The next big thing from Japan is ready for the USA!
It’s difficult to overstate just how huge Yo-kai is in Japan. Now powerhouses like Nintendo, Disney XD, Hasbro and VIZ Media have teamed up to bring Yo-kai Watch to the U.S, based on an original concept from top Japanese entertainment company LEVEL-5, Inc.
But what is a Yo-kai anyway? Is it a spirit? A monster? A ghost? Nope – a Yo-kai is … well, it’s just a Yo-kai! You might not see them because they’re invisible, but they’re all around you every day. And they’re often mischievous, mysterious pranksters who like to make trouble for you. Lose your homework, can’t keep a secret or find yourself running late to everything? Yo-kai probably made you do it. The Yo-kai are based on common concerns kids have. By confronting those concerns, kids can learn to overcome them.
“The strength of the Yo-kai franchise demands strong partners,” said Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America’s Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing. “Our Nintendo 3DS system is the perfect platform to bring this fun, one-of-a-kind video game experience to life.”
On Nov. 6, Nintendo will launch the YO-KAI WATCH game for its portable Nintendo 3DS system. You explore the world in the game using your Yo-kai Watch to discover more than 200 Yo-kai, then befriend them and turn them into a team to battle other Yo-kai. Each Yo-kai has its own unique skills and strengths, so you must use them to challenge troublemaking Yo-kai and help people in the game solve their daily problems. In Japan, the three YO-KAI WATCH 2 games accounted for three of the six best-selling console and hand-held games in Japan for 2014.
Commenting on the launch, Akihiro Hino, President of LEVEL-5, Inc., said, “When we first started exploring concepts for the YO-KAI WATCH universe, we immersed ourselves in learning about situations confronting kids in their everyday lives. This world – a child’s complicated, scary, confusing, exiting and very funny world – is the foundation of our IP, and the Nintendo game really captures this essence, along with the colorful and often amusing Yo-kai behind it all!”
This fall, Disney XD and other Disney XD-branded platforms will debut the animated comedy series based on Yo-kai. The show follows the hilarious misadventures of an average human boy and his involvement with the mischievous Yo-kai all around him. Our young hero obtains a special watch, empowering him to discover and summon Yo-kai, befriend them and then work together to solve everyday problems … problems that are often caused by other troublemaking Yo-kai!
On Nov. 3, VIZ Media’s Perfect Square imprint will launch the YO-KAI WATCH manga, written and drawn by Noriyuki Konishi. The YO-KAI WATCH manga will be rated ‘A’ for All Ages and will be available exclusively in print on a bi-monthly basis.
“The kinetic artwork and relatable cast of characters will make the YO-KAI WATCH manga series the perfect complement to the growing momentum behind this dynamic property,” says Beth Kawasaki, Perfect Square’s Senior Editorial Director.
This January, Hasbro will introduce innovative play experiences for the Yo-kai Watch franchise in North America and Australia, expanding to additional global markets by the end of 2016. Hasbro’s line will include toys and games centered around collectible medals, each representing a unique Yo-kai. “We look forward to introducing kids to the amazing Yo-kai Watch franchise through play experiences that give them the fantasy of befriending the Yo-kai characters and participating in their mischievous adventures,” said Jerry Perez, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Hasbro.
In Japan, the TV program has been the top-rated animated show on TV TOKYO for kids 4-12 years old. The franchise has more than $2 billion in retail merchandise sales, including games, music and publishing. More than 8 million units of Nintendo 3DS video games have been sold.