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He's got a Yo-kai, Yo-kai Watch!
"Come on out my friend! Calling (insert Yo-Kai name here)! Yo-Kai Medal, do your thing!"
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Yo-Kai Watch is a multimedia Mon series by Level-5. After the original video game came out in July 2013, Yo-Kai Watch took over Japan, with an anime, sequel video games released while the original was still selling well, a Collectible Card Game, a collectible card game that ties into an arcade game, multiple different manga, and merchandise out the wazoo, including the titular Yo-Kai Watch and all the collectibles that go with it so kids can pretend to summon the over 400 different Yo-Kai. More overall information can be found here.

The game series, which remains the flagship product of the franchise, is about a fifth-grader (with the player's choice of a boy or girl, although the rest of the franchise leans on the boy as being canon) who finds a capsule machine in the woods while looking for bugs one day. When they open a capsule from the machine, they release a Yo-Kai called Whisper, who becomes their ghost butler out of gratitude for his freedom and gives them the titular Yo-Kai Watch. The Yo-Kai Watch enables the player character to see other Yo-Kai by shining a light on them. Using Yo-Kai Medals, gained from befriending Yo-Kai, the PC can also summon their Yo-Kai friends to battle other Yo-Kai who are causing trouble in the neighborhood. As the tale unfolds, however, the stakes our hero faces grow, and it turns out they may have a deeper connection to the Watch and the world of Yo-kai than anyone involved first realized...

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The games in the series are:

  • Yo-kai Watch (July 2013 Japan, November 2015 US)
  • Yo-kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits (Ganso, "Originator") and Fleshy Souls (Honke, "Head of Family") (July 2014 Japan, September 30 2016 US)
    • Yo-kai Watch 2: Psychic Specters (Shinuchi, "Headliner") (December 2014 Japan, September 2017 US)
  • Yo-kai Watch Blasters: Red Cat Corps and White Dog Squad (July 2015 Japan, September 2018 US)
  • Yo-kai Watch: Wibble Wobble (Puni Puni) (October 2015 Japan, March 2016-May 2018 US)
  • Just Dance Yo-kai Watch Edition (December 2015 Japan), a crossover with the Ubisoft series
  • Yo-kai Three Kingdoms (April 2016 Japan), a partnership with Koei
  • Yo-kai Watch 3: Sushi and Tempura (July 2016 Japan)
    • Yo-kai Watch 3: Sukiyaki (December 2016 Japan)
    • Yo-kai Watch 3 (combined version with all three games in one, December 2018 EU, February 2019 US)
  • Yo-kai Watch Blasters 2: Legend of the Secret Treasure Banbarayar - Sword and Magnum (December 2017 Japan)
  • Yo-kai Watch: Gerapo Rhythm (May 2018 Japan, Mobile)
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  • Yo-kai Watch World (June 2018 Japan, Mobile)
  • Yo-kai Watch 4 (2019 Japan, Nintendo Switch)

Not to be confused with the action of looking out for the feral monsters called yao guai in the Fallout universe. Although, believe it or not, the names technically have the same meaning and the kanji for yo-kai and yao guai are written the same way (yao guai is the Cantonese pronunciation for yo-kai).


Tropes used in this series:

  • Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: Some Yo-kai wear things from their life, like Venoct's shawl and every cat yo-kai's collar.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song:
    • The English version of the game uses a different opening theme. The anime, however, wound up using the original theme song instead, but switched back to the game theme as of the TV broadcast of episode 10.
    • Starting with Blasters, the games switched to direct translations of the Japanese themes.
  • Americasia: Springdale, at least in the English localization. It still is heavily Japanese but is treated as an American town.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Sort of. While the first Yo-kai Watch the player gets isn't the Model Zero - they get that in YKW2, fresh off their granddad's childhood workbench - the Watch is the overall invention of the chosen player character's grandfather and was designed, first and foremost, to help fight Wicked-tribe Yo-kai.
  • Art Shift:
    • Notably, the 2D avatar for Nate looks more different than his 3D model. 2D Nate has a smaller head compared to 3D Nate. May cross into Off-Model territory.
    • 4 uses a less Super-Deformed style than the previous games.
  • Badass Adorable: Jibanyan and Shogunyan (and the rest of Jibanyan's variants) are obvious examples, but several Yo-kai can count for this.
  • Bland-Name Product: Yopple, Inc., which is a literal expy of Apple, Inc.
  • Bonus Boss:
    • Gargaros the red oni can be fought when Terror Time arrives, though he is very strong and it is not recommended for players to fight him until the epilogue rolls around. Players can fight Ogralus the blue oni after defeating Gargaros, and defeating Ogralus allows players to fight Orcanos the black oni.
    • Duwheel can be found in the Abandoned Tunnels. However, players need to upgrade their watch to Rank A to access the eastern part of the Tunnels to find the rest of the materials that allow them access to the boss.
    • Chirpster can be fought in the first game after a lengthy series of sidequests in the Abandoned Mansion, setting up a party for the Yo-kai there.
    • Almost every main boss from the first game can be fought in the second one as an optional encounter. Plus, some of them can be befriended in special Fun Size versions after the fact.
    • The second game has Kat Kraydel in the Divine Paradise, unlocked after beating the Infinite Inferno and talking to Arachnus or Toadal Dude depending on your version.
    • Psychic Specters adds Kabuking, the owner of Gera Gera Land who battles you after completing all the Gera Gera Land sidequests.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Whisper does this on occasion. Most notably, when the player unlocks the ability to go fight Duwheel, he notes that the player is bound to find some big, impressive treasure soon, because they just completed a lengthy sidequest and "that's how video games work!"
  • Cartoon Creature: One of the old commonalities of the trope is that dogs look like dogs while cats look like ambiguous mammals. In Yo-Kai Watch, there's a bit of an inversion in that Jibanyan is clearly a cat but Komasan the Komainu (guardian dog) also kind of looks like a kitten.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: The sidequest "Marry Me Someday?" has you finding a nice ring for a little boy (who appears to be between the ages of 5 and 7) who wants to propose to his "girlfriend." Whisper even lampshades this and wonders if they'll be able to get married when they're older. In the second game, you can even see them planning their wedding outside the local preschool.
  • Crossover:
    • The Gera Gera Po Song has gone on to appear in rhythm games Mai Mai PiNK and even Taiko Drum Master, beginning with Taiko no Tatsujin Kimidori Ver.. The former uses the opening theme video while the latter has Nate and several Yo-Kai appear to cheer the player on. In exchange for the song and characters appearing in Taiko Drum Master, Don-Chan has been given a playable cameo in Yo-Kai Watch 2.
    • A cross-promotional collaboration with Square Enix has lead to several Yo-Kai appearing as pets in Final Fantasy XIV along with corresponding weapons for each, as well as the titular watch. In return, Moogles and Chocobos, recurring Final Fantasy mascot creatures, were included in Yo-Kai Watch 3 as special Yo-Kai types.
    • There is even a Japan-exclusive Just Dance crossover where all the human characters are the dancers, titled ''Yo-kai Watch Dance: Just Dance Special Edition''.
  • Cute Kitten: Jibanyan, the Yo-kai based on the nekomata. He also doubles as the Series Mascot.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Oodles. Damona (Hyakkihime) and Blizzaria (Fubukihime) are probably the most obvious standouts, though (being just literally girls in cute kimonos and sandals who share a model mesh), as well as the classic yuki-onna, called Frostina here (and who is just a cute girl in a warm coat and hooded cloak with pastel ice colors here, as opposed to the semi-murderous temptress of myth). Straighter examples include Insomni (a purple cyclops-genie), Tongus (a little mushroom girl), and Smogmella (a fog/mist in the shape of a ghostly woman).
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Unlike the anime, the standard method of recruitment for a Yo-Kai is to beat them silly and then they'll befriend you, but there are exceptions.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Plenty of Yo-kai, like Cupistol and Shmoopie, look very pink and feminine, but are explicitly referred to as male. Taken Up to Eleven with Casanuva, who has long pink hair, girly clothes, and long eyelashes... but is still male.
  • Eagleland:
    • Apelican from Yo-Kai Watch 2 is this trope personified, despite being a Japanese Yo-Kai, and is mostly based on Japanese caricatures of Americans.
    • The third game partly takes place in America (dubbed "USA"), where most of the local Yo-Kai are either Captain Geographic or covered in American flags. If they're not chicken nuggets, slices of bacon, hamburgers, or misplaced literary references. They also happen to be called Merican Yo-Kai.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Hailey's classmates Isabelle and Jessica appear as profile icons and have their names dubbed before Yo-Kai Watch 3's release.
  • Exported Character:
    • Introduced in Yo-Kai Watch's Update 4.0 are Indy Jaws, a literal shark expy of Indiana Jones, Steve Jaws, a literal shark expy of the late Steve Jobs, and Mark Orckerberg, who is a literal orca expy of Mark Zuckerburg. Further exemplified by the fact that Indy Jaws wears a fedora just like Indiana Jones, Steve Jaws is a tech expert and the founder of a tech company just like Steve Jobs and Mark Ockerberg wears the exact same outfit and has the same hairstyle as Mark Zuckerberg.
    • There is a California expy in the Yo-Kai World called Yo-kai-lifornia.
  • Fusion Dance: A feature of the game can allow two certain Yo-Kai or a Yo-Kai and a special item the ability to fuse into a brand new Yo-Kai.
  • Game Gourmet: You can feed the Yo-Kai all sorts of foods to befriend them or to recover health and raise their Soul Meter, and they've all got their own preferences and dislikes; Pizza, Hamburgers, Oden, Curry, Candy, Hot Dogs, Ramen...
  • Game Hunting Mechanic: Similar to the fishing in the game, caught bugs can be traded for items at the Jungle Hunter, and be used to fulfill certain side quests.
  • Gotta Catch Them All:
    • Befriending more Yo-Kai means Nate has more chances of having an appropriate Yo-Kai for the situation.
    • In the games, the only way to get the Legendary Yo-Kai is to have befriended 8 particular Yo-Kai. What makes it harder for players is that one of these Legendary Yo-Kai was summoned by super rare Palette Swap Yo-Kai that could only be won from the Crank-a-kai which used rare items in the game to win, which either came from chance or a weekly free download.
    • Yo-Kai Watch 2 made this even harder by having two Legendary Yo-Kai that were summoned from these rare coin Yo-Kai, and by splitting them up into ones that could only be won from a machine in the present timeline and another from a past timeline, as well as between game versions.
  • Guilt-Based Gaming: If you reject a Yo-kai's friendship, the game will make sure to make you feel bad for it.
    Heartbroken, (insert Yo-kai's name) slinks away from you.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: One of your classmates, Natalie, is a very tall and fairly pudgy girl. In the Japanese version, she was even shown as going as briefly going on a dangerous diet to try and be "glamorous," but this was toned down in the English version to her just being dangerously obsessed with celebrities.
  • Iris Out: Every episode in the game ends with a Whisper-shaped iris closing out on someone. There are variations in the second game, including Hovernyan's head and the Charming tribe Symbol.
  • Irony: Papa Bolt's Strict skill is supposed to prevent ally Yo-kai from loafing, but a Papa Bolt can still have a Carefree or Loafer attitude.
  • Karakasa: Yo-Kai Watch 2 introduces the traditional Karakasa-obake, named Pallysol in the English dub, in Chapter 6 of the game, and also has the two-legged Brokenbrella, which was a modern umbrella unhappily discarded by its owner after storm winds turned it inside out. Both of these are Rank E wind elementals.
  • Kirin: There are two yokais based off of the mythological kirin, Unikirin — a black kirin with a mane of bluish clouds and a unicorn's horn — and Kyryn — a blue and red kirin with a mane of orange clouds, long whiskers and straight, backward-pointing brown horns. Both are part of the Heartful tribe and have the Restoration attribute — meaning that their attacks do not deal damage, but instead heal allies — and their sprites show them Flying on a Cloud.
  • Large Ham: Dame Dedtime. Dun dun DUUUUUUN!
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • When compared to other Mons Series, since it mostly deals with mischievous Yo-Kai in Nate and Katie's neighborhood. There's hardly anything at stake.
    • The video games have the player preventing various evil Yo-Kai, who have been manipulating events behind the scenes, from taking over or doing terrible damage to the human world. However, the player still finds time to prevent some simply mischievous Yo-Kai from causing problems. And you still stop the "bad" Yo-Kai, even the final bosses, from ever doing anything really dangerous.
    • When compared to the ghost-related games like those in Survival Horror games, this series is more kid-friendly. However, like above, this series have some Survival Horror elements, but toned down in an appropriate way.
  • Lucky Translation: Spoilerina is able to keep the "ballerina" wordplay in both the English and Japanese version (her Japanese name is Netaballerina," a portmanteau of "netabare (spoilers)" and "ballerina").
  • Men Like Dogs, Women Like Cats: Inverted. Nate is associated with the cat yo-kai Jibanyan while Katie is associated with the lion-dog (with an emphasis on "dog") yo-kai Komasan.
  • Metal Slime: Noko is this. Noko is one of many Yo-Kai that spawns only in certain locations, it's the only Yo-Kai on the field that runs away from you instead of toward you, it's difficult to recruit, provides a ton of experience when defeated, and just to make it one of the most obnoxious Metal Slimes in history, the fusion item you need to evolve it is a Rare Random Drop...from Noko itself. This was altered in the sequel so that Noko evolved through leveling (though obtaining Noko required an Old Save Bonus)
  • Monochrome Past: Of the sepia-toned variety. All of Past Springdale is like this. While it's helped by the fact that so much of it is made out of wood and brick - not unlike Japan during the immediate postwar reconstruction period - even non-browns are made a little more sepia-tinted in the past.
  • Mons: Of the sapient kind.
  • Mons Series: Well, doy.
  • Mythology Gag: The English version, being dubbed after the show, has many of the voice actors reference their lines from the anime for the medals. Shogunyan, for example, references his "Ultimate Ring-shaped Cake Sharing Splitter" line from his episode.
  • Odd Job Gods: There's a Yo-Kai for nearly every mood - happiness, ambition, depression, insecurity, having to go to the bathroom, craving ice cream, becoming a food critic for your school lunch.
  • Oh, Crap!: The moment in Terror Time Gargaros/Aka Oni spots you:
  • Old Save Bonus: Mister E will give you a special Crank-a-kai coin for showing him a photo taken with the Yo-Kai Cam function from the first Yo-Kai Watch game. It has to be one taken within the last two hours, presumably to keep players who played the first game and then traded it in or gave it away from exploiting the feature with a saved picture.
  • Original Generation:
    • Of a sort. While the game crams in nearly every Yo-Kai ever conceived by Japanese myth, L5 had to start coming up with a fairly large number of completely original Yo-Kai to expand the 'mon list, especially in Bony Spirits & Fleshy Souls. The many Jibanyan variants are but one example of this phenomenon.
    • The third game in the series has committed to going completely off the rails, as it hosts a variety of new and totally original American Yo-Kai in a country that largely has no equivalent concept or mythology, with most of them being affectionate parodies of American culture (such as an astronaut, a patriotic cheerleader, and corn).
  • Palette Swap:
    • Pretty much half of the Yo-Kai are palette swaps of each other. In most cases, the game does at least give them different abilities and strengths from the original variation. For example, white and blue Komasan uses fire magic, while brown Komajiro uses thunder magic.
    • There are almost over TWO HUNDRED variations of series mascot Jibanyan. Only a handful can be obtained in regular gameplay, with the others all from bonus quests from the toy Yo-Kai Medals, that were either in the blind packs (so good luck finding those) or included in other products, and in one case another game by Level-5.
  • Play Every Day: There are a number of mechanics tied to the system clock, requiring the player to return over multiple days to use them. Probably the biggest one of these is Almi, who can only be found if the player makes an offering at the shrine 20 days in a row.
  • Pokémon Speak: Averted for the most part; the majority of the Yo-kai can speak, though there are some instances where this trope is played straight:
    • The Terror Time Onis actually say parts of their names when they appear during Terror Time, as well as when they fight against the players.
    • Tattletell plays it straight, only saying "Tell! Tell!". She still does it in the first game, but has her speech translated for the player to understand.
    • Almost all of the Yo-kai in the games will say their name when they befriend you and when you look at their animations in the Medallium, but some of them go on to say a phrase afterwards, such as Jibanyan ("I'm pretty busy right nyaoooow..."), Komasan ("Oh my swirls!"), and Roughraff ("Gotta get rough!").
  • Posthumous Character: Nathan and Kenny display this trope in the present day, as they passed away several years before Nate and Katie were even born. However, through time travel, Nate and Katie are able to interact with their deceased grandfathers (who are also the same age as them) for the first time.
  • The Power of Friendship: To get Yo-Kai Medals that he uses to summon Yo-Kai, Nate must befriend them first. The video game has the player need to defeat the Yo-Kai in battle and hope that it decides to befriend you after the fight. The player can increase the chances by feeding the Yo-Kai its favorite foodstuff or in the sequel games try to find the sweetspot on the touchscreen that makes it more likely to be befriended.
  • Rare Random Drop: Entirely too much of this, especially in the first game. Quest items needed to battle and befriend certain powerful Yo-Kai are random rare drops. Certain fusion items needed to evolve Yo-Kai are also random rare drops—the worst of all being the Drop of Joy, needed to evolve Noko into Bloominoko (and dropped by Noko, which is itself a rare encounter) and the Holy Blade, which is dropped from wisps when you fight the strongest of the three Oni in Terror Time. The sequel adds features that help mitigate most of the first game's more random elements.
  • The Real Spoofbusters: So heavy, it had to actually be modified in the Western release to tone them down for copyright reasons. The original Japanese name was Yo-kai Watch Busters, Jibanyan and Komasan had Ghostbuster-like jumpsuits in their Blaster forms, and Whismellowman, named Whisped Cream in the dub and looking more kaiju-like, was originally a Stay Puft Marshmallow Man parody.
  • Schrödinger's Player Character: Technically averted - the other character will exist regardless of who you choose. Their plot impact will be extremely minimal, however - certainly nothing like what is depicted in the show. Nate and Katie's mutual friends are the ones who get more focus. The trope applies somewhat more literally for the grandfathers, however - depending on who you choose, only Nathaniel (for Nate) or Kenny (for Katie) will feature in Yo-kai Watch 2.
  • Series Mascot:
    • Jibanyan appears on almost everything to do with Yo-kai Watch, making him to the series, what Pikachu is to Pokemon.
    • To a lesser extent Whisper, Komasan, and Usapyon are also heavily used in promoting the games and anime.
  • The Seven Mysteries: The "summer festival" section of the game has the characters talk about the Seven Mysteries of their school, and that episode's story is focused on investigating one such mystery.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: If you're playing as Katie (the female PC) in the museum chapter, then Eddie insists that taking you to the museum is NOT a date. Nope. Whisper naturally lampshades this.
  • Spell My Name with an "S":
    • The spelling of the series was rather inconsistent. Prior to localization, it has been referred to as "Youkai Watch", "Yo-Kai Watch", and "Yokai Watch". Since then, the localization seems to have settled on the middle spelling, but some still aren't sure ("Is it 'Yo-Kai' or 'Yo-kai'?". Though evidence from the games suggest that outside of the ALL CAPS titles, the spelling has "kai" in lowercase). The games also use the "Yo-kai" spelling, but the anime's English dub sometimes does its own thing, using the games' spelling one instance, and just using "yokai" or something else in others.
    • Is it "US Apyon" or "Usapyon"? The English translation ended up using the latter.
  • Spiritual Successor:
    • To Ghostbusters, as a whole. Heck, the Yo-kai Watch franchise takes A LOT of elements from the Ghostbusters, toned 'em down to the level of silliness plus to make them appropriate for kids. And this goes double for the Yo-Kai Watch Blasters spinoff.
    • Also to Dragon Quest Monsters, with the games sharing many similar gameplay mechanics including having to give monsters different food to have the chance of them joining you after defeating them.
  • Summon Magic: Needed for the whole premise, really. Played for Laughs in the anime, where the distinct lack of a de-summon method means the Yo-kai literally have to walk back.
  • Survival Horror: It has this element covering various types of Youkai, but this is Lighter and Softer compared to other games with this trope. Terror Time has some survival horror elements where players are challenged to find the exit (and maybe grabbing as many treasures as they can) while avoiding the giant oni stomping around, as well as the smaller Yo-kai that alert the oni if they spot the player character.
  • Thinly Veiled Dub Country Change: "Sakura New Town" is a mostly normal Japanese city but the translations changed it to Springdale, America. Besides westernized names and a currency change, the town is still very Japanese. There are Buddhist shrines, Japanese food sold at stores, and the environment is very Japanese.
    • Yo-kai Watch 3 moved Nate to the U.S. and gave Springdale's country a namenote , but the translators instead sent Nate to the southern state of "BBQ" and only refers to Springdale as "up the country" (That is, north). Despite this, BBQ still has its own currency, and the time zone difference literally puts the two on opposite sides of the world.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak:
    • Alex, one of your classmates. She's an obvious tomboy who wears athletic clothes and a baseball cap, but she actually enjoys hanging out with some of the more girly-girl classmates.
    • Katie herself is one in the games, what with her Girly Run and the stuffed animals in her room. Her original watch is even pink!
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
  • Version Exclusive Content: Starting with the second game, the series follows Pokémon's example by splitting Yo-kai between games. You can trade with other players to get Yo-kai, but unlike Pokemon's example, it's trading with the same game installments.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Some of the Yo-Kai found in the game and even in the anime would have voices that don't match their appearance:
    • Sapphinyan despite having a cute appearance has a rough and deep voice.
    • Rubinyan and Dianyan both have deep voices.
  • World of Pun:
    • Any Yo-Kai's name is one big pun, or two puns rolled into one. Dismarelda makes people depressed (dismal). Hungramps is an old man (gramps) who makes people crave food (hungry). Pupsicle is a skinny dog (pup) whose always freezing (popsicle). Spoilerina is a ballerina who tells spoilers.
  • Youkai: Uh, yeah.

Alternative Title(s): Youkai Watch

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