Written by Jonathan Wojcik
My Favorite Yo-Kai Watch LatecomersWeeks ago, we reviewed Yo-Kai Watch's Shadowside "reboot," or sequel, or whatever it is, and how abruptly it came to a series that may or may not be experiencing its death throes, or at least a near-death-throe experience as it scrambles to keep up with Pokemon.
BETWEEN the last core games and the upcoming Yo-Kai Watch 4, however, there were in fact a bevy of additional Yo-kai released across DLC materials and spin-off games, and it's really a shame if older Yo-kai are really getting pushed to the (shadow)side in favor of their shiny new canon, because some of these "last-minute" additions are among the coolest, most appealing designs the series has ever come up with.
The most major DLC addition to Yo-Kai Watch 3 introduced a dungeon crawling side game in which a treasure-hunting Jibanyan faces an assortment of Yo-kai inspired by famous artifacts. Naturally, this includes a Dogu statue with the ability to float and fire lasers from its eyes. Dogu monsters almost always have laser vision, mostly because they just look like they ought to.
The English dub name, "Maiden Ruin," is known thanks to the monster's appearance in associated app games. We still don't know if Yo-Kai Watch 3 will ever receive an official port for English speaking fans or if the marketing of the second game already blew it.
The next treasure-themed Yo-kai is a golden sarcophagus that is also a flying robot and Mazinger Z reference, so exactly the treatment Pokemon gave to Golurk. Did it actually occur to the Yo-kai team at any point that they were using an Egyptian monster to make the same mecha joke Pokemon did to a Jewish monster, or is it just a weird accident that results in a somewhat twisted historical joke?
Speaking of both "golems" and "mecha," Yo-Kai Watch turns the famous Rosetta Stone into a delightful rock monster with the loveliest little pink eyes and craggy underbite, accompanied by a little girl who presumably controls it like that kid who rode around on Gigantor.
The name apparently comes from "doesu," or sadist, because this "excalibur"-inspired Yo-kai is apparently a colossal asshole. I love that sleazy, ghoulish face on the sword, which of course is the true monster here, merely controlling the haunted armor as a puppet body to wield himself in battle.
This marketably cute-but-deadly-looking sphinx girl can curse humans and other Yo-kai with greed, which doesn't really tie in with being a sphinx (no riddles??) but certainly ties in with all these treasure-themed monsters. I like how the cat body also has the split tail of a Nekomata, so she really is a Sphinx that exists under the rules of Japanese youkai, or perhaps a once-living Sphinx that died and reincarnated as such.
This "treasure" is just the spirit of an ancient robot, created with now long lost technology. Is this tied to some actual legend or artifact? I'm really not sure, but it's a very fun, quirky, kooky robot design with, I think, a very pleasant color scheme for being so eclectic.
I love when someone makes a pun on a term that isn't really part of their first language. Yo-kai Watch does it so much, and "Go King Dead" is a great example, only loosely working as a joke on "walking dead." He's a pretty cool looking zombie king, in any case. I really like that simple, round head with only an eye visible through the bandages and hair. A really fun, appealing look.
A more minor enemy in the treasure dungeons, you probably know that the name implies a "skeleton ghost," and so does the design, though it's also the skeleton ghost of a cyclops! I'm glad this minigame necessitated the creation of some Yo-kai with a more classical "scary monster" feel.
Another adorable language-mangling joke name, and another straightforward, spooky undead monster to face as Jibanyan explores ancient ruins. I'm so glad this game series now has a plain old Halloween-style mummy, and I love how the design leaves only its blackened feet and round, yellow eyes visible, binding its arms more like an actual mummy.
Yo-kai Watch has a MIMIC! And such a perfect mimic, too, with a latch like an eye, a simple shadowy body and a huge, slimy pinkish-purple tongue! It almost feels like a subtle nod to the Dark Souls style mimic, and it's a compliment when I say that it doesn't even look like it came from Yo-kai Watch. I love the game's usual style, don't get me wrong, but I also love when they're willing to branch out this far.
Dub team, come on, this is clearly more of a sperm whale, nothing about this says "narwhal!" This is actually the reality-warping antagonist of the third movie, which was built around the gimmick of shifting between animation and live action, and doesn't make a video game appearance until its inclusion in Wibble Wobble. It's a pretty cool and intimidating whale monster, but not nearly as much as its final form:
The treasure hunting update also brought with it a family of anthropomorphic treasure-stealing cats, the Bundory family, who also happen to have a headless skeleton butler named Gustaf. I don't know anything else about Gustaf, but, I wanted to show you him.
This late addition to the roster of regular befriendable Yo-kai is one of those few in the series to come straight out of classic mythology, with no new additional pun or modern twist. The Onmoraki is a type of restless, evil spirit that emerges from impure corpses and takes the form of a horrible, human-faced bird, capable of spreading disease and general misfortune.
It's already a very cool youkai, but I positively adore how they portrayed it here. It's such a simple cartoon bird, but everything about its shape, proportions and colors appeal to me. There's something I particularly like about the bulbousness of its head, and the lack of any dividing line where its beak begins. It's just such a weird, spooky little birdy!
I can't believe Yo-kai Watch beat both Pokemon and Digimon to ever featuring a Naked Mole Rat. Step up your game, guys! EVERYBODY loves Naked Mole Rats! Everybody has loved Naked Mole Rats since they entered more mainstream knowledge at least ten or fifteen years ago! I'm not sure what Molar Petite's backstory or Yo-kai powers are but how can you possibly not love her immediately and unconditionally?
An interesting golem-like creature, Garandu's gimmick and theme is its "hollowness," even sucking objects into its black hole stomach and making them as empty as itself. Simple, cool, surprisingly scary.
We're now entering Yo-kai introduced in Busters 2, and these absolutely darling little hermit crab people are featured as NPC's on a tropical island as well as befriendable monsters. Their design is more or less in the style of our main series mascots, Jibanyan and Komasan, but applied quite well to a humanoid arthropod.
One of several exclusive boss monsters in Busters 2, this straightforward giant crab is pretty much just a big, mean sea monster associated with the same island as the Doyagari. Personally I really love the specific goofy eyes and mouth they went with here.
DISCO BALL MUMMY. What an absolutely zany concept! I think it's derived from more super-obtuse wordplay. Supposedly, this Yo-kai was born from the collective wishes of "shy" people, and "dreams of a more brilliant world," whatever that means!
Aw, man, from its mossy roots to its gloomy face, this evil tree is TOO damn cool looking! It's a Yo-kai born of pure hatred, too, and its official bio says it makes a "bloodbath" of its enemies. Holy crap. I am increasingly distraught that not all Yo-kai are "playable," as far as we know. Especially not most bosses.
You oughta know what this is a pun on! "Baikin" refers to basically "germs," including both mold and bacteria. Just a single extra letter makes not only a "king" pun but a "VIKING" pun, giving us a filthy, stinking, disease-ridden pillager dressed in his own pungent stink-cloud and dripping, slimy cape. Hilarious.
If you know your classic youkai, you may know the Wanyuudou, an enlarged, severed head impaled in the spokes of a flaming wheel as punishment for their sins. WaNEWdo, however, has a more modern "street punk" twist, with sunglasses, a burning tire and even exhaust pipes. Its official profile also gives it an official catchphrase, "Nice to BEAT ya!"
The main antagonist of Busters 2, this poor Yo-kai was once a magical, golden vase that could grant a single person a single wish. Once it had been used and discarded, it awoke as a tsukumogami and became obsessed with granting more and more wishes, eventually becoming this pretty radical genie-reaper-vase by fusing with one of those thieving cats we mentioned earlier. I like how many different sets of eyes and faces we have here.
Is this supposed to capitalize on the popularity of Gudetama? I almost assumed at a glance that it had to be an official cross promotion, something Yo-kai Watch has certainly done before, but the yolk she's carrying has an entirely different face on it from the Sanrio mascot.
TAMAGO NO KIMI
So, this is actually just an otherwise unexplained "egg princess" Yo-kai, but, that's fine. I really like it. Just this bizarre clammy girl in a floating egg shell with disgusting egg-white hair. IS this actually a reference to a Japanese legend? I feel like it is.
This is a Busters boss you can actually befriend and add to your team, which I believe was also added in to Yo-Kai Watch 3. Surprisingly, I like the humanlike head of this rampaging dinosaur spirit more than I would if it just had more of a monster head. I might not have felt that way in the past, but humanlike monsters just keep growing on me. It's kind of fun that a dinosaur yo-kai would look like a weird lizard kid wearing a giant skull.
I. L O V E. This design. I love the whole notion of a woman riding around on her own serpentine, multi-mouthed hair, seemingly an extreme exaggeration of the Futakuchi-onna or "two mouthed woman," and there's supposedly another mouth on top of her head, surrounded by those lovely anemone-like tendrils! More than the concept, however, I just love this specific execution. I love her spooky blue face with its half-lidded eyes, I love the unpleasant yellow (golden?) teeth and blue lips of the hair tentacles, I love the dirty, mottled octopus-flesh palette of her hair and I even love the specific way they drew it in strands across her face. It's all just so damn snazzy!
Kanekuihime is apparently a Yo-kai that "eats" good fortune, and can consume your very success in life until you've "hit rock bottom."
Of almost all the "unfriendable" boss Yo-kai, I think we just found the one that hurts the most. Goku Noko is a mutated, plant-like Tsuchinoko featured exclusively as a boss in the Wibble Wobble puzzle game, and it is virtually everything you could ever want from both a snake monster and plant monster. The toothed eye-flower tentacles, the extra mouth on its head, the weird stretchy humanoid hands, the black eye sockets...this thing is just magnificent, and I know I keep fixating on the colors of these things but THE COLORS OF THIS THING. That perfect shade of intense magenta to contrast the sickly greens and yellows. Superb.
Will it ever come to pass that we can add this beautiful beast to a main series fighting team? And that horrible axe-murder tree? And disco mummy?? Will *I* ever get to train an Onmoraki in a game I can actually read?
The future of Yo-kai Watch is incredibly shaky at the moment, and it all hinges on the success of a Nintendo Switch title still on its way...
MORE HALLOWEEN FEATURES: