The Yo-kai Watch comic is a comic book mini-series published by IDW Publishing, that ran for three issues from May to August 2017. The series was written by Eric M. Esquivel, illustrated by Tina Franscisco, and colored by Mae Hao.
IDW Publishing announced a Yo-kai Watch comic book series on January 25th, 2017, which would later be published in April/May of that year. A total of only three issues were released, all of which had the serialized story of Jibanyan fighting Snartle via different time periods.
A hardcover collected volume of the series was released in November 2017, while it was re-released as a free gift with limited edition copies of Yo-kai Watch: Season 1 Volume 1 DVDs.
Each issue of the series focuses on a time period - past, present, or future - and tells an over-arching story of a struggle between Jibanyan's ancestry and Snartle. The series is framed as a story that Whisper is telling to the viewer, with commentary and narration throughout. However, despite his input, Whisper is not actually involved with the plot.
Issue #1 - The Past
In a city 200 years before Nate Adams receives the Yo-kai Watch, the daimyo's daughter Princess Amy walks through a marketplace. She is quickly ambushed by a pair of thugs inspirited by Snartle, who yell about Amy being out past curfew, but she is able to fight them off after being inspirited by Shogunyan, her "silent guardian". After Amy returns to the safety of her bodyguards, Shogunyan confronts Snartle, who flees the scene. During his escape, Snartle reflects on his days as a young Yo-kai and reveals that his motive for punishing "naughty brats" is to make up for his own mischief at a young age. Snartle walks past a pair of children playing pranks on one another, causing him to fly into a frenzy, inspiriting a nearby adult and threatening to "discipline" the children with a tree branch. Shogunyan intervenes once more and defeats Snartle in combat, demanding that he leave town. Snartle agrees but swears that he will return and have his vengeance.
Issue #2 - The Present
In modern-day Springdale, a truck driver inspirited by Snartle pursues a kitten chasing a moth on the road. Jibanyan appears and punches the kitten out of the way, spooking the truck driver and knocking the truck's load of logs into the street. Jibanyan inspirits the kitten and works alongside it to dodge and stack the logs, but his foot lands in chewing gum. The truck driver awakens from the inspiriting and Snartle appears, issuing a threat to Jibanyan. However, Jibanyan doesn't know who Snartle is, due to Shogunyan not passing down any information about him. Snartle is angered and attempts to fight Jibanyan regardless, but only removes Jibanyan's chewing gum in the process. He makes an offhand comment about Princess Amy being "lame", triggering a flashback in Jibanyan of his last moments alive with Amy. Jibanyan is angered and starts to fight seriously until Snartle's pants start to loosen. Snartle admits defeat, but once again swears vengeance on Jibanyan in the future.
Issue #3 - The Future
In a futuristic Springdale, Amy III speeds through the city on a hoverboard. Angered by her mischief, Snartle summons a Mircle that connects to the Yo-kai World. This causes a storm of purple clouds to form, and Amy is ambushed by a group of Wicked Yo-kai. She cries for help, and her distress activates Robonyan, who quickly arrives and defeats the mob of Yo-kai with rocket punches. Amy points to Mircle, who has grown to a massive size, as the source of the Yo-kai. Robonyan grows to a similar size and is confronted by Snartle, who absorbs the defeated Wicked Yo-kai to grow massively as well. The two wrestle and cause destruction around the city until Robonyan manages to shrink both of them, and the pair enter through Mircle's mouth into the Yo-kai World. There they meet Snartle's mother, who denounces her son's use of the Wicked Yo-kai. Snartle reveals his backstory to Robonyan, and expresses that he still dwells on his mother calling him a "naughty brat". At this, Snartle's mother reaffirms that she loves him and tells him to look toward the future. With this new resolve, Snartle and Robonyan return to Springdale and force the remaining Wicked Yo-kai back into Mircle's portal. Snartle apologizes for all the trouble he's caused and returns to the Yo-kai World, while Robonyan gets to work repairing the damage to Springdale. Whisper commends Snartle's redemption, and offers his own Yo-kai Medal to the viewer in friendship.
- The three issues have the theme of the "Past, present and future", with Yo-kai from specific eras (except for Snartle and the Wicked) playing a part in the story.
- Coincidentally, M04 has a plot that takes place in the future where Wicked Yo-kai inspirit humans, turning them evil.
- Of the characters featured on the "B" variant issue covers, only Jibanyan, Whisper, Negatibuzz, and Nate Adams actually appear in the comic series, and the latter two only appear as cameos.
- An earlier version of a cover exists with Hovernyan appearing in place of Robonyan.
- During the fight scene in Issue #2, Jibanyan extends long metallic claws and temporarily styles his fur to match the hairstyle of Wolverine.
- In another scene in Issue #2, Jibanyan and Whisper recreate a scene from the viral YouTube video series "Supa Hot Fire".