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When the name of a character from a show is slightly tweaked when the show is dubbed or otherwise translated into a foreign language because the original name would sound obscene.

Subtrope of Dub Name Change and illegitimate sister trope to Spell My Name with an "S". See also Cross Cultural Kerfluffle and Bite the Wax Tadpole.

Examples of Clean Dub Name include:

Anime

  • In the Brazilian dub and manga translation of Hunter X Hunter, the character Kurapika was renamed Kurapaika, since "Cu-ra-pica" can be translated to something like "Ass-penis". Or "Heals penis".
  • And Inuyasha's Kagome, whose name was changed to Agome, because "Kagome" sounds like "cago-me", or "I crap on myself". Also, both Naraku and Miroku were changed to Narak and Mirok, to eliminate the "ku" (which is similar to the Brazilian word meaning "ass"). Oddly, the manga kept these changes in Naraku and Miroku's name, but reverted Kagome's name back to the original.
    • Kagome's name was changed to "Aome" in Spanish as well for the same reason mentioned above, and also for sounding like "c�game" or "cagame", both meaning "crap on me".
    • And while the names could refer to those same things in Italian as well, none of them was changed. It does lead to a few jokes in the fandom, but it's no big deal.
  • In a similar case, the Latin American dub of Inazuma Eleven changes the name of the main hero, Mamoru Endo, with "Satoru Endo", since "Mamoru" sounds a lot like the Spanish word "mamar" that can be translated as "cocksucker". At least, unlike Inu-Yasha, they changed his name with a valid Japanese name.
    • Due to this, the Latin American Spanish dub of Saber Marionette J changes the last name of the main character Otaru Mamiya with "Otaru Namiya".
  • The European Spanish dub of Kiki's Delivery Service had Kiki renamed Nikki, since Kiki is a slang word in Spanish associated with sex.
  • The reason Laputa is known as Laputa: Castle in the Sky in the US is because "la puta" is Spanish for "the whore". The name is taken from a place in Gulliver's Travels (see Literature below), and Jonathan Swift probably knew what it meant. He was a very bitter person.
  • Roy Focker from Macross became Roy Fokker in Robotech since his original surname was one letter away from "fucker".
  • The Italian dubbing of Tenchi Muyo! changed the name of a Big Bad from Kagato to Kayato, because the former looks and sounds like the Italian word cagato, "shat" (e.g. "Io ho cagato" = "I have shat").
  • Dragon Ball
    • The titular Dragon Balls are called the "Esferas del Dragón" (the Dragon's Spheres) in Latin America, since "bolas" (the more literal translation of "balls") is slang for testicles.
    • The Latin American dub changed Chi Chi's name to Milk, as the former is derogatory slang for women's breasts in Spanish. Although Chichi does actually mean "milk" in Japanese too, and is also a Japanese "baby-talk" word for "breast", it's not as derogatory there.
    • The Spanish dub kept Chi Chi's name unchanged, despite "chichi" there referring to female genitals. However, Mr. Popo's name was changed to "Momo", since "popo" means "poop" and having a black character with such a name would lead to unfortunate implications. The manga kept his original name.
    • Then there's Mr. Satan, who is called Hercule in the French and North American dubs, although for different reasons. Unlike the North American dub, the French dub didn't have any problems with including Judeo-Christian references in their version, they only changed it to avoid confusion with Satan Petit-Cœur ("Satan's Little Heart", Piccolo's name in the French dub).
  • In the Brazilian translation of the shojo manga Meru Puri: Marchen Prince, the show within a show "Pika Rangers" was changed to "Poke Rangers". That's because "Pika" is similar to "pica", a really dirty (if not a bit outdated) slang for "penis". And the new name keeps the reference, anyway.
  • An odd case in Digimon Adventure 02: Dagomon, a Digimon named after the Lovecraftian version of Dagon may have had his name changed in the dub because it was shortened to Dago-mon, "dago" being a racist term. Since the dubbers didn't get the Cthulhu mythos reference, his changed name, Dragomon, is only a reference to a certain Russian boxer.
    • It is theorized that Tai and Kari's surname, "Yagami", was changed to "Kamiya" in the dub because the original name reads "I'm a gay" backwards. Which would really be reading too deeply into things.
  • In the Arabic version of Detective Conan, Eri Kisaki got her name changed to Mary, as her original name bears some similarity with "Iri", "my ass" in some dialects.
  • In the American dub of Sailor Moon, Kunzite was renamed Malachite. Note that the Z in his name is pronounced "ts" (since the mineral kunzite was named after Kunz, a surname of German origin).
  • This was why Viz changed Gash's name to Zatch in Zatch Bell: the original name is a slang term for "vagina". Still, makes you wonder why "Gash" seems to be one of Viz's favorite onomatopeias...
    • Wasn't because it seemed too "violent"?
  • The Brazilian dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! never settled for a translation of "Millenium Rod"; at first it was literally translated, but it was clear that the word "Rod" ("vara") was too easy to innuendo-ize. Thus it was changed to "varinha" (Wand) sometimes, "cetro" (Scepter) other times. Definetly not "rod", though.
  • Italian dub of the various Bakugan series changed Vestroia to Vestronia because "troia" is Italian for "bitch".


Film

  • Some characters in the Star Wars prequel trilogy had to have their names adapted in Brazil:
    • Capt. Panaka (which is almost panaca, "moron") became "Panac�".
    • Count Dooku became "Dookan" to avoid jokes (do cu = "from the ass"). Dooku can also sound like "Dou o cu", "I can be ass-fucked". Weird.
    • Sifo-Dyas was renamed Zaifo Vias (a phonetic transcription), since the original name sounded so much like "if you would fuck" (se fodias).
  • The Italian version of The Incredibles changed Frozone's name to Siberius (a pun on Siberia and maybe Sibelius), because "Frozone" is similar to the insulting term "frocione" ("big faggot").
  • In the Brazilian dub of The Lion King, the term "Hakuna Matata" was changed to "Hatuna Matata", again, to eliminate the "ku" (read the entries for Inuyasha and Hunter X Hunter, above). Seeing as it is a real Swahili phrase, Disney's Brazilian branch always ping-ponged between reversing to the unedited sentence (the third movie used it right in the title) and using the censored one (the TV spin-off).

Literature

  • In Spanish translation of Gulliver's Travels, the city of Laputa is renamed to Lupata or Lapuntu since "la puta" is slang for "the whore" in Spanish. Gulliver claimed to be fluent in Spanish, but apparently he never learned slang because he missed the connection. Instead he drew connections to words in the native language meaning "high governor" (lap untuh) or "crepuscular wing" (lap outed).
  • Astrid Lindgren's Pippi L�ngstrump was Pippi Longstocking in English-speaking markets, but she had to change name to Fifi Brindacier in French or Peppi Dlinnyichulok in Russian because "Pippi" sounds like words for urine in those languages. But oddly enough, in German "Pipi" means the same, but Pippi is still called Pippi.
  • Drizzt Do'Urden became Dzirt in the Russian translation, as his English name reminds of the word "dristat'", associated with diarrhea.
  • The fourth book of The Sword of Truth series has a character named Manda Perlin. In Russian, she became Mendy, due to the obscene meaning of the original word in Russian.

Theatre

  • In German productions of the opera Madame Butterfly, the surname of Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton is altered to "Linkerton" (the alternate Trope Namer) to avoid suggesting the word "pinkeln" (to pee). Also, the reason why the same character is referred to as F. B. Pinkerton is apparently that Puccini saw the original play in London, where to avoid the British slang abbreviation of "bloody fool" the character was renamed Francis Blummy Pinkerton.

Video Games

  • The name given to the emanations of the Sealed Evil in a Can of the Phantasy Star series has been variously translated as "Dark Force" and "Dark Falz" because the original name is "Dark Phallus".
  • The Final Fantasy V English translation changes Butz's name to Bartz, because Butz sounds like, well, Butts.
  • Many a high school teacher of Japanese will tell you that in the classroom there will be no intentional emphasizing of the -shit- romaji spelling combinations occasionally found in Japanese words and names. But teenagers are immature, and will do it anyway just for lulz. So naturally, Shitan from Xenogears was renamed Citan, and Ishito from Chrono Cross was renamed Norris.
  • In F-Zero Maximum Velocity there is a track with a Gulliver's Travels-inspired name Laputan Colony (with some Laputa-like floating islands in the scenery backdrop). For the same reason as Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Laputan Colony was renamed in English to Empyrean Colony. In the same game, the car Dirty Joker was renamed Sly Joker, and the car Crazy Horse was renamed Wind Walker (probably to avoid the Unfortunate Implications of perceived Native American stereotyping).
  • The reason Pac-Man has this name today is to avert this, because when importing the original arcade game to the USA, Midway (who originally released the game) noticed that the original name, Puckman, could bring Unfortunate Implications, given that any kid could vandalize the cabinet by turning the P into an F.
  • Not dissimilarly from the Macross/Robotech example above, Fokker from Power Stone became Falcon in the Western localized versions due to the word's British homophone, "fucker".
  • In the PSP version of Final Fantasy Tactics, Delita's sister was renamed from Teta to Tietra. Teta is slang for "tits" in Spanish and Portuguese. This one was probably unintentional, though.
  • In the Japanese version of Ray Crisis, the robot with the flaming BFS was named Sem-Slut; for obvious reasons this was changed to Sem-Strut in the US version.
  • In the Ys series, Dark Fact is often transliterated as "Dalk Fukt" in Japan.
  • The last world in Myst was originally called Dunny, but then the creators learned dunny is Australian slang for toilet. They changed it to D'ni. In spite of this they kept the pronunciation the same for most of the series, with only a few characters later on pronouncing it differently.
  • Earthbound strangely averts this with the character Poo. In fact, Pu or Puu would arguably be a less unfortunate name and would probably be a more accurate representation of the original Japanese.
    • Remember that this was in the middle of the gross-humor fad in the '90s; see also the rest of the unfortunate marketing campaign ("This Game Stinks").
    • Thing is, "puu" in Japanese is a fart sound, so this might be a case of Lucky Translation.
  • "Koopa Troopa" from the Super Mario Bros. series is quite an Unfortunate Name in Polish because it sounds like "kupa trupa" ("dead man's poop"). However, due to lack of official Nintendo support there is absolutely no translation so the trope's averted.
  • In the SNES and Sega CD ports of Final Fight, Damnd's and Sodom's names were changed to "Thrasher" and "Katana" respectively, since the name "Damnd" is just "damned" with one letter removed (which is sometimes considered a profane word), while the name "Sodom" (aside for being the name of a biblical city) is also the basis of the word "sodomy".
    • The SNES version of Street Fighter Alpha 2 used "Katana" for consistency, even though all the other console versions didn't have any problem using "Sodom." When Final Fight was ported to the GBA, Damnd and Sodom were allowed to use their original names again.
  • In the SNES port of The Combatribes, the name of the penultimate boss was changed from Swastika to M. Blaster.
  • Vodka Drunkenski from the Super Punch-Out arcade game became Soda Popinski in the NES version of Punch Out.
  • "Mist" from Fire Emblem (Radiant duology) got renamed to "Alja" in German, apparently, because "Mist" means "filth" or "damn it" in German.

Western Animation

  • Aku from Samurai Jack became Apu (or Abu, depending on the season) in the Brazilian dub because it would sound like "Ah Ass" in Portuguese.
  • Though it wasn't a translation, the character "Snarl" in Transformers Animated was originally meant to be named "Slag" in homage to a character from Transformers Generation 1 (hence the triceratops alternate-mode; G1 Snarl was a stegosaurus). The name was changed because Hasbro discovered that "Slag" is a word for "slut" in Britain.
    • It also developed into Cybertronian profanity roughly analagous to "shit" around the time of Beast Wars, so it was an in-universe Clean Dub Name as well. Someone actually suggested to him while he was picking a name, in show, that he go by Slag. He responded rather... angrily.
  • The Darkwing Duck villian Negaduck is named Fiesoduck in the German dub. (fies = mean) It is very likely that his name was changed because Nega- sounds a lot like Neger, the German word for Negro.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender's "Suki" means "bitches" in Russian. So in Russian dub she was called Zuki (in season 1 and 3) and Suyuki (in season 2) instead.
    • "Suki" in general is often rendered as "Ski" in Russian. Same with "Aska" (e.g. Asuka from Neon Genesis Evangelion). However, dropping the weak "u" sound is not neccesarily done for such purposes: it's enough to move the accent off it to remove the "bitch" sound - but an accentless "u" is a very weak sound and is likely to be skipped even when it doesn't cause unneccessary associations.
    • The Evangelion example also comes off as a possibly unintentional Woolseyism: "as" means "ace" in Russian and "-ka" is a feminine suffix, so "Aska" becomes a meaningful name referring to her status as an Ace Pilot.

Real Life

  • The VIC 20 computer was distributed in Germany as the VC-20 so its name wouldn't be pronounced like the German F-word.
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