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"Who the fuck is Marth, and why is unlocking him considered a reward?"
Yahtzee, Zero Punctuation

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 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. This happens to Japanese products fairly often as companies, especially fan-oriented ones, like to have cameos and such as a nod to their fans. Note that the "source" products for the characters may eventually come out in other countries, but the fact remains that they debuted in other markets in other, often decidedly odd ways. It's also worth noting that if this happens multiple times to a single franchise, it can agitate the fans, who may begin to (understandably) wonder why Product A doesn't just come out in the first place instead of appearing minorly in Products B, C, D, and so on. Of course, if Product A comes out because of its appearances in Products B, C, etc..., that's one explanation right there.

Sometimes an example of Tropes Are Not Bad, since this can drum up interest in the game or series in question, causing it to be localized. The Trope Namer is one of these positive examples.

See also Sequel First, Adaptation First. May lead to Remade for the Export.

Examples (sorted by the original source material):

Anime & Manga

  • The cast of Kanon, a game by Key/Visual Art's and animated by Kyoto Animation, made their Western debut in a cameo in KyoAni's AIR anime adaptation when ADV Films brought it over. Granted, all the roles were cast with an eye toward bringing Kanon over, but that was if AIR sold well enough. It did, so the KyoAni Kanon was pretty swift in making the jump... but Kanon had previously been produced by Toei Animation, half a decade prior, with no export.
  • This occurred to Mazinger Z in large parts of Europe and the Middle East; UFO Robo Grendizer was translated and shown in countries such as Italy and France first, and when Mazinger finally aired in response to the surprise popularity of Grendizer, it was seen as a cheap knockoff of Grendizer, especially since Kouji Kabuto, the hero of Mazinger, appears in Grendizer in a supporting role (despite the series sort-of-not-really being a direct sequel.) This was exacerbated even further because Kouji's name was somewhat unnecessarily changed between the two shows, making people think that "Kouji Kabuto" was a bad knockoff of Duke Fleed's buddy "Alcor".
    • Technically Grendizer beat Mazinger to American airwaves as well, but due to name changes and the like the phenomenon went unnoticed.
      • In fact, Mazinger Z didn't make it to America until the 80s (under the title Tranzor Z), and when it did, it got dismissed as a "Voltron ripoff" (despite being the Trope Codifier).
  • This was even worse, and weirder, for Raideen, Danguard, and Combattler V. They were part of the "Shogun Warriors" toy set Mattel introduced into the States in the late 70s - which also included bizzaro versions of Mazinger and the various Getters, so if you really want to stretch the trope you could say that a lot of robots "debuted" as oddly huge toys - but the cartoons weren't licensed for American release. Oh no, that would be logical. Instead, the likenesses of the Raideen, Danguard and Combattler robots were licensed to, of all people, Marvel Comics for the creation of a Shogun Warriors American print comic. That eventually featured, among other things, Combattler fighting alongside the Fantastic Four against the gigantic robot minion of, basically, the Star of David. Really, you couldn't make up something like this if you tried. Raideen and Combattler's shows never made it to America (well, Raideen aired in three cities on local Japanese language commmunity channels, but the majority of the Union and 99% of the public never got to see the show); Danguard eventually made it to American TV with the franchise name intact as part of the syndicated Force Five cartoon package (alongside Grendizer from above), after the toys and comic went out of production.
  • Kinnikuman - While neither, the original manga nor anime were licensed for the US, toy company Mattel did sell a toyline of Kinnikuman figures under the name of M.U.S.C.L.E. When the sequel series, Kinnikuman Nisei, was later adapted to the US, the title was changed to Ultimate Muscle in order to tie the series with Mattel's figures.
  • The only American appearance of Mashin Eiyuuden Wataru (1988) is the US game "Keith Courage in the Alpha Zones". The anime has yet to appear as of 2009.
  • Dragon Ball's aborted first syndication run (which cuts off at the end of the Emperor Pilaf arc), meant that every one of Goku's fellow Z-Warriors (with the exception of Yamcha) were introduced to American viewers when Dragonball Z debuted.
    • Who here was familiar with Doctor Slump before Goku and General Blue visited Penguin Village?
      • In Spain, Doctor Slump was popular too.
      • An interesting case happened in Malaysia. The Penguin Village episode aired in Malaysia around 1997-1998 if my memory serves me correctly, Dr Slump later aired 4-5 years after the episode aired.
    • Fusion Reborn was released in North America in March 2006. Before that, the video game Budokai 3 had Gogeta as a playable character in 2004, and 2005's Budokai Tenkaichi had Gogeta and the movie's antagonist, Janemba. Gogeta was also in the game Ultimate Battle 22, but they tried to cover it up by calling him Vegito (another fusion). Budokai 3 also came out a few months before Dragon Ball GT ended, so it additionally spoiled Omega Shenron and Super Saiyan 4 Vegeta. The aforementioned Gogeta is also playable in his Super Saiyan 4 state from the end of GT, making him a double spoiler.
    • Raging Blast 2 averts this with Hatchiyack, since the game comes with a remake of the anime special he debuted in. However, it's played straight with Tarble, from the yet-to-be-dubbed Son Goku and his Friends Return.
  • Since Gundam Wing debuted before the original, Mobile Suit Gundam on Toonami, American viewers met the Char Clone Zechs Marquise before the original villain. This got so bad that in the early 2000s, the single best way to identify a "new fan" was whether or not they mis-identified a Char cosplayer as Zechs. This happened a lot.
  • 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 America the movie was delayed just long enough for the first game to be released first.)
  • FUNimation licensed the first season of To Aru Majutsu no Index and Toaru Kagaku no Railgun, and Seven Seas Entertainment is releasing Index's sidestory manga (now known as A Certain Scientific Railgun), but the real kicker is SSE commenting that the Index novels are unlikely to be brought over due to its sheer number of volumes.
  • Bleach's fourth movie introduced a character named Kokuto who would later go on to appear in the videogame Bleach: Soul Ignition. Nothing wrong here; the movie wouldn't be dubbed for a good few years and the game would probably never see the light of day outside of Japan (As is, sadly, the case with most Bleach videogames). Then, however comes the news that N.I.S America are releasing the game in the West under the slightly modified title; Bleach Soul Resurrección. And apart from the name and the opening theme song which had to be changed due to licensing issues, everything was left intact, including Kokuto, even going as far as to giving him an English voice. Given that his backstory was not given in the game and at this point, there wasn't even a Fan Sub of the movie available yet, a standard reaction to unlocking him is "Who the Hell is Kokuto?"
  • The entire cast of Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune, an arcade game released worldwide, comes from the manga and anime series Wangan Midnight. Despite the former first being serialized in 1992, neither the manga nor the anime have seen an official release outside of Japan.
  • A number of Mobile Suits from various Gundam series made their American debut in video games long before their series reached the US (ZZ, V and Turn-A still haven't, although Turn-A has recently been announced for an American release.)
  • Many playing Pokémon Pinball outside of Japan when it first came out probably didn't realize that the tune that plays during the "capture" mode is "Mezase Pokémon Masutaa", the original opening to the Pokémon anime.
    • Same deal with the Mega Man Battle Network side game Network Transmission. If you happen to have seen the anime in Japanese, you'll get the intended thrill when, at a key moment, the game busts out an instrumental version of "Kaze wo Tsukinukete" (the show's first opening theme).
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure was first introduced to the west through the Capcom-made arcade fighter for the Play Station and Sega Dreamcast. The manga it was based on wouldn't be licensed for almost another decade, and even then, only Part 3 (the one the game was based on) was released.
    • However, this series is pretty much a global case of "Third Installment Wins". Just take a look at the series page.


  • 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.

Live Action TV

Video Games

Action Adventure

  • One of the alternate character skins becomes this in the Japanese version of 2008's Prince of Persia game. After beating the game, you unlock an alternate skin for the Prince's sidekick, Elika, which makes her look like Jade from Beyond Good and Evil. But that game was never released in Japan. (The other cameo skins--Altaiir for the Prince, and characters from the previous Prince of Persia trilogy on the previous generation of systems--do feature games released in Japan.)

Action Game

  • Non-Smash Bros. Nintendo example. Samurai Warriors 3 will be featuring the likes of none other than Takamaru from the Famicom Disk System game Nazo no Murasamejou (Mysterious Castle of Murasame), who is appearing as a Guest Fighter. If a sticker and a song count as a debut, he technically debuted in Smash Bros. too. Even earlier, a Nazo no Murasamejou disk made a cameo appearance in Pikmin 2.

Adventure Game

  • This trope could've easily been called "Meryl Silverburgh debuted in Metal Gear Solid", originally a character from Hideo Kojima's previous Adventure Game Policenauts, which was officially slated for an American release at one point, but apparently canceled when Konami couldn't properly lip-sync the English dialogue with the game's FMV cut-scenes. The bottom line of this is that the Shout-Out in the scene where Snake tells her his real name is lost (it's the same name as her best friend in Policenauts, who is otherwise the complete opposite of Snake).
    • To a lesser extent, many of the tropes that Metal Gear Solid are credited for creating were actually featured in some form or another in the original MSX2 games, especially in Metal Gear 2. Remember the part where you have to look at the back of the game's packaging to obtain Meryl's frequency? Or where you had to follow her to the women's bathroom? Or where Snake's mysterious informant tells him to watch out for mines? Metal Gear 2 did all of that first.

Fighting Game

  • Alfred, the main character in Garou Densetsu: Dominated Mind, made an earlier appearance as a hidden end-boss in Real Bout Fatal Fury 2. Since Dominated Mind was never released outside Japan, most overseas players know him simply for being the final boss in Real Bout 2 and assume that he was a character made up for that game.
  • Guilty Gear XX Accent Core featured an alternate version of Sol Badguy called Order Sol. Except his first appearence in the series as a playable character (Outside of cameos in gallery art) was Guilty Gear XX Slash, which was Japan-only. A.B.A, however, averts this as she first appeared in Isuka, which did get an overseas release.

Maze Game

  • Devil World is the only game by Shigeru Miyamoto that has been released in Europe but not in North America. Despite that fact, Tamagon has made cameos in three games available worldwide - Tetris DS, Super Smash Bros. Brawl and the DSiWare game Art Style: PiCOPiCT (known as PiCTOBiTS in North America). Super Smash Bros. Brawl also had the Devil as an assist trophy; Tamagon was a trophy in Melee but was removed from the international release (along with a few others).
  • Kuru Kuru Kururin is a Nintendo series that focuses on a duck-like character who must pilot a spinning stick-shaped vehicle through mazes. Because the series never made it stateside, Kururin's vehicle appearing as an assist trophy in Brawl led to a lot of confusion from American gamers.

Mecha Game

  • In SSBM, there were several trophies that came from Custom Robo. The series eventually made it to North America in 2004 and PAL regions in 2007.
  • The Robot Wars game Arenas of Destruction featured Terrohurtz amongst its robots. The game was based on the 4th season, and Terrohurtz would not appear until the 5th (which didn't start until after the game was released).
  • Technically, Super Robot Wars Original Generation did this to all the cast members who appeared in the "main" games of the Super Robot Wars series, to say nothing of Elzam, who DID debut in Original Generation before appearing in Alpha 2.
  • The first robots from Warrior Mech Gauss shown to international audiences were trophies in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.


  • Though previously released for the Nintendo 64 in Japan, Melee's trophy list included characters from Doshin the Giant (Doshin and Jashin), Cubivore (Alpha), and Animal Crossing (Tom Nook, Mr. Resetti and K.K. Slider/Totakeke), all of which had the words "Future release" in their descriptions in the Western releases of Melee. While Animal Crossing gained worldwide availability (eventually, after two years of waiting in Europe), Cubivore was released in America only, while Doshin the Giant only came out in the PAL reigons. No Export for You, indeed.
    • Yet another Smash example, though it's so strange and unexpected that it's almost funny. In 2006, a little game for the Nintendo DS came out in Japan called Shaberu! DS Cooking Navi. As the title implies, the game can be used to look up recipes of various types of dishes. The catch? The "Shaberu!" in the title translates to "It Talks!", meaning that the game features a character known as the DS Chef, who actually reads out the instructions on how to prepare and cook the food to you, and you can use the DS's Microphone for vocal commands as an alternative to using the touch screen. Then all is quiet until 2008, when all of the world received a big game called Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Among the recognizable music that the game offered to many gamers worldwide, one song hailed from Shaberu! DS Cooking Navi. While it is recognizable to Japanese players familiar with the game, everyone overseas is left in the dark, having never heard such a tune before. In the following months after Brawl's release, a sequel to Shaberu! DS Cooking Navi, Sekai no Gohan Shaberu! DS Cooking Navi was released... and it came to America as Personal Trainer: Cooking (and Cooking Guide: Can't Decide What to Eat? in PAL territories). While the song made for Brawl was only made for the Japanese version in mind, the localized versions of the Personal Trainer: Cooking come in the five other languages that Nintendo generally supports: English, French, Italian, German and Spanish. The bottom line? A talking cookbook for the DS debuted in Smash Bros!
  • In 3D Dot Game Heroes, the loading screens are parodies of the artwork to various classic games in the "3D pixel" style of DGH. However, many of the games were never released outside of Japan are currently being having their remade forms released. It's surprisingly hard to be nostalgic for something that isn't due out until later this year. Compounding the problem is that these are (with a few exceptions) parodies of the Japanese artwork which is many cases is completely different from the artwork in other territories. Sure, you got Tetris, but not with the box art being parodied.
  • Though Konami has refused to release Tokimeki Memorial in Western countries, a few references to the series in other Konami games released internationally got through, such as Yae's "Kirameki Uniform" (aka the Summer version of the iconic Sailor Fuku of the first Tokimemo game) in Goemon's Great Adventure, or the Kaori Yae (the Ensemble Darkhorse of Tokimeki Memorial 2) Dog Tag in Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of Liberty.

Platform Game

  • Starfy, the star of The Legendary Starfy series:
    • He was an Assist Trophy in Brawl.
    • Starfy also got a cameo in Super Princess Peach. And even before then, on a poster in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga.
    • He finally made his first American appearance in 2009, with the DS game (which was actually the fifth game in the series).
  • Fans of Sonic the Hedgehog often insist that certain details about the characters, such as Tails' Gadgeteer Genius skills and Eggman's goofiness 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.
  • Thanks to the magic of Vaporware, Conker the Squirrel made his debut in Diddy Kong Racing in '97. The game he was supposed to star in, Conker's Quest, was in Development Hell, and wouldn't come out for three years, during which time it took an adult swerve and was renamed Conkers Bad Fur Day. In the meantime, Conker's Pocket Tales was released for the Game Boy Color.
    • Don't forget that Banjo, star of the later title Banjo-Kazooie, also debuted in Diddy Kong Racing. Tiptup appeared in BK too.
    • Timber was also supposed to have his own game after DKR, with Bumper and Pipsy as his sidekicks.
  • Shaft was cut from the only port of Castlevania Rondo of Blood that America or Europe got prior to 2007. This led to him mind-controlling Richter in Symphony of the Night with pretty much no introduction.

Puzzle Game

Rhythm Game

  • Barbara the Bat is quite an odd case. While her first game, Daigasso! Band Brothers, debuted in Japan, she only made her first appearance overseas in Master of Illusion, which is a completely different game. Later, she was brought back as an unlockable Assist Trophy in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, with a Call Back to Band Brothers to boot. To add insult to injury, there were scrapped plans to bring Band Brothers overseas under the title Jam with the Band.Band Brothers DX wasn't released in Europe until May 2010.

Role Playing Game

  • A rather notorious example in SSB is Lucas in Brawl. Fans have been hollering for a Mother 3 release ever since it came out in Japan and Nintendo pointedly ignored them... and then Lucas was put into Brawl, and some of his Subspace Emissary missions were spoilers for M3. This remains a sore spot with a lot of Nintendo fans.
    • Before him, Ness from Earthbound has been in all three Smash Bros. games despite his own game never being released in Europe.
    • On a side note, Nintendo did release "Mother 3" outside of Japan... the soundtrack of the game, on iTunes. Only to pull it off of the iTunes store after a while.
  • Some of the cast of the first and second Atelier games finally appeared in America... in the Gust game Ar tonelico, 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.
    • This has gotten even more ridiculous and more Marth-like with the game X Edge (pronounced "Cross Edge"), which has been 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.
      • And now, with Trinity Universe, it's happening again, with Violet Platane of Atelier ViorateViolet making her American debut in that game. Potentially rabid gamers wielding carrots have, in fact, been spotted outside the NISA offices.
    • Speaking of X Edge, 4 characters from it, Lily, Whim, Raze, and Rewrich are from Mana Khemia 2, a game that was planned to be brought over by NISA..... months after X Edge in spite of MK2 far preceding it in Japan in both system and release dates.
    • Relatedly, the Atelier series first came to the US via the Iris subseries, which was an attempt to use some of the Atelier concepts in a more standard RPG — namely, one with a male lead and a Defeat The Big Bad main plot. The fact that these were the ones that finally managed to get companies interested in a US release is irksome to some fans, as well.
    • In a franchise sense, the newest Atelier games are now coming over, Rorona and Annie respectively... which means that this trope has happened again. Liese Randel in Atelier Annie shows up in the second year of gameplay to help out our heroine and seemingly has a bit of history... history which is covered in her own game, Atelier Liese, which didn't make it out of Japan[1] meaning English gamers only know her from Annie.
  • Cless Albane and Arche Klein, of Tales of Phantasia fame, made their Western debut in 1998... in a cameo in Tales of Destiny. And then they appeared in Tales of Eternia (known in the West as Tales Of Destiny 2) as a Bonus Boss fight. Tales of 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.
    • Don't forget Eugene and Annie from Tales of Rebirth. Their American debut was in 2007 in Tales of the World: Radient Mythology, 3 years after ToR came out in Japan. It has yet to arrive in the USA and I doubt it ever will...
    • Can't forget that Tales of Symphonia was actually intended as a prequel to Tales of Phantasia. Symphonia was localized at least a year before Phantasia.
    • 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 Europe. However, in Tales of the Abyss, we have Mint, (From Tales of Phantasia, only recently released in America) Philia (From Tales of Destiny, released years ago) and Reid from Tales of Eternia (Which we knew as Tales of Destiny 2) However, who's this "Nanaly" girl in there? Only red-headed archer I know of is Chelsea from Tales of Destiny. Ironically she's from the real Tales of Destiny 2 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.
      • And another rather interesting thing; technically, Philia's trademark mystic arte/Blast Caliber, Sacred Penance (or Sacred Blame) actually debuted in Tales of the Abyss - and even then; it was as part of a Regional Bonus! Mint's mystic arte (If you could call it that) also debuted in Tales of the Abyss, although granted she also used that in the Japanese version, too.
    • Tales of Vesperia also had Barbatos appear as a cameo boss - and neither the Destiny remake nor the real 'Tales of Destiny 2 ever was released outside of Japan!
    • Tales of Graces f will have three of these upon its western release in the forms of Veigue Lungberg (Tales of Rebirth), Reala (Tales of Destiny 2) and Kohak Hearts (Tales of Hearts). None of whom have had their games released outside of Japan.
      • However; Reala was referenced in Tales of the Abyss.
      • This also isn't counting how many cartas have cameos.
  • 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 in Final Fantasy VII.
    • 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.
      • FF 3 is especially prone to this as it was the only game of the original six to not get any sort of remake or port for said sixteen years after its initial Famicom release. And to give an idea of how often the first six Final Fantasies are ported/remade for those not familiar with the series' history: the first two games, originally released on the Famicom, were not only released on the Wonderswan Color and PSP as separate titles, but were released as a combo game on the PS 1, the GBA... and the Famicom. Yes, they were recycling their success so fast, they did it on the same system it debuted on and still never got around to FF 3. On the one hand, considering their utter lack of success at selling anything before Final Fantasy (as the famous story goes, the series got it's oft-ridiculed name because it was to be their last attempt at a game before going out of business,) one can hardly blame them for wanting to ride it for all it was worth... oh, and as another note on just how amazing it is that 3 never got a remake for as long as it did, the other five of the original six all got remakes/ports on the PS 1 (as did Chrono Trigger) and the GBA, and the Wonderswan Color had remakes of 1, 2, and 4 - the remake for 3 was canceled. It was a surprise when they not only actually went through with the DS remake for FF3, but also released it internationally.
    • Minor example of this with Gilgamesh first appearing 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 one was a remake), but America in Final Fantasy VI. Unusually for this trope, both characters have larger roles in VI than V.
    • Cissnei's appearance in Crisis Core was the first time Western audiences met her, but she was actually featured in Before Crisis which came out three or four years prior and was never released outside Japan.
    • Another example is the recurring Job Class of Dragoons, which originally came out in Final Fantasy II with the character Ricard Highwind. It would also appear again in Final Fantasy III as a Class that the player could pick for the main characters. Since neither of those games were ported outside of Japan originally, the first time westerners would see that Class would be with Kain Highwind in Final Fantasy IV (AKA: "FFII"). 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.
  • Terra from Ys: The Ark of Napishtim originally debuted in Ys V, which was never exported.
  • In Europe the Final Fantasy games weren't released until the 7th game (Then came the port/remake storm...), so when Secret of Evermore was released, years before Final Fantasy IV reached European shores, it basically meant Cecil Harvey debuted in Secret of Evermore (He's got a cameo there). Not to mention he happily mentions plot points of his game...
    • And some of the Final Fantasy VI cast did debut there as well, also in cameo roles.
  • Dragon Quest IX has its own spin on this phenomenon. With downloadable character and cameos from the entire series becoming slowly available over the course of a year (July 2010 - July 2011), it's a fun look back at the history of the series as a whole - wait, Dragon Quest VI? That hadn't been released outside of Japan yet, and "Ashlynn of Sorceria" was the third one up. Hence, she came over before her game did. (Another character from VI, Carver, averted this by making his cameo after VI's US release..unless you hacked the game to unlock all the DLC at once.).
    • The first three games weren't released in PAL regions, making their characters examples.
    • Dragon Quest Monsters. The first game had enemies from Dragon Quest V and Dragon Quest VI plus Milly and Terry from VI, well before either game was released in America. Milly and VI's bosses Murdaw, Mortamor, and Nokturnus would go on to make further cameos in IX before their own game got released in the US.
    • While Yangus, the cockney thief from Dragon Quest VIII, is familiar to non-Japanese audiences, he also appeared in a Japan-only Fushigi no Dungeon Gaiden Game on the Play Station 2, in which he is a young boy who is still in training. This version of him was reused in the Itadaki Street series, from which Fortune Street was released to Western audiences. Naturally, they were confused why he was suddenly a kid in that game.
  • The characters of the Far East Of Eden RPG series (which started in 1989) only ever appeared outside Japan in the Neo Geo fighting game "Kabuki Klash" in 1995.
  • A surprising one: Western players got to see some Pokémon first on the Game Boy Camera. Those were Pikachu, Meowth, Charmander, Squirtle, Bulbasaur and, surprisingly enough, Mew. Oddly, there weren't rumors involving this thing!
  • A few Final Fantasy I characters such as Astos debuted in Europe, believe it or not, in Captain N. Really.

Shoot Em Up

Simulation Game

  • Saki Omokane from Quiz Nanairo Dreams, a trivia dating Sim released only in Japan, is much better known to western players as "that girl with the big gun" from Marvel vs. Capcom, where she appeared as a helper character.
    • Another example is Shuma-Gorath. Most people know him more from the Marvel vs Capcom games than they do from the comics, though he only actually counts as an example in territories where the comics didn't get published.
    • In Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars, surprisingly, Ippatsuman (and his Humongous Mecha Gyakuten-Oh) is the only one who fits in this trope. All the other Tatsunoko (and Capcom) characters had their licenses applied in many ways.
  • Sakura Wars, anyone?


  • Supposedly the original Super Smash Bros was delayed in Europe to avoid this happening with Pikachu and the various other Pokémon elements in the game. However several Pokemon were included as stamps in the Game Boy Camera, released about a year prior to the Pokemon games, so their official European debut was actually in a peripheral.
    • North American debut, too, although it was only about four months on this side of the Atlantic.
    • It should be noted that, when licensing the Game Boy Camera for English-speaking countries, Nintendo went out of its way to avoid this trope by removing Pokemon-themed picture frames... making it all the more odd that they left the Pokemon stamps in, thus playing this trope straight.

Turn Based Strategy

  • The Trope Namer and current world record holder of this trope is, of course, Marth, the star of the original Fire Emblem game who made his (and the series as a whole) Western debut in Super Smash Bros Melee, over a decade after the first Fire Emblem game was released in Japan. His presence and popularity motivated Nintendo to release Fire Emblem games in the West at last. However, since that series uses mostly Non-Linear Sequels, until 2009 Marth would not appear in any of his own games, despite appearing in Super Smash Brothers twice! However, in 2009 the Nintendo DS remake of his game finally, FINALLY reached Western shores. This was around eight years after the various Western releases of Super Smash Brothers: Melee and almost nineteen years after his initial Famicom debut in Japan!
    • Roy actually did debut in Melee - his own game hadn't come out yet in Japan when the game was released, and his inclusion (and possibly Marth's as well) was meant to promote the upcoming game. His game never even made it to America, who instead got the prequel starring his father Eliwood. For Europe and Australia, however, this is a straight example, as Melee came out there a few months after The Sword of Seals was released in Japan.
    • Technically, Marth debuted in the USA (as "Mars") when the Fire Emblem OVA was released, in 1997.
    • As it stands, Ike is the only playable Fire Emblem character that avoids this all together, even having a second game before his Smash Bros. debut.
    • With past characters confirmed to appear in Fire Emblem Awakening as DLC or otherwise, this trope is almost certian to be invoked for the stateside release. So far Siglud, Arden, Ayra, Levin, Lachesis, Cuan, Alvis, Diadora, Yuria, Nanna and Lillina are expected to invoke this trope with more to come.
  • La Pucelle didn't receive an English localization until the American success of Disgaea. This resulted in Prier first appearing as a Bonus Boss cameo in Disgaea, before appearing in her own game. Worse, her appearance in Disgaea spoils a plot point of La Pucelle.
  1. For reasons related to Game Breaking Bugs in the initial release