Follow TV Tropes


Hero with a Unique Name

Go To

[holding the phone] "Connie? The Steven Universe boy would like to speak with you. [to herself as she walks out of the room] I swear that's not his real name."
Dr. Maheswaran, Steven Universe, "Marble Madness"

Let's say you want to make a cast that each have something in common or all part of a group or team. Warriors, sports players, animals, they all have something in common. But, how are people going to tell who is The Protagonist or main character if everyone shares the same qualities? Easy, just slap on a random and unique name on them that separates them from the rest of the cast.

For example, you make a story about main characters who are named after the planets of the Solar System (Mercury, Venus, Mars, etc.) and then you name the protagonist "Bob". Why? To help make him more important and stand out more as the main character of course! This also makes Bob much more memorable and easier to remember than the rest of the cast with their similar qualities and harder to remember names.

This trope is a staple of RPG games where many of them will give players the option of naming their protagonist any name they wish where they can invoke this trope. Also, any game that lets you name your character, or characters where you can give all of them matching names except for the protagonist can count.

May overlap with Meaningful Name, Awesome Mc Cool Name, Odd Name Out, and Aerith and Bob. Compare and contrast with Special Person, Normal Name. If this happens in the dub, it's Mascot's Name Goes Unchanged. This trope is used for similar reasons as Flashy Protagonists, Bland Extras.

Expect their names to be hilariously Lampshaded by other characters especially depending on their outlandishness. Usually this character will be a Token Human or Token Non-Human for good measure.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Pokémon: The Series has the protagonist Ash Ketchum, who's name stands out as a Shout-Out to the series' motto, "Gotta catch 'em all!". Ash also stands out in dubs as being one of the very few characters to have a known last name. It was used to get around the Lip Lock for his Japanese name (Satoshi).
  • Pokémon Adventures:
    • Due to being named after the games, most protagonists are traditionally named after gems and colors while everyone else has more common names.
    • With Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 the manga decided to name the protagonists "Lack-Two" and "Whi-Two", which aren't even words, never mind common names. Averted in the international release, when their names are changed to "Blake" and "Whitley", respectively, which are normal names compared to the rest of the protagonists.
    • Internationally, "Y" was given the "It's a nickname" treatment and thus her real name is "Yvonne". "X" also received this treatment with his real name being "Xavier" but only in the French translations. In Japan though, X and Y literally are their names.
  • Sailor Moon, the protagonist, is the only character who is not named after a planet in the Solar System (or, alternatively, the only one named after a natural satellite) and instead named after Earth's moon.
  • Invoked in the English dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! where the main cast had vastly different names than their Japanese names while the protagonist's name, Yugi Moto, remained unchanged and is now the only one with a Japanese name. (Jonouchi/Joey, Anzu/Tea, Honda/Tristan)
  • Most characters in Beyblade Burst have normal names like "Shu" and "Kensuke". The protagonist's name is "Valt". It's a Meaningful Name as his Bey is named "Valtryek".
  • Lampshaded with Chrono Shindou of Cardfight!! Vanguard G, as he shares his name with his ace monster and half the cards in his deck. He is very annoyed when somebody points this out. The other characters have perfectly normal Japanese names.

    Film — Animation 
  • Z-4195, the protagonist of Antz is the only important ant character whose name is a single letter and a number. Everyone else (Weaver, Mandible, Bala, etc.) are examples of A Lizard Named "Liz". Ironically, in-universe his name implies the opposite, i.e. that he's such a generic worker that he didn't even get a proper name, just a letter and a number.
  • Big Hero 6 features Hiro Hamada, a protagonist with the only Alliterative Name, as well as being the "hero" of the story. Also, the rest of the superhero team are Only Known by Their Nickname.
  • In The Incredibles, Mr. Incredible is the protagonist and the only one in the family with the "Mr. Name" title (Elastigirl, Dash, Violet, Jack-Jack).
  • The Iron Giant features people named Kent, Dean, Annie, and protagonist Hogarth Hughes, whose name is remarked upon as unusual.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Star-Lord, the protagonist from Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), is a Token Human whose real name is Peter Quill. "Star-Lord" is a name he made up himself and it is hilariously Lampshaded by multiple characters. He is also among a cast of aliens like Gamora, Drax, Groot, and Rocket.

  • Franklin the Turtle is the protagonist and the only one who isn't named after what animal he is. This started when Franklin was the first and only character to be made for a one-shot book. When the author was told to make more stories, she decided to not give the other animals names in order to help Franklin stand out as the main character. Adults are generally given a Species Surname, e.g. Mr. and Mrs. Turtle are Franklin's parents. Siblings are generally given a Punny Name based on the type of animal, e.g. Beaver's little brother Kit and Bear's little sister Beatrice "Bea" Bear. The only other unique names we get are also within the Turtle family - his own little sister (introduced relatively late in the series) is named Harriet after their Great-Aunt Harriet, and his grandmother on his mother's side has the name Jenny. Both of them also still carry "Turtle" as a species surname.
  • In The Hobbit, protagonist Bilbo Baggins is the only major character who has a family name; all other characters have either a single name (Gandalf, Bard, Beorn, Elrond, Gollum, the dwarves) or have No Name Given (the Great Goblin, the Elvenking, the Master of Laketown). This is justified by the fact that hobbits (and Bree-men, who are not featured in The Hobbit) are the only culture in Middle-Earth where family names as such exist. Similarly, out of the thirteen dwarves, Thorin Oakenshield is the only one with an epithet, as The Leader of the dwarves and the deuteragonist of the book.
  • How to Train Your Dragon has the cast of warriors (Astrid, Snoutlout, Ruffnut, Tuffnut) and the protagonist has the alliterative name, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third.
  • Little Bear is the only animal named "Little", despite other animals being little as well. (Duck, Cat, Owl, Hen)
  • Winnie the Pooh sticks out like a sore thumb among the other animals Tigger, Piglet, Owl, and Rabbit.
  • All of the animals in Pinduli are A Dog Named "Dog" except for the protagonist, Pinduli.
  • Varjak Paw from Varjak Paw is the only one in his family to not have a name that begins with "J". When Varjak goes Outside, he stands out against characters like "Tam" and "Sally {Bones]" (which gets lampshaded).
  • Subverted in Warrior Cats. The series starts with a cat named "Rusty" who joins a colony of feral cats with names like "Bluestar", "Runningwind", and "Graystripe". Rusty is quickly given the Meaningful Rename of "Firepaw" (which later becomes "Fireheart" and then "Firestar" once he's pronounced The Leader).

    Video Games 
  • In the original F-Zero, the protagonist Captain Falcon is the only character to have the "Captain" title, as well as sharing his name with his proper vehicle.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VII: the protagonist is simply named after the object/noun "Cloud" among other fantastic names.
    • Final Fantasy VIII: "Squall" the protagonist is the only one with a noun/verb for a name.
    • Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning uses a nickname unlike the other characters.
  • Fire Emblem introduced customizable playable avatar characters although they are not the protagonists. Not until Fire Emblem Fates where the protagonist is the customizable character who stands out and is simply known as "Avatar/My Unit". "Kamui/Corrin" is a placeholder name.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's games feature Token Human protagonists who face off against a crew of animatronic animals during the night.
  • Kirby is the protagonist and the only main character with a realistic and ordinary name, where people's first or last names can be Kirby.
  • In The Legend of Spyro, there are Guardian dragons who are named after their elemental powers, Ignitus, Volteer, Cyril, Terrador, and the Odd Name Out protagonist Spyro who possesses All Your Powers Combined.
  • Mega Man (Classic) features the Robot Masters built by Dr. Light and Dr. Wily which are all named after their abilities (Heat Man, Bomb Man, Ice Man, etc.), and "Mega Man", the protagonist, has a Non-Indicative Name where his name refers to his Mega Buster, but even then, he is versatile and can equip himself with other Robot Masters' powers. (And don't get us started on his Japanese name, "Rockman").
  • Parappa The Rapper is the protagonist and the only character whose name doesn't even remotely describe what animal he is. (Sunny Funny the sunflower, Katy Kat the cat, PJ Berri the bear, Master Onion the onion, etc).
  • In Portal, the protagonist, Chell, is a Token Human among a cast of robots and AI with robotic names.
  • The Secret of Monkey Island has a decently sized cast of characters. We have Elaine, the hero's love interest. We have Carla, the local sword master. We have Otis, who's seemingly always in jail. We also have Herman, a shipwrecked hermit, and the Big Bad, LeChuck. So what's the hero's name? Guybrush Threepwood.
  • In the Star Fox games, Fox McCloud is the only member of the Star Fox team with their first name as to what animal they are. (Falco, Peppy, Slippy)
  • Undertale features the protagonist simply named, "The Kid" amongst all the fantastic character names. Turns out the name is "Frisk", but even then it still stands out among Toriel, Undyne, and Papyrus.
  • Warcraft III: Among characters with names like Grom Hellscream, Cairne Bloodhoof, or Malfurion Stormrage, the orc hero Thrall stands out by averting Luke Nounverber (he was Raised by Humans as a slave and keeps the name to remember it). He ends up leading the orc horde away from its (semi-willing) demonic possession.
  • Implied in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon. Though you can choose your name, the fact that you're a former human suggests that you wouldn't be named something like "Bulbasaur" or "Cyndaquil". Every other Pokemon in the game uses the name of their species as their name, switching names if they evolve. They can be nicknamed by the player however that isn't their true name. Your teammate lampshades your odd name when you meet by saying it's unusual.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball features the Watterson family, parents Richard and Nicole, daughter Anais, son Darwin, and the protagonist, their son Gumball. Subverted when it's revealed "Gumball" is a nickname and his real name is "Zach", though he changes his legal name to "Gumball" after the reveal.
  • Word of God has confirmed that the official protagonist of The Backyardigans is Uniqua. The other four Backyardigans are named Pablo, Tyrone, Tasha and Austin. Uniqua is also unique to her species and the other four are, respectively, a penguin, a moose, a hippo, and a kangaroo.
  • Big City Greens: Cricket is the protagonist, and his name is quite unusual when most of the other cast members have fairly normal names, such as Tilly (likely short for Matilda), Bill, Alice, Nancy, Remy, Gloria, Chip, etc.
  • Blue's Clues features the Token Human Steve who lives in a house with Blue, a blue dog, Salt and Pepper the salt and pepper shakers, Shovel and Pail the shovel and pail, Mailbox the mailbox, and so on.
  • Cat and Dog from CatDog are a cat and dog literally combined and are an Odd Name Out.
  • The protagonist of Gravity Falls, Dipper Pines, goes by an unusual nickname as his real name is never revealed in-series. A book released after the series end revealed that his name is "Mason", which matches his twin sister's name "Mabel".
  • Krypto the Superdog features The Dog Star Patrol which are a team of superpowered dogs who patrol the galaxy and they all possess dog-themed names. When the protagonist Krypto joins them, he stands out by being named after his home planet Krypton, instead of a dog-themed name.
  • Maggie of Maggie and the Ferocious Beast is the Token Human protagonist and the only one without a last name.
  • Miraculous Ladybug:
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: Twilight Sparkle, the show's protagonist, has a four-syllable name, while the rest of the main cast have three-syllable names.
  • Pelswick, the protagonist, stands out among names like Kate, Bobby, Ace, Goon, and Julie.
  • Rainbow Brite's real name "Wisp" stands out amongst the two other undeniably human characters names, Brian and Krys. Rainbow is also the only Color Kid who has her name shown (assuming they're not literally named names like "Stormy" and "LaLa Orange").
  • Rocko, the protagonist of Rocko's Modern Life is the only main character with Only One Name.
  • Steven Universe: The Crystal Gems are named after real life gems and then there is Steven, the protagonist, who is the only Crystal Gem to not be named after a gem—but his middle name is "Quartz". As mentioned in the quote, Steven's surname ("Universe") also stands out among the other humans—and Steven actually gets it from his human father, not his Crystal Gem mother. It's later revealed that Greg changed his name to "Universe", probably back when he was a singer.
  • In Transformers, many times, the protagonist Optimus Prime, and by extension his other name "Orion Pax", stands out with an awesome and unique name where most Autobots have single-spaced and mechanical-themed names. (Wheeljack, Cliffjumper, Ratchet)