Yo-Kai Watch Roleplay Toy
$19.99 – Purchased from Toys R Us
I’ve been loosely following Yo-Kai Watch since it debuted in Japan. I’ve been a huge fan of Level-5’s franchises such as Professor Layton or Danball Senki (LBX), so when they debuted a new monster themed franchise I was certainly interested. The franchise involved a boy that befriended monsters themed around Japanese folklore to gain their Yo-Kai Medals. Monsters? Coin gimmick? Japanese folklore? SOLD. Unfortunately subs for the series were halted and harder to come by, so my following of the franchise was mostly just watching Japanese reviewers look at the toys. It used the “rails and buttons” method of activating sounds just like the ToQ Ressha Series or the Shift Car Series from Super Sentai and Kamen Rider respectively. Hey, if it works, use it. I sat and eagerly awaited news for a North American release. Flash forward to Christmas 2015, and it’s finally here.
The North American release of the Yo-Kai Watch franchise is being handled by Hasbro, a departure from the usual “Bandai Japan to Bandai America” formula we’re used to with franchises Bandai produces in Japan. This may have been a blessing in disguise as Hasbro hit it out of the park with this release of the Yo-Kai Watch. The toy remains loyal to the Japanese version in both execution, design, and concepts. Included with the roleplay toy release of the watch are two Yo-Kai Medals: Jibanyan and Whisper. Inserting a Yo-Kai Medal into the Yo-Kai Watch will cause the toy to play that corresponding Yo-Kai Tribe’s jingle, as well as announce the name of the Yo-Kai as well as an additional phrase. The toy is incredibly faithful to the show, with all of the tribe jingles sounding crisp and clear, and all of the Yo-Kai being voiced by their respective actors in the show. In total it recognizes over 100 Yo-Kai Medals, which is incredible for a $19.99 toy. I picked this one up at Toys R Us, but they’re scheduled to be sold at nearly all major retailers.
Pressing the button on the side will flip the dome open. Holding the button down will play the show accurate searching noise. Unfortunately the North American release excludes the LED featured on the Japanese release of the toy to fully emulate the show, but it’s not a major deal to me at the end of the day. The Jibanyan Yo-Kai Medal will play the Charming Tribe sound. Following that, Jibanyan will yell out his name followed by “I’m kinda busy right nyow…”, a catchphrase of the lazy Yo-Kai in the series. Pressing the button will make him shout “Jibanyan!” once again. The Whisper Yo-Kai Medal is unique in that he doesn’t belong to a tribe. Inserting his medal will result in Whisper saying “What’s up my corporeal friend? I am Whisper, at your service.” Pressing the button will repeat the phrase. When you insert a Yo-Kai Medal incorrectly, the Nosirs will say “No, no. no!”. a nice little nod to the Nosirs from the series.
Overall, the Yo-Kai Watch is an outstanding toy for only $19.99. The sounds are crisp and clean. With over 100 Yo-Kai Medals being readable, the collectible nature of the series rings true to the toy line as well. While play is limited out of the box, Yo-Kai Medals are being included with nearly every toy released in the toy line, as well as purchasable Medal Mystery Bags giving you three medals for $2.99. If you’re a fan of the English dub of Yo-Kai Watch, pick this up. Great toy for a great price. Thanks Hasbro!