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Significant Name Overlap

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Names are important, especially in fiction. In fact, a character's name is often so deeply entrenched to his/her unique identity, that writers try to avoid giving similar names to different characters, even if their names are very common in real life.

Therefore, if two (or more) characters in a story are given the same name, expect this to become an important plot point. This is especially true if the characters share both first and last names.

There are many ways the name overlap may be significant, which includes (but not limited to):

Other sub-tropes include: Identically Named Group (when a group consists of characters sharing names), Planet of Steves (when the entire population of a setting has the same name) and Named Like My Name (when someone coincidentally shares the name of someone much more famous).

See also Same Surname Means Related, where characters sharing a surname are always assumed to share blood relations as well, despite the fact that, in Real Life, it's not uncommon for unrelated people to have similar or even identical surnames.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Another kickstarts its plot with two students discussing of the death of a popular student named Misaki twenty-six years earlier, and how their devastated classmates continued to carry on as if Misaki was still alive by conversing with their empty table and chair. In the present day, New Transfer Student Sakakibara starts to attend the school where Misaki died, and quickly gets tangled into the strange happenings at the school, which seems to be tied to his Mysterious Waif classmate, Mei Misaki.
    • In the anime, Sugiura was a former schoolmate of Mei's twin sister, Misaki Yomiyama (still not the same Misaki mentioned above) who has died shortly before the beginning of the series. Since Sugiura is already going insane and only vagule remembers Misaki, she concludes that both sisters are the same person and that Mei is the extra person in the class who was resurrected from the dead. This leads to the class chasing her (and Sakakibara who is trying to protect her). Because Mei was once chosen to be completely ignored by her class at the beginning of the series, they didn't know that the curse had already started prior to Sakakibara's transfer, since Mei wasn't able to tell anyone that her sister died.
  • In Arabian Nights: Adventures of Sinbad, there are two characters named Ali Baba: Sinbad's friend and a former desert raider, and the leader of the forty thieves. The two are frequently confused with each other.
  • A subtle example in Darwin's Game, where Suzune and Rain bonds over the fact that their names use the same kanji for "bell".
  • Exploited in Death Note: When L introduces himself to Light, he uses the same name as a popular celebrity that Light know of. You kill someone with a Death Note by writing their name while thinking of their face. So if Light used it on the off chance that "Hideki Ryuga" is L's real name, he'd risk killing the celebrity by accident, thus incriminating himself. L doesn't yet know for sure how Light kills, but the circumstances of his decoy Lind L. Tailor's death gave him enough evidence to figure out that the name and face of the victim must be required.
  • In Fuuka, the two girls in Yuu's life are both named Fuuka: energetic and sweet Fuuka Akitsuki, and tomboyish and assertive Fuuka Aoi. The fact that it was Fuuka Aoi's father that ended up running over Fuuka Akitsuki, and that the former was directly inspired by the latter's music, causes Aoi quite a bit of angst.
  • In Hohoemi Dormitory by Yui Ayumi, both the main hero and heroine are named Makoto. The girl Makoto ends up becoming the manager of the guy Makoto's soccer team, initiating their romance.
  • Itsuwaribito has Gin and Kin, who shares the same birth name, Shirogane—although the former's name mean "white silver" while the latter's means "white gold". When they first met and fought — impressing each other with their respective skills in the process — their shared names is what convinced the former that the two of them are destined to achieve great things together; and while they're both usually The Sociopath, they have unprecedented loyalty for one another. In fact, Gin values their shared names so much that, when he decided to steal some other people's names and identities to cover up their crimes, he deliberately chose their current names because they have the same meaning as their original names: "Gin" being "silver", and "Kin" being "gold".
  • Kengan Ashura's sequel, Omega, introduces Masaki Hayami, a new fighter sent by Toyo Electric Power Co. as their representative in the Kengan Association vs. Purgatory, who shares the same name and face as one of their previous fighters, the deceased Masaki Meguro, to the consternation of everyone else. Later chapters reveal that the second Masaki is a clone to the first, specifically designed to be a superior version of Meguro—whose insanity prevents him from using his extraordinary talents to its fullest potential. Masaki's "father" probably gave the clone the same name as his predecessor to show that he doesn't see him as his own person.
  • Played for drama in "The Yukikage Village Case" from The Kindaichi Case Files. Haruna's Disappeared Dad shares the same first and last name with her boyfriend's own Disappeared Dad. When her jealous friends spread a rumour that their fathers are really the same person, thus making the couple really half-siblings, Haruna, who is already pregnant with her boyfriend's child, commits suicide out of shame.
  • In Lonely Wolf, Lonely Sheep, the main couple share the exact same name, Kakimoto Imari. In fact, they find each other when they happen to be waiting at the doctor's office at the same time, and gets confused for each other when their name is called.
  • Both the Princess and The Goose Girl from Ludwig Revolution are named Albertina. As the tale (both in the original and the manga) revolves around stolen identities, this is quite fitting. Their shared names make it harder for the others to identify the impostor.
  • Invoked and Played for Laughs in Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun when Nozaki, Sakura, Hori and Wakamatsu agree to play a "relay novel". Nozaki starts the story by introducing a heroine named Akiko. Then Hori messes things up by giving the hero's name Akiko as well. Wakamatsu's addition is completely off-tangent. An exasperated Sakura ends the story by writing that "if you meet someone with the same name as you, you die."
  • The two main leads of Nana are both named... you guessed it: Nana. The two girls meet each other by chance in a train, and immediately hit it off together so well, they decide to become roommates, where lots of Les Yay ensues. To avoid confusion, however, one of them is usually called Hachi.
  • The later chapters of PandoraHearts reveals that the Intention of the Abyss's real name is Alice, just like the main character. This revelation also comes with another reveal that the two girls are identical twins.
  • Rumiko Takahashi Anthology: In "Positive Cooking", the protagonist—Shinichi Hara—gets food poisoning after attempting to cook his own food and is hospitalized. Later, when his wife and father come to visit, a nurse tells them that "Shinichi Hara" had passed away, shocking both of them. It turns out that the Shinichi Hara who died was another patient with the same name, but the shock of the news, along with some other factors, seems to finally convince his wife to stop pursuing her cooking ambitions and return to being a housewife.
  • The three main characters in Takeru: Opera Susanoh Sword Of The Devil are named Takeru. The trio ran into each other when each got involved in a fight against a group of corrupt officials for varying reasons. Despite their different personality and goals, the fact that they have the same name convinces them that they are fated to travel together and seek the titular blade. However, they are usually referred to as Izumo, Kumaso, and Oguna.
  • Talentless Nana has Nanao Nakajima (the Decoy Protagonist) and New Transfer Student Nana Hiragi. The latter is a mind-reader, while the former is an Un-Sorcerer attending a Superhero School, and the two quickly becomes friends when the female Nana takes pity on him. This is likely to mislead the audience into thinking that the title is referring to Nanao, but after his Anti-Magic talent is discovered, The Reveal shows that the eponymous "Talentless" is actually Nana, who is using her Awesomeness by Analysis skills to fake being a mind reader.
  • There, Beyond the Beyond: The twin princes of Viridian are both named Virid to signify that their parents consider them interchangeable. The Mad Prince exploit this when he returns to his homeland after his supposed exiled by pretending to be his sane brother to avoid conflict.
  • Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- reveals that Real!Syaoran and Real!Sakura are both named Tsubasa by birth, and their intertwined fates is the major driving force of the entire plot.
  • Vinland Saga: Exploited by Ketil, an old farmer who used to be a great warrior nicknamed "Iron Fist" Ketil. It turns out, he's not a warrior at all. He's just a regular old farmer who takes advantage of the fact that he shares the same name with the great warrior to discourage thieves and bandits from attacking his farm.
  • Both the protagonist of Yuri!!! on Ice and his rival are named Yuri, although the latter is usually called "Yurio" to avoid confusion. The latter is not too happy about this, and swears to defeat Yuri so that there can only be one "Yuri" on the rink.

    Fan Works 
  • Maris Stella: There are two separate characters named "Dorian". One is a high school student in Naota's math class, and the other is a young child. This leads to an incident in which the younger Dorian receives mail meant for the older Dorian, and gets upset when his mother explains that the mail needs to be returned.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Tokyo Godfathers, three homeless people find an abandoned baby, whom one of them names Kiyoko. While searching for her parents, they run into two different women named Kiyoko, one of whom is the daughter of one of the homeless people. The coincidences highlight the idea that they're receiving miraculous aid.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Batman's Trauma Button is hearing the name "Martha", the name of his murdered mother and the Last Words of his father by her side. When Superman pronounces it due to his mother also being named Martha, his attempt to kill the Man of Steel with the Kryptonite spear stops dead in its tracks, a tragic flashback ensues and he has a Heel Realization that he's just about to become like the man who murdered his parents when Lois Lane clarifies that Superman has a human mother named like this.
  • The plot of The Big Lebowski hinges around two lead characters both named Jeff Lebowski — one a slacker, one a millionaire. In-story, they are differentiated by the washed-up protagonist being called "the Dude", while the millionaire he is mistaken for is the eponymous "big Lebowski".
  • In The Hunt (2020), the heroine, Crystal May Creasey, was only captured for the Hunt because a Crystal Mae Creasey in her hometown pissed off the Big Bad. She also mentions getting her mail sometimes.
  • Martha Marcy May Marlene: It's established that the cult members are supposed to introduce themselves to outsiders as "Michael Lewis" (or "Michaela" for the women). So when the bartender at Lucy and Ted's party introduces himself as Mike, Martha freaks out and attacks him. However, it's heavily implied that he isn't a cultist.
  • A Peck On The Cheek has two examples:
    • When Thiruchelvan was beginning his writing career, he chose "Indira" as a Pen Name. Despite this being a fairly generic name in India, his neighbor Indira was convinced that he took the name from her, to the point of biking up to him while he was riding his moped and demanding royalties. This was one of the incidents that resulted in the two getting married, after which she presumably dropped the subject.
    • The family searches for Amudha's birth mother knowing only that her name is Shyama and that she lives in a village called Mankulam. They do indeed find a woman named Shyama, but it's not Amudha's mother (which the audience can figure out quickly because she's played by a different actress). This other Shyama, upon being told by Amudha's oblivious adoptive parents that she's her daughter, admits that Amudha would be the right age to be her daughter — if said daughter weren't buried in town alongside her other siblings. In a particularly unlucky double coincidence, it turns out there's also more than one town called Mankulam in the vicinity.
  • In Saving Private Ryan, the squad that is the focus of the film is attempting to find Private James Francis Ryan and notify him of his release from military service on account of being the last surviving son in his family. When they find and notify a James Ryan of the death of his brother, he immediately begins tearing up — after the explanation of what happened, however, he realizes it is a mistake, as his own brother was barely of school age. Turns out this is James Frederick Ryan instead.
  • The TV Movie Summertime Switch is a Prince and Pauper plot triggered by the two pre-teen protagonists being named Fred Eagan: one is a wealthy Spoiled Brat and the other is an orphaned deliquent being sent to a luxury summercamp and juvenile detention facility respectively only to end up switching places due to a mix up at the bus terminal.
  • The Terminator: Kyle Reese and the T-800 know John Connor's mother is named Sarah Connor and lives somewhere in or around Los Angeles. Since that's a common name, the T-800 goes through the phone book and ends up killing two unrelated women first, Sarah Anne Connor and Sarah Emily Connor, before finally getting to the correct one, Sarah Jeanette Connor, who is cued in to the danger when the killings of the other two are reported on the news.
  • Italian comedy Tutti Gli Uomini Del Deficiente (All the Moron's Men) has a dying millionaire named Leone Stella who decides to set up a contest whose prize is the inheritance of all his wealth, but the only people allowed to participate are those who bear the same name as him. Thus, a lot of men called Leone Stella and women called Stella Leone (both Leone and Stella being not uncommon first names while also normal surnames in Italy) enter the challenge.

  • An Abundance of Katherines: Colin had gone out with nineteen girls before the story even starts, and all of them are somehow named Katherine. After being dumped by Katherine XIX, Colin goes on a road trip with his friend, where he meets Lindsey, whom he likes. However, Lindsey already has a boyfriend, who is coincidentally also named Colin.
  • In A Few Right Thinking Men by Sulari Gentill, the protagonist Rowland Sinclair is named after his uncle. Early in the novel, the elder Rowland Sinclair suffers an apparently unmotivated violent attack, and it is later revealed that his nephew was the intended target.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The Marauder's Map reveals to Harry that Bartemius Crouch is prowling around the school in the dead of night, and this becomes one of several mysteries that the heroes try in vain to solve. In the end, it turns out that Crouch's son has the same name as his father, and is the true culprit.
    • An infamous Aversion: the fifth book mentions an unseen character named Mark Evans early on, and later reveals that "Evans" was Lily Potter's maiden name. Knowing this series, there was wild speculation about him being a Chekhov's Gunman, only for Rowling to eventually admit that it wasn't even a Red Herring; she just accidentally used the same name twice.
    • Lord Voldemort's original first name, Tom, is shared not only with his father, but also with the inn-keeper of The Three Broomsticks. In a memory in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, this information gets young Tom Riddle to comment about Tom being an ordinary name.
  • In Heralds of Valdemar characters who are the Reincarnation of another often use similar names if they want to preserve The Masquerade (i.e. Savil -> Sayvil) or identical names if the relationship is known, as in the case of the Monarch's Own Companion, who is always one of four cycling higher spirits. More prosaically, Tarma and Kethry give the same names to their horses; a habit picked up by their best student, Kerowyn, which can make it confusing if you're trying to decide which "Hellsbane" was along for which adventure.
  • In Life of Pi, the title character has two mentors, both named Mr. Kumar: the first is an uneducated but devout Muslim shopkeeper while the other is Pi's intelligent, atheistic science teacher. Despite their antithetical worldviews they actually get along well the one time they happen to meet each other, and Pi, whose two main interests are religion and animals, doesn't seem to feel conflicted between them.
  • In The Locked Tomb, Gideon Nav was named by the Ninth House because her first name was the only word her mother's ghost would speak when they attempt to summon her. The first book sets up a Chekhov's Gun that Gideon shares a first name with one of the Emperor's original Lyctors. The second book reveals that Gideon the First and Nav's mother were once lovers, although he is not the younger Gideon's father.
  • In the short story "Pat Moore" by Tim Powers, Pat Moore is the name of both the protagonist and his late wife — and of the villain, who is hunting down other people with that name as a way of acquiring magical power.
  • The key solution at the heart of Peril at End House relies on the fact that the killer and the victim have the same legal name, Magdala Buckley. The killer is Only Known by Their Nickname for most of the story, which has the effect of making them less suspicious.
  • In the climax of Sense and Sensibility, Elinor gets news that Lucy Steele, who had a Childhood Marriage Promise with her love interest Edward Ferrars, has married "Mr. Ferrars." When Edward calls on the Dashwoods, he reveals after some confusion that Lucy had in fact married his younger brother Robert Ferrars, who had appeared earlier in the book. This prompts a relieved Elinor to finally express her feelings to Edward. note 
  • Sherlock Holmes: In "The Three Garridebs", a man with the unusual surname of Garrideb will obtain a substantial inheritance if he can find two others who share his name. It turns out the whole thing was a hoax concocted to get the real Garrideb to leave his house for a while.
  • In Warrior Cats, the main villain of the series is named Tigerstar. Several arcs later, his grandson Tigerheart becomes a Clan leader and, due to the Clans' naming scheme, also becomes Tigerstar. The second Tigerstar becomes a fairly significant character (particularly in the seventh arc when he's the father of one of the protagonists), and there's a few moments where a character mentions the name "Tigerstar" and the others are confused on which one they're referring to. Fans have given the younger one the nicknames "Tigerheartstar" and "Tigerstar II" to make it more clear which one they're talking about, but there is no such differentiation in the books themselves.
  • Wayside School:
    • There are three Erics in Mrs. Jewels' class, which often leads to confusion. In the first book, it's explained how each of them got a nickname that doesn't represent them well at all, just because it corresponds to a trait that the other two Erics have - the skinny Eric Bacon is nicknamed "Fatso," the athletic Eric Fry is named "Butterfingers," and the kind Eric Ovens is nicknamed "Crabapple." In the chapter "Eric, Eric, and Eric" in the second book, Mr. Kidswatter calls Mrs. Jewels to send Eric to the principal's office, because he found an appointment card with Eric's name on it that called Kidswatter a "mugworm griblick." Mrs. Jewels sends all three Erics down one by one, and Mr. Kidswatter can't figure out which one of them wrote the mean message (though it's heavily implied that Eric Bacon did it).
    • The confusing Who's on First?-style "Pet Day" chapter in the third book writes that "Billy barked," "Billy meowed," and "Billy bleated." At the end of the chapter, it's revealed there are three different pets named Billy - a dog, a cat, and a goat. Naturally, the Erics are their owners.
  • In The Westing Game, Sydelle Pulaski is accidentally recruited into the titular Game as a Westing heir because her name is rather similar to that of the intended heir, a Sybil Pulaski.
  • In "William Wilson" by Edgar Allan Poe, the narrator and antagonist share the same name, and birthday, and even appearance. He claims it's inconsequential at first, but the story implies that they actually have a very deep connection. The latter seems to be the embodiment of Wilson's conscience, whom he murders.
  • There are two Catherines in Wuthering Heights: Catherine Earnshaw and her daughter Catherine Linton, who is frequently referred to as "Cathy" in the text to distinguish her from her mother. The hero-villain Heathcliff is in love with Catherine Sr., but after she rejects him, marries Edgar Linton, and dies soon after Cathy's birth, Heathcliff concocts an elaborate vengeance plan which involves marrying Cathy to his own son, who is named Linton (albeit as a given name, as opposed to Edgar's surname – his mother was Edgar's sister Isabella and she gave him her maiden name) in order to seize both Earnshaw and Linton estates for himself. On a smaller level, male members of the Earnshaw family all traditionally have names that start with "H": this includes foster son Heathcliff, his foster brother nemesis Hindley, and Hindley's son Hareton, whom Heathcliff sets out to mold into a Generation Xerox of himself after Hindley's death. All in all, the namesakes are used in the text to deliberately invoke uncanny parallels between the two generations of its main characters.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrested Development features Lucille Bluth and Lucille Austero. Buster is the former's son and the latter's lover, a rather blatant show of his Oedipus Complex.
  • Breaking Bad: Walter White's son is named Walter White Jr. Father and son have different middle names, though, with Walt's being Hartwell while Walt Jr.'s is Flynn, which is what most people address him by.
  • CSI: NY:
    • Central to the plot of "My Name Is Mac Taylor". When two men who share the same name as detective Mac Taylor are killed, detective Taylor rounds up all the other Mac Taylors in New York and tries to figure out who will be the next victim. The killer turns out to have been a man who saw his wife killed in a hit and run and found the owner of the car's name, but not seen him; the first victim he killed before realising many people have that name, the second was killed by mistake in a struggle while scoping him out.
    • Played for laughs (or at least some much-needed comic relief) in the season 8 premiere, "Indelible," the series' tribute to the first-responders killed on 9/11. A pair of perps are named Mike Black and Mike White. Problem is, their races and last names are reversed and they go by their nicknames of "White Mike" and "Black Mike," respectively.
    • A murder in season 9's "Command+P" occurs all because, in a severe case of Mistaken Identity, the first victim runs into the wrong guy named Andy.
  • In Friday Night Dinner, Adam and Johnny both acquire girlfriends at the same time, much to their mother's delight. Unfortunately, both girls are named Lucy.
  • Gilmore Girls:
    • The main mother-daughter duo are both named Lorelai Gilmore (Lorelai the mother named her daughter after herself). While the daughter is Only Known by Their Nickname, Rory, the duo having the same first and last name symbolizes how alike and attached at the hip they are, despite some key differences.
    • "The Third Lorelai" introduces Lorelai's namesake, her father's mother. Ironically, just as Lorelai's mother Emily has always been meddlesome and judgmental to her daughter, the eldest Lorelai dishes out the same (and worse) to Emily. The parallel is unfortunately lost on Emily.
  • The Good Place: Main character Eleanor Shellstrop, sent to the Good Place by mistake despite being kind of a jerk, eventually learns that the mix-up was caused because another, much more moral woman named Eleanor Shellstrop died in the same accident. When this other Eleanor shows up to participate in the discussion of the incident, the cast starts referring to them as "Fake" and "Real" Eleanor respectively. It's later revealed that every single part of that was made up, top to bottom, as part of Eleanor's torture in the Bad Place. Ironically, "Fake" Eleanor is the only Eleanor in the cast, because "Real" Eleanor's name is actually Vicky.
  • House of the Dragon: The Targaryens' habit to reuse the same first names over and over causes a major confusion towards the end of the first season: A dying King Viserys (not to be confused with Daenerys' brother down the family line), in his last words before passing, talks about the prophecy of the Song of Ice and Fire to his wife Alicent Hightower believing her to he his daughter Rhaenyra, whom he told about the prophecy years prior. Alicent doesn't know about the prophecy, and when Viserys talks about "uniting the realm" and "Aegon" (without mentioning The Conqueror) she thinks he means her son Aegon (who's notoriously unfit to rule) must be put on the throne. Though in the end that doesn't matter to Alicent's father Otto, who's planned The Coup to install Aegon on the throne for a long while anyway, it just comes as another semi-handy way of justifying the coup.
  • The Last Man on Earth focuses on a man named Phil Miller who believes he is the sole survivor of an apocalyptic pandemic. As the series goes on, several other survivors join his group, the sixth of which is a man also named Phil Miller. After losing a contest for the rights to the name, Phil 1 is forced to go by his Embarrassing Middle Name "Tandy" for the remainder of the series, even after Phil 2's death.
  • The M*A*S*H episode "Mail Call Three" has Hawkeye receiving - and reading - love letters addressed to another Captain Pierce from three different women. The other Pierce shows up at the end of the episode to exchange letters, which the latter delivers unopened. Hilarity Ensues.
  • The Monk episode "Mr. Monk and the Three Julies" has the detective investigate when two women named Julie Teeger are found dead in two separate locations. Natalie also has a daughter named Julie, so this case is especially worrying for her. It turns out one victim's husband was having an affair and his mistress sent the evidence to his wife. The other victim received it by mistake due to a post office snafu and brought it to her. The husband then killed his wife and then chased down and killed her namesake when he realized she could finger him as the perpetrator.
  • Newhart has Larry and his two brothers, who are both named Darryl. The brothers' shared names are mostly used as a running gag when Larry introduce themselves. They are also The Dividual who never speaks.
  • In Orphan Black, Alison's fellow clone, Sarah Manning, and close friend, Sarah Stubbs, have the same first name. She uses this fact as part of a Feed the Mole trick to test if her husband Donnie has been spying on her for the Dyad Institute; he knows Sarah Stubbs, but if he's innocent, he shouldn't know who Sarah Manning is. Donnie easily falls for it, confirming that he is in fact a spy.
  • Outlander:
    • The name William/Willie is significant in Jamie's life. Jamie's beloved, deceased older brother was named Willie. When Jamie is being held prisoner, Willie of Clan MacKenzie is the first to volunteer to help break Jamie out. Lord John Grey, Jamie's eventual lifelong friend, is initially introduced as William Grey (Gabaldon says she intended for him to be a minor character but he took on a life of his own, causing her to change his name to John William Grey to distinguish him from all the other Williams in Jamie's life). Lord Dunsany, the English man who agreed to Jamie's parole, allowing his release from prison, has the given name of William. And of course, Jamie's son is named William Ransom.
    • Ian/John is also recurring including: Jamie's best friend/brother-in-law, Ian the Elder, Jamie's nephew and travel companion, Young Ian, Jamie's lifelong friend, Lord John, Jamie's nemesis Jonathan Randall (whose family calls him Johnny), and John Quincy Meyers, a mountain who helps the Frasers settle in the New World.
  • Parks and Recreation: It's probably not a coincidence that Ron Swanson's mother and two ex-wives are all named Tammy. Each Tammy seems to fear the previous one: Tammy One is The Dreaded to Tammy Two, but Tamara "Tammy" Zero invokes an Oh, Crap! reaction from Tammy One.
  • In Season 3 of Shtisel, Yosa'le is supposed to meet a girl named Shira Levinson on an arranged date (to see if they're compatible for an Arranged Marriage), but mistakenly meets a girl named Shira Levi, who's a much better match. Unfortunately, she's Sephardi and he's Ashkenazi, so his parents don't approve.
  • Brazilian TV show Você Decide (You Decide) has an episode titled "Milionário por Engano" (Millionaire by Mistake) where a deceased millionaire with no living relatives bequeathed his fortune to a guy named José Castelo Branco who saved his life in the past. All the people in charge of executing the will knew about the heir other than his name is that he lives at Woodpecker's Road. Instead of checking Woodpecker's Road at the area the life-saving incident took place, they looked at Woodpecker's Street in the town where the late millionaire lived and found another guy named José Castelo Branco. The viewers voted to decide if the wrong José played along with the misunderstanding or told the truth.

  • The Murderverse: Most of the players in Your Final Frontier were abducted because they've either committed a crime or somehow pettily pissed someone off. The Victim of Circumstance, however, was on the ship by mistake, having been confused for a different person with the same name. Worse, Katana isn't even his real name; his real name is Ifuku.

    Religion & Mythology 
  • Happens as a Prophecy Twist in Celtic Mythology, where a druid tells Queen Mebd that one of her sons will one day kill Conchobar, whom she wants dead. One of them eventually does kill Conchobar, though it turns out to be a different Conchobar than the one she was hoping for.
  • Several ancient manuscripts of The Book of Matthew give Barabbas—the insurgent whom the Jews want to free instead of Jesus—the full name of Jesus Barabbas, which literally means Jesus, son of the father. This is likely to show the irony of the Jewish leaders condemning their long-awaited Messiah to death by crucifixion for claiming to be the Son of God, while choosing to free a guilty criminal that shares His name. Most later manuscripts remove Barabbas's first name to enforce a One-Steve Limit for Jesus. Averted in almost every other instances of name overlap in The Bible, however, which is treated as incidental.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks and Tabletop RPG series, there is the city-state of Salamonis, in the world of Titan, whose every male ruler has given himself the name of "Salamon" and christened his heir son with the same name, as a homage to the much respected first king, who bore that name. Nothing is said what happens if the heir prince dies and a differently named sibling has to take his place. Nor about ruling queens, —and there might have been at least some, since the current king is Salamon LVII!
  • Paranoia adventure The Yellow Clearance Black Box Blues. The Troubleshooters will meet two Cyberpunks named Jake and Elwood and an Artificial Intelligence computer named Elwood and his cybertank friend HARV[E]. If the Troubleshooters talk about shooting the Cyberpunk Elwood in HARV[E]'s hearing, he'll think they're talking about shooting the Artificial Intelligence Elwood. If they talk about grabbing the Artificial Intelligence, Elwood, when the Cyberpunks can hear it, they'll think the Troubleshooters are talking about the Cyberpunk Elwood. The Gamemaster is urged to use this to make the Troubleshooters' job more difficult.
  • Warhammer has three settlements named "Vaul's Anvil" after the god of smithing that all three kinds of elves worship, and each claims that their Anvil is the one that deserves the name the most. They are, by order of creation:
    • Vaul's Anvil in Ulthuan, belonging to the High Elves, is said to be the original place where Vaul resided, and where most of the race's mightiest artifacts were made.
    • Vaul's Anvil in Naggarorth, belonging to the Dark Elves, houses most of the tools that were used by the god and his disciples to make the aformentioned artifacts.
    • Vaul's Anvil in Athel Loren, belonging to the Wood Elves, is where Daith, greatest smith of the three races and incarnation of Vaul himself, lives.

  • Come From Away has a Kevin Tuerff and a Kevin Jung, who are a couple. They say "it was cute...for a while", implying that the joke has worn a bit thin, as the first sign of strain in their relationship.
  • The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare, based in an even older play by Plautus, has two long-lost twins, both named Antipholus, each served by a valet named Dromio (who are also long-lost twins). Then the one pair of Antipholus/Dromio comes to the city where the other one lives...
  • Invoked by the main male characters in The Importance of Being Earnest. Main characters Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff both use the name "Ernest" as aliases, which causes trouble when both of their intended wives—Gwendolen and Cecily, respectively—claim to be engaged to Ernest. A comedy of errors naturally ensues (it is Oscar Wilde, after all), as both women are deeply enamored of the name Ernest and want their husbands to have it, leading to a competition between Jack and Algernon as to which will be rechristened first. In a twist ending, it's revealed that Jack, who was inadvertently abandoned as a child, actually is named Ernest, after his late father.
  • In Spider's Web by Agatha Christie, one character whose real surname is Brown deliberately attempts to let their house to a family named Brown, so when criminals come looking for Mrs. Brown, they will find the wrong woman. Unable to find a family named Brown, they have to settle for a couple named Hailsham-Brown.

    Video Games 
  • AI: The Somnium Files - nirvanA Initiative: Protagonist Mizuki Date shares a name with her older sister/clone, Mizuki Kuranushi. This helps to hide the Sequencing Deception. Side Mizuki is thought to be entirely in the present, but some parts actually take place six years in the past from Mizuki Kuranushi's point of view.
  • Catherine is the Secondary Character Title that refers to all of Vincent's love interests, although their names are spelled slightly differently. The initial release has Katherine and Catherine, who are respectively the Betty and Veronica for Vincent's Archie. The Updated Re Release adds a Gay Option Third-Option Love Interest named Qatherine (usually shortened as just "Rin"). In some voice-acted scenes that mention a -atherine, but it is unclear which one, the subtitles substitute her name with 'her'.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: When Link returns to Goron City as an adult, the place is abandoned save for a young Goron rolling around randomly. Get the Goron to stop, and he'll introduce himself as Link (or whatever name the player chose). It turns out that Link the Goron is the son of Darunia, who named his offspring after the guy who had saved the Gorons by clearing the monsters out of Dodongo's Cavern.
  • Can be exploited in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. There is a room at the Stock Pot Inn reserved for a Goron named Link. If Link transforms into a Goron, he can claim the reserved room for himself. The actual Goron who placed the reservation is then unable to get the room himself because he introduces himself to Anju as "Link, goro", which is not the name she has written down in the register.
  • There are two Mayas and two Tatsuyas in Persona 2: Tatsuya Suou and Maya Amano are heroes, Tatsuya Sudou is a villain, and Maya Okamura isn't malicious, but is dangerous because she's a conspiracy theorist. Both Tatsuyas are fire-wielding Leos close to Joker, and Maya Okamura kills Maya Amano at the climax of Innocent Sin.
  • The Heroine of Shin Megami Tensei I shares her first name (whatever it is) with many other women across Tokyo, including the Hero's next-door neighbor. So when the Heroine leads the Resistance against the army, the police arrest everyone with her name, including old women and little girls.
  • Late in Shin Megami Tensei IV, the party encounters two people named Akira in different realities, with different personalities. Naturally, they're different versions of the same person. Jonathan takes it a step further after the first Akira renames his country after theirs, and realizes that he would be crowned King Akira of the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado, which sounds nigh-identical to King Aquila of the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado, their legendary first king. The sequel confirms that their version of Akira became the first king of Mikado.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, the group meets a young boy named Mithos, who has the same name as the legendary hero from 4000 years ago. That said, Raine points out long before this Mithos is met that it's a common boys name due to the legendary Mithos, and thus the Mithos who had been making pacts with Summon Spirits is not necessarily the same Mithos from the legends. Mithos the legendary hero, Mithos the Summoner, and the Mithos that the party befriends are all one and the same.
  • By virtue of being an adaptation of Warhammer, Total War: Warhammer II has the three "Vaul's Anvil" settlements, each belonging to one kind of elves, and each claiming theirs is the one worthy of the name (the High elves have the original location where the anvil resides, the Dark elves' one houses most of the sacred tools used, and the Wood Elves one is where the current living avatar of Vaul resides)

    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc sees one such overlap become an important part of one of the mysteries. In chapter three, when Hifumi awakens for a short time before fully dying, he uses his last words to say that his killer was Yasuhiro. Combined with Yasuhiro Hagakure being found under suspicious circumstances, he is quickly the prime suspect. Later on however, Makoto takes note of Hifumi’s habit of referring to others by their surnames, rather than their given names, which would suggest he was accusing someone with Yasuhiro as their surname. As it turns out, Celestia Ludenberg’s real name is Taeko Yasuhiro, which quickly pushes the suspicion onto her, and she is soon revealed to be the real killer.
  • In Double Homework, Morgan’s real name is Amy, after Princess Amelia, who is incognito in the summer school class. What inspired this? The two girls were born on the same day.
  • Kara no Shoujo has Toko Kuchiki, the main character's Love Interest, and her best friend Toko Mizuhara. Although their names are written with different kanji, Reiji once asks whether their shared names would make their friendship confusing. This comes to a head in one of the routes where Mizuhara indirectly causes her friend to get into a car accident, and, in her grief and madness, starts believing that she's Kuchiki.
  • The backstory of Tsukihime features Shiki Tohno (The Protagonist and adopted son of the Tohno family) and SHIKI Tohno (trueborn son of the Tohno family and eventual host to a near millenia-old vampire). This was deliberate. Apparently, Makihisa (their father and the Tohno family head) had found the coincidence amusing enough to adopt Shiki. This would play a large role in the Far Side of the Moon routes, as the perception that Shiki had 'stolen' his life plays a great deal in SHIKI's motivations. This also ends up having a toll on Shiki as whenever he overhears characters debating what to do about SHIKI, naturally he assumes they were talking about him, significantly heightening his own paranoia in the process.

  • In Yumi's Cells, it is revealed that Yumi's ex-boyfriend is named Wook—just like her office crush. They look pretty similar too. This is likely the reason why Yumi is so convinced that Wook is her "destiny", although this changes when she manages to hit it off with Woong.
  • In Questionable Content, when Marten tells Liz he's on the phone to "Hannelore", she grabs the phone off him and gloats that she's now a scientist and Hannelore von Schwartzpunkt, who thought she was so much better when they were at school together, is just a countess. Hannelore Ellicott-Chatham, who grew up on a space station and is not a countess, is perplexed.

    Web Original 
  • In the third season of Within Lapenko, there is a Friend Versus Lover triangle. Roza Robot is Shershnyaga's best friend and bandmate, while Roza Krepygina is his girlfriend. Each of them wants Shershnyaga's full attention.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventure Time episode "Evergreen" takes place in the Cretaceous period. The two central characters, Urgence Evergreen and his dinosaur servant Gunther, have multiple parallels with the Ice King and his penguin servant Gunther. At the end of the episode, Gunther puts on the crown Urgence had been crafting throughout the entire episode and it grants his wish to be just like his Master Evergreen. It transforms Gunther into a clone of his master who can only hop around wildly firing magic while screaming "Gunther, no!" because his perception of Evergreen was of a man who constantly ordered him around. Because of Urgence and Gunther's actions, whoever wears the crown would turn into a mangled copy of Evergreen who orders around servants named Gunther.
  • In the Martha Speaks episode "Too Many Marthas", there is an additional dog, who's also named Martha, causing confusion.
  • One episode of Mighty Max has Max(well) adventuring alongside another Max(imilian); apparently, Virgil has belatedly determined that he might be The Chosen One instead. Aside from the name, they were also born within five minutes of each other.
  • The Olivia episode "The Two Olivias", as implied by the title, has the main character Olivia meet a new student who happens to share her name. The first Olivia decides to change her name to "Pam" to avoid confusion, but it doesn't work out as well as she hoped. The episode's lesson is that one doesn't have to worry about someone happening to have the same name as them.
  • One episode of South Park has Kyle's cousin from New York City coming to stay with his family while his mother his sick. The cousin is also named Kyle, and Sheila decides to call him "Kyle One," much to "Kyle Two's" chagrin, Things only get worse when Cousin Kyle turns out to be the embodiment of every negative Jewish stereotype in history, leaving Kyle endlessly frustrated and annoyed.
  • The Steven Universe/Uncle Grandpa crossover "Say Uncle" has Pizza Steve get irritated when Uncle Grandpa introduces him to Steven, seeing him as competition for sharing a name.
    Steven: Hi Pizza Steve, I'm a Steve too! Steven Universe.
    Pizza Steve: Steven... Universe? Come on Uncle G, I've got two rules! No more than 40 or 50 vans, and only one Steve allowed.

    Real Life 
  • The fact that Marvel Cinematic Universe has three actors named Chris (Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth and Chris Pratt) has become a frequent source of fun and games in cast interviews, such as playing "Which Chris are You?" quizzes, using them to play Kiss/Marry/Kill, etc. There's much jokes and guess on how and when Chris Pine could join the setting or escape being cast in it (he amusingly ended up in the rival productions to the MCU, as Steve Trevor).
  • Of the wives of Henry VIII, there are three Catherinesnote  (although spellings may vary), two Annesnote , and one Janenote . Notably, when listing his wives in order they almost perfectly mirror each other: Catherine, Anne, Jane, Anne, Catherine, Catherine.
  • Bank robber John Dillinger was named after his father. They had different middle names though, as he was John Herbert Dillinger while his father was John Wilson Dillinger.
  • A significant number of male descendants of Joachim Murat (one of Napoléon Bonaparte's generals and his brother-in-law) have also been named "Joachim" to honor him.
  • Evelyn Waugh was, for a significant number of years, married to a woman also named Evelyn.
  • It has been a source of humor for several years that National Hockey League teams, the Carolina Hurricanes and the New York Islanders, both have a player named Sebastian Aho on their roster. Not only that, but they've increasingly played against each other in game scenarios (Canes Aho is a forward, Isles Aho is a defenseman), which in the 2022-23 regular season led to the spectacle of Canes Aho richoceting a shot off Isles Aho into the latter's net. There's also the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, where Canes Aho decked Isles Aho and took a penalty for his troubles (New York was unable to convert the power play).