Phosphosyte? Phosposlyte? Phosposite? I don’t know about you, but I am grateful that the writer behind Land of the Lustrous chose to shorten the protagonist’s name to Phos in nearly every scene. I can’t figure out how to spell it without looking it up and it seems to be written different each time I do.
Anime is no stranger to giving characters weird names and Land of the Lustrous‘ Phosphophyllite (copy & pasted it this time) is just one example. For a laugh, let’s look back on some other anime and manga that featured names worth raising an eyebrow to.
Shinobu Meme – Monogatari
It’s not the first time that Shinobu starred on one of my lists, as she also made an appearance on my recent list of tragic anime villains. I generally try to avoid doubles in these lists, but referencing one of the other vampire characters would be a tad too obscure and Shinobu’s full-name is too good to pass up on. It’s a name so good and preposterous it has its own prelude.
How do you address a centuries old vampire? Well, she prefers to go by the name & title: The Iron-blooded, Hot-blooded, Cold-blooded Vampire Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade. A name that the wiki (and Shinobu’s former master Deathtopia Virtuoso Suicide-Master) insists is very meaningful and important, but which is promptly shortened to Shinobu Meme almost as soon as she is introduced.
Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo – Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo
I am not even going to pretend to know what this name is going on about. I was exposed to Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo as a young boy and didn’t know what to make of it. It’s loud & obnoxious madness, a shounen action series about a big dude with an afro who fights off enemies with his magic nose hair.
The series, and by extension its main character, feels utterly random. In that regard, I suppose Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo is a perfect name to fit them both.
Rena Reina Rene Richetlunt – Iinari Princess
Long names always sound ridiculous, but when it comes to European-style aristocratic nobles, I am willing to excuse some silliness. Long-ass names are a status symbol, even if they are very dumb.
With that said, what in the world happened in Iinari Princess. This short manga by famed ecchi author Yumi Nakata featured a European princess coming to Japan as a transfer student. Apparently, coming up with multiple names was just too much of a hassle, so Nakata just misspelled the same one a few times.
I don’t know where “Rivetaria” is supposedly located, but it’s royal family is probably the laughing stock of the European monarchies.
Heidi E.S. Ingvalt – Lyrical Nanoha
Better include this one before Masaaki Tsuzuki decides to rewrite everything all over again…
Einhard Stratos is a young girl who has inherited the memories of her long-dead ancestor, the former ruler of a nation called Shutra that has since fallen into ruin. Motivated to surpass her ancestor and fulfill his life’s ambition, she takes on a persona and begins picking fights with brawlers and thugs all around the city. The name of this persona: Heidi E.S. Ingvalt.
However, E.S. is clearly just the initials of her true name and, as Heidi in the Alps taught us, Heidi is not a proper name. Ingvalt was also a royal, so we should probably add in the title as well. The total package thus comes down: Hegemon Adelheidis Einhard Stratos Ingvalt. A horrible mismatch of Germanic names and the first sci-fi buzzwords that came to Tzuzuki’s mind.
Dick Saucer – Dragon Half
Arshankrut Kitra Katjvanmaninik – Alderamin on the Sky
The Katjvarna Empire encompasses many regions that are inhabited by people of cultures entirely unique within this vast domain. As such, its naming conventions vary wildly between territories, with some characters having traditional Japanese names while their neighbor’s name sounds Eastern European or plain, old-timey English.
At the head of this vast empire stands its emperor, Arshankrut Kitra Katjvanmaninik. Oh dear that’s a lot to unpack. It sounds like they took Turkish names and then rewrote it to sound more Finnish. Only “Kitra” sounds anything like an actual name and even that is stretching it.
At least he had the courtesy of naming his daughter something slightly more pronounceable.
Wilhelmina Braunschweig Ingenol Friedeburg – Haifuri
Overly fancy names are fine and acceptable when it comes to fabulously wealthy nobles who hire dedicated servants to announce their full name wherever they travel. It gets a little absurd when any foreign schoolgirl gets to have a name that was probably assembled by throwing darts at a map of Germany.
Wilhelmina Braunschweig Ingenol Friedeburg is the deputy captain of the Graf Spee, one of several vessels involved in the strange events of High School Fleet, an anime about schoolgirls who have to man battleships. Stuff like this makes me worry if the people writing our anime have ever met a foreign person. Fortunately, Wilhelmina appears to be an outlier even among the personnel of the Graf Spee, who otherwise have fairly normal names. According to the wiki they do all love sauerkraut and schnitzel though.
Allelujah Haptism – Gundam 00
Ah, Gundam 00. The Mobile Suit Gundam sub-series that was too edgy for its own good. And few characters within it were as edgy as Allelujah Haptism.
While many of the codenames for the Celestial Being pilots are generally fine, Allelujah is really stretching it. I remember first watching Gundam 00 with a friend of mine and remarking how I kept thinking he was called “Hallelujah Baptism”. I ended up being partly right, as Allelujah has an alter ego where he embraces his inner madness and anger, turning him into the super soldier Hallelujah Haptism.
The Gundam series is all about subtlety.
Sekkekkyuu AE3803 – Cells at Work
There are countless cells in our bodies, taking care of the daily work required to keep us alive and healthy. Cells at Work sought to represent this by keeping its main characters unnamed, only referring to them by role and serial number. An idea that worked out so well that every other character after them was made into a unique entity anyway.
Turns out that naming your main character Red Blood Cell AE3803 is more of a hassle than its worth. Nobody has time to remember that and it sure deterred me from getting fond of the character. The same goes for Hakkekkyuu U-1146, the White Blood Cell character, but his serialnumber is bit shorter. That does bring up the question of how consistent the body is with its naming convention.
Anubituf – Simoun
Fantasy gives you a lot of leeway when it comes to naming characters, which is an affordance that Simoun makes a lot of use of. Most names in this show are “unique”, so picking just one was no easy task.
Paraietta, Rodoreamon, Wapourif, Guragief, the honorable mentions for Simoun could fill a list like this all on their own. At the top of all these weird names stands the captain of the Arcus Prima, Anubituf. As a D&D game master I know the pressure of having to come up with names for characters on the spot, but I wager the development cycle of Simoun offered plenty of opportunity to come up with something better than Anubituf.