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Yo-kai Watch

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Yo-kai Watch,[a] trademarked in Japan as Youkai Watch and Yokai Watch, is a mixed-media franchise of role-playing video games, created and developed by Level-5. The original game was first released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2013.[6] Several games in the series have been released, including two more main series games, Yo-kai Watch 2 and Yo-kai Watch 3, along with several spinoffs on both the 3DS and mobile devices.

Yo-kai Watch
妖怪ウォッチ
(Yōkai Wotchi)
Genre Action, Comedy, Supernatural
Manga
Written by Noriyuki Konishi
Published by Shogakukan
English publisher
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine CoroCoro Comic
Original run January 2013 – present
Volumes 14
Anime television series
Directed by Shinji Ushiro
Produced by Yoshikazu Kuretani (TV Tokyo), Kiyofumi Kajiwara
Written by Yoichi Kato
Music by Kenichiro Saigo
Studio OLM, Dentsu
Licensed by
Fusion Agency
Medialink Animation International Ltd.[2]
Original network TXN (TV Tokyo), BS Japan, AT-X, Kids Station
English network
Teletoon (2015–present)
Disney XD (2016–present)
Toonami, Cartoon Network, Okto
Original run January 8, 2014 – present
Episodes 199+ (List of episodes)
Manga
Yo-kai Watch: Exciting Nyanderful Days
Written by Chikako Mori
Published by Shogakukan
English publisher
Demographic Shōjo
Magazine Ciao (2014–)
Pucchigumi (2014)[5]
Original run February 2014 – present
Volumes 3
Manga
4-Panel Yo-kai Watch: Geragera Manga Theater
Written by Coconas Rumba
Published by Shogakukan
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine CoroCoro Comic SPECIAL
Original run October 2014 – present
Volumes 1
Manga
Yo-kai Watch: 4-Panel Pun-Club
Written by Santa Harukaze
Published by Shogakukan
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine CoroCoro Ichiban!
Original run April 2015 – present
Volumes 2
Manga
Komasan 〜A Time for Fireworks and Miracles〜
Written by Shō Shibamoto
Published by Shogakukan
Demographic Shōnen, Seinen
Magazine HiBaNa
Original run April 10, 2015September 10, 2015
Volumes 1
Manga
Yo-kai Watch Busters
Written by Atsushi Ohba
Published by Shogakukan
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine CoroCoro Comic
Original run June 2015October 2015
Volumes 1
Video games
  • Yo-kai Watch (2013)
  • Yo-kai Watch 2 (2014)
  • Yo-kai Watch Busters (2015)
  • Yo-kai Watch Dance: Just Dance Special Version (2015)
  • Yo-kai Sangokushi (2016)
  • Yo-kai Watch 3 (2016)
  • Yo-kai Watch Busters 2 (2017)
Anime films
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

Six manga adaptations have also been produced; one, a shōnen manga series that began serialization in Shogakukan's CoroCoro Comic from December 2012, became an award winner. An anime television series produced by OLM, Inc. began airing in Japan from January 2014 and was a ratings success, boosting the franchise in popularity,[7] and began airing in North America from October 2015.[8][9] An animated film was released in December 2014; with two more films being produced.

Despite low popularity in Western regions, it had a brief period of huge popularity in Japan, being compared there to the Pokémon franchise.[10][11][12]

Contents

ConceptEdit

The franchise was first thought up as a "Doraemon" IP, something that could be long lasting over a long period of time. Akihiro Hino, CEO of Level 5, researched extensively what makes a franchise long lasting and came up with Yo-Kai Watch.[13]

Yo-kai Watch revolves around befriending Yo-kai that are haunting the city. They are based on traditional Yo-kai, but often with clever twists. If one befriends a Yo-kai, they get their friendship medal, an object that allows one to summon Yo-kai. With these, they can summon Yo-kai to either fight other Yo-kai, befriend others, or solve everyday tasks.[14]

The basic plot for most of the media is that the main character (Either Nate (Keita) or Katie (Fumi)) obtains a Yo-kai Watch through Whisper, a butler Yo-kai. They then befriend Jibanyan, a cat Yo-kai who haunts an intersection because he thinks Amy (Emi "Emi-chan") called him lame for dying.

MediaEdit

Video GamesEdit

The main video game series is a role-playing video game where the player (Nate or Katie) befriends Yo-Kai and fights bad ones. Emphasis is placed on fighting the Yo-kai. All of the main series games have the same battle style; using the 3DS's touchscreen during battles to rotate amongst the player's Yo-kai at will. All of the Yo-Kai have special abilities called Soultimate moves that can be used an extra powerful attack.[15]

Yo-Kai WatchEdit

The first game in the main series, Yo-kai Watch was announced in 2011 at the Tokyo Game Show[16][17] and first released in Japan on July 11, 2013.[18] It sets the foundation for the rest of the video game franchise, introducing all of the main mechanics.

Yo-kai Watch 2Edit

The second main game in the series, split into two versions, Fleshy Souls and Bony Spirits (Ganso (元祖) and Honke (本家 in Japan, both can be translated as "original") was released on July 10, 2014[19][20] Yo-kai Watch 2 expands the areas to be explored with nearly 100 new Yo-kai in the present day of the Kemamoto region and the past, where the player time travels to meets traditional Yo-kai and sees their grandfather, who made the predecessor to the Yo-kai Watch. There was also a third version (Shinuchi (真打 Shin'uchi, "Headliner") released in Japan, featuring characters and scenarios not initially included in Ganso and Honke.[21][22] It was released in the west on September 29, 2017 as Psychic Specters[23]

Yo-kai Watch 3Edit

Yo-kai Watch 3 Sushi And Tempura, released in July 2016,[24] features two main characters playable at the same time: Nate and Inaho. The first half of the game has Nate and his family moving to the United States to the fictional town of Saint Peanutsburg, where new American-themed "Meriken" (メリケン) Yo-kai can be found. The other half of the game focuses on Inaho, and her partner Yo-kai Usapyon, who run a detective agency together.[25] A third version was eventually released in Japan on December 16, 2016[26]

Other GamesEdit

The Data Carddass game Yo-kai Watch: Tomodachi UkiUkipedia (妖怪ウォッチ ともだちウキウキペディア) was first location tested in late December 2013, and debuted at the Next Generation World Hobby Fair Winter 2014 before being released in early 2014. The game is played much like Bandai's other Data Carddass games, in which the player uses an interface resembling a slot machine to determine the events of a battle between 3 of the player's Yo-kai against 3 enemy Yo-kai, after the player sought them out on the game interface. Winning the game awards the player a card that can be used for future Tomodachi UkiUkipedia play.

A spin-off game, Yo-kai Watch Busters (妖怪ウォッチバスターズ, Yōkai Wotchi Basutāzu) was first announced in the April 2015 issue of CoroCoro Comic, allowing up to four players to cooperate in battling boss Yo-kai.[27] The first two versions of the game, Aka Neko-dan (赤猫団, "Red Cat Troupe") and Shiro Inu-tai (白犬隊, "White Dog Corps"), were released on July 11, 2015. Announced alongside Yo-kai Watch Busters was the upcoming third game in the main series, Yo-kai Watch 3 which features two main characters playable at the same time. Keita and his family have moved to the United States to the fictional town of Saint Peanutsburg, where new American-themed "Meriken" (メリケン) Yo-kai can be found. The other half of the game focuses on Inaho Misora, introduced to the anime series in the Second Season, and her partner Yo-kai Usapyon.[28] Accompanying these games' releases were announcements of Yo-kai Sangokushi (妖怪三国志, lit. "Yo-kai Three Kingdoms") in collaboration with Koei Tecmo's Romance of the Three Kingdoms series as well as several mobile games.

In August, a collaboration with Ubisoft to release a special version of the Just Dance series was announced, set to feature songs from the anime's soundtrack,[29] was released on December 5, 2015. A free expansion for the two Yo-kai Watch Busters games called Getto-gumi (月兎組, "Moon Rabbit Team") was released on December 12, 2015, adding characters and settings featured in second anime feature film Yo-kai Watch: Enma Daiō to Itsutsu no Monogatari da Nyan!.[30]

Spin-offsEdit

  • Yo-kai Watch Busters (Nintendo 3DS, 2015)
  • Yo-kai Watch Dance: Just Dance Special Version (Wii U, 2015) – Co-developed and published by Ubisoft as part of the Just Dance series
  • Yo-kai Sangokushi (Nintendo 3DS, 2016)
  • Yo-kai Watch Busters 2 (Nintendo 3DS, 2017)

Smartphone appsEdit

  • Yo-kai Land (iOS, Android, 2015)
  • Yo-kai Taiso Dai-Ichi Puzzle da Nyan (ようかい体操第一 パズルだニャン, Yōkai Taisō Dai-Ichi Pazuru da Nyan, lit. "Yo-kai Exercise No. 1: Puzzle Meow) (iOS, Android, 2013)
  • Yo-kai Watch: PuniPuni (妖怪ウォッチ ぷにぷに, Yōkai Wotchi Punipuni) (iOS, Android, 2015)
  • Yo-kai Watch: Wibble Wobble (iOS, Android, 2016)
  • Yo-kai Daijiten (妖怪大辞典, lit. "Great Yo-kai Dictionary") (iOS, Android, 2017)
  • Yo-kai Watch: Gerapo Rhythm (妖怪ウォッチ ゲラポリズム, Yōkai Wotchi Gerapo Rizumu) (iOS, Android, 2017)

Manga and ComicsEdit

Six manga adaptations based on the series have been published by Shogakukan. A shōnen manga series by Noriyuki Konishi began serialization in CoroCoro Comic from December 15, 2012. This series has been licensed by Viz Media under its Perfect Square imprint.[31] A shōjo manga series by Chikako Mori, titled Yo-kai Watch: Exciting Nyanderful Days (妖怪ウォッチ~わくわく☆にゃんだふるデイズ~, Yōkai Wotchi ~Wakuwaku Nyandafuru Deizu~), began serialization in Ciao magazine from December 27, 2013.[32] A yonkoma series by Coconas Rumba, titled 4-Panel Yo-kai Watch: Geragera Manga Theater (4コマ妖怪ウォッチ ゲラゲラマンガ劇場, Yonkoma Yōkai Wotchi Geragera Manga Gekijō), began serialization in CoroCoro Comic SPECIAL from October 2014. Another yonkoma series by Santa Harukaze, titled Yo-kai Watch 4-Panel Pun Club (妖怪ウォッチ 4コマだじゃれクラブ, Yōkai Wotchi Yonkoma Dajare Kurabu), began serialization in CoroCoro Ichiban! from April 2015. A shōnen and seinen manga series by Shō Shibamoto, titled Komasan 〜A Time for Fireworks and Miracles〜 (コマさん 〜ハナビとキセキの時間〜, Komasan 〜Hanabi to Kiseki no Jikan〜), began serialization in HiBaNa on April 10, 2015 and ended on September 10 of that year. A manga series based on Yo-kai Watch Busters by Atsushi Ohba began serialization in CoroCoro Comic in June 2015[33] and ended in October of that year. A new comic series was announced in January 2017, courtesy of IDW Publishing, and was released in May 2017.[34][35]

Noriyuki Konishi versionEdit

No. Japanese release date Japanese ISBN English release date English ISBN
1 June 28, 2013 ISBN 978-4-09141-655-1 November 3, 2015 ISBN 978-1-42158-251-1
2 December 27, 2013 ISBN 978-4-09140-018-5 November 3, 2015 ISBN 978-1-42158-252-8
3 March 25, 2014 ISBN 978-4-09141-709-1 January 5, 2016 ISBN 978-1-42158-273-3
4 July 25, 2014 ISBN 978-4-09141-793-0 March 1, 2016 ISBN 978-1-42158-274-0
5 October 28, 2014 ISBN 978-4-09141-817-3 May 3, 2016 ISBN 978-1-42158-275-7
6 February 27, 2015 ISBN 978-4-09141-876-0 December 6, 2016 ISBN 978-1-42159-217-6
7 June 26, 2015 ISBN 978-4-09142-006-0 March 7, 2017 ISBN 978-1-42159-218-3
8 September 28, 2015 ISBN 978-4-09142-102-9 January 2, 2018 ISBN 978-1-42159-691-4
9 February 26, 2016 ISBN 978-4-09142-119-7 TBA
10 June 24, 2016 ISBN 978-4-09142-175-3 TBA
11 August 5, 2016 ISBN 978-4-09159-232-3 TBA
12 April 28, 2017 ISBN 978-4-09142-389-4 TBA
13 September 28, 2017 ISBN 978-4-09-142530-0 TBA
14 November 28, 2017 ISBN 978-4-09-142637-6 TBA

Yo-kai Watch: Exciting Nyanderful DaysEdit

No. Release date ISBN
1 December 25, 2014 ISBN 978-4-09136-714-3
2 October 30, 2015 ISBN 978-4-09137-888-0
3 July 22, 2016

Yo-kai Watch: 4-Panel Pun-ClubEdit

No. Release date ISBN
1 June 18, 2015 ISBN 978-4-09281-232-1
2 January 28, 2016 ISBN 978-4-09281-233-8

Yo-kai Watch BustersEdit

No. Release date ISBN
1 September 28, 2015 ISBN 978-4-09142-100-5

4-Panel Yo-kai Watch: Geragera Manga TheaterEdit

No. Release date ISBN
1 October 28, 2015 ISBN 978-4-09142-105-0

Komasan: A Time for Fireworks and MiraclesEdit

No. Release date ISBN
1 December 11, 2015 ISBN 978-4-09187-427-6

AnimeEdit

 
Japanese promo art

An anime television series based on the game, produced by OLM, began airing in Japan on TX Network on January 8, 2014.[36] Most of the epsoides focus on Nate (or Keita) solving problems caused by Yo-kai. It has a higher focus on comedy than the games. Some of the episodes has a "Mini-Corner" which features one of the main Yo-kai characters.

On April 7, 2015, Level-5 unveiled a promotional video for a second season of the anime series, which premiered in July 2015. The second season features a new protagonist named Inaho Misora and her Yo-kai companion USApyon. It also features new models of the Yo-kai Watch called the "Yo-kai Watch U".[37] and Yo-kai Watch Dream. The third season of the anime series premiered on January 6, 2017, and entered a Busters Arc in July.[38]

3 movies have been made and one is on the way. The first movie, Yo-kai Watch: The Movie (映画 妖怪ウォッチ 誕生の秘密だニャン!|Eiga Yōkai Wotchi: Tanjō no Himitsu da Nyan! in Japan), was released in Japan on December 20, 2014,[39] The second movie, Yo-kai Watch the Movie: The Great King Enma and the Five Tales, Nyan! (映画 妖怪ウォッチ エンマ大王と5つの物語だニャン!, Eiga Yōkai Wotchi: Enma Daiō to Itsutsu no Monogatari da Nyan!), was released in Japan on December 19, 2015,[40] and the third movie, Yo-kai Watch: Sora Tobu Kujira to Sekai no Daibōken da Nyan, a anime and live action movie was released in Japan on December 17, 2016[41] A forth film, Yo-kai Watch Shadowside: Oni-ō no Fukkatsu, will open in Japan on December 16, 2017.[42]

The series is being released on DVD box sets, along with rental DVDs, in Japan by Kadokawa Media Factory.[43][44] Every episode to date is available for streaming on multiple video on demand services in Japan, such as Hulu and Rakuten Video Showtime.[45][46]

OverseasEdit

At the premiere of the Yo-kai Watch film, Level-5's president Akihiro Hino officially announced that the Yo-kai Watch anime would begin broadcast internationally in 2015. He also jokingly requested Etsuko Kozakura and Tomokazu Seki, who voice Jibanyan and Whisper respectively, to "study English".[47][48]

In AmericaEdit

Dentsu Entertainment USA announced in April 2014 that they were seeking broadcast and merchandising partners in North America for the anime.[49] The anime began broadcast as a 26-season on Disney XD on October 5, 2015,[50] with the official Yo-kai Watch YouTube channel posting episodes a month later.[51] Since the show had performed well, a second season (no relation to the Japanese second season) with an additional 50 episodes was broadcast on August 1, 2016.[52][53]

The first movie was also brought over, as a special screening one day screening, on October 15, 2016. Those who attended got a Hovernyan medal.[54] The first season and the movie are currently streaming on Netflix[55]

MarVista Entertainment has licensed the series in Latin America.

In Europe and AfricaEdit

Viz Media Europe has licensed the series in Europe, Russia, and Africa. They premiered the anime in the UK and Ireland on Cartoon Network on April 23, 2016.[56][57] In France it showed on three different stations: Boing in April, 2016, Gulli in September, 2016, and Cartoon Network France in March, 2017. Other countries it aired in are Germany and Austria (Nickelodeon), Spain and Africa on Boing, Belgium and the Netherlands on Nickelodeon, and Israel on Noga. Cartoon Network also has it airing on their Portugal, Turkey, Poland and the Nordic, Central and Eastern Europe feeds, starting in Spring 2016.

Viz has also hired Bulldog Licensing and German brand-management company m4e to repersent the brand in the UK and German-speaking territories, respectively.[58]

In Other Asian CountriesEdit

An alternative English dub began airing on Cartoon Network Asia and Toonami Asia in Asian countries from June 27, 2015.[59] The alternative English dub uses the original Japanese names.

Shogakukan Asia also licensed the series in the Philippines.

In Australia and New ZealandEdit

The Fusion Agency acquired the licensing and merchandising rights for the series in Australia and New Zealand.[60] It aired in Australia on 9Go! on December 14, 2015.

MusicEdit

The music for the games and anime series is composed by Level-5 employee Kenichiro Saigo. The following themes are used in both the video games and anime series. All opening themes are performed by King Cream Soda, with lyrics by m.o.v.e vocalist Motsu. The anime themes are also dubbed into English for its North American broadcast.

JapaneseEdit

Opening themes:
  • "Gera Gera Po no Uta" (ゲラゲラポーのうた, Geragerapō no Uta, "The Laughter Song") by King Cream Soda (Yo-kai Watch game, anime eps. 1–36, 51, Yo-kai Watch: Tanjō no Himitsu da Nyan!, Yo-kai Watch: Soratobu Kujira to Double no Sekai no Daibōken da Nyan!)
  • "Matsuribayashi de Geragerapō" (祭り囃子でゲラゲラポー, "The Festival Band's Gera Gera Po") by King Cream Soda (Yo-kai Watch 2: Ganso, anime eps. 37–45 odds, 52–62 evens)
  • "Hatsukoitōge de Geragerapō" (初恋峠でゲラゲラポー, "First Love's Pass Gera Gera Po) by King Cream Soda (Yo-kai Watch 2: Honke, anime eps. 38–46 evens, 48–50, 53–61 odds)
  • "Gerappo Dance Train" (ゲラッポ・ダンストレイン, Gerappo Dansutorein) by King Cream Soda (Yo-kai Watch 2: Shinuchi, anime eps. 63–76)
  • "Tomaranai Aka" (止まらない赤, "Unstoppable Red") by King Cream Soda (Yo-kai Watch Busters: Aka Neko-dan)
  • "Shiroi Ikakūka" (白いイカクウカ, "Eat White Squid") by King Cream Soda (Yo-kai Watch Busters: Shiro Inu-tai)
  • "Shake Shake Ōgon no Shake" (Shake Shake 黄金のShake, "Shake Shake The Golden Salmon") by King Cream Soda (Yo-kai Watch Busters: Getto-gumi)
  • "Jinsei Dramatic" (人生ドラマティック, Jinsei Doramatikku, "A Life Dramatic") by King Cream Soda (anime eps. 77–101)
  • "Terukuni Jinja no Kumade" (照国神社の熊手, "Terukuni jinja's Rake") by King Cream Soda (anime eps. 102–129)
  • "You Got a Otomodachi" (ゆーがらお友達, Yūgara Otomodachi, "You've Got Friends") by King Cream Soda (Yo-kai Watch 3: Sushi, anime eps. 130–150)
  • "Dokuritsu Sengen" (独立宣言, "Declaration of Independence") by King Cream Soda (Yo-kai Watch 3: Tempura)
  • "Banzai! Aizenkai!" (ばんざい!愛全開!) by King Cream Soda (Yo-kai Watch 3: Sukiyaki, anime eps. 151-178)
Ending themes:
  • "Yo-kai Taiso Dai-Ichi" (ようかい体操第一, Yōkai Taisō Dai-Ichi, "Yo-kai Exercise No. 1") by Maiko (Yo-kai Watch game), Dream5 (anime eps. 1–24), King Cream Soda (Yo-kai Watch: Soratobu Kujira to Double no Sekai no Daibōken da Nyan!)
  • "Dan Dan Doobie Zubah!" (ダン・ダン ドゥビ・ズバー!, Dan Dan Dubi Zubā!) by Sergeant Burly and King Cream Soda (Yo-kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits and Fleshy Souls), Sergeant Burly and Dream5 (anime eps. 25–47, 50)
  • "Kuwagata to Kabutomushi" (クワガタとカブトムシ, "Stag Beetle and Rhinoceros Beetle") by King Cream Soda (Yo-kai Watch 2: Shinuchi)
  • "Geragerapō Sōkyoku" (ゲラゲラポー走曲, "Gera Gera Po Medley") by Yo-kai King Dream Soda (King Cream Soda with Dream5, and Lucky Ikeda) (anime eps. 48–49, TV Tokyo broadcast, Yo-kai Watch: Tanjō no Himitsu da Nyan!)
  • "Idol wa Ooh-Nya-Nya no Ken" (アイドルはウーニャニャの件, Aidoru wa Ūnyanya no Ken, "Idols are a Matter of Ooh-Nya-Nya") by NyaKB (Haruka Shimazaki, Jurina Matsui, Sakura Miyawaki, Rina Kawaei, Yuria Kizaki, Rena Kato, Mako Kojima) with Tsuchinoko Panda (Yuko Sasamoto) (anime eps. 51–67)
  • "Yo-kai Taisō Dai-Ni" (ようかい体操第二, Yōkai Taisō Dai-Ni, "Yo-kai Exercise No. 2") by Dream5 (anime eps. 68–76)
  • "Yoka Yoka Lullaby" (よかよかララバイ, Yoka Yoka Rarabai) by King Cream Soda with Jibanyan (Etsuko Kozakura) and USApyon (Kotori Shigemoto) (Yo-kai Watch: Enma Daiō to Itsutsu no Monogatari da Nyan!)
  • "Uchū Dance!" (宇宙ダンス!, Uchū Dansu!, "Space Dance!") by Kotori with Stitchbird (Yo-kai Busters: Aka Neko-dan & Shiro Inu-tai, anime eps. 77–101, Yo-kai Watch: Enma Daiō to Itsutsu no Monogatari da Nyan!)
  • "Chikyujin" (地球人, Chikyūjin, "Earthling") by Kotori with Stitchbird (anime eps. 102–129)
  • "Furusato Japon" (ふるさとジャポン, "Hometown Japan") by LinQ (Yo-kai Watch 3: Sushi and Tempura, anime eps. 130–150)
  • "Treasure" (トレジャー, Torejā, "Treasure") by LinQ (Yo-kai Watch 3: Sukiyaki, anime eps. 151-178)

EnglishEdit

Opening themes:

  • "Gera Gera Po Song (English Ver.)", performed by Peter Michail and Kathryn Lynn[61] (anime eps. 1–9, 11–17 odds)
  • "Yo-kai Watch feat. Swampy Marsh", performed by Jeff "Swampy" Marsh and Danny Jacob (game, anime eps. 10–16 evens, 18–present)
  • "Yo-kai Watch feat. Swampy Marsh (Rock Remix)", performed by Jeff "Swampy" Marsh and Danny Jacob; Remix by William Anderson (Yo-kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits)
  • "Yo-kai Watch feat. Swampy Marsh (Rap Remix)", performed by Peter Michail; Remix by (Yo-kai Watch 2: Fleshy Souls)
  • "Yo-kai Watch feat. Swampy Marsh" (lyrics altered), performed by Jeff "Swampy" Marsh and Danny Jacob; Remix by William Anderson (Yo-kai Watch: The Movie)

Ending themes:

  • "Yo-kai Exercise No. 1 (English Ver.)", performed by Melissa Hutchison & Alicyn Packard[62] (game, anime eps 1–35)
  • "Don-Don-Dooby-Zoo-Bah! (English Ver.)", performed by Melissa Hutchison, Alicyn Packard, & Brent Pendergrass (Yo-kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits and Fleshy Souls, anime eps 36–present)
  • "Yo-kai Medley", performed by Peter Michail, Kathryn Lynn, Melissa Huthcison, Alicyn Packard, & Brent Pendergrass (with various voice actors) (Yo-kai Watch: The Movie)
  • "Kuwagata to Kabutomushi" (instrumental) by King Cream Soda (Yo-kai Watch: The Movie)

MerchandiseEdit

 
DX Youkai Watch "Type-Zero" Japanese

Various toys, such as the eponymous Yo-kai Watch and Yo-kai Medals, have been produced based on the series, receiving high commercial success.[63] Hasbro released a toy line based on the series worldwide in December 2015.[64] In July 2016, Square Enix's MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn held a special crossover event lasting until October which allowed players to gather Medals from existing in-game battles and exchange them for minions modeled after the franchise's titular Yo-kai as well as weapons inspired by them.[65]

ReceptionEdit

Critical receptionEdit

The original Yo-kai Watch game received a score of 36/40 from Famitsu,[61] with its sequel Yo-kai Watch 2 also scoring 36/40.[62] Yo-kai Watch 2 won the Grand Prize in the Japan Game Awards. It also won 3 other awards: The Best Sales Award, and two Excellence Awards (for the 2nd game and its third version.)[66] In 2014, Yo-kai Watch's manga in CoroCoro Comic won the 38th Kodansha Manga Award in the Best Children's Manga category.[64] In the following year, it also was awarded the Best Children's manga at the 60th Shogakukan Manga Awards.[65]

PopularityEdit

“While I did believe that it would get its break, honestly, to have it come this far, where the children of Japan would get so hopped-up on youkai, to the point where all the goods would sell out, is something I didn’t expect,” 
Akihiro Hino on Yo-kai Watch's popularity in Japan[67]

Japan "Yo-kai Watch Boom"Edit

 
Seibu Series train: Yo-Kai Watch
2014Edit

When the anime first aired, in 2014, the franchise became really popular in Japan. By February, the first game, which originally sold only 53,654 copies, was at over 500,000 shipped[68] and the anime was surpassing Pokémon in the TV rankings;being compared to it[69] and being dubbed the "Pokémon Killer"[70] By the second game's release, the first game had sold 1,195,287 copies and the second game surpassed that at release it's release, at 1,316,707 copies. The third version also impressed, at 1,244,171 units.[71]

Even the president of Level 5, Akihiro Hino, was surprised by Yo-kai Watch's popularity.[72] They were the second most popular characters in Japan, in a survey by Video Research Ltd.[73] Explanations for its popularity ranged from catchy songs and dances,[74] to being something parents and kids could enjoy together,[75] to "weird adults" not being interested in it.[76] Hino himself said that it was the relatable characters and situations relatable to modern kids that made it popular.[77]

This also translated into toy sales, racking in 55.2 billion yen for Namco Bandai.[78] Yo-kai Watch toys where frequently out of stock; people having to wait in lotteries to get a Yo-kai Watch and search hard for medals.[79] Other merchandise had to wait longer because of the long licensing wait times.[80] This demand made it the second highest product in Nikkei Trendy that year.[81]

It was a top seller in many other areas as well: The Youkai Watch Guide was the number one book in 2014,[82] its first theme song, Geragerapo no Uta, was the number 50 song on the Oricon Singles Chart,[83] and the movie had the highest opening of any Japanese film since 2000.[84] Yo-kai Watch even had a special segment on Kohaku Uta Gassen,[85] Japan's most viewed music program.[86]

2015-PresentEdit

By 2015, sales had started to fall to numbers ranging from around a quarter to 1/8 of what they were last year. Prices were cut[87] and there was less visible excitement among children.[88] By the time the third games were released, in 2016, it was on a downward slope with the game launching with about half of what the second games did, with 632,135 units[89] and the third version of the game launched with half of what the first versions sold with 337,979 units.[90] The toy sales where 10.4 billion yen in toy sales and estimated to be at 6.3 billion yen in 2017[91]

Analysts had a few theories on why Yo-kai Watch was falling. Ken Hōri of The Business Journal and Ollie Barder of Forbres thought it was mainly distribution issues; products that were ordered from the summer vacation where over stocked, because of the six-month waiting period for copyright approvals. Another reason he had was that the toys had incompatible medals with later watches, leading to a loss of interest.[92][93] Barder and Sato of Siliconera also mentioned oversaturation, with it being Sato's main focus.[94]

EuropeEdit

Yo-kai Watch is also popular in Europe, with the original title's sales out pacing the Japanese release as of October. It is especially popular in Spain and France, with the toy's selling well there.[95]

Reactions to CensorshipEdit

There has been criticism of the way the Yo-kai Watch has been edited when the series was broadcast in the USA and the UK. A review of the series on Anime UK News highlighted cuts made. For example, in Season 1, Episode 6: "In the original version, Nate is hosting a sleepover with his friends Bear and Eddie and together, the three of them discretly watch a late night TV show featuring the idol group 'Next HarMEOWny' frolicking at a water park, with the Yo-kai Signibble constantly changing the channel, much to their chagrin. This scene was already edited for the North American broadcast, adding additional clothing to the idols and changing the alternate show from a body-builder series to a cooking show, but Cartoon Network [UK] went a step further for the UK broadcast and removed all references to the idol group, leading viewers to believe that Nate and his friends were sneaking around at night to watch a cooking show with Signibble occasionally turning off the TV, leaving us with a story more unrealistic than the franchise's core premise." The same review also highlights other changes including: "forty seconds of cuts in the second episode relating to a toilet humour-driven storyline and a brief cut from the third showing Manjimutt, a Yo-kai with a person's face and a toy poodle's body, urinating on a lamppost – which changes the implication of his arrest seconds later."[96]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Yo-kai Watch (妖怪ウォッチ, Yōkai Wotchi, lit. Spirit/Monsters Watch)

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit