"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.
Anime and Manga
- 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".
- 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.
- All Daleks in Doctor Who are nameless due to them being "pure" and so similar that they're effectively hiveminds. There are very specific exceptions, however.
- 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 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".
- Crestfallen: Charade's true name was taken away from him by Ensenial.
- 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.
- 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''), John (his birth name), and Snake (his code name from MGS3), which is the name he dislikes the least.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Two 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 " ".