Did Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire Just Suddenly Reference Alain?


Remakes of Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire were recently released on the Nintendo 3DS, and fans have been abuzz about all the little differences and new references in the games. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not very familiar with the series but I’m happy to take interesting questions, so here’s one from Sean A.!

This line from Steven in Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire references an episode of the Pokemon anime, “~ Pocket Monsters XY Special Episode: The Strongest Mega Evolution ~Act II~” in which Steven teams up with a trainer named Alain (who, yes, has a black Mega Charizard) and battles rayquaza.

Is this found in the Japanese version of the game? Because the implications for the Pokemon canon could be massive if that’s the case.

Sean included this image from the English version of the game:

I blew people's minds on stream a while back by pointing out that the izard in Charizard is from 'lizard' but I thought everyone knew that so my Pokeconfidence has risen just a tad

I wonder whatever happened to him and that black Charizard of his…

Alas, I don’t have the Japanese games to check and even if I did I’d probably be pretty terrible at it, but using the powers of the Internet I was able to confirm that the Japanese versions indeed reference a black Charizard/Lizardon user!

This screenshot doesn't match the others because I have to fill in the gaps like it's a big puzzle
What happens when a human mega evolves, I wonderWhat happens when a human mega evolves, I wonder
I can't believe there are already so many remakes of these games when I haven't even played the originals. I'm never gonna catch up at this rate - I'm still stuck in 1998 playing BlueI can't believe there are already so many remakes of these games when I haven't even played the originals. I'm never gonna catch up at this rate - I'm still stuck in 1998 playing Blue

Here’s a look at the text side-by-side:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Seeing that little white one you’re traveling with brings back memories.You know, seeing that white beauty there that you travel with…
The Legendary Pokemon Rayquaza is said to descend at the Sky Pillar. I once faced off with it long ago, actually,I’m reminded of the Legendary Pokemon Rayquaza, said to descend at the Sky Pillar. I once had the chance to see it face to face. Although, it was a long time ago now…
and I’m reminded of the young trainer who used a black Mega-Lizardon as we battled the Rayquaza together then.The young man who battled against Rayquaza beside me…
I wonder what became of him and his black Lizardon…I wonder whatever happened to him and that black Charizard of his…

I still need to find the full Japanese text of this scene all in one place, so my rough translation above is sort of in a patchwork format right now. But the main thing to take away is that yes, the Japanese text clearly refers to a black Mega Charizard user, the Sky Pillar, and all that. In fact, Japanese fans seemed to take great delight in this connection with the anime too!

Pokemon is serious business. You can even catch on fire
Summary: Yes, the Japanese text includes references to the anime in this part of the game.

So hopefully that helps answer the question about the possible anime connection! I’m not familiar enough with some of these things to know what this might mean for canon or whatnot, but it’s cool to see everyone so excited about it, so that’s good enough for me!

(If anyone playing the Japanese version can get me screenshots or at least a transcription of the full scene here, please let me know in the comments or Twitter!)

If you liked this write-up and know any other fans of Pokemon, I hope you'll consider sharing it with them. Word of mouth is what keeps this site running!
  1. “the implications for the Pokemon canon could be massive if that’s the case.”

    I think getting caught up in Pokemon canon is somewhat laughable in any case, but I’ll go so far as to say that the implications aren’t as massive as your reader seems to think. While this is perhaps the most direct reference to Pokemon anime (though not the first), it is referencing a special episode that has no apparent connection to the main anime. It’s unique in that it makes that special episode part of the game’s lore, and thus is one of the only times where a Pokemon game’s canon connects with that of another medium (as far as I know), but I don’t think it therefore makes the main anime part of it as well. I’m not sure why anyone would want that, anyway; the anime’s own canon is inconsistent with itself.

    1. “it is referencing a special episode that has no apparent connection to the main anime”.

      That’s not true. The first of these specials even went specifically out of its way to reference events from an earlier anime episode just to make it absolutely positively clear to the viewers these things take place in the same world, and we also have professor Platane appear with the exact same design and voice as he has in the main anime. Joy also appears in the first of these specials with the same design and voice as always, and she’s a character that doesn’t even exist outside the anime series. We also have the character Ayaka show up in the first XY movie, something that got advertised well in advance of the first act’s airing.

      It’s very blatantly the same continuity.

      1. Alright. I guess Ash’s adventures are game canon. Have fun sorting out all of those contradictions!

        1. The characters and events referenced in-game exist in both worlds, but the rest of the universes is different? Kinda lika a Marvel Comics multiverse thing.

      2. Even if that’s the case, it’s still just a reference. All of the reasons the games and the anime can’t be the same continuity didn’t just stop being a thing because of this line, so I don’t really see what the massive implications are…

  2. There’s been lots of references to stuff like this throughout the franchise, particularly in the form of trainers you can fight. A couple characters from the 6th Pokemon movie show up in Diamond and Pearl with some of the stars from the movie on their teams, and all the hosts from variety show Pokemon Smash can be fought in X and Y, most of them having teams that include their actual real-life favorite Pokemon.
    This stuff unfortunately tends to get lost in translation due to the localizers not picking up on the references, but this particular reference wasn’t one they needed to understand the anime connection in order to translate properly, so it made its way through.

    1. Worth mentioning is that the English localizers of Diamond and Pearl misnamed the characters you mentioned.

  3. As for the Japanese text, I’m not up to that part yet, but this seems to be the full dialogue in question:

    ……そういえば きみと たびを している しろい そのこを みていると おもいだすな そらのはしらに おりたつと いわれる でんせつの ポケモン レックウザ ボクも むかし いちど あいまみえた ことが あってね あのとき いっしょに レックウザと たたかった くろい メガリザードン づかいの しょうねんトレーナーの ことを…… そらのはしら…… なにが まちうけているか わからない くれぐれも きをつけて

    So yeah, you got the relevant parts already.

  4. I haven’t gotten that far in the game, yet, but i’m sure this is just an easter egg. There’ve been other anime references in the games before, but they never really mean much. They’re definitely two separate continuities. This is most likely just the developers having fun.

  5. The 3DS Pokemon games are actually multi-language, though that probably doesn’t help as much as you can only switch the language before you start a new game/erase the existing save.

  6. BTW, I got a quick question that i’m sure several people here could probably answer. They recently released a couple of 3DS skins for the new Pokemon games, and one of the skins is called “Onemuri Pikachu”. What does Onemuri mean?

  7. I doubt they are referencing Alain. The first trainer that came to my mind was Red after the 4 part mini series he was in where his Mega Charizard X faced off against Mewtwo. It’s still a stretch, but it would make more sense for that to be adopted as canon over the regular anime.

    1. The Mega Evolution special specifically depicts Steven and Alain teaming up to fight Rayquaza, with Alain having a Mega Charizard X. I suppose it’s possible Red and Steven might have teamed up later, but it’s far more likely the game producers were referencing Alain here.

      Not to mention Ruby/Sapphire take place at the same time as Red/Green according to Game Freak.

      1. Are you sure that these remakes are happening at the same point in the timeline as the originals. They made it pretty clear in-game that the originals are in an alternate universe from these. They could very well be taking place at a different point in time as all we really know is that they happen before Gen V and VI,I don’t believe that the developers have said anything about these games.

        Though to your main point, it appears to be a reference and nothing more, as merging the two canons would create so many contradictions the story would be an incomprehensible mess.

    2. It is very much a stretch to say that he’s referring to Red. Red didn’t meet up with Steven Stone (while he had a shiny Metagross in his party) to battle a Rayquaza in Origins (or in any of the other media like the games and manga for that matter). Only Alian has.

      Not to mention how could Red meet up with Steven Stone when his journey takes place at around the same time as the protagonists in Hoenn? Even in the Mega Universe they both happen at around the same time according to Toshinobu Matsumiya (one of the key members of Game Freak).

      Also while the anime is it’s own universe, the games have referenced anime characters before. Anime characters like Butler, Diane, Lizabeth, Cameron, Trip, and Virgil have appeared in the games before. And some of the events, namely the Celebi and Zoura event and Johto Trio and Zoroark event, are references to the anime.

      So with that in mind, Alian probably is who Steven is talking about here even though he wasn’t brought up by name.

  8. It is possibly worth noting that Japan is having a Shiny Mega Charizard *Y* distribution, which is uniquely black.

    But it’s likely a reference to that anime short. They get referenced every now and then.

  9. Isn’t the XY special separate from the anime continuity? Anyone with half a brain will tell you that there’s no damn way the anime is canon to the games.

    1. The X and Y Mega Evolution specials are connnected to the main anime. One of the episodes had a flashback with Alian and the new opening has Alain in it.

  10. Does Steven only says this line if you got the event shiny Beldum? Because I had the shiny Beldum (which I evolved into a Metagross) in my party and he said the line, which made me assumed that. Also, he does mentioned the “white beauty” in the beginning of his dialogue.