You walk into the manga section at your local bookshop and start to browse the shelf. That’s when you see it; the manga that has a name that is so long and ridiculous you can’t help but wonder what the mangaka was thinking. Or maybe you’re having a look at the airing anime for next season, and there it is again, an anime with a name long enough to be its own sentence. From Ore no Nōnai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Rabu Kome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteir (My Mental Choices are Completely Interfering with My School Romantic Comedy) to Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shirnai (We Still Don’t Know the Name of the Flower We Saw that Day), just to name two mouthfuls, all Otaku have experienced this before in some form or another. And most have asked themselves one question: why? Western media doesn’t really have these long names…well, unless you count that period in the 2000s when Panic! at the Disco and other similar bands were doing it with their song names, but that was arguably a phase.
So why does Japanese media use these kinds of names? Are they long in Japanese too? What is the point of making a name so long it’s hard to remember? These are the questions we are going to explore today, so if you’ve ever wondered what the motivation behind these ridiculous, long names for anime and manga are, keep reading!
When it’s time to choose a new anime or a new manga, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of choices available. Plus new ones come out on a regular basis, adding to those choices several times a year. While that can be really overwhelming for you as an Otaku, it also poses a big challenge for mangaka and anime writers! After all, they want to sell their story and get a lot of fans. So how can they compete with all the other titles coming out all the time? How do they make sure that someone notices their story?
The solution that many of them have is to create a ridiculously long name! Let’s take manga, for example. With the number of manga for sale in bookshops these days, most of them are displayed with only the spine facing out towards the buyer. Mangaka can’t count on beautiful or intriguing cover art to grab potential customers because the only thing the consumer sees is the name of the manga.
So what can a mangaka do to make sure their manga still grabs the eye? Give it a title like Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai (My Little Sister Can’t Possibly be this Cute). Suddenly the person that has skipped over more generic titles has to pause a moment. Maybe they have a laugh, maybe they’re just curious, and then they pull that manga out, and now the mangaka has made it past the first hurdle towards securing a sale! The same goes for anime when fans are browsing a seemingly endless list of things coming out every season, or even a shelf at a DVD shop that has the same issue as a bookshop.
Hard to Remember, Equally Hard to Forget
The other reason that a lot of anime and manga have long titles is that it makes them actually hard to forget. But wait; wouldn’t a super long name actually be quite hard to remember? It’s a bit of a double-edged sword! While yes, at first it might be hard to remember the exact name of Dungeon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka (Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?) the first time you see it, it’s also hard to forget that you saw an anime with such a long name! After looking it up a few times, suddenly it’s easier and easier to remember it because you want to.
Plus a lot of these anime and manga end up with fun little nicknames from fans or from the producers themselves. The title above is usually shortened to “Danmachi,” which is used as both the Japanese and English title for the show. Otaku were drawn in with the ridiculous name, made an effort to remember it, and now get to call it by a shorter name as a true fan.
You have to admit, when you see those long anime and manga titles, you do tend to pause and look at them longer than others. Often they’re the ones you will point out to friends, have a laugh at, or click on because they have sparked your interest. And that, fellow Otaku, is exactly why the writers have chosen these names! In an industry flooded with new manga and anime several times a year to compete with, something has to make yours stand out. And sometimes, that something is an obnoxiously long name that makes people look twice at your product. And that second look is all you may need to get a new fan!
What is your favourite anime or manga with a ridiculous, long name? Do you think its an interesting trend in the Otaku industry, or a stupid one? Do you like the long names more or less now that you know why they’re chosen? We would love to hear your opinion in the comments!