Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Apr 082015

Didn’t I already write about this?

Back in February, I was thrilled to see Level-5 announce that the Pokémon-esque franchise Yokai Watch would be making its way West, but the wording left some slight room for doubt. The announcement mentioned video games, but didn’t specifically reference the existing Yokai Watch for the 3DS.

As of yesterday, the impending release of the game has become official, and it looks like the translation “Yo-kai Watch” is now official, as well.


Yo-kai Watch, which came out in 2013 in Japan, has already received multiple sequels and spin-offs in addition to the rest of the franchise. As far as we know, it is the first game that is coming to the West in 2016, and its success will probably determine whether or not we get the others. However, some people believe we are getting the newly announced Yo-kai Watch 3, rebranded as Yo-kai Watch for the West. I’ll let you know if this is clarified.

Since it’s an RPG about a boy who captures monsters and uses them to battle other monsters, it’s hard not to draw comparisons to Pokémon. However, people who have played the Japanese versions say the similarities are not as strong as they appear on the surface, particularly when it comes to gameplay.

As for the creatures themselves, while I usually describe yokai as monsters from Japanese folklore, the press release defines them as:

They are not ghosts, monsters or creatures. Yo-kai are, quite simply, Yo-kai. They cannot be seen by the human eye, but they are everywhere. Whether born from the soul of a deceased human, or an everyday object discovering its higher purpose, their personalities are distinctly humanlike.

I don’t know how true to folklore Yo-kai Watch is, but if you’re interested in learning more about mythical yokai before the game launches in 2016, look up Matthew Meyer’s The Night Parade of 100 Demons: a Field Guide to Japanese Yokai, a 224-page illustrated guide to yokai. It’s been invaluable to my writing.

And for my own, darker take on yokai, check out “Rokurokubi”, a yokai-themed horror story published by Wicked Words Quarterly. (I’m sure Yo-kai Watch has a much more lighthearted approach.)

This has been a great time for localization news. Here’s hoping Ace Attorney is next!

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