"Remember Reiji Arisu and Xiaomu from Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier? These characters are actually guests from an earlier Monolith Soft game, Namco × Capcom."So a series doesn't quite manage to make the jump into other countries. It happens. Sometimes this work may cross over with another series, and characters from it may appear in something else, typically in a non-starring role. Official crossovers, extended company in-jokes, whatever, Product B has characters and whatnot from Product A... ...and then, for whatever reason, Product B manages to come out in a new market before Product A does. Meaning that the characters of Product A get their debut... in a product that isn't theirs at all. This causes people to assume that an Easter Egg character from Product B got their own spinoff in the form of Product A. That's how Marth debuted in Super Smash Bros. (in the West, anyway). A fairly peculiar subtrope of No Export for You that applies often to video games but can happen in any medium where a product is blocked or delayed at length from reaching other countries and then gets referenced in another work. Distinct from Sequel First in that this often involves characters debuting in crossover works that are often nothing like their "core" franchises or are at best tangentially connected (the trope namer is a character from a Strategy RPG series, with Smash Bros. being a Platform Fighter series). This happens to Japanese products fairly often as companies, especially fan-oriented ones, like to have cameos and such as a nod to their fans. Note that the "source" products for the characters may eventually come out in other countries, but the fact remains that they debuted in other markets in other, often decidedly odd ways. It's also worth noting that if this happens multiple times to a single franchise, it can agitate the fans, who may begin to (understandably) wonder why Product A doesn't just come out in the first place instead of appearing minorly in Products B, C, D, and so on. Of course, if Product A comes out because of its appearances in Products B, C, etc..., that's one explanation right there. Sometimes an example of Tropes Are Not Bad, since this can drum up interest in the game or series in question, causing it to be localized. The Trope Namer is one of these positive examples. In the cases where Marth actually does debut in Smash Bros (which was the case for fellow Fire Emblem character, Roy) see Early-Bird Cameo. See also Sequel First, Adaptation First. May lead to Remade for the Export.
— Spencer, Siliconera
Examples in Super Smash Bros:
Trope Namer / Super Smash Bros
- The Trope Namer is the star of the first Fire Emblem game (Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light), Marth. Marth made his (and his series') Western gaming debutnote in Super Smash Bros. Melee: over a decade after the first Fire Emblem game was released in Japan. His presence and popularity motivated Nintendo to release all future games in the franchise internationally. However, it wasn't until 2009, with the DS remake of his game, that Marth himself would finally appear outside the Super Smash Bros. series in the West.
- In comparison, Roy actually did debut in Melee — his own game hadn't come out yet in Japan when the game was released, and his inclusion was meant to promote the upcoming game. Oddly enough, his game never even made it to the US, which instead got the next game in the series: a prequel starring his father, Eliwood, in which Roy only makes a cameo in the epilogue as a child. For Europe and Australia however, this is a straight example, as Melee was delayed in those regions and came out after Roy's game had already been released in Japan. As with Marth, Roy continues to speak Japanese regardless of region, following his return in 3DS/Wii U as a downloadable fighter.
- When Corrin, the protagonist of Fire Emblem Fates, was announced as a DLC character for 3DS/Wii U, Fates had already been released in Japan a few months prior, but not internationally. Word of God says this was an Invoked Trope, similar to Roy's situation. The character became available to play as only weeks before the Western release of Fates.
Fire Emblem Characters Debuting Internationally Outside Their Own Games
- With many past characters appearing in Fire Emblem Awakening as DLC, this trope was inevitable for the international releases. For every game not released overseas at the timenote , ten more characters made their international debuts this way.note
- Of those who debuted in Awakening as DLC, Alm, Celica, and the Fire Emblem Gaiden cast star in a remake entitled Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. This is 25 years after the original Famicom release, much longer than the 19 years it took Marth to appear as a main character, but only 4 years after appearing in Awakening.
- The mobile game Fire Emblem Heroes features characters throughout the entire history of the series, making it the debut for many of the characters who had been Japan-only prior to it.
- Faye from Echoes makes her debut in Heroes one week prior to Echoes' Japanese release and a month prior to its international release.
- Original characters Emma, Shade, Yuzu, and Lando, from the Japan-only Fire Emblem Cipher make their international debut outside their card game as DLC characters for Echoes.
Other characters debuting internationally within Super Smash Bros.:
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- Ayumi Tachibana, a character of the Japan-only Famicom Detective Club games, appeared as a trophy in Super Smash Bros. Melee, as well as in Super Mario Maker as a Mystery Mushroom costume. According to Sakurai, she was considered as a potential fighter for Melee but was eventually turned down due to her lack of familiarity to overseas audiences, which would have potentially given this trope the alternative name of "Ayumi Tachibana Debuted In Smash Bros.".
- Donbe and Hikari have a fairly long lineage in Japanese releases and cameos, but have only been seen outside Japan thrice: First as a cameo in Kirby's Dream Land 3, then as a trophy in Melee and much later in Super Mario Maker as Mystery Mushroom costumes. They originated in the Famicom Disk System adventure game Famicom Mukashibanashi: Shin Onigashima, a title most often recognized by Western audiences as "that awesome speed metal song in Brawl". Kirby's Dream Land 3 also has Goku and Chamu from the other Famicom Mukashibanashi game, Yuuyuuki.
- Super Smash Bros. for 3DS has an assist trophy of the Prince of the Sablé Kingdom from Kaeru No Tame Ni Kane Wa Naru. As you might tell from the title, it was not released outside of Japan. His fellow prince, Richard, was more fortunate, as he received a cameo in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. Dr. Arewo Shitain from that game also appeared in Wario Land 3, Dr. Mario 64, and Wario Land 4 (though given a Dub Name Change to "Mad Scientistein" in the first two).
- Devil World is the only game by Shigeru Miyamoto that has been released in Europe but not in North America. Despite that fact, Tamagon has made cameos in three games available worldwide - Tetris DS, Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Art Style: PiCOPiCT (known as PiCTOBiTS in North America). Brawl and For Nintendo 3DS and Wii U also had the Devil as an assist trophy; Tamagon was a trophy in Melee but was removed from the international release (along with a few others).
- Kuru Kuru Kururin is a Nintendo series that focuses on a duck-like character who must pilot a spinning stick-shaped vehicle through mazes. Because the series never got a North American release until 2016 (with the Virtual Console release of the first game), Kururin's vehicle appearing as an assist trophy in Brawl led to a lot of confusion from American gamers.
- In Super Smash Bros. Melee, there were several trophies that came from Custom Robo. The series eventually made it to North America in 2004 and PAL regions in 2007.
- The first robots from Warrior Mech Gauss shown to international audiences were trophies in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
- Starfy, the star of The Legendary Starfy series, received cameos in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, Super Princess Peach, and Super Smash Bros. Brawl before the series was first released outside of Japan.
- The titular setting of Yoshi's Woolly World literally debuted in Smash; a stage based on it appeared in the Wii U version of Smash 4 months before the game it was based on was released anywhere in the world.
- When Panel de Pon was localized as Tetris Attack for American and European audiences, the original characters got switched out in favor of Yoshi and friends — however, several characters' appearances as stickers in Super Smash Bros. Brawl were not changed during the localization process (and Lip's Stick has been an item since Melee).
Role Playing Games (other than Fire Emblem)
- Lucas in Brawl. Fans had been hollering for a MOTHER 3 release ever since it came out in Japan and Nintendo pointedly ignored them... and then Lucas was put into Brawl, and some of his Subspace Emissary missions were spoilers for the final sections of his game. This remains a sore spot with a lot of Nintendo fans.
- Ness from EarthBound appeared the first three Smash Bros. games before his own game eventually got released in PAL regions through the Virtual Console.
- Elements from EarthBound Beginnings (songs, the Devil Car enemy in Smash Run, and the Magicant stage in 3DS version of Smash 4) were this, with that game only seeing international release through the Virtual Console in 2015, twenty-six years after its initial Japan-only release.
Shoot Em Up
- Averted with assist trophy Saki Amamiya. His game Sin and Punishment was made available to Americans on the Virtual Console mere months before Brawl's release, more than seven years after its initial Japanese release.
- Though previously released for the Nintendo 64 in Japan, Melee's trophy list included characters from Doshin the Giant (Doshin and Jashin) and Animal Crossing (Tom Nook, Mr. Resetti and K.K. Slider/Totakeke), the latter of which had the words "Future Release" in their descriptions in the Western release of Melee. While Animal Crossing gained worldwide availability, Doshin the Giant only came out in the PAL regions. No Export for You, indeed.
- Cubivore got a Trophy in Melee in the form of Alpha, and, like Fire Emblem 6, the game was not released yet. Like with Animal Crossing, it was also listed as "Future Release" in Western releases, though it would only see a North American release (And it only came there thanks to Atlus wanting to localize it after Nintendo cancelled the North American release).
- Yet another Smash example, though it's so strange and unexpected that it's almost funny. A song from the game Shaberu! DS Cooking Navi (which, as the name implies, is a talking cookbook; the song contains voice clips from the cookbook) appeared in Super Smash Bros. Brawl a few months before the sequel was localized.
Examples from Other Video Games
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- One of the alternate character skins becomes this in the Japanese version of Prince of Persia (2008). After beating the game, you unlock an alternate skin for the Prince's sidekick, Elika, which makes her look like Jade from Beyond Good & Evil. But that game was never released in Japan. (The other cameo skins—Altair for the Prince, and characters from the previous Prince of Persia trilogy on the previous generation of systems—do feature games released in Japan.)
- Samurai Warriors 3 features "Murasamame Castle Mode" accompanied by none other than Takamaru from the Famicom Disk System game Nazo No Murasamejo (The Mysterious Murasame Castle), who is appearing as a Guest Fighter. If a sticker and a song count as a debut, he technically debuted in Smash Bros. too. Even earlier, a Nazo no Murasamejo disk made a cameo appearance in Pikmin 2.
- In Warriors All-Stars, two members of the playable roster are Hajime Arima and Darius, both of whom hail from the Japan-exclusive visual novel series Harukanaru Tokino Nakade. Seeing as how Hajime and Darius are appearing in a crossover game that's being localized, even before their own series has seen a western release, they are a perfect example of this trope.
- Nazo No Murasamejo was the basis for the "Takamaru's Ninja Castle" game in Nintendo Land. It was finally released in America on the 3DS Virtual Console in 2014, nearly 30 years after its original release.
- Super Godzilla featured several monsters from movies that had yet to be released outside of Japan such as Battra and Mecha King Ghidorah. However, the American version did replace the 90's Mechagodzilla with the 70's one.
- Star Wars The Force Unleashed protagonist "Starkiller" was included as a playable character in Soulcalibur IV, which was actually released before the The Force Unleashed itself.
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- Metal Gear:
- This could've easily been called "Meryl Silverburgh debuted in Metal Gear Solid". Originally a character from Hideo Kojima's previous Adventure Game Policenauts, the game was officially slated for an North American release at one point, but apparently cancelled when Konami couldn't properly lip-sync the English dialogue with the game's FMV cutscenes. The bottom line of this is that the Shout-Out in the scene where Snake tells her his real name is lost (it's the same name as her best friend in Policenauts, who is otherwise the complete opposite of Snake).
- To a lesser extent, many of the tropes that Metal Gear Solid is credited for creating were actually featured in some form or another in the original MSX2 games, especially in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. Remember the part where you have to look at the back of the game's packaging to obtain Meryl's frequency? Or where you had to follow her to the women's bathroom? Or where Snake's mysterious informant tells him to watch out for mines? Metal Gear 2 did all of that first.
- The motive for Chapter 2 of Super Dangan Ronpa 2 is the "Twilight Syndrome Murder Case" arcade game, which is a homage to the Twilight Syndrome mystery/horror series, none of which have been released outside of Japan (there aren't even any Fan Translations).
- In the early 1990s, a few Sierra games were ported to Japanese computers, which caused this trope to happen in the event of a few crossovers or Easter eggs. One such example is Police Quest II, where Leisure Suit Larry (from his series started in 1987) "debuted" in.
- Alfred, the main character in Garou Densetsu: Dominated Mind, made an earlier appearance as a hidden end-boss in Real Bout Fatal Fury 2. Since Dominated Mind was never released outside Japan, most overseas players know him simply for being the final boss in Real Bout 2 and assume that he was a character made up for that game.
- Guilty Gear XX Accent Core featured an alternate version of Sol Badguy called Order Sol. Except his first appearence in the series as a playable character (Outside of cameos in gallery art) was Guilty Gear XX Slash, which was Japan-only. A.B.A, however, averts this as she first appeared in Isuka, which did get an overseas release.
- The Sega game Rent-a-Hero has never been released outside Japan (though it has a Fan Translation), but its title character was unlockable in the internationally released Fighters Megamix.
- The King of Fighters:
- XI added Gai Tendo and Silber to the KOF cast, but they originated in Buriki One: World Grapple Tournament '99, which was exclusive to Japanese arcades.
- The King of Fighters XIV has added Alice, Love Heart, and Mui Mui, with all three of them previously being exclusive to pachislot games note which were only released in Japan.
- For many Western gamers, Project Justice, the sequel to Rival Schools, is the debut game for Ran Hibiki and Nagare Namikawa. In actuality, both characters made their debut in the Japan-only Updated Re-release of the first Rival Schools.
- In Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, we have Nova's DLC costume◊. The preview of this costume took place on November 16, 2011. Both Marvel and Capcom executives weren't allowed to tell the public were it originated from, as it was from a new project that Marvel wanted to keep under wraps at the time. On February 21, 2012, the costume was finally made downloadable to the public, but there was still no word about its origin. Then, on March 2, 2012, Marvel gives us a preview of Sam Alexander, the new Nova as seen in Ultimate Spider-Man (which later aired on April 1, 2012). Sam's costume is the DLC costume of Nova in UMvC3.
- None of the Dead Space games were released in Japan, but Isaac Clarke is available as a DLC character on PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale including the Japanese version.
- Super Robot Spirits barely sold 10,000 units in Japan and it never got exported, so a lot of Super Robot Wars fans never knew that Levi Torah and her unit Judecca came from this game, rather than debuting in Alpha.
- Though there were English localizationsnote of his mangas, Gon was incredibly obscure outside Japan, which meant that his appearance in Tekken 3 led people to believe he'd been invented for the game. Also, Tekken 3 was not Gon's video game debut. There was a SNES game released in 1994, Gon.
- Many gamers are far more likely to recognize Tessa from Super Gem Fighter or SVC Chaos than from her home game, Red Earth, which never got a console release.
- Labrys was on a drama CD for Persona 3. These were not released outside of Japan, so many Western gamers thought she debuted in Persona 4: Arena
- Dragonball Xenoverse marks the first international appearance of Mira and Towa, the leaders of the villainous Time Breakers, and the Time Patrol version of Trunks, all of whom debuted in Dragonball Online, a now-defunct MMO that never saw release outside of Korea.
- Celica A. Mercury and Naoto Kurogane from BlazBlue both debuted in a series of light novels that never got an overeases release, Blazblue Phase Shift for Celica and Bloodedge Experience for Naoto. As a result, most western fans were initially exposed to them through their playable appearances in the main series and scratching their heads at just who the hell they were. Its especially jarring because both seem to play very important roles in the plot and some have prior relationships with the already established cast, so it comes off as Remember the New Guy if you didn't do your research beforehand.
- Technically, Super Robot Wars Original Generation did this to all the cast members who appeared in the "main" games of the Super Robot Wars series, to say nothing of Elzam, who DID debut in Original Generation before appearing in Alpha 2.
- Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier is the North American debut of Reiji and Xiaomu, the protagonists of Namco × Capcom.
- In 3D Dot Game Heroes, the loading screens are parodies of the artwork to various classic games in the "3D pixel" style of DGH. However, many of the games were never released outside of Japan are currently being having their remade forms released. It's surprisingly hard to be nostalgic for something that isn't due out until later this year. Compounding the problem is that these are (with a few exceptions) parodies of the Japanese artwork which is many cases is completely different from the artwork in other territories. Sure, you got Tetris, but not with the box art being parodied.
- Though Konami has refused to release Tokimeki Memorial in Western countries, a few references to the series in other Konami games released internationally got through, such as Yae's "Kirameki Uniform" (aka the Summer version of the iconic Sailor Fuku of the first Tokimemo game) in Goemon's Great Adventure, or the Kaori Yae (the Ensemble Darkhorse of Tokimeki Memorial 2) Dog Tag in Metal Gear Solid 2. Shiori Fujisaki makes her first international appearance as a boss in Otomedius Excellent.
- Sanrio's Jewelpet franchise never got exported to American shores because of its similarities with Webkinz and the resulting fear of getting sued by the company that owns it. Along with the fact that Magical Girl shows are a hard sell in the American market these days. However, the main characters Ruby, Garnet and Sapphie showed up in a Nintendo DS game called "Loving Life with Hello Kitty & Friends"◊, making it the first and only appearance of the franchise in anglophone countries.
- Misato Hayakawa of Countdown Vampires first appeared in the Japan-exclusive R?MJ: The Mystery Hospital, a D-like first-person Adventure Game from the same developer and publisher.
- Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F, a Rhythm Game, featured a music video for "The MMORPG Addict's Anthem" showing Miku playing the MMORPG Phantasy Star Online 2. Project Diva F was the first game in its series to be released internationally in 2013, while the North American version of PSO2 languishes in Development Hell to this day.
- Sonic the Hedgehog:
- Many fans of Sonic the Hedgehog widely believe that certain details about the characters, such as Tails' Gadgeteer Genius skills and Eggman's goofiness (and his nickname being Eggman) first appeared in Sonic Adventure. In reality, this was actually a case of All There in the Manual mixed with No Export for You, as the Japanese manuals and supplemental material revealed these facts from the start. There were hints in-game, however, such as Tails' mechanical know-how in Sonic Triple Trouble or Tails Adventure (he has a personal submarine, for one thing). Even more notably, in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Tails fixed Sonic's plane, the Tornado, by affixing a jet beneath it when it was shot down at the start of Wing Fortress Zone, and in such a short amount of time as to be ready to pick Sonic up at the end of the stage no more than ten minutes later.
- These same fans also believe that that Sonic Adventure was the first Sonic game that takes place on Earth. Sonic 1's Japanese backstory never mentions Mobius.
- Sonic Adventure wasn't even the first game in English-speaking markets to use the name "Eggman". It appears on the side of the ship in Wing Fortress Zone in Sonic 2.
- On the opposite side of things, several characters from Sonic the Hedgehog and Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog made their only (to date) Japanese appearance in Sonic Spinball.
- Mighty the Armadillo, a Sonic-like character in Knuckles Chaotix, made his first actual appearance in SegaSonic the Hedgehog, whose Japan-only release predates even Sonic 3, let alone Chaotix. Mighty was allegedly based on one of the original designs for Sonic. The same applies for Ray the Flying Squirrel, who appeared in some of the Sonic Archie Comics in the US, but also only appeared in the Japan-only SegaSonic game.
- Shaft was cut from the only port of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood that the US or Europe got prior to 2007. This led to him mind-controlling Richter in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night with pretty much no introduction.
- Maria Renard debuted in Rondo of Blood as a 12-year old vampire slayer, and returns as a 17 year old adult in Symphony of the Night. All cameos of Maria use her as a 12 year old since that's how she debuted first. Many western fans are confused why they don't show her as an adult, since that's the first time they saw her.
- Getsu Fuuma, from Getsu Fuma Den, first appeared outside Japan in video game form in Castlevania: Harmony of Despair. However, his first international appearance was actually as a Yu-Gi-Oh! card.
- Sayo, the main protagonist of Kiki Kai Kai (later known to Western gamers as Pocky when the series was released Sequel First), first appeared outside Japan as the World 6 boss in the NES version of Rainbow Islands. This was averted in Europe, which ended up getting a completely different port of that game.
- Spike in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is based on his appearance in Million Monkeys, which was released only in Japan.
- When Hebereke was localized as U-four-ia: The Saga, the character design was changed. Because of this (and U-four-ia only getting a limited release in Scandinavia), they ended up debuting in the Mega Drive port of Lemmings.
- Runbow has guest characters from indie games with several of those still having yet to be released in Japan, so Runbow's Japanese release was the debut of some of the guest characters in Japan unlike outside of Japan where all of the guest characters debuted in their own games first.
- The characters from Jewelry Master Twinkle, a Falling Blocks Puzzle Game with Dating Sim elements that somehow got an international release, actually come from an older Japan-only Mahjong game called Taikyoku Mahjong: Net de Ron!.
- Toro Inoue, mascot of SCE Japan, is the star of the Doko Demo Issho series and the spinoff Mainichi Issho. None of these games made it out of Japan, and even his cameos in other games tended not to be exported. His first international appearance in a video game was as a playable character in the PlayStation 3 version of Street Fighter X Tekken, along with his neighbor Kuro, followed by his appearance in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.
- In a cross media example, Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva introduced some new characters from the not-yet-released-outside-of-Japan prequel trilogy to the western world. (Mainly in Europe - in the US the movie was delayed just long enough for the first game to be released first.)
- An interesting case with Zobio and Zobiko, the protagonists of the Japan-only House of the Dead EX. Instead, they make their U.S. debut in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing... but not in the Japanese version of the game.
- Mighty Gunvolt, as its name implies, features characters from Azure Striker Gunvolt and Mighty No. 9. What the title doesn't suggest, however, is that the game also features characters from a game called Gal*Gun, which is about a boy who accidentally gets shot by too many love arrows and is forced to spend a day at school courting one of four girls while fending off an Unwanted Harem. Ekoro, an apprentice angel from the sequel is a playable character alongside Gunvolt and Beck. Since Bishoujo games are hard to come by outside of Japan, Mighty Gunvolt serves as the international debut of the Gal*Gun cast. Additionally, Shinobu and Maya, the heroines of Double Peace (the mentioned sequel) have a cameo in the school stage. (Maya is only in Ekoro's route)
Real Time Strategy
- Barbara the Bat is quite an odd case. While her first game, Daigasso! Band Brothers, debuted in Japan, she only made her first appearance overseas in Master of Illusion, which is a completely different game. Later, she was brought back as an unlockable Assist Trophy in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, with a callback to Band Brothers to boot. To add insult to injury, there were scrapped plans to bring Band Brothers overseas under the title Jam with the Band. Band Brothers DX wasn't released in Europe until May 2010.
Role Playing Game
- Some of the cast of the first and second games finally appeared in the US... in the Gust game Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia, in a bonus level of the dream states for the heroines. This happened nearly ten years after the debut of the first Atelier game. The characters finally made their solo debut in the Western market in manga form, but the Atelier games that Ar Tonelico referenced still aren't out in the States.
- X Edge (pronounced "Cross Edge") was released by NIS America in late May 2009. It's the full-on console debut for Marie, the first Atelier heroine, in a SSB-style crossover game that wasn't produced by, and isn't distributed by, her own home company.
- With Trinity Universe, it's happening again, with Violet Platane of Atelier
ViorateViolet making her American debut in that game. Potentially rabid gamers wielding carrots have, in fact, been spotted outside the NISA offices.
- Also in X Edge, 4 characters from it, Lily, Whim, Raze, and Rewrich are from Mana Khemia 2, a game that was planned to be brought over by NISA months after X Edge in spite of MK2 far preceding it in Japan in both system and release dates.
- Relatedly, the Atelier series first came to the US via the Iris subseries, which was an attempt to use some of the Atelier concepts in a more standard RPG — namely, one with a male lead and a Defeat The Big Bad main plot. The fact that these were the ones that finally managed to get companies interested in a US release is irksome to some fans, as well.
- In a franchise sense, the newest Atelier games are now coming over, Rorona and Annie respectively... which means that this trope has happened again. Liese Randel in Atelier Annie shows up in the second year of gameplay to help out our heroine and seemingly has a bit of history... history which is covered in her own game, Atelier Liese, which didn't make it out of Japannote meaning English gamers only know her from Annie.
- Cress Albane and Arche Klein, of Tales of Phantasia fame, made their Western debut in 1998... in a cameo in Tales of Destiny. And then they appeared in Tales of Eternia (known in the West as Tales of Destiny II) as a Bonus Boss fight. Phantasia didn't cross the Pacific until 2006, over a decade after its debut in Japan and eight years after the characters showed up in ToD.
- Eugene and Annie from Tales of Rebirth. Their American debut was in 2007 in Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology, three years after ToR came out in Japan.
- Tales of the Abyss has Cameo fights too. Granted, all three of the cameos in Tales of Symphonia were from games that were released in America before (Garr was from Tales of Destiny, Farah and Meredy were from Tales of Eternia), but not in Europenote . However, in Tales of the Abyss, there's Mint (from Tales of Phantasia, which was finally released in the US the same year as Abyss), Philia (from Tales of Destiny, released years ago), and Reid from Tales of Eternia. However, who's this "Nanaly" girl in there? She is not Chelsea from Tales of Destiny. Ironically she's from the real Tales of Destiny 2 (note the Arabic numeral; Eternia used a Roman one) and is in no way related to Chelsea unless you WMG her to be a descendant of Chelsea (or Mary). Not to mention, two of Anise's Tokunaga accessories that reference Reala and Harold also first appeared in the west through Tales of the Abyss.
- Tales of Vesperia also had Barbatos appear as a cameo boss - and neither the Destiny remake nor the real ToD2 ever was released outside of Japan!
- Tales of Graces f had three of these upon its western release in the forms of Veigue Lungberg (Tales of Rebirth), Reala (Tales of Destiny 2), and Kohaku Hearts (Tales of Hearts). The PS Vita version of Tales of Hearts is the only one that's getting a western release.
- One of the save data unlockables in Tales of Symphonia Chronicles is an alternate costume for Kratos based on Ludger from Tales of Xillia 2. While Xillia 2 was released a year before the compilation in Japan, Symphonia Chronicles came out first in the US.
- A peculiar intra-series instance of this involves the Final Fantasy series. The games tend to reuse themes, but Western audiences were denied several of the original games for quite a while. So, for example, while practically every game has "Gysahl Greens", the place it's named after wasn't seen until Final Fantasy III was finally released for the Nintendo DS in 2006, a full sixteen years after its 1990 release in Japan and nine years after Gysahl Greens first were seen in the West under that name.)
- Final Fantasy III is especially prone to this as it wasn't released outside of Japan until the DS remake. This led to many elements first introduced here being assumed to have debuted in later games, such as Summon Magic, Moogles and the Job Change system. Moogles are particularly notable, as due to lack of releases of 3 or 5 at the time, the first game released in America to feature them was part of a spinoff series: Secret of Mana.
- Gilgamesh first appeared in North America in Final Fantasy VIII. This was a few weeks before Final Fantasy Anthology containing Final Fantasy V came out.
- Lone Wolf and Gogo both first appeared in Japan and Europe in Final Fantasy V (the European appearance was in the remake), but the US in Final Fantasy VI. Unusually for this trope, both characters have larger roles in VI than V.
- Cissnei's appearance in Crisis Core was the first time Western audiences met her, but she was actually featured in Before Crisis which came out three or four years prior and was never released outside Japan.
- Another example is the recurring Job Class of Dragoons, which originally came out in Final Fantasy II with the character Ricard Highwind. It would also appear again in Final Fantasy III as a Class that the player could pick for the main characters. Since neither of those games were ported outside of Japan originally, the first time westerners would see that Class would be with Kain Highwind in Final Fantasy IV. References to the class as a whole are sometimes erroneously attributed to the popular Kain character in specific. The remakes of II and IV make a Mythology Gag out of it, naming Richard's son Kain in II, and Kain's father Richard in IV.
- When Secret of Evermore was released in Europe, years before Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy VI reached the region, several characters returning from the latter series in cameos appeared there first.
- A few Final Fantasy I characters such as Astos debuted in Europe, believe it or not, in Captain N: The Game Master. Really.
- Terra from Ys: The Ark of Napishtim originally debuted in Ys V, which was never exported.
- Dragon Quest:
- Dragon Quest IX has its own spin on this phenomenon. With downloadable character and cameos from the entire series becoming slowly available over the course of a year (July 2010 - July 2011), it's a fun look back at the history of the series as a whole - wait, Dragon Quest VI? That hadn't been released outside of Japan yet, and "Ashlynn of Sorceria" was the third one up. Hence, she came over before her game did. (Another character from VI, Carver, averted this by making his cameo after VI's US release..unless you hacked the game to unlock all the DLC at once.).
- The first three games weren't released in PAL regions, making their characters examples.
- Dragon Quest Monsters. The first game had enemies from Dragon Quest V and Dragon Quest VI plus Milly and Terry from VI, well before either game was released in the US. Milly and VI's bosses Murdaw, Mortamor, and Nokturnus would go on to make further cameos in IX before their own game got released in the US.
- While Yangus, the cockney thief from Dragon Quest VIII, is familiar to non-Japanese audiences, he also appeared in a Japan-only Fushigi no Dungeon Gaiden Game on the PS2, in which he is a young boy who is still in training. This version of him was reused in the Itadaki Street series, from which Fortune Street was released to Western audiences. Naturally, they were confused why he was suddenly a kid in that game.
- Labrys, from Persona 4: Arena. Or rather, from a Japan-exclusive drama CD released for Persona 3, released 5-6 years previously. That said, she was little more than a passing mention.
- The mobile phone puzzle game spinoff of Yo-kai Watch, Yo-kai Watch Wibble Wobble, (Puni Puni) came out after the second game in Japan and thus featured many Yo-kai from the sequel. However, Wibble Wobble came out in English before the second Yo-kai Watch game was localized, meaning many of the sequel's Yo-kai debuted there first in English.
Shoot Em Up
- In the Sega Superstars game, Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing, the two protagonists of "HOTD EX" Zobio and Zobiko, appear as fully playable racers, despite their game not leaving Japan (and for a short while, China) and All-Stars Racing not leaving Western countries.
- Reimu Hakurei, protagonist of Touhou, appears as a Bonus Boss in Magic Pengel and a playable character in its sequel Graffiti Kingdom (as "Flying Maiden"), despite her own games never being released in English. The Touhou situation became particularly strange in 2015, when some Doujin fangames received a commercial PS4 release under the Play, Doujin! programme. These were then localized into English and received a misleading advertising campaign which implied them to be an official release of the original Touhou games.
- Acceleration of SUGURI has Sora, protagonist of her own game, who appears as a Bonus Boss and unlockable character. However, her game was still in development when Aceleration Of SUGURI was released. However, a teaser of her game can be unlocked by fighting Sora and unlocking her extra story.
- Venom, one of the series villains, made his North American debut in Gradius V in 2005, 18 years after he debuted in the Japan- and Europe-exclusive Nemesis 2 in 1987. Just to add insult to injury, his massive-brain form in this game looks nothing like how he does in the MSX games or in Gradius ReBirth (2009) where he's a comparatively normal green humanoid alien.
- James Burton, one of the series protagonists and one of the very few to actually have a name and who also debuted in Nemesis 2 in Japan and Europe, did not appear in any game released for the North American market until Gradius ReBirth in 2009, 22 years later.
- Gofer of Gradius II (1988) had to wait 10 years to appear in a game released in North America, namely Gradius IV.
- Quiz Nanairo Dreams, a trivia game/dating sim released only in Japan:
- Saki Omokane from is much better known to Western players as "that girl with the big gun" from Marvel vs. Capcom, where she appeared as a helper character.
- Another example is Shuma-Gorath. Most people know him more from the Marvel vs Capcom games than they do from the comics, though he only actually counts as an example in territories where the comics didn't get published.
- In Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars, surprisingly, Ippatsuman (and his Humongous Mecha Gyakuten-Oh) is the only one who fits in this trope. All the other Tatsunoko (and Capcom) characters had their licenses applied in many ways.
- While only the fifth Sakura Wars game was ever released in the West, Project X Zone also features characters from the first four games.
- Though THE iDOLM@STER will likely never be released outside Japan, the Idolmaster-themed skins for Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation are available stateside, and The iDOLM@STER Gamertag icons also made it over.
Turn Based Strategy
- La Pucelle didn't receive an English localization until the American success of Disgaea. This resulted in Prier first appearing as a Bonus Boss cameo in Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, before appearing in her own game. Worse, her appearance in Disgaea spoils a plot point of La Pucelle.
- Disgaea 3 introduces a little known character in the West named Souichirou Kogure. The reason why he is little known is because the visual novel in which he originated from, Hayarigami, has not been released outside of Japan and, considering NISA's general aversion to visual novels outside of Disgaea Infinite, probably never will.
Anime & Manga
- Digimon Adventure: While all eight Chosen Children are shown in the first movie, only Hikari was left out at the start of the series. For the broadcast outside of Japan, most people first saw her in episode 21, where she's introduced as a rather Creepy Child who knows a lot more about Digimon (at least, Koromon) than you would expect, which made her very mysterious to the viewers. While the series does explain the events of the first movie in two seperate occassions, it doesn't change the fact that Hikari made her international debut in her late TV series appearance. The first movie was later released together with next two, but that happened after the success of the first two seasons.
- One of the earliest and well-known anime example would be how Ryo Akiyama debuted in Digimon Tamers through the Digimon WonderSwan Series.
- Another example would be Takato's cousin Kai. He first appeared in the first Tamers movie, which wouldn't be dubbed til several years after the show ended in the U.S. His second appearance (first in the dub) is toward the end of Tamers, where Takato clearly recognizes him but not in a way that the show is introducing him.
- Since Savers was never released in Italy, we can say that Masaru Daimon and ShineGreymon (with relative Burst Mode) debuted in Digimon Xros Wars: The Young Hunters Leaping Through Time.
- One Piece:
- Ryuma was the main character of his own Manga oneshot called "Wanted!" before, which has yet to be released outside of Japan.
- The American release of the Wii game Unlimited Adventure has numerous characters that had yet to appear in the official releases of the anime or the manga, as did a few others games between then a couple years later when the English release of the manga rushed ahead to catch up with the Japanese one. This includes Franky, Kaku, Spandam, Rob Lucci, Kuzan/Aokiji, and Paulie.
- Funimation released One Piece Film: Strong World, featuring Brook as a one of the Straw Hat Pirates, long before his introduction in the English dub of the TV series, and even used this as one of the film's main selling points.
- Kaito Kid has his own Manga and Anime adaption, but most people know him as an reoccurring character in Detective Conan/Case Closed.
- This occurred to Mazinger Z in large parts of Europe and the Middle East; UFO Robo Grendizer was translated and shown in countries such as Italy and France first, and when Mazinger finally aired in response to the surprise popularity of Grendizer, it was seen as a cheap knockoff of Grendizer, especially since Kouji Kabuto, the hero of Mazinger, appears in Grendizer in a supporting role (despite the series sort-of-not-really being a direct sequel.) This was exacerbated even further because Kouji's name was somewhat unnecessarily changed between the two shows, making people think that "Kouji Kabuto" was a bad knockoff of Duke Fleed's buddy "Alcor".
- Raideen, Planet Robo Danguard Ace, and Combattler V. They were part of the "Shogun Warriors" toy set Mattel introduced into the States in the late 70s - which also included bizarro versions of Mazinger Z and the various Getters, so if you really want to stretch the trope you could say that a lot of robots "debuted" as oddly huge toys - but the cartoons weren't licensed for American release. Oh no, that would be logical. Instead, the likenesses of the Raideen, Danguard and Combattler robots were licensed to, of all people, Marvel Comics for the creation of a Shogun Warriors American print comic. That eventually featured, among other things, Combattler fighting alongside the Fantastic Four against the gigantic robot minion of, basically, the Star of David. Really, you couldn't make up something like this if you tried. Raideen and Combattler's shows never made it to the US note ; Danguard eventually made it to American TV with the franchise name intact as part of the syndicated Force Five cartoon package (alongside Grendizer from above), after the toys and comic went out of production.
- Kinnikuman - While neither, the original manga nor anime were licensed for the US, toy company Mattel did sell a toyline of Kinnikuman figures under the name of M.U.S.C.L.E. When the sequel series, Kinnikuman Nisei, was later adapted to the US, the title was changed to Ultimate Muscle in order to tie the series with Mattel's figures.
- The only American appearance of Mashin Eiyuuden Wataru (1988) has been in the guise of the Turbo-Grafx 16 game Keith Courage In Alpha Zones. The anime has yet to appear as of 2014.
- Dragon Ball:
- The series has several near misses where this trope almost happened, but was barely missed because of the obscure Nippon Golden Network television channel. Unless you had seen episodes of Dragonball from this obscure channel, every one of Goku's fellow Z-Warriors (with the exception of Yamcha, who appeared in the aborted syndication of the first 13 episodes) would have been introduced when Dragon Ball Z debuted, not with their original Dragonball appearances.
- NGN also showed Dr. Slump. If you missed it, your first introduction to Dr. Slump would have been when Goku and General Blue visited Penguin Village. An interesting case happened in Malaysia. The Penguin Village episode aired in Malaysia around 1997-1998, Dr Slump later aired 4-5 years after the episode aired.
- Fusion Reborn was released in North America in March 2006. Before that, the video game Budokai 3 had Gogeta as a playable character in 2004, and 2005's Budokai Tenkaichi had Gogeta and the movie's antagonist, Janemba. Gogeta was also in the game Ultimate Battle 22, but they tried to cover it up by calling him Vegetto (another fusion). Budokai 3 also came out a few months before Dragon Ball GT ended, so it additionally spoiled Super Yixinglong and Super Saiyan 4 Vegeta. The aforementioned Gogeta is also playable in his Super Saiyan 4 state from the end of GT, making him a double spoiler. Oddly enough, the events of Fusion Reborn were also covered by the Game Boy Advance game Buu's Fury before it was released in English, despite the game being developed in the US.
- Raging Blast 2 averts this with Hatchiyack, since the game comes with a remake of the anime special he debuted in. However, it's played straight with Tarble, from the yet-to-be-dubbed Son Goku and his Friends Return.
- Legendary Super Warriors, a Game Boy Color title released in November 2002, covered the entire DBZ saga beginning to end. This is notable for the fact that it featured the ending of the Buu saga where Goku destroyed Kid Buu with the Spirit Bomb, only a few months before the corresponding episodes made their debut in the U.S.
- Beerus and Whis from Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods now make their US debut in the video game Battle of Z.
- The Dragon Ball Super characters Goku Black, Zamasu, Hit, Frost, and Kyabe all made their western debut in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, the latter two as DLC.
- When Dragonball first aired in America, they released three action figures for Goku, Yamcha, and Krillin. However, the run was cancelled before Krillin made his debut in the series. This was repeated in the Dragonball Z line done by Irwin Toys in 1999, which had figures for characters years before they debuted in the US. The most notable examples were Majin Buu, the multiple Super Saiyan forms, and Tapion.
- Launch's U.S. debut was in the release of the second film, Sleeping Princess of Devil's Castle,, which was released a year before she was introduced in Viz's run of the manga and years before Funimation would dub the series proper.
- Bleach's fourth movie introduced a character named Kokuto who would later go on to appear in the videogame Bleach: Soul Ignition. Nothing wrong here; the movie wouldn't be dubbed for a good few years and the game would probably never see the light of day outside of Japan (as is, sadly, the case with most Bleach videogames). Then, however comes the news that N.I.S America are releasing the game in the West under the slightly modified title; Bleach Soul Resurrección. And apart from the name and the opening theme song which had to be changed due to licensing issues, everything was left intact, including Kokuto, even going as far as to giving him an English voice. Given that his backstory was not given in the game and at this point, there wasn't even a Fan Sub of the movie available yet, a standard reaction to unlocking him is "Who the Hell is Kokuto?"
- The entire cast of Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune, an arcade game released worldwide, comes from the manga and anime series Wangan Midnight. Despite the former first being serialized in 1992, neither the manga nor the anime have seen an official release outside of Japan. Averted in Taiwan, where official Chinese translations of the manga were released before the games.
- A few Gundam series debuted internationally in spin-off video games before getting an official overseas release, with Gundam ZZ appearing in Gundam vs. Zeta Gundam, Victory Gundam, Gundam X and Turn A Gundam debuting in Dynasty Warriors: Gundam, and Crossbone Gundam debuting in Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn. As of May 2017 this leaves Stargazer and AGE as the only main Gundam series to not fall under this trope, neither these series being officially released in the West yet nor the games in which they did appear being localized.
- Since Gundam Wing debuted before the original Mobile Suit Gundam on Toonami, American viewers met the Char Clone Zechs Marquise before the original villain Char Aznable. This got so bad that in the early 2000s, the single best way to identify a "new Western fan" was whether or not they mis-identified a Char cosplayer as Zechs. This happened a lot.
- Many playing Pokémon Pinball outside of Japan when it first came out probably didn't realize that the tune that plays during the "capture" mode is "Mezase Pokémon Masutaa", the original opening to the Pokémon anime. This also happens with the Mega Man Battle Network side game Network Transmission. If you happen to have seen the anime in Japanese, you'll get the intended thrill when, at a key moment, the game busts out an instrumental version of "Kaze wo Tsukinukete" (the show's first opening theme).
- Pocket Monsters is the longest-running Pokemon manga and one of the earliest manga for the series but has never been localized outside of a few volumes in Singapore. The main characters appeared in a Show Within a Show in a Hoenn episode of the anime.
- The Ranma ˝ films and OAVs were made shortly after the TV series ended in Japan, but when brought over the U.S. were released right when the dub of the TV series started, and thus several characters such as Shampoo, Mousse, Cologne, Happosai, Ukyo, Principal Kuno, Gosunkugi, Sentaro, Sasuke, and even Ranma's own mother made their U.S. debuts in the OAVs before anywhere else. And Pantyhouse Taro made his English-debut not in either the manga or the anime, but rather the video game Hard Battle, which was released shortly after the English dub of the anime started.
- Similar to Brook, Pantherlily made his Funimation debut in the English dub of Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess, which was screened before Funimation would release the Edolas arc of the TV series where he was originally introduced.
- In America, most InuYasha fans were introduced to Kagura not via the manga or anime, but through the fighting game Inu-Yasha: A Feudal Fairy Tale for the PlayStation, which was released in the U.S. a few months before both the manga volume with her debut was released by Viz, and before her first episodes aired on Adult Swim. Also, Naraku's "super◊" form was first glimpsed by American audiences in InuYasha: The Secret of the Cursed Mask, which was released over a year before the episodes that showed how he gained his appearance would air.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's has the Crimson Dragon's Heart, which wasn't even mentioned until Rua received it in Episode 142. What some viewers likely missed is that it first appeared in the WC 2010 game Reverse Of Arcadia both in Japan and internationally, which was released in Japan the day after Episode 97 aired over there. Dub-exclusive watchers never found out what that extra piece was.
- Jikuu Tenshou Nazca has two clips shown on Malcolm in the Middle, but only for some countries the said anime were never licensed in.
- Super Mario-kun is a long running Super Mario Bros. manga however outside of Japan the first most heard of it was when it received DLC in Super Mario Maker.
- Sailor Uranus and Neptune made their North American debuts in Sailor Moon S The Movie, which was localized before the S TV season. This isn't counting their brief appearance as shadows in a foreshadowing preview at the end of R. Irwin also made dolls of Super Sailor Moon, as well as Chibi Moon and her Super Chibi Moon form, before S and SuperS premiered in North America.
- The Pretty Cure franchise's first appearance in the United States was, oddly enough, on an episode of Iron Chef America. In one part of the episode, sardine tacos that had been made by Morimoto Masaharu were held together by origami paper with the cast of Yes! Pretty Cure 5 GoGo! printed on it. The franchise would not show up in the United States until five years after the episode had aired.
- The main characters of Tantei Opera Milky Holmes debuted outside of Japan only as background cameos in multiple episodes of Cardfight!! Vanguard.
- A very odd example happened with PriPara in Hong Kong. They decided to show the fourth movie, Kirarin Star Live, in theaters nationwide in the summer of 2017, just as the country was about to reach the end of the second season. The movie reveals following details about further seasons of the show:
- The baby character the girls take care of, Jururu.
- The units formed during the season of the show, including Triangle, Gaarumageddon, TriColore and NonSugar.
- The fact that Triangle is entirely controlled by Non Manaka.
- The theme song of Idol Time PriPara, "Just Be Yourself", is the song played over the end credits.
- At the end of the movie, Reona and Meganii visit DanPara from Idol Time. After this scene, Yui, the main protagonist of season 4, is briefly seen outside Prism Stone.
- Hot-Blooded store manager Meito Anizawa is the mascot for the very store he runs, Animate; however, due to the few amount of Animate locations outside of Asia (the lone location in the United States closed in 2003, and there aren't any known in Europe), most people in the West know him from his appearances in Lucky Star.
- Chitti from the famous Bollywood movie Robot had his first appearance in Germany with a cameo in the movie Ra.One.
- Wreck-It Ralph appearing in the British-developed Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (released on November 18, 2012; around two weeks after the film's US premiere) qualifies as this in the developers' home country, where the film was released in February 2013.
- The Japanese dub of the Masters of the Universe film was the only thing from the Masters of the Universe franchise who was shown in Japan, since none of the original animated series were broadcast there.
- First big-screen appearance of Wonder Woman, The Flash and Justice League of America was in The LEGO Movie and not in DC Extended Universe.
- Ted was the first of Seth MacFarlane's works to be shown in Japan, since none of his hit shows (Family Guy, American Dad!, The Cleveland Show) were shown in Japan.
- Kamen Rider:
- In South Korea, the dub of Kamen Rider Decade was the debut for Kamen Riders Kuuga, Agito, Hibiki and Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, as their series were not imported over there. The same occurred in Singapore but with Kamen Rider Kiva in addition to that list.
- In the US, Reunion Show footage remains the only appearances of every Kamen Rider prior to Black RX and a few Metal Heroes. The past Riders were said to be previous users of the Masked Rider powers summoned through time, and the past Metal Heroes were said to be other characters summoned from comic books (like the Beetleborgs' powers and villains.)
- In Germany, Pro 7 got the rights to only the first two seasons of the Doctor Who revival. Rival TV station RTL 2 had more luck with spin-off Torchwood which led to the Doctor's companion Martha Jones first appearing in Torchwood and not Series 3 of Doctor Who.
- The Korean, Cantonese and Taiwanese dubs of Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger present the first appearances of numerous Super Sentai teams who never made it over to those countries in the first place.
- Power Rangers Super Megaforce features the first appearances of the five core Gosei Sentai Dairanger suits, Hikari Sentai Maskman, Choushinsei Flashman, Dengeki Sentai Changeman, and Chikyuu Sentai Fiveman as "new powers". Uniquely, the presence of this trope was actually handwaved... poorly,note single-handely leading the Power Rangers fandom into a meltdown and causing a new fandom meme to spawn.
- Stan Freberg's comedy record "St. George and the Dragonet" was a big hit in Australia years before Dragnet, which it parodies, started airing. When Freberg toured Austrailia after the TV show's debut there, he was told "some bloke went and made a TV show out of your record!"
- Before Animaniacs debuted in Poland on September 1996, the Warner siblings could be seen there in the opening sequence of Rozkodowany Bugs Bunny block (which debuted in early 1995) on Canal+ Poland.
- A number of international markets had not yet aired the end of the third season of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic before they ran the theatrical release, My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, which picks up on some plot points from the final episode of Season 3. As a result, in quite a few countries, the film opens with Twilight Sparkle complaining about the new wings and alicorn princess status that she hadn't yet been shown gaining. Similarly, locations and characters from Season 3 were showing up in some markets on the toys' box art before the episodes they debuted in were locally aired. Also, in some countries My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks was released before the end of season 4 of the show, spoiling Twilight's castle obtained at the end of that season.
- In 2014 Studio100 created a movie based on Maya the Bee which was released in 2014 (2015 for the United States and Australia). Since Studio 100 is a Belgian company, various Studio 100 characters such as "Piet Piraat"◊ and Samson En Gert make a cameo during the opening as clouds. Both Piet Piraat and Samson En Gert are from the same studio and a very popular in Belgium. However, both are unknown to other countries leaving some non-Belgians confused with these characters.