As my kids get older, their choices in entertainment have gotten more complicated. They went from simple, charming shows about shapes and colors, to memorizing every member of certain super-teams and the complex histories of them all. But one thing that hasn’t changed is that they love things that are weird.
I first heard about Yo-Kai Watch when the good people at Hasbro were kind enough to send me some episodes of the new hit show, and a bunch of the assorted toys that tie directly to the show. They had one request: have your kids and their friends watch and play, and let us know what they think!
And let me tell you, when it comes to weird, Yo-Kai Watch delivers.
Don’t believe me? Let me explain the premise:
A young boy named Nate accidentally discovers the existence of mischievous spirits, called Yo-Kai, when he releases one from imprisonment and they are bonded together. Yo-Kai, it turns out, are everywhere, but are invisible and cause all sorts of mayhem. Nate is given a special watch that allows him to see them, and even summon these spirits to help when needed. The Yo-Kai help get him through the misadventures during his day, many of which involve stopping the mischief caused by the more trouble-making Yo-Kai.
Okay, so I know that doesn’t sound that weird, yet, I know. But that’s because so far I haven’t gotten to the Yo-Kai named Cheeksqueek who has a head the shape of a butt. He can’t stop farting, and his special ability is making people fart.
In addition there’s the adorable cat-like thing that keeps pushing people in front of a bus, and a poodle with a man’s face. Also, a plot that surrounds the singular embarrassment of being known to have taken a poop at school. Seriously.
Oh, and hey, did I mention that Yo-Kai, a product of Japan (of course) is so popular in its home country that the movie version beat out Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the box office?
Here’s the trailer for the show, which gives a good idea of what it’s all about:
As I said, the show is weird. Like, capital W Weird if you’ve never seen really weird Japanese anime. So if you’re like me and my lovely wife, you’ll probably at some point find yourself asking out loud to know one in particular “What did I just watch?” But it’s also surprisingly funny at times, incredibly over-the-top, and we all enjoyed the episodes we watched a lot. The music was catchy, especially.
The best part though, at least for us, is definitely the toys and how well they integrate into the show. Just like Nate, the kids each donned a special Yo-Kai Watch, and were able to “summon” their favorite Yo-Kai by inserting special medals (called “Medalliums”) to activate unique sounds. Also included were small toys of the various Yo-Kai themselves, and a nifty binder where you can keep your collection of medals as it grows. There is also an app (available for iOS and Android) that allows you to interact with the Yo-Kai you’ve collected.
This is a really cool collect-and-trade sort of thing, and I can see why it’s becoming so popular.
We had a great time with our Yo-Kai Watch watching party!
Yo-Kai Watch can be seen on Disney XD, and if you want to know more about Yo-Kai, you can find them all over social media and the web here: Yo-Kai World | Yo-kai Watch on Facebook | Yo-kai Watch YouTube | Hasbro on Twitter
Disclosure: I was sent a box of Yo-Kai Watch toys and a screener DVD, and am being compensated for this post. All opinions are either my own, or those of the watch party attendees.