Having already sold umpteen-bajillion units in Japan, the wildly popular Yo-Kai Watch toys have finally arrived in the States. Let us dance with them.
Stephen Totilo and I both played Level-5's Pokemon-esque Japanese sensation when the 3DS game was released earlier this fall, and we both like what we played. It's bright, colourful, relatively innocent fun, obviously aimed at getting week-willed children to shell out cash for licensed merchandise of the sort that's now arriving in Toys'R'Us stores across the country via Hasbro.
So of course I bought all of them.
This picture represents $US75 ($103) worth of Yo-Kai Watch toys. The titular timepiece (which doesn't tell time but does play music) was $US20 ($27). The larger transforming figures of Jibanyan and Komosan were $US15 ($21) each; the five smaller figures were only $US5 ($7) apiece.
Cute, colourful and charming, I felt instant kinship with these toys, which are pretty much all of that too. Such was my appreciation that I recorded a Toy Time video showcasing their features despite it being 2,000 degrees in my home due to a broken air conditioner and broken maintenance service.
Of course there are those of you who cannot watch videos because you are at work or hate my face, so I've prepared a series of photographs.
The watch itself (because Yo-Kai Bracelet is a silly name for a show) is a large, clunky thing with a strap that's big enough to fit even my massive wrists, which means many children could fit it around their neck (not recommended). The watch's primary function is to play sounds when fitted with the colourful discs that come packed in every single Yo-Kai Watch toy. They're also sold in blind bags of three. There'll be more than 100 of them to collect by the end of 2016.
I highly recommend checking out the video to gauge how annoyed you will be by your children dancing about with the music playing over and over again. It helps if your children have graying beards.
Right now there are two types of figures to buy. The smaller figurines, of which there are currently five, each hold their little discs in creative ways. My personal favourite is Tattletell, who is holding on to hers (his? its?) for dear life.
Then we've got a pair of transforming figures. There's mascot character Jibanyan, who changes into Baddinyan.
And the creepy-cute Komasan, who becomes a brainwashed businessman.
Altogether the line is quite fetching. The paint on some of the smaller toys could be a bit cleaner, but all-in-all these are some well put-together figures.
While Yo-Kai Watch has become a cultural phenomenon in Japan, I'm not seeing any signs of similar success here in the States. I picked up a couple of the figures two days before Christmas at my local shop, and this morning when I went to grab the rest they were pretty much all still there. That's not great news for the property, but it's pretty great for kids of all ages looking to collect the whole set.