"Fear names. Names have power in identity. Others can use names as weapons. Names are a hook that can be used to track you ... Remain nameless, and you shall be safe. I am the Nameless One."Exactly What It Says on the Tin, this is a character who has no name. While No Name Given is a narrative trope where a character has a name but is not referred to by name within the work, this character either never received a name or has long since forgotten or discarded it. They frequently get a placeholder that is some variation of "Nameless" or something similar since referring to a character as "hey you" gets old. Often a sign of Blue and Orange Morality to some extent, since having a name is necessary to function in society. As such, it's common for free spirits Walking the Earth to not have a name, or for members of a Hive Mind without individual identities. Also frequently the case with amnesiacs, though unless they specifically choose to remain nameless they usually get a placeholder name.
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Anime and Manga
- In Sword of the Stranger, the closest thing the ronin gives for a name is "Nameless Red Devil." Kotaro even starts calling him Nanashi, which translates directly to "Nameless".
- Trowa Barton from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing was separated from his family as a baby and raised by a band of mercenaries, who never named him. He remains nameless his entire life until the eve of Operation Meteor, when he lifts the moniker of the man originally trained to pilot the Gundam Heavyarms. After Endless Waltz, he considers himself nameless once more, until his friends convince him to keep it.
Trowa: Battle Record 001, pilot's name...let's go with Trowa.
- Of course, early on in the show, it's demonstrated that he still hasn't fully accepted the new name:
Trowa: I don't have a name. If you must call me something, call me Trowa Barton.
- The Creepy Child in Berserk is who is highly insinuated to be Guts and Casca's child in some spiritual form has no name. This is due in part because he is voiceless and because he was never properly given a name upon his "birth." So we just call him "Guska."
- "Scar" in Fullmetal Alchemist. When Yoki asks Scar's name, Scar responds that to Ishvalans, a person's name is the most important thing; the name is regarded as a gift from God. So Yoki asks again, and Scar's response is "I threw it away. I threw away my own name." Yoki doesn't dare ask him again. At the end of the series, he still refuses to give his name and says you can just call him whatever you want to.
- In the 2003 anime version, Scar's name still isn't given. It goes so far as to name his last episode, in which he died, "His Name Is Unknown." Just before he dies, Lust asks him his name, and he answers that his body once had a name, but "that person died a long time ago." Lust, who'd only called him "scarred man" up to this point, finally uses the "name" Scar as he dies: "Goodbye...Scar."
- In the manga/Brotherhood, King Bradley is revealed to be a false name given to the nameless man who survived the transformation into the homunculus Wrath. He does not consider this to be his true name, and even comments on the similarity between him and Scar when they fight.
- The other candidates for the process that created Wrath were kept as an elite and completely loyal force in Central. Not one of them has a name or any reason for living aside from carrying out orders.
- In the backstory of Blood+, Diva was raised differently from her twin Saya as an experiment. While Saya was given a loving home and the best care possible, Diva was locked in a tower and not given so much as a name. When Saya meets her, she gives her the name Diva.
- In Dragon Ball/Dragon Ball Z, the Namek who split into Piccolo and Kami long before the start of the series is never named. Neither Piccolo nor Kami remember what their pre-split name was, and when they merge back together, the resulting entity calls himself "the Namek who has long since forgotten his name". This doesn't last long, as he soon just goes by Piccolo for the sake of convenience.
- Contrary to the implications of the dub, Kami is also a case of this, since "Kami" is a title rather than a name. Unlike the character who takes over as Kami of Earth after the merge with Piccolo, the original Kami has no name.
- Kenpachi had no name growing up, the district of his origin being filled with people little better than animals. After discovering Yachiru, a toddler who also had no name, he decided to name both of them and started his journey to the Seireitei. For a long while Kenpachi's zanpakuto was nameless since Kenpachi never bothered to learn it. Being a Blood Knight who likes handicapping himself to make fights more challenging, the fact that this made his sword less powerful didn't bother him. After his draw against Ichigo, he finds himself sympathizing with his sword since he too knows the pain of living without a name and resolves to learn his sword's name one day. In the final arc he finally learns its name: Nozarashi.
- Ichibei Hyosube has the power to literally erase a person or object's name. Since I Know Your True Name is a big thing in this series, anyone or anything affected by this ability loses its powers. Unfortunately, Yhwach was powerful enough to counter the ability and remember his name.
- In Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, Shigure Kosaka's father raised her to be a warrior, but did not bother to give her a name. When she was 14, her friend Akisame named her after learning she did not have a name.
- In Date A Live, Tohka Yatogami started the series with no name and no memories other than constantly fighting for survival. Her first friend and love interest Shido Itsuka named her.
- In Shakugan no Shana, Shana was raised since childhood to be a warrior and was not given a name, though she was sometimes referred to as the "Flaming-Haired Blazing-Eyed Hunter". When Yuji asked for her name, she said she didn't have one and she didn't see the point. Yuji decided to name her Shana and she eventually accepted it.
- In Death Parade, a character credited as "Black Haired Woman" wakes up with total amnesia. Nona walks up and introduces herself. The woman says she can't remember her name, but Nona flatly says she doesn't have one. She eventually remembers her name is Chiyuki.
- In the Planet Hulk storyline one of the members of Hulk's group of True Companions is a Brood queen, who don't have names. Among the Hive Mind of other Brood, names would be pointless, but since she (uniquely for her species) lives among non-Brood and even befriends some of them, a "name" of some sort becomes necessary. She becomes known as "No-Name of the Brood."
- In Dreamwave's Transformers comic series "The War Within: The Dark Ages", a character is introduced who is only ever referred to as "the Fallen," as his name was taken away from him by his fellow Transformers after he betrayed Primus and sided with Unicron. This is especially significant since Transformer names are not only personal labels, but usually define their entire purpose, personality, and/or function. (In the novel "Transformers Exodus", his original name is given as "Megatronus Prime").
- In the original Marvel run of Transformers, there was a Transformer personally made by Primus (the Transformer version of God) known only as "the Last Autobot."
- Batman villain Ra's Al Ghul actually qualifies. His "name" is actually his title, as he has long since discarded his name.
- In Immortal Iron Fist, the ninja-servant girl who is Orson Randall's daughter was never named, due to rather restricted freedoms caused by her society's caste system. According to her, she'll have made a name for herself by the time Danny sees her again.
- V from V for Vendetta qualifies. (S)He states: "I do not have a name. You can call me V."
- Tin's girlfriend in Metal Men wasn't given a proper name, and was often called "Nameless".
- In The Metabarons, the last Metabaron actually doesn't have a name at all.
- All members of the Indigo Tribe in the Green Lantern comics are nameless, which is largely because they've been brainwashed into a zen-like trance and lose individuality for the sake of "Compassion".
- Applies to her in the Triptych Continuum, whose lack of name appears to be deliberate — and possibly a way of getting past the suspected power of names as applied to destiny in Equestria.
"No name! Names limit! Name not earned! Never name now!"
- In The Bridge:
- According to Xenilla, Destroyah never chose a name for herself and doesn't care. The others just refer to her as Destroyah out of convenience. However, considering how upset she gets when the Cutie Mark Crusaders don't pronounce it right, she's accepted Destroyah as her name.
- Since Gyaos are mostly nothing but mindless predators, none of them have names. The Hyper Gyaos is eventually named Irys, which she accepts.
- Monster X has amnesia and his masters only saw him as a weapon and did not see fit to give him an actual name, only using X as a designation so they know who they're talking about. After giving up a chance to recover his memories, since that risks unleashing his Super-Powered Evil Side Kaizer Ghidorah, he declares that from now on, "X" will be his true name. For the record, his original name was Praetorian Guard 094.
- In the RWBY fanfic Nice and Pink, when Ruby and Weiss demand a bar's "strongest drink" to top off their drinking contest, the bartender carefully brings out an unlabeled bottle. When asked what it's called, he just says "It... has no name. It consumed its own name to increase its power."
- In his backstory, Hancock lost his memory and with it, his name. He eventually adopted the name "Hancock" after someone asked for his signature (his "John Hancock") and assumed it was his name.
- The viewpoint character of Hero, played by Jet Li, goes by "Nameless". In this case, it is a sign of humility.
- In Warm Bodies we're told by the zombie main character at the beginning:
R: I wish I could introduce myself, but I don't remember my name anymore. I mean, I think it started with an 'r' but that's all I have left. I can't remember my name, or my parents, or my job... although my hoodie would suggest I was unemployed.
- In the Earthsea series the Nameless Ones, formerly the main deities of the Kargad religion, are manifestations of Earth's more malevolent aspects. Some reside in the labyrinths on the island of Atuan.
- In Moving Pictures, the duck, mouse, and rabbit have no names, and the cat isn't sure if having once been called "Puss" by a child counts.
- The unicorn of The Last Unicorn. She's called Amalthea when Humanity Ensues, but it's only an alias so that she can pass as a human.
- The Baker in The Hunting of the Snark has "wholly forgotten his name."
- Hull Zero Three: Due to the cast being clones, none of them have names until the girls name them.
- In Deverry, Prince Galrion is stripped of his rank, wealth and even his name by his father. His father issues a decree that ever after Galrion is to only be called "Nevyn". That's not a name. It's a word that quite literally means "no-one".
- In The Lord of the Rings, narration discloses that Sauron's spokesman had long forgotten his own name; he introduces himself to the emissaries of the West by his function, the Mouth of Sauron.
- To an extent this applies to many of the enemies. "Sauron" is itself an epithet given to the enemy by the Elves (meaning "abhorred"), and ordinarily his own servants are not allowed to use it. The Nazgul have no names in the published books (though some of Tolkien's other writings gave names to one or another of them). And in the end, Saruman is known as "Sharkey", which Tolkien speculates is from a Black Speech word meaning "old man".
- The short story An Encounter And An Offer has a nameless fae boy, who's name was stripped from him by the fae courts. He refuses to reveal why.
- The cat in Coraline has no name. According to him only humans have names. Cats don't have names because they know who they are but humans are more fickle with their identities and 'need' names.
- When the dragons of the Inheritance Cycle learned that the thirteen dragons of the Forsaken had turned against their own kind and were actively helping the Forsaken to kill and enslave their own kind, the free dragons grew angry. They gathered their power and performed one of their inexplicable works of magic. Somehow, they stripped the Thirteen of their names. From that moment on, no one could remember, read, write, or speak any name belonging to those dragons. Common names, true names, nicknames, everything. They could not even say "I like this" or "I dislike that", because to do so would be to name themselves.
- The Faceless Men of A Song of Ice and Fire are this in the sense that they've been both able to change their appearance seemingly at will (making it more difficult to identify any of them) and gave up their original names when joining the Faceless Men, so most have only been identified by ''ad hoc'' titles from Arya's POV. The sole exception had used the name Jaqen H'ghar when posing as a Lorathi criminal, but otherwise the only name that he is believed to have used since would be that of someone else who was killed "on page" by someone whose appearance matched the last one that "Jaqen" used.
- The title character in Frederick Forsyth's The Day of the Jackal. He assumes several identities over the course of the story, but we never learn his real name and only a few hints about his background. Much of the plot hinges on a Red Herring, with investigators assuming he's another man (Charles Calthrop) with shady ties to international arms dealers.
- In Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell the character so-called 'Stephen Black' is apparently not actually named Stephen Black, or so it would seem according to the rules of magic, because 'Stephen' was a slave name and not his true name given to him by his mother at his birth (which has been lost). As such, Magic considers him to be "The Nameless King", which is problematic because there is also a historical figure prevalent in the story, the Raven King, who was also given a slave name that was not his real name, John Uskglass, and is also referred to as "The Nameless King". Spells meant to address the latter Nameless King accidentally affect the former Nameless King.
- In Moonflowers, the antagonist is the Horned Hunter of Celtic Mythology, frequently just called "the Hunter." Maidin the river-spirit explains that he's a literal force of nature—that force being predators—who gave up his name on taking the position. Given that the Hunter has an in-story children's game about him, he'd be extremely old.
Live Action Television
- Doctor Who: All Daleks are nameless due to them being "pure" and so similar that they're effectively hiveminds. There are very specific exceptions, such as the Cult of Skaro.
- In the backstory of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Shapeshifter Odo was originally called "unknown sample" in Bajoran but the Cardassian overseeing the project gave it the closest approximation in Cardassian instead: "odo'ital," which translates literally as "nothing".
- From the same series, the Changeling species does not use names. The one who oversees the war in the Alpha Quandrant is content to be referred to as "the female Changeling" and explains to Odo that they have no need for names among themselves, as they exist naturally in a liquid "Great Link." When Odo asks her how they distinguish one Changeling from another without names, she explains that they don't.
- In Stargate Atlantis, the telepathic Wraith do not use names. When individual Wraith get captured for interrogation or just become recurring characters, Colonel Sheppard randomly assigns human names to them so they can be called something other than "that Wraith".
- The Expanded Universe novels later reveal that Wraith have names that they use among each other, but they're apparently based on their roles in society and/or how their minds "feel" to each other telepathically. The Wraith are also shown to have trouble understanding that human names don't work the same way.
- The sketch comedy Almost Live! features "Mind Your Manners", kung-fu parody skits in which the hero Billy Quan always delivers a beat-down on the same unnamed and unrepentant Jerk Ass (played by the show's host John Keister.)
- The song "Horse with No Name" by America involves a journey through the desert... on a horse with no name. This juxtaposes the lyrics which claim that it's actually easier to maintain your identity on your own since no one is around to influence you.
- The band Ghost has one named member, Papa Emeritus, the singer. The other members of the band - who wear identical masks and robes on stage - are referred to and credited as "Nameless Ghouls".
- Given its popularity with pieces involving wandering samurai, this trope shows up in Way of the Samurai, where 'Nameless' is the default name given to the player's ronin character. You can always choose to change it, but seeing as how the player is apparently some kind of amnesiac swordsman, it fits.
- The King of Fighters has a character literally named Nameless, presumed the last clone made by NESTS, and thus didn't have enough time to develop a legitimate name.
- The Nameless One from Planescape: Torment. He actually had a name, but due to his amnesia he can't remember what it is. He can eventually relearn his name; however, the player can't.
- In Phantom Dust, if you reject all the name choices you're given at the start of the game you will be called Nanashi (Japanese for "nameless") instead.
- Not a character, but a game itself: Nanashi no Game's title translates as "The Nameless Game."
- Forgotten Worlds: Both player characters are only known as the "Nameless Ones". This is kept in their cameo appearances, usually going by the moniker of "Unknown Soldier" followed by 1P/2P to identify between them. The Japanese sources have slight variations at times, like "Nameless Super Soldier". The Mega Drive Japanese manual also refers to the 2P soldier as "Mohawk Man".
- Ōkami has a minor character who lives next to Hana Valley whose text boxes say "Nameless Man".
- The Big Bad of the Guilty Gear is a cloaked figure, who apparently either has no name, or is a case of 'He Who Must Not Be Named', as everyone refers to him as "That Man".
- In Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Snake says that he has no name. Various characters call him different names, including Big Boss (his title given to him by the CIA for his actions in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater]]), John (his birth name), and Snake (his code name from MGS3), which is the name he dislikes the least.
- In a similar vein, in Metal Gear Solid, Liquid implies that he and Solid Snake have no names, no history beyond their programmed lives as clones. Snake counters that he does have a name]], angering Liquid, who doesn't identify by his own at all. The end of the game reveals that his first name is David.
- The horned giants from Dragon Age have no known name for their race. "Qunari" describes anyone who follows the Qun, regardless of race. They used to be known as "Kossith", but that term merely described people who followed the philosophy that predated the Qun. This applies somewhat on an individual basis as well. Qunari take duty so seriously that they identify themselves by their role in life. "Sten" for example is a military rank. In practice, Qunari usually use nicknames to distinguish themselves among others with the same role. Iron Bull for example is officially "Hissrath", but prefers to go by Iron Bull.
- Soul Series: In a series where every other weapon has a name, all of Edgemaster's weapons are nameless. This is because he believes that weapons are nothing more than tools. It is the warrior's soul, not the weapon, that makes the warrior. The sword he gave to Xianghua to replace Soul Calibur is also nameless, since Xianghua respected his philosophy and refused to name it herself.
- La-Mulana: "MU is the name of the nameless one, the one who climbs to the sky." This is a bit of wordplay: the Japanese word for "nameless" is mumei.
- In the Chzo Mythos, the wraith that haunts DeFoe Manor was never given a name in life, due to having been locked in the basement by his abusive father from the day he was born. The characters across the games, as a result, refer to him by a variety of names, with the most enduring being Trilby's "John DeFoe".
- In Dark Souls III, one of the hidden bosses is called the Nameless King. It's heavily implied that he is the firstborn son of Gwyn whose identity was stricken from history by Gwyn himself as a punishment for some grave sin.
- Every denizen of the shovel-beam-powered hamlet in Blank It. In fact, they take pride in their namelessness, and anyone who is given a name is immediately rejected from the society. Here it is in action.
- In Knights of the Dinner Table, Dave once created a character with no name. After struggling to work out what to call him, the other characters started referring to him as 'Monkey Boy'. Eventually getting sick of this, Dave comes up with a symbol to represent the character, and the whole thing quickly turns into The Trope Formerly Known as X.
- In Earthsong, the leader of Haven's Guard is unique for remembering her entire past except for her name. She goes by Nanashi, which is Japanese for "no name."
- Fairies in Gunnerkrigg Court have no names until they finish school and address each other with insults instead. The author included a very helpful character guide here.
- In Digger, a certain hyena had his name "eaten" by his tribe and was exiled, a punishment that makes him an unperson in their eyes. He considers his name to be gone, and we never find out what it was; however, the protagonist gives him the new monicker "Ed", which he gratefully receives.
- Magick Chicks: If the mysterious girl who is the spirit of the wand has a name, she has yet to reveal it and has evaded the question both times she was asked about it. She's only known by the nickname: "fade-out girl"note or FoG for short.
- In Harkovast, the Nameless are obviously an example of this trope, being an army of warriors who lack not just names but also cannot speak and always have their faces covered by helmets. They are so anonymous that they are the only creatures in Harkovast who cannot be identified with a real world animal.
- HERO the protagonist is an amnesiac who is not only nameless, but doesn't even get a descriptor like the rest of the cast.
- Follower: Geedy, in the beginning is only known as Subject 23-3, and even then only to the scientists who he doesn’t understand. He is later given a name by Dia.
- Gargoyles traditionally do not have individual names, referring to each other by their relation. Goliath took a name solely because he was essentially a liaison to the humans, who found their namelessness to be odd and confusing. The members of the Manhattan Clan do take names at the beginning of the series, however, as they wish to interact more with the human world. Demona was named by Macbeth back when the two were still on good terms. The Gargoyles born on Avalon avert this since they were raised by humans who named them.
- The title characters in 2 Stupid Dogs have no names, as they are just stray dogs. The show's credits simply identify them as "Big Dog" and "Little Dog".
- The antagonists of Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys are known as the " ".
- When K2, the second highest mountain on earth, was first surveyed, the mapping team learned that it had never been given a local name due to its remoteness. Therefore the label applied to the peak on the survey sketch, K2, became the one most commonly associated with it. Many climbers feel that the mountain is so harsh and challenging that it defies any attempt at being humanized with a proper name.
Italian climber Fosco Maraini: It is just the bare bones of a name, all rock and ice and storm and abyss. It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars. It has the nakedness of the world before the first man – or of the cindered planet after the last.