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Nintendo’s Yo-Kai Watch commercial has farting in an elevator

by Ron Duwell | November 3, 2015November 3, 2015 1:20 pm PDT

If you know about Yo-Kai Watch or Japanese bedtime stories, you know that the “yokai” are weird folklore monsters that explain some of the quirkier myths in Japan. Some are truly gruesome, like the origins of the Kappa, and I’m having a hard time thinking of a family friendly one to use as an example. You get the idea though, and Yo-Kai Watch cleverly turns these horror stories into childish jokes that Japanese kids can laugh at.

The problem is translating that into a culture where kids don’t get the references. And thus we get this… This little bundle of awkward from Nintendo in which a guy farts on an elevator, throws a goofy anime face, and then blames it on an invisible monster that has a butt for a face. Farts are universally funny, but come on. We can’t even blame that on a dog, let alone invisible monsters.

I’m also having a hard time placing Blazion anywhere in yokai lore, so we’ll just use a mean basketball mom who trash talks her son. Blazions’s Japanese name means to burn with competitiveness and determination, but again, it’s lost in translation. “No, it was the invisible monsters!” the mom screams as neighbors shake their heads in shame.

This is why I have a hard time seeing Yo-Kai Watch have the same cultural impact on the rest of the world as Pokemon, mostly because it is so ridiculously exclusive to ideas only Japanese kids will grasp. Everyone understands catching cute turtles and baby dragons that run in the grass. Not everyone will embrace the idea that a cat can come back from the dead after being hit by a car and fight as your friend.

That’s rather dark, isn’t it?

Of course, it’s also a gateway into the wonderful world of Japanese yokai as well, but I wonder how many people will actually use it as such. We’ll find out soon since Yo-Kai Watch launches this Friday, Nov.6 for the Nintendo 3DS.

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Ron Duwell

Ron has been living it up in Japan for the last decade, and he has no intention of leaving this technical wonderland any time soon. When he's not...

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