"And there's the cane from Citizen Kane. Wait, there was no cane in Citizen Kane." noteSometimes, a title makes no sense. Sometimes, however, a title will make a sort of sense, but on later ponderings, will be seen as misleading. Sometimes this is due to the title being an Artifact Title or perhaps the writer simply thought it was a cooler name. Also sometimes leads to instances of I Am Not Shazam. Compare Completely Different Title. Contrast Exactly What It Says on the Tin. By definition, all examples of "Untitled" Title have inaccurate titles. See also Deceptively Silly Title and Sarcastic Title. Subverted by Spoiler Title, which is so accurate that it manages to give away important plot points.
— Lisa, The Simpsons, "Guess Who's Coming to Criticize Dinner?"
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Anime and Manga
- No one in Grenadier actually uses any grenades.
- The first two InuYasha movie titles, Affections Touching Across Time and Castle Beyond the Looking Glass, are rather deceptive. Both of those things have a very small role in the movies. This is quite a contrast to most tv episodes, where the plots are often spelled out quite literally in the title. For example, episode 36 is titled "Kagome gets Kidnapped by a Wolf Demon".
- Fist of the North Star ostensibly refers to the main character, but Kenshiro's martial art is actually named for the Big Dipper, and official sources tend to leave the Japanese name for it ("Hokuto") untranslated. The Big Dipper is a constellation often used to locate Polaris, the North Star, but the star is not a part of the constellation itself (it's in the Little Dipper). A more literal translation of the Japanese title, Hokuto no Ken, would be "Fist of the Big Dipper", but that doesn't sound nearly as cool. "Ken the Great Bear Fist", the localized title suggested by Toei's International Sales & Promotion Department (source), is a bit closer - Ursa Major or the "Great Bear" is another name for the Big Dipper - but also doesn't sound all that great.
- This can happen when an author does not know as much English as they think they do and decides to append an official English version of their work's original English title. For example, one would think that something called Stella Women's Academy, High School Division Class C3 would be about the members of a particular class, right? Nope! It turns out to be about a club of girls who are of disparate ages and none of whom (as far as we know) are in the same class as one another. The original Japanese title, Tokurei Sochi Dantai Stella Jogakuin Koutouka C 3 Bu more accurately translates as Preferential Measure Organization Stella Women's Academy, High School Division, C3 Club.
- There is a Ranma ½ episode titled "Ranma and Kuno's... First Kiss." Be thankful that you really can never trust a title.
- Though the titles do make some sense in context, ...Virgin Love and its sequel ...Junai No Seinen (The Young Person's Pure Love) do not do a very good job indicating how smutty the works are.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion's episode 24 is titled "Saigo no Shisha". Usually translated as "The Final Messenger", it also means "The Final Casualty". While Kaworu's is chronologically the last character death in the original series, End of Evangelion is thought to be occurring at the same time as episodes 25 and 26 and includes multiple on-screen deaths.
- How I Became a Pokémon Card does not relate to becoming cards in any way. It's a bunch of Slice of Life one-shots, and the name comes from the manga being drawn by people who draw the Pokémon cards and the fact each chapter comes with a Pokémon card.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Movie 1st The Comics is not a prequel to the Movie, but an Alternate Continuity.
- There's a manga entitled Yandere Kanojo, which you would expect to be about dating a lovesick girl, especially due to its female lead's first appearance carrying a bloody baseball bat. Not so, as the "yan" in the title is for "yankee" - his girlfriend is a deredere juvenile delinquent. The female lead's mother, on the other hand...
- The fourth Black Jack OVA is called Anorexia: The Two Dark Doctors. The patient does not have anorexia. She has a parasite that makes her involuntarily vomit whenever she eats.
- The Japanese title of the fourth Dragon Ball movie is "Super Saiyajin da Son Gokū" (Super Saiyajin/Saiyan Goku), during which Goku takes a form that was supposed to be a Super Saiyan, but since it was made before the manga reached the point where Goku became one, it's not what most people would recognize as such (there's no change in eye or hair color, and it's a completely Unstoppable Rage instead of Tranquil Fury). The form was later ret conned by a sidebook to be a "false" Super Saiyan form.
- Haruhi Suzumiya: The "Endless Eight" story arc does, in fact, end. Also, the "eight" refers to the loop taking place in August, not the number of repetitions, which is more like fifteen thousand. (The anime confuses this further by showing eight repetitions, one episode each. We only see the final one in the light novel.)
- "The Midnight Parasites" is an animated re-imagining of the works of Hieronymus Bosch. Only two of the creatures seen are portrayed as parasites (specifically, reproductive parasitoids), and there's no indication it takes place at midnight.
- School Rumble is described by Funimation as "The absolute funniest show you'll ever see that's not about anything that rumbles... ever!", although admittedly there is at least a school...
- Total number of "Crazy Shrine Maidens" in 'Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens: 0. The closest thing is Nagi claiming to be a shrine maiden as her cover story. (We eventually meet a real one in the manga, but she's a minor character and not crazy.)
- Drifting Classroom is about a whole school, and it doesn't drift — it makes one big jump and then stays put.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
- The name makes it pretty clear that it's about a magical girl named Madoka. Except... Madoka does not become a magical girl until the last episode, and even then it's hard to call her a magical girl because she turns into an abstract godlike concept. However, before this happens we do find out that Homura originated from a timeline in which Madoka did become a magical girl earlier on, meaning that Madoka becoming a magical girl did start the plot in a way.
- The other problem is the "Puella Magi" part, which sounds like a rebranding of "Magical Girl," but the Gratuitous Latin term never appears in-universe—it's only in the title. It does appear once in the sequel movie, as part of the name of a group of magical girls, but neither Madoka nor anyone else is ever referred to as a "Puella Magi."
- Surprisingly few characters are actually killed in Kill la Kill (unless you count all the cannon fodder that goes flying at every explosion). Most battles are resolved non-lethally with Seni-Soshitsu. This is actually a pun, because in Japanese the "kill" in the title is written and pronounced like "kiru," a verb meaning "to wear [clothes]."
- There is a horror manga called Anorexia: Shikabane Hanako wa Kyoshokushou. It has nothing to do with anorexia. It's about cannibalism.
- The Sands of Destruction anime is subtitled Sekai Bokumetsu Rokunin, "The Six People Who are Going to Destroy the World". Well, two of those six are actively working to save the world, and another three don't want to destroy the world; they're just stuck with the one girl who does. But even this one girl spends precious little of her screen time actually trying to destroy the world or figure out how to use the device she believes will do it for her. And the world isn't destroyed in the end, either - even she decides it's not such a bad place after all.
- Alan Moore's The Complete Ballad of Halo Jones is actually incomplete. Moore left 2000AD before finishing it.
- The title of Watchmen refers to the graffiti, and philosophical question "Who watches the watchmen", not a group of superheroes.
- This does not, however, prevent the fans from calling them the Watchmen. The movie even changes the name of the Crimebusters to reflect it.
- BIONICLE comic 25: Birth of the Rahaga is an apt description of the comic's story. The alternative title on its cover, The Final Battle, not really. Unless one means that it's the final battle between these specific characters over this specific artifact. It's also a flashback, which makes the title more bogus.
- DIGIMON 3: PREDATOR VS DIGIMON: The Predator isn't the villain; in fact, Digimon has to help him with his dilemma. The actual villains are the FBI. Of course, what did you expect with legendary Troll Fic author Peter Chimaera?
- Cupcakes. This My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic is not about making cupcakes! Well... not just about making cupcakes.
- In The Prayer Warriors, Chapter 10 of The Evil Gods Part 2 is called "Piper and Jerry goes to Washington DC to Find out Who the Tractor is and Defeat them Once and for All so they would not terrorized by them ever again for as long as God allows Time to go on For." The only thing that actually happens is the Prayer Warriors going to Washing Dick - I mean, Washington D.C.
- The first chapter of Swimming In Terror is called "Island and Kuma." Monokuma first shows up in the next chapter.
- Robb Returns. While Robb's return does provide the impetus of the story, the major storylines have focused on the North, and eventually all of Westeros, preparing for the imminent invasion of the Others.
- The movie Three Kings actually has four main characters.
- At least half of The Pink Panther movies don't involve the Pink Panther jewel. It's an Artifact Title. And don't expect to see the character The Pink Panther past the intro credits.
- The Thin Man movies have an Artifact Title. The thin man of the original movie referred to the murder victim, not the main character. The third film is called Another Thin Man for no reason, setting the precedent for the rest of the series.
- Kangaroo Jack is very much a supporting character in the roo's own movie. And it doesn't talk aside from a brief hallucination.
- The movie Hearts in Atlantis. This is due, however, to it being an Artifact Title from the novella: the original novella was called "Low Men in Yellow Coats" and "Hearts in Atlantis" was an entirely different story (called so because the main character — avoiding going to Vietnam by being in college and thus it feeling like Atlantis — played the card game Hearts a lot (It Makes Sense in Context)). The movie makes no attempt at explaining the title. Other for it being, you know, a movie adaption of (a part of) the book Hearts in Atlantis... Brautigan refers to the sunken continent at some point in the dialogue, but that still doesn't make explicit the "hearts" part.
- The Last King of Scotland is actually about the Last Dictator of Uganda (and the viewpoint character is a Scottish doctor). Idi Amin did claim to be the King of Scotland among his many other self-applied titles.
- TRON isn't really about Tron, but more about Flynn. TRON: Legacy even moreso.
- Monster a-Go Go has a monster (sorta), but he doesn't dance - nor does Go-go dancing figure into the threadbare plot it has.
- The Ref. The title implies something sports-related, and the holiday setting suggests something happy, but the movie is about as black a comedy as one will find from mainstream Hollywood. The eponymous character is a cat burglar who kidnaps a horribly dysfunctional couple in an attempt to evade a manhunt, and winds up having to "referee" their bickering while he plots his escape. In retrospect, the title fits, but a first-time viewer would have no idea what to expect.
- The Grapes of Death. Awesome title, but the grapes themselves don't kill anybody. Farm chemicals applied to the grapes cause people to go berserk.
- My Life as a Dog isn't a human-canine body swap comedy, but rather a Swedish coming of age dramedy. The closest it gets to literalising the title is when the main character has a breakdown and pretends to be a dog.
- A Time for Drunken Horses is a notable aversion. You'd swear it was a metaphor, but it really does have drunken horses.
- The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies is not a campy, counter-culture romp that the title implies. It's a straightforward horror-ish film. The zombies are actually of the traditional "hypnotized" variety and not the undead variety, so they don't "stop living" when they become zombies.
- In Across The Pacific, the Pacific is never seen, let alone crossed. The original plot was supposed to involve a Japanese plot to bomb Pearl Harbor. When the real-life Pearl Harbor bombing occurred, the plot was hurriedly rewritten to be about an attack on Panama, but the title was not changed.
- All Monsters Attack's American name is Godzilla's Revenge. Godzilla doesn't really get revenge on anyone in the film.
- Blue Monkey is about a black bug.
- Max Headroom: 20 Minutes into the Future is not about time travel. "20 Minutes into the Future" is refers to the setting of the film: the dystopian near future. The phrase isn't used anywhere in the telefilm, but it does appear as a title card in each episode of the series. The telefilm was released on video with the more straightforward title The Max Headroom Story, but no one bothered to change the title screen.
- Invisible Ghost (1941) does not have a ghost in it, nor is anyone or anything invisible.
- Half of the 1963 Disney film Summer Magic, starring Hayley Mills, actually takes places in Autumn with the film's ending taking place at a Halloween party.
- Sorcerer has nothing to do with magicians or even anything supernatural. Instead, it's about a group of men who ship truckloads of nitroglycerin. Sorcerer is the name of one of these trucks.
- Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993) is not a sequel to Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974), mainly due to the fact that the films are in two different continuities. The Mechagodzilla in the 1993 movie, therefore, is usually named "Mechagodzilla 2".
- Abduction has no kidnappings whatsoever.
- The Princess and the Frog: Considering the movie takes place in America, the eponymous "Princess" isn't actually a princess, she's just a waitress who gets mistaken for one. The "Frog" is the one who's of royal descent, and the protagonist only becomes a princess after marrying him at the end.
- In the Disney film Tangled, Rapunzel's magic hair never gets tangled, in spite of the many things it is brushed over, tied to, etc.note
- Santa Claus and the Ice Cream Bunny is a perfect example of this trope. Both of the titular characters barely get any screen time in the entire film, plus the Ice Cream Bunny has nothing to do with ice cream!
- Batman Forever is supposed to be a Batman film, but Batman doesn't get much screen time in the film; a majority of it is focused on the Riddler.
- The two old ladies in Rabid Grannies are neither Rabid or Grannies....
- Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are both misleading about their actual central characters. Wonka has a major presence in the former film but Charlie's character arc is ultimately more important to the plot, whereas the latter film focuses on and develops Wonka much more than Charlie.
- Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland is misleading in that it isn't a retelling of the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but rather a sequel (of sorts), depicting Alice as a young adult, and mixing elements of Through the Looking-Glass and what Alice found there. Ditto the sequel film Alice Through the Looking-Glass.
- Some of the later Animorphs books got really bad about this. Titles like The Suspicion (where nothing is suspicious), The Prophecy (which features no prophecy), and The Hidden (which features a bizarre morphing buffalo that is definitely not hidden) come to mind. Strangely, these are all books from Cassie's point of view. Make of that what you will.
- While Everybody Loves Large Chests does have boobs in it, those are not the chests that the author is refering too.
- The Three Musketeers is actually about the fourth musketeer who meets and joins the original three. While the main characters are members of the historical "musketeers," the plot focuses on their private dueling and brawling with swords rather than their wartime fighting with muskets.
- The Neverending Story ends. Well, the book has a bunch of subplots left with no ending, apparently to inspire children to become writers by actually encouraging them to write their own fanfiction. It's very meta.
- Max Havelaar, of de koffiveilingen der Nederlandsche Handelsmaatschappy. The subtitle means 'or the coffee auctions of the Dutch Trading Company', but neither the company nor its auctions are mentioned anywhere in the book. Multatuli did this deliberately to get as many people as possible - particularly those interested in the coffee trade - to read his Author Tract.
- Blackadder: The Whole Damn Dynasty: a book containing scripts of the series, does not cover the whole dynasty. It doesn't contain The Cavalier Years and Blackadder's Christmas Carol (and was released before Back & Forth).
- Perdido Street Station has almost nothing to do with the eponymous station, beyond a scene in the climax. On the other hand it's hard to find a title that would fit with a book like that.
- Neil Gaiman's short story "Other People" has only one character.
- In a similar vein, in Agatha Christie's short story "The Four Suspects", the killer turns out to be a fifth character not counted among the so-called suspects.
- "The Six Suspects," the original title of one of Isaac Asimov's Black Widowers stories. The killer is not among the eponymous suspects. In its book publication, the story was renamed "Out of Sight".
- The Goblet of Fire has a relatively brief appearance in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and merely serves to trigger the events of the book, after which it's pretty much never seen or mentioned again. "....and the Triwizard Tournament" would've been significantly more descriptive.
- A Clockwork Orange is a Word Salad Title that only makes sense in a variety of metaphorical senses, depending on which of the conflicting stories that Burgess has given to explain it that you believe. Suffice it to say that there are no literal clockwork oranges in the story.
- Burnt Offerings has no offerings, burnt or otherwise.
- The Decline of the West is a non-fiction book by German philosopher Oswald Spengler which inspired many people to grief about the coming end of civilization. Spengler wasn't completely happy with the title (which seemed to imply that the western world had to fall, like the Roman empire) and commented that he could've changed the title to "The fulfillment of the West", which would be closer to his intention - i.e. the west transforming to a stable but stagnant empire in the end. The fact that many fans only knew the title and didn't care to actually read the book didn't help.
- BIONICLE Chronicles #3: Makuta's Revenge. Makuta's sole presence are two short monologues at the beginning and around the middle, and the rest of the story doesn't concern him, nor is he responsible for releasing the enemies, the six Bohrok-Kal. Their awakening was actually an automatic response to the heroes' victory over the regular Bohrok swarms and the Bahrag queens, from the previous book. Now, Makuta did release those, so technically he's indirectly responsible for unleashing the Kal as well, but the title's still a stretch. Later story material then Ret-Conned out the "revenge" part, too.
- Chronicles #4: Tales of the Masks, bearing the subtitle A New Quest..., makes it seem like it's about the Toa Nuva (featured on the cover) reenacting the tedious mask-collecting from the first book, but with new masks. The real focus is on exploring the relationships between the Toa and Turaga priests, through the Framing Story of the six Turaga reciting the tales of the mask-hunt, which is of lesser importance overall.
- The third and final installment of The Mysterious Benedict Society has the title The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma. The Prisoner's Dilemma is only featured at the beginning of the book and has nothing to do with the overall plot of the story.
- The Completely Different Title of the German translation of X-Wing: Rogue Squadron is X-Wing: Angriff auf Coruscant, i.e. "assault on Coruscant". However, the novel is merely about the beginnings of the New Republic campaign to eventually take over Coruscant – the actual assault on Coruscant itself doesn't happen until later.
- Warrior Cats usually averts this, generally having titles that are either vaguely ominous (Dark River, Forest of Secrets) or Mad Lib Fantasy Titles (Bluestar's Prophecy, The Last Hope). However, in Cloudstar's Journey, there is no literal journey. Not really odd unless you know about the character: he was famous for taking his entire group of cats away from their home and journeying for days to find a new one. You'd think the novella would be about that. You'd think...
- One Fine Day is a children's book with a very misleading title. While that is the opening line of the book, the entire story is actually a depressing story about a fox who gets his tail cut off and goes out of his way on a frustrating journey just so he can get it sewn back on. There is certainly nothing fine about this fox's day at all!
- One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish may be the opening line of the book, and the first few pages may be about fish, but the rest of the book has nothing to do with fish at all. The title of the book should have been "Funny Things Are Everywhere", since that is the recurring theme of the book.
- The second omnibus of The Spirit Thief novels is titled Revenge of Eli Monpress, and while there is some revenging going on, Eli's not the one doing it.
- 24 Hours in A&E: This show technically stays within the premise that all the events of an episode occur within 24 hours... but few, if any, episodes actually cover that long a period - most just follow a single day or night shift.
- Doctor Who:
- The episode "The Next Doctor" centres around a man who seems to be a future incarnation of the Doctor. It turns out his brain was scrambled my a Cyberman cartridge carrying information about the Doctor.
- The episode "Let's Kill Hitler," in which the Nazis and the genocidal dictator himself have little to no influence on the real plot. They either wasted a perfectly good plot or plotted a perfectly good waste, depending on your perspective.
- "The Doctor Dances" could be seen as this. While the Doctor does dance in it, it has nothing to do with the central plot of gas-mask zombies in Blitz-era London.
- "The Bells of St John" which is just a joke about the phone incorporated into the TARDIS that has the "St John Ambulance" logo but it's not a plot point.
- The Honeymooners: Both of the main couples have been married for a significant period, so no honeymoons are depicted.
- The Big Bang Theory is mainly about the social misadventures of three socially-awkward scientists and one not-scientist. The titular theory may be mentioned occasionally in passing, but it's hardly the focus of the show.
- iCarly: The episode "iCarly Saves TV". They don't save television, the gang gets the opportunity to turn iCarly into a TV show, it gets massive Executive Meddling and they give up and go back to the Internet.
- Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger: In some markets, this show was localized as Galaxy Rangers, even though the only characters who are outside the Earth are the main villains.
- Power Rangers Samurai: The first episode aired is titled "The Team Unites". Yet there is no uniting, at least not in a Recruit Teenagers with Attitude sense. The Rangers already have their powers, and the episode is primarily focused on the Green Samurai Ranger, Mike, who technically could be said to "rejoin" the team in the latter part of the episode. It's all but confirmed that it was supposed to be Episode 3, and the true "first episodes" of Samurai came in the form of Origins Episodes mid-season.
- Revolution: "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia". The title implies we'll see events during the Blackout, but the episode proves to be anything but.
- Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis: Beyond the first few seasons, these shows would often go entire episodes without mentioning or showing a Stargate.
- Taggart: Since the death of actor Mark McManus, this show hasn't had Taggart.
- Played for Laughs in the Netflix reboot of Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode featuring Avalanche. Kinga develops a device called the "Don La Font-aine 3000", which converts phrases into genre logos and they don't match at all. I Wanna Do One is done up in a style meaning for a "Ladies-weepy" movie, A Lighthearted Neil Simon Project is done up in the style of a "balls-to-the-wall action flick" and Okay, We Get It is apparently the next Star Wars title!
- The first song on Twelfth Night's self-titled album is entitled "Last Song."
- A Flock of Seagulls' "The End" is the next-to-the-last track on The Story Of A Young Heart.
- "Sympathy For The Devil" really doesn't portray him very sympathetically at all.
- Intestinal Disgorge's "I'm Going To Fuck Your Kid." They even acknowledge this partway through:
This song has nothing to do with fucking kids, by the way...
- The song called Long Happy Life by Soviet-Russian Punk Rock singer Yegor Letov describes (in a very bizarre way) his And I Must Scream state of anhedonia, depression and anguish during abstinent syndrome after numerous alcohol and drug overdoses.
- Throbbing Gristle's 20 Jazz Funk Greats. The genre is way off and the number of songs falls short by 9. If you include the bonus tracks on the latest reissue, it overshoots by 2.
- Ween's 12 Golden Country Greats. Unlike the Throbbing Gristle example, the songs really do belong to the indicated genre; however, there are only ten of them.
- The inaccuracy of the title of "Weird Al" Yankovic's "This Song Is Just Six Words Long" is self-evident.
- The title seems slightly more accurate when read as "This Song's Just Six Words Long", but the lyrics still have a lot more than six words in them.
- Invoked by original Beatles drummer, Pete Best, who infamously named his first album Best of the Beatles, confusing fans of The Beatles expecting a Greatest Hits Album.
- "Jack the Ripper" by Nick Cave is (unlike a huge amount of his songs) not a Murder Ballad. It actually has nothing to do with the historical serial killer.
- Jazz from Hell by Frank Zappa: The music is not Jazz at all, but computer music with one live guitar solo, recorded during a concert.
- The Complete Recordings by Robert Johnson. It is the most complete collection of Johnson's work around, that's true, but it's not entirely complete. There is one alternate take of "Traveling Riverside Blues" missing.
- Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Jajouka is an album that was merely produced by Brian Jones and doesn't feature him on vocals or instruments at all. Instead we hear the wonderful performances by the Master Musicians of Jajouka, a Moroccan folk group.
- Elvis Presley: Arguably the most notorious, yet atrocious concert album in his career is Having Fun With Elvis On Stage, a 35 minute collection of nothing but Elvis cracking jokes with the audience, without any music or context of what is going on? Not only is the record painfully unfunny, a lot of it is technically not even a joke, just Elvis saying random things in interaction with his audience. Half of the time he is clearly just rambling, before deciding his jokes are falling flat or his story isn't going anywhere.
- John Zorn: Several tracks on Music For Children are definitely too difficult, noisy or scary for children to appreciate them.
- Daniel Amos played with this on their album Vox Humana. The title is Latin for "voice of the human"—but it's an album of New Wave Music and Synth Pop, and the least-human sounding album in their discography. The irony was intentional, since a major theme of the lyrics is discerning "the voice of the human" among the background noise of 1980s society.
- The second song on Pain of Salvation's Remedy Lane is called "Ending Theme".
- A majority of the songs by System of a Down have titles that are completely irrelevant to the subject matters of the songs.
- "The Rhyming Song" by The Muppets doesn't rhyme at all.
- The Machine: Bride of Pin*Bot: Except for the title, no one ever refers to the titular Machine as "Bride".
- No Fear: Dangerous Sports has the "No Limits" Major Challenge, where the value of each shot starts at 20 million points, and each one collected adds another million... only to cap out at 70 million.
The Brewing Network with The Sour Hour. It is theoretically an hour long, but there are more episodes that are an hour and a half or longer than those with times closer to an hour. There's also the fact it isn't exclusively about sour brewing but goes into all types of funky brewing such as the use of brettanomyces.
- All Flesh Must Be Eaten — you spend the game working to avoid that.
- The 1946 Broadway musical Park Avenue was set entirely on Long Island.
- The former Twister...Ride it Out attraction at Universal Studios Florida was a special effects show, not a ride as its title would imply.
- Star Tours: The Adventures Continue is an updated version of the original Star Tours attraction at the Disney parks. The title could imply this is supposed to be a sequel to the ride, but it is actually a prequel since it is supposed to take place before the events of the original ride.
- The Legend of Zelda isn't always about Zelda. One game only mentions her once at the very beginning (she never appears), one only included her in a flashback, two others only contain her if both are played in tandem, and one game neither depicts her nor mentions her beyond an optional costume for Link and a very easy-to-miss snow sculpture resembling her. What's more, aside from portions of Spirit Tracks and two of the non-canon CD-i games, you never play as her. All this leads to a massive case of I Am Not Shazam for poor non-eponymous hero Link.
- You do not get to Destroy All Humans!, though you get to Destroy All Martians in the second one.
- Super Puzzle Fighter II: Turbo is a game with a title that indicates that it is the turbo edition of a sequel to a super version of a game called "Puzzle Fighter". The thing is, there isn't a game series called "Puzzle Fighter". This is a stand alone game with no predecessors whatsoever. The title is most likely joking over the many updates that Street Fighter II got and that hardly anyone has heard of that game's original predecessor.
- Final Fantasy has many sequels.
- Similarly, Ultima.
- The "Soulless Army" is merely the first indicator that something is amiss, and really does not have a whole lot of impact on the plot, itself.
- X is not the main character of Mega Man X7.
- The Mega Man Star Force series focuses more on electromagnetic waves than stars or space. Star Force 2 doesn't have anything to do with stars! As for the "Star Force," it's just a power that MegaMan gets in the first game but has nothing to do with the other two games; there's only a vague mention of it in Star Force 3.
- There are models and diagrams of Metal Gear in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, but they don't have any real bearing on the story other than as easter eggs. Nor is the character Solid Snake present, but Hideo Kojima stated the "solid" in the title refers to the series's transition to "solid" polygonal graphics, so it isn't this trope.
- The eponymous wars of Guild Wars ended before the earliest events in the game.
- Chrono Trigger. The actual Chrono Trigger impacts the plot only briefly - and even then, optionally, as it's possible to go ahead and fight the final boss without completing the part of the story that involves it. (Adding insult to injury, it's even referred to more often as the "Time Egg".)
- This is less the case in Chrono Cross; while the eponymous item arguably spends less time relevant to the story than the Chrono Trigger, it is of much greater overall significance what with being the piece of Phlebotinum that's supposed to reintegrate the timelines and kill the Time Devourer off once and for all.
- Although the Chrono Trigger item is relatively insignificant, the description that's given to it ("It is pure potential. By unleashing a specific course of events, it can have a powerful effect on time... It represents a possibility, it may or may not hatch.") applies equally well to the party, meaning that the time travelers themselves are a kind of Chrono Trigger. It gets a little meta.
- Speaking of misleading titles in Chrono Cross, one would not expect a song called Scars of Time to be so damn funky!
- Plumbers Don't Wear Ties. In one scene early on in the "game", John is seen playing air guitar with a plunger while wearing a tie. The only reason why the game is likely called this is because at the end, Kate says that plumbers don't wear ties when John tells her he's a plumber.
- The obscure ZX Spectrum game Soft & Cuddly isn't soft and isn't cuddly. At all.
- Metroid Prime Hunters does not involve Metroids or any incarnation of Metroid Prime at all. It includes creatures that attack in a similar manner to Metroids, but not Metroids themselves. (Though the demo version, First Hunt, that was included with DS systems at launch, did include Metroids.)
- The Elder Scrolls
- Throughout the series (until Skyrim), the Elder Scrolls themselves do not make an appearance in the first three games, and only appear in a faction side quest in the fourth. (They are mentioned plenty in the background lore.) It isn't until Skyrim that this is finally averted, with an Elder Scroll playing a major part in the game's main quest.
- After Arena and Daggerfall, the number in the title of the games gets a little screwy. After those games came Battlespire and Redguard, which are Dungeon Crawl and Action-Adventure spinoff games, respectively. That makes Morrowind the fifth game with Elder Scrolls in the title, but it is still titled as The Elder Scrolls III. (This makes Oblivion technically the sixth game and Skyrim technically the seventh.)
- The "place" subtitle in each main series game also carries with it some oddness in each case. To note:
- Arena has no arenas whatsoever. Originally, the game was planned to involve teams of gladiators from a fictional world, but that idea was scrapped in favor of creating a game based on the developers' home-brew D&D setting. In a combination of a Retcon and Hand Wave, "Arena" would later be used as another name for Nirn, the planet on which the series takes place.
- Daggerfall takes place in the massive Iliac Bay region, which includes large portions of the provinces of High Rock and Hammerfell. Daggerfall is just one city within High Rock (though the death of its king is the impetus for your mission in the game).
- In Morrowind, the game's setting is restricted to Vvardenfell, an island district within the eponymous province. Mainland Morrowind is only visited in the Tribunal expansion, and even then, it is only one city (Morrowind's capital of Mournhold). (What Could Have Been - the original plan was for it to be the entire province, but that idea was dropped early in the development process.)
- Oblivion, if following the convention of the other games in the series, would have been titled Cyrodiil instead. Oblivion is a place within the ES universe (the infinite void which surrounds Mundus, the mortal plane), and it is visited within the game (several times required, and many more optionally) so it is a Downplayed example at worst.
- Skyrim finally averts any issue with the subtitle, taking place entirely within the eponymous province and allowing the entire province to be explored.
- The Minecraft Pocket Edition contains neither mining nor crafting.
- And since it is also available for many tablets, the "Pocket Edition" part is not entirely true either...
- The latter part somewhat averts this, mainly due to the updates.
- The Mega Drive version of Action 52 falls into this, as it really only has 51 games. Several games across both versions also fall into this problem:
- Dam Busters, which doesn't feature a dam at any point in the game.
- Haunted Hill in both versions, although the NES version sometimes goes under the more apt Haunted Halls.
- Slashers sounds like the name of a horror movie, but it's really a poor man's Double Dragon.
- Bits n Pieces, which sounds like a puzzle game (even the manual suggests this) but it's actually a horror-themed game where you jump over monsters.
- Mind's Eye, which is a Minesweeper clone.
- Slalom, which is a regular skiing game as opposed to having an actual slalom event.
- Incidentally, Rare did a NES game of the same name which also has no slaloming involved.
- Paratrooper, which consists of collecting giant computer chips or something.
- Girly Block is a Mecha Game by Compile for the MSX2. No, there are no anime girls to be seen.
- The Doom mod "Rootpain 2: Buttpain: The Wrekctum Analhilation". The title sounds like an incredibly immature comedy, and the trailer and the blurb promise over-the-top nonstop action and gore. It's a deliberate choice to increase the surprise when you run the mod and find that it's a creepy Survival Horror.
- Bears vs. Art downplays this. It's actually one bear vs. art. Unless the title is referring to The Cameos playing this, then this is averted.
- In Wario: Master of Disguise, Wario is not a Master of Disguise, nor is any other character in the game. Instead, Wario is a master of superpowered costumes. That doesn't stop the game from calling them "disguises," even though they are never used for the purpose of disguising.
- Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon never features the actual Procyon. In fact, the player never even leaves the borders of The Empire. You do fight the Procyons, but this still doesn't explain the "at" preposition. Lampshaded by an end credit that says, "No battle actually takes place at Procyon".
- In the first Prince of Persia game, you're not the prince of Persia — you gain that title only after saving and marrying the princess. This one is especially deceptive for two reasons: the hero has no other name (making "Prince" the only obvious thing to call him) and all the other games in the franchise do star actual Persian princes.
- MS Paint Adventures is really only 3 stories and 1 Orphaned Series and the current one hasn't actually been an adventure note in years. And nothing aside from the first panel of the first adventure has been made in MS Paint.
- "Faraway Morning and Three Short Tales" is the title of the 34th chapter of Gunnerkrigg Court which actually does have characters telling three short tales. Sounds like a short chapter, right? It's actually one of the longest chapters to date thanks to all of the Character Development and plot revelations going on between each of the tales.
- Questionable Content doesn't have much questionable, i.e. risque/pornographic, content. There's a decent quantity of sex jokes — the protagonist's mom is a dominatrix, and his pet robot is a pervert — but there are hardly any sex/nudity scenes (none at all for the first thousand or so comics) and naughty-bits are always kept out of sight. The entire compendium is less questionable than any random Oglaf comic.
- IGN's 6 Video Game Titles That Lied Straight to Your Face
- Each episode of The Cyanide And Happiness Show has a title that's completely unrelated to any of the sketches within it. For example, Episode 2 is called "Why I Hate Summer Camp"; the sketches are a Moby Dick parody, a guy in the bath, and a guy trying to propose to his girlfriend. Summer camp isn't mentioned once.
- Averted with the depressing episode.
- When The Annoying Orange heard about Inside Out, his first thought was that people's heads would turn inside out. Pear had to tell him it wasn't that kind of movie.
- The Smurfs episode "Hefty And The Wheelsmurfer" is called "Fortachon y Pitufina" ("Hefty And Smurfette") in the Spanish dub, despite the fact that the episode isn't exclusively about Hefty and Smurfette in any sort of relationship.
- 101 Dalmatians: The Series may have 101 Dalmatians, but a majority of the show focuses primarily on three pups and a chicken.
- In Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Predacons Rising, the Predacons are very minor side characters who have little to no impact on the overall plot. Technically, some Predacons are risen, however they are zombies who fight against the real Predacons. The title probably came to be because Hasbro wanted to advertise their beast-themed Transformers figures, even if the movie's story barely focused on them.
- Played with by the title of the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Foster's Goes to Europe". Given the way this type of title is typically used, you'd think it's about things the cast do while they're in Europe. It's actually about the trip to Europe, specifically everyone trying to get ready to leave the house, which in a sense makes it Exactly What It Says on the Tin. And even though most of the cast miss their flight, Madame Foster, who stole their tickets, actually manages to get to Europe.
- For Aqua Teen Hunger Force, the title of the show itself. The show it is about a group of Anthropomorphic Food. It has no focus on water, none of the main characters are adolescents (or have any confirmed age). The hunger is only slightly relevant, due to them being food, but the fact that they are edible is rarely brought up. The force part was relevant for the first three episodes as a plot to simply get the show airing, as the actual premise of the show would sound ridiculous otherwise.
- Astérix Conquers America: Asterix doesn't conquer America, he only visits it. A case of Completely Different Title, since the original French title was Asterix et les Indiens (Asterix and the Indians)
- Batman: Assault on Arkham: Batman is featured, but not the central character. It is more of a Suicide Squad film with Deadshot as the protagonist.
- The two-parter Family Guy "Stewie Kills Lois/Lois Kills Stewie"; neither title is accurate. In part 1, Stewie appears to kill Lois, but she turns out to be Not Quite Dead. In part 2, Stewie does get killed, but it's Peter who kills him. And to top it all off, both episodes turn out to be a computer simulation.
- Fred and Barney Meet the Thing. Fred and Barney do not meet the Thing, if you can call him that; they're in segments that never cross over.
- The Acme Hour on Cartoon Network was 2 hours long at one point, but was otherwise inverted.
- The Rugrats spinoff All Grown Up! features the characters as tweens.
- The The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! episode "Iron Man is Born" does not retell the origin of Iron Man, nor does "The Man in the Ant Hill" show Hank Pym exploring an ant hill. These titles actually come directly from the heroes' first comic book appearances. Many other episode titles are homages of this sort, but they still sound relevant to the plot; it's these two that stick out.
- The My Little Pony G3 series Newborn Cuties is an unintended example of this trope, as the characters aren't exactly newborn, and the cuteness is debatable due to the limited animation that involves ''ZERO MOUTH MOVEMENT''.
- Eight Crazy Nights hardly has anything to do with Hanukkah (outside of a few brief references) and may have very well just been a film set during the Winter season.
- The Fantastic Four 1967 episode "The Menace of the Mole Man" adapts a comic titled, "The Return of the Mole Man!", while "The Return of the Mole Man" adapts a comic titled, "The Mad Menace of the Macabre Mole Man". The former episode's title doesn't match its comic because Hanna-Barbera had yet to adapt the first Fantastic Four issue. (When they finally did so, they left out Mole Man's scenes to boot.)
- The Angry Beavers: Only one of the beaver main characters, Daggett, was actually angry; Norb was in fact fairly easy-going at the beginning, and even when he Took a Level in Jerkass, he was more of a smug, self-centered kind of jerk than actually angry.
- The Simpsons:
Nelson: I can think of at least two things wrong with that title..."
- In "The PTA Disbands", the PTA most emphatically does not disband (though at one point, a guy mistakenly believes it did, panics and jumps out a window. And jumps back in when informed of his mistake). The episode got its title because writer Jennifer Crittenden thought that that was the worst thing that could possibly happen to a school.
- After Nelson and Bart finish seeing a film named Naked Lunch.
- "Homer vs. the 18th Amendment": Homer's actual dispute is with a city statute and the 21st Amendment, ending national Prohibition but allowing local jurisdictions to continue to ban alcohol, by proxy.
- "22 Short Films About Springfield" only has 19 segments (17 if you count Lisa's three segments as one short).
- Teen Titans Go!:
- "Serious Business" is about rules on how to use the toilet.
- "The Return of Slade" is not about Slade at all. Slade is only mentioned in the beginning of the episode, cut away to a non-existing fight with a title card that says "Three episodes and a made-for-TV-movie later" it cuts back to them winning, explaining stuff that would have happened if they showed it. And that was the last time he was mentioned. The rest of the episode is about Cyborg and Beast Boy wanting a clown, which quickly devolves into another one of the show's mean-spirited jabs at its haters.
- "Batman vs. Teen Titans: Dark Injustice" is the April Fools' Day episode, so of course it's about April Fools' Day pranks.
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: "The Incredible Shrinking Mandy" has Billy attempting to shrink Mandy, but he accidentally makes her giant instead.
- The animated short Hector's Hectic Life doesn't feature any character named Hector. The main character is named Princie.
- There's a The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius episode called "Raise the Oozy Scab" in which Jimmy, Carl, Sheen, and Cindy look for a treasure called The Oozy Scab. Despite the title, The Oozy Scab isn't raised at all.
- Minuscule episodes usually have titles that are Exactly What It Says on the Tin, but some titles are vaguely related metaphors or complete non-sequiturs:
- Episodes featuring buzzing insects usually have "ZZZZZ" meshed into their title, but "Zzzepplin" focuses entirely on the spiders.
- "Go Blue Go" has blue and green dragonflies competing in what can only be described as bug-Quidditch. The blue team loses.
- One would assume the series' Bizarro Episode "Night of the Mandibles" centered around the cast fighting off an army of undead insects. What they actually face is MUCH worse. Plus the episode takes place almost entirely in broad daylight.