In many series where characters' names are changed in translations, there is often one exception: the Series Mascot or main character(s). Often this ends up making them stand out amongst the characters, which actually helps distinguish them.
The reason for this trope is in order to increase international brand recognition. The mascot, or lead if no mascots exist, having the same name in all areas helps people recognize them no matter where they're from, with no language barriers.
A similar effect can occur in title translations - the reason why the English translation of Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni (literally When the Cicadas Cry) was titled Higurashi: When They Cry is probably because the name "Higurashi" had brand recognition.
Compare to Too Long; Didn't Dub.
- Most honorifics in the English dub of Azumanga Daioh are translated, which the exception being Chiyo. She is always called "Chiyo-chan". This led some fans to believe "-chan" was a part of her name and everyone was on a Full-Name Basis with her. Part of why it was translated was likely due to this, however it's also hard to translate "Chiyo-chan" to something that both sounds right and fits the Mouth Flaps.
- Bakugan: Battle Planet replaces several of the Bakugan characters. For example, Marucho is replaced with Wynton and Runo/Julie is replaced with Lia. However, Dan is still around with Drago as his bakugan, even though he has a new design.
- In the Cardcaptors dub of Cardcaptor Sakura, almost every human's name is changed except for main character Sakura's. She was going to be called "Nikki," but the dubbers relented because of backlash. Another reason why Sakura wasn't renamed is that she signed all of her cards "SAKURA" in clear English letters. Changing her name would mean a lot more digital paint and a lot more cost.
- Detective Conan: Played straight in the English dub, where most characters got American names. However, Conan remains Conan Edogawa, and although his real name Shinichi is changed into Jimmy, he keeps his surname Kudo (while most of the characters got English names and surnames).
- Dr. Slump: The Italian dub of the 80s changed many of the characters' names (including Senbei, who is renamed Dr. Slump), but the main protagonist and mascot Arale always keeps her name. The second dub, released in 2003-2004, restores all the original names.
- In later official translations, many characters (including Nobita) get renamed; Doraemon himself, however, retains his name.
- The Italian old dub (made in the 80s) of the first 1973 anime changed the names of all the characters except Doraemon. However, the much better known second dub, which started in 2003 and covers both the 1979 and 2005 anime adaptations, uses all the original names.
- Played with in Dragon Ball, where many characters names get spelling changes in dubs such as Kuririn to Krillin or Freeza to Frieza. However, The Protagonist Goku and his sons' names remain unchanged, although Western adaptations tend to drop his family name "Son" and just call him by his given name.
- In Glitter Force, most characters get Dub Name Changes to go with the Thinly-Veiled Dub Country Change, but the two Fairy Companions keep their names.
- Hamtaro: Despite the English dub taking place in America, the protagonist Hamtaro has the same name as he did in the original. The same happened to the Latin American and most European dubs that changed all the characters' names except Hamtaro.
- Inverted in the TokyoPop version of Harlem Beat. It keeps most of the Japanese name, but the lead Naruse Tohru becomes "Nate Torres".
- Inazuma Eleven:
- Inverted in the Latin American Spanish dub of Inazuma Eleven. Most of the names are left untranslated from the Japanese version. However, the protagonist's first name is changed from Mamoru to Satoru because his Japanese name sounds like an inappropriate word in Spanish.
- The European dubs (including the English one) play a variation of this trope with the soccer teams/schools. The main team Raimon keeps its original name, while most, if not all, opposing teams have their names translated.
- Kodomo no Omocha: A variation in the Italian dub. All the names are changed, but the main character is often called Sana, which was also her Japanese name. However that dub changes "Sana" into short for Rossana, an Italian female name ("Rossana" is also the official Italian title of the anime).
- Magical Angel Creamy Mami: In the French dub, most characters got a Dub Name Change, but Yu/Creamy kept her name and nickname.
- Inverted in TokyoPOP's translation of Miracle Girls. Everyone keeps their Japanese names, except the main twins and their two love interests.
- Magical Doremi: Latin American and most European dubs changed the names of most characters except Doremi herself. Averted in the English dub, where even Doremi's name is changed into Dorie Goodwyn.
- Super Dimension Fortress Macross had most names get changed for Robotech,, with one-and-a-half exceptions. Lynn Minmay/Minmei kept her name, and Roy Focker's spelling and pronounciation were changed note
- For Yu-Gi-Oh!, most characters will be given an English name in the dub. However The Protagonist of each respective series will retain their Japanese name: Yugi Muto/Moto, Yusei Fudo, Yuma Tsukumo, and Yuya Sakaki. The only exception is Yu-Gi-Oh! GX protagonist, Judai Yuki, whose name got changed to Jaden in the dub.
- In Asterix, every character has a different Punny Name in every language except for the two iconic protagonists, Asterix and Obelix (and any Historical Domain Character that appears).
- Back when the Mexican Editorial Novaro translated DC Comics in the 1960s and 1970s, all civilian names (either secret identities or supporting characters) were changed into Latin American Spanish ones, sometimes fully and sometimes just the first or last name (Ex. Bruce Wayne and Richard Grayson to "Bruno Díaz" and "Ricardo Tapia"), but the one who kept his full name in English was Clark Kent.
- In the English translation of Brazilian comic book series Monica's Gang, the entire titular Gang had their names changed: Cebolinha became Jimmy Five, Cascão became Smudge and Magali became Maggie. The Leader Mônica, however, kept the Brazilian name (but without the circumflex).
- The characters of Mafalda have all been renamed in Sweden, in order to have more Swedish-sounding names. For instance, Felipe is Filip, Miguelito is Mikael, and so on. The one exception is Mafalda, who remains Mafalda.
- The Latin American dub of Zootopia had basically all the names changed to keep the puns in Spanish. But both Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde keep their names, not even changing their surnames for more punny ones. The only other big exceptions were chief Mbogonote and Bellwether, whose name is a rather obscure pun even in English.
- The Sword and the Dragon has a lot of the names from the original movie changed. Ilya himself is the only exception.
- Harry Potter: In any translation at least some of the characters get a new first and/or last name, but Harry himself always remains Harry Potter.
- Averted in Russian copies of Harry Potter. The English letter "h" has no phonetically similar equivalent in Russian, and as such is particularly difficult for native Russian speakers to pronounce; the closest is the Cyrillic letter "х", which in practice poses similar problems for native English speakers. As a result, the name "Harry Potter" goes unused in Russian translations of the series in favour of the more pronounceable "Garri Potter", rendered as "Гарри Поттер".
- The mascot Pikachu is one of the few Pokemon characters whose name is the same in every language. The only exceptions are Cantonese, Mandarin, and Arabic as Pikachu's name is given the transliteration treatment, causing it to sound slightly different.
- Some of the other more important Pokemon's names were left untouched during the dubbing process, including Togepi and Mewtwo.
- The Mascot Legendaries and "Pikaclones" never have their names changed, and the majority of Legendaries in general are the same across languages starting in Gen II.
- Yo-Kai Watch:
- Yo-Kai Watch has Jibanyan. Most other yo-kai have different names in translations. This stands out even more as the translations remove references to the games taking place in Japan, yet Jibanyan and even his Verbal Tic are untouched. The Disney dub of the anime keeps them as is; however, the Toonami dub, by contrast, uses "meow" as his Verbal Tic. Most of Jibanyan's clone characters (Robonyan, Sailornyan, etc.) also keep their names.
- Secondary mascot Whisper also goes by his Japanese name in all other translations.
- Tertiary mascot and Breakout Character Komasan, along with all of his expies, also go by their Japanese name in all other translations. The same can be said for the fourth mascot, Usapyon.
- Most foreign translations, based on the English one, leave the English names for the two main characters (Nate Adams and Katie Forester) while giving local names to all the other human characters. This goes extremely weird in the quest in the game where Nate/Katie brings documents to his/her dad, since the dad's names are translated in the different languages but they keep the English surnames, ensuring in some weird name/surname matchups.
- The protagonist of Furi is called The Rider even in the Japanese and French dubs. Lines that refer to him as The Stranger are translated, however.
- Inverted in Mega Man, whose Japanese name is Rockman, but many other Robot Masters have their name unchanged. Two other prominent robot characters, Proto Man and Bass, are Blues and Forte in Japan.
- Azure Striker Gunvolt: While many supporting characters get a name change in the overseas version (Cyan to Joule, Acura to Copen, etc), Gunvolt keeps his name.
- Danganronpa: Monokuma's name is left untranslated in official English releases, in spite of having a fairly clear English alternative ("Monobear"). This was at the request of Spike Chunsoft, the game's original developers, to preserve the name's similarity to the word "monochrome."
- Dragon Ball Shenron No Nazo: Goku's name is left unchanged in the US version (which was called Dragon Power), while various other characters were renamed, examples being Bulma, Yamcha, Master Roshi and Oolong (renamed "Nora", "Lancer", "Hermit" and "Pudgy", respectively). Even the Kamehameha ("Wind Wave") and the eponymous Dragon Balls ("Crystal Balls") were renamed!
- In the Dutch dub for As Told by Ginger, all characters had their first and/or last names changed from English to Dutch names (Carl became Bram for example), but the main character Ginger kept her original English first name even though "Ginger" is not a common name in Dutch.