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Barely Changed Dub Name

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A subtrope of Dub Name Change. When it comes to dubs changing names, it's most common for them to create completely unique names. Other times, however, the translators settle for something closer to the original names, such as using a new name that begins with the same letter as the original name.

Some translations take this a little farther. They keep the original name with little to no change in pronounciation by using a similar-sounding name from their language. Other times, the names stay the same but are shortened (like "Samson" to "Sam"), usually to make them easier to pronounce or get around Lip Lock.

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This trope encompasses names that sound similar, names that are written similarly but sound different, and names that are shortenings of the original.

See also Clean Dub Name, for when minor changes are made to name in the dub because the original name sounds offensive in the respective language. Compare to Naturalized Name for examples of this in-series. Might invoke Spell My Name with an "S".


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the original dub Tobio from Astro Boy was called Aster. Afterwards it was changed to "Toby" in certain dubs. The All-CGI Cartoon movie Astro Boy uses that as well.
  • Beyblade:
    • The English dub usually opted for names that have the same first letter as the Japanese names (such as changing "Takao" to "Tyson"). Rei Kon however just became Raymond "Ray" Kon.
    • The Italian dub changed Max's surname from "Mizuhara" to "Mizihara".
  • The English dub to Beyblade Burst changed a few characters names to similar sounding (and still Japanese) names. Kensuke Midorikawa was shortened to "Ken Midori", Daina became "Daigo", Xhaka became "Xander", and Souta became "Ryota".
  • The Nelvana dub of Cardcaptor Sakura did this for Sakura's minor classmates (Naoto to Nikki, Chiharu to Chelsea, Rika to Rita, Takashi to Zachary), as well as her older brother. Touya to Tori particularly stands out because the Japanese meaning of his name changes from "peach blossom" to "bird", which creates a Dub-Induced Plot Hole when Sakura has to track him down using tarot reading of the Clow Cards. That particularly spelling of Tori is also traditionally a female name for English speakers, (the male counterpart is usually spelled "Tory" or "Torrie"), and the name change was likely made because "Toya" in the English language is a short form of Victoria, as is "Tori."
  • The FUNimation English dub to Crayon Shin-chan simplified many characters names:
    • Shinnosuke Nohara to Shin Nohara
    • Misae Nohara to Mitzi Nohara
    • Hiroshi Nohara to Hiro Nohara
    • Himawari Nohara to Hima Nohara
    • Shiro to Whitey
    • Masao Sato to Maso Sato
    • Bo Suzuki to Boo
  • Detective Conan: In the Italian dub, Kogoro is renamed Goro.
  • Digimon Adventure's English dub actually keeps the characters names intact; however, they're Only Known by Their Nickname. So Hikari is called "Kari", Taichi is "Tai", Yamato is "Matt", Takeru is "T.K.", and Koushiro is "Izzy" (his surname being "Izumi").
    • There’s also instances of minor changes to the names of the Digimon themselves, for example Sora’s partner Digimon is called Piyomon in Japanese, but Biyomon in English.
  • The protagonist of Digimon Tamers had his name changed from Takato Matsuda to Takato Matsuki in the English dub.
  • The English dub of Digimon Fusion changed the protagonist's name from Taiki to "Mikey".
  • The English dub of the 2005 Doraemon anime has Nobita nicknamed as "Noby".
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Son Goku's Saiyan birth name was shortened from "Kakarotto" to "Kakarot". This ends up causing a minor Dub Induced Plothole in the anime when they kept the naming convetion for the fusion Vegito. The English manga fixes this by renaming him "Vegerot".
    • Tenshinhan's given name became "Tien", with "Shinhan" becoming a surname.
    • The Italian dub changed Krillin to Crili, Yamcha to Yamco, Tenshinhan to Tensing and Kakarotto to Kaarot.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has a tendency to do this, especially in Parts 1 and 2. Some of the character's names who are references of music bands have their names slightly changed so as to avoid things like copyright issues. To name a few:
    • Bruford -> Blueford
    • Tarkus -> Tarukus
  • Initial D under the Tokyopop licensed introduced dub names for many characters. Some get away with it better than others (usually in the form of abbreviations), as shown below, while others had their names left untouched entirely (such as Bunta). Furthermore, in a subversion of Dub Name Change, the localization does leave the original names in, albeit only in character profiles, referring to these new names as nicknames, and later characters don't get dub nicknames at all.
    • Takumi becomes "Tak".
    • Keisuke becomes "K.T.", likely referring to his initials (Keisuke Takahashi).
    • Ryosuke becomes "Ry".
  • Mikage from Miracle Girls was shortened to just "Mika" in Tokyopop's English translation. In contrast, her twin sister Tomomi got the "similar sounding name" treatment and was changed to "Toni".
  • In Mobile Fighter G Gundam, Neo-Sweden's Nobel Gundam is renamed the Noble Gundam in the English dub, losing the reference to famous Swede Alfred Nobel.
  • The 4Kids Entertainment dub to One Piece used this with a few characters:
    • Zoro to Zolo (to avoid a intellectual property dispute with the alleged owners of Zorro)
    • Gin to Ghin
    • Portgas D. Ace to Portgaz D. Trace
    • Nefertari Cobra to Neferati Nebra
  • Pokémon features an example in the Journeys series, with Gou having his name romanized as Goh in the English dub.
  • The English dubbers for Revolutionary Girl Utena had English names created just in case, but ended up using the Japanese names. The Latin American Spanish and Tagalog dubs ended up using the names, though. Most names used the "names that start with the letter," but Anthy's and Juri's dub names sound quite similar to their originals. They were renamed "Angie" and "Julie".
  • Robotech changed Lin Minmei's name to "Lynn Minmay" in the English translation, which was a Stage Name originally.
  • The original Sailor Moon English dub mostly used completely new names; however, a few characters have barely edited names. "Ami Mizuno" became "Amy Anderson" (occasionally "Amy Mizuno"),note  Rei's name was changed to "Raye", and Minako became "Mina" (which was already a nickname of hers).
    • The Italian dub changed Rei to Rea (as a reference to Rea Silvia, who in Roman mythology was impregnated by Mars and gave birth to Romulus and Remus).
  • The English version of Shaman King changed Ryu to "Rio".
  • The 4Kids dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! changes the main character's name from Yūgi Mutō to Yugi Moto.
    • The Italian dub, based on the English one, changes Yugi Moto to Yugi Muto, Maximillion Pegasus to Maximillian Pegasus, Bandit Keith to Bandit Ken and Espa Roba to Extra.
    • The English dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL changes Kotori and Akari with Tori and Kari. Nasch was later simply changed to Nash, and Mizael to Mizar.
    • The English dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V changed the spelling of Serena's name to Celina.
    • A very unusual example in the English dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS with Ryoken Kogami, aka Revolver. His LINK VRAINS alias received a Dub Name Change to Varis, but only his first name was changed in the dub. The oddity in this example comes because the official spelling in English is still unknown, due to the promotional material usually just calling him "Varis", but the different pronunciation of his first name could still technically use the spelling "Ryoken".note 
  • The English dub of Zatch Bell! used this with a few characters but kept Japanese names for others (albeit still different from their actual Japanese names):
    • "Suzume" became "Suzy" and "Shiori" became "Lori".
    • Tio to Tia
    • Zeon to Zeno
    • Kafka to Kafk
    • Papipurio to Purio
    • The Mamono race to the Mamodo race
    • Wonlei to Wonrei.
  • In the Polish dub of Spirited Away, Chihiro's new name "Sen" is changed to "San", presumably to avoid confusion since "sen" means "dream" in Polishnote .
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    Asian Animation 
  • Balala the Fairies: The characters' English names are Maggie (Meiqi in Chinese), Michelle (Meixue), and Shirley (Xiao Lan).
  • Nana Moon: Amy is known as Aimeng (艾梦) in the Chinese original.
  • The title of Our Friend Xiong Xiao Mi is changed to Our Friend Remy Bear for certain international releases. "Xiong" means "bear" in Chinese, and the name Remy was most likely chosen because the last syllable is pronounced the same as the last syllable of Xiao Mi.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Bartok the bat from Anastasia is renamed Bartek in Hungary so that his name doesn't get confused with the famous Hungarian composer Béla Bartók.
  • In the German dub of Over the Hedge, RJ's name got changed to "Ritchie".
  • In the Norwegian dub of Aladdin, Iago is changed to Jago while Jasmine is changed to Sjasmin.
  • In the Norwegian dub of The Lion King (1994), Ed is changed to Ted.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Brazilian dub of Guardians of the Galaxy changed Rocket's name to Rocky - ironically, making him outright "Rocky Raccoon" instead of just having a name alluding to it.
  • The French dub of Star Wars changed Darth Vader to Dark Vador. Every other siths have "Darth" replaced by "Dark" but otherwise keep their English sith name, so for exemple: Darth Sidious become Dark Sidious.

    Literature 
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: In the German translation, Lannister changed to Lennister.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Hermione's name was changed to "Hermine Granger" in the German translations.
    • The Swedish translation changes Gilderoy Lockhart to Gyllenroy Lockman, so that the reference to "gilded locks" in his name will be retain in Swedish ("Gyllene lockar").
    • The nature of the person who stole Voldemort's Horcrux at the end of book six relied on identifying who initialed the letter to Voldemort "RAB". Barring the introduction of a new character, there were a few characters who could have those initials running around, but then the fans got online and compared the line in various translated works across multiple languages and found that each separate translation had one character who was consistently on the list: Regulus Arcturus Black. Not only that, but it spoiled where the Horcrux was taken, resulting in a massive I Knew It! in the next book.
    • In the Hungarian translations, some characters, instead of getting a full Dub Name Change or keeping their original names, have their names slightly altered:
      • Minerva McGonagall to Minerva McGalagony.
      • Argus Filch to Argus Frics.
      • Vincent Crabbe to Vincent Crak,
      • Blaise Zabini to Blaise Zambini
      • Igor Karkaroff to Igor Karkarov.
      • The Death Eater named Rowle gets his name changed to Rowell, because the name "Rowle" was used in an earlier book as Tom Riddle's middle name to keep his Significant Anagram.
    • In French the French translation:
      • The Gryffindor house becomes the Gryffondor house.
      • Draco Malefoy's first name is changed to Drago.
  • In the Hungarian translation of The Jungle Book, most characters have their names phonetically transliterated: Mowgli to Maugli, Baloo to Balú, Bagheera to Bagira, Shere Khan to Sir Kán, Hathi to Háti and Kaa to Ká, among others.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • In the Hungarian translation, some characters have differently spelled names as the English original; many of them are phonetic transliterations. Frodo to Frodó, Bilbo to Bilbó, Sam to Samu, Took to Tuk, Tom Bombadil to Bombadil Toma, Gollum to Gollam, Sméagol to Szméagol, and, in older editions, Sauron to Szauron and Saruman to Szarumán (newer editions use the original spelling for these two).
    • The French translation renames Frodo and Bilbo to Frodon and Bilbon.note 
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid:
    • French translation:
      • Manny's name is changed to "Manu".
      • Rowley's name is changed to "Robert", which ironically is his father's original English name.
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    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Italian dub of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will is called Willy.
  • In the German dub of Game of Thrones, "Lannister" was changed to "Lennister".
  • LazyTown:
    • In the Finnish dub, Stingy became Stigu and Pixel became Pixeli.
    • In the Romanian dub , Stephanie's name is changed to Ștefania.

    Toys 
  • Licca-chan is a Japanese toy line that keeps to Japan. Despite this, a few licensed games have been localized under the title Lovely Lisa. In the 1970s, there was an attempt to localize the toys as Pretty Lisa.

    Video Games 
  • In the Adiboo games by Coktel Vision, Adiboo is called Adibou in the original French language.
  • Most English Animal Crossing names are nothing like their Japanese versions. Exceptions exist, though, such as Peliko to Pelly and Grace to Gracie (combined with a gender difference).
  • Danball Senki changes its characters' names from Ban Yamano to Van Yamano, Ami Kawamura to Amy Cohen, Kazu Aoshima to Kaz Walker, and Jin Kaidou to Justin Kaidou.
  • EarthBound:
    • Porky Minch was changed to Pokey. Super Smash Bros. Brawl reversed it.
    • Threek to Threed, presumably because Threek could be interpreted as "Three K" (KKK), as in the Ku Klux Klan.
    • Scarabi to Scaraba
    • The Sky Walker to the Sky Runner, which was probably done to avoid legal issues.
  • Final Fantasy II changed "Guy" to "Gus" in English, but future translations reverted him to "Guy".
  • Final Fantasy IV:
    • Cain to Kain.
    • Tella to Tellah.
    • Giotto to Giott
  • Final Fantasy VI:
    • Due to English space limits, Stragus was renamed "Strago" and Cayenne was renamed "Cyan".
    • Cefca to Kefka.
  • In Final Fantasy VIII, Ellione became "Ellone" in the English translation.
  • Final Fantasy X's Ryukku became Rikku in the English translation.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning's real name was changed from Eclair to the similar sounding Claire in the English translation. Vanilla's name also became "Vanille".
  • Final Fantasy XV:
    • Cidney Aurum to Cindy Aurum
    • Lunafrena Nox Fleuret to Lunafreya Nox Fleuret
    • Idola Eldercapt to Iedolas Aldercapt
  • Fairly common in Fire Emblem: Tiki/Chiki, Loran/Laurent, Alvis/Arvis, Sharon/Sharena, Nyna/Niena, Nowi/Nono, Beruka/Belka, etc. This isn't to say there aren't subversions, as there are many of them and the names tend to be extremely different from the originals.
  • The English version of Fire Emblem Fates changed some of the Hoshidan characters' names to be a bit easier for English players: Tsubaki became Subaki, Kazahana became Hana, Sukukaze became Kaze, Midoriko became Midori, and most confusingly, Rinka became Rinkah, for no obvious reason. It also changed some other names in a minor way while keeping the overall meaning or sound, including Aqua to Azura, Joker to Jakob, and Luna to Selena.
  • Golden Sun: Some characters had vastly different names in Japanese (Felix was Garcia, Kraden was Sclater), while others are less extreme: Mia (Mary), Matt(hew) (Muto), Tyrell (Terry), and Eoleo (Leoleo) in Japanese.
  • Inazuma Eleven:
    • At least two characters named Jin in the Japanese version had their first name name changed to Jim in the dub.
    • Kanon (Endou/Mark's great-grandson from the future) is changed to Canon.
    • Played with for Sangoku/Samgok. The former is his Japanese surname and the latter is his dub forename.
  • Kirby:
    • The katakana of Marx's name is more accurately transcribed as "Mark", although Japanese versions still romanize his name as "Marx". Marx was changed again to Max in the French translation and Mark in the Italian translation.
    • King's Doo became King Doo.
    • In French, Dedede become Dadidou (pronunced "dadeedoo")
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In the German translation of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Ilia became "Ilya" and Zant became "Zanto".
      • The French version changed Zanto again to Xanto.
    • Depending on country, Midna's name was translated as either Midna or Midona.
    • In German The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Aryll became "Aril", Medli became "Medolie" and Makar became "Makorus".
    • In the German version of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Saria became "Salia" and Nabooru became "Naboru".
    • In French Wind Waker, Aryll became "Arielle" and Medli became "Medolie".
    • In the Italian version of Ocarina of Time, Rauru became Raul and Nabooru became Naburu.
  • Mega Man X: In most cases, Maverick Bosses (the usual Mega Man 8 bosses set, for X series) have their name changed in the overseas version in a certain way: In the original, they follow A Lizard Named "Liz" (e.g Web Spidus, Cyber Kujacker), while in the localized version they're changed into Species Surname (e.g Web Spider, Cyber Peacock).
  • In Mega Man Zero, Dr. Weil's name in the original Japanese is Dr. Vile. The former surname, being in German, is pronounced in a similar way of "Vile".
  • In Ōkami, most of the characters had their name shortened in the English localization. The changes include:
    • Kushinada to Kushi
    • Issunboshi to Issun
    • Ushiwaka to Waka
    • Izanagi to Nagi
    • Izanami to Nami
    • (Hiraga) Gennai to Gen
    • Tsuzurao to Rao
    • Okikurumi to Oki
    • Kaipoku to Kai
    • Pirika to Lika
    • Kemushiri to Kemu
    • Wariunekuru to Wali
  • Some species of Pokémon have very minor changes from their Japanese names, such as Beedle/Weedle, Upah/Wooper, Hariteyama/Hariyama, Flowsel/Floatzel, Emonga/Emolga, etc.
  • Anthony Herzen from Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box was changed into Anton Herzen in the North American translation.
  • Splatoon 2 has an unusual example, in that it appeared at first to be a straight Dub Name Change. One major character in the game is named Iida in Japanese, which was changed to Marina in English. However, her full name was eventually revealed at a certain point in the game's Octo Expansion. In the English version, this scene revealed her surname, making her full name Marina Ida. In Japanese, however, the same scene instead revealed that Iida was her surname — she was previously only known on a Last-Name Basis, and her given name was actually Marine. In other words, her Japanese name, Marine Iida, was changed in English to Marina Ida.
  • In the English version of Metroid: Other M, the 07th Platoon scout Keiji Misawa is called K.G. Misawa, which is pronounced the same way.
  • In Star Fox, the name of the planet Katarina is shortened to Katina in English.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles:
    • Fiorung to Fiora
    • Rein to Reyn
    • Mumca to Mumkhar
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2:
    • Niyah to Nia
    • Shin to Jin
    • Ban to Bana
    • Laura to Lora
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X:
    • Lynlee Ku to Lin Lee Koo

    Visual Novels 

    Western Animation 
  • In the Latin American dub of Animaniacs, the eponymous show is called "Animanía" (pronounced as "Anima-NEE-ah"). Likewise, in the Romanian dub it's called "Animaniacii".
  • In the first Finnish dub of Blinky Bill from the 1990s, the character name changes mentioned below were made:
    • Flap to Väpä
    • Marcia to Marsa
    • Wombo to Vompo
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: In the Romanian dub, Courage is called Curaj and Eustace is called Eustache.
  • In the French Canadian dub of The Raccoons, Melissa's name became... Mélissa.
  • Spongebob Squarepants:
    • In the Italian dub, Squidward is always called "Squiddi", while Mr. Krabs becomes Mr. Krab.
    • In the first few seasons the names of Patrick, Gary, Sandy, and the Krusty Krab were replaced with their respective Italian phonetic spellings (Patric, Gheri, Sendi and Krasti Krab).
  • Thunder Cats:
  • When the French series Touni and Litelle was dubbed into Hebrew, the titular characters became Roni and Lital.
  • In the Italian dub of Tiny Toon Adventures, Babs Bunny is renamed Baby Bunny.
    • In the Latin Spanish dub, Babs Bunny is called Babsy Bunny and Elmyra is called Elvira.
  • The Italian dub of The Transformers renamed the Combaticons into the Combacticons. The 2008 redub, which for the most part undid the name changes from the first dub, also kept this name change.
  • In the Norwegian dubs of both DuckTales (1987) and DuckTales (2017), Webby name is changed to "Nebby". This is a Punny Name since "nebb" means "beak" in Norwegian.
  • In the Dutch dub of The Dragon Prince, Viren is changed to "Virel".

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