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"Ignore when people say that the length of a game's title is not important, that a title should just convey what the game is about. They're just jealous theirs isn't as long."

Many works of fiction are named using a "Title Colon Subtitle" template. Sometimes, however, the subtitle becomes an important part of the original work's identity, and when a sequel, spin-off or crossover with another work is made, a second subtitle is tacked on after the first. When written out, this looks ridiculous, as you have to use a colon to indicate each separate subtitle. That's Colon Cancer; Electric Boogaloo carried way too far.

Some publishers try to avoid this by using a dash instead of one of the colons, while at times when a work (especially a movie) is exported, they feel the need to add this to give a more clear idea about the plot; this is called The Foreign Subtitle.

If it's a sequel, then it's Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo.

Star Wars video games are notorious for this (usually having the Star Wars supertitle, a second title for the individual sub-series the game is part of, and then a subtitle for the individual game, e.g. Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy), as are titles derived from The World of Darkness Tabletop Games (since the individual games of that setting already have "X: The Y" names, necessitating a second subtitle for the individual game, e.g. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines). Generally, most games from a non-game franchise will suffer from this, as do Tie-In Novels.

A pun on the medical disease of the same name.

TV Tropes: Colon Cancer: The Examples: The List:

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    Anime: Manga 
  • Anime adaptations of the Fate Series include the following examples:
  • Fist of the North Star has a series consisting of three movies and two OVAs released between 2006 and 2008 titled Shin Kyūseishu Densetsu: Hokuto no Ken, translated by the film's licensing distributor as Fist of the North Star: The Legends of the True Savior. Each installment uses that title along with its own subtitle, resulting in the following:
    • Shin Kyūseishu Densetsu: Hokuto no Ken: Raō Den: Jun'ai no Shō (Fist of the North Star: The Legends of the True Savior: Legend of Raoh: Chapter of Death in Love)
    • Shin Kyūseishu Densetsu: Hokuto no Ken: Yuria Den (Fist of the North Star: The Legends of the True Savior: Legend of Yuria)
    • Shin Kyūseishu Densetsu: Hokuto no Ken: Raō Den: Gekitō no Shō (Fist of the North Star: The Legends of the True Savior: Legend of Raoh: Chapter of Fierce Fight)
    • Shin Kyūseishu Densetsu: Hokuto no Ken: Toki Den (Fist of the North Star: The Legends of the True Savior: Legend of Toki)
    • Shin Kyūseishu Densetsu: Hokuto no Ken: Zero: Kenshirō Den (Fist of the North Star: The Legends of the True Savior: Zero: Legend of Kenshiro)
  • Giant Robo: The Animation: The Day the Earth Stood Still
  • Gintama: The Movie: The Final Chapter: Be Forever Yorozuya parodies this.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex has a second season titled Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Second Gig, as well as a sequel movie titled Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Solid State Society.
  • The Lupin III yearly specials added on subtitles, beginning with 1998's Memories of the Flame ~Tokyo Crisis~, and only getting longer from there, peaking out with 2005's An Angel's Tactics ~Fragments of a Dream Are the Scent of Murder~. After that, the subtitles were reined in a bit to be shorter, and a couple of specials didn't have them at all. With the specials revival in 2019, the newer titles are brief, and they seem to be done with the subtitles.
  • Every Japanese name for the Pokémon movies, once the seasons started getting subtitles. Example: Pocket Monsters Advanced Generation the Movie: The Pokémon Ranger and the Prince of the Sea: Manaphy. That's three subtitles. Only two colons though, luckily.
  • The Japanese versions of Sands of Destruction use subtitles with tildes to differentiate adaptations (often an important thing to do, as plots and characterizations vary wildly between them). The anime is called World Destruction ~Sekai Bokumetsu Rokunin~,note  and the manga is called World Destruction ~Futari no Tenshi~.note  The game was known as World Destruction ~Michibikareshi Ishi~.note  The English translations dispensed with all this and simply titled them all Sands of Destruction, necessitating fans to specify which medium they were talking about.
  • Super Robot Wars: OriginalGeneration: Divine Wars, though no one seems sure whether both colons are necessary. The OVA Super Robot Wars: Original Generation: The Animation also qualifies.
    • As does Super Robot Wars: Original Generation: The Inspector
  • The third season of the Sword Art Online anime, which adapts the Alicization arc, was split into three airing schedules. The first 24 episodes were simply known as Sword Art Online: Alicization. Then the next 12 episodes added the sub-subtitle Sword Art Online: Alicization - War of Underworld. The final 11 episodes concluded with Sword Art Online: Alicization - War of Underworld: The Final Season. Wow.
  • The Turning Red manga spinoff is listed as Disney and Pixar’s Turning Red: 4*Town 4*Real: The Manga.
  • From the late 30s of the dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds, the logo gets a subtitle that makes it read Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's: Earthbound Immortals: Unite to Duel (It's animated - "Earthbound Immortals" is under the logo at first, and a second later, it fades to read "Unite to Duel")

    Comic: The Books 

    Fan: The Works 

    Films: The Animation 

    Films: The Live-Action Movie 

    Literature: The Novel 
  • Parodied in The Colbert Report with Stephen's terrible vanity-published novel Alpha Squad 7: Lady Nocturne: A Tek Jansen Adventure.
  • For some reason, almost every book plugged on The Daily Show (or The Colbert Report) has a subtitle, but only one to date has had two. America: Our Next Chapter: Tough Questions, Straight Answers.
  • In a nonfiction example, Kent M. Keith wrote Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments: Finding Personal Meaning in a Crazy World.
  • Doctor Who novels have mostly been free of this since BBC Books pared them down to just the series and book title but back in the early days of Virgin's original fiction we were treated to titles like Doctor Who: The New Adventures: Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible.
  • The Elder Scrolls: The tie-in lorebooks to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and The Elder Scrolls Online. The first volume in each, respectively, are The Elder Scrolls Online: Tales of Tamriel - Vol. I: The Land and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - The Skyrim Library, Vol 1: The Histories.
  • Lincoln Alexander, a former Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, managed to cram two colons and a comma into the title of Go to School, You're a Little Black Boy: The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander: A Memoir.
  • The Parody of Sarah Palin's autobiography is called Going Rouge: Sarah Palin: An American Nightmare.
  • A Tie-In Novel example is titled Heroes: Saving Charlie: A Novel.
  • I Am Number Four has a series of (important) supplemental e-novellas called "The Lost Files." The first title in this series, which sets the insanely high bar for story title-age everywhere, is I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: Six's Legacy. The rest of them (Nine's Legacy, The Fallen Legacies) follow this trend.
  • Justin Bieber's official biography, Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever: My Story.
  • Older Than Radio: Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "Kubla Khan" has the seldom-used full title "Kubla Khan; or, A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment".
  • While every book in the Left Behind series has at least one colon, Assassins: Assignment: Jerusalem, Target: Antichrist packs a whopping three colons into one title without irony.
  • The 2010 biography Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century: Volume 1, 1907-1948: Learning Curve
  • This is par for the course in media tie-in fiction, as also evidenced in Star Trek novels, e.g. Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Q Continuum: Q-Strike, Star Trek: The Next Generation: Cold Equations: The Persistence of Memory (and there are many more.)
  • Star Wars novels seem to have it in spades. The worst offenders are some of the New Jedi Order series, such as Star Wars: The New Jedi Order: Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream. Star Wars: Darth Bane: Path of Destruction: A Novel of the Old Republic also deserves a mention. Its sequel dropped the final colon. Star Wars: Dark Lord—The Rise of Darth Vader tries to avoid it by using an em dash on its copyright page.
  • As if his blindness weren't enough, adventurer Erik Weihenmayer contracted Colon Cancer in his autobiography, Touch the Top of the World: A Blind Man's Journey to Climb Farther than the Eye Can See: My Story.
  • Strength & Justice has two books with colons already in their individual titles, so it's written out as Strength & Justice: Side: Strength and Strength & Justice: Side: Justice in full.
  • Sword Art Online has spawned a lot of spin-off material, and those titles get into this territory. The best example from this franchise would probably be Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online IV: Third Squad Jam: Betrayer's Choice. Phew!
    • That one has now been one-upped by its fifth volume: Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online V: Third Squad Jam: Betrayer's Choice: Finish. This still stands as the longest title of any Sword Art Online light novel volume.
  • Every single book from the second series onward in Warrior Cats. Each book has the initial title Warriors, and two subtitles to indicate which specific series it belongs to, and the title of the book itself (for example: Warriors: The New Prophecy #3: Dawn, Warriors: Power of Three #2: Dark River, and Warriors: Omen of the Stars #1: The Fourth Apprentice).
  • Book based on the World of Warcraft MMO lore, World of Warcraft: Arthas: Rise of the Lich King.
    • Also World of Warcraft: Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, World Of Warcraft: Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, and World of Warcraft: Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde.

    Live Action: The TV Series 
  • Babylon 5's second Spin-Off only consisted of one movie, but since it was supposed to be a pilot episode as well, it had both an episode and a series title. As a result, it ended up being called Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers: To Live and Die in Starlight (though the third part is often left off).
  • When Freddy Krueger got his own show, simply calling it Freddy's Nightmares didn't do. No, this is A Nightmare on Elm Street show, and people had to know it! Thus its full name became Freddy's Nightmares: A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Series.
  • One of the original shows for Disney+ is about a group of students putting on a production of the stage adaptation of High School Musical, appropriately titled High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.
    • The behind-the-scenes special is, of course, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series: The Special.
    • The holiday special is High School Musical: The Musical: The Series: The Holiday Special.
      • Exaggerated with the soundtrack for said holiday special, which is High School Musical: The Musical: The Series: The Holiday Special: The Official Soundtrack.
  • A fake Police Procedural series on Cartoon Network's [adult swim] is entitled NTSF:SD:SUV:: which stands for "National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: Sport Utility Vehicle". The name itself, obviously, is a rip on the naming conventions of real police procedurals such as CSI and the Law & Order series (most notably SVU). To complete the parody, the last two colons are purely decorative.
  • The second season of Holey Moley ended with a pair of retrospective episodes titled Holey Moley II: The Sequel: The Special: Unhinged: Part One/Deux. The hosts repeatedly point out that the title is unnecessarily long and has too many parts, though it doesn't stop them from occasionally making up even longer variations of it.

    Music: The Album 
  • The seventh entry in Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series: The Bootleg Series Vol. 7: No Direction Home: The Soundtrack.
  • Coheed and Cambria's third and fourth albums are named Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV: Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness and Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV: Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow.
    • They have a song titled "The Willing Well III: Apollo II: The Telling Truth".
  • Compost Ambient Selection: Sleeping Beauty: Compost Relax Works: Compiled By Minus 8.
  • Italian power metal band Domine's third album is called Stormbringer Ruler: The Legend of the Power Supreme, and closes with a track called Dawn of a New Day - A Celtic Requiem: The Chronicles of the Black Sword - The End of an Era part 4.
  • Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded: The Re-Up.
  • Videogame: The Movie: The Game: The Cover Album.
  • More like Parenthesis Cancer on Taylor Swift's song, All Too Well, where the 10 minute version's full title is All Too Well (Ten Minute Version)(Taylor's Version)(From the Vault) with it's slower acoustic remix tacking on (Sad Girl Autumn Version)(Recorded at Long Pong Studio) or as the fans jokingly nickname it, ATWTMVTVFTVSGAVRALPS.

    Pod: The Cast 

    Table Top: The Games 

    Butai Theatre: The Stage 

    Video: The Games 

    Web: The Original 

    The Western: The Animation 

    Other: Uncategorized Stuff 
  • Most students who have quoted other works in an academic paper have undoubtedly come across this phenomenon, since many methods for citation require putting the author's name in front of the quoted work's title, with a colon in between. If the work title itself has a colon, then you have instant colon cancer.
    • Smithee, Alan J.: Tropes, Idioms, and Cliches: Essays on a Certain Addictive Website (Troperville, 2008).
  • Cyclopaedia, or, An Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences: Containing the Definitions of the Terms, and Accounts of the Things Signify'd Thereby, in the Several Arts, both Liberal and Mechanical, and the Several Sciences, Human and Divine: the Figures, Kinds, Properties, Productions, Preparations, and Uses, of Things Natural and Artificial; the Rise, Progress, and State of Things Ecclesiastical, Civil, Military, and Commercial: with the Several Systems, Sects, Opinions, etc; among Philosophers, Divines, Mathematicians, Physicians, Antiquaries, Criticks, etc.: The Whole Intended as a Course of Ancient and Modern Learning.
  • The C++ programming language uses a double-colon to denote levels of scope. It's entirely possible to have lines of code that look like "MyNamespace::MyClass::SomeFunction(MyOtherNamespace::MyOtherClass::SomeConstant);".
    • This is especially common with code that uses the standard template library. The cancer can grow so deep that some compilers just give up.
  • Inverted and justified in the Colon Classification scheme for libraries by S.R. Ranganathan: it makes the tacking on of several extra colons into its strength.
  • Present in the bizarre naming schemes of modern-day cars, just sans colons, for example: Porsche 911 Targa 4S GTS.
  • British TV network Channel 5 has used this a lot with their programming in recent years.

    Fictional: The Examples 

Live-Action TV

Video Games Web Video Western Animation

Alternative Title(s): Multi Colon Title