This is when two or more works that have little or nothing to do with each other are given translated titles that imply a connection. Sometimes to capitalize on the first work's fame, but often just because it's funny.
This is only for titles
that have been translated
. When it affects the content
of the original
work, it's a Dolled-Up Installment
, or just Dub Text
Subtrope of Completely Different Title
. See also Similarly Named Works
and In Name Only
. Parallel Porn Titles
may also arise from this trope.
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Anime & Manga
- Ninja Resurrection wasn't a sequel to Ninja Scroll, but you could be forgiven if the box text and the distributor misled you. The only similarity was the main character's name, Jubei. Ninja Scroll's protagonist is an homage to Yagyu Jubei, one of the most famous ninja and folk heroes in Japanese history. Ninja Resurrection, based on the novel Makai Tensho, actually uses Yagyu Jubei as its protagonist.
- The yaoi manga Sense And Sexuality (whose Japanese title translates to Advancement of the Infamous), which has nothing at all to do with Sense and Sensibility.
- Although part of Neo Tokyo was directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, it's not related to AKIRA, and its original title is Meikyū Monogatari (Labyrinth Tales), also known as Manie-Manie.
- When Media Blasters released Amaenaide yo!!, they retitled it Ah My Buddha, even though it's not related to Ah! My Goddess.
- Subversion: The original Kinnikuman manga and anime was never localized into English, but the tie-in rubber figures by Bandai were sold in the U.S. by Mattel under the name of M.U.S.C.L.E. When the sequel series, Kinnikuman Nisei, was dubbed in the U.S. by 4Kids, they choose the name Ultimate Muscle to imply a connection.
Film - Animated
Film - Live Action
- In France, The Hangover was released under the "translated" title of Very Bad Trip, apparently due to the similarity to the movie Very Bad Things. Likewise, The Other Guys was rechristened Very Bad Cops.
- When Airplane was released in France, the title was changed to Y a-t-il un pilote dans l'avion? (Is there a pilot onboard?). Most of the movies produced by the ZAZ trio afterwards were renamed so they'd begin the same way.
- Ruthless People, for example, became Y a-t-il quelqu'un pour tuer ma femme? (Is there someone who could kill my wife?).
- The Naked Gun movies all begin with Y a-t-il un flic pour sauver...? (Is there a cop who can save (insert noun here)?).
- 2001: A Space Travesty was renamed Y a-t-il un flic pour sauver l'humanité? (Is there a cop who can save humanity?) although it's not part of the Naked Gun series.
- One of the French titles for Wrongfully Accused was Y a-t-il un fugitif ŕ bord? (Is there a fugitive on board?)
- In Finland, Airplane is known as ''Hei, me lennetään' (Hey, we're flying). The titles of the following ZAZ movies have had similar translations. The title format has since then spread to other parody movies and everywhere else to the point of Memetic Mutation.
- In México, Airplane is titled żY donde esta el piloto? (So where's the pilot?) and subsequent ZAZ movies have been titled accordingly, for instance the Naked Gun movies are titled żY donde esta el policia? (So where's the cop?), and White Chicks was titled żY dónde están las rubias? (So where are the blondes?). Similarly, Police Academy movies were called Loca Academia de Policia (Insane Police Academy), and the Hot Shots movies were therefore titled Loca Academia de Pilotos (Insane Pilot Academy).
- In Germany, Airplane was called Die unglaubliche Reise in einem verrückten Flugzeug (The Incredible Journey in a Crazy Airplane). Subsequently, Ruthless People was renamed Die unglaubliche Entführung der verrückten Mrs Stone (The Incredible Kidnapping of the Crazy Mrs Stone). The titles of the Naked Gun movies were translated literally; however, the TV show Police Squad!!, which came to Germay after the movies, was renamed Die nackte Pistole (The Naked Pistol). Also, S.P.Q.R. 2000 e 1/2 anni fa, a completely unrelated Italian movie that had Leslie Nielson in it, was retitled Die römische Kanone (The Roman Gun).
- In Spain, Airplane! was renamed Aterriza como puedas (Land as you can), and Spy Hard was Espia como puedas (Spy as you can). In fact, most comedies with Leslie Nielsen follow the "X como puedas" and even some unrelated ones.
- Shriek if You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth was retitled in Sweden to Scary Video, an obvious nod to Scary Movie.
- Return of the Dragon was originally called Way of the Dragon when it was produced in Hong Kong. Enter the Dragon was actually Bruce Lee's last complete film, but the retitling of Way of the Dragon was a means of capitalizing on Bruce Lee's fame and releasing the earlier film to a wider audience. All this despite the obviously higher budget of Enter the Dragon (being a Hollywood/Hong Kong joint studio venture), not to mention the fact that Lee's characters in the two films are obviously not the same person (in name OR in personality), and thus neither film was actually a sequel to the other. But if one were to Fan Wank them into a continuous story, it would be much easier to justify a clueless country bumpkin becoming a wise secret agent than vice-versa, and thus the Enter/Return titling makes no sense whatsoever.
- This was not the first Bruce Lee film to undergo such a title change: Fist of Fury was retitled The Chinese Connection (after The French Connection). The title (Chinese Connection) was actually intended for The Big Boss (since the plot of that film involved drug trafficking), but the American distributor messed up and ended up giving switching the titles for both films.
- Sweden had an odd tradition of this with regards to specific people.
- After "The Producers" (in Swedish "Det vĺras för Hitler", referring to the Show Within a Show "Springtime for Hitler") all Mel Brooks movies were titled similarly. The Swedish movie titles translate back into "Springtime for Space" ("Spaceballs"), "Springtime for the Sheriff" ("Blazing Saddles"), etc. This didn't end until "Men in Tights" which had a direct translation.
- For years and years all Goldie Hawn movies had titles beginning with "The Girl Who..."
- They tried doing this to Patrick Swayze too after Dirty Dancing, but after retitling Next of Kin as Dirty Fighting they wisely gave up.
- The movie Outlander is bizarrely titled in Mexico La Tierra Media y El Tesoro del Dragon Solitario (Middle Earth and the Treasure of the Lonely Dragon), which is inexplicable unless it is meant as a preemptive case of this trope regarding the The Hobbit movie.
- In Japan, Napoleon Dynamite is known as Bus Otoko in a blatant attempt to ride on the coattails of Densha Otoko, albeit it was recently reverted to its original English name because of this.
- Gamera Vs Viras was released in the U.S. by AIP-TV as Destroy All Planets, in obvious imitation of Destroy All Monsters.
- The Soviet film Ivan Vasilevich Changes His Occupation was translated as Ivan Vasilevich: Back to the Future. Back to the Future and Ivan Vasilevich are mainly related in that they have to do with time traveling.
- In France, Stranger Than Fiction is titled L'incroyable destin de Harold Crick, which imitates the original French title of Amélie, Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain.
- The Soviet-Finnish film Sampo was released in the US as The Day the Earth Froze, coming after not only The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) but also The Day The Earth Caught Fire.
- The Dutch action film Vet Hard was released in the US as Too Fat Too Furious. This is also a pun on Dutch slang and as such is completely incomprehensible to people who don't speak Dutch.
- In Hebrew, after The Naked Gun was released as "The Gun Died of Laughter", nearly every Leslie Nielsen comedy was translated into something ending in the phrase "met mitzchok", or "died of laughter".
- In Norwegian, a whole ton of completely unrelated movies start with the words "Hjelp, vi" ("Help, we"), followed by whatever the main characters in the movie are doing.
- Airplane - "Help, We're Flying"
- Airplane II: The Sequel - "Help, We're Flying Again"
- This Is Spın̈al Tap - "Help, We're in the Pop Industry"
- National Lampoon's Vacation - "Help, We Have to Take a Vacation"
- National Lampoon's European Vacation - "Help, We Have to Take a Vacation in Europe"
- Loose Shoes - "Help, We're Making a Movie"
- Nativity! - "Help, We're Arranging a Christmas Show"
- L'homme orchestre - "Help, I've Become a Father"
- This in addition to a decent amount of Norwegian-produced movies where this style is used as the original title. It's treated as a running gag nowadays.
- In Italy, High Noon was renamed "Mezzogiorno di fuoco" ("Fiery Noon"); some time later, Blazing Saddles was renamed with a similar title, "Mezzogiorno e mezzo di fuoco", literally "Fiery Noon and a Half".
- For reasons unclear, *batteries not included was renamed "Miracolo sull'8° strada" ("Miracle on 8th Street"), which sounds just like Miracle On34th Street. In Latin America it also received the name "Milagro en la calle 8", probably for the same reason.
- After Rumble in the Bronx was released, a movie from 1973 originally titled 女警察 (The Policewoman) was reissued on home video under the new title of Rumble in Hong Kong (among others), with a misleading cover that suggests that Jackie Chan was the leading actor (he actually played a supporting character with not much screentime).
- Inverted with the French titles for Die Hard: The first three titles (Pičge de Cristalnote , 58 Minutes pour Vivrenote and Une Journée en Enfernote ) showed no signs of a series... and then played half-straight with Live Free or Die Hard, billed Die Hard 4: Retour en Enfer.note
- The fourth movie of the Rambo series, Rambo, was billed John Rambo in several countries to mimick Rocky Balboa.
- In Czech, the film Very Bad Things was translated as Six Funerals and a Wedding.
- Also in Czech, That Man from Rio (in Czech: Mu z Ria = The Man from Rio) was followed by The Man from Hong Kong (Chinese Adventures in China a.k.a. Up to His Ears) and The Man from Acapulco (Magnificient One a.k.a. How to Destroy the Reputation of the Greatest Secret Agent), and always air on TV as a series. (The movies have otherwise no connection, except the names of the director Philippe de Broca and the actor Jean-Paul Belmondo.)
- Shark Tale was translated into Russian as "Underwater Gang" (using "gang" in the criminal sense). This makes some sense, as the sharks do behave like Italian mobsters. Then there's Over the Hedge, which has nothing to do with organized crime, which was translated as "Forest Gang", obviously implying a connection between the two films.
- In Mexico, the Danny DeVito's film Screwed was translated as Y tu Abuelita Tambien (And Your Granny Too) after the Mexican film Y Tu Mamá También.
- In Germany, the Charles Bronson vigilante film Death Wish became Ein Mann sieht Rot ("A Man Sees Red"). Subsequently Lipstick became Eine Frau sieht Rot ("A Woman Sees Red") and The Star Chamber became Ein Richter sieht Rot ("A Judge Sees Red").
- Brazil has a few.
- El Ratón Pérez, a 2006 Argentine 3D-animated film about a mythical mouse from Spanish folklore similar to the Tooth fairy, was renamed in Poland to "Stefan Malutki" (Stephen Little) to mimick Stuart Little.
- The Japanese release of To Kill a Mockingbird became "The Alabama Story", almost definitely patterned off of The Philadelphia Story.
- The Finnish release of the Farrelly Brothers' The Three Stooges tries to make it sound like a sequel to the Dumb and Dumber movies.
- The Japanese release of Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers is known as Lady Jason, implying that it's a spinoff of the Friday the 13th film series starring a Distaff Counterpart of Jason Voorhes. It helps that Angela (the killer) actually wears a hockey mask at one point in the movie.
- The straight-to-video movie Interview With A Hitman is known as Hitman Reloaded in Japan and Australia, despite being unrelated to the 2007's film adaptation of the Hitman games.
- After History of the World Part I was released in France as La Folle Histoire du Monde ("The mad history of the world"), Mel Brooks's next movie Spaceballs was released as La Folle Histoire de l'Espace ("The mad (hi)story of space").
- Speaking of Spaceballs, in Italy the sci-fi comedy "Martians Go Home" was released as "Balle Spaziali 2: la vendetta" (Spaceballs 2: The Revenge). It goes without saying that these movies are totally unrelated.
- After the Scary Movie series of horror spoofs, Italy renamed other genre parodies with "(Something) Movie" titles, for example Stan Helsing became "Horror Movie" and A Haunted House became "Ghost Movie".
- The Swedish translation of The Wheel of Time is called Sagan om Drakens ĺterkomst ("The Story of the Return of the Dragon"), which is similar to Sagan om konungens ĺterkomst ("The Story of the Return of the King"), the name of the old translation of The Return of the King
- The Swedish title of Married... with Children was Vĺra värsta ĺr ("Our Worst Years"), modelled on Vĺra bästa ĺr ("Our Best Years"), the translated title of Days of Our Lives.
- In Spain, Bewitched was titled Embrujada and Charmed was Embrujadas. Note the extra "s". And neither was 100% accurate (But acceptable, this trope aside).
- Same in Mexico. Bewitched is know as "Hechizada" and Charmed as "Hechiceras".
- In Finland Bewitched is known as Vaimoni on noita ("My Wife Is a Witch") and Charmed as Siskoni on noita ("My Sister Is a Witch").
- Hungarian translators love to lampshade a slightly ripped-off concept's origin:
- Relic Hunter was transated as Raiders of the Lost Relics (Elveszett Ereklyek Fosztogatoi)
- Blackbeard the mini-series became Blackbeard and the Pirates of the Carribean (Feketeszakall es a Karib tenger Kalozai)
- Multiple examples based around My Big Fat ____ Wedding
- Another Hungarian variation would be the "_ Pie" title translations for teen movies after American Pie came out.
- And you wouldn't believe what else can be retitled "Something helyszínelők" after the CSI ("Helyszínelők") series became popular.
- Probably the oddest was a rerun of Mysterious Ways retitlednote as "Rejtélyek helyszínelői" (Mystery CSI).
- Also actor specifically: if a movie was about dancing and(or?) Patrick Swayze acted in it it would inevitably get a title with Dirty or Dancing in it but preferably both. Or The Pagemaster got "Reszkessetek, nem hagyom magam!" and Macaulay Culkin was the sole reason for it (Home Alone came out as "Reszkessetek betörők").
- In France, Hikari Sentai Maskman and Choujuu Sentai Liveman became Bioman 2: Maskman and Bioman 3: Liveman respectively, due to the fact that Choudenshi Bioman was the first Super Sentai series to air there. While they're technically part of the same franchise, none of them are actually set in the same universe (later crossover appearances notwithstanding). Same with the Philippines (Albeit in the commercials only), excluding Liveman, since that never aired there.
- In Argentina, Street Hawk became The Fantastic Motorcycle, Knight Rider became The Fantastic Car and Air Wolf became The Fantastic Helicopter, implying a connection between three very different series.
- In Brazil, the Metal Heroes series Jikuu Senshi Spielban became Jaspion 2, trying to pass up as a sequel to a previous Metal Hero who was really popular there.
- Welcome Back, Kotter didn't air in Italy until the success of Saturday Night Fever, starring Kotter's breakthrough star John Travolta. When it did, it's title was changed to Saturday Night Guys (I ragazzi del sabato sera). Particularly nonsensical, considering it's a show about a high school.
- In Finland, ER is known as Teho-osasto or intensive care unit. Scrubs in turn became Tuho-osasto or loosely translated destructive care unit.
- When Toei had the rights to make a Japanese tokusatsu version of the Captain Future pulp novels, they were forced to change the title to Captain Ultra since the network that aired the show only picked it up as a filler series after Ultraman ended while Tsuburaya was still preparing for the third proper installment in the Ultra Series titled Ultra Seven.
- Also a case of Similarly Named Works - both Ultraman and Superman are translated to exactly 超人 in Chinese.
- In general, since the Chinese terms for "superhuman" and "superhero" are very clunky for titles, there is a strong tendency to translate everything to 超人 (literally "super man") even if it has no connection to Superman.
- In Spain, MST3K is known as Mystery In Space (Misterio En El Espacio), in an attempt to tie it into Lost in Space which is known as Perdidos En El Espacio. It went so far as Spanish commercials claiming that Joel was the long lost member of The Robinsons.
- In the heyday of The Merry Widow, Die Fledermaus was revived on Broadway as The Merry Countess.
- The three SaGa games for the Game Boy were retitled Final Fantasy Legend for the USA, probably to capitalize on FF's fame (...before Final Fantasy VII, yes. Don't laugh...).
- Subverted with the original Seiken Densetsu, which was given the title Final Fantasy Adventure overseas. This may seem like an invention of the localization department, but in reality the full title of the original Game Boy game in Japan was Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden and the game has a few Final Fantasy references (notably the presence of Chocobos).
- In order to tie it in with the Devil May Cry series, the first installment of the Sengoku Basara series was dubbed Devil Kings for its overseas conversion, along with many other changes.
- Sunsoft, who produced the NES port of the original Spy Hunter, later developed Battle Formula, which was retitled Super Spy Hunter in the US.
- The arcade game Mega Twins (originally titled Chiki Chiki Boys in Japan) has nothing to do with Mega Man, even though they were both made by Capcom. The Genesis port kept the Japanese title for its American release.
- While technically an American-developed game, Secret of Evermore got its title to cash-in on the success of Secret of Mana (Seiken Densetsu 2 in Japan). The Working Title was originally "Evermore" and the game was never meant to have any ties to Secret of Mana.
- Beyond Oasis (a.k.a. The Story of Thor) has nothing to do with the earlier Game Gear game Defenders of Oasis (originally titled Shadam Crusader in Japan) other than they were both RPGs published by Sega.
- The original Super Famicom version of Panel de Pon was released overseas in a heavily altered form (with characters from Yoshi's Island) as Tetris Attack. Later installments dropped the Tetris name altogether and were released under the "Puzzle League" name.
- Said name, of course, being an adaptation from the name of the Nintendo 64 version: Pokémon Puzzle League.
- When Konami released Jackal in U.S. arcades, they changed the title to Top Gunner and slapped on a few American flags, possibly to identify it with Top Gun (which Konami would go on to make actual Licensed Games of for the NES).
- Fire Shark, a World War II-themed shoot-'em-up by Toaplan, was released in Japan under the title of Same! Same! Same! (lit. "Shark! Shark! Shark!"), a play on the 1970 war movie Tora! Tora! Tora!.
- Contra Force is an odd example, as the Japanese version (titled Arc Hound) was never released.
- Dynasty Wars, Dynasty Warriors and Dynasty Tactics are all based on Romance of the Three Kingdoms to some extent, but their original Japanese titles are not quite so similar.
- Tsuukai GanGan Koushinkyoku became Aggressors Of Dark Kombat because Mortal Kombat was popular (and also for the clever initialism), though they had little in common aside from being Fighting Games with Finishing Moves. (Ironically, Aggressors of Dark Kombat removed the blood that was in the Japanese version.)
- The SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Band Geeks" is called "Hör mal wer da spielt" (Listen, who's playing) in Germany, a pun on Home Improvement's German title Hör mal wer da hämmert (Listen, who's hammering).
- Which in itself seems to have been an attempt in cashing in on the (literally) translated title of Look who's talking which spawned a lot of similarly themed names.
- American Dad! is dubbed in Latin America under the title of Un agente de familia (A Family Agent). This is a play off Seth McFarlane's other animated show Family Guy, which is dubbed in the same region under the title Padre de familia (Family father)
- Spain follows the trope in a slightly different way. Family Guy is still known as Family father, while American Dad! is Padre "Made in USA" (Father Made in USA, notice the English). In a stroke of luck, adding the father part to the title of the first series actually helped them connect it to the second series.