Sunday, January 1, 2017

Yo-kai Watch Plushies Inspirit Dollar Tree in Bittersweet News for Fans

It's raining cats and dogs and ghosts!
Reports of Yo-kai Watch's death in its native Japan were greatly exaggerated.  The series has declined, but it's still raking in cash and beating Star Wars in ticket sales.  As a series that taps into Japan's preexisting Yo-kai or (or Yokai, or Youkai, or Yookai, or...) legends going back centuries, as well as the unique gimmick of designing many characters based on puns of the Japanese language in itself, it's fine-tuned to be marketable to there.  In other countries, which aren't familiar with Yo-kai, to which the visual puns often are lost in translation?  Not so much.  Though it seems like only yesterday we were seeing it pushed heavily in all its forms at Gamestops and other major chains, its small plushies going for $10, more recently news has broken of these plushies finding their way into various bargain bins--most notably, at Dollar Tree stores all across America

This is potentially troubling news for American fans who want to keep getting this series here; not to mention for series creators Level 5, who obviously had high hopes for it here.  Whether these boxes upon boxes of Yo-kai plushies spent some time at Targets that eventually dumped them off at Dollar Tree, or warehouses unloaded them at Dollar Tree because those more upscale chains didn't need to replace the items they still hadn't sold, this points heavily in the direction of the series failing to catch on here.

However, while the American fans may not be numerous enough to generate the sorts of sales the series needs, they're certainly abuzz about the silver lining to it all.  Since the news broke on Reddit a little over a week ago, loads of new posts and several new threads have emerged dedicated to promoting excursions to one's local Dollar Tree and snagging up what might be the entire first line of plushies for about the price major retailers would charge for just one of them.  It's a good time to be a Yo-kai collector.

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