Sunday, June 14, 2015

What’s in a name? GX’s new characters and their influences

From the beginning, the names of the characters in Symphogear were carefully chosen by the creators, usually to highlight their role in the story, or other times to reflect deeper meanings and hints at their backstories. In GX, this is no exception. Carol and Elfnein received their names from co-creator and music producer, Agematsu, while the four dolls were likely named by Kaneko. In this post we’ll try to explore what their names might mean.

Carol Malus Dienheim

A carol, by English definition, refers to a religious folk song or hymn. While this may seem like it has no direct relevance to Symphogear outside of the music connection, it becomes clearer when you look at her middle name.

Malus in Latin carries the meaning of “bad, evil, wicked” which is interesting considering what her role in the story appears to be, but more importantly “Malus” is a genus of apple tree. Remember in G that Maria frequently sang the song “Apple” which contained references to the Lulu Amelu and Custodians? I have no doubt this was an intentional choice and that the song, and Maria and Serena’s past, will play a significant role in GX.

As for her last name, “Dien” and “heim” both have meanings in German: “your” and “house” respectively. But perhaps more importantly, before the GX site updated with the “Versus Alchemic Cult” text, I had already been theorizing that alchemy would be involved. This was due to the references that appeared when searching up on the name “Dienheim.”

In the 1600s a man known as Alexander Seton introduced and spread the power of alchemy around continental Europe. One famous story involved Seton meeting a physician, and alchemy skeptic, named Johann Wolfgang Dienheim. In order to convince Dienheim and his friend, Zwinger, Seton organized a demonstration. He told the men to bring lead plates and sulfur, which they mixed together in a pot. Seton eventually had them add a yellow powder to the mixture and when the transmutation was complete, the lead had disappeared and was replaced by gold. All of the items used had been brought by Dienheim and Zwinger, and the only thing Seton had done for the entire process was give them the powder to add to the mixture. This convinced both the men and from then on, they worked together with Seton to promote alchemy.

It’s unclear what sort of role “alchemy” will have in GX, if it will just be a name given to the power used by the characters, or if there will be references to its magical properties in popular culture. Some theories I’ve seen describe the Auto-Scorers as “homunculus,” though I suspect that term may end up applying to Elfnein who appears to be a clone of Carol herself. Speaking of…


In German, “elf” means “11” and “nein” means “no.” Of course this has a clear correlation to Elfnein’s other name mentioned into the story prologue: “Scrap Material #11.” However, some sharp fans have pointed out that within the tarot card numbering system, 11 is the number which represents “Justice” and thus her name could hold the meaning of “No justice.” In any case it seems that Elfnein is likely a victim of the Alchemic cult and has sought to escape them with an important object hidden in the box she carries.

Leiur Darāhim

As I’ve mentioned before, the last names of the 4 Auto-Scorers refer to the suits of an ancient set of playing cards. In Leiur’s case, her suit is that of “coins.” This is reflected in her character description, which notes that she specializes in throwing coins. I also suspect this may be a reference to a famous Japanese character, Zenigata Heiji, a policeman who caught criminals by throwing coins. Further, each of the dolls likely has control of one element through Carol. Leuir’s element is Earth, which seems consistent with coins which are made of metal.  

Some fans have theorized that her first name is an intentional anagram for one of the 7 great archangels, “Uriel.” This also has connections to other religious references that have appeared in Symphogear, as Uriel is noted as being one of the angels, along with Raphael and Gabriel, who asked for Divine Intervention during the reign of the Fallen. The fallen angels in this time took human wives and produced half-angel, half-human beings called the Nephilim.

Garie Tūmān

Within the card suits, Garie’s name refers to “cups.” Seeing as how we fill cups with liquid, this seems consistent with her element, water. In keeping with Leiur, her first name might refer to the archangel, Gabriel.

Micha Jawkān

Micha’s card suit is that of “polo-sticks,” which seems in line with her character description of using a “carbon rod” to do battle. Her element is Fire. Her first name might refer to the archangel Michael.

Phara Suyūf

Phara’s card suit is that of “swords,” consistent with the description of her weapon that looks like a large sword (but is hinted to be something else). Her element is wind.  Her first name might refer to the archangel Raphael.


Symphogear’s base influence has always been music, so the use of the term “score” hardly seems a coincidence. To “score” something means to orchestrate or arrange a piece of music, typically for a specified instrument or instruments. Because there is only 1 unknown character CD for GX, people have theorized that the dolls won’t sing…but their name seems to indicate they have some connection to music. Perhaps each of them will have a lyric-less orchestrated song that will interfere with the Symphogear’s power, or maybe they will actually sing and their character songs will be present on the BDs.


  1. OOhhh Preventing them from singing sure is interesting, though I'm 100% sure I'm gonna get pissed if their songs are cut off mid way haha.