People, this is the news we’ve all been waiting for! Well, at least, this is the news Luke Halliday and I have been waiting for. If you’ve not heard of the video game/Anime series “Yokai Watch” than we’re very disappointed in you because even though it’s a young franchise, it has quickly become one of the most beloved video game and Anime series’ of Japan, and now that this announcement has been made, it will quickly come to take over the entire world.
Originally, “Yokai Watch” was just a simple Nintendo 3DS game from the developers Level-5 who you may know have produced the games “Fantasy Life”, “Attack Of The Friday Monsters”, “Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch” and many other much-loved games. This simple 3DS title, which has been compared to that of the “Pokemon” series of video games, follows the story of a young boy or girl who comes into contact with an ancient ghost living in a gashapon machine that gifts him/her something called the “Yokai Watch”.
This watch allows the young hero to see spirits in their true form and from there his/her adventure only gets wilder as they befriend some of these ghostly apparitions but, at times, are also forced to fight them. The game grew to become very popular in almost no time at all which allowed “Yokai Watch” to continue expanding which came in the form of sequels to the game, plenty of merchandise as well as an Anime series and movie which, while not spearheaded by the video game developer, still revolves around the same characters and the same themes of friendship and the balance between the world of the living and the world of the dead.
In Japan just yesterday, the franchise’s very first film began its theatrical run and was met with an immeasurably high level of praise by audiences the country over. After the opening weekend, Level-5 president Akihiro Hino announced that the series will soon be made available for audiences to watch outside of Japan. Yes, what I’m saying is that “Yokai Watch”, in the near future, is going to be aired on television throughout North America and Europe which can only mean that, sooner or later, the West will also be getting the “Yokai Watch” series of video games, but that’s only if enough people watch the show and, let’s be honest…we know people are going to watch it.
As in any localisation, a great deal of the Yokai names will be changed when translated and dubbed in English but NOT the series mascots Whisper and Jibanyan who, for those of you not aware, are the main characters right and left hand men. Hino, during the announcement, took the chance to ask voice actors Etsuko Kozakura (Jibanyan) and Tomokazi Seki (Whisper) if they would be willing to spend the upcoming months learning English so that they can reprise their roles in the localised version of the Anime and quite possibly the video game. This is quite a bold move for any voice artist but one that, if done right, will prove to be quite a feat.
Yep, “Yokai Watch” truly has become the “next big thing” in the land of the rising sun and I have a very good feeling it’s about to be the same for the rest of the world. Now I wouldn’t go as far as to say it will overtake the popularity of “Pokemon” but, judging from Japanese numbers alone, it’s on its way to being one hell of a contender. Developed for kids and adults alike, “Yokai Watch” is a franchise that boasts the power of friendship over the power of violence but it also teaches that when push comes to shove you need to stand your ground and fight for what is right alongside those you’ve come to care for. I personally know of two people who will gladly sit in front of a television in the mornings to watch “Yokai Watch”; one is me and the other a fellow writer. My hope is that there are more in the West that feel the same way. “Yokai Watch”, welcome to the West!