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Marth Debuted in "Smash Bros."

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"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."
Spencer, Siliconera

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. But at the same could present a Late-Arrival Spoiler for events that occurred in past products, 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, and Sir Cameos-a-Lot. May lead to Remade for the Export.

Examples from Video Games:

    open/close all folders 

    Super Smash Bros. 
  • The Nintendo 64 game Doubutsu no Mori debuted in the West through some of its characters, specifically Tom Nook, Mr. Resetti and K.K. Slider/Totakeke, appearing as trophies in Super Smash Bros. Melee. The characters would show up within their own series shortly after when the GameCube Updated Re-release of the game, Doubutsu no Mori+, was localized as Animal Crossing the following year.
  • Seven of the stickers in Super Smash Bros. Brawl are of the icons for the seven games in the bit Generations series, a series of seven Game Boy Advance games with very simplistic graphics and gameplay that only came out in Japan. A few of these games got remakes via WiiWare and DSiWare under the Art Style banner, but the original games have never seen a release outside Japan.
  • Warrior Mech Gauss, one of the mechs in the Japan-only Chōsōjū Mecha MG, appeared as a trophy in Brawl and as a spirit in Ultimate.
  • Alpha from Cubivore first appeared as a trophy in Melee in the West; while their game would see a North American release thanks to Atlus, it never saw a European one.
  • In Melee, there were several trophies that came from Custom Robo, a series of mecha games that were exclusive to Japan. The games would start releasing in North America with the fourth entry of the series, while Europe and Australia would have to wait for the fifth installment.
  • Doshin the Giant's Doshin and Jashin were first seen by Westerners as trophies in Melee; in an inverse of the above Cubivore situation, Doshin The Giant would eventually release in Europe, but never hit American shores.
  • The Dragon Quest Hero's Final Smash in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the first international cameo of the Dragon Quest X main character, since it's the only game in the series that hasn't been localized yet.
  • Ayumi Tachibana, a main character in the Japan-only Famicom Detective Club adventure games, first appeared as a trophy in Melee, and would later reappear as spirit in Ultimate (and a Mystery Mushroom costume in Super Mario Maker a few years prior). According to Sakurai, she was even considered as a potential fighter for Melee, but was turned down due to her lack of familiarity to overseas audiences. Remakes of said games would eventually release internationally two decades later for the Nintendo Switch.
  • In the Metroid series, Samus' double-jump and ledge-gripping abilities didn't exist prior to her appearance in Super Smash Bros. for the N64, and her subsequent appearance in Melee. Both of these abilities would later make their full debut in the Metroid series shortly after Melee's release, with her double-jump being given to the Space Jump Boots in Metroid Prime and her ledge-grip being given to the Power Grip in Metroid: Zero Mission. Her stun gun in Zero Mission would remain nameless until Super Smash Bros. Brawl gave it the name "Paralyzer", as well as a whip ability that has yet to be implemented in other Metroid games.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • The Trope Namer is Marth, the star of the first Fire Emblem game (Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light), who made his and his' series Western debut in Melee. Well, gaming debut, if we want to be precise.note  His presence and popularity motivated Nintendo to release all future games in the franchise internationally, but it wasn't until the Nintendo DS remake of his game in 2009 that Marth himself would finally appear outside the Super Smash Bros. series in the West, and Nintendo themselves lampshaded this trope when announcing the localization of the original NES game for the series' 30th anniversary.
    • In comparison, Roy truly did debut in Melee, with no caveats. In fact, he doubles as an Early-Bird Cameo, as his own game hadn't come out yet in Japan; his inclusion was meant to promote the upcoming game. Ironically, his game never made it internationally; Westerners got the next game in the series instead, which is a prequel starring his father, Eliwood (though Roy makes a cameo in the epilogue as a child).
    • 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 international release of Fates.
  • Sukapon, the main character of Nintendo's Japanese-only NES fighting game Joy Mech Fight, was first seen in the West as a sticker in Brawl, before becoming an assist trophy in Ultimate.
  • 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.
  • Similar to Kururin , Devil from Devil World also first appeared in the US as an Assist Torphy in Brawl since the US is the only territory that Devil World never released in.
  • The Pac-Land stage in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS & Wii U has "Libble Rabble Medley" as one of its songs. The arcade game Libble Rabble did not see a release outside Japan until November 2021, when it was released as part of Hamster's Arcade Archives.
  • Mother:
    • Ness from EarthBound appeared in the first three Smash Bros. games before his own game eventually got released in Europe and Australia through the Virtual Console. Mr. Saturn made an even earlier cameo appearance in Kirby Super Star (as a treasure in The Great Cave Offensive), which released in Europe under the title Kirby's Fun Pak.
    • Lucas debuted overseas as a fighter in Brawl. His game, Mother 3, is one of the most noteworthy examples of No Export for You in Nintendo's library. In addition, some of his Subspace Emissary missions were spoilers for the final sections of his game, which remains a sore spot for a lot of Mother fans.
    • Elements from EarthBound Beginnings — from songs, to the Devil Car enemy in Smash Run, to the Magicant stage introduced in Smash for 3DS — are this, with that game first seeing international release through the Virtual Console in 2015, twenty-six years after its initial Japan-only release.
  • 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. The magic wand of the titular character Lip (i.e. Lip's Stick) has been an item in the Smash series since Melee, while her and the rest of her cast would appear as stickers in Brawl. Lip herself would become a Mii costume and a spirit in Ultimate. The original game wouldn't see a release outside of Japan for nearly 25 years, until it was added to the Nintendo Switch Online lineup in May 2020.
  • 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. The song was absent in For Wii U, but reappeared in Ultimate under the name of the localized sequel, Personal Trainer: Cooking.
  • Splatoon's Inklings underwent this in South Korea. The Wii U, and by extension the first Splatoon game, was never released in the country. The creatures would cameo as Mii costumes and a trophy in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, and as guest characters in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, before making their proper Korean debut in Splatoon 2.
  • Ando Kensaku, the host character of the Japanese-only web search themed game And-Kensaku appeared as a Spirit fighter in Ultimate a full eight years after that game's Japanese release.

    Action Adventure 
  • 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.)
  • One of the characters featured in Solatorobo is Mamoru, a Kid-Appeal Character that aids in public safety, sometimes by giving safety tips, other times directly assisting Red in helping those in danger. Except this isn't his first appearance, as Mamoru originally debuted in a series of PSA stories and games simply titled Mamoru-Kun as a part of Fukuoka’s disaster preparation program. Likewise, for Europeans as a whole, this marks the first appearance of Waffle, Panta, Cyan, Therria, Alicia, Flare, and Stare, as Tail Concerto was never released throughout most of Europe outside of France (for some reason).

    Action Game 
  • 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 Toki no Naka de. 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.
  • The Mysterious Murasame Castle got many cameos before finally seeing international release on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console in 2014, thirty years after its Japanese debut. The Famicom game disc for Nazo no Murasamejo appeared in Pikmin 2 as one of the many treasures you could collect. The main character Takamaru appears as a sticker in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, where one of the songs was remixed as well, and Word of God says that he was a planned fighter in the previous entry before getting scrapped due to lack of overseas familiarity. Samurai Warriors 3 features Takamaru as a Guest Fighter and even has a "Murasamame Castle Mode". Finally, the minigame "Takamaru's Ninja Castle" from Nintendo Land is based on this title.
  • 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.

    Adventure Game 

    Fighting Game 
  • Guilty Gear XX Accent Core featured an alternate version of Sol Badguy called Order Sol. Except his first appearance 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.
  • Naruto:
    • Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2: The English Dub of the Naruto anime was still around the 2nd arc of Shippuden when this game came out (October 14th, 2010), meaning this was the English debut for some characters:
      • Hidan, Kakuzu, Konan and Pain appear in this game outside of sillhouetes.
      • Nagato appears in the cutscene after the final boss.
      • Tobi's Madara persona debuts as part of his Awakening.
      • Other characters first debuting in English are Sasuke's Hebi/Taka team (Suigetsu, Karin and Juugo), Sage Mode Naruto, Killer Bee and the Eight Tails.
    • Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations: Onoki and Mei Terumi debut in this game before the English dub reached the Five Kage Summit arc.
    • Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4:
      • Kaguya Otsutsuki is this for people who have only followed the anime.
      • In Latin America, besides Kaguya, half of the new cast from Shippuden plus Boruto and Saradanote , as the series only recently debuted in Latin America in 2015, after a long hiatus when the rest of the series was cancelled from Cartoon Network's Latin American feed in 2006.
  • Rent A Hero has never been released outside Japan (and its Fan Translation didn't appear until 2015), 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, 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.
  • Capcom vs.:
    • Saki Omokane debuted in Quiz Nanairo DREAMS, an obscure quiz game/dating sim hybrid that was only ever released in Japan. Global audiences are more likely to recognize her from her appearances in Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes and Tatsunoko vs. Capcom.
    • Similarly, as Cyberbots remains largely obscure in the West, Western fans are far more likely to know Jin Saotome and Devilotte from their appearances in the Marvel vs. Capcom series than the game they actually originated in (Devilotte also showed up as a secret character in Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo).
    • 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 (2012) (which later aired on April 1, 2012). Sam's costume is the DLC costume of Nova in UMvC3.
    • 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 strictly fits in this trope. All the other Tatsunoko (and Capcom) characters had their licenses applied in many ways. However, while many of those series may have been licensed overseas, many of them were still obscure to Western audiences (the most notable exception probably being the cast of Gatchaman, as that seriously was previously adapted for American TV as Battle of the Planets).
  • None of the Dead Space games were released in Japan, but Isaac Clarke is available as a DLC character in 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.
  • Dragon Ball 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 Dragon Ball Online, a now-defunct MMO that never saw release outside of Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. The Supreme Kai of Time was also mentioned in Dragon Ball online, and Jaco the Galactic Patrolman debuted in the West in Xenoverse.
  • Celica A. Mercury and Naoto Kurogane from BlazBlue both debuted in a series of light novels that never got an overseas release, Blaz Blue 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. It's 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.
  • The Japanese version of Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee replaced the Heisei Mechagodzilla (simply known in the game as "Mechagodzilla") with its then-recent Millennium counterpart, Kiryu. Okay, no problem. But when the game was ported over to the Xbox in North America in 2003, Kiryu was included as a playable character (here named "Mechagodzilla 3") alongside its Heisei incarnation (now named "Mechagodzilla 2"). Kiryu's film debut wouldn't see a US release until the next year.

    Mecha Game 

  • 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 that 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 in 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 Dark Horse of Tokimeki Memorial 2) Dog Tag in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. 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 2011 Hello Kitty 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 languished in Development Hell until finally being put back on track for a 2020 release.
    • Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise has a tape that players can listen to while driving through the wastes containing the opening theme song for PSO2. It would be almost another year before word of a Western release was uttered.
  • Fate/Grand Order tried to avert this for the introduction of the character Altera, as her debut event was supposed to start on the same day the release of Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star where she's one of the headline characters as a bit of cross-promotion. Due to the latter game being delayed, she appeared in FGO several months early, bringing a bunch of not-completely-answered questions with her (as the FGO version is a different iteration of Altera, with the Extella version being the boss of the event with a very different Limit Break among other things). Interestingly, this was reversed when the games were released in English, as Extella dropped on its own long before FGO's event cycle caught up to the promo.

    Platform Game 
  • 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.
    • In the games, Amy Rose and Charmy Bee first appeared in Sonic the Hedgehog CD and Knuckles' Chaotix, respectively; however, they instead debuted in Shogakukan manga much earlier, with some notable differences.note 
    • There are some fans who believe that Sonic Adventure was the first Sonic game that takes place on Earth, and that the classic series instead took place on the planet Mobius. In reality, Mobius was a foreign concept in the cartoons and comics, although it was mentioned as the setting of Sonic Spinball (which is more based on the cartoons than game canon). Sonic the Animation is also blatantly on Earth and it was made in 1994.
    • Mobius itself was a concept taken from an early, quickly-dropped American backstory, but was considered canon in the UK until 2000, where it's use appears to have predated the cartoons.
    • Sonic Adventure wasn't even the first game in English-speaking markets to use the name Eggman - it appears on the side of the Wing Fortress in Sonic 2, is used as Robotnik's racing moniker ("The Eggman") in Sonic Drift 2, and is again used in Sonic the Fighters.
      • On the other hand, the Robotnik name was used in the Japanese release of Sonic Spinball ("Robotnik is getting away! Go get him!"), and Sonic & Tails 2, the Japanese release of Triple Trouble ("Robotnik Winter Zone"), both before it was used in Sonic Adventure 2.
    • On the opposite side of things, several characters from Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) and Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) 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 and the internationally-released Sonic Mania Plus, but also first appeared in the Japan-only SegaSonic game.
  • Starfy, the star of The Legendary Starfy series, received cameos in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (on a movie poster), Super Princess Peach (as a rare enemy), and Super Smash Bros. Brawl (as an Assist Trophy) before the series was first released outside of Japan.
  • Castlevania:
    • 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.

    Puzzle Game 
  • 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.)
  • Puyo Puyo is one of the most extreme examples of this trope, as between the sporadic releases outside of Japan and Puyo Puyo originally being a spin-off of Madou Monogatari, this means almost every single character is subject to this. To put things into perspective, the only characters that avert this are those introduced in Puyo Puyo Fever, Puyo Puyo Tetris, and Puyo Puyo Tetris 2.

    Racing Game 

    Rail Shooter 
  • 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 shooter called Gal*Gun,note  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 who debuted in Gal*Gun: Double Peace, 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, have a cameo in the school stage, though Maya only appears in Ekoro's route. Most of the games were eventually released just in time for Mighty Gunvolt Burst to feature Kurona without any recognition problems, though those curious about Tenzou (protagonist of the very first game) would have to wait three years for Gal*Gun Returns.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • Alabama "Bama the Hammer" Kowalski, a.k.a. Sgt. Hammer, makes her StarCraft debut in StarCraft II Legacy of the Void, but originally appeared in Heroes of the Storm... though she was based off of a generic unit that was given a name (and more of a personality) that existed since the original, making this a case where it overlaps with Ascended Extra.
    • The characters Lt. Rosa Morales and Cpl. Miles "Blaze" Lewis went through the same treatment.

    Rhythm Game 
  • Basically every Bemani crossovers in DanceDanceRevolution have been mistaken to be new content for the games by Western fans, instead of, well, crossovers from other entries in the BEMANI line of rhythm video games, which DDR is just one of many. This is because DDR is the only Bemani series that gained as much popularity inside Japan as it did outside, causing it to be the only one that Konami marketed overseas with any semblance of seriousness (They did try to release a Western port of beatmania IIDX once, but it flopped). In Japan, DDR is not actually the most popular of the bunch (beatmania IIDX is), though it is the oldest one still active.
  • Arcaea, which is globally available, features collaboration content of the Performai series (maimai, CHUNITHM, and O.N.G.E.K.I.). Only maimai would get a release outside of the combined Asia Pacific / Australia region, in 2019 in the U.S., while the CHUNITHM and O.N.G.E.K.I. content fall squarely within this trope as neither of those games have yet to be released outside that area.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • Atelier:
    • 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 happened again, with Violet Platane of Atelier Violet making her American debut in that game.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Finally, there's Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World, whose status as a Massive Multiplayer Crossover means that multiple secondary characters from previous generations, such as Enderk Jad and Bartholomaus Platane, at last make an appearance in an internationally-sold title.
  • Monster Hunter. Since some of the early installments remained exclusive to Japan, many of the monsters that debuted in them would have to wait until later installments to be available for hunt among overseas players:
    • Monster Hunter Freedom 2:
      • All monsters that kickstarted the second generation of the series appeared first in the Japan-exclusive Monster Hunter 2 (dos). Thus, it wasn't until Freedom 2 (which was released in the West) when players outside Japan could have a chance to hunt them. The exception is Yama Tsukami, which had debuted Dos as well but didn't appear in the game; even then, the Updated Re-release Freedom Unite brought it back so international players can hunt it in G Rank.
      • Hypnocatrice and Lavasioth make their international debuts in the Updated Re-release Freedom Unite, having first appeared in Monster Hunter Frontier which was exclusive to Japan, South Korea, and China.
    • Monster Hunter 3 (Tri): While the original game isn't an example, the Updated Re-release 3 Ultimate incorporates into its bestiary Arzuros, Great Wroggi, Lagombi, Volvidon, Nibelsnarf, Duramboros, Zinogre and nearly all third-generation subspecies that debuted in the Japan-exclusive Monster Hunter Portable 3rd (only Brute Tigrex and Amatsu were skipped over; even then, the former would later debut overseas in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, while the latter did in Monster Hunter Generations).
  • The Witcher is a case of this as well. The first game was released in the US in 2007, the same year that the first English edition of the first book was released in the UK and a year before it first hit US bookshelves. This continued on, with Season of Storms being adapted into comic form by Dark Horse three years before the English translation was released.
  • Kasumi Yoshizawa from Persona 5 Royal appeared in the Sword Art Online mobile game Memory Defrag more than a month before Royal was released in the North America. She was not even a gacha character, she was just given to anyone who logged in during the collaboration period.
  • Tales of... Series:
    • Cress Albane and Arche Klein, of Tales of Phantasia fame (released in 1995), 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 an Optional 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.
    • One of the DLC costumes Ludger can get in Xillia 2 is on based on Luca Milda (localized as Ruca) from Tales of Innocence, which neither the original Nintendo DS version nor the PS Vita remake ever left Japan.
  • 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: Final Fantasy Adventure.
    • 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.
    • Mid and the heroes of Final Fantasy V were introduced to the US in the OAV Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals.
    • 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 characters such as Astos debuted in Europe, believe it or not, in Captain N: The Game Master. Really.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • 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 North America. And Europe and Australia hadn't received any game in the series before this, meaning that every character that wasn't an Original Generation was an example.
    • While Yangus, the cockney thief from Dragon Quest VIII, is familiar to non-Japanese audiences, he also appeared in a Japan-only Mystery Dungeon Gaiden Game on the PS2, in which he is a young boy who is still in training. This version of him was reused when Fortune Street was released to Western audiences. Naturally, they were confused why he was suddenly a kid in that game.
    • Dragon Quest IX had character cameos from the entire series becoming slowly available over the course of a year (July 2010 - July 2011), including Ashlynn and Milly from Dragon Quest VI, which hadn't been released outside of Japan at the time. It wouldn't take long, though, as VI received an international release in February 2011 — soon enough that when another VI character, Carver, showed up in IX; the game was out and he no longer qualified for this trope. (It was also possible to hack the game to unlock characters' appearances, including Carver's, ahead of schedule.) The game also had previous villains as superbosses, including Murdaw, Mortamor, and Nokturnus from VI. And while Europe and Australia had received remakes of IV and V by that time and received VI alongside North America, characters from the original trilogy and VII were still new to them.
    • Dragon Quest XI similarly had a series of sidequests making throwback references to the rest of the series. These included content from the Japan-only Dragon Quest X.
    • Dragon Quest Treasures features treasures based on the entire rest of the franchise including spin-offs, some of which were never released internationally. The big ones are characters and equipment from Dragon Quest X and trading cards from Dragon Quest Rivals, but there are also assorted references to Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3, Dragon Quest Walk, Dragon Quest Keshi Keshi, and the Mystery Dungeon version of Yangus.
  • Fire Emblem has plenty of examples even outside the Super Smash Bros. series:
    • 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 the 3DS remake entitled 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.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
  • Live A Live has never had an export outside of Japan until the 2022 remake, and even in its native country, it is at best a Cult Classic and at worst a flop. This did not stop them from releasing Megalomania as a DLC song in Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, or for the mobile game Final Fantasy Legends: The Space-time Crystal as an optional boss and a summon.
  • 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 Legend of Heroes - Trails: The second arc of the series, the Crossbell arc, wasn't localized outside of Japan and China until long after the Trails in the Sky trilogy - which contains a story arc that Trails from Zero completes - and the Trails of Cold Steel tetralogy - the first half of which occurs concurrently with the duology, the second half of which relies heavily on familiarity with the Crossbell arc due to Crossbell being annexed by the Erebonian Empire - came stateside. As in, Trails of Cold Steel IV, an Avengers: Endgame-esque Crisis Crossover featuring playable characters from all three arcs, was released in 2020... Trails from Zero will be released in 2022, Trails to Azure in 2023, and the only reason the duology's coming out as soon as that is because a Fan Translation group licensed their translations to NIS America. As a result, several characters from the Crossbell arc made their worldwide debut in Cold Steel II, III and IV, including primary characters such as Lloyd Bannings, Rixia Mao, Elie MacDowell and Mariabell Crois, as well as side characters like Cao Lee and Grace Lynn.
  • Both Swin Abel and Nadia Rayne who first show up in The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie, made their debut in the US in the mobile game called Brave Nine.
  • Trials of Mana had to wait twenty-three years for an official English release. In the meantime, its prequel (which included many supporting characters and concepts from Trials) was released as Heroes of Mana, Legend of Mana made a number of references to Trials locations (mostly in item names, like "Dior Wood" and "Altena Alloy") while also including statues of the main characters of Trials in one location, a couple songs from the game appeared in Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call, and Riesz appeared in Million Arthur: Arcana Blood.
  • Yo-Kai Watch:
    • 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.
    • Wibble Wobble has also included Yo-kai that appeared in the third game and the Busters spin-off before either came out in the West.
    • In a non-Wibble Wobble example, the localization of Yo-kai Watch 3 introduced six "Commander" Yo-kai that were originally featured in Yo-kai Sangokushi, a spin-off crossover with Koei-Tecmo's Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Sangokushi never got localized.
  • Terra from Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim originally debuted in Ys V: Lost Kefin, Kingdom of Sand, which was never exported.

    Shoot 'em Up 
  • The Shoot 'em-up game Einhänder was never released in Europe and Australia. So for some players who have never heard of it, Kingdom Hearts III's Gummi-Ship sections (very much a Shoot-em-up) was their first introduction to the game via the secret boss of "Schwarzgeist", same with the ship "Endymion".
  • 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 Project, appears as an Optional 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.
  • Orange_Juice examples:
    • Acceleration of SUGURI has Sora, protagonist of her own game, who appears as a superboss and unlockable character. Her game was still in development when Acceleration Of SUGURI was released. However, a teaser of her game can be unlocked by fighting Sora and unlocking her extra story.
    • QP is actually a Guest Fighter from another Orange_Juice game, QP Shooting. Said game did not see a release in the west (although its sequel, Dangerous!!, did), thus making Acceleration of SUGURI her debut game to westerners.
    • And for many of the characters from QP Shooting and Xmas Shooting, their first appearance for Western audiences was 100% Orange Juice!.
    • Kyousuke from QP Shooting - Dangerous!! originated in QP Kiss, an untranslated April Fools release that resembles a Dating Sim with gender-swapped Orange_Juice characters and Acceleration-like gameplay. In addition, the 100% Orange Juice! card "President's Privilege" features some scrapped character designs from the project. His long-absent fellow cast member Kyupita was added to 100% Orange Juice! in late 2020.
  • Gradius:
    • 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' few named heroes, also debuted in Nemesis 2 in Japan and Europe, yet he 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.
  • Ketsui, a 2003 game, was first officially made known to the Western world in 2011 when the Xbox 360 version of DoDonPachi Resurrection was localized in Europe, which includes an Arrange Mode based on Ketsui and which features the Tiger Schwert, one of the two playable ships from that game, as well as HIVAC, a variation of Ketsui's True Final Boss Evaccaneer DOOM. The rest of the world would follow suit in 2012 with the global release of DoDonpachi Maximum, which again features the Tiger Schwert as well as a simulated version of Stage 4 of Ketsui. Ketsui itself would not be localized for non-Japan markets until 2020 with the release of Ketsui Deathtiny for PS4.
  • An interesting variation occurs in Cuphead. With the announcement of the Delicious Last Course DLC came the announcement that the NPC the Legendary Chalice would be Promoted to Playable in a new form called Ms. Chalice. The DLC was originally set to release in 2019, however the release would be pushed back to 2020 to avoid overworking the development team, and then again to 2022 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The DLC and playable Ms. Chalice are currently set for release in June 2022. However, Ms. Chalice made her first official appearance in The Cuphead Show! animated adaptation in February 2022, just four months ahead of the DLC.

    Simulation Game 

    Survival Horror 
  • In the Clock Tower games, the original game released for the SNES was Japan-only. The sequel Clock Tower 2 on the PlayStation was received in North America, introducing Jennifer and the ScissorMan.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • La Pucelle didn't receive an English localization until the American success of Disgaea. This resulted in Prier first appearing as an Optional 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.
  • Makai Kingdom: Petta, Zetta's Kid from the Future, appeared in the PSP remake of Makai Kingdom, which was never released outside of Japan. She hasn't been able to appear outside of Japan until Disgaea 4 as a DLC character, and it would take 15 years until her game gets released in the west.

  • While Danny Phantom has never officially aired in Japan, various entries in the Nicktoons Unite! series (which features the titular protagonist as a playable character) have been released there; thus that series marks Danny's debut for Japanese audiences.
  • 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 four games available worldwide - Tetris DS, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Art Style: PiCOPiCT (known as PiCTOBiTS in North America) and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Brawl, 3DS/Wii U and Ultimate also have the Devil as an Assist Trophy; Tamagon was a trophy in Melee but was removed from the international release (along with a few others).
  • Due to the Development Hell Pokémon Red and Blue went through during localization, several iconic Pokémon characters made their first appearance outside Japan as stamps in the Game Boy Camera, of all places.
  • Barbara the Bat is the host of the Rhythm Game Daigasso! Band Brothers, which debuted in Japan as a 2004 Nintendo DS launch title. However, despite plans to localize the game for Western regions, it never happened; the character would instead make her first overseas appearance as the host of Master of Illusion, a "non-game game" that teaches the player how to perform magic card tricks, followed by being an unlockable Assist Trophy in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Her game's sequel (Daigasso! Band Brothers DX) would be released in Europe as Jam with the Band in 2010, but the third game (Daigasso! Band Brothers P) would remain Japan-exclusive, while none of the games would release North America at all.
  • The second game in the WarioWare series, Twisted!, was released in the US only after the third game, Touched!, was already out in stores, while in Europe it was never released. As a result, Wario-Man and 18-Volt appeared first in Touched! for Western players.

Non-Video Game Examples

    Comic Books 

    Films — Animation 
  • In Japan, Gnomeo & Juliet was never released, but Sherlock Gnomes was, leading the appearance of the characters from the previous film to be the first time they showed up in Japan. What’s even more confusing is that the reference to the former movie in the opening scene was kept in the Japanese dub despite the film in question not being dubbed.
  • The Monica and Friends franchise would make a debut outside Brazil with the film "An Adventure in Time" releasing in Latin America during 2008. This led to the first exposure of the franchise in Latin America. Almost 7 years later, the animated shorts would debut on the Latin American version of Boomerang when they started to air the 2012 series, then later moved to the 2009 series, then the 2000s series and much later the 1980s series. The show then later expanded to a handful of countries when they didn't get the comics nor the show such as Japan.
  • The 1981 Japanese animated film The Fantastic Adventures of Unico (based on the Osamu Tezuka manga series Unico) by Sanrio Animation, featured Kiki and Lala (aka "The Little Twin Stars") making a non-speaking cameo apperance in the background during a musical number focused on Katy/Chloe's dreams on becoming a witch. In the western market alongside Spanish speaking countries, this was "The Little Twin Stars" first exposure to non-Japanese audiences and first exposure to Sanrio characters besides Hello Kitty. Sames goes for the 1983 sequel Unico in the Island of Magic where Tuxedo Sam makes a non-speaking cameo apperance where he's among the animals alongside Unico lessening to Toby's song performed on a flute.
  • Thomas and the Magic Railroad was the first appearance of characters from Shining Time Station in many countries, most notably the United Kingdom, since the show was only exported to a handful of countries.
  • In 2014 Studio 100 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 cameo apperances during the opening as clouds. Both Piet Piraat and Samson En Gert are from the same studio and are very popular in Belgium and The Netherlands (and Germany to a smaller degree). However, both are unknown to other countries leaving non-Belgians confused with these characters.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Chitti from the famous Bollywood movie Robot had his first appearance in Germany with a cameo in the movie Ra.One.
  • Godzilla gets hit with this a lot, many viewers nowadays don't realize that such famous Godzilla foes as Mothra and Rodan were actually the stars of their own successful films before making the jump.
  • Popular Argentinian comic character Mafalda makes a cameo appearance in the 2021 DC and Warner Bros. film The Suicide Squad as a keychain during a scene shot inside Milton's vehicle. While the series is well-known in Spanish speaking countries, the series is completely unknown to the non-Hispanophone market (such as Asia, America, and parts of Europe) with some of her comics never gaining official translations to some countries.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Kamen Rider:
  • In Germany, Pro7 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.
  • Super Sentai:
  • Power Rangers:
    • 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.
    • Power Rangers Ninja Steel featured the US debut of Metal Heroes character Jiraiya who was adapted as a character named "Space Sheriff Skyfire", who is recruited by Big Bad Madame Odius to fight the Power Rangers.
    • Power Rangers: Beast Morphers also featured the US debut of a Metal Heroes character. In this case, it was Gavan Type-G from Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie, who was adapted as Captain Chaku.
    • The Italian dub of the franchise initially skipped Power Rangers RPM, which was dubbed only after Power Rangers Samurai. As a result, the RPM Red Ranger was first seen in the Samurai special episode "Clash of the Red Rangers".
    • Monster of the Week examples appear all the time - some sentai monsters don't get adapted, or are used in a different order than the original series. This means a gathering of past monsters might contain monsters who have never appeared, or who haven't appeared yet, leaving fans to say "when did they ever fight that guy?" or "wait, didn't we see that one in monster hell? What's he doing alive to be this week's MOTW?"
  • Big Bad Beetleborgs had an episode which featured the debut of some Metal Heroes characters whose series were never aired in the US. Among them was Janperson, who was explained to be another comic book character named "Karato", who had been made by the artist who later created the Beetleborgs comic. Not only did Gun Gibson and Bill Goldy also appear (as "Silver Ray" and "Goldex"), Mademoiselle Q from Blue SWAT appeared too, as "Wingar". (The Blue SWAT team themselves were cut completely, likely because of their exposed Japanese faces.)
  • The release of Donkey Hodie in Australia, Spain and the United Arab Emirates marked the debuts of characters such as Donkey Hodie, Purple Panda, Bob Dog and Harriet Elizabeth Cow from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood in the country, but in different incarnations.

  • Since not all Tamagotchi devices are released outside of Japan, some characters appeared on devices years after their Japanese debut. The most notable example was the V3, which used many characters that were originally from the Osutchi and Mesutchi, which came out nine years earlier.

    Western Animation 
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks:
    • Since the first two seasons were dubbed in Hungarian, Miss Miller's first appearance in the franchise was The Chipmunk Adventure.
    • The Japanese dub, due to skipping a handful of episodes, had The Chipettes debut in May The Best Chipmunk Win (season 1, episode 13b) instead of their namesake episode (season 1, episode 1b).
  • Because Animaniacs was never dubbed into Norwegian, the characters' first appearances were in the dubs of Pinky and the Brain and Freakazoid!.
  • In some countries, like Italy, Angela Anaconda appeared for the first time in the opening skit of Digimon: The Movie.
  • The Critic was never aired in countries like the UK, making most people over there think that Jay Sherman is just a one-shot character on The Simpsons.
  • Darkwing Duck was never released in Hungary (except, oddly, as a picture book); therefore the character's animated debut in the country was in DuckTales (2017).
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and My Little Pony: Equestria Girls:
    • 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 Japan, while the Friendship is Magic dub was on hiatus, the dub of the Equestria Girls series resulted in several plot points from Season 3 onward being introduced in later Equestria Girls works such as Twilight's ascension as an alicorn princess, Twilight's castle, and taking on former villain Starlight Glimmer as a student.
    • In Croatia, by the time My Little Pony: The Movie (2017) came out and was being shown locally in theaters, the country had just started airing season 2. This means that the country was treated to Twilight's status as being an alicorn princess before it was even hinted at in-series in the season 3 premiere, and various elements from later in the show such as the Tree of Harmony and Crystal Heart (both in stained glass) and the characters Cheese Sandwich, Starlight Glimmer and Maud Pie (called "Manda" in the Croatian version of the movie) have made their debut in the country as quick cameos.
  • In Italy, the two main characters from Rick and Morty appeared first in the Couch Gag for the The Simpsons episode "Mathlete's Feat".
  • Since Teen Titans Go! didn't receive an official release there, the first official appearance in China of the characters from the series was the CCTV-6 premiere of Teen Titans Go! To the Movies. It is also the first official Chinese appearance of Slade and the original Teen Titans (2003).
  • In an odd case that combines this trope and Short Run in Peru, Thundercats Roar first appeared in Canada in the Crossover with Teen Titans Go!.
  • Total DramaRama
    • As 6teen never aired in Hungary, Jude Lizowski made his first appearance in Total DramaRama.
    • Meanwhile in the United Kingdom, DramaRama also marks the debut of MacArthur, Don, Carrie, Devin, Chet, Ella, Max, Laurie, Lightning, Sugar, Alejandro Burromuerto, and Jasmine, as only the first two seasons of Total Drama (Island and Action) were shown in Britain. While the British version had no more than two seasons of the original show, only the first season was reran on Pop! as of 2019.
    • In the UK, The Ridonculous Race made its debut on The BBC iPlayer on April 4, 2022. Because only Island and Action aired in the UK, Leonard (from Pahkitew Island), Anne Maria (from Revenge of the Island), and Blaineley (from World Tour) make their UK debut.
    • DramaRama also marks the franchise's debut in Germany as none of the original series (including The Ridonculous Race) was aired nor dubbed in German. However, a scene from the season 2 opening was featured on Stōked (which was the only Fresh TV cartoon—between Total Drama, 6teen, and Stoked—to have a German dub at the time of the show's initial release).
  • Villainous had become a staple of Cartoon Network's Latin American branches since its first miniseries aired in 2017, with its various shorts being available in both Spanish and English on the official CN Latin America YouTube page. However, the characters wouldn't be formally introduced to American audiences until its October 2020 crossover with Victor and Valentino, which was meant to coincide with the premiere of a full-length Villainous TV series, which got delayed into late 2021 and wouldn't get an official release outside Latin America itself.
  • Due to The House on Pooh Corner not having a Spanish translation until the 80's, the first appearance of Tigger in Spain and Latin America was in Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, which came out in 1968. It's possible that this happened in other places as well.
  • Since Mister Rogers' Neighborhood wasn't aired outside of the United States (though Canadians could watch the show via cable), this meant that Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood marked the debut of several characters from Mister Rogers in various overseas territories, including Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
  • The 1987 western-produced series Hello Kitty's Furry Tale Theater marked the first time non-Japanese audiences were exposed to other Sanrio characters (notably My Melody, Tuxedo Sam note , and Chip). While Hello Kitty was beginning to catch on in the western market, Sanrio characters were mainly known in Japan but didn't catch on with international audiences until the 1990s.
  • Some countries like the United Kingdom and Portugal got localized versions of Blue's Clues with new hosts. This meant that Blue's Clues & You! was the first appearance of the hosts of the American version, Steve and Joe, in those countries.
  • JoJo Siwa's first appearance in Japan was her cameo in SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout!.
  • On February 8th 2023, Aqua Teen Forever: Plantasm debuted in HBO Max Poland, making the Polish debut of the Aqua Teens.

Alternative Title(s): Debut Displacement, Marth Debuted In Super Smash Brothers