Monday, February 26, 2018

FranXX Numbers to Names Explained

So, this season there's an anime called Darling in the FranXX (darifura ダリフラ), where the main characters are children product of some nefarious sci-fi utopia thingy. Such children are nameless, referred normally by codenames, which are just a few digits. Except that one of these characters, Hiro, used the numbers to come up nicknames for his nakama. The question is: how it works?

Why is 015 Ichigo, 016 Hiro, 056 Gorō, 196 Ikuno, 214 Futoshi, 326 Mitsuru, 390 Miku, 556 Kokoro, 666 Zorome, and 703 Naomi? What would be zero-two's nickname? And is there a meaning behind the names of the adult characters Nana and Hachi?

(there's a chart at the bottom if you wanna skip.)

Update: added the children of episode 13.

How It Works

For the most part, the names of the characters come a very, very old practice of spelling Japanese words with numbers, from the era of pagers that could send and receive digits but couldn't transmit the Japanese alphabet. So high school girls (yes, really) popularized the custom which can still be found in manga, anime, fiction and other media even to this day.

The basic idea is that you read each digit out loud, and then they form a word. Except that each digit has a dozen different words associated with them, so it's not as straightforward as you'd imagine.

Some digits map to words for the Japanese numbers, like ichi 一 and ni 二. Others to words for counting in Japanese, like hitotsu 一つ and futatsu 二つ. Note that a kanji may be read in multiple, different ways. Others map to the names of English numbers katakanized, like wan ワン and tsuu ツー. Others from the shapes of numbers. And there's also a lot of wordplay involved.

Below are the names. Note that the nicknames Hiro made up are all written in katakana, not with hiragana or with kanji, even thought some nicknames are homonyms with words that do have kanji (like ichigo 苺 and kokoro 心).

015 Ichigo

For code 015, only the digits 15 matter:
  • 1 = Ichi 一 (number)
  • 5 = Go 五 (number)

Joined together: Ichigo イチゴ.

The word ichigo 苺 also means "strawberry" in Japanese. (that's not a jouyou kanji, so it's normally written without kanji.)

016 Hiro

For code 016, only the digits 16 matter:
  • 1 = Hitotsu 一つ (counter)
  • 6 = Roku 六 (number)

Joined together: Hiro ヒロ.

056 Gorō

For code 056, only the digits 56 matter:
  • 5 = go 五 (number)
  • 6 = roku 六 (number)

Joined together: Gorō ゴロー.

196 Ikuno

For code 196, it's a bit complicated:
  • 1 = ichi 一 (number)
  • 9 = ku 九 (number)
  • 6
    Turn 6 sideways.
    You get no の in hiragana.

Joined together: Ikuno イクノ.

214 Futoshi

For code 214, it's a bit complicated:
  • 2 = futatsu 二つ (counter)
  • 1... or, rather, 14
    Normally 14 = juu-yon 十四, (ten, four)
    And 10 alone is juu 十.
    But in counters, it's read too 十.
    For example, tooka 十日, "10 days."
  • 4 = shi 四 (number)
    (so juu-yon 十四, 14, became too-shi 十四 here somehow.)

Joined together: Futoshi フトシ.

The word futoi 太い also means "fat" in Japanese. (wtf Hiro?!)

326 Mitsuru

For code 326:
  • 3 = mittsu 三つ (counter)
  • 2 = tsuu ツー (English "two" katakanized)
  • 6 = roku 六 (number, said fast)

Joined together: Mitsuru ミツル.

390 Miku

For code 390, only the digits 39 matter:
  • 3 = mittsu 三つ (counter)
  • 9 = ku 九 (number)

Joined together: Miku ミク.

556 Kokoro

For code 556, it's a bit complicated:
  • 5 = go 五 (number)
    In kana, go ご.
    Which is ko こ with a dakuten.
  • 5 = (same as above)
  • 6 = roku 六 (number)

Joined together: Kokoro ココロ.

The word kokoro 心 also means "heart" in Japanese. (seriously, Hiro? You're giving the girls cute names like "strawberry" and "heart" while calling Futoshi fat?)

666 Zorome

For 666, it's very simple.

The word zorome ゾロ目, from soroeru 揃える, "to match (uniformly)," and me 目, which means "eye," but in this case it means the number in a die, refers to what happens when two (or more) dice have the exact same number. (for example, you roll two dice and get 1 and 1, that's a zorome.)

In this case, zorome refers to the fact code 666 has 6 three times. (you know how those slot machines in casino have 777? Same thing.)

(honestly, wtf Hiro, Zorome's name is literally a pun.)

703 Naomi

For 703, it's a bit complicated:
  • 7 = nana 七 (number)
  • 0
    It looks like the letter "o."
    So o お.
  • 3 = mittsu 三つ (counter)

Joined together: Naomi ナオミ.

Zero-Two's Nickname

If Hiro were to give Zero-Two a nickname, that nickname would probably be:
  • 0
    Looks like an "o."
    So o お.
  • 2 = ni 二 (number).

Joined together: Oni オニ.

The word oni is also a kind of demon in Japanese lore. In anime and manga, an oni character is a character with horns.

For example, you know that sexually aggressive female character that came out of nowhere and has decided the main character is her partner and became uncontrollably attracted to him and keeps forcing some sort of physical contact and is jealous as fuck because he has a "childhood friend," osananajimi 幼なじみ, who appears to be in love with him and so she keeps calling him "darling" in some sort of extremely awkward netorare scenario? You know, the one with horns? Yeah, Lum from Urusei Yatsura would be an oni character, yes.

By the way, Zero-Two's name written in Japanese is Zero-Tsuu ゼロツー, the katakanization of the English numbers of her code.

Nana and Hachi

Lastly, the characters Nana and Hachi which act as supervisors or something probably have their names coming from the numbers 7 and 8, which are nana 七 and hachi 八 in Japanese.

Episode 13 Children

In episode 13, there are children with names whose codes weren't shown. I'm guessing their codes were:
  • Sami 033, 303 or 330
    San 3, mittsu 3
  • Junna 017, 107 or 170
    Juu 10, nana 7
  • Nakku 079, 709 or 790
    Nana 4, ku 9
  • Toshi 104
    Too 10, shi 4
  • Sakuto 391
    San 3, ku 9, too 10
  • Shin'ya 48, 408 or 480
    Shi 4, yattsu 8


For reference, here's a chart.

FranXX character names from numbers conversion chart

And yes, I'm 100% sure Code 196 is called Ikuno because of that instead of becoming Ikuro or something.

How Ikuro becomes Ikuno because she's Code 196
Anime: Darling in the FranXX ダーリン・イン・ザ・フランキス
About Some Intellectual Property


Leave your komento コメント in this posuto ポスト of this burogu ブログ with your questions about Japanese, doubts or whatever!

All comments are moderated and won't show up until approved. Spam, links to illegal websites, and inappropriate content won't be published.

  1. I think the "Oni" is a bit of an easter egg on the part of the creators. Kinda cool TBH, the numbers "zero" and "two" taken together are a direct description of the character.

    If I were to guess what he'd name her, based off what you said here, it'd be tsuu (because the name tsuuyu is a thing in Japan, basing this knowledge off My Hero Academia) or something along that line - he seems to usually cut out the zero at the start, making only the two matter, and with just the two it's just "Tsuu".

    1. He only cuts out the first 0. So it went from "002" to "02". He does not cut out all the Os