The popular Japanese monster-catching RPG Yo-kai Watch will be available for 3DS from December 5 in Australia and New Zealand, Nintendo announced today.
Yo-kai Watch is an RPG reminiscent of Pokemon that has players fighting and collecting ghost-like beings called Yo-kai. There are over 200 Yo-kai to cllect, each with their own unique skills, strengths, and weaknesses. There's also a Persona-like element, with these Yo-kai being "based on common concerns kids have, and by confronting those concerns, kids can learn to overcome them."
Since its original Japanese release in 2013, Yo-kai Watch has grown into a multi-billion dollar franchise. In Japan alone, the series has sold over 8 million units on 3DS and USD $2 billion worth of retail merchandise, and last year, Yo-Kai Watch, Yo-kai Watch 2: Honke / Ganso, and Yo-kai Watch 2: Shinuchi accounted for three of Japan's six best-selling games, across both handhelds and home consoles. There have also been three manga adaptations, an anime series, and a line of toys.
As well as a Western release of Yo-kai Watch, Nintendo are partnering with Hasbro and Australia's Channel 9 to bring the anime and toys to Australasia. The anime will begin airing in Australia on Channel 9's GO! channel in December (we've reached out to Nintendo for details on any New Zealand broadcasting plans), and toys and other merchandise will begin being released in Q1 2016.