An Assortment of Confusing Manga Titles

By “confusing”, I mean they don’t really make sense in English…and I haven’t read the series they’re associated with, so I don’t really know the context either.

Manga titles really don’t make sense sometimes, regardless of whether they’re in their native Japanese or translated into another language. These titles are just a few I’ve seen that seem confusing because they (mostly) look like a bunch of nonsense syllables in English.

A note of warning: I haven’t read any of the listed series as of this post – I’m just judging them by how nonsensical their titles are (and what little I know about the series itself from the linked sources + prior knowledge). Therefore, please be careful if explaining any title requires spoilers.

In order of how confusing I find them, from least to most:

Tokyo Tarareba Girls by Akiko Higashimura

It’s the middle that doesn’t make this make sense, but when I hear the explanation (“-tara” and “-reba” are two of the ways to express indecision in Japanese), it does make sense because that’s true from what I’ve learnt in Japanese classes.

Dororo by Osamu Tezuka

This one’s the oldest one here by a huge margin, but it has an anime coming out Soon (TM). It would’ve been a lot lower on this list if it weren’t for the fact Dororo is the protagonist’s name…

Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction by Inio Asano

Apparently this is about aliens invading Japan, so I get the “destruction” bit…but why is a demon mentioned in the title? Why is “dead” mentioned twice, anyway?

Kakukaku Shikajika by Akiko Higashimura

Higashimura’s the only one who’s got two works on this list but for a good reason – her titles are just really hard to parse. The title’s all in hiragana, but considering the theme of art though, kaku could mean “to draw” with the right kanji…that still doesn’t explain the second word, though.

Shimanami Tasogare by Yukhi Kamatani

Tasogare means “dusk”, but that’s not written the way it’s written on the front cover of this manga (the tasogare from this series is written with two characters meaning “who” and “they/him”, with the so in the middle in hiragana). The word shimanami is in full hiragana (if it were in kanji, I would’ve wagered “island wave”), so it’s even less guessable than tasogare

Dorohedoro by Q Hayashida

This one’s kind of infamous for its weird premise and animal heads. As for the title, the he at least has the potential to be a particle (meaning “to”) and doro could mean “mud” if it were a certain kanji…but since the title’s in katakana, that renders my explanation useless.

Kakafukaka by Takumi Ishida

…d-does that title even mean anything?!

So now that that’s over, what are your ideas for some confusing titles along these lines? They don’t necessarily have to be confusing in English and/or Japanese – I bet there’s some localised manga titles in languages I don’t know, so feel free to throw in other languages as well.

(I’m almost willing to bet someone’s going to say Durarara!! or Baccano! because those apparently have manga…)


9 thoughts on “An Assortment of Confusing Manga Titles

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  1. Shimanami is the school he goes to. And I’m reasonably certain the name just means island wave. I wonder how they came up with the English title “Our Dreams at Dusk” though. It sounds so much more poetic. Tasogare does seem like they’re playing with the word for dusk, but using different kanji to add another layer of meaning, like ‘who he is’, which makes sense since he’s grappling with his identity.


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