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Localized Name in a Non-Localized Setting

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When works use a Dub Name Change this often correlates with changing the series' setting. In blatant cases, this leads to a Thinly-Veiled Dub Country Change.

This trope occurs when the names are changed but there isn't a cultural change. As a result, the character names stand out in the work's setting. For example, a Japanese-set anime with one or two characters named something like "Juan Martinez" or "Robert Smith" wouldn't be too odd, but a Japanese-set anime where everyone has Westernized names stands out unless it's given an in-series reason.

Compare to Cultural Translation and Creator's Culture Carryover.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Ace Attorney (2016) anime does this out of necessity. While the games the anime is based on have been fully localized, the setting was moved from Japan to California. However, the anime decided to keep the original Japanese setting for authenticity sakes. The freedom the Anime has at showing locations the visual novel cannot also likely contributes to this decision, given visual assets for an anime are far higher quality than a visual novel. This comes with the odd situation of most of the characters having a Punny Name, with Western audiences being much more familiar with the localized names than the original Japanese ones due to the games (e.g. Phoenix Wright vs. Ryuuichi Naruhodou), so the English dub uses the English names as a Cultural Translation of sorts, but everything else remains Japanese. Due to this unique situation, there are also two different subtitle tracks included on the disc: one with Japanese names, the other with English names.
  • The fansubs for the TBS version of Aggretsuko use Western or Western-sounding names (Doug, Lucille, Eaglette, Ruth, Hippatricia, Carrie, Armadonna, Scatherine, Giselle, Heinrich, Lester, Raquel, Zelda, Wolfgang, etc.) for every character save Retsuko and Yokosawa despite the series taking place in Japan. This was mostly done to preserve the A Lizard Named "Liz" factor of the original names.
  • Beyblade:
    • Every character in the dub of Bakuten Shoot Beyblade remains of the same nationality as they are in the original, but the dub gives most American(ized) names. For instance, the Japanese Hiromi becomes the Japanese Hilary, the French Olivier becomes the French Oliver, the Russian Boris becomes the Russian Bryan, and the Brazilian Paula becomes the Brazilian Frankie.
    • The English version of Beyblade Burst changes names at random, but all the characters still come from their respective countries. Some characters get Westernized names, some characters get shortened versions of their Japanese names, and some characters get different Japanese names, but they're still from Japan.
  • Captain Tsubasa: European and Latin-American dubs Westernize the names of all the characters but don't hide the fact that they are Japanese. It's a series about Association Football and later the main characters will play for Japan's national team, and this is never changed in the dubs. It gets awkward when Japan competes with other foreign teams: the players of every country have names fitting their native language but the players of the Japanese team have English names.
  • When Case Closed was made into an anime, its first hundred-plus episodes got an English dub set it Japan. However, many character names were switched out for English ones.
    • The main character's real name was changed from Shinichi to Jimmy.
    • The lead love interest had her name changed from Ran Mori to Rachel Moore.
    • Ran's father's name was changed from Kogoro to Richard.
    • Conan's elementary school friends all had their names changed. In Japanese, their names were Ayumi Yoshida, Genta Kojima, Mitsuhiko Tsubaraya, and Ai Haibara, but in English, their names changed to Amy Yeager, George Kaminski, Mitch Tennison, and Vi Graythorn/Anita Hailey respectively.
    • There are too many recurring characters with their names changed to list them all here, but here is a list of some of the series' characters that gives both their Japanese name, and, if applicable, their English name.
    • The English manga release keeps the localized names for most of the main characters, but leaves the names of one-shot characters (as well as some main characters, including ones that didn't make it into the dub) in Japanese.
  • The Funimation dub of Crayon Shin-chan is a strange example. While everyone except Shin got Western names (for instance, Nene was changed to Penny and Kazama was changed to Georgie), the characters often talk about both Japanese and American culture, to the point where one episode actually lampshaded it:
    Georgie: And that's why Rudy Giuliani should be America's next president.
    Shin: Don't we live in Japan?
  • Digimon:
    • Downplayed in the English dub to Digimon Adventure. Most of the characters keep their Japanese names but are referred to by their Westernized nicknames. Sora and Mimi didn't get nicknames and instead are referred to with their original names, Jou had the spelling changed to "Joe", and Hikari was outright changed to just Kari with no mention of her Japanese name. The first two arcs (the Devimon & Etemon) arcs stays vague about where the kids are from with just references to "summer camp" and "our home town" implying they could be from anywhere. However this is dropped entirely in the Myotismon Arc when the kids are told they need to travel back to Earth and Gennai openly says this means back to Japan. This may be due to the fact that so many Japanese landmarks (the Fuji TV building, Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Big Site, Shibuya Station) are prominent in this arc that Saban just gave up trying to mask it.
    • Digimon Adventure 02 changed Daisuke's name to Davis, Iori's name to Cody, and Miyako's name to Yolei, but kept their surnames and kept the setting in Japan.
    • Digimon Tamers changed Jiangling's name to Henry and Shaochung's name to Suzie, but they're still half-Chinese and the setting is still Japan. Juri's name was also changed to Jeri. All other names were either left alone or, strangely, changed into entirely different Japanese names.
    • Digimon Frontier changed Izumi's name to Zoe, Tomoki's name to Tommy, and Junpei's name to J.P., but kept their surnames and the Japanese setting, and the rest of the human cast kept their Japanese names.
  • This runs rampant in Pretty Cure dubs. Futari wa Pretty Cure's Canadian dub was faithful enough, but the Meaningful Names of the main characters were translated appropriately (Misumi Nagisa became Natalie Blackstone, Yukishiro Honoka became Hannah Whitehouse). For the two Glitter Force dubs of Smile Pretty Cure! and Doki Doki! PreCure, despite featuring Japanese elements like the characters eating "Japanese pizza" (okonomiyaki) and the second series keeping "DokiDoki" right there in the title, the girls have names like Emily, Lily, Maya and Rachel. Their last names are usually left untranslated, in some cases leading to Barely-Changed Dub Name (Aida Mana becomes Maya Aida).
  • The English dub to Inazuma Eleven: Ares uses Western names like "Sonny" or "Johnny" yet it's repeatedly mentioned that the characters are Japanese.
  • Most non-English dubs for Magic Knight Rayearth use Western names for the protagonists (as a request by TMS), but does not remove the fact that they came from Japan following the incident in Tokyo Tower.
  • The English translation of the Miracle Girls manga Westernizes the twins names as well as their love interests, but everyone else keeps their Japanese name. Tomomi and Mikage Matsunaga are changed to Toni and Mika Morgan, but their parents and maternal aunt still have Japanese given names.
  • Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Adventure!'s English translation makes this more noticeable than in other adaptations. The series takes place in the Hokkaido-based Sinnoh. The Canon Foreigner characters keep their original Japanese names, but the game characters use their Dub Name Changes (aside from The Rival, who didn't have an English Canon Name until the anime named him "Barry").
  • Happened in Sailor Moon in the first English dub. While the setting was still set in Japan, many characters had their names change to be more Western. Like Serena (Usagi), Darien (Mamoru), and Molly (Naru).
  • Shaman King: Downplayed in the English dub - most characters retain their Japanese names, and the exceptions seem to be characters whose names the dub team thought would sound silly to their audience.
    • Viewpoint character Oyamada Manta becomes Mortimer "Morty" Oyamada. The "uncut" edition of the anime goes for a strange middle ground, naming him Morty Manta.
    • Big Bad Hao becomes Zeke.
    • Zigzagged with Ainu character Horokeu, who usually goes by his nickname "Horohoro". In the dub Horohoro is his real name, and his nickname is "Trey Racer".
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: After the original series dub — which was made to be set in America instead of Japan — the series never bothered with clarifying which country the various sequels take place in, and any cultural hints such as the food remain unchanged even in the dub. This does not stop the consistent and excessive Dub Name Changes in all the series.
    • A more blatant case happens in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, where even the already American names receive a Dub Name Change, but the setting doesn't change at all.
    • Somewhat averted in Yu Gi Oh ARCV, where Miami City (not the actual one) is changed to Paradise City. Otherwise played straight, though "The City" is changed to "New Domino City" so as to not confuse English speakers (the "City" part is pronounced in English in the Japanese version). Again, Dub Name Change is still rampant.

    Comic Books 
  • Downplayed Trope in Asterix; the English translation changes all the Punny Names from French to English, while keeping the Gaulish setting, but they were never real Gaulish names in the first place.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • In the British dub of Peter No-Tail (1981), most of the characters' names are actually not changed so much as Anglicanized, such as the title cat, Pelle, which is simply the Swedish form of Peter, yet, the film still takes place in Uppsala, Sweden, and it is clearly mentioned several times. Most characters get their names changed to similar but different names, such as Maya Creamnose to Molly Silknose ('Maja' is essentially just 'Maya'), and the main antagonist, Elaka Måns, to "Mean Mike". Peter/Pelle's owners Birgitta and Olle, Måns's two minions Bill and Bull, Frida, Fritz, and Fridolf keep their original names however.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • The original Italian translation of the Captain Underpants gave everyone Italian names, while keeping the story still explicitely set in Ohio. The later reprints give back to some characters their original English names, while keeping the localized ones for whoever has a Meaningful Name (like most of the school staff or the villains).
  • Harry Potter:
    • From the second book onwards, the Danish translator gives most new characters with a Meaningful Name a new Danish name. However, the story still very much takes place in the UK which means that the setting has a lot of characters with awfully non-British names walking around, like Glitterik Smørhår (Gilderoy Lockhart), Dolora Nidkjær (Dolores Umbridge), and Horatio Schnobbevom (Horace Slughorn). Some of the translated names can seem English at the first glance, but are still pronounced differently in Danish, for example Professor Sprout whose Danish name is Professor Spire (pronounced something like "spee-ruh"). It also creates an even stronger Aerith and Bob effect given that almost all the characters introduced in the first book — for example, Harry, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, and Snape — keep their English names.
    • The Lithuanian translator keeps most of the names, but alters them such that they follow not just the Lithuanian alphabet and pronunciation, but Lithuanian grammar rules as well, which means most male characters have their given names and surnames suffixed to end with '-s' if they don't already in the English original, while many female characters' names now end with '-a' or '-ė'. For example, the titular character is now "Haris Poteris". A few characters also have their surnames calqued into Lithuanian if the language has an equivalent — Lavender Brown in Lithuanian is "Levanda Rudė", while the Lithuanian word for 'brown' is ruda ('Rudis' is the masculine form of the surname).
    • The Polish translator changes many characters' given names to their Polish equivalents and cognates. One might be able to get away with renaming Godric (Gryffindor) "Godryk" in English, but "Minerwa" (McGonagall) would probably look like a spelling error to the average English speaker.note 

    Video Games 
  • The Pokémon games localizes the characters names to keep the Meaningful Names and Punny Names no matter the language. At the same time, the regions are based on real-world countries and it's shown that they speak different tongues (such as people from Kalos speak French and people from Johto speak Japanese). The more traditionally Japanese characters, such as the kimono-wearing ojou Erika, keep their names Japanese but others, such as Natsume (Sabrina) and Akane (Whitney), don't.
  • The English localizations of the Inazuma Eleven series does this to, like the Pokemon example above, preserve Punny Names (e.g. Kyousuke Tsurugi becomes "Victor Blade"), while still keeping the setting obviously Japanese.
  • Splatoon and its sequels localize the characters Punny Names while keeping the aesthetic. In this case, it works because the series is in an Americasia setting. References to real-world locations such as Mount Nantai are also kept.
  • When Shutokou Battle 0 was localized as Tokyo Xtreme Racer Zero, a lot of rival names were changed from native Japanese names to Western names, even though the game still takes place on Tokyo's expressways.

    Western Animation 
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: The Polish dub localized the Kankers' full names (Lee, May and Marie Kanker -> Lilka, Majka and Mańka Ohydka) while keeping everyone else's English names untouched.