Yo-Kai Watch Series 1 Toy Roundup and Review

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Let the Haunting Begin!

Yo-Kai Watch Series 1 toys
The Yo-Kai Watch Series 1 toys from Hasbro. Jason Hidalgo

Yo-Kai Watch is everywhere in Japan. Everywhere.

Toy shops, train stations, shopping centers, McDonald's — you name it. It’s like the Kevin Bacon of toy-based IPs in the Land of the Rising Sun. The question now is, will creator Level 5 be able to replicate it own domestic success as well as Nintendo’s triumph in the West with Pokemon with its ghastly cute “yokai” monsters?

The company is certainly giving it the old college try, which Level 5 founder and CEO Akihiro Hino explained in detail during an interview I did with him during the last holiday season. In addition to a 3DS game done in partnership with Nintendo as well as a localization of the popular Japanese cartoon, Level 5 is also working with companies such as Hasbro for a lineup of toys that feature the eponymous Yo-Kai Watch, figures, and an assortment of medals that not only work with the watch but an app for smartphones and tablets such as the iPhone and iPad as well.

Here’s a roundup of the first batch of Yo-kai watch toys from Hasbro and my thoughts after trying them out. I did it … for the children.

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The Yo-Kai Watch Medal Mystery Bag

Yo-Kai Watch Medal Mystery Bag
The Yo-Kai Watch Medal Mystery Bag. Jason Hidalgo

Medals form the basis of the Yo-Kai Watch toys and the mystery bag is the quickest way to acquire a bunch of them. Costing $2.99, each pack comes with three random character medals, which can be used with either the toy watch or the smartphone and tablet app from Level 5. The app is particularly nifty as it comes with a Yo-Kai encyclopedia, games and a Japanese “purikura” function that lets you take, say, a photo of yourself and insert all sorts of icons and images from the game. The app also works with medals via a virtual reality function akin to the 3DS’s, allowing you to frame a medal on your smartphone or tablet screen and generate a virtual representation of the medal’s yokai. Admittedly, the randomness of the packs will feel like a cash grab for some parents, though it also encourages trading among friends. The medals themselves look like plastic coins colorful with images of a particular yokai printed on them. There are 44 medallions for the first round of Hasbro’s mystery bags, which doesn’t include exclusives such as the Whisper and Kyubi medals that come included in other toys.

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Yo-Kai Watch

Yo-Kai Watch watch
The eponymous watch from Yo-Kai Watch. Jason Hidalgo

The flagship toy of the series, the actual Yo-Kai Watch can’t tell time but it can take the various medals within its large body, and it is quite large. It might seem too large for little wrists but it does make it easier to handle and you don’t have to worry about choking hazards. The is powered by three tiny batteries and spits out specific audio cues based on the medal you put in.  The thing is definitely loud, perhaps too loud, and you sadly can’t adjust the volume. Older kids might get bored with its limited functionality, especially compared to the app. It’s ideal, however, for younger kids who like to imagine themselves within Yo-Kai watch’s world and mimic the cartoon protagonist’s antics. The Yo-Kai Watch costs $19.99 and comes with Whisper and Jibanyan medals. It will be compatible with the planned 100 or so medals that will be released this year.

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Yo-Kai Watch Medal Moments

Yo-Kai Watch Moments figure.
A Yo-Kai Watch Moments figure of the ghost Whisper. Jason Hidalgo

If you’re into little figures, the Medal Moments lineup if for you. The first wave features Whisper, Tattletell, Noko, Komasan and, of course, Jibanyan. Each figure also comes with an exclusive medal depicting the character, which can then be stored within the figure. The storage mechanic changes depending on the toy, with Komasan storing medals backpack-style while whisper has it inserted in his, um, tummy. My favorite, though, is snake yokai Noko, who has the medal stored in its mouth. Suggested pricing is $4.99.

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Yo-Kai Medallium Collection Book

Yo-Kai Watch Medallium Collection Book
The Yo-Kai Watch Medallium Collection Book binder. Jason Hidalgo

This collection binder is aimed at kids who like to collect medals. The Medallium comes with four plastic sleeves that can hold 12 medals each for a total of 48. That’s enough for the 44 medals from the mystery bags and Medal Moments figures with four extra spots for some of the exclusives like the medals from the watch. It also comes with a thick mini-binder with eight more slots for medals plus an exclusive Kyubi medal, a sticker, and a medal checklist. If you’ve got a lot of doubles, well, you’ll just have to store those in a box or something. Cost is $14.99.

Jason Hidalgo is About.com’s Portable Electronics expert. Yes, he is easily amused. Follow him on Twitter @jasonhidalgo and be amused, too.

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