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