Created By: DaibhidC on August 19, 2011 Last Edited By: morenohijazo on November 26, 2011

Reincarnation Theme Naming

You can tell he\\\'s another incarnation of the same character, because he\\\'s got a similar name.

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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

Comic Books
  • 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).

Live-Action TV
  • In the Xena: Warrior Princess episode "The Xena Scrolls", Joxer's reincarnation is named Jacques Ser.
  • In the Lois & 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).

Tabletop Games
  • 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.

Video Games
  • 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.

Web Comics
  • 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...
Community Feedback Replies: 24
  • August 19, 2011
    I don't think we have it, but it's very tropable.
  • August 19, 2011
    Definatly tropable.

    • 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.
  • August 19, 2011
    Isn't it Jenny Quantum?
  • August 19, 2011
    In DBZ, you have Buu and Uubuu.
  • August 19, 2011
    @King Zeal: It was originally, then they changed it.
  • August 20, 2011
    Doctor Who: The Master in most of his incarnations.
  • August 20, 2011
    • It's actually more complicated with Jenny Sparx - every incarnation of Spirit Of The Century was named after most driving force in that century. We have Jenny Stone, Jenny Fire, Jenny Plague, Jenny Crusade, Jenny Steam, Jenny Revolution, Jenny Inquisition, Jenny Sparx and Jenny Quantum (who later changed her name to Jenny Quarx).

    • Spoilerific example from Devilman Lady - Jun Fudou, titular Devilman Lady is really reincarnation of Akira Fudou, main character of Devilman and Ran Asuka is reincarnation of his friend, Ryo Asuka.
  • August 20, 2011
    In Redwall, Matthias is implied to be Martin the Warrior (a hero of legend) reincarnated. Along with their names starting with M, both of their love interests were named after flowers (Rose for Martin, Cornflower for Matthias). Also, Cornflower is likely to be a descendant of Martin's best friend, Gonff.
  • August 20, 2011
    The Master is not an example. Time Lords just have their bodies instantly reform. That's all.
  • August 20, 2011
    Hm. Any comic book fans know how Marvel's series 1602 works in regard to this trope?
  • August 20, 2011
    Dub only but Salior Moon Serena Serenity
  • August 20, 2011
    ^^ I think it's more a sister trope. Alternate universe characters having the same name.
  • August 20, 2011
    In the [[Transformers]] metaseries, each time Megatron has died and new writers revive him, he tends to take the similar name Galvatron, sometimes in a brand-new body and sometimes as a Palette Swap of his prior form.
  • August 20, 2011
    Would the Edmund Blackadders and Sod-Off Baldricks from Blackadder count? Or not, since they're the same names?
  • August 20, 2011
    ^The Christmas special did have Ebeneezer Blackadder, and the Roman Centurion Blackaddicus appeared in Back & Forth, so it probably does.

  • August 21, 2011
    Tabletop Game example:
    • Paranoia gives each player 6 clones, each one is [Player Name]+[#].
  • August 21, 2011
    jheen: The characters in 1602 mostly have the actual same names; some of them are spelt a bit differently, but that's all.
  • November 17, 2011
  • November 17, 2011
    Be careful with the Avalon High example, since they changed the identities in the TV movie (incidentally, I immediately spotted who Arthur was in the movie solely on the basis of the name)
  • November 17, 2011
  • November 17, 2011
    Isn't this Legacy Character? or atleast related to it
  • November 18, 2011
    No, a Legacy Character is when an unrelated character renames himself after a retired or dead one to continue their business.
  • November 18, 2011
    {{Yu-Gi-Oh!}}? Let's see, there's High Priests Seto (Kaiba), Isis (Ishizu), Kalim (Malik backwards), Shada (Shadi), the Pharaoh (this one's rather obvious), Bakura, Siamun (Sugoroku Mutoh), et cetera. All of them have the exact same appearance as their future selves.
  • November 26, 2011
    Dunno if it counts, but in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vi Vid, Einhalt Stratos introduces herself to the story as "Heidi Ingvalt", after her ancestor Claus Ingvalt, a legendary ruler of a past age. While never referred as his reincarnation, Einhalt/Heidi does have most of his memories and powers passed down to her genetically.