Names in Anime
I’ve often wondered if people who speak Japanese have a leg up on those of us who don’t when it comes to understanding the underlying ideas in an anime, as well as things like character roles and motivations, because of the inherent meaning in Japanese names that people who know the language readily pick up on but which is lost on those who don’t know the language. Japanese names use kanji, which have inherent meanings separate from the name of a person or place. What information and understanding can be gleaned from names in anime? To find an answer to this question, I decided to start cataloguing names and what they could mean.
Because I am trying to come to an honest understanding of this idea, in addition to listing names that hold additional meaning, I will list names that are simply names. The names are listed by anime, and the anime are listed alphabetically. To keep this page from becoming too cluttered, the names themselves, as well as my thoughts on them, are linked to from the anime they come from.
I will freely admit right now that I know very little Japanese, so virtually all of my definitions come from the online Japanese dictionary Denshi Jisho. It may be hubris to try to comprehend and analyze the added meaning and understanding that names can bring to the anime they come from when I don’t know Japanese, and there may be some things I overlook completely because I don’t know Japanese, but I still feel that this is a worthwhile pursuit.
Because of the nature of this kind of analysis, spoilers abound.