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Fist of the North Star isn't exactly the most accurate translation of the Japanese title, Hokuto no Ken, its just that it sounds a helluva cooler than "Fist of the Big Dipper" (which is what "Hokuto" actually is, the Japanese name for the Big Dipper). 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).
"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 Jo-Gakuin Kōtō-ka C³-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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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. Idi Amin did claim to be the King of Scotland among his many other self-applied titles.
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.
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.
Max Headroom: 20 Minutes into the Future is not about time travel. The phrase "Twenty Minutes into the Future" isn't used anywhere in the telefilm, and is isn't really clear why it's the subtitle. It was released on video with the more straightforward title The Max Headroom Story (though the title screen wasn't changed).
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.
The Three Musketeers is actually about the fourth musketeer who meets and joins the original three. Who appear to do most of their fighting with swords rather than 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.
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.
Perdido Street Station has almost nothing to do with the eponymous novel, 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 same applies to "The Six Suspects", the original title of one of Isaac Asimov's Black Widowers stories. (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.
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 Retconned 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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 bizzare 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.
The 1946 Broadway musical Park Avenue was set entirely on Long Island.
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, and two others only contain her if both are played in tandem. 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.
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.
Plumbers Dont Wear Ties. In one scene early on in the "game", John is seen playing air guitar with a plunger while wearing a tie.
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.)
Arguably the name Morrowind implies that you will be journeying across the entire province, when in reality you are limited to the island of Vvardenfell. Obviously this is located in Morrowind, but it still could be considered misleading.
The Elder Scrolls is awful about this, to date the eponymous scrolls have only been relevant in Oblivion (as a relatively unimportant MacGuffin) and Skyrim where it's really only important once. The subtitles are accurate though, although Oblivion would be more properly called Cyrodiil to be in line with the other titles being placenames.
Well, Oblivion IS a place in the TES universe.
The first Elder Scrolls game Arena doesn't have any arenas in it.
Fortunately, that's been handily dealt with: "Arena" is believed to be the translation of Nirn, from the language the earliest of the spiritual beings who took part in the creation of the world, the Ehlnofey.
Or "Arena" is a figurative way of describing the constant state of strife that Tamriel is in. Any number of Hand Waves exist.
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.
MS Paint Adventures is really only 3 stories and 1 Orphaned Series and the current one hasn't actually been an adventure note IE, written by user suggestions in over a year. And nothing aside from the first panel of the first adventure has been made in MS Paint.
Also, Homestuck is only about a kid stuck in his house for about a few dozen pages out of several thousand. Apparently Andrew Hussie was going to name it Sburb, the name of the game on which the story is based, but thought it was too boring.
"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.
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.
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.
In Transformers PrimeBeast Hunters: Predacons Rising, the Predacons are very minor side characters who have little to no impact on the overall plot. Technically, some Predacons arerisen, 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 Fosters 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. A case of Completely Different Title, since the original French title was Asterix et les Indiens (Asterix and the Indians)
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 becomes a princess after marrying him at the end.
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.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is actually about how he could steal the decorations and gifts associated with Christmas; he couldn't actually steal the holiday, and even then, he gives back what he stole in the first place.
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 explore an ant hill. Some other episodes have the same names as comics they do not actually adapt, but most of them still sound relevant to the plot.
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.
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.