Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Yo-kai Watch Fades to Black in Darker and Edgier Incarnation

Yesterday, Bandai unveiled a commercial for the upcoming Black Yo-kai Watch, as well as a webpage.  While it's always been a practice of the series to release new watches with new medals to go along with them (because money, basically), this latest took people by surprise, to say the very least, by appearing a great deal more macabre than the series' more mainstream, popular appearance.  This watch is said to have a mind of its own, as well as an agenda; apparently something to do with spitting out a green ghost that swallows people and then hawks them up transformed into loogie-covered arthropod yo-kai (Yes; really), and Bandai has announced that the anime will elaborate on all this.

This move will likely be controversial, and its effects on sales remain to be seen, but it is nonetheless interesting on many levels.  First, it's not without precedent; it being no secret to many who have looked into Yo-kai folklore that much of it started out rather dark.  Accordingly, the new medals have a new art style reminiscent of classic Japanese illustrats of Yo-kai; including the design of Jibanyan shown above, with sharper teeth and more realistic cat-like features.  While you shouldn't expect him to be pouncing upon any human prey, there's a good chance that this moment in Yo-kai Watch lore will provide a more adventurous vibe than the episodic comedy we've seen so far.  Perhaps this will also be linked to the upcoming crossover announced earlier with Gegege no Kitarou; a series related to Yo-kai that has been going on for half a century, and plays them closer to their horror story roots.

Perhaps the most potentially exciting revelation about this new development, though, is that it will introduce new Yo-kai that seem to be the human protagonists of the series fused with--and named after--various arthropods.  Nate Adams becomes "Caterpillar Man", and thus far is the only one whose transformation has been detailed, but a closer look at the gallery of medals (directly translated) reveals that Barnaby "Bear" Bernstein becomes "Centipede Man", Eddie Archer becomes "Fly-Man", and Katie Forester, in probably the coolest transformation, becomes "Mantis Woman".
A zoom in of the medal for Mantis Woman, or "Kamakiri Onna".  By the way, don't search for that Japanese text unless you like viewing mantis cannibalism.
There may, of course, be more humans-turned-Yo-kai yet to be revealed.  In the meantime, though, the presence of these transformations could mean a major plot development will take place in this series, in the form of many more humans learning about Yo-kai--this, again, would make sense with the Kitarou crossover.  While, such a revelation occurred in the Halloween special, Horrors of Dracunyan, that episode turned out to be a dream--or was it?!  A few signs point to it having been an alternate world; such as has also been described as the setting for the Black Yo-kai Watch stories, so who knows?  Could we be getting a whole story arc about our protagonists fighting against tough opponents in this Dark World?  Expect to learn the answer come February, when the event begins.

In the meantime, draw me some Mantis Woman fanart.

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