One of the odder aspects of occasionally writing things on the internet is that people, companies, or locations might reach out and ask you to accept a large box full of confetti, plastic discs, and watches that don’t tell time, but do summon a little ghost butler to your aid so that you don’t make bad decisions at the behest of other little ghost butler creature thingys called Yo-kai.
The watch is also called Yo-kai, because it summons these spirits (“Yo-kai” is both singular and plural, like “deer” or “fish,” but less edible). And it’s huge in Japan.
The box was so big that I thought it too much for my 3 children, so I invited 4 additional children, which in this country means I had 7 children between the ages of 3 and 9 in my den (which is not that big of a den). My wife and I poured a couple mixed drinks, put the DVD in, and readied ourselves for the madness on a rainy Sunday afternoon in Georgia.
I had no idea our sofa could hold 4 wide! It’s like the Dayton 500 up in here!
The cartoon was weird. Trippy, even. I have to assume the way it made me feel is how my parents felt when I used to watch The Smurfs.
But, it was also pretty funny. The whole room (including grownups) laughed during the dance number all the kids did at the end of the episode (after the blank stares and agape mouths faded).
That said, more than one child (including one of ours) noticed a driver’s use of the word “moron” in anger at a pedestrian in the first episode and seemed offended by it. It created a teachable moment that involved my bride’s explanation of the varying social mores and cultural differences we see across countries. I’m pretty sure one of her Ph.D. classes was The Japanese Use of Descriptors of Mental Disability Originally Coined by American Psychologists Over 100 Years Ago but Now are Used in Children’s Entertainment, which helped.
The dog was not into it until a cat got hit by a car. Then, she was into it.
Other than the scene involving the angry driver, the children were into it. And, I liked how everyone in the cartoons seems to blame his/her problems and shortcomings on little animated ghosts. I’ve going to start incorporating this attitude with my clients.
We let them see a few episodes before pulling out the roughly 17′ x 89′ box the company shipped me and let them divide up the spoils. When they all got their own medals, watches, collection books, and posters, there were really into it. They chased each other and pushed buttons that made loud noises and squealed until I sent all 7 outside to play in the rain with their new toys that already had batteries.
In Japan, this TV show is the highest rated among the age 4-12 set; it’s going to air in October on Disney XD here (Mondays at 5pm). Hasbro is releasing a line of toys that kids in the States can buy, too. Our box had several of the watches in it, several medals that slide into them to conjure up the various little spirits, a medallium collection book, and some posters.
After the party ended, and it was just my 3 children, my 7-year-old boy asked the question that toy companies love but parents fear:
“Can I start collecting the medals?
I reckon, son. After all, I still have my collection of smurfs (somewhere).
FTC statement: I got pay and toys from Hasbro for this review; opinions and psychological analysis are mine (or my spouse’s).
Man, that song really catches in your head.
It’s magical and unnerving at the same time.
I never heard of this phenom, but I have a strange feeling that very soon we all will know the characters like we know Pokemon (especially anyone around young kids).
I think you’re right!