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With the recent Western launch of Yo-Kai Watch 3 I've had a lot of from people who ask me if it is worthwhile to get into the series. Short answer? "Yes."

Although the popularity has dropped outside Japan, the franchise has completed its first arc for most purposes. Nothing has been canceled, just packed and reworked in the more paved future-changing Shadowside & # 39; storyline; who already has a new anime series and who will debut this year in Japan on the Nintendo Switch.

Because I will ask the above question time and time again during that launch, I thought it would be nice to have a central hub to refer to.

Where do you start? Everywhere

The best place to jump into the series is with the 3DS trilogy. You can find the first for about $ 20 and the second game, which was launched with two "versions" (think of it Pokemon, with different creatures), now has a third ultimate edition. Yo-Kai Watch 3 is also fresh from the wagon printer after two years of waiting. Here's the thing, you can really start anywhere. There are a few in-jokes that you may not fully understand when you record Yo-Kai Watch 2 or 3 First, but with both submissions you can quickly keep up to date.

The "gimmick" of the original is really just imagine a world where yokai (which exists in Japanese folklore) is present. These impetuous minds are everything from benevolent to violent and sometimes "haunting" people to influence their behavior. Although many comparisons with Pokemon have been used in the past (including above), Yo-Kai Look distinguished by a more carefree lifelike tone. Nate Adams, the "Ash" of the series, is not always trying to save or educate the world as a world-class master fighter. It is also not afraid to enter into more adult themes or to make a self-conscious incentive in consumerism.

Sometimes your quest is to get ice and be back before going to bed. Or to solve a ghostly person and make a friend on the way by their medal & # 39; to get hold of and add them to your party. It is all rather unpredictable and yet chill, and that's why I'm so attracted to it. Yo-Kai Look is satisfied with slowing things down barely enough so you can enjoy the countryside of Japan and laugh as you do it: that is a rare gift.

The gimmick of the second game means that you traveled to Japan 60 years ago and you can start over there again, because the core of the original is summarized in the first few hours. If fighting is really important to you (it's for me, sure, but I prefer worldbuilding in the first place in an RPG), you want to start with Yo-Kai Watch 3. The first two entries contain a more simplistic fighting system that you may find too passive. Other current western releases include Yo-Kai Watch Blasters, an action-oriented spinoff with a mixed reception. I would wait to see if you hold all three main entries before you dive in (Yo-Kai Watch 3 also has an adapted, more engaging form of Busters baked in the storyline).

Here are our reviews for Yo-Kai Watch, Yo-Kai Watch 2, Yo-Kai Watch 3 and the first Busters (known as Blasters in the West).

What should you check out after one of the games?

Your first stop is the anime.

Currently you can stream the inaugural season and the original movie on Netflix, although the show is being broadcast on Disney XD. I recommend viewing the movie after you have completed the first season. Then you have to look up the remaining two seasons (most of which are for sale on Amazon Video). The original run of the anime aired between 2014 and 2018 in Japan and consists of 214 episodes of about 20 minutes, most of which have multiple storylines or short films.

After the OG story, Level-5 continued with the above Shadowside show that the children of Nate and many of the same characters are characteristic, slightly more formal and more focused on action. Shadowside, as well as the second, third, fourth and fifth films are not released in the west. The fourth film is a lead-in for this new generation and the fifth is a prequel.

Why did not it succeed in the west?

The reasons why Yo-Kai Look Do not break beyond Japan include, but are not limited to: the fact that Japanese folklore always had a limited attraction in the West, that Level-5 took too long between localized releases and did not strike while the iron was hot, there were too many cooks in the kitchen and too many licenses to juggle with the enormous fast cross-media push, different toys-SKUs caused confusion in Japan and distributed collectors and of course … luck.

Originally Yo-Kai Look debuted in Japan in 2013 and reached its peak a year later in 2014, when the sequel arrived. When I was in Japan at the time, I saw this boom with my own eyes: there were more Yo-Kai Look ads and merchandising that flow in the streets of Tokyo than any other property, Pokemon including. Even people I spoke to who did not play games were aware of the series and knew about Jibanyan, the cat mascot. The infectivity of the main theme helped and many people around the world are already aware of some creatures such as the Kappa and the Tengu, who have spread in the regular culture. Disney World has even had an exhibition for years in the Japanese part of Epcot with different yokai.

The reality began in the west in mid-2016, when the first game was released in North America and put 400,000 units on 3DS. Level 5 noticed that the figure was "below expectations", but was still satisfied. By comparison, it exceeds the 1.3 million mark in just over a year in Japan. Level 5 had to dampen their expectations and cut costs.

Hasbro was the first to leave and left the toy line in North America in 2017. Contracts were reworked for the English cast of the anime and replaced by a new production company for season three. Yo-Kai Watch Dance, Sangokushi (the cool looking SRPG Three Kingdoms spin-off), and Yo-Kai Watch Blasters 2 stay alone in Japan, along with a lot of mobile games.

What does the future offer for the series?

Yo-Kai Look is still alive and well, although the fourth game about Switch will in many ways decide whether the fate of the series will be sealed in Japan (that is, if a localization is even announced).

From a growth of 55.2 billion yen in 2014 to less than six billion yen in the past few years is no failure. As I stated above, it only means that Level-5 must re-evaluate its "open the lock doors" style in the past, based on so many other external parties and sticking to what works. At the moment, numbered games appear in the west with Nintendo's collaboration, which has stuck with them for the past four years. Outside of Japan toys (and series) also perform very well in some parts of Europe and Animax Asia has the rest of the original anime series and Shadowside. There is a market, it is simply not as treacherous as expected.

Shadowside seems to be the future of the series. The idea this time is that every Yokai has a "light and dark" shape, making them fun or frightening in the blink of an eye. Think of it as the series that reaches her Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban moment. After seeing the show, I think it usually works (even if it is not as good as the original), and the reception at fairs for Yo-Kai Watch 4 is overwhelmingly positive in the light of a delayed launch (just look at this screen with the majesty of Japan in the background: it's something like Ni No Kuni nice level, that Level-5 also processed).

I am almost completely entangled in the original anime run and am aware of all localized games. If Yo-Kai Look will relegate to Japan in the future, I will be disappointed, but it is perfectly logical. Only because that happens does not that mean Yo-Kai Look is not worth it to join.

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