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Yo-Kai Watch logo

Yo-kai Watch (Japanese: 妖怪ウォッチ Yōkai Wotchi, literally meaning; "Spirit Watch") is a series of role-playing games developed and published by Level-5. Each game has its own unique story, Yo-kai, quests, and characters. The franchise has released games and merchandise worldwide as well the animated series.

In Japan, it has managed to become one of the most popular monster-catching franchises.

History

Yokai Watch Trailer - Level 5 World 2011

Yokai Watch Trailer - Level 5 World 2011

Footage of the first Yo-kai Watch game.

The success of their three major IPs, Professor Layton, Inazuma Eleven, and Danball Senki let Level-5 to create a new IP that is meant to last for a very long time. They took a popular anime and manga series Doraemon as their influence and decided to create the IP Yo-kai Watch. Their first step into the development was to make the player explore freely and walking around in an open-world environment.

The franchise was announced at E3 in 2011, which showed the game running on the PlayStation 3. The world shown in the game was much larger than usual, even though the game ended up being re-purposed for the Nintendo 3DS. The Manga adaption of Yo-kai Watch was first released as on December 15, 2012, seven months before the game's release.

Popularity in Japan

Their first video game released in Japan and became a major success. It debuted with 53,000 sold copies in its first week and sold in total 1.29 million in 2014, which became one of the best-selling games on the Nintendo 3DS.

The sequels of the game became extremely popular and the demands in other countries than Japan were extremely high. The animation series that is based on the game became one of the most-watched animated series in Japan, mostly ending in the top ten of the rates alongside with other popular animation series such as: Detective Conan, One Piece, Pokémon and Doraemon.

The franchise gained as well numerous of crossovers in Japan with popular characters from other franchises. The popularity in Japan leads Yo-kai Watch to become a phenomenal creation, as it became quickly a multi-billion franchise.

As of July 2016, the franchise has known to sell exactly 10,438,903 copies in Japan alone, which excludes digital sales.[1]

Release in the West

North America

When Yo-kai Watch 2 became one of the best-selling games in Japan, the western audience was interested in the franchise. This caused plans to release the game worldwide, as announced in April 2015. More information was shown off at the Electronic Entertainment Expo later this year and the New York Comic Con detailing the game, merchandise and English-dubbed anime releases.

The first game would eventually come out in North America, Australia and South Korea at the end of 2015, with Europe getting it a few months later in 2016. It managed to get positive reviews from video game critics, for the detailed environment and unique battle system. Yo-kai Watch only managed to sell 360,000 copies (as of 2017) in North America while 650,000 were sold in Europe and Australia.

In 2015, the first game was released in North America, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. In 2016, Europe received the first game during the Spring. The animation of the series aired as well in west, with only one season and as well a second season. The anime is revealed to be very popular in the west. The low sales of the first game led Level-5 to change their plans for North America to make the franchise popular, bringing events in North America ahead of Japan.

The English-dubbed Yo-kai Watch anime series debuted in the United States on October 5, 2015 on Disney XD. To make things more understandable or suitable for western audiences, several lines of dialogue and themes had to be edited. Despite the negative reception from purists, it still managed to be one of Disney XD's most-watched television shows. After the anime debuted in the United States, it would soon start airing in other western territories throughout 2016.

Europe and Australia

The game are very popular in France and Spain, which the game even received high demands from the customers. The situation in Europe has led that Yo-kai Watch 2, will be debuting in Russia, which also the European marketing of the franchise has different plans than the North American markets and promoting the franchise in different countries.

Games

Main series

Boxart Title Japanese title Release date
Yokai-watch-boxart Yo-kai Watch 妖怪ウォッチ NANovember 6, 2015
JPJuly 11, 2013
EUApril 29, 2016
AUDecember 5, 2015
KONovember 26, 2015
Yo-kai Watch 2 Bony Spirits coverYo-kai Watch 2 Fleshy Souls cover Yo-kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits and Fleshy Souls 妖怪ウォッチ2 元祖
妖怪ウォッチ2 本家
NASeptember 30, 2016
JPJuly 10, 2014
EUApril 7, 2017
AUOctober 15, 2016
KOApril 20, 2017
SpectersNewBoxart Yo-kai Watch 2: Psychic Specters 妖怪ウォッチ2 真打 NASeptember 29, 2017
JPDecember 13, 2014
EUSeptember 29, 2017
AUSeptember 30, 2017
KOSeptember 21, 2017
Yo-kai Watch 3 Sushi box artYo-kai Watch 3 Tempura box art Yo-kai Watch 3: Sushi and Tempura 妖怪ウォッチ3 スシ
妖怪ウォッチ3 テンプラ
JPJuly 16, 2016

Side series

Boxart Title Japanese title Release date
Yo-kai Watch Blasters (Red Cat Corps) NA CoverYo-kai Watch Blasters (White Dog Squad) NA Cover Yo-kai Watch Blasters: Red Cat Corps and White Dog Squad 妖怪ウォッチバスターズ 赤猫団
妖怪ウォッチバスターズ 白犬隊
JPJuly 11, 2015
KOApril 19, 2018
WWSeptember 7, 2018
None Yo-kai Watch Busters: Moon Rabbit Crew 妖怪ウォッチバスターズ 月兎組 JPDecember 12, 2015

Collaboration series

Boxart Title Japanese title Release date
YWD JP Cover Yo-kai Watch Dance: Just Dance Special Version 妖怪ウォッチダンス:ジャストダンス特別版 JPDecember 5, 2015
Yo-kai Sangokushi Japanese boxart Yo-kai Sangokushi 妖怪三国志 JPApril 2, 2016

Mobile series

Icon Title Japanese title Release date
Icon175x175 Yo-Kai Taiso Dai-ichi Puzzle da nyan 妖怪ウォッチダンス:ジャストダンス特別版 JPJuly 16, 2013
Yo-kai Watch Wibble Wobble icon Yo-kai Watch: Wibble Wobble 妖怪ウォッチ ぷにぷに Android:
NAMarch 24, 2016
JPOctober 21, 2015
EUMarch 30, 2017
KOJune 23, 2016

iOS:
NAMarch 24, 2016
JPOctober 28, 2015
EUMarch 30, 2017
KOJune 23, 2016

Yo-kai Watch Land icon Yo-kai Watch Land NAJanuary 3, 2016
None Yo-kai Daijiten 妖怪大辞典 JP2017
Yo-kai Watch Gerapo Rhythm icon Yo-kai Watch: Gerapo Rhythm 妖怪ウォッチ ゲラポリズム JPMay 11, 2018
Yo-kai Watch World 妖怪ウォッチワールド JPJune 27, 2018

Regional box art differences

Main series

Title Japan America Europe South Korea
Yo-kai Watch Yo-Kai Watch Japanese cover art Yokai-watch-boxart Yo-kai Watch EU cover Yo-kai Watch (South Korea) cover
Yo-kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits Yo-kai Watch Honke cover Yo-kai Watch 2 Bony Spirits cover YW2BSEURBoxart YokaiWatch2KRGanso
Yo-kai Watch 2: Fleshy Souls Yo-kai Watch Ganso cover Yo-kai Watch 2 Fleshy Souls cover YW2FSEURBoxart YokaiWatch2KRHonke
Yo-kai Watch 2: Psychic Specters Yo-kai Watch Shin-uchi cover SpectersNewBoxart YW2PSEUBoxart Yo-kai Watch 2 Shin-uchi (South Korea) cover

Spin-off Games

Title Japan America Europe South Korea
Yo-kai Watch Blasters: Red Cat Corps Yo-kai Watch Red Cat Yo-kai Watch Blasters (Red Cat Corps) NA Cover YWBlastersRCCEuropeanEnglishBoxart YWBustersRedCatKoreanBoxart
Yo-kai Watch Blasters: White Dog Squad Yo-kai Watch White Dog Yo-kai Watch Blasters (White Dog Squad) NA Cover YWBlastersWDSEuropeanEnglishBoxart YWBustersWhiteDogKoreanBoxart


References

  1. Yo-Kai Watch Sells More Than 10 Million Copies in Japan

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