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Justified Title

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Superman: The only way for me to solve this crisis is to be Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.
Peter Griffin: Ah, so that's why they called it that.

A strange title naming trope where a title that obviously refers to one thing — the general idea of a work, or something about its format — is contrived so as to refer to something specific in the story.

This means more than just that the title refers to something in the work — it means that the title so obviously refers to something else that the fact that it does mean something in the work comes across as pretty farfetched. It's as if Star Wars: Episode IV had taken place on the fourth moon around a gas giant named "Episode", and the viewers were supposed to believe that that's what "Episode IV" really refers to.

Compare Title Drop and Epunymous Title. I Am Not Shazam is what happens when the title has one meaning but fans assume a different meaning. If the title refers to more than one concept within the work, it's a Double-Meaning Title. See also Self-Referential Track Placement.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The voiceover for the Virtua Fighter anime doesn't claim it has anything to do with a video game; rather, it says that the main character Akira is named the Virtua Fighter. Needless to say, this is referenced nowhere else. The Latin American Dub tried to make up by translating "Virtua" as "Virtuous".
  • The Wild ARMs: TV series claims that the TV stands for "Twilight Venom", not "television".
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is something of a fake-out. "Tengen Toppa" means approximately "Heaven Breakthrough", and "Gurren Lagann" is the name of the main Humongous Mecha used throughout the series, so you might think it's a typical "descriptive-phrase main-vehicle-name" title such as Martian Successor Nadesico... but no. There's actually a machine used near the end called, in full, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. And it's even more impressive than the name implies.
  • SD has been known for some time to stand for Super-Deformed especially in the Gundam franchise; but SD Gundam Force has it stand for Superior Defender, referring to the heroic Gundam protectors.
  • The title of the Natsume Ono manga Not Simple is not only fitting due to the complex method of anachronic order that the story is told in, but also references the title of an in-universe novel written by a freelance journalist which is used as a framing device for the story overall.
  • Yu Gi Oh ARCV's title features a few puns. The "arc" not only refers to this show being the fifth Yugioh story arc (as in, it's the fifth anime series.) "Arc" is also a reference to a pendulum arc, and the V looks like a kind of pendulum arc. "ARC-V" as a term is also relevant in the final season of the show, as the Professor's machine that he wants to use to fuse the four dimensions.
  • The chapter "Change" in Shimeji Simulation represents the permanent alteration of West Yomogi into a World of Chaos by Big Sis, as well as with humans granting Reality Warping abilities. The manga's title is also a Spoiler Title, due to the nature of the reveals regarding this manga's world being a simulated reality.

    Comic Books 
  • The DC Comics mini-series 52 was 52 issues long, one per week for a year; within the story, the title refers to the characters' discovery of 52 universes in The Multiverse. Additionally, the number "52" appeared whenever it was even remotely possible to do so — everything from numbers on football players to clocks set to "5:02". Plus, the final issue of the series came out on 5/2/2007, though DC comics says this was a coincidence.
  • Final Crisis: Superman Beyond 3D is a 3D comic that involves Superman entering the "Bleed" between universes; going "beyond" three-dimensional space.
  • Marvel Team-Up Vol 3 #19 (June 2006) is a Flash Back story teaming-up the early '90s versions of Wolverine and Cable. It's called "1991", because that's the identification number of the HYDRA base they're raiding.
  • Grandville is titled after the 19th century French artist J.J. Grandville, whose Funny Animal lithographs were one of the book's inspirations. In universe, Grandville is a nickname for Paris, literally the "great city".


  • The Burglar in the Rye by Lawrence Block is so named because it concerns the theft of the personal correspondence of a disguised J. D. Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye. Since the story renames the author and the book respectively as Gulliver Fairborn and Nobody's Baby, there's a subplot involving Bernie starting a trend of drinking rye whiskey.
  • The novel 24: Deadline is set just after season 8. Its title is time-related, since 24 is depicted in Real Time, but it features a town named Deadline in the story.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 200th episode of Stargate SG-1 is titled "200". In an obvious bit of Leaning on the Fourth Wall, Mitchell makes a big deal about it being his 200th trip through the gate.
  • The TV show One Tree Hill is named after a U2 song, which in turn is named after a hill in New Zealand. The fictional town the show is set in is called Tree Hill, and the season one finale has Karen remind Lucas that 'there is only one Tree Hill'.
  • Quatermass II is obviously named that because it's a sequel to The Quatermass Experiment. But essential to the plot is a rocketship actually called the "Quatermass II".
  • Doctor Who:
    War Doctor: What I did, I did without choice.
    11th Doctor : I know.
    War Doctor: In the name of peace and sanity.
    11th Doctor : But not in the Name of the Doctor.
  • Lost: The pilot episode (called simply "Pilot"), involves the main characters searching for (and finding) the missing pilot of the crashed airliner.
  • Midnight Caller: The title of the Grand Finale, "City of Lost Souls," sounds like it refers to San Francisco. It's actually the name of a homeless camp.

    Video Games 
  • Many Nintendo DS games justify the usage of Super Title 64 Advance by making the DS mean something other than the name of the system:
  • Metroid:
    • The "Prime" in Metroid Prime is meant to denote it as a side series to the main Metroid games. The final boss is called the Metroid Prime even though its relationship with Metroids is rather vague.
    • There is also an actual "Super Metroid" in Super Metroid.
  • The Dead or Alive series takes its name from how the game was expected to either sink or save the floundering company TECMO, thus the "Dead or Alive Tournament" is an attempt to justify the title. This makes sense when one considers that "Dead or Alive" is a rather strange name for a tournament in which nobody dies.
  • The original Marathon game was so named early on because the creators pictured the player running a "Marathon" of endless fighting throughout the game. The title is justified fairly well in-game by calling the colony ship The Marathon, which is ostensibly running a "marathon" from Earth to Tau Ceti, however the making-of book confirms that the project was named first, and the colony ship is therefore a justification.
  • Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days is named for the fact that it takes place between the numbered games, and one week shy of a year (358 days) is the amount of time that elapses between them, and, hence, is the period in which Roxas was part of Organization XIII. (For those curious, the remaining seven days of that year comprise the prologue of KHII, where a mind-wiped Roxas is placed inside a virtual Twilight Town.) The 2 symbolizes his relationship with Sora and also symbolizes the fact that the 358 days are shared by both Roxas and Xion, both of whom are part of Sora (in a sense).
  • The original Japanese subtitle for Solatorobo: Red the Hunter, "And Then, To CODA", fits in with the Musical Theme Naming of the greater Little Tail Bronx saga— a coda represents the end to a piece of music. In-game, however, "CODA" refers to the "Continent Orientation Defloat Alignment", a protocol the game's Big Bad aims to use for their plans to exterminate all sentient life.
  • The Xenoblade Chronicles series:
    • Xenoblade Chronicles 1: The main character wields a single weapon for the majority of the game: a plot-centric blade that's specialized against the mechanical invaders that come from the other (xeno) of the two giants that constitute the game world. It is also a "xeno" blade in the sense that it is responsible for the creation of everything.
    • Xenoblade Chronicles X does it even more egregiously, especially considering how as a Non-Linear Sequel it shouldn't really need any justification for the title: In this game, the focus is around the conflict between the military organization Blade and their various encounters with aliens, which in this universe are referred to as Xenos. Elma, one of the main characters, is secretly a Xeno and also a member of Blade, which technically justifies the title.
    • Xenoblade Chronicles 2 refers to the Aegis, an atypical Blade. Said Blade is related to the Monado, meaning that it is literally Xeno Blade 2.
    • Xenoblade Chronicles 3 has the protagonist Noah possess a mysterious, unique sword called the Lucky Seven, said to be sharp enough to cut anything. It turns out to be made from the metals that comprise the reality-maintaining Origin computer at the center of Aionios.
  • Bonk's original Japanese name was PC Genjin, which sounds like PC Engine aka TurboGrafx-16, the console he originally appeared on. As for the name, "genjin" means "caveman" in Japanese, and PC was his humorous definition Pitecanthropus Computerusus.
  • Metal Gear Solid Δ: The Delta symbol has the meaning of "change" or "difference" in mathematics, and it also has the meaning of changing an amount without changing the structure, which is why it was chosen for the remake of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater as while the game itself is being changed its story isn't being updated or altered.

    Visual Novels 


    Western Animation 
  • Batman Beyond obviously refers to how it's about a Batman both beyond the time of the previous series and Bruce's use of the title. Years after the show ended, its Fully Absorbed Finale in Justice League Unlimited gives a literal meaning to "Batman Beyond": it's the name of the project Amanda Waller instituted to make sure there would be a new Batman.
  • Parodied in Family Guy with a cutaway montage of Peter hearing title drops in movies and finishing with an example that could go on this page if only it were true:
    Superman: If I'm going to solve this, I'm going to have to be Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.
    Peter Griffin: Ah, so that's why they called it that.
  • The main character of Disney's Goliath II is actually an elephant. Goliath I is actually his father.
  • The Patrick Star Show has this title because it's a Spin-Off of Sponge Bob Squarepants featuring Patrick Star as the main character. But he also has a Show Within a Show to go with this.