OW, MY COLON!
"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."
"I'm so sick of the endless colon-ization of new games that feel like they're too special to make do with one title! It's so mindbogglingly self-important it makes me want to spit!"
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
). When written out, this looks ridiculous, as you have to use a colon to indicate each separate subtitle. That's Colon Cancer
; Electric Boogaloo
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
video games are notorious for this, as are titles derived from The World of Darkness Tabletop Games
. Generally, most games from a non-game franchise will suffer from this.
A pun on the medical disease of the same name.
TV Tropes: Colon Cancer: The Examples: The List:
open/close all folders
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.
- Every Japanese name for the Pokémon movies, once the seasons started getting subtitles. Example: Pocket Monsters Advanced Generation the Movie: The Pokémon Ranger and the Prince of the Sea: Manaphy. That's three subtitles. Only two colons though, luckily.
- Super Robot Wars: OriginalGeneration: Divine Wars, though no one seems sure whether both colons are necessary. The OVA Super Robot Wars: Original Generation: The Animation also qualifies.
- 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.
- A number of Marvel Comics Mini 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.
- The Anita Blake Comic Book Adaptation combines a big pile of this trope with some In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It on top: Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse: Book Two: Necromancer #1. 
- 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.
- Star Wars: X-wing: Rogue Squadron: Battleground: Tatooine. Yes, really.
- Star Wars: Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil: A Novel of the Old Republic
- Star Trek: The Next Generation: Operation: Assimilation
- Spider-Man: Fearful Symmetry: Kraven's Last Hunt
- The full title seen on every edition of Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth is actually Batman: Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, though it's rarely referred to as such, presumably for convenience.
Films — Animation
- The soundtrack for The Movie of Aqua Teen Hunger Force was titled Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters Colon The Soundtrack. (Yes, they used the word instead of the punctuation mark.)
- 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.
- Walmart's online listing for Recess: School's Out lists it as Recess: The Movie: School's Out.
- DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp. The poster implies the title is actually spelled as Duck Tales: The Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp, but most people prefer the alternate for obvious reasons.
- My Little Pony Equestria Girls
- The novelization of the original Equestria Girls counts: My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: Through the Mirror.
- My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks and the novelization: My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks: The Mane Event (because just Rainbow Rocks was already used in another book). Examiner.com calls it "[an] overuse of colons in its title that rivals 'Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja: Storm: Revolution'."
Films — Live-Action
- Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns: A Movie About They Might Be Giants
- Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. IMDB seems to think they may have removed the first colon, but since the first movie was Lara Croft: Tomb Raider...
- There's a Christian documentary about Harry Potter titled Harry Potter: Witchcraft Repackaged: Making Evil Look Innocent.
- Another documentary: Peace Is Every Step: Meditation in Action: The Life and Work of Thich Nhat Hanh.
- Kamen Rider Double's second movie, Kamen Rider Double Forever: A to Z: The Gaia Memories of Fate.
- Bad Lieutenant Port Of Call New Orleans. 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.
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith has a viral bootleg version called Star War: The Third Gathers: The Backstroke of the West.
- The Avengers: Infinity War duology has the titles Avengers: Infinity War: Part I and Avengers: Infinity War: Part II.
- 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.
- Another Tie-In Novel example would be Heroes: Saving Charlie: A Novel. Because readers wouldn't know a novel from toilet paper without having it spelled out for them.
- Book based on the World of Warcraft MMO lore, World of Warcraft: Arthas: Rise of the Lich King.
- Also World of Warcraft: Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, World Of Warcraft: Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, and World of Warcraft: Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde.
- Justin Bieber's official biography, Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever: My Story.
- For some reason, almost every book plugged on The Daily Show (or The Colbert Report) has a subtitle, but only one to date has had two. America: Our Next Chapter: Tough Questions, Straight Answers.
- Parodied in The Colbert Report with Stephen's terrible vanity-published novel Alpha Squad 7: Lady Nocturne: A Tek Jansen Adventure.
- Older Than Radio: Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "Kubla Khan" has the seldom-used full title "Kubla Khan; or, A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment".
- While every book in the Left Behind series has at least one colon, Assassins: Assignment: Jerusalem, Target: Antichrist packs a whopping three colons into one title without irony.
- 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 Prophecy #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.
- I Am Number Four has a series of (important) supplemental e-novellas called "The Lost Files." The first title in this series, which sets the insanely high bar for story title-age everywhere, is I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: Six's Legacy. The rest of them (Nine's Legacy, The Fallen Legacies) follow this trend.
- Strength & Justice has two books with colons already in their individual titles, so it's written out as Strength & Justice: Side: Strength and Strength & Justice: Side: Justice in full.
- The tie-in lorebooks to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and The Elder Scrolls Online. The first volume in each, respectively, are The Elder Scrolls Online: Tales of Tamriel - Vol. I: The Land and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - The Skyrim Library, Vol 1: The Histories.
Live Action TV
- 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.)
- 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.
- Videogame: The Movie: The Game: The Cover Album.
- Compost Ambient Selection: Sleeping Beauty: Compost Relax Works: Compiled By Minus 8
- 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.
- Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded: The Re-Up.
- The seventh entry in Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series: The Bootleg Series Vol. 7: No Direction Home: The Soundtrack.
- 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."
- Toned down with AMV Hell V: Dedicated to Dio and AMV Hell 6.66: This Is (Not) The End.
- The e-novel EHUD Prelude To Apocalypse was recently revealed to be short for American Inheritance: Trilogy I: Tales of the E.H.U.D.s: Book I: E.H.U.D.: Prelude to Apocalypse.
- Team Fourstar's dub of Dragonball Z: Return of Cooler received the title TFS Movie: Cooler 2: The Return of Cooler's Revenge - The Reckoning.
- Anazon.Com's original Web Series Alpha House has a gaffer who intentionally dropped a light during Sen. Guzman's rebuttal to one of Obama's speeches, because he was told to do it. He was subsequently fired by Guzman's chief of staff, leading to what is known as "Gaffergate". When asked on an interview whom it was, he says he can't say, but it goes high up in the campaign, and is revealed in his book A Thousand Watts in Your Face, Bitch: Gaffing the Truth: Why Things Got Like This. He even pronounces the colons. It's got them so you know it's important.
- 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.
- Parodied to great effect in the fanfic "Michael Bay Presents: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: Revenge of the Unicorn God Slayer, Part 1: The Horn of Destiny".
- There's a new one from the Valiant Universe role-playing game. "Valiant Universe RPG: Harbinger Wars: Generation Zero"
- Spoofed as a ridiculously long example in the Real Trailer, Fake Movie, The Mother of All Trailers: Full Throttle: The Last Stand: The Legend of Curly's Gold: Part 1
- Also spoofed on Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends where Bloo writes a movie for a film project, calling it T-Rexatron Alienwolf 3: A Prequel In Time: The Unrelenting.
- 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.
- Parodied in Avatar TV Episode 2 with "Blue Spirit 2: Return of the Revenge: With a Vengeance".
- Also parodied on Saturday Night Live with the Real Trailer Fake Lifetime Movie of the Week Hello, Stepson, Now Let's Go to Bed: I Went to Bed with My Stepson: The Lara Bengal Covington Story.
- In Parks and Recreation, Joan Callamezzo, a Small Name, Big Ego local Pawnee television host, wrote a tell-all memoir after going off the deep end called Genius A'Flame: Joan Callamezzo: A Portrait in Words: Game of Joans.