Okay so this post is a little bit weird. Normally I review video games and every now and again I review movies. So what are we looking at today? An anime. We'll be making Dr. Alphys proud.
So in case you never heard of Yo-Kai Watch, it's the "Pokemon Killer". And by that I mean this series gets compared to Pokemon ALL. THE. TIME. Before we begin with the actual review keep in mind I have only watched season 1 because I do not get Disney Channel and even then I have only watched (heh, Watch-ed) the English Dub because I cannot stand watching Subbed Anime. So keep in mind there are some minor differences in the transition from Japanese to English (like the lovable teddy bear Komasan getting a Southern accent).
So what actually is Yo-Kai Watch? It's a very popular video game series in Japan that spawned THOUSANDS of merchandise, manga, and of course anime. However, I cannot play the game since I do not own a 3DS. Seriously, why are all the mega hit games on handheld?
So we are checking out the anime.... English version, because Subtitles annoy me and make it impossible to see what the heck is going on. But that's just me.
The story behind this series? Once upon a time there was a kid named Nate (in the games you could also play as his love interest Katie if you wanted to) who goes bug-hunting to prove he can actually be good at something (a running joke in the show is that everyone mocks Nate for being average at best for literally everything). While bug-hunting, Nate finds a capsule machine in the middle of the forest. Said capsule machine then starts singing to him, demanding to be fed a coin. Nate, out of curiosity, inserts a coin into the capsule machine and guess who comes out.
A Yo-Kai named Whisper comes out, and after being shown the most disrespect you can give a ghost butler ever, teaches Nate about the titular characters. The Yo-Kai themselves are interesting in the sense that with a few exceptions, ALL of the Yo-Kai are based off a Japanese myth. Bonus Points for leaving said creatures Japanese names completely intact. Then you realize that every Yo-Kai is a ghost (Whisper literally says this aloud). Which means the Yo-Kai were alive at one time, died, and came back as a Yo-Kai. Your welcome. Oh, And Whisper gives Nate a special watch called, you guessed it, the Yo-Kai Watch which gives whoever wears it the ability to see Yo-Kai since almost all Yo-Kai can turn invisible (they ARE ghosts after all). It also lets you summon any Yo-Kai you have befriended.
The rest of the show is basically Nate and Whisper's adventures of encountering Yo-Kai that for some inexplicable reason like trolling Nate's everyday life. Yeah. That's it. Actually there was one episode that focused on the past of the mascot of Yo-Kai Watch, Jibanyan.
Speaking of Jibanyan, he somehow is cuter than Pikachu! Look at this Guy! Somebody grab a plush of him! He might be even cuter than- *gets Paws of Fury'd by Jibanyan before he can spoil the ending of Undertale*. Random fun fact!
Jibanyan (left) is based off a cat form Japanese
mythology called the Nekomata (right)
Jibanyan is one of two Yo-Kai that I consider my favorite. The other doesn't show up until about half way through Season 1 but seriously, the things he does are hilarious. Or at least I find them hilarious considering I am the only person on the planet that thinks Dilophosaurus is cute. Who else ties for favorite in my Yo-Kai shaped heart?
Kyubi. Freaking Kyubi. In addition to being based off of the coolest Japanese myth ever, he is also the most fabulous Yo-Kai ever.
Look at him! He's like if Mettaton EX had a child with Renamon (from Digimon), and THAT child had a child with Ghirahim from Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Also random fun fact! A lot of people watching the show for the first time thought that Kyubi is a girl because of how fabulous he is and the fact that yellow, white, pink, and purple is considered a feminine color scheme. It doesn't help that Kyuubi is actually voiced by a female actress. But no. Kyubi is a boy. Which makes his constant attempts to get Katie to go out with him a lot less awkward. And before you ask, yes he is trying to win the heart of Katie. He literally spent his entire debut episode *flirting with her. And failing miserably since Katie has an automatic immunity to flirting. And romance in general.
EDIT: Okay, not sure why I didn't bother mentioning this about Kyubi when I first wrote this but anyway, Kyubi is one of two Yo-Kai who cannot turn invisible, the other being a dog-human hybrid Yo-Kai called Manjimutt. And I'm pretty sure a 6 foot (I'm guessing he's 6 feet tall) fox man would get in trouble for trying to convince tween girls to go out with him. So how does the most fabulous Yo-Kai in existence hook up with cute girls and not get busted? Simple!
Kyubi is a shape-shifter. Which should be obvious since he's based off the Kitsune. Which is a Nine-Tailed Fox that can shape-shift. Now back to our regularly scheduled review of an anime.
Something I will note is the theme songs. Yes. plural. The first theme song, Gero Gero Po, is admittedly a little cheesy. But it's surprisingly catchy. And I shall give Disney bonus points for this particular song since all they did was translate the Japanese lyrics into English (the translation is really rough, though).Thus, unlike literally every anime ever, the theme song is almost exactly the same in both Japan AND North America. Sadly, about three quarters into Season 1 they changed the theme song. While it IS the song that plays when you boot up the actual game, I really don't like the second theme, since the techno really doesn't fit the overall style of the show. There was literally nothing wrong with Gero Gero Po, and it baffles me to this day why they changed the theme song when they didn't have to.
Dandoodle's got nothing on Kyubi. Sure, he got 3
women to fall head over heels for him, but Kyubi
managed to woo 99 girls before he even made his debut!
As for the graphics, it uses a somewhat standard Anime art-style. The human characters, such as Nate and Katie, look just fine in this, which is a good thing since most anime has a nasty habit of making humans look cartoon-y. The Yo-Kai, which are the main attraction of the show, are all brilliantly designed. Like I said, almost all of them are based off of Japanese mythology and folklore, and I love mythologies and folklore of different parts of the world. I like stuff like that. There is not a single Yo-Kai I don't like.
While on the subject of the Yo-Kai themselves, they have a Yo-Kai for everything! Forgot to bring your stuff to school? Yo-Kai. Suddenly got the munchies? Yo-Kai. Friends babbling out embarrassing secrets? Yo-Kai. Falling asleep at the worst possible moment? Yo-Kai. Arguing with your significant other? There are literally 7 Yo-Kai that can make people do that in several different ways. There is even a Yo-Kai that gives people the urge to use the restroom regardless if they have to or not (this show uses a LOT of bathroom humor by the way).
If only Katie knew that a fox man spent several
episodes flirting with her...
On another note, I really like how Yo-Kai Watch handles it's episodes, since the only episode you HAVE to see in order to understand what the heck is going on, is the very first episode. Every episode past that is a trio of nice, short one-off mini-episodes, and the fact that the show is a comedy first really helps the self-contained nature of the show. The thing about anime that always annoyed me was how most anime *cough cough* Dragon Ball Z *cough cough* have a tendency to drag things on for way too long.
Overall, I highly recommend this show to anyone that likes Japanese stuff or want a quick laugh. The only negative I have to say about this show is the change of the theme song. I still like Gero Gero Po a lot better than the current theme song. Granted, anime theme songs can either be extremely epic sounding (like. every opening theme in Naruto ever) or extremely cheesy (like Pokemon X/Y: The Series). I'll give it a 9.5/10.
* Before you ask, yes, Yo-Kai Watch is a children's anime first and foremost. Which might make Kyubi's romantic endeavors slightly MORE awkward.
P.S. If Kyubi managed to get 99 girls to fall in love with him, I guess you could say that they all think that Kyubi is pretty darn FOXY!!!! That is not a FN@F reference I swear.