A strange form of Theme Naming
is to give characters names which either contain numbers, or which are
numbers. Whatever this says about the characters' parents and/or author, it does make it easier to keep track of who's who.
Note that this only applies to proper names. For one who is given a number instead of a name, see You Are Number Six
. For a more specific sort of numerical theme naming, see One, Two, Three, Four, Go!
and Seven Is Nana
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Anime and Manga
- In Rumiko Takahashi's manga/anime Maison Ikkoku, set in a boarding house, the various tenants all have names that reflect the numbers of their rooms (Mrs. Ichinose and her son in room 1, or "ichi"; Godai in room 5, "go", and so on). Even characters that don't live in Ikkoku-kan have numbered surnames, e.g. Mitaka ("mi", 3), Nanao ("nana", 7), etc.
- 25th Baam from Tower of God. His name means that he was born on the 25th Night.
- In the anime Gundam Wing, many characters (including the Five-Man Band) have names based on numbers which are used by fans as abbreviations (e.g., '2' for Duo Maxwell). This naming scheme also serves as a shorthand for pairings in the fandom.
- Just going with the primary cast: Heero = 1, Duo = 2, Trowa = 3, Quatre = 4, Wu Fei = 5, Zechs = 6, Noin = 9, Une = 11, Treize = 13, Miliardo = 1,000,000,000. Several minor characters carry the theme, and it even extends into sidestories like G-Unit/Last Outpost, where protagonist Adin's name also represents the number 1, just in a different language (Russian) than Heero's (Japanese).
- Many names in Keroro Gunsou are shown as 3-numbered codes because the syllables sound like numbers. It's Japanese l33t-speak from around 1999, when the manga first came out. This makes for especially odd English titles.
- All the major characters in Kamichu! include a kanji for the numbers 1-4 in their surnames, plus Yashima's name using the kanji for 8.
- The original Legendary Birds in Pokémon were Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres.
- Takeshi's (Brock) younger siblings all follow numerical theme naming from Jirou (the second eldest) down to Touko (the tenth child), this is effectively tossed out in the dub where there's no real theme to their naming at all.
- Sol Bianca has planets named Uno and Tres.
- In Mamotte! Lollipop, all of the magical examinees follow this pattern. The first two examinees Nina (ni means 2 in Japanese) meets are Zero and Ichi (1 in Japanese), then San (3) and Forte (4), and so on. Their magical registration numbers also correspond with their names.
- In Katekyo Hitman Reborn! almost every character has a number that corresponds to their name. For example Gokudera is 59 (Go=5, Ku=9). Some other examples include Tsuna (27), Yamamoto (80), and Hibari (18).
- The Numbers of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS fall somewhere between this and You Are Number Six, having both numbers (1-12), and names that are their numbers in Italian. The two are used interchangeably.
- The Warumo Dan from Mirumo de Pon!: Ichiro (1), Jiro (2), Saburo (3), Shiro (4), and Goro (5).
- In Vampire Knight the two twins Zero and Ichiru (old japanese word for one).
- Within the crew of Cowboy Bebop, the characters' names each hold a different number of letters from one to five. Spike, Faye, Jet, Ed, and Ein means 'one' in German.
- In Change 123, the female protagonist's three Split Personalities gave themselves normal Japanese female names Hibiki, Fujiko and Mikiri, but all these names begin with numbers: "hi" = 1, "fu" = 2 and "mi" = 3. These three are also collectively called "HiFuMi", which also means "1, 2, 3". Plus, there is a fourth personality, the Superpowered Evil Side calling herself "Zero", which is a case of You Are Number Six trope.
- The three Marui sisters in Mitsudomoe. All their names are spelled with the [number]-[kanji for "leaf"] combination. Mitsuba (three), Futaba (two) and Hitoha (one).
- A minor character in Ookami-san is modeled after Snow White, with the seven dwarfs represented by her seven younger siblings, all with this naming convention.
- In Baggataway, the members of the lacrosse team all have a number in their name. Ichizaki Mutsuka (Ichi = 1), Kisaragi Nina (Ni = 2), the Santou sisters, Kanna and Yayoi (San = 3, Tou = 10), Amaai Shiho and Shihatsu Touko (Shi = 4), Gotou Satsuki (Go = 5) Mizushino Rokuna (Roku = 6), Nanase Fumi (Nana = 7), Yaegaki "Hachi" Kazuha (Ya and Hachi = 8), and Nagasako "Kuumin" Kumi (Kyuu/Kuu = 9). Finally, although the main protagonist, Utsugi "Sora" Shizuku, doesn't have one, the character for "Shizuku" can be confused at a glance with the one for 0 (雫 versus 零).
- There's even another round of Theme Naming - all the team members have the name of a month in the traditional Japanese calendar incorporated somehow into their names, which also (mostly) corresponds with their theme number. note
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni has Miyo Takano and Professor Hifumi Takano. Hifumi can be written as 一二三 (123), Miyo can be 三四 (34), which continues the sequence. Would be a stretch, except that it's pointed out in the anime when the two characters first meet.
- In Mai Hi ME, Yuuichi's name contains the kanji for "one". The other kendo club members' given names, as seen on nametags in episode 2, are Tamaji, Kouzou, Shirou and Gosaku — containing the kanji for "two", "three", "four" and "five" respectively.
- Manjoume's "Thunder" nickname in Yugioh GX came from him demanding everyone at North Academy refer to him by "Manjoume san da", the latter two being honorifics. Now given that "man" is also 10,000 in Japanese, this led to the following chant: ""Ichi (1)! Jyu (10)! Hyaku (100)! Sen (1000)! Manjyoume Sanda (10000)!"
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, a set of brothers go by the names III, IV, and V. The English dub kept the meanings by modifying the names to Trey, Quattro, and Quinton.
- Mahou Sensei Negima! has Averruncus series: Primum, Secundum, Tertium, Quartum, Quintum and Sextum. Nii and Septendecim similarly fit.
- In Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai!, there's the Takanashi sisters Rikka (six flowers) and Touka (ten flowers).
- Tsuyuri Kumin's name is basically a nanori (name-specific reading of kanji) from what is otherwise "Gogatsu Nanoka", which literally means "Seventh Day of the Fifth Month", or, May 7th.
- Saiyuki has numbers for all four main characters (frequently used for Shipping abbreviations), two of whom actually have numerical kanji in their names:
- Genjyo Sanzo = 3
- Sha Gojyo = 5
- Son Goku = 9
- Cho Hakkai = 8
- In One Piece, five tiny mermaid quins are named Ichika, Nika, Sanka, Yonka and... Yonka Two.
- In K-On! High School, Nao's younger quadruplet brothers give their names; while the first and last of the four are not named according to a theme, the middle two are named as seen under Real Life.
- A Filipino film, Ang Tanging Ina has a mother of 12 name her children as thus: Juan, Gertudis, Dimitri, Porcia, Pip, Sixto, Seve(n)rina, Cate, Shammy ('siyam' being Filipino for nine), Ten-ten, and two unnamed baby twins.
- The Matrix includes characters Cypher (zero), the One, Switch (two), Trinity (three), and Dozer (twelve).
- In the book Merlin's Mistake one of the protagonists is named Tertius. His two brothers are named Primus and Secundus. It is mentioned their father wasn't very creative.
- In J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, the first three Elves to awake were called Imin, Tata and Enel, that is One, Two, and Three. Much later, we have Nelyafinwë, that is, Third Finwë (after his grandfather Finwë and his father Curufinwë...quite possibly in an attempt by said father to spite his own brother, yet another Finwë.)
- In Animorphs Yeerk names seem to contain a "name" followed by a three-digit number; since Yeerks are born with hundreds of siblings, fans speculate this is their birth order. If the Yeerks are twins, the last digit is doubled (for example, Esplin 9466 primary of the Sulp Niar pool, twin of Esplin 9466 secondary of the Sulp Niar Pool). Higher-up Yeerks usually go by rank, which is also numbered, at least for Vissers and Sub-Vissers (e.g., Visser Three, Visser One).
- In the Remnants series, the Blue Meanies / the Children are all named by the system (Number) (Positive adjective) (Geographic feature), e.g., "Four Sacred Streams," "One Divine Mountain."
- The male descendants of the House of Gaius in Codex Alera are all named in this fashion: Gaius Primus, Gaius Secundus, Gaius Tertius et cetera. Curiously, the fifth is named Gaius Pentius rather than Gaius Quintus.
- In Septimus Heap the titular character is the seventh son of a seventh son.
- Septimus and Octavia of The Covenant of Blood, are somewhere between this and You Are Number Six mixed with Meaningful Rename. Their master renames all his slaves with ordinal High Gothic names. When he charged into a stronghold of his enemies to save Octavia from her abductors, she accepted the change from Eurydice. Maruc, Septimus' assistant, is trying valiantly to avoid becoming Nonus in the eyes of his masters.
- In Neil Gaiman's Stardust, the King of Stormhold followed the ancient Roman method in the naming of his sons: Primus, Secundus, Tertius, Quartus, Quintus, Sextus, and Septimus. There's a daughter named Una, too. Had there been more daughters, they'd surely follow a similiar trend.
- In John C. Wright's Chronicles of Chaos, the children were originally named Primus, Secunda, etc. When they are told to chose names, Quentin decides that he's fine as he is.
- In Julie Kagawa's The Iron King, the Iron King's knight include Quintus and Tertius. (Given there are five, we can guess teh other names.)
- In Aaron Dembski Bowden's Night Lords series, Talos, like most other Night Lords, takes captives for the purpose of enslaving them. Unlike most of their slaves, Talos takes slaves that are particularly useful as his personal slaves rather than to serve on their ship. His slaves are renamed, presumably after High Gothic numerals, starting with Primus, then Secundus, and so on. The current slaves he holds in the story are Septimus and Octavianote , and later another slave, Maruc is taken. While he would have been number 9, only Talos' best friend and squamate Cyrion refers to him as "Nonus", and on only the one occasion where a member of First Claw calls him by name "onscreen" after his capture.
Live Action TV
- Kamen Rider had this for a stretch: Decade (10), Double (2), OOO (3), and Fourze (40). While the names stopped containing the references, the motif was continued afterwards, but much, much more subtly: Wizard uses rings that he puts on his fingers, which there are 5 of on each hand, and Gaim uses locks, which, if you try to pronounce the English word in the Japanese way, gives you "roku", which translates to 6.
- All the members of Slipknot assume numbers as their stage names.
- The Adding Machine has Zero and his nearly identical friends, One, Two, Three, Four, Five and Six. Their equally uniform wives uniformly take their husbands' names.
- Seth, from Street Fighter IV, has the codename I-5; the number '5' is equivalent to the roman numeral 'V', thus, Seth's "number" is related to the game he first appears in.
- In Earthbound, the towns are named Onett, Twoson, Threed, and Fourside. Likely unintentional, but adding those four numbers together gives you 10, which is funny considering that the game was on the Super Nintendo
- The Legendary Pokémon Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres.note
- And in Pokémon Black and White, we have Deino, Zweilous, and Hydreigon, which are one headed, two headed, and three-headed dragons respectively. note
- Pokémon X and Y introduces Honedge (a possessed sword) and Doublade (two possessed swords).
- In non-legendaries, Doduo and Dodrio.
- Would Mew and its clone Mewtwo count?
- There's also Dugtrio, which is composed of three Digletts.
- Chrono Cross has a mixture of Latin and Spanish numbers for the Vita boss: Vita Unus, Vita Dos, and Vita Tres. Yes, we are aware that Vita Unus is not proper grammar.
- Gehn, villain of the second Myst game, Riven, and one of the novelisations, numbers everything he has control of, most notably his Ages, and the people in them. Because Riven is his Fifth age, much of his property within it has that number on it somewhere.
- Terraformer ships in X3: Terran Conflict and Albion Prelude are given a four-letter designation that proves to be a number in base 16. Some examples: #deca (57,034 in base 10), #fade (64,222), #cafe (51,966).
- The characters in Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors use code names based on the numbers on the bracelets they have been forced to wear as part of the Nonary Game. In the English version, they are Ace (1), Snake (2 - for "snake eyes"), Santa (3 - "san" is Japanese for "three"), Clover (4-four-leaved clover), Junpei (5 - the protagonist, doesn't use a code name because everyone knows his real name), June (6 - June is the sixth month of the year), Seven (7), Lotus (8 - a lotus flower has 8 petals), and the Ninth Man (9), who doesn't get a code name.
- In Time Hollow, almost every character's last name is based on numbers.
- From the Homestuck Midnight Crew intermission, we have the Felt, a gang of billiards-themed thugs, who are named as follows (copy-pasted from the article proper):
From the bottom up, we have Itchy (from ichi, Japanese for one), Doze (from dos, Spanish for two), Trace (from tres, Spanish for three), Clover (four leaf clover), Fin (slang term for a five-dollar bill), Die (six-sided die), Crowbar (from the crooked shape of a 7), Snowman (from the shape of an 8), Stitch (...in time saves nine), Sawbuck (slang term for a ten-dollar bill), Matchsticks (two straight lines, as in 11), Eggs (a dozen eggs), Biscuits (a baker's dozen), Quarters (quatorze, French for fourteen), and Cans (quinze, French for fifteen).
- Tetras, from The Motley Two. Obsessed with the number four, has a fitting name (the prefix tetra-).
- The American cartoon Codename: Kids Next Door does this to some extent. The names of the main characters are a reference to their numbers. Nigel Uno / Numbuh 1 (uno = 1, Spanish), Hoagie Gilligan Jr. / Numbuh 2 (Jr. after a name = 2nd in the family to use such name; also, Gilligan was second in command of the Minnow on Gilligan's Island), Kuki Sanban / Numbuh 3 ("sanban" = third, Japanese), Wallabee Beetles / Numbuh 4 (The Beatles = Fab Four, and for his horrible luck due to the number four being unlucky), Abigail Lincoln / Numbuh 5 (Abraham Lincoln = US $5 bill), and the first names of Numbuhs 1, 3 and 4 are a reference to their country of origin (England, Japan, and Australia respectively), the first name of Numbuh 2 is another name for a club sandwich (perhaps a reference to his size), but the first name of Numbuh 5 is just a name, unrelated to her French national origin. (Although it does resemble Abe, as in Abraham Lincoln.)
- Seven Little Monsters. The seven monsters all have numbers for names, and as a result if they hear any mention of a number above seven, then they will all immediately break into song about numbers higher than seven.
- Indonesian children sometimes get names based on numbers: Eka (one, pronounced ay-ka), Dwi (two, pronounced do-e quickly), Tri (three, pronounced tree), Catur (four, pronounced chah-tour), and Panca (five, roughly pronounced pahn-cha). While Catur and Panca is quite rare nowadays, the first three is still quite common. Oddly, while Eka is considered an androgynous name, Dwi is considered more feminine than masculine (perhaps due to closeness to another female Indonesian name, Dewi), while Tri is considered more masculine than feminine.
- Japan has a similar scheme available for male given names; Ichirou ("One" + "Son"), "Jirou" ("Two") Saburou ("Three"), and so forth. A Dead Horse Trope was to have Asian stereotype characters use a "Blind Idiot" Translation and refer to "Number-one Son".
- That was pretty common in Ancient Rome for families with many children too. Quintus was a name for the 5th son, Sixtus the 6th, Septimus the 7th, etc. Oh, and while we're at it, the Indonesian example given uses numbers taken from Sanskrit, a language of more historical/cultural significance (the Indonesian equivalents would be Satu, Dua, Tiga, etc.).
- Similarly, Jung Chang mentions in Wild Swans that her great-grandmother had the name Second Daughter.
- This was popular in ancient Rome, with the third, fourth and fifth sons very frequently being named Tertius, Quartus and Quintus. Similar schemes have also been popular in Sweden, such as naming a third son "Trisse" or an eighth daughter "Ottilia". Naturally obsolete nowadays when few families have more than two children.
- Oglala children got this as well:
- Boys: Caske, Hepan, Hepi, Catan, Hake, Hakata, Cekpa
- Girls Witokape, Hapan, Hepistanna, Wanska, Wihake, Hakata, Cekpa
- Aztecs were named after the day they were born.
- Major Benjamin Stickney, a major player in the "Toledo War" between Ohio and the Michigan territory, named his sons One and Two. Two Stickney caused the only casualty in the War when he stabbed Monroe deputy Joseph Wood.
- Most cities in the United States are at least partially planned and thus exhibit numerical theme naming in their streets running in a particular direction, usually measuring the distance in blocks (typically about 1/10 of a mile) from some major street that marks "one" or "zero." The most common street name in America is "2nd Street," as what would otherwise be "1st Street" is usually given some other name (most commonly "Main Street," "High Street," "State Street," "Broad Street," "Market Street," or—when it runs along a river or other waterfront—"Front Street").
- The most peculiar instance is probably Washington, DC, which has two of many numbered streets. The numbered streets go north-south, with "0th Street" being Capitol Street (which runs north-south from the United States Capitol) and the numbers increasing as you go further east or west. The east-west streets are lettered, with, um, Capitol Street as the baseline (a different street, this one running east-west; it and the A Streets do not exist west of the Capitol, being replaced by the National Mall), with the exception of the B Streets (which are replaced with Constitution Ave. for the one north of the Capitol and Independence Ave. for the one south of it). This is why you always write addresses in DC with the quadrant letters: 11th and K NW and 11th and K SE (for example) refer to two different intersections involving four different streets and the areas around them are entirely different from each other in character (11th and K NW is in the heart of downtown, features nice hotels, and is where lobbyists hang out, or at least used to; 11th and K SE, although still in Capitol Hill, is a quiet residentialish area and features a Papa John's).