Naming characters. "Original" vs "Actual"

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#1 by barfboy
2021-04-21 at 05:40
< report >I think we need a place to discuss the naming of characters. I've always believed the name field should contain a person's 'actual' name (as explained on the database FAQ) under the 'original' field with any alternate character spelling under 'alias'.
But some people argue that 'Original' means using whatever characters were used in the game because, let's face it that's what the word 'original' means. However I have always taken 'original' to mean as originally spelled as it would appear on their (fictional) birth certificate.

However, I believe that a person of European decent for example having a 'Real' name written in Romaji characters such as Carrot le Angola
Alexander Bagrachion
should have their name listed, first in Romaji and then the katakana spelling should go in 'Alias' with the 'original' field being left blank as the Romaji spelling already covers their name. While characters written in other alphabets (such as Cyrillic) such as Belka Valentina
have their name first in Romaji, then their 'actual' name written in their native language characters as 'original' followed by Katakana in 'alias' to keep the database concise.
#2 by naiohoras
2021-04-21 at 05:43
< report >putting the original thread t15901
#3 by barfboy
2021-04-21 at 06:06
< report >As for your Rance question. Yes, and I'm shocked that it's not.

The problem:
The database is being used arbitrarily but it's a database, it needs to be concice. Belka Valentina
Does her cyrillic name go under alias? Or does it go under original?
If her cyrillic name goes under alias then that makes no sense, that's not her actual name. Therefore it's correct that her cyrillic name goes under 'original' while her katakana name goes under 'alias'.
Carrot le Angola
Does her romaji name go under 'alias'? Or does it go under 'original' like Belka's?
If her romaji name goes under alias then that makes no sense, that's not her actual name. Therefore it's correct that her romaji name goes under 'original' while her katakana name goes under 'alias'. Just like with Belka's. However, because her name is already in Romaji the 'original' field is left blank.

That's what concise means. The rule is applied the same for all characters. If someone says that 'original' is to be used for katakana characters, despite the person's name being European such as Carrot le Angola
then we've gotten an arbitrary ruling. That's literally the definition of 'arbitrary'.

If someone comes to the database they can't be scratching their heads trying to figure out where the names all go.

Another argument.
Christina Visonski
Her name is Christina Visonski as it appears in the game itself
HOWEVER, her name only appears that way in the Menu. During the game when people call out to her they use クリスティーナ・ヴィソンスキー
We now have a problem. What's her 'original' name? Both are used in the same game at once. IF we claim that her name is originally Christina Visonski then where do we put クリスティーナ・ヴィソンスキー
If we put it under 'original' that's wrong. Her name is ALSO originally Christina Visonski and we've got ANOTHER arbitrary use of the name field.

We're a database and we must be concise. We cannot have people scratching their heads trying to figure out where the names all go. Original is for the character's 'ACTUAL' name. Alias is what people call them.Last modified on 2021-04-21 at 06:09
#4 by yorhel
2021-04-21 at 06:24
< report >
But some people argue that 'Original' means using whatever characters were used in the game
And this is the correct interpretation, as far as my memory goes. Alexander Bagrachion and Carrot le Angola are correct.
#5 by barfboy
2021-04-21 at 06:32
< report >Which means we have an arbitrary ruling and it needs to be repaired.
#6 by yorhel
2021-04-21 at 06:43
< report >I'm only half awake, so sorry if I miss your arguments, but these cases seem fairly clear to me.

Belka Valentina: title = romanized (according to d5#1), looks correct. Original should be the kana, assuming that's what the game actually uses. Where does the Cyrillic name come from? Sounds like an alias?
#7 by barfboy
2021-04-21 at 06:48
< report >It comes from her character page
#8 by yorhel
2021-04-21 at 06:59
< report >I'd treat it as an alias, then, if she's not referred to by that name in the game itself.
#9 by beliar
2021-04-21 at 07:16
< report >I agree with Yorhel. The original name should be the one the characters are called by others in the original release of the game.
#10 by barfboy
2021-04-21 at 07:28
< report >I know this is your website but reread my post, you're wrong and you know it. That can't be the answer when people have multiple spellings of their names in the same game.Last modified on 2021-04-21 at 07:29
#11 by yorhel
2021-04-21 at 07:40
< report >I don't think there's a "right" or "wrong" answer when it comes to deciding which name to use as primary when the game offers multiple possibilities. The current rule is to use the most common/dominant name as used in the original release. Maybe I'm dense, but I think that's a perfectly sensible answer.

I mean, a more correct approach would be to add support for multiple names (much like t12465), which I'm in favor of but needs to be worked out a bit more.
#12 by barfboy
2021-04-21 at 08:20
< report >I want you to see and I'm almost there!
Doctor reference!

I will relent. However I do very solidly wish that we can have a place to put a character's 'official real name' as it would appear on their fictional birth certificate. The creators took the time to show what they were officially called and to put them down as an 'alias' doesn't sit right with me.
#13 by lucumo
2021-04-21 at 18:59
< report >I agree with barfboy's rational explanation. Original name means "original name"...not "name how it appeared in the text of the original game".
#14 by beliar
2021-04-21 at 20:11
< report >But the name as it has appeared in the original game IS the original name. Not the name that is included in some supplementary character bio. I can go full Tolkien and create biographies in runes, but that still wouldn't make them original names - the names that I actually use in the text would be.

Or, choosing a less esoteric scenario, if an OELVN creator has set the novel in Japan, and has also took the time to create kanji/kana names for the character bio pages, the English names would still be the original names, as the creator is most likely working backwards - creating Romaji names, and than spending some time attributing kanji to them. In this case, we would most likely never see the kanji names in the actual VN text. At most, they will be provided in the in-game biographies, at worst - only provided on the webpage or the manual.

You are trying to invent a bicycle by trying to do "research" what the "original" name is. The thing is, no research is needed - what you see in the VN is what you get.
#15 by eacil
2021-04-21 at 22:44
< report >Concise means "short and clear". The word you want is consistent. Just saying. :3Last modified on 2021-04-21 at 22:45
#16 by lucumo
2021-04-22 at 08:33
< report >"But the name as it has appeared in the original game IS the original name. Not the name that is included in some supplementary character bio."

So...apparently we do not include tons of information from outside the game, like age (often enough), different types of measurement, blood type etc? That kind of argument is actually in favor of always using the original name for...original name, rather than whatever is used in the original game (not that there is a difference too often anyway).
#17 by mrkew
2021-04-22 at 09:18
< report >Putting in birth cerfificate name works until you stumble upon the first isekai VN and find out they have random made-up runes as their world's language. Go ahead and put that in the original field.
JP is the original language of the game, so the original name is the way it's written in JP.
#18 by barfboy
2021-04-22 at 14:38
< report >Your argument is that you can't put made up runes in the 'Original' field but you CAN put them in the 'Alias' field? Either way one of the fields must be left blank for made up runes. You're just shifting the problem to another name field.

My solution is still the simplest.
Top field is for Romaji
Original is for a character's birth name, if known
Alias is for all ways a character is known in a story such as how their name is spelled in a foreign alphabet or a name as a nickname

Calling somone's given name an 'alias' is silly.

Here's another argument
I guarantee you that given enough time I can find a character who's name is written in Katakana with Romaji as the 'furigana'. I guarantee it. We've all seen it (those of us who read Japanese VNs). The game creators are aware of the limitations of the katakana alphabet to express character names, from the necessity of moras that don't allow two consonant sounds together, to the lack of some vocalizations such as the difference between l and r

The game creators even understand that a character's 'official name' is not the name they are being presented as in the story! but that their alphabet is limited. That is reason enough, is it not, to justify the use of 'original' as being the characters name as the creators intend them to be.

The closest example I can think of off the top of my head is Mayumi Thyme
The = sign is the indication that her name is supposed to be read given name first. She is not Thyme Mayumi with her family name Thyme first but Mayumi Thyme. Furthermore her name is not "Mayumi Time" but "Mayumi Thyme". How do you know that? BECAUSE THE CREATORS LET YOU KNOW ON THEIR WEBSITE!!!!! but give me enough time and I guarantee you I can find a better example.Last modified on 2021-04-22 at 14:48
#19 by mrkew
2021-04-22 at 15:01
< report >If devs give you a katakana name and the romanization for it, then put the romanization in the name field and katakana in the original name field. You don't need to use the alias at all.
#20 by beliar
2021-04-22 at 15:13
< report >
So...apparently we do not include tons of information from outside the game, like age (often enough), different types of measurement, blood type etc?
Hahaha, good joke. The closest equivalent to what you are saying is, if the creator, say, put the character's age in Roman numerals in their biography, you want an ability to include the Roman numerals in the vndb character profile. You are arguing, that if the dev says the character is XVIII years old, you are dead set of adding it to the age field in that way, instead of properly converting it to the Arabic 18.

Or if the character's biography states they are 5000 IFUs (Imaginary Fantasyland Units) tall, you want an ability to add it to the "Height' field, instead of adding their height in centimetres.

The same way that for consistency reasons we input the character age in Arabic, and the height in centimetres, and Romanize the character names using the Hepburn romanization, we also treat the original names in the language the game was first released as the original ones.

Now you want to throw the consistency of the original name field out of the window, and add whatever the fuck you think is the original name there? Not on my watch. I actually feel a desire to go to the FAQ and explicitly update it to clear up what the original name is for those that don't seem to understand.

@barfboy: Lots of Japanese VN devs provide the romanization of their character names on their website, even if the characters are Japanese. Most of the time the romanization does not even follow the vndb romanization rules. It doesn't mean that those romanized names are original, or even acceptable in the romaji field on vndb. And if you only attributing your twisted "original name ideas" only to the non-JP characters, it means you are splitting and choosing what characters you want to impose some fictional birth certificate on. In other words, it boggles my mind this discussion is still going on, so I might as well go and kill it before it becomes a cancer.
#21 by lucumo
2021-04-23 at 08:05
< report >Beliar, are you sure you read/understood what I wrote correctly? Because it certainly doesn't seem that way. Please read it again.
#22 by barfboy
2021-04-23 at 11:44
< report >@beliar

Deep breath. Nothing would go in the 'original name' field because their 'original name' is the already a Romaji name. The katakana would go under 'alias'. Look man I would not be making this argument if katakana were sufficiently able to display a character's name. It is not. Even the Japanese recognize it. 18 and XVIII represent the exact same number. Icecream and アイスクリーム do not
And of course, we've got Icecream just to drive the point home.

Furthermore, I would not at all be making this argument if the only options were 'Romaji European' vs 'Katakana' but we unfortunately have a 3rd category and once again you know what it is because it wrecks the whole damn system.
Belka Valentina

Белка Валентина is not an alias of her name. It is her name. Just like my name is Robert, not ロバート Robaato My real name is not a nickname and neither is Белка Валентина
and 'alias' is for nicknames. "original name" would be what the creators intend, through either in game references (such as Icecream) or known supplementary material. It rids the site of all ambiguity. Furthermore it establishes 'word of God' in order to clear up mistakes like this one where イリア・シュ・ド・シテインベルク was originally listed as Illya Shutovuaan do Shiteinberk link because nobody checked the damn options menu in the game to see that her real name is Iria stvan De Shteinberg

Look, if you want to keep the 'original name' field as 'the name the character was most known in the original game' then at least make a field for 'what this character's real name is as known through in game references or official supplementary material'.

We do this all the time in fandom. Remember the shit that went down over Raging Heart when we discovered it was actually Raising Heart?
All I want is some way to let fans know that this is this characters 'official real name' and you're not going to get that by abusing the 'alias' field.

Belka deserves to have her real name recognized, and not as an alias and this website deserves to be consistent.Last modified on 2021-04-23 at 11:47
#23 by beliar
2021-04-23 at 15:22
< report >Oh, dude, you make an assumption that JP devs know what the character's real name should be in a non-Japanese alphabet better than us...

For the last time, JP devs just aren't proficient enough to romanize the character names into English, much less into other languages. You point to Belka Valentina as an example why you are correct, while it's prime example why you are wrong. JP devs definitely don't know Russian any better than they know English. It's just your luck that this time they managed to get the Cyrillic letters right, but would you be as ardently advocating that it's her real name, if the devs wrote her name as Вэлька Болэнтина or something similar. My point still stands strong - supplementary material does not matter as far as the "real" name is concerned. The only true source we can actually verify is the text of the VN, and that's where the name comes from.

I mean, the alias field does not invalidate the characters, you can always add as many aliases as it is suitable. It's just some strange fetish that drives you to want "Barfboy names" in the main field. That wouldn't matter to the searchability of the characters. And our current position is the only thing that makes the characters consistent in the db - you, on the other hand, want to descent them into lawlessness of the Wild West.

You do know we don't pay attention to the romanization of the characters the devs provide and use our own romanization for consistency? That is the hard rule, and this is just a subvariant of it. Fiction does not a real name make. Sure, for fantasyland names like イリア・シュ・ド・シテインベルク we might as well use the romanization the devs provide, because we have no better variant, but for other names different rules apply. In fact, we have a clear precedent for this t11868. Despite the devs claiming the character's name is Luca, we decided to stay with Ruka as the main name for consistency reasons.

@lucumo: Oh, I fully understood you, and provided an extreme example, to show that any kind of fiction can be included in the complementary material, but we as a db don't have to deign to humour it.

Anyway, I see zero valid arguments in this discussion, so I won't be answering here anymore. I have already stated what I wanted to state and have nothing else to add.Last modified on 2021-04-23 at 15:23
#24 by barfboy
2021-04-25 at 04:38
< report >So a creator has no right to their creation.

That's some deep level bullshit.
#25 by rampaa
2021-04-25 at 06:06
< report >I have a semi-related question. What should Ibrahim Dogulu's main name be? Ibrahim Dogulu is the spelling provided by the company itself (link) while İbrahim Doğulu is the correct rendering of his name. AniDB says:

If the Japanese producer provides an official spelling of the non-native name ("Lelouch vi Britannia"), use the official spelling.

However, for foreign (non-Japanese) names where the correct foreign spelling is known, and/or there exists a standard Latin transcription (e.g. Chinese transcriptions): use that as the main name for the entry, instead of the Japan-provided spelling.
In such a scenario, add the Japan-provided official spelling as an alternate name of Type: Other, under the corresponding foreign language.

From that I gathered İbrahim Doğulu should be his main name, while Ibrahim Dogulu should be an alias. What's VNDB's take on this matter?


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