In Japanese media such as anime and manga, foreign names are written in katakana, which conveys the approximate pronunciation but not the spelling. Thus, when anime and manga are translated to Latin-alphabet languages, these names can be written in many, many different ways.
Our page on Japanese Romanization goes into this in more detail and explains the reasons for almost all of the examples below.
One recurring, and irritating, phenomenon is Recursive Translation between writing systems, where translators, (mostly fansubbers, but it can also happen with official dubs) rigidly apply a Romanisation system to characters' names even when in context they are obviously intended to be a relatively common Western name. If the name is a play on an English word, and this gets brought up at some point, expect the subbers putting up a disclaimer rather than just correcting the spelling. In some cases there is an intentional ambiguity that cannot be accurately represented in English - see My/Mai-HiME for example.
Confusion in official Japanese sources often stems from the fact that the person creating English text for use on screen, on a website or in a guidebook is usually not the original author (for example the original Chrono Crusade covers), and even the author may only be familiar with the katakana representation of the word or wrote it having only ever heard it spoken and not checked the facts.
The protagonists, and the name of the manga. Fans can't decided whether it's "Afganisu-Tan" or "Afghanis-Tan". It should really be "Afuganisu-Tan" if it's spelled with Japanese phonetic pronunciation, but since both are the same word it could safely be either.
There's a literal example in one strip. Tajikis-tan gives Pakis-tan the nickname Paku, who then insists that the S be in her name to represent the Sindhi because her name is an acronym of her five major ethnic groups.
Ah! My Goddess: the names of Urd, Belldandy and Skuld come from three Norse goddesses: Urđr, Verđandi and Skuld.
In this case, it's justified. The name is written as Marā, and the pronunciation for it is indeed closer to Marller than to Mara. The blunder, if anything, is on the official translation's part, because her name is most definitely NOT spelled the same way it's written.
Area88 is consistently set in a fictional North African/Middle Eastern nation that is called either Asran or Aslan. Purists insist on the Aslan spelling due to the Japanese confusion between "R" and "L". Apart from the fact that the name Aslan is forever associated in pop culture with a certain Lion from a certain series of books, Aslan is Turkic in origin (it actually means "Lion" so C.S. Lewis evidently used the name intentionally); the Turkic regions start with the distal regions of Eastern Europe and extend into the historically Mongolian regions of Central Asia and Siberia. Too far removed from the North African location of Area 88's Asran. Asran, on the other hand does sound faintly Middle Eastern and was actually the original spelling of choice.
Armored Trooper VOTOMS has some fan-confusion at times as to what spellings were the intended ones for certain characters, although Central Park Media's names are often used as the defaults.
Is it Vanilla Vartla, Vanilla Bartler, or Vanilla Batra? CPM seemed to settle on the first.
The name of the woman in the Sunsa arc has been rendered as both Zophie Faldas and Sophie Faldas.
The Quentian mercenary is usually referred to as "Ru Shako", but "Le Shako" has occasionally been seen.
The twin scientists' names are spelled out as "Arron" and "Gurran" in CPM's translations, with their surname being "Schmitel" (although the "Schmittel" spelling has also been used). Other occasional, alternate romanizations of their given names have included: "Aaron", "Alon", "Gran", "Grand", or "Glan".
Yoran Pailsen's name is sometimes spelled as "Joran Pailsen" or "Joran Pelzen" in fansubs.
Is the city called Uodo, or Woodo? Is the desert planet known as Sansa or Sunsa? The planet Quent in the final arc even had some confusion over its name, sometimes called "Quaint" or "Kuent" in fan translations.
Attack on Titan has Captain Levi/Rivaille, Eren Yeager/Jaeger/Jäger, Bertolt/Bertholdt Hoover/Fubar, Annie Leonhart/Leonhardt, Connie/Conny Springer, Sasha Blouse/Braus, Armin Arlert/Arlelt, and numerous other examples caused by ambiguous katakana. Though since the official name spellings have come out it died down a little.
Axis Powers Hetalia has many, many examples. Himaruya only offered the characters' human names in response to a question on his old blog, so for many of them there were never official English spellings. This is compounded by any transliteration issues between the name's native language and English, and by the fact that not all the names are accurate to the characters' ethnolinguistic backgrounds.
Canada's first name is romanized as both "Matthew" and "Mathieu". In his case, this is actually plausible, since English and French have equal status as official languages in Canada.
Hungary's first name has been spelled both "Elizabeta" and "Elizaveta" based on the (ambiguous) katakana, "Erzsebet" when going for the true Hungarian cognate, and "Elizabeth" when giving up and Anglicizing completely.
Lithuania's first name is rendered as either "Toris" (a dog's name in Lithuanian), "Tolys" (an uncommon male Lithuanian name), "Tholis", "Thoris", "Tauras", or "Taurys". His surname has many variants too: Is it "Laurinaitis", "Lolinitis", "Rolinitis", "Laureatis", or "Lorinaitis"?
Prussia's surname name was initially spelled "Weillschmidt" by some fans, but then it was pointed out that "Beilschmidt" was an actual German surname and a better fit for the katakana. Even so, you'll still see the first version.
Belarus's name was initially translated as "Natalia Alfroskaya", but the original kana suggests that "Arlovskaya" would be the more correct spelling (this is not helped by the real world difficulties in Russian-English transliteration, which also make it unclear whether Russia's surname should be "Braginsky" or "Braginski"). The fans that don't want to choose between "Natalia" or "Natalya" often simply call her by the diminutive "Natasha".
Spain: Is it "Antonio Fernandez Carriedo" or "Antonio Hernandez Carriedo"? Both seem to actually have been given by the author, with "Hernandez" being the initial one. Surprisingly, this particular question is bigger in the Japanese than the English fandom.
Italy Romano's first name has been given as "Lovino Vargas" vs. "Rovino Vargas". The first is the more commonly used, although Lovino only exists as an Italian surname or as a very archaic given name (which could actually be appropriate given that he's Really 900 Years Old). Meanwhile, Rovino exists as surname in Italian and is derived from an Italian word (rovinare) that means "to ruin" or "to fall".
Switzerland's human name is usually given as "Vash Zwingli" (or "Vasch") by international fans, but Japanese fans usually refer to him as "Basch", "Bash", or "Bache". The katakana for his given name matches "Basch" the best, which also happens to be a German diminutive for "Sebastian". Good luck trying to use that spelling without a backdraft, though.
According to the author, China's name can either be spelled "Wang Yao" or "Wang Yue". "Wong" is another alternative romanization for his surname.
While Korea's name is usually Anglicized as "Im Yongsoo", the Japanese spelling of his name can also be read as "Ren Yongsoo" or "Lee Yongsoo".
Though the katakana ("Teino") suggests Finland's human name is "Tino", "Timo" is a more correct and common name in Finnish.
Estonia's name is either romanized as "Eduard von Bock" or "Edward von Fock".
Mercifully, the opening to Baccano! features all the names of the main characters in English, because a lot of them would be damn hard to romanize.
... Which they still are, at least for the characters that aren't named in the opening. Mr. Chic/Tick/Tik/Tic/Chick/Chik/ARRRRRRRGGGG! Jefferson probably gets the worst of it.
BECK: Is it "Gordie" (short for "Gordon"), or "Goldie" (a nickname referring to his gold front teetch)?
Beet the Vandel Buster suffers from this several times. The first Vandel enemy of the series is identified as "Mugine" when characters are talking, but written as "Mugain". The hometown of the heroes varies from "Ankles" to "Uncruz" and everywhere in between.
Guts/Gats/Gattsu from Berserk. Made interesting by a fan theory that big G was based on Götz von Berlichingen, since both were mercenaries who had lost their hands and replaced them with iron prostheses. Word of God killed that theory, though.
There's also Casca/Caska/Kyasuka/Kjaskar, Schierke/Silke, Rickert/Ricket, Sys/Shisu, Rosine/Roshinu and quite a few others.
The most infuriating example is Julius. An authentic latin name. The name of the man who began the end of the Republic, heck it's even the name of a month in the western calendar. But all translations insist on calling him Jurius for some inexplicable reason.
In the Yen Press release of Black Butler two servants of the household were given names that didn't match up with the vast majority of scanlations and subbed episodes. The maid, usually called Maylene, was dubbed May-Rin, and the cook, usually called Bard or some variation thereof, was christened Baldo.
One fan translation uses Baron Gelwin in one chapter and Baron Kelvin in another.
Let's not forget Grell. Fansubbers for the anime could never decide if it was to be spelled Greil, Grelle, or Grell, not to mention her last name (Sutcliffe/Sultcliffe/Sultcliff/Sutcliff). The last name is a reference to serial killer Peter Sutcliffe (the "Yorkshire Ripper"), at least.
Black Lagoon has "Rebecca", who is usually called Revi/Levi/Revy, etc. Ironically, such R-L confusion never exists for her partner 'Rock', whose nickname is a contraction of his Japanese given name, "Rokuro"...despite the fact that Japanese does not have distinct "l" or "r" sounds.
Actually for people who know Hebrew, (Rebecca being a Biblical name and all) the name is more correct as Revecca or Revekka or Reveqqa or Rivkah.
Bleach has had a serious problem with this since it started using lots of non-Japanese names (spelled only in katakana) in the Arrancar Arc. For some time, this was compounded by Viz' slow release schedule for the English manga, as Roman alphabet spellings attempted by fans had been circulating online for as much as two years before the official transliterations were published. Official Japanese manga title pages and CDs established English spellings for some characters well before the Viz translation caught up (such as the correct spelling of "Charlotte Chuhlhourne"), but not all mistakes were corrected this way.
There is a noticeable (although not universal) "double letters" theme in these names that confounded many early transliteration attempts, which favored parsimony.
During the long delay between the original airing of the anime and the first airing of the dub, the manga revealed that the 3rd Espada's name is officially spelled "Harribel." However, the dub still went with the "Hallibel" pronunciation used in the original Japanese dialogue. It may have made maintaining Lip Lock easier.
The Thousand Year Blood War Arc has suffered much less from translation lag note Viz is now only 8 months behind the Japanese releases but the prevalence of shaky use of German has still resulted in confusion.
The BigBad's name is officially spelled "Yhwach" and pronounced approximately "Yoo-wawk" or "Yuh-vawk". You will still see widespread use of the fan spellings "Juhabach" and "Juha Bach". "Yuhababa" was also suggested but didn't gain traction. The official spelling echoes "Yahweh", the Hebrew name for God, and has some Unfortunate Implications in a Nazi-themed organization.
The Quincy army's name is spelled "Vandenreich" in the official Viz translation. At least one Japanese Paratext source has used the spelling "Wandenreich" instead note Which is a better German transliteration of the original katakana, although somewhat confusing for English readers, leading to an Edit War on this very wiki before the mods decreed that the Viz spelling would stand as the most accessible source of Canon.
Even before the Arrancar appeared, Bleach fan translations had problems with the correct readings of name kanji as they were often working from Chinese scans, not the original Japanese with pronunciation furigana. For example, "Zaraki Kenpachi" was initially read as "Giraki Kenbachi" or even "Saraki Tsurugihachi", "Benihime" was read as "Kurenaihime", "Kurotsuchi" as "Kumetsumo", and "Zangetsu" as "Kitsuki".
Sylia / Celia Stingray from Bubblegum Crisis was an older example of this trope.
The 1992 parody fanfic Bubble Gum Cards by Ryan Mathews pokes fun at this by never using the same spelling twice.
AnimEigo had to ask for Word of God about whether the name of the antagonist in the sixth episode was Ralgo, Rargo, or the answer they received — Largo.
Also, the robots/androids in the BGC world are Boomers. They're frequently translated as, "buuma," because that's the strict Japanese spelling, but the fact is that the name was specifically chosen by the creators to evoke the raw destructive power of American nuclear submarines. You know, Boomers.
Somewhere in Tokyo 2040 it was written onscreen as VOOMER, spelt out as VOOdoo MEtal.
"Captain Future", oh where to start? Written in English, turned to an Anime, then backtranslated to German and French...Lessee. We have Captain Future/Captain Future/Capitaine Flam (now that was still easy), Ul Quorn/Vul Kuolun/Kahlon, Joan Randall/Joan Landor/Johann Landore, N'rala/Nurara/Saturna...wanna hear the side characters too?
The name of the male lead in Card Captor Sakura and Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle is sometimes translated according to the Japanese pronunciation, Li Syaoran or Shaoran, and at other times according to the Mandarin Chinese pronunciation Li Xiaolang or Li Hsiao Lang. On the other hand, since Xiaolong is from Hong Kong, his name really should be pronounced as the Cantonese Lei Siulong.
The Cardcaptors dub, however, actually switched his name so that Li was his given name, his surname then becoming Showron. This admittedly isn't as bad as what was done to most characters, who got completely new names.
Some fans think Cardcaptors did this to Bowdlerise incest. Li Meiling is his cousin and also his fiancée (until this is Retconned). Shifting around his name, while not shifting around Meiling's name (and romanizing "Li" as "Rae" for her) hides this.
Card Captor Sakura unfortunately is littered with these, mostly due the dub and Geneon's subs as well. As mentioned before, Syaoran (小狼, Xiǎoláng in Pinyin) is argued to be spelled as Shaoran or Shaolan. Meiling (苺鈴, Méilín in pinyin) is argued to be spelled as Meilin or with a dash in her name (Mei-Ling). Cerberus is almost always misspelled as Keroberos. The official Bilingual manga (which is more accurately translated than the Tokyopop version) brings up several different spellings including Touya as Toya and Kero as Cero. According to CLAMP's offical website, it should be Cerberus, Kero, Touya and Syaoran. There is no offical consensus on Meiling's correct spelling.
Chrono Crusade has this happen at least once in the official translation of the manga: Satella's name is sometimes given as "Stella". Then there's others like Aion/Ion, Chrono/Chrno, Azumaria/Azmaria...
Similar to Gundam, Code Geass uses Western names heavily. The most prominent example is Kallen Stadtfelt, who some fans still call "Karen" despite Word of God reinforcing "Kallen" as official. Since she's biracial and passing as Britannian, a lot of people settle for "Kallen Stadtfeld" as her public name and "Kouzuki Karen" as her real name. In a similar but stranger fashion, there seems to be heavy disagreement over whether female lead C.C.'s name should be pronounced "C-Two" or "Cici" (the former is official). One fansub referenced Rivalz as Leval, which would certainly make sense for a citizen of the somewhat Gallic Britannia. Just to add to it, the American actors render the name as sounding something like "Rivvle" in an attempt to preserve the original pronunciation.
It even extends to organizations; the fan-preferred name for La Résistance is "The Order of the Black Knights", which is a slightly mangled translation of "Kuro no Kishidan". The official translation is simply "The Black Knights", but most fans continue to use the longer name, presumably because it just sounds cooler.
Similarly, the secret organization that appears in early R2; referred to as the Order, the Geass Cult, or the Geass Directorate. In-series documents give the name of the group as "The Followers of Geass".
He's not particularly important, but there seems to have been some confusion regarding Carares/Carales/Calares (the latter is apparently the official version).
The soup of disputed spellings continues to thicken as R2 continues its run in America, with even the Emperor's name now coming into question (before they simply side-stepped the issue by only crediting him as "Emperor of Brittania"). Originally, fans generally accepted "Charles di Britannia" as the spelling, but now both the show and the first light novel spell it "Charles zi Britannia".
The confusion here stems from the fact that Japanese sometimes uses the same characters for words beginning with G, D, and Z; this led to a debate over whether Britannia's Knight the Third was named "Gino Weinberg" or "Zino Weinberg", both of which were used in magazines and official sources. For the record, "Gino" is used in the American dub.
It's the result of the fact that the initial consonant sounds of two different katakana, ジ and ヂ, are used to represent an unfortunate number of English sounds, (including d, z, zh, and j, possibly among others), and their sounds have converged to be almost identical in modern Japanese to the point where the kana themselves are almost entirely interchangable. Compare the Japanese borrowing of "radio", rajio (ラジオ). Ask any beginning student of Japanese about those two kana, and you're likely to get an exasperated sigh in return.
Even native speakers have problems with the two "ji" kana. That's the whole reason Osaka rants about the spelling of 'hemorrhoid'.
Many fansubs refer to Nunnally as Nanaly.
Or Nunnary. Which makes it sound like she's named after a place full of women devoted to Christianity.
Or even Nanari.
What about Lelouch's nickname? Is it Lelou, or Lulu?
All official media spells Milly Ashford's first name as "Milly", but some fans continue to insist on "Millay".
The fandom had a field day with Rolo. For a long time, the fandom was split between Rollo and Rolo, and at least one group of subbers referred to him as, of all things, Lolo.
Not too surprising, though, considering that the two characters that make up his name are the same, but it's still an odd choice for a name.
Euphemia's diminutive is even lampshadded in-universe. Euphy is widely used, but Euphie is apparently the "right" form. Then Nunnally engraves "Euphy" on her candle, and confesses to Suzaku she is ashamed because she's not even sure she spelled it correctly.
More to the point, Nunnally has been blind for over half her life, and it's surprising that she can read and write at all, considering that 99.9% of all English text is illegible to her. It may be one of the few things she's written in English for a long time.
Fan translations of Cosmo Police Justy transliterated two characters' names as Jelna and Astaris. The Viz Justy translation, such as it was, decided they were Jerna and Astalis.
In Crest of the Stars and its sequels, the Abh have their own language, Baronh. Despite its Japanese roots, it has an alphabet, many sounds not in Japanese, and pronunciation rules almost as bizarre as English. In the English version, most Baronh words are transliterated from Japanese, ignoring the official romanization and pronunciation guides. For example, the name of the female protagonist "Ablďarsec Lamhirh" becomes "Aburiaru Rafiiru" in Japanese and "Abriel Lafiel" in English. The proper pronunciation is closer to "Ablyars Lafirh".
D.Gray-Man has a character who the Japanese have already romanized as "Arystar Krory", but to English speakers, the name is obviously a reference to Aleister Crowley. Still, Krory is officially Arystar Krory. The author specifically wanted a name that sounded like the infamous Crowley but wasn't.
Not to mention the million different spellings of Lenalee Lee: Rinali, Linali, Linalee... Plus, her surname can be romanized as either Lee or Li. And then there's Rabi vs. Lavi and Tyki Mikk vs. Ticky Mick and... basically 90% of the characters in the series are subject to this.
Worse than any of the others, some of the names for one of the Noah twins: Devit, Debit, Debitt, David, Debitto, Devitto, Debbit.
Luckily, the author added a nice chart with all the characters' names, in English, to one of the volumes. A similar chart with the same spellings (also English) followed one of the anime episodes. The fanbook includes the official romanisation of each character's name in their character profiles, and the recent manga compliation volumes include English name spellings in the profiles of all the characters written into the story since the fanbook was produced - except, for some reason, for the new Noahs. Though one of the names on the author's list and in the fanbook is spelled "Jeryy," so some fans choose to ignore the list.
Done with the official translations of D.N.Angel. What's the name of Daisuke's pet? The anime dub went with "With", but the manga translation decided on "Wiz".
It makes sense if 'Wiz' is short for 'wizard'. But it comes off as narm.
Darker Than Black has a possible example with Decade, British spymaster and member of The Syndicate. While the name is a perfectly reasonable Code Name, given that his agents use month-based code names, one fan-sub translated the name as Richards.
This was a source of much confusion in the Death Note fandom, partly because of unusual transliterations on the author's part, partly because the official transliterations changed during the course of the series and from one publisher to another:
Light Yagami is an odd example, since, to most fans, it sounded so odd they assumed it had to be Raito. Some scanslations and even the first official translations had trouble with this, as they had gone with "Raito", then had to switch to Light half way through the series (as the intended spelling became known). Some fans even call him Lighto/Laito as a compromise.
Some fans simply call Light(/Raito) "Kira", a name that is subject to minor debate itself. Is it Kira or Killer or Killa? Hell, this comes up in the series, as Light initially dislikes the "Kira" nickname because it's obviously based off the word "Killer". (In the live-action movie, Lind L. Taylor - who was turned into an American for the film - even calls Kira "Killer" during his speech.)
Near and Mello were written as "Nia" and "Mero" in some scanlations at first.
There's also Sidoh/Shidou/Sidou/Shiddoh, Jealous/Gelus, Lester/Rester, Gevanni/Giovanni, John Matckenraw/John McEnroe (real name Rally Connors/Larry Connors). It doesn't help much when some of the official spellings go and change during the run of the series, such as the case with Connors' codename (the English translations stuck with "McEnroe" and changed "Rally" to "Larry").
To elaborate further: Ohba varied between using "Shidoh" and "Sidoh" in English for the white Shinigami, while Viz settled on calling him "Sidoh". "Gelus", however, was Viz's doing, as Ohba had always spelled his name out as "Jealous". "Giovanni" and "Lester" were initially used in some scanlations, while both the Japanese and English versions of How To Read 13 use the "Gevanni" and "Rester" spellings.
Hal Lidner/Hal Ridner/Halle Ridner/Halle Lidner/Harinda. Ohba used "Hal Lidner", while Viz's translations preferred the more feminine "Halle" spelling, but also used "Lidner" for her surname (Ohba gave her actual name as Halle Bullook, anyway). The others spawn from scanlations or fan confusion.
It's Raye Penber, strangely enough. Also, on his ID card his last name reads "Penbar" in the first anime episode he shows it in, only to be corrected to "Penber" in the next episode.
A few other names: Dwhite Godon (alias Rodd Los/Rod Ross), Elickson Guardner (real name: Tohmas), George Psyruth/George Sairas, Devitt Hoope (David Hoope) and Steeve Maison (Steve Maison). One man in the mafia went from having the name Gurren Hangfreeze to the more sensible "Glen Humphreys" in Viz's translations.
Rem/Remu and Ryuk/Ryuuku.
"Aiba" and "Weddy". "Weddy" was actually used in the first OVA, while the official translations call them Aiber and Wedy. Their actual names also changed between Ohba's own spellings and the ones used in Viz's English translations. Ohba preferred referring to them as "Tierry Morrello" and "Merrie Kenwood", while Viz's translators preferred "Thierry Morello" and "Mary Kenwood".
In How To Read 13, some other Shinigami names (besides Sidoh and Gelus) changed a bit between what Ohba put down in English and what the Viz translators chose.
Shinigami names in the original release: Armonia Jastin Beyondllemason, Delidubbly, Gook, Meadra, Zerhogie, and Dalil Guillohrtha.
In Viz's edition: Armonia Justin Beyondormason, Deridovely, Gukku (likely changed due to Unfortunate Implications with the original spelling), Midora, Zellogi, and Daril Ghiroza.
Di Gi Charat: One character is usually transliterated as "Rabi~en~Rose" — when it really ought to be "La Vie En Rose", a French saying meaning "Life in Pink", or rather, "seeing through rose-colored glasses'.
Viz Comics used the name "Tetsusaiga" for the sword in Inuyasha. This is a mistake resulting from a misinterpretation of the small 'tsu' character (which acts as consonant doubler for the next syllable) in the name; the correct spelling is "Tessaiga". (For comparison, Sesshoumaru's name also uses the small 'tsu,' but no one ever tries to spell it "Setsushoumaru"). Wikipedia spread the error even further because its rules have been interpreted to use Viz's version, and to ignore the mistake.
It doesn't help that the dub pronounces it "Tetsaiga".
While on the subject of Inuyasha, while all title cards and subtitles refer to a "Kirara", the English dub uses the pronunciation "Kilala" - the Japanese version, of course, falling somewhere in the middle, since Japanese doesn't have distinct "r" and "l" sounds.
Which makes it a bit confusing when Episode 91 introduced Kuroro, another cat whose name the characters pronounce as spelled.
Digimon has repeated problems with this, including a special variant unique to it: see, all Digimon names are abbreviations of literal descriptions, many of which involve English words. For instance, "Imperialdramon" is short for "Imperial dragon monster". The problem comes because Toei doesn't always have the greatest grasp of English, and sometimes even enforces incorrect spellings on English translations, leaving fans who do know English to choose between the official spelling and the correct one.
Digimon Data Squad (a.k.a. the dub of Digimon Savers) gave us the oddly romanized "BioRotosmon", "BioSupinomon", and "Eldradimon," instead of the more logical "BioLotusmon", "BioSpinomon", and "ElDoradimon." (After El Dorado; he's a turtle with a city on his back.)
Data Squad also has the Royal Knights' LoadKnightmon, as "load" is an actual English word but it makes absolutely no sense in this context. Bandai of America previously called him "LordKnightmon," while most of the fandom seemed to prefer "RhodoKnightmon," as a pun on rhodonite, which matches his color scheme. Adding to the fun, the dub of Digimon Frontier a few years earlier took the Dub Name Change route and just called its version Crusadermon.
An earlier example: Wendimon/Wendigomon/Endigomon, from the somethingth movie. A champion level that eventually became the Mega Kerpymon, which was then changed when it reappeared in Digimon Frontier to become the more accurate Cherubimon.
Diablomon became Diaboromon, though that may have been to get away from referencing demons outright.
Also from 02: Lighdramon/Raidramon - either "Light dragon" or "Rai (Japanese: thunder) dragon." The latter makes more sense.
As well as Arachnemon, whose official dub name (Arukenimon) seems to have come from how the name is pronounced in the Japanese version. There were other cases of names being translated literally this way, such as Sukamon (who should be "Scummon"). Data Squad's Merukimon, based on the Roman god Mercury, is another, though he's justified as the Frontier dub already had a Mercurymon (named for the metal).
Saban's dub of 02 renamed Miyako to "Yolei", but occasionally the writers would also spell her name "Yolie" (such as in an episode titled "Run Yolie Run").
Another example from Frontier is that Ardhamon's name was mistranslated as Aldamon, Ardha meaning "half" in Sanskrit.
Going back to Digimon Data Squad, that aside from Tohma/Touma/Tooma, his sister, Relena. In the original, it's said as Ririina (Liliina?). Of course, being reminded of the DiC English Sailor Moon dub, perhaps it sounds too close to Rini a.k.a., Chibiusa.
In Digimon Tamers, Lee Jianliang and Xiaochun are half-Chineseand have Chinese names. Apparently, much of the fandom didn't get the memo, and continue to call them Jenrya and Shiuchon (or Shuichon, after an early translator's typo caught on). In their defense, it's extremely unusual for someone living permanently in Japan to use a non-Japanese spelling or punctuation (hell, it used to be outright illegal for citizens) and 90% of resident Chinese would use Jenrya and Shiuchon, just because that's what everyone reading your name would call you.
The Jenrya and Shiuchon pronounciations would still be considered foreign. The natural Japanese pronounciation of their names would be Ri Kenryou and Ri Shoushun. Even then though, the structure of their names would still mark them as foreign.
That's also the question surrounding any anime characters of a Hong Kong heritage: their name should be romanized as Canetonese or Mandarin? In that case, it'd be more realistic to call Lee as Lee Kin-leung.
No one can seem to decide whether to spell GrapLeomon's name (a pun on "grapple" and "leo") with one P, two Ps or two Ps and a U.
The English dub of Digimon Adventure can't decide whether to use an "s" in the plural of "Digimon", possibly because the translators wanted to both keep it catchy and dissuade viewers from the obvious similarities to Pokémon.
The Italian dub of Digimon Xros Wars screws up a lot of names. Basically, MadLeomon, Lilithmon and Baalmon are known there as MadoLeomon, Rirismon and Barmon.
The US dub, Digimon Fusion, has one with SlashAngemon becoming SlushAngemon, which like with LoadKnightmon uses an actual world but with a completely nonsensical meaning. It also changed Bastemon (named after the Egyptian goddess Bastet) to the anagram Beastmon, though at least in this case the entirely different meaning still fits.
The rare Kodansha-published English translation of the first short story spelled Kei's name as "Kay". (When Dark Horse republished this story, they mostly reused the existing English translation, but changed the spelling to the more usual one.)
Meanwhile, in Dr Slump, Word of God has it that Toriyama prefers the romanization "Arale" for アラレ.
Intentionally done with Bulma's family in Dragon Ball to hide the fact that all of them are named after underwear. While "Briefs" (ブリーフ, buriifu) and "Trunks" (トランクス, torankusu) are kept, "Bloomers" (ブルマ buruma, via a Gratuitous English brand name) becomes "Bulma" and "Bra" (ブラ, bura) becomes "Bulla" (at least in the Funimation dub).
To be perfectly fair, while intended to be a pun on bloomers/buruma, the character's very first appearance (and several subsequent ones) has her wearing a shirt with 'Bulma' printed right across her chest. Her creator messed up his L/Rs and it stuck. The spelling itself is consistent, if the characters still always call her 'Buruma.' Calling Bra "Bulla" is pure Bowdlerisation, though.
The UK dubs of the movies call her Bloomer, incidentally.
While names like Kulilin/Krillin/Kuririn or Yamcha/Yamucha can be hotly debated for hours, one has to wonder why anyone would think that words of blatantly non-Japanese origins such as "Piccolo" or "Garlic Jr." could ever be taken at face value as "Pikkoro" or "Gaariku Juniya.", or "Red Ribbon" as "Red Ribon" for that matter.
Kuririn's name is actually spelled "Kulilin" on his ballcap during the "trip to Namek" story arc. His name is meant to be a portmanteau of Kuri(a Japanese chestnut) and shourin (as in a Shaolin monk).
Some Bandai toys (like the Super Collection figures) and at least one cel art has his name spelled as "Klilyn".
Yamcha's name is actually supposed to be Yumcha, referencing Yum cha, Cantonese for "tea drinking". This is backed up by the fact that his partner is named Puar, a reference to pǔ'ěr tea. Yamcha's name had to be altered for the Chinese translation since someone with the name "Tea Drinking" would sound silly.
"Rikuumu", whose name is an anagram of Cream or "Kuriimu" in Japanese. Due to the extended vowel being its own character, this is a simple matter of switching the two first characters, ku and ri, in the base word, but the result is completely impossible to spell out in English while keeping the pun. The official subtitles settled on "ReaCoom", which no one would ever see as a pun on the word "cream" unless actually told so. Adding to the confusion, the dub uses "Reccoome". Another way to do it would be Reacm - it looks weird, but it's the closest approximation of the pun you can get in English.
There are at least two or three different names each for the little red guy and the tall blue one (whose names are something like "Jayce" and "Burter" in the dub, respectively) Their names are Jeese and Berttu. Jeese (Jīsu) is a play on "cheese" ("chīsu") with the "ch" replaced with a "j". Berttu (Bāta) is an anagram of "butter" (batā) with the vowel sounds reversed, so reversing butter gives Berttu. All the members of this group were named after dairy products.
"Vegeta". The series is full of name puns, every Saiyan is named after a vegetable, and it has been recently revealed that this character's younger brother is named "Table/Tarble." And yet, there are still some people who will violently insist that the character is named "Bejiter."
Similarly, there are people who will insist on using Torankusu and Gotenkusu instead of Trunks and Goten.
The name "Vegetto"note Bejitto, the combined alter-ego of Goku and Vegeta whose name is a portmanteau of Goku's Saiyan birth name with Vegeta's, only makes sense if you romanize the name "Kakarotto" literally instead of using the more popular variation, "Kakarot". Because of this, Viz renamed him "Vegerot" in the English manga. On the other hand, the Funimation dub used the spelling "Vegito", which was originally used on action figure made by Irwin Toys and makes no sense in the context of the English dub.
Son Goku's name, when literally transliterated to Roman, becomes "Son Gokuu" (or "Gokū" with a macron), but most English adaptations don't bother with either. Toriyama actually spells it "Son Gokuh" at one point at the original manga, while Bandai uses the spelling "Son Gokou" in most of their toys in what seems to be a misguided attempt to anglicize his name (think of the "cou" in "cougar"), similarly to the "Ayeka/Aeka" deal with Tenchi Muyo.
Lunch's namenote Ranchi is spelled "Launch" in the dub for some reason. Because schizophrenic girls named after meals is bad?
And Bardock, whose name is probably supposed to be Burdock (in keeping with the plant/vegetable Theme Naming). Some dubs also call him "Bardack".
And Frieza/Freeza/Freezer/Furiza (fourth pronunciation used by King Kai when he discovers that Freeza is on Namek). "Freeza" makes most sense - it's a pun on "freezer" but with a short vowel sound at the end instead of a long one.
The EGM article mentioned above used plain ol' "Freezer".
Goten's girlfriend in Dragon Ball GT: The romaji for her name is Paresu, which translates to "Palace". However, it's not uncommon to see her referred to as "Paris" or "Palis". FUNimation's dub cranked the confusion up even more by calling her Valese.
The names of Burdock's allies in the "Bardock - The Father of Goku" special are puns similar to those used by the Ginyū Force - Toma ("tomato" with the last kana removed), Pumbkin (panbukin, a play on pumpkin (panpukin) with the pu replaced by a bu), Sleypar (seripa, a play on "parsley" - paseri - with the first kana moved to the end) and Totapo (totepo, a play on "potato" - poteto - with the kana reversed). FUNimation changed them entirely to Tora, Shugesh, Fasha and Borgos respectively.
Gokū's Saiyan name is another example. The name comes from a pun on "carrot" (karotto), with the first kana repeated (turning it into "Kakarotto"). The ideal way of keeping the pun would be to romanise it as Cacarrot.
Behold, Malay version of Dragon Ball:
Yamcha - Yamu
Lunch - Ranchi
Krillin - Kurin
Piccolo - Pikor
Yajirobe - Yazirove
Son Gohan - Son Go-han (sometime they drop the hyphen)
Kararot - Kakaroct
Nappa - Nacpa
Vegeta - Bezita
Freeza - Fliza
Dodoria - Dodolia
Recoom - Rikum
Vegetto - Bezict
The French version brought us Sangoku and Songoku (spelled as SonGoku at times) as single names, with Songohan and Songoten following suit. Since a lot of the European translations were based on the French version to various degrees, some of them also have Garlic spelled as "Garbig", Tien Shinhan as "Tenshin Han", Paikuhan as "Paul Kuhan" and Kakarotto as "Cachalote".
Dullahan Celty/Certy/Selty/Serty Sturluson/Sturlson of Durarara!! is a fine example of this trope.
Elemental Gelade often displayed this problem with either the show title and other plot elements; for example, Pledgers (initially introduced as either "Preja" or "Pleasure"), Sting Raids (misspelled as "Stream Raids" or "Sitting Raids"), or even the Eden Raid (called "Edil Raid" by the first fansubs of the series). In the official Geneon release it's subbed (and pronounced) "Edel Raid", adding to the confusion. Same with Edel Garden.
It doesn't help that the series's name was originally romanized as "Erementar Gerad" in Japan.
It should also be noted that the title of the "official" Geneon release has it both ways: the title is listed as "Elemental Gelade" if you have the English subbing turned on, whereas the actual title sequence has "Erementar Gerad" appearing below the original kanji (look for it after the silhouette of Ren appears in the title, in the lower right).
A character's name in Excel♥Saga is spelled "Ilpalazzo" in the anime but spelled "Il Palazzo" in the manga. Since the names of =ACROSS= members are also the names of hotel chains, the manga's is probably the right one.)
"Menchi" is "Mince" in the manga—according to the pop-up assists in the ADV-translated anime, "Menchi" does, in fact, mean "mince meat". Note that Viz handled the manga and apparently chose to ignore ADV's translations in the anime, so that's where these inconsistencies come from.
Ropponmatsu II is sometimes called "Nishiki"note Literally, 'second type/model' in the manga.
The recurring immigrant's name is pretty much obviously "Pedro" (an actual and very common latin-american name), but in an episode of the anime, we can briefly see a sign by his house written "Pedolo".
The German translations also use Elsa instead of Erza. Since this is a real name, and since her name has been drawn in the series as Elsa, Elza, and Erza at different points, the only thing to settle this one is trusting Del Rey when they say they got Word of God, which some people don't.
Even more delightfully, the claim that Hiro Mashima is providing name translations can't be found in the back of more recent releases. The Fairy Tail wiki has taken this as a sign that they can ignore official translations they don't like. Considering how well received all the official translations were before the claim disappeared, this means pretty much anything that disagrees with what scanlators said is rejected. Merudy (romaji "Merudi") and Sirius Island (Tenroujima in Japanese) are too ugly to use, not as cool, or are too similar to Harry Potter to be considered valid.
The Fantastic Children fandom is terrible about this. Even thought an English dub was officially released, no one seems to agree whether he's Sess or Sesu or Seth, or if it's Toma or Thoma or Tomas, or if you should spell it Duma or Dumas. Even Soran and Solan get interchanged sometimes too.
Given that her sisters are named "Cocoa" and "Kahlua", "Mocha" would clearly seem to be the intended name here...
Sauzā, the name of the Nanto Hōōken successor, has been romanized as "Souther" (in some of the earlier action figures and video games), "Thouther" (in the Arc System Works fighting game), and "Thouzer" (used in the All About the Man guidebook). Arguably, "Souther" seems to be the most fitting, seeing how "Souther" is the strongest of the Nanto Seiken successors, the "South Dipper Holy Fist", and "Souther" mearns "southerly wind", which fits with the avian motif of the Nanto styles, but most of the recent merchandise (i.e. the Revoltech action figure and the video game Ken's Rage) seems to favor the "Thouzer" convention. Funnily enough, in Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage, it's spelled in English text as "Thouzer", but the English dub of said game always pronounces it as "Souzer".
The name of the Nanto Kōkakuken master is literally Yuda in Japanese, is based on the Japanese transliteration of Judas Iscariot, the infamous Biblical traitor. Some sources romanize his name as "Juda", probably to get the point across quicker.
"Raō" is most popularized romanized as "Raoh", but the All About the Book actually spells it "Laoh", which managed to find its way on the NES game that was released by Taxan in the US.
"Rin" is sometimes anglicized as "Lynn". Of course, this kinda ruins the Theme Twin Naming between her and "Rui". The other alternative is to spell their names as "Lin" and "Lui".
Bat's name, literally "Batto" in Japanese, was changed to Bart in the Manga Entertainment dub of the TV series. Some people actually insists that Bat's name is actually "Bart", but Buronson stated in an interview featured in the Raoh Den: Jun'ai no Shō DVD that he named Bat after the flying mammal of the same name.
In certain translations, Yuria is sometimes anglicized to "Julia".
The short-lived Viz Media translation of the manga anglicized Rei's name to "Ray", while his sister Airi became Iris. Mamiya also became Mamia, which is actually closer to how her name is pronounced.
From Fullmetal Alchemist, some names that appear in different forms depending on the translator are Gracia/Glacier, Lan Fan/Ran Fan/Ranfun, Riza/Liza, Halcrow/Hakuro, Olivia/Olivier and Lyra/Lyla/Ryla.
The Funimation dub uses place names like Lior and Ishbal, while the creator, Hiromu Arakawa, uses Reole and Ishval. The English manga can't seem to make up its mind which versions to use; for instance, fluctuating between "Ishbal" and "Ishvarla", "Xerxes" and "Cserksess", etc.
The Funimation sub of Brotherhood uses Ishbal for the first five episodes, then switches to Ishval in the sixth (likely due to a map in the fifth episode that clearly says "Ishval").
The actual dub of Brotherhood likewise officially switches it to "Ishval".
Almost all the names in Fullmetal Alchemist have been disputed at one point or another, from Winry/Winly to Huey/Fury/Fuery to Marta/Martyl/Martel.
Resembool? Risembool? Rizenbul? Rizembool? Rizembul? Rizenbool? Risempool? Liesenburgh? Liesenbough? ...The Elric brothers' hometown, anyway. This is so bad that even the offical translations have it spelled differently - on the same page. See book nine, where it's spelled "Resembool" in one pannel, and then "Resemboul" two pannels later.
The Spanish official translation of the manga has it Riesenburg (German for Castle of Giants or Giantville). A real town in Germany, it was the birthplace of the Von Hohenheim family, and thus has a family connection to the Elric brothers through their father Van Hohenheim (Hohenheim of Light in the anime).
With the characters Lin/Ling Yao and Mei/May Chan/Chang, a G was added top their names within one or two volumes for no apparent reason than the translators forgot their own name choice.
In one image, there is a closeup of a prisoner identification bracelet given to Ling, with English lettering on it, rendering his name as "Ling Yao". This was particularly hilarious with the Official Viz translation. The dialogue bubble in the SAME PANEL has another character going "So your name is Lin Yao?".
This should be blamed on Hiromu Arakawa, in all other official english translation (such as the Character guides, and calenders) it's always Lin Yao, it's only Ling in that one panel.
Viz also ping-ponged between "Van" and "Von" for Hohenheim's first name for a while, until they were forced to settle on Von when the Paracelsus reference came up.
Not to mention the fans who insist on calling Ed and Al "Edo" and "Aru"... although the fact that their names should be rendered in English is painfully obvious.
There's argument over whether the librarian should be "Scieszka" or "Sheska". There's not much agreement between the English releases either. Even Funimation's subtitles differ from their own liner notes on this one.
The strangest is Lan Fan's grandfather, who the fans refer to as Fu; the official perfect guide for the manga refers to him as "Who". Apparently, Arakawa likes baseball.
Like the Ling/Lin example above, this is because "Hu" is how you read his name in Chinese.
Brotherhood does solve this issue in one respect: the eyecatches, even in the raw Japanese version, spell the names of the featured characters in English. Funimation, naturally, has chosen to use the same spellings in the subtitles.
The official Viz translation of the manga called Mustang's bodyguard Riza, and Elizabeth by Madame Christmas.
The OFFICIAL translation also has Winry calling her "Ms. Lisa". Oy.
There is DVD box set of Brotherhood, which has some truly BIZARRE name spellings in the subtitles. Ed's name is spelled "Edowado Erurixtuku", Roy Mustang is "Roi Masutanngu", and Winly/Winry is "Wuxinnrexi". The first episode also subbed Gluttony as "Blatny". The Xs probably resulted from taking their names in katakana and running a particular romaji-to-kana scheme in reverse (where an "x" is used to indicate that the next kana should be small rather than normal size). If you look at them that way they kinda make sense, and "Roi Masutanngu" is literally how the Japanese pronounce his name.
And there's Zolf/Solf J. Kimbley/Kimblee/Kimbly/Kimberly. Confirmed, as of that one BrotherhoodEyecatch, to be Solf J. Kimblee.
Is it Dr. Knox, or Dr. Knocs, Dr. Knoks, or Dr. Knocks?
Fans have been torn in the past on whether it's "Roze" Thomas or "Rose" Thomas. Likewise her lookalike from The Movie of the first anime has this problem: "Noa" or "Noah"? Both of the latter two names come off as Meaningful Names.
Likewise, there's been debates whether Heiderich from the same film is "Alfons" or "Alphonse". Some sources have him as "Alphonse" but others as "Alfons". Most fans use "Alfons" to differentiate him from Edward's brother.
The Tringham Brothers (Russell and Fletcher): Is the brothers' surname spelled as "Tringham", "Tringam", or "Tringum"? The "Tringham" spelling receives use in the anime and is visible in Funimation's English subtitles for Japanese episodes. However, printings of the Light NovelFullmetal Alchemist: The Land of Sand (where the brothers originated from), repeatedly use "Tringum" throughout the text. Within the same light novel, the "final character sketches" of Russell and Fletcher (with the pages being situated near the end of the book) prominently feature the spelling of "Tringam".
Full Metal Panic!! has Captain "Tessa" Testarossa, whose full given name seems like it should be "Teresa" or "Theresa," but which is officially spelled "Teletha." In addition, there is Lieutenant Belfangan Clouseaux/Clouseau/Grouseaux/???, and the Uruz/Urzu/Uluz mecha strike team. Since all of Mithril's field teams are named after Elder Futhark runes (Perth, Gebo, Teiwaz, etc), the correct spelling of the latter is "Uruz," but since that's all but impossible to pronounce in Japanese it comes out as "Urzu," which then carried into the English dub.
A purposeful use of the trope is Sousuke Sagara - whom Mao interprets as "Sousky Seagal".
At some point during the development of Fushigiboshi No Futago Hime, レイン's name was apparently romanized as Rain. Notable since it appears that way on the first season's Eye Catch (it's normally covered up by the title logo, but it appears in plain view in the EC used in the 2nd half of the season). The second season's premiere has her writing her name as Rein both on a drawing on a train (belonging to another character with this issue, see below) and a business card... and it also appears that way in the Eye Catch.
Not mentioned at the above webpage is a 2nd season character named エリザベータ. On the train that the twins draw on it's spelled as Erizabert, and this page spells it as Elizabert, neither being what one might expect from the katakana.
Knight Schumacher from Future GPX Cyber Formula has been named "Shoemach" in the series. This may have been deliberate on the producers' part, as they made it possibly to avoid copyright issues. There's also Edelhi/Edehi/Edelie, Clair/Clare/Claire and Steel/Stil.
Hell, GaoGaiGar itself had been spelled several different ways in the official subtitles of the DVDs, some of which wouldn't even come close to actually being pronounced "GaoGaiGar", if said aloud.
Most fans spell "Palparepa" like that when the official spelling is "Palpalapa". Also, spelling "GaoFighGar" as "GaoFaiGar", though in fairness, those instances are mostly in discussions of Super Robot Wars Alpha 3 or Super Robot Wars W where the writer's only exposure to GaoFighGar was through kana.
The names of demons/mamodo in Gash Bell is a frequent source of frustration since the creator rarely gives them straight up English names, but an especially infuriating one is the guy who hangs out with a movie director and sings a garbled "Ode to Joy", which has been rendered as Kisu, Kiees, Keith, Kiss or Kiith.
Getter Robo Āḥ has problems with this, due to having a Sanskrit letter in the title. The Japanese spellings 'Ark' and 'Aku' are frequently used, when the correct English form is Āḥ.
Although most of the fandom refers to Rokusuke's partner as Beth, the Finnish translation of the manga calls him Bess. The matter is not made any simpler by the fact that both are feminine names.
Heuler/Hoiler. It should be noted that Heuler is a German word and, properly pronounced, actually sounds like "Hoiler". It's probably meant to mean howler (as in, someone who howls), though the word can also mean seal pup.
The young Golden Retriever from Weed is pretty universally called Mel in the West, though most Japanese materials romanize his name as Mer. Additionally, the Finnish translation of the manga calls him this.
Some prefer to call Weed's brother Joo over Joe. It was also believed for a long time that Joe/Joo's son was called Koujirou, but it was later found out that it's actually Koushirou.
The Russian dogs of war are especially plagued by this. Maxim/Maxime, Ridia/Lydia, Aramu/Aram/Allam/Alam, Iwanov/Ivanov, Victor/Viktor...
Speaking of giant robots, many of the Gundam series pick up mangled names on the way to production, most of which get more reasonable conversions overseas. Which, depending on where in the translation process one starts watching, can make it nearly impossible for the fandom to agree on which is the "correct" spelling.
Mobile Suit Gundam (and its sequels) has examples such as Char/Shar/Shaa, Judau Ashita/Judo/Ashta, and the rather embarassing Quattro Bajeena, often rendered in Japanese sources as... Quattro Vagina.
Worse, the official translations for the various terms in the UC timeline have changed at least once (ignoring the MSG movie trilogy dub in the 90s that has been ignored ever since); the OVAs use different terms than the original series, such as "Kishiria" instead of "Kycilia", "Jabrow" instead of"Jaburo", the Duchy of Zeon instead of the Principality of Zeon, and "Seig Zeon" instead of "Hail Zeon".
Zeon's arguably the worst case of it in the entire franchise, as it can be (and has been at various points in the past) been translated as the Principality, Duchy, Archduchy, or Grand Duchy of Zeon, Zion, or Jion. Zeon was simply the cleanest translation of the original Japanese, but they only settled on Principality after looking at the Japanese terms for real-life principalities/duchys/whatevers and realizing that Principality was the only exact match.
Gundam ZZ has one extreme example in the case of Puru. Is her first name "Elpie" (how it's pronounced) or "Elpeo" (how it's spelled)? For that matter, her last name is spelled "Ple", which of course the Japanese pronounce as "Puru". The only official English production the name has appeared in pronounced "Ple" as "pull", making things even more confusing. The problem stems from the fact that her name is a pun based on an old Lolicon magazine called Lemon People, which was frequently abbreviated as L People. Basically,
Lemon People -> L People -> Elpeo Ple
Or, if you want to be more specific about it,
"レモンピープル" -> "エル・ピープル" -> "エルピー・プル".
Its funny because she's a little girl, you see. That said, this case is especially amusing because significant portions of the fandom have outright refused to acknowledge her name as "Ple," not out of any concerns of canonicity, but specifically because they feel that the name "Ple" is stupid.
Gundam Wing has the following: Heero/Hiiro Yuy/Yui, Relena/Ririna/Lilina Darlian/Dorian/Derlian (the latter which appears in the Operation 4 soundtrack), Wufei/Wu Fei, Zechs Merquise/Marquise, Lady Une/Ann/Anne, Hilde/Hirde, and Tubarov/Tuberov/Tsubarov.
Turn A has its fair share as well, most prominently with the main character's name. Is it "Loran" or "Rolan" (or even "Roland")? The few English productions the character has appeared in spelled it "Loran", but some fans refuse to accept this as official. Meshy/Meshie/Miashi Kyun/Cune also commonly has this issue.
Confusing matters further, the official Japanese material uses different spellings than the official English material, so although the last versions of each of the above examples are, strictly speaking, the "correct" versions for Western audiences, spellings like "Raww le Klueze" and "Mwu la Fllaga" are equally official. Fans will never agree on which version is more correct.
Gundam 00 is also bad, especially in the second season, since a lot of the names are actually Gratuitous English. So you get slavishly translated names back into English without taking into account what the original English was obviously meant to be. Which leaves you with things like Bling Stabbity instead of Bring Stability and Hilling Car instead of Healing Care. Of course, a proper Pragmatic Adaptation would probably translate these English terms into a third language to keep the original feel of "characters named something meaningful in a semi-commonly understood foreign language"...
The worse part of this whole phenomenon in the Gundam Fan Dumb who insist on using the older, outdated translations of certain terms just to establish themselves as "old school" fans who were around before you kids had your "official versions" or "correct translations".
Rather exasperated by the official English translation of the Mobile Suit Gundam novelizations, which were released in the United States in 1990, almost a full decade before the anime proper was released (officially). The choices used in that novel are almost entirely different from the ones that are now standardized, such as "Sha" Aznable, Amuro "Rey", and "Gren Zavi" (Ghiren Zabi), amongst others. It's almost harder to find names that are familiar (Kai Shiden is one of the few to escape unchanged). The introduction even acknowledges that these are different and that "hardcore Gundam fans" might be disconcerted, so this trope has been going strong for quite some time, even in official media.
In Gundam 00 there was much confusion over Evil Amuro's true name, since "Ribbons Almarck" sounded just too stupid too be true. Many thought it instead was "Livonse Almack", but were proven wrong.
There are some who think his name was supposed to be "Reborns" (which matches the name of his transforming Gundam), which, admittedly, does make some thematic sense given the names of his fellow Innovades.
Gundam AGE, like many a Gundam show before it has a bad case of this due to the franchise's love of bizarre, usually made up names. For instance, is the first main character's name Flit, or is he named after a brand of corn chip?
The mass production MS based on the AGE-1 are often translated as "Adeles", though Adder makes a bit more sense considering that a) it's the name of a deadly snake, which many weapons in Real Life are named for (eg. the Colt Python and Sidewinder Missile) and b) they retain the Gundam they're based on's ability to equip various add-on parts.
The enemy faction this time around has several possible romanizations, the most humorous of which is "Vegan". Most fans seem to have settled on "Vagan", but "Veigan" also pops up fairly regularly.
SID. Or is it Cid? Maybe Shido (phonetic Japanese pronunciation)?
In Gungrave, minor character Blood War frequently had his name translated as Brad Wong by dubbers thrown off by the unusual pronunciation.
Gunslinger Girl has a lot of names transliterated completely differently in the anime and the manga (Jose vs. Giuseppe and Hirscher vs. Hillshire, for example), and when you add in fan translations it only gets more confusing.
Giuseppe was a style choice, going for the "regular" Italian form. Later chapters show that his full name is actually Josefo (showing the brothers' northern origins), but this might not have been decided when the manga was translated. Hirscher/Hillshire is this (both read the same in katakana). Since he doesn't try to conceal his nationality (and it's a alias anyway), most people go for Hirscher (which is used in the German translation).
Irene Vincent of Gunsmith Cats has her nickname as Rally in the official English versions, but Word of God is that the nickname is actually Larry Vincent.
This is often considered a case of artistic license, though; apparently the author wanted to give her a name that sounded exotic and foreign, so he picked the name "Larry" for her, not knowing that it was actually a male name. Quite strange considering that the author showed his work in every other detail of the universe. When the series was brought to Western shores, the Rs and Ls were flipped to give her the name Rally, which fits her as she's into cars.
Then again, he still insists that her name is Larry - at the 1993 Anime America convention, he responded to a fan's question about the character with "It's Larry, not Rally". Make of that what you will. Her name is also written as "Larry" in one part of the manga.
Interestingly, Larry is the name of Irene's father.
The Harukanaru Toki no Naka de franchise tends to have this problem when it comes to the members of the Oni Clan. Their names are rendered in katakana and are supposed to be non-Japanese, yet it's quite hard to find an official romanization for these. Shirin is pretty much the only one not to suffer from this trope, since her name is very simple. Unfortunately, there are also Akuramu (Akuram/Akram), Sefuru (Sefuru/Sefle/Sephle), and Ikutidaaru (Ikutidaru/Iktidaru/Iktidar/Iktidaal). Then Haruka 3 came around and introduced yet another member of the same Clan, named... Rizuvaan (Ridvan/Rizvan/Lizvern/Lidzvan... you get the picture. The fact that he is called "Rizu-sensei" by other characters doesn't help either). This time, however, KOEI confirmed the spelling to be "Ridvan" (persian/arabic for "paradise"; the meaning is pointed out in one of the spinoff games. Incidentally, "Rizvan" would be a valid version of this name as well.). Assuming the rest of the Oni names aren't made-up ones and have similar origins will give us "Shirin" (persian), "Iktidar" (arabic) and "Akram" (arabic). The only slightly problematic case is Sefuru, which, going from the same languages, likely ends up as "Sefr" (not a name, but a Persian word for "zero", which isn't quite meaningless either if you look at his backstory).
Haruka 4 has its share of this trope as well, this time with sanskrit. Thankfully, Ashuvin CAN be legitimately spelled two ways (the more logical "Ashvin" and the apparently chosen by KOEI "Asvin"), and the rest of the names eventually came out romanized in the visual book for the game, but before that you could get "Ashuvin" for Asvin, various disasters on Mudogara (Mudgala), etc.
After the announcement of Haruka 5, much lulz ensued when one character's name, spelled in katakana as Aanesuto Satou, was romanized by at least two sources as "Honest Sato". Yes, Honest Sato. Such a name. Which probably would just be a case of Gratuitous English if not for the fact that the character in question is based on Ernest Mason Satow. Feel free to wonder just how much one can mangle an existing name by simply converting it to katakana and back to latin script.
"Onikakushi" (Demoned Away) is the first arc. "Onigafuchi" (Demon's Abyss) is what Hinamizawa used to be known as. As well as confusion between the two, the latter is sometimes spelled with a double C; this is wrong as it would imply a doubled consonant in pronunciation that's not there.
Both u's in Rena Ryugu are long, so it can be written Ryuuguu. The other common variants, "Ryuguu" and "Ryuugu", are erroneous.
Hanyuu's sword is the Onigari-no-Ryuo, or Ryuuou if you write out the long vowels. The incorrect "Ryou" is often seen.
Hellsing is famous for this. "Alucard" is a classic Sdrawkcab Alias, but subtitles (Arucard) seem to say otherwise. Some even go with "Arcard". Walter C. Dollneaz/Dollners/Dornez (this one being the Dark Horse-used one) and Pip Bernadotte/Bernadette/Vernedead have more conventional name problems, while British woman Integra/Integral has the knightly title "Sir"; in real life, female British knights use the title "Dame". The Japanese dialog never calls her "sir" except as an insult, while English translations mistakenly call her "Sir" full time (and much of the fanbase went along with it due to Integra's Bifauxnen nature). Meanwhile, Ceres/Seras Victoria has no official spelling (although in chapter 6 the writing on the wall looks suspiciously like "Serase"), and her name sounds like it's in reversed (i.e., Japanese) order. And the name of the show itself is supposed to refer to Bram Stoker's Dr. Van Helsing.
To the irritation of most of its Western fans, the beautifully dubbed The Heroic Legend Of Arislan switched horses in mid-stream and changed pronunciation for all major characters and cities after the first two films were released, turning Arislan, Daryoon, Narsus, Pharangese, and Gieve into Arslan, Darun, Narcasse, Farangis, and Guibu.
Actually, it's more complicated. Iriginally the names of characters and places either came from Persian legends (Arslan, Farangis, Giv, etc.) or are native to various languages like Farsi, Hindi, Urdu (Daryun, Elam, Etwar, etc. Many places mentioned in the story, such as Ecbatana or Atropatene, actually exist or existed in real life). The person who translated the anime to English treated the names as if they were random fantasy names, hence Arislan, Pharangese, Daryoon, Gieve and so on. The most jarring decision was turning Etwar/Ester into Etoile/Estelle, despite that the story has a very obvious ancient Middle-Eastern type setting. And then the above mentioned Executive Meddling happened.
The English dub of Hauro No Ugoku Shiro (Howl's Moving Castle) mostly manages to re-translate the names in accordance with the original book, with one notable exception: "Markl"? You don't think the L is a hint that his name could be, say, Michael? Dubs in other languages also have problems with the name of Howl—several of them call him "Hauru," both because it's the direct Japanese pronounciation and because it fits the Mouth Flaps.
And the fact that the movie is based on a novel by a BRITISH author didn't occur to them?
Almost every name in Hunter × Hunter comes with several alternate spellings (Kurapika/Curapica/Clapika, Ging/Gin/Jin, Freaks/Freecs, Zoldyck/Zaoldyeck, Uvogin/Ubougin, Ponds/Ponzu, Kaito/Kite, Kuroro/Quoll/Chrollo, etc.). There are a set of "official" spellings, but no one, not even the official English translation, uses them: Curarpikt, Hyskoa, Chzzok, Phalcnothdk, Quwrof Wrlccywrlir...
This trope caused many readers to miss a fairly important plot point: Meleoron is Gyro, which is really the same name as Jail.
While its universally agreed on how to spell Guu, the other title character's name has many different spellings. His name has been spelled Hare and Hale. Haré is the official English name.
Although early chapters of the manga (and some episodes of the anime as well, if I'm not mistaken) romanized Guu's name as "Goo".
The problem is that Hare is an actual Japanese word, 晴れ or はれ and should be read as such in the title, but since it is written in katakana as ハレ some translators assumed it must be a non-Japanese word.
There are some minor confusions as well - such as Reiji/Leiji/Lazy, Wiggle/Uigher and Weda/Ueda.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure had to change many character names when released overseas to prevent problems with copyrights (Devo to D'Bo for the Capcom fighter, for instance). There is, however, one instance that doesn't pertain to copyright: Stone Ocean's protagonist, Jolyne Cujoh, the daughter of Jotaro Kujo. If one were to transliterate the kanji for her name, it would read "Jorin Kujo".
Carlos from Kaleido Star became Kalos in the dub. Since the name is romanized as KAROSU カロス, it is a little hard to tell since the usual ways of making the name are either KAAROSU カーロス and KARUROSU カルロス. But still, Kalos? Is that a name?
Wait, his full name is Kalos Eidos or something like that, right? Wasn't it supposed to be a pun on "Kaleido"?...
Karin and her two siblings use the last name "Ma'aka", yet their parents, Henry and Carrera, have elected to use the surname "Marker". This is entirely intentional, though. The series explains from the very beginning that the family moved from Europe to Japan. The kids, having been raised in Japanese society, adopted the Japanese spelling, while the old-timey parents retained the original European spelling. The manga points out also that "Ma'aka" is pronounced "Ma-aka", not "Maaka".
In Katekyo Hitman Reborn! there is a character who's name is either Jill, Raziel, ,Ciel, Sill or Rasiel. Given that his brother's name is Belphegor, Rasiel is the most probable.
Not to mention Colon(n)ello, Ma(r/m)mon, L(u/i)ssuria, etc., etc.
Lussuria is the Italian word for lust, apparently, which explains that one.
And now that we've got the new chapter, we've obtained (Y)Uni as well...
Chrome/Kuromu Dokuro. Every instance is Chrome, but her name is a Significant Anagram of Mukuro Rokudo.
Kururu (Kululu), Angol Moa (Angolmois), and Rabie (Lavie) in Keroro Gunsou.
There are a few cases of this in Kiddy Grade - most notably Armbrust, who is "Armblast" both in the dub and accompanying subtitles on the English DVDs, but spelt correcting in the subtitles accompanying the Japanese audio on the same discs (they caught the error before release, but not after it had already been enshrined in the dub). The English DVDs are mostly correct apart from that due to Word of God material that accompanied the Japanese DVDs, but the fansubs were full of errors and inconsistencies. The fansubs for sequel Kiddy GiRL-AND are similar despite English spellings for most characters being available via the official website - e.g. Himatsubushi insists on subtitling Sommer as "Zoma".
In an ironic twist, the English subtitled blu-ray discs for the Kiddy Grade compilation movies published in Japan use FUNimation's subtitle tracks with a few corrections.. and a few new mistakes, most notably changing Donnerschlag's mame from the correct German spelling to "Donnersclag".
While many of the characters' names were changed when Kimba the White Lionmade it to the states, Lyra has earned many names which includes Kitty, Leah, Laia, Raija, Raiya, and Raya, when staring in different editions throughout time.
Kyou Kara Maou is officially titled "Kyo Kara Maoh" in English. As if that wasn't enough, Conrad/Konrad has been translated into "Conrart" (there is no sane way to get "Conrart Weller" from コンラッド/ウェラー卿. The main character's name is technically Yūri (according to proper grammar, the macron is removed by doubling the vowel, hence "Yuuri"), which has a specific meaning referenced in the story, but is spelled "Yuri"... which has a different meaning entirely, and is also pronounced differently.
And that's just the beginning of it! Most of the demon's names - most of everyone's names - in the other world are derivatives of European names, or made to sound that way, making it pretty much impossible to find a consistent spelling for any of the non-Japanese characters. The discrepancy is sometimes so great that you can't recognize the name of the same character as spelled by different fansubbers.
Kyo Kara Maoh is painfully full of these. The dub spelled the main character's name as "Yuri" while most subs and fans had used "Yuuri". The spelling of several last names is argued upon, such as Kleist/Christ or Bielfeld/Bielfelt, and a sub that used "Forngrantz" and "Fornchrist" and such, apparently having missed the German Theme Naming where the correct translations were "von Grantz" and "von Christ". Saralegui's name is still sometimes written as "Sarareigi", and no one can agree on whether his retainers name is Belias or Berias or Beries. The worst by far is poor Geneus/Janus/Jeanus/Jyanuss/however million other ways his name has been writing.
Last Exile has the name of one of the main characters variously transliterated as Lavi or Ravi.
And then... there's Legend of Galactic Heroes, in which everyone on the Imperial side has a German name, and the Alliance side is a kind of multicultural potluck, all rendered in katakana pronunciation. The people that made the anime version (wherein the characters' names appear onscreen when they are introduced) didn't even know where to begin with this mess, and the resulting roman spellings are often bizarre. The later DVD release features revised spellings. Add a handful of different fansub romanizations into the mix and the result is almost as complicated as the actual show.
In Letter Bee we have Zaji/Zazie, Vashuka/Wasiolka, Gus/Gasu/Gazu, Connor Kluff/Connor Culh, Roda/Lode, Gauche/Goos, and Aria Link/Aria Rink. Oh, and the freak show in Chapter 2 has had its name romanized as Lovesome Downs, Love Someone Down, and the incredibly silly Rabusamu Wandaun
The name of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha's signature weapon is レイジングハート, which can be transliterated as either reijing haato, "Raging Heart", or as reizing haato, "Raising Heart". The Word of God is that the latter is correct. The main issue here is that spoken Japanese makes no distinction between the "ji" and "zi" syllables, as the latter doesn't exist. Thus both "Raging" and "Raising" are pronounced as "Raging".
For added confusion, the English dub switches from "Raging" to "Raising" at the beginning of the second season— and the subtitles for the first season switch back and forth!
The names of characters are even less clear. Their spellings aren't even consistent in the various different official sources, even though the dialogue makes the automobile Theme Naming obvious. On the other hand, this hasn't stopped fansubbers from using Yuuno instead of the more likely Euno (after the Mazda Eunos marque)... The official site tries to clear up a lot of confusion (stating that Yuuno is indeed spelled Yuuno, for example), however, fans are still hesitant to use the official spelling for some of the other names, the most popular example being Zafila, whom many still prefer to call Zafira. Understandable as, given the aforementioned Theme Naming, "Zafira" makes much more sense (from Opel Zafira).
The official spelling of the Azure Wolf's name seems to change with every release. While earlier side-materials used 'Zafila', the later video game adaptation went with 'Zafira'.
It doesn't help that the English dub cycles through the names Arf, Alph and Aruf depending on which volume you're watching. They use the first two spellings in the same conversation.
Caro presents an odd example, as she's clearly named after her tribe, so they should be spelled the same; instead, her surname is always written "ru Lushe" or "Ru Lushe", yet the tribe itself is called "Lu-Lushe". Even her employee card uses both spellings.
In the early days before StrikerS aired, Caro's full name, romaji'ed "Kyaro Ru Rushie", was transliterated into Carole le Loussier. That is, until after canon materials state the otherwise. Hey, it makes sense...
The name of the ship, which is officially "Arthra", but The Triad used "Asura".
Most people tend to refer to Teana (from the Nissan Teana) as "Tia".
Such people often refer to her full name as "Tiana", although that doesn't fit in the Theme Naming with many characters being named after cars.
There's also Fate's assistant Shario Finieno, who more often goes by the nickname Shari. There are some alternate romanizations, like Shirley or Sally Fenino.
It's possible that it could be "Chariot" (if you pronounce "Chariot" in a French way, it sounds like "Shario", and she is apparently named after the Mitsubishi Chariot).
Signum's sword is usually either Laevatein or Levantine.
Given how there are so many references to Norse mythology already (three of Hayate's attacks are Mistilteinn, Ragnarök and Hrćsvelgr), Lćvateinn would make more sense. The problem is how Signum pronounces it - Lćvateinn in Japanese is usually "Rēvatein", but Signum's sword is pronounced "Revantin", which leads to the confusion.
Some fansubs also couldn't decide whether Shamal's "weapon" was called Klarer Wind or Klarwind. For the record, Klarer Wind is the correct German, so it's most likely the correct spelling.
The correct spelling is actually Klarwind. Just being correct German doesn't necessarily mean it's the right spelling, especially in anime. And both are correct German anyway (Clearwind vs. Clear Wind).
Even the two Numbers whose names are not literal Italian numbers- Wendi/Wendy and Deed/Dido- occasionally fall into this.
Strangely, even though "sei" is Italian for "six", the official spelling of the character's name is Sein.
Probably an abbreviation of "Sei-chan", which Japanese does for some names.
The Battle of Aces official guidebook, released 2010, renders Amy as "Eimy", even though it's six years after she first appeared.
The name of Caro's dragon (written as Furīdorihi in Japanese) could be either "Friedrich" (as a reference to Friedrich Nietzsche) or "Friedliche" (German for "peaceful"). Given her other dragon is called Voltaire (Vorutēru), though, Friedrich would make more sense.
Fans thought that the name of Vivio's Fate Expy was named "Einhart", yet come Gears of Destiny, it turns out that it's "Einhard".
Mai-Otome, which includes Loads and Loads of Characters with Western-sounding names, is literally full of this despite the fact that official romanizations are available on the official website... except, for some reason, for Lena Sayers, leading to her name being consistently and incorrectly spelled "Rena" in fandom (and the credits for the English version). And that's not even taking into account GEM or country names...
The country of Cardair in the anime gets called Chaldea in one manga scanlation.
Martian Successor Nadesico has a very funny one with its parody Show Within a Show, particularly in the ADV dub. Throughout the series, the show is dubbed Gekigangar 3. And it stayed that way throughout the entire series... even after one scene late in the show shows it to be spelled Gekiganger 3
Mazinger Z: Notably, this series managed to largely avoid this, but still there were some cases:
Baron Ashura: In the Spanish dub in the seventies he was named "Ashler".
Count Brocken: In some places he was called "Count Blocken".
The twin blonde research assistants from Great Mazinger and Mazinkaiser. Rori, Loli, Lori, Roli? Roru, Lolu, Rolu, Loru, or possibly Roll?
However, the worst offenders were the Mechanical Beasts by far: Debira, Devira or Deviler X1? Belgas or Velgus V5? Doublas or Dabras M2? Zaira or Zaila? Bikong or Bicong 09? Holzon or Horzon V3? And so on.
UFO Robo Grendizer was not so bad... But -other than the Saucer Beasts and the Vega Beasts- some characters had some confusing names: Gandal or Gandar? Blacki, Blackie or Brackie? Barados or Barendos? Rubina or Lubina?
Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, according to entry-level fans that only saw the fansubs, is the story of "Luchia" (Lucia) and her love for "Kaitou" (Kaito). Her friend "Lina" (Rina) is depressed about the loss of "Nuil" (Noel), which "Karen" (Caren) blames her for.
Even in the series itself, there were problems. The main antagonist of the first arc of the manga is named Gakuto. His name is written in katakana for most of the series, and is meant to evoke the singer Gackt, leaving his name as Gackto. However, once and only once, he uses kanji for his name that can only be read as Gakuto. And on top of that, the anime called him Gaito to distance the character from the singer and play up the connection to Kaito.
Are the kanji '楽斗'? The singer occasionally uses those. It's the gaku from ongaku, music, and the to from hokuto, the Big Dipper — it means something like 'vessel for pouring music'.
And the prototype for Lucia, Lyre, is called "Riiru", a nonsense name, by the usually-accurate manga translation.
The first release of the first episode fansubbed called the penguin Hip. Also, not fansub-wise, but some fans often misspell Hanon's name as Hannon.
There is also Ranfa/Ran Fa/Lang Fa/Lanhua, or Michel/Mikeru, Michal/Mikaru and Alala/Arara
Lunge/Runge from Monster. The manga, the official website and the fansubbing groups says it's 'Lunge', his name plate in the anime says it's 'Runge'.
Johan Liebert has this case when his first and last name are called Johann and Liebheart.
Which ought to be a no-brainer since she specifically says she's named after the Eric Clapton song (but on the other hand it's romanized Reira all over official Japanese materials).
In Japan, when a child is born, it's registered with the kana and kanji for it's name. Since Layla would be phonetically changed into Reira, this is her official name (in Japan, depending on her American passport). This troper has a Japanese friend with the same name, named after the same song, it's still Reira.
In Naruto, Rock Lee's mentor has had both of his names vary in spelling: Might/Mighty/Maito Guy/Gai (official translation: Might Guy◊). Despite there being an official spelling, there's still too many fans who insist on one of the other spellings.
To be fair, almost every translation prior to the official one had his name as Gai, and that is a more common transliteration. Also, the official translation of the manga originally used "Mighty Guy".
Guy-sensei has suffered in this respect more than any other Naruto character: At one point, the American branch of Shonen Jump was apparently drawing names out of a hat for him, as during the first part of the Chunin Exam preliminary rounds, his name changed in spelling every issue for nine months. The spelling "Might Gay" was apparently considered before they finally settled on the current version of his name, though online scanalations of chapters not yet released by Viz in America still sometimes use the old translation of 'Gai.'
Pain's name was originally frequently romanized as "Pein," but this was before he mentioned why he adopted that name. Even so, lots of fans still insist on spelling it Pein for some reason.
That spelling is not necessarily wrong, as 'Pein' is a German word meaning 'pain', and as such this spelling makes just as much sense.
If you get to pronunciation, things get even more twisted. German "Pein" is pronounced "pain" (パイン), while English "pain" is pronounced "pein" (ペイン), while Japanese ペイン is pronounced "pein" as well, but transcribed as "pein"...
The "letters" get this treatment too. A, Ay, Ei or Ē, Killer B, Killer Bee or Kirābī, C, Shī, Shee or Cee, F, Efu or Eff, J, Jei or Jay.
An in-universe example occurs in Negima!, any time a character gets a Pactio card, their name is printed on it, but with a "latinized" spelling; some of the letters are replaced with others ("Y" with "J" and "K" with "C", for example), so "Yue" turns into "Jue", "Nodoka" becomes "Nodoca", etc.
Plus the fact that J was not a letter in the latin alphabet either, instead simply being an I, usually before a U. But that would mean that Yue's name would look like IVE, which would be quite confusing.
Some scanlations have trouble deciding if the Weasel Mascot is named "Chamo" or "Kamo". The first is more widely accepted (and used in the official translation).
Given that his name is short for Chamomile...
Also, Chao's magic activation key is one of the few that doesn't yet have an "official" romanization.
There's also a bit of controversy over Gateau/Gatou/Gato's name.
Actually, it should be Kiel. Keel is a widely distributed misspelling which is pretty much Fanon by now.
In One Piece, the official transliteration of the name ルフィ is "Luffy". The double "f" is especially peculiar, since it will change the preceeding vowel. A strict reading of the kana would produce a word that rhymes with "goofy;" whereas in English "Luffy" would rhyme with "stuffy" instead.
Ironically enough, the German dub insists on Ruffy, pronouncing it in a perfectly English way. This is explained in a translator Q&A in the manga — Ruffy (as in "rough") sounds more like a pirate name than Luffy. It's not pronounced as "Roofy", it's "Raffy".
There's also the dispute over Roguetown vs. Loguetown (as in "prologue" and "epilogue"); the guy that makes the series spells it in the series as "Loguetown", but it got changed in the 4kids dub.
In the first volume of the English manga they used Zoro, but in vol. 2 they changed it to Zolo, mainly to pander to the English dub available at the time (4kids)
Zoro's name is interesting - while it is officially written "Roronoa Zoro" (spelled that way on his Wanted poster in the anime), he's allegedly named after the pirate François l'Olonnais... except that "l'Olonnais" is written in katakana as "Roronē", NOT "Roronoa". It's possible Oda thought the name was l'Olonnois, which WOULD be written as Roronoa in katakana. His first name did indeed come from Zorro, which is "Zoro" in katakana - this is why it had to be changed to Zolo in the English dub, as there was still a copyright on the name Zorro in America at the time.
There's also "Navy" vs. "Marines." While in etymology (kaigun) and role it is VERY obviously a Navy, pretty much everything they own has "MARINE" printed on it in big block letters. Though "Navy" is probably the correct term, it's often criticized in a kneejerk reaction to the 4KidsMacekre, which digitally erased all instances of "MARINE" and replaced them with "NAVY".of course it could be, the author just forgot.
And don't forget that "Marine" is, in several languages, a direct translation of the English "Navy".
Also don't forget that, even in English, the civilian shipping capacity of a nation is often called its Merchant Marine. The two words shared a meaning at some point in the past, which sort of muddles the issue.
There also seems to be some confusion on if it's Blueno or Bruno. Though "Bleuno" appears on the sign of his tavern in Water Seven. (Which actually makes sense too - "Bleu" is French for "blue", and pronounced the same way as "blue" in katakana.)
Most recent perhaps is the giant Luffy-powered zombie Ouzu/Oz/Odz. Oz is the most common spelling of his name, but a strong theory is that the name is meant to refer to Odr, a god of the Norse Pantheon. Some translators have thus mixed Oz and Odr together to make the spelling "Odz." Some fans have taken a third option and just use "Odr."
Chapter 551 shows a ship with the word Oars III. Chapter 554 reveals that the descendant of the giant zombie is one of Whitebeard's allies. So now some think "Oars" is the official spelling.
One Piece suffers greatly from this trope. Juracule/Dracule Mihawk is a weird case, since "Dracule" is a logical Meaningful Name but not really supported by the way it's written.
In Japanese katakana, "ju" is the closest basic equivalent to the "du" that could be used. Though in katakana it is possible to write "du", Oda opted for "ju." However, because of Japanese pronunciation rules, "du" can never begin a word in katakana, so in this case Oda had no choice but to use "ju". "Du" and "di" katakana are used for etymologic spelling, when the unvoiced equivalents "ti" and "tu" (often romanised and pronounced "chi" and "tsu") undergo a "sound change" and become voiced when they occur in the middle of a compound word. In other cases, "ji" and "zu" will be used instead. Though the question is why Oda didn't simply opt for "do", which is more often used to make "d" sounds in Japanese (for example, Dracula is written "Dorakyura" in katakana).
Some think it should be written Juraquille.
Then there's Chew/Chuu/Choo.
Vivi's duck also suffers from this trope, as the name Karoo has been spelled as Karu, Carue, and Kaloo.
Not to mention the fact that fans tend to spell even the names of the main characters in vastly different ways. This may be caused by the horrid HK (Honk Kong) subs. Ex: Sanji = Sunkist/Haingis, Usopp = Liarnote "Uso" means "lie", making it a literal translation of a Meaningful Name Bu/King Bu/Crock Bu, Zoro = Sauron/Churk Lok, etc
Whitebeard's Third Division Commander is the latest to suffer - "Jozu" is the currently accepted English spelling among most fans, but various scanslations have used "Jose," "Joss," and "Jaws."
One of the oldest ones - the name of the currency in the world of One Piece. The official translation uses "berry" for its name, but "belli" is frequently used as well. Compounding matters is one early image (at the end of the Arlong Park arc) which shows Nami holding a note that says "10,000 Belly."
Speaking of interesting spellings seen in the anime itself, the doctor who takes care of Laboon signs his name as "Krokos" on his painting of the sky while the subs write him as "Crocus," and Alvida's wanted poster has her as "Aluvida."
Iceberg's name was spelled "Icebarg" in the anime and "Iceburg" in the manga (in the actual manga art, not in a speech bubble), so no one's really sure how his name is meant to be spelled (some thing it should be Iceburgh, but most just go with Iceberg).
Eneru vs. Enel is also a point of debate sometimes.
A character whose name was always translated as Shiryu was later confirmed to have the official spelling of Shiliew. This is one case where most of the fandom just sticks with the first name, because it looks cooler and is easier to remember.
Pandora Hearts loves this trope a lot. Shalon/Sharon is one, even if latter is proven, but some fans still spell it the former. Even more is Bezarius/Vessalius, Nightlay/Nightray, Lainsworth/Rainsworth, Liam/Reim, Reo/Leo, El(l)iot(t), Vinsent/Vincent, Lotti/Lottie, Vaskerville/Baskerville, Gl(l)en, Lacey/Lacie, etc... the list goes on.
However, because the spelling "Lacie" was seen early in-series and is an obvious anagram of Alice (a prominent character with a connection to the word "Lacie"), the incorrect spelling Lacey isn't often used.
The Planetes manga (Tokyopop) and anime (Bandai USA) have different romanization schemas for two important names: the Von Braun's experimental drive is called "Tandem Miller" engine (presumably named after its creator) in the latter, while the former calls it "Tandem-Mirror" (on account of its design depending on mirrors). There's also the character Hakim/Hakimu (both versions used in the manga) as well as Hakeem (anime).
The sub I watched had Tandem Mirror (which, incidentally, is correct—Tandem Miller makes no sense) and Hakim.
The third Astrea school in Strawberry Panic! was, in fan translations, translated as LeRim, LeLim, and the official Lulim.
People in and outside of the Pokémon fandom tend to spell Musashi's english name, Jessie, as "Jesse".
That actually makes sense - Team Rocket's names are meant to be a pun on Jesse James, the famous outlaw. Their names in Japanese are Musashi and Kojirō, referencing Miyamoto Musashi and Sasaki Kojirō, two samurai who famously fought to the death over a love rival.
The villain from the second movie was never named in the dub (he's credited as The Collector), and has two different names (Geraldan and Lawrence III) in different promotional materials. Most fans just use a direct romanization of his Japanese name: Jirarudan.
Ash's rival from the Indigo League Tournament, Richie or Ritchie?
The Pretty Cure/Precure franchise can't even decide what it's called. The English text in the original logo ("PRETTY CURE") doesn't actually match the Japanese text ("purikyua," i.e. "Precure"). For one universe, the English text was dropped from the logo, seemingly making it officially Precure, except that merchandise continued to romanize it as Pretty Cure, and the various theme songs very clearly pronounce it both ways, depending on what best fits the meter. Even the characters themselves don't seem to be able to decide, as demonstrated early in Yes! Whichever 5, where Nozomi first tells Karen about "purikyua," and Karen immediately respons "Puritikyua?". Finally, it gets explicitly spelled out "P-R-E-C-U-R-E" in the second ending of Fresh Pretty Cure!... the series which also restored the English text to the logo, now spelling out the entire title as "FRESH PRETTY CURE." Even when the songs are sung in English, they can't make up their mind - the English version of Fresh's "H@ppy Together!!!" also uses the P-R-E-C-U-R-E spelling that the Japanese version uses while the English version of HeartCatch Pretty Cure!'s "Tomorrow Song ~Ashita no Uta~" uses "Pretty Cure" in its lyrics.
Past that, despite the miracle of official websites with consistently-spelled names in the URLs, you'll occasionally see references to "Lynn", "Ulala" or even "Oolala" (though oddly not "Kallen" or "Caren"). And some sites insist on turning Rin into the flat-out wrong "Karin" for some reason (shipping?).
It's extremely common in Japanese to shorten long, clumsy romanized words into 3 or 4 syllable "native" words. (e.g. waapuro for word processor, "jipan" for jean pants, "sutamen" for starting member, etc.) Shortening Pretty Cure to "purikyua" is merely following that tradition.
There's also the question of whether Mai becomes Cure Egret or Cure Eaglet... and in response, some fans have jokingly said that Saki becomes Cure Broom. Well, her hair does look like a broom.
Also, Tart or Tarte? Wester or Westar? Souler or Soular? Love as Lovey?
It continues with the next season, too. Do we call her Shypre or Chypre? Is he Kobraj or Cobraja? (It does not help when he signs it one way and the promotional materials give it the other way.)
And in what we can only assume is an intentional move to prolong the argument for nefarious purposes, the logo for Heartcatch, which is the season immediately following Fresh, spells out its title as "HEARTCATCH PRECURE!"
Having seemingly avoided this trouble in Smile Precure, minor confusion returns in the newest season, DokiDoki! Precure with the character Alice Yotsuba. Cleared up fairly quickly as the very first commercial in the broadcast showed a bunch of trading cards with her name spelled out thus. The oddity comes from the fact that "Alice" is spelled in Japanese using hiragana, which doesn't usually allow interpretation (unlike katakana, which was used in Ellen's name for example).
The Doki Doki villains: Ira/Era, Mamo/Marmo/Mammo, Bel/Bale/Bell/Pell, Leeva/Leva/Riva...
Happiness Charge Pretty Cure and the name of the American-based Pretty Cure team: are they the Bomburger (a portmanteau of "bomb" and "burger") Pretty Cure? Or are they the Bomber Girl Pretty Cure?
The minor, anime-only Prince of Tennis character Oota Shou is often referred to as Oota Kakeru, as this is another possible reading for the kanji in his name. The official data sheet for his school confirms the name should be read "Shou."
All the character names from Princess Tutu suffered from this in some of the subtitle releases, from going from Mytho to Mute and to the strange insistence to keep romanizations from Lillie to Ririe.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica has quite a few. They're mostly all the same since it's usually just fussing over long vowels by adding or removing a 'u', but there is one exception: Kyuubey/Kyubey/Kyuubei/Kyubei/Kyubee/Cubey♥ from the "Kyu" in "Cute" or "Incubator"/QB.
Considering what seems to be the etymology (Incubator), it should probably be Cuba, but that spelling doesn't seem to be used a lot. Understandably.
It certainly doesn't help that Kyubey's name is spelled very strangely even in Japanese: キュゥべえ. That's a mixture of katakana and hiragana with a small vowel, which grammatically doesn't make any sense at all.
Perhaps partially because China plays a fair role in the series, meaning that both Chinese and Japanese names get mentioned for the same thing, Ranma ˝ has a number of these. Nyucheizu/Joketsuzoku for the village of Chinese Amazons, the Spring of Drowned Yeti Riding Ox While Holding Crane And Eel, which results in various spellings of "Niuhomanmaolenniichuan", Happosai's old friend/rival, whose nickname is "Lucky" but whose name has been spelled Lukkosai, Lukkyosai, Rakkosai, Rakkyosai...
The Joketsuzoku main characters, meanwhile, have had their names spelled all kinds of ways by the fandom beside their obvious Punny Name, particularly in fanfiction (Mousse and Cologne often become Mu Tsu and Kuh Lon, for example). Shampoo's had it the worst, with Shan Po, Shan Pu, Xian Pu, and other such interpretations.
In the first Ranma video game, Cologne was spelled Colon.
The anime-only twins from Joketsuzoku are officially referred to in the English dub as Ling-Ling and Lung-Lung, but other variations can persist (such as Lin-Lin and Ran-Ran, Rin-Rin and Run-Run, etc.)
The sequel to Chirality is titled Ragnarock City, and it is spelled this way on the cover of the original version. Despite this, when Central Park Media included an about-the-author page for Satoshi Urushihara in the final volume of Chirality, they spelled it Laguna Rock City.
Rave Master get's this full blast. It's not even an issue of fans disagreeing. one of the names isn't consistent in the official translation. One of the generals (Who might be named Jade) is called four diferent names throughout the official translation. Two of which occur in the same chapter, and one of those is actually the name of a diferent charcter. On a more standard note, Everyone agrees that Iulius's name is actually Julius. And, back to the less average, one of the major support characters, Sieg Hart, is called Seig about ten times when mentioned in a later manga done by the same artist.
On a more baffling note (considering that Sieg is a name and Seig isn't), it's not impossible to find people who try to spell Elie's name with two Ls. This despite the fact that multiple plot points revolve around the ways and places that her name appears, including the extraordinarily relevant fact that it flips to make the number 3173, and that thanks to a tattoo with block letters that comes and goes on her arm and an engraving on her necklace, it is actually drawn into the images, leaving no room for dispute on how it's to be spelled.
Likewise, in Revolutionary Girl Utena the points where Miki's name seems to change to and from "Mickey" are intentional; "Mickey" is a romanization of the nickname "Mikki" and is pronounced differently from "Miki", even if the difference is hard for English speakers to hear.
Virtually all of the character and place names from the Bastard!!! anime are taken from the names of 80's Heavy Metal bands. In the dubbed version, most of these are warped into unrecognizable variants. This was mostly to avoid getting sued by the bands for trademark infringement when the anime was released in the U.S. We know how touchy some metal bands can be when it comes to their legal rights (I'm looking at you, Metallica... sorry, Meta-rikana).
The English releases of the series that made up Robotech — Macross, Southern Cross, and Genesis Climber Mospeada — deliberately used different spellings for the characters and races whose names weren't changed. For example, Roy Fokker instead of Roy Focker, or the Invid instead of Inbit.
The name change from Focker to Fokker is justified as the animation gives clear indication that his name is an homage to World War I aviation pioneer Anthony Fokker (designer of the Red Baron's iconic triplane). It is the Japanese in this case who did no research or even if they did, someone else on staff just couldn't be bothered with spelling the name right.
Super Dimension Fortress Macross's secondary character Millia was a notable offender. Her first name has been spelled Millia, Milliya, Milia, Miliya, Miria, and Miriya. Then there's her Zentraedi surname, which has been translated most often as variants of "Fallyna", though some subtitles inexplicably translate it as "Parino"; this could be taken from the one time it was used in Robotech, where it was given as "Parina"
Almost none of the Zentradi characters escape this. Mostly because the eventual official spellings of their names are completely impossible to reproduce in Japanese. (the only ones that did were the three spies Warera, Rori, and Konda, because the portmanteau of their names is a pun in Japanese).
On the flipside, we have their leader, Gorg/Golg Dolza/Bodolza/Bodolzer/Bodolzar/Bodol Za/Boddole Zer. Official translation: Boddole Zer.
or his subordinates, Breetai Kridanik/Britai Kridaniku/Vhrlitwhai Kridaniku and Exedore Formo/Exsedol Folmo. THEN, the movies dump the surnames altogether and assign each Zentradi a number...
Zentraedi ship and mecha classes are almost as bad, even though they have official spellings, it seems like the writers went out of their way to make the spellings as bizarre as humanly possible: Nousjadeul-Ger, Queadlunn-Rea, Golgantzchartz, Nupetiet-Vergnitz, Fulbtzs-Berrentz...
Then there's Lynn/Linn Minmay/Minmei. Episode 5 spells her given name "Minmei" on the door sign, but spells it "Minmay" on the letter. Also, the pinyin spelling is Líng Míngměi.
Macross 7's Big Bad, Geppelnich, is one of the worst. Potential spellings include Gepplenitch, Geppernitch, Geppernich, Geperuniti, or Geperunitchi. The Dragon for the second half of the series, Gavil, and his monstrous minion Gravil similarly have their names sometimes translated as Gabil and Grabil.
And continuing the proud tradition, one character name in Macross Frontier is an enigma wrapped in a mystery for spelling. There has been absolutely no consensus exists as to how the name should be pronounced in English, without any obvious pattern of Theme Naming. Besides a literal transliteration of the katakana ("Kuran Kuran"), Klan Klein, Klein Klan, Klan Klan, Klein Klein have all been offered. It's officially, according to a magazine article, "Clan Clang". WHAT THE HELL?!
The Friendly Sniper suffers a similar problem with his name: it's spelt in-universe as "Michael Blanc", but his first name has been pronounced as "Mikhail" (by most of his friends), and "Michel" (love interest, as an apparent nickname). Also, with the way his surname is pronounced in Japanese, romanisations of "Blanc" or "Buran" are valid interpretations, particularly with the latter's aerospace connection.
Sheryl Nome's name, on the other hand, has a perfectly well-known official spelling that somehow still gets messed up on occasion, most glaringly in the Lion Opening Title where it's written as "Sheryl Noam". This wasn't even the first Title Sequence, this was the one that started up with EPISODE 18!
They fixed this in the Blu-Ray releases, surprisingly, but her music disks in the same episode still have the "Noam" misspelling. The artist, when this was pointed out, replied that those discs were bootlegs.
Most of the characters in ''Rose of Versailles have fairly easily recognisable French names — except for one, who is variously referred to as Gerodere, Girodelle, Girondelle, Girodel, Girodet, Giradel and Jiroderu. It's not just a fan thing, either — most of those variants have appeared in official translations of the manga or anime.
Mahou Senshi Ryui, where the name of the main character, a sorcerer who acts like a brawler, can be translated as Ryui or Louie.
The Saber Marionette J manga refers to the third Saber doll as "Lynx", the anime uses "Luchs". "Luchs" is the German word for lynx, and all three of the Saber Dolls are named after German fighting vehicles from World War II, retaining the Wehrmacht's Real LifeTheme Naming.
In the Sailor Moon franchise, thanks to how many different people handled the series and how long fans relied on each other for translations, the Theme Naming causes a lot of difficulties. The vast amount of minerology puns meant most of the villains had their names wrong in one version or another. Then there were also numerous villains who drew their names from foreign loan words, meaning that the names could have already be mistranslated into Japanese and required a discerning translator to pick up the reference. Since Sailor Moon pretty much *never* had discerning translators, you can imagine how well the names came out.
"Zoisite" was actually changed to "Zoycite" in the DiC dub of The Ninetiesanime, but many fans still screw his (yes, his) name up when talking about the Japanese version. The same problem affects Jadeite, who was changed to "Jedite", and Nephrite, who was changed to "Neflyte". Not to mention Kunzite, who got his name completely swapped out to Malachite, the only name change that at least kept to the "minerals" Theme Naming.
Despite the fact that the only official spelling ever provided for the true ruler of the Dark Kingdom is "Queen Metaria" and this has persisted across three reprintings of the manga, most fans constantly spell her name wrong, assuming it is "Metallia" or "Metalia" and a play on the word "metal." "Metaria" is a latin word referencing being buried in the earth, which is what Metaria is in the manga. It is also a pun on the word "metal", which sounds the same in Japanese, but "metalia" is not a word and "metaria" is.
The two Filler Villains from Sailor Moon R are supposed to have a name that's a pun on "Alien". However, it's based on the katakana reading of the word and not the actual English pronunciation, which gives us "Eiru" and "An". A lot of fans who never read the names or even watched the Japanese show have used the names "Ail" and "Ann" because they read it on the internet. However, the pronunciation of "ail" in particular is completely off using Japanese phonetics (it sounds like "aisle") and romanizing it that way is nonsensical because it ignores the pun. ADV Films, who subtitled the arc, used "Ali" and "En" to try and keep the pun intact even though it is not a literal translation. A literal translation is "Al" and "En", though it's not pronounced that way. The DiC dub confused it even more by changing their names to Alan and Ann.
Oh, the poor Black Moon Clan. Even without the confusion dub names cause, the only spellings the entire fandom seem to agree on are Rubeus and Petz. There have been Esmeraude/Esmeroode/Esmerelda, Demando/Demand, Cooan/Kooan, Calaveras/Karaberas, Berthier/Beruche, and of course, Saffir/Saphiru/Safiru/Saphir. Oh, and "The Black Moon Clan" has often been mistranslated as "The Black Moon Family," which gives the mistaken idea that they're all related to each other, which is obviously not the case.
Best guesses would be Esmeraude (a portmanteau of émeraude, French for emerald, and Esmerelda, a common French name), Saphir (a portmanteau of sapphire and Safir, one of the Knights of the Round Table), Rubeus (Latin for "red" and the root of the English word "ruby") and Demand (an old German surname that literally means "diamond"). Petz is from petzite (and its discoverer, W. Petz), Koan from koanko, the Japanese name for kermesite, Berthier from berthierite (and its discoverer, Pierre Berthier).
The fandom seems to have settled down on the etymologically correct Berthier, mainly because ADV Films caught what "Beruche" was supposed to stand for and subtitled it correctly. Calaveras is also settled on because her name comes from a mineral named after an American location - calaverite, after Calaveras County, California.
The DiC dub itself didn't seem to remember what Berthier's English name was. Officially, it was supposed to be "Bertie", but the dialogue from the other characters indicates that actors thought it was "Birdy" and the script made many bird references to her, which only further confused things. The dub also sometimes added an extra 'b' to "Rubeus" and couldn't decide whether Petz' new name should be "Prisma" or "Prizma".
The Death Busters were mangled left and right. Geneon's subtitles and the Cloverway dub for Sailor Moon S gave "Eugeal" and "Yujial" to "Eudial", Telulu to Tellu, Byruit to Viluy, Cyprin to Cyprine, Ptilol to Petirol, and Kaorinite to Kaolinite. Tokyopop somehow mangled "Ptilol" into Petite Roll, and amusingly changed Kaolinite's latin title, Magus (mage), to Magnus (large). They also called her "Kaori Night". A US doll box kept that name, though a popular fan mistranslation mixed it up as "Kaori Knight", as they did a completely unrelated Tokyo Pop translation of an animanga. The English dub spelled Mimete's name as "Mimet" (from mimetite), but pronounced it the same way as her Japanese name. It's also notable that many fans had trouble with Ptilol's name because it's not pronounced or spelled like that in Japanese, leading to such mutations as "Pikurol" or "Puchirol" that ignored the etymology.
The spellings that are closest to the etymology are Eudial (from eudialyte), Tellu (from tellurium), Wiluy or Wilui (from wiluite), Cyprine (a variety of vesuvianite), Ptilol (from clinoptilolite), Kaolinite (from kaolinite) and Mimet (from mimetite).
The Lemures were "Remless" in the English subtitles by Geneon, even though Lemures actually is a type of mythical creature with metaphorical significance to the plotline. Some fans have theorized that Geneon thought it was a play on "REM-less," a reference to REM sleep, as the Lemures were human beings whose Dream Mirrors had been eaten by Queen Nehellenia.
The Dead Moon Circus has its own problems. For starters, Queen Nehellenia is a mythological reference which many people mistook for another mineral reference to "nephrite", thus giving "Queen Nepherenia" (or "Queen Nephelenia" for the mineral "nepheline"). And three of the Amazoness Quartet keep running into this problem - CereCere became "Cele Cele" in the dub, VesVes became "Besu Besu" in the dub and "BethBeth" in the subtitles (because the "su" character can also be used to stand in for "th", a sound that doesn't exist in Japanese), and PallaPalla became "Para Para" (pronounced "se-LAY-se-lay," "be-SOO-be-soo" and "pa-RAH-pa-rah" respectively). All four girls are named for asteroids, which themselves were all named for Roman goddesses (Ceres, Vesta, Pallas, and Juno), which you'd *think* would be a hint as to how to spell their names right. Tokyo Pop's manga confused the issue of the names of their Sailor forms as well, missing out on the asteroid theme by calling Sailor Ceres "Sailor Celis" and Sailor Pallas as "Sailor Palis".
And speaking of that subject, there is a lot of Internet Backdraft related to the Amazones Quartetto/Amazoness Quartet. "Amazoness Quartet" makes no logical sense, since an Amazon is female and therefore does not need a feminine modifier added to it. The Greek pluralization is "Amazones" and would still gives us "Amazons Quartet" when translated, which is grammatically off but logically consistent. However, one single piece of Japanese merchandise romanized it to "Amazoness" (though that isn't canonical and the same doll line made numerous other errors of accepted names) and that spelling had been accepted for years (especially on Wikipedia) and Word of God has said nothing about the correct spelling. Geneon used it when they didn't ignore it entirely and replace it with "Amazon." The dub always called them the Amazon Quartet. "Quartetto" is either meant as the Italian word for "Quartet," or it's a literal romanization of "Quartet". People get very passionate about this name.
Some references say that the name is a reference to the Amazon jungle, not to female warriors, in which case "Amazoness" would be, if still stilted English, not technically wrong. The Dead Moon Circus is explicitly stated to come from the Amazon and that is where they found the Quartet in the first place. Also the Amazon Trio is made up of men from the Amazon.
The SuperS movie has several characters that are named after French pastries. However, because of the Japanese pronunciation, the official translation by Geneon botched most of them and the fans botched all of the rest. For the record, the Quirky Miniboss Squad is composed of Perle, Poupelin, Banane, and Orangeat, the Big Bad is Queen Badiane, the little minions that come from Papillotte Candy are the Bonbon Babies, and the fortress is the Marzipan Castle. Incase you didn't notice, they're pretty much all food. And while Perle is indeed named after pearls (And is the odd man out due to being a hero) it's ALSO a type of grape.
Tokyopop changed "Sailor Lead Crow" to "Sailor Red Crow", missing the metal Theme Naming present in the Sailor Animamates. They also briefly renamed "Sailor Tin Nyanko" to "Sailor Teien" (which made no sense). And fans still argue over Aluminum Seiren/Siren. She pronounces it the first way, which is appropriate to the Greek spelling, but apparently, since it translates to "Siren", some people figure that it's easier to just call her that. The Tokyopop manga used "Siren", but considering their glowing record, this is not a shining example of veracity.
Other minor characters in the Stars manga had their names mistranslated a bit, with "Sailor Chuu" becoming "Sailor Chew" and "Sailor Coronis" becoming "Sailor Colenis". Even a place like the "Galaxy Cauldron" inexplicably became the "Galaxy Cordon".
Then there's the fans who call Princess Serenity and Queen Serenity "Selenity" despite Serenity being a word and reference to an actual lunar landmark and Selenity being gobbledygook. Queen Serenity says at one point that she is an incarnation of the Greek goddess Selene, but there are enough "Serenity" references in the series (not the least of which is the actual appearance of the Sea of Serenity in the manga) to make it clear that that is their name.
And by the way, is "Sailormoon" (and Sailormercury, etc.) one word or two? Not all of the Japanese sources seem to agree. Given that spaces between words are inconsistent throughout various Japanese media that uses loan words, most people try to separate them into two words - because things like "Supersailormoon" or "Sailorstarmaker" are a pain to read. Some die-hard fans will still spell them as one word. And for that matter, is it Chibiusa and Chibimoon, Chibi Usa and Chibi Moon, or Chibi-Usa and Chibi-Moon? Same problem.
The last names of the Outer Senshi (sans Saturn) aren't much better. Haruka for example, is it Tenou? Tenoh? Tenō? Even offical (Japanese) materials can't agree sometimes. And due to theme naming, Pluto and Neptune are in the same boat: Kaioh and Meioh? How to spell these depends entirely on how one intends to Romanize their names, which technically means they're all correct in a sense.
And that's just the characters' names. When you start getting into the items and magic powers, it gets even murkier because a lot of them used loan words that sound strange when romanized literally and could well have been spelled wrong just from converting them from, say, French to Japanese to English. Then consider that none of the companies involved were consistent about what name goes where and its enough to make you cross-eyed. Sailor Moon fans have it rough.
Is it Sabăo Spray (based on the Portuguese word for soap) or Shabon Spray (based on the Japanese word for bubble)? Given that the word "shabon" is in itself taken from the Portuguese word "sabăo" (there are a few Portuguese loanwords in Japanese, such as "pan" meaning "bread"), it could safely be written either way.
All right, one item. Chibimoon has an item in SuperS called the "Stallion Reve". "Reve" is French for "dream", which makes sense considering what the power does and the whole dream theme in SuperS. Some fans actually translated it to "Stallion Lav". "Lav" is French for "Bath". Note the utter lack of monsters getting showers from Chibimoon.
Hilarity Ensues in the Sailor Moon arcade game. Made in Japan and production overseen by Takeuchi Naoko herself, it mangles the spellings left and right. Castor and Pollux (two Youma from the first season) became Kastol and Polx, Cyrene became Kyulene, Zoisite became Zoisatnote No, that's not a typo - it really did only have one I, Kunzite became Knzait (yes, with no u) and Queen Beryl became Queen Beril. Remember, production of this game was overseen by Naoko herself. It seems even she doesn't know how her characters' names are spelled. She may not have designed the Youma, but there is no excuse for "Queen Beril". Though it does confirm the fact that Usagi's poor English skills are indeed a marker of her Author Avatar status.
Oh, and the new translation of the reprints by Kodansha Comics still have issues, some of them relatively minor - e.g. Chibi-Usa with a dash rather than without which could just be put down to stylistic choice. Then there was the "Spark Ring Wide Pressure" attack name issue which a quick Google would have told them that fans have known for years it should be "Sparkling Wide Pressure". This did get fixed in a later reprint run however.
Sailor Saturn's "Death Reborn Revolution" occasionally gets translated as "Death Ribbon Revolution", though according to the Japanese translation that accompanies the furigana in the original manga, Reborn is the correct choice. Sailor Neptune's "Deep Submerge" also sometimes gets subbed as "Deep Submerging", due to confusion about the way she pronounces it ("Sabumāji").
The official romanizations for the characters of Saint Beast didn't reach English fans for a good while, so Yuda/Judas, Ruka/Ruca/Luca, Rei/Rey, and Gou/Goh all appear in fanfic and discussions depending on the individual fan.
The official translation of the Sakura Taisen OAVs renders the names usually romanized "Reni" and "Ratchet" as "Leni" and "Lachette." To this day, many fans are angry about this (despite the fact that "Leni" is an actual German name whereas "Reni" is not).
Even Samurai Pizza Cats has this, mostly because there's very little official sources to use for spelling the names. "Speedy Cerviche" is officially the title character's name. It's based on "ceviche", which is a kind of seafood salad. For years, many fans adopted the name "Service", using Italian phonetics, because it made the tidy pun of "Speedy Service". It's strange that this should happen in the English dub of a franchise, but there you go.
The villain's name is usually spelled "Berg Katse" in official materials, but some insist on using "Berg Katze", the German term for a mountain cat which his name is derived from. Rarely but occasionally, the spellings of "Berk Katse" or "Velk Katse" may come up due to how his name is romanized (beruku katse).
"Cross Karakoram" note The location of the Galactor base and where Joe takes his last stand at in the finale used to have the fan translation variations of "Cross Karakolm" or "Cross Karacolm" from those who hadn't realized that it referred to the mountains near the Tibet Plateau. ADV's dub, meanwhile, switched the order of the name to be "Karakoram Cross".
In the Gatchaman Fighter sequel, the villain is officially named Count Erun Egobossler. However, earlier fan translations gave him the more Germanic-sounding "Helm", and this spelling can still persist in some areas.
Ken's first attack "Bird Run" has sometimes been interpreted as "Birdrang", due to the similarity in sound.
A special technique performed by him in Fighter is either called the "Hypershoot" or "Hypersuit".
The city that the ISO is based in is officially "Utoland", but ADV's dub inexplicably changed it to "Jutland", causing confusion.
An auto-pilot robot in Gatchaman II has had its name vary between "Piemur", "Pimer", "Pilmur", "Pilma", and "Paima".
Jun's name in the Italian dub of the series was spelled as both "Pretty Jun" and "Pretty Jane" in various merchandise.
The name of Ken's birth country is phonetically "Hontowaru" in Japanese, but has acquired many romanizations: "Huntwall", "Hontworl", and "Hontwhal" being among a few. An obscure manual for the Gatchaman movie gave the English spelling as "Hontwal", but aside from that, there is little consensus on how to render it. ADV's dub used the "Hontworl" variation.
G Force Guardians Of Space renamed Ryu to "Hoot Owl", although fans and official materials seem to vary between spelling his nickname "Hootie" or "Hooty".
Cz/Shiizu and Celia/Sillia/Seria Mauser in Scrapped Princess. This being despite the running theme of naming characters after firearms (and related terms).
Simoun had its main character's name generally rendered as Aaeru, with some groups of fans insisting that this was a Japanization of 'Aelle' until the official romanization turned out to be 'Aer'.
Names in Slayers often differ among the translations of the various parts of the franchise, and among translations into different languages. Some examples:
Zelgadis and Xellos officially have an extra "s" on the ends of their names, but due to the prominence of the anime in other countries, the former two stuck. Similarly, there's Amelia and Ameria; while the latter is canonical in Japan, oddly enough, official Japanese guidebooks by the author have used the former spelling. The same goes for Chaos Dragon Garv/Gaav, and Hellmaster Fibrizo/Phibrizzo. In Spain and a few other European countries, Lina is Rina, Filia is Phiria, and Sylphiel is Shilfeel.
For places, there's Sairaag and "Sylague", and Saillune (the correct spelling) and Seyruun.
Finally, Gorun Nova (the alternate name of the Sword of Light that Gourry wields) is occasionally referred to as "Goln Nova."
Unlike many examples here that ignore Theme Naming, the Soukou No Strain fansubs initially ignored on-screen references to "Sara Cruz", calling her "Sara Crewe" because of the theme. There's also Ermy, who is supposed to be named after Ermengarde St. John, but whose name was on the fansubs as "Amy". And the fact that everyone's last name is a variation on that of their Hodgson Burnett counterpart (usually a Significant Anagram) makes them somewhat clumsy and difficult to pronounce, so "Gelh", "Johannits", "Reberth" and "Shoebbeypower" had a lot of alternatives before they were written onscreen.
In Soul Eater, though it's mainly Eruka, Americanizing (or Germanizing it, if you're picky about name origins) it could make variants like Elke or Elka, both being pronounced the same way.
There shouldn't be any problem on this one, since it's meant to be an anagram of kaeru, which means frog.
Most fansubs of Spice and Wolf have rendered the main characters' names as "Craft" and "Horo," but the official English release went to go with "Holo" and "Kraft" ... like the macaroni and cheese.
Some fans endearingly use Korbo due to the character's adorable yet slightly sad child-like handwriting.
Even better is the fact that Lawrence´s name has been spelled out in the anime as "Craft", on an envelope adressed at him in season 1. Where ever the licensers of both the anime and the light novels got their information from, asking the author first would have probably been a great idea.
Spiral has the Kanon(e) case: it's spelled "Kanone" in the anime and one artbook (the character being non-Japanese), the Yen Press publication of the manga uses the phonetic transliteration and spells it "Kanon". There's also Kirie/Kyrie.
Intentionally done in the American releases of Tenchi Muyo!: the character Aeka is spelled as Ayeka, so the audience knows the vowels are pronounced separately. This has the unfortunate result that the name became even more badly mangled than it would have been if the original Romanisation had been used: ah-eh-ka became eye-yay-ka.
An old VHS subtitled release of Universe called Ryoko "Royce" for reason...but only in the blurb on the back of the box. The actual episodes had the correct subtitles.
Fans, however, tend to spell Ryoko's name as "Ryouko"
In one old picture of the Tenchi manga, Washu's name was spelled "Wasyu". And, like Ryoko above, fans tend to write her name as "Washuu"
In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, the official translation refers to the Humongous Mecha as "Gunmen", confusing fans that had long since been calling them "Ganmen". Then there's the pronunciation of "Simon" (which is Romanized that way despite not being pronounced like the name Simon). The original uses "she-moan", while the dub uses "see-moan"; these both lead to humor as they both sound dirty and like the girl's name "Simone"). There's also Rossiu/Rosshiu.
The difference between Gunmen and Ganmen may be a case of Woolseyism: "Ganmen" is Japanese for "Face" and refers to the fact that all of them have faces (some have two); Gunmen is an english pun.
Later on, the mass-produced mecha built from Gurren Lagann's schematics are translated as Grappal by one segment of the fandom, and as Gulaparl in another. Strangely, it has never been translated as the obvious "Grapple". It makes perfect sense with the katakana, and—bonus!—it's a word, like Gunmen, Drill Breaker, and the majority of the rest of the TTGL English. Regardlessly, the official name is "Grapearl".
The name of the mecha is sometimes given as an abbreviation of its status as a "Gu"rren "La"gann "Pr"ototype.
It doesn't help that a lot of the names were romanized very differently then how they are pronounced, often to keep with Theme Naming. For example Viral is the official Romanization even though it's pronounced "Vee-ral", and "Thymilph" (after "thymine") even though it's pronounced "TEE-Mil".
That sounds more a case of wrong pronunciation than wrong spelling, really.
You want wrong spelling? The Nyoro~N fansubs of TTGL spelled his name as "Chirumuf." Way to miss the point, guys.
Then there's Yoko's village's name. Based on an in-universe alphabet and a bit of television footage of her winning a beauty contest of some sort, some concluded it was Rittonar; the official translation has gone with Littner.
Although it seems like having the word Lord in your name and not as a title is pretty cool.
Much like the Theme Naming in Tokyo Mew Mew, Rosario + Vampire has a main character consistently labelled "Moka" on merchandise and in the show, and, as she's been passing as a human, she should have a Japanese-sounding name - still, her name is supposed to evoke "mocha", so some people just call her that.
Tokyopop seems to like these.
.hack// has them in droves. Characters' names are phonetically spelled (Lios/"Ryos"), spelling idiosyncrasies are inconsistently used ("BlackRose"/"Black Rose"/"Blackrose"), character names are switched around...
Besides not being able to decide which romanization system to use in Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer, they also referred to Ranga as "Lanka", despite the fact that her name can't even be written that way.
The translators had to correct the name "Blanche" - they intended to use "Branchir". This was because the translator had completely missed the point that the angel is ALL WHITE.
Tokyopop gave the name of the main character of the Mobile Suit Gundam spinoff manga G-Unit (Last Outpost in America) as "Odin Bernett", despite the fact that it appears as "Adin Barnett" in both merchandise and in the manga itself.
The ultimate offender under their label has to be Tokyo Mew Mew. The girls' Theme Naming presented a problem that the translators dealt with by calling, say, Minto/Mew Mint simply "Mint", Retasu/Mew Lettuce "Lettuce", et cetera. The Anime Chinese Girl, Hwang Bu-ling, found herself as both "Pudding Fong" (to match her super callsign, Mew Pudding) and "Fon Purin" (the katakana of her loan-word name; although most of her friends call her that, she refers to herself as Bu-ling, as does everyone capable of pronouncing Chinese names). The Stalker with a Crush, Quiche, whose name is actually supposed to be written in English, got "Kish" instead for no apparent reason. And don't even get me started on the weapons; they had a different name every time they were used. (For the record, they're quasi-English puns: Strawberbell [or Strawbellbell], Mintonarrow, Lettastanets, Puringrings, Zakuross.)
However, the Theme Naming is not completely preserved in translation - while all of the girls have food names, some are katakana which are romanized to clarify their meaning in the English translation (as mentioned above, such as Mint and Lettuce) while others keep their original Japanese names (Ichigo and Zakuro, "Strawberry" and "Pomegranate" respectively) even though they are also named after food.
The fansubbers mostly make the same mistakes, with the exception of the aliens, whose names were basically just romaji-fied: Quiche = Kishu, Pie = Pai, and Tart = Taruto. The 4Kids Macekre Mew Mew Power threw Theme Naming out the window and changed everyone's names anyway (Ichigo = Zoey/Mew Zoey, for instance). If you want to preserve the Theme Naming, it would really be best for the girls' names to be Ichigo/Mew Strawberry, Minto/Mew Mint, Retasu/Mew Lettuce, Bu-Ling/Mew Pudding, and Zakuro/Mew Pomegranite.
One of Tokyo Pop's early and most egregious errors was during their translation of Magic Knight Rayearth in which one particular character's name was romanized (rather than translated properly) TWO DIFFERENT WAYS in the SAME ISSUE of the magazine.
Tokyopop's release of Rozen Maiden can't seem to keep Suigintou's name straight, changing the romanization sometimes multiple times within a single volume and sometimes just plain getting it wrong (what romanization system would call her Suiguintoh?). Her owner's name changes from Megu to Meg and back, and in a finishing touch of incompetence, when the dolls in the last volume begin to refer to each other by the colors of the roses they are associated with (Black Rose, etc.), Tokyopop chose to leave these untranslated. In case you wondered who the hell Kurobara, Shirobara, etc. are and what they have got to do with anything.
The original version of Mirai Nikki has Yuno's nickname for Yukiteru written as ユッキ (Yukki), but the official localization romanizes it to "Yuki" (which in katakana would be ユキ, without the consonant-delaying ッ).
Toward the Terra mostly isn't too bad about this, but the official English subtitles do have a few odd quirks thanks to having all names taken directly from the translation of the manga, which was done well before the anime was made and without any kind of pronunciation guide. Most notably, Jonah Matsuka's name is officially translated as "Makka," an error stemming from confusion about the use of the small "tsu" character.
Desuzarasu, the literal Japanese pronunciation of Deszaras, sounds much closer to the Japanese word karasu (for "crow") than "saurus" (which would be saurusu in Japanese). It's definitely not meant to be Deathsaurus, even if that's the official American romanization now.
Beating them all is Rartorata/Rartorarta/Rartalarta, who has the drawback that his name is a "nonsense word" to begin with. (It may be from the scientific name for a lionfish.)
Leave it to Injector to get a Japanese name as weird as the rest of him!
The Roman alphabet name of the mage character from Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle is officially "Fay D Flourite". Every part of that is its own kind of translation headache.
Based on the katakana pronunciation (rhyming with "eye" and "lie"), his personal name was initially spelled "Fye" (in early volumes of the English manga) or Fai (in fan forums).
There is no period after "D" because it's an infixed title (for "royal sorceror"), not an initial for a middle name.
His surname was interpreted as "Flowright" in early volumes of the official English manga, based on the katakana pronunciation. The Word of God spelling is itself erroneous, as the name refers to the mineral fluorite, the sacred crystal in his wizard's staff.
The hentai OVA Urotsukidouji features a German villain whose name is probably supposed to be "Münchhausen", but when the Japanese try to pronounce it it comes out as "Myunhihauzen" (which does not sound German at all), and this pronunciation carried over into the American dub.
Urusei Yatsura has a single-appearance character with the name ベリアル (Beriaru). This is based on the Hebrew term "Belial", but in the story where this character appears, he considers Ataru's V Sign to be his initial, because of the B / V ambiguity in transcription of Latin characters to kana. Animeigo's subtitles render the name as "Velial", whereas Viz's translation of the manga used the completely different name "Virility".
While the main female character's name is clearly spelled out "Lum", some international translations preferred referring to her as "Lamu" (such as an English dub aired in the Philippines).
In The Violinist of Hamelin... or is it "Hameln"? Perhaps just "Hamel"? In the anime, the fansubs can never decide. This is because in the manga, the hero Hamel is heading north to the demon capitol Hamelin, in reference to the fairy tale ''The Pied Piper of Hamelin." The anime, however, left the northern capitol out almost entirely, never calling it by name. This lead the fansubbers to call Hamel "Hameln" in the subtitles because they have no idea what the title is referring to, and the main character is their best bet. The word in the title is spelled "hamerun", but the character's name is clearly pronounced "hameru" without the "n". Because of the overall musical theme with some mythology mixed in, there was a lot of theme naming, so the franchise didn't suffer much otherwise, except for a few things: Trom Bone (or is it one word, Trombone? The world may never really know, though it seems to be two officially) has a sword attack that's called the "Scissor Slash" at times and (hilariously) "Jesus Slash" at others. The Big Bad of the series suffers at times too: his Japanese name, Maou Kesutora, is a pun on "orchestra," as "maou" is the word for the ruler of the demons (essentially, Satan) and "oukesutora" is the Japanese transliteration of "orchestra." The pun is lost to the English-speaking audience, however, so which is it: Chestra or Kestra? Most people seem to agree on "Chestra," but it hops all over the place.
WORKING has Popura/Poplar. She does state she was named (ironically) after the poplar tree, yet official media for the show gives her name as "Popura", since her name is not written the way the word "poplar" is written in Japanese.
Xam'd: Lost Memories (亡念のザムド) seems to have various different spellings for "ザムド" which is romanicized as "Zamudo", but ends up translated as "Xam'd" in English and "Xamdou" or "Zamned" in Japanese.
In the French translation of You're Under Arrest! by Pika Édition, in chapter 2, the woman in the Mercedes 300SL tries to avoid getting a ticket by claiming that her father is a member of parliament. Natsumi jokingly responds that her father is "the great wrestler Haruku Hogan" (should be Hulk Hogan).
It also spells the name of automobile manufacturer Mazda as Matsuda.
Not a proper name, but in chapter 56 it rendered "trick or treat" as "torikk oa toriiitt" due to round-trip transliteration.
Yu-Gi-Oh! averts this with the character of Ishizu. While it's often thought that her name was originally Isis (Ishisu in Japanese pronunciation), her name actually is Ishizu in both Japanese and English. It was probably just supposed to be a vaguely Egyptian-sounding name, and the similarity to Isis was most likely merely coincidental.
Meanwhile, the big bad of the Battle City story arc has his named rendered as "Marik", rather than "Malik" (which is an Arabic word meaning "ruler").
Dear God, with most of the cards in the Japanese (OCG) version of the card game have English names as opposed to native Japanese ones by this point in time, it's a miracle the translations don't come as garbled text when they are localized as far as names go, considering the series's lack of a grasp on the English language. The "Koa'ki Meiru" archetype as known in the English (TCG) version could also be romanized as "Core Chimail" or "Core Chimera", and if you want it push it overboard try "Coral Shemale". It's thought to be "Core Chimail" as a portmanteau of "Core" (Koa), "Chimera" (Kimeira) and "Mail" (Meiru).
Try cards with made up fantasy names to begin with having arguably no proper romanization. Northwemko, Norsewenko (official name: "Divine Grace - Northwemko", romanised "Nōsuwemuko"), Catlepolpas, Cat O' Bell Paws. The second one there (romanized "Katoburepasu") is almost certainly supposed to be Catoblepas. It's a creature from Greek mythology. (And the card is officially called "Catoblepas and the Witch of Fate" anyway). Additionally, cards with generic names like "Dryad" end up broken down into katakana in the English version and become "Doriado". According to an employee of Upper Deck Entertainment, this was actually not a mistranslation.
Doujin refer to Atem as either Atemu or Otome quite commonly, even though Atem is the name of an actual Egyptian god (usually spelled Atum, though can also be spelled Atem or Tem).
Also, Jonouchi/Jounouchi/Jyonouchi/Jyonochi/etc. due to different romanization schemes. In one episode of the anime, his name was actually written in English letters as Jyonouchi Katsuya.
Similar to the Isis/Ishizu example above, Seto (the priest from Atem's time, not Seto Kaiba)'s name is a literal romanisation of the Egyptian god Set (which is a victim of this trope in itself, being alternatively spelled Seth, Setesh, Sutekh, Setekh or Suty). They kept it as "Seto" in the English dub presumably to fit the mouth movements.
The Italian translation of the manga fucks up a lot, giving pearls like "Happy"note Harpie, "Dynausor"note Dinosaur, "Weburn"note Wyvern and "Kierce Haward"note Keith Howard.
Also, the "Des" cards (Des Accelerator, Des Chironex, Des Frog, Des Koala, Des Lacooda, Des Wombat, Des Croaking, Des Kangaroo, Des Counterblow, Des Volstgalph, Viser Des, Des Dendle, Des Mosquito). These names don't make a lot of sense unless you realise that it's supposed to be "Death".
Also, Buster Rancher is clearly supposed to be Buster Launcher.
On the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX side of things, there are at least two people in the world who think that Yubel's name is actually supposed to be Juwel, as in the German word for jewel. (Remember that in German, J's sound like Y's and W's sound like V's.) Considering that all of her alternate forms also have German names, this might not be too far off base.
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds Gets even worse in terms of this, as when it comes to the Half-Identical Twins, the fandom, the anime, and the dub all have differing opinions. Consistently inconsistent, and English spellings in the Japanese anime spell the names as Lua and Luka, while they're pronounced as Rua and Ruka. The dub doesn't help matters, switching the names to Leo and Luna. Trouble is, another character shows up later who is named Leo in the original anime. While most fans agree on Rua and Ruka, the inconsistency is splattered all over the place.
In all fairness, the Japanese version of the show showed their names written down on their entry form as "Lua" and "Luca".
And then we get to Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, with its introduction of Excess... err, Exceed... no, wait, Xyz Monsters.
In Zero no Tsukaima, fansubs often mistakenly subbed Agnčs' name as Anies or something similar. The long French names are confusing too. Fansubs switched between Valliel, Vallielle, and finally Valliére for Louise's last name. Some fansubs even subbed Tabitha, who has a Western name, as Tabasa.
Is it "Osman" or "Osmond"? The former is a rather Arabic/Turkish name, and the latter is English—neither of which fits a Franco-Belgian setting.
Most people call Giulio Julio, despite the fact that he's from the Halkeginian counterpart of Italy, which would make "Giulio Cesare" the correct spelling.
Most of the names should have a canonical spelling, since they're taken from the names of real people or places. The problem is that the original name isn't always clear, since they're written in katakana. This is especially true for minor characters, whose names are taken from equally minor people or places.
Zoids has tons of this in pretty much every series.
Van/Ban, Fiona/Feene, and Zeek/Zeke/Zeeg are just off the top of my head (and I'm sure that Zeek has more names than that, including some starting with a "J").
Judging by the dialogue in one episode (and the katakana spelling), Fiona's name is actually meant to be 'Fine' (the Italian word for "end").
The Schubaltz/Schuvaltz brothers should apparently be named "Schwartz".
Reese has at least half a dozen different names (without taking ones starting with an "L" into account, mind you!), and no two sources seem to use the same one.
There are at least thirty four different spellings of Rease's name, including Reeza, Lieze, Riis and Rysse. The "official" spelling is Rease (it appears in the game Zoids Legacy, as well as on the box of a Japanese figurine), but nobody seems to use that one.
There's also Leena/Rinon (the former is used in English in the show) and Brad/Ballad
Nobody seems to be sure how to spell Re Mii's name in Genesis. The subbed version never quite decided between Garaga/Galaga.
It even happens occasionally with Zoids themselves (despite their names being written in English on the model kit boxes).
Is it Heldigunner or Hel Digunner, and is there supposed to be a second "l" there?
It's spelled 'Heldigunner' for the 1989 model, but 'Hel Digunner' for the 1999 model.
Possibly the most ridiculous is 'Sabretiger' (1986) versus 'Saber Tiger' (1999), which are spelled differently in both English and katakana. And don't even get me started on Gojulas The Ogre versus Godzullas G Orga...
Dance in the Vampire Bund explains the disappearance of Ambrose Bierce by having him show up as a vampire. Unfortunately, since his name's been transliterated to Japanese and back again, the Romanization of the manga spells it "Biers". (One wonders if the translator didn't understand the Historical In-Joke.)
Chobits fans argue over whether it should be "Persocom" or "Persocon". Persocom makes the most logical sense (being that it's short for personal computer), but since the Japanese pronounce it "Pasokon" (pāsonaru konpyūta) some people think the romanisation "Persocon" is better. Regardless, the name wasn't made up for the anime as many people think - "pasokon" is just the Japanese word for a computer in general.
The main character's name also garners debate on whether it should be Chi or Chii. Given that her name is spelled "ちぃ" in Japanese, with the characters "Chi" and "i", "Chii" is the most likely correct version, but the anime writes her full name in English letters as "Chi Motosuwa" on her pay envelope in one episode. Shinbo's name is also spelled Shimbo in the Tokyopop manga, but spelled as Shinbo on the Japanese official website (though the Japanese pronunciation would be identical in either case).
Earl Cain has a lot of trouble with this, with some apparently stemming from Kaori Yuki's fondness for Gender Blender Names. The Mad Doctor's name was officially translated Jizabel— the proper spelling of that name would be Jezebel, and the symbolism works, but it's possible the change was supposed to be a concession to the fact that usually men aren't named Jezebel. Similarly, Cain's half-sister's name is usually rendered as Mary Weather, Merry Weather, Marywether, etc., probably because Meriweather is traditionally a boy's name. Other cases (like Rukia/Lukia/Lucia or the odd time the translators called a primrose a "Prom Rose") don't have that excuse, though.
In Saki Achiga-Hen, the tomboyish member of the Senriyama team's last name, Eguchi, is consistently spelled one way, but her first name is often spelled many different ways- Cera, Cela, Sera and even Sara.
.hack//SIGN has the spear-wielding character, whose name is officially "Clim" according to the website. It's been spelled variously as "Crim", "Krim", "Kurim", "Kurimu", etc. etc. (Most think it should be "Crim" as a play on the word "crimson"). Ginkan is also often called Kinkan, or has his name literally translated as "Silver Knight" in the subs (even though that would be kind of like subbing Yugi as "Game" - it's his actual name, not merely a description of what he is).
Final Fantasy: Unlimited has Fabula, who one particular fansub calls Fabra. Fabula means "story" or "tale" in Latin, which makes more sense than Fabra, which doesn't really mean anything. We also get Oscar instead of the correct Oscha (an anagram of Chaos), Helba instead of Herba (the latter being a pun on "herb", as she's a plant-woman) and Pisto instead of Pist from the same fansub.