In a series which features Reincarnation
, it can be confusing to keep track of characters' names. And if it's a non-visual medium, you can't simply cast the same actors, so it can be confusing even remembering who everyone is. The solution? Reincarnation Theme Naming, where the character has a somewhat similar name in each incarnation. So a character named John Conner might have the past selves Sean O'Connell in 20th century Ireland, Conrad Johansen in 18th century Germany, Colwyn Jones in 15th century Wales, Jack the Cozener in Medieval England and Jankh'onar in Ancient Atlantis.
Likely to involve one or more of Letter Motif
, Theme Initials
, This Is My Name on Foreign
, or Significant Anagram
Anime and Manga
- Hawkman: Carter Hall and Shiera Saunders, reincarnations of Prince Kha-Tar Khufu of Egypt and his bride Chay-Ara. In addition, Shiera's previous incarnations include Lady Celia and Shelia Carr. And their enemy Hath-Set becomes Dr Anton Hastor.
- Justified with Jenny Sparks/Jenny Quarx of The Authority, since the second Jenny was named by people who knew she was a reincarnation of the former.
- Subverted in Pre Crisis Superman: Lois suspects Lena Thorul of being the reincarnation of a witch named Luella Thompson. She's wrong.
- Characters in the Deverry series often (but not always) have similar names to their previous incarnations. For instance, Jill has been Brangwen, Gweniver, Branoic and most recently Branna, while Rhodry has been Maddyn, Maer and Meddry (interestingly, the incarnations we first meet them in don't seem to be examples - until the final book reveals their earliest recorded incarnations were called Hwilli and Rhodorix). Nevyn spent most of the time period covered by the books as unaging, but in the most recent sequence has been reborn as Neb.
- Some incarnations of Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion, although the J.C. theme in particular is inconsistant. Jerry Cornelius, Jerry Cornell and Jharek Carneliun are Champions, but Jaspar Colinadous and Jhary-a-Conel are Companions (indeed, Jhary is a companion to Corum Jhaelen Irsei, whose name is a Significant Anagram of ... Jeremiah Cornelius.)
- In Kim Stanley Robinson's novel The Years of Rice and Salt, the story follows three major characters who reincarnate many times over the course of many centuries. Each incarnation has the same initials.
- In Avalon High, Lancelot is reincarnated as Lance, Guenevere as Jennifer, Marco is Mordred and Mr Morton is Merlin. Exceptions are Will Wagner (Arthur) and Ellie herself (who isn't the Lady of Shallot).
Table Top Games
- In the Xena: Warrior Princess episode "The Xena Scrolls", Joxer's reincarnation is named Jacques Ser.
- In the Lois and Clark episode "Soul Mates", Clark is the reincarnation of Sir Charles, and Lois is the reincarnation of Lady Loisette and Lulu (Clark's Western secret identity doesn't get a name). The villain Tempus becomes Baron Tempos and Tempus Tex. Other Medieval/Western characters include Friar Harry/Reverend Percy (Perry); Squire Jeremy/Sheriff Jeremiah (Jimmy); and Jon and Marta/Jonas and Mary (Jonathan and Martha).
- In Freedom City, William Kantor is a bit of a Dr Hastor homage (in addition to being the Supreme Hydra), and his Egyptian incarnation was Tan-Aktor.
- Link and Zelda, who just plain have the same names every time.
- Ryu from the Breath of Fire series might be an example (being a member of a semi divine race). Recurring Love Interest Nina is more along the lines of Identical Grandson, since the second game sees her speaking with the ghost of the first at one point.
- It's not entirely clear what relationship Helen, Dave and Mell and Madblood in Narbonic have with the identically named characters in the Steam Punk setting The Astonishing Excursions of Helen Narbon & Co. At one point they're referred to as reincarnations, but that's by the ghost of Victorian Helen...