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Anime & Manga
- In Monster, Nina Fortner uses her previous legal name, Anna Liebert, when giving a police testimony and obtaining marksmanship training.
- During Ranma ½'s Martial Arts Rhythmic Gymnastics competition, female Ranma freely gives her full name, confident that nobody in attendance (which includes classmates from Furinkan High) will make the connection with her male side. She's right, and everyone blows it off as a bizarre coincidence, although Hiroshi and Daisuke would constantly pester Ranma about introducing them to "his sister" afterwards. None of the matters either way, though, as (in the manga) they all found out shortly after and didn't really care.
- In Code Geass, the main character and his sister use their real first names and their mother's maiden name for their surname while hidden in Japan.
- In Death Note, Light Yagami expends a lot of effort trying to learn the real name of "L", the Great Detective who opposes him. It's eventually revealed (although not in the manga or anime) that L is his real first name, although Light still didn't know his last one, so this wouldn't have made a difference.
- A plot point in Baccano! is that immortals cannot use aliases in the presence of each other: they are always forced to reveal their true names. Fermet gets around this rule by using portions of his full name as aliases.
- A weird version occurs in Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi: the vampire サイトヒメア (Saitohimea) takes on the name 沙糸 ヒメア (Saito Himea, Saito being the surname) when attending school with Taito. Though it's technically less of an alias and more of a necessity to have a Japanese name.
- Sword Art Online: Asuna Yuuki just went with Asuna in Sword Art Online due to being new to MMO games, and not realizing the game was asking for an alias to use in game. It's not until the restored ALfheim Online that she creates a Sylph alt character named Erika, but still primarily plays as an Undine, still named Asuna.
- Batman's butler Alfred Pennyworth has sometimes used his middle names, Thaddeus Crane, as an alias when undertaking some activity he doesn't want linked to Bruce Wayne.
- The Dark Phoenix Saga sees Jean Grey being seduced by a mutant named Jason Wyngarde, an aspiring member of the Hellfire Club. It turns out Wyngarde was one of their older and slightly more obscure enemies, the mutant villain Mastermind, and the X-Men just never found out his real name. Although he was also a Master of Illusion, and thus was also able to disguise himself.
- Similarly, Mystique often posed as a secret service agent named Raven Darkholme in her early days. Turns out that's her real name. Amusingly, the Animated Adaptation of Days of Future Past (with some of Bishop's future thrown in) has a woman looking just like the Raven Darkholme identity, whom Mystique copied, tied up, but deliberately left alive to be a witness to "Gambit" assassinating Senator Kelly. Presumably, this came before the revelation in the comics that Mystique was the "real" Raven Darkholme.
- Bishop at one point in the early noughties posed as an Australian police officer under the name "Lucas Bishop," commenting offhandedly in his internal monologue "the name is real, the badge is not." This was The Reveal of his name after over a decade, with "Bishop" having generally been assumed to be an alias.
- Spider-Man was cloned, and the clone retained all of Peter's memories, to the point where he originally believed that he was the real one. Eventually the cloned Peter takes the name Ben Reilly, derived from Peter's middle name and Aunt May's maiden name (which helps facilitate the story that the two are oddly identical cousins, as long as no-one thinks too closely about Peter and May's actual relationship).
- Ponies Of Olympus: Trixie enters the Atlas Strongest Tournament in a disguise and under her last name Lulamoon. Twilight recognizes her at the end of her match anyway.
- In the Discworld fanfic "The Brain Thief", Samuel Ramkin Vimes, Viscount of Oxbury and heir to the Duke of Ankh, introduces himself to a girl he meets as Sam Ramkin, thinking "It wasn't, technically, a lie." The girl, meanwhile, is studying midwifery at the Free Hospital as Meg Garlick, rather than Princess Esmeralda Margaret Note Spelling of Lancre ("Garlick" being her mother's maiden name).
- In The Mysterious Case of Neelix's Lungs, Seska uses her real surname while undercover as a Bajoran for the Obsidian Order. After being outed she says her real given name's Jiana, not Harani.
- A Crown of Stars: Chapter 74 reveals that Gendo had snuck into the Army Asuka and Shinji lead back to Earth, using his birth name of Rokubungi as an alias.
Films — Live-Action
- Star Wars:
- John McClane's wife at the beginning of Die Hard uses her maiden name, Gennaro. This provides a minor plot point when Hans Gruber later discovers John's real name, and doesn't realize the connection between John and Holly (for a while, anyway).
- In 1937's Shall We Dance?, the two leads, who are both famous under stage names, get married quietly in New Jersey under their real names.
- The Disney Channel movie Motocrossed involved a girl posing as her brother to enter a motocross race, after he breaks his leg. The siblings have the same name (Andy, short for both Andrea and Andrew), allowing her a legal loophole: since she signed up as "Andy," instead of Andrew or Andrea, she could hold on to her win after she was outed.
- Vicki Lester and Norman Maine in A Star Is Born get married under their real names by a town clerk who has no idea who they are.
- James Bond does this quite often, though there are several occasions he uses proper aliases too. Somewhat justified in that officially he is a globetrotting employee for something called Universal Exports, which is actually a cover for MI6. In Tomorrow Never Dies he poses as a banker named James Bond and actually has a fake employment record, but is given away as a spy because it is too perfect to be true, and because he is asking too many questions, not because of his name. Of course, making a number of blatant references about the Big Bad's actions to his face doesn't help his case...
- A very important plot point in Definitely, Maybe. The Hero's daughter insists that he tells the story about how he met her mother whom he is now divorced. While doing so, The Hero calls his exes by alternate names to conceal their identity from his daughter who knows her mother's real name. The daughter then realizes that her dad is still in love with April, one of his exes, because he didn't gave her a Code Name.
- Played with by way of a Casting Gag in To the Limit. Secret agent "Collette Dubois" (Anna Nicole Smith) explains at the very end of the film that she's been using a codename the whole time, and that her real name is "Vickie Lynn" — Smith's first and middle names in Real Life. In other words, Smith used (two-thirds of) her real name as a fictional alias.
- Time After Time deals with a visit by H. G. Wells to the present. Initially, Wells, who assumed that Sir Arthur Doyle's little amusements would have been forgotten in 100 years, uses the alias Sherlock Holmes, only to get laughed at. In the end, he realises that while he is still remembered as an author, no-one remembers what his initials stand for, and that his name is unremarkable enough to not be immediately associated with the presumed long-dead author, so he goes by Herbert George Wells.
- The plot of U.S. Marshals kicks off when police discover that tow-truck driver Mark Warren is actually a fugitive named Mark Roberts. And much later it's uncovered that Mark Roberts is actually burned DSS agent Mark Sheridan.
- In Katharine Kerr's Deverry novels, the character Nevyn (meaning "no one", and hence often taken to be a joke) uses his long-abandoned original name (Galrion) when he needs to be taken seriously by some nobles. Everyone who knows him assumes he just made it up.
- In Robert A. Heinlein's Friday, the title character runs out of fake passports and falls back on the real one to pull a switcheroo with one of the fake IDs.
- Lord Peter Death Bredon Wimsey uses the name Death Bredon in the Dorothy L. Sayers novel Murder Must Advertise and the short story "The Bibulous Business of a Matter of Taste".
- The Belgariad:
- In Belgarath the Sorcerer, the eponymous character once uses his old name Garath when working undercover. It lasts until he has to use magic to fend off an attack.
- As well, his daughter Polgara sometimes goes as the Duchess of Erat, a title she technically owns although the duchy itself has been gone for thousands of years.
- After several centuries of mothers naming their daughters after the "legendary" Polgara, the real one can get away with just calling herself Pol.
- In The Truth-Teller's Tale, members of the royal family have secret names that no one outside the family knows. A prince in disguise uses his as an alias. The narrator is a Truth-Teller, who can detect when someone is lying, but since it's technically the prince's real name, she doesn't register that as a lie.
- The L. M. Montgomery short story "The Pot and the Kettle" combines a double use of this with a Two-Person Love Triangle.
- In The Ordinary Princess, Princess Amethyst works as a kitchen maid under her nickname, Amy. The king of the kingdom she's working in does the same thing—she knows the king's name is Algernon, but he uses one of his many middle names.
- In How Not to Spend Your Senior Year, when Jo and her father fake their deaths and go into witness protection, she uses her middle name and her mother's maiden name to enroll at another school. When the federal marshals who put them in witness protection want her to use a completely fake name, Jo tells them about an incident when she and a friend switched names as a prank on a substitute teacher and couldn't pull it off because they weren't used to responding to someone else's name.
- In The Goose Girl, the princess' full name is Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee. When she goes into hiding, she calls herself Isi.
- The prince in Sherwood Smith's A Posse of Princesses.
- Vorkosigan Saga: Miles Naismith Vorkosigan spent ten years running top secret operations under the cover identity of Admiral Miles Naismith. Once, on the point of being found out, he covered by pretending that "Admiral Naismith" was his clone, who used his Betan mother's maiden name because Betan law grants clones the legal status of family members.
- In Spindle's End, when Katriona and Aunt take in the little princess, they take the last of her many names, Briar-Rose, and decide to call her Rosie.
- In 1632, King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden decides to send cavalry to help out his time-displaced American allies, and despite the misgivings of his prime minister puts the 'notably headstrong and reckless' Captain Gars in command. It's only after Gars helps save the Americans from an attack that it's explained to them that his name is an acronym for Gustavus Adolphus Rex Sueciae — 'Gustav Adolf the King of the Swedes' in Latin.
- Monstrous Regiment:
- A regiment composed of women dressed up as men dress up as washerwomen to get themselves into a fort, and use their real names as their aliases.
- Prince Heinrich of Zlobenia claims to be Captain Hortenz when captured. It's been speculated by fans that he has a lot of middle names, and is pulling the same trick as King Gustav, above.
- In The Birthday Ball, Princess Patricia Priscilla dresses as a peasant and goes to the village school. When the schoolmaster asks for her name, she calls herself Pat. ("Quite a short name because I'm merely a humble peasant.")
- In The Count of Monte Cristo, the aristocrat-born radical Nortier de Vilefort just goes by the name Nortier. In contrast, his conservative son calls himself de Vilefort. This is plot important, as the direct reason Dantes ended up wrongfully imprisoned is because he unknowingly told de Vilefort about a letter that incriminated Nortier for treason.
- In Andre Norton's The Prince Commands, Michael uses this while passing himself off as the American friend of the prince.
- Orson Scott Card:
- In the sequels to Ender's Game, Ender simply goes by his given name of Andrew Wiggin. He is secretive about the fact that he's the same Andrew Wiggin who killed off the Bugger race thousands of years ago, but everyone thinks of that boy as "Ender," and the name "Andrew Wiggin" doesn't ring a bell for them. The few who do recognize the name assume his parents chose poorly when naming him.
- In Earthborn, a character whose life has been greatly extended travels among people to whom she has become Shrouded in Myth. She uses her own name, and people assume her parents named her after the legendary figure.
- In The Dresden Files, Harry Dresden goes undercover as Harry the technical assistant. It still fools Lara Raith until he gets into a fight with Thomas. Harry, being Harry, points out it really wasn't that hard to see through.
"You're Harry Dresden."
"Don't feel bad," I said, "I cleverly disguised myself as Harry the Production Assistant."
- The trope gets a sort-of inversion in the same book. One of the characters tries to frame Harry, but she's so vapid and shallow that she can't remember his name, telling the cops that his name was Larry. Or Barry.
- Codex Alera, by the same author, has Gaius Octavian. And you thought the name was out of place amongst the Awesome Mc Coolname crowd.
- Tavi is named Tavar among the Canim. At first, he thinks it's a poor pronunciation of his name. Then it's revealed that a Tavar is the only hunter the Vord fear. It's a multilingual Stealth Pun.
- In the western novels of J.T. Edson, Dusty Fog frequently uses his middle names Edward Marsden as an alias, to the point that they become his Go-to Alias.
- In Unnatural Issue, Lord Peter Almsley temporarily takes on the post of gamekeeper at the estate of his friends, with his valet Garrick as his scholar half-brother, in order to befriend Susanne (working as a dairy maid) and find out more about her. While in disguise, the two go by Peter Devlin (Devlin being Peter's middle name) and Clive Garrick (Clive being Garrick's).
- In Ciaphas Cain novel, For The Emperor, Inquisitor Amberley Vail goes undercover as an entertainer named Amberley Vail. She also uses her real last name for two different undercover identities in Duty Calls — the Lady haut Vail near the beginning of the novel, and Corporal Vail near the end. Possibly justified, in that anyone who can legally look at a roster of active Inquisitors already knows where she is and what she's doing, and she can kill anyone else who might blab.
- In Revival, Charles Daniel Jacobs manages an impressive variety of combinations of real names as aliases.
- Emperor Andreas Komnenos in An Age of Miracles goes by Andreas when he has to go incognito for a while. Justified by the fact that as a very popular emperor, he looks younger than most commoners his age and there are a lot of people named Andreas.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: When she runs away to LA, Buffy Summers calls herself "Anne," which is actually her middle name.
- In an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Garak tells Bashir a series of contradictory stories about a person named Elim, supposedly a high-ranking Cardassian official who either betrayed or was betrayed by Garak. Bashir later finds out that Elim is just Garak's first name, and when he confronts Garak and demands the truth, Garak says that everything he said was true. Especially the lies...
- Christopher Perry Halliwell from Charmed called himself "Chris Perry" when he first introduced himself. Since he's from the future and hadn't been born yet, this didn't really raise any eyebrows.
- In The Cosby Show, lawyer Clair once introduced herself by her maiden name in order to speak on son Theo's behalf when he got ripped off by a T-shirt company.
- In Leverage, Sophie Devereaux once had to conjure an alias from nowhere or risk losing the mark, so she introduces herself as the Duchess of Hanover. She assures the rest of the team that "this identity is very well backed up" but the mark isn't convinced. He arranges to introduce her to someone who's known the real Duchess for a very long time. While the rest of the team are convinced that Sophie's cover is blown, the Duchess's aunt takes one look at Sophie and says.... "Why Charlotte, it's so good to see you". It's never made clear if this is Sophie's real identity but it's the oldest one revealed on the show.
- In Breaking the Code, the spook from "Security" is John Smith. He can never get anyone to believe that, yes, that IS his real name.
- In Sleepy Hollow, a captured Hessian claims he knows everything about Abbie Mills, including her real name, Grace Abigail Mills.
- Law & Order: Criminal Intent: In "Trophy Wine", a con man who has been living for years under the name 'Bing Cullen', rents an apartment under his original name Arnold Binder.
- In Shakespeare's Henry V, King Henry goes undercover as a common soldier to learn the views and morale of his troops more closely. He gives his name to the soldier Pistol as "Harry Leroy" (Harry being a common nickname for Henry, and le Roi being French for "the King"). He says he's a Welshman, which is true, as he was born in Wales.
- Frank, the first NPC you meet in zOMG!, is actually Labtech 123; no official statement has been made, but the general assumption is that "Frank" is in fact his real name. Pretty much confirmed by one of the H2k10 NPCs, who has mentioned him by name.
- In Tales of Xillia 2, Gaius goes by "Erston" while traveling Elympios incognito. This is actually his birth name, while "Gaius" is an alias he assumed to protect his family from his enemies.
- Tales of the Abyss: Tear and Van's names are nicknames born from their full names - Mystearica and Vandesdelca - and their last names are taken from their adoptive grandfather, successfully hiding their origin as from Hod and Van's connection in particular. Guy Cecil did something similar; his full name is Gailardia Galan Gardios and his mother's maiden name was Cecille.
- Played directly in Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors: near the end of the game, it's mentioned that Clover's real name is... Clover.
- In The Far Side Of Utopia Peter Kepler starts going by... Peter Kepler. If he was trying to stay Hidden in Plain Sight , assumed no one that knew the name was watching, or using it as The Bait remains to be seen.
- Girl Genius:
- Gil is trying to get the attention of the crowd so that his father will know not to attack Castle Heterodyne while he's in there, but unfortunately they don't seem to take his declaration that he's the Gilgamesh Wulfenbach seriously. He runs with it, pretending to be an actor pretending to be Gilgamesh Wulfenbach, and turns the whole thing into a massive performance and everyone thinks it's hilarious until he starts blowing things up. They still end up thinking it's a pretty good show, though, especially after Zeetha joins in.
- A partial version occurs with Agatha — when she's hiding from people who want to capture her because she's a Heterodyne, she hides out in a Heterodyne show, playing the part of her mother while her love interest plays her father. She's fully aware of the awkwardness.
- In Noob, Word of God states that Saphir's player is doing this (the actual reveal of the fact came out looking like a Sudden Name Change). She's using her middle name Pénélope for the public and her guildmates, but her real name is Elena. The reason for which she uses an alias has not been explicitly stated, but it may have something to do with her having a real-world job and social life when she requires her guild's new recruits to have neither of these to be able to be full-time players.
- Whateley Universe:
- Jobe Wilkins is literally applying the trope, with his codename being Jobe Wilkins.
- Jimmy Trauger is making only a token effort, with his codename being Jimmy T.
- Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends:
- In the episode "Imposter's Home for Um... Make 'Em Up Pals", Goofball is introduced by his first name. When Frankie overhears a group of kids calling him "John," she believes she has more proof he is not an imaginary friend. Goofball explains that it is his middle name and that he is named after his owner, Larry. He then tacks on another explanation that "Larry" is his owner's middle name. Despite all evidence, this turns out to be true.
- In "Affairweather Friends", Berri disguises herself as a rich human child named Barry.
- Teen Titans:
- Cyborg infiltrates the HIVE by donning a hologram to make him look human until he "powers up" into a rocklike form. He calls himself "Stone." His real name is "Vic Stone" in the comics.
- Slade's real name is Slade Wilson. In the original comic his alias was Deathstroke the Terminator.
- In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "The Man Who Killed Batman", Harley Quinn masquerades as the lawyer of the episode's eponymous character, using the name Harleen Quinzel. Later, the episode "Trial" would confirm this as her actual name.
- On Family Guy, Peter Griffin once tried to pull of a Line-of-Sight Name. The first three things he saw were a pea, a person crying one tear, and a griffin that flew in through the window.
- Young Justice:
- Artemis's real name is... Artemis Crock.
- Giovanni Zatara fights crime as the superhero... Zatara. Even his daughter, Zatanna, calls him that when she's referring to him specifically as a hero. When she takes up heroing permanently, she also goes by her given name.
- The Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Cinemaniacs!" has SuperBabs from the segment of the same name.
Hamton: I wonder who SuperBabs really is.
Plucky: Well, let's see... Who do we know called Super?
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012), Karai cozies up to April using the fake name Harmony, a translation of her birth name, Miwa. Played with, in that Karai didn't know that Miwa was her real name.
- Sonic SatAM: When Sally travels back in time and meets her past self, she introduces herself as "Alicia". Past Sally comments that's her middle name.
- Franz Hopper of Code Lyoko, whose real name is Waldo Franz Schaeffer, derived his alias from his middle name and his wife's maiden name.
- In SpacePOP, the princesses' names are fairly long and they shorten them when they go on the run. Lunaria de Longoria becomes Luna, Junoia Atley-Wolford becomes Juno, Rhealetta Hemmings becomes Rhea, Herazanna Appleby becomes Hera, and Mettathena Mystos becomes Athena.
- World of Winx: Jim is Captain James Hook.
- The Simpsons: In the episode "New Kids on the Blech", when Lisa discovers Bart's boy band is part of a subliminal advertising campaign for the US Navy, their manager "L.T. Smash" turns out to actually be Lt. Smash. She discovers this because his real name was on a placard, which they altered by pasting on a speck of paper with a period. However, once this is revealed he formally introduces himself as "Lieutenant...L.T. Smash".
- This turned out to be the case in Voltron: Legendary Defender, specifically the nickname version. It turns out that Pidge Gunderson's real name is Katie Holt, who entered Galaxy Garrison training under an assumed name (and gender) to search for her missing brother Matt after getting banned from the base in her real identity. She chose Pidge as an alias because that's the nickname that Matt used to call her growing up.
- In Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town, Santa Claus was a Doorstop Baby with a tag that said "Claus," but was adopted by the Kringle family of elves, who named him Kris. Later, when he becomes an outlaw (for the crime of making toys) he adopts his birth name to avoid detection.
- British DJ Kenny Everett (real name Maurice Cole) once did a promo which ended with the words "... or my name isn't Maurice Cole!" The joke being that most of the listeners wouldn't have known his real name at the time.
- Many famous women continue to use their maiden name after marrying, since they're already well-known and changing names might confuse fans.
- It's quite common to use one's first and middle name as a Stage Name. One prominent example would be Tim Allen (born Timothy Allen Dick).
- Another would be Angelina Jolie (Voight).
- Ray Charles (Robinson)note
- Lewis Carroll is a special case — the name is actually Charles Lutwidge Dodgson's real first and middle names translated into Latin, and then back again into English.
- Willem-Alexander, then Prince of Orange and now King of The Netherlands, ran in the New York Marathon under the name "W.A. van Buren." "Count van Buren" is one of the many lesser known titles of the Dutch royal family.
- Likewise, Czar Peter the Great of Russia used the name "Pyotr Mikhailov" (Peter Michaelson) as an alias abroad. He was grandson of Czar Michael I Romanov.
- WWII Ace Pilot Major Heinrich Prinz von und zu Sayn-Wittgenstein used just his rank and surname "Wittgenstein" in everyday communication.
- A joke about pop singer Jack Jones went: "Did you know that Jack Jones is his real name?" "Jack Jones is WHOSE real name?"
- Law enforcement personnel going undercover often use their real first names so they won't seem suspiciously slow in responding.