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A common form of Theme Naming is to name characters after animals. The animals may be unrelated, or they may all be of a particular type, such as snakes or dogs.

The animal chosen tends to say something about the character's personality. Someone named after a bear will tend to be rough, aggressive, and not subtle at all, while one named after a snake will tend to be more sneaky and cunning. Dogs tend to be loyal and good friends, while birds may be flighty. If said theme naming is because characters are that animal, or can take its form, this trope will often overlap with A Dog Named "Dog". Taken Up to Eleven in comics where you often get Animal Themed Superbeings.

Examples of Animal Theme Naming include:


Anime and Manga

  • Paranoia Agent: Virtually every character has the character(s) of an animal in his/her name, a Meaningful Name. A good example is Harumi Cho no, a schoolteacher with a split personality disorder. "Cho" is one word for "butterfly" in Japanese, another is "chocho" reflecting on her dual selves. This is put into even simpler terms in Episode 5, in which a Shonen Bat impersonator tells the story so far from his..."unique" perspective, many of the characters are depicted or referred to as their respective animals.
  • Wolf's Rain: The four main characters are all named for aspects of the wolf; Kiba (Fang), Tsume (Claw), Hige (Whisker), and Toboe (Howl). The pun in the title of the second episode, "Toboe, Who Doesn't Howl", is thus lost in the English translation.
  • Noein has the Dragon Knights, who are all named after different birds(Karasu=Crow, Fukurou=Owl and so on) that were representative of their personalities. I guess being called Dragon Knights sounded cooler than being called Bird Knights.
  • The Shiba siblings in Bleach follow a pattern: Kaien means "sea swallow," Ganju means "rock eagle," and Kuukaku means "sky crane."
  • The author of One Piece seems to especially love this one: Not only is the protagonist called Monkey D. Luffy, but all of the original Seven Warlords of the Sea (Crocodile, Jimbei (A Whale shark Fishman), Bartholomew Kuma (Bear), Gecko Moria, Donquixote Doflamingo(Complete with pink feather boa), Boa Hancock(Giant pet snake, called the snake princess, and comes from an island of snake themed Amazons) and Dracule Mihawk) and the three Admirals ("Blue Pheasant", "Yellow Monkey", "Red Dog", all nicknames based on the animal companions of Japanese folk-hero Momotaro) have animal-themed names assigned to them, which more or less correspond with their characters or abilities.
  • Naruto: The Nara, Yamanaka and Akimichi families seem to have their names include Shika (deer), Ino (boar/pig), and Chou (butterfly) after a hand in a Japanese card game. The Inuzukas family has names having to do with dogs, such as Kiba (fang), Hana (nose) and Tsume (claw). Many other names are individually puns as well, though not strung together in a theme.
  • In Weiss Kreuz, the members of Weiss all have cat-themed codenames: Bombay, Siberian, Abyssinian, Balinese, Manx, Birman, and Persia(n). Sequel series Weiss Kreuz: Gluhen adds LaPerm, Havana (Brown), and Rex.
  • Yurie's assistants (Ino, Shika, and Chou) in Kamichu! have names related to the animals they resemble.
  • In Deadman Wonderland the Deadmen fighting in the Carnival Corpse deathmatches are given bird-themed nicknames: Ganta is Woodpecker, Senji is Crow, and Minatsuki is Hummingbird.
  • Characters in the satire Sword of Heaven are named for animals, typically those that share traits with the characters themselves- e.g., Komadori, meaning robin, whose special techniques typically revolve around birds. The exception to the rule seems to be the Flotsam/Jetsam duo, named after an American metal band.
  • The Saberdolls from Saber Marionette J are named after German tanks from World War II which were, in turn, named after large wild cats (Tiger, Luchs/Lynx, and Panther.) This also qualifies them for Vehicular Theme Naming.
  • The characters in Cyber Team in Akihabara are all named after birds. Let's take the five main girls as an example: Hibari (skylark), Tsugumi (thrush), Suzume (sparrow), Kamome (seagull), and Tsubame (swallow). And there are much, much more.
  • The Monster Union Agents in Melody of Oblivion all have animals as a part of their name - Global Wildcat, Flying Bunny, Electric Sheep, etc.
  • Mega Man Star Force: Bud Bison and Damian Wolfe. Their compatable EMians are a bull and a wolf respectively.
  • Sailor Moon: The Sailor Animamates, the Quirky Miniboss Squad from the final season, which was notably the only one not to use Rock Theme Naming. Their names followed the form "Sailor [metal] [animal]": Sailor Iron Mouse, Sailor Aluminium Seiren, Sailor Lead Crow, and Sailor Tin Nyanko.
  • Fist of the North Star have all the named members of Jackal's gang (which consists only of himself, Fox and Hawk) and some of the Shura warriors (Hyoh, Shachi, Zebra)

Comic Books

  • The Phantoka Makuta from Bionicle all have a bat theme going on, and are named appropriately: Antroz (Antrozous pallidus, or pallid bat), Chirox and his Matoran partner Kirop after Chiroptera, and Vamprah should be obvious. Then there is Makuta Bitil, based off a beetle.
  • Marvel's Serpent Squad and its successor, the Serpent Society, consists of supervillains with snake-themed codenames.
  • Scarecrow: Year One begins with the established character of Jonathan Crane and goes on to introduce his ex-mentor Professor Pigeon and his grandmother Olivia Dove (in a different apparent Shout-Out to Psycho, her original name was Marion).

Film

  • In Kill Bill, Bill gives each of his agents of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad code names matching the 5 snakes that have the deadliest poisons in the world: Black Mamba, California Mountain Snake, Cottonmouth, Copperhead, and Sidewinder. Bill himself is also called "Snake Charmer".
  • The protagonists of Pirates of the Caribbean have a bird theme - there's Jack Sparrow, Elizabeth Swann, and Will Turner (a type of swan, appropriately enough).
  • In Over the Top, the finalists of the arm wrestling tournament are all named after animals, whether it's their real name (Lincoln Hawk, John Grizzly, Bull Hurley) or a nickname ("Mad Dog" Madison)
  • In Gnomeo and Juliet, the lawn movers Benny was looking up on the Internet are all named after different types of cats, except for the Terrafirminator. Guess which lawn mover Benny ended up buying!

Literature

  • Harry Potter: You can sometimes spot an Animagus or lycanthrope in the series by their name. Professor Remus Lupin was a Werewolf (not only is Lupine the generic name for a Wolf, Remus is the brother of Romulus, two boys who were literally Raised by Wolves and created Rome), another werewolf is Fenrir Grayback (Fenrir is the wolf that eats Odin in norse mythology), Sirius (another name for Dog Star) Black a black dog, and Rita Skeeter was a bug ("skeeter" being a slang term for mosquito).
  • In Tom Holt's Barking. The werewolf law firm is named Ferris and Loop (after Fenris and Lupine) while the vampire firm is named Crosswoods (cross: trans. Woods: sylvania).
  • Kim Newman's Diogenes Club series
    • In You Don't Have To Be Mad... the staff at the Retreat are Dr Myra Lark, Miss Dove, Miss Wren, Miss Robin, Miss Sparrow and Sergeant-Mistress Finch. Dr Mrs Myrna Swan in "Kentish Glory: The Secret of Drearcliff Grange School" may or may not be related.
    • Also in Drearcliff Grange, the Moth Club's codenames are all types of moth, as chosen by the title character.
  • The Faerie Wars Chronicles every faerie's name is that of a butterfly, lampshaded in the third book and also linked to the fact that when they travel through a wild portal to the analogue world, they become miniature and sprout wings. Like a butterfly. The most notable are; Holly Blue, Pyrgus Malvae, Apatura Iris - the Purple Emperor, Prince Comma, the Painted Lady - Madam Cynthia Cardui, Lord Black Hairstreak, Silas Brimstone, Jasper Chalkhill, Nymphalis Antiopa and Cleopatra Antiopa (an amalgamation of a species of Brimstone butterfly and the Antiopa species).

Live Action TV

  • In Neighbours, regular character Jarrod "Toadfish" Rebecchi got his nickname by analogy with his long forgotten older brother Kevin "Stonefish" Rebecchi. Later storylines introduced his cousins: Scott "Stingray" Timmins and Wayne "Tadpole" Reeves.
  • Super Sentai
    • Taiyou Sentai Sun Vulcan, being the first animal-themed Sentai team, had the main heroes and their civilian counterparts named after animals. Ryūsuke Ōwashi became Vul Eagle, Kin'ya Samejima became Vul Shark and Asao Hyō became Vul Panther. Halfway through the series, Ōwashi was replaced by Takayuki Hiba (whose family name means "flying feather").
    • Similarly, Dengeki Sentai Changeman used codenames based on mythical creatures for the heroes (Change Dragon, Griffon, Pegasus, Mermaid and Phoenix), while their full civilian names were somehow related to their Changeman alter-egos (see article for full details).
    • Choujuu Sentai Liveman and Choujin Sentai Jetman both used a codename system where the color of each ranger's suit was the head word and their animal motif as the tail word. Curiously, Liveman's red ranger (Red Falcon) was avian-based just like all the members of Jetman, often leading to some confusion between him and Red Hawk.
    • Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger and Gosei Sentai Dairanger had the animal names as the head word and the word "Ranger" as the tail (i.e. Tyranno Ranger, Ryu Ranger, Mammoth Ranger, Shishi Ranger, ect.)
    • Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger has this in spades with the heroes' real names corresponding to their totem animal: Kakeru Shishi (Lion), Gaku Washio (Eagle), Kai Samezu (Shark), Sotaro Ushigome (Cattle [he had the bison]), and in each of these cases the kanji for the animal's name was the same as it was written in their name. Sae Taiga (for tiger) and Tsukumaro Oogami (ookami being "wolf") are the only stretches.

Music

  • Referenced by the name of the band Mechanical Animal, which consists of Dan Fox, Eden Swan and Jaque Rabbit.

Sport

Kangaroos and Wallabies

    • Kangaroos: Rugby League
    • Wallabies: Rugby Union
    • Socceroos: Men's soccer
    • Matildas (slang term for a female kangaroo): Women's soccer
    • Joeys (a young marsupial, usually referring to a kangaroo): Under-17 boys' soccer
    • Hockeyroos: Women's (field) hockey
    • Mighty Roos: Men's ice hockey
    • Boomers (term for a male kangaroo): Men's basketball

Other Australian Wildlife

    • Kookaburras: Men's (field) hockey
    • Sharks: Men's water polo
    • Stingers: Women's water polo


Theatre

  • Volpone: This one is Older Than Steam (at least), as Ben Jonson used it in his 1607 play, in which wealthy trickster Volpone (fox) and his double-crossing servant Mosca (fly) attempt an involved con game on the lawyer Voltore (vulture), the decrepit Corbaccio (raven), and the thuggish Corvino (crow).

Video Game

  • Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer: Slightly lampshaded when your character meets Efram the Stag and Susah the Crow, part of a five-person group of siblings known as "The Menagerie," who ask for your help in finding their sister, Kaelyn the Dove. You have the option of asking "'The Dove?' Are you all named after animals?" when they tell you this.
  • Metal Gear Solid series
    • In Metal Gear Solid, members of FOXHOUND are named after animals.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots, The Beauty and the Beast unit takes this trope one step further, combining the animal names of FOXHOUND and the emotions of the Cobra Unit (for example, combining Vulcan Raven and The Fury to make Raging Raven.) Incidentally, they also have the weapons of Dead Cell, but that doesn't affect the naming.
  • Punch Out: The Major Circuit opponents in the NES version of included King Hippo, Great Tiger, and Bald Bull. Also included is Don Flamenco, which sounds sort of like "Don Flamingo".
  • In Ace Combat X: Skies Of Deception, the Aurelian Air Force squadrons seen in-game are named after bird genera.
  • In the Halo games, most of the UNSC's vehicles are named after animals: the Scorpion tank, Mongoose ATV, Warthog LRV, Elephant troop transport, Hornet VTOL and Pelican dropship. Halo Wars also expands the theme naming for most human vehicles.
  • Altaïr from Assassin's Creed is named for the eagle, as is his descendant Ezio. "La Volpe" from the second game is named for the fox, while Il Lupo "The Prowler" takes his (code)name from the wolf. Nikolai Orelov from the comic continues this trend. Orelov is Czech for "the eagle's son."
  • As befitting of his serpentine nature, Orochi from the Dynasty Warriors/Samurai Warriors crossover Warriors Orochi names his demonic generals after breeds of snakes (Copperhead, Diamondback, etc.)
  • Most of the light Axon vehicles in Unreal Tournament 2004 and Unreal Tournament III are named after animals; the others either have Biblical or punny names.
  • Einhander has almost every single Mook named after an animal... in German, no less. The bosses and minibosses share some traits of the animal they're named after- for example, Greif (griffin) is a robot with a hover ship instead of legs, similar to the griffin being part lion and part eagle, Garnele (shrimp) resembles a cross between a shrimp and a motorbike, while Gecko is a Spider Tank that travels on walls and ceilings.
  • A number of Skyloft's citizens in The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword have bird-inspired names. Pipit and Piper are two species of birds. Fledge is a term meaning a young bird. Groose and Orielle are similar to "Grouse"/"Goose" and "Oriole". Instructor Owlan's name, obviously, has "Owl" in it, and Sparrot and Parrow could swap the last letters in their names to make "Parrot" and "Sparrow".
  • Boron, Split, and Teladi ships in the X-Universe games all follow their own version of Animal naming. Boron use sea creatures (Ray, Orca, Barracuda), Split use aggressive animals (Caiman, Mamba, Raptor), and the Teladi use birds (Falcon, Condor, Shrike).
  • Fighter models in Tachyon the Fringe not used exclusively by either GalSpan or the Bora tend to be named after predatory fish (e.g. Mako, Piranha). Might be an oblique nod to Space Is an Ocean.

Western Animation

  • The Pack in Gargoyles had names after wild canines: Fox, Wolf, Jackal, Dingo, Coyote, and Hyena (OK, a hyena isn't actually a canine, but they look and behave similarly). The London Clan, who all look like animals, tend to be named after the animal they most resemble. Exceptions to the rule are Coco (short for Constance), Lunette and Pog. Could be some of the clan elders like virtue names and names from myth and legend.
  • El Tigre has the eponymous character, his father, White Pantera (panther), and grandfather Puma Loco. Their past generations have included people such as Dark Leapord, Golden Leon (lion), Mighty Cheetar, and Justice Jaguar. On the villains side we have the Flock: Lady Gobbler, Vultura, and Black Cuervo (raven).
  • In Thundercats 2011, overlaps with A Dog Named "Dog" due to an abundance of Beast Folk and Petting Zoo People. Catfolk Lion-O, Cheetara, Tygra, Jaga, Panthro, Lynx-O, Leo and Panthera all look as one would expect, as do Wilykat and Wilykit, Fishman Captain Koinelius Tunar and Chameleon Khamai.


Real Life

  • The military is fond of this for their vehicles, most notably the US Air force (note however that they don't always match the "type" of vehicle). Examples being the F-14 Tomcat, F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-18 Hornet/Super Hornet, F-22 Raptor, F-117 Nighthawk, Sr-71 Blackbird, etc.
  • Apple nicknames versions of the OS X operating system after big cats.
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