entitled "Medical Dance Crab With Lesson". Try to figure out how the episode is resolved.
  • Invoked in The Simpsons episode "Bart gets hit by a Car." It begins with credits showing the episode's name (which the show almost never does outside of specials) a second before Bart gets hit by said car.
  1. The episode where 18 and Hercule are the two finalist in the World Martial Arts tournament, which ends with her taking a dive for a bribe equal to double the actual prize money.
  2. in the Sinnoh Grand Festival
  3. At least they have the decency to not tell us who wins.