The Yo-kai Watch anime (Japanese: 妖怪ウォッチ アニメ Yōkai Wotchi Anime) is a Japanese comedy-action-adventure animated series based on the Yo-kai Watch franchise, which is aimed primarily towards children. It ran from January 8, 2014 to March 30, 2018 in Japan, for 214 episodes and three feature-length movies.
The anime primarily focuses on Nathan Adams, who meets Whisper after he was sealed away in a capsule for 190 years. Along the way, he meets Jibanyan and goes on to find other Yo-kai that are known behind various daily occurrences. This adaptation is very loosely based on the video game and manga, as they take place in separate continuities.
The anime series has proved to be very popular in Japan, especially at the time when Yo-kai Watch 2 started to become popular. It has also managed to capture the attention of all age groups, with it's slice-of-life humor and creative writing.
The series would see a western release on October 5, 2015 in Disney XD, in the United States and eventually in other countries later on.
The Yo-kai Watch anime is based on the video games, and the manga to a lesser extent. Throughout the run, almost all of the Yo-kai and characters were present with some of them getting an episode dedicated to the Yo-kai or separate segments focused on other Yo-kai, most notably revolving around Komasan.
Episodes are split into multiple parts which is similar to that of Western children cartoons; however, the parts are usually in uneven times with each other, some even played as "cold opens" before the opening theme.
The anime is directed by Shinji Ushiro, and produced by Yoshikazu Kuretani and Kiyofumi Kajiwara. The story is written by Yoichi Kato and the music is arranged by Ken'ichirō Saigō. The episodes were produced at OLM.
Throughout the original Japanese series run, it has managed to run for three seasons in the span of almost four years. New episodes were regularly aired every week on Fridays on the Japanese television TV Tokyo. However, some episodes air at different dates.
The animated series of Yo-kai Watch has managed to ramp up to 214 episodes, which are all split into three seasons in the original adaptation. Each of them ran for around seventy episodes.
The Korean dub began running on Tooniverse on October 28, 2014. In this dub, the characters and settings are localized to take place in South Korea. The series is currently in its fourth and final season and will be wrapping up in October 2018, likely to be followed up by Yo-kai Watch Shadowside.
A numerous amount of segments and episodes were cut from the series' run, most often due to obscene content and explicit references to Japanese culture/folklore.
At one point in 2015, the series began rerunning on Disney Channel Korea.
An Asian-English version of the series aired on Teletoon in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand in 2015. Unlike the Western-English dub, it keeps almost all of the Japanese signage and edits while the dialogue retains all of the verbal tics, Japanese names, and Japanese opening/ending themes.
The dub is produced entirely uncut over the Japanese visuals, with the networks it airs on making edits as they are needed to comply to local standards and laws. It is known to have aired at least 100 episodes, but due to the shutdown of Toonami Asia, it is currently on hiatus.
The anime series has went on to air on Disney XD in the United States on October 5, 2015, a month before the North American release date of Yo-kai Watch video game. It also airs on the Canadian channel Teletoon.
In addition to airing on Disney XD, episodes were released on the official Yo-kai Watch YouTube channel every Thursday. The anime also aired on the Disney XD block on Disney Channel at December 18, 2015, which marks the first Disney XD series to air on another channel that isn't an original program.
The anime also broadcasted across channels in European, Middle Eastern and African territories starting from Spring 2016, after the anime became a success in North America.
On December 16, 2017, Brent Pendergrass confirmed that he would no longer be participating in any Yo-kai Watch-related projects, even though he didn't state any reasons.
Three days later, Joey D'Auria, who is best known for voicing Whisper confirmed that all of the Yo-kai Watch anime voice actors were recast  due to budget cuts. This led to the fans worrying about the voice actors sounding not as they want it to be and Yo-kai Watch Blasters having to handle a longer delay.
When Blasters was announced, it was confirmed that the original voice actors reprised their roles after months of no news and that the anime series would have a new cast, with SDI Media taking over. Sometime before Season 3 premiered on Disney XD in the United States, some of the new voice actors shared their roles all over social media.
Reaction & Reception
The voice actor recast for the Yo-kai Watch anime series proved to be somewhat controversial in the fandom. While some of the fans took a liking to the new voice, others didn't like them at all. The most notable example is Whisper, whose voice sounds the most different from his last English dub portrayal.
The negative reception piled up even more when the dub edits started to degrade in quality, such as blanking out signs rather than translating some of them, leaving Japanese-language errors present in various scenes and censoring out Usapyon's Invader Mode. None of those were present in the European dubs, as they were handled by a different company.
Some of the episodes were also reordered for unknown reasons, and as of now, several segments have been presumed to be skipped. The reordering has proved to be controversial, to the point of the official Twitter account poking fun at it.
- Main article: List of Yo-kai Watch episodes
|M01||Yo-kai Watch: the Movie (Japanese: 映画 妖怪ウォッチ 誕生の秘密だニャン! Yōkai Wotchi: Tanjō no Himitsu da Nyan!)||December 20, 2014|
|M02||Yo-kai Watch the Movie: King Enma and the Five Stories, Meow! (Japanese: 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!)||December 19, 2015|
|M03||Yo-kai Watch the Movie: The Great Adventure of the Flying Whale & the Double World, Nyan! (Japanese: 映画 妖怪ウォッチ 空飛ぶクジラとダブル世界の大冒険だニャン！ Eiga Yōkai Wotchi: Soratobu Kujira to Daburu Sekai no Dai-bōken da-nyan!)||December 17, 2016|