Yo-Kai Watch Vol. 1 (Story and Art by Noriyuki Konishi) (a J!-ENT Manga Review)
November 21, 2015 by Dennis Amith
The popular anime and video game series is now available in manga format. Read the story of how Nate Adams and his yo-kai friends are able to help people and also befriend other yo-kai around the city. An enjoyable manga for all ages!
Image courtesy of © 2013 Noriyuki Konishi. All Rights Reserved.
MANGA TITLE: Yo-Kai Watch Vol. 1
STORY & ART: Noriyuki Konishi
FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shogakukan
PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC
RATED: A for All Ages
Available on November 3, 2015
Yo-kai, inspired by the yokai of Japanese folklore, are not ghosts or monsters or creatures. They can’t be seen by the human eye, but they’re everywhere, and whether they’re phantoms or everyday objects discovering their higher purpose, Yo-kai personalities are distinctly humanlike! While playing deep in the mountains, a yokai butler named Whisper gives Nathan the Yokai Watch, which Nathan uses to help his spooky new friends with their problems!
In 2012, the manga series “Yo-Kai Watch” by Noriyuki Konishi (“AM Driver”, “Mushiking: King of the Bettles”, “Saiyuki Hiro Go-Ku Den!”) was featured on Shogakukan’s CoroCoro Comic.
With the popularity of the children’s manga, an RPG video game by Level-5 titled “Yokai Watch” was developed and released for the Nintendo 3DS. And with the comparisons to “Pokemon”, needless to say the video game series became a popular hit in Japan.
The popularity of both the manga series and the game would lead to a shojo manga series serialization in Shogakukan’s “Ciao” magazine, an anime series produced by OLM, Inc. that aired in Japan in 2014 and another popular sequel to the Nintendo 3DS series.
With a third game titled “Yo-Kai Busters” released in Japan and the anime series airing in North America in Oct. 2015, the manga series for “Yo-Kai Watch” will be released in America courtesy of Viz Media.
The story begins with an ordinary elementary school student named Nate Adams (Note: His name is Keita in the Japanese version). He’s not very bright or athletic, but he is just an average boy who’s life changes when he finds a capsule machine laying against the tree.
After inserting a coin, instead of a capsule, a rock comes out of the capsule machine and when Nate opens it up, a ghost named Whisper comes out. He begins to call himself Nate’s yo-kai butler and gives him a yo-kai watch in order to see other yo-kai (spirits) around him.
As there are many unexplainable things in the world that happen due to yo-kai, Nate can see how they are affecting people or how they are struggling for some sort of reason. Being the kind-hearted boy Nate is, he wants to befriend the yo-kai and once he does, he receives a coin from them and he can call on them by placing the yo-kai coin into his yo-kai watch.
In volume 1 of the manga series, Nate encounters a cat yo-kai named Jibanyan. Jibanyan used to be owned by a girl named Amy but died when he was hit by a car. So, now he wants to become a strong cat and defeat all cars, so he can return back to Amy (who actually treated him badly).
But when Nate listens to Jibanyan’s woes, he realizes that Jibanyan has a kind heart and just wants Amy to change her mind about him. So, when he wishes him good luck, Jibanyan offers his coin to Nate, and from that point in time, becomes one of the yo-kai that Nate tends to use when confronting other yo-kai.
In volume 1, Nate must come across two yo-kai who are married, Happire and Dismarelda. A happy and a angry gloomy ghost and when they are separated, they can cause other humans to behave happy or gloomy, so it’s important to keep them together.
Nate also encounters the rice cake yo-kai, Machismo, who wants his revenge on a boy who kept throwing his rice cakes away.
Nate encounters a memory eater yo-kai named Wazzat, who causes people to forget what they are doing. Can Nate get Wazzat to stop making people forget things?
Another yo-kai causing problems is the dream eater yo-kai named Baku, who are affecting other people. Can Nate stop Baku from eating their dreams?
All this and more in volume 1 of “Yo-kai Watch”!
With the release of “Yo-Kai Watch” the anime series and the first video game for the Nintendo 3DS, the timing is quite perfect for the manga release.
What best to get people interested in “Yo-Kai Watch” than to have a manga series that goes into detail about Nate, Whisper, Jibanyan and other yo-kai that he must help or befriend.
While the video game is compared to “Pokemon”, as the anime and manga series focuses on the collection of Pokemon to battle other trainers and capture them, the manga series is about Nate discovering why people are behaving a certain way and then using his yo-kai watch to see them, but to get them to stop hurting or affecting other people.
Some who put up a lot of resistance as they don’t believe a human would want to befriend them, but Nate is honest about his feelings of befriending them and when the time is needed, using them when the situation requires it.
In one story, Nate comes across a yo-kai mosquito named Negatibuzz who can either suck all the negative or all the positivity out of a person and making them the opposite of how they are feeling. So, when Negatibuzz goes after him, what best than to use his happy yo-kai, Happiere to protect him from the mosquito yo-kai.
Another situation which Nate comes across a rice cake yo-kai named Mochismo, who starts throwing sticky rice at him. Who best to call upon than the hungry Jibanyan, who is willing to eat all the sticky rice that Mochismo throws towards Nate.
So far, from what I get with each chapter, the main focus of each chapter is Nate coming across a different yo-kai in order to help a person or the yo-kai in general. There is no connected story between chapters, aside from a yo-kai being utilized and for now, there is no major challenge that makes the story any deeper than it should be. If anything, “Yo-Kai Watch” is a manga series tailored for people of all ages and one that children can really get into and enjoy.
The artwork by Noriyuki Konishi is actually well-done and fun to look at, but for the most part, Konishi has done a fine job in crafting this manga series that would appeal to people of all ages and for the most part, the manga is safe for children for all chapters but one (I found the knife scene in chapter 6 questionable, as it looks like a robber stabbed Nate in the stomach with a knife).
For the first volume of the graphic novel, I can say that I enjoyed the series, but it’s a manga that I personally can take in small doses and didn’t want to read entirely in a single setting, or else I would get burned out.
But I think for people wanting a manga series that is quick to read and for the most part, has a lot of humor, then “Yo-Kai Watch” is a manga series that I can easily recommend.
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