Yokai Watch toys come West in 2016

One of the first games I played when I bought a Japanese 3DS a year ago was Yokai Watch. Yokai Watch tells the story of a boy named Keita or a girl called Famika who gain the ability to see various different Yokai, which are ghost-type creatures that are haunting people and causing mischief. Along with a Yokai companion called Whisper and the mystical Yokai Watch, the player must befriend good Yokai and summon them to battle against bad ones. It’s one of the Japanese games I enjoyed the most, and more then once I wished for it to come West, so that I could really understand the story behind the game. (see my experiences here)

Yokai watch, toys, hasbro, plushLevel 5 really has a huge hit on their hands with this game. In 2012 Japan’s popular CoroCoro Comic magazine published a manga called Yokai Watch as a sort of preview for the 3DS game. The first one was released in July 2013, and it’s success sparked a lot of interest. In January 2014 the anime series started airing, and two manga adaptations have been made. We already had confirmation that the name had been trademarked for the west, so it’s only a matter of time before we can finally play the games, and most likely watch the series, in the West.

So, now we have some more news: the anime show will be coming to America and Europe later this year, and now Hasbro has announced that they will be helping to develop and launch a line of toys for the series in North America, Latin America, Europe, New Zealand, and Australia in 2016. I’m expecting some news about the video game too in the near future..I hope…

Yokai Watch, Bakurobaa, jibanyan, pokemon,It will be interesting to see how we react here in the West to this phenomenon, because these Yokai are based on Japanese folklore. The word Yokai is made up of the Kanji for bewitching, attractive and apparition, suspicious and mysterious. They range from the malevolent to the mischievous, and they sometimes bring good fortune to those who encounter them. Often you see some animal form in them, but sometimes they appear human too (I personally find those to be a bit disturbing). Plus there are Yokai that look more like everyday objects. Come to think of it, maybe the inspiration for Pokémon wasn’t far off from these Yokai either!

So will these toys be a hit here in the West, where the folklore behing the Yokai means nothing to us? I do believe so, Pokémon paved the way, and these Level 5 games are really very entertaining. They use cross media to make sure that in no time the Yokai will be well known, and the games are good quality, like we have come to expect from Level 5. Kids will love it, and when kids love it, how can parents resist the pleas for yet another plush toy or new disk to put in their watch?


  1. I am definitely looking forward to it coming to the West.

    I obviously would love to see Level 5 succeed because they have released some of my favourite games like Dragon Quest VIII, the Layton Series and Ni no Kuni, amongst others.

    It will be interesting to see how close it will come to the hype in Japan.
    I am sure it won’t be as big here, but I think it could still be pretty successful if all pieces fall into the right place.

    1. I agree, it could be pretty successful. Look at Pokemon, before the hype started who could have thought it would be such a success here in the west. Everybody wanted to catch them all, people from all ages. Yokai Watch has the same potential I think, with all this cross media attention.

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