Yo-Kai Watch, Japan's latest monster craze, prepares to go international

The popular franchise comprising of anime cartoons, manga, toys and video games has been billed as a rival to Pokemon.
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A new collection of Japanese monsters are preparing to take on the international market, following a success on home soil to rival the likes of Pokemon.

Yo-Kai Watch is a franchise of manga comics, anime cartoons and video games that revolves around a schoolboy and the team on monsters called the Yokai.

Based on Japanese popular culture and folklore archetypes, Yo-Kai Watch has already taken off in Japan with toys, books and videogames all selling at ‘phenomenal velocity,’ according to Asia One.

Bandai Namco reports it has already sold 10 billion yen ($93 million) worth of Yo-Kai Watch toys n the six months from April.

Meanwhile, the Nintendo 3DS Yo-Kai Watch game, developed by Level 5 has exceeded 2.3 million units sold, on top of 1.2 million copies of the first game last year.

The company has now confirmed its plans to start releasing Yo-Kai Watch products in the international market.

Yuuichi Ishii, owner of Toy Cats toy store in Tokyo believes that the demographic spread of fans of Yo-Kai Watch is indicative of how popular the monster-collecting phenomenon has become.

“The secret to it success is its cute characters and the non-violent way the main character interacts with monsters – defeated ones aren’t killed, but become friends.

“It’s becoming like a second Pokemon.”

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One to watch: The journey of Yo-Kai Watch

It has created a frenzy in Japan with merchandise sales hitting €2bn in just 20 months and now, Yo-Kai Watch has its sights firmly set on the West. With the TV series heading to UK screens and the toys hitting shelves next year, Licensing.biz explores the property expected to be the biggest boys' brand of 2016.

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