During Level-5’s Yo-kai Watch series event, where the latest trailer for Yo-kai Watch 4 was shown off, Level-5 president Akihiro Hino also went over the future of the series, now that the latest Yo-kai Watch: Shadowside anime has finished airing, and now that the series is getting a new game. [Thanks, Famitsu!]
Firstly, a new anime titled Yo-kai Watch! (with an exclamation point) will begin to air starting on April 9 in Japan. The anime goes back to its roots with Keita being the main protagonist, but the anime will have more of a comedic touch than the original. The new Yo-Kai Watches appearing in this anime are the Yo-kai Watch Elder and Yo-kai Watch Arc, which seem to have some sort of keyhole gimmick to them.
According to Hino, because developing on the Nintendo Switch took a long time to get used to, they were unable to coordinate the game’s release date with the Shadowside anime for a cross-media push, but this time they are ready to make that rush.
The Yo-kai Watch brand is also expanding in ways that try to challenge the series identity, which has become entrenched. With the Yo-kai Watch Jam sub-brand, Level-5 hopes to create new worlds surrounding the theme of yo-kai in genres such as mystery and suspense, for example. They want to create yo-kai entertainment that older kids and adults can enjoy fully too, and not just for kids.
The first Yo-kai Watch Jam project is this year’s Yo-kai Watch movie, titled Yo-kai Academy: Can a Cat Become a Hero? and Level-5 also shared the visual for the movie, which you can find below:
These students look somewhat like yo-kai from the original world, but this story isn’t about a Yo-kai Watch at all – it’s about how the students gain the ability to fuse with onryos (evil spirits) in order to become Yo-kai Heroes. Rather than the Yo-kai Watch, these students will use the mysterious YSP Watches to transform.
Finally, Bandai president Masaru Kawaguchi was at the event, and threw his support behind the future of the Yo-kai Watch series, which Bandai produces the toys for. He discussed how he recognized once more during this event how the brand is able to appeal to both genders and has a wide potential. The series’ strength is how it isn’t afraid to challenge its conventions, even six years into its inception.
Finally, Hino ended off by talking about how the series wasn’t originally aimed at kids, but the family demographic in general. With this new direction, he once again was able to recognize this fact.
Yo-Kai Watch 4: Looking Up at the Same Sky comes out for Nintendo Switch on June 6, 2019.