Work and episode titles that give away what happens in the episode.
This trope only applies if the title really is a spoiler. An important event — like a character's death — could be revealed by the title (and even take place near the show's end) but not have been meant as a surprise, so the title's not an example of this trope. See Foregone Conclusion or Oh, and X Dies for those. Quick litmus test: if the work was a paperback novel, the back would ask a question. Would the title answer it?
If the title is shown in the opening of the episode, may be a Spoiler Opening. If the title is shown on the DVD cover for Season 2 and it's a casual giveaway of the shocking twist at the end of Season 1, you're looking at a Late-Arrival Spoiler. Many examples of an Excited Title! Two-Part Episode Name! may also be this. If the title says everything important about what happens and how, then it is also Exactly What It Says on the Tin, but just revealing that someone dies or is introduced usually isn't enough. If it spoils the existence of something, rather than a plot point, then it's The Namesake. Some works hide the spoiler by closing on title instead of opening with it. Chapter titles in the "In Which a Trope Is Described" style often can end up as these.
Note that this can apply to episode titles that are never displayed on-screen during the episode, as it can be difficult to avoid seeing them in TV guides and on DVD packaging. Although possibly some creators figure that if the episode's been aired at least once, the audience should already be aware of it.
The Saiyan saga, specifically during the battle with Vegeta and Nappa, has "The death of Yamcha", "Chaiotzu's suicide strategy", "Tienshinhan's final attack" and "Kami-sama and Piccolo both die". Come on, let's root for the good guys to win!
One episode has "The End of Vegeta". Hello, we still have to watch the episode! Do you mind?!
How about "Namek's Explosion, Goku's End?". Not a Spoiler Title much, but the next episode title? "Goku's Alive!" Thanks for that, guys.
And "Pay to Win", to a lesser extent.note The episode where 18 and Hercule are the two finalists in the World Martial Arts tournament, which ends with her taking a dive for a bribe equal to double the actual prize money.
Can Videl win? Find out next time in Dragon Ball Z: "Videl's Defeat"!
For movie titles, the Japanese title of The Return of Cooler was "Clash! Ten Billion Power Warriors", spoiling that Cooler made a bunch of copies of himself; something we don't even find out until near the end of the film.
Another big offender is Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan. Broly's power supposed to be a big twist: half of the movie makes him look like a weakling who barely even speaks, but instead everyone's just waiting for the heroes to figure it out.
Goku Dies! There's Only One Last Chance was one of the first episodes, even — which probably let some savvy Japanese fans guess that the "twist" would be undone later on. Western dubs mostly kept it under wraps, although for example the French (and its many European derivatives) titled the episode Goku Sacrifices His Life.
The original Dragon Ball had an episode called "Goku's Opponent is Goku", in which Goku fights a masked fighter exactly his height with his exact skill. We wonder who it could be??
Sailor Moon did this with impunity. Magical Project S followed the model as well, although whether it was just another detail to parody the genre or an executive-mandated detail is hard to tell.
The various Sailor Moon dubs sometimes replaced the original Japanese titles with something that wasn't so spoilerific. For example, Episode 10, which introduced Sailor Mars, was called "Cursed Buses! Fire Senshi Mars Appears" in the original, but "An Uncharmed Life" in the DiC English dub and "The Temple of Lovers" in both German and Dutch. Episode 13, originally titled "Girl Power! The End of Jadeite", became "Fight to the Finish" (episode 10) in the English dub.
Some other gems from the original Japanese are Episode 24 "Naru's Cry! Nephrite Dies for Love", 33 "The Last Sailor Warrior, Sailor Venus Appears", and most egregiously, 45 "The Sailor Warriors Die! The Tragic Final Battle". The English dub changed these to "A Friend in Wolf's Clothing," "Sailor V Makes the Scene," and "Day of Destiny." They got better with this in the later seasons, although titles like "When the Galaxy Perishes! The Sailor Soldiers' Final Battle" and "Disappearing Stars! The End of Uranus and Neptune" are still pretty obvious.
Digimon Tamers had that one episode with the title "The kind-hearted hero Leomon dies!"
One episode of Digimon Adventure 02 was titled "Sayonara, Ken-chan". What made it such a spoiler, though, was that the words on the screen were in a Wormmon-shaped silhouette.
Digimon Xros Wars was really bad about this. For example, both Deckerdramon and Beelzebumon's deaths were spoiled in episode titles—then further spoiled through the story narration lines in the corner, which showed up at the beginning and middle of the episodes. (The one at the beginning in episode 48 said, "Goodbye, Beelzebumon!")
Fairy Tail is pretty bad about this.Especially since at the end of each chap the title of the next chap is shown.
Averted by Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. The title of Episode 8, "Later, Buddy", is not displayed until the end, although it would admittedly be hard to get the spoiler that Kamina dies from this one line.
This is repeated in Super Robot Wars Z2, where the same title is only displayed at the end of the stage. Voiced.
Another example is episode 25: "I accept your dying wish!", which Simon says after Kittan dies.
That was actually a brilliant Bait and Switch maneuver; in the previous episode, six of the minor characters died, so you'd be thinking Simon was talking about them when he said that.
Legend of Galactic Heroes: The whole of episode 82 is spent watching one man's life in the balance but in the end The Magician Did Not Return.
An episode of Naruto was titled "Gaara Dies!" Gee, thanks.At least he comes back to life.
Chapter 437's title is "Confessions," which doesn't sound like much of a spoiler until you see Hinata on the cover.
Chapter 473 is called "Brother". Again, doesn't sound like a spoiler until you know the context of the previous chapter in which Killer Bee is presumably about to be killed by Kisame. Anyone who had been paying attention would know Killer Bee not only has a brother but his brother is none other than the Raikage, who was last seen looking for him, and thus would be a great deal of help to Killer Bee.
Chapter 480 is titled "Sacrifice" which makes what happens at the end obvious several pages before then.
Chapter 599 is called "Obito Uchiha", that, again, is a very big spoiler if you know the context.
Episode 32 was titled "Usopp Dead!? When is Luffy going to make landfall?" Later subverted when it's revealed that Nami faked his death.
Episode 290 was titled "Uncontrollable! Chopper's Forbidden Rumble!"; in it Chopper first uses Monster Point.
Episode 377 was titled "My companions' pain is my pain! Zoro prepares to die!", and in it, Zoro agreed to take in all of Luffy's pain to convince Kuma to leave, which was thought to be fatal.
Episode 405 was titled "Disappearing Crewmates! The Final Day of the Straw Hat Crew!". The title spoils the entire episode.
Chapter 512 is titled Zoro vanished! ruining the ending.
Chapter 565 is titled Oars' Road. The previous chapter saw Akainu begin to melt all the ice the opposition were standing on causing readers to wonder how the pirates would end up ok. The title of this chapter told us.
Chapter 574 is titled Portgas D. Ace is Dead. Can't really get more spoileriffic than that.
Making it worse is that said chapter title is also the title for the entire volume. It's also the first chapter of it, which won't spoil anything the title didn't if you're reading them in a row, but if you look at any list or catalog that includes these names before you're up to that one...
Played with in Chapter 429: Complete Defeat. Things are looking bleak for the Straw Hats, when suddenly, they come upon a Hope Spot. Then the marines thoroughly beat them anyways, right? Actually, it's their victory. The title was taken from a line near the end of the chapter, spoken by a marine: "This is our complete defeat."
One of the TV Specials has a spoiler right in its full title: 3D2Y: OvercomeAce's Death!Luffy's vow to his friends!
The title of the 25th episode of Ouran High School Host Club "The Host Club Declares Dissolution!" spoils half of the plot twist revealed in the last ten seconds of the episode.
Played with in Mazinkaiser Episode 6: "Koujo Kabuto Dies in Magma!". Although he does in fact get dunked into Mt. Fuji, he does survive in the next episode.
Baccano!'s episode titles tend to be pretty explanatory in general, but the only real spoiler has to be "Firo and the Three Gandor Brothers Are Felled by Assassins' Bullets". In the show's defense, however, that also happens in the first episode. Of course, "felled" doesn't always mean "killed".
Here are the Japanese titles for a pair of Pokémon episodes that air in May 2010. If the second title was revealed in the first's On the Next, it wouldn't be this trope. However, they were revealed at the same time, so...:
Ep. 464 Semi-Final! Who is Heading to the Finalnote in the Sinnoh Grand Festival?
Ep. 465 Final! Hikari (Dawn) vs. Nozomi (Zoey)note At least they have the decency to not tell us who wins.
Done once again with the Club Battle arc, which reveals that the two finalists are Ash and Iris.
And again with the Donamite/Clubsplosion arc, with all four episodes revealed at once, spoiling all the matchups and their outcomes:
Ep. 731 The Unveiling Donamite! Scraggy VS Simisage!!
Ep. 732 Quick Succession Donamite! Druddigon VS Bisharp!!
Ep. 733 Fierce Fighting Donamite! Bisharp VS Emboar!!note so we know Bisharp got through the last round and Druddigon must have lost
Ep. 734 Decisive Battle Donamite! Throh vs Sawk!!note only one of those Pokemon is owned by any of the rivals, so it's safe to say the others all lose.
Let's just say that the Japanese titles for the tournament arcs all have spoilers in the titles. The Junior Cup reveals Iris going to the semifinals, and the Vertress Conference reveals that Ash defeats Trip in the preliminaries, Cameron defeats Bianca, Ash defeats Stephan, and that Cameron's Riolu evolves, even though the last example happens in the episode before.
The English dub is also not immune. The third episode, titled "Ash Catches a Pokemon!" is a primary example. Another egregious one it "Evolution By Fire!", where Tepig's evolution into Pignite is already leaked, even though it happens near the end of the episode.
The Soul Eater anime averts this in the same way Gurren Lagann did, as the name of the final episode "The Word is Bravery" isn't revealed until just before the credits.
But played straight with Medusa's Revival.
Umineko: When They Cry's fifth chapter is called End of the Golden Witch Hm, I wonder what happens there. Just as bad (but only if you happen to know the definition of the term) is the seventh chapter's Requiem of the Golden Witch
To some extent, Eureka Seven did this with 2 episodes and averted it with a third: Namely "Acperience 2", "Acperience 3" and "Acperience 4", though the latter is averted in the same way as Gurren Laganns two aversions. The first two just tells the viewer what is in store for them.
In the last episode of the Bubblegum CrisisOVA Bubblegum Crash, until very late in the episode, the true plan of the Boomer antagonists is unknown but the Title of the Episode actually spoils a rather huge part of this plan.
In the middle of Higurashi: When They Cry we are treated to a Hope Spot arc, with everything hinting towards a happy ending. The title of the arc? Minagoroshi-hen, "the Massacre Chapter" or, if translated word-for-word, "the Kill-Everyone Chapter".
Bakuman。 manages to avert this, with its The Noun and the Noun titles, which often only become clear when the chapter is read. For example, the chapter in which it is determined whether "Detective Trap" will be canceled, (and it is canceled) is titled "18 and 40", and refers to Mashiro realizing that his hope of getting an anime by age 18 will never come true, and after sending an e-mail to Azuki about the cancelation on the last page, she jokingly replies that she wants to get married before 40.
Code Geass "Bloodstained Euphie" is a middle example.
Depending on if you've seen the original series or not, Fate/Zero episode 17's title, "The Eighth Contract", is either this or Foregone Conclusion. Granted, the series shows the titles at the end of the episode, but Nico.jp displays the episode title right on the viewing page, defeating the purpose.
YuYu Hakusho episodes: "Koenma Appears", "Hard Fights for Yusuke", "Toguro Returns", and "The Death of Genkai". What are they about?
Chapter 84 of Jojos Bizarre Adventure is simply titled "The Mysterious Nazi Officer"; however, the 2012 anime adaptation spoils the reveal with two words: Stroheim's Counterattack, making the constant shadowing of said character's face pointless.
Similarly, there's an issue of the (Will Payton) Starman comic where the title was placed at the end: "Your Mother Should Know" (your secret identity).
A popular arc of Superman featured a warped and bizarre Metropolis in which the villainous Superman every night broke out and had to be brought back to jail by the resident superhero, Bizarro. The reason behind this sudden change and the entity responsible? The mystery was tightly kept during the original release, but the fact that the paperback collection was titled Emperor Joker ruined the big surprise. Of course, the thing is, most fans of the storyline apparently thought it to be the best title for the TPB anyway.
The end of the Tintin album Destination Moon ends on a Cliff Hanger as the astronauts have passed out and earth has lost communication with them. As mission control gets increasingly nervous, the Narrator asks the reader rhetorically (paraphrased): "Will Tintin and his friends survive this dangerous mission to make it to the moon? Find out in Explorers On The Moon!" Not that any reader really thought they wouldn't make it, of course.
BIONICLE Igniton #11: Death of a Hero. With the cover focusing on Matoro carrying the Mask of Life, an artifact that's known to do bad things to its wearer, and with the previous issue (and tons of other foreshadowing) having confirmed that he will have to wear it, guess what happens to him.
Boys Und Sensha-do has Chapter 6 titled, "Accident Against Anzio." It doesn't disclose who has the accident (Miho, when getting shot by a Semovente), but it does strongly indicate that this will be no ordinary match.
Episode 77 of Sonic X: Dark Chaos is titled "Tails's Work". If you know that the original episode's Japanese title was "Cosmo's Work" and that Cosmo dies in that episode...
The French title of The Shawshank Redemption is Les Évadés, which means "Those Who Escaped" roughly, so not only does it give away the twist that Andy escapes the prison but also that Red flouted his parole.
The Deadly Mantis, like 90% of the 1950s Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever films, spends the first 20 minutes or so with mysterious disappearances and goings-on in the Arctic. Or rather they would be mysterious if the name of the film didn't give the monster away before it even started. To be fair, the monster is pretty much the big selling point of these kinds of movies. People wouldn't throng to see a movie called "Vague Imminent Threat That May Destroy The World and May Involve Monsters and/or Aliens!"
They Saved Hitler's Brain: This 1969 film was a reworking of a 1950s unfinished film called Mad Men of Mandoras. They actually recycled all of the footage of that movie and spliced it with newly shot footage that looked oddly modern for a movie that was set in the Eisenhower era of the 1950s. In the original film, the fact that they saved Hitler's brain was supposed to be a surprise revealed near the end when the protagonists discover the bad guys hangout. It is hinted earlier in the film that some suspect that Hitler may still be alive but no one knows exactly how.
End Of Watch is named after a police term for when a police officer dies on duty.
One of the segments of Creepshow is called "The Lonesome Death of JordyVerrill", just in case you were in danger of getting attached to ol' Jordy.
101 Dalmatians: We don't officially get that title until the end of the movie.
Oliver & Company: The titular character doesn't get his name until two-thirds of the way through the movie.
In Portugal, Psycho is titled The Man Who Killed His Mother.
We already know how long The Hero of 12 Years a Slave will suffer through slavery. The only question (if you're not familiar with history) remaining is did he manage to escape or did he die trying. Fortunately, he escaped. Though he did ultimately die through unknown circumstances.
John Dies at the End. It's actually a subversion because John dies in the beginning, albeit only temporarily; Dave is actually the protagonist who dies at the end, but he also survives in a manner of speaking.
The title of Monstrous Regiment, if you know anything about sixteenth-century history, in particular John Knox's misogynistic Protestant tract The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women.
Possibly the most extreme example of all time is The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, Etc. Who Was Born In Newgate, and During a Life of Continu'd Variety For Threescore Years, Besides Her Childhood, Was Twelve Year a Whore, Five Times a Wife [Whereof Once To Her Own Brother], Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon In Virginia, At Last Grew Rich, Liv'd Honest, and Died a Penitent. Written from her own Memorandums.
My Brother Sam is Dead, a story in which Sam, the narrator's brother, dies.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone embodies this trope. The three heroes discover that a magical artifact, whose nature remains unclear, is hidden in the school... Hm, could that be that philosopher's stone mentioned in the title? Invented by that guy Flamel mentioned at the beginning of the book? In France, the character of Nicolas Flamel is better known than in Anglo-Saxon countries, so the title was changed to "Harry Potter at the Wizardry School" to avoid a complete giveaway of the story's plot.
Apparently, J. R. R. Tolkien disapproved of the title under which the third The Lord of the Rings book was published for this reason, and wanted to call it The War of the Ring instead of The Return of the King.
The titles of the last two Codex Alera books are massive spoilers once you figure out the pattern. Namely, the ranks in the titles all refer to Tavi. It's probably for the best that Jim Butcher didn't go with his original name for the first book, or it would have been even more obvious.
The short story "The Fall of the House of Usher," by Edgar Allan Poe. Guess what happens at the end? Usher's house falls. But you should know that.
That's less a spoiler and more a fake metaphor; it's made to SEEM like an investigation of the "fall" (that is, slow descent into infamy) of the "house" (that is, family) of Usher. Turns out, no, it's really a dilapidated old mansion that falls the hell apart.
A beautiful subversion is the chapter title "The Trapping of Birdy Edwards" in The Valley of Fear. The title is accurate... but not in the way you assumed.
Georg Büchner's Danton's Tod (Danton's Death). As history dictates, Danton gets beheaded in the end.
Subverted in Moby-Dick. One of the chapters is titled "Queequeg in his Coffin", so naturally you assume he dies, especially if you casually see the title in the table of contents. He doesn't. The chapter is literally about him trying on a coffin he intends to be buried in.
Ken Follet's thriller The Third Twin: at the beginning of the novel there are just two twins. But as you read the title, you know that a third one will soon show up. Actually an aversion as the big twist are the forth through the twentieth twin.
Galaxy of Fear does this constantly, and the covers and blurbs get in on it, even though in the text the spoiler in question is typically just hinted and nudged at rather than outright spoiled. Pretty much the only one that doesn't spoil anything right there is Army of Terror.
One Sweet Valley High book has Elizabeth rejecting a would-be boyfriend who gets his revenge by going around telling Elizabeth's friends about all the embarrassing things Elizabeth "told" him about them. Jessica is sure Elizabeth wouldn't have told these secrets, but how could he have known them otherwise? It might have been quite the mystery, had the book not been titled The Stolen Diary.
Another book had Lila trying to get her divorced parents back together. It's title: The Wedding.
In The Baby-Sitters Club book where Stacey's parents divorced, most of the plot centered around her choosing whether to stay in New York City with her father or move back to Stoneybrook with her mother. The book was called Welcome Back, Stacey.
In another book, Jessi is asked to participate in a synchronized swimming competition. The title of the book is Jessi's Gold Medal.
Louisa May Alcott's A Long Fatal Love Chase. Bet you can't guess the plot of that one.
Brian Aldiss's first Science Fiction novel was published in the UK under his title, Non-stop. Unfortunately his US publisher didn't think this was exciting enough, so they renamed it Starship. This is a spoiler because until the big reveal, the viewpoint characters haveno ideathat they're living in a starship.
This is a famous problem, particularly for Dalek or Cyberman episodes, in both the old and new series. It was a running gag amongst fans of the old series that a serial would be called "Noun of the Daleks", and the Episode One Cliff Hanger would be... a Dalek!:
Averted in early Dalek serials — "The Daleks", "The Dalek Invasion of Earth", and "The Daleks' Master Plan" — as all of these serial names are names applied retrospectively to the stories and at the time the convention was to title each episode individually. Thus, you don't expect Daleks at the Episode 1 cliffhanger while watching "The Dead Planet", "World's End" or "The Nightmare Begins". You're stuffed if you're watching them on DVD or video or online, though, which of course you are, being that you are living in the future. And then there's "Mission to the Unknown" and "The Chase", Dalek stories which don't have "Daleks" in the title.
There's a Shaky P.O.V. Cam monster that's obscured from us, it's called a "Metaltron" by the cast, there's a Cyberman mask shown as a Red Herring, but the title is "Dalek". Hmm. I wonder what that could be about?
Subversion: The episode "The Death of Dr. Who". Of course, it aired as the fifth part of a six-episode serial in 1965, and they're still making the show... and the character is still alive, even if his name was "Dr. Who", which it isn't, so it's not really that surprising when neither the Doctor nor the show die. But still.
Partially averted with "Robot", which was going to be called "The Giant Robot" in development but this was changed. While the presence of a robot is carefully concealed to us with a Shaky P.O.V. Cam shot, and the Episode 1 cliffhanger is The Reveal that the thing in the lab is - a robot!!!, the fact that the robot grows giant and terrorises UNIT in the Episode 3 cliffhanger is properly concealed by the new title. The Target novelisation by Terrance Dicks uses the original title.
Often the writers (and occasionally even the directors) created it so the revelation of the returning foe or foes was given great weight, only to have the script editor or producer change the title to showcase said foe. For instance, the serial scripted as "The Deadly Experiments" used the revelation that the Sontarans were behind the experiments as the only cliffhanger. Script editor Robert Holmes was very unhappy to learn at a late stage that it had been retitled "The Sontaran Experiment" but the cliffhanger left intact. The new series did it again with "The Sontaran Stratagem", which is shot so that no actual Sontarans are shown for a good while.
A really bad case is "The Android Invasion", where the title gives away something that in-story is meant to be a mystery all the way up to the cliffhanger of the second episode.
Apparently the writers managed to catch onto this with the Cybermen on at least one occasion, as their reintroductory serial in Peter Davison's tenure (after a six year absence) was purposefully not titled "X of the Cybermen" or any variation on "Silver" - it was instead called "Earthshock".
New series example of the above: "Rise of the Cybermen". Said cybers are only hinted at until the very last scene of the episode, but the title gives their presence away right from the beginning.
Interesting variation: The title of 'The Stolen Earth' gives away a big spoiler, so the producers kept the title a secret until only a few weeks before the episode aired. Of course, that didn't stop Radio Times from completely spoiling its villain.
The French titles for the new series are quite bad, although for some reason quite a few of them leave out the spoilerific mentions of Daleks and Cybermen. Yet the series two finale was named "Farewell Rose", The End of Time Part One "Return of the Master", The End of Time Part Two "Return of the Time Lords", etc. There are a lot more examples of other titles that spoil what is supposed to come as a surprise in an episode.
"The Angels Take Manhattan". This episode also contains an in-universe example: when the Doctor reads the chapter titles in the Melody Malone book and realizes from "Amelia's Last Farewell" that Amy is going to have to say goodbye to somebody.
If you don't speak Korean and are interested in watching Dae Jang Geum, don't look up what "dae" means. Also, don't go to Wikipedia and find out who Jang Geum was. Also, don't read any descriptions of the series. The real historical event that happens at the end is an incredible plot twist. At least it would be, if the title didn't tell you what was going to happen so that you more or less spend the 50+ episodes of the series just waiting for it, ruining all the tension and drama that leads up to it.
Austrian cop-and-dog show Inspector Rex wrote out the human partner, Moser, in an episode entitled "Moser's Death".
The last episode of the original Outer Limits was about a group of plane crash survivors who wind up on an alien space probe—without either the characters or the audience realizing it—and spend about half the story trying to figure out where they are. The episode's title? You guessed it—"The Probe".
You can sometimes figure out pretty major plot twists in Supernatural if you look at the title of the episode. For instance, in "Good God, Y'All," the Big Bad is the horseman War. Knowing the song that the title comes from pretty much gives that away.
Another example would be "The Song Remains The Same." In the end, everything goes back to the way it was. All that the Winchesters have changed in the past goes back to how it was originally.
The season 4 final is an obvious example. It has the brothers trying to prevent Lucifer from escaping his jail. The title is Lucifer Rising.
The page quote at the top is of the example that happens in the Made-for-TV Movie version of the Superman Broadway musical, It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's Superman!
In Castle, "Hell Hath No Fury": the "woman scorned" is obviously the dead man's wife, and the ending comes as no surprise.
Every It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has a straightforward episode title like "Mac Bangs Dennis' Mom" and "Frank Sets Sweet Dee on Fire" that often contradicts the last line of dialogue before the title. It's done very deliberately and very hilariously.
The people who translate the titles of episodes into French seem to love making those. Two examples: in Star Trek: The Original Series, "The Immunity Syndrome" was translated as "Amobea", and in Doctor Who, "The Parting of the Ways" became "Goodbye Rose". There are sadly many more of these.
The German episode titles of Buffy the Vampire Slayer tend to give away the entire episode's plot and/or ending. Some of the most egregious examples: "Gingerbread" is renamed "Hansel and Gretel"; "The Body" becomes "Death of a mother"; "Seeing Red" is "Warren's revenge".
To be fair, Joyce (the aforementioned "mother") had died at the end of the previous episode, "I Was Made to Love You", so the title "Death of a mother" doesn't really spoil anything, unless you knew it in advance of seeing the previous episode.
Merlin's second series had an episode where Merlin rescues a Druid girl from execution and falls in love with her. At the end of the episode, she is seemingly Killed Off for Real... Except the episode was called The Lady of the Lake. Guess who she turns out to be?
Arrested Development did this subtly with the episode "Justice Is Blind". Michael is dating a blind prosecutor in charge of his father's case. It's later revealed that she's only faking blindness, but her seeing-eye dog Justice actually is blind.
The soundtrack to Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was released before the movie itself came out. Anybody who picked it up got treated to tracks called "Qui-Gon's Noble End" and "The High Council Meeting and Qui-Gon's Funeral." Oops.
The soundtrack for Godzilla (2014) has basically a 20 sentence summation of the plot. Closing with "Godzilla's Victory" and "Back Into The Ocean".
When Magic: The Gathering announced the Innistrad block they also revealed the names of all three sets. The last one was named Avacyn Restored. Before spoiler season even started everyone know that "Avacyn" would be important, would be taken out of the picture for some reason, and would then come back.
New Phyrexia was such a spoilerific title that they circulated two possible titles for the set, the other being Mirrodin Pure, for as long as possible prior to the set's release to keep up the drama of the Mirran-Phyrexian War.
Chapter 1 of MOTHER 3 is titled "Night of the Funeral"—guess what shocking news Flint gets halfway through the chapter? Though it's early in the game, it's still a spoiler. And if you take into account that players are likely to name Hinawa after their own mother, this can become quite a shock.
The first Spider-ManGame Boy Advance game has a story where Spider-Man investigates weird occurrences and thefts, in an attempt to determine who could be behind it all. In the story as presented (always from Spider-Man's point-of-view), he does not find the culprit's identity until the start of the final stage. The full title of the game: Spider-Man: Mysterio's Menace.
The title of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings makes it clear to the player that there's more than one Kingslayer long before the characters realize this. Unexpectedly, you only ever meet one of them in person.
Which is a completely hilarious and memorable subversion. That is, if you're any good at Portal.
In the game's menu and achievements, it's only listed as "The Part Where...". It's only when you get to it that the full title is displayed, whereupon Wheatley promptly tries to kill you. Emphasis on "tries".
In Red Dead Redemption, there's a sidequest early in the game about people who go missing in the hills. It's titled "American Appetites" and is revealed in the 3rd (and last) part to be about cannibals.
The final mission before the Playable Epilogue is titled "The Last Enemy That Shall Be Destroyed". Even though they tried to hide it by leaving off the last two words (Is Death), if you're familiar with that quote, then it should come as no surprise that The Hero Dies.
In the US version of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, about two-thirds of the way through the game you make the (very unexpected) realization that the whole of Koholint Island is just a dream of the Wind Fish. Meanwhile, the Japanese version of the game's name is The Legend of Zelda: Dream Island. Well that certainly ruins the tension.
Kid Icarus: Uprising normally avoids this, except for Chapter 11: "Viridi, Goddess of Nature". Judging by the end of Chapter 10, you'd normally think 11 would be about stopping the humans from wiping each other out fighting over the Wish Seed, and the start of the chapter makes you think so, until the titular goddess arrives and nukes everyone. Unfortunately, the title kinda ruins the surprise early.
The game, however, also gives us some very clever subversions via Exact Words. The name of the Disc One Final Dungeon, for example, is "Medusa's Final Battle", which is completely true; it isMedusa's final battle, but it's not Pit's by a long shot.
The Halloween Hack has the alternative title of "Press the B Button." Pressing the B Button at a critical decision will allow the Player to access the rest of the game.
Silent Hill 2: The title of the main scenario reveals to the canny one of the game's big twist. That Mary is in fact dead and that she was envisioning heaven for herself and James as Silent Hill as it was when he and she went there, and in particular their hotel room when she wrote her farewell letter. The title is "A Letter from Silent Heaven."
The School Days visual novel and anime are divided into episodes; many of the episode titles would spoil the episode they refer to, but Close on Title avoids this.
Bravely Default does this rather brilliantly in that you can completely miss the spoiler entirely if you only put the game in sleep mode to recover SP for something. During chapters six while awakening the crystals again awaken three of them then go back to the title screen. Certain letters in the current subtitle for that file will turn red and vanish turning the subtitle from "Where the Fairy Flies" into "Airy Lies".
lonelygirl15 did this all the time. "Bree's Dad Is Dead" was a bit of a giveaway, for instance.
Parodied on a WB fansite, in an article supposedly discussing The WB's Hot New Lineup. An episode summary for the new Pokémon show was roughly: "Pikachu must decide whether to save his partner, Tash. What will he decide?! We find out in the next episodes, 'Tash's Funeral' and 'Pikachu Gets a New Partner'!"
In the episode "Reincarnation", the Anime short "Action Delivery Force" is presented as an ongoing show, with an episode entitled "Medical Dance Crab With Lesson". Try to figure out how the episode is resolved.
Guess what Reveal occurs at the end of "Leela's Homeworld". (Although it doesn't actually happen at the end, and it doesn't actually involve an alternate planet.
Also, if you haven't seen "Leela's Homeworld", the episode title "Teenage Mutant Leela's Hurdles" tells you exactly how it ends. Also, the title for that episode was released before "Leela's Homeworld" aired.
The season 2 opening 2-parter, "The Return of Harmony," is a straight example, since the title indicates that Discord is going to lose in the end. Given the format, it's not exactly a twist.
The episode in which Apple Bloom gets her cutie mark (and then a bunch more) would have been much more interesting if it had not been called "Cutie Pox". The title not only gives away that her cutie marks are caused by a disease, but also kills any shock from her gaining the first cutie mark (which would otherwise have been a major development).
And of course, "Princess Twilight Sparkle" — although that's only a spoiler if you haven't seen or heard about the previous season's finale episode. (The fandom spent most of 2013 arguing about it, so you would have to have spent the year in a very deep hole.)
Happened with the French translation of The Spectacular Spider-Man. Who is manipulating the events to create a gang war between Tombstone, Silvermane and Dr. Octopus? Find out in "The Return of the Green Goblin"!
Totally Spies! has the episode "Evil Boyfriend". We don't find out that Sam's new love is evil until the very end, yet the title has already told us that.
A repeat broadcast of the G1 The Transformers episode "Dark Awakening" ends with Optimus Prime dying... followed by the narrator saying, "But is this really the end of Optimus Prime? Find out in tomorrow's exciting episode, 'The Return of Optimus Prime'!"
The Sym-Bionic Titan episode "Tashy 497" which is the name the trio chooses for their deceased pet, a combination of the names Tarax, Mushy and #497, which each of them wanted to name it.