Yo-Kai Watch Finally Hits US Shores with Splashy Nintendo World Launch

(By Brian Davidson)

After a long wait of 2 years, Japan’s next big thing finally hit America with the launch of Yo-Kai Watch at Nintendo World this past weekend.  Already heralded as the next coming of Pokemon, Yo-Kai Watch hit US shores kicking off with a splashy launch at Nintendo World, featuring a meet & greet with Level 5 CEO and Yo-Kai Watch creator Shigeru Mizuki.  No stranger to lines, Nintendo World welcome a horde of fans anticipating the launch from the night before.

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Yo-Kai Watch already has had months of hype building starting with its announcement of the Western translation of the game back in June for E3 2015, followed by a somewhat low-key unveiling of the game at Nintendo’s game lounge in San Diego Comic Con 2015.

However it wasn’t until this past October at New York Comic Con did Nintendo ramp up its efforts to promote the game’s pending arrival.  A dedicated room throughout the convention in addition to THOUSANDS of Yo-Kai hats being distributed throughout the showfloor. Jibiyan hats could be seen on nearly every other attendee at NYCC, easily becoming the most recognizable new franchise at the con.  With TV advertising for the cartoon somewhat lackluster, Nintendo’s efforts at NYCC proved vital, leading into the game’s first super-event held at Nintendo World.

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Fans were greeted by a myriad of activities including a scavenger hunt (but wait, how would children already know the names of Yo-Kai?!), cosplay contests, and live battle tournaments.  Many attendees showed up with copies of the Japanese releases, which are already in their 3rd chapter.  Plus no eyes will ever forget the sight of a live Jibiyan dancing in the center of Nintendo World.  Add to the repeat of the Yo-Kai song, and there’s definitely no forgetting the show’s end credits dance.

 

The highlight of the day has to be the unique and incredibly artistic renditions of Jibiyan across the venue, all tastefully done and in a variety of styles ranging from a western “wanted poster” to this incredible oil painting seen below.

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Hardcore Level-5 fans were in full effect for the meeting of Shigeru Mizaki (he also created games such Ni No Kuni) while new younger fans were introduced to the next addiction they’ll have for the following 5 years.

If there’s any indication of what we’re in for based on the Nintendo World launch, Yo-Kai is legit and here to stay.

(all photos taken by Brian Davidson)

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