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Why does she use the opposite evolution, Bellossom, instead? Is there any particular reason why, or is it GameFreak just sayin' 'screw the continuity'?

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The only reason I can think of is because she had one in the manga.
Maybe they wanted to change it up a little bit, since thats what they did with every kanto gym leader in (Heart)gold and (Soul)silver :)

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>Erika uses three of these Pokémon in Single Battles, four in Double and Rotation Battles, and all six in Triple Battles. Erika will always lead with her signature Pokémon, Vileplume.

-Bulbapedia

It is indeed mentioned that Erika's signature Pokemon is Vileplume. However, I believe it is actually Gloom. This is because, in Pokemon Yellow as well as G/S/C, she uses a Bellossom. Maybe she mistook a Sun Stone for a Leaf Stone, or maybe GameFreak wanted trainers to encounter more number of Pokemon.

The exact reason, I admit, is evasive, but the fact as to why it is is HG/SS, is simply because that is how it was in the original Gold/ Silver/ Crystal.

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