The series is about a child - a male playable character named Nate or a female playable charater (Katie from 1 and 2, Hailey Anne 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 11th, 2013, Japan; November 6th, 2015, US)
- Yo-kai Watch 2
- Yo-kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits (Ganso) and Fleshy Souls (Honke) (July 10th, 2014, Japan; September 30th, 2016, US; April 7th, 2017, Europe)
- Yo-kai Watch 2: Psychic Specters (Shinuchi) (December 13th, 2014, Japan; September 29th, 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 11th, 2015, Japan; September 7th, 2018, US)
- Yo-kai Watch Blasters: Moon Rabbit Team (Yo-kai Watch Busters: Moon Rabbit Team) (December 12th, 2015, Japan; September 27th, 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 21st, 2015, Japan; March 24th, 2016, US) note
- Just Dance: Yo-kai Watch Edition (December 5th, 2015, Japan for Wii U), a crossover with the Ubisoft series
- Yo-kai Three Kingdoms (April 2nd, 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 16th, 2016, Japan)
- Yo-kai Watch 3: Sukiyaki (December 15th, 2016, Japan)
- Yo-kai Watch 3 (International version) (December 7th, 2018, Europe; February 8th, 2019, US)
- Yo-kai Watch World (June 27th, 2018, Japan) note
- Yo-kai Watch 4 (June 20th, 2019, Japan, for Nintendo Switch)
- Yo-kai Watch Jam: Yo-kai Academy Y Waiwai Gakuen Seikatsu (Summer 2020, Japan, for PlayStation 4 and 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. It received a Continuity Reboot in 2019.
- Yo-kai Watch: Shadowside: A Spin-Offspring series based off of the fourth film. It takes place 30 years later and stars Nate's children.
- Yo-kai Watch Jam - Yo-kai Academy Y: Close Encounters of the N Kind: A Spin-Off series based off of the sixth film.
- 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 Jam The Movie: Yo-kai Academy Y - Can a Cat be a Hero? (December 2019 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: Geragera Manga Theater: A 4-koma manga.
- Yo-kai Watch 4-Panel Pun Club: A 4-koma manga.
- Komasan 〜A Time for Fireworks and Miracles〜: A shonen and seinen manga starring Komasan.
- Yo-Kai Watch: A short-lived American comic by IDW Publishing, which was cancelled due to the fact that the franchise never caught on outside of Asia.