Primary school student Keita Amano's curiosity is as innocent as any other child's his age. But when one day he decides to venture deeper into the forest, he encounters a small and mysterious capsule. Out from its depths comes Whisper. After 190 years of imprisonment, this ghost-like creature is glad that someone has been kind enough to set him free. He decides to reward Keita by becoming his guardian against supernatural forces. Whisper is one of many Youkai that exist in the world, and provides Keita with a special Youkai Watch, which enables him to see and interact with all the other Youkai.
Youkai Watch follows Keita, Whisper and the cat spirit Jibanyan as they encounter Youkai, befriend them, fix all the trouble that they so often cause, and, with the help of the watch, use the powers of previously encountered Youkai to aid them. Young Keita may have been just an ordinary primary school student when he first encountered the Youkai, but the many adventures that follow his discovery provide him with invaluable experiences and precious life lessons that help him grow.
Youkai Watch was awarded the Best Film Award for a TV Series at the Tokyo Anime Award Festival in 2015. It also won the grand prize for Digital Content of the Year in 2014 at Japan’s 20th annual Association of Media in Digital Awards.
#1: "Geragerapou no Uta (ゲラゲラポーのうた)" by King Creamsoda (eps 1-36, 51) #2: "Matsuri Hayashi de Geragerapou (祭り囃子でゲラゲラポー)" by King Creamsoda (eps 37, 39, 41, 43, 45, 47, 49, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62) #3: "Hatsukoi-touge de Geragerapou (初恋峠でゲラゲラポー)" by King Creamsoda (eps 38, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48, 50, 53, 55, 57, 59, 61) #4: "Kerappo Dance Train (ゲラッポ・ダンストレイン)" by King Creamsoda (eps 63-76) #5: "Jinsei Dramatic (人生ドラマチック)" by King Creamsoda (eps 77-101) #6: "Terukuni Jinja no Kumade (照國神社の熊手)" by King Creamsoda (eps 102-129) #7: "Yuugara Otomodachi (ゆーがらお友達)" by King Creamsoda (eps 130-150) #8: "Banzai! Ai Zenkai (ばんざい!愛全開)" by King Creamsoda (eps 151-178) #9: "Gold...Nanchatte! (ゴールド…なんちゃって!)" by King Cream Soda (eps 179-)
#1: "Youkai Taisou Daiichi (ようかい体操第一)" by Dream5 (eps 1-24) #2: "Dan Dan Dubi Zubaa! (ダン・ダン ドゥビ・ズバー！)" by Dream5 + Burii Taichou (ブリー隊長) (eps 25-50) #3: "Idol wa Unyanya no Ken (アイドルはウーニャニャの件)" by NyaKB with Tsuchinoko Panda (ニャーKB with ツチノコパンダ) (eps 51-67) #4: "Youkai Taisou Daini (ようかい体操第二)" by Dream5 (eps 68-76) #5: "Uchuu Dance! (宇宙ダンス！)" by Cotori with Stitchbird (eps 77-101) #6: "Chikyuujin (地球人)" by Cotori with Stitchbird (eps 102-129) #7: "Furusato Japon (ふるさとジャポン)" by LinQ (eps 130-150) #8:" Treasure (トレジャー)" by LinQ (eps 151-178) #9: "Hello Chri-Dance (ハロ・クリダンス)" by You-bex Rengougun (妖ベックス連合軍) (eps 179-)
People on the internet will tell you that this tries too hard to be the next Pokémon. But that's not true at all, this show doesn't want to be anything like Pokémon. Youkai Watch tends to be more of a comedy series with various skits than an anime about a teenage boy going on an adventure.
Don't expect much of story, but the anime has a lot of charm to it. This anime is very self-aware and most of the jokes and skits are actually really funny. Some jokes tend to get old after a lot of
episodes, but they always find a way to keep the show refreshing, even after 50 episodes. You can clearly see that the creators have a lot of fun making this anime.
The Youkai Watch anime now lacks an English subbing group for it. This is a shame as the anime is funny to watch and is currently one of the top ten children anime in Japan's Kanto region. I hope this review may be able to help change things as clearly a number of people (including myself) enjoy it. I plan to watch on and probably pick up the Japanese language at the same time, even if it will take ages for a group to pick this up again.
Youkai is a term for Japanese spirits, ghosts and monsters. A "Youki-pedia" series, this anime depend a lot
on slapstick jokes and unexpected twists for humour/entertainment. Elements of the show may be paralleled with Pokemon, except that one does not catch Youkai, one befriends them. The protagonist, Keita, unwittingly frees Whisper (a ghost Youkai) through inserting a coin into a gashapon machine. Whisper decides to follow and help him out of gratitude and gives Keita a Youkai watch to see other Youkai. They get into various Youkai-exploring adventures and collect Youkai friendship medals along the way.
Although children will enjoy this series the most, there will be people of other ages who will be able to appreciate its light-hearted nature. As of Episode 4, this show's story uses a few fixed formulas (typical to child-friendly anime) that vary slightly each episode.
1) Gaining medals from a friendly youkai who drops by to say hi.
2) Introduction to a friendly youkai who may have problems of their own and/or cause problems for real people.
3) Solving of the youkai's problems sometimes, but not always.
4) Introduction to backstory of the youkai's past lives before becoming a youkai.
5) Youkai battle, usually against a troublemaking or scary youkai that engages in battle with a summoned friendly youkai.
6) Youkais-of-the-week: Recap of the medals that Keita obtained (Usually 2-3 of them).
7) A special portion where a Youkai featured gets into all sorts of funny situations.
The music is typical for a normal anime series. The summoning sequence is thankfully not boring to watch as there will be eight (excluding one special) different kinds depending on the youkai medal type. Characters have their own special characteristics which create for dramatic and humorous effects in the show.
Overall, this anime is not amazing, but it will be entertaining to watch if you are interested in Youkai or supernatural things, want something light-hearted/funny to watch and can find your inner child to watch such an anime.
Youkai Watch. It's an anime you may have heard of, a lot of people compare it to Pokémon partially due to it's growing popularity in Japan overshadowing Pokémon's. However, this anime is not actually as similar to Pokémon as it seems.
Both series center around a boy in a world filled with monsters, but the main difference is that their stories and interactions are presented completely differently. They both function as kids 'monster of the week' series but Pokémon is filled with epic battles and plots about evil teams wanting to take over the regions. In contrast, Youkai Watch is a pure humor anime consisting of
multiple skits per episode with no real plot or purpose. That is not to say Youkai Watch is good or bad, but if you're expecting an epic quest or any overall plot, you'll most likely be disappointed. The series is about Keita's daily life and interactions with youkai, plain and simple. Occasionally there will be plot but it's few and far between.
The anime tends to follow the same structure as the episodes go by, but the series manages to keep most of the jokes refreshing. Some jokes can grow stale but it stays entertaining for the most part. The humor is mainly self-aware, it's a series that is aware that the premise and characters can get ridiculous and embraces it. As such, the jokes can rely on slapstick humor and ridiculous circumstances. For me, the humor rarely fell flat though that will possibly not be the case for you. Still, if you're looking for such a light-hearted humor anime, this may be an anime worth considering.
Another difference between Youkai Watch and Pokémon: Keita, the protagonist, is completely normal. In fact, the only truly unique thing about him is the fact that he can see and interact with youkai. He's constantly referred to as 'normal' and 'average' by his classmates, which I find to be a nice touch to the anime. Keita is more relatable to most children than most protagonists who have something special, a power or being the Chosen One. He's simply an ordinary boy who stumbled upon a gachapon machine by accident.
Even these youkai don't help him out that much- for the most part they just cause him trouble. His 'butler' Whisper is incompetent and knows little about youkai and the series' mascot, Jibanyan, rarely ever wins fights he's summoned to. So really, even his special skill serves to hinder him more than it helps.
He is also not a boy made entirely of moral fortitude and a will to do the right thing like many other kids anime. He can be troublesome and naughty at time, but he can also have many moments of wanting to do the right thing. Again, it serves to make Keita represent an actual child more, which is a nice change from the generic protagonist.
In fact, character is one of Youkai Watch's strong points. Although there tends to be little character development due to it's lack of plot, the characters are full of charm and each character is unique. Each youkai has has their own distinct personalities and abilities which helps prevent the repetitive format from growing stale.
The art and sound are average, typical for most kids anime. It's not amazing but it still has it's own charm.
Overall, I think the series is worth picking up if you're looking for a lighthearted humor anime, or are fond of anime featuring numerous different monsters. Just don't expect any real plot and you'll be fine.
I watched 200 episodes of this before I decided I had enough and it is now time to try something else.I wrote a review before (after 76 episodes) and it'll be available at the end of this one.
It goes like this. This is pretty much kids anime, heavily geared towards promoting youkai merchandise. it follows "3 stories per episode" format. Meaning one episode usually contains 3 short stories, usually padded by music. The anime also heavily reuses in many places, in the beginning it is very blatant.
The anime starts in a very uninspiring way - first 20 or so episodes are dedicated to itnroducing yokai,
and are heavily padded by "summoning animation" scenes. Basically, when youkai is summoned, protagonist (keita) makes a flashy move/animation sequence ("ore no tomodachi - de te koi!" or osmething), which takes ... quite a bit of time. Then youkai upon appearing does a little dance.... and this is obviously used to pad animation and reduce budget. Those episodes in the beginning are also notable because of their use of "gerogero po" intro, which I found rather... uninspiring. Youkai are non-threatening, and episodes follow very cliched format -- people act strange, keita starts wondering what is going on, finds youkai, etc. It is very repetitive.
After episode 20, they start experimenting. Rather than keeping introducing youkai, they take existing youkai, and make short stories with them. Parody stories. For example, there's a cutesy looking youkai, and they make a story where he is a police officer. Basically... a lot of parodies. And those are more interesting.
This keeps going on for 20 more episodes.
At episodes 48+49 ther'es a massive commercial/promotion, and it proves that target audience is children. Because it is pretty much dedicated to showing japanese re-enacting portions of gero-gero-po opening.
After the commercial break, it keeps going on and on... till it ends the season at epsiode 76.
After episode 76 the next season start, they start introducing characters ,and things slowly pick up. Jokes become riskier and more interesting, the story becomes a bit more convoluted, and more importantly, they realize that voice actor that voices Kuma can actually sing (fairly well), and they use him along with voice actress for another actress for a recurring yokai in a better openings ... whose name I forgot (where they see "from east and west" or something).
Around episode 120 I ran out of english material, and started watching it in japanese. At this point the anime actually displayed several strokes of genius.
First, there were absolutely unrelated miniseries called "Android Yamada" within youkai watch, and those are very very very well done. They have gloomy dark humor atmospehre, and they were much more interesting for me than stock youkai watch. Around the same time, anime starts heavily parodying various western pop culture subjects including actors, etc. Then there's an art shift episode that is done in a completely different style.
Around episode ... hmm.... I'd say 180, they switch song once again, and it is absolutely amazing. Except... it goes on for at least 3 minutes, and is pretty much used to reduce animation time. Similar song is at the end of every episode.
The stories get better to episode 200 too, but they never reach "stellar level".
And now.... the original review:
----original 76 episode review---
I watched the first season - the whole 76 episodes.
I'm not sure why the heck did I watch 76 episodes of this when I have other anime on my backlog, but it happened. So here goes the review.
To summarize it: This is definitely an anime for children, most likely 12 y/o and younger. Promotional episodes 48+49 pretty much support this idea (they are massive sales pitch for figures + merchandise). As a result, it is pretty much simple story, with simple characters, mostly cutesy monster designs, and abilities of you-kai are usually harmless.
Meaning as an adult you probably won't find anything interesting here, unless you really need something simple to unwind. If you have children, they'll probably love it, though.
Detailed breakdown below:
It strictly follows monster of the week pattern, actually "several monsters of the week", because one episode usually contains 2 or 3 short stories. Meaning, every time people start acting strangely (typically doing something and then saying a phrase afterwards while making some gesture), protagonist says "This must be Youkai's trick!" (youkai no shiwaza), his companion says "there's no way !", The characters says "Oh! Here's the youkai!" (Yappari ita!), at which point his companion freaks out and starts trying to tell what kind of youkai that is. This pattern happens every single time.
Beginning episodes are heavily padded with summoning animations. When protagonist (Keita) calls a youkai, a short animation sequence is played (music + few words + youkai image that dances), the sequences is often the same for the same youkai, and if Keita summons several youkai's in turn, this can take quite a lot of animation time, making story siginificantly shorter.
Now... around episode 20 or so, the show starts improving and introduces "side stories" which can be telling something about a youkai, or could be a parody.
Around episode 50 it improves a bti more as well.
But otherwise it is, from beginning to the end (of the season one) is fairly childish show with not much interesting for an adult to watch.
The art is quite simplified, most youkais are cutesy/simplistic. Some of the side characters looks good in this aesthetic (There was apparently a female bodyguard in one of the side stories). Now, now and then there are more impressive designs, for example Kyuubi (you'll know when you see him), but they're infrequent.
Some of the side characters are nice looking (for example, yuki-onna), but they barely get any screen time.
So, solidly done visuals, but nothing outstanding. Some characters are interesting, but there's VERY small number of them, and they don't appear often.
I seriously don't get the original "GeraGerapo" opening. It doesn't sound good for me, although one of its variation was better (the one around episodes 20..40). I liked one of the ending themes (the one with NyanKB - I t hink it starts appearing after episode 40+ or 50+), but that it. Most of the music is not that great, although it isn't horrible.
Well, it is a kids show, so they don't have much personality, and a lot of them, if not most of them, act in stereotypical and predictable manner. Reactions of Keita/Whisper are usually the same any time, and the show doesn't concentrate on anyone's personality. Every character has a role, and they act strictly according to it. So they are not exactly believable.
Didn't like it much, but kept watching. Probably won't be watching the second season.
Minor detail about translation:
It looks like the primary way to see this show in the west is to watch Disney channel or something. Judging by online information, Disney attempted to americanize the show for unknown reason, and renamed a lot of characters. Keita becomes nate, Fumiko-chan becomes... well, I forgot what her name was. Keita's parents receive names, etc. Even monsterss get renamed, for example Jinmenken becomes Manjimutt, and Ikemenken gets simlar treatment. Of course, some of the jokes are hard to translate, but still, I probably wouldn't watch the show that got this kind of translation treatment. Disney apparently cut off some of the "potentialy objectionable material" (which was like... 3 minutes in the whole 1st season?). Just so you konw.
If you're an adult or older teen, there's very little reason to watch this show, unless you're absolutely bored out of your mind or maybe need to kill some time. Kids will probably like this show.
And that's the end of the review. Now perhaps, I can finally finish some of the longer animes that were sitting on my "need to finish watching" list for a very long time.
---end of original 76 episode review---
So... to summarize.
You get a show that is aimed at children and promoting merchandise. The stories are also children-compatible, and youkai are never exactly scary. Over time, it slowly improves, but VERY VERY slowly, at snails pace, but never become amazingly great. There are ton of pop culture references, it parodies huge number of subjects, and some of the references are obscure to the point that they WILL leave you scratching your head.
However, the anime is not great. It has its moments of genius (like those android yamada mini-series, which are absolutely amazing), but often falls back into mediocrity.
It also finally gets a nice intro song after episode 140 or so... I'm just not sure if watching 140 episodes before that is worth that song.
It may be worth watching if you have some time to kill, or a slot in your day and want something .... relaxing to watch there, but that's about it. Check it out - maybe - if you have the time, but it is by no means a "must watch" anime. It can be quite addictive though... despite not being very good.
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