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Titles are hard.
Right, you have a good concept for a show with interesting characters, cool powers, and a deep twisty plot. The only problem is that you can't think what to call it.
Well, what about naming it after the main character? And just in case another show comes along in which the main character has the same name, you stick your hero's occupation or role in the story in there too.
Translators of anime noticed this trend a long time ago, and often localise a title to make it fit the pattern even if it didn't before.
Western series usually write this as "Bob the Manual Laborer" or "Bob: Manual Laborer", while anime series prefer something like "Manual Laborer Bob".
Anime & Manga
Titles that have a particular format are also listed under Adjective Noun Fred.
- In a slight variation, a good number of Humongous Mecha series take their name from the main character's personal machine; this stretches all the way back from Mazinger Z up to recent hits like Mobile Suit Gundam 00.
- Arguably, Gundam sometimes doubles up on this, with titles like Mobile Suit Gundam and Mobile Fighter G Gundam
- Another method is to name the series after the Cool Ship, like Space Battleship Yamato. Martian Successor Nadesico may be a subversion in that the English title is deliberately nonsensical... at least until The Movie.
- All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku.
- The French title of Astro Boy is Astro, le petit robot ('Astro the little robot').
- Battle Angel Alita in the English translation only. The Japanese title is GUNNM.
- Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon, official translated as Pretty Solider Sailor Moon.
- Bludgeoning Angel Dokurochan.
- Corrector Yui.
- Cardcaptor Sakura.
- Detective Conan.
- Devil Hunter Yohko.
- Earth Maiden Arjuna.
- Firefighter Daigo Of Fire Company M
- Flint the Time Detective
- Great Teacher Onizuka.
- Hayate the Combat Butler.
- Hell Teacher Nube.
- Irresponsible Captain Tylor.
- Kaiji's full title is "Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji", or "Ultimate Survivor Kaiji".
- Kaitou Saint Tail.
- Kamichama Karin.
- Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne.
- Katekyo Hitman Reborn.
- Keroro Gunsou, translated as Sergeant Keroro. The English title, Sgt. Frog, obscures this, as Keroro's name is kept and not changed to "Frog".
- Key the Metal Idol.
- Le Chevalier d'Eon.
- Mahou No Tenshi Creamy Mami.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha.
- Magical Girl Pretty Sammy.
- Magical Princess Minky Momo.
- Mahou Sensei Negima! or "Magical Teacher Negi". Where the "ma" comes from, who knows? Alternate title: Negima! Magister Negi Magi, which tells the audience what he wants to be, a master mage. Magister, in Latin, can also mean teacher.
- As of Volume 19, the Title Drop has negated this trope. it's the temporary name of Negi's answer to his father's Ala Rubra, Ala Alba.
- Mahou Shoujo Ai: Magical Girl Ai.
- Mahoutsukai Sally: Sally, the Witch.
- Mai-HiME — but not Mai-Otome or Mai-HiME Destiny, for that matter.
- Although the play-on-words gets pretty amusing here: Mai = Mai Tokiha, the main character of Mai-HiME (but not Mai-Otome or Destiny), but it also means "dance" (in Mai-Otome, the battles are "butou" which can mean "dance", but is written with the kanji for "dance" and "battle", also pronounced "butou"). Hime = Princess, which Mai kinda acts like at first, but it's also HiME (Highly advanced Materializing Equipment). Otome = Maiden, which all of the girls in Mai-Otome are (otherwise they lose their abilities), but it is also "Otome", which are their titles. So, in a way Mai-Otome can also fit this, as the main characters really are "dancing" (as in dance-battles) "Otome" (their title). Of course, "mai" sounds a lot like the English possessive "my" as well, only adding to the carnival.
- Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro.
- The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi.
- Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok/Detective Loki.
- Nurse Witch Komugi-chan.
- Ojamajo Doremi.
- Every installment of Pretty Cure.
- Ramen Fighter Miki. Muteki Kanban Musume ("The Unbeatable Poster Girl") wasn't descriptive enough, it seems.
- Revolutionary Girl Utena.
- Rune Soldier Louie.
- Rurouni Kenshin. Although rurouni is a made-up word, it's supposed to mean "wandering swordsman", approximately.
- Sex Warrior Isane.
- Sex Warrior Pudding.
- Space Knight Tekkaman Blade.
- Space Knight Tekkaman.
- Space Pirate Captain Harlock.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is almost one of these — the title means "Piercing the Sky Gurren Lagann". The titular Humongous Mecha effectively did pierce a hole in the sky.
- Tsukihime is named after Arcueid Brunestud, whose personal title among vampires is Tsukihime, the Princess of the Moon.
- UFO Princess Valkyrie.
- Vampire Hunter D.
- Vampire Princess Miyu.
- Witch Hunter Robin.
- That belongs under Adjective Noun Fred instead.
- Bondage Queen Kate serves as an example as is, however in some countries it is referred to as Galaxy Policewoman Bondage Queen Kate, which would, in fact, be a double Role Called.
- Rakugo Tennyo Oyui
- Banana no Nana
- Johnny the Homicidal Maniac.
- Luke Cage: Hero for Hire.
- Superman: Man of Steel.
- Usagi Yojimbo.
- Y: The Last Man.
- Abraxas: Guardian of the Universe
- Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.
- Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy
- The proposed title to the sequel to Batman Begins was Batman: The Dark Knight. In the end the studio dropped Batman from the title, although Brazil and other South American countries still used Batman in their titles.
- Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter
- Conan the Barbarian.
- Cornman: American Vegetable Hero
- Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo/European Gigolo.
- Dracula: Prince of Darkness
- Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
- Flavia the Heretic
- Forklift Driver Klaus
- Gamera: Guardian of the Universe
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters
- Hawk the Slayer
- Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer
- Jesus Christ Superstar.
- Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter.
- Johnny Mysto: Boy Wizard
- Kraa! The Sea Monster
- In Germany, the horror film Link was called Link the Butler.
- Mary Queen of Scots
- Nitti: The Enforcer
- Ogroff the Mad Mutilator
- Petey Wheatstraw: The Devil's Son-In-Law
- Q – The Winged Serpent
- Yor: The Hunter from the Future.
- Zarkorr! The Invader
- Zoltan: The Hound of Dracula
- Herbert West - Reanimator
- Taken all together, the titles of The Old Kingdom books read so: Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen. Both Sabriel and Lirael take the title of Abhorsen.
Live Action TV
- Big Breadwinner Hog.
- Billy the Exterminator
- Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon officially translated here as Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon to differentiate it from the anime version.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman.
- Magnum: PI.
- Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher.
- Quincy, M.E..
- Sabrina the Teenage Witch
- Sexy Voice And Robo. Nicknames technically, but it still fits.
- Any and all Super Sentai series.
- Val Falvey, TD.
- Walker, Texas Ranger
- Xena: Warrior Princess.
- Brewster Rockit, Space Guy
- Pericles, Prince of Tyre
- Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
- In fact any of William Shakespeare's histories count as well:
- Julius Caesar
- Henry V
- Richard III
- Blinx the Time Sweeper
- Doshin the Giant
- Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist.
- Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
- Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter.
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, but only in English. The Japanese name for the series is Gyakuten Saiban, or "Turnabout Trials". This applies to the other main playable characters such as Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney and Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth.
- Wario Master of Disguise, although in-game he's more of a "master of superpowered costumes" than a Master of Disguise.
- Solatorobo: Red the Hunter is the American and European name of Solatorobo: Sore kara CODA e ("And Then to CODA").
- Ark The Improbable.
- Arthur, King of Time and Space.
- Bob the Angry Flower.
- Bruno the Bandit.
- Dominic Deegan: Oracle for Hire.
- El Goonish Shive is a variant. It's named after the creator.
- Inappropriate Irving.
- Maxwell The Demon.
- Mechagical Girl Lisa A.N.T, although I suppose Magical Girl webcomics that don't have a Roll Called name count as subversions by now.
- Pastel Defender Heliotrope.
- Peb Casey, Private Eye Butterfly.
- Schlock Mercenary.
- Soul Chaser Betty.
- Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki.
- Sticky teh Stick Man!
- Tin, the Incompetent Ninja.
- Yuusha Hime Kalibourne.
- Zeera The Space Pirate.
- American Dragon Jake Long. Originally to be called just American Dragon, Disney made the producers put Jake's name in the title, presumably to avoid being sued by professional wrestler Bryan "American Dragon" Danielson.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender
- Black Zero: Mercenary Ant
- Bob the Builder.
- Captain N: The Game Master
- Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future
- Dave the Barbarian.
- Fireman Sam.
- The Japanese localization of The Flintstones was titled Primitive Family Flintstone.
- Which is more of an Adjective Noun Fred than this trope.
- Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law.
- Invader Zim.
- Popeye The Sailor.
- Postman Pat.
- She-Ra: Princess of Power.
- Samurai Jack.
- Shaun the Sheep.
- Thomas the Tank Engine.
- Xavier: Renegade Angel.