What Does Dandadan Even Mean?! The Hit Manga’s Name Explained

Dandadan meaning momo ayase
Credit: Yukinobu Tatsu / Science SARU

Dandadan meaning momo ayase
Credit: Yukinobu Tatsu / Science SARU

If you're a manga fan, you’ve probably come across Dandadan. The occult action-comedy is winning over new fans every week, and with each new reader comes the inevitable question: what on earth does Dandadan mean?

Yukinobu Tatsu's weekly manga was first published in April 2021 and has been one of Shonen Jump's most popular titles ever since. A Dandadan anime adaptation has also been announced!

Related: Dandadan Manga Release Schedule

Dandadan: A Story of Ghosts and Aliens

Dandadan explained manga
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Credit: Yukinobu Tatsu/Shueisha

Dandadan is a manga series following the adventures of high-schoolers Ken 'Okarun' Takakura and Momo Ayase.

On the face of it, the cool Ayase and nerdy Okarun are opposites. However, they end up getting into a heated argument over the occult. Ayase believes in ghosts but not aliens, and Okarun vice-versa.

After challenging each other to prove their argument, they end up discovering that both ghosts and aliens exist.

After Okarun becomes possessed by a ghost and Ayase unlocks latent psychokinetic abilities, the two of them are thrust into the world of spirits and monsters.

Related: The Best Adventure Anime to Watch

Dandadan: The Name's Meaning and Origin

dandadan name meaning anime okkarun
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Credit: Yukinobu Tatsu / Science SARU

The official meaning behind the name Dandadan has never been confirmed. However, based on its origin story, it's likely to be purely phonetic – a sound – and not anything more secretive (at least not yet).

In an interview with Alu in Japan, creator Yukinobu Tatsu explained how he was struggling to come up with ideas at the time, so editor Shihei Lin suggested he go away and draw whatever he liked without worrying about plots.

In the end, the word Dandadan led Tatsu to create what would become the manga's first chapter. This level of creative freedom is key to Dandadan, which has been praised for its quirky story and characters.

Given that there were no concrete ideas around the plot when Dandadan was conceived, and how in the same interview he speaks about choosing Turbo Granny's name because of how it sounded, Dandadan was most likely a fun-sounding word that inspired his creative thinking.

dandadan name meaning anime momo
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Credit: Yukinobu Tatsu / Science SARU

While Dandadan is likely phonetic, it's never been fully confirmed. As a result, there are a few different theories about what the name might actually mean. Some believe it could be shorthand, while others think it may be onomatopoeia.

One theory is that Dandadan is related to three words: Kaidan (Companion), Kidan (Strangeness) and Taikendan (Story/Experience).

This theory gained momentum after these words were used in marketing material in Japan and would explain the occult theme of the manga, but it hasn’t been confirmed.

Another theory is that Dandadan is an onomatopeia. The sound “Da Daan!” or “Du Duun!” is common in Japan and is roughly similar to how we might use “Ta-Daa!’ in the West to emphasize something.

Such a showpiece sound would be in line with the quirky, showy style of the manga, while the way the title is presented – in katakana – is typical of onomatopoeia in Japan.

What do you think the title might mean? Might we see Dandadan play a role later in the story somehow?

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