"Ignore when people say that the length of a game's title is not important, that a title should just convey what the game is about. They're just jealous theirs isn't as long."
— Atlus, in the newsletter email announcing the localization of Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abbadon
Many works of fiction are named using a "Title Colon Subtitle" template. For example, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney has this kind of title. Sometimes, however, the subtitle becomes an important part of the original work's identity, and when a sequel is made, a second subtitle is tacked on after the first (like the sequels Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulationsnote In the original game Phoenix Wright was originally meant to be the main title of the series, but they were forced to demote the Phoenix Wright portion as a sort of supertitle to Ace Attorney when they realized that the fourth would feature a new protagonist). When written out, this looks ridiculous, as you have to use a colon to indicate each separate subtitle. That's Colon Cancer; Electric Boogaloo carried way too far.
Some publishers try to avoid this by using a dash instead of one of the colons, while at times when a work (especially a movie) is exported, they feel the need to add this to give a more clear idea about the plot; this is called The Foreign Subtitle.
If it's a sequel, then it's Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo.
Star Wars video games are notorious for this, as are titles derived from The World of DarknessTabletop Games. Generally, most games from a non-game franchise will suffer from this.
A pun onthe medical disease of the same name.
TV Tropes: Colon Cancer: The Examples: The List:
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Colon Cancer: The Examples: Anime & Manga
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex has a second season titled Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Second Gig, as well as a sequel movie titled Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Solid State Society.
As does Super Robot Wars: Original Generation: The Inspector
Fist of the North Star has a series consisting of three movies and two OVAs released between 2006 and 2008 titled Shin Kyūseishu Densetsu: Hokuto no Ken, translated by the film's licensing distributor as Fist of the North Star: The Legends of the True Savior. Each installment uses that title along with its own subtitle, resulting in the following:
Shin Kyūseishu Densetsu: Hokuto no Ken: Raō Den: Jun'ai no Shō (Fist of the North Star: The Legends of the True Savior: Legend of Raoh: Chapter of Death in Love)
Shin Kyūseishu Densetsu: Hokuto no Ken: Yuria Den (Fist of the North Star: The Legends of the True Savior: Legend of Yuria)
Shin Kyūseishu Densetsu: Hokuto no Ken: Raō Den: Gekitō no Shō (Fist of the North Star: The Legends of the True Savior: Legend of Raoh: Chapter of Fierce Fight)
Shin Kyūseishu Densetsu: Hokuto no Ken: Toki Den (Fist of the North Star: The Legends of the True Savior: Legend of Toki)
Shin Kyūseishu Densetsu: Hokuto no Ken: Zero: Kenshirō Den (Fist of the North Star: The Legends of the True Savior: Zero: Legend of Kenshiro)
Giant Robo: The Animation: The Day the Earth Stood Still
From the late 30s of the dub of Yu-Gi-Oh 5Ds, the logo gets a subtitle that makes it read Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's: Earthbound Immortals: Unite to Duel (It's animated - "Earthbound Immortals" is under the logo at first, and a second later, it fades to read "Unite to Duel")
Gintama: The Movie: The Final Chapter: Be Forever Yorozuya parodies this.
Colon Cancer: The Examples: Comic Books
A number of Marvel ComicsMini Series featuring solo adventures for members of the X-Men have titles like X-Men: Phoenix: Warsong or X-Men: Kitty Pryde: Shadow and Flame.
Also from Marvel: Dark Reign: The List: Punisher or any of the other "List" one-shots.
Marvel's initial adaptations of Stephen King's Dark Tower series managed to keep to just one colon each, until they caught up to the first novel. The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger: The Journey Begins is, undoubtedly, only the beginning...
Maus: A Survivor's Tale I: My Father Bleeds History, and Maus: A Survivor's Tale II: And Here My Troubles Began, by Art Spiegelman.
The Star Wars Omnibus titles are running into this issue. Consider the first one released, which is Star Wars: Omnibus: X-Wing: Rogue Squadron: Volume 1.
This was due to Executive Meddling. Werner Herzog wanted to call the film Port of Call: New Orleans, but the producers wanted to call the film The Bad Lieutenant (they had purchased remake rights to the 1992 film Bad Lieutenant and wanted to make a franchise). Eventually they came to a compromise and combined both titles into one.
There is an obscure Italian softcore porn film with the convoluted title Intrigue: Dirty Love 2: The Love Games.
There was going to be a sequel to Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius, titled "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius 2: The Search for Carl" but it was scrapped.
Same with Hey Arnold!: The Movie 2: Jungle Movie but that (unfortunately) was scrapped.
The Parody of Sarah Palin's autobiography is called Going Rouge: Sarah Palin: An American Nightmare.
While books are usually immune to this trope, Star Wars novels seem to have it in spades The worst offenders are some of the New Jedi Order series, such as Star Wars: The New Jedi Order: Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream. Star Wars: Darth Bane: Path of Destruction: A Novel of the Old Republic also deserves a mention. Its sequel dropped the final colon.
This is par for the course in media tie-in fiction, as also evidenced in Star Trek novels, e.g. Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Q Continuum: Q-Strike, Star Trek: The Next Generation: Cold Equations: The Persistence of Memory (and there are many more.)
Doctor Who novels have mostly been free of this since BBC Books pared them down to just the series and book title but back in the early days of Virgin's original fiction we were treated to titles like Doctor Who: The New Adventures: Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible.
While every book in the Left Behind series has at least one colon, Assassins: Assignment: Jerusalem: Target: Antichrist takes the biscuit.
Every single book from the second series onward in Warrior Cats. Each book has the initial title Warriors, and two subtitles to indicate which specific series it belongs to, and the title of the book itself (for example: Warriors: The New Propehcy #3: Dawn, Warriors: Power of Three #2: Dark River, and Warriors: Omen of the Stars #1: The Fourth Apprentice).
Lincoln Alexander, a former Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, managed to cram two colons and a comma into the title of Go to School, You're a Little Black Boy: The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander: A Memoir.
In a nonfiction example, Kent M. Keith wrote Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments: Finding Personal Meaning in a Crazy World.
The 2010 biography Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century: Volume 1, 1907-1948: Learning Curve
As if his blindness weren't enough, adventurer Erik Weihenmayer contracted Colon Cancer in his autobiography, Touch the Top of the World: A Blind Man's Journey to Climb Farther than the Eye Can See: My Story.
Babylon 5's second Spin-Off only consisted of one movie, but since it was supposed to be a pilot episode as well, it had both an episode and a series title. As a result, it ended up being called Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers: To Live and Die in Starlight (though the third part is often left off).
When Freddy Krueger got his own show, simply calling it Freddy's Nightmares didn't do. No, this A Nightmare on Elm Street show, and people had to knew it! Thus its full name became Freddy's Nightmares: A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Series.
A fake Police Procedural series on Cartoon Network's [adult swim] is entitled "NTSF:SD:SUV::" which stands for "National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: Sport Utility Vehicle". (The last two colons are purely decorative.)
Colon Cancer: The Examples: Music
Coheed & Cambria's third and fourth albums are named Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV: Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness and Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV: Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow.
They have a song titled The Willing Well III: Apollo II: The Telling Truth.
Italian power metal band Domine's third album is called Stormbringer Ruler: The Legend of the Power Supreme, and closes with a track called Dawn of a New Day - A Celtic Requiem: The Chronicles of the Black Sword - The End of an Era part 4.
The sequels to the first Ace Attorney, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, also suffer from this: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations. This is due to the new main character, Apollo Justice, appearing in the fourth game in the series. They couldn't call the series Phoenix Wright anymore, as it had seemed to be for the first game, so they had to change the series name to Ace Attorney and relegate Phoenix's name to a "supertitle" above that. The fourth game, therefore, is just Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. The spin-off series Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth don't help at cleaning this mess.
The Japanese versions, however, avert this. They're simply called Gyakuten Saiban ("Turnabout Court"), Gyakuten Saiban 2 (JFA), Gyakuten Saiban 3 (T&T), Gyakuten Saiban 4 (AJ) and Gyakuten Kenji ("Turnabout Prosecutor"/Ace Attorney Investigations).
Command & Conquer: Red Alert: The Arsenal (compilation)
Command & Conquer: Red Alert: Retaliation (Play Station compilation)
Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun: Firestorm
Command & Conquer: Generals: Zero Hour
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: Uprising
Westwood wisely removed Red Alert 2 from the Yuri's Revenge title, averting this trope. EA would later replace Tiberium Wars with Kane's Wrath for the Command & Conquer 3 expansion pack, averting this trope once again.
The newest expansion to Final Fantasy XI is called "Final Fantasy XI: A Shantotto Ascension: The Legend Torn, Her Empire Born". And if you throw an "online" into that title, you might even get another colon. Ladies and Gentlemen, we might have winner!
Justified with the Progenitors: their colons seem to replace either the verb (e.g. "That amount: not enough.") or allow for a qualifier (e.g. "Courage: to Question", a base name). The Progenitors do Eloquent In My Native Tongue too, as seen in the text-based stuff that comes up when you meet certain criteria...
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja: Storm. It's even written with two colons on the spine of the jewel case. The direct sequel suffers similar problems, as it adds "Shippuden" and "2" to the title.
Similarly, the Playstation Portable game Naruto: Ultimate Ninja: Heroes 2: The Phantom Fortress also qualifies.
We're not sure how many colons are supposed to be in Mugen no Frontier: Super Robot Wars: OG Saga. Atlus has unhelpfully settled on Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier for a US title.
Here's one that managed to hide the colon cancer quite well, since most people only refer to it by it's second subtitle, out of THREE. Ogre Battle Saga: Episode VII: Tactics Ogre: Let us Cling Together
The first installment of the Street Fighter III series started out with the sensible title of Street Fighter III: New Generation, but then came its sequels, Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact: Giant Attack and Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike: Fight for the Future. Most of the times though, the "2nd Impact" and "3rd Strike" portions of each title are actually spelled out as part of the main title following the main "Street Fighter III" portion, and other times they're treated as subtitles and spelled out as "Second Impact" and "Third Strike", leaving out the second subtitles.
Upon its 2009 remake, the game SaGa 2: Hihou Densetsu (better known as Final Fantasy Legend II here in the States) gained a new subtitle to make its official name SaGa 2: Hihou Densetsu: Goddess of Destiny.
The first game of the FreeSpace series was given the awkward title Descent: FreeSpace: The Great War to avoid confusion with the hard drive compression utility Freespace. The sequel averts this, being named simply FreeSpace 2.
AMV Hell is a series of short pieces of popular Anime with accompanying music for comic effect. The third one was feature length, and called AMV Hell III: The Motion Picture. When the fourth one was also feature length, they decided to call it AMV Hell III: The Motion Picture II: AMV Hell IV: The Last One.
Amusingly enough, it technically was not "the last one", as they released the contest-based "AMV Hell: Championship Edition", the pornographic "AMV Hell: Divided by 0", a sequel to the equally pornographic "AMV Hell 0," and several relatively short collections of "AMV Minis."
Tentatively planned for a September 2010 release is "AMV Hell 3: The Motion Picture III: AMV Hell 5: Yo
The American Dad! episode title, "National Treasure 4: Baby Franny: She's Doing Well: The Hole Story''.
Colon Cancer: The Examples: Other
Most students who have quoted other works in an academic paper have undoubtedly come across this phenomenon, since many methods for citation require putting the author's name in front of the quoted work's title, with a colon in between. If the work title itself has a colon, then you have instant colon cancer.
Smithee, Alan J.: Tropes, Idioms, and Cliches: Essays on a Certain Addictive Website (Troperville, 2008).
Cyclopaedia, or, An Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences: Containing the Definitions of the Terms, and Accounts of the Things Signify'd Thereby, in the Several Arts, both Liberal and Mechanical, and the Several Sciences, Human and Divine: the Figures, Kinds, Properties, Productions, Preparations, and Uses, of Things Natural and Artificial; the Rise, Progress, and State of Things Ecclesiastical, Civil, Military, and Commercial: with the Several Systems, Sects, Opinions, etc; among Philosophers, Divines, Mathematicians, Physicians, Antiquaries, Criticks, etc.: The Whole Intended as a Course of Ancient and Modern Learning.
Pretty much any Exalted Second Edition supplement. Example: The Books of Sorcery, Vol. IV: The Roll of Glorious Divinity I: Gods & Elementals
The C++ programming language uses a double-colon to denote levels of scope. It's entirely possible to have lines of code that look like "MyNamespace::MyClass::SomeFunction(MyOtherNamespace::MyOtherClass::SomeConstant);".
This is especially common with code that uses the standard template library. The cancer can grow so deep that some compilers just give up.
Since the Digimon Tamers fandom has always had a running gag of making up fictional Digimon games (for those who don't know, Tamers treats an unspecified version of the franchise as a Show Within a Show), several authors have come up with and made reference to Digimon Explorers: Heroes Of The Space Time Continuum, Part Sixteen: The Brave New Digital World: The Attack of The Seventy Foot Kunemon From Beyond The Stars.
Aaaand make that a flock of Digimon Explorer / Digimon World/miscellaneous other Digimon spin offs, some fake and some made long by adding on random words. For instance, Digimon World 2 was referenced as Digimon World Two: An Old New World: Heroes Divided in one fanfic and Digimon World got referenced in another as The Start Of Digimon: The Tale Of The First Digidestined, which was hinted to have an even longer title in the Japanese release. We're a very messed up fandom.