Level-5’s Yo-Kai Watch has become a huge hit in the land of the rising sun. Initially a video game and a manga series, the adventures of Keita Amano and Jibanyan have grown to an ongoing television anime, a theatrical film, trading cards, toys and more merchandise than you can list. What’s more surprising than this growth is the success the brand has seen. The Nintendo 3DS video games have sold over 7 million units in Japan and the anime has become a fixture on the most watched list. It’s gotten to the point where kids and parents wait in line for hours for a chance to get the latest shipment of Yo-Kai Watch toys.
So, what is Yo-Kai Watch? Not entirely dissimilar to Pokémon, Yo-Kai Watch is a series centred around monsters living in our world. They cause all sorts of mischief, from making you wake up late for school to giving you a cold! Why hasn’t someone done something about the Yo-Kai? They can’t see them. Only a boy named Keita can, and it’s up to him and his group of Yo-Kai to help those in need.
Now the Japanese phenomenon is headed to the west! Level-5 has announced a global expansion plan for Yo-Kai Watch. Starting in September, Viz Media will begin publishing the manga. Then the anime, toys and video games will follow. The anime will be handled by Dentsu Entertainment, while Transformers maker Hasbro will handle the toys. Following their partnership with Level-5 on Professor Layton and Inazuma Eleven, Nintendo will publish the video games.
During the recent Level-5 Vision event, where the company announced a variety of Yo-Kai Watch products, the company showed off an English promo for the series:
In the promo you can hear a brief snippet of infectious “Yo-Kai Exercise Number One” ending theme dubbed into English. The Japanese version has racked up over 84 million views on Youtube.
As is often the case with these kinds of shows, some adaptation will be made to make the series sit better with western audiences. While we haven’t gotten all the info, it looks like Keita Amano will now be Nathan Adams.