While Pokemon waits between three and four years to come out with a new batch of monsters and a core set of games that, if we're honest, never innovate that much, Yo-Kai Watch is already on its third generation since 2013, already hitting over 500 some Yo-Kai if you don't count the hundred or so palette-swapped subspecies.
This third wave is so new, we don't even have proper transparent "sprites" of them yet, let alone English names or descriptions, but it's easy to see that they're as weird as ever...
First thing's first: the big twist to Yo-Kai Watch 3 is that a big part of it takes place in America, and introduces "American" Yo-Kai. By this, they don't mean monsters like the Wendigo or Mothman, but monsters like this. Original "equivalents" to the Japanese Yo-kai with what the game's developers feel is an "American" twist, which is going to be exactly as funny as you're already thinking.
See, two of Japan's biggest stereotypes of us Americans is that we all eat primarily burgers and we're all prone to shouting "OH MY GOD!" for no particular reason, so this here is a ghostly hamburger that makes people shout "OH MY GOD!"
And that makes sense as a pun in Japan, because the way they would probounce "OH MY GOD" comes out more like "OH MA GA."
"OH MA GA"
"HAM BA GA"
How in the flying hell are they going to make this gag work in English?! I sincerely cannot wait.
Giving the American Yo-Kai a break while you process OBURGER, here's basically battle-mode Whisper, after many fan requests for him to actually fight in the player's team. I'm glad he comes out this menacing and wields a scythe, though I'm surprised they didn't just use his hilariously nightmarish "humanoid body" from the anime.
I mentioned that, didn't I? But I forgot to SHOW YOU!
It's pretty messed up that you can actually get this Yo-Kai. It's only in a segment of the anthology-style second movie that Keita, the main character of the anime, reincarnates as a Yo-Kai after falling down a manhole and breaking his neck.
It's hilarious, trust me.
A running gag throughout the toon has always been that Keita is forgettable and uninteresting as a person, which he's pretty insecure about, so his entire power as a Yo-Kai is making any human he possesses become just average at everything. We even get a deeper look at how involuntary the whole "possession" process is for these beings, which is pretty cool. Fu2 even goes through a little introductory song and dance to announce his own name as an uncontrollable reflex, much to his distress.
The absolute funniest bit is how he gets his name, though. When he's waiting in line to get his official Yo-Kai name handed to him in the afterlife, "FU" is given out to some kind of cool, disco-dancing ghost man just ahead of him.
...But the oni in charge of this is really, really tired, and when a morose Keita (he did just die, after all) tells him he doesn't care what name he gets, FU2 it is.
The story ends with Keita reincarnating as his old self again and restoring the status quo, but I have no idea how he's worked into Yo-Kai Watch III.
RED J and MIGHTY DOG
I'm so pleased to know you can finally put these guys on your team. RED J first appears in the anime for a recurring comedy bit in which a legendary warrior Yo-Kai is searching for an allegedly powerful and terrible monster who lays waste to entire civilizations, but his descriptions keep sounding remarkably like an exaggeration of Jibanyan, who even ends up helping him search for this "RED J." Later, the same Yo-Kai starts hunting for the evil "MIGHTY DOG," who seems to be a misunderstanding of the even more adorable, even more naive Komasan.
Of course the final punchline is that Red J and Mighty Dog existed all along.
So you might be familiar with the youkai "Gashadokuro," a gigantic, ravenous skeleton. It appears as a boss in Yo-Kai Watch 2, where it also becomes a pun on gachapon vending machines, but doesn't become "befriendable" until the third game. The translators apparently didn't even try to keep any sort of vending machine pun, but "Gutsy Bones" is an adorable name regardless, and by the third game, you'll be able to pal around with a giant skeleton who loves collecting small, cheap toys. What more could you want?
Our second "American Yo-Kai," Marunugget is for real a little boy who died and resurrected as a giant chicken nugget. When I presented this fact on tumblr almost a year ago, it exploded with notes from people who apparently related on a deeply spiritual level. I guess I can concur.
More than that, though, Marunugget is a little boy who died playing baseball, loved fast food, and had a problem with dumping responsibilities on other people, letting everyone else handle his problems until it finally killed him.
Yes, this is another joke that only works in Japanese. "marunage" refers to both a "windup throw," especially in the context of baseball, and "leaving things to others." Again, it'll be great to see how they pass this off in English or if they just totally ignore it and roll with him being a big baseball-playing chicken hunk for no reason at all.
This Yo-Kai starts out as a snake-like sock with feet, then becomes a pretty great looking monstrous snake who happens to walk around on ridiculous little legs like this. I love him.
I have no idea what he does or why he exists yet.
If you thought the one thing missing from this monster game was a dinosaur, you still only get one family to work with, but it consists of the lovably goofy little Dinoshi who can then evolve into the significantly more adorable D-Rex. I love the big, chunky proportions on this guy and the design emphasis on his huge, toothy mouth. This is a great cartoon carnosaur, and I think the striped shirt and tiny hat suit him wonderfully as well.
His in-game info assures us that the "D" is for "DESTRUCTION." I think his thing is apparently that he tries to be helpful, but ends up making everything worse?
Good to see a creepy sentient doll in this spooky monster game, it was long overdue.
This Yo-Kai begins as the goofier Sora-Mimikuzu, a portmanteau of the Japanese words for "mishearing" and "horned owl." It's an owl specter that makes you hear things all wrong!
...But then it "gets tired of mishearing" and trains itself up into this significantly scarier monster, whose name you may recognize as meaning hell-mimikuzu. It definitely has the feel of creepy owl demons like Stolas, but with huge, weird ears that apparently hear "too" well.
This is actually the first "American Yo-Kai" ever formally introduced by the anime, a ghostly corn cob who makes you feel neutral and unimpressed when you should be excited by something. Its name sounds like Japanese for basically "okay, I guess."
They absolutely freaking love corn in Japan, though. They can't get enough of it, even compared to America where it's such a staple. It is, however, my most hated of all foods.
Yo-Kai Watch 3 doesn't introduce a whole lot of new "classic" Yo-Kai, which I guess makes sense with its bigger emphasis on America, but it does give us one of the most adorable Otoroshi I've ever seen. These creatures first appeared in artwork a couple centuries ago without much context, but came to be thought of as guardian beasts who protect sacred places from vandals or evil intruders and like to hang out atop archways or rafters. It's also generally thought that they're devastatingly fierce when doing their job, but basically big, lazy puppydogs to everyone else.
Despite being an American Yo-Kai, Ottamagator is clearly modeled after a stereotypical Australian, and I will be very, very disappointed if his English name doesn't end up being something like Crikeydile, which would suit him anyway, since his gimmick is being "surprised."
According to the anime, Ottamagator used to be a regular baby alligator, but was raised by swans. He died of shock when he first discovered he was, in fact, an alligator, and Ottamagator was born.
This icy-looking blob is apparently what causes your legs to fall asleep! I always love the Yo-Kai that cause physical "ailments," and this little guy's weird face, with its sucker mouth and ungulate eyes, does a lot to up his appeal.
This darling little Oogie Boogie lookalike is the Yo-Kai responsible for undoing zippers you could have sworn were zipped, and if the anime is to be believed, he particularly targets pants.
Japan sure associates us with meat, doesn't it? I guess it's fair. America is positively bonkers for meat, and bacon is easily the worst offender. This little guy's power is, apparently, that any nearby bacon becomes more delicious the angrier Karikaribacon gets.
In his first anime appearance, Keita is enjoying some bacon himself when he learns of Karikaribacon's secret...so he summons Spoilerina (see Yo-Kai Watch 2) to spoil the latest totally-not-Star-Wars for the hunk of pork.
This is apparently the bird that flies around your head and twitters when you feel dizzy, ala cartoons. It's not the tiny thing you would expect, though; it's like six feet tall and almost as wide.
If you wanted more prehistoric creatures, here's...an Ammonite shell that's also a ghost. Not a ghost ammonite, just the shell itself, which I imagine would be very very disappointing if you just saw its Japanese name before its design and were getting pumped for a tentacled mollusk, but personally, I think this is a really cute and fun design.
Its name is a play on "nanmonai" or a dismissive "it's nothing," which does nicely play into the fact that this is the completely empty shell of an also extinct animal.
This is another directly mythological one, actually the Japanese god of fisherman and associated with good luck. Ebisu is traditionally portrayed as human, but he was originally born as Hiruko, which literally means "leech child." Supposedly, the baby was named this for being deformed and limbless, and was sent adrift in a river until the gods took pity on it and transformed it into Ebisu.
I love how Yo-Kai Watch decided to reinterpret all this as some strange little grey goblin-man inside of an entire fish, and is it just me, or is it kinda reminiscent of a tongue louse?
Another American one, of course, Hottocake is a pancake monster who apparently acts as if she wants to be alone, only to get upset by the lack of attention.
Shucks, I'll do whatever she wants for a pat of butter that big.
This goofy fish with a turd on its head apparently causes people to switch their opinions to match those of others, I guess to go along with whatever crowd seems cooler or more popular. This would likely be a reference to the Japanese term "goldfish poop," which refers to people to basically suck up to anyone above them in society...like how a pretty goldfish often swims around with its own feces hanging off its ass.
The wonderful "Terrorpotta" from the second game gains an evolution in the third, and now features not only a bursting heart, but what may be a "brain" in the shape of an explosion!
I'm not sure what this Yo-Kai does, but I'm sure you can tell it's one of the American ones. I like how it seems to have more than just a skull, but the rest of its bones are all contained within its massive hairdo.
This unbelievably adorable little skeleton just makes things fall apart, and in the anime, he's also revealed to be the ghost of Dazzabel's son. He evolves into Rebone, which we can assume might...fix things? I mean, with a name like "rebone" that seems like it'd be the case, but he does also carry around a pair of giant hammers presumably for smashing stuff.
A play on the word "Inchiki," or "cheat," this American monster resembles a man in an obvious chicken costume and causes people to cheat or lie very poorly and transparently. The summoning medallion he gives to Keita even turns out to be a useless fake.
To this day, it's infuriatingly impossible to befriend the recurring boss - and one of my favorite designs in this franchise - Doctor Maddiman, but this dashing semi-skeleton is actually implied to be Maddiman's estranged son who fled to the United States with his mom. Or something. He's no Maddiman, but he's still a fun design, and at least you can get one spooky ghost doctor.
This Yo-Kai is a big, awful, itchy ball of hair and all it does is manifest shed hairs everywhere. It's presumably the reason you might look down at the corner of your bathroom floor one day and be aghast at how much of the stuff has built up.
The idea of a monster who just exists to gleefully get his hair everywhere is funnier to me than it even ought to be.
As much as I love the even wackier creatures, it's nice when some Yo-Kai are still basically just animals, and this is a fairly lovable little snail. Its name is a play on the term for "going at your own pace," so I guess he causes people to take it a little too easy.
This pathetic, gooey phantasm is so my kind of design, and he's got a perfectly appropriate ability to boot: this is the Yo-Kai in charge of nauseating motion sickness! The moment I'm even able to have this thing on my team, it's probably going to be permanent.
Finally, we come to my very favorite monster in this wave, one so "monstrous" in appearance that, like Slimamander, it almost feels like it came from some other franchise. Not many Yo-Kai look this "alien" through and through.
I'm sorry I don't have a bigger, crisper official image of this guy, but his body is a cross between an octopus and a big, purple arm and hand, with suckers on its fingers, while his wildly asymmetrical arms struggle with the squid perpetually grappling his face.
...And what does this Yo-Kai do, exactly?
Apparently, it just makes you "popular" to some frustrating degree. Now, don't get me wrong, I like how many Yo-Kai resemble weird babies, old people and objects in that classic youkai fashion, but I'm so glad that there's also this outrageous mess of hands and cephalopods. I would love a few more like this.
I know I usually end on a personal favorite, but I thought I'd end instead on the most hilariously convoluted of all this game's "American" Yo-Kai.
Perperaion is an "American" counterpart to the Yo-Kai Blazion, or in Japan, Merameraion. This is just a play on "meramera" (burning flames) and "lion," and his ability is to fiercely motivate people.
So, when fused with an item called, seriously, "Merican Flour," Merameraion evolves into PERAPERaion. And what is "perapera" then? It's basically equivalent to our "blah, blah," but it's especially associated with foreigners. It's Japan's idea of how a tourist sounds when trying to speak Japanese.
You'll also notice, of course, that this Yo-Kai is blonde, curly-haired, blue-eyed, and has a much bigger nose than normal, all traits the Japanese consider particularly "foreign."
To top it all off, he carries around a translation guide and wears a red and white striped shirt, which is also a stereotype of "foreigners" ever since its use in the European navy.
This Yo-Kai is basically every single Japanese cliche of an annoying tourist they could possibly think of. This is what they come up with when they think "American Yo-Kai." That is adorable. And I know we've just hit 31 monsters and all, but...wanna see one more of these?
They've got OUR number!
We're still not really done yet, because it's now time for...
The Five Best Boss-Only Yo-Kai
With an external heart and a medical mirror for an eye, it should be obvious why I named this guy as one of my favorite designs in my original 2015 Yo-kai review, but multiple games later, Maddiman remains exclusively a boss and unbefriendable. Come on, why!? He's even actually kept coming back as a boss, performing weird medical experiments on yo-kai and humans, but simmers down by the third game and even sends you on a quest. The reward for that quest should be his friendship. Why isn't it!?
Naturally, another fantastic design is a creation of Doctor Maddiman, and another I listed as a favorite last year that you still can't buddy up with. It's a simplistic design, but it just has such a lovably quirky face and spooky patchwork color scheme.
Of course I have to love a monster that wears a suit of rusted junk and garbage, though beneath its crusty exterior is a one-eyed heap of glowing, green slime presumably from space. It remains to be seen whether we'll ever be able to recruit this one, as it just debuted in the third game, and thus far, bosses are only ever befriendable - if at all - after their second appearance.
Running with the spacey themes of the third game, this beautiful boss is a green-skinned, pointy-eared, three-eyed floating head with a gigantic, throbbing pink brain, basically cramming as many space alien design tropes that can fit into one boss. I also really like the sharp, yellow teeth, and really really like that it wears custom-made three-lensed glasses to top it all off. This weirdo is just plain adorable, and I'd love to be able to recruit it in the inevitable Yo-Kai Watch 4.
Another introduced in the third game, and possibly one of the coolest bosses since Slimamander. Miss Betty is a huge, asymmetrical bogeywoman lurking under a child's bed, and everything about her is simply gorgeous. The perfect jagged teeth in her Cheshire-Cat smile, the mis-matched round eyes, the noselessness, the one larger arm...I sincerely hope we not only get to add her to our team some day, but she keeps the bed with her, which she seems to use both as a weapon and a protective shell!