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Vehicular Theme Naming
Vehicular Theme Naming is the practise of naming characters after vehicles. Cars and water craft seem to be represented more than planes or trains. Strangely common in Japan, for some reason.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • The natives of Cephiro in Magic Knight Rayearth are named after models of cars (like Cephiro itself).
    • The leaders of Autozam are named after American cars: the Eagle Vision and the Geo Metro.
    • Their mechs are also named as such.
  • Likewise, many of the magical beings in Lyrical Nanoha are named after cars: the Opel Signum, Opel Vita, Opel Zafira and Maserati Shamal are the most prominent and were brought to attention by the fansubbers. Subaru Nakajima's name appears to be normal Japanese, but the fact that it's in Western format draws attention to the fact that both her names come from cars. Same with Fate Testarossa (Ferrari Testarossa) and her mother Precia (Nissan Presea, also seen in Rayearth), and Yuuno Scrya has been suspected of actually being spelled Euno for Mazda Eunos. Given that, like Rayearth, Nanoha is primarily about Magical Girls who use techno-magical artifacts, this may be a direct homage to the earlier series. Teana Lanster is also named after the Nissan Teana. Lutecia and Megane Alpine get their surname from a French car (Renault Megane; and the sportscar manufacturer Alpine, assimilated by Renault).
    • Interestingly, the Maserati Shamal itself is an example of Theme Naming. In addition to Shamal, some of Maserati's other model names have been Mistral, Ghibli, Bora, Khamsin, and Karif. All of these are named after local winds, except for Ghibli, which is a word meaning "hot desert wind". (On a related note, Shamal's device is named Klarer Wind, and Hayate's name means "breeze".)
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion is filled with people named after Japanese warships from WWII. In addition, the Horaki sisters are named after three train services of Japan's first bullet train line, the Tokaido Shinkansen: The Hikari service was the original, followed by the slower Kodama, and then by the much faster Nozomi. This appears to point to a convention to the theme naming: older=slower, younger=faster.
    • In the remake, Asuka's surname is changed from Soryu to Shikinami for no apparent reason, but the theme is retained: both are the names of WWII Japanese warships.
      • Perhaps to keep up with the other EVA girls? All their surnames end with nami too.
  • Similarly to Evangelion, many military characters in 07-Ghost have names from WW2 Japanese warships: Ayanami, Hyuuga and Katsuragi in the manga, and Yukikaze in one drama CD.
  • Most of the military characters from Fullmetal Alchemist are named after WWII aircraft: Mustang, Hughes, Bradley, Hawkeye, Hayate, etc.
  • The original Mobile Suit Gundam has several members of the White Base crew derive their names from WWII-era fighter planes; Amuro Ray comes from the Mitsubishi A6M Zero (A6M in Japanese is "A-Roku-Mu", and "zero" is "Rei"); Kai Shiden from the Kawanishi N1K2-J Shiden Kai, and so forth.
  • The Saberdolls from Saber Marionette J are named after German tanks from World War II (Tiger, Luchs, and Panther.) This also qualifies them for Animal Theme Naming.
  • Rurouni Kenshin - Toy Ship members Yahiko and Tsubame are theme named based on a train line.
  • Freezing: The Valkyries' last names are Evora, Ferrari, Porsche, Renault, and (Ouka) Honda.
  • Porco Rosso's Gina is named after the nickname of the Fiat G-91 fighter (designated the Ghibli), while Yankee rival Curtis is dubbed in honor of the American Curtiss aircraft company (and maybe Curtis LeMay). Miyazaki really likes planes, Italy and The Thirties.
  • Most of the characters from the Coffin Princess Chaika are named after various cars and automakers: Gaz Empire, its titular princess Chaika Ga..akhem.. Trabant, Acura siblings, count Abarth, etc.
  • The Princes from Lady Jewelpet: (Porsche) Cayenne, (Alfa) Romeo, (Toyota) Soarer and (Toyota) Levin.

Literature

Real Life
  • The multitudes of porn actresses who name themselves "Porsche," "Mercedes," "Lexus," etc. The connotation is one of wealth and luxury, and rare pleasures.
  • Former Michigan Congressmen William Ford, Bob Carr, and Dick Chrysler. Ford is a descendant of Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company.

Video Games
  • The Horny Devils from the Hentai game and anime Viper GTS are named after cars: Carrera, Mercedes, and Rati (as in Maserati).
  • Irvine's guns in Final Fantasy VIII are named after famous warships: Valiant, Ulysses, Bismarck, and Exeter.
  • Snow Villiers is named after a French motorcycle manufacturer, hence the appearance of his summon.
  • The Four Devas in Ogre Battle are named after cars - Debonair, Figaro, Previa, and Lebaron, although Lebaron's name was changed to Luvalon in the English version.
  • Pirates in the X-Universe series name their flying-scrapyard capital ships after Age of Sail ship classes - Brigantine, Galleon, Carrack, and Caravel.

Western Animation
  • In the seventh season penultimate episode of South Park named Raisins, the waitresses serving at the Hooters parody store have dulcet names like Mercedes, Porsche, Ferrari and Lexus.
  • Part and parcel of Challenge Of The Go Bots, especially the toys. Feel free to guess what kind of vehicles Cy-Kill, Scooter, Cop-Tor, Dumper, Super Couper, Throttle, Tail-Pipe, Zero, Buggy Man, and Loco turn into...


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