Theme Naming

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Obelix: O chief Vitalstatistix, the Normans are landing! And they've got ever such funny names! They all end in "af"!
Asterix: That's right! Their chief is called Timandahaf!

Vitalstatistix: Ha, ha, ha! Did you hear that, Getafix, Cacofonix, Operatix, Acoustix, Polyfonix, Harmonix?
Asterix and the Normans

Authors like to use themes to create a sense of unity or cohesiveness within their work. Some extend themes to the names of the characters, often beyond the similarities that would be expected for characters from the same culture or who all speak the same language. When the author does this, you have Theme Naming, for instance, all the female characters will have names of flowers or plants; all the names start with the same letter or syllable, groups of characters are named after groups of gods, demigods, or mythical heroes. As the list of subtropes demonstrates, there are a lot of possible themes (and that's not all of them, either)

The Recurring Extras, Those Two Guys and Creepy Twins sometimes have thematic names that link them. Theme naming is also common for characters with unusual names as a mnemonic in order to keep track of a huge cast; it's easier to keep track of which character is associated with which other characters if each group uses a theme.

Theme Naming can also be a Genius Bonus if it involves puns or other types of wordplay, names or words from languages other than the language the work is written in, or multiple layers of meaning in the name, or alternate or changed spellings.


This is the supertrope to the following tropes:


See also Meaningful Name, Prophetic Names, Who's on First?, Steven Ulysses Perhero, Names Given to Computers, and This Is My Name on Foreign.

Examples of Theme Naming include:


Examples by Soft-Split Subcategory[edit | hide | hide all]

Classical Elements[edit | hide]

  • The heroines of Magic Knight Rayearth have names that reflect the magical elements they command (Hikaru = "light/fire", Umi = "ocean", Fuu = "wind").
    • The Latin American dub decided to maintain the game, and translated the heroines' names: Hikaru became "Lucy" (derived from Latin Lux meaning "light"), Umi was renamed Marina (feminine form of Latin Marinus meaning "of the sea"), and Fuu became Anais (supposedly alluding to her "air" element after a famous perfume, but also seems to point more to her gracefulness).
    • The Filipino dub did this one better by going with Luce, Marina, and the more-appropriate Anemone (Greek for "daughter of the wind").
  • Terra of the Left, Vento of the Front, Acqua of the Back and Fiamma of the Right of To Aru Majutsu no Index are named after the elements as well as the different position you can take in regard to someone.
  • Similarly, many characters in Flame of Recca have names that reference the elemental powers they possess (Recca = "wild fire", Fuuko = "wind child", and so on).
  • The Shiba siblings in Bleach follow a pattern: Kaien means "sea swallow", Ganju means "rock eagle", and Kuukaku means "sky crane".
  • Kingdom Hearts also has a "Sky, Land, Sea" motif for three main characters
    • Sora, Riku, and Kairi are in Japanese; Ven(tus), Terra, and Aqua go for a more Latin theme.
    • The sea / water theme extends to Namine, Kairi's Nobody (sort of) and Xion ('shio' -- tide), who looks like a young Kairi with black hair but turns out to be a Replica of Sora created from his strongest memories, which are mostly of her.


Water/The Sea[edit | hide]

  • Neon Genesis Evangelion is filled with people named after Japanese warships from WWII and pieces of nautical equipment.
  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch uses puns on the girls' origins ("Noel" from the Arctic, "Coco" from the South Pacific) sometimes, and just about every name in the series has a reference to the sea somewhere.
  • The Venezuelan Soap Opera Llovizna named most of its characters either with water-related names, or things related to the Guayana and Gran Sabana region (for example, the namesake protagonist has a name who means "light rain"; the rivals on the protagonist love are named Orinoco and Caroni after the two main rivers of the region; one of them has the surname "Ferrer", who alludes to the iron and steel industry traditionally established there). Many of those characters have the surname "Fuego" ("fire"), which combined with the water-trend on first names gave birth to silly combinations as "Nieves Fuego", "Snow Fire". Another character has the sillier name "Soledad Barranco" ("Solitude Precipice"), which continues the theme naming (since the table mountains and their lonely deep precipices are common in the region) and also doubles as a Prophetic Name and a Meaningful Name.
  • The names of recent companions in Doctor Who seem to be following this trend: Jackson Lake, Adelaide Brook, River Song, Amy Pond... It might be symbolic, or then again, it might just be a coincidence.
  • In Cowboy Bebop, the crew's personal ships are named after fish: Swordfish (Spike), Redtail (Faye), and Hammerhead (Jet).


Clothes[edit | hide]

  • One major character's entire family in Dragon Ball is named for undergarments (Bloomer, Trunks, Bra, Dr. Briefs), a joke which for various reasons is only partially carried over to the English translation.
  • All of the Borogravian officers in Monstrous Regiment have clothing related names (Blouse, Froc, Strappi, etc.) This is a fairly obscure reference to Lords Cardigan and Raglan, two of the generals (and sweater designers?) responsible for the disastrous Charge of the Light Brigade.
    • For bonus points, said Charge was during the Battle of Balaclava.
    • And perhaps also to the Duke of Wellington (for non-Brits, this is because "Wellington" is a common term for waterproof boots in the UK).
      • Wellington seems indicated, as it's pointed out that Generals either get items of clothing or culinary dishes named after them. Beef Wellington anyone?
  • Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt: all the major characters are named after undergarments. There are also Chuck, Brief, Big Bad Corset and the demon sisters Scanty and Kneesocks, Panty uses a gun named Backlace... you get the point.


Body Parts[edit | hide]

  • The Band of Seven in Inuyasha have names ending with "kotsu" (骨), meaning "bone", which might signify that they are undead. The other kanji in each of their names also signifies something about each of them.
  • The four main characters of Wolf's Rain are all named for aspects of the wolf; Kiba (Fang), Tsume (Claw), Hige (Whisker), and Toboe (Howl). The pun in the title of the second episode, "Toboe, Who Doesn't Howl", is thus lost in the English translation.
  • Knuckles' mother in the Sonic the Hedgehog comic seems to have an affinity of naming her children after body parts (Knuckles and his half-brother Kneecapeon "Kneecaps" Mace).
  • On The Fairly OddParents, the Rogues Gallery of Superhero The Crimson Chin are The Body of Evil, whose members are (naturally) all named for body parts: Bronze Kneecap, Golden Gut, Iron Lung, and Titanium Toenail, among others.
  • Autobot Headmasters in Transformers Headmasters have head- or brain-related names: Chromedome, Hardhead, Highbrow, Brainstorm, and Cerebros.
  • The Seven Primevals of GaoGaiGar were named after the body-parts related to their powers (Nails, Liver, Intestine, etc.)


Science and Technology[edit | hide]

  • The four generals in Gurren Lagann are all named for the four chemicals in DNA, while Beastmen in general, as well as Lordgenome, all have a genetic-based name (Viral, for instance).
    • The other halves of their names come from the four classical elementals. Thymine + Sylph = Thymilph, Adenine + Undine = Adiane, Guanine + Gnome = Guame, and Cytosine + Salamander = Cytomander. One might question the logic of having Thymilph represented by the Wind elemental (considering that he's a gorilla who's units are all on the ground) and Cytomander by Fire (who looks more like a peacock than a salamander and uses all air-units), but Cytilph and Thymander don't have quite the same ring...
  • The Battle Network series uses a computer theme for its main characters (Net/Site or Lan/Hub, Mail, and so on), but contains a nod to the musical theme of the earlier games in the third game—the master of the Ura Internet and penultimate final boss, Serenade. The manga hung a lampshade on this, where in an Omake the author decides to make Blues a girlfriend named Rhythm. Rhythm and Blues!
    • In X8, we have Alia,[1] Layer[2] and Pallette,[3] all graphics related.[4]
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: Antimony is named for the element, and both parts of her mum's maiden name refer to it -- "Surma" is (close to) Russian for "antimony", and "Stibnite" is antimony sulfide.
    • Also, Zeta and Gamma.
  • Sailor Nothing uses the noble gasses plus an Odd Name Out technique for the Dark Generals (Argon, Neon, Xenon, Radon, and Cobalt).
  • When history was altered so Marvel Comics' third Captain Marvel, Genis-Vell, suddenly had a sister, she turned out to be named Phyla, riffing off the taxanomical classifications "genus" and "phylum".
  • The Card Professors in Yu-Gi-Oh R are named after Intel project codenames (Mendo Cino from Mendocino[5] and Kirk Dixon from Dixon,[6] for example), which explains why some of them are much more "unique" than others. This overlaps somewhat with Location Theme Naming, as many of those codenames were originally taken from the locations of various Intel plants (Tilla Mook is derived from Tillamook,[7] Oregon, and Willa Mette is named after the Willamette[8] River from the same state).
  • The Sky People from Zoids: Genesis are named after transition metals: Fermi from Fermium, Prome from Promethium, Palla from Palladium and so on. Anyone quick to spot this may have worked out who else was a Sky Person before it was revealed: Ron Mangan (Manganese).
  • Accidentally averted in Zelda II. You know Error? Yeah, the guy who says "I am Error". That's his name. That's supposed to be his name. You know Bagu? He was supposed to be named Bug... you see where this is going.
  • The members of the Pache tribe in Shaman King are all named after elements of the periodic table: Silva (silver), Goldva (gold), Kalim (kalium AKA potassium), Rutherfor (rutherfordium) and so on.
  • A number of bosses and NPCs in Ogre Battle are named after stars or constellations. Deneb, Sirius, Canopus, the Gemini, Prochon (close to Procyon) and Kapella (close to Capella).
  • Varicella does one with diseases. The last name of Anti-Hero Primo Varicella means "chickenpox". His final enemy is Modo Variola, whose last name means "smallpox".


Emotions[edit | hide]

  • The names of the Black Siblings in Gurren Lagann all start with ki: Kittan, Kiyoh, Kinon, and Kiyal. If you flip them, you get emotions or states of mind: tanki means quick temper, youki means cheerfulness, nonki means various things including carefree and optimistic and yaruki means willingness.
  • Terry Pratchett — naturally — spoofs theme naming with the Carter family in Discworld. The daughters are named after virtues: Hope, Chastity, Prudence, and Charity. After that they got confused and thought that the sons should be named after vices: Anger, Jealousy, Bestiality, Covetousness and Deviousness. This being Discworld, they all have personalities which are the exact opposite of their names. For example, Hope suffers from depression and a sense of the existential alienation and angst, Chastity is a uhh..."Seamstress" in Ankh-Morpork's seedier districts, while Anger is a calm and reasonable fellow and Bestiality is known for his kindness towards animals.
  • In Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy, royal children and sometimes lesser nobles are named for virtues: Chivalry, Dutiful, Patience, etc.
  • The majority of the bosses in Metal Gear Solid 3 are named after the emotions they "carry into battle," such as The Pain, who is covered in bees hornets.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, The Beauty and the Beast unit takes this trope one step further, combining the animal names of FOXHOUND and the emotions of the Cobra Unit (for example, combining Vulcan Raven and The Fury to make Raging Raven).
      • This also provides Fridge Brilliance when you realise the name "Old Snake" fits the theme (combination of Liquid Snake and The End).
  • The Seven Dwarfs, at least in Disney Animated Canon.
  • In Mega Man Star Force, the main character's mom's first name is Hope.


Sun/Light/Fire[edit | hide]

  • In Naruto, most Hyuugas (so far except for Neji) have names having to do with the sun, light, or fire.
  • Three of the four Organoids in the Zoids: Chaotic Century anime have names related to light effects: Shadow, Ambient and Specular.
    • Note that Zeke and Shadow are not the original names of those Organoids; those names were given later by humans. Their original names could well have been Diffuse and Emissive.
  • The first installment of the Disgaea named quite a few of its primary characters after volcanos, including Etna, Vulcanus (From Vulcano, Italy), Maderas (La Madera), Krichevskoy (Kliuchevskoi), and Lamington. Laharl is named after a type of pyroclastic mudslide that occurs after eruptions.
  • In Hikaru no Go, the names Hikaru, Akira and Akari are all related to light.


Games[edit | hide]

  • The GoBots had a gestalt character called Puzzler, and the robots who combined to form him all had puzzle-related names: Crossword, Jig Saw, Pocket, Rube, Tic Tac and Zig Zag. Just in case a few of those escape you, Zig Zag was a puzzle manufacturer in the early part of the 20th century, and Rube Goldberg is famous for his complicated devices.
  • Ronk, Papes, and Snips from The Legendary Starfy fit into this category.
  • Geddoe's mercenaries are: Jacques, Queen, Ace, and Joker. Ace refers to Geddoe at one point as King.
  • Fist of the North Star has Shin's four playing card-themed henchmen (known as the Four Jacks in the anime adaptation), who are Spade, Diamond, Club, and Heart. Shin's alias of "King" comes from the highest rank in playing cards, making Yuria his (reluctant) "Queen". The anime introduces the Filler Villain Joker, although the other members of Shin's army later introduced completely averts the theme naming altogether.
  • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn - In the Japanese version, we have Spade, Heart, and Ace; an Ace is the most valuable card in a suit, with Spades and Hearts being two of them in a standard deck of playing cards. Switching to the English version, a tarot deck uses twenty-two cards known as Major Arcana (Arcanus). The Minor Arcana, likewise, are divided into suits, two of which are swords (Blados) and cups (Chalis). Kraden explains this proper upon a certain Reveal.
  • The Yu-Gi-Oh! card game has the Archfiend archetype, in which the main monsters that are part of it are themed after chess pieces, each with a demonic-themed slant (Terrorking, Infernalqueen, Darkbishop, Desrook,[9] Shadowknight and Vilepawn).
  • In the playing card-themed JAKQ Dengekitai, there are Spade Ace, Dia Jack, Heart Queen and Clover King.


Powers[edit | hide]

  • For the magic-themed Mahou Sentai Magiranger, the core five are members of the "Ozu" (as in The Wizard of Oz) family.
    • The first sibling is Makato, which means "sower" (he is a gardener by trade) and "logs" (his element as a magician is earth).
    • The second sibling is Houka, which means "fragrance" and mirrors her girly demeanour.
    • The third sibling is Urara, which means "bright" and "beauty". It is also a pun on Uranai (fortune telling), which is her special talent as a magician.
    • The fourth sibling is Tsubasa, which means "wings". His motif is that of a garuda.
    • The fifth sibling is Kai, which means "leader" (he is the leader of the team). The Japanese symbol for "fire" (his element) is read as "ka".
    • Finally, take the first syllable of each sibling's name and arrange them from oldest to youngest, and you get "mahoutsukai", which is Japanese for "magician".
  • Winx Club: Except for Bloom (whose search for her power source is a major thread in S1) and Layla (the newcomer in S2), the Winx girls have names that recall their power source (that is, the theme of their attacks): Stella (sun and moon, although most of her attacks are solar), Musa (music), Tecna (technology), and Flora (plants).
  • Neverwhere has Door and her family, who have a reputation in London Below as "openers." In addition to her, there's Arch, Ingress, and her father, Lord Portico.


Weather and Nature[edit | hide]

  • The third and fourth generation of Pokémon games had widespread nature-themed portmanteaus for town names.
    • This happens with all the Pokémon Professors.
  • Also from Keroro Gunsou, we have human protagonists Fuyuki, Natsumi and Aki, whose names contain the words for winter, summer and autumn respectively. Fan speculation that their Disappeared Dad will have the name Haru, for spring, is not unwarranted.
  • The Four Heavenly Kings of the Devil Gundam in G Gundam seem to be named for the terrain on which they fight best: Grand (a corruption of "ground"), Walter (corruption of "water"), Heaven's Sword (sky). Master Gundam doesn't quite fit the theme, but its pilot is indeed a master martial artist (nicknamed Master Asia) who can fight well no matter where he is, so the theme is still somewhat preserved.
  • Citizens of Viron, the main city in Gene Wolfe's The Book of the Long Sun follow a strict naming convention. Men are named after animals, or animal-derived substances: Bison, Auk, Silk, Horn, Blood. Women are named after plants or plant-derived substances: Mint, Rose, Chenille. Robots are named after minerals: Marble, Sand, Molybdenum. Family members will have similar names (Auk and Bustard are two brothers named after large birds, and the family that controls the city council are all named after lesser primates: Lemur, Loris, Potto). At various points, a sufficiently alert reader can figure out that certain people are related by the similarity of their names, which is relevant to the plot in a number of cases. For instance, the city's former ruler was named Tussah, a type of expensive fabric, and the protagonist is named Silk...
  • The Tendos in Ranma ½ are named after clouds, which also represent their personalities. "Tendo" (or "Tendou", depending on the romanization) can mean "Way to Heaven" or "Path of Heaven." "Akane" means "crimson," "Nabiki" means "to sway" (which her victims tend to do,) and "Kasumi" means "mist," referring to her wispy nature. "Soun" means "fast cloud."
  • In Big Trouble in Little China, the Three Storms, Lo Pan's elite servants, are named Thunder, Rain, and Lightning. These names vaguely conform with their abilities. Well, it's pretty obvious with Lightning.
  • The Hero of Final Fantasy VIII is named Squall. His mother is named Raine. His father is called Laguna. The odd one out is his adoptive sister, Ellone.
    • Extending beyond that game, there's Cloud Strife and Lightning. Zack Fair was given his last name as a play on "fair weather" to contrast Cloud.
  • Almost everyone in Nabari no Ou has a name relating to weather. Raikou and Raimei mean "lightning" and "thunder", Gau means "rain shower", Yoite means "evening breeze", Kumohira means "calm cloud", and Fuuma means "wind demon". Yukimi, Kouichi, and Miharu have the characters for "snow", "rainbow", and "clear weather", respectively.
  • The Taiwanese girl group 4 in Love have the stage names Rainie, Windie, Sunnie and Cloudie.
  • The four female protagonists in Seitokai no Ichizon, Sakurano (Cherry-Blossom-Field) Kurimu = Spring. Shiina Minatsu (Deep-Summer) = Summer. Akaba (Red-Leaves) Chizuru = Autumn. Shiina Mafuyu (True Winter) = Winter.
  • Mangaka Hiro Mashima has a habit for naming his protagonists after seasons. Aki (winter) from Monster Soul, Haru (spring) Rave Master, Natsu (summer) from Fairy Tail


Other Examples[edit | hide]

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • In Fruits Basket except for Yuki the zodiac member's names come from the associated months with their animal.
  • Saint Seiya's characters foreshadow their destiny. "Seiya" means "Star Arrow" (in reference to his signature "Pegasus Meteor Fist" attack). "Shiryu" means "Violet Dragon" (and he becomes the Bronze Dragon Saint). "Hyoga" means "Glacier" (his attacks revolve around freezing the opponent, and he trained in the North Pole). "Ikki" and "Shun", brothers, mean "Gleam" and "Twinkle" respectively, reflecting not just their relationship but also the shine of the Phoenix's flame and of the Nebula Chain.
  • Miko and Matsuri's names in Kamichu! mean "shrine maiden" and "festival" respectively
  • One character's name in Shanghai Youma Kikai is "Kuo". However, the kanji used can also mean "Kyubi," a nine-tailed fox demon of Japanese mythology (they could also change to a human form). Though not techincally conformed yet, it seems obvious that since everyone working at Demon Taoist Corperation (other than Su-An) is a demon, Kuo is a Kyubi demon. Main character, Jack, also has a Meaningful Name.
  • Aria... With a handful of exceptions, every character's first name starts with "A". Two of the exceptions are cats (three if Cait Sidhe is the character's name and not a description or title). The other two exceptions, their last names start with 'A' instead. Even the planet Mars has been renamed 'Aqua'.
  • The name of every protagonist character in the Yu-Gi-Oh!! franchise (as in, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds and Yu-Gi-Oh! ZeXal) has the kanji '遊' (yuu), meaning 'fun'. Sort of counts as a title drop for Yuugi ("yuugiou" means 'king Yuugi').
    • Though Judai Yuuki is the odd name out for having it on his last name.
  • Sorcerer Hunters is full of names based on food. There's Carrot, Tira(misu), Chocolate, Onion, and so on.
  • The Quirky Miniboss Squad in Fresh Pretty Cure had its members named after three of the four cardinal directions: Eas (east), Wester (west), and Souler (south). This is also reflected in their civillain names: respectively, Setsuna Higashi, Hayato Nishi and Shun Minami. However, it is still unknown when will a member named after the remaining cardinal direction (by now called "Norther" by the fans) appear.
  • In Naruto, about half the ninja from the Cloud Village are named after English language letters: A/Ei (the Raikage's real name), Killer Bee, C/Shi/Shee, and J/Jei/Jay.
  • Hazel, Almond, Coconut, etc. from Magical Pokémon Journey
  • Most of the characters in Kamichama Karin have surnames corresponding to a train line or station (Hanazono, Kujo, Kara, suma, etc.).
  • Sailor Moon loves these. The main character, Usagi Tsukino, is a pun on "Rabbit of the Moon" (the Japanese equivalent of the Man in the Moon). Rei Hino is "Spirit of Fire", Minako Aino can be read as a pun on "Everyone's Child of Love", Ami Mizuno is "Friend of Water", Makoto Kino is "Truth of Trees". The outer Senshi have Haruka Tenou ("Distant Air King") and Michiru Kaiou ("Rising Sea King"). Then there's Chiba Mamoru ("Protection of Earth"—he's Tuxedo Mask, the guy that's constantly saving Sailor Moon). Just to add a special flair, their names usually contain a kanji for or associated with their planet.
    • And let's not forget the gemstone baddies in most seasons. Beryl, Jadeite, Nephrite, Zoisite, and Kunzite. Demande, Rubeus, Esmeraude, Sapphir, Koan, Beruche, Petz, and Calaveras. Kaolinite, Eudial, Mimet, Viluy, Tellun, Cyprine, and Ptilol.
    • Also, "Aino Minako" can be translated as "Love's Beautiful Child". This fits with the planet theme of the Sailor Senshi, as Venus is the Roman goddess of love and beauty. Incidentally, Uranus is the Titan god of the sky, and Neptune is the Olympian god of the sea, while the thunderbolt-wielding Jupiter/Zeus is also commonly associated with the oak tree (Jupiter Oak Evolution, anyone?)... and Saturn/Cronus is said to have emasculated his father with a sickle (The "Glaive" in Sailor Saturn's "Silence Glaive Surprise" uses the kanji for "scythe").
    • Also, Ten'ou, Kaiou, and Meiou, the civilian names of Sailor Uranus, Sailor Neptune, and Sailor Pluto, come from the Japanese names of the planets the represent. "Meiou" also means "Dark King" and "Setsuna" (Pluto's given civilian name) means "moment", but could also be a derivative of "setsunai", meaning "painful". (Which no doubt influenced the selection of her dub name, Trista—which means "sad".) Sailor Saturn/Hotaru Tomoe has her own thing going on: "Hotaru" is Japanese for "firefly" (fireflies are associated with the spirits of the dead in Japanese mythology), and "Tomoe" means "sprouting earth". The first kanji for "Tomoe" is also the first kanji of Saturn's Japanese name, Dosei. Plus, just about all of the villains are either named after stones and minerals or have their own deal.
    • Kaioh and Tenoh mean "Sea King" and "Sky King" respectively.
    • The Sailor Animamates who are named Sailor (Metal) (Animal), and their civilian names directly reflect this. Iron Mouse is Chūko Nezu, with chū being the sound a mouse makes and "nezu" short for nezumi, the word for mouse. Aluminum Seiren is Reiko Aya, which plays off the word for "mermaid". Lead Crow takes the name Akane Karasuma, which is made up of words for "red" (pronounced the same as "lead") and "crow". Finally, Tin Nyanko, is Nyanko Suzu, which incorporates nyan, the Japanese onomatopoeia for "meow", and the word for "tin" or "bell" (of which she has many on her uniform).
  • Dragon Ball certainly qualifies, as there's hardly a name that isn't a pun or doesn't have a constant theme through their names in a family or race e.g.
    • Underwear: Dr. Briefs, Bulma (whose name when pronounced in Japanese, Buruma, is a homophone to the Japanese word for "Bloomers"), Trunks, Bulla (Bra).
    • Freeza and his family in Dragon Ball are all named after English terms for cold, or cooling kitchen appliances (King Cold, Cooler, etc.).
    • Food: ChiChi (Japanese for "breast milk"), Gohan (a Chinese rice dish), Pan (Japanese loan word from Portuguese for bread).
    • Saiyan names are based on vegetables. Kakarot is carrot, and his father is Bardock (burdock). Vegeta is vegetable, and one of his attacks is called the Galick (garlic) Gun. Raditz is radish. Broly is broccoli. Paragas is asparagus. Nappa is a kind of Chinese cabbage. Turles is lettuce. Vegeta's younger brother is Tarble, also a mixup of vegetable with an R added in.
    • Freeza's henchmen's names are based on fruits and the Ginyu Force are based on dairy products (the Japanese word for milk is gyunyu).
    • Yamcha, Oolong, and Puar are named after varieties of tea.
    • Mythical/Religious themes (The Devil in this case): Mr. Satan, Videl, Pan (A satyr in Greek Mythology). In the Super Exciting Guide: Character Volume, Toriyama revealed that Mr. Satan's real name is "Mark", which is based on anagram of the word akuma (rearranging the syllables leaves you with maaku, the Japanese pronunciation of the name "Mark").
    • Mythical/Religious themes: Son Goku (so named after the main character of Journey to the West, means "aware of emptiness", basically means he knows he isn't enlightened), Son Goten (the "ten" in his name means heaven). In the tale, Son Goku titles himself as "The Great Sage, Equal of Heaven". Guess who Son Goten is a carbon copy of out of the main characters?
    • Instruments: King Piccolo and his children, Tambourine, Drum, and Piano.
    • Bibidi, Babidi, and Buu are a shout out to Disney's animated film Cinderella. It's three of the magic words in the Fairy Godmother's spell "Salmanca-doola, Menchika-boola, Bibbity-bobbity-boo".
    • The Red Ribbon Army and its habit of naming high-ranking officers after colors: Colonel Silver, General White, General Blue, Captain Yellow...etc.
  • The few members of the Joketsuzoku (or "Amazons") in Ranma ½ who are named are named after cosmetics, spices, or Indian food: for example, the central trio Cologne, Shampoo, and Mousse.
  • Case Closed is full of these, whether related to the plot or not. For example:
    • The second movie The Fourteenth Target centers around a series of attacks on a group of people, with the order based on the numerical element in the kanji or pronunciation of the target's name based on playing cards (starting at Joker and working down). The English dub, dropped that theme and changed several names, basing the necessary allusions on their careers instead, such as how many patents an inventor had filed, or a professional golfer's national ranking.
  • Gundam is all over the place with various groups of characters and mecha given different themes, but an often forgotten one is that most of the White Base crew from the original series are named for WWII fighter planes—Amuro Ray for the infamous "Zero", Kai Shiden for the Shiden Kai, etc.
    • Many Gundams also follow certain themes, varying from series to series. One example are the Gundams in the Anno Domini timeline (00): Exia, Dynames and Kyrios are all derived from Greek words. Virtues, Cherudim, Seraphim and the Thrones are angels, the Thrones being the angels closest to God himself (ironically enough, piloted by the Trinity Siblings, all created artificially by Ribbons Almarks, who thinks he's God). Likewise, the GN-X is referred to as the "Jinx", a hint at their capabilities against Celestial Being (not bad, that is).
  • All the Future Diary owners' names correspond to a member of the Roman pantheon.

Comics[edit | hide]


Film[edit | hide]

  • The Agent "triplets" in The Matrix media:
    • The Matrix: Smith, Jones, and Brown.
    • The Matrix Reloaded: Johnson, Thompson, and Jackson.
    • The Matrix Online: Black and Gray
  • In Hot Fuzz, all of the characters have trade or occupation-related surnames (Paver, Reaper, Draper, Butterman, Messenger, and, yes, Angel). These names tend to fit with the character's current profession.
    • There's also that one guy with a cellar full of guns, Mr. Webley.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Dwarfish names in Discworld were loosely based on a mixture of Tolkien and Norse mythology, then turned up to eleven (Glod Glodsson, Snori Snoriscousin, Grabpot Thundergust, etc.) This has been toned down in recent books, possibly due to dwarfs becoming a more serious immigration metaphor.
  • In Harry Potter, most (though not all) members of the Black family are named after stars or constellations, with some more distant relatives, like Draco Malfoy and his son Scorpius, also following the tradition.
    • Most of the women are named after flowers: Lily, Petunia, Fleur, Narcissa...
  • In Nina Kiriki Hoffman's book A Fistful of Sky, the five kids in the La Zelle family are all named after minerals or precious stones. The girls are named Opal, Gypsum, and Beryl, while the boys are named Jasper and Flint. It is implied that this is a family tradition, as they have cousins named Amethyst and Chalcedony. It is also implied that each generation of the family has a different theme for names, as the mother Anise and the mother's sister Hazel are named for plants.
  • JRR Tolkien's Middle-earth world makes much use of Theme Naming and its various subtropes, ranging from family members being given related names, to naming conventions of dynasties of the general public.
  • Likewise in A Song of Ice and Fire, uses employs Theme Naming to differentiate the ethnic, cultural and familiar differences between its Loads and Loads of Characters
  • Twilight. A lot of the werewolves have biblical names: Jacob, Leah, Seth, Samuel, Paul...
    • In light of the fact that they're a Native American tribe, his may be be a reference to the fact that many Native Americans in the early colonies were given simple Biblical names by the settlers, since they were easier to say. This may also be the only true bit of Fridge Brilliance in the entire series.
  • In David Drake's RCN Series series, the so-called Alliance of Free Stars is not especially German in its ethnicity—but many major Alliance warships have German names: the cruiser/minelayer Bremse, battleships Der Grosser Karl,[10] Siegfried, and Direktor Friedrich, cruisers Bluecher and Scheer.... Also, Alliance destroyers mostly have alphanumeric designators which usually begin with "Z." It may be coincidence that the German word for "destroyer" is "Zerstoerer". One notable exception is a battleship named Pleasaunce after the Alliance capital world.
  • The Belgariad and Malloreon use certain syllables in parts of both person names and place names. For instance, disciples of Aldur start with 'Bel' for a male or 'Pol' for a woman, all Dryad names start with 'X', all Tolnedran cities start with 'Tol' and their emperors start with 'Ran', all Arendish cities start with 'Vo', and so on. There are also hereditary names which can pass through many generations: The queen of Nyissa is always Salmissra, the king and queen of Arendia are always Korodullin and Mayaserena, Tolnedran emperors are named (except for the 'Ran') after their dynasty, and all of Garion's ancestors going back at least to the point that the family went into hiding have very similar names to his own, with such variations as "Geran" and "Daran". Tolnedrans, who disbelieve in sorcery as a matter of theology, think that "Belgarath" and "Polgara" are similarly passed down.
  • In North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley, the main character Terra's siblings are all named after map terms because their father is a cartographer. Terra's name sounds pretty normal, but her other brother is Mercatur.
  • In sequels to The Clan of the Cave Bear, all women in a given culture have the same syllable ending their names. In some cultures, this extends to men as well.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Lost has a bunch of names derived from Jacob like Jack, James and of course Jacob himself. Also Benjamin was the son of the Biblical Jacob.
    • There are also several characters named after philosophers—John Locke, (Desmond) David Hume, Mikhail Bakunin, Danielle Rousseau, etc..
    • Pierre Chang uses a number of candle-themed aliases for his orientation videos: Mark Wickmund, Edgar Halliwax, and Marvin Candle.
  • The Sinclairs in Dinosaurs are named after the Sinclair oil (fossil fuels) company, which famously uses a brontosaurus as its logo and on all its merchandise. Other characters in the show are also named after oil companies, including Earl's friend Roy Hess, boss B.P. (British Petroleum) Richfield (from Atlantic Richfield, better known as ARCO and now owned by BP) and others.
  • Due South adored themed names. There was usually some sort of pun or reference involved (e.g. in one episode, a hockey player's manager shared a name with a well-known Canadian hockey commentator), but they were not often Meaningful Names—once you got the reference or pun, there was generally no further significance to the name.
  • On The Proud Family, all of Dijonay's siblings were named after spices.


Religion and Mythology[edit | hide]

  • In The Bible and other religious texts, most of the big player angels have names that end in "el". Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, etc. Similarly, one of the names of God is Elohim. This is because "El" means "God" in Hebrew.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • In House of the Dead, the various boss monsters are named after Tarot cards of the Major Arcana. Some of these names fit the description of the zombie (Strength from House of the Dead 2 is a hulking giant armed with a chainsaw), others not so much (Chariot from the first game is an armored humanoid with a spear)
  • In Killer7, the names of the three spirits Iwazaru, Mizaru, and Kikazaru in Japanese refer to the 'speak no evil', 'see no evil', and 'hear no evil' monkeys, respectively.
  • Tales of Hearts loves this: Shing Meteoryte, Kohaku (amber), Hisui (jade), Innes Lorenz, Beryl Benito, Kunzite, Chalcedny, Peridot, Garnet, Richia Spodune, Creed Graphite, Inca Rose, Geo Strigau, Corundum, Grossular, Orb Cindy Ann, Flora Spodune?
    • Don't forget Hisui's artes: They all have a kanji for "bird" in them, i.e. "荒鷹, Arataka "Wild Eagle" or 斬燕、Kiritsubame, "Slashing Swallow".
      • Oh, and every single one of Innes' artes are in French.
  • Tales of Vesperia has Judith...and my God, does she love the moon. Every single one of her artes has a word relating to moon in it.
    • Tales of Graces has the secret boss, Solomos have artes that are basically Japanese sayings like "因果応報", retribution or Karma, or "天衣無縫", ten'i muhou, the clothing of the heavens is seamless, i.e. flawless, etc.
    • In Graces, the Amarcians are all named after famous scientists and mathematicians (Pascal, Fourier, Poisson, Gauss, Fermat). Fermat's husband (who is not an Amarcian) is named Sagan (after Carl Sagan).
  • In Sakura Taisen if you're part of the Star Division your name will relate to astology or Astronomy, if you're part of the Flower Division your name will relate to flowers and so on. There is also in this troper's opinion some significance to the fact that the theater's top stars are Sumire (Violet the flower of the Takarazuka theater (the original and largest Kagekidan)) and Sakura (the cherry blossom flower of the now defunct Shouchiku Kagekidan that the creator's aunt was a founding member of).
  • From Cave Story, the robot True Companions of Quote and Curly Brace are sort of named for punctuation—the names are spoonerized from curly quote and brace (the â€� and } symbols, respectively). According to the end credits, the four Mimigas that Curly adopted went by the last name Colon.
  • Mega Man Star Force (aka Shooting Star Rockman), the sequel to Mega Man Battle Network, changed the theme from computer technology to space: Geo/Subaru ("The Pleaides"), Sonia (SUN-ya)/Misora (meaning "beautiful sky"), Luna, Mr. Boreal, and all the villains in the first game. The second game was more random, but the third game had an obvious playing card theme: Jack, Queen Tia, Ace (dubbed name), King, Joker, Heartless, and the name of the evil organization, Dealer.
  • Devil Survivor brings us the "Bel" demons: Beldr, Belial, Jezebel, and so and and so forth. There's also the main character, who turns out to be a reincarnation of the Biblical Abel.
  • Primal has a lot of mythological connections.
  • The Halo games use Animal Theme Naming for human vehicles, and various types of ghosts for the alien Covenant vehicles, including the Ghost, Wraith, Revenant, and Shade.
  • Shadow the Hedgehog is a non-inverse clone of Sonic the Hedgehog...literally his "shadow". It may help that Shadow resembles a black version of Sonic's Super form.
    • Silver is also notable as another hedgehog with a name beginning with S, his white color possibly serving as a contrast to Shadow's (with Sonic in the "middle"). In fact, Amy is the only hedgehog in the main game series without an S name.
  • Fawful's minions in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story have some part of their original name replaced with part of Fawful's (Grasshopper- Fawflopper, Crocodile- Crawful, Monty Mole- Mawful Mole, Chain Chomp- Chain Chawful, etc)
  • Dawn of War II: Your fellow Blood Raven Space Marine squad leaders mostly seem to have names ending with "-us" (Tarkus, Thaddeus, Cyrus, Avitus, plus the NPC Techmarine Martellus). Your Force Commander is nameless, but you can name him, thus allowing the fulfillment of this trope. This excludes the characters (playable later on in the campaign) Captain Gabriel Angelos, and Captain Davian Thule, the commander from the original Dawn of War. This also extends to the the sequel (Chaos Rising), as you play with the same squads, with the addition of a new character, the Librarian/sorcerer archetype Jonah Orion.
  • Who can forget the original Pokémon towns? Pallet Town, Pewter City, Viridian City, Cerulean, Vermillion, Celadon, Fuchsia, Saffron, Cinnabar... Running Pokemon Yellow in a Game Boy Color even tinted the screen the corresponding color!
    • Team Rocket agents. There's Jessie and James (and Meowth), Butch and Cassidy, Attila and Hun, not to mention the legions of fan-made member duos...
    • A lot of the gym leaders have this as well. The names correspond to the type of Pokemon that they use. For instance, Lt. Surge uses electric Pokemon.
    • Pokémon Trainers themselves are yet another thing...
      • On the original generation, the main character had the optional names Red/Blue, Ash/Gary and Jack/John, depending on your version. The Rival had the opposite names.
  • Pokemon:
    • The gym leaders in the English version are all named as with a name that has something to do with their gym's type, eg. Brock, Roxanne, Roark (rock), Lt Surge, Wattson, Volkner (electric)
    • The Team Galactic admins are named after planets (though Pluto's English name, Charon, is named after its largest moon instead), and Cyrus is named for the Persian word for the Sun.
    • In HeartGold and SoulSilver, the Rocket admins (Proton, Petrel, Arianna and Archer) are named after...yeah, rockets.
    • Slightly subtler: in Generation III, everyone who wasn't a Grunt had a name that matched their team, meaning that Team Aqua is led by Archie and Team Magma is lead by Maxie.
    • The professors are all named for trees: Oak, Elm, Birch, Rowan, and Juniper.
    • Six of the Seven Sages have names based off colors. Zinzolin is French for "Reddish purple." Gorm is Gaelic for blue, Bronius is similar to braun(German for brown), Giallo is Itallian for yellow, Ryoku is short for ryokushoku(Japanese for Green), and Rood is Dutch for Red. Ghetsis Harmonia(the Seventh Sage and true Big Bad), N Harmonia, Anthea and Concordia have their names based off musical terms: Harmonia, while it means "harmony", is also the name for a musical instrument. Ghetsis sounds like G-Cis, which is a tritone. Anthea means "anthen" and Concordia "
  • Beatmania IIDX has done this at least since DistorteD (version 13), with the composers of the Extra and One More Extra Stages (the equivalents of Perfect Run Final Boss and Bonus Boss) sharing themed pseudonyms. Distorted had The Four Gods plus one (Seiryuu/Suzaku/Genbu/Byakko/Kinjishi), Gold had all but one artist add a "-G" to their name (Risk Junk-G, L.E.D.-G...), and DJ Troopers had animal names for the songs in its second set of boss songs, complete with Humongous Mecha in the video (Kraken/Eagle/Lion/Scorpion/Humanoid).
  • Baten Kaitos: Lyude and Savyna's finishing moves are themed with music and weapons respectively. Lyude has Overture, Concherto, Sfrozando, Creshendo, etc, and Savyna has Burning Arrow, Erupting Flail, Splash Spear, Freezing Axe, etc.
  • EVE Online has each Empire's ships follow theme naming for easy distinction. The Ammar use religious terms with an inquisitorial bent (Apocalypse, Omen, Punisher), the Gallente use Latin/Greek names (Hyperion, Incursus, Thorax), Caldari are generally birds, but with some mythological or land-based animals thrown in (Rokh, Merlin, Caracal), and the Minmatar have names based on violence, storms, and animals (Maelstrom, Stabber, Jaguar).
  • In the Touhou Project series, each member of House Yakumo is named after a color (Chen=orange, Ran=indigo, Yukari=violet), and each character's relative power level corresponds to their color's position on the spectrum of visible light. Violet is also at the boundary of visible and invisible light, a fitting parallel for Yukari's boundary powers.
    • Up until Hisoutensoku, all classes of Alice's dolls were named after real and fictional locations. "Goliath" broke this trend.
  • Every location in Santa Destroy in No More Heroes is named after a pro wrestling maneuver; Body Slam Beach, Rounding Body Pess Station, Atomic Drop Ward, Suplex Pizza, etc.
  • The Fallout: New Vegas expansion pack "Old World Blues" includes a collective of Mad Scientists called the "Think Tank." All are disembodied brains floating around in robotic life support units. Their names are "Dr. Klein," "Dr. Dala," "Dr. 8," "Dr. 0," "Dr. Borous" and "Dr. Mobius," who is estranged. All of their names refer to the same thing: Endless, recursive loops. Which turns out to be a big clue to the nature of their characters.
  • While not universal, many of the elemental witches from the Luminous Arc games have names that reflect their power. In the first game, there's Lucia (based on the Latin word for light), Clair (possibly derived from the French word "éclair," meaning a flash of lightning), and Vivi (maybe from the Spanish word for wind, "viento"). Luminous Arc 2 has Dia ("día" is Spanish for day, as in daylight), Potpurri (her element is nature, which combines earth and wood), Luna (meaning moon, she is the Tide Witch and the moon affects the tides), and possibly Fatima (sounds like "fatal," referring to her power over darkness).
  • Excluding the secret level, every map in The Ultimate Doom's fourth episode is named after a phrase from the Bible, as is the episode itself ("Thy Flesh Consumed", a phrase from Proverbs 5:11).
  • You meet three Prothean VIs through the three Mass Effect games (well, you meet two and see another one in some flashbacks). Their names are Vigil, Vendetta and Victory.
  • Battlestar Galactica Online has Cylon Escorts named after ghost types.
  • The X-Universe series uses several different variations. Of the examples that don't fall into any subtropes, Xenon ships have a single-letter designation (e.g. J, K, M). Terraformer ships use a hexadecimal string (#deca, #fade, #cefa).


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • In Monsterful the entire Gem family have literal jewel names, Sapphire, Ruby, Onyx, Topaz, Diamond and Pearl.
  • The Inlays in SSDD show multiple examples of theme naming, the different classes are named after chess pieces (pawns=infantry, rooks=tanks, etc.), one of the Kings was named Arthur and his knights were named Lancelot Galahad Bedevere and Tristan, and the name Inlay is derived from Inle.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob, all police are named after ice cream, with a pair of feds named Ben and Jerry, and pair of local cops named Baskin and Robbin. Also, Molly's two clone sisters are Galatea, nicknamed "Golly," and Djaliana, nicknamed "Jolly."
  • The title= text presenters in The Way of the Metagamer are all title-based. So far, we've had "Titular" and "Ebony Nauss".
  • Warships in Schlock Mercenary have a lot of running themes: the protagonists tend to give their ships comedic names appropriate to their profession, such as the Post-Dated Check Loan or the Serial Peacemaker. The UNS names their battleplates after major asteroid impact events. The Tausenigann Ob'enn have long, pretentious names of the form "Weapon of Adjective Noun" for attack ships and other "(Object) of Adjective Noun" for the rest. And the Fleetmind's ships all have the initials P.D.
  • In Route 148 the Reeds have a habit of naming their oldest sons John. The only exception of this is the protagonist Jack, but then again Jack is a diminutive of John. Both Jack and Linton also have female friends that are named after a month (June and April) and all the towns encountered in the comic used to be named after famous writers.
  • In Our Little Adventure, all of the elves are named after prescription drugs. The gnomes have the suffix 'icus' at the end of their names.
  • The Holy Skeletal Fighting Marshals of the Rance World are named after famous people of Nazi Germany.


Web Original[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • In Adventure Time, there's a very Aerith and Bob style convention: Either you're Jake, Billy, Harold, etc., or you have a noble title (Lumpy Space Princess, Ice King, Duke of Nuts, Princess Bubblegum, etc.). This is particularly in view with the princesses, who comprise easily a quarter of the show's cast.
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, many characters have names taken from The Bible (Lucius, Beezy, Jez, Samy). Failing that, their names are Meaningful Names describing their personality (Jimmy Two-Shoes, Heloise, Cerbee, Molotov).
  • Bamse has Skutt's siblings... All of which are named for swedish synonyms for "jumping" (he has a lot of them, being a rabbit)
  • In G.I. Joe, the villainous Dreadnok trio of Torch, Ripper, and Buzzer. Their real names, Thomas Winken, Henry Nod, and Richard Blinken-Smythe, follow two themes; Their first names are Tom, Dick, and Harry, and their last names are Winken, Blinken, and Nod.
    • Monkey Wrench, a later addition to the crew, was named Bill Winkie: "Wee Willie Winkie," in keeping with the nursery rhyme theme of the original three.
    • Also, Zartan and family. There's Zartan, Zarana, Zandar, and Zanya. There's also Zanzibar, another Dreadnok, but he isn't actually related to Zartan.
  • In Gargoyles, the Manhattan clan (except for Goliath) are all named after locations in New York City; Their clones in the Clone Clan are named after similar places in Los Angeles.
    • There's an explanation for this given in the first episode: Goliath was originally the only one of them with a name, which was given to him by humans who are so hung up on handing out names. The others chose their names purposely after waking up in New York.
    • The cyborg gargoyle in Gargoyles was called Coldstone, with two robotic gargoyles Coldsteel and Coldfire.
  • In the universe of Avatar: The Last Airbender two of the most important people in Aang's life are named after the Dalai Lama - his father figure Gyatso and his son The Legend of Korra's Tenzin.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • The Mars Rovers are developing a pattern (though this troper lacks for a good name for the pattern) - Pathfinder (lander)/Sojourner (rover); Spirit (R.I.P) and Opportunity (still kicking), Curiosity (rover).
  1. Aliasing, jaggies, anti-aliasing
  2. Background layers, rather important in sprite ripping.
  3. Palettes, duh.
  4. And now you know
  5. the 300 MHz P6 Intel Pentium II Centrino chip
  6. the 333 MHz 1.6V Intel Pentium II chip
  7. the Embedded 266 MHz Intel Pentium MMX chip
  8. Intel's 1.5 GHz P7 Pentium IV
  9. Any card with the word 'Death' in the title of their original Japanese form was bowdlerised to 'Des' in the English translation
  10. and every ship in its squadron had a name that at least could be German