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Yo-kai Watch (Japanese: 妖怪ウォッチ Yōkai Wotchi) is a series of role-playing games developed and published by Level-5. Each game has its own unique story, Yo-kai, quests, and characters. The franchise has released games, merchandise, and an animated series worldwide. In Japan, it has managed to become one of the most popular monster-collecting franchises.



Initial Creation and Concepts


An exhibition of early Yo-kai designs at the Edo-Tokyo Museum in 2016.

With the success of Professor Layton, Inazuma Eleven, and Little Battlers Experience, Level-5 decided to create a new IP that would last for a very long time. They used Doraemon as their inspiration[1], resulting in the creation of Yo-kai Watch.

Planning and development started in 2010[2], and their first step into the development was to make the player explore freely and walk around in an open-world environment.

The franchise was announced at Electronic Gaming Expo at Los Angeles in 2011, where the game was shown running on the PlayStation 3. The game ended up being repurposed for the Nintendo 3DS. The manga adaption of Yo-kai Watch was first released in Japan on December 15, 2012, seven months before the game's release.

Rise to popularity in Japan

When Yo-kai Watch came out in Japan, it sold 53,000 copies in its first week. It sold a total of 1.29 million copies in 2014, becoming one of the best-selling games on the Nintendo 3DS.

Popularity of the franchise started to increase with rising viewership of the Yo-kai Watch anime series in March 2014, [3] and eventually skyrocket when Yo-kai Watch 2 came out in Japan during the summer. The game made the franchise popular among many demographics, and the Yo-kai Watch anime series became one of the most-watched animated shows in Japan alongside other popular anime like Doraemon and Detective Conan.

As a result of the massive boom of popularity, the franchise has made many crossovers in Japan with popular characters from other franchises. Its popularity in Japan led to Yo-kai Watch becoming a phenomenal creation.

As of July 2016, the franchise has sold 10,438,903 copies in Japan alone. This amount excludes digital sales.[4]

Release in the West

Audiences outside of Japan became interested in the Yo-kai Watch franchise upon seeing Yo-kai Watch 2s massive success in Japan. Plans for localization were considered when the franchise was at the peak of it's popularity in July-August 2014[5], along with the tentative title originally being called "YO-Kai Watch"[6].

It was further confirmed in December 2014 during the Japanese release of Yo-kai Watch: The Movie, when Hino said that they would be bringing the anime series overseas.[7]


The demonstration of the video game at the Yo-kai Watch panel in New York Comic Con 2015.

The western localization of Yo-kai Watch franchise would later be announced in 2015, with Hasbro confirming to produce the toys, and the anime being dubbed by notable voice actors. More details on the games and anime were revealed at Electronic Gaming Expo 2015, where they announced a fall release in the North American market, alongside the merchandise and the anime series.

When the games and anime were released in North America, several elements had to be modified for a western audience. The most notable example is changing the location of Springdale from Japan to an unspecified location in the United States, even though a lot of the Japanese aesthetics remain. The localization changes are notably present in the English dub of the anime series, which includes renaming certain foods and painting over Japanese text.

After the video game, anime series and manga was released in Europe in Spring 2016, it received better sales in that territory, especially in France, Spain and Italy to an extent. The video game sold 650,000 copies compared to 360,000 sales, which is almost twice the amount of the sales in North America.

The initial success in both of those territories warranted a localisation for several future games in the series, along with dubbing for future seasons.


Main Series

Boxart Title Japanese title Release date
Yokai-watch-boxart Yo-kai Watch 妖怪ウォッチ JPJuly 11, 2013
NANovember 6, 2015
EUApril 29, 2016
AUDecember 5, 2015
KONovember 26, 2015
Yo-kai Watch 2 Bony Spirits coverYo-kai Watch 2 Fleshy Souls cover Yo-kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits

Yo-kai Watch 2: Fleshy Souls

妖怪ウォッチ2 元祖
妖怪ウォッチ2 本家
JPJuly 10, 2014
NASeptember 30, 2016
EUApril 7, 2017
AUOctober 15, 2016
KOApril 20, 2017
SpectersNewBoxart Yo-kai Watch 2: Psychic Specters 妖怪ウォッチ2 真打 JPDecember 13, 2014
NASeptember 29, 2017
EUSeptember 29, 2017
AUSeptember 30, 2017
KOSeptember 21, 2017
Yo-kai Watch 3 Sushi box artYo-kai Watch 3 Tempura box art Yo-kai Watch 3: Sushi

Yo-kai Watch 3: Tempura

妖怪ウォッチ3 スシ
妖怪ウォッチ3 テンプラ
JPJuly 16, 2016
Yo-kai Watch 3 North American Cover Yo-kai Watch 3: Sukiyaki 妖怪ウォッチ3 スキヤキ JPDecember 15, 2016
NAFebruary 8, 2019
EUDecember 7, 2018
AUDecember 8, 2018
YW4 BOX ART CLEAR IMAGE Yo-kai Watch 4 妖怪ウォッチ4 JPJune 6, 2019
Yo-kai Watch 1 for Nintendo Switch Box Art Yo-kai Watch 1 for Nintendo Switch 妖怪ウォッチ1 for Nintendo Switch JPOctober 10, 2019


Boxart Title Japanese title Release date
Yo-kai Watch Blasters (Red Cat Corps) NA CoverYo-kai Watch Blasters (White Dog Squad) NA Cover Yo-kai Watch Blasters: Red Cat Corps

Yo-kai Watch Blasters: White Dog Squad

妖怪ウォッチバスターズ 赤猫団
妖怪ウォッチバスターズ 白犬隊
JPJuly 11, 2015
KOApril 19, 2018
WWSeptember 7, 2018
Busters gettogumi boxart Yo-kai Watch Blasters: Moon Rabbit Crew 妖怪ウォッチバスターズ 月兎組 JPDecember 12, 2015

WWSeptember 27, 2018

YWBustersSwordYWBustersMagnum Yo-kai Watch Busters 2: Sword

Yo-kai Watch Busters 2: Magnum

妖怪ウォッチバスターズ2 ソード
妖怪ウォッチバスターズ2 グナム
JPDecember 16, 2017


Boxart Title Japanese title Release date
YWD JP Cover Yo-kai Watch Dance: Just Dance Special Version 妖怪ウォッチダンス:ジャストダンス特別版 JPDecember 5, 2015
Yo-kai Sangokushi Japanese boxart Yo-kai Sangokushi 妖怪三国志 JPApril 2, 2016

Mobile Games

Icon Title Japanese title Release date
Icon175x175 Yo-kai Taiso Dai-ichi Puzzle da nyan ようかい体操第一パズルだニャン JPJuly 16, 2013
Yo-kai Watch Wibble Wobble icon Yo-kai Watch: Wibble Wobble 妖怪ウォッチ ぷにぷに Android:
JPOctober 21, 2015
NAMarch 24, 2016
EUMarch 30, 2017
KOJune 23, 2016

JPOctober 28, 2015
NAMarch 24, 2016
EUMarch 30, 2017
KOJune 23, 2016

Yo-kai Watch Land icon Yo-kai Watch Land NAJanuary 3, 2016
Yo-kai Sangokushi Kunitori Wars app Yo-kai Sangokushi: Kunitori Wars 妖怪三国志 国盗りウォーズ JPJanuary 11, 2018
Yo-kai Watch Gerapo Rhythm icon Yo-kai Watch: Gerapo Rhythm 妖怪ウォッチ ゲラポリズム JPMay 11, 2018
Yw world icon Yo-kai Watch World 妖怪ウォッチワールド JPJune 27, 2018
Medal wars icon Yo-kai Watch: Medal Wars 妖怪ウォッチ メダルウォーズ JPMarch 28, 2019 (Beta)
July 30, 2019
None Yo-kai Daijiten 妖怪大辞典 JP2019

Total Sales

Review Scores


Game Score
Yo-kai Watch 36/40 (9, 9, 9, 9,)
Yo-kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits & Fleshy Souls 36/40 (9, 9, 9, 9,)
Yo-kai Watch Blasters: Red Cat Corps & White Dog Squad 33/40 (8, 8, 9, 8,)
Yo-kai Sangokushi 35/40 (9, 9, 9, 8,)
Yo-kai Watch 3: Sushi & Tempura 37/40 (9, 10, 9, 9,)
Yo-kai Watch 3: Sukiyaki 37/40 (10, 9, 9, 9,)
Yo-kai Watch Busters 2 34/40 (9, 8, 9, 8,)
Yo-kai Watch 4 37/40 (9, 10, 9, 9,)
Yo-kai Watch 4++ 36/40 (9, 9, 9, 9,)

Spin-off franchise

Main article: Yo-kai Watch Jam (franchise)

Starting with the announcement of the sixth film in 2019, a spin-off series called Yo-kai Watch Jam was released, focusing on alternate-universe incarnations of the franchsie.


  4. Yo-Kai Watch Sells More Than 10 Million Copies in Japan

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