While playing Pokemon Shield, I encountered two Poke Kids, a girl and a boy, on Route 4. They are in the same area in close proximity to each other in the northeast section of the route.
As an FE fan, that really stuck out, as we know these names as the pair of mercenaries from Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn. Fun!
So naturally I wondered if this was an intentional reference, or total coincidence?
Short answer: If not a coincidence, then it may be a very light localization-side reference out of opportunity. There is no JP reference however.
If interested in taking a closer look, then see below!
Quick context: Rhys is one of just three characters that Mia can support (have special conversations/build bonds with) in Path of Radiance. Fans often romantically pair the two as a result, among other associations. That’s the only reason I decided to take a deeper look into this in the first place.
Anyway with that in mind:
First, I looked at the Japanese version of Sword/Shield to see if they shared the same Japanese names as the Fire Emblem duo:
|Mia||ワユ Wayu||ユイ Yui|
Nope! The Japanese names in Sword/Shield are completely different from the English names, so a Japanese side reference (to FE, at least) can be safely eliminated. I did a quick search to see if there were any pairs from other media named Yui and Riku, but came up short. So there likely is not any relation at all between the two.
That also eliminates a carried intent for a translation, such as how the Pokemon series could previously sneak memes in without changing the original meaning to a line. In this case there is no apparent pair of characters or Fire Emblem being referenced.
Second, there is not too much dialogue to determine their personalities. They are both children dressed up as Pokemon and a little silly as expected. They differ from their named counterparts in FE in this way, too. So, it is not a reference of character, purely of name, proximity, and pairing.
Last, we can consider how this may have come to be.
The other trainers in the route do not have apparent FE names (such as another trainer nearby named “Bradley”). Rhys is a popular Welsh name, so would fit right into the Galar region when it comes to thinking of names for trainers in the region. It’s also four letters and lines up with the “R” name of “Riku” (note that Pokemon trainer conventions don’t really follow set rules though, so again, this is likely coincidence, or at least close by intent, though not completely necessary).
Mia is not as obvious, though. The three letters do line up with “Yui” though. But naming someone right next to Rhys a name that is not as connected to Galar in origin seems a bit too good to be a coincidence, right?
I feel that Rhys was probably named first. Based on this, perhaps a localizer who is fond of Fire Emblem either intentionally (or sub-consciously) decided to name the girl nearby “Mia.” Names would probably be mostly free reign for the localization as there is no real impact to naming, so one could get away with a fun little reference like this if they wanted to.
There is no impact to the story or dialogue of these characters, much like when they inserted memes on other minor characters in previous games which would form a reference to the western audience that would be lost on the Japanese audience.
Again, this assumes it isn’t all just a fun coincidence though! We probably won’t get a definitive answer either way!
A localizer who is an FE fan could have named Rhys (a Welsh name fitting to the region) and thought to put Mia (whether purposefully or sub-consciously) as the nearby trainer to make a fun light reference to the Tellius games. Of course, this assumes this isn’t just a fun coincidence! The Japanese makes no such reference, but the series has been known to have fun on the English end now and then with references that do not exist in JP.
This post is an example of diving needlessly deep into something so minor. But that’s what I do!
What do you think? Fun coincidence or reference? Let me know if you come across other possible FE fun in Pokemon!