In a lot of isekai manga, the main character comes across someone or something (e.g. a slime monster) that has no name, and must give a name to him/her/it. Every time, the one who is given a name accepts it, is happy, etc.

For example:

  • In Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken, Rimuru names all his villagers
  • In Tondemo Skill de Isekai Hourou Meshi, ch. 10, the main character has to give a name to a newly tamed slime
  • In The New Gate, Shin (ch. 10) and Schnee (ch. 26) give names to newly tamed beasts

Since isekai manga kind of aim to make true all the dreams/fantasies of the reader (e.g. the main character is super strong and has successful romance), why is there such a focus on giving names?


I think you meant to say "fetish" rather than "fantasy"?

Not that I'm aware of, but in many cultures, naming is of great significance, there are often attitudes that being given a name or title is perceived as a great honour.

Catholics does this, for example, when they receive their baptized name; as well as Buddhists, when they receive their dharma name.

Many monarchies have a tradition of the monarchs taking on a new regnal name when the new monarch ascended to the throne.

It's also common trope for feudal servants/subordinates serving a new master to take a new name, it's a sign of throwing away their past and therefore subservience to the new master.

Another common trope is a new pet being drawn to feel happy when they're first named. Often the trope goes that the pet feels unhappy/angry/uncomfortable while the owner scrolled through a few names that then got rejected before they ended with the one that the pet seems to respond well to (IRL, this is likely just reflection of the owner being happy for having finally picked a name, because chances are the pet doesn't care or understand).

This is definitely not unique to Isekai genre.


I suspect that this is, rather than a fetish or a power fantasy, a reference to one of the core things isekai stories are based on -- JRPG video games. As soon as there was memory on the cartridge to do so, these games have made it so when you meet a new party member, or capture a monster, or anything of that nature, you (the player) are given an opportunity to name them. You're often given a default, or a set of options, but the names are in the end up to you.

(Pokemon nicknames are probably the most well-known example of this to Western audiences, and there have been a few -- I think early Dragon Quest games among them? -- that don't provide default names at all, so fan discussion of the characters can get a little tricky when it's just "that one cleric" or whatever.)


I think it all comes done to hegemonic masculinity in the end. It's something that a lots of artworks tends to go for, not only in Japan. It's been like this for decades. There are lots of values attached to this concept. One of them is the conqueror man. Finding new lands, discovering the unknown, is seen as something valuable for a man.

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