From S02E10 of the anime adaptation of the manga The Quintessential Quintuplets:

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Above, Miku Nakano (left) is a younger identical quintuplet of Yotsuba Nakano (right). Miku and Yotsuba are high school students. Miku is working part-time at some bakery. Yotsuba is visiting Miku at the bakery. Miku's seniour colleague (middle) refers to Miku as Nakano-san when talking to Yotsuba about Miku's initial failed cooking/baking.

Below, a few seconds later in the episode (which I guess is maybe an hour later in the characters' time), the seniour colleague addresses Miku as Miku-chan when Miku does a little better in the cooking.

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This is not just the subtitles. The dialogue really says this. Ah here I found something on youtube: See for yourself from 11:40 to 12:15.

Question: What's up with this? Is Miku's seniour colleague really referring to Miku so differently from addressing Miku? Is the time skip here perhaps actually not 1 hour but several days (and so Yotsuba actually visits Miku more than once) ?

  • 2
    (Not criticizing or anything) I wonder why you are obsessed with addressing and honourifics?
    – Jimmy Yang
    Aug 11, 2022 at 9:47
  • Cross-posted to Anime.SE: anime.stackexchange.com/q/67110/2516
    – Andrew T.
    Aug 12, 2022 at 1:54
  • 1
    @JimmyYang Good question. I'm new to anime/manga in general. N00b weeb essentially. But there's something specific to TQQ too: The way people address each other is actually very relevant to the plot eg 'oh, Alice addresses Bob as so and so' which shows Alice has this personality or has a crush on Bob or something. You can see for example the (spoiler free) TQQ section in tvtropes honorifics notes.
    – BCLC
    Aug 20, 2022 at 7:48

1 Answer 1


Is Miku's seniour colleague really referring to Miku so differently from addressing Miku?

In short, that sounds about right. A third person's presence can affect how someone refers to another person like that.

Also, honorifics can be used performatively, like "I'm intentionally using this version of honorifics to present myself more distant/closer to you in this occasion".

To distinguish one interpretation from another you would need a lot of context.

  • ok thanks. in this case why probably does the colleague refer to Miku as Nakano-san esp that the colleague is talking to someone whose last name is also Nakano-san?
    – BCLC
    Aug 11, 2022 at 18:20
  • 1
    Yes, that might be a reason to prefer first name in this situation, but not a decisive one. In conversation who you are speaking to is usually clear from other (nonverbal) clues. Aug 11, 2022 at 23:13

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