Yokai Watch

Your days are numbered, Pokemon! Yokai Watch is one step closer to becoming the next big thing in America thanks to official word from Hasbro. The toy company has confirmed a collaboration with Dentsu Entertainment over the popular Japanese series, and the two are overseeing an "innovative toy line" due in the States in 2016.

2016! Are you serious! This ship might have already sailed by then!

Seriously, why wait any longer? The series is red hot in Japan with the two games selling 6.5 million units combined. Movie theaters have been reporting record breaking opening weekends for the films, and even McDonalds told Pokemon to take a hike when looking to do its annual calendar collaboration. Yokai Watch's allure on children was just too strong.

2016!? How long did it take Pokemon to get to America after striking it big in Japan? Two years, huh. I see what you are doing Level-5. You have to stock up that merchandise so you can blitz us Americans all at once with your fancy-pants fads. This is like the 90s all over again, and I'm just a dumb kid in love with Japan who has to wait for these sluggish localizations!

Further hints that a Yokai Watch explosion is inevitable in the States is that the anime has already been confirmed for a dub, and Level-5 even teased the game release for 2015.

Honestly, I'm not so sure that Yokai Watch has the ability to break beyond its "Japanese-ness" and make the same kind of impact that Pokemon made a decade and a half ago. All kids can relate to monsters. Only Japanese kids can really understand what a "kappa" or a "rokurokubi" is.

I don't even care about the rivalry or comparing sales figures. It's just that this franchise is omnipresent in Japan. It's everywhere I walk, all my students play it, and I need to see if it holds up as a "good game" or if it really is just a cheap fad and a knock-off. The Nintendo 3DS' region-locking has kept me on the outside looking in, and I can only guess as to "yes" or "no" on the quality.

Level-5 has this fascinating ability to perfectly tip-toe along the balance between "kids multimedia game fads" and "genuinely good game design." We've seen it in everything from Dark Could 2 and Rogue Galaxy to Inazuma Eleven and Professor Layton. I just need to know where Yokai Watch falls, and I'm tired of waiting!