The Crank-a-kai (Japanese: 妖怪ガシャ Yōkai Gasha), capitalized Crank-a-Kai in Yo-kai Watch 3, is an ancient gashapon machine that appears at the base of the Sacred Tree, located behind the Mount Wildwood Shrine.
It appears throughout almost all of the Yo-kai Watch video games and media, usually as a form of collecting Yo-kai and other unlockable items.
The Yo-kai trapped inside the Crank-a-kai were sealed within around one hundred and ninety years ago by a priest and his colleagues, who believed all Yo-kai were evil. It was also said that an innocent Yo-kai was imprisoned along with them. It remained behind a series of physical barriers behind the Wildwood Shrine.
The Crank-a-kai is a prison which holds Yo-kai within it, and the player can free them with various Coins.
In the game, the player can revisit the Crank-a-kai (up to three times per day in the first game) and operate it with special coins, the 8 most common of which come in one color for each Yo-kai tribe, as well as other, more elusive coin types, as well as 10 of the Nintendo 3DS' Play Coins. When inserted and cranked, the Player can then get a variety of items and Yo-kai from the Crank-a-kai. The freed Yo-kai are generally amicable and happy once freed, automatically giving over their Yo-kai Medals in return for freeing them.
The odds to getting a certain Yo-kai from the Crank-a-kai is predetermined every time when a new game is started, and cannot just simply reset and try again if the odds are bad.
In Yo-kai Watch 2, messing with the in-game clock of the Nintendo 3DS may lock the player out of the Crank-a-kai for a few days, depending on how many times the clock was changed in the settings.
In Yo-kai Watch 3 and Yo-kai Watch Blasters, Cranks are now categorised in four different prize tiers, which are 1st Prize (Japanese: 大当たり Ōatari), 2nd Prize (Japanese: 大当たり Chūatari), 3rd Prize (Japanese: 小当たり Koatari), Free Prize (Japanese: ハズレ Hazure).
In Yo-kai Watch 3, both Crank-a-kai machines (Dream Roulette machine in St. Peanutsburg, and the regular machine in Springdale) show a probability chart, showing the possible Yo-kai or item the player might receive from a single crank. Each day (real life time) starts with a minigame that the player can do, for a chance at up to 30 cranks (on a single day, or they can choose the standard 3 daily cranks). As mentioned, the Dream Medals from the Yo-kai Watch Dream toy can be used as well. When a charged Dream Medal is scanned with the NFC reader, a few gold spots are added to the roulette, giving the player a bit of a higher probability at the gold capsules.
In the mainline games
The Crank-a-kai makes it's very first appearance in Yo-kai Watch,
In the present day, Nate/Katie is searching for bugs for their collection and come across a gate that mysteriously disappears after a tree is searched for bugs. Now unobstructed, the player moves on and find the Crank-a-kai. They capitulate to the machine after it vocally demands they insert a coin and wind up freeing Whisper, who gives them the Yo-kai Watch as thanks.
Yo-kai Watch 2
In Yo-kai Watch 2, there are now more Crank-a-kai machines available, such as the one at Mt. Wildwood can be accessed in the past, which have exclusive Yo-kai. The number of draws the player is allowed varies from day to day. There are also different contents in the Crank-a-kai depending on whether the player is in the present day or the past.
Yo-kai Watch 3
In Yo-kai Watch 3, two different Crank-a-kai machines are available; the Dream Roulette Crank-a-kai in St. Peanutsburg, and the regular Crank-a-kai in Springdale. Both function similarly as the other games, but with the Dream Roulette Crank-a-kai, the Dream Medals from the Yo-kai Watch Dream toy can be used as well (in the Japanese version only).
As first used in Yo-kai Watch Blasters, Yo-kai cranks are now marked with four different prize tiers.
Yo-kai Watch 4
The Crank-a-kai reappears yet again in Yo-kai Watch 4, with a slightly different function compared to the other games in the series. It now mostly gives out Golden Souls of Yo-kai that are needed to be created in Konkatsu and Arks that are used to unlock rooms with Yo-kai. Like the previous games, the items given from the Crank-a-kai varies on the world that is visited.
It plays a minor role in the storyline, where Nate uses it to find a mysterious key which opens to the future world after lining up in a queue. Along with Nate's world it wouldn't be accessible again until Chapter 3, where they go back to the present to prevent Natsume from fading away due to a temporal paradox.
There are four different Crank-a-kai machines found across all four worlds.
In the spin-off games
Yo-kai Watch Blasters
Yo-kai Watch Blasters 2
The original Crank-a-Kai does not make an appearance in the game, with the Dream Wheel completely replacing it with the exact same function from Yo-kai Watch 3.
Yo-kai Watch: Wibble Wobble
Yo-kai Watch World
Yo-kai Watch: Medal Wars
In the anime
In the anime, the Crank-a-kai appears in Yo-kai are Real! where Nate finds it in a similar fashion to what happens in the video game. He inserts a coin following the instructions of the voice, frees Whisper, and becomes his Yo-kai butler.
Beyond that, the Crank-a-kai is never seen again in regular episodes of the anime, even though it makes a cameo in Katie's Yo-kai Butler, when Whisper asks Katie how he recalls meeting him and in Yo-kai Tie-red, when he temporarily goes back home to his Yo-kai capsule to take a break.
The capsules the Crank-a-kai give out vary in color, which can be a hint to players as to what is sealed inside.
- Grayish-white: These capsules usually provide Items, most of which are common. However, it is possible to get the Crank-a-kai exclusive Yo-kai. (i.e. Cruncha or Shad. Venoct)
- Blue: Blue capsules vary between common Yo-kai and uncommon to rare Items.
- Red: Red capsules vary between uncommon Yo-kai and rare Items.
- Gold: Solid gold capsules always give out Rare Yo-kai. Rare is it that these capsules can give the Rank S Rare Yo-kai, that can happen when using tribe-specific Coins, special coins, and Five-Star Coins.
- Rainbow: Colorful capsules give out Rank S Yo-kai.
- Black: Black-hued capsules always give out the Rank S Crank-a-kai-exclusive Rare Yo-kai needed to unseal Gilgaros, Slurpent, and Re-Q-Perate.
Crank-a-kai Coins are found by opening boxes, searching certain spots in the overworld, completing requests, getting them through Bonus Scenes in the first two games, and through special QR Codes or Passwords, the latter of which being able to be redeemed in the Lambert Post Office and Piggleston Bank.
- Additionally, the Yo-kai Medals' toys (aside from the Gemnyans in the first game & the Fruitnyans, Robot Yo-kai, Wondernyan, Jibakoma, and Hovernyan/Darknyan in the second) have a QR code on the back, which offer a tribe-specific coin when scanned by using the Piggleston Bank's QR Code reader in-game.
There are some Rare Yo-kai that can only be obtained with the Crank-a-kai, 8 of which are Rank S Yo-kai of their respective tribes, and are necessary to free the Legendary Yo-kai of the Tough tribe, Gilgaros.
In Yo-kai Watch 2, there are 8 more Rank S Rare Yo-kai, with all but one of those being Classic Yo-kai, that are also only obtainable through the Crank-a-kai in the past, and are necessary to free the Legendary Yo-kai of the Slippery tribe, Slurpent.
In Yo-kai Watch 3, there are 8 more Rank S Rare Yo-kai, all Merican Yo-kai that are also only obtainable through the Dream Roulette Crank-a-kai, and are necessary to free the Legendary Yo-kai of the Eerie tribe, Re-Q-Perate. Due to the lack of time travel within, the Yo-kai needed to free Slurpent were moved elsewhere.
- As a Gashapon machine, the Crank-a-kai, as well as any of its variations, fall under the jurisdiction of Gutsy Bones.
- In Japan, several sets of Yo-kai Medals were released in actual Gashapon machines, emulating the Crank-a-kai.
- In the English version of Yo-kai Watch 3, the Crank-a-kai is called the "Crank-a-Kai", bearing the capitalized "K" on the second letter of the word. It's unknown if that was a localisation error (as "Yo-kai" is mistakenly spelt with a capital "K"), or a new spelling of the name.
In other languages
- Italian: Slot-Kai
- German: Yo-kaimat
- Spanish: Expendekai
- French: Bingo-kai