After storming the box office in its native Japan, “Yo-Kai Watch: The Movie” comes to America in a very limited run for hardcore fans of multimedia series. If you haven’t had enough of the TV series, the video games, and the toy line, fans will get to watch the big screen adventure of hero Nate, and his friends, the Yo-Kai. For those unaware, Yo-Kai are spirits in Japan that can be good or evil. Nate has a magical Yo-Kai watch that allows him to summon, catch, and catalogue the various Yo-Kai. And they’re a massive variety that stem from nature, the city, and literally anywhere else.
In “The Movie,” Nathaniel’s Yo-Kai watch is stolen from him from the evil Yo-Kai spirits Kin, Gin, and Do to give to their master Tokio, who wants to keep the humans and Yo-Kai from being friends. When Nathan goes searching for his watch and the trio of dastardly spirits, he meets Hovernyan, a very tough cat like Yo-Kai who takes Nate and his pals Whisper, and Jibanyan back in time. There, Nathan meets his actual grandfather, who is building the watch, and the pair work together to take the Yo-Kai watch back and fight Tokio and her evil minions. While learning about his grandfather, Nathan learns a whole new back story about his grandfather, including his relationship with the Yo-Kai of the forest, as well as his ingenious ways of finding the spirits.
The movie generally keeps the tone of the series well and opens up new areas of the Yo-Kai mythology that fans just might enjoy. This is a movie especially catered to the massive fan base, but I really enjoyed the top notch animation. While the character models themselves are somewhat simplistic, there’s a lot of detail in the landscapes and settings. As well the world of the Yo-Kai is often very cute and entertaining. “Yo-Kai Watch: The Movie” can border on shrill every now and then, but it’s a quality offering for fans, and deals out some interesting PG action, as well as an interesting villain. This may not grab random viewers and turn them in to followers, but it’s certainly a good bit of fan service that’s quick, simple, and often charming.
Opening In 300 Theaters For One Day Only on October 15th. Attendees will have a chance to receive a limited-edition Hovernyan YO-MOTION YO-KAI MEDAL, while supplies last.