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The Study of Episode Titles and its Classifications

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Episode titles seem to be an aspect of anime that aren’t discussed too much. Most episodes do have a title, even if the series isn’t episodic. It serves to let the viewer have a sense of what to expect in that episode and also lets them remember the episode better. In some cases, the title is made funny for comedic purposes. Or it may possibly be to act cool and hip.

Here’s a categorisation of the episode title types out there.

The Orthodox
We start watching a show and right after the OP, the screen flashes, “Episode 17: The Movement of Zipang”. Or Blood+ episode 23, “The Two Chevaliers.” From this rather straight and proper title, we know what the episode will be about. It’s like naming your son Tarou. In other words, common, honest and straight. Examples of series with this are Zipang, Ray the Animation, Blood+ and quite a proportion of shows.


The title says it all.

The Random
By randoming inserting jokes or unrelated words and phrases, this sort of title generates humour even before the start of the actual episode. See Pani Poni Dash’s every episode title and Gintama ep 3’s “Jump is sometimes released on a Saturday”. It’s funny really.


The title is a joke on its own.

The Engrish Poser
By using either English or its cooler cousin, Engrish, an anime can project itself as cool and modern. Or even deep, by using even lesser known languages. Like Abh. Ergo Proxy’s really weird mixture of English and Japanese and numbers or whatever, Kiddy Grade’s dual colour dual English word titles, Eureka seveN’s “Fantasia, World’s End Garden, Runaway, Crackpot” all sound cool but may not be really meaningful. Black Lagoon is another one, with stuff like “Mangrove Heaven”.


I suppose Japanese people find English cool just like how we find Japanese cool.

The Patterned
Some series make it a point to have the same word included in each title, either as a pun or otherwise. Be it Magikano’s “blah blah Maji ka?” (Is that really blah blah?), Nanoha’s “blah blah nano~”, Law of Ueki’s “blah blah no Housoku (law)” or Karin’s “blah blah is Embarrassing”, you can expect every single episode to be the same.


The set word is Hazukashii and the true title is “Okaasan Genki de”.

The Burning
This type of title psyches people up. It makes the viewer pumped up and all excited about watching, through the use of powerful tones. Burning-type titles are mostly a subset of the Orthodox set. Examples are Gatekeepers’ “Stop that Shinkansen!” with cool accompanying graphics. Each GK episode has the title shouted by Ukiya in the imperative form of Japanese, i.e. “Ano Shinkansen wo Tomare!!” which is manly and cool.


This is the DVD version. The real one is in Japanese, but I get high when I see this.

The Multi
Sometimes the episodes are divided into scenes which aren’t too related. The episode title then multiplies. Examples are School Rumble which normally has three titles and Keroro Gunsou with two.


Who says it’s one title for every ep?

The Difficult Kanji
Kanji is cool like English is, apparently. Difficult kanji is even cooler. A total absence of hiragana is the coolest!! According to Basilisk and Jigoku Shoujo at least. Especially Basilisk, whose titles are unreadable in Japanese thanks to its four kanji combo attacks. This sort of title is the same as the Engrish Poser, just in a different language.


Anyone can read those kanji in Japanese?

The Blank
Some just do not have any. I think Bleach does not, as well as Zegapain.

With so many different types of episode titles, it seems like they are very important. But the thing is, no one ever remembers the titles, just the numbers. So what exactly are they for anyway? Which type is the best?

I personally hate the patterned type. The hazukashiis, nanos, and majis get old after a while. The Engrish poser ones are good since they are easy to remember. Of course, the best type are the random ones. The only good thing to come out of Gintama is the hilarious episode titles.

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16 Responses to “The Study of Episode Titles and its Classifications”  

  1. 1 flou 1 comment

    Actually, interestingly enough, all of Eureka 7’s episode titles are the names of songs or albums that the creators liked/were inspired by/admired. You can look it up on ANN.

  2. 2 jpmeyer 68 comments

    I LOVE the Engrish-y titles in the Full Metal Panic series, like “Koutetsu no SUMMER ILLUSION” and so on.

    In addition to being awesome in general, Pretty Cure combines both the exclamation point-y titles with the multiple titles, like “We’re not gonna lose, darn it! Kick evil’s butt!”

  3. 3 Alex 26 comments

    Each episode of Zegapain has had a title that fit into the orthodox - “Entangle”, “Cerebrum” and “Deftera Area”.

  4. 4 tj_han 904 comments

    Flou: Oh I didn’t know that. I knew School Rumble’s manga chapters were all named after movies but I wasn’t aware of Eureka’s.

    Alex: It does?? I must have missed them. Weird. Seems like this post is full of mistakes…

    IS IT JUST THAT DOESN’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT EPISODE TITLES?

  5. 5 scottfrye 16 comments

    I find Ergo Proxy’s titles to be very interesting and unique.

  6. 6 Alex 26 comments

    Well, in addition to names of songs, albums and other movies, you also missed the “tell the entire story in the title” prevalent in shounen such as Rurouni Kenshin: “Kenshin beats Sousuke! Sousuke like burns to death, see, and like that’s how Kenshin wins. Now you don’t have to watch the episode!”
    (this is an example, I’ve not spoiled anything).

    I was watching Kenshin Kyoto with my cousin and he had to look away from the screen each time a title came up because they were literally episode defeating spoilers. I always love double barreled titles like those in Yakitate!! Japan and City Hunter. If you give a concept as the first shot and an expansion on that theme as the second, you’re doing an okay job.

    But you never claimed this was comprehensive, so it’s not like it matters.

  7. 7 bakaboobie 16 comments

    Bleach does have its titles. At least for the first few episodes, it had its titles posted by the end credits. But after that, it sort of became available only in its site, DVDs, etc. Not sure why.

  8. 8 Theory Girl 1 comment

    What about the Double Deuce titles (mentioned already by jpmeyer) that’s generally two phrases for one episode. I’ve generally only seen them with Magical Girl anime (such as Ojamajo Doremi and Fushigiboshi no Futago Hime), but they do seem common enough.

  9. 9 tj_han 904 comments

    I don’t watch magical girl anime. And I just went through the anime I had on my hard disk so this isn’t exhaustive at all.

    And so no anime doesn’t have a title?

  10. 10 Phoenix512 3 comments

    The best episode title I even seen is from Fushigi Yuugi. The title for episode 23 is called Signs of a Plot.

  11. 11 jpmeyer 68 comments

    “The intense lacrosse battle! A maiden’s heart is super delicate!”
    “Honoka’s explosive anger! A super awesome birthday!”
    “The greatest battle of all time! Pretty Cure’s last day!”

  12. 12 Waterfall 29 comments

    I love the Engrishy episode titles best. For example, Black Lagoon has “Maid to Kill” and “Guerillas in the Jungle”. XD

  13. 13 Skane 57 comments

    That’s not so much ‘Engrishy’ as it is ‘Pun-ny’.

  14. 14 Waterfall 29 comments

    Skane, it’s p(h)unny.

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