Posts Tagged ‘character names’

If you are watching Fate/zero (like everyone else this season), you might remember that Kiritsugu’s parents came up with his name, which translates to ”to cut and join again”, after finding out that this unusual process was his origin, or the centerpiece of his existence as an individual. Names are important in any culture, but the Japanese delight in taking things to the extreme: not only do they have to choose a name that sounds good, looks good (kanji!) and has the desired meaning, but they also agonize over stroke counts that bring the best luck. But who could blame them? After all, a name can affect the child’s personality, future and yes, even mahjong powers.

Saki – to bloom

Saki is the most obvious example of this trope, as the meaning of her name is brought up in the series proper. With her favorite rinshan kaihou – the flower blooming atop the mountain – and the flower motif so common in her mahjong matches, the connection is easy to see.

Teru – to illuminate

The older sister could not be any worse than her younger sibling, could she? Kokaji-pro mentions that Teru’s ability to see through play styles and special powers within a single hand is referred to as shoumakyou – the mirror of demonic illumination. The connection is obvious when you look at the kanji, but might get lost in translation.

Amae Koromo

Koromo’s last name could be translated as “heavenly inlet”, which leads to her connection with the moon. Her favorite yaku is the haitei raoyue – scooping the reflection of the moon from the bottom of the sea. When Koromo’s moon and Saki’s flowers clash, we get katen gecchi (花天月地) – flowers blooming in the moonlight.

Toki – time (?)

When you realize that the Japanese word for time is toki, the reasoning behind the name of Senriyama’s ace does not seem like much of a mystery. But in fact, Toki’s name is written with the kanji meaning “bright, of a clear mind”, and the reading of the character just happens to have a connection with her special ability…

Japanese fans also often view Toki as a reference to this gentleman of Fist of the North Star fame, as they share their name and both suffer from less than perfect health. With all due respect to the classic anime series though, I think Onjouji Toki is much cuter.

Finally, Nanpo Kazue who played in the individual tournament in the first Saki series specialized in the south round games, and her last name translates to southern bay.

That would probably be all for the obvious examples – Saki does not overuse theme naming when distributing its powers. After all, there are still other ways to mahjong haxx…

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Any of you still watching Guilty Crown? It’s something between a Guilty Pleasure and a simple bad habit for me… Anyway, with most of the series behind us and character backstories mostly revealed for the main cast, I thought it’s a good time to look at some naming patterns in the series…

Ouma Shuu – The main character gets off easy in the symbolism department, which might be for the better. The last name means something like ‘cherry blossoms in full bloom’. I can’t help suspecting that they deliberately looked for something containing the part ‘ou’, which can stand for ‘king’. But that’s just the result of me guffawing at Shuu’s ‘new king mode’ and stuff. The first name, on the other hand, means ‘to gather’ or ‘collect’. This is probably intended to bring to mind how Shuu unites everyone under his rule (as a king, heh), and also how his abilities are the sum of all those whose Voids he has access to.

Edit: Oh well, less than a week later, ep. 19 basically openly states that Shuu’s Void and ‘true nature’ lie in gathering and accepting everything around him… Actually reasonably foreshadowed when it was portrayed as a fault with Shuu constantly changing his beliefs to match those around him in the earlier episodes. 

Yuzuriha flower buds... coloristic inspiration?

Yuzuriha Inori – Last name translates to false daphne, as pictured above. The first name, though written in the meaning-neutral hiragana, refers to a ‘wish’ or ‘prayer’. This sounds like a very pretty name until you start thinking of the context in which it was given – if Inori was ‘made’ to act as an interface to revive Mana, and Mana was supposed to help turn everyone into crystal zombies or whatever, then it is questionable what kind of wish or prayer Inori is supposed to represent…

Tsutsugami Gai – This is where things get heavy. The last name could be translated to ‘god of disease’, while the first name means ‘a shore’. We need to keep in mind that his current name is not what Gai got from his parents – his original name is probably lost forever due to his amnesia. If the name Tsutsugami Gai is something the man chose for himself, we can guess the intention behind it. The disease refers to the Apocalypse Virus, and so Gai calls himself the ‘god of disease’ to declare he will conquer the virus. His first name brings him back to the ‘shore’ where he first met Mana and where his new life began. It also forms a set with his previous sea-related nickname Triton – showing that Gai wanted to start anew and yet retain the promises and goals of his past life.


Ouma Kurosu – A possible reference to the ‘cross’ of whatever sin or burden the man carried in relation to his Apocalypse Virus research.

Segai Waltz Makoto – First name meaning ‘honest’ or ‘truthful’ and last name meaning ‘world of lies’… take that as you will. (It is also currently beyond me why the writers felt the need to give our favorite manipulative bastard a middle name like Waltz…)

Tsugumi – The lack of a last name and the fact Tsugumi’s name is written in katakana could point to it being an (internet) nickname rather than her real name, though other explanations are also possible.

Then there’s Death (or Da’ath or whatever) the Gravekeeper… but I won’t dare analyze that. Long live engrish.

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