Shout-Out Theme Naming

Some writers, instead of just including the odd Shout-Out, name entire groups of characters after characters in some other work of fiction.

Compare Named After Somebody Famous.

Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball contains a nod to Disney's Cinderella with the ancient mage Bibidi, his son Babidi, and the demon that they created, Buu ("Bibbidi bobbidi boo!").
  • Three out of four of the main characters from Burst Angel are named after characters from the book Little Women (Jo, Meg, and Amy, with Sei being the Odd Name Out). In an interview, the creator mentioned that Sei's middle name was Bethany, thus making her still technically fit. In the original Little Women Beth's was the only name not changed from her real life counterpart. So having her the odd name out is IN ITSELF a shout out.
  • In Pokémon, there are the most recurring members of Team Rocket, the pairs of Jessie and James, and Cassidy and Butch. named after famous outlaws. For Jessie and James, their original Japanese names are a Shout-Out, too (Miyamoto Musashi and Sakaki Kojirou, respectively). To up the ante, when the four are paired based on gender, there is a theme again note .
  • Detective Conan (or Detective Conan for that matter) has Theme Naming all over the place, but Shinichi's surroundings worth some mention. He called himself the modern Sherlock Holmes, and he lives in lot 2-21, Beika, Tokyo. Next to Beika we have Haido (Hyde Park anyone?), and the river that flows across the neighbourhoods is called Teimutsu (Thames, anyone?). Is this still Tokyo, or is London who happened to be inhabited by Japanese?
  • Mahou Sensei Negima! has a surprising bit of Cultural Cross-Reference with Nodoka's four treasure hunter friends in the Magic World Story Arc. All of them are named after characters in James P. Hogan's Inherit the Stars novel. Craig Caldwell is named after Gregg Caldwell, Kristin Danchecker is named after Professor Christian Danchekker, Lynn Gulland is named after Lyn Garland, and Aisha Coryell is named after Koriel.
  • Although it doesn't translate into English very clearly, in Naruto, Kakuzu's signature attacks come from the names of different Zeon mobile suits. Just for starters, his ability to turn into a mass of strings is called "Jiongu" (literally "Earth Grudge Fear"), which is how "Zeong" (a mobile suit which also had arms that could extend outward attached by cords) is pronounced in Japanese. The entire Sarutobi clan, as well as Uchiha Sasuke, are named after Sarutobi Sasuke.
  • Gundam Wing contains references to The Wizard of Oz: Dorothy Catalonia and her gold-plated vehicles, the organization OZ (whose emblem is a lion), the Specials' emblem looking like the Tin Woodsman's head in profile, and, in episode 34, the OZ commander's callsign is "Scarecrow 5".
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny, Athrun's Mid-Season Upgrade, Infinite Justice, is named after "Operation Infinite Justice", the original name for "Operation Enduring Freedom". Likewise, Kira's Freedom is likely named after "Operation Enduring Freedom".
  • Gundam Sentinel names all of its characters after real people from the end of the Shogunate in Japan. For example, protagonist Ryu Roots is named for Ryoma Sakamoto ("moto" being the Japanese word for "root").
  • The Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam spinoff Advance of Zeta combines this with Cultural Cross-Reference, as all the experimental mobile suits in it are named for characters from Watership Down.
  • In Tantei Opera Milky Holmes, everybody (and everything) is named after something from detective fiction. For starters, the heroines are named Sherlock, Cordelia (as in Gray), Hercule (as in Poirot) and Nero (as in Wolfe).
  • Kimba's father from Kimba the White Lion is named Caesar and one of the villains is named Cassius, which reflected his bitter past with Caesar.

    Comic Books 

    Fanfiction 

    Film 

    Literature 
  • The Hobbit:
    • The names of Gandalf and all the Dwarves (except Balin) are drawn from dwarves in the Old Norse Poetic Edda.
  • The monster hunters in The Scar by China Miéville are named after the characters from The Hunting of the Snark, but in different languages. Their leader is Tinntinnabulum - the Bellman, and their ship is the Castor - Beaver.
    • The names of all the ships that make up the pirate city in The Scar have a connection with other works of literature involving ships. There's the Arronax (after the narrator of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea), Wintershaw Market (after the protagonist of William Hope Hodgson's Boats of the Glen Carrig) etc.
  • Mission of Honor introduces several characters who are plotting to become the heads of various planetary governments. Most, if not all, are named after movie directors.
  • The Gladers' names in The Maze Runner are not their real names, but names based on scientists and inventors and such that were planted in their memories.
  • The Collector: Frederick kidnaps a beautiful girl Miranda. He calls himself Ferdinand, but she thinks of him as Caliban. Miranda is the heroine of The Tempest, Frederick being her Love Interest and Caliban is a monstrous creature.
  • Charlie Lewis and Alyson Carroll in the Alice's Adventures in Wonderland adaptation Terra Mirum Chronicles.
  • As a shout-out to the works of JRR Tolkin, many dwarfish names in Discworld were based on the kinds of dwarf names you find in Middle Earth. Other dwarfs are named for emotions, referencing a certain Disney movie.

    Live Action TV 

    Radio 

    Software 
  • The different versions of Debian are named after Toy Story characters. There are three concurrent versions: the "stable" version, the "testing" version (which is the next stable version before the bugs get worked out), and the "unstable" version (for the bleeding-edge crowd); the "unstable" version is always called "sid".
  • Versions of Wordpress are named after American jazz musicians.
  • Versions of the Doku wiki are named after characters from Discworld books.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • The four elemental fiends in Final Fantasy IV were originally named for demons from Dante's Inferno — Scarmiglione, Cagnazzo, Barbariccia, and Rubicante. A display issue caused their names to get changed in the English translation, to Milon, Kainazzo, Valvalis, and Rubicant, respectively. All four are also corrected in the official GBA re-release.
  • Those Two Guys in every game named Biggs and Wedge.
  • Final Fantasy VIII takes the Star Wars theme naming a step further: in addition to Biggs and Wedge, there is a later supporting character named Piet (as in "You are in command now, Admiral Piett") and in the original Japanese, the Headmaster of Galbadia Garden is named Dodonna.
  • The Koopalings, debuting in Super Mario Bros. 3, are all named after famous musicians. Same with Reznor in Super Mario World, named after Trent Reznor.
  • In the English translation of Trauma Center, all the patients have names that are a mix and match of the characters and actors of House, Scrubs, and ER, three popular medical shows.
  • In the Onimusha series of games, the names of the major demon antagonists (excepting Onimusha 2 for some reason) are all taken from Shakespeare's Hamlet.
  • Vagrant Story has characters named Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as antagonists.
  • Most of the important characters of the Devil May Cry series have names based on The Divine Comedy — Dante, Vergil, Trish (shortened from Beatrice), Lucia and Mary ("Lady"). Seven of the demon types that appear in the third game are named for the Seven Deadly Sins.
  • Wild ARMs 2, like Final Fantasy IV and Devil May Cry above, drew inspiration from the Divine Comedy, as the terrorist organization the party fights through the first arc is named "Cocytus" (the ninth and lowest circle of Hell), with its four main generals named after the concentric zones within: Caina, Antenora, Judecca, and Ptolomea.
  • Metal Gear Solid had a Dave, a Hal, a Frank, a Naomi, and a Miller, and there was a submarine called the Discovery - all names from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Dave also pairs up with a Meryl Silverburgh, in reference to Hideo Kojima's earlier Policenauts.
  • The inhabitants of the Velvet Room from the Persona series have, of all things, theme naming based on Frankenstein. Igor is named for the hunchbacked assistant that became associated with the Frankenstein mythos after Fritz in the Universal film — the name "Igor" probably originally came from the non-hunch-backed assistant from House of Wax (1953) or a conflation of Fritz with Ygor from the Universal films, and was codified as an element of Frankenstein in Young Frankenstein — Nameless for the monster, and Elizabeth for Victor's bride from the novel. Margaret from Persona 4 continues the trend, by being named for the sister of the arctic explorer from the novel. The Odd Name Out is Belladonna — although visually modeled on the Bride from the film Bride of Frankenstein, her name is original. There's also a case to be made for the Demon Artist, but that's more of a title than a name. Theodore is more obscure; assuming he follows the pattern, he's most likely named for — given that he's a male replacement for Elizabeth — Theodore Roszak, who authored Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein, but it's possible he's instead named for Theodor von Holst, who did the illustrations for the 1831 edition of Frankenstein. Marie from Persona 4 Golden is most likely named for author Mary Shelley.
  • The lead twins of Mother 3 were named after the lead twins of a book called The Notebook. Both stories are about horrible things happening to little boys.
  • Several gangs in River City Ransom (both, NES and GBA versions), most obviously the Home Boys (named after kids in 50's-70's television shows like The Brady Bunch and My Three Sons) in the original.
  • The full names of the two player characters in the original Contra (barring spelling variations), Bill Rizer and Lance Bean, are a mix and match of the names of four actors who appeared in Aliens: Bill Paxton, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, and Michael Biehn in that order.
  • The Lee brothers from the Double Dragon series, as well as the recurring mooks Williams and Rowper, are named after the three main heroes from Enter the Dragon. The arcade version of Double Dragon II even adds two Abobo-like giant mooks named after Mr. Han's henchmen called Oharra and Bolo (although the manual of Mega Drive port identifies the latter as "Abobo", which ruins the shout-out a bit). There's also a female mook named Linda, who seems to be named after Bruce Lee's widow.
  • Two characters in the sci-fi chapter of Live A Live are named Kirk and Darth.
  • In Policenauts, Tony Redwood's dead brother is named "Ridley Redwood". They're both named after two prominent film directors/real life brothers Tony and Ridley Scott.
  • In the English version of Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, the four ghost sisters in the Forest Temple are named Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy.
  • Twilight Princess has the barmaid Telma and her cat Louise, alluding to Telma and Louise.
  • A Witchs Tale. First, all the Princesses and guardians of the kingdoms are named after characters from fairy tales or the like. Then, we get into the powerful and mysterious Queen Alice, and Liddell — the protagonist, who wants to surpass her, and is implied to be more deeply connected to her than that.
  • Several suspects in the Nancy Drew game White Wolf Of Icicle Creek have lupine-themed names, including Lou Talbot (for Larry Talbot) and Bill Kessler (for David Kessler).
  • Several major suspects and authors of documents in Sherlock Holmes: The Awakening are named after tabletop RPG designers.
  • The two main characters of the NES shoot-em-up S.C.A.T. are not only obvious ripoffs of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sigourney Weaver, they are even called "Arnold" and "Sigourney". The European release, Action in New York, gave them new names (Silver Man and Sparks) just in case.
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni has Beatrice, Virgilia, and Clair Vaux of Bernard.
  • The names of Nina and Anna Williams from Tekken are both references to La Femme Nikita. Anna in particular is named and modeled after actress Anne Parillaud, who played Nikita in the original 1990 French version. Nina's name on the other hand comes from the alias used by Bridget Fonda's character in Point of No Return, the 1993 American remake of Nikita.
  • In World of Warcraft, the Ritualists encountered before the Dark Animus in Throne of Thunder (you face a random set of 6 out of 24, and there's an achievement for killing all of them) are named after alien species in the original Doctor Who series.
    • In Stormwind's west bank there are three bankers on the left side named after Kristin Scott-Thomas, while the bankers on the right are named after Olivia Newton-John.
  • The Mordesh of WildStar have a German/Russian theme to their names, and many of their notable people like Dr. Victor Lazarin are named after famous Horror characters.
  • In Dance Central, many of the move names are named after the choreographers and producers of the game (e.g. Marcos Wind, Repka Roll, Barreto Clap).
  • In BlazBlue, Amane's attack names are derived from the Super Sentai franchise (for example, Kaizoku Senkou: "Gokai Rasen Renpa" and Juken Dageki: "Gekiren") while Izayoi's are derived from the post-2000 entries in the Gundam franchise (Freedom Justice Judge of Destiny, Slaver Trans-Am),
  • Star Wars: Dark Forces ran on the "Jedi" engine. When it was decided to make the Video Game 3D Leap with a sequel, the engine made for it was named the "Sith" engine.
  • In Faria, the later towns are named after Game Arts' previous games, though the references are somewhat obscured by being abbreviated in Japanese and then translated into English:

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 
  • All of the Tracy children in Thunderbirds are named for the Mercury astronauts. Possibly an in-universe example given that their father used to be an astronaut himself.
  • The turtles from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are named after famous Italian Renaissance painters and sculptors: Raphael, Donatello, Michelangelo Buonarroti, and Leonardo da Vinci.
  • The second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon featured a fighter called Kluh, from Planet Levram. Later on, his father, Ammag, was introduced, continuing the theme.
  • Gargoyles:
    • Many characters are named (and partially based on) William Shakespeare characters. The most prominent is Macbeth.
    • The gargoyle clan named themselves after famous sections of New York.
    • There are David and Goliath from The Bible.
  • In G.I. Joe, the villainous Dreadnok trio of Torch, Ripper, and Buzzer. Their real names, Thomas Winken, Henry Nod, and Richard Blinken-Smythe, follow two themes; Their first names are Tom, Dick, and Harry, and their last names are Winken, Blinken, and Nod. Monkey Wrench, a later addition to the crew, was named Bill Winkie: "Wee Willie Winkie," in keeping with the nursery rhyme theme of the original three.

    Web Original 
  • Open Blue's players tend to name Avelian NPC's after Halo characters in similar positions. Admirals Hood and Harper, Lieutenant Sobeck and Admiral Standish, and so on. The Espartanos from v1 - v4 were an obvious reference to the Spartans, and the fortress colony of Reach is named for a planet in the Haloverse that serves a similar purpose.
  • All of the characters in Ruby Quest are named after animals from Animal Crossing.
  • RWBY has a bit of a fairy tale theme going. There are students named Ruby Rose (Little Red Riding Hood), Yang Xiaolong ("Yang" is a Chinese word that translates to "light", referring to Goldilocks), Weiss Schnee (her name is German for "White Snow", referring to Snow White), Blake Belladonna (Bellona, Roman goddess of war or Belle, from Beauty and the Beast), and Jaune Arc (Joan of Arc). Two of the teachers are named Professor Ozpin and Glynda Goodwitch, references to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and one species of the Creatures of Grim (The Brothers Grimm) are known as Beowolves (Beowulf).

    Real Life 
  • The individual chemical components of bohemic acid are named after characters from La Bohème. They include Marcellomycin, Musettamycin, Rudolphomycin, Mimimycin, Collinemycin and Alcindoromycin.
  • There is a species of dinosaur called Gojirasaurus, which literaly translates into Godzilla Lizard
  • In the American education system, teachers love naming the people in various word problems, fill-in-the blank questions, hypotheticals that you're supposed to write essays about, etc. after one set of characters or another.
  • People sometimes do this with their pets or their children, which can lead to cases of Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?.
  • Some lately discovered and man-made elements on the Periodic Table include Promethium, Einsteinium, Rutherfordium, Nobelium, Lawrencium, Curium, Meitnerium, Europium, Lutetium, Cerium, Uranium, Neptunium, Plutonium, Polonium, Germanium, Francium, Gallium, and Darmstadtium.
    • No less than four elements are named after the Ytterby mine near Stockholm where they were first discovered: Ytterbium, Yttrium, Terbium, and Erbium.
  • The firearms company Alexander Arms has produced two unique assault rifle cartridges: .50 Beowulf and 6.5mm Grendel.
  • In the Apollo 10 mission, the command module was called "Charlie Brown" and the lunar module "Snoopy" by the crew.
  • Happens in the naming of ships from time to time.
    • A series of coastal defence ships built for the Imperial German Navy in the 1890s had names from Germanic mythology: SMS Aegir, SMS Odin, SMS Hagen, SMS Heimdall, SMS Hildebrand, SMS Frithjof, SMS Beowulf, and SMS Siegfried. A series of light cruisers built shortly after had names mostly from Greek mythology: SMS Medusa, SMS Amazone, SMS Ariadne, SMS Thetis, SMS Nymphe, SMS Niobe, and (odd name out) SMS Gazelle.
    • Similarly, the Italian navy went into World War I with, among others, a class of torpedo-boats named after mythological figures - Calliope, Canopo, Cassiopea, Centauro, Clio, Calipso, Pegaso, Perseo etc.
    • The Royal Navy in World War 2 had three classes of light cruisers named after figures from Greek and Roman mythology, the Leander, Arethusa and Dido Classes.
  • Unlike most other celestial bodies—named for gods, spirits, and heroes of ancient mythThe Moons Of Uranus are named after figures from the writings of William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope (Titania, Oberon, Ariel, Miranda, Umbriel etc.). For even more modern shout-outs, we have certain surface features of Saturn's largest moon Titan, where the mountains are named from the mountains of Tolkien's Legendarium, and the plains are named for the planets of Frank Herbert's Dune universe.
  • Someone at the KGB gave code names from the classics, such as Perseus, Persian, Medusa, Achilles, Aesculapius; and a lowly Ukranian professor was Zeus. American cities included Carthage and Tyre (possibly for Washington, DC, and New York).
  • At Winter Park Resort in Colorado, the trails and runs off of the Olympia Express lift on the backside of the Winter Park area are all named for Alice in Wonderland characters like the White Rabbit, March Hare, Cheshire Cat, Tweedledee and Tweedledum. There is even a double chairlift called Looking Glass in this area.