The series is about a child - a male playable character named Nate or a female playable charater (Katie from 1 and 2, Hailey in 3) - in Springdale. One day while looking for bugs in the woods they come across a capsule machine. When they open up one of the capsules they find a yo-kai named "Whisper" who, in his gratitude, decides to become their butler. He gives them a special watch called the "Yo-kai Watch" which allows them to view yo-kai. By befriending local yo-kai the protagonist gains medals, which can be used to summon other yo-kai to battle yo-kai that are causing trouble around town.
Starting with the fourth game and with the sequel anime Shadowside, the series has taken a Tone Shift. It now takes place 30 years in the future and stars Nate and Katie's teenage daughter. The yo-kai are much scarier and more realistic looking, though it's still kid-friendly and has its fair share of humour.
Works in this franchise include:
- Yo-kai Watch (July 2013 Japan, November 2015 US)
- Yo-kai Watch 2
- Yo-kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits (Ganso) and Fleshy Souls (Honke) (July 2014 Japan, September 2016 US, April 2017 Europe)
- Yo-kai Watch 2: Psychic Specters (Shinuchi) (December 2014 Japan, September 2017 US/Europe)
- Yo-kai Watch Blasters: Red Cat Corp and White Dog Squad (Yo-kai Watch Busters: Red Troupe Corp and White Dog Team) (July 2015 Japan, September 2018 US)
- Yo-kai Watch Blasters: Moon Rabbit Team (Yo-kai Watch Busters: Moon Rabbit Team) (December 2015 Japan, September 2018 US/Europe via free expansion)
- Yo-kai Watch Busters: Iron Oni Army (December 2015 Japan) note
- Yo-kai Watch: Wibble Wobble (Puni Puni) (October 2015 Japan, March 2016 US) note
- Just Dance: Yo-kai Watch Edition (December 2015 Japan for Wii U), a crossover with the Ubisoft series
- Yo-kai Three Kingdoms (April 2016 Japan), a crossover with Koei's Romance of the Three Kingdoms series
- Yo-kai Watch 3
- Yo-kai Watch 3: Sushi and Tempura (July 2016 Japan)
- Yo-kai Watch 3: Sukiyaki (December 2016 Japan)
- Yo-kai Watch 3 (International version) (December 2018 Europe, February 2019 US)
- Yo-kai Watch World (June 2018 Japan) note
- Yo-kai Watch 4 (TBA 2019 Japan, for Nintendo Switch)
- Yo-Kai Watch: An anime adaptation of the games starring Nate. The anime opts for a Slice of Life approach and usually follows a Three Shorts format.
- Yo-kai Watch: Shadowside: A Spin-Offspring series based off the fourth film. It takes place 30 years later and stars Nate's children.
- Yo-kai Watch: The Movie (The Secret of its Creation~meow!) (December 2014 Japan, October 2016 US)
- Yo-kai Watch the Movie: The Great King Enma and the Five Tales~Meow! (December 2015 Japan)
- Yo-kai Watch the Movie: The Great Adventure of the Flying Whale & the Double World~meow! (December 2016 Japan)
- Yo-kai Watch: Shadowside - The Return of the Oni King (December 2017 Japan)
- Yo-kai Watch: Forever Friends (December 2018 Japan)
- Yo-Kai Watch: A manga adaptation of the games that runs in Coro Coro magazine. Nate is the protagonist but it is a separate adaptation from the anime.
- Yo-kai Watch: Wakuwaku Nyanderful Days: A Shoujo manga starring Katie as the protagonist.
- Yo-Kai Watch