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The Mascots Name Goes Untranslated

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Most characters have Dub Name Changes, however the protagonist does not

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
Pichu-kun on Aug 30th 2017 at 8:09:59 AM
Last Edited By:
Pichu-kun on May 12th 2018 at 11:22:43 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

In many series where characters names are changed in translations, there is often one exception: the Series Mascot or main character(s). Often times this ends up making them stand out amongst the characters, which actually helps distinguish them.

The reason for this trope is in order to increase international brand recognition. The mascot, or lead if no mascots exist, having the same name in all areas helps people recognize them no matter where they're from with no language barriers.

Compare to Too Long; Didn't Dub.


Examples

Anime & Manga

  • Despite the English dub taking place in America, the protagonist of Hamtaro has the same name as he did in the original.
  • Most honorifics in the English dub of Azumanga Daioh are translated, which the exception being Chiyo. She is always called "Chiyo-chan". This led some fans to believe "-chan" was a part of her name and everyone was on a Full-Name Basis with her. Part of why it was translated was possibly due to this, however it's also hard to translate "Chiyo-chan" to something that both sounds right and fits the Mouth Flaps.
  • For Yu-Gi-Oh!, most characters will be given an English name in the dub. However The Protagonist of each respective series will retain their Japanese name: Yugi Muto/Moto, Yusei Fudo, Yuma Tsukumo, and Yuya Sakaki. The only exception is Yu-Gi-Oh! GX protagonist, Judai Yuki, whose name got changed to Jaden in the dub.
  • In the Cardcaptors dub of Cardcaptor Sakura, almost every human's name is changed except for main character Sakura's. She was going to be called "Nikki," but the dubbers relented because of backlash.
  • Played with in Dragon Ball, where many characters names get spelling changes in dubs such as Kuririn to Krillin or Freeza to Frieza. However The Protagonist Goku and his sons' names remain unchanged, although western adaptations tend to drop his family name "Son" and just call him by his given name.
  • Inverted in TokyoPOP's translation of Miracle Girls. Everyone keeps their Japanese names except the twins and their two love interests.

Comic Books

Literature

  • Harry Potter: In pretty much any translation at least some of the characters get a new first and/or last name, but Harry himself always remains Harry Potter.

Video Games

  • Pokémon:
    • The mascot Pikachu is one of the few Pokemon characters whose name is the same in every language. The only exceptions are Cantonese, Mandarian. and Arabic as Pikachu's name is given the transliteration treatment, causing it to sound slightly different
    • The Mascot Legendaries and "Pikaclones" never have their names changed, and the majority of Legendaries in general are the same across languages starting in Gen II.
  • Yo-kai Watch:
    • Yo-kai Watch has Jibanyan. Most other yo-kai have different names in translations. This stands out even more as the translations remove references to the games taking place in Japan, yet Jibanyan and his Verbal Tic are untouched. The Disney dub of the anime keeps them as is, however the Toonami dub, by contrast uses "meow" as his Verbal Tic.
    • Secondary mascot and Breakout Character Komasan, along with all of his expies, also go by their Japanese name in all other translations.
    • Most foreign translations, based on the English one, leave the English names for the two main characters (Nate Adams and Katie Forester) while giving local names to all the other human characters. This goes extremely weird in the quest in the game where Nate/Katie brings documents to his/her dad, since the dad's names are translated in the different languages but they keep the English surnames, ensuring in some weird name/surname matchups.

Western Animation

  • In the Dutch dub for As Told by Ginger, pretty much all characters had their first and/or last names changed from English to Dutch names (Carl became Bram for example), but the main character Ginger kept her original English first name even though "Ginger" is not a common name in Dutch.

Feedback: 12 replies

Aug 30th 2017 at 10:26:46 PM

Anime and manga

  • For Yu-Gi-Oh!, most characters will be given an English name in the dub. However The Protagonist of each respective series will retain their Japanese name: Yugi Muto/Moto, Yusei Fudo, Yuma Tsukumo, and Yuya Sakaki.
    • The only exception is Yu-Gi-Oh! GX protagonist, Judai Yuki, whose name got changed to Jaden in the dub.

Aug 30th 2017 at 7:19:07 PM

in pokemon, the Mascot Legendaries and Pikaclones never have their names changed, and the majority of Legendaries in general are the same across languages starting in Gen II.

Aug 30th 2017 at 10:54:28 PM

Comic books:

Sep 17th 2017 at 5:05:56 PM

  • Played with in Dragon Ball, where many characters names get spelling changes in dubs such as Kuririn to Krillin or Freeza to Frieza. However The Protagonist Goku and his sons' names remain unchanged, although western adaptations tend to drop his family name "Son" and just call him by his given name.

Sep 16th 2017 at 12:32:04 PM

  • In the Cardcaptors dub of Cardcaptor Sakura, almost every human's name is changed except for main character Sakura's. She was going to be called "Nikki," but the dubbers relented because of backlash.

Sep 17th 2017 at 3:51:17 AM

In the Dutch dub for As Told By Ginger, pretty much all characters had their first and/or last names changed from English to Dutch names (Carl became Bram for example), but the main character Ginger kept her original English first name even though "Ginger" is not a common name in Dutch.

Sep 25th 2017 at 9:30:07 PM

Another Yo Kai Watch example:

  • Secondary mascot and Breakout Character Komasan along with all of his expies also go by their Japanese name in all other translations.

Oct 12th 2017 at 3:58:16 AM

Harry Potter: In pretty much any translation at least some of the characters get a new first and/or last name, but Harry himself always remains Harry Potter.

Oct 12th 2017 at 11:09:42 AM

An expansion to the Yo Kai Watch example:

  • Most foreign translations, based on the English one, leave the English names for the two main characters (Nathan Adams and Katie Forester) while giving local names to all the other human characters. This goes extremely weird in the quest in the game where Nathan/Katie brings documents to his/her dad, since the dad's names are translated in the different languages but they keep the English surnames, ensuring in some weird name/surname matchups.

Oct 13th 2017 at 2:17:10 PM

A similar effect can occur in title translations - the reason why the English translation of Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni (literally When the Cicadas Cry) was titled Higurashi: When they Cry is probably because the name "Higurashi" had brand recognition.

May 12th 2018 at 11:23:11 AM

  • The protagonist of Furi is called The Rider even in the Japanese and French dubs. Lines that refer to him as The Stranger are translated, however.

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