12

So, I came across these comments in an r/manga post:

KibaTeo: Even a short series became an isekai

MonochromeGuy: That statement itself just sounds like a LN title.

in0ri: Gotta triple the length of the title, bro

Irru: Even Though This Was Supposed To Be A Generic Romantic Comedy, I Somehow Got Transported To A Different World!

KibaTeo: . . . is that an actual series tho? cause it sounds way too plausible

CelioHogane: He just tripled the lenght as it was asked.


I was wondering... why is this a thing, though? It seems that lots of series these days (especially light novels) are given very long and descriptive titles. Some classic examples include:

  • Oreimo
    • short for: Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai
    • translation: My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute
  • Watamote
    • short for: Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!
    • translation: No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular!

And here's a more recent series (that doesn't seem to have a shortened nickname yet):

One would think that having super long titles would be a disadvantage because they'd be difficult to remember :P So, my question is, why is this style of title so common? Is this a recent thing? How did this trend of super long titles come about?

  • I'm not sure about longer means harder to remember. I for one remembers people better if I know their full name than if I only know their first name or their nickname. This is because full name means greater chance of it being unique. Same thing as experience. Unique experience is memorable. Normal, daily experience is not. – 絢瀬絵里 Sep 19 '18 at 8:39
  • Good question, but I think the answer will just turn out to be "that's the style". Acceptable forms for titles are part of the stylistic conventions for genre and medium. That's part of the reason why the title "Snakes on a Plane" is funny--because it breaks the conventions of its genre by being too long and too literal, where you'd expect something more like the Japanese title, "Snakeflight". Light novels just developed a convention that titles can be long, rambling sentences that describe the premise, seemingly after OreImo did it, and now they battle to be the longest and most rambling. – Torisuda Sep 19 '18 at 15:50
  • 1
    @絢瀬絵里 Even though I regularly read Watamote, I don't think I'd be able to type out the full title from memory without making some mistakes, at least. I agree that longer titles are more memorable in that you can probably go "oh, that one", but I think they are harder to remember in the sense that if you're presented with an empty search engine box and you're told "go find the MAL page for that LN" you would completely blank out because too... many... words!... I'm entirely dependent on the shortened nickname versions of the titles when finding relevant content on the internet. – ahiijny Sep 19 '18 at 17:47
6

The Anime Man explains this in his video.

TL;DR:

  • People get lazy to read the blurb of the novel (the short summary usually at the back of the book) to know what it's about, so a longer title will be more descriptive than titles like "Wish".
  • The LN industry is getting bigger, therefore everyone will eventually run out of titles to use (even movies there are some that have the same title which is not good), a longer title will make your LN unique and stand-out. Top selling LN in the first half of 2019 according to Oricon.
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3

(speculation, but I think of the common sense sort)

When standing in a bookstore crowded with light novels, what is the main thing a prospective buyer wants to know? "What is it about?" They are scanning through dozens if not hundreds of titles. Two things are available to quickly help the buyer know what each book might be about.

  1. cover (and back cover) art
  2. title

The title is visible on the book spines, so, depending on how books are stacked/shelved, is often visible before the art. Good, attractive titles would be evocative, funny, and/or descriptive. With a long title like That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, one knows immediately what the book will likely be about. Plus in this case the title is both funny and descriptive. I would even argue that this title is more informative than the cover art.

Thus long titles are likely viewed as sales aids, providing a summary of what to expect and often the tone of what will be found inside.

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3
+50

Why is this style of title so common? How did this trend of super long titles come about?

From what I was able to research, light novels and/or manga have long title:

  1. Because it helps the light novel/manga stand out

Due to the competition in the industry, authors have to find ways to grab the interest of readers. One such way that has become popular is via long titles.

In an interview by Kotaku with Pan Tachibana, a light novel author, he explained his thoughts on the trend and how he chose his light novel title. To quote,

At the very least, I wanted a title that was both attention-grabbing and catchy, and at the same time would let the reader know what sort of story they were getting.

Long titles, while difficult to remember, do not really drive away readers. In fact, if the series become popular, they would most certainly get nicknames for easier remembering, as with the case of OreImo, Choyoyu or WataMote, to name a few.

  1. Because it can easily convey the plot to potential readers

Not everyone has the time or pleasure to read or view plot summaries on the back of light novels and/or manga. As such, long titles became a trend for people to easily know what the plot is about and if it would be to their liking.

As mentioned by Tachibana,

There's no guarantee that someone will take the time to read the plot description of a book, so if the title is long and has its own descriptive meaning, it serves that purpose.

Descriptive titles certainly help save time as compared to having to read a full summary and as remarked here, the longer and more descriptive the title,

the better for time-pressed browsers to glean the plot at a glance.

Is this a recent thing?

This website shows data as to the number of light novels and their title length over the years. Even before the 2000's, one can see that there are titles that reach around 30 characters or so. As such, it's not really a recent thing. But it's not that common and the number of such works with long, descriptive titles began to see an increase over the years until now.

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0

To put it simple, a manga and light novel collection depending on how long it is can have dozens of sequels and continuations. Usually when a series is planned to have many chapters and books they name them differently to differentiate each book from each other, and the hepburn of the japanese name is made longer since kanji uses picture symbols as words and letters. So simply the hepburn of japanese characters makes the titles long.

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  • 1
    It's not really about the Hepburn/romanization though. Even Japanese people acknowledge that these titles are long; it's a full sentence, compared to a single word/phrase. These are 5 LNs with Japanese title above 35 characters, the last one is (この世界はもう俺が救って富と権力を手に入れたし、女騎士や女魔王と城で楽しく暮らしてるから、俺以外の勇者は)もう異世界に来ないでください。 (69 characters) – Aki Tanaka Jan 16 at 16:09
  • i was referring to, one of the reasons of it being long. If you translate the characters you just used as an example it becomes even longer than the kanji character amount. – heroinfather Jan 16 at 16:18
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    Alright, fair point about the translation (not my downvote though), but still, the real question is: why did they start this trend (whether translated or original title)? – Aki Tanaka Jan 16 at 16:22
-1

To be honest, it just depends on the artist. I don't know if or what they were smoking when they made it, but there are some longer titles out there.

Perhaps the author is trying to give it a title that is catchy, or that they want to summarize the title. I don't know. I'd ask them.

Examples:

Danmachi (Danjon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darō ka or Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?)

OreGairu (Yahari Ore no Seishun Rabukome wa Machigatteiru or My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong as I Expected)

Okaa-san Online (Tsūjou Kōgeki ga Zentai Kōgeki de ni Kai Kōgeki no Okā-san wa Suki Desuka? or Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?)

To be honest, I'm just rambling, but I hope this is useful.

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  • 1
    Please include relevant sources/references. – W. Are May 16 '19 at 1:20

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