The early 2000s were a great time to be a kid. Because that’s the century when anime finally hit it big in the west. Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z, Digimon and MEDAAAAAAAAAAAAABOTS were a huge part of my weekday afternoons, before I graduated to more badass shows such as Bleach, Naruto and D. Gray Man, before traumatising my young mind with a SyFy showing of Urotsokodoji. It’s been a while since any other anime has created a massive bust and sent parents spiralling into bankruptcy thanks to some pricy merchandise. Expect Yo-Kai Watch to start that vicious cycle all over again when it hits the west.
Yo-kai Watch developer Level-5 have inked a deal to bring the mega-popular Japanese franchise to new audiences. A series of Nintendo 3DS games, Yo-Kai Watch follows protagonist Keito Amano/ Fumika Kodama as they keep mysterious Yo-Kai creatures from causing havoc and mischief with the help if their own Yokai, through the use of a Yo-Kai watch. It’s essentially a new generation of Pokémon then. In Japan alone, the franchise has sold over 6.5 million 3DS games.
Beyond the obvious comparisons however, Yo-Kai Watch has a completely different set of gameplay mechanics, that have helped spin it off into a hit anime series as well as various toys and other merchandise. It was a property that was going to show up in the western markets sooner or later, with Hasbro winning the distribution rights for a potentially mega-lucrative new property to pimp out. In fact, they’ll be bringing all of the merch with them. So parents, start saving up, because your kids won’t shut up about it once it hits your screens.
Last Updated: February 16, 2015