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In Japanese media such as anime and manga, foreign names are written in katakana, which conveys the approximate pronunciation but not the spelling. Thus, when anime and manga are translated to Latin-alphabet languages, these names can be written in many, many different ways.

Our page on Japanese Romanization goes into this in more detail and explains the reasons for almost all of the examples below.

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One recurring, and irritating, phenomenon is Recursive Translation between writing systems, where translators rigidly apply a Romanisation system to characters' names even when in context they are obviously intended to be a relatively common Western name. If the name is a play on an English word, and this gets brought up at some point, expect the subbers putting up a disclaimer rather than just correcting the spelling. In some cases there is an intentional ambiguity that cannot be accurately represented in English — see My/Mai-HiME for example.

Confusion in official Japanese sources often stems from the fact that the person creating English text for use on screen, on a website or in a guidebook is usually not the original author (for example the original Chrono Crusade covers), and even the author may only be familiar with the katakana representation of the word or wrote it having only ever heard it spoken and not checked the facts.

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Examples:

  • Afganisu-tan: In-Universe, Tajikis-tan gives Pakis-tan the nickname "Paku", who then insists that the "S" be in her name to represent the Sindhi because her name is an acronym of her five major ethnic groups.
  • Armored Trooper VOTOMS: The twin scientists' surname are translated as both "Schmitel" and "Schmittel" by Central Park Media.
  • Assassination Classroom: Korosensei, Koro Sensei, or Koro-Sensei? Most official translations use "Koro Sensei", but opinions still differ.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia:
    • The author has given the romanization of Spain's name as both "Antonio Fernandez Carriedo" and "Antonio Hernandez Carriedo".
    • According to the author, China's name can either be spelled "Wang Yao" or "Wang Yue".
  • Bakuon!!: The English anime names the bike club president Raimu in the opening, but shows Lime on a scoreboard in episode 7.
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  • Black Butler: In the Yen Press English manga, the cook's name is translated as Baldo, but in the FUNimation English anime, his name is translated as Bard.
  • "Captain Future", oh where to start? Written in English, turned to an Anime, then backtranslated to German and French...Lessee. We have Captain Future/Captain Future/Capitaine Flam (now that was still easy), Ul Quorn/Vul Kuolun/Kahlon, Joan Randall/Joan Landor/Johann Landore, N'rala/Nurara/Saturna...wanna hear the side characters too?
  • Captain Harlock or "Herlock". Arcadia and Alkadia seem to be at one time interchangeable. Emeraldas was Emeralda in the 1978 Space Pirate Captain Harlock series. Matel, Maetel, or Maeter?
  • The name of the male lead in Cardcaptor Sakura and Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- is sometimes translated according to the Japanese pronunciation, Li Syaoran or Shaoran, and at other times according to the Mandarin Chinese pronunciation Li Xiaolang or Li Hsiao Lang.
    • The Cardcaptors dub, however, actually switched his name so that Li was his given name, his surname then becoming Showron. This admittedly isn't as bad as what was done to most characters, who got completely new names.
      • Some fans think Cardcaptors did this to Bowdlerise incest. Li Meiling is his cousin and also his fiancée (until this is Retconned). Shifting around his name, while not shifting around Meiling's name (and romanizing "Li" as "Rae" for her) hides this.
    • Cardcaptor Sakura unfortunately is littered with these, mostly due the dub and Geneon's subs as well. As mentioned before, Syaoran (小狼, Xiǎoláng in Pinyin) is argued to be spelled as Shaoran or Shaolan. Meiling (苺鈴, Méilín in pinyin) is argued to be spelled as Meilin or with a dash in her name (Mei-Ling). Cerberus is almost always misspelled as Keroberos. The official Bilingual manga (which is more accurately translated than the Tokyopop version) brings up several different spellings including Touya as Toya and Kero as Cero. According to Creator/CLAMP's official website, it should be Cerberus, Kero, Touya, and Syaoran. There is no official consensus on Meiling's correct spelling.
  • Chrono Crusade has this happen at least once in the official translation of the manga: Satella's name is sometimes given as "Stella".
  • Thanks to mishandling in its official English translations by Tokyopop and Sony Pictures, and compounded further by some characters not having official English translations for their names, Cyborg 009 has had quite the cases of these:
    • Cyborg 001's name is usually translated as "Ivan Whisky" or "Ivan Wisky", but due to the way that his given name is put down in katakana (iwan), "Iwan" and "Iwon" can occasionally crop up in official materials.
    • Cyborg 002's name is ジェット・リンク (jetto rinku) in the original katakana, which just so happened to be the same way that the Jett Rink character from Giant had his name put in katakana- and was the very character that Ishinomori sourced when he set a name for 002. However, as decades passed with no official English notation for the character's name, Ishimori Pro settled on "Jet Link" at some point, as did the Italian dub of the 1979 series. While "Jet Link" is the official accepted spelling these days, some debate can arise over if his surname should be rendered as "Rink" at the very least. Adding to this is a Digimon character modeled after 002, named "Rinkmon" as a double pun (due to him being an ice skater and with him bearing resemblance to 002). However, it's definitely not "Ger Link", a name made infamous by bootleg Malaysian English fansubs that have been known for many unusual errors. "Jedd" is another erroneous spelling seen, which can be blamed on the English dub of The Legend of the Super Galaxy. There even exists a fansub where his given name is inexplicably rendered "Jade".
    • Before her name inspiration was more widely-known among Western readers, some newsgroup discussions and oldest Cyborg 009 articles would spell Cyborg 003's name as "Francoise Arnelle" or "Francoise Alnul", as opposed to "Francoise Arnoul". "Arnelle" can be seen in the fansubs for some 1968 episodes, while Toei's DVD releases of that version have her surname spelled as "Arnou" on the cover artwork. There also exists a sub for the 1967 film "Monster Wars", in which her name is translated as "Fransoir". Furthermore, the English dub of The Legend of the Super Galaxy referred to her as Francis/Frances, and some older fan discussions and even some fanworks to this day opt to use the more Anglicized spellings for her name.
    • Cyborg 006 is officially "Chang Changku" in Ishimori Pro's materials and in any adaptation that depicts his name written in English. However, this spelling is based upon the Wade-Giles rendering of the name, which has since fallen out of use in mainland China. Due to its usage in the Italian translations and with it being based on the more acceptable Pinyin rendering, there are fans that argue that the official reading of the name should be "Zhang Zhanghu". And then, you have dubs that refer to the guy as "Chan Chan Ko" or "Chang Changko", due to how his name is pronounced in Japanese (Chan Chanko). The MF Comics release of the manga had his name misspelled as "Chang Charghu" on their covers.
    • Cyborg 008's name is officially spelled "Pyunma", but due to the lack of existence for such a name, there are fans that wonder if Ishinomori may have in fact meant "Puma", which is very similar to the katakana reading for his name (besides lacking the "n" character). It doesn't help that Episode 4 of the 1979 series depicts his name written down as "Puma" on a letter, and that most dubs of the 1980 film The Legend of the Super Galaxy also use "Puma" due to Toei rendering it as that in their simple English script. The Italian dub of Super Galaxy opts to use "Punma" as a compromise, and it happens to also be an alternate reading for the katakana. Both English dubs of Super Galaxy and the 2001 series also ran into inconsistent pronunciation of his name; with Super Galaxy using "poo-mah" and "pyu-ma" for "Puma", and the 2001 series using the pronunciations of "poon-ma" and "pyoon-ma".
    • While the ex-Black Ghost scientist that mentors the team is officially "Dr. Gilmore", occasional merchandise will slip up and spell his name "Dr. Gilmour". Some fansites also opt to use "Issac" (based off a misspelling seen in episode 31), although the correct and more sensible spelling is "Isaac".
    • The lead villain in the early arcs of the manga is officially "Skull", but due to Ishinomori's way of translating the name to katakana, the extra ーcharacter in スカール (sukaru) throws off many a translator who are used to the word being rendered スカル. This lead to the alternate official spelling of "Skarle", which appeared in the 2001 anime and a 2011 pachinko game based off of that version. The English dub of the 2001 series officially used "Scarl", perhaps based off of this, while Tokyopop's English translation of the manga named him "Scar". The 2013 graphic novel by Archaia Entertainment opted to name him "Sekar", which in turn was a valid alternate reading for the katakana of his name and was perhaps used to make him seem less cartoonish. The 2014 pachinko game ultimately goes with "Skull".
    • Skull's second-in-command is named "Van Vogt", after the science fiction author A.E. van Vogt. However, when the character appeared through 1966-1967, the "vu" katakana character had yet to come into fashion and the standard way of denoting a "v" was with the "b" character. Thus, his name appeared as "ban boguto". Due to the archaic and different way of rendering his name (which continued into modern adaptations), foreign adaptations had a very difficult time with his name. In Sony's English dub of the anime (which had its scripts used in turn for other countries such as Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Mexico), his name was translated as "Van Bogoot", while Tokyopop's English manga called him "Ban Bogart" and then "Van Bogart". The Italian translation of the manga also opted to use "Van Bogoot", but the French translation caught the reference in his name and translated it appropriately. Bootleg fansubs of the series have mutated his name even further into "Benbergart" or "Phun Por Ke".
    • Two of the disabled men assisting Cyborg 0012 are named "Camel" and "Röntgen" (named after Wilhem Röntgen, who discovered X-Rays). In Tokyopop's translation, "Camel" was translated literally as "Rakuda" (the Japanese word for the animal), while "Röntgen" became "Lentgen".
    • In the English dub of the 2001 anime, the anime-original villain Dr. Berck was translated literally as "Dr. Beruku". A similar case happened with Dr. Findor, whose surname was put as "Findoru". In turn, that latter doctor's name can be debatably also read as "Findol" or even "Phindol", as it was intended to be an anagram and re-arrangement of his name from the original manga (Dr. Dolphin).
    • Ishinomori and the 2001 anime use "Apollon" and "Minotauros" for two of the Mythos cyborgs, going off of the Greek variants of their names. The English manga and anime opt to use "Apollo" and "Minotaur" for ease, but this can cause some minor spelling debates. Ishinomori also uses "Helene"/"Helena" for the cyborg with the Trojan horse, which would be rendered as "Helen" in English if Westernizing the other Greek names (and the fact that her mythological inspiration is known as "Helen of Troy" in English would make the reference more obvious). However, perhaps to not confuse her with the "Helen" from the Yomi arc, and due to the girls' names being rendered differently in katakana, the "Helena" spelling is what is commonly used.
    • In the fourth major series arc, "The Underground Empire of the Yomi", two of the princesses have names that have caused quite the spelling confusion. The English dub of the anime refers to them as "Vena" and "Dinah" (when not mispronouncing her name as "Deena"), while Tokyopop opted to call them "Venus" and "Diana". In katakana, their names are given as ビーナ(bina) and ダイナ(daina), while Venus would be ビーナス and Diana would be ダイアナ. Tokyopop's translation can be seen as a pragmatic alteration, as it's been a popular theory that Ishinomori might have meant "Venus" and "Diana" but had difficulty with translating some loanwords and names in Japanese as he had with Skull and Van Vogt (forgetting one character in Dinah/Diana's case, and forgetting the "su" ending character in Vena/Venus' case). It's also been theorized that all five sisters were meant to have a Greco-Roman naming theme; making the five "Helen" (after the Greek demigoddess Helen of Troy), "Venus" (after the Roman equivalent of Aphrodite), "Diana" (the Roman goddess of the moon), "Aphro" (after the Greek goddess Aphrodite herself), and "Daphne" (a nymph in Greek mythology). However, the Italian translation of the manga opts to use "Veena" (a Hindi name) and "Dyna" (a Greek name meaning "power") for the two sisters in question. This appears to be a spelling matter that won't ever quite be solved.
    • The evil dinosaur race in the Yomi arc is officially the "Zattan", but Tokyopop's translation referred to them as "Zartan" and bootleg English subs often refer to them as "The Satan" or "Satans". "Zathan" is an alternative possible spelling that's also been seen.
    • One of the Mutant Warriors in the eponymous arc of the 2001 anime is officially "Mii", but had her name changed to "Mai" in the English dub and other foreign dubs based off of its translation. This still causes much confusion among fans.
      • The leader of the Mutant Warriors is either "Kane" or "Cain", with the second option having significance in him being a traitor.
    • A Mutant Warrior who had basis in a manga character has had her name alternatively spelled as "Lina", "Lena", or "Rina"/"Rena". A character with a similar name in the 1979 series also runs into this kind of problem.
    • Joe's former friend Ibaraki had his surname spelled as "Ibaragi" in Tokyopop's translation. Another friend has had her name debated as either being "Merry" or "Mary", as the katakana can represent both. Tokyopop went with the latter, while the Italian translation used the former.
    • The princess in the story "City of Wind" is officially "Ixquic", and can also be spelled "Xquic". However, due to the pronunciation issues and the way of the name being translated in Japanese, "Ishuki" and "Ishukik" can still be seen in some Western fanworks. Her robot should be "Cabrakan", but is often spelled as "Kabrakan".
    • A minor character in the "Moses in the Desert" arc somewhat infamously had her name rendered as "Crisheeta Moore" in the Italian translation of the manga, while English scanlations call her Christa Moore. "Christa" would be the more appropriate rendering of クリスタ, but it appears that the "si" character may have been misread as "shi", leading to the confusion on the Italian end.
    • The Italian dub of the 1979 series had its own fair share of errors, with the Deinonychus dinosaur becoming the "Dinonix", and Freyja and Thor being referred to as "Flair" and "Tol". Most egregiously, the cyborg triplets of Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu became "Shiba", "Brehmet", and "Bishun", losing out on their own mythological references and causing much spelling confusion for decades.
  • D.Gray-Man has a character who the Japanese have already romanized as "Arystar Krory", but to English speakers, the name is obviously a reference to Aleister Crowley. Still, Krory is officially Arystar Krory. The author specifically wanted a name that sounded like the infamous Crowley but wasn't.
    • Not to mention the million different spellings of Lenalee Lee: Rinali, Linali, Linalee... Plus, her surname can be romanized as either Lee or Li. And then there's Rabi vs. Lavi and Tyki Mikk vs. Ticky Mick and... basically 90% of the characters in the series are subject to this.
      • Worse than any of the others, some of the names for one of the Noah twins: Devit, Debit, Debitt, David, Debitto, Devitto, Debbit.
    • The Noah n'aime of the Noah are chosen After an english word combined with à japanese suffix. This leads to the need to choose between transliterating the whole thing or going with the base english word. The choice not even being consistent in the fanbook doesn't help... Ex: Road (transliteration : Rodo) and Raasura (from "Wrath" +"ra")
    • Luckily, the author added a nice chart with all the characters' names, in English, to one of the volumes. A similar chart with the same spellings (also English) followed one of the anime episodes. The fanbook includes the official romanisation of each character's name in their character profiles, and the recent manga compliation volumes include English name spellings in the profiles of all the characters written into the story since the fanbook was produced - except, for some reason, for the new Noahs. Though one of the names on the author's list and in the fanbook is spelled "Jeryy," so some fans choose to ignore the list.
      • A new fanbook is out, providing the names for the "new" Noah. Some of them are really odd like "Maushyma".
  • Done with the official translations of D.N.Angel. What's the name of Daisuke's pet? The anime dub went with "With", but the manga translation decided on "Wiz".
    • It makes sense if 'Wiz' is short for 'wizard'. But it comes off as narm.
  • In Destruction Flag Otome the third prince's name has been romanized as Jared or Gerald and the prime minister's son is either Nico or Nicole depending on if you're reading the light novel or the manga. Looking at the way they're written in Japanese, it's pretty clear that the prince is supposed to be Gerald. The prime minister's son's name is supposed to be pronounced Nicole, but as this is a feminine name it's more likely to be the masculine Nicol instead, which makes both wrong but the manga closer.
  • In Detective Conan/Case Closed, Ran's English name is spelt as "Rachel" in the manga, but "Rachael" in the anime.
  • Dirty Pair
    • Mugi/Mughi. (The latter spelling comes from the first episode of the OVA series retconning his name to be an acronym for "Military Utility Genetic Hiper (sic) Intelligence".)
    • The rare Kodansha-published English translation of the first short story spelled Kei's name as "Kay". (When Dark Horse republished this story, they mostly reused the existing English translation, but changed the spelling to the more usual one.)
  • A character's name in Excel Saga is spelled "Ilpalazzo" in the anime but spelled "Il Palazzo" in the manga. Since the names of =ACROSS= members are also the names of hotel chains, the manga's is probably the right one.)
    • "Menchi" is "Mince" in the manga—according to the pop-up assists in the ADV-translated anime, "Menchi" does, in fact, mean "mince meat". Note that Viz handled the manga and apparently chose to ignore ADV's translations in the anime, so that's where these inconsistencies come from.
    • Ropponmatsu II is sometimes called "Nishiki"note  in the manga.
  • Fist of the North Star
    • Sauzā, the name of the Nanto Hōōken successor, has been romanized as "Souther" (in some of the earlier action figures and video games and Toei and Discotek's subtitles for the 1984 anime), "Thouther" (in the Arc System Works fighting game and All About the Man guidebook), and "Thouzer" (used in newer merchandises and works). Arguably, "Souther" seems to be the most fitting, seeing how "Souther" is the strongest of the Nanto Seiken successors, the "Holy Fist of the South Star", and "Souther" mearns "southerly wind", which fits with the avian motif of the Nanto styles, but most of the recent merchandise seems to favor the "Thouzer" convention. Funnily enough, in Ken's Rage, it's spelled in English text as "Thouzer", but the English dub of said game always pronounces it as "Souzer".
    • The name of the Nanto Kōkakuken master is literally Yuda in Japanese, is based on the Japanese transliteration of Judas Iscariot, the infamous Biblical traitor. Some sources romanize his name as "Juda", probably to get the point across quicker.
    • "Raō" is most popularized romanized as "Raoh", but the All About the Book actually spells it "Laoh", which managed to find its way in the manual for the NES game that was released by Taxan in the US.
    • "Debiru Ribasu," depending on the translation, is Romanized as either "Devil's Rebirth" or "Devil's Reverse." Given his demonic appearance and characterization, the former would make more sense. However, in tarot cards, the reversed "Devil" card represents freedom from restriction, which fits his anger towards his imprisonment and his desire for freedom.
    • Bat's name, literally "Batto" in Japanese, was changed to Bart in the Manga Entertainment dub of the TV series. Some people actually insists that Bat's name is actually "Bart", but Buronson stated in an interview featured in the Raoh Den: Jun'ai no Shō DVD that he named Bat after the flying mammal of the same name.
    • In certain translations, Yuria is sometimes anglicized to "Julia".
    • The short-lived Viz Media translation of the manga anglicized Rei's name to "Ray", while his sister Airi became Iris. Mamiya also became Mamia, which is actually closer to how her name is pronounced.
  • From Fullmetal Alchemist, some names that appear in different forms depending on the translator are Gracia/Glacier/Glacia, Lan Fan/Ran Fan/Ranfun, Riza/Liza/Lisa, Halcrow/Hakuro, Olivia/Olivier, Elysia/Elicia, and Lyra/Lyla/Ryla.
    • The Funimation dub uses place names like Lior and Ishbal, while the creator, Hiromu Arakawa, uses Reole and Ishval. The English manga can't seem to make up its mind which versions to use; for instance, fluctuating between "Ishbal" and "Ishvarla", "Xerxes" and "Cserksess", etc.
      • The Funimation sub of Brotherhood uses Ishbal for the first five episodes, then switches to Ishval in the sixth (likely due to a map in the fifth episode that clearly says "Ishval").
      • The actual dub of Brotherhood likewise officially switches it to "Ishval".
    • The Elric brothers' hometown is so bad that even the offical translations have it spelled differently - on the same page. See book nine, where it's spelled "Resembool" in one pannel, and then "Resemboul" two pannels later. The Spanish official translation of the manga has it Riesenburg (German for Castle of Giants or Giantville). A real town in Germany, it was the birthplace of the Von Hohenheim family, and thus has a family connection to the Elric brothers through their father Van Hohenheim (Hohenheim of Light in the anime).
    • With the characters Lin/Ling Yao and Mei/May Chan/Chang, a G was added top their names within one or two volumes for no apparent reason than the translators forgot their own name choice.
      • In one image, there is a closeup of a prisoner identification bracelet given to Ling, with English lettering on it, rendering his name as "Ling Yao". This was particularly hilarious with the Official Viz translation. The dialogue bubble in the SAME PANEL has another character going "So your name is Lin Yao?".
      • Viz also ping-ponged between "Van" and "Von" for Hohenheim's first name for a while, until they were forced to settle on Von when the Paracelsus reference came up.
    • There's argument over whether the librarian should be "Scieszka" or "Sheska". Even Funimation's subtitles differ from their own liner notes on this one.
    • Brotherhood does solve this issue in one respect: the eyecatches, even in the raw Japanese version, spell the names of the featured characters in English. Funimation, naturally, has chosen to use the same spellings in the subtitles.
    • Likewise, there's been debates whether Heiderich from the same film is "Alfons" or "Alphonse". Some sources, even official, have him as "Alphonse" but others as "Alfons". Most fans use "Alfons" to differentiate him from Edward's brother.
    • The Tringham Brothers (Russell and Fletcher): Is the brothers' surname spelled as "Tringham", "Tringam", or "Tringum"? The "Tringham" spelling receives use in the anime and is visible in Funimation's English subtitles for Japanese episodes. However, printings of the Light Novel Fullmetal Alchemist: The Land of Sand (where the brothers originated from), repeatedly use "Tringum" throughout the text. Within the same light novel, the "final character sketches" of Russell and Fletcher (with the pages being situated near the end of the book) prominently feature the spelling of "Tringam".
  • At some point during the development of Fushigiboshi no★Futagohime, レイン's name was apparently romanized as Rain. Notable since it appears that way on the first season's Eye Catch (it's normally covered up by the title logo, but it appears in plain view in the EC used in the 2nd half of the season). The second season's premiere has her writing her name as Rein both on a drawing on a train (belonging to another character with this issue, see below) and a business card... and it also appears that way in the Eye Catch.
    • Another princess that had this issue was ミルロ: Two different supplemental books romanized her name differently (Mirlo and Milro), and both romanizations even appear in the same episode. Other romanization (and translation) issues are mentioned here.
    • Not mentioned at the above webpage is a 2nd season character named エリザベータ. On the train that the twins draw on it's spelled as Erizabert, and this page spells it as Elizabert, neither being what one might expect from the katakana.
  • Speaking of giant robots, many of the Gundam series pick up mangled names on the way to production, most of which get more reasonable conversions overseas. Which, depending on where in the translation process one starts watching, can make it nearly impossible for the fandom to agree on which is the "correct" spelling.
    • The translations for the various terms in the UC timeline have changed at least once (ignoring the MSG movie trilogy dub in the 90s that has been ignored ever since); the OVAs use different terms than the original series, such as "Kishiria" instead of "Kycilia", "Jabrow" instead of "Jaburo", the Duchy of Zeon instead of the Principality of Zeon, and "Seig Zeon" instead of "Hail Zeon".
    • Zeon's arguably the worst case of it in the entire franchise, as it can be (and has been at various points in the past) been translated as the Principality, Duchy, Archduchy, or Grand Duchy of Zeon, Zion, or Jion. Zeon was simply the cleanest translation of the original Japanese, but they only settled on Principality after looking at the Japanese terms for real-life principalities/duchys/whatevers and realizing that Principality was the only exact match.
  • Gunslinger Girl has a lot of names transliterated completely differently in the anime and the manga (Jose vs. Giuseppe and Hirscher vs. Hillshire, for example).
    • Giuseppe was a style choice, going for the "regular" Italian form. Later chapters show that his full name is actually Josefo (showing the brothers' northern origins), but this might not have been decided when the manga was translated. Hirscher/Hillshire is this (both read the same in katakana). Since he doesn't try to conceal his nationality (and it's a alias anyway), most people go for Hirscher (which is used in the German translation).
  • Irene Vincent of Gunsmith Cats has her nickname as Rally in the official English versions, but Word of God is that the nickname is actually Larry Vincent. Interestingly, Larry is the name of Irene's father.
    • This is often considered a case of artistic license, though; apparently the author wanted to give her a name that sounded exotic and foreign, so he picked the name "Larry" for her, not knowing that it was actually a male name. Quite strange considering that the author showed his work in every other detail of the universe. When the series was brought to Western shores, the Rs and Ls were flipped to give her the name Rally, which fits her as she's into cars. Then again, he still insists that her name is Larry - at the 1993 Anime America convention, he responded to a fan's question about the character with "It's Larry, not Rally". Make of that what you will. Her name is also written as "Larry" in one part of the manga.
  • To the irritation of most of its Western fans, the beautifully dubbed The Heroic Legend of Arslan switched horses in mid-stream and changed pronunciation for all major characters and cities after the first two films were released, turning Arislan, Daryoon, Narsus, Pharangese, and Gieve into Arslan, Darun, Narcasse, Farangis, and Guibu. It's even more complicated: originally the names of characters and places either came from Persian legends (Arslan, Farangis, Giv, etc.) or are native to various languages like Farsi, Hindi, Urdu (Daryun, Elam, Etwar, etc. Many places mentioned in the story, such as Ecbatana or Atropatene, actually exist or existed in real life). The person who translated the anime to English treated the names as if they were random fantasy names, hence Arislan, Pharangese, Daryoon, Gieve and so on. And then the above-mentioned Executive Meddling happened. The materials for the new adaptation are a bit more consistent. "Arislan" might have been to avoid having it sound like something not-so-nice, since that dub was British.
  • The English dub of Howl's Moving Castle mostly manages to re-translate the names in accordance with the original book, with one notable exception: "Markl"? You don't think the L is a hint that his name could be, say, Michael? Dubs in other languages also have problems with the name of Howl—several of them call him "Hauru," both because it's the direct Japanese pronounciation and because it fits the Mouth Flaps.
  • Inu × Boku SS: Even after the anime had already been released, Yen Press decided to romanize Karuta Roromiya's name as "Carta".
  • Is the Order a Rabbit?:
    • The anime ended up split in the official English translations over what the "correct" spelling of character names. The Japanese version wrote the names in English letters for the opening credits, using Rize and Syaro. The Crunchyroll subtitle of the work call them Lize and Sharo for the first half of Season 1, and then switch to the original spelling. The Sentai Filmworks subtitles use Rize, but this was apparently done after the fact via find-and-replace, as words that happen to contain the sequence "lize" had "Rize" introduced into them (e.g. specialize is misspelled as speciaRize).
    • On the Chinese side, their reluctance to transliterate a Japanese name causes Mocha's name in China to be quite contentious among viewer. This contention is partly due to the interference of Rosario + Vampire where there is a pair of sisters called Cocoa (Kokoa) and Mocha (Moka) with kanji names (thus translated), and the fact that ''GochiUsa's Cocoa does have a kanji name that's the same as Kokoa's. Going so far that the largest Chinese-language wiki on anime-related material, while using the usual transliteration of Mocha (the drink) as her name, it's immediately followed by the disclaimer to the effect of "that's the name used by the legal live streamer in China note  and does not imply this wiki's endorsement of such name."
  • Karin and her two siblings use the last name "Ma'aka", yet their parents, Henry and Carrera, have elected to use the surname "Marker". This is entirely intentional, though. The series explains from the very beginning that the family moved from Europe to Japan. The kids, having been raised in Japanese society, adopted the Japanese spelling, while the old-timey parents retained the original European spelling. The manga points out also that "Ma'aka" is pronounced "Ma-aka", not "Maaka".
  • There are a few cases of this in Kiddy Grade - most notably Armbrust, who is "Armblast" both in the dub and accompanying subtitles on the English DVDs, but spelt correcting in the subtitles accompanying the Japanese audio on the same discs (they caught the error before release, but not after it had already been enshrined in the dub). The English DVDs are mostly correct apart from that due to Word of God material that accompanied the Japanese DVDs, but the fansubs were full of errors and inconsistencies. The fansubs for sequel Kiddy GiRL-AND are similar despite English spellings for most characters being available via the official website - e.g. Himatsubushi insists on subtitling Sommer as "Zoma".
    • In an ironic twist, the English subtitled blu-ray discs for the Kiddy Grade compilation movies published in Japan use FUNimation's subtitle tracks with a few corrections.. and a few new mistakes, most notably changing Donnerschlag's mame from the correct German spelling to "Donnersclag".
  • And then... there's Legend of Galactic Heroes, in which everyone on the Imperial side has a German name, and the Alliance side is a kind of multicultural potluck, all rendered in katakana pronunciation. The people that made the anime version (wherein the characters' names appear onscreen when they are introduced) didn't even know where to begin with this mess, and the resulting roman spellings are often bizarre. The later DVD release features revised spellings. Add a handful of different fansub romanizations into the mix and the result is almost as complicated as the actual show.
  • The name of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha's signature weapon is レイジングハート, which can be transliterated as either reijing haato, "Raging Heart", or as reizing haato, "Raising Heart". The Word of God is that the latter is correct. The main issue here is that spoken Japanese makes no distinction between the "ji" and "zi" syllables, as the latter doesn't exist. Thus both "Raging" and "Raising" are pronounced as "Raging".
    • For added confusion, the English dub switches from "Raging" to "Raising" at the beginning of the second season— and the subtitles for the first season switch back and forth!
    • The names of characters are even less clear. Their spellings aren't even consistent in the various different official sources, even though the dialogue makes the automobile Theme Naming obvious. On the other hand, this hasn't stopped fansubbers from using Yuuno instead of the more likely Euno (after the Mazda Eunos marque)... The official site tries to clear up a lot of confusion (stating that Yuuno is indeed spelled Yuuno, for example), however, fans are still hesitant to use the official spelling for some of the other names, the most popular example being Zafila, whom many still prefer to call Zafira. Understandable as, given the aforementioned Theme Naming, "Zafira" makes much more sense (from Opel Zafira).
      • The official spelling of the Azure Wolf's name seems to change with every release. While earlier side-materials used 'Zafila', the later video game adaptation went with 'Zafira'.
    • It doesn't help that the English dub cycles through the names Arf, Alph and Aruf depending on which volume you're watching. They use the first two spellings in the same conversation.
    • Caro presents an odd example, as she's clearly named after her tribe, so they should be spelled the same; instead, her surname is always written "ru Lushe" or "Ru Lushe", yet the tribe itself is called "Lu-Lushe". Even her employee card uses both spellings.
    • Signum's sword is usually either Laevatein or Levantine.
      • Given how there are so many references to Norse mythology already (three of Hayate's attacks are Mistilteinn, Ragnarök and Hræsvelgr), Lævateinn would make more sense. The problem is how Signum pronounces it - Lævateinn in Japanese is usually "Rēvatein", but Signum's sword is pronounced "Revantin", which leads to the confusion.
    • Even the two Numbers whose names are not literal Italian numbers- Wendi/Wendy and Deed/Dido- occasionally fall into this.
      • Strangely, even though "sei" is Italian for "six", the official spelling of the character's name is Sein.
      • Probably an abbreviation of "Sei-chan", which Japanese does for some names.
    • The Battle of Aces official guidebook, released 2010, renders Amy as "Eimy", even though it's six years after she first appeared.
    • The name of Caro's dragon (written as Furīdorihi in Japanese) could be either "Friedrich" (as a reference to Friedrich Nietzsche) or "Friedliche" (German for "peaceful"). Given her other dragon is called Voltaire (Vorutēru), though, Friedrich would make more sense.
  • Magical Girl Raising Project is full of this, with official spellings usually contradicting each other:
    • The Forrest Musician is the worst offender: her name in the official anime website states it as "Cranberry", but some merchandise spells it as "Clanberry", and many people insist on calling her "Clamberry".
    • "Weiss Winterprison" is the spelling used during the credits of the series, but it is "Vess Winterprison" in the official anime website.
    • The official site for the novels spells the name as "Shadow Gale", but some merchandise spells it as "Shadowgale".
  • Mahoromatic has Mashu/Masshu/Mash/Mathew/Matthew. (Geneon uses "Matthew", and Tokyopop uses all of them at different times.)
  • Martian Successor Nadesico has a very funny one with its parody Show Within a Show, particularly in the ADV dub. Throughout the series, the show is dubbed Gekigangar 3. And it stayed that way throughout the entire series... even after one scene late in the show shows it to be spelled Gekiganger 3. This was because ADV had went phonetically (Gekigangaa) and never realized their mistake until that scene
  • Mazinger Z: Notably, this series managed to largely avoid this, but still there were some cases:
    • Baron Ashura: In the Spanish dub in the seventies he was named "Ashler".
    • Count Brocken: In some places he was called "Count Blocken".
    • The twin blonde research assistants from Great Mazinger and Mazinkaiser. Rori, Loli, Lori, Roli? Roru, Lolu, Rolu, Loru, or possibly Roll?
    • However, the worst offenders were the Mechanical Beasts by far: Debira, Devira or Deviler X1? Belgas or Velgus V5? Doublas or Dabras M2? Zaira or Zaila? Bikong or Bicong 09? Holzon or Horzon V3? And so on.
    • UFO Robo Grendizer was not so bad... But -other than the Saucer Beasts and the Vega Beasts- some characters had some confusing names: Gandal or Gandar? Blacki, Blackie or Brackie? Barados or Barendos? Rubina or Lubina?
  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch: The main antagonist of the first arc of the manga is named Gakuto. His name is written in katakana for most of the series, and is meant to evoke the singer Gackt, leaving his name as Gackto. However, once and only once, he uses kanji for his name that can only be read as Gakuto. And on top of that, the anime called him Gaito to distance the character from the singer and play up the connection to Kaito.
    • And the prototype for Lucia, Lyre, is called "Riiru", a nonsense name, by the usually-accurate manga translation.
  • Lunge/Runge from Monster. The manga and the official website say it's 'Lunge', but his name plate in the anime says it's 'Runge'.
  • Layla/Reira Serizawa from Nana, which ought to be a no-brainer since she specifically says she's named after the Eric Clapton song (but on the other hand it's romanized Reira all over official Japanese materials). This one has a bit of justification: in Japan, when a child is born, it's registered with the kana and kanji for it's name. Since Layla would be phonetically changed into Reira, this is her official name (in Japan, depending on her American passport).
  • Naruto:
    • Rock Lee's mentor has had both of his names vary in spelling: Might/Mighty/Maito Guy/Gai (official translation: Might Guy). Despite there being an official spelling, there's still too many fans who insist on one of the other spellings. To be fair, almost every translation prior to the official one had his name as Gai, and that is a more common transliteration. Also, the official translation of the manga originally used "Mighty Guy". Guy-sensei has suffered in this respect more than any other Naruto character: At one point, the American branch of Shonen Jump was apparently drawing names out of a hat for him, as during the first part of the Chunin Exam preliminary rounds, his name changed in spelling every issue for nine months. The spelling "Might Gay" was apparently considered before they finally settled on the current version of his name, though online scanalations of chapters not yet released by Viz in America still sometimes use the old translation of 'Gai.' As a side note, the dub had Kisame mock his name by calling him "Mighty Stupid-looking Guy."
    • The "letters" from the Hidden Cloud vary is it: A, Ay, Ei or Ē, Killer B, Killer Bee or Kirābī, C, Shī, Shee or Cee, F, Efu or Eff, J, Jei or Jay.
    • From the final chapter we have "Boruto" or "Bolt" and "Sarada" and "Salad" English puns for Naruto/Hinata's son and Sasuke/Sakura's daughter with bonus points for mixing and matching. Probably represents where fan translators thought Who Names Their Kid "Dude"? and some Meaningful Name on Boruto's part. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 doesn't make matters clearer for the former. The English version has the subtitles saying "Boruto" yet Naruto clearly refers to him as "Bolt" in the dialogue. Boruto: Naruto the Movie has the official spelling as "Boruto", and eventually the English dub went with "Boruto" as well.
  • An in-universe example occurs in Negima!. Any time a character gets a Pactio card, their name is printed on it, but with a "latinized" spelling; some of the letters are replaced with others ("Y" with "J" and "K" with "C", for example), so "Yue" turns into "Jue", "Nodoka" becomes "Nodoca", etc.
  • In New Game!, Hifumi's name is purely written in kana, but since Chinese does not transliterate Sinospheric names unless necessary, this results in ambiguity. In Hifumi's case, the Taiwanese publisher Tongli gives her name in on-yomi as Rifumei, whereas Tokuno has stated that the intentions are the numerals one-two-three (given as Yi'ersan in Mandarin).
  • Nichijou: One character is a little girl Mad Scientist. Depending on which translation you use, she's either Only Known By Her Nickname and referred to as "Professor", or as "Hakase", a Japanese word for "Professor". Even official translations vary, with the Vertical Comics manga using "Professor", while the Funimation dub uses "Hakase". Prompting the confusion is the fact that, while "Hakase" is the Japanese word for "Professor", the Japanase manga doesn't use the kanji for "Hakase" (博士), but instead spells it in hiragana (はかせ), which presents "Hakase" as a proper name rather than a title.
  • One Piece:
    • Roguetown vs. Loguetown (as in "prologue" and "epilogue"); the guy that makes the series spells it in the series as "Loguetown", but it got changed in the 4kids dub.
    • One of the more infamous cases in anime is Zoro/Zolo. In the first volume of the English manga they used Zoro, but in vol. 2 they changed it to Zolo, mainly to pander to the English dub available at the time (4kids)* The Planetes manga (Tokyopop) and anime (Bandai USA) have different romanization schemas for two important names: the Von Braun's experimental drive is called "Tandem Miller" engine (presumably named after its creator) in the latter, while the former calls it "Tandem-Mirror" (on account of its design depending on mirrors). There's also the character Hakim/Hakimu (both versions used in the manga) as well as Hakeem (anime).
  • Pokémon: Ash's rival from the Indigo League Tournament, Richie or Ritchie? Pokemon Puzzle League goes with the latter, but official subtitles are split.
  • All the character names from Princess Tutu suffered from this in some of the subtitle releases, from going from Mytho to Mute and to the strange insistence to keep romanizations from Lillie to Ririe.
  • "Raidiin"/"Raideen", licensed "Raydeen", and the remake "Reideen".
  • Perhaps partially because China plays a fair role in the series, meaning that both Chinese and Japanese names get mentioned for the same thing, Ranma ½: In the first video game, Cologne was spelled Colon.
  • The sequel to Chirality is titled Ragnarock City, and it is spelled this way on the cover of the original version. Despite this, when Central Park Media included an about-the-author page for Satoshi Urushihara in the final volume of Chirality, they spelled it Laguna Rock City.
  • Rave Master: One of the generals is called four diferent names throughout the official translation. Two of which occur in the same chapter, and one of those is actually the name of a diferent character.
  • Most of the characters in The Rose of Versailles have fairly easily recognizable French names — except for one, who is variously referred to as Gerodere, Girodelle, Girondelle, Girodel, Girodet, Giradel and Jiroderu. It's not just a fan thing, either — most of those variants have appeared in official translations of the manga or anime.
  • The Saber Marionette J manga refers to the third Saber doll as "Lynx", the anime uses "Luchs". "Luchs" is the German word for lynx, and all three of the Saber Dolls are named after German fighting vehicles from World War II, retaining the Wehrmacht's Real Life Theme Naming.
  • The Sailor Moon franchise has more examples than you can shake a Moon Stick at:
    • Neflyte in the dub alone often has his name alternately spelled Neflite or Nephlite. The now-defunct official website and the back of the VHS "Evil Eyes" spells his name "Neflite", while other sources spell it "Nephlite".
    • The two Filler Villains from Sailor Moon R are supposed to have a name that's a pun on "Alien". However, it's based on the katakana reading of the word and not the actual English pronunciation, which gives us "Eiru" and "An". A lot of fans who haven't read the names have used "Ail" and "Ann" because they read it on the internet. However, the pronunciation of "ail" in particular is completely off using Japanese phonetics (it sounds like "aisle") and romanizing it that way is nonsensical because it ignores the pun. ADV Films, who subtitled the arc, used "Ali" and "En" to try and keep the pun intact even though it is not a literal translation. A literal translation is "Al" and "En", though it's not pronounced that way. The DiC dub confused it even more by changing their names to Alan and Ann. Viz opts to refer to the two as "Ail" and "An".
    • The DiC dub itself didn't seem to remember what Berthier's English name was. Officially, it was supposed to be "Bertie", but the dialogue from the other characters indicates that actors thought it was "Birdy" and the script made many bird references to her, which only further confused things. The dub also sometimes added an extra 'b' to "Rubeus" and couldn't decide whether Petz' new name should be "Prisma" or "Prizma".
    • The Death Busters were mangled left and right. Geneon's subtitles and the Cloverway dub for Sailor Moon S gave "Eugeal" and "Yujial" to "Eudial", Telulu to Tellu, Byruit to Viluy, Cyprin to Cyprine, Ptilol to Petirol, and Kaorinite to Kaolinite. Tokyopop somehow mangled "Ptilol" into Petite Roll, and amusingly changed Kaolinite's latin title, Magus (mage), to Magnus (large). They also called her "Kaori Night". A US doll box kept that name, though a popular fan mistranslation mixed it up as "Kaori Knight", as they did a completely unrelated Tokypop translation of an animanga. The English dub spelled Mimete's name as "Mimet" (from mimetite), but pronounced it the same way as her Japanese name.
    • Hilarity Ensues in the Sailor Moon arcade game. Made in Japan and production overseen by Takeuchi Naoko herself, it mangles the spellings left and right. Castor and Pollux (two Youma from the first season) became Kastol and Polx, Cyrene became Kyulene, Zoisite became Zoisat, Kunzite became Knzait (not a typo!), and Queen Beryl became Queen Beril. Remember, production of this game was overseen by Naoko herself. It seems even she doesn't know how her characters' names are spelled.
    • The translation of the reprints by Kodansha Comics still has issues, some of them relatively minor - e.g. Chibi-Usa with a dash rather than without which could just be put down to stylistic choice. Then there was the "Spark Ring Wide Pressure" attack name issue which a quick Google would have told them should be "Sparkling Wide Pressure". This did get fixed in a later reprint run however.
  • In Saki Achiga-Hen, the tomboyish member of the Senriyama team's last name, Eguchi, is consistently spelled one way, but her first name is often spelled many different ways- Cera, Cela, Sera and even Sara.
    • There's an In-Universe example that becomes a plot point. Ai Arctander, Saki and Teru's maternal grandmother, apparently has the same surname as an international pro player named Arctandar. When Nishida asks an old woman who knew Ai, the old woman says that Ai's name was mis-spelled during the registration process.
  • Shaman King has Len/Lian. The former is his name in the dub, while the latter is Takei-Sensei's given proper reading.
  • Names in Slayers often differ among the translations of the various parts of the franchise, and among translations into different languages. Some examples:
    • Zelgadis and Xellos officially have an extra "s" on the ends of their names, but due to the prominence of the anime in other countries, the former two stuck. Similarly, there's Amelia and Ameria; while the latter is canonical in Japan, oddly enough, official Japanese guidebooks by the author have used the former spelling. The same goes for Chaos Dragon Garv/Gaav, and Hellmaster Fibrizo/Phibrizzo. In Spain and a few other European countries, Lina is Rina, Filia is Phiria, and Sylphiel is Shilfeel.
    • For places, there's Sairaag and "Sylague", and Saillune (the correct spelling) and Seyruun.
    • Finally, Gorun Nova (the alternate name of the Sword of Light that Gourry wields) is occasionally referred to as "Goln Nova."
  • This occurs in-universe in Sound! Euphonium. In the final episode, classmates give around luck trinkets that they made. A background character notes that they messed up her names romanization due to the l/r issue.
  • Most fan translations of Spice and Wolf initially rendered the main characters' names as "Craft" and "Horo," but the official English release has them written "Kraft" and "Holo". Further confusing the issue, Krafts name is spelled out as "Craft" on an envelope addressed to him in season 1 and the English version of Zettai Hero Project uses the spelling Horo.
  • Spiral has the Kanon(e) case: it's spelled "Kanone" in the anime and one artbook (the character being non-Japanese), the Yen Press publication of the manga uses the phonetic transliteration and spells it "Kanon".
  • Spy X Family's original translation had the central couple's names as Lloyd and Yoru Folger. These were later officially changed to Loid and Yor Forger, to respect the intentions of the author. (Their adopted daughter went back and forth on this, starting as Anya, then changing to Ania based on how her bedroom nameplate looked, then back to Anya when a new translator took over.)
  • The third Astrea school in Strawberry Panic! was, in fan translations, translated as LeRim, LeLim, and the official Lulim.
  • Sunday Without God combines this with Gender-Blender Name, which only adds to the confusion:
    • First up is Julie Sakuma Dmitriyevich. Or is it Yuri? "Dmitriyevich" is about as Russian as you can get, but his given name in katakana is spelled differently (ユリー) than the Russian male name usually is (ユーリ). In fact, ユリー is usually how the feminine German name Julie is spelled in Japanese, and since "Sakuma" is a Japanese surname, it's likely his name is meant to be a combination of different ethnicities. For even more confusion, Crunchyroll and Hulu's official subtitles use "Julie," while Sentai's dub uses "Yuri."
    • Secondly, Alice Color. Or is it Alis? Crunchyroll's official subtitles use "Alis," but in episodes 11 and 12 his name is shown on-screen as "Alice Color," and the subs on Sentai's BD/DVD release also use "Alice."
  • Urusei Yatsura:
    • It has a single-appearance character with the name ベリアル (Beriaru). This is based on the Hebrew term "Belial", but in the story where this character appears, he considers Ataru's V-Sign to be his initial, because of the B / V ambiguity in transcription of Latin characters to kana. Animeigo's subtitles render the name as "Velial", whereas Viz's translation of the manga used the completely different name "Virility".
    • While the main female character's name is clearly spelled out "Lum", some international translations preferred referring to her as "Lamu" (such as an English dub aired in the Philippines).
  • Your Lie in April has Kaori's name example. Kaori's is usually romanized as "Kaori" but in Japanese, instead of "かおり/カオリ", it's spelled "かをり” which is romanized as "Kawori" and it's even romanized that way in episode 11 on a sign on Kaori's door saying "Kawori's room".

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