Viz Media - the firm which is handling the release of the Yo-Kai Watch comic and TV show in Europe and America - has confidently claimed that the series will be "the next Pokémon".
Waell Oueslati, EMEA associate brand manager at Viz Media, is clearly bullish about the chances of the franchise in the west:
This will be the next big boys' brand, essentially the next Pokémon. We have very high expectations for the market and for the UK.
We are certainly bigger than Pokémon in Japan; we currently have 95 per cent market share in that region.
Yo-Kai Watch has already been a smash hit in its homeland, selling millions of copies and kick-starting a merchandising juggernaut which shows no signs of slowing.
Retailers and licensees in the west are clearly hoping such predictions come true. Rob Corney, group MD for merchandising outlet Bulldog Licensing, feels that there's been a long enough gap since the last big brand:
The last major anime-esque property to really hit the big time in Europe was probably Ben 10 – though that was not a Japanese brand. It's been a few years since this was at its peak and a new generation of fans is ready for the next major success story in the genre.
Yo-Kai Watch launches in North America on November 6th, and hits Europe next year. We recently play-tested the game and thought it was really rather spiffing.