Japan's highest grossing film of 2015 is pretty silly. Yo-Kai Watch: The Movie, making its U.S. debut at a special Fathom Events theatre showing this weekend, keeps the wacky humour of the television show rolling, even when the fate of the entire world is at stake.
I got to watch a special preview of the film prior to this Saturday's event, and while I won't get the special Hovernyan medal being distrubuted to folks who attend the theatre showing, I'd at least go to enjoy the first meeting between Nate and the melodramatic superhero cat thing.
What if Nate never received his Yo-Kai Watch, never started down the path of learning about the strange spirits secretly affecting our everyday lives and making an entire island nation go completely crazy? That notion is briefly explored at the beginning of The Yo-Kai Watch movie, when the magical is seemingly wiped out of existence.
Thankfully, Nate's spirit friends, Jibanyan and Whisper, are still around to help him remember, so when a massive flying cat spirit named Meganyan arrives in search of assistance he's at least got some context. What he doesn't have is his watch, so he can't see the swarms of evil creatures called The Wicked filling the sky.
The trio travel wind up at Nate's grandmother's farm, where they learn that the Meganyan is actually the caped hero Hovernyan. He's been storing up Yo-Kai energy for decades in order to hep him find a sidekick to help his own heroic human pal stave off an all-out invasion of evil spirits.
That heroic human is Nate's grandfather Nathaniel, the original creator of the Yo-Kai Watch. Using something called a Rewind Stone, Hovernyan transports Nate, Jibanyan and Whisper 60 years into the past, so they can team up with Nathaniel and save the human and spirit world alike from this creepy lady here.
Players of Yo-Kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits and Fleshy Souls (I'm just getting started) will recognise her as Dame Dedtime, and she does not want the Yo-Kai and humans being friends. To that end she's sabotaging the creation of the Yo-Kai Watch, and infecting humans and Yo-Kai alike with a sort of violence plague. She's not nice at all.
Despite the high stakes, the Yo-Kai Watch movie never strays far from the goofiness the show is known for. The strange, self-referential humour and occasional fourth wall breaking is here, even when things look their darkest. There's a little bit of drama but don't worry, your kids will barely notice.
Without giving away too much, in the end everyone learns a thing or two about friendship, and Jibanyan and Whisper redeem their combined ineptitude and general uselessness in a moment that has to be seen. Then it is time to dance.
The Yo-Kai Watch Movie is showing at select theatres, with no word about an Australian cinematic, digital or retail release just yet.