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Punny Names in anime and manga.


  • Tower of God: Twenty-fifth Baam's name translates to Twenty-fifth Night, his birthday. Baam also means chestnut in Korean and the Guardians like to point out how tasty he sounds.
  • Every character in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei.
  • Several characters from the Detective Conan and Magic Kaito Shared Universe. Others may have meaningful names instead.
    • The Protagonist Shin'ichi Kudou (工藤新一 Kudō Shin'ichi), whose name contains shin ("new"), ichi ("one"), and his catchphrase 真実はいつもひとつ shinjitsu wa itsumo hitotsu ("only one truth prevails").
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    • The love interest Ran Mouri (毛利蘭 Mōri Ran), named for Maurice Leblanc (モーリス・ルブラン Mōrisu Ruburan).
    • The Bungling Inventor Hiroshi Agasa (阿笠博士 Agasa Hiroshi), humorously titled 阿笠博士 Agasa Hakase ("Dr. Agasa"), named for Agatha Christie (アガサ・クリスティ Agasa Kurisuti).
    • The inspector Juuzou Megure (目暮十三 Megure Jūzō), named for Jules Maigret (ジュール・メグレ ru Megure).
    • Sango Yokomizo (横溝参 Yokomizo Sango ) whose given name sounds like san ("three") and 五 go ("five"), and his twin brother Juugo Yokomizo (横溝重 Yokomizo Jūgo ) whose given name sounds like 十五 jūgo ("fifteen").
    • The crime boss code-named Gin and his silvery (銀 gin ("silver")) hair.
    • Shuuichi Akai's disguise, Subaru Okiya (沖矢昴 Okiya Subaru ), named for Casval (キャスバル Kyasubaru ) from Gundam.
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    • Takaaki Morofushi (諸伏高明 Morofushi Takaaki), nicknamed Koumei (高明 Kōmei ) after the legendary Chinese military strategist Kongming (孔明 Kōmei ). The "long o" sounds in 高 and 孔 are historically very different sounds that merged in Japanese only, so this pun would not work for a Chinese translation.
    • The Rival Kaito Kuroba (黒羽快斗 Kuroba Kaito), also known as Kid the Phantom Thief (怪盗キッド Kaitō Kiddo). Kuroba means "black wings", even though Kid wears white. Another rival of Kuroba is the young detective Saguru Hakuba (白馬探 Hakuba Saguru) whose name contains hakuba ("white horse"), which alludes to a black vs white metaphor. Other characters from Magic Kaito also have words for colors in their names. Notable examples include Kaito's two love interests (one of whom has an unrequited love for him), Aoko (literally "blue girl") the innocent girl and Akako (literally "red girl") the mischievous witch, a pair of almost Red Oni, Blue Oni.
      • Kuroba is also a homophone of clover (クローバー kurōbā) and Kid wears a Four-Leaf Clover tag hanging from his monocle. His recurring disguise is the foreign dignitary Count Clover.
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  • The Protagonist of Doubutsu no o-Isha-san (動物のお医者さん) is named Masaki (公輝), but his grandmother keeps calling him Kimiteru (saying his name using different readings for the kanji) and other people keep calling him Hamuteru (deconstructing the shape of the kanji 公 used in his name as ハム hamu).
  • In Musashi no Ken, Musashi's name would only be a Meaningful Name (he was named after the legendary swordsman Miyamoto Musashi) if it weren't justified by its spelling and its supposed "real origin": mu is for June (the "sixth" month of the year), sa is for the 3rd, and shi is for 4 AM, his exact birthday and birth time.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! author Kazuki Takahashi literally named the two main characters, Yuugi and Jounouchi, after the word for "friendship", yuujou. This pun is pointed out by Jounouchi himself when he realizes that he wants to be best friends with the ingenuous kid he bullied, as "a treasure visible and invisible at the same time" (Geddit? Friendship is invisible, but Yuugi and Jounouchi are visible). The pun also made a card in the card game.
  • In Hajime no Ippo (literally "First Step"), the titular character is named after the word for "one step", which also functions as a Literal Metaphor. In the first chapter, titled and spelled in English "The First Step", Ippo takes his first step toward becoming a professional boxer. His dog is named Wanpo, after him, by replacing itsu ("one") in ippo with wan which is both what the Japanese think the English word "one" sounds like and how they think dogs bark.
  • The Pretty Cure franchise mainly sticks to single names with relevant meanings, with a prominent exception. Yes! Pretty Cure 5 gave us Mika Masuko (Masuko Mika in Japanese family-name-first order), "but from now on, call me Masukomi-ka!" "Masukomi" (or Mass Communication) being the Japanese version of the English phrase "mass media". (For the record, nobody actually calls her that.)
  • Father Anderson of Hellsing was a Catholic priest. Shame he didn't have a middle name of Holyghost, mind.
    • Note, though, that in Japanese his name is "Andersen".
    • Though probably unintentional, "ande" is Swedish for spirit.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew, with its Pun-Based Title, likes using puns. Maybe not for the character names, although there are some pretty weird elements to the Theme Naming, but the weapons and attacks, which usually make use of English... and actually work better in the Japanese. Come on, Lettastanets?
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Every main character has the Japanese character for the planet she represents in her name. Even more obvious is the main character's name, Usagi Tsukino. "Tsuki" means "moon" and "Usagi" means "rabbit", so her name sounds exactly like the Rabbit in the Moon of Japanese folklore.
    • Likewise, the others' names are puns on meaningful phrases that relate to their planets and/or powers: Rei Hino ("Spirit of Fire"), Minako Aino ("Beautiful Child of Love"), Ami Mizuno ("Friend of Water") and Makoto Kino ("Sincerity of Wood"). The outer Senshi have Haruka Tenou ("Distant Sky King"), Michiru Kaiou ("Rising Sea King") and Setsuna Meiou ("Momentary Dark King"). Then there's Mamoru Chiba ("Protection of Earth" — he's Tuxedo Mask, the guy that's constantly saving Sailor Moon) and Hotaru Tomoe ("Firefly Sprouting from Earth" — she represents death and fireflies are associated with death in Japan).
    • While the kanji for each soldier's planet appears in that soldier's name, only Usagi, Haruka, Michiru, and Setsuna use the same pronunciation. Take Sailor Mercury, for example. Her name is Mizuno Ami ("mizu" means water) while the Japanese name for Mercury is Suisei ("sui" also means water). Also, Minako/Sailor Venus seems to avert this trope, but her full name is Aino Minako, where "ai" means "love" in Japanese, and Venus just happen to be the goddess of love.
  • Sailor Moon's creator Naoko Takeuchi just seems to like this in general, since in her early manga The Cherry Project all of the characters have punny names, most noticeably the protagonist, whose name is Asuka Chieri.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Almost every character in the series has a punny name, often relating to either music or major arcana Tarot cards. For example Robert Edward O. Speedwagon. We have also Vanilla Ice. His Stand is called Cream. Think about it. Cream was a band headed by Eric Clapton in the '60s, making it Theme Naming as well.
  • Speed Racer: The protagonist's given name is Go. In addition to the obvious pun, Go is Japanese for the number 5, hence the number on the car. A common anime naming scheme is to give a character a name that's the homophone of a number. That number then tends to crop up all over.
  • Bleach: Even though Kurosaki Ichigo's name means "protector", it sounds the same as the Japanese for "one five" (ichi = 1, go = 5). He is 15 years old and has a sign with the number 15 on his bedroom door. With different kanji, it means "strawberry", a semi-common girls' name, and can also be used to tease him about his hair color, which does get singled out in-universe.
  • Yomi from Azumanga Daioh. Her full name is Koyomi Mizuhara, which roughly means "read between the lines".
  • Ranma ½ has quite a few.
    • Ryoga's name is a pun on his fangs.
    • Shampoo, Cologne, and Mousse are fairly obvious puns.
    • Ukyo's name is a pun on being from Kansai. Ukyo: kyo (京) is the kanji for capital — Tokyo (東京) and Kyoto (京都府) (the former capital). Ukyo (右京) breaks down into the kanji for "to the right of" and "capital (of a country)".
  • Naruto: Naruto Uzumaki himself. 'Uzumaki' means whirlpool, and 'Naruto' also means whirlpool — he is named after the Naruto bridge in Japan, under which the tide continuously forms whirlpools. This links to his reoccurring spiral motif — both on his clothes, and his Rasengan signature attack (a whirling ball of chakra). There's another pun in there — a 'naruto' is a type of rice cake found in the main character's Trademark Favorite Food, ramen. This has been hinted at least once, as the onbu Naruto took care of in a filler liked these. And yet another one: his mother came from the Hidden Whirlpool Village. Finally, 'naruto' (as in 'whirlpool') is written with the kanji 鳴門. The 'naru' part, 鳴, means 'to roar/to make noise', which is pretty apt for our hero. There's also the fact that 'naru' with different kanji can mean 'become' or 'to bear fruit'.
    • The host of the two and eight-tailed beast have punny names relate to the number of tails of their beast. The second tailed is named Yugito Nii, with Ni being Japanese for "two". The eight tails's name is actually bilingual as while the name is a Japanese approximation of the word Killer Bee in English, this is because the Japanese word for "bee" (hachi) is pronounced the same was as the word for "eight".
    • The majority of named characters from Bee's home village have names that are Japanese renderings of English letters, meaning that his name has a triple meaning: it's also the letter B (which as you can see kinda resembles an 8). And their attacks also have punny names: the English names of Professional Wrestling moves, but written in kanji that approximate the English pronunciation of the wrestling moves only if uncommonly-used alternate readings are used. The more usual reading of the kanji produces Japanese phrases that also are fairly accurate descriptions of the attacks. As you can see, Japan loves this trope.
  • Several characters from the works of Osamu Tezuka. Inspector Tawashi, for example, whose name is Japanese for scrub-brush, which his moustache resembles.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Astray: The protagonist Lowe Gere is a a mechanic/mecha pilot.
  • In the first episode of Dirty Pair Flash, it's stated that Yuri's home planet is called "Shack-G". It's named after the town of Shakujii, the real-life location of Studio Nue.
  • Lucky Star: Konata Izumi's name can also mean "this person" or "here". In the same vein, her mother Kanata's name means "that person" or "there". The latter meaning of Kanata's name is heavily used in merchandise related to her, as she's literally "on the other side".
  • Soul Eater: We have Maka, anagram of "kama", which means scythe, the resident Badass Bookworms Ox Ford and Harvar D. Eclair, and then there are Jacqueline "Jackie O'Lantern" Dupre and Dr. Franken Stein...
    • The Hungarian dubbing team translated the name of Death the Kid as "Kid, a halál fia", which literally means "Kid, son (or kid) of death", as he is the son of Shinigami-sama, but it is also an expression that means "a goner".
    • Eruka and Mizune are anagrams of ''kaeru'' (frog) and ''nezumi'' (mouse).
  • Shaman King: Lyserg Diethel, his fairy Morphin, Camel Munzer, Peyote, and Kanna Bismarck. Hiroyuki Takei was probably playing on the joke that most shamans and mediums could be... On drugs, or something. Nearly all of the patch in the English versions were puns on various metals or alloys.
  • Shirahime Kanata from the light novel series Oto x Maho has a weapon named OverThere. Guess what kanata translates to. Later, when Kanata really turns into a girl, the OverThere becomes the Cross OverThere.
  • Pokémon is a Hurricane of Puns (however, most of these only occur in the dub.)
    • Ash Ketchum (Satoshi) and Tracey Sketchit (Kenji). Try to guess what they do.
    • The Oak (Okido) family as a whole fits into the tree-themed naming system, but when you realize there is an actual type of tree called the Garry Oak...note 
    • The blue-eyed surfing Pikachu in the episode "The Pi-Kahuna" is called Puka, which obviously sounds like "Pika" but is also the name of a type of shell popularly used in Hawaiian jewelry.
    • There are species known as the red ash, the green ash, the blue ash, and the indigo ash. Red, green, and blue are three of the four Generation 1 colors/versions, and the Indigo Plateau houses what is essentially the ultimate challenge in the Pokémon League for Pokémon Trainers of the Kanto and Johto regions.
    • And the wonderfully groanworthy/clever anime episode titles in the English dub. See Bulbapedia. However, with the Pokémon Best Wishes era, this trend seems to be in a steep decline with the English dubbing team, with puns being either awkward or not present at all — an example of the latter is the rather bland and to-the-point title of the 31st Best Wishes episode, "Ash and Trip's Third Battle!"
    • It's so ingrained in the series that one character who DIDN'T have a punny name at first, Todd, was later renamed in re-airings as "Snap". He's a photographer (and the featured character of the N64 game Pokémon Snap).
    • Best Wishes is both initialized "BW" (Black and White), and in Japanese "Wishes" would be pronounced very similar to "Isshu", the Japanese name of Unova, the region the series is set. Also, the Gratuitous English is — goes without saying — a totally Justified Trope in this series given that Unova is based on North America rather than Japan.
  • In Pokémon Adventures Black 2 and White 2, the name of protagonist Lack-two (Rakutsu) is from Black 2 (in VIZ named Blake), and Whi-two (Faitsu) is also from White 2 (in VIZ named Whitley).
    • The other protagonists' names in this series are also from the game versions.
  • Super Dimension Fortress Macross: The three Zentraedi spies are named Warera, Loli, and Conda. Their names combine to form "Warera LoliCon da", Japanese for "we are pedophiles". Lampshaded when Loli steals a singing Minmei doll from a store and Shammy Miliome notices it and accuses him of being a pedophile ("lolicon") and Loli exclaims, "She knows my name!"
  • Highschool! Kimengumi. Everyone! A few examples are:
    • Undou Kai, an athlete; undoukai means "sports" or "sports day".
    • Kireide Shou, a pretty boy; kirei deshou means "aren't I good-looking?".
    • Kawa Yui, a cute girl; kawayui means "cute".
  • Natsu Yasumi in Potemayo, which reads like the words for "summer vacation".
  • Osana Najimi in Doujin Work, which sounds like osananajimi, or childhood friend.
  • Sai Akuto in Demon King Daimao. His name can also be read as "saiakuto", which means "the worst person". Fitting for his eventual future as the Demon King.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler: Hayate is "Rushing Winds", his parents named him such to help him run from debt collectors. Nagi, the other main character, means 'calm' in contrast to Hayate. The series name also becomes the name of Hayate's special attack, which is a burst of wind (which he is careful not to employ around those wearing skirts).
  • Robby and Ninjoy from the Papa Louie Arcade series of video games are some of the more obvious examples. Others include sisters Nevada and Utah, Delivery Boy Roy, Julep, and others.
    • The last one can also count as a Parental Bonus, since a mint julep is a type of alcoholic beverage consisting of primarily bourbon, water, crushed or shaved ice, and mint.
  • In Dragon Ball, a ton of the characters' names have puns or odd naming schemes.
    • Son Goku got his Earth name from Sun Wukong, the monkey king in the Chinese classic Journey to the West. His first son's name is taken from his adoptive grandfather's name, which is a pun on Goku (Wukong) and the word go-han "cooked rice; meal".
    • In Dragon Ball Z, there were three villains named Bibidi, Babidi, and Buu. Bibidi is only briefly mentioned as part of the backstory, making the pun slightly less obvious. Slightly.
    • All the Saiyan names are based on some kind of vegetable (Kakarot/Carrot, Vegeta/Vegetable, Nappa/Nappa Valley Lettuce, Broly/Broccoli, etc.)
    • And the Ginyu Force's names are all based on dairy products. The literal translation of their name in the Japanese version is "Special Corps. Milk." They only work in Japanese though. Their English names equate to Japanese words or slightly modified English anagrams for Cheese (Jeice,) Milk (Ginyu,) Butter (Burter,) Cream (Recoome,) and Yogurt (Guldo)
    • Most characters are named after food, food-related items, and other various mundane items. For example: Oolong (oolong tea), Yamcha (a kind of dim sum), Chaozu (a kind of dumpling or potsticker) and so on. Also, there's the Brief family who are all named after underwear: Trunks (another name for boxers), Bulma (Japanese version of 'bloomer'), however, neither Bulma's mother and father ever get first names and are only known as Mr. and Mrs. Brief, all of Frieza's family (Frieza=freezer, Coola=cooler, etc.) and, of course, Dr. Gero (gear), who's a mad scientist who builds robots and also happens to become one by the time the Z era of the animes happen.
    • Piccolo Jr. being the son of King Piccolo is a holdover name from his old gang. King Piccolo's minions Piano, Tambourine, Cymbal, and Drum, and Piccolo himself, are all named for instruments.
    • Namek born Namekians have names taken from mollusks. Nali/Snail. Cargo/Escargo. Dende/den den-mushi and Moori/Katatsumuri (both Japanese for snail) and Lord Slug from the films.
    • Androids 17 and 18's real names (Revealed much later in supplementary material), Lapis and Lazuli, are a reference to the lapis lazuli stone.
    • Mr. Satan's name is obvious. His daughter Videl is an anagram of 'devil.' Again in later supplementary material Hercule Satan is meant to be a stage name. His real name is Mark, which is an rough anagram of the Japanese 'akuma', also meaning devil. It also gives him the distinction of one of the few characters to have a real name.
    • The Gods of Destruction and their attendants are mostly named after alcoholic drinks starting with Beerus and Whis (beer and whiskey). We also have Champa and Vados (champagne and calvados) as well as Belmod and Marcarita (vermouth and margarita).
  • In Death Note, the title and titular object are a pun on shinigami, which literally breaks down to "death god". The god part, "kami", can also mean hair or paper. The protagonists name is also a pun, a dual-language one. "Raito" as a name is more likely in Japanese than "Light" is in English, but it means the same in both languages and essentially pinpoints how the character sees himself. In addition, "Yagami" breaks into "night god", an analogous phrase for a death god. There's also Raye Penber, whose name is not, as far as I'm aware as pun in itself, but is in context (Light and Raye). Tsugumi Ohba's love of puns probably means there are more.
  • Kamatari of Rurouni Kenshin wields a large scythe and is known as "the Great Scythe (O-kama) of the Ten Swords". Okama is slang for a homosexual transvestite, which he is.
  • Several characters in the 60s dub of Kimba the White Lion.
    • Pauly Cracker (a parrot).
    • Bucky (a gazelle).
    • Ali (an alligator).
  • In Mai-HiME, Natsuki's name, is the hiragana for "summer princess". Natsuki was born on August 15, and is a Hime (based off the Japanese word for "princess"), which her parents were aware of all along. Natsuki's mother nicknames her "princess" at times, but she doesn't learn the meaning until she actually becomes a Hime.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Kyubey reveals at the end of Episode 8 that the origin for the term "Mahou shoujo" is because they ultimately turn into witches, or "majo".
  • In One Piece, Zoro's most basic special attack, "Oni Giri", ("Demon Slash"), has a name similar to his favorite food, onigiri (rice balls).
  • Some characters with funny hero aliases from One-Punch Man. Other may have names that solely describe them, and a few with redundant names.
    • Child Emperor (童帝 Dōtei) may derive from the word for "male virginity" (童貞 dōtei).
    • Iairon (イアイアン Iaian), a blend of "iaidō" and "iron".
    • Okamaitachi (オカマイタチ) comes from "okama" and "kamaitachi".
    • Bushidrill (ブシドリル Bushidoriru) from "bushidō" and "drill".
    • Puripuri Prisoner (ぷりぷりプリズナー Puripuri Purizunā) from the words "puripuri" and "prisoner".
    • Golden Ball (黄金ボール Ōgon Bōru), from convoluted literal translations from the Japanese word for "balls" (金玉 kintama) into English and back into Japanese.
    • Ground Dragon (グランドドラゴン Guraundo Doragon), a literal translation from the Japanese word for "mole" which spells "ground dragon" (土竜 mogura).
  • Old kids' anime "Robby the Rascal" (Cybot Robochi) has the full name of Dr. Deko, the resident Mad Scientist of the series: Art Deko (as in the Art Déco movement).
  • Samurai Pizza Cats is full of characters with names like these, such as Speedy Cerviche, Polly Esther, and Al Dente, which is a result of it being a Gag Dub.
  • Gundam Build Fighters gives us Meijin Kawaguchi III. Not exactly punny at first mention, but then his Gunpla have "Amazing" on their names. Now, note that "Amazing" when said with a Japanese accent sounds very similar to "Meijin". Lampshaded for laughs in one of the "tweets" regarding him before his match with the Renato bros.:
    Random "tweet": Is the Kämpfer Amazing because he's a Meijin?
  • Gundam Build Fighters Try: The "Try" in Gundam Build Fighters Try sounds identical the prefix "Tri", referencing the new three-man team battles that become the focus of this season.
  • Yuki Uchiki from Gourmet Girl Graffiti is the local Shrinking Violet. In Japanese, her surname is homophonous to the word for "shy".
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Natsu Dragneel, the Dragon Slayer. Justified since Natsu was reared by a dragon anyway, so his name probably would be along those lines.
    • Erza Scarlet, the girl with bright red hair. Erza didn't originally have a last name. Jellal picked Scarlet for her because he figured it would be easy to remember that her last name was her hair color.
    • Nichiya, the Edolas version of Ichiya (whose name means "One Night") means "Two Night".
    • Hilariously, anime-only character Dan Straight.
  • Suki × Suki:
    • The title takes advantage of two different versions of the word "suki". The left "suki" is written with the kanji for "love", while the right "suki" is written with the kanji for "transparency". The plot of the manga is Touka Aizuki, a girl with the power to become invisible, using that invisibility to openly act on the feelings for her crush she is unable to express otherwise.
    • The first kanji of "Touka" means "transparent". The "Ai" in "Aizuki" can be read as "love" and doubles up with the love and transparency meanings of "zuki/suki".
    • The first kanji of Ryoutarou's surname, Mimori, means "to see". Ryoutarou is Touka's crush and, unknown to Touka, is the only person who can see her while she's invisible, much to his discomfort.
  • Oddman 11's resident is a furry dog girl that goes by the name of Inuta Wan, which is kind of like being called Doggy Woof.
  • Omujo! Omutsu Joshi has a pun in every name, all of them linked to the series premise of characters in diapers or having accidents.
    • When shown in Japanese order of surname first the male lead's name, "Oone Shouta", becomes a play on "onesho", the Japanese term for bedwetting.
    • Ichigo's last name, Otohime, translates to "Sound Princess". This is also a brand name for a device installed in Japanese toilets to make flushing noises and disguise what's actually going on. Such a device can be seen in the first page of chapter fourteen.
    • "Morei" is a play on the Japanese word for "leak"
    • Muni's pun is more roundabout. The "ni" in her name is written with the kanji for "two". In Japanese, the English word "two" is pronounced "tsu". This potentially turns Muni's name to "mutsu", as in "omutsu", or "diaper". Combine this with the fact that the "Nuno" in "Nunota" means "cloth" and Muni's full name means "cloth diaper", which is her stated preference.
    • The name of the characters' high school, Hanatsumi, means "flower picking". "Flower picking" can be a rough equivalent of the English expression "powdering your nose", which itself is a euphemism for going to the bathroom.
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid has a young boy named Shouta that is lusted after by an older woman, making her a "shoutacon".
  • Nanbaka: Most of the characters are named after numbers. Partially justified as it's a prison story and many of the characters are inmates with serial numbers.
  • Makoto Sain in FullMaPla communicates strictly by holding up numbered signs.
  • Assassination Classroom: An in-universe example, as the bizarre octopus-like teacher never gives a name when he's introduced to his class. The students quickly come up with "Koro-sensei", a pun on "korosenai" meaning "unkillable". He adopts that name for the rest of the series.


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