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Sequel First

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"Jackie Chan made a movie called Armor of God, and the sequel was called Armour of God 2: Operation Condor. Well, when that came out in the US, there was a little difficulty. Armour of God wasn't out yet, so they decided to release the sequel here first, and change the title to just Operation Condor. Well, after that, Armour of God actually did make an American release, and it was called Operation Condor 2: Armour of God! A complete reversal!"

A later installment of a series gets released somewhere (in another country, or in a group of Compilation Re-release, etc.) before its original installments. A series is finally localized, thus averting No Export for You, but for whatever reason the company decides to begin with the latest title in the series rather than start from the beginning.

This is common in the video game industry due to their technological nature: a video game franchise that the developers originally didn't deem suitable for one market might be brought there later; if the original game was released for a platform that has since been discontinued, then the company will instead localize one of the more recent games in the same series for a current platform.

Related is Adaptation First, a tendency for a startlingly large number of video game franchises in Japan to have their ancillary products (such as anime series or manga) cross the Pacific without the actual games making the jump. See also Marth Debuted in "Smash Bros.", when a major character or element from a series makes its overseas debut in a completely different franchise, and Novelization First, when the novelization of a film or television episode is released before the source material.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • While the original Dragon Ball anime had dubs from Harmony Gold in '89note  and Funimation in '95note , neither were able to gain any sort of traction. However the incredibly popular dub of Dragon Ball Z meant that, thanks to Pop Culture Osmosis, this trope was played straight. The success of DBZ's dub would result in the first English dub of the pre-Z anime in its entirety to release in '01-03. This happened for real regarding the fighter Dragon Ball GT Final Bout, which was released on the PlayStation in the West in 1997, a full six years before the first English dub of Dragon Ball GT would debut in 2003. Thus DBZ fans were introduced to concepts like Super Saiyan 4 and Goku's granddaughter Pan as a young teenager long before their original context was understood (and in fact, long before even Super Saiyan 2 was introduced, let alone 3).
  • 1995's Mobile Suit Gundam Wing was the first part of the venerable Gundam franchise to make it big in other countries; this, among other factors, gave the 1979 original series an uphill battle when it was also aired on Cartoon Network. This was played with during the English release of the original series itself, as Sunrise simultaneously released the later spinoff OA Vs Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team, Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket and Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, all taking place in chronological order before the first Sequel Series, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam.
  • Ultimate Muscle, aka Kinnikuman Nisei, was actually a sequel to the original Kinnikuman manga and anime, which was never officially translated (but the merchandise was brought over under the localized name of M.U.S.C.L.E.)
  • Pokémon Adventures has an... Interesting release story in Germany. The first arc was released by Egmont Manga at the beginning of the 21th century but they haven't translated the other arcs. In 2013, Panini Manga released the "Black & White Arc". Three years later, they re-released the first arc and started translating the other arcs. The "Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire" arc was released in Germany in 2017 before its predecessor was released there.
  • Voltes V and Daimos came out in the Philippines before Combattler V and achieved much greater popularity. And because of this some viewers there have mistaken Combattler V as either a strange sequel or a cheap knockoff.
  • In the same vein as the Voltes V and Daimos incident, UFO Robo Grendizer was released in Italy before its prequels, Mazinger Z and Great Mazinger. They also made the mistake of renaming Kouji in Grendizer. Thus, when Mazinger Z was brought over afterwards, people dismissed that as a cheap knockoff.
  • The FUNimation dub of One Piece falls into this trope. When FUNimation picked up the series from 4kids, they also optioned the rights to dub movies. At the request of Toei Animation, FUNimation started on Movie 8, skipping all of the other movies in the One Piece film series. However, the stickers on the DVD identify it as "#8", so they don't appear to be reordering them number-wise.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is a good example of this trope. Jojo is split into "Parts", each part including a different main character. When the manga was adapted into an OVA, only Part 3, Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure Stardust Crusaders was adapted, and they started with the final arc of Part 3, before going back years later and doing the earlier part of the series. This was later released in America, along with a Part 3 Video game by Capcom, and thus Part 3 became the most popular part of the story in the US. Because of this, when Viz optioned the rights to the manga, they skipped Parts 1 and 2 and went straight to Part 3, but removed the Stardust Crusaders subtitle. When the anime for the first two parts proved successful in 2012, Viz finally set about translating them in 2014 before going on to do the rest of the manga in proper order.
  • When Lupin III was allowed to air on [adult swim] in 2003, Pioneer, the company dubbing it, chose the second series rather than the first. The first series finally got released on DVD in North America by Discotek Media in 2015, but originally with subtitles only. An English dub was finally released in 2021 on HiDIVE and on Blu-ray for the 50th anniversary.
  • The Castle of Cagliostro was the first part of the franchise to see a mainstream release in the US, with an English-dubbed VHS release from Streamline Pictures back in 1992. The Mystery of Mamo and two episodes of Part II directed by Hayao Miyazaki were released shortly afterword, followed by a reissue of Cagliostro (with a new dub) in 2000. Funimation also began releasing several of the 90s-era TV specials in 2002.
  • In France, the second Tamagotchi film, Tamagotchi: Happiest Story in the Universe!, was dubbed and released into theaters first instead of the first film.
  • The manga version of Sailor Moon is this. It took until 2011 for the first series, Code Name Sailor V to be translated officially into English.
  • Great Teacher Onizuka was published in full in North America well before an English release began of its lesser-known predecessor, Shonan Jun'ai Gumi!. However, Tokyopop seemed to want to market it explicitly as a prequel, being called GTO: The Early Years (with Shonan Junai Gumi as a subtitle); when Vertical picked up on publishing the last 5 volumes of SJG after Tokyopop filed for bankruptcy, they dropped the Shonan Junai Gumi subtitle entirely.
  • The anime sequel to Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals, was released in English-speaking territories a full two years before the game it was continuing ever saw release outside of Japan.
  • In the United States, Glitter Force (Smile Pretty Cure!), the ninth entry in the Pretty Cure series, was the first series of the franchise to be aired and dubbed in the United States. Before this, the characters of Yes! Pretty Cure 5 GoGo! made a brief cameo on an episode of Iron Chef America.
  • Osomatsu-san is available to legally stream with English subtitles via Crunchyroll and has an Australian DVD release from Madman Entertainment. Neither the original manga of Osomatsu-kun nor either of its anime under that name have gotten official releases until Discotek Media got the 1988 series nearly 30 years later, though Spanish-speaking countries got in in the proper order since the 1988 anime came as a package deal with Tensai Bakabon's two 90s iterations under the title Cosas de Locos.
  • In Japan, FLCL Alternative was released on September 7, 2018, while FLCL Progressive was released three weeks later, on September 28. And the first episode of Alternative also aired subtitled in the US as an April Fools' joke, two months before the first episode of Progressive.
  • KING OF PRISM Shiny Seven Stars, a sequel to both KING OF PRISM films and Pretty Rhythm: Rainbow Live is the first official release of anything related to the Pretty Series in North America and most territories outside of Asia. note  Because of this, people who haven't watched Rainbow Live or any of the King Of Prism films will be faced with problems, as the series has multiple instances of Late Arrival Spoilers that require watching either the films or Rainbow Live to understand.
  • The 2008 Inazuma Eleven anime never aired in America, likely due to the niche popularity of sports anime and soccer in general at the time. The next several anime were skipped as well. In 2019, Inazuma Eleven: Ares began airing on Disney XD. It's an Alternate Continuity of the original but can also be seen without any knowledge of the older series.
  • Because of music clearance issues over "Country Roads", the English dub of The Cat Returns came out a year before the film it was a spin-off of, Whisper of the Heart.
  • After famed nipponologist Frederik L. Schodt's English translations of the first five volumes of Phoenix spent nearly three decades languishing in Development Hell, the second volume, A Tale of The Future, was finally released in English as a standalone in the early 2000s, mainly to cash in on the renewed interest in Osamu Tezuka's work generated by the success of Metropolis (2001). It was thought a science fiction story would sell better with Western readers, as the first volume is a historical epic taking place in ancient Japan. Viz eventually gave the series a full release starting at volume one.
  • While the subtitled version of the series was released simultaneously with the original Japanese broadcast, the English dub of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War started with season 2 before eventually releasing season 1 four months later.
  • New Cutey Honey was the first installment in the Cutey Honey franchise to see a North American release, despite the fact that it's a sequel OVA to the original anime series from 1973, which wouldn't receive an official release there until 2013.
  • While Kamen Rider Double hasn't been made fully available outside of asia since its release in 2009/2010, but the sequel manga, Fuuto P.I., is being published in france and other countries, with the anime adaptation being available in many territories through Crunchyroll, with latin-american and brazilian dubs to boot.
  • Arachnid (2009) and its spinoff Caterpillar (2012) were first translated to English in 2022 for the Manga UP! app. Caterpillar starts as a prequel and was translated far ahead of Arachnid, but the problem is that it not only spoils who the Big Bad of Arachnid is but also ends at the same point in time as it, even recapping the major events of that story in the process.

  • The North American release of the Jackie Chan film Armor of God II: Operation Condor, retitled simply Operation Condor, came six years after its release in Hong Kong... before the original Armour of God. When the original finally made it across the Pacific (direct-to-video, no less,) it was retitled Operation Condor 2: The Armour of the Gods. Confused, yet?
  • The first film in the In the Line of Duty series was Yes, Madam, which would be shortly followed up by Royal Warriors. Confusingly, Royal Warriors was released in the States first as In the Line of Duty. Yes, Madam would be released shortly after as In the Line of Duty II, despite being the first film in the series.
  • Mad Max II/The Road Warrior got a bigger world-wide release than the original Mad Max, which is why it's generally known just as The Road Warrior on some markets. The New Zealand release is especially noteworthy, as #1 was banned due to Goose's death resembling an incident in the North Island.
  • Lucio Fulci's Zombi 2 was titled as such to capitalize off the success of Zombi, which was actually the Italian recut of George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead (1978). When it was released in the U.S. it was retitled Zombie. Subsequent sequels weren't retitled, leaving many Americans wondering where the mythical second Zombie film could be found. If that doesn't hurt the mind to begin with, the issue was corrected in a two disc re release of the original titled, you guessed it, Zombie 2, leaving a whole new generation of horror fans to wonder where the hell the first Zombie picture could be found. The Italian cut (which removes humor) of Dawn of the Dead is out in America as Zombie: Dawn of the Dead. Whether this makes things more or less confusing is up for debate.
  • In Italy the Maniac Cop series received the same treatment: Maniac Cop 2 became Poliziotto sadico (Sadist Policeman) while the first movie was retitled as Maniac Cop - Poliziotto sadico 2.
  • Film fans who pay attention to the credits must have wondered why the poster for Missing in Action has the credit "Based on characters created by Arthur Silver and Larry Levinson and Steve Bing." The Cannon Group filmed Missing in Action 2: The Beginning FIRST (as Battlerage) but it was decided the actual sequel, in which Braddock (Chuck Norris) goes back to Vietnam, was the stronger of the two and hence Cannon released that first.
  • The fourth and eleventh of Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt adventures, Raise the Titanic! and Sahara (2005), received film adaptations first.
  • The Da Vinci Code was written as a sequel to Angels & Demons, which came out first. The former's immense popularity meant that it was adapted into a film first, then A&D was made (and rewritten) as a sequel. This incontinuity is referred to in some added film dialogue, when the Vatican personnel are trying to get Landon to help them ("Hey, you guys called me!")
  • The film adaptations of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Not quite your typical example, as they're not trying to pass off the events of the latter as happening after those in the former, but some people do seem to think that the The Lord of the Rings books came out earlier.
  • The Vengeance Trilogy was distributed like this in the US. The second part, Oldboy (2003), opened first, followed by the first part, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, and then the third part, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (which was renamed Lady Vengeance for its release).
  • The most famous example is the Star Wars franchise, starting out with Episode IV. After Episodes V and VI, I-III and VII-IX written/filmed decades later. Though this is also somewhat retroactive as A New Hope was simply labeled as Star Wars upon its first theatrical release.
  • Drunken Master and Drunken Master II were both big successes in Hong Kong but did not cross into western markets. After Jackie Chan became a star in the USA, Drunken Master II was released to American theaters under the title The Legend of Drunken Master to avoid confusing audiences.
  • When the 1997 Hulk Hogan film Assault on Devil's Island and its 1999 sequel Assault on Death Mountain were exported internationally, they were mislabeled, with Death Mountain being called Shadow Warriors, and Devil's Island being called Shadow Warriors 2.
  • Only the latter two books of Jack Ketchum's 'Off Season' trilogy (Offspring and The Woman) were made into films. The first has yet to be adapted due to rights issues.
  • The first Fifty Shades of Grey film was not released in China as the studio believed it had no chance of passing the Chinese censor board. However, the sequels would later be co-productions between the US, China and Japan and would be allowed to screen in Chinese cinemas, despite the fact that the first film never had an official Chinese release.

  • Peter Robinson's book series about the police detective Alan Banks so far numbers 18 titles. The Swedish translation starts only at book number 10 (A Dry Season).
  • Warrior Cats: The Lost Warrior manga trilogy, which involves events that don't happen until part way through the second series of books, was released in Germany before they finished translating the first series.
    • Although Secrets Of The Clans was the first book in the field guide spin-offs, it was released a few years after Code Of The Clans, the third book of the spin-offs, in Germany. There are no known plans for translating the other five field guides into German.
  • Neil Gaiman has referred to Stardust as Book 2 of a trilogy that hasn't happened yet. In a new afterword to that novel, he claimed that Book 1 is partially written (and has been since a few years before Stardust came out), and that he has a plot developed for Book 3.
  • Some popular series of children’s books were retroactively renumbered, leading to generational confusion about which book is “first”. The Chronicles of Narnia, for example, originally went by publication order: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair were followed by The Horse and His Boy (overlapping the events of LWW), The Magician’s Nephew and The Last Battle. Later the author renumbered the series based on dramatic date, in the order 6 1 5 2 3 4 7. Something similar has happened with the Redwall series, involving even more titles.
  • Happened with the Italian release of some of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid side books:
    • The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary: The Next Chapter was released before Double Down. As The Next Chapter is a behind the scenes for the fourth movie, it should have no issue... except that early in the book, as a brief explanation of how scripts and storyboards work, we see Greg's script for Night of the Night Crawlers 2, the sequel of the horror movie he and Rowley made in Double Down.
    • Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid, which makes a few references to the events that happened in The Meltdown, was released in Italy before The Meltdown.
  • The Italian release of Dog Man began before they even ended the release of the Captain Underpants books. As a result, George and Harold's introduction in the first Dog Man book spoils Yesterday George and Yesterday Harold's POV of the ending of Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-a-Lot to Italian readers.

    Live-Action TV 

  • Elton John's first album to be released in North America was his self-titled second album in 1970. He had released an album before that in Britain, Empty Sky, which was not released in the US until 1975.
  • Shazam by The Move was released before their self-titled debut album.
  • In 1999, Muse's debut album, Showbiz, was greeted with indifference by American audiences. Their next album, Origin of Symmetry (released in 2001 in the UK), did not receive an official release in the United States until 2005, the year after their third album, Absolution, found an audience in the States.
    • This is because their American record company asked Matt Bellamy to rerecord the vocals for Origin Of Symmetry, because they thought the falsetto would not sell, and also wanted to lump Muse in with the nu-metal bands of the time. Muse's refusal to do this led to the album not being released there.
  • Within Temptation's fourth studio album, The Heart of Everything, was the band's first album to be released in the United States in 2007. Their first album, Enter, and the EP The Dance followed a few months later. Their second and third albums (Mother Earth and The Silent Force) didn't see a stateside release until 2008.
  • The American leg of the Genesis The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway tour was scheduled to happen before the often difficult to follow Concept Album had even been released in the US, since guitarist Steve Hackett had injured his hand late in rehearsals, thus requiring the band to change the tour dates so he could heal. The band ended up playing the entirety of the album to audiences who hadn't heard it yet and certainly weren't expecting anything like that.
  • Nirvana's debut album Bleach only saw a wide international release after the massive success of follow-up Nevermind.
  • The Clash's first album wasn't released in the US because the record company over there thought it was too controversial. Their second album "Give Em Enough Rope" was their first released in the US, albeit with the cover text in a different font and the title of the last track changed. After the "I Fought The Law" from The Cost Of Living EP was a hit, the record company wanted to capitalise on its success so they put out a butchered version of The Clash's first album in the US including the track and several of their recent singles replacing some of the songs they had deemed controversial. This caused an odd situation where stuff recorded after their second album was included on a rerelease of their first.
  • Opium, KMFDM's 1984 debut album, was initially only released in Germany as a limited cassette run and didn't get an international release until 2002. Even then, the album had to be somewhat reconstructed as the master tapes were damaged due to poor storage conditions, forcing Konietzko to redo the drum tracks in particular; sometimes, however, the drum samples he originally used weren't available, so he had to replace them with similar-sounding ones.
  • The Beatles debut album, Please Please Me, was not released in its original form in the US until the CD release in 1987. Instead, the Vee-Jay Records version, retitled Introducing... The Beatles and minus two songs was released to much legal dispute, including a temporary injunction against any more production that meant Meet the Beatles was the first to see widespread success.
  • Ring Ring, ABBA's 1973 debut album (under their unwieldy original name, "Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Frida") wasn't released in the UK or US until the 1990s. Its title track appeared on UK releases of the next album, Waterloo, and several other songs appeared on their 1976 Greatest Hits compilation, but (unlike tracks taken from later albums) no mention was made of their original source.
    • The reason for this is that Greatest Hits was a rush release to capitalise on their popularity. It had the same tracklisting as the Swedish compilation of the same name (though a different cover). The main reason Waterloo was released in the UK in the first place was to capitalise on them winning the Eurovision Song Contest. Interestingly, they did enter the song Ring Ring for Eurovision in 1973, but never made it to the finals. If they had won, the album probably would have been released.
  • Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Their first US release was a unique album made up of 4 tracks from Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, 6 tracks from Organisation, and the single rerecording of "Messages." The title and artwork came from the debut album.


    Video Games 
  • The Barcode Battler II handheld was released internationally as Barcode Battler.
  • Bomberman GB was released in the USA and Europe as the dolled-up Intercontinuity Crossover Wario Blast: Featuring Bomberman! The USA/Europe Bomberman GB is the Japanese Bomberman GB 2.
  • The first Mickey Mouse game in the Crazy Castle series was released in the US as Mickey Mouse: Magic Wands! This is the fifth game in the Mickey Mouse series. The previous games were released in the US as The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle 1-2, Kid Klown in Night Mayor World, and The Real Ghostbusters. In Europe, Mickey Mouse II was released as Mickey Mouse, then goes to the fifth entry with Mickey Mouse V, released as Mickey Mouse V: Zauberstäbe! The game Bugs Bunny: Crazy Castle 3 was released in Europe with no game titled The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle 2.
  • EarthBound (MOTHER 2), the second in the Mother series, and the first (and originally, only) one to be released in the US. The original MOTHER was originally slated for a North American release under the title Earth Bound (two words), but was scrapped after being completed due to the company shifting focus to the Super NES. When the prototype surfaced years later and made playable by the fan community, the game was called EarthBound Zero to avoid confusion. When Nintendo would officially release the finished version themselves in 2015, it was entitled EarthBound Beginnings.
  • The EZ2DJ series did not receive any international releases until EZ2ON REBOOT : R in 2021, 22 years after the original EZ2DJ and 13 years after the first EZ2ON game. In fact, by the time of REBOOT : R, the arcade EZ2DJ/EZ2AC line was already retired.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VII was the first one to be released in PAL regions, and at that time only three of the first six (I, IV, and VI) had been released in the US and Canada.
      • Squaresoft tried to cover this by retitling the American versions of Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy VI into Final Fantasy II and Final Fantasy III respectively, but went back to the actual numbering with Final Fantasy VII. Naturally, this caused a lot of Americans unfamiliar with the Japanese version to wonder why the series jumped from III to VII.
    • On the subject of Final Fantasy, there's Chocobo's Dungeon 2, an iteration in the Mystery Dungeon series. The US got 2 first, but it wasn't re-numbered.
    • Final Fantasy V had a similar problem, as noted in the Anime and Manga category up above.
  • While the original Getsu Fūma Den remains exclusive to Japan to this day, its 2021 follow-up Getsu Fūma Den: Undying Moon did get an international release. Weirdly, despite being based on a Japan-only series, it was developed by a Western company.
  • Growlanser Generations is a compilation of second and third games in the Growlanser series, though a sort of summary of the first game's plot is included. Growlanser: Heritage of War, the next game released in the U.S. and the first to be released in Europe, is the fifth game and an entirely Non-Linear Sequel.
  • Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade is the seventh installment in the Fire Emblem series, but the first game officially released outside Japan, with it simply being titled Fire Emblem (no subtitle). Oddly enough, despite the franchise mostly consisting of Non Linear Sequels, Blazing Blade is actually a direct prequel to the previous GBA game, Binding Blade, which was never released internationally despite that game's protagonist, Roy, appearing in Super Smash Bros. Melee. This caused Western players to misinterpret its Foregone Conclusion ending as a Sequel Hook instead. As of 2021, only three of the preceding games would see international release by way of remake, though the original NES game would also get a surprise translation for the series' anniversary in addition to a prior remake.
  • Cosmic Fantasy 2 was the first and only game in the series released outside Japan until 2024, 32 years later.
  • Dragon Knight 3 was released in the US as Knights of Xentar.
  • Dragon Quest VIII was the first game in that series to be released in PAL territories as well, and they dropped the numbers to hide that fact.
    • The North American release of Dragon Quest VII was released nearly a decade after the last release of Dragon Quest IV. The two Super Famicom entries, Dragon Quest V and VI, wouldn't see release until long after that when they were remade for the Nintendo DS.
    • To add more confusion, the NES games were titled Dragon Warrior.
  • The Goonies was released on the Famicom in Japan and on Vs. System arcade machines in the US. The US did not receive the game on home consoles, though the NES Goonies II is a sequel to the first game and retains its sequel numbering.
  • The first Pokémon Stadium game released internationally was actually the second released in Japan. The first was skipped over entirely because it actually did not have the full roster of Pokémon at the time, only having the handful of Mons that were most used in the competitive scene.
  • Super Robot Wars, although that's for a very good reason (specifically, straightening up all the licensing rights for the games which aren't Original Generation would be a nightmare). The series started in 1991, but no one outside Asia would have any installment until Super Robot Wars: Original Generation for the Game Boy Advance, about a decade later. Any installment with licensed characters wouldn't see international release until Super Robot Wars 30, 30 years since the series started.
  • Europe never got Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere (not that anyone outside Japan has ever gotten the original game), so installments 04, 5, and Zero had the numbers dropped from the PAL release. 4 and 5 also had their subtitles changed into absolutely awful ones for no apparent reason.
  • The Front Mission series debuted internationally with its third game.
  • The only Glory of Heracles (DS) game released in the US is the sixth game in the series.
  • Advance Wars, released for the GBA in 2001, is part of the long-running Wars series that had until then been Japan-only. Ironically, the Japanese version of the game (Game Boy Wars Advance) was not released in Japan until 2004, when it was included in a two-in-one cartridge with its sequel. This was echoed when both titles were remade for the Nintendo Switch seventeen years later.
  • PAL countries got We ♥ Katamari when it first came out, but didn't get the original Katamari Damacy until its remastered edition, Reroll, came out in 2018.
  • Similarly, Europe only got Xenosaga Episode II with an extra DVD containing the cut-scenes of the first game.
  • In Europe, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney came out before Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations.
  • The first Sonic Drift game was Japan-only until long after the demise of the Game Gear. The sequel was released internationally, and was still called Sonic Drift 2 in its U.S. release. It was however renamed in Europe and released as Sonic Drift Racing... but only on the box, the title screen in the actual game still reads "Sonic Drift 2" just to add to the confusion.
    • Though not necessarily a true example, it is worth noting that Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, a remake of Sonic Adventure 2, came out before Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut, a remake of Sonic Adventure.
  • Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals was released in Germany as simply Lufia because the original never made it to Europe. The name "Lufia" is mentioned only in the secret epilogue which appears after playing though the game for a second time. The solution for this problem? Renaming the Dual Blade "Lufiasword". Then they kept this up in the sequel, leading to a Dub-Induced Plot Hole.
  • Star Ocean: The Second Story was the first game in the series to be released outside Japan.
  • Tales of Destiny was the first game in the Tales Series to be released outside Japan.
  • Again in the PAL territories, Digimon World 3 was renamed Digimon World 2003 because Bandai skipped Digimon World 2. Strangely enough, despite Japan dropping the number after 3, the PAL release of the next game was given the American title, Digimon World 4.
  • North America is the last of the three major regions to get Gradius II in some form, having been officially introduced to it 2006, 18 years after its initial Japanese release and long after the North American releases of III, IV, and V.
    • Before that, Konami of America did promote the Gradius spinoff Life Force (aka Salamander) as a sequel to the original Gradius, causing players who didn't know any better to assume that Life Force was an unaccounted sequel.
  • beatmania IIDX 27 HEROIC VERSE has been the first American arcade release of beatmania IIDX out of what was then 28 Asia-exclusive arcade installments of the series. note  Justified in that each installment builds off its predecessors in terms of features and song list, so there's very little reason to start with an older release.
    • Though its predecessor series beatmania was given 3 limited arcade releases in the US under the new title "Hiphopmania".
  • Disgaea was released in North America before its predecessor La Pucelle.
  • Atelier Iris was the first of the Atelier Series to be released outside of Japan; most of its predecessors still haven't been.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne was released in North America despite the fact that the previous two games had never been released. The first game got released in 2014 for iOS, but Western fans still haven't gotten the second game yet, though.
    • The same applied for the first two Devil Summoner games when the third, Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army was released in the West.note 
    • Persona 2 is a particularly awful offender, as the game came in two parts, the first of which was never released in North America in its original form. Oddly enough, they decided to release part two in NA, despite the fact that it was a somewhat direct sequel.
    • The West finally got the first part in the form of the Updated Re-release, twelve years later. The teaser email for the game lampshaded this, parodying the internet of 1999 and making every reference to that era imaginable short of referring to those two big buildings in New York.
    • The first SMT game to even get a US release was a Gaiden Game on a very unpopular console — that being Jack Bros. on the Virtual Boy.
  • The first Thunder Force game to be released outside of Japan was Thunder Force II (more specifically, its Sega Genesis port). The first Thunder Force was released only for various Japanese microcomputers and is rather obscure even in Japan.
  • Three games in the Custom Robo series were released in Japan without coming out anywhere else. You know what they called the GCN game Custom Robo: Battle Revolution? We just call it Custom Robo.
  • WarioWare: Touched! came out before WarioWare: Twisted! in America and Australia. This is a problem in itself, since the latter game obviously serves as 18-Volt's real introduction in the series (which is part of the reason why he says "Word!" a lot (except in the game's manual). Also, Twisted unlocks a secret video in Touched when Touched is played with Twisted in the GBA slot, thus meaning that the WarioWare game that came out three months AFTER Touched unlocked a video in Touched. Lastly, Twisted was skipped entirely in Europe, meaning 18-Volt had no introduction and Touched's bonus video cannot be unlocked.
  • The fifth (and final) game in the Densetsu no Starfy series, Densetsu no Starfy Taiketsu! Daiiru Kaizokudan, was the first to be released outside of Japan as The Legendary Starfy.
  • The Game Boy Advance rhythm game Rhythm Tengoku was never released outside of Japan due to releasing late in the system's life: it came out in 2006, two years after the release of the Nintendo DS. However, the Nintendo DS sequel, Rhythm Tengoku Gold, was released in North America as Rhythm Heaven, and in Europe as Rhythm Paradise. Some minigames from the original Rhythm Tengoku were later remade for Rhythm Heaven Fever and Rhythm Heaven Megamix, marking their first appearances outside of Japan.
  • The original Metal Gear was only released in North America after a reworked port of the game was made for the NES, but Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake remained MSX2-exclusive for many years and never got officially released in the west as a result. To make matters more confusing, the NES version of Metal Gear did get a separate sequel titled Snake's Revenge, which was developed before the Kojima-directed Metal Gear 2 and was only released in the west. As a result, when Konami revived the series with Metal Gear Solid, it included plot summaries of the two MSX2 games within the game itself.
  • The first Ganbare Goemon game released outside Japan was Legend of the Mystical Ninja for the Super NES (the series had previous installments for the Famicom), in which for some reason Goemon and Ebisumaru were renamed "Kid Ying" and "Dr. Yang". The two Nintendo 64 games that were later localized kept the characters' original names.
  • Stinger, aka Moero!! Twinbee, was the second Twinbee game for the Famicom and the only one released for the NES in North America. Pop'n Twinbee was later released in the PAL region for the Super NES along with the side-scrolling platformer spinoff Rainbow Bell Adventure. The second arcade game, Detana!! Twinbee, also saw an overseas release as Bells & Whistles, while the PC Engine port eventually got an overseas release via the Wii Virtual Console (albeit, untranslated). The original Twinbee arcade game was eventually released in the US on Konami's Arcade Hits compilation for the Nintendo DS under the name of Rainbow Bell.
  • The Sakura Wars series finally saw the light of day in the US when NIS America localized the fifth game five years after it was originally released in Japan. Strangely, this was also seven years after the Japanese release of a PlayStation 2 remake of the first game that was intended to be the first Western release of the series, but never got exported.
  • The Genesis and PC Engine version of the original Valis weren't produced until after Valis IV was released in Japan (and Valis III in the US). Only the Genesis version made it to the states.
  • Zanac for the NES was a remake/sequel of a MSX game, though that was in fact released in Europe.
  • Tombs & Treasure, an NES adventure game, was a port of a PC-88 game called Taiyou no Shinden Asteka II. As the name indicates, this was a sequel to a game called Asteka (a command line-driven text adventure with some graphics), which was never translated into English.
  • Clock Tower on the PlayStation was actually Clock Tower II in Japan. The original Super Famicom game was never localized, not even after it was ported to the PlayStation as Clock Tower: The First Fear.
  • The iPhone port of Espgaluda II was released in North America in 2010, seven years after the still-Japan-only Espgaluda.
  • As an example of this happening in Japan, the console versions of the medieval-themed FPS, Hexen, a sequel to Heretic, were released there, though they never got Heretic itself.
  • Mega Man 6 was never released in Europe, but 7 and 8 were and both used their original titles.
  • Monster Rancher DS was released in Japan in 2007, and a sequel was released in 2008. Monster Rancher DS 2 was released in the US in 2010, under the title Monster Rancher DS.
  • Irem had two Major Title games, the first of which wasn't released in America. The sequel was released under the title "The Irem Skins Game".
  • Axis: Bold as Love from The Jimi Hendrix Experience hit the Rock Band platform a few months before (a modified edition of) Are You Experienced, which was released first originally. The platform in general has had this plenty of times; a hit song is released, and then an earlier hit from the same band sees its way on the platform later.
  • Outside Japan and North America, the Mario RPG spinoffs came out of nowhere and started with Paper Mario, which of course made the call backs confusing. As a result, in those regions Paper Mario is often used to describe the series. The original 1996 Super Mario RPG did, with a little bit of bowdlerising, eventually make it to PAL regions... in 2008. Three generations and three sequels later.
  • What North America got as simply Culdcept in 2003 was the PS2 port/expansion to Culdcept Second in Japan, and it was released in America by NEC of all companies.note  The original Culdcept for the Sega Saturn came out in Japan in 1997.
  • For some reason, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project was never released for the NES in PAL territories. That didn't prevent the Super NES port of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time from being called Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles IV in Europe.
  • Inverted with the Wonder Boy series. Monster World II (aka Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap) was originally made for the Sega Master System. But because the Master System was unpopular in Japan and was already discontinued by the time the game finished development, it ended up being released only in North America and Europe, where the console still had some life left. When Westone developed Monster World III for the Mega Drive, they decided to release it a Game Gear port of Monster World II shortly afterward.
  • Penguin Land for the Sega Master System was actually a sequel to the original Doki Doki Penguin Land, which was never released outside Japan.
  • The first Parodius game released in Europe was Parodius: Non-Sense Fantasy (a.k.a. Parodius Da!), which is actually the second game in the series. Many of Konami's MSX games had European releases, but not the original Parodius.
  • Exile was originally released in Japan for the PC-88, PC-98 and MSX2 under the title XZR II; the original XZR, to which it was a direct sequel, wasn't localized (and had no console port). However, the versions of Exile that were localized, for the Sega Genesis and Turbo Duo were titled without number even in Japan, and the following game for the Turbo Duo, Exile: Wicked Phenomenon, was Exile II in Japan.
  • Samurai Ghost for the TurboGrafx-16 was a localization of the sequel to the Namco game Genpei Tōma Den. The arcade original wasn't released outside Japan until it appeared on Namco Museum Vol. 4, where it was titled The Genji and Heike Clans.
  • Arcus Odyssey for the Sega Genesis was a Gaiden Game in the otherwise Japan-exclusive Arcus RPG series by Wolf Team.
  • The Fist of the North Star video game for the NES was actually a localization of the Famicom's Hokuto no Ken 2.
  • The game released internationally by Maxis under the title A-Train was actually the third game of the long-running series. The original game was Japan-exclusive, but the second game had previously been released in the US as Railroad Empire.
  • The first Fire Pro Wrestling game released outside Japan was Fire Pro Wrestling A for the Game Boy Advance; naturally, the letter A was dropped from the title.
  • Super Castlevania IV was released in Europe about a month prior to Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, as NES games were delayed for ludicrous amounts of time in Europe as a rule.
  • In Japan, there were three King's Field games for the original PlayStation instead of two. The original King's Field was released just after the system's Japanese launch, and was not released internationally. Thus, the English version of King's Field II dropped the number, while King's Field III was renumbered King's Field II.
  • Final Zone II for the TurboGrafx-CD was a sequel to a game released only on Japanese 8-bit computers. The Sega Genesis game released in the U.S. as Final Zone is a Gaiden Game to the former two, and involves piloting a Humongous Mecha rather than on-foot run 'n gun action.
  • Time Cruise for the TurboGrafx-16 was titled Time Cruise II in Japan, even though the game it was supposed to be a sequel to was never released.
  • Kaizou Choujin Shubibinman 2 was the only game in the series to be released outside Japan, under the title Shockman.
  • The Game Boy game X was released only in Japan, with a canceled international version going by the title Lunar Chase. Its DSiWare sequel was released worldwide as X-Scape (US) or 3D Space Tank (EU).
  • Senran Kagura Burst, the second game in the series is the first game to be localized for North America. Justified since it has the content from the first game as well.
  • More like Spiritual Sequel first, but Project × Zone got localized, while Namco × Capcom didn't.
  • In The Pinball Arcade, The Machine: Bride of Pin*Bot got released in Table Pack 1. Pin*Bot, the game it was a sequel to, didn't get released until Table Pack 14.
  • The third Umihara Kawase game was released under the title Yumi's Odd Odyssey. (Natsume previously canceled a localization of the PSP port of the second game under the same title.)
  • Fortune Street for the Wii was the first game in the long-running Fortune Street series to be released outside of Japan.
  • Averted with Puzzle & Dragons Z, which was bundled with Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition for its international May 2015 release, despite being released in Japan on December 2013 (more than a year older than SMB Edition, which saw release in Japan in April 2015).
  • The second Project Mirai game was released in America and Europe under the name Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX. There's still no word on the first game. (However, considering the second game has all songs and pretty much all other content from the first game, the first one might not be missed too much at this point.)
  • Shantae: Shantae and the Pirate's Curse is the first game in the series to see an official release in Japan, skipping both the original Game Boy Color game and Risky's Revenge. Being an International Co Production probably helped. Europeans didn't get the Game Boy Color game either. (A likely reason for this is that WayForward was a smaller company at the time and couldn't afford to translate the game into other languages, Shantae being rather dialogue-heavy for a platformer.)
  • 7th Dragon III Code: VFD is the first and so far only installment in the series that Sega opted to localize. This unfortunately means that Western fans are ruined on one of the series' bigger surprises, namely that the original 7th Dragon is actually part of the same continuity as its successors, which are set in future Tokyo.
  • Sega 3D Classics Collection, a Compilation Re-release of the Nintendo 3DS remakes of a selection of Sega's games, was actually the second compilation to be released — the first one, consisting of Ecco the Dolphin, Fantasy Zone: Opa-Opa Brothers, OutRun (both the original arcade version and the 3D Master System edition), Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master, Space Harrier (both the original arcade version and the 3D Master System edition), and Streets of Rage — was only released in Japan. All of the aforementioned games are available to download individually on the Nintendo eShop in all regions, except for the aforementioned Master System editions of Out Run and Space Harrier, as they're exclusive to the compilation.
  • The original Splatoon wasn't released in South Korea because the Wii U wasn't, meaning the franchise would instead debut with the second game on Nintendo Switch two years later.
  • Namco did not give Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 4 to North American players, but eventually gave them Maximum Tune 5. Similarly, China skipped Maximum Tune 5 to go from MT 4 to MT 5DX.
  • Monster Hunter: World was released after Monster Hunter Generations Unite in Japan (January 2018 for World in all major regions, July 2017 for GU in Japan), but it's the other way around in the West (August 2018 for GU in North America and PAL territories).
  • Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon, the video game sequel to Treasure Planet, was released on the 31st of October, 2002, nearly a month before the film it is a sequel to was released (27th of November, 2002).
  • The first Dokapon Kingdom game the West got was a dungeon-crawler spin-off. It did not get a proper main series game until the semi-Recycled Title Wii/PS2 release, itself an Enhanced Remake of the second game in the series. Later, the West got Dokapon Journey, an Enhanced Remake of the first game in the series. Both these enhanced remakes came out the same day in Japan.
  • Akiba's Trip: Undead and Undressed was the second cardinal game in the Akiba's Trip franchise, but the first installment to cross over westward in most territories. Its predecessor game was released 7 years later, albeit after the third game and anime were released in proper order.
  • Due to the popularity of Ekoro's appearance in Mighty Gunvolt, the Gal*Gun games from Double Peace on were brought westward. The first game wouldn't be translated until its remaster was announced for English territories in 2021.
  • Puyo Puyo and its parent series, Madou Monogatari:
    • Madou Monogatari 2 was actually the first game in either series to be released anywhere. A beta version was included in the Christmas '89 edition of Discstation.
    • The first Puyo game to be released internationally was the 1992 arcade game, skipping the original MSX and Famicom Disk System version.
  • Gundam: The Battle Master never saw a release in America until The Battle Master 2, which was remade into Battle Assault in order to include the anime cast rather than keep the Original Generation due to the western success of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing. The Wing Gundam was haphazardly inserted in the roster as a reskin of the already existing (and playable) Zeta Gundam as a result.
  • Lilo & Stitch 2: Hämsterviel Havoc, the tie-in game to Lilo & Stitch: The Series released for the Game Boy Advance, was released in Japan (as simply Lilo and Stitch; no number, subtitle, or even the ampersand) without the first Lilo & Stitch game for the same platform having been released there at all, which is odd considering that the franchise is very popular over there.
  • Super Real Darwin was released worldwide first due to the predecessor, Darwin 4078, not being released outside of Japan.
  • The games developed by Ninetail, originally for Japanese audiences, have released their remasters in this fashion.
    • Venus Blood -Frontier- is the sixth game in the Venus Blood series, but the first to get a remastered International edition. It was followed by the eighth installment, Venus Blood -Hollow-, and then the seventh, Venus Blood -Gaia-, with its remaster also adding some mechanics introduced in Hollow.
    • Gears Of Dragoon 2 was the first in its series to be remade and released internationally, dropping the number and adding a subtitle to become Gears of Dragoon: Fragments of a New Era.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Nasuverse with Witch on the Holy Night. It was the first entry to be written, then followed by its sequels (if indirect; the only major connection is how they follow up on the Aozaki sisters) The Garden of Sinners and Tsukihime. However, Witch on the Holy Night had trouble finding a publisher, leaving it in Development Hell until 2012, around twenty years after it was written and its sequels were published. Incidently, it would be the first visual novel from the Nasuverse to be officially localized and released outside Japan.

  • The original Yokoka's Quest comic was written to completion but never published. A sequel named Enter The Combat Zone (usually shortened to ETCZ) was published from 2009-2013 in Kyowa Quebec, a French language manga-inspired anthology local to the Montreal area; this anthology concluded publication while ETCZ was still in its prologue. The full English language prologue later had a small print run and could be read online, until it was removed in 2019 for containing spoilers to Yokoka's Quest. As the current run of Yokoka's Quest is a rewrite, some of the lore and events of ETCZ no longer fit its established canon.

    Western Animation 
  • In Germany, only the first two seasons of Justice League Unlimited were aired. The preceding two seasons that ran under the simple title Justice League were never shown, and neither was the third season of JLU. The reason for this apparently was that Justice League is technically a different show than its successor Unlimited, and the German network was only offered the rights to the latter.
  • The same German channel also aired X-Men: Evolution but only seasons two and four, which of course leaves several plot points unclear.
  • In a strange example, the first movie of the latest Care Bears reboot (Share Bear Shines) has only been released in Australia, with only the movies that come after it (To The Rescue, The Giving Festival) airing in the US, despite the fact that a character introduced in the first movie also shows up in the third.
  • There are two 1970s Peanuts storylines involving Linus and a girl named Truffles. The second storyline, where Linus and Truffles are reunited, was animated as part of A Charlie Brown Celebration in 1981. The first storyline, where Linus and Truffles meet for the first time, was animated two years later in an episode of The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show. Truffles was colorized differently in the Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show episode than in A Charlie Brown Celebration, with light brown/dirty blonde hair in the latter but dark brown hair in the former, so they were evidently not trying for any continuity between her two animated appearances.
  • The Brave Little Toaster's sequel Goes to Mars was released before To the Rescue, despite the former clearly taking place after the latter. Advertisements even referred to To the Rescue as the "final" installment in the story.
  • Noddy's Toyland Adventures was the first Noddy series released in most of the world, as prior adaptations (save for the 70's version airing in Australia and Canada) were United Kingdom-exclusive.
  • A complicated example. Star Wars: The Clone Wars was cancelled, though had clear plans for how the rest of the show would have gone. The franchise would follow up with various sequels (mainly Star Wars Rebels and The Mandalorian) to what was planned for The Clone Wars, only for the show to be uncanceled after the conclusion of Rebels. To reflect the addition of new content, The Clone Wars revival contains aspects from its various sequels as a "prequel" to them, such as a cameo appearance from Rebels character Caleb Dume/Kanan Jarrus.
  • In an unusual move where this was done to avoid spoilers, the PAW Patrol movie Ready, Race, Rescue was released in Japan before the first movie, PAW Patrol: Mighty Pups, due to the latter film featuring the least amount of characters who hadn't been introduced yet in the Japanese dub. Mighty Pups featured cameos of every character that appeared as of the show's 5th season.
  • Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood was the first piece of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood-related media to officially be released in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.