ADV Films initially announced that Utawarerumono (roughly, "the one being sung" or perhaps more poetically "the one of whom songs are sung") would be released under the name "Shadow Warrior Chronicles". The huge uproar in anime-fandom that followed persuaded them to leave the title be.
Tokyopop originally translated the Kaitou Saint Tail manga and anime (yes, they used to do anime too!) as "Sweet Tales of Saint Tail". Apparently, the magic wand, pink flouncy skirt and sparkly logo were not enough to communicate that it was a shoujo series. They eventually shortened it to "Saint Tail", taking slightly fewer liberties.
Tetsuwan Atom (which means "Mighty Atom") became Astro Boy in English. This is possibly because there is already a character with that name in the USA.
Another Osamu Tezuka series, The Wonder 3 (or W3) became The Amazing 3 in the English dub.
Fist of the North Star at first glance seems like a direct translation of the Japanese title Hokuto no Ken, but Hokuto (which means "Northern Ladle") is actually the Japanese name of the Big Dipper asterism, not the North Star. Fist of the North Star was actually an incorrect translation for the title that became somewhat widespread among early manga/anime fans in the U.S. (most notably being used in C/FO newsletters) before Viz Media licensed the manga in 1989 and decided to use it as an official title (and the name stuck from that point on). In their translation of the manga, the titular fighting style of Hokuto Shinken is actually referred to as the "Sacred Martial Art of the Great Bear", with "Fist of the North Star" being the common name for it.
Hokuto no Ken is alternatively known as Ken the Great Bear Fist, which was a localized title that Toei Animation's marketing department came up when they were trying to sell the series to potential licensors. While much more accurate than North Star, it's still not completely correct, since the Hokuto Shichisei refers solely to the Big Dipper (which is just seven stars), not to the whole Great Bear constellation.
The anime version of Ten no Haō ("The Conqueror of the Heavens"), the Raoh-centric Hokuto no Ken spinoff, was released in English as Legends of the Dark King.
The official English titles of the Dragon Ballmovies are very rarely exact translations of the original Japanese titles, since the original excited titles only provided a vague description of the film's plot.
The first Dragon Ball Z film was known simply as Dragon Ball Z during its Japanese theatrical release. The subtitle Ora no Gohan o Kaese!! ("Return My Gohan!") was appended for the home video release. The English title varies between region, with Dead Zone used for the American release, while the UK version uses The Pursuit of Garlic.
Chikyū Marugoto Chōkessen ("A Super Decisive Battle for Earth") became The Tree of Might.
Sūpā Saiyajin da Son Gokū ("It's Super Saiyan Son Goku") is known as Lord Slug in America (the UK release did use Super Saiya Son Goku).
Tobikkiri no Saikyō tai Saikyō ("The Incredible Strongest vs Strongest") became Cooler's Revenge in America and Super Rivals in the UK.
Gekitotsu!! Hyaku-Oku Pawā no Senshi-tachi ("Clash! Warriors of 10,000,000,000 Powers") became The Return of Cooler
Kyokugen Battle!! San Dai Super Saiyajin ("Extreme Battle! The Three Great Super Saiyans") became Super Android 13
Ginga Giri-Giri!! Butchigiri no Sugoi Yatsu ("The Galaxy at the Brink!! The Super Incredible Guy") became Bojack Unbound
Kiken na Futari! Sūpā Senshi wa Nemurena ("The Dangerous Duo! Super-Warriors Can't Rest") became Broly - Second Coming
Super Senshi Gekiha!! Katsu No wa Ore da ("Super Warrior Defeat!! I'm the One who'll Win") became Bio-Broly
Fukkatsu no Fyūjon!! Gokū to Vegeta ("The Rebirth of Fusion!! Goku and Vegeta") was simplified to just Fusion Reborn
Ryū-Ken Bakuhatsu!! Gokū ga Yaraneba Dare ga Yaru ("Ryu-Ken Explosion!! If Goku Can't Do It, Who Will") became Wrath of the Dragon
Dragon Ball Z: Kami to Kami ("Dragon Ball Z: God and God") became Battle of Gods
Media Blasters brought Weiß Kreuz (White Cross) over to the US under the even more nonsensical name Knight Hunters (which is TMS Entertainment's international title for the series). Luckily, they used the series' original name as a subtitle. Elsewhere, the series kept its original name.
Ojamajo Doremi is known as Magical DoReMi in numerous other dubs as the word "ojamajo" is an untranslatable pun on the words "Ojama" (something/someone who gets in the way and is useless) and "Majo" (a witch). However, 4Kids Entertainmentchanged Doremi's name to Dorie, thus changing the meaning of the title from a description of the main character into a combined pun of the first two letters of the new names the gave the main characters; Dorie, Reanne and Mirabelle.
Another 4Kids example: Tokyo Mew Mew was initially going to be called "Hollywood Mew Mew" but was changed to "Mew Mew Power".
Mahha Go Go Go ("mahha" being the Japanese transliteration for "mach"; the "Go"s are written in romaji) is Speed Racer in English.
The Sailor Moon movie for the SuperS season had the extremely long title of Sailor Moon SuperS the Movie: The 9 Sailor Soldiers Get Together! Miracle in the Black Dream Hole. The initial dub simply titled It Sailor Moon SuperS the Movie: Black Dream Hole, while unedited releases simply dropped the subtitle altogether. The R and S movies didn't have subtitles in the original so The '90s dub tacked on "The Promise of the Rose" and "Hearts in Ice" respectively. Also worth noting is the names of individual episodes. The first DiC episode had "A Moon Star Is Born" and "Crybaby Usagi's Magnificent Transformation" for the English and Japanese versions respectively.
In 1997, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing got a manga spinoff called G-Unit ("G" being a shorthand for "Gundam"). When it was brought to America in 2002, the manga had to be renamed The Last Outpost because a rap group named "G-Unit" came into existence earlier that same year. A slight variation in that the original Gundam Wing had the prefix "New Mobile Report" in Japan, but reverted to "Mobile Suit" (like the original series) for the English dub.
Six Six Six Satan was retitled O-Parts Hunter in English-speaking countries (though it is otherwise uncensored), presumably to avoid protests about a manga title promoting Satanism.
The Japanese titles of the Tengen Toppa Gurren LagannCompilation Movies are simply Gurren-hen and Lagann-hen ("hen" basically means "chapter"), but the American release called the first Childhood's End and the second The Lights in the Sky Are Stars (a reference to the final line of the series).
Hajime no Ippo (The First Step) became Fighting Spirit in the U.S. and Knockout in the Philippines.
The anime Neon Genesis Evangelion was originally Shin Seiki Evangelion. The original Japanese title means "Gospel of the New Century", while the new English title means "Gospel of the New Beginning". Neon Genesis Evangelion is the official English title chosen by Studio Gainax, original creators of the show, and not an adaptation by the English-language distributors. Presumably they wanted a title where all the words were in Greek, a relatively familiar language to English speakers, rather than a mixture of Greek and Japanese.
The Getter Robo OVA series Getter Robo Armageddon is... odd. The original title translated to Shin (CHANGE!!) Getter Robo: Last Days of the Earth. When it was brought to America, the box covers had the more simplistic Getter Robo Armageddon. Though the opening titles went with New!! Getter Robo: Getter Robo Armageddon. What?
When Funimation licensed Isekai No Seikishi Monogatari, they retitled it as Tenchi Muyo!: War on Geminar to directly link it to the series universe that it takes place in. Pioneer/Geneon, the company who first licensed Tenchi in the US, did something similar with other releases.
The first two OVAs, collectively titled Tenchi Muyo: Ryo-Ohki, was named simply Tenchi Muyo upon its US release. The third OVA, however, retains the Ryo-Ohki subtitle to distinguish it from the first two.
Tenchi Universe was originally named Tenchi Muyo! Uchuu-hen, or ''Space Chapter".
The film Tenchi Muyo in Love 2: Distant Memories was renamed Tenchi Forever! in its US release due to it concluding the storyline of Tenchi Universe.
Tenchi in Tokyo was originally named Shin Tenchi Muyo!, or New Tenchi Muyo! in Japan. It was likely changed in its English release to distinguish it from the similarly-named All-New Tenchi Muyo manga released around the same time, which was part of the OVA continuity. All-New Tenchi Muyo!, coincidentally, was also named Shin Tenchi Muyo in its Japanese release.
The stand-alone film Tenchi Muyo! Daughter of Darkness was originally known as Tenchi Muyo! Manatsu no Eve, or Midsummer's Eve. There was actually a large outcry over Daughter of Darkness since the original title was symbolic to the plot and the new title spoils a plot point that isn't revealed until late in the film. Pioneer compromised by not altering the title in the film itself, but still marketing it under the new name.
Supposedly, the English release of Magical Girl Pretty Sammy TV was renamed to Magical Project S to distance it from the OVA series, which did extremely poorly in both sales and general reception.
Asobi ni Iku yo! (meaning "Let's go play!" or "We're coming to play!") has two different English titles, Bombshells from the Sky (Crunchyroll's title) and Cat Planet Cuties (FUNimation's title), neither of which is a translation of the original.
Rurouni Kenshin ("Kenshin the Wanderer") was given the more familiar-sounding and X-equipped title Samurai X when the anime was broadcast abroad, at least on the countries that used the Sony English dub of the anime. The US does keep the original name.
For a BBC Gag Dub in the '90s, Urusei Yatsura was re-titled Lum the Invader Girl after its main character.
Amaenaide Yo!! had its title changed to Ah My Buddha for its U.S. release; this was partly to circumvent the untranslatable pun in the title on "amae", meaning a lack of self-reliance/"ama", the word for a Buddhist nun (which most of the girls in the series' harem are), and partly to evoke the more well-known and successful Ah! My Goddess.
Laputa: Castle in the Sky was renamed Castle in the Skybecause "laputa" sounds like "la puta", which means "the whore" in Spanish, though the name is still used in-film (albeit pronounced differently). The name Laputa is taken from the floating city of the same name in Gulliver's Travels, which Jonathan Swift used to satirize a society with too much faith in the idea of "reason," and was a riff off of Martin Luther describing Reason as 'the Great Whore'. Hayao Miyazaki was apparently unaware of Swift's original subtext when he named the film, and he mentioned in an interview that if he knew earlier, he would have dropped "Laputa" from the original title.
Ghibli's Kurenai no Buta (literally "Crimson Pig") was renamed Porco Rosso in many (but not all) overseas markets, probably because the Italian title sounds better—and makes more sense in context—than most literal translations of "crimson pig". It helps that the title character is Italian and was always referred to as "Porco Rosso" within the film itself.
Likewise, the Disney dub of Mimi wo Sumaseba ("If You Listen Closely") was retitled Whisper of the Heart because that title comes closer to expressing the allegorical meaning of the original Japanese title than a literal translation would have done.
Ged Senki (Ged's War Chronicles) became Tales from Earthsea, in order to make the connection to the Earthsea novels that inspired it clearer.
Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Sen and Chihiro's Spiriting Away) was simplified to just Spirited Away.
Gake no Ue no Ponyo (Ponyo on The Cliff by The Sea) became known simply as Ponyo.
Kari-gurashi no Arrietty (The Borrower Arrietty) was known simply as Arrietty in its UK release and The Secret World of Arrietty in its US release.
Coquelicot-zaka Kara (From Coquelicot Hill, Coquelicot being a shade of red as well as vernacular French for a certain species of poppy) was titled From Up on Poppy Hill in English to make it easier for people to understand what the title referred to.
Depending on the source, the English release of the Beck either adds "Mongolian Chop Squad" as a subtitle or makes it the entire title, because of the prominent musician of the same name. Interestingly, this is exactly what happened in-universe to the fictional band the series follows and is named for: BECK is their original name, but they go by the name "Mongolian Chop Squad" outside of Japan for exactly the same reason.
The anime adaptation of Berserk known as Sword Wind Chronicle Berserk was shortened to simply Berserk.
The anime of the visual novel Kimi ga Nozomu Eien got retitled Rumbling Hearts for its Western release. A lot of fans hate the name, but it's plausibly official, having been used for the all-ages PS2 version of the game, as well as one of its songs.
The Lupin III OVA The Fuma Conspiracy was released by AnimEigo under the name "Rupan III" (a literal romanization of the katakana that make up Lupin's name). This was due to the fact that, although the original Arsène Lupin stories had fallen into the Public Domain in the USA shortly before AnimEigo acquired the Fuma license, TMS was still operating internationally under the old general agreements from the Streamline Pictures days, made when Arsène Lupin was still under copyright and TMS was under constant threat of lawsuit by Maurice Leblanc's estate. The change also extended to the dub and subtitles (Discotek Media's re-release several years later corrected the subtitles, as well as the title itself, leaving the English dub as the only artifact of this situation).
Koukaku Kidoutai (meaning "Mobile Armored Riot Police") is better known to English-speakers as Ghost in the Shell.
Boku Dake ga Inai Machi (The Town Where Only I Am Missing) became simply ERASED in English.
The English publisher of Jitsu Wa Watashi Wa manga felt that the original name wasn't sufficiently marketable, and went with My Monster Secret, relegating the direct translation to a subtitle. Fans were less than pleased. Crunchyroll streams the anime under the more literal translation Actually, I Am.
Cat Ninden Teyandee (roughly Cat Ninja Legend: Whaddaya-Talkin'-About?!) was retitled Samurai Pizza Cats in its rewritten Saban dub. Discotek's subtitled version of the original Japanese show was originally set to be released under the title Legendary Ninja Cats before being reverted to the untranslated Kyatto-Ninden Teyandee at the last minute upon Tatsunoko's request.
Take On Me, one of the few H-Manga brought to the U.S. in physical format, was retitled to Domin8 Me due to copyright issues with the song by A-ha.
The Viz Media release of Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai ~Tensai-tachi no Ren'ai Zunousen~ (Kaguya Wants to be Confessed to ~The Geniuses' War of Love and Brains~) went with the much shorter title Kaguya-sama: Love is War. This was also carried over for the official subs of the anime.
Bloom Into You was originally titled "Yagate, Kimi ni Naru," meaning "Eventually, I'll become you."
Net-juu no Susume (official subtitle: "Recommendation of the Wonderful Virtual Life") was released in English as Recovery of an MMO Junkie, which sounds far more perjorative than the series actually isnote While the main character does become somewhat addicted to an MMO, it's due to a work-related nervous breakdown she suffered in the backstory, and the friendships she forms through the game are what help her "recover" more than anything else.
Kimetsu no Yaiba (鬼滅の刃, as in "Blade of Demon Extermination") is sold under the name "Demon Slayer" in English, as a more straightforward title. It's commonly referred to as Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba in official sources as well, such as the English manga.
Cinar's English dub of Doraemon's 1979 anime incarnation is titled The Adventures of Albert and Sidney.
Ojarumaru is retitled Prince Mackaroo in a number of languages besides Japanese, including in English.
Les Schtroumpfs has been known as The Smurfs in all English releases of the franchise.
Jour J: depending on the English publisher the title either becomes D-Day or What-If?. Jour Jessentially means Big Day". It was used for the D-Day landings of World War II and was used before then to denote an important event. The latter title covers the series subject matter better.
Most of the Album titles translate easily into English, making this trope subverted.
Coke en stock ("Coke On Board") was translated into English as The Red Sea Sharks, perhaps because the first word in the title might be taken to mean Coca-Cola (the story reveals it to be a code word for slaves). "Coke" can of course mean "Cocaine" and the original intended meaning of a kind of coal.
Explorers on the Moon was originally titled On a marché sur la Lune which means "We've walked on the moon".
Le tour de Gaule d'Astérix became Asterix and the Banquet. The translators probably assumed ignorant readers would never have heard of the Tour de France, or they simply couldn't keep the meaning in English.
L'Odyssée d'Astérix (The Odyssey of Asterix) = Asterix and the Black Gold
La rose et le glaive (The Rose and the Broadsword) = Asterix and the Secret Weapon
La Galère d'Obélix (Obelix's Galley) = Asterix and Obelix All at Sea
La zizanie (The Discord) = Asterix and the Roman Agent.
Asterix in Switzerland instead of "in the land of the Helvetians" (how the inhabitants were called in that time, and also through the book itself).
Astérix chez Rahàzade (Asterix at Rahàzade's) was a pun on "Scheherazade". The English version is called Asterix and the Magic Carpet, and the princess's name was changed from "Rahàzade" to "Orinjade".
Films — Animation
The third Yu-Gi-Oh! movie's original title translates to "Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Super Fusion! Bonds That Transcended Time". The English version is simply Yu-Gi-Oh! 3D: Bonds Beyond Time.
The Danish animated feature Jungledyret Hugo ("Jungle animal Hugo") has the English title "Go Hugo Go".
The Italian animated movie La freccia azzurra ("The Blue Arrow") is renamed How the Toys Saved Christmas. In the original version the story is not even about Christmas but it takes place during the Epiphany Eve, a national holiday celebrated on January 6 in Italy (it also involves kids receiving presents).
Films — Live-Action
The film known in the Anglophone world as The Life of Oharu was actually titled "Saikaku's Amorous Woman" (西鶴一代女) in Japanese.
French romance Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain ("The fabulous destiny of Amelie Poulain") was released in the English-speaking world shortened to Amélie.
Italian drama Ladri di biciclette ("Bicycle Thieves") was released in the United States with the title made singular: The Bicycle Thief. The ending to the movie reflects why this is important.
Conversely, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a word-for-word translation of the Spaghetti Western's original title Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo ... except that in Italian, the three adjectives are singular, referring to three individual men. In English it sounds collective ("The few, the proud").
Tang Shan Da Xiong (Big Brother From China) was retitled The Big Boss for its UK release and Fists of Fury in the US - that last one is rather unfortunate, because it is easily confused with Fist of Fury, another film starring Bruce Lee.
John Woo's breakout movie was known in the original Chinese as Lashou Shentan, roughly "hot-handed police god." In English, it's known as Hard Boiled.
Woo's breakout movie in Hong Kong was known in the original Chinese as Ying Huang Boon Sik, or "True Colors of a Hero." In English, it's known as A Better Tomorrow.
And then there's Die Xue Shuang Xiong (Bloodshed of Two Heroes), better known in English and internationally as The Killer.
The 2017 Chinese film Wǒ shì mǎ bù lǐ (I Am Marbury), a biopic on the Career Resurrection of former NBA player Stephon Marbury in the Chinese Basketball Association, became My Other Home for its US release.
Werner Herzog's award winning film known as The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser has the original German title of Jeder für Sich und Gott Gegen Alle (Each [man] for themselves and God against all).
Los Nuevos Extraterrestres (The New Extraterrestrials, which makes pretty clear what movie they were trying to rip off) was initially renamed The Unearthling for its English dub. Then when the distribution rights changed hands, it was renamed again to Pod People.
Leprechaun 2 was released as 1 Wedding and A Lot of Funerals in Ireland.
C'est arrivé près de chez vous (It Happened in Your Neighborhood) became Man Bites Dog in America.
Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa (The legend of Merong Mahawangsa), a Malaysian film is distributed to other countries as The Malay Chronicles: Bloodlines.
The Spanish film Mala uva is known as The Hit Man in English-speaking markets. While still accurate, this kills the joke embedded in the title: the hit man in question owns a vineyard ravaged by worms, and "mala uva" can mean either "bad grape" or "ill-tempered." Sour Grapes might have worked, except that it was already the name of a film directed by Larry David so they couldn't use it.
Rue Cases-Nègres is a French film based on an autobiographical novel by Joseph Zobel about growing up among poor sharecroppers in Martinique. The title for translations of the novel is the fairly accurate Black Shack Alley, and could be loosely translated as something like Nigger Street (the title refers to the nickname of the street where the sharecroppers, who picked sugarcane, lived). The movie's international title is Sugarcane Alley.
The 1968 and 2013 movie adaptations of Boris Vian's Froth on the Daydream, both titled L'ecume des jours (literally "foam of the days"), were released in the English-speaking world as Spray of the Days and Mood Indigo, respectively.
Jean-Pierre Melville's French crime movie Le Samouraï was retitled The Godson in America by distributors in order to cash in on the gangster craze started by The Godfather. Anybody who's see the movie knows The Godson is a totally Non-Indicative Name.
The Hong Kong-produced film 龍兄虎弟 was also called by the alternate English title The Armour of God by the original studio. In the US, its sequel was released first, so it was retitled Operation Condor 2: the Armor of the Gods there. And in France, it went by yet another English-language title: Mister Dynamite (apparently because of the scene featured on the film poster).
The French movie Entre les murs (literally "Between the walls" in English) was released as The Class in the U.S.
Luc Besson's Arthur et les Minimoys (Arthur and the Minimoys) became Arthur and the Invisibles in most English-speaking countries.
The Swedish movie Fucking Åmål was retitled Show Me Love in English, for presumably obvious reasons. The renaming, that is from the song played at the film's end, performed by Swedish singer Robyn.
French Western Les Petroleuses is known as The Legend of Frenchie King or simply Frenchie King, depending on which English-speaking country one is talking about. The original title translates into the rather clunky-sounding "Petrol Women".
Korea romantic comedy Gyeolhonjeonya, "The Night Before the Wedding", was marketed in English as Marriage Blue.
The Czech filmmaker Karel Zeman got this a lot. For example, his Vynález zkázy ("The Deadly Invention") was released in America as The Fabulous World of Jules Verne. On a side note: it could not use the book title either. It was based on Verne'sFacing the Flag with elements from his other novels, but had a different tone (naive character rather than blinded by greed, anti-war rather than French patriotism) and the flag didn't appear in the climax.
Korean film "더 웹툰: 예고살인", romanized as "Deo Web-tun: Yeo-go-sal-in" and about a cartoonist's violent comic books coming true in Real Life, literally translates as the awkwardly precise title The Webtoon: Notice of Murder. In English markets it was given the snappier title Killer Toon.
Punch was titled Wan-deuk in Korea, for the name of its protagonist.
French La Chèvre — "the goat" — was translated as Knock On Wood, because there are no equivalent witty sayings about anger and nuisance. Then it was remade as Pure Luck, which at least describes the main theme of good/bad luck.
The Spanish movie Las Brujas De Zugarramurdi ("The witches of Zugarramurdi") is called Witching and Bitching in English probably because Zugarramurdi wouldn't mean anything to non-Spanish folks (Zugarramurdi is a Spanish municipality that has a history of Witch Hunts just like Salem).
There is a Shinya Hashimoto vehicle that is alternatively translated as Oh! My Zombie Mermaid and Ah! House Collapses. The later is more reflective of the actual plot, in which revolves around a rival promoter who finally loses it when Hashimoto's Captain Ersatz buys a new house.
The Lure, a bizarre Polish fairytale film that received rave reviews in the US, was originally titled "Córki Dancingu" (Daughters of the Dancefloor).
Italian Vendetta dal futuro ("future revenge") had its Non-Indicative Title replaced with something different in every country:
Hands of Steel in the USA, after the original working title "Hands of Stone".
Two of the installments of Park Chan Wook's "Vengeance Trilogy" were retitled thematically in the English-speaking world. The first, 복수는 나의 것 or Vengeance Is Mine was retitled Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, and the third, 친전한 끔자씨, or Kind-hearted Geum-ja, became Sympathy for Lady Vengeance in Australia and simply Lady Vengeance in the USA and UK. The middle one, Oldboy (2003), already had an English-language title.
The Japanese film Rajio no Jikan, or "Radio Time", a comedy about the absurd difficulties a radio producer, his crew, and his cast go through to broadcast a live radio drama, was renamed Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald after one of the characters in the aforementioned radio play.
The mondo documentary originally released in Italy as Africa Addio ("Farewell Africa") was released in the US in a salaciously edited version titled Africa: Blood and Guts. The original filmmakers denounced this edit. This trope was averted with the UK version, a much more straight edit and dub that was released as Farewell Africa.
Older literary example- Victor Hugo's novel, Notre Dame de Paris is invariably published in English as The Hunchback of Notre Dame. A lot of earlier editions (late 19th and early 20th century) did retain the title "Notre-Dame de Paris". However, it seems that piggybacking on the Lon Chaney movie may have been responsible for the change.
In a classic literary example, Proust's seminal À la recherche du temps perdu was titled Remembrance of Things Past by its English translator C.K. Scott Moncrieff, in reference to a line from William Shakespeare. Proust grumbled about how this took away the meaning from the title of his final volume, Le Temps retrouve ("Time Regained"); one version retitled the final volume The Past Recaptured in an attempt to restore the correspondence between the titles. New English versions have been using the literal translation of the title: In Search of Lost Time.
The Swedish novel and film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was originally titled Män som hatar kvinnor or Men Who Hate Women.
The third book in the series, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, was originally called Luftslottet som sprängdes literally The Air Castle That Exploded, or more idiomatically The Pipe Dream That Went Up in Smoke. (Strangely, the US edition has the apostrophe moved to Hornet's, implying a nest belonging to only one hornet.)
The second book, The Girl Who Played With Fire, actually is the correct translation. This title may have inspired the new titles for the other two... make that five.
With the series' original creator Stieg Larsson having died before the first book was released (though he had completed three), the publishers hired David Lagercrantz to write more books in the series. The first three books of the Lagercrantz series are also examples: Det som inte dödar oss (That Which Does Not Kill Us) became The Girl in the Spider's Web, Mannen som sökte sin skugga (The Man Who Chased His Shadow) became The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye, and Hon som måste dö (She Who Must Die) became The Girl Who Lived Twice.
The classic Japanese novel A Fool's Love was retitled to simply Naomi for English release. From the same author (Tanizaki Junichirou), is The Makioka Sisters, which is retitled from Sasameyuki, signifiying light snow. This was because lightly falling snow has a specific connotation in Japan that cannot be captured in English words.
The original title All Quiet on the Western Front is Im Westen nichts Neues, "Nothing New in the West", it actually does not say that things were quiet and more indicates "no change in the West". The English title quite likely was modeled on a well-known repeated bulletin passage from The American Civil War, "All quiet on the Potomac", while Remarque's original title resembles an often repeated bulletin phrase from the siege of Paris in 1870/71, "Vor Paris nichts Neues" - "nothing new before Paris" - which merely indicated that although the two sides were still blasting away at each other with rifles and artillery, there had been no major attempt by either side to take an enemy position by assault or offers of surrender etc.
During the Russo-Japanese War, the German satirist Julius Stettenheim, who created the persona of Wippchen to parody the war correspondents of his day, wrote about the siege of Port Arthur: "Nothing new before Port Arthur. The old is bad enough."
A lot of The Moomins novels have been given English names that make it clear they're about the Moomins. Sometimes it's just the word "moomin" added to a rough translation of the original title, but in particular "Finn Family Moomintroll" has nothing to do with the original "Trollkarlens hatt" ("The Wizard's Hat", or if you go by the name given to the eponymous character in the translation, "The Hobgoblin's Hat").
Gabriel García Márquez wrote a collection of short stories called Doce Cuentos Peregrinos, or Twelve Pilgrim Stories. For the English translation, it was changed to Strange Pilgrims.
Boris Vian's ''L'ecume des jours'' (literally Foam of the days) has been trabslated as Foam of the Daze and, most famously, Froth on the Daydream. See also the entry in the movie section.
Erich von Däniken's Chariots of The Gods?, the book that popularized the Ancient Astronauts theory, was originally published in Germany as Erinnerungen an die Zukunft ("Memories of The Future").
English translations of the classic French novel Le Grand Meaulnes (a reference to the book's main character) have rarely appeared under that title; instead, they have been given titles including The Wanderer, The Lost Estate and The Lost Domain, which are more evocative of the book's subject matter.
Andrey Livadny's Phantom Server trilogy gets this treatment, as far as the first book is concerned. The book's original title is simply Phantom Server. However, the translators felt the need to add a subtitle, turning it into Edge of Reality (Phantom Server: Book #1). The trouble is, Edge of Reality is a title of Livadny's book from a completely separate series. Wonder how they're going to handle that one, if they ever decide to translate it.
Moscow - Petushki has been published under several different names. Even in the Moscow region the majority of people don't know the train station and town Petushki. Thus translators tried to be creative: Moscow Stations, Moscow to the End of the Line (technically wrong, few trains go east of Petushki, but the end is Vladimir), Moscow Circles (technically wrong too, the protagonist goes in radial direction and doesn't use any of circular routes). The latter two also count as ominous foreshadowing.
Light novel— and film based thereon— Shimotsuma Monogatari ("Shimotsuma Fairytale"; Shimotsuma being a city in Japan) was released in the US as Kamikaze Girls. The plot has nothing to do with kamikaze pilots, though the signature coats worn by yanki are called "kamikaze coats". The title was likely changed because foreigners wouldn't know where Shimotsuma is or what it's like.
While the Japanese novel Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru ("the wind blows strongly") does not have an official English translation, thanks to the anime adaptation (simulcasted by Crunchyroll) it has become officially known as Run with the Wind to global audiences. Prior to the anime, the movie adaptation was also promoted as Feel The Wind for international Japanese film festivals.
The Chinese title of Novoland literally means "Nine Provinces". Apparently someone thought that didn't sound enough like the title of a fantasy series. This is especially strange because the series has never been translated into English; where the English title came from and why it was chosen are riddles for the ages.
The first English edition of Momo was published under the title The Grey Gentlemen. Subsequent editions used the original title.
Moribito: The official English websites refer to Kanashiki Hakai-shin (悲しき破壊神, "The Sorrowful God of Destruction") and Saishū-shō (最終章, "The Final Chapter") as The Anguish of the Destroyers and Balsa's Fate respectively.
Extremely common in Chinese dramas. Some examples:
Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms has at least three different English titles: Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms, Three Lives, Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms, and Eternal Love. The source novel's title is translated as To the Sky Kingdom. The first two are close to the meaning of the Chinese title; the others... aren't. Meanwhile the film also based on the novel has the English title Once Upon a Time.
Ashes of Love has two English titles, Heavy Sweetness, Ash-Like Frost and Ashes of Love. The first one is a translation of the Chinese title. The second (and more commonly used) one isn't.
The Chinese title of Ice Fantasy means City of Fantasy.
The Princess Wei Young's original title means something like "Splendid Wei Yang" or "Beautiful Wei Yang". Not only did the English title decide "The Princess" is a good enough translation of 锦绣, they also changed the spelling of the heroine's name.
Princess Agents has two Chinese titles. The first and more commonly used one is very long, so it's understandable someone decided to shorten it. You'd think they would have thought to use a direct translation of the second one and called it The Legend of Chu Qiao, but no.
The Untamed is another case of a hard-to-translate Chinese title.
Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace: In this case the official English title is so bad and misleading that fans of the series prefer to use the direct translation of the Chinese title and call it Legend of Ruyi.
Palace: The Chinese title literally means "Jade Palace Lock Heart". That doesn't make much sense in English, so someone decided not to bother finding a more coherent English title and shortened it to just "Palace".
Scarlet Heart has two English titles: Scarlet Heart and Startling by Each Step. The second one is a direct translation of the Chinese title. The first one isn't even close to it.
The French police procedural Engrenages (Gears) was named Spiral when shown on the BBC. This wasn't entirely unconnected, as "engrenages" in French can also have connotations of "spiralling out of control".
남자 이야기 (Story of a Man or A Man's Story) is called The Slingshot in English-language media.
Pekka Pohjola's 1977 solo album Keesojen lehto was initially retitled The Consequences of Indecisions in the UK (and Skuggornas Tjuvstart in Sweden); then three years later, in a case of Billing Displacement, it was reissued in the US and the Benelux countries as an apparently-untitled album credited to Mike Oldfield, Sally Oldfield, and Pekka Pohjola (in that order), despite the fact that Mike Oldfield wasn't present on one of the songs and Sally Oldfield was present on only two of the songs.
Kyu Sakamoto's song "Ue o Muite Arukō" ("I look up when I walk") is best known as "Sukiyaki" in English-speaking countries, a title which has no relation to the lyrics whatsoever. At the time, one wag quipped that it was equivalent of releasing "Moon River" in Japan under the title "Beef Stew".
Subverted by Camellia and Nanahira's song "Bassline yatteru? w" ("Do you have a bassline? lol"). Viewed in English on iTunes and streaming platforms, the title of the song instead reads "Can I friend you on Bassbook? lol". The trick is that the Japanese title is a pun on "LINE yatteru?" (roughly "Do you use LINE?", LINE being a social messaging app popular in Japan) - a phrase notorious for being used when hitting on people. The English translation thus accurately preserves the pun in the original title!
The original title of BTS' album series The Most Beautiful Moment of Life is 花样年华 or 화양연화, which translates to In the Mood For Love. It was translated in English to The Most Beautiful Moment in Life to avoid confusion with Wong Kar-wai's In the Mood for Love for international audiences while keeping the thematic meaning of the original.
The original Korean title for the single "Boy With Luv" is "작은 것들을 위한 시" or "Poem For The Small Things". With this translation change, the Korean title references the specific meaning of the song (finding love and joy in the small things in a relationship), while the international title (which is also part of the lyrics) makes it a Call-Back and contrasting Sequel Song (putting it therefore in a Character Development context) to the more immature and aggressive "Boy In Luv", released 5 years prior.
When X Bomber was imported for dubbing in the United Kingdom, the series was renamed Star Fleet, which is more or less inaccurate since the series mostly follows the exploits of X-Bomber and its crew rather than Earth Defence Forces itself.
Ze ivota hmyzu (The Insect Play) by Josef and Karel Čapek was first presented in Britain and the U.S. in "adaptations" (i.e. slightly loose translations), respectively And so ad infinitum by Nigel Playfair and The World We Live In by Owen Davis.
The second Bleach DS fighting game has Colon Cancer subtitling that basically translates to (DS Second: The Black-Clothed Flickering Requiem), which could be understood to mean one of of the main character's super modes. The English title, DarkSouls makes a LOT more sense than the Japanese one.
Quite a few SNK fighting games got their titles changed for their overseas releases
Garō Densetsu (Legend of the Hungry Wolf) became Fatal Fury. However, there was a pachinko-slot spin-off game titled Garō Densetsu: Legend of Wild Wolf.
Ryūko no Ken (Fist of Dragon and Tiger) became Art of Fighting. The third game was known as Art of Fighting: Ryukō no Ken Gaiden though.
Fū-un Mokushiroku ("Apocalypse of the Wind and Clouds") became Savage Reign. The sequel Fū-un Super Tag Battle was retitled Kizuna Encounter.
Bakumatsu Roman Gekka no Kenshi ("Romance of the Bakumatsu: Swordsman of the Moonlight") became The Last Blade.
Tsūkai GANGAN Koushinkyoku (which loosely translates to "Thrilling Intense March") became Aggressors of Dark Kombat ("Combat" is spelled with an "K", just so that it conveniently shares the same initials as its developer, ADK).
Hikari Shinwa: Parutena no Kagami (Myth of Light: Mirror of Palutena) became Kid Icarus.
The original Rockman became Mega Man to avoid copyright conflicts with an identically-named brand of guitar amplifiers (although it was later revealed that this was nonsense, the real reason was because Capcom USA's head honcho at the time hated the Rockman name). Later on, Rockman DASH became Mega Man Legends, Rockman.EXE became Mega Man Battle Network, and Ryusei no Rockman (lit. "Meteor Rockman" or "Rockman of the Shooting Star") became Mega Man Star Force.
The World Ends with You was known in Japanese as Subarashiki kono sekai, translated in English on the packaging as It's a Wonderful World. However, all the variations on that phrase Square Enix could come up with were unusable outside of Japan due to legal issues.
Dobutsu no Mori, the Japanese title of the Animal Crossing series translates to Animal Forest. On that note, the Wii installment of the series has a different Market-Based Title in English depending on the dialect, with the American English version having the subtitle City Folk and the British English version having Let's Go to the City, with the latter being more or less literally translated from the Japanese version's subtitle and the former being an example of this trope.
The Famicom version of Akumajō Dracula was rebranded Castlevania when it was brought over to the NES in the west, since the Japanese title (literally "Demon Castle Dracula") was interpreted as "Dracula's Satanic Castle" when it was being localized for North America. The concurrently-developed MSX2 version was brought over to Europe as Vampire Killer and the later arcade game became Haunted Castle.
Akumajō Dorakyura Mokushiroku ("Demon Castle Dracula Apocalypse") became Castlevania, so fans have taken to calling it Castlevania 64 to help differentiate it.
Inverted with Castlevania: Lament of Innocence, which is known simply as Castlevania in Japan (and Europe) in an attempt to give the franchise a single title worldwide. It didn't exactly work out, so Japan went back to Akumajō Dracula after the next couple of games.
Akumajō Dracula Special: Boku Dracula-kun (Demon Castle Dracula Special: I'm Little Dracula) became Kid Dracula.
The Legend of Zelda series has usually averted this by using direct translations of the Japanese titles, starting with the firsttwo NES games, or having the Japanese title using English words in the first place, as with Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, but there have been exceptions:
Fushigi no Ki no Mi Daichi no Shō ("Nut of the Mysterious Tree: Chapter of Earth") and Fushigi no Ki no Mi Jikū no Shō ("Nut of the Mysterious Tree: Chapter of Time and Space") became the two The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games, Seasons and Ages, respectively.
Daichi no Kiteki("The Train Whistle of the Earth") is known in English as The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, although this was a backward case compared to the rest of the franchise, where the English name was decided on first, and the altered title was on the Japanese side.
The first game is actually a strange case, as the full Japanese title is "The Hyrule Fantasy: Zeruda no Densetsu", so the original title (which was in English to begin with, no less) was dropped, and the subtitle was left as the main title. Turns out to have been for the best, as "Zeruda no Densetsu"/"Legend of Zelda" became the title from the second game onwards.
Like the Zelda series, the Fire Emblem games have different subtitles between versions.
Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Ken ("The Dark Dragon and Sword of Light"), the Famicom original, became Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light.
Fūin no Tsurugi ("Sword of Seals") became The Binding Blade, which is pretty close in meaning, but not an exact translation.
Fire Emblem Gaiden and Monshō no Nazo ("Mystery of the Emblem") went unchanged.
Seisen no Keifu ("Genealogy of the Holy War") and Thracia 776 were not brought up in the game, though later on they are referred to by a literal translation of their titles in Fire Emblem Awakening, which keeps the above titles (except for referencing characters from the original as being from Shadow Dragon).
Shiritsu Justice Gakuen (Private Justice Academy) became Rival Schools: United By Fate outside of Japan. The sequel combined this with Oddly Named Sequel, with Moero! Justice Gakuen (Burn! Justice Academy) becoming Project Justice in North America and Project Justice: Rival Schools 2 everywhere else.
Unusual temporary aversion: when the early 80s sliding-block-railway-track arcade game Loco Motion first appeared in Western arcades, it bore a phonetic transliteration of the original Japanese name: Guttang Gottong.
Some SquaresoftRPGs were rebranded as Final Fantasy titles, in fear that the games wouldn't stand on their own. Namely, Seiken Densetsu (meaning Legend of the Holy Sword) became Final Fantasy Adventure, and the first three SaGa games became the Final Fantasy Legend series. Like the main FF games, later releases in these series regained their real titles (such as the remake of Final Fantasy Adventure localized as Sword of Mana).
Then again, the full title of Seiken Densetsu is Seiken Densetsu Final Fantasy Gaiden, so the Final Fantasy link exists even in Japan. In contrast, the Japanese title for the Sword of Mana remake lacks the Final Fantasy name.
Each expansion of Final Fantasy XIV has two different subtitles. Across all of the expansions' releases, the English subtitle would be featured prominently, while a Japanese subtitle would also be used in Japanese releases.
A Realm Reborn: Shinsei Eorzea ("Eorzea Reborn")
Heavensward: Souten no Ishgard ("Heavenly Ishgard")
Stormblood: Guren no Liberator ("The Crimson Liberator")
Shadowbringers: Shikkoku no Villains ("Villains of Pitch Darkness")
The Gyakuten Saiban series ("Turnabout Trials") is known as Ace Attorney outside Japan. Interestingly, the word "Turnabout" is still used as part of an Idiosyncratic Episode Naming theme for the cases in each game (i.e. "Turnabout Sisters", "Reunion and Turnabout").
Rockman.EXE's anime adaptation ignored both the obvious name (MegaMan.EXE) and the existing English name for the original games (Mega Man Battle Network) in favor of a wholly nonsensical and oft-reviled name, MegaMan NT Warrior.
Puppet Princess of Marl Kingdom became Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure for the English market. No word on what they would have done if the other games, which all played on the original title, had been translated.
Cubivore was originally released in Japan as Dobutsu Banchou ("Animal Ringleader")
Ray Force was called Layer Section in Japanese, Gunlock in British English, and Galactic Attack on the Sega Saturn.
Both the arcade and NES versions of Astyanax were originally titled The Lord of King in Japanese.
Deadly Towers was originally titled Mashō ("Evil Bell") in Japanese. This change can be blamed on Nintendo's Censorship Bureau, as its English title was supposed to be Hell's Bells, closer in meaning to the original title.
The Touhou Project games do this on purpose. Each title is listed in both Japanese and English. For example Touhou Koumakyou ~The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil (the Japanese would mean Eastern Lands of the Scarlet Devil) in Japan it's known simply by the Japanese in the title Touhou Koumakyou and in English, not surprisingly by it's English title The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil. This is an odd example because both titles exist in the original games and the Japanese and English titles are not translations of each other. Yup, Zun did that on purpose for some inane reason. The notable exceptions are Touhou Hisoutensoku ~Choudokyuu Ginyoru no Nazo wo Oe (Lacking Perception of the Rule of Heaven in the East" ~ Chase the Enigma of the Superdreadnought Guignol) which is known simply as Hisoutensoku even in English and Fairy Wars which also has no English in the original title and the direct translation of Yousei Daisensou ~ Touhou Sangetsusei would mean Great Fairy Wars ~ Eastern Three Fairies and not simply Fairy Wars
Hudson Soft's Stop The Express was originally Bōsō Tokkyū SOS (Runaway Special Express SOS) in Japan. Interestingly, Hudson reused the game's international title when recycling it as the first stage of Challenger, a Famicom game released only in Japan.
Capcom's early hit Senjō no Ōkami (Wolf of the Battlefield) was exported as Commando, and its sequel (Senjō no Ōkami II) became Mercs. Wolf of the Battlefield has been used on some of the more recent re-releases.
Wizards & Warriors was released in Japan as Densetsu no Kishi Elrond (The Legend of Knight Elrond).
It's something of a tradition for Shoot Em Ups to have meaningless titles, but Xexyz had a more meaningful title in Japan: Kame no Ongaeshi: Urashima Densetsu (Turtle's Recompense: Legend of Urashima).
The localized titles in the Hiryū no Ken series were Shanghai Kid, Flying Dragon (the literal translation of "hiryu"), Flying Warriors, Fighting Simulator: 2-in-1 Flying Warriors, Fighting Simulator: World Champ (North American release canceled), Ultimate Fighter, and Flying Dragon (not the same as the earlier game). Confusing, no?
Langrisser: The first game was localized as Warsong on the Mega Drive.
When Pangya was brought to the US, it was originally titled Albatross18. It was later renamed back to Pangya.
Sokoban was retitled in several ways for various versions released internationally in 1990: Boxxle on the Game Boy, Shove It! The Warehouse Game on the Sega Genesis, and Boxyboy on the TurboGrafx-16 and in arcades. All these came after the game had been brought to Western computers by Spectrum Holobyte with an Untranslated Title.
Twin Cobra was originally titled Kyūkyoku Tiger ("Ultimate Tiger") in Japanese.
Fire Shark was originally titled Same! Same! Same! ("Shark! Shark! Shark!") in Japanese.
Truxton's original title was Tatsujin, which means "expert" in Japanese.
Chuka Taisen ("Chinese Great Wizard") became Cloud Master on the Sega Master System. The remake Shin Chuka Taisen: Michael to Meimei no Bouken ("New Chinese Great Wizard: Michael & Meimei's Adventure") became The Monkey King: The Legend Begins.
The Japanese series Ryu ga Gotoku ("Like a Dragon") is localized as Yakuza in English. Ryu ga Gotoku OF THE END became Yakuza: Dead Souls. In what is presumably an attempt to consolidate the titles, Ryu ga Gotoku 7: Hikari to Yami no Yukue ("Like a Dragon 7: Whereabouts of Light and Darkness") has been localized as Yakuza: Like a Dragon
Acclaim's Star Voyager was originally titled Cosmo Genesis in Japanese.
Mischief Makers was originally titled Yuke Yuke!! Troublemakers in Japanese.
Coq-Inn, an old French computer game set in a henhouse, had to be retitled Chickin' Chase (or Chicken Chase) for English-speaking audiences to avoid Accidental Innuendo. Titling one Commodore 64 version Cock'In was definitely the wrong idea. It doesn't help that it features G-Rated Sex as a game mechanic.
The original Japanese title of Revenge of the Gator was 66-hiki no Wani Daikōshin! ("66 Alligators Big Parade!")
Both games compatible with the Robotic Operating Buddy NES peripheral are an interesting case where the change is purely on the packaging; Gyromite and Stack-Up still go by their Japanese names, Robot Gyro and Robot Block, in the game proper.
Sands of Destruction was known as World Destruction: Michibi Kareshi IshiTranslation World Destruction: Guided Wills in Japanese. This isn't due to a case of Sequel First; the game just suffers from Colon Cancer. The Animated Adaptation was known as World Destruction: Sekai Bokumetsu RokuninTranslation World Destruction: The Six People Who Will Destroy the World in Japan, presumably to allow it to be differentiated from the game, but the English adaptation is simply called Sands of Destruction again.
Sonic Generations is a curious case. Both the HD and 3DS versions internationally are known as simply Sonic Generations. In Japanese, however, the former is called Sonic Generations: Shiro no JikūTranslation White Spacetime, and the latter Sonic Generations: Ao no BōkenTranslation Blue Adventure, implying that they're actually supposed to be separate games along the lines of the Wii U and 3DS versions of Sonic Boom. This is actually consistent with the way the versions were designed, as the two games have completely different stages and bossesnote with the exception of the first world and the final boss and share nothing in common between them besides concept and overall story (though even this one has major differences between the two).
Sonic Boom was the opposite, as it was developed in America, but got renamed Sonic Toon in Japanese.
Paper Mario is a weird example. The first game was titled Mario Story (Super Mario RPG 2 during development) in Japan and renamed to Paper Mario upon being localized. The second game, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, was known as Paper Mario RPG in Japanese. From there on, Paper Mario became the series title everywhere, including Japan.
The original Japanese title of In the Hunt was Kaitei Daisensou ("Undersea Great War").
The game Drakengard is known as Drag-on Dragoon in Japanese. In particular, the sequel is known as Drag-on Dragoon 2: love red, ambivalence black. It is known as simply Drakengard 2 in English countries.
Likewise, its spinoff, released as NIER in English speaking countries, was released in two versions in Japan. The PS3 release, starring a younger protagonist, was known as NieR Replicant while the Xbox 360 version, starring the protagonist received overseas, is known as NieR Gestalt.
Koei's fantasy turn-based strategy game, Royal Blood, became Gemfire in English. Both titles make sense: the first is pretty much the driving force of the plot with a neat double-entendre, the second is the name of the crown everyone is fighting over.
The Arcade GameSai Yu Gou Ma Roku was brought to the US under the more pronouncable English title China Gate. This apparently overruled Technos Japan's intended international title, GoCoo: The Incredible Challenge, which was silkscreened on the Japanese PCB. (Yes, "GoCoo" is meant to refer to Sun Wukong.)
Despite the first Kororinpa game retaining its original Japanese title in British English, the word was dropped from the name of the sequel game, which was given a much more generic title of Marbles! Balance Challenge, despite the American and Japanese versions keeping the word "Kororinpa" as the subtitle and main title of the game respectively.
The Resident Evil series is known as Biohazard in the original Japanese. Hilarity ensued with the seventh installment, known as Resident Evil 7: Biohazard on one side of the Pacific and Biohazard 7: Resident Evil on the other.
Likewise, the subtitle for the third entry was changed from Biohazard 3: Last Escape to Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. The subtitle for the Japanese version gets mentioned in an opening monologue, while "Nemesis" became the name of the main monster (otherwise known as the Pursuer).
The expanded edition of CODE: Veronica is subtitled Kanzenban in Japanese (which literally means Complete Edition) and X everywhere else.
Resident Evil Dead Aim was given the rather lenghty title of Gun Survivor 4 - BIOHAZARD: Heroes Never Die in Japan. Gun Survivor 2 was only released in Japan and Europe (as Resident Evil: SURVIVOR 2), while Gun Survivor 3 was a Dino Crisis-themed installment that was retitled Dino Stalker outside Japan.
The Mobile Phone GameNijiiro Kanojo means "Rainbow Girlfriends," referring to the large cast of Color-Coded Characters as well as how the player can unlock more girls for their own profile. In English, that title might imply that it's in the Yuri Genre, though the faceless main character is actually occasionally referred to as male. Thus, it came out as Dream Girlfriend when localized. "Nizikano" still appears all over the game instead of being translated, though. ("Dreagirl?") The Otome Game counterpart Hoshikare Days became Dream Boyfriend -Astral Days-.
The first and third Danganronpa games have completely different subtitles: the first game's subtitle was changed from the lengthy Kibō no Gakuen to Zetsubō no Kōkōsei ("Academy of Hope and High School Students of Despair") to Trigger Happy Havoc, while New Danganronpa V3: Minna no Koroshiai Shin Gakki ("Everyone's New Semester of Killing") became Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, dropping the "New" supertitle in the process.
Dragon's Lair has a game for the Super Nintendo that was called "Dragon's Magic" in Japanese when it was published by Konami.
Dark Seal and Dark Seal II were a pair of Data East games in Japanese that were given totally unrelated titles abroad — the former became Gate of Doom, and the latter Wizard Fire.
The Zero Escape series was originally known in Japan as Kyokugen Dasshutsu, which translates as "Extreme Escape". Similarly, the second game in the series, Virtue's Last Reward, has the Japanese title Zennin Shibō Desu, which can mean either "Good People Die" or "I Want to Be a Good Person". The English title retains the double meaning, referring to the phrases "Virtue is its own reward" and "The last reward is death."
Developer Arika created the Everblue series of scuba diving sims for the PlayStation 2 in Japan; when Nintendo approached them about creating similar games for the Wii, they were called Forever Blue as a nod to the original series. Localization turned the title into Endless Ocean outside Japan.
Atlus attempted to retitle the Shin Megami Tensei series into Revelations early in their efforts to localize the franchise. Only twogames were released under the Revelations title before it was dropped in favor of adding Shin Megami Tensei to even non-SMT titles, and then dropping any attempt to significantly alter the game titles from their original Japanese forms.
Taito's 1975 Western gunfight game Western Gun was retitled Gun Fight by Midway for the North American market, owing to the original perfectly describing the game's theme and genre to its Japanese audience but sounding rather awkward to a native speaker.
The Japanese title of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is actually 英雄伝説 閃の軌跡, Eiyū Densetsu: Sen no Kiseki where the last part actually translates to Trails of a Flash. The last word is supposed to refer to the flash of light that occurs when a sword is drawn out of its sheath against the sun (like this). XSEED decided that title would sound too odd in English, so they went with the Cold Steel moniker to preserve the sword-related meaning. Reportedly Falcom President Toshihiro Kondo approved of the name change when he heard about it.
The Korean antivirus program ALYac (the title is a pun based on the ALTools branding prefix, the Korean word for "medicinal pill", and the function of the program) was released for English-speaking audiences as Roboscan. Though ALYac is part of the ALTools line in Korea, Roboscan is not associated with ALTools in any way, even though the rest of the ALTools line had been released in English with the original titles. The company that produces ALYac, ESTsoft (more famous for the MMORPG CABAL Online and the archiving utility ALZip) even renamed itself Roboscan specifically for the English release of ALYac. Oddly, the mobile version of ALYac is offered with the original name and company.
Feng Ling Yu Xiu's official English name, Sunflowers, really has no relation to the original Chinese.